1. Sign up or login, and you'll have full access to opportunities of forum.

Queen Of Chaos

Discussion in 'When in Rome: stories, poems and discussion' started by Loxuru, Oct 23, 2017.

  1. toxidomaskjr

    toxidomaskjr Spectator

    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    202
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Gender:
    Male
    I hope the ordeals you have planned for these 5 lovely ladies (crucifixion, hanging, whipping, slavery or whatever you have in mind) are as well detailed as this first part, excellent story so far!!
     
    madiosi, Repertor, old slave and 3 others like this.
  2. Loxuru

    Loxuru Graf von Kreuzigung

    Messages:
    3,272
    Likes Received:
    17,354
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    “Benoît has repulsive plans!”

    “He spied on his own bosses. That’s why he was put aside!”

    For the first time, I felt like a real queen!

    Another sharp pain in my belly. There was blood! I collapsed!

    “You are one of us, Aurore!”

    "Here, you only count when you have blood on your hands!"

    "Have you forgotten about 'Téméraire', Aurore?'

    “You cannot run away on such high heeled shoes!”
    “I don’t expect to run far anyway!”

    The dark still water of the grey misty lake drew me on. A real shroud inviting for suicide!

    “Yes, Aurore, the cathedral bells are ringing! What makes you so upset about that?”
    “Damn, Lisa! Do you know what they are ringing for!?”

    Would I ever have committed that sacrifice for Robert?

    Merde! Such an expensive accessory, but it does not open when it has to!

    “Aurore! Why didn’t you shoot her, then?”
    “Lisa! She is a mother of four!”

    “If you return to France, Aurore, you are dead!”

    A thrust of a lance in my chest, or my skull split in two halves by a sword! Within a minute it could be so far, but I did not care!

    “Wir sind verraten! We have been betrayed!”

    "Can I help you?" a friendly lady stood behind me.

    Coming up!:attention::attention::attention:

    What happened to Aurore? Where is she brought to? What is 'Téméraire' about?:confused:

    PART 2 of 'Queen of Chaos' will start soon!:popcorn:
     
    madiosi, old slave, Repertor and 4 others like this.
  3. Eulalia

    Eulalia Poet Laureate Staff Member

    Messages:
    20,083
    Likes Received:
    84,104
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    The Northern Forest
    temeraire.jpg ?

    PS Actually, I've just thought of one possible (historical) connection
    among the words téméraire, hardi and sans peur... and Artois... but we'll see... ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
    old slave, Repertor, Loxuru and 3 others like this.
  4. Loxuru

    Loxuru Graf von Kreuzigung

    Messages:
    3,272
    Likes Received:
    17,354
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Part 2 – episode 10

    "Lisa, you can finally explain what all this means?"

    The flight had taken, I had estimated, at least two hours. My seat belt remained fastened. All the time I had to keep a blindfold on. The cuffs had been removed from my back to my front, but I got a pair on my ankles too. After landing, I was taken from the aircraft and put into a car. I had no idea where we were, no one wanted to answer to my questions. I only knew that it was ice cold outside at the place where we had landed and where they had brought me to.

    My trip ended in a kind of a cell, where two men in the uniform of the French Gendarmerie finally released me from my blindfold and cuffs. It was a bare room with a bed and some bathroom fixtures. The two left without saying a word and the door got locked. Tired, and wrecked, I fell asleep.

    The most surprising was that, already on the tarmac in Châteaudun, I had suddenly noticed people talking a foreign language. A foreign language that I had recognized, since I had heard it before. I recognized and understood snatches of sentences and then I had realized that it was Slovenian, the native language of my mother! And the strangest thing of all was that I thought to hear Lisa also talking that language.

    Only the next day, they came to get me out. I was brought into a room with a large fireplace. On the walls hung ancient weapons, coats of arms and hunting trophies. I had more and more the impression that I was somewhere in an old castle. I was sitting at a big heavy wooden table. Then, Lisa entered. It became clear to me that she was involved in this kidnapping – because that was in fact what had happened to me. I wished to know immediately from her what all this had to mean. She sat down at the table too, and put down a pile of files on it.

    "So, Aurore, I'm sorry that we had to deal with you so drastically, but we couldn't do otherwise."
    "Can you explain me what this all means and what is your role in it?"
    "That’s why I am here, Aurore. We had talked the previous evening about Téméraire, Hardi and Sans Peur, remember?"
    "Yes!?" I wondered why she started about that.
    "You don’t know really what these projects stand for?"
    "I told you, it was part of a motto, Benoît said!"
    "I think, Aurore, it is time for the truth."
    "What truth?"
    "Aurore, if it depended on your father-in-law, your husband would once be King of France, right?" "That’s what he dreams of, indeed."
    "And later, normally, Robert junior would succeed him, right?"
    "That is the plan, yes!?"
    "What do you think about that?"
    "I do not know?"
    "You don’t know? It's about the future of you and your own children?"
    "I don't know!" I replied annoyed. "I sometimes don’t like the idea!"
    "Wouldn’t you rather want to give the kids a normal education, rather than having to share them constantly with all those higher family interests?"
    "Sometimes, I do, but sometimes there are things one has to do. I have little choice!"
    "Would you still be in favor of the plan, if the Artois would have innocent blood on the hands?"
    "What do you mean?"
    "As I said, time for the truth!" And she opened a file.
    "What is that?"
    " ‘That ', Aurore, is ' Sans Peur '! Let us start with that! "
    "What is it about, you can summarize it?"
    "Let us put it like this. Benoît is getting impatient, certainly after the events in England, and he has put up some repulsive plans to speed up things. ' Sans Peur ' is the code name of a part of a plan to deal with the Charny as with the Ratisbona. With the Charny, drastic measures will be taken. They are now on holiday at the Spanish coast. They travel back to England in ten days, by airplane. In that plane, there will be a bomb that will explode above the Bay of Biscaye. End of the Charny's, as it is intended that they all will be in the plane. And also of a hundred and fifty other passengers and crew of the plane, because the Charny intend to take a scheduled flight! "
    "But, who does such a thing!?"
    "The Artois! Your father-in-law! Of course with the help of elements from his entourage! "
    "I cannot believe it! And what about the Ratisbona? Would they also be in that plane? "
    "The Ratisbona, that is plan 'Hardi'. It is therefore essential to the plan that the plane would take off in Spain. It is intended that all the blame of the attack would point to the Ratisbona. They would be presented as the key figures of a Spanish conspiracy plot against the d’Archambaults. And who would then rise up as the great savior of the throne? Of course the Artois. 'Hardi' is actually a kind of seizure of power. Dozens of people in the Kingdom are now ready, waiting for instructions to get into action!"

