I was going to post this yesterday, but I forgot. Anyway, yesterday, it was 800 years since the Magna Carta was sealed. A few months ago, I wrote this scene for a British History assignment, and I'm putting it up now.
John shifted his feet, and the mushy grass gave way to the water of the Thames. He moved away from the river, the breeze making him feel cold. What would William I, his great, great grandfather, think of what he was about to do? Would the Norman king have given in to the powerful weight of the Barons and their armies? Perhaps not.
Turning, John looked at the group of men gathered by the tent. Lord John FitzRobert Clavering, Baron Richard de Montfichet, and Earl Henry de Bohun had drawn their swords, and were all looking at him, as if they thought he would turn and flee, to try and avoid sealing the charter.
Tightening his jaw, John touched his own sword, then walked slowly towards the group, his heart stumbling over itself, despite his royal heritage. In a few more minutes, I will have lost some of my power. I shouldn’t be doing this. But they captured London! I have to give in, or my life will be taken.
“Your majesty, all the witnesses are ready,” Baron Montfichet said, his hand over most of the bandage wrapped around his side, which covered the wound he had taken in London. A green tinge ran around the edges of the cloth, and John wrinkled his nose.
“Very well. I am ready to seal the charter.” No, I am not! I am not ready to give away part of my power! I do not agree to have to own up to a council of twenty-five of you disgusting Barons!
Lord Clavering rolled out a parchment and a page picked up John’s seal. John’s hands felt dry and tight. I cannot do this! I will make the armies turn to me, and help me, and I will beat the barons into powder, and be king! I must rule alone, with no one to make sure I do things their way!
“King John, of the house of Angevin, we assemble ourselves before you, with witnesses, to behold as you seal this document,” Lord Clavering said. “You know its statutes, and will now agree to them.”
John slid his finger along the words to the bottom of the parchment. “I will seal it now,” he said hoarsely.
“Of course, at your leisure, your majesty,” Lord Clavering said sarcastically, bowing.
Silence wrapped itself around Runnymede. His hand felt even stiffer as he took the seal and held it over the paper. As soon as he pressed it down on the ribbon, his agreement would be in place.
Earl Henry de Bohun ground his teeth in obvious impatience and placed his sword on the table beside the parchment. John, scared, slammed the seal down, then jerked it up, regretful of his startled action. The red wax shone up at him. The document was finished.