England, 1631. The Castle D'Artagnan.
Cobalt eyes, lit with arrogant boredom, glinted in the mid-morning sun. Their owner, tall and proud, sat with careless and yet still elegant grace upon a tan destrier waiting, patiently, with twelve of almost similar guise and certainly of similar air, for the thirteenth Rider. I say 'patiently' for D'Artagnan is always patient. Particularly when he is intent on being especially brutal. If I were to be found here my life would be almost forfeit for he would not show me a whit of consideration. And I am his favorite.
'Here' is in the shadows of a column with a shaft wide enough to hide three men and a base large enough to sit on. This column is in the courtyard of the 'De Quatorze' and by the king's law I am forbidden to set a foot of mine upon its paved floors. I am standing on the column's base.
I know, however, that the king will not consider this an adequate option. The law forbids all females and is thus fair and just. He would not hesitate to uphold this law, even as I am wed to him, for he is fair and he is just and he, most importantly, has taken a strong dislike to my character; he has found some previously overlooked flaw which he feels he must correct. Thus far be it from me to give him one more opportunity to assert his authority, to show himself my master. Or perhaps not.
You might think me foolish for placing myself in such a risqué position and you will think me excessively so when you discover that I have done this, in part, for the mere purpose of seeing the man I love. For love itself is a foolish thing. Is it not? In any case I admit to foolishness on all counts. I will say, though that I do not act on mere impulse but have been pushed here by circumstances far beyond the precincts of my control. I could say this began the moment I was conceived but in truth it began the day I was wed to Alixir D'Artagnan, M. le Duc du Verte, High King of all Charliste and the only man for whom I would willingly die and, without question, kill.
Know now that this man enthralled me the second I laid eyes on him. You have not met him; you do not know why. But you will for I will begin at the beginning and then perhaps an end will emerge. The riders still wait and I wait with them.
1625, The Castle D'Ervonne.
It was the feast of the Phoenix and I was to remain in my chambers for the duration of the pleasantries, showing myself only once the guests were settled for the night. It was the feast of the Phoenix; not one of the guests besides the babes will retire before the morn. My circumstance was one I was accustomed to under my father's roof and yet in my twelve years upon the earth I had yet to concoct a scheme brilliant enough to free myself from my prison. I had tried many things in the hopes of stealing out of my chambers and had been caught and thrashed soundly. I had feigned intense melancholy and when ignored I had thrown myself into a fit of rage that none but my mother's soothing arms could bring me out of.
But I was full twelve and could not resort to such childish tricks. Doubtless if I did I would not have even been heard over the raucous laughter of our visitors. If I was to be heard one of my fourteen brothers would surely have been sent up to silence me. And then He would know and I would risk earning His interminable scorn. Alixir D'Artagnan, Prince of the South East, was our guest that festive season and I was yet to catch even a glimpse of him. I had heard only garbled versions of his looks, his voice, his dressing. All unimportant things. All from the mouths of scullery maids.
I wished to speak to him and hear his accounts of the war in the west for he was six years my senior and had experienced battle. I wished him to hear my opinions and perhaps be astonished at my knowledge for I fancied myself a rather precocious child. I wished him to look upon me as an equal in intellect at the very least but he could not look upon me at all for I was locked away and would doubtless be watched with circumspection by the males of my family once I emerged on the morrow.
It was my fault that I was there some would say but I preferred to blame my predicament on my 'fault'. I had a fault you see. It had been with me since I could speak and nothing my father, my brothers and even, upon occasion, my mother had done had made any significant impact on me; I was incorrigible to them and incurable to myself. My fault. It was a strange, inherent desire to antagonize those who held power over me despite the obvious detrimental effects of my actions. And the effects were detrimental. I was not on speaking terms with my eldest brother, Fernance, and would have to leave every room upon his entering. I was not on speaking terms with my father and on pain of certain pain must not attempt to address him. I was not allowed to partake in a feast which I took part in planning.
I had thought this over considerably, as I usually was in possession of an obscene amount of time to think, and I believed I had effectively diagnosed my disease. I had come to the conclusion that until a cure was found, I would bravely bear the consequences of my frequent outbreaks. None but myself shared this view and all regarded my voicing it as inexcusable defiance which needed to be crushed unmercifully. I was always being crushed.
At present I am sitting in the middle of my bed darning or pretending to do so. I do not know which for both produce the same results. Every ten minutes Madame will look in to be sure that I am not in the throes of some intricate plan to escape. I have long since ceased to look up at her when she does this for she has done it for a total of thirty-six times. Thirty-seven. It is quite depressing really for I do not intend to steal out of here and even if I did, I would only put her in a morass of trouble with father and I could not do that.
