written by: Lady Sara Mary Parker, an actress and cousin of Elton, go to the members page to see her bio and how to contact her!
I joyously bounded to Percy's estate, for getting everything as I exchanged loving hugs with Percy and Marguerite. We chatted merrily over tea as we related to each other what had happened since we last saw each other. I was telling them about my job in Paris, and my friend.
"...and he's extremely polite. We play chess, cards, and we have lots of interesting conversations. He reminds me of you, Percy."
They both smiled good naturedly at that, and Marguerite asked, "What was his name?"
I don't see how I possibly could have forgotten! I answered, "Jean-Paul Chauvelin."
At that, their smiles fell like anvils! I glanced around, wondering what was wrong. I had forgotten that Jean-Paul Chauvelin was the name of Percy's nemisis. Percy pulled me aside, and in a moment, I was staring into his now cold, blue eyes.
"What is wrong with you, girl?"
"I... I don't understand! What is this?"
"Did you forget so quickly the name of the man who tried to kill and betray my wife and me? Yes, he was charming when she met him, and in a flash, like a hungry dog, he will turn on you just like that!"
I was shocked, but stubbornly, I held my ground. "How do you know? Even if he is the same man, he's changed, Percy! He's in jail for murder!"
Percy backed off a bit, and paced. "Oh, he told you that , did he? Well, he's right about that much. He is a cold-blooded murderer. He silently watched as hundreds were sacrificed to the gulliotine, and it didn't bother him at all! Harming you would be all in a day's work for him. You listen to me, now, I don't want you going near him. You keep your job at the prison. You stay in your corridor. Just don't go any nearer to his defiled cell than it takes for you to complete your duty!"
I truly hate it when Percy does this. He thinks that just because he is a little older, he can order me like my father. His age never made a difference in anything else, sparring or talking. But our stubborn wills had always been a problem, along with our pride.
It wasn't the firt time I been tricked and betrayed. Before I embarrassed myself further, I tore my arm from Percy's hand and raced up the stairs, heedless of Marguerite's soothing voice, upstairs where I could recover in my sleep and my books.
Shortly after, I heard a soft knock on my door. Drying my eyes, I said "Come in." and tried to betray as little of my weeping as I could in my wavering voice. Marguerite came in, kindly, sympathetic Marguerite. I had often wanted her with me to talk to, since she was one of about two people who I had known that I could spill my heart out to, and they would be there, warm and comforting. Chauvelin had been the other.
I confessed everything to her, from first seeing him to holding his hand upon my departure. She listened to it all, giving me her words of wisdom and comfort, reassuring me that the sun would come out again. The rest of my time there was spent with more quiet, and Percy and I made up, realizing our own follies.
I left for Paris all too soon as it seemed, but all too late as well. My pride was still sneering, "Told ya so! That's what you get if you fall for love." In Paris, I left my things in the inn and walked to the prison. That half mile was the longest one I've ever had to endure. Each step seemed to be weighed down with lead. It felt as if I was going to prison to serve my time!
I ruefully slunk down the stairs, past the guards, all the way to my corridor. Just before I entered it, I stopped to recouperate, gathering my strength and willpower. I was going to need it.
Naturally, the moment I stepped ithe hall, Murphy greeted me with a taunting "Aw, good, she's back. Yoo-hoo! Loverboy!" I glared at him and sat at my post, going about my duties, fully ignoring Chauvelin. Once or twice as I passed his cell, I caught his gaze, and his pleading, questioning eyes that couldn't fathom a reason for my strange behavior. I eyed him coldly, and turned my attention to my chores. That evening, as I passed out dinner, he got my attention and tried to reason.
"What's wrong? Why have you been ignoring me so?"
"You should know very well. You lied to me. You're not in here for murder. I know who you are and what you did, you dog!" I didn't care how harsh it sounded. If it hurt him, good. It was his own fault.
"I didn't want you to know... I"
"You thought you could play me for a fool, didn't you? What were you planning on? You had my trust! You thought I would get you out of jail, and one day, when you needed another favor, you'd blackmail me into it! Am I close? I know your game, sir!" I sat at my post the rest of the day, listening to Murphy sing over and over, "Theeeey sought him hyah! They sought him theh! Those Frenchies sought him everywheh! He thought he was in heaven, but now he's in..." He would continually stop there to admire the laughter he was getting.
That night, I went to the inn and plopped down, exhausted, on my bed. I stared at the ceiling, confused, alone and afraid, contemplating until I cried myself to sleep.
I woke up the next morning, and strolled out of the inn. As I turned the corner, I felt a hand slip over my mouth and another draw me into the alley. I groped for the dagger that I always keep with me, but I couldn't reach it! A finger slid over the hand, signaling for me to be quiet. I spun and saw Chauvelin! He had shaved, gotten a haircut, and was in a different attire. Furious at his actions and how he frightened me, I kicked him with all my might, and he bent over and winced pitifully at my well aimed kick. "How did you get out, and why did you come to me?"
Regaining his ability of speech, he began, "When I tell you this, please, you have to believe me," I cut him off. "No, I don't have to believe a word you say! You had my trust before, and you wasted it! Just tell me what happened." Weakly, he stood up and related his tale to me.
"Shortly after you leave is the time that we are let out for evening labor. I was working, when I stumbled upon the corpse of prisoner Lafou. We had never gotten along well, and when the guards found me, they thought I killed him! I don't know how I escaped, but I did, and I ran for my life to this place to wait for you."
I could tell in his eyes that he wasn't lying, but I was still furious that he had the nerve to run to me!
