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At the moment, however, she felt grand. The luxurious gilded candlesticks that lighted the darkest of nights in the White Tower now caught the bit of sunlight that managed its way through the heavy drapes to grin against the floor. The tapestries on their pointing stands rippled with the occasional draft. Every now and then, wonderful smells of burning fields eked through the curtains and drove away the smell of damp stone. Burning had always reminded her of spring planting, and spring meant growth and renewal. Her hope soared.

From her spot on the bed she addressed the four women who acted as both servants and spies to her in this place--women she had come to revile in the last days.

"I’ll not be executed," she told them. "I'll be saved. Our Grace, the King, will simply offer me placement in a nunnery."

It could happen; after all, he had offered the same to Catherine all those years ago, surely he'd do the same now. Should it matter that Catherine had refused?

Anne combed and combed her hair as she considered it, and finding a snarl, felt the burn of tears.

Her wardresses froze in their activities, two of them pulling needles through fine work, the other two playing a game of chess, all four turned to her with queer expressions.

"Think you, so?" asked Lady Kingston, a sneer on her lip, her voice cold with hatred. She'd never liked Anne, not that it bothered her one bit at the moment. It was the scent of smoke and charred grass that made Anne feel faint, not the cold hatred in the jailer's wife's voice.

"It matters not," she answered. Suddenly she didn’t want these ladies to believe she was a coward. "If I’m to die, then die I shall. I’m ready for it."

They mumbled among themselves then, moving from their spots and gathering around the corner, pretending they didn’t wait on a doomed woman, talking about bits from the outside. They spoke softly, but still, Anne could hear them. Hear them and hate them for the things they said.

"She’s mad," she heard Mistress Coffyn say.

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