“My lord is dead,” the woman crooned, her silver-gilt hair spilling over her shoulders, glinting in the moonlight. “Foully slain by the fiend. My foe, my nemesis the Earl of Warwick.”
Her face twisted when she spoke his name rendering her extraordinary fecund beauty less. Beside her stood her mother, wizened crone, ancient magic-user, honer and wielder of lovecraft. This how she got her own man, his heart and soul stolen while he rowed her back to England from France where here husband, an old man, older even than she is now and she is an ancient raddled crone, had died. Some say her sorcerousesses hand was in that, but when they asked she just smiled mysteriously and let them jump to their own conclusion.
“Then you shall a better,” she croaked. “Come rising moon! Come depth of sea!”
Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford, stealer of men’s hearts and binder of souls, like her husband a poor knight who dared to marry a dowager duchess, though she was only fifteen at the time and dowager makes her sound a lot older, and was laughed at and, truth be told, still suffered from the taunts and mockeries of others, like the young Earl of March who had mocked him most cruelly in Calais, stood at the centre of the circle of power her daughter had traced in the dirt beneath the sacred oak. She raised her boney claw like arms in supplication to the gibbous moon.
“Goddess, grant us your favour.”
Elizabeth shivered, her mother’s raw power frightening her. It was a power she was heir to and one day she’d know it. One day she’d use it to defeat those who stood against her. Like maybe by raising a mist to confuse them in a battle like has been suggested by at least one popular author recently but she probably just doesn’t get it, I mean, there’s people been writing this stuff for a long time, and researching and thinking and she thinks she can come in as if no-one’s thought of it before and Hey! I know, I’ll write about the Wars of the Roses except I’ll call them something different so that people will think I know more than anyone else who’s been writing about them for years, I can pretend I’m the first who’s ever thought of it! and write about witches raising mists to confuse their enemies in battle which is what Elizabeth Grey, newly widowed widow and witch thought maybe she’d do one day.
“See,” her mother crooned. “See, he comes. On feet light with love. His youth shines. He brings you his heart. Do you not see?”
He was there, behind her eyes, taller than any man should be. A young and handsome knight, puissant and beautiful. Elizabeth gasped. Could she dare to aim so high?
“He will be yours, daughter,” Jacquetta whispered. “But you will need to bare your soul before the goddess. Whatever she asks you must promise to give.”
“I shall,” the young witch said, her voice trembling with fear at what they did. “Whatever she asks me, I shall give her. Even if it be my mighty and mysteriously tall and handsome lover’s first born son and his little brother, both of whom will be entirely innocent and darling, I’m sure. He shall be mine.”
And she fancied she caught on the wind the echo of a tinkling laugh.