    I was speechless. I browsed through the files. It seemed to be correct what Lisa said. Incredible! Where was I in? Not something that I wanted to be involved with! And certainly not for my kids. It made me furious that they, so small and harmless, would be indirectly implicated in such crimes!
    "Lisa! No one can stop that?"
    "Actually! Yes it can!"
    "Why isn’t it done ?"
    "That’s also simple: raison d'état!"
    "What do you mean?"
    "In order to place a bomb in an airliner, you need a lot of security measures to be circumvented. Also setting up such a large organization for 'Hardi' is enormously complex. The Artois cannot do that without assistance."
    "So?"
    "So, they get help from their entourage. There were a quite a few people of doubtful reputation among them."
    "I thought so, like those guys from ' Réaction Française’ for example."
    "Or some of those so-called entrepreneurs and businessmen. However, actually there were criminal figures. That kind of people supports the Artois."
    "And how are those able to get a bomb on an airplane?"
    "Do you remember Gaëtan the Beauvesque?"
    "Yes. A creepy man. Seemingly gentlemanlike, correct and polite, but clearly cunning and totally unreliable. I would not want to cooperate with him. "
    "Actually Colonel de Beauvesque. He had a high post at the counter-espionage service. He wanted to become the head of it, but he was denied that promotion. He blamed a plot from Spaniards in the secret service against him. That is why he got himself into the entourage of the Artois. In reality he was pushed aside by the counter-espionage because he had become totally unreliable. He had set up within his department his own intelligence network, which actually worked more for himself than for his organization. He even spied on his own bosses, that’s why he was put aside. The remnants of this network are his contacts that will exploit the security flaws at the Spanish airport, to put the bomb in the Charny’s airliner."
    "If people know, why are they not stopped?"
    "Look, Aurore, after the dismissal of de Beauvesque, the counter-espionage considered it worthwhile to keep monitoring their former employee. So they followed his involvement with the Artois-clan. They have dropped an undercover agent in that entourage."
    "Coincidently a female agent?"
    "If you would think it is me, then you are wrong, Aurore!”
    “And if you were, you would not tell me anyway, Lisa!”
    "Is correct! But you will have already understood that internal security at the Artois is virtually non-existent. Just look at me. They clearly have not checked me, because otherwise I would never have been able to bring you here! About that, they are very nonchalant. Far too complacent, in fact. But that way was the network of the Artois. It is now completely scrutinized by the counter-espionage. "
    "But why do they nothing?"
    "They only will do something, listen carefully, following the attack on that plane!"
    "Who says?"
    "Because only then, they have something in their hands, a case! A proof of a real conspiracy. That stuff about the claims of the Artois was so far nothing more than what non-threatening scheming of a self-proclaimed pretender. It is not a crime, as long as the plans do not turn into real action against the Crown. But secret services monitor it anyway, because the Artois bring together so many suspicious people. The attack on the plane will give the security services a sound reason to intervene!”
    “The Artois are more a threat than I thought!”
    "That is the irony! The threat from the Artois is in itself not so great. Whatever the ego of your father-in-law would think about it. But there are all those others to eliminate at one stroke now! "
    "Eliminate? "
    "There will be lots of arrests. The Artois themselves, of course, since they are the hub of a conspiracy against the Crown. Benoît, Robert, everyone you know, they all will go behind bars. And even more a lot of suspects from that entourage. I can assure you, the King’s garrotes will run well over the next year. You and me would also have been there."
    "The strangling pole? Me? Why? "
    "You were too deep in it, and you worked actively with it. The best that you would stand, was a life sentence in the Bastille or, more likely, on Devil's Island. But more than likely you would have been executed with all the adult Artois. Actively involved or not. Be sure of that! "
    My stomach turned. I imagined myself already being garroted.