The bed was appealing thus I let it pull me down into its warmth and closed my eyes for a second. A second is quite a long time to close one's eyes at the twenty-fourth hour. I have heard that fairies steal parts of your life at this hour. What foolish nonsense. This was my last coherent thought before sleep overcame me and when I awoke it was to the sound of complete silence. I did not open my eyes for I had an illogical fear of the darkness of the night. I knew it would be dark for it was cold and surely the fire must have died out. The thought brought me up instantly. My deduction was true; the fireplace was simply a black hole. Madame would never let the fire die down. How long had I slept? I rose reluctantly and made my way first to the fireplace which was visible only through the pale moonlight. Kneeling beside it, I tentatively touched the ashes. They were cold. The fire had been out for an inordinate amount of time which meant that I most probably hadn't been checked for the same - or even more – time. The urge was strong so I crept to the door and, opening it, peered out.
I had no real intention of escaping the confines of my room but the empty corridor was strongly appealing. If I did leave my room, the question of where I would go still remained. It came to me after some thought. (I was predisposed to the belief that I would leave my room for it was always easy to convince myself of such things.) The Deck. It would indeed be perfect.
It was not really a deck but I referred to it as such as it was not only constructed completely of wood, mahogany, but it was built in such a way that, in the form of a balcony, it encircled the highest regions of the grand hall. If you were to look over the side, a wealth of space, almost as vast as the sea would greet you and, at times, a strange nausea would turn your stomach and perhaps even drive you back.
I stepped out cautiously, attuned to the slightest sounds that might mean the presence of another. The corridor was lit with many torches but at long intervals so I hurried along, shying away from the darker places until I reached the north door to the Deck, at which point I stopped. Perhaps a brother had chosen this place for solace as well? Shaking my head, I dismissed the notion as the child of nervousness, several minutes after standing at the door. I let out a long breath and opened it.
The darkness was almost stifling as only a single torch lit the huge place and I had begun a somewhat frantic search for the others when I heard it. The high-pitched, grating sound of glass touching gold. I jumped, stilling my frantic movements and wondered if I should bolt or stay and brave this new situation through.
"Is this castle then filled with nymphs and fairies as well as beautiful women?"
The voice was like vintage wine, strong and heady, with an air of sensuality I was sure I had only heard of before in my mother's gallery. There was a condescending note, though, that I found rankling so I turned to summarily put him in his place. What my eyes met, who my eyes met…I could not see him, curse the inadequate lightening, but I knew where he was. A high-backed armchair, stuffed to perfection, – as I knew from sitting there myself – one of four which surrounded a table wrought of solid gold, was where he sat. His feet, clad in boots of a dark color and polished to shine were crossed and resting on the afore-mentioned table.
"I will not ask you if you have lost your manners, sir, for I see that in that you are obviously lacking. I will however ask, nay tell you to take your offending feet off that table."
It was all said scathingly that he would realize my disgust at his behavior but I could not see how he took it. All he did was pick up his glass, half filled with some liquid, from a table at his right side I regret to have not mentioned afore hand. It was an exquisite hand that gripped that glass to be sure, smooth and as though it were carved of a pearl-like marble, and then it and the glass disappeared into the darkness that shielded his upper body.
The glass reappeared, some seconds later, held loosely by the stem by long unadorned fingers. I knew he was watching me and I felt mocked. Goaded I walked forward, to show my seriousness and my lack of fear for whoever he thought he was.
"I trust you do not intend violence. You see I am not sober enough to resist reacting in kind."
That comment, so carelessly made was oddly threatening. I went up to the armchair opposite this irritating stranger and asked, my arms crossed over my still blooming chest, "Was that a threat, sir?" I put enough antipathy into the title as to make it an epithet and I hoped he noticed.
"I should hope so. I would, however, refer to it as a deterrent."
I was incredulous, certainly, and incensed, of course. For as much as I positively itched to correct his supercilious tone with a well deserved slap, I refrained from doing so, mainly because I was now cautious of his promised reaction.
"I will not be threatened by a stranger in my home; you will leave. Now."
I felt a strange pleasure combined with a surge of power after saying this but his reaction was severely disappointing. He did nothing.
A/N: I know this was slightly long and i know there might have been some errors but i hope you liked it anyway. This is my first ever teen story but since she grows up the ratings might change. I would sincerely appreciate it if you would click on that little button to the lower left of the screen and review. I really need input.
P.S. This isn't a three musketeers story, D'Artagnan, I hope is a relative of some sort. That was a joke. I merely liked the name.
P.P.S: Sry bout the thing with italics. I just had it like that on Word. Nehoot. Chow!