aouregan: (Four Inseparables)
[personal profile] aouregan
Title: For the King
Characters: Four Inseparables, Original Characters, Louis XIII, Cardinal Richelieu, Monsieur de Tréville
Rating: M for themes
Content/Warnings: Scenes of warfare and conflict, Canon Related Violence, Friendship, Angst and Character Study
Author's Note: This is the first story of the For the King series, and is very dear to my heart in terms of writing and pride.
There is going to be a lot of war and conflict, canon related violence, violent repressions, and acts of cruelty under the ancien régime under Louis XIII. The story was largely inspired by the research I conducted for an original novel that is set during the révolte de Roure that took place in 1670 during the reign of Louis XIV. The ensuing battle between the royalists and insurgents cost the lives of hundreds of people that were caught in the middle, and resulted in the burnings of whole villages in order to force the insurgents into a surrender.
While the story takes after what happened during this period in terms of violence, it doesn't take anything else such as historical figures present during that time.
That all said, the timeline for this story is as follows: June 1627-November 1627.

.It was the cold rain that prevented him from completely losing consciousness. The variety of which that stung exposed skin immediately upon impact and made the victim want to bundle themselves up quickly before the next strike. The pain was both a blessing and a curse, and while he considered himself lucky to be alive there was a small part of him that wished for an ease in suffering.

There was something about the rain as it poured from the heavens that soothed him as he lay half on the grass, half on the muddy road upon a hilltop overlooking Rouen. He found it ironic how out of everything that had happened within the span of the last few weeks would lead up to this latest development. However, it seemed that right at that moment that he couldn’t keep his mind off of the torrential downpour that seemed to match the tragedy that was currently unfolding. He found it oddly gratifying as he watched the grey clouds overhead as they made their steady march towards Paris, and wondered if maybe his friends would feel the change that the rain brought with it.

Perhaps it was the beauty of the dark and gloomy sky that appeared magnificent only to a soldier who was just upon the brink of death. Or maybe, just maybe the reason for why grey clouds held his attention was because he didn’t want to focus on the massacre that was still raging around him. He thought of the men that had chosen to accompany him to Rouen, his heart ached deep in his chest as he struggled to move his head so that he could take a look around him.

He had seriously thought that a violent death would have been much more painful than this, that right before one died that their very life leading up to that moment would have flashed before their very eyes. However, he quickly learned that this was not the case... that a man could not reflect upon his life when on the brink of death. All he could focus on, he had learned; was that odd numb sensation mixed with a fierce cold that hits one when they had been hit by a musket-ball to the chest. He had felt pain at first- and what an unbearable pain he felt as the bullet hit and tore through him like a wine cork whizzes through air. Though that pain had been quick compared to the fall from the horse and the trample of feet and hooves as man and animal alike were caught in the frenzied panic that came soon after he had fallen.

There was something almost amusing about the current situation that he was in, something that would make those that knew of him laugh in spite... something that would have caused him to get into hysterics had he not been in shock over what happened. The fact that one of the most trusted of the king’s Musketeers would fall to a musket in a surprise ambush was highly ironic. At least to a man who had fought in the service of the king for a few years now, the very man that was lying half in a muddy road and half on the grass of a steep hillside, and the very man who had been trusted to this very secretive mission that mostly everybody in France knew about now. The latter of which was certainly not his fault though he knew that it would be blamed on him nonetheless. After all, the dead are not able to defend themselves no matter how much they wanted to... and in these circumstances, the young Musketeer knew that he needed all the defence he needed to clear his name in this mess. However by the time legal proceedings started, the young musketeer would be dead and most likely rolling in his grave by the time word got out that he had failed his king.

If he could have laughed at this thought, he would have made good use of it. Had he truly failed the king in not bringing this conflict to an end? He didn’t think he had failed in his mission to resolve the nasty business... at least not entirely. After all, he had found the main culprits weeks ago and had captured the leader of these traitors before he had the chance to escape France for England.

They had been on their way back to Paris when things had begun going to hell. He was stupid not to see the warning signs before the actual ambush started, for there had been warning signs that something was to go wrong on their return trip to Paris. As a matter of fact he had been talking about his concerns to his second in command just seconds before they heard shots being fired and that musket-ball entered his chest. He just had enough time to utter a cry of shock that was quickly drowned out by his fellow comrades cries of surprise and pain (he did not know which), followed by the loud booms of musket fire from their own weapons before he had fallen from his horse. The moment he had hit the ground with a thud that left him rattled, the sound of André’s voice shouting orders in that panicked tone when a man suddenly finds himself in command of a battle that took his company in complete surprise.

