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Since Mary Queen of Scotland was a child the English have wanted her country & her crown. She is sent to France to wed it's next King - a bond that should protect her, but there are forces that conspire, forces of darkness, forces of the heart. Long may she Reign.


Previously on Reign

(French Court)

Catherine You’re holding me prisoner?

Henry: Guarded day and night; or at least until I’m back from Rome.

Mary: Sebastian if this girl is pregnant with your child…

Bash: The child is not mine; no one knows of our true connection, but if they learn that a traitor was my uncle…

Mary: You could never be King.

(The Woods)

Guard: There’s something wrong with Isabel.

Isabel (as she dies): Promise you’ll care for the baby; find her a home and a family.

(The baby is being wrapped in a blanket)

Bash (To Jean): Hide her existence among the other children you care for

Jean (As she leaves with the baby): I’ll say nothing.

Mary: Did you see the baby’s foot?

Bash: It’s a mark that pagans sometimes put on their newborns

Mary: Will the mark fade?

Bash: Eventually

Mary: Well let’s pray that eventually comes soon.

Act 1[]

(Bash and Mary are entering the undergrounds of the castle and they find Jean holding Isobel’s daughter)

Mary: Thank you, Jeanne, for taking care of her... and for keeping it quiet about it. I’m sorry I can’t tell you the mother’s name, but a child born out of wedlock…

Jean: I understand. Poor lady she’d be disgraced... but I’ve kept the baby well hidden in the stables.

Mary (Taking the baby): Could you give us a minute alone, please?

Jean: Of course, Your Grace. (She leaves)

(Mary places the baby down on a table as she and Bash examine the baby’s foot)

Mary: The mark is fading. In a few days, it will be gone, and we can take her to the convent.

Bash (Concerned): Meanwhile, that little mark could lead to questions we can’t answer. What if they put this together with Isabel, if they find out she was my cousin? Once, my Pagan ties put only me in danger, but now... imagine the response to a heretic King on the throne. We’d both be targets. I don’t like putting you at risk. Everyday that baby is inside the castle...

Mary (Cutting him off): It’s going to be alright. I've talked to Agnes, our wet nurse’s mother. She’s been helping care for the baby. She agreed to take the child to her village for a few days. By then, the mark will be gone and Agnes can take her on to a convent.

Bash: Francis would have offered you a life without these risks.

Mary: We’re being careful... and we’re lucky. We only have to protect the baby from servant’s gossip. Henry is away in Rome, Catherine is locked in her tower, and you are the regeant.

(Jean comes back into the room out of breath)

Jean: My lord, my lady, news... Henry's back, and they say he’s brought Medicis with him.

(Meanwhile in the Castle Tower)

(The scene comes up on Queen Catherine in her dismal cell sitting on her bed. The Queen is still dressed in her beautiful red gown, but her usually beautiful neat hair is a mess and she has a bowl of what looks like some kind of oatmeal that she can barely eat. The poor Queen is clearly unhappy and rather disgusted by her surroundings, as she drops her spoon in her bowl she looks up as the door to her cell opens and a guard enters followed by her cousins Pierto and Francesca Medici. Catherine drops her bowl and runs into Francesca’s arms)

Queen Catherine: Oh! My family! Oh, Francesca. (kisses her) Oh! Pierto. (kisses him) You got my letters.

Francesca (Looking around the room): I’m horrified, my dear.

Queen Catherine: I know. But now I have you to thank for making this place fit for a human being.

(They all sit down together as the guards have brought in chairs for them, as well as a bed, chair, and a few other items to make the cell look less like a prison.)

Francesca: My darling girl, we bring mixed tidings. As you urged in your letters, our family has thrown its considerable weight against this annulment of your marriage to Henry.

Queen Catherine (Hopeful): And were you successful?

Pierto: Yes. Under our pressure, the Pope refused to see Henry.

Queen Catherine: Excellent.

Francesca: So Henry has returned here with the aim of killing you.

Queen Catherine (Angrily): He can’t. He has no legal justification!

Francesca: He has accused you of adultery. That’s a treasonable offense. If found guilty you would pay with…

(A guard enters the room with an object he sets down and pulls off the cover to reveal a chopping block which the Queen stares at with fear in her eyes.)

Pierto (As Catherine continues to stare at the chopping block): They say one or two of Henry VIII’s wives practiced placing their head on a block, so they could face the end with dignity.