    "So, we had Sans Peur, there is Hardi, and..?"
    "And Téméraire?"
    "Right! Téméraire! And that is about you, Aurore! "
    "About me? Comment..? "
    "Benoît has meanwhile come to the conclusion that the successor of King Jacques II will have to marry or be married to the eldest daughter of King Jacques II. So, shortest way to bring the Artois on the throne would be by marrying either himself or Robert to Isabella."
    "But both Benoît and Robert are already married. That is not possible? "
    "No, unless ..."
    "Unless what!?"
    "The main obstacle between a marriage between Robert d’Artois and Isabelle de d’Archambault, that's you now, Aurore!" "But that means ..."
    "This means, that the intention was that you would die. Not just die! As part of the plan, you would get killed in an assassination. Then the King would call the State of emergency, under pressure from Benoît, who would strengthen his power. Meanwhile, Robert could marry Isabella. Your father-in-law is quite a while betting on two horses, Aurore, and you would be sacrificed! "
    "But, that is not acceptable. What about my children then? "
    "They too would be killed! That would increase the dramatic effect! "
    "What!? Incredible! The bastard! And Robert knows about it? "
    "Sure! He fully agreed with that strategy! Great family, those Artois, no? Benoît sacrifices a few things. His personal ambition to become King, his rejection of an alliance with the d’Archambaults, and his daughter-in-law and his grandchildren. In return he achieves his main goal, an Artois on the throne of France, himself dictating the conditions!”.
    “Unbelievable!”
    “Actually, the most difficult part for Benoît is the sacrifice he has to bring himself. But he could not risk an election like in England, because he could not raise enough funding to bribe out his competitors. And getting the necessary support from the Iberian aristocracy would be difficult anyway, for obvious reasons! Benoît now stands for the difficult decision to give up his personal ambition to the throne, and pass it to his son. Coping with that has made him so bad tempered the last months. But once he was convinced it would work that way, he had accepted the consequences for himself!”
    “The hypocrite!”

    "And actually, Aurore, I have something else here that will interest you. "
    Lisa gave me another file.
    "Tell me, I shall read it afterwards."
    "A few years ago,, Aurore, you have undergone a medical fertility examination, ordered by Benoît, remember?"
    "Yes!"
    "Something very peculiar came out of it."
    "Then what?"
    "That your farther, Enguerrand d’Artois, cannot be your biological father!"
    "What? Impossible! "
    "Without doubt! It is demonstrated by your genetic material. Interesting for Benoît to know, of course. "
    "He knew this?"
    "He must have suspected that there could have been such a thing. His own genetic material is compared with yours. There is absolutely no similarity!"
    "But! Who is my biological father, then? "
    "No idea! The only one to know, was your mother! "
    "And what are the consequences for me, if this would be revealed?"
    "The consequences are already there! You are married to an Artois and you have children from him."
    "Of course! That's it! As Benoît already knew this in advance, then he could marry me to Robert without danger for genetic complications for our children. "
    "Voilà!"

    I was completely overwhelmed.
    "I want time to think about it all!"
    "Take your time. Take those reports with you. Then you can read them and see for yourself."
    “Lisa, where am I?”
    “In Slovenia! That’s all you are supposed to know, Aurore!”
    “Slovenia?”
    “Yes, Aurore, in the native country of your mother. The country of your real roots!”
    "What happens to me?"
    "You just stay here until further notice! Remember! If you return to France, you are dead! In all options!”
    "But ... and my children then?"
    "I'm sorry, Aurore. We had expected that you would have taken them with you to Rambouillet. When I joined you in Vendôme, we could not stop it anymore. Everything was arranged: the Gendarmerie patrol, the plane, ... "
    "I didn't know there was an airport in Châteaudun."
    "There is a military airfield. But there is no active flying unit on. It is a reserve field, used for training and logistics by the military and the Gendarmerie. There is a logistical unit that recovers the still usable parts from discarded aircraft as spare parts and the rest is demolished. It is an automated airport, usually without manned control tower. The runway is used mainly for training purposes, also on Saturday and Sunday, and the Gendarmerie sometimes uses it to fly over prisoners, so our presence had nothing suspicious."
    "But my disappearance cannot have remained unnoticed? What is the reaction? "
    "We don’t know yet.. "
    "And what will actually happen? "
    "What do you mean?"
    "Sans Peur, will that still go on?"
    "I fear it will."
    "But all those people in that plane?"
    "It is not in my hands, how bad it is. I'll be honest: we had hoped that, by getting you and the kids out of there, a delay would come. "
    "But you know it! You can still stop it! "
    "For security reason I can currently do nothing that might draw attention to me or you. I'm sorry. "
    "But Lisa!"

    (to be continued)
     
  5. Loxuru

    Loxuru Graf von Kreuzigung

    Messages:
    3,272
    Likes Received:
    17,354
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Well, just lifting a clue. The names of the projects Hardi, Sans Peur and Téméraire are derived from (left to right):
    Philipe le Hardi (Philip the Bold), Duke of Burgundy 1384-1403.
    Jean Sans Peur (John the Fearless), Duke of Burgundy 1403-1417.
    Charles le Téméraire (Charles the Bold), Duke of Burgundy 1467-1477.
     

    Attached Files:

    rb1956, Barbaria1, Eulalia and 5 others like this.
  6. windar

    windar Governor

    Messages:
    2,831
    Likes Received:
    16,884
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    So you are saying your story would go well with a nice Burgundy? I concur...
     
    rb1956, Barbaria1, Eulalia and 6 others like this.
  7. Loxuru

    Loxuru Graf von Kreuzigung

    Messages:
    3,272
    Likes Received:
    17,354
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Part 2 – episode 11.

    I was locked up again. Once in my cell, I got in a rage! You probably understand. I had received copies from the files, but first, I refused to read them! But when I got calmed down, I became curious and opened them. After all, they were about me! Honestly, these were all convincing reports, with a strong, unbiased content. It became clear to me that I had got involved in a ruthless conspiracy, in which Benoît and Robert would have used all means to achieve their goals, bringing themselves to power. With the help of some of those villains among their followers. The targets of the Artois were worth terror and numerous killings. Actually, one of their victims would have been me, and most likely both my little children too! Robert would have sacrificed his own sons, in order to get the Crown of France on his head!

