June 8, 1405

Richard Scrope sat uncomfortably astride his horse as it ambled along. He bowed his head within the darkness granted by the hood of his dark blue cloak, and prayed to Saint Stephen in hushed tones not intended for the ears of his escort.

The words that Fulthorp had spoken to him scant hours earlier in the presence of King Henry still rang in his ears: We condemn you, Richard, to death as a traitor to the King, and by order of the King we command you to be beheaded. His protestations of innocence had fallen on closed ears. He had overestimated the King and was now being sacrificed to the ego of a capricious and vain man who wasn’t especially interested in the welfare of his subjects.

The tortuously slow procession passed through the walls of York and ever closer to the cheerless glint of the executioner’s sword. Richard chanted a few penitential psalms in a vain attempt to slow his racing heart. The nag’s sharp spine dug into him but he made no effort to relieve the discomfort.

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