Francesca: But, of course, it will never come to that.

Pierto: Absolutely not.

Francesca: We will be here to see that any charges are fairly disputed. And we've arranged that you may leave the tower, under guard, to prepare your defense.

(Catherine looks at Francesca almost in surprise)

Pierto: But, just in case...

Queen Catherine (Looks at the chopping block again): This is ridiculous. Who am I accused of being adulterous with?

(Immediately in the dungeons Nostradamus is seen chained being dragged into a cell and locked in)

(In the Throne Room)

(In the throne room Kenna is seated before King Henry and Viscount Richard de la Croix.)

Kenna: You meant it, didn’t you? If I say these things at the court, you’ll find me a suitable husband?

King Henry (Impatient): Yes, I promise. Now try to concentrate.

Richard: Were they naked?

Kenna: Not entirely. Well, that wouldn't be believable, would it?

Richard: And how do you know how far they went?

Kenna: The Queen screamed in pleasure.

Richard: Lady Kenna, I’m not sure...

King Henry: No, no, no. I like that. Let Catherine scramble for her dignity.

(Queen Catherine dressed now in a gown with a red/dark green design, and a black floral crown in her hair, is followed by her guards and begins to enter the throne room)

Kenna: Catherine tried to poison me once. You could tell them that in court.

King Henry: No one cares, Kenna.

Kenna: That part’s true.

Queen Catherine: My dear Henry is only interested in offenses against himself. (To guards): Aren't you supposed to wait outside the door, so I can conduct my defense privately? (To Kenna) Off with you, child. You've killed me enough for one day.

(Kenna leaves leaving Richard and Henry alone with the Queen)

King Henry: Did you miss me?

Queen Catherine: This is judicial murder, Henry. We all know how this plays out when a king tries to cast off a queen.

King Henry: I’ll have a line of witnesses to your adultery a mile long, all eager to say whatever I want them to say. Nobles, servants, stable boys, the man who clips the hedges in the garden, it doesn’t matter. Twist and squirm all you want; you can’t outlast them, because I’ll have another, and another.

Queen Catherine: All to wed Mary to your bastard son, and get her to stake her claim to the English throne. It won’t look good, Henry.You’re doing all this for England. You’re killing me for England. When you go back to the Vatican all set to legitimize Bash, you need to give them a fig leaf. You need the appearance of fairness. So that you and the Pope don’t look like the power-hungry bastards you are.

King Henry: Oh, my hands will be clean. I’m keeping a distance. The evidence against you will be collected by my old friend. You remember Viscount Richard Delacroix?

(Richard bows to Catherine)

Queen Catherine: It takes a special kind of vindictiveness to kill a woman over a petty slight from years ago.

Richard: Petty? You exiled me from court.

Queen Catherine: You should never have referred to your queen as an Italian horse.

Richard: I didn’t. I called you an Italian mule.

(Henry laughs)

Henry: I’m sure you never stopped to notice, but you've made a lot of enemies at court than just me. And now the time's come to pay.

(Elsewhere in the castle)

(Queen Catherine enters the room to bows, curtsies and cheers from servants, guards, and cries of “Your Majesty”. She approaches a man named Bernard who bows to her.)

Bernard: Your Majesty shines like the sun upon our humble…

Queen Catherine: (Interrupting him): Yes, Bernard. Where are we?

Bernard: Gervaise has taken back his request to dedicate his new play to you, for fear of offending the king. Martin assumes his dancers are canceled, and is preparing to move on to Padua.

Queen Catherine (Loudly getting everyone’s attention): Everyone! Your attention. The queen of France wants it known that nothing will be cancelled. The money will continue to flow. The arts in France live, as long as Catherine de Medici lives, and I intend that to be a long, long time. (There is applause)

Queen Catherine (To Bernard): Now, let’s not make that a lie. (She sees her lady in waiting Charlotte who curtsies as she approaches): Ah, Charlotte, a word.

Charlotte: Is it bad, Your Grace?

Queen Catherine: It’s worse than bad. Henry will have my head, and I can’t win if I fight him legally.

Charlotte: Then I trust Your Grace has another strategy.

Queen Catherine: Well, my best chance, my only chance, is to destroy Sebastian. That way, Henry will have to turn to Francis as the next heir and there’ll be no need to kill me. There must be something I can use to destroy the bastard.

