Author's Note:This is the first of two short fan fiction and a thing.
Thanks to Lady Wallescote for beta-reading. For those of you who don't
know, Olivia is Percy's God-sister and they were raised together,
though by no means are they like Marguerite and Armand. Percy is six
years her senior and her dearest teacher. Olivia is my creation as are
Sir Matthew Morston, Collette St. Michel, Louis St. Michel, Franciose
du Pont, and Liv's Parents the
Comte Olivier and Comtesse Genevieve de Bretagne. All the Pimpernel
characters come from the book, the movie (the Andrews) and the Musical.
I use them without permission. I am but a poor student ( I make those
in Les Miserables look rich), so please don't sue me. Enjoy the
By Olivia de Bretagne
Prologue: The Way Back
I know not why I write this. I suppose that I am preparing myself
for what St. Peter will read to me in front of the gates of Heaven,
before he condemns my soul to everlasting fire and brimstone. That is
the only fitting punishment for the sin I have committed. I am a
murderess. True, the only lives I have taken with mine own hands were
to save others, but the
deaths that resulted from my choices will surely damn me to a level of
hell that Dante himself never dreamed of.
You who read this will ask, "How could a woman so young and
seemingly innocent cause so great a number of deaths?" I dreamed a
dream once. I was young, and idealistic, expecting that the way of the
world would change. I was a fool. I know that now and through my
actions, I try to atone. However, I know that my sin is still now and
always will be damnable. But I get
ahead of myself. You must know me, before I may be judged. So here is
my story. Judge me as you may, for the only judgement I could fear
would be the
everlasting, and that choice I have made for myself.
Chapter One: "When This All Began"
I was born on the 21st day of June, in the year of our Lord, 1770,
in the best room of The Fisherman's Rest, a quaint inn and alehouse on
the Dover coast. I was christened Olivia de Bretagne. My mother was
Genevieve de Rem`e de Bretagne and my father was Olivier de Bretagne,
the only child and heir of
the Comte and Comtesse de Bretagne. Later in their lives, my parents
would hold those titles, though to that date, they had not been in
France for almost
20 years and would not see it again.
My father was twenty five when he first saw Genevieve de Rem`e, the
daughter of an upper class plebian family. She was barely twenty.
loved her at first sight, as she loved him, but my paternal
grandparents would not hear of it. Their son would marry
another aristo. So my father met with
Genevieve in secret, and so married. Grandfather de Bretagne was
livid. He would have disowned father, if he had been able to find any
other heir. However, this was impossible, so he sent my parents
abroad, giving them enough to travel and live comfortably, but told his
son not to set foot back into France until he was dead.
Father loved his parents and while he thought them unfair, he and
Genevieve agreed to this arrangement. While traveling, they met Sir
Algernon Blakeney, Baronet, his lady wife, and their son Percy. Lady
Blakeney had an illness of the mind, and Sir Blakeney had chosen travel
rather then put his beloved wife
in an asylum. My parents and the Blakeneys became friends and traveled
together, so who better to be my God-parents then these two?
I had a childhood of luxury, for despite my grandpapa's anger at my
parents, I was his only grandchild, and he made sure we wanted for
Percy was a god-send in my youth. He was quite older than me, six
years actually, and I am sure if we had lived in England, the two of us
would have been perfect strangers. But as there were no other children
regularly around him, Percy had become a little adult in those six
years, and I became
largely his only other interest. He was privately tutored from the age
of four, as was I, for we were both gifted with intellect. I was
learned in figures,
French, English, Latin, and Italian, and would later study German, as
well as Classical literature and Philosophy and the women's arts of
dancing, riding sidesaddle, and appearance. Percy received the same
scholarly subjects as well as horsemanship, swordsman ship, and other
nesseccary to men. So, I would have been a girl just like any other
had Percy not taken me under his wing.
As soon as I could ride sidesaddle, Percy taught me to ride
straddling and bareback. He instructed me in swordplay and daring of
all sorts, from jump in streams and ponds to swim to riding at
breakneck speeds across the plains. I think our parents knew what we
did, when we supposedly went to ride leisurely
or study out of doors, but as we were only children, they indulged it.
I also think they wished us a match, but realized it wouldn't work, for
as brother and sister always.
One thing kept my childhood from being entirely happy. I was seven
when I discovered this thorn and it has stuck to me, like a burr to a
evermore. It led me to my later damnable actions, but it was no
This burr was the Estate system of France, the reason my parents
were outcasts. It was not fair, for did the troubadours not say, "Love
shall conquer all"?