    The alternative would not have been better. The part about the infiltration of the secret service into the Artois network contained gaps and uncertainties, but it was clear enough to show that a big sweep was at hand. One ‘coup de main’ would eliminate the Artois clan and their followers. There was a list of suspects in the file, distinguishing between ‘high traitors’ and ‘accomplices’. The first group was destined to be eliminated. Benoît and Robert were on it, together with others of the staff and followers, and with two women on the list : Lisa and me! It was clear Benoît had become very sloppy with his security, probably being too much self-confident. Although I wondered how Lisa got that information. Apparently, the security services had some leaks too!

    I wondered what would happen next. But I did not hear anything. Going between anger about my imprisonment and relief that I had escaped something terrible, I waited for news. News from France, news about my disappearance, news about my children.

    They kept me locked up for nearly two weeks. I was not treated badly, on the contrary, I was treated very well, but anyway, I was a prisoner. The guards, as I could call them, behaved correctly, but they understood neither French, nor Spanish, German or Italian, only Slovenian. My knowledge of Slovenian was insufficient for a conversation with them, and so, all my questions remained unanswered. After a few days of imprisonment, I was allowed to leave my cell for a simple diner, and for a walk outside as long as I wanted, in a small enclosed courtyard. But only when it was already dark, so the only thing I could see were the stars above my head in the cold winter night sky. There were no reference points to make me find out where I was. The only thing I noticed was, that it was freezing cold during those evenings. Considering the rather Mediterranean climate in Slovenia, even during the winter, I must have been in a mountainous area.

    During those days, Lisa never showed up. I became irritated and unruly, because my imprisonment took so long, and because I got deprived from any news from France. Then, Lisa was back. She looked very sad. I could not think anything but that the attack on the plane had taken place, with all its consequences.

    Lisa had good and bad news. The good news was that the attack on the plane had not been allowed to happen. Security had waited to intervene until the bomb was in the plane. The bomb itself was more than convincing evidence, and plenty of traces and testimonies had led to the Artois and their entourage. Apparently, the counter-espionage had concluded that it was politically too risky to let proceed deliberately an attack with dozens of deaths. It would have raised too many questions and would have brought too much officials into trouble if it had been revealed that security forces had known it in advance. Now they were the saviors of flight Air Iberica 314, and they could act without having blood on their hands. Our disappearance would also have been crucial in changing their mind. Security forces thought Lisa and me have fled, in order to escape being indicted for complicity to the bombing of the plane.

    The bad news was that she and me could not return to France. Hundreds of people had been rounded up after the failed bombing. There had been summary justice on a massive scale. Some of the ‘little fish’ had talked, in exchange for leniency. The burden of proof of conspiracy with the aim to commit a terrorist attack and high treason against the King was overwhelming. Numerous death sentences and lifetime or long time detentions had already been pronounced. The fate of Benoît and Robert was unknown, but they had been sentenced to death in absentia. The same for Lisa and me. Instead, a civil verdict had declared our 'civil death '. This meant that, in the areas that were controlled by the French King (France itself, Iberia and the overseas departments), as well as in England (according to an old treaty), we were legally considered as dead. We were thus void of all the rights of a living person. All my properties were confiscated. I had no more on money or property right –even not to the clothes I would be wearing. If I would be in one these territories where the sentence was in vigor, then everyone was free to arrest me and deliver me to the authorities. If I would accede to private property, the owner had the right to seize all my possessions and even to kill me without risking prosecution. In addition, I had lost all my rights and duties towards my children. I would never be allowed to see or approach them anymore.

    It was of course a huge mental blow. A week long, I refused to leave my cell, I barely wanted to eat, I hardly slept. Then Lisa came up to me. She apologized for having brought me by force from France and for locking me up here all the time. She said it had been the best for me, regardless how hard it all was for me. Lisa suggested to see it positively: according to two scenarios I would probably have died. Now I still lived, and there could be hope that maybe I could ever return and see my children back. But if I would return to France now, I would be dead!

    I had stopped resisting to my situation. Actually, I realized she had a point, and finally, I admitted it to her. She proposed to give me more freedom, now that the events in France had taken place, but I still would have to stay in the castle. I would not be able to walk far, anyway, because I had no papers, no money, nothing. But still I wanted to know one thing: who and why had I been brought here? Just because my mother came from here?
    "We did it, because you are one of us, Aurore!"
    "What do you mean by that?" I asked.
    "Welcome to Illyria, Aurore!" she said.

    (to be continued)
     
  8. Eulalia

    Eulalia Poet Laureate Staff Member

    Messages:
    20,083
    Likes Received:
    84,104
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    The Northern Forest
    Indeed - and we know now (if I've followed things right) what plans Hardi and Sans Peur were,
    but what about Téméraire?
    (and didn't he come to a sticky end? ;) )

    220px-MULO-Charles_the_Bold_corpse.jpg
     
    rb1956, bobinder, Wragg and 2 others like this.
  9. Loxuru

    Loxuru Graf von Kreuzigung

    Messages:
    3,272
    Likes Received:
    17,354
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    It was in episode 10 :
    "So, we had Sans Peur, there is Hardi, and..?"
    "And Téméraire?"
    "Right! Téméraire! And that is about you, Aurore! "
    "About me? Comment..? "
    "Benoît has meanwhile come to the conclusion that the successor of King Jacques II will have to marry or be married to the eldest daughter of King Jacques II. So, shortest way to bring the Artois on the throne would be by marrying either himself or Robert to Isabella."
    "But both Benoît and Robert are already married. That is not possible? "
    "No, unless ..."
    "Unless what!?"
    "The main obstacle between a marriage between Robert d’Artois and Isabelle de d’Archambault, that's you now, Aurore!" "But that means ..."
    "This means, that the intention was that you would die. Not just die! As part of the plan, you would get killed in an assassination. Then the King would call the State of emergency, under pressure from Benoît, who would strengthen his power. Meanwhile, Robert could marry Isabella. Your father-in-law is quite a while betting on two horses, Aurore, and you would be sacrificed! "


