“Don’t forget me, Da!” Anne couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. Fifteen years of hopes and dreams erupted as the tears came down.
The mercenary drew back his sword and swung.
Betrayal – Chapter 34
Anne is the daughter of Francis and Midonia Whitehall.
Born in Warwick, England, Anne spent her infancy on the road, living in a tent, traveling around Europe to different tournaments. After her father saved Pero de Alava from an ambush at Whitsuntide, the family moved to Spain, Francis’ services becoming the property of Pero. In short time, despite a ten year age difference, Francis and Pero became best of friends. Pero was like an uncle to Anne.
When Pero received his Imperial appointment at Capua, the Whitehall family followed, Francis serving as the Estate Steward.
Anne’s relationship with her mother was combative. Midonia didn’t like being a mother or a wife. She found fault in nearly everything her daughter did, insisting she act like a lady. But Anne was too much like her father. She was rowdy and wild, and loved to go hunting and fish. She could be courtly, and was getting a proper education, but it was the training her father provided her that she relished most. She learned to swing a sword and shoot a bow, better than most of the boys her age.
Anne didn’t tell her parents that she had taken an interest in a squire, Pierus. They were secretly seeing each other.
“Have I told you about Pierus?” Anne suddenly shared.
“Da and Ma don’t know it yet, but I have a male friend in Capua; a close male friend.” Anne melted as an unpracticed bashfulness spread red across her face, causing the freckles to disappear. She leaned forward and whispered. “I have kissed him, and more than once. It was nice. I think I want to marry him.“
Merle thought he was going to choke on the cider. “Marry him?“
“Yes!” Anne’s tenacity returned instantly as did the freckles. “I’m old enough to wed, don’t you think? And I prefer to choose my own suitor, if permitted. I only pray I have the fortitude to reveal this truth to my father soon. I don’t want to lie to him. I hate lying to him.“
“And your mother?”
“Ma? I don’t have to lie to her. She questions nothing. She spends all her time with her flowers. She pays so little attention to me and my activities. I can pretty much do what I want when Da’s not around.”
“I meant, are you going to tell her about Pierus?”
“No way. She’s too much like Grandma Dragon for my liking… although her fire isn’t as hot.“
They laughed some more.
Cold Knight – Chapter 3
At the beginning of the first book, Betrayal, Anne has just returned from England. She was on vacation, spending time with her grandmother, Midonia’s mother.
Merle was Francis’ former squire. Watching Anne grow, he saw her as the little sister he never had. He was now a knight himself, The Rose of Warwick. He was on a mission to bring Anne back to Capua and her parents before her birthday, August 14. Merle had been remembering a conversation he had with Anne below decks of the War Queen on that journey. They arrived at the port in Mondragone and Merle appointed men to take her by carriage to Capua.
Francis ignored Midonia’s nippy words and spoke directly to his daughter…”So, did you enjoy your stay in Britain? Is grandmother well?“…
“Let me up first,” Anne demanded as she strained against her father’s will.
Francis shook his head. “Nope, I’m enjoying the view where I am. It has been nearly three weeks since I last had the pleasure of your company…“
Anne sighed and surrendered. “Fine. Britain is a cold place, remote, hilly and white.” She paused, smiled and continued. “Grandma is a cold woman, remote, hilly and white.“
“Anne!” Midonia yelled.
Francis and Anne laughed…
“I am sorry, Mum. Grandma is wonderful. I adored the hours we spent together…”
Betrayal – Chapter 33
Day One – August 13. It was Anne’s first day home. After some playful roughhousing with her father, her mother went to bed and Anne told Francis about Pierus.
The clarion sounded. An alarm bell followed. First it was one and then another and then another. A dirge of distant screams rose up eerily from the castle floor and the Whitehall family living quarters were suddenly filled with the sounds of terror. Playtime was over…
“What the hell is going on?”
The unlocked door to the Whitehall family apartment crashed open… An ironclad squire wearing a conical-shaped helmet with a thin nose guard entered. “We are under attack!”
Betrayal – Chapter 34
Allen M Werner is the author of the epic fantasy series The Crystal Crux