Charlotte: We've watched him, Your Grace, as you ordered. Janet says that for the last few days, Bash and Mary have spent an unusual amount of time in the wine cellar. Danielle told me that she saw Mary talking to the wet nurse, and the wet nurse going to the stables...several times.

(Meanwhile in The Royal Stables Mary, Agnes, and Jean (carrying the baby) enter the stables)

Mary: The physician said to leave the bandage on for another three days. Do not remove it until then; not for any reason. When the burn is healed, you can take her to the Convent of St. Clare.

Agnes: Have no fear, Your Grace. Babies are nothing new to me. I’ve delivered dozens in my time.

(Queen Catherine now wearing a cloak enters the stables, and all three women look at the Queen; while Agnes and Jean curtsy as she comes into view.)

Mary: Be on your way, Agnes. (To Catherine): Your Majesty, I'm surprised to see you here.

Queen Catherine: Yes, I thought a ride might clear my head.

Mary (Noticing that the Queen is dressed not for riding): But you’re not wearing your riding habit.

Queen Catherine: Oh, how foolish. I should have changed. (She walks past Mary and to the carriage were Agnes and her daughter Jean are preparing to leave with Isobel’s daughter) What... a beautiful baby. Grandchild, Agnes?

Mary: Orphan, left at the castle door. Agnes is taking her to the convent. Isn’t that right?

Agnes: Yes, your Grace. (Jean hands the baby to her mother as Catherine looks at the baby’s foot)

Queen Catherine: Babies are such a sign of hope in dark times. Oh, I hope nothing’s wrong, is there? (She uncovers the baby’s foot and sees the pagan mark) (To Jean): Jeanne, dear, go away. Queen Mary and I need to have a little talk. (Jean leaves) (To Mary): That’s a pagan child. No doubt the mother was pagan as well.

Mary: I’m not sure what you’re imagining.

Queen Catherine: So what would this make Bash in the eyes of the nobles? The fact that he’s kept that mark secret... the timing of the birth, which will foster suspicion. Half of them don’t want him as their king as it is. Rumors are deadly to a man in that position.


(Queen Catherine starts walking away from Mary)

Mary: Rumors are deadly for a queen as well. (Catherine stops in her tracks)

Queen Catherine: Yes, I’m a good object lesson, aren't I? If Henry can cut off my head based on rumors he creates himself, imagine what would happen to Bash with actual evidence. One look at that baby, and Bash’s enemies will say, where there’s smoke there’s fire. At best, they’ll pull him off the throne and you’ll lose the alliance. At worst... well, by the time they're finished... you could end up on a stake beside him, my dear, if you aren’t careful. I’m not threatening you. I’m giving you a chance to run home to your mother and let Bash be what he’s always been, a playmate to Henry. Otherwise... well yes, then I am threatening you.  

Mary (Approaches Catherine until she is in right in her face): It will be hard to destroy us both, when you are without your head.

Queen Catherine (Chuckles): Ah. So it’s to be a race, is it? Well, I seek to pull down Bash from a perch he does not deserve. You can help Henry trip me into my grave. Which one of us will crush the other first? I wonder.

Mary (Looking right into Catherine’s eyes): When the axe fall on your neck, I will be there... with Bash... the next king of France.


(Queen Catherine and Mary stare into each other’s faces each ready to do war and see who will be left standing)

End of Act 1

Act 2[]

(The Castle Dungeons the next day)

(It’s the next day in the castle dungeons where Nostradamus is being held prisoner. The door to his cell opens, and Queen Catherine walks in wearing a fur trimmed cape over her gown and a crystal crown in her hair. She is carrying a canteen of water. The guards close the door behind her as Nostradamus stands up and it’s seen that he is chained to the wall. He bows to Catherine.)

Queen Catherine: Hello, old friend. Too bad you didn’t see this one coming.

Nostradamus: Somehow I never see anything coming that could help me. So, we're lovers now, are we?

Queen Catherine (Smiles and walks toward him with the water to let him drink): Well, Henry never was very imaginative. You’ve read books on pagan law. You probably understand more about it than anyone who isn’t a pagan themselves. Tell me, have you ever thought Sebastian might know more about what goes on in the forest than a good Catholic should?

