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Seals of Power
The carriage rumbled through the forest, shaking it's passangers.
Comte de Montmiraille à Sartpassant sighed and leaned back
in his seat. His daughter, Jacqueline Henriette watched him
with concern. He'd came all the way from Montmiraille to the
little convent school where she'd been educated for the past
couple of years to take her home. But he was an old man and
the long strenuous journey was exhausting him. But soon they
would arrive at home.
She couldn't wait to see Irene Corbeau, the woman who had
been like a mother to her after her real mother had died.
The woman who had taught her to survive, who had made her
strong. Her father had always had a soft spot for her, granting
her every liberty she demanded. Mme Corbeau had directed her
wildness into the right way, giving her a strong will, but
also wisdom. But then, her aunt had persuaded her father that
her formation would be better finished in a convent, to prevent
Jacqueline from having a free will - God forbid! - and - most
important - become a good wife for one of the nobles who wanted
to link with her family. She was now in the age of marriage,
but she despised the idea. She had other plans than spending
the rest of her life in this golden cage. Luckily her father
had promised her that she could choose her husband-to-be herself.
Well, that choice could wait a while.
Jacqueline grinned to herself. She was certainly looking
forward to see Irene again and discuss this certain matter
with her. She would be delighted to think of a strategy to
hold off the unwanted suitors. Planning and scheming were
her favorite pasttimes.
Suddenly she heard a noise and the carriage came to an abrupt
halt. She fell forward and had to cling to her father to not
hit the floor. Angrily, her father opened the door to see
what was going on outside, but he saw just long legs dangling
from the top of the carriage. The young comtess was surprised,
she hadn't even heard someone jumping on it's top, the owner
of these legs had to be light-footed like a cat. She became
evidence of that as the man let himself drop to the floor
elegantly to face her father. And he was good looking, too.
Young and handsome, strong in both body and will, as one could
easily see. And raiding them. Men, similary dressed as their
leader - Jacqueline had no doubt that the one in front of
her held that position - , covered the Comte's men, swords
in their hands. A young girl with short red hair ran around
between them, taking their valuables.
"What do you want?" Her father asked with a strong voice,
the strains of the voyage forgotten.
"We're jus' some hungry wanderers, asking kindly for a donation."
His men roared with laughter at their leader's joke. So he
was a thief AND he was making fun of her father. That got
him some minus points at Jacqueline's scale.
"Monsieur, just give us what we want, you don't look as if
you would miss it, and we'll leave you and your little sweetheart
here alone. What do you think?"
"How dare you! This is my daughter!"
Jacqueline could barely hold back. Anger was boiling in her
and blurred her vision. Just the presence of her father kept
her from leaping at that guy and scratching his eyes out.
So he was impertinent, too. Jacqueline didn't like him. Big
"Is that so? Well, your 'daughter' is quite pretty, we might
as well take her instead of your jewels."
Again, roaring laughter from his men was the response. The
Comte was so shocked he nearly forgot to breathe. His face
was turning red, but before his anger could erupt, his daughter
exploded. She tried to get past him, a dangerous look on her
face. He could barely hold her back by her upper arm while
she was already insulting the thief with swearwords he had
never imagined a lady to KNOW. And his little daughter was
just USING them! The thief seemed equally surprised at her
sudden outburst, but then laughed out loud.
"Wild thing you got yourself there, Comte." He said while
ripping off the necklace the young woman was wearing.
He looked at it closely, seizing it, then tossed it to the
young redhead who catched it with the blade of her knife.
The thief returned his attention to the scowling comte and
his furious daughter. A huge grin spread over his face that
Jacqueline, under different circumstances would have called
impishly cute, but now it digusted her.
"Ah, don't take it seriously, ma chère, jus' kidding."
"Isn't it enough that you're raiding us? Do you have to make
fun of us, too?" Jacqueline asked, slightly embarassed by
his familiar address.
The thief seemed to consider this for a moment, then nodded
"Yes, I think I have to, that's the funny part of my hard
Again his men met this comment with laughter. The comte had
enough of this scenario. He pulled his daughter back in the
carriage and left it in the same movement. Though he was a
tall man, the young thief was even a few inches taller Jacqueline
"That's enough! I didn't expect a thief to have manners,
but you're exceeding the limit! I won't let my family be insulted
by a lousy street rat, no matter how many men you have there
backing you up. You will excuse for these insults immediately!"
The comte said, his eyes firmly locked with the thief's, who
seemed to have lost his humour. He sensed that this conversation
was turning serious, and the comte calling him 'street rat',
a title he had heard too many times and still despised it
like nothing else, didn't help. His jaw set angrily, he closed
the distance to the elder man.
"What about you take your little daughter and leave before
something happens that we both would like to avoid. I have
what I came for and you can survive for all I care. But don't
ever cross me!" He told him, an equal pride shining in his
eyes as in the comte's.
"So there's just one way. I have to reestablish my honor."
The comte draw his sword and lifted it to his face in a gesture
of greet to his opponent. The thief took a step back to have
space to draw his own weapon, but that wasn't neccassary anymore.
An arrow trembled in the old man's chest and he broke down
soundlessly. Not as soundlessly was the scream that escaped
his daughter's lips. Jacqueline shoved out of the carriage
and kneeled next to her father's body in an instant.
The young thief turned around angrily to find the assailant.
He immediately saw the content face of one of his men, wearing
a cruel smile and still holding the bow. He snorted disgusted.
Sure, who else?
"Chatton, what do you think ya're doin' there?" He yelled
"Savin' yer hide?" The one called Chatton yelled back, still
smiling, confidently. His leader believed him no second. Chatton
and he didn't get along that well, the elder one would stab
him in the back anytime. He had killed the man out of fun
"I was absolutely balanced, no need to kill a man of honor
like a coward. Don't ever dare to do something like that without
my strict order again, do you hear me?"
Chatton snorted. He didn't seem to hold his leader's principles
too high. But the thief had already turned his attention back
to the dead comte and his sobbing daughter who clenched to
the corpse desperately. He touched her shoulder, but she slapped
his hand away. Jacqueline turned to look at him, a cold fire
burning in her soul.
"You!! You killed him! You killed my father. He was an old
man and YOU LET YOUR MAN KILL HIM FROM BEHIND BECAUSE YOU
WERE TOO COWARDLY TO FIGHT HIM LIKE A MAN OF HONOR! I'LL KILL
YOU FOR THIS!" Jacqueline attacked him with an unarticulated
scream. The thief held her off by her wrists, trying to calm
"Look, I'm sorry for what happened here, wasn't supposed
to. But you should really go now before the situation escalates."
He motioned for one of the comte's servants to take care of
the comtess, then let go of her. She slowly regained her composure.
She looked at him with more dignity and cold hatred than he
had ever seen on a person.
"One day, thief, no matter where you will try to hide, you'll
wake up with a knife at your throat. And I will be there.
And I will laugh. Never forget this. You will die!"
With these words, she entered the carriage, took her fathers
body in her lap, and let the carriage drive her home. The
thief looked after her and suddenly felt colder than anytime
before in his young life.
Continued in Chapter
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