    Yes, Charles the Bold was killed in the Battle of Nancy, on January 5th 1477. His army was defeated by Swiss and Lorraine troops. Charles was mortally wounded. A few days later, his body was found on the battlefield, half eaten by wolves. The defeat allowed the French King Louis XI to confiscate the Duchy of Burgundy.
     
    rb1956, bobinder, Wragg and 1 other person like this.
  10. Loxuru

    Loxuru Graf von Kreuzigung

    Messages:
    3,272
    Likes Received:
    17,354
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Part 2 – Episode 12

    Illyria? Never heard of! I thought this was Slovenia. In fact it was. But Illyria was no country. Illyria was an ideal. The ideal of a free country along the Adriatic Sea. From the Isonzo to the Vardar. From Trieste to Thessaloniki. Illyria would be the fatherland of all the Slavic people in that region, people that were now, so it was said, enslaved by foreign rulers. The Slovenes and the Dalmatians by the Hohenburgs. The Albanians by Naples-Sicily. And the Macedonians by – wait a minute, those were independent, but their country still was a kind of client state of the major powers.

    Gradually it became clear to me where I was : in a castle on a top in the mountains not far from Marburg. Since I was allowed now to leave my cell at daytime, and I got more area to move, I got more view of the surroundings. The castle lay in a rather deserted mountainous area. The climate was fairly bleak and cold. But in February, some days were sunny. The view from the castle during good weather was tremendous. In the distance I could see the majestic Alps, with their snowy peaks brightly shining on the horizon. They were eighty miles away, but it was as if I could touch them. It was a beautiful sight, but watching them reminded me that these mountains were as much out of reach, as my own life was. Looking out over the mountains haunted me both for their beauty as for my feelings of despair, nostalgia, resignation and hope.

    In the castle, three staff members were apparently in charge of caring for me. But there was little real communication with them. But there was one strange inhabitant in the castle. It was a certain Josip. I estimated him about sixty years old. Josip sat in a wheelchair and he only had access to the ground level floors. He lived in a private apartment and he had his own staff in the living quarters of the castle. From his conduct I concluded he was the lord of the castle. But Josip spoke only Slovenian and some German, so that the communication with him went rather bad. At least in the beginning.

    To pass the time, because boredom struck fast, I had decided to study a Slovenian language tutorial. On paper I soon managed to read and write some Slovenian sentences that made sense. But there remained a language barrier, because I had trouble with the pronunciation. For the same reason, the conversations around me were still hard to understand. Then one day, as I tried to decipher a Slovenian text, I drew the attention of Josip. He suggested to help me out. From then on, I was regularly invited in his apartment. He was a sternly looking, but paternal man. He had a massive, robust, shaven head, with a determined look. He received me in a courteous, pleasant manner, with coffee, delicious local pastries and the equally delicious Illyrian plums schnapps. So we spent many afternoons during which he taught me the secrets of the Slovenian language. He made me understand the rules of its grammar, and the vocabulary and how to pronounce it all correctly. Soon we made conversations in Slovenian, and we practiced by letting me tell about my life so far. I told him about my childhood in Courtrai and Rome, about my father, about my mother especially, for which he showed particular interest, probably because she was also of Slovenian origin. I told him about my studies in Paris, and about the tragedy of the earthquake and how I got involved in the conspiracy of the Artois.

    Josip on the other hand revealed little about himself. He was apparently a former officer in the Imperial Army of the Holy Roman Empire. He got partly paralyzed due to what he called ' ein Unglück‘, an accident, and he now lived retired in this castle. Had he ever been married? Had he ever had children? He remained very silent about that. On the other hand, he talked a lot of his vision on Illyria. He really dreamed of a large independent state, a Kingdom that would unify all South Slavic peoples, living in peace with each other, freed from their foreign overlords. All under the inspiring leadership of Slovenia. Slovenia, where old noble families stood ready to take charge and realize the Illyrian dream. His family, as was my mother’s too, he told me, were ancient Slovenian aristocracy. His family made no claims on kinghood of Illyria, but was willing to take her responsibility, if asked. But who was that family? His name was Josip Vegaj, or Von Vetcha in German. With my increasing knowledge of Slovene, I had meanwhile learned that Josip was referred and spoken to by the staff as 'Prince'.

    It was now the end of May, but I discovered that it still could freeze here in that period of the year. The ‘douceur Angevine' from the Loire region I was used to in May, was far away. One evening, I was with Josip in his apartment. He had arranged that I no longer had to return at ten o'clock to my cell, but that I could walk around the whole night if I wanted, as long I would not (on my word of honour) enter the gatehouse. That evening he had invited me for dinner. The fire in the fireplace was burning and that was not an unnecessary luxury, due to the icy wind that was blowing outside. We had finished eating. The table was cleared, apart from the coffee, sweets and a bottle of plum schnapps. The servants had been dismissed. We were alone. He turned off the light. Only the fire in the big fireplace lit up the room now. We took a seat near the fireplace. He poured us another glass of schnapps.

