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Queen Of Chaos

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Loxuru

Graf von Kreuzigung
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Sep 12, 2014
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Part 4 – episode 35

They don’t give up! Lieutenant d’Artois is now dispatched to convince me.
“Well Lieutenant d’Artois, you are behaving very oddly! Why aren’t you not in Paris right now? Oh! Yes, there is already a Dauphin, named Robert, I saw it in the newspaper! But it’s not you! It is a much younger man than you! Something is wrong here!””
“I have never known my parents! I am an orphan since my early childhood!”
“And your brother, Enguerrand”
“No one ever told me about a brother!’
“So, either you have been put aside by your father, or your name is just a coincidence. What is your date of birth!?”
“The 1st of July 1992!”
That information is of no use for me it! The first of July is a fictional administrative date of birth given to foundlings, orphans, children of criminals, ...
“But why.. are you joining that ridiculous conspiracy against your new king?”
“I want the best for France!”
“For the Archambaults, or for yourself?”
“The Archambault House is history!”
“A few moment sago, you gave the impression to defend their cause!”
“They cannot come back! Salic Law!”
“Salic Law means nothing anymore either, since the king has been elected! But I get it! You suddenly got royal ambitions, right? And I would have to join the conspiracy to put aside King Robert the Third? By proving you are his biological son, and by appealing to the Salic Law, hoping to overrule the legitimacy of the election in the meantime? And are they part of it?” I said, pointing to the judge, the chaplain and the attorney?
“I do what I think is the best for France! And so they do!”
“And who are they representing?”
“The real France! People who want to make France great again, independent from Iberian meddling!”
“Oh really? I am sorry to say, but a band of a humble judge, attorney, chaplain and lieutenant, on an island far away from home, does not impress me, to set up a great conspiracy to overthrow the King of France!”
“There are others! A greater organization! But I cannot disclose who they are, you understand?”
“And what will be your part, Lieutenant? You are unexperienced? You will be a puppet! King Puppet! You will stand or fall according to their will! And what about the Iberian nobility!? King Robert got their support?”
“To hell with those Iberians! They will have to rally themselves behind France, or they will go down, and they know it!”
“Careful, Lieutenant! I am not so sure about that! A personal union can make a country great, but it is something brittle and fragile. Do you want to become remembered as the king who squandered the Franco-Iberian Union? There will be no greatness left for France after that, Robert sans Terre!”
“Non, mais…!”
“And what about me? Queen Mother? Queen Mother at the Court of King Puppet? Do not forget, royal courts are full of intrigues, and queen mothers are the most vicious intriguers of all. And what if I would be of no use anymore? Getting executed after all?”
“No! On my word of honor as an officer…!”
“Oh, suddenly I am no longer ‘la pute Alsacienne’, the wicked seductress!?. That so-called honor of an officer, Lieutenant, I have experienced more than once in prison, the last weeks, remembering how many times I have been raped in my cell or during interrogation, by all ranks! I tell you, my answer is no, I do not take part of it! I have a sense of honor that tells me I may not abandon my friends, which you have just nailed to the cross!”
“Woman, you are mad! Stop talking like that!!”
“Lieutenant!? Are you still looking for Lieutenant Chavanaux?”
“In fact, yes…?”
“Captain Ramoz has been killed with the last bullet in my gun! Did you never wonder where the other five have gone?”
“But…!?”
“Chavanaux is dead, Lieutenant! I did it! I have shot him death! Do you know why, Lieutenant? Because otherwise, he would have raped me! He and a gang of two Russians and an Ottoman! Just look inside an abandoned villa in the Saint Paul’s Quarter! If they are still there, it will be a terrible mess right now, I warn you! I killed them, Lieutenant, because they were gang raping a friend of mine, and because I wanted to save our honor, Lieutenant! I would kill for it! And I do not want to get implicated anymore into other people’s little games! I will not have myself carried to France to become a puppet in other people’s ridiculous ambitions! Forget it, all of you!”

