War of the Roses concept

The narrative will follow Edmund Tyler, a student at King's College at the beginning of the story. I plan three instalments, the first taking place in 1454, the second in 1469/1470, and the third in 1485 (with an epilogue in 1487).

The first instalment will open in December of 1454 with our protagonist transcribing the ramblings of an elderly veteran of the Hundred Years War, with his account eventually going off on an unfettered tangent about the usurpation of Richard II of House York by Henry IV of House Lancaster. He will spend the remainder of the chapter ruminating on the legitimacy of the Lancastrian monarchy.

The following day, his father and brother inform him that the exiled Richard, Duke of York, has raised an army and intends on regaining control over the weak Henry VI. Edmund will argue that the throne rightfully belongs to the house of York. A brief argument will ensue only for his father, a knight in affinity with the fiercely Lancastrian Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, to threaten to cut him off and disinherit him if he does not join them on campaign.

Having convinced himself of the illegitimacy of his king, Edmund is left with a moral crisis. Should he sacrifice all that he held dear and do what he perceives to be the moral thing, or continue on his present path?

He decides to turn cloak, by the light of his fireplace, he embroiders a white rose onto a piece of cloth which he fastens to his shirt, beneath a sheet bearing the arms of Beaufort. Placed in the vanguard, as the two opposing sides meet, he tears off the arms of Beaufort revealing the white rose, and turns to face his former comrades. After the Yorkist victory, Edmund feels delighted and horrified.

A brief epilogue will follow from the perspective of his brother, John; it will reveal that Edmund's father has died at the battle and that John feels immense resentment for Edmund.

Second instalment begins with Edmund riding in Richard of York's entourage. On road to London, he begins to recall what both his father and the Duke of Somerset had done for him and his family and feels sick for his transgression. The new instability that his life had taken also disturbed him deeply.

Upon returning to London, Richard seizes control over the court and installs himself as lord protector and rules in the stead of the infirm Lancastrian king. The newfound stability will comfort him some, but he is torn apart by what has happened to his father. He attends college, only to find himself shunned by both his fellow students and the faculty. He then returns to his home in Cheapside, the locks unchanged, and realises that soon his coffers will be empty.

He embarks, almost penniless on a journey to Glastonbury and his family home to collect his inheritance. He arrives to find his brother and mother, Matilda, awaiting him. He pleads with them and argues his case for fighting for York, but his pleas fall on deaf ears. His brother challenges him to a duel, which Edmund refuses to partake in.

John gives Edmund a sword and tells him that he will either die a traitor or as both a traitor and a coward if he chooses not to use it. He picks up the sword and merely fends off his brother's blows. The fight comes to an abrupt end when their mother intervenes by tripping John with a spade.

Matilda tells John that the First Battle of St Albans was in the past, that both the nobility and the common folk had moved on, that Edmund hadn't personally killed their father, and that there was no use re-fighting a battle whose outcome was already set. John departs in disgust leaving him and his mother to their land.

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