August 22nd, 1485
The Field of Redemore, England

 

King Richard:

Up with my tent! here I will lie tonight;
But where to-morrow?

Shakespeare -
The Tragedy of King Richard the Third
[Act V, Scene 3]

e stood just outside the King's pavilion and watched as the first pale glimmer of dawn encroached upon the landscape, eclipsing the terrors that beset the night. Around him the camp stirred listlessly. A mummer here, a stifled cry there. Shouts half heard carried on a freshening wind, screaming of watchfulness and smelling of the primeval fear so long associated with impending death. His coal-black eyes surveyed the scene with infinite care, missing nothing, but none dared meet his gaze nor turn in his direction.

'Long has it been so,' he mused, turning the thought over and over in his mind, delighting in the knowledge of the terror he evoked in the minds and hearts of the ignorant, the superstitious and the unwary. He was pleased, for was that not his intention, was that not his reason for being? And soon, yes very soon he would be free of this, free to hunt anew and glory in chaos and the hopelessness of all mankind.

King Richard, third of that name of the House of Plantagenet, lay like a man newly racked, his skin deathly pale, his body frail beyond endurance. His face betrayed the knowledge of a sleepless night and his eyes had fear in them.

'The Dragon is on the move my lord. 'Tis time.'

'The priest, where is he?'

'Gone, Sire, with neither the holy blood nor the wafers to say the Mass nor ease thy soul in the coming trial. No matter. Steel shall be thy strong right arm, thy armour a shield against this bastard Welsh pretender. Come my lord, I shall help thee make ready.'

He turned from him and in a voice beyond mortal hearing, whispered - 'Time to fight Plantagenet. Time to die.'

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