    I watched him, his nearly bold, weathered head, reflecting in the fire. He was in a wheelchair, but that had not affected his character He was a man of ideals, a man with a strong will, a leader, a stern, determined, but compassionate man.
    “Also, mein Kind, du hättest Königin von Frankreich werden können!?”
    His start of the conversation, in German, awaking me of my thoughts.
    “Me, Queen of France? It was not my choice, my family wanted it from me.”
    “I understand! ‘Noblesse oblige’, as the Fransozen say?”
    “Indeed. ‘Verdammte Pflicht’, in Deutsch!”
    “Wouldn’t you have liked to be Queen of France?”
    “In France, ‘Queen’ is just the title of the King’s wife.”
    “That Lex Salica, mmh? Here in Illyria, we have no Lex Salica.”
    “Really?”
    “Women can inherit the crown here!”
    “Is it?”
    “In case all the siblings of a king have died, even a bastard child can succeed on the throne.”
    “Remarkable!”
    “This area has seen hard times, Aurore. Murder! Clan wars! Treason! So, it often happened that all legitimate siblings of a ruling king had died. So,.. The laws of nature! Only the strong survive! And sometimes, the strongest turned out to be a bastard child, or a woman.”
    “Is there a King now in Illyria, or a Queen?”
    “No, there isn’t now.”
    “No one is claiming it?”
    “Not openly. The Emperor wants to rule alone, do you understand? No more principalities, like before the Thirty Years War. That’s only asking for trouble! But there are many noble families in Slovenia….”
    “Like yours?”
    “I told you already: in case I would be asked for…”
    “Will you say yes, then? You? Or are there other candidates in your family?”
    “Maybe… it could be asked to you, Aurore?”
    “Me? But?”
    “As I said, your mother was also of ancient Illyrian nobility!”
    “But, my father…”
    “I know the story, Aurore!.”
    “But, how…”
    “Well, ..mhh.. Jazna told me about it!”
    “Jazna? Who is Jazna?”
    “That’s Lisa’s real name! She! Yes! She told me you are no natural child from the Artois!”
    “Do you know my real father, Josip?”

    He sighed. “Keine Ahnung! No idea! Wouldn’t you be interested, Aurore? To become Queen of Illyria?”
    “Queen of Illyria? Me? Are you kidding, Josip?”
    “You really look like a Queen!”
    “Really?”
    “Sure! I can imagine. Your mother must have been a special woman! A beautiful woman! A woman of valor and quality!”
    “She was a beautiful and a special woman!”
    “And you, Aurore, I imagine! You, with the regalia of Illyria! That would be wonderful! More than wonderful! You are a real queen. You have it all to become a real queen! You have all the qualities for it!”
    “But, no! I…”
    “You are very beautiful, Aurore! And very special!”
    The way he looked at me! There was real fire in his eyes! Fire as bright as the fire in the fireplace.
    “Come here!”

    I came closer to him. All the place was bright fire and intense dark shadow. So was Josip too, as he put his hands around my waist.
    “Queen of Illyria!”

    Little was said afterwards. Without words, I surrendered. Me, the Queen of Illyria, willingly gave myself to Josip, whose regalia were still in good working order, despite his paralysis. It was a strange, intense experience. Totally different from the ‘verdammte Pflicht’ I used to be forced to with Robert, in Rambouillet. Both of us naked, close to the fire, that created an intense atmosphere. Gently, I rode his scepter, while he softly caressed my breasts. Josip enchanted me, tenderly but intense. Slowly, we both took our time. We seemed to go on eternally. For the first time in my life, a man made me feel like a real, splendid queen, culminating it all with a glorious coronation march.
    (to be continued)
     
    toxidomaskjr, bobinder, Wragg and 3 others like this.
  11. old slave

    old slave FELIS RESPICIENS

    Messages:
    1,649
    Likes Received:
    9,102
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The windy Pennines, England
    This story now has more twists than the mountain road Aurore can see from the castle

    road.jpg
     
    Repertor, bobinder and Loxuru like this.
  12. Loxuru

    Loxuru Graf von Kreuzigung

    Messages:
    3,272
    Likes Received:
    17,354
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    It's called 'Queen of Chaos' for a reason, OS.:)
     
  13. Loxuru

    Loxuru Graf von Kreuzigung

    Messages:
    3,272
    Likes Received:
    17,354
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Part 2 – episode 13

    The castle stood on a steep mountain and was surrounded on three sides by high and steep rock faces, ideal for its defense. Only on the side of the gatehouse was a plateau. In front of the drawbridge of the castle, an extra reinforcement had been built with its own outside gate and drawbridge. This old fortress had been largely demolished and turned into a little park, landscaped with trees, statues and benches. As the good summer weather had come, I was allowed to walk around there during the day too.

    Lisa (I will continue to call her like that), which I had not seen for a while, had given me a good reason not to venture outside the castle. I might have been declared an outlaw in France. Being declared a civil death did not automatically mean being forgotten. Lisa showed me a poster from France with my picture on it. She and me were declared civil death. Nevertheless, there was also a price on our heads. With 'us' I mean a number of people from the entourage of Benoît who apparently had escaped, including Benoît, Robert, Gaëtan de Beauvesque , and for instance also the lawyer who, in the beginning of my 'career' in the service of Benoît, had arranged everything. And although there were no treaties on the extradition of wanted persons between the Holy Roman Empire and France, I still had to consider the possibility that I would get picked up and delivered to justice in France, just for the bounty. Staying in the castle was very strongly recommended. I also asked Lisa if she had any news about my children, but that was not the case.

    I then took the opportunity to ask her how she actually got all that information, about Téméraire and other actions. Her answer was straightforward :
    "By sleeping with the right people!"
    Now I got curious!
    “With Benoît? With others? "
    "With Benoît, Yes."
    "With Robert?"
    Lisa hesitated for a moment.
    "With Robert too, Yes, I'm sorry"
    "No problem. Robert, I have turned that page. That was only business between him and me."
    "Glad you take it like that."
    "And that information about the counter-espionage? How did you get that?"
    "That was definitely something more difficult, but yet not impossible. They used the same method to retrieve information from me, but it went in two ways, okay? "
    "Yes."
    "You see, you should always be careful with whom you start something, Aurore. Always be very careful! You never know quite sure with whom you are sleeping. Do you understand, what I mean, Aurore?"