They never owned it, but during the course of a day, I sat on my
father's lap, listening to the conversation among the expatriates in
the Florentine Villa where we were staying, when someone mentioned the
beauty of Paris in the springtime. I looked at my father and saw an
intense look of pain. I have never forgotten that look. And it led me
to the philosophy that
sprang to world view when a shot was heard round the world and a colony
won freedom and decreed "All men are created equal."
I loved the idea that the world could change and everyone have a
chance at being well off and happy. I was very innocent I suppose, for
me from much of the Machiavellian element of the world. Thus I became
one of those very rare women, capable of caring for herself, speaking
and still innocent of life's evils.
I suppose I should speak on Percy, as I tell you what he does and
not who he is. Percy, as I shall always remember him, is a very
man. He is very tall for this age, towering high aboveme. His hair
wavered between blond and golden brown, depending on how much he is in
the sun, and his
eyes are bottomless blue pools. There is but one man I see as more
beautiful then he is, but that is ahead. Percy was also one of the most
ingenious men I have
ever known. He took all subjects with equal easy, be it Latin Rhetoric
or the minuet. He was witty, and so at easy around everyone. I believe
I worshipped him as a little girl and thought him braver than any man I
have known. He was oblivious to class, rank, or so called born
nobility. He once said to me, "Livy, always remember that nobility is
a trait, not
a birthright. It can not be bought."
When I was fourteen, I was sent, with Percy as my chaperone to
England, to be presented before society. Percy himself had been when
he was fourteen and
for six months I was a very dejected and lonely child. My one
companion had gone and left me. But then Percy's mother took an ill
turn and he rushed
home, staying as she never fully recovered. She died shortly before he
left to take me to England. I saw a little bit of the light in Percy's
eyes die that day, for he loved her despite her affliction. He drooped
a little more when word came to us his father had also died. So now my
Percy, older brother supreme, was Sir Percival Blackeney, Bart.
Should you have never been to London, I would suggest you take a
trip, as for me, so used to inns and fancy hotels as a child, it was
paradise. To have
the the expansive home my grandpapa purchased for me in that city was a
true delight. I was not completely pleased however, as a change came
over Percy. When we were alone in my parlor or riding in his carriage,
he was my dear old Pursy, as I had called him as a child. But in
public, particularly at balls and parties, he became much changed. He
acted a fop, a dandy, and a fool. I could not understand how this man,
who was the most intelligent I knew, could demean himself so. Oh, he
played the part well, for if Percy had ever lost his title and wealth,
he could very well make a living on any stage in Europe. I asked him
once why he put on such a facade, and he simply said, "Because it is
fashionable." Sometimes I do not understand him at all.
However, I soon had cause to forget all that. For as I have said,
only one man could possess my heart and make me believe Percy was not
the most perfect man alive. And that man came into my life most
unexpectedly. On Midsummer's Eve, Lord Howard hosted a ball at his
estate just outside of London, to which all fashionable society was
invited. I avoided these gatherings, as I found them a pathetic waste
of time, where Percy made himself a fool, and I was expected to be
ladylike and demure. Ha! However, as I had been specifically
requested in the invitation, Percy insisted I go. Dear Boy! I was
immediately found by many of the foreign ambassadors, who I had met
during my travels, and I was whisked into a pleasant parlor off the
main hall for conversation. Little did I know, someone was listening.
I sat and discussed foreign affairs and social conditions with a fervor
for an hour, as such things interested me. Suddenly, Percy was at my
"Sink me, gentleman, but I needs speak to my dear little God-sister.
If you will excuse us," he said, taking my arm and leading me from the
room. I looked at him in shock as he pulled me into another small
"For someone so concerned with propriety, you just did the most
unbelievably rude thing," I said. I heard someone behind me give a
small laugh. I turned and saw an amazingly beautiful young man,
standing in the moonlight window near an astrolabe He had golden brown
hair and deep brown eyes that seemed depthless. He was tall, alittle
taller than Percy, and built in a way that his strength was evident,
but not prominent. However, this didn't quite make up for his laugh.
"And just who are you, sir, to laugh at a Lady, and the heiress to a
Percy found this little display of mood amusing.
"This is Sir
Matthew Morston, heir to a baronet. He asked a word with you, but I
think he got more than he wanted."
I felt myself blush crimson.
"Pardon my ill manners sir. I have not Percy's social graces, I am
afraid. What did you wish to speak to me about?"
