Before there was the novel, there were the stories...

by Nan Hawthorne, who also writes under Christopher Hawthorne Moss, Books and Stories b ChristopherHawthorne Moss at

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Old Stories: Rory Reveals His Love for the Queen, 767 AD

Apparently there was a story before this one that dramatized how Rory became smitten with Josephine. In the later rewrite he is struck by her beauty the moment he meets her, and his highly romantic bard's soul turns her into a sort of cross between the mother who died tragically when he was little and some sort of idyllic lady in a tale. You will get to read that too.. in a year or two when we run out of these old stories! Tomorrow I plan to offer you the recent rewrite of this particular story as the one I wrote just a couple years ago did not make it into the novel, but it will give you a preview of how I made changes.

It was the first week of November, and fall's slow descent into winter had turned the leaves of the trees to gold, amber and red. A few birds, preparing for their migration southwards, yet lingered in the trees. The air was crisp and chilly. As the young Queen walked down the path she thought of how beautiful the garden was, how wonderful it would be if only Lawrence were there. Nothing seemed real without him…A noise startled her. She looked around but saw nothing. She took another step and suddenly she saw a familiar figure a little ways ahead of her, sitting on a mound with his face in his hands. It was Rory. He hardly stirred until she had gone up to him and touched him, kneeling.Rory jumped at the touch and looked frightened. Josephine laughed softly and kissed his forehead lightly.

"Whatever is wrong, Rory? I shan't bite thee! I've not seen thee about the court since thou'st been here. We've missed thee."

"I'm very sorry, " he answered, "But, but…may I speak frankly with ye? Sure, and I'd be most grateful!"Josephine looked confused. "Why certainly," she said, "Thou'st not ill?"

"Nay, nay! Not physically ill. But there is something very deep in me heart, and I need help."

"Why, Rory dear, of course I'll help you! I'll do anything ye want that is within my power."

"Your Majesty…Jo, may I call you that? Jo, I am in love. So many times I have been infatuated, a girl in every village. But never in love. The lass I love is young, and fair, and good as can hurt me heart so. Also, she…she is married.""Oh Rory, this is terrible!" The Queen was truly sorry for him. "Who is it? Cans't thou tell me her name, or her husband's?

"Aye, Jo, I can, but ye will not care for him having heard it. Her husband is one of the finest men I have ever known. He is almost as dear to me as Shannon, thou' I've hardly met him. The man is Lawrence."

Rory looked at the Queen wildly and threw himself on the grass sobbing, " It is ye I
love, me own fair Jo!"

The Queen turned deathly pale. She stared at Rory in pain. " Oh, Rory, thou knowest I could never love thee!"

He lifted himself from the grass, still sobbing. His blue eyes were flooded with tears that poured down his cheeks. His red hair was tousled. He put his head on her breast, and pleaded, "Never can ye love me, Jo?"

"Nay, Rory. Never as a lover. I can love thee as I love Shannon, and Percy and Erik, but never as I love my lord Lawrence. I shall love him always. There is no man I can love as I do him."

Rory stood. He looked at her quietly and touched her hair. Then he turned and took two or three steps.


He turned and looked anxiously at the Queen.

"I'm sorry…"He case his eyes downward. "Nay, do not be. I cannot expect love from one loved by such as he. But…but…Josephine looked at him tenderly."I'll never love anyone but ye, Jo. I'll never kiss a maid unless it be ye." Rory tried to smile and walked to her. He kissed her hand, and turned and left, leaving the Queen in a highly confused state.

Nest: Lawrtence's Arrival at Ratherwood

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About the author

Nan Hawthorne now writes under the name Christopher Hawthorne Moss. You can contact Christopher at .