Just… my… story…
The book was written entirely in symbols, ones that looked like birds, and cats, and a number of other, equally strange, things. Katherine had had only the most basic of educations, but the book seemed to her to be laid out in chapters, each chapter containing pages and pages of writing separated into two different columns. And she had no idea what any of it meant.
She started her day, as usual, with practice for the annual Midsummer Festival. Thankfully, her Majesty had ordered a day of rest before continuing on her journey. For all her fellow Maids groaning, Katherine enjoyed dancing, and was light on her feet, exceptionally so, considering the comfortable lifestyle most of the Maids of Honour were so accustomed to. Katherine had suffered much before coming to Elizabeth’s court, and knew enough not to be quite as haughty as the other Maids. And even though she had kept her eyes shut for most of the execution, she could never have stopped herself from hearing the cries… Katherine still could not remember her mother’s death without a slow tear coming to her eye, and, worse still, Katherine knew, somehow, that if it wasn’t for her own sheer idiocy, she may have lived.
And yet, and yet…
Katherine felt that the book spoke to her, that it understood her on some instinctive, animal level. She heard it in her dreams, urging her forwards, egging her on. And one day, she snapped.
“What harm… What harm could it do…?”
She echoed the words, aloud, from a page that had been chosen by her- or had it chosen her?- and, from then, it was set in stone.
Katherine was then called for by the Queen, who politely requested more of the, “Medicine you prescripted for me during our last session? The one that smelled of apples.” Ignoring the other Maids’ looks of envy -“Why doesn’t she have to do it?”- Katherine dashed back to her tent and, carefully this time, extricated the bottle from her thrice-locked chest. Using a silver spoon the Queen had on hand, she carefully tilted the bottle until three drops of the potion fell into the spoon, which her Majesty proceeded to gulp down greedily. Discreetly, Katherine wiped the spoon, trying to remove the black stain from the silver, with a leaf taken from outside the tent, before placing it back on the ground, having nowhere else to put it.
As Katherine was chanting, slowly but in a confident manner, her mother came into the room, to discover her daughter reading the small, leather-bound book. Margaret’s face turned white and she fell down in a dead faint. Katherine broke off the flow of words, and ran to her mother’s side.
“Mother, are you alright? Mother…?”
Katherine was confident that if this went on, her Majesty would not survive to reach Hatfield. She breathed in, suddenly excited. After all, she was so close to what she had been working towards for so, so long…
Over and out.