Tudor Rules

I laced my stomacher tighter. In the past few weeks, I'd had no interest in food and I was afraid I was beginning to lose some of my feminine charms. I had to pull the velvet laces taut to fill in the bodice in the front of my gown. It was of utmost importance I look my best tonight, the first time I would have to face everyone since my humiliation.

I had to be strong, even though for all intents and purposes, my life was over.

Even my closest companions would no longer deign to speak to me. In the eyes of everyone I cared about, I was the lowliest kind of female, the kind who would cavort boldly with her sister's lover for all to see. To the world, my reputation wasin tatters, although I was in truth as pure a maiden as the day I was born.

Those I loved had shunned me, but I still had my duties to fulfill. I was the royal costumer and I was obliged to be there tonight, for the rehearsal, although I longed to retreat to my rooms, away from all those prying eyes. And I would have to face Brandon tonight, the one person who knew the truth, and whose betrayal was the most heinous of all.

It was no matter. They had told lies about Anne Boleyn as well, vicious lies that led to her death, yet Anne had been so brave. She had retained her dignity even as she walked to the scaffold, and up until the very end, when she knelt on the block with her slender neck exposed to the French executioner. So, I would be brave too. I fastened the necklace I loved so much, the one with the gold A, so like Anne Boleyn’s favorite necklace. I had bestowed similar necklaces on my ladies in waiting, but I was certain they would not be wearing theirs tonight.

I walked out the door and towards the theatre. I touched my necklace for luck and held my head high. I was ready for my fate, whatever it was. I would make Anne proud.