Canada woke up early, dawn had just begun and he really wanted to learn more about Edward the First, but given that it was so early, he knew England would still be sleeping. As he did the day before, he went quietly downstairs and begun the process of making his pancakes.
He knew the recipe off by heart, it soothed him when he felt confused, angry or just happy, all these emotions were soothed and made better with this recipe.
“Matthew, you’re up early,” The wide awake voice of his host came into the room and he was startled.
The Canadian turned to see Arthur opening the backdoor, fully dressed if a bit wind-swept.
“Oh, I… I couldn’t sleep,” It was a lame excuse, but Arthur bought it.
“Jet-lagged, times like this I miss traveling by ship, it would help our body-clocks get into the time-zone easier,” He stated, taking off his boats and putting his slippers on; “So, what else do you wish to learn?”
Matthew nearly dropped the pancake batter onto the floor; “Eh?”
Arthur laughed; “I know you Matthew you, you have a love of history and books, something like this would make you get up early and want to know as much as you can,”
He blushed; “Well, I guess…. Edward sounds rather…. Nice,”
“Tch, there is no such thing as a nice King, just soft Kings and powerful Kings. Edwards listened to his people; he created Parliament, the first of its kind. I suppose now is the time to finally tell you about Scotland,”
Matthew quickly poured the batter into the pan, excited that they would get to the part that he wanted to learn about, the war with Scotland.
Arthur put the tea on, got two cups out and sat down, Matthew kept a close eye on his pancakes, deciding that they were all ready and piled them onto the plate to be shared between them.
“The war on Scotland?”
“The start or at least the obvious start…” Arthur sighed.
Edward had always had his eye on Scotland, of course with King Alexander the Third on the throne he wouldn’t dare cause any trouble, the two were by no means friends, but they left each other alone and respected each other’s boundaries.
The King had previously agreed with Alexander that a young Princess, Margret from Norway, would succeed him to the throne.
“She is his blood my love,” Eleanor said to him one night when the King was in a rage over the agreement.
“Yes, yes I know…” Edward calmed, that women always seemed to be a miracle worker with him.
“He’s lost all those who should have been next in-line to the throne, please respect that my dear,”
The King nodded, giving his agreement and oath that the Princess would become Queen of Scotland should Alexander die.
When the King did die, it was in a strange accident. No one was sure what had happened, but one fact was clear; the King of Scotland had died after riding his horse off a cliff.
Princess Margret was sent for by when she landed she died, this was all Edward needed. Don’t think the King didn’t care for the young Princess, he did, he allow the mourning period to be held, but he was in talks with the nobles of Scotland about who should rule the country next. Edward travelled up to Scotland to discuss what should happen next.
John Balliol was chosen over Robert the Bruce to be King, which was a fair decision, although had Edward chosen Bruce he would have been able to dominate him easily.
“My King…” I began as night fell and we walked back to our apartments; “Are you…”
“My vote is final, Balliol seems to be made of strong stuff, we shall see how he goes,” Edward said with a smile, his eyes lit up, and I knew why.
His Queen didn’t go with him, no one felt there was any real need for her to be part of such a meeting; however she decided to travel up and be with Edward before he came back down.
When she arrived though she had a high fever, none of our people could save her.
“She’s in God’s hands now,” They all told the distraught King.
As I have told you Edward was devoted to Eleanor and sorely grieved her death; her body was conveyed back to London he established crosses at the sites where her body rested each night. Twelve places used to be marked throughout the land, but only a few remain; Waltham and Charing Cross.
Eleanor had been a brilliant consort, being the voice of reason and forever claiming him, I had never seen him so distraught before. He continued his duties but for a while a spark had gone, not even Scotland appealed to him as it once had.
Rumours spread though, Balliol was planning a rebellion, the whispers spread throughout the court, but although Edward grieved over the Queen’s death, no one was foolish enough to risk his wraith.
That was later before anything came of it, it was 1294 that got Edward back up again, Philip IV of France took possession of Gascony. The King summoned Parliament to approve the collection of taxes for his campaign against France.
“They have taken our land,” He said to murmurs of agreement.
No one argued, but the Scots were not happy, after all France was there ally.
England ~ My brother Scotland wrote to me ~ Tell ya King ta back off, we’re no gonna pay fer no war against oor own ally, ya kin? Git ya King ta understand tha’ or he’ll be in fer it.
I never showed the letter to Edward, I wasn’t foolish, I just felt that Edward was so much more than my past rulers.
Perhaps I should have, the Welsh also began an uprising with the diversion of France with Madog ap Llywelyn declaring himself Prince of Wales.
“Three rebellions my King,” I looked at him, I never really noticed how old he had gotten to be, but right there I saw it, I saw human frailty in a way I never did before.
Oh, yes I saw Eleanor in her fever, but at that time women were classed as being weak, to see Edward look so old and weak distressed me. I wondered if I would be ruled by the Welsh – Surly not! – Or the Scots – Please no! – What of the French? –Not again! Anything but that!
I needn’t have worried after all Edward was a master at this he resolved them all quickly.