Nostradamus: He seems well-informed. But then, he's a woodsman. He hunts game there. It's reasonable to think he might see things. Are you aiming to use Bash as your way out of this? (Queen Catherine doesn’t answer but looks down at the canteen as she is unsure of how she is going to save her life.) Are you keeping your own counsel because a man marked for questioning might betray your secrets?

Queen Catherine: I’m sorry our friendship has made you a target.

Nostradamus: No harm done yet. They've only given me a look at the instruments.

(The door to the cell opens and in comes King Henry)

King Henry: Ah! The guilty couple together again.

Queen Catherine: It isn’t funny, Henry.

King Henry: It might be a little funny, if you’re the only one that suffers. (to Nostradamus): Nostradamus... I’ve come to offer you a deal. If you'll say that you and my wife have been having an affair, I’ll show mercy. Instead of death, your punishment will be exile from France. Is that so bad? You can pretend to tell fortunes in Germany or Spain.

(Queen Catherine eyes Nostradamus to see what he’ll say)

Nostradamus: I think not.

King Henry: Well, there you are. Loyalty's an odd thing. Heaven knows how you engender it, my dear.

(Queen Catherine leaves the dungeon)

(Outside the castle, by the lake)

(The castle lawn it’s a chilly afternoon and Queen Catherine is walking with Jean with guards following at a distance behind.)

Queen Catherine: You must see how frustrating this is. Clearly, you are in Mary’s confidence. It was your own mother who took the baby away. You must know where they've gone.

Jean: The Convent of St. Claire, Your Majesty.

Queen Catherine: Yes, but we’ve been to the convent of St. Claire, and there was no baby. Where else would they go? (Jean looks at the Queen speechless) Where does your mother live? (Jean remains silent as Pierto & Francesca come up from behind towards Jean & Catherine) I dislike leaving you in the hands of my family, Jeanne. Sometimes they lack my patience. But I simply don’t have the time to cajole the answers from you. (Jean looks frightened as the Medici look at her waiting for her to answer.)

(Meanwhile back at the castle) (Mary and Bash are in Mary’s chambers talking)

Bash: The risks Catherine talked about are real. You could marry me, and I could be pulled down from the throne. Or we could try for England and both lose our heads.

Mary: Do you want to withdrawal? Give up our plans, the legitimization?

Bash: No. No. I’m committed. I want you to commit.

Mary: I have.

Bash: Politically. Is a political reward enough to justify the risks? It's not for me, and I don’t believe it is for you. Mary... since childhood, you were told that Francis... was your destiny. Have you ever considered what might have been, if I were the Dauphin when you came to court instead of my brother? If you came with your heart open... ready to love me?

(Before Mary can answer him the door opens and Greer walks in obviously upset)

Greer: Oh, Mary, it’s terrible. Jeanne, the wet nurse...

(Back at the lake...) (Back at the lake with guards nearby Queen Catherine is sitting alone wrapped in her cloak staring out at the water looking as if she is in deep thought as her cousin comes up behind her.)

Francesca: We were gentle, as you wished. Our men simply stretched her a bit on the rack.

Queen Catherine: And?

Francesca: Her mother lives in Peronne. I’ve already sent horsemen. (Catherine gets up from her seat walks over to her cousin and kisses her on each cheek smiling with a look of relief on her face.)

(Back in Mary’s chambers Geer is telling Bash and Mary about what happened to Jean the wet nurse.)

Greer: She’s all right now. I saw her in the infirmary. But she said to tell you that she’ worried. She said “They know where my mother took the baby.”

Mary: They’ll have sent men already. We must get there first.

Bash: The Medici’s don’t know this countryside. They’ll have to follow a map, go by road. We’ll cut over the hills.

(End of Act 2)

Act 3[]

(Queen Catherine's Chambers)

(The scene comes up on Queen Catherine dressed in a gold gown with black embroidery. She is nervously pacing her chambers wringing her hands, worried about how she is going to save her life. She walks over to her table, and picks up a small compact when she hears a voice coming from her clothes right behind her.)

Clarissa (Hushed voice): You’re going to get what you deserve you and Nostradamus. (Queen Catherine immediately jerks her head up. She turns around and sees a shadowy figure hiding among her clothes.)

Queen Catherine: Who are you, ghost? Why are you here? (She moves closer to this “ghost") Come out into the light. (she grabs the “ghost” by the shoulders) Where we can all see you! (She grunts as they struggle, but the “ghost” gets away running out of the room. Queen Catherine is stunned as she realizes that the “Castle Ghost” is actually human.)