"Why did you come to me?" He seemed a bit nervous, but he managed. "Because you're the only one that I trust, and because..."
At that, he grabbed me by the shoulders and kissed me. I'm not one to go into details about that, but that was a good kiss. The mother of kisses. The... well, you get the point.
I was not only shocked, I was outraged! I was planning on searching for something to beat him upside the head with, but I couldn't bring myself to do it! When he saw the aghast expression on my face, he grinned fiendishly and slipped further into the alley, motioning for me to follow. Hesitantly, I did so. I loved him. He would get a second chance.
Okay, (finally!!), we're gonna pick up the pace a little. Yes, it's about time! Hold yer horses!!
The Frenchie mob was searching for us. Chauvelin, the "Pimpernel," and me, now his accomplice and in as much danger. Yes, I relished the moment! Well, it's about time something more exciting happens to me than finding a mouse in someone's cell! Anyway, now I've got a little more in this than kissy-kissy romance!
Using the alleys as our cover from the labyrinth of streets and the soldiers lurking in them. He turned to me, and handed me a thing I have sorely missed for a long time. A sword!
"Do you know how to wield them, Lady Telleny?"
"Since I was seven. And call me Carrie."
He smiled, and we rushed for the next alley. Like rats we slunk to and fro, coming to a bridge. We looked around, and agreed that no one was nearby, so we raced over it, praying that we would find cover before we were caught. As we reached the middle, a mob that seemed to appear out of nowhere was upon us! They rushed on us like the wind, but their futlile, spur of the moment style of fighting was no match for the years of practice that Chauvelin and I had had. We fended off the oncoming rain of men side by side, half expecting to feel the bite of steel, all too sweet to some, bitter to others.
Suddenly, a deft blow from one man sen Chauvelin flying, sailing into the water, now black in the night. Without thinking, I dove in after him. Knowing how to swim is one of the many skills that I have taken for granted. Here, I searched through the murky depths of the river, searching for one thing in a sea of many. After what seemed like years of groping and grasping, my hand closed on something solid, the same thing that had saved me from drowning one day in a prison. I dragged Chauvelin up and shorewards. I was greeted by sweet air, and a scowling, swarthy face with a hand waiting to snatch me up. I was just able to feel for a pulse on Chauvelin before we were both dragged away. I found it, and it beat steadily as an ode of heaven.
When he came to, we were at the mercy of a French mob. Bodies were scattered on the bridge nearby and floating the water as a testimony of our struggle. One of the men emerged from the mob, and I recognized him as the guard-next-corridor.
"So, this vixen also swims, eh? She'll swim in a river of fire come daybreak!"
A cheer arose from the men. Chauvelin pleaded with them. "I don't understand! Wha..."
Another man in the mob chimed in. "She's a witch! It ain't natural for people to swim. The only way to kill a witch is to burn one!" Another racous cheer arose.
"But what about me? Burn me!"
"We're letting you go for now. You helped us find her after all! You can watch her burn." I was knocked unconscious.
When I awoke, I was in a jail cell with someone grasping my hand. Naturally, it was Chauvelin. He smiled.
"How ironic. I never thought that the day would come when you were the one behind bars and I held your hand."
I smiled back. "In a few hours, it's into the fire I go." I held his hand for those hours, until a guard came and dragged me to the town square.
I was tied to a post, and I looked into the ranks of French as dried grass was piled at my feet. I thought I saw someone familiar, but I knew they wouldn't be standing there watching me! Then I looked a little closer. Sure enough, it was Elton. He met my gaze and casually sauntered off, nodding to me. I closed my eyes as I was coated in kerosine, hoping help wouldn't arrive too late.
Just as I thought that, I heard a great ruckus coming from the back of the crowd. I looked up with a start. Percy and the Bounders were fighting their way to the front of the mob! I struggled in my bonds, but to no avail. The post that I was tied to trembled, and then I fell into the pile of dry grass. Chauvelin grabbed my hand and led me away from the mob. Reluctantly, I glanced over my shoulder. Percy and his men were gone, escaped from the mob. Chauvelin and I followed suit.
I led Chauvelin down the streets of England.
"Really, why don't you just tell me where we're going? I'm going to die of curiosity." I wasn't about to tell him that we were going to Percy's. He would be expecting me, but not my guest. I just told Chauvelin that it was a surprise. He grinned at my secrecy. When we arrived at the door, I rang the doorbell. I was anxious, and ready to keep Chauvelin and Percy from clawing each other to death.
The door opened, and Percy was there, smiling pleasantly. The smile fell from his face (boy, had I seen that before!) when he saw Chauvelin.
My friend didn't look to happy, either. In the blink of an eye, the both had their swords. I stepped between their blades to intervene. They weren't bent on killing each other, for the moment, but they were staring at me in disbelief. I began to explain, but was interrupted by angry questions.
"You didn't tell me you were bringing him!"
"Why didn't you tell me you were taking me here?!"
"Have you lost your mind?!"
I didn't want to hear another word.
"ALL RIGHT, STOP YELLING AT ME AND I'LL TELL YOU!!"
I never knew that such a silence was possible in all the world. We all went inside, and I calmly explained everything to everyone. By the time everything was said, I was surprised at the change that had come over them. They seemed to respect each other ten times over than before. Chauvelin was the first to break the silence.
"Percy, would you like to be the best man?"
Percy started. "What?"
"In two months. I would be honored if Marguerite would be the Maid of Honor."
Percy and Marguerite smiled in understanding. "Two months it is."