The Lieutenant brought me back to the chaplain, the judge and the army prosecutor. He shook his head meanwhile.
“Luisa! Do you see that wooden beam on that rack?” the judge said, almost begging.
“In a few moments, we will let you carry it upstairs and then you will be nailed to it! Nailed, Luisa!. Do you know what that means? Six inches long nails will be driven through your wrists and ankles! You will be pinned to that beam like an ornament against a wall! But you will be pinned alive and you will die there! Think about it!!?”
Unbelievable! What a ridiculous situation! I am the one here who is condemned to death, but I am the one they need things from! It is almost the world upside down! I should be the one begging here to let me live! Instead, they do everything to prevent me from letting myself getting executed!

“In do not want to be part of conspiracies, I said. And if I would ask something, would you comply with it?”
“What do you want?”
“Stop the execution of my friends!”
“Too late, we told you!”
“Get them down!”
“Impossible!”
“Another question! Where is Enguerrand?”
They looked at each other..
“Who is Enguerrand?”
“Robert and Aurore d’Artois had two sons! Two! Robert and Enguerrand! If the Lieutenant is whom he pretends to be…”
The Lieutenant tried to protest, but stopped himself.
“… then he has a younger brother, Enguerrand, named after his grandfather, my father, who died, or rather, vanished with his whole family, except for me, in the earthquake that hit Slovenia that day in July 1989! Well!? Where is Enguerrand d’Artois!? And can the lieutenant prove he is really my son? These are the questions I would like to have an answer on!?

Silence fell. It was clear they had no answers to my questions. And they would neither comply my requests.

“Luisa! Aurore…! Think! We let you live! We save you from a cruel death!!”

Despite my reluctance, I realized they were right! Why not grab this opportunity without asking questions. We see what will happen afterwards. I was used to be a conspirator, after all! And maybe, the part of queen-mother could suit me, perhaps! And playing a trick with Robert and that imposter woman, why not? Facing Jasna von Vetcha! Perhaps, I would get her crucified!?
I suddenly got a strange feeling, as if my blood had started sparkling all through my body! As if I started to live again. Because of the opportunity! I would not die, at least not today, perhaps even not in the near future? Perhaps?
“Maybe… you are right…” I stammered with a muffled voice, because meanwhile, I kept thinking at my friends, who were dying a terrible death, not so far above me.

I did not know why I came up with it, but I had one more question.

“What happened to Benoît d’Artois? The father of the King?”

“He is doing fine! When you join us, you will meet him soon, Aurore!”
“Merde!” I shouted.
“Do you follow us, Aurore d’Artois?” the judge asked..
“Je suis Luisa Schneider!”

(to be continued)
 

Barbaria1

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“Luisa! Do you see that wooden beam on that rack?” the judge said, almost begging.
“In a few moments, we will let you carry it upstairs and then you will be nailed to it! Nailed, Luisa!. Do you know what that means? Six inches long nails will be driven through your wrists and ankles! You will be pinned to that beam like an ornament against a wall! But you will be pinned alive and you will die there! Think about it!!?”
That sounds ominous! If I were Luisa, there would be an audible gulp!
 

Loxuru

Graf von Kreuzigung
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Part 4 – episode 36

This time, my refusal is final! Orders are given for my execution!

For the last time, I take off my robe from Laibach. For the very last time, because the old, dirty rag gives up finally. It rips apart all over, as I pull it out. I step out of it and am now totally naked. I could have been Aurore d'Artois, Queen of France, or Queen Whatever of Illyria or of the United Dalmatia, as it had suited Josip. It does not matter. I stand here now, Luisa Schneider, the naked Queen of Chaos!

Although it had already happened several times the last few weeks, it always feels a bit uneasy, standing between strangers. But I have no time to think about it. My arms are brutally tied to a wooden beam which is put in my neck. In the meantime a large trap door at the top of the stairs opens. By a chain at the end of the beam, I am pulled upstairs, stepping sideways. This time no more moment of grace. This time it's serious! Aurore d'Artois they could have treated with esteem. With Luisa Schneider they have not the least empathy!