(The castle dungeons, the next day) (In Nostradamus’ cell the door opens and Queen Catherine walks in wearing a multicolored gown. The Queen is furious, and her face clearly shows this as she eyes Nostradamus)

Nostradamus (Insistent): I haven’t accepted the King’s offer. I won’t betray you.

Queen Catherine (With much anger in her voice): I wonder if you’ve already betrayed me. (Nostradamus looks a bit surprised) Tell me about the castle ghost. Who, contrary to what you’ve repeatedly told me, is not really a ghost.

Nostradamus (Surprised): You've sen her?

Queen Catherine (Walks closer to Nostradamus until she is looking right down at him.): And touched her bony little arm. Well, she has a grudge against me, and you, too, it seems. But you knew that, I’m sure! (The more she talks the angrier she becomes).

Nostradamus: Her name is Clarissa. She’s forged a bond with Mary. Sees herself as Mary’s defender.

Queen Catherine: So, of course, she sees me as a threat. (The Queen kneels down so that she is looking Nostradamus right in the eye) And yet you have been hiding this danger from me. How long has she been lurking in shadows, listening to God knows what?!

Nostradamus: I feel responsible for her. (The Queen looks confused as Nostradamus explains himself). It was the year of the great storm. My father came home through the floods with a newborn in his arms. He wanted to see if he could correct her face.

Queen Catherine: Correct it?

Nostradamus: As the villagers said, she was kissed by the devil.

Queen Catherine: You mean she had a birthmark?

Nostradamus: Going up along one cheek. (Queen Catherine’s face changes as if she is beginning to remember something.) The mother insisted the mark be removed. And my father...liked to experiment.

Queen Catherine: He tried to remove it.

Nostradamus: First, surgically... then with potions. He managed to peel and dissolve some of the stain, but the... the wounds putrefied. By the time he stopped, she was horribly deformed.

(By now Queen Catherine is standing up with her back turned to Nostradamus. The Queen is clearly upset as if this conversation is bringing memories back to her mind.)

Queen Catherine: (Gasps then sighs) He didn’t tell the mother this?

Nostradamus: As soon as it went wrong, he hurried to cover his failure. He told her the baby had died. Of natural causes. And he ordered me to expose the child in the woods.

Queen Catherine: Why did you disobey?

Nostradamus: Perhaps I know what it’s like to be a freak. I found a couple willing to take her in. Paid them what I could.

Queen Catherine: (Turning back around to face Nostradamus again.) And yet, she ended up here?

Nostradamus: Some of the villagers said she was marked by the devil. Children tormented her. They laughed, threw stones. Then one day, she broke. (Queen Catherine looks to be on the verge of breaking down in tears.) She tackled a boy and nearly beat him half to death.

Queen Catherine (Angry & upset): So you brought this... wretched, tortured savage here? To live in the shadows?

Nostradamus: The shadows are the only life she has.

(King Henry’s chambers: he takes papers out of a cabinet and goes back to his desk when the door opens and a guard enters followed by Queen Catherine. There is a tremendous amount of tension in the room, as the King and Queen quickly head into a deep, heated discussion about their relationship.)

Queen Catherine: I hear tomorrow's a big day for me.

King Henry: There was another option-- you rejected it. My hands are tied.

Queen Catherine (Scoffs, and starts walking towards Henry): Who ties the hands of the king? Other than a select lusty few?

King Henry (Chuckles and gets up from his desk): You know... I feel better about this all the time.

Queen Catherine (With disbelief): Really, Henry, is this the best you could do? Adultery, with the court seer.

King Henry: Even the way I put you to death...fails to meet your standards. Well, perhaps you’re right. It’s just hard to picture you in the arms of anyone you’re not obliged to sleep with for reasons of state. You're incapable of love, I know that well enough.

Queen Catherine (Walks up to Henry, and she is in his face): So that’s the lie that you tell yourself to justify all this. However our marriage began... we came to love each other in those first years. Don’t pretend that we didn’t.

King Henry (Walking away from Catherine): Yes. That was a charming illusion you created... until you tired of it and pushed me away.

Queen Catherine: I pushed you away?! (Scoffs) Who brought Diane back to court? Who had her pointedly in his lap during that meeting with the German ambassador?