From December 1294 to March 1295 we led our armies into Wales; it wasn’t the same as before, something was missing from the Welsh spirit. They were fighting for Madog, but I doubt it was what they truly wanted. Perhaps if they had waited a bit longer for someone with a bit more experience than that man they would have made more of a dent… In the end we defeated the opposition and killed the ringleaders.
“That’s one down My King,” I said as we rode hard back to London.
“Yes, one down, two more to go, but which will we go after first?” He said thoughtfully.
Once more he summoned the first model of Parliament which is one that consisted the representatives of all three estates, the church, the barons and the shires and towns; he soon had the agreement to raise further revenues and enact plans for his other campaigns in Scotland and France.
“I believe Scotland will be next Lord Kirkland,” He told me as the soldiers were preparing; “Squash this little rebellion first and then I have no reason to worry when I am in France,”
I nodded in agreement, Scotland would be a lot tougher than France though, but France was across the ocean, Scotland was part of the land.
“I know full well your brother will be there,” Edward told me, to my surprise.
I never told him anything of my brothers, in fact nothing. How could he have known?
“England, surely you don’t think me as a fool?”
“I would never think that my King! I don’t know what…” I began to explain but he waved my attempts to explain away.
“It’s fine England, I am King, and I know the history of this land and the interactions of other’s. Wales and Scotland are your brothers, France was once an ally,” Edward looked serious; “But now they are our enemies, while you are fine with attacking Wales and were with me when we picked the Scottish King, in a battle?”
“My King!” I felt so dismayed at the thought that Edward would even think I would be weak.
Suddenly he laughed; “Eleanor was right, you are a loyal one. Come with me to Scotland, we’ll prove to your brother not to mess with us,”
I felt so relieved, I wanted to fight next to my King as I had always done, I never wanted to give him any reason to not trust me.
So we headed north, sacked and plundered Berwick in March 1296, then we went on the defeat John Balliol at Dunbar on 27th April. Balliol surrendered two months later and we imprisoned him in the Tower of London.
With the Scottish King arrested and the army defeated Edwards seized the symbol of Scottish kingship, the Stone of Destiny and he brought it to Westminster.
I could feel my brother’s anger. Far stronger than what it was before, this wraith burned me; such a symbol of Scottish pride to be taken by the English was a shame that was unbearable. I ignored my brother, for the first time in many, many years; I could chance my arm and ignore him. At least for a while.
Edward conquered Scotland and left three of his Nobles in charge as he now had to turn his attention to France.
“You shall join me in this battle will you not England?”
The Nobles had requested my assistance in the rule of Scotland, but I was no fool, to stay would be to be bullied by my big brother and I couldn’t do that.
“Of course my King,”
I confess I also wanted to see France’s face when we defeated his army. I was full of confidence and ready to show off.
Although Parliament was less keen to raise further fund for a French campaign, not that it matter to Edward, since we still sailed to France in 1297 but the Pope intervened and we managed to make a truce without any bloodshed; my King regained control of Gascony.
The Scots however were still a problem. I blame myself, I should have stayed behind, but I was such a coward.
The 3 Nobles proved to be rather tyrannical, with one of them, a William Ormsby stirring the Scots back into a revolt under the control of William Wallace.
Matthew had barely made it through half his load of pancakes, this was what he wanted to hear, he felt saddened at Eleanor’s passing, although he shouldn’t have been surprised.
Arthur made himself another pot of tea before continuing on, but he stopped; “Matthew, what do you think of Edward so far?”
The Canadian blinked a few times in surprise at the question; “I… I… I think he sounds like a good army general, he… He doesn’t sound as awful as everyone makes out,”
The green eyed nation nodded; “Yes, that’s what I thought, but I figured my view was tainted, after all I worked with the man for many years… I never thought of him as a tyrant. I suppose back then everyone was,”
When we returned from France we learned the news that William Wallace and Andrew Moray had defeated our army at Stirling.
“Those fools!” The king yelled; “Those idiots! They had no idea how to handle such a delicate situation!”
“I apologise my King,” I said softly and felt his enraged eyes glance at me.
“What are you talking about? You were not the cause of this!”
“Had I stayed, this wouldn’t…” I never finished, the Kings rage was strong, and so he punched me.
It takes a lot to harm a nation, that didn’t hurt but it brought me back to reality.
“You came with me, I left those men in charge, you wouldn’t have been able to override their rule anyway, and we both know that,” He took a breath; “We shall have our forces head out to Scotland tomorrow,”
I nodded, although I could clearly hear the distain of the people, the tax rises were getting big, and the people were resenting it.
Not that it mattered, the Scots were crafty, and they didn’t want to take part in actual warfare, instead they sacked towns on the boarders of their own nation.
Matthew looked at his host, knowing nothing about that either.
“Yes, things could have been different had it been other men in charge,”
“Why weren’t you given more power…?”
“To overrule those nobles? Matthew I had disappeared from court a decade before Eleanor passed. I don’t age, for me to reappear given a major title to outrank those who believe they have been around longer would be wrong,”
“So… What happened next?”
Arthur smiled bitterly; “Robert the Bruce wants the crown of Scotland… He would even go so far as to murder his own rival,”