Coming upstairs, in open air, under The Cage, I am in hell. On one side hang Maryszkà and Olga, facing the opposite row with Smyrna and Judith. They hang naked to their cross, their faces twisted by pain, moaning, crying, writhing in search for relief. Behind me the hatch is closed. I'm being dragged on the ground. I am now with my hands on the bar. My ankles are strapped together. Three men, who were already in the cage, steps on me. They have a hammer, they have nails. ...

Powerless, forced to the ground, I watch my arms being roped tighter to the beam. My ankles are tied. The executioners talk Ottoman. They are hired. They work for a private company, specialized in crucifying people. There has always been work for them in their country, but now they are here! It is comforting (yuck!) to know that the job is done by professionals. The ropes cut into my arms….

What follows, I cannot describe with words. Getting nailed! It calls such deep unhuman anxiety that you shout every last bit of humanity out your body!. And then again as the crossbar is put on the pole, and then again when the ankles are nailed to the side of the pole. I have been in situations of extreme pain. I have given birth twice! But that pain was temporarily! Not here! The struggle for pain only begins when being nailed, but it will never end! There is no way out of it!

They hang me in the row with Smyrna and Judith. In front of me hang Maryszkà and Olga, breathing heavily and slowly moving all the time.
“Push!... Push with your feet… on the pedestal!”

I understand what Judith means. Our feet hang just above the top edge of the pedestal in which the poles are lowered. By pushing with our feet on the edge, we can relieve pain a little, and allow ourselves to breathe without having to push up on the nails, a strenuous and painful affair I had found out immediately! They have hung us like that, because the pole actually is so low that our head is at eye level. Another consequence is that our knees are strongly bent outward, because our ankles are nailed sideward to the pole. We hang here with legs open, exposing our female secrets very well! Soon as the public will enter, we may expect some low level comments!

The trap door is opened again. An about twenty years old naked young man is brought up. Immense fear is in his eyes, and when he sees us, he panics and he tries to get away. His screams turn into a horror when he is nailed. It is a terrible experience for me, forced powerless to have to watch. He is hung next to me. The following is an older man, a thirty something, actually a kind of Greek god, frankly. Black curly hair, dark skin, some muscles, and pretty good looking. He also clearly shocked as he enters The Cage and sees what is going on. If they lay him on the ground, he begins to resist vigorously. Begging and screaming, he gets nailed and is hung in my row too.

The next one is a big man. An old man, with all the features of age: old skin, a round belly. With a heavy square head and short grey hair. I estimate his age over seventy. He seems rather accepting in his fate. He lets himself be treated with resignation. However, he cannot escape to the pain, regardless how very much he does his best to suppress it. Some things are simply too strong. Apparently, he knows Judith. And I know him from somewhere!

It is not yet finished! Another man. Oh, no!! It is Milos, my former boss at the Government Office! He looks around, I see the fear on his face appear. ‘Courage, Milos,' I think. He recognizes me. ... And he recognizes Smyrna and Judith. Then he is pushed to the end of the row and crucified swiftly.

There was only one cross over now. But that would not stay empty either. It was destined for someone I also knew very well. My other former boss. The notary I have worked for. Like Milos he undergoes his execution with resignation but capitulating to the immense pain.

The old man in front of me, tries to find a comfortable position, growling all the time. He has also quickly understood that he had to push his feet on the edge of the pedestal, to find a temporary relief. Until it gets too tiring and he must lower his body. I already know the feeling very well. The muscles get tired, start to tremble, heavy sweating, and then you have to put all weight on the wrist nails. Often with a cry from excruciating pain. Moving the burden from the legs to the arms. But he finds briefly rest, pushing on his feet. I admire his strength and determination, despite his age. He looks around, to his fellow sufferers. And then gazes to me. I see through his pain a grin appear on his face.

“Bonjour, Aurore d’Artois!”
“Colonel?”
Gaëtan de Beauvesque!?

“Or are you Lisa? Lisa Kellerman? Or Jasna von Vetcha? Or Luisa Schneider? Or the real Aurore d’Artois, I presume!?”