King Henry (Turns back around to face her): Yes, I was childish. I was young, and a man doesn’t respond well when his wife uses him as a studhorse to sire offspring.

Queen Catherine (Walks quickly up to Henry, and she is back in his face): I was saving my life. 10 years without a child! How many queens have been tossed aside, or beheaded for not providing an heir?! My family warned me ahead of time...

(Queen Catherine goes to put her hand on Henry’s shoulder and he brushes her off.)

King Henry (Cutting her off): Oh, let’s not bring the damn Medici’s into this! You are the one who wanted me to perform with quack medicines from half the doctors in Europe, but without the slightest hint of tenderness, or even liking.

Queen Catherine: I hurt your feelings. The man who would have had me killed and found another queen was annoyed because I’m trying too…

King Henry (Cutting her off, as she eyes him.): I WOULD NOT HAVE KILLED YOU! OR PUT YOU ASIDE! I was in love with you. Could you not have trusted me?

Queen Catherine (Surprised at the idea): Trust you? You’re killing me now!

King Henry: We are not the same people. Maybe I had something to do with that.

Queen Catherine: Trust does not come easily to me. (She walks up to Henry and puts her hands on his shoulders.) I was always taught that love was a delusion. That people love what you can give them, and a queen... what’s the use of might-have-beens? It’s too late. Those two naïve children are dead now. (She strokes Henry’s face, and puts her hand back on his shoulders) We killed them.

(By now the tension in the room has calmed tremendously as the King and Queen of France look into each other's eyes, as if they are remembering when they first fell in love.)

King Henry: Did we? Let down your hair. (Queen Catherine looks puzzled) Let me look at you.

(The Queen responds by reaching up and removing her hairpins releasing her beautiful curly strawberry blonde hair showing her beauty to her husband. The attraction between them is now high and undeniable as they are now locked on each other. Henry takes his wife in his arms, strokes her face, and then takes her into a very passionate kiss.)

(The home of Jean’s mother Agnes in the village of Perone Bash & Mary have arrived to warn her of the coming Medici.)

Agnes (Opens the door and sees Mary & Bash): Welcome, Your Grace, my lord. This is my nephew, Andrew. Are you here to see the baby? She’s in the next room. I just got her to sleep.

Mary: Oh, she’s still here!

Agnes: Of course, my Lady. Where would she be?

Bash: No one has come asking about her?

Agnes: No, my Lord.

Mary: Oh, we’re in time, then. Agnes, we’re here to take the baby away, and it might be a good idea for you and your nephew to leave, as well. Just for a while. If you don’t, then...you might be questioned. There are people searching for the baby, and if they don’t find her, then they might think that you can tell them where she is.

Agnes (Confused): Questioned? Who would want...?

(Bash cuts her off as the sounds of approaching horses are heard outside)

Bash: At least 6 horses. (He looks out the window and sees Medici horsemen heading right for the house.) Medicis.

Mary: If they find us, they won't need the baby. They can kill us here, now, where no one will know.

Bash: And won’t that solve all of Catherine’s problems!

Mary: Agnes, do you have another door? Or window in the back? (Agnes shakes her head no) Somewhere to hide, then? (Agnes is stunned almost speechless).

Bash: There must be somewhere. If those men find us, Queen Mary and me won’t be the only people to die here. They’ll have to kill you and your nephew. You’ll be witnesses. (There is knocking at the door as everyone looks frightened.)

(Meanwhile back at the castle)

(The scene comes up on King Henry in his chambers; he is in his bed looking deep in thought, the other side of the bed is a mess. Then footsteps are heard, and it's Queen Catherine fixing her hair and her dress. It’s quite obvious that their passionate kiss led them to a night of love and passion. The Queen walks around to the side of the bed, steps up, smiles and chuckles lightly, she kisses her husband on the cheek as both of them close their eyes at the same time. As they look into each other’s eyes Henry takes his wife’s chin into his hands.)

King Henry: I don’t want to do this to you.

Queen Catherine: Then don’t.

(Back at Agnes’ house Bash & Mary are hiding in a closet, as Medici horsemen burst into the house and begin looking for the baby.)

Houseman #1: We’ve come for the baby, old woman. Where is it?

Agnes (Pulling her nephew behind her): I don’t understand. Who are you? (The horseman doesn’t answer her, but notices a locked room where unbeknownst to him Bash and Mary are hiding.)