He tried to listen to the battle that was still raging around him, but all he heard was the sound of men screaming. Whether in pain or in victory he did not know, all cries on a battlefield sounded the same to him regardless of the intention behind them. One thing was for sure, his second in command was no longer shouting out his orders, and it was this man’s silence that left him saddened. Without a leader keeping things organised and shouting his orders in battle, the battle would be lost.... even a young soldier who had only seen just one war knew that.

However, as an experienced soldier- even one who had only seen one campaign in his life, would be damned if he were to die without giving a good fight. At the very least those that knew of him wouldn’t be left in doubt over his courage or his reputation as a good and honourable soldier to His Majesty, even if one of the first shots caused a slight misfortune on his part. From the sound of it, quite a few of those that had accompanied him in this mission to seek out the villains in this mess were still putting up a good fight and it would do them good to see their fellow leader fight as well. He knew without giving it thought that when a soldier saw his commander giving a good battle to the enemy, that he would give twice as much to the fight. It was the only thing that could give hope to this matter... if every man, wounded or not gave it their all, the chances of them winning the war and surviving was far greater.

He was sure that with a wound like the one he had obtained, that it was pointless to try to move and get to his feet. As a matter of fact, moving at all sounded like a bad idea. Especially when that cold and numb feeling that happens when one is injured as grievously as he was, was giving way to great pain with each move he took. His chest felt like it was on fire and the wounds that he had obtained during the trample made him feel that he was being stabbed in his very bones. However, that didn’t stop him from trying. Pain after all was far better than that numb feeling that prevented him from moving. As a matter of fact, now that he was getting some feeling back to his body, he realised that the rain he was admiring from his prone position was rather cold and that it stung him when it hit him like a bee does when it was stepped on.

The only thing that kept him moving and focused was his dear comrades. The ones that were still alive anyway, because why else was there battle raging around him still? That much he was aware of anyway, for the sound of swords striking each other, the cries of men and musket fire still rang high in his ears.

He was more determined than ever in joining his comrades in battle. That much they deserved from him, even if he died of his wounds afterwards. They did not deserve a coward feigning death with the intention of ignoring what was going on around him. If he ever found himself with more time, he was sure that he would tell his three friends about his thoughts. He felt that he would have made them all proud of him, especially Athos who had always regarded him as a son in their close friendship.

Unfortunately, time wasn’t something that he had much of now. He understood that the moment he had fallen from his horse and was thinking about his predicament, albeit with some disbelief. It was actually the first thing that had come to his mind after he spent a few minutes looking up at the grey sky and thinking that rain was far more beautiful to a soldier who lay dying in a field. Even if he knew that there were other matters that he needed to worry about instead of rain and just how much time he had left in this world... and far more pressing concerns of getting the remainder of his comrades to safety.

If he survived the battle, then and only then would it be time for him to worry about his death. Despite his short history as a soldier, he knew that a bullet to the chest was one of the worst wounds one could get.

However, now was not the time to think of doctors and survival rates of chest wounds. Now was the time to try to get to his feet to aid his comrades, and he would be damned if he didn’t get to their side and quickly. He had somehow managed to roll to his stomach, though with great effort and far greater pain. He got the sensation back to his legs and arms, and though all hurt, he found them to be in working order except that one of his ankles was most likely sprained after the stampede or fall... or both.

He now was able to see the battle itself and assess for himself the damage that had befallen on his patrol. He saw with great satisfaction that his comrades had avenged their wounded and dead by killing more than their losses. Though greatly outnumbered, his fellow musketeers were matching each blow and each shot aimed at them with the power of an army far greater in numbers than they themselves were. He felt a pride within his heart that would never be explained as he watched them, still struggling to get to his feet in the meantime.

They were being slowly surrounded by the enemy, he realised a moment later when he saw that his comrades were busy on more than one front. With a jolt he struggled, clenching his teeth tightly as pain rippled throughout his body. He focused every effort into getting to his feet, and with a cry half between pain and triumph, he finally succeeded.

His comrades were now packed together in a tight circle. Their dead and wounded were on all sides of them, scattered throughout the road and ditch in grotesque positions. He saw the surviving members of his patrol move together in a tightly packed circle, their muskets raised in favour over their swords, all of which were pointed directly at the enemy. They moved seamlessly, their backs almost touching each other as they aimed their weapons and fired all at once. He saw a number of men get blasted off their feet, and looked away from one nearest to him who had his head nearly obliterated.

A few of his comrades noticed him through the gaps left by the men they had killed, and he saw their faces full of shock before they went serious once more. He supposed that he appeared like a ghost to them, that they were shocked to see him on his feet.

Unsheathing his sword, he raised it in salute to these survivors. Those that saw him followed his lead and unsheathed their own swords. He could read the newfound hope in their faces as they raised their weapons in a salute as well, and he hoped that they would come out victorious now that they had a new cause for fighting.

“For the king!” He shouted before he charged into the battle.


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August 2017

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