All personnel has left The Cage. The last act was to attach a titulus tot he crosses. The same for all : ‘Spying’ and ‘Conspiracy’! The trapdoor is closed for the last time. An order sounds in the distance : “Open the gates”!

The people may enter!

(to be continued)
 

Wragg

Chronicler of Crux
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What follows, I cannot describe with words. Getting nailed! It calls such deep unhuman anxiety that you shout every last bit of humanity out your body!. And then again as the crossbar is put on the pole, and then again when the ankles are nailed to the side of the pole. I have been in situations of extreme pain. I have given birth twice! But that pain was temporarily! Not here! The struggle for pain only begins when being nailed, but it will never end! There is no way out of it!
Nicely written, Loxuru! :clapping:
 

Loxuru

Graf von Kreuzigung
Joined
Sep 12, 2014
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Part 4 – episode 37

Hours later! It is dark. The sun, that has burned the whole day on our naked bodies, is gone. Above the rooftops I spot a crescent moon. The coolness of the evening is very welcome. It gives at least a little relief. For hours I have had to fight against my own weight, against the suffocating feeling caused by hanging on my arms. I have writhed all the time to stay alive. I've had a terrible thirst from the beginning, but still, I am sweating by the efforts. Pushing my feet on the pedestal helps, but I realize it lengthens my struggle against an unescapable end, a prospect I have as yet been able to push away from my mind, my mind which all day urges me to do everything to stay alive!

There are still a handful of spectators around The Cage. The biggest buzz is over. For hours we had to support the looks and comments of onlookers. Mocking and taunting, insults, obscene comments. We had to undergo them, powerless. It came all on top of the terrible pain and the terrible efforts we had and have to endure. Many of the onlookers, I recognized. They were people from my neighborhood, people I knew. I had expected a little bit more of empathy from them. Apparently we suddenly belong to another world. We are traitors now, we have become their enemies! Crucifying people like the notary and Milos, formerly respected citizens, was a clever demonstration of power, to show that no one is protected. Exposing such people in humiliation to an angry and anxious crowd, has brought up all kinds of feelings of retaliation. Shouting obscenities and mockery to these now naked and powerless men, vented the people’s fears about the future to come.

During the afternoon quiet, when less spectators showed up, and we still had some strength to talk, we had the opportunity to reveal some things. Still, I have to accept (saying ‘I have to live with’ sounds awkward in these circumstances) that some events of my past life will always remain a mystery for me.

A common thread between all ten of us, is ‘Hellenic Dawn’. All right, Colonel Mandrakos, the new ruler of Greece, was also strongly Hellenic Dawn oriented. But there is Hellenic Dawn, and… Hellenic Dawn. In that movement, different ideological trends exist. Mandrakos stands for authoritarian rule. The local supporters, like Milos and the notary, wanted a Greece ruled by its Ancient democratic traditions, and according to the ideas of Montesquieu. No worse enemies than opposite ideas in such a movement like Hellenic Dawn. No more dangerous enemy for Mandrakos than the democratic Hellenic Dawn. It was most of all to the surprise of Smyrna, the most fanatic one, that we had all worked for HD. Curiously, it was my imprudence that has been at the origin of the arrest of the local democratic HD group. It was the notary’s book, Montesquieu’s ‘Esprit des Lois’, that Lieutenant d’Artois had browsed through in my studio. Not the content itself, but the notary’s ex-libris in it, had instigated him to have a search in his house. As could be expected from a notary, he kept everything meticulously written down, including Hellenic Dawn business. Milos, who had already been picked up, suspected of HD activity, had kept silent all the time. The arrest of the notary gave them in a few hours everything they wanted to know.

Meanwhile, it is not yet clear to me, what all happened just before, and after my ' kidnapping ' in Châteaudun, so many years back. As far as de Beauvesque (a very strong man for his age, considering how he stands his suffering) revealed to me, there was already disagreement between Benoît and Robert before my abduction. Robert was opposed against Benoît’s drastic plans of eliminating all other rivaling families by using extreme violence. He found Benoît’s plans, Hardi and Sans Peur, completely unrealistic. Robert was rather inclined to Lisa’s plan to clear the way for an election. Benoît’s plans, when they got disclosed, have brought the family into trouble, but Robert managed to regain trust from the nobility afterwards, exploiting their growing distrust against King Jacques.