"Oh, this will sound so horrible and you simply must forgive my ill
manners, for I was...well, this is horrible...I was eavesdropping," he
said. I felt my face blanch. "Oh, no! No, no, no, don't be ashamed,I
was eavesdropping because I couldn't believe I my ears. Your opinions
on international affairs were ...astounding."
"I..um, oh...why, thank you." My mind was reeling.
"Look, I don't mean to sound forward..." he said, when Percy gave a
"La, my dear fellow, I think between you and my dear sister, you
have killed all propriety."
The two of us looked at each other and
laughed. That was my private Percy talking.
"I was just wondering," Matthew said, "if you would care to
"I am afraid, I do not dance well. But perhaps a walk through the
gardens. The torches Lord Howard has out are lovely and illuminate the
paths," I answered. "Percy could make my excuses."
"That would be lovely."
So, Percy went off, and we two made for the
gardens. That lovely night was so clear, the night was peppered with
stars, and the moon hung in a crescent, throwing sliver in the spaces
between the torches. We walked for almost two hours, speaking of
almost everything. Politics, philosophy, families. I wished the walk
could last forever. Matthew was so unlike the other men of London, who
were so foppish and dandified. His mind and I suspect his soul, like
his eyes, were depthless. The stars shone brighter, the moon seemed
made pure silver, the gentle breeze sweeter with the smell of
roses,just because he was beside me. I knew, as Percy came to take me
home,that I loved him.
Those London days seemed idylic. Percy's charade of playing English
gentleman was balanced and counteracted by Matthew, with his wisdom,
his passion for knowledge, and his fire. He was three years older than
I , but it didn't matter. I remember the two of us, when he came to
visit me during my stay at Richmond, the Blakeney country home, and I
raced him on horseback across a pasture. It was after that race, as we
lay side by side in a field, that he said the thing that made my life
seem complete. True, I was young, and most sensible people would call
what feelings I had puppy love, but I burned and pined for him. When I
was small, one of my nannies, a lovely Swiss woman had told me that
someday, I would meet a man, and I would live, and breathe, and die
for him and him alone. So, as we rested on the green English country
side, watching the clouds, he murmured it so quietly, so softly, I
scarce didn't believe the words.
"I love you."
"Matthew, did you just say..." I asked, not able to say the blessed
syllables. Matthew blanched white, and I thought I was mistaken, and
for a moment my heart stopped. But then Matthew too sat up and took
"Yes. I am sorry, I wanted to say it some grand way and here it
slipped out. I didn't even realize I was speaking aloud. Oh Liv," he
said, using the name he alone dared say, "Liv, angel, goddess, vision.
How long have I cared."
My fifteen year old heart was doing flips, as
his face grew so soft and compassionate.
"I have loved you since that
night at the ball. I heard at the door, and it was as if Eros himself
had shot his bow into my heart. I cared not if you were bow legged,
pox marked, and cross eyed. To find a kindred spirit. So I quietly
enquired for your identity, quite forgetting to peek in at you. I came
upon Percy, who owned you his God-sister. I asked if I could meet and
woo you, and he laughed. I thought him offended, but he said, no, that
he had no problem, but should I not ask the object I was wooing? He
agreed to introduce us, and for that, I was happier than any man
I sat speechless. I have never been at a lost for words in my life,
but here I sat, dumbstruck. "I fear you do not feel the same, but oh
Liv, do you think you could learn to love me?" he said, looking so sad
and penitent, that I was immediately snapped back into life.
"Oh Matthew, I needn't learn to love you, as I already know how," I
said. His face brightened as we sat looking at each other for a moment
before, as if pulled by magnets, our lips met in a tender, passionate
kiss. He tasted of honey and strawberry jam, which had adorned our
bread during our simple picnic lunch. I was heartily aware of the long
veil of my dark nut brown hair, thrown loose by our wild ride, falling
heavily down my back. As we parted, Matthew ran his fingers through
"With that one kiss, I could die a happy man," he said, and I felt
the same, but there were more happy kisses, before the thing I feared
most would come to pass.
We spent three beautiful years together, until I was seventeen and a
half, when my grandpapa insisted I come to Paris. I had no wish to go
there, for it was an accursed country in mine eyes. However, father
saw it as a nessecity, and I was told to prepare to go. The year was
1788 when I would arrive, on the twelfth day of January and I was told
I could come home in 1790, if I hated it.
So, I was made bid farewell to the London I had
come to love. As we bid each other goodbye, I said, "Matthew, don't
worry, nothing will change."
I could not have known how wrong I was.
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