    In the meantime she left me in the dark about what actually would happen with me. I could not stay forever in that castle, after all? But meanwhile, I had to. As Queen of Illyria. Queen of a Kingdom with a radius of about one hundred feet. With the sole consolation, the thought that, as Queen of France, I probably would not have had more space. And no prince who would please me as Josip did!

    Then, sometime in November, my stay in the castle suddenly came to an end. In the middle of the night I was awakened by Lisa. I had to dress and get all my things together. There was a huge activity in the castle. Fires were burning in all places, to burn documents. In the courtyard stood several light trucks and a van. Josip was helped with his wheelchair into the van. Suitcases were loaded, the staff got into the van too and they left. More bags, and bins with food, were loaded into the cargo hold of the vehicles. One after one they left. I had to take place, along with Lisa, in the driver's cab of one of the light trucks. The driver was a man in a camouflage uniform, and I noticed that he carried an automatic rifle.

    It was the start of a journey of at least three hours through the dark, often on winding roads. Sometimes we apparently had to hide. At one point we met a military column, which, so I could infer from the conversation between Lisa and the driver, most probably had hostile intentions to us. We were clearly on the run! Eventually, around five in the morning, we arrived at a kind of hut. It was still dark and cold, but first we unloaded the vehicles. Finally I could get a few hours of difficult sleep, in a sleeping bag, in a cold and humid place.

    The hut was rather primitive. The sleeping facilities consisted of two levels of boards, attached between walls of concrete blocks. On each board was room for three people. Showers and sanitary were in French style. There was rarely hot water. Eventually I learned that we were in Hungary, near Zala. We were on the run from a raid of the Imperial gendarmerie. The Emperor was clearly not very pleased with the idea of an independent Illyria, and he had got some suspicious groups rounded up. So, the group of Josip also got targeted. Hence our hasty flight.

    Luckily we did not stay for long in that hut. After ten days we moved to a small estate near Lake Balaton. In Hungary, we would be safe. The King of Hungary and the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire quarreled from time to time. The Emperor dreamed of a personal union with Hungary, in order to get more grip on the Danube valley. On the other hand, the King of Hungary found its borders with the Holy Roman Empire rather too long and felt surrounded by his imperial neighbor. For these reasons, the King of Hungary encouraged the movements for independence in Bohemia north of his country, and of Illyria south of it. His politics were not without self-interest, because he had territorial claims on parts of the North-East of Illyria, between the Hungarian border and the Danube. Claims that could bring about conflict with the Illyrian movement. But for the time being Hungary and Illyria had a common enemy, so we were safe. However, it was finished with the undisturbed quiet existence of Josip and me. There were always people in his neighborhood. He behaved here suddenly as a real leader, the undisputed head of the group.

    I would not remain a passive spectator any more. I learned that when Lisa wanted a word with me.
    "Aurore, we need you!"
    "Who are 'we'?"
    "I will rephrase it: Illyria needs you!"
    "Why me?"
    "Your mother originates from Illyria! You are one of us, Aurore, from now on, always remember that! And we can use all hands! Consider Illyria as your new cause to serve! "
    "What do you want from me?"
    "First! You can handle this?" She put a pistol on the table.
    "No!? Why? "
    "Then we'll teach you! Secondly, we ask you to put your knowledge and your experience that you have gained at the Artois, for serving our cause. "
    "I have a choice?"
    "Actually not! Josip agrees with it."
    "Listen, Lisa! Officially, I still am Aurore d’Artois, born in France, daughter of Enguerrand d'Artois. You claim that I am one of yours, but the only thing that has been demonstrated, is that he was not my biological father. I think I have the right to know whom it was? "
    "Ask Josip. Maybe he knows! Anyway, your mother came from here! There is no doubt about that!"
    "He claims not to know. I had already asked him."
    "Perhaps he thought it was not the right time to tell it."
    "But he knows, then?"
    "Could be. That's all. "

    So, under pressure, I learned to handle a firearm, and I started working for the Illyrian cause. I had to help designing a workable state structure, in which all the Illyrian peoples could find themselves ‘at home’. That turned out to be not an easy task, because there was a lot of diversity among the population of Illyria. That became clear when I attended meetings of the various Illyrian people's communities. At least, only a part of them. We, the Slovenians were there, and the North Dalmatians, talking Croatian and the South Dalmatians, talking Serbian. The Albanian and the Macedonian population were even not represented. During those discussions, the points that separated them, became clear. The Slovenes claimed the leadership on the future Illyria because their country was the economic power of it. The economy of Slovenia was twice as large as that of the remaining Illyria. The South Dalmatians demanded the leadership, because they considered themselves as the historical heartland of Illyria, that had brought the most sacrifices to preserve the independence and the traditions, while the other peoples had got themselves too easily be enslaved by foreign rulers. The North Dalmatians clearly could not agree with the other two and disputed all claims of leadership. They all had only one thing in common: they all looked down upon the Macedonians and the Albanians. And most of all on the Muslim communities that had stayed behind, after the Ottomans had been expelled from the Illyrian territory a century ago. I actually wondered why they wanted to include the Macedonians and the Albanians into Illyria, unless to oppress them. Apparently it was purely a matter of territorial ambitions. The Illyrian cause seemed to me more and more driven by negative feelings, against the Holy Roman Empire, against undesired populations, and eventually against each other. As if they wanted their own territory just to fight each other undisturbedly. Only a very strong, authoritarian, respected leadership would hold that gang together. An absolute monarchy or something like that. But would I like to contribute to that? Let alone join in, as I felt the growing pressure on me? This sometimes led to tensions, especially as we still lived on the estate with a large group of people close to each other. Just like back in Compiègne and Rambouillet I started to feel more and more like an outsider in my own life. I felt forced to operate in a system that was not my choice. The feeling of being in a prison without bars, was always present. Fortunately, there was also a lot of opportunity to be alone on and around the estate. The climate at the Lake was milder than in the mountains. But still, I knew it, I could not go away.