One thing is almost certain: there is big quarrel in the d'Artois House. Robert could become King of the Franco-Iberian Union with the support of the French and the Iberian nobility. This to the strong displeasure of his own father Benoît, who never had put away his hate against the Iberians. Robert, however, has apparently called for continuity. And therefore, it seems, the old Benoît has plans to bring his alleged grandson (if Lieutenant d’Artois is, because I have received no clear answer about that) into the game. A dangerous game. And I had absolutely no desire to work again for Benoît d'Artois, and even less to one more of his idiot conspiracy plans. It could well be, literally, postponement of execution for me. After all, as far as I understood, Benoît was now relying on his last support, Réaction Française, not the kind of people I would like to work with.

And what about me? That abduction? Lisa Kellermann had to do with that? Or Jasna von Vetcha? According to de Beauvesque, it seems that Robert was not pleased with me, because of my lack of emotional commitment to the Artois cause. He desired to be supported by a stronger woman behind him, but not King Jacques eldest daughter, as his father had in mind. He neither was in favour of killing me, but the other solution, a divorce was out of the question, because that would have ruined all possibilities to run for the crown. So, a ‘swap’? Me against Lisa/Jasna? We resembled each other a lot. No one has noticed the change?

Why is de Beauvesque here anyway? Like Benoît, he hated the Iberians as hell. He would clearly belong to the side of the conspirators around Benoît now. Did he knew too much? Or, and this is also possible, knowing him, did he play his own agenda? It would not be his first time. Opportunism? I have tried to find out more, but since evening fell, he remains silent, alone and resigning in his suffering.

It was him who wanted to prevent me that night in that little alley. He thought I was planning to shoot Lieutenant d’Artois. He must have known that I was on Chaos. Why didn't he never notified the Artois?
It was also de Beauvesque who had warned me on the phone that one of us should not be trusted. I suspect he was talking about Judith. In particular, because that story about her partner lost at sea was not true after all. She was put here to set up a spy network. But never mind, it does not matter anymore! Am I so credible, after all? Luisa Schneider, a convicted spy myself?

De Beauvesque had kept working for the Artois, in England, to get King Edmund at their site against King Jacques. When Benoît and Robert drifted apart, and King Edmund inclined to King Jacques’ side, he had to make a choice. But he had only bad choices to make. He could no longer stay at King Edmund’s side because he had conspired against King Jacques. If he went to Robert, he had to give up his hatred against the Iberians. He had stayed in the service of Benoît as long as possible. He had been tracking down Lieutenant d’Artois on behalf of Benoît, so he had arrived on Chaos. Apparently with Judith as his local contact. With the victory of Robert, staying with Benoît meant choosing for the losing Artois. His last resort was stay hiding on Chaos, but abandoned by Benoît and now tracked down by Robert, even here he was no longer safe.

About the ‘swap’, well, that was, according to de Beauvesque, a story of three girls, ‘the Krainburg girls’. Triplets? Is it that what he suggested? Sounds incredible to me! Born from my mother after an affair with a person in Slovenia. One of them would live in France and become Aurore d’Artois. Keeping up appearances : no scandal in the Artois, a family of royal ancestry? The two other girls awaited their chance. This chance unexpectedly became an opportunity when I got involved in Benoît’s conspiracy. I still wonder whether I have met only Lisa, or both (which could explain Lisa’s ‘mood swings’ sometimes). Was I too bothered with myself, so I had not noticed there were two of them? Anyway, the most wicked of the three Krainburg girls has won. Lisa has been murdered (Illyrian family tradition, remember), the other one, me has been banished to an island and finally nailed to a cross, the third, the wicked one, became Queen of France. So, Robert got the committed woman he had desired so much, but that swapped wife wanted her own siblings being put forward for a possible succession to the throne. Even de Beauvesque has no idea what happened to Robert and Enguerrand. He only assumed that the lieutenant is my son. If even he does not know for sure, then who would, actually!?

