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 story.

Judging Olivia

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. Father 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 nothing.
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 embroidery, dancing, riding sidesaddle, and appearance.  Percy received the same scholarly subjects as well as horsemanship, swordsman ship, and other thing 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 we were 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 pettycoat, evermore.  It led me to my later damnable actions, but it was no excuse.
   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 Percy shielded 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 her mind, 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 handsome young 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 elbow.
   "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 parlor.
   "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 French Comte?"
   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. Oh, dear.
   "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."
   ", oh...why, thank you."  My mind was reeling.
   "Look, I don't mean to sound forward..." he said, when Percy gave a chuckle.
   "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 dance?"
   "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 my hand.
   "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 alive."
   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 it.
   "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. *******************************************************

Return to the Fanfic page
Mail the author!