Horseman #1: What’s in there?

Agnes: Sacks of grain and apples to store through the winter. (The horseman looks like he doesn’t believe her so he walks over to the door and tries to open it. Bash and Mary are holding their breath.)

Horseman: Open it.

Agnes: My son has the key. And he’s not here.

Horseman: There were 2 horses outside.

Agnes: Yes, my son and daughter-in-law are in from town. They’re visiting the farm on the next hill. (The horseman sticks his sword through a slat in the door, and it goes right in front of Mary’s face, as they turn around. The horseman plunges his sword in the door again and this time stabs Bash.)

Horseman: What's that, then? (Inside the room Bash quietly winces in pain and kicks over a sack of grain that is by his foot.) Horseman: I guess you were telling the truth after all. (The sound of a baby’s cry is heard as one of the horsemen emerges from the back of the house carrying the baby, and heads for the door.)

Horseman: Go! (He looks at Agnes, sheaths his sword and leaves the house.)

(Meanwhile)

(Back at the castle a door opens and a guard lets Queen Catherine in a room where she finds Viscount Richard de la Croix apparently waiting for her. The guard closes the door as the Queen looks back, and then turns to face Richard.)

Richard: Tomorrows witnesses have been canceled. The inquires postponed. (Catherine sighs with relief.) It seems Henry’s had misgivings. He needs time to think.

(Catherine and Richard stare at each other for a few minutes before running into each other’s arms.)

Richard: Thank God.

Queen Catherine (Kisses Richard on his neck): It may be only a temporary reprieve, but at least I’ve achieved that.

Richard: At the price of convincing that devil you’re married to that you love him.

Queen Catherine (Sincerely): I do love him, Richard. I had to speak the truth. There are times when lies... lack sufficient power. (She takes his face in her hands) Richard, no man has ever cared for me the way you do. You left court to throw off suspicion, and now you’ve returned... to take up a task you despise, all to protect me.

Richard: And for myself. I dared not let Henry appoint someone else to prosecute you. Who knows what they might have found?

Queen Catherine: Don’t pretend to be self-interested, my dear. You never could pull it off.

Richard: Catherine, all these years without you, imagining you in Henry’s arms. Can’t you lie, and say you love me best?

Queen Catherine: (Stroking Richard’s face): I will always love you best, Richard, my heart. You’re the one man I have never lied to.

Richard: Unless this is a lie. (The two chuckle softly)

(Later that day)

(Back at Agnes’ house she is talking to Mary and Bash about Queen Catherine. She sets drinks down before them)

Agnes: For years, Catherine was unable to get pregnant. She felt rejected by the king, humiliated and frightened, I’m sure. A queen who can’t produce an heir? So, she turned for comfort to someone else.

Mary (Surprised): Who?

Agnes: I never saw his face. But the notes, the secret letters that flew back and forth as the time came for her to give birth. The orders to her ladies-in-waiting, the fear the king might find out. She slapped one of the ladies, told her to be more careful. Servants are invisible to the highborn. They think we aren’t even there. But we are. I saw how scared Catherine was. Because it was the lover’s child, you see. Not Henry’s. (Bash & Mary both look utterly shocked by what they have just heard.)


(End of Act 3.)


Act 4[]

(King Henry's Chambers)

(The scene comes up on Agnes as she is being questioned by Viscount Richard. King Henry, Mary and Bash are also in the room as they talk about the Queen. )

Richard: And you'll testify to this?

Agnes: I will. Mind you, I'm not one to wish my Lady harm. If she hadn't done such wickedness to my daughter...

Richard: Yes. We all must protect those that we love.

King Henry: Have you no evidence beyond notes you say were exchanged, notes you never read?

(Agnes shakes her head)

Bash: I thought you wanted to convict the queen.

King Henry: I just want to be sure of the truth.

Bash: Well, that's new.

King Henry (Walking up to Agnes): Why should you think that child wasn't mine? What color were its eyes?

Agnes: I can't say.

Richard: My Lord, I'm afraid the witness doesn't seem that helpful. I could take her and question her further.

Agnes: I barely noticed the eyes, for the birthmark over half her cheek.

Henry: Birthmark?

Agnes: The child was born with a port-wine stain just above her lip. The queen reacted unfavorably to it. The girl was handed off to Nostradamus's father, the court surgeon, and must have died soon after, poor thing.

See Also[]

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