De Beauvesque revealed something more surprising! I was not born in Compiègne! I was born in Krainburg, he told me. Compiègne was a forgery, once more to keep up appearances in the family! My life is forged from my birth act on! Who was my biological father? Let’s say that, according to de Beauvesque’s assumptions about that question, I have fucked my biological father in Slovenia (me being unaware), and probably my biological son, the Lieutenant, here in Chaos (he being unaware of it). Josip had even managed to make me pregnant, since I am convinced now that my painful collapse in Hungary was a miscarriage, rather than an acute abdominal infection (as Lisa, whoever she was, had told me there).

This is the end. I'm exhausted! I have terrible pain everywhere. I would just like to let it hang so I would get liberated from this terrible misery. But my instinct to fight and live on is still too strong. Crazy! It is my will to live that lets this torture continue. The same for my fellow sufferers. They all still give sign of life, even de Beauvesque, despite his advanced age. Even crazier, in these terrible circumstances I feel respect for him for the first time. He has all day behaved as a kind of a leader. In all the pain and humiliation he has not only kept dignity for himself. He has talked courage to us. It took him sometimes clearly a strenuous effort, but he has created a kind of mutual support, which eased our suffering a little bit. De Beauvesque took regularly the confrontation with the hostile spectators, in a way that earned my respect, because he even managed to impose his authority on them. Standing upright on the nails is a really painful matter, I cannot say, but he defied time and time again that pain. I don't know if he realizes how comforting the feeling of protection was, that he has given us in these difficult hours.

Now, there is silence. Those who talk, they talk to themselves, each in his or her native language. I hear talking Russian by Olga, Polish Maryszkà Greek by Smyrna and the Greek men, but not to each other.

I had hoped to see Pavlos, among the onlookers. But he did not show up. No one knows what happened to him.

Lieutenant d’Artois? I have not seen him anymore. Was he searching for the body of Lieutenant Ravanaux, after the clue I gave him? Whoever he might be, I hope he is strong enough to resist the temptation to take part in Benoît’s stupid plans.

“There! Milos! And look, there! Luisa Schneider!”
Some of our former colleagues of the office have arrived. Their reactions on seeing us suffering and humiliated, sound ambiguous. A mixture of feelings of embarrassment, confusion, indignation, but also lustful malicious pleasure.

Luisa Schneider! The trinity of Aurore, Lisa and Jasna! Many years ago, Benoît tried to convince me to marry Robert, and become Queen of France, by the prospect of once being entombed in the royal crypt of the Saint-Denis cathedral in Paris, under a splendid marble gisant. The epitaph would have read Aurore d’Artois, Reine de France. It still will, actually, but another Aurore d’Artois will be buried in it. My grave will likely be more modest, only carry a number and not destined for eternity. After ten years, my bones will be removed and dumped into a common grave. Although, ‘Luisa Schneider, Queen of Chaos’, as an epitaph, it would be a good summary of my life.

THE END
 

Barbaria1

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I had expected a little bit more of empathy from them.
Not likely, really ....

My grave will likely be more modest, only carry a number and not destined for eternity. After ten years, my bones will be removed and dumped into a common grave. Although, ‘Luisa Schneider, Queen of Chaos’, as an epitaph, it would be a good summary of my life.
So sad ....

Really well written story, Lox. So many nice touches and little subtelties. A truly great read!
 

Wragg

Chronicler of Crux
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Thank you, Lox, for this brilliant and fantastic story!
Finely detailed and beautifully crafted, I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of reading it.
I shall read it again one day, because it is simply wonderful.
Very well done! :applaudit::campeon::applaudit:
Unless I am very much mistaken, Madiosi will, in due course, be here collecting it up for the archive and the e-book! ;)

I might do the same, then I think it needs re-reading without interruptions. Loxuru painted a picture of a somewhat different world, and it was difficult to keep leaving it and returning. I need to lose myself in that world some time, perhaps when I'm on holiday.