December 6: Light From Within
by Laura Loney
My chest tightens as the moon glows bolder. I am a lion, a falcon, strong and brave. Yet, I am caged and baited like a bear. No one is coming to rescue me.
My own white knight ordered me locked away in the Tower. There is no remedy for betrayal. No cure for false crimes. Nothing can save me.
My former life, little more than a frayed tapestry, is unravelling fast. My eloquent rooms, an illusion. This is my prison and death lurks in the shadows, impatient and confused. My soul burns bright. It’s not my time to be extinguished and yet…
My vision blurs, but I regain composure. I refuse to be branded and forgotten. My enemies must not win. I was destined for greatness. This cannot be the end.
A candle’s flame wavers innocently. Even the smallest fire can start a blaze. But this candle is not like the ones at our palaces. Its light is not pure and vivid, but murky. Its flame unsettled, the faint stink of death permeates the air as it melts. It’s cheap. Made from animal fat. Fit for a merchant, not a Queen. This candle tells me my future. I am not leaving here as Queen. I am not leaving here at all. “Lord Jesu, give me strength.”
It’s late. My ladies sleep, but I cannot. It’s an escape my body will not accept. I stand alone, a pillar of strength, but hollow. Options flick back and forth across my mind. Bold thoughts, triumphant strategies. I must die, there is no changing it, but how I die can sway the fates. If I play my role wisely, my daughter earns a chance to take her rightful place. A tricky task, but am I not known for achieving the impossible?
A plan flutters into place as though drifting into my mind from a divine source. My execution will be my final performance and my message must be clear. Without a word spoken out of turn, all present shall know my innocence. This is how I will achieve victory over my enemies. I must dress the part and act the part of the innocent Queen. After all, I am living the part. It is my truth to tell.
A chill sweeps through the room, but I do not shudder. I remain resolute. A sudden sense of knowing comes over me. Elizabeth is my destiny. She is my life’s crowning achievement. Her flame shall not be snuffed out like mine.
Gloriana, the Virgin Queen. The words spring into my mind and I know. Elizabeth’s fire will burn as bright as a Vestal Virgin’s and England will be her Empire. The vision gives me a measure of peace in my darkest hour.
Let my death light her path to greatness. Let my death serve a purpose other than feeding the earth. I turn my back on the dingy candle in favour of the everlasting moon. I must die, but Elizabeth’s day will dawn. Her fight is only beginning and I will be but a memory. “Lord Jesu, give her strength.”
Laura Loney is an aspiring author living in Ontario, Canada with her lovely husband and two children. Laura holds degrees in History, Semiotics & Communication Theory, and Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations from the University of Toronto, and a postgraduate degree in Corporate Communications. She has a life-long passion for history and creative endeavours. Her many interests include graphic design, miniatures, comedy and writing.