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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Angry (08/02/07)

TITLE: Requiem for a Queen
By Teri Wilson
08/08/07


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“How does one dress for an execution, Foi?” Mary combed through her selection of elaborate gowns as her little Maltese dog watched, her tiny white head swiveling from one dress to the next as Mary surveyed her choices.

Foi herself was dressed to perfection, as any proper royal dog would, a delicate blue velvet collar circling her neck. She rested her dainty head on her paws and watched her mistress run her fingers over exquisite robes made of the finest lace, silk and satin in all of Scotland. They were gowns fit for a queen.

“Foi, what do you think of this one?” Mary held out her first choice.

The little white dog danced on her hind legs, pawed at the air and offered Mary kisses with her tiny, pink tongue.

“Oh Foi, I will miss you so.” Mary snuggled the Maltese close to her breast and buried her face in the silky, snow-white fur.

Angry knuckles banged on the door to Mary’s room. “Madame, it is time.”

Foi yipped and ran in protective circles around Mary. She chose her gown and dressed in silence.

The crowd gathered in the great hall of Fotheringhay Castle jeered and hurled expletives at her when she stepped into view in a plain black cloak. Mary remained stoic behind her veil, a barrier between her and the cruel words of the strangers who had gathered for the day’s morbid festivities. She held her head high, with the grace and dignity of a woman who knew her royal birthright.

Flanked on either side by her ladies in waiting, Mary took her final steps toward the platform. Pools of ebony taffeta fabric gathered at her feet as she looked into the eyes of the two men who would take her life. Then the ladies in waiting slowly began to remove her outer garments. Her veil billowed in the wind as they lifted it from her serene face. Mary’s mouth formed into the slighted grin when the layers of somber black fabric were peeled off her body to reveal a chemise of scarlet satin. Blood red. The color of a martyr.

The pair of executioners bowed before her with reverence and begged forgiveness for what they were about to do.

Mary clutched her mother-of-pearl rosary tightly to her chest, her face free of all malice as she told them, “I forgive you with all my heart, for now I hope you shall make an end to all my troubles.”

She kissed the rosary and whispered, “In my end is my beginning.”

Then Mary knelt in front of the wooden slab and laid her head on the smooth surface. She closed her eyes to block out the hostile faces of the spectators and murmured her final words. “Lord, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

The blade came down with an angry slice. Once, twice, three times.

Mary’s blood, the blood of a queen, stained her porcelain skin, flowing from her wound until her lifeless body and her petticoat became indistinguishable. One motionless crimson garment.

The bloodthirsty throng cheered, their voices rising to the heavens until one smaller voice rose above them all. It was a deep mournful howl coming from within the queen’s underclothes.

The executioners cautiously approached the queen. They lifted the bottom of her slip and found Foi, a quivering white form, nestled among the ruby satin. Inconsolable, the little dog sang Mary’s requiem as she was ushered into freedom at last.

******

Mary, Queen of Scots, ascended to the throne when she was a mere six days old. Her reign was filled with religious tensions and strife between the monarchies of Scotland and England. She was imprisoned at the tender age of 24 and executed twenty years later. She is considered a martyr by many people, particularly those of the Catholic faith.

The story of her faithful little dog is true. The Queen’s ladies in waiting pried the dog from her lifeless body and cared for it, but the shock proved to be too great. The Maltese died shortly after her mistress.

Foi – French for “faith.”



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This article has been read 1043 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/09/07
The descriptions in this historical piece were outstanding.
Lynda Schultz 08/09/07
Wonderful storytelling and a marvelous trip back into history. Kudos.
Betty Castleberry08/10/07
This is sad. I could barely take my eyes off the screen, I was so engrossed. You did a wonderful job with this.
Kristen Hester08/10/07
This is so moving. You caught me off guard when I realized she was dressing for HER execution. Great writing. Wow!
Sherrie Jackson08/12/07
I got chills during the execution; your prose made it so easy to place myself at the scene. I'm glad you didn't shy away from the details. Excellently done!
Sharlyn Guthrie08/13/07
This is so captivating, and it's so interesting to learn that it's true. I'm glad that you included the author's note at the end.
Dee Yoder 08/13/07
I was absorbed in this story from beginning to end. I love history, and your entry totally captivated me. I like the author's note at the end, too.
Joanne Sher 08/14/07
Just fascinating and excellent. Your description is wonderful, and I especially appreciate the author's note.
Leigh MacKelvey08/14/07
One motionless crimson garment.

Lines such as that made this piece priceless. I'm a history buff, especially on Mary and Elizabeth, but didn't know the story about the dog. Yes, it was on topic and I loved how you were subtle with the topic and cleverly inserted the word "angry" into the description of the axe blows.

One minor suggestioon and it just may be me, but I was a bit confused with the line when she chose her own gown and dressed in silence. I had to read again because I thought you meant the dog at first. Maybe you could say Mary chose her own gown ...

Wonderful writing and I enjoyed the read so much.
Loren T. Lowery08/15/07
Great story telling and as always something to learn in an entertaining way.
Brenda Welc08/15/07
Wonerfully written. I wonder if I am a decendant of hers? I was adopted and after locating my birth mom she said we used to be royality but somehow were dethroaned. Wow if it was standing up for religion then Whoo-hoo! Great story. It flowed well and kept me captivated and very interested. Poor Foi! Keep writing for His will!
TJ Nickel08/16/07
That's how to transpose the topic onto a secondary character - make it a mob! Nicely done. Great read. Congrats.
Sheri Gordon08/16/07
Congratulations on your EC. This is riveting -- and your writing made it so real, so chilling. Great job.
Sara Harricharan 08/17/07
So sad and stirring. The hint of anger is there in Foi. The descriptions were excellent and the last note with her kissing the rosary-that made it so real. Good job-congrats on your win! ^_^