    It became clear to me that Hungary was very supportive for the Illyrian cause. Hungary was in a difficult relationship with is big neigbour, the Holy Roman Empire. The more divided the HRE, the safer Hungary felt. And secretly, France also supported the cause, since a weaker Empire meant a stronger France. These ties with the French intelligence, had once facilitated my extradition from Châteaudun. It made me feel uneasy anyway.

    Meanwhile, Josip was much less accessible. There were always people around him. I longed for those times that we had been alone together in the castle. I never got the opportunity to ask him the question that burned on my lips. In the end I got the impression that I was kept away from him on purpose. Then, Josip disappeared to an unknown destination and soon thereafter, Lisa disappeared for several months too.

    This life went on during one and a half years. That long, I would reside there, locked up, but oddly enough treated with much regard – as in Rambouillet. Was there some rumor running about that hassle of ‘Queen of Illyria’? Locked in a country estate with open gates. Oh, Yes, I could get outside. Walking along the Lake, or in the hills. For hours, all days, when my work allowed me to do. By times I was almost going mad. Remaining without news about Josip, or about Lisa. Without news about France, about the children. Without information on what the real purpose of all this was about. Sometimes I felt a strong compulsion to pack and return to France on my own, regardless of what would happen to me there. Just to see my kids just one more time. But I lacked the courage to do it. So I stayed hanging around where I was. I did what they asked me to do, and otherwise, I tried to be alone. Alone and lonely. However, a loneliness that seemed to become an addiction, especially in the surroundings of the estate. The grey Lake Balaton, a dark, still water, which, in the spring and the autumn was often hidden in mist, and frozen in winter, was an ideal place to grow and nurture depressive feelings. I only had to look through a window to the grey lake, to get seduced by dark thoughts. As if somewhere in the fog, a voice called me: 'come, Aurore, come to here and immerse yourself into gloomy feelings '. Immerse yourself into these dark grey waters! Into that dark shroud, inviting to suicide! And rarely I could resist the temptation to have myself drawn into depression. Working, I did when it was dark. Sometimes all night long. I had developed a fear for the darkness. If I wanted to sleep, and I turned off the light, it seemed as if suddenly, dark, pitch-black clouds came up to me. I endured no darkness anymore. I was afraid these dark clouds would really draw me into the lake. My rhythm of life slipped through the day and night cycle. And no one who asked questions. When I had finished something, I put it with the outbound documents at the appropriate place. I was only occasionally drafted for a meeting. In case that disturbed my life rhythm, I hardly could keep my attention to it. And I missed Josip.

    Suddenly, Josip was back. Even more, he had time for me. For several weeks he gave me a new spring in my life. Then, Lisa showed up again. She arrived with a bus full of a rugged company of Illyrians from all over the territory. It was suddenly very busy in the estate and Josip had it soon once more too busy for me. Two days later, the whole staff, including Lisa and me, were taken to an unknown destination, somewhere in the surrounding mountains. We ended up in a camp, where we got all sorts of instructions, both theory and practice, of dealing with weapons of all kinds. We learned to use a knife in combat. To my disguise, I was explained how to cut someone’s throat! We crawled through the mud and we learned hiding in the countryside. Then we crossed a dozen days in the mountains. During the day we mostly hiked from one place to another, carrying arms and a backpack, always ensuring that we remained unnoticed. Sleeping, we did in caves, in tents, in stables, ... or just under the stars. It was fatiguing, and the whole time it was cold and damp. But protesting had no sense. The training, in guerilla tactics, would take a month, after which we returned to the estate, and I was glad to be sleeping in a real bed again.

    But meanwhile, Josip had left again, and again no one knew where he was. His absence made me down. I was again the prisoner of the mists of Lake Balaton. I started to isolate myself again from my forced environment. It was in that state of mind that, one evening, I got the feeling of a being ill. My health had felt poor the previous times. Headache, severe fatigue, poor digestion, my whole bodily rhythm was completely shattered. I blamed it to the long and exhausting military exercise, which had wrecked me. That day I had already had a headache all day. I also had a remarkable sensitivity to all kinds of odors, which annoyed me a lot. I wanted to go hiking along the Lake, hoping that fresh air would do me well. But I returned back soon. My body didn't want to cooperate and opposed with all its might against the effort. And then there was suddenly that incredibly sharp pain in my lower abdomen. I thought I would die. With my last remaining powers, I tried to cry for help. Again a stabbing pain in my belly. There was blood. I fell on my knees. I collapsed.

    (to be continued)
     
    old slave likes this.
  14. old slave

    old slave FELIS RESPICIENS

    Messages:
    1,649
    Likes Received:
    9,102
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The windy Pennines, England
    I don't know how accurately this reflects the modern states in the region, but it makes sense to me. It has always been difficult for someone living in a relatively stable 'united' (Hah?) country to understand the conflicts in the Balkans, the apparent hatred between neighbours.

    Another unexpected turn, this story is now a "must read".
     
    Loxuru likes this.

Share This Page