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All For One - Chapter Eleven
11. Marie Aimée de Rohan-Montbazon
The Duc de Montbazon’s carriage ambled down the narrow passage of the Rue Dauphine towards the Pont-Neuf on the 28th of April. The Duke himself was pouring over papers, oblivious to the passing world. He was Hercule de Rohan of the mighty House of Rohan. He was looking at the statements issued by the government and their promises of reform. He didn’t believe that any reforms were forthcoming and was verbally cursing to his young daughter sitting across from him.
His daughter, Marie, was fifteen years old. She was staring aimlessly out the window of the carriage, without paying any heed to her father’s ranting. She was a beautiful young girl, with brown hair and athletic features. Her vivid green eyes betrayed boredom in her situation. She looked at the streets of Paris with envy. The estates in Anjou were beautiful, but nothing compared to the big city. But as an unmarried girl of the nobility, she was forbidden to even step out of the house without a pack of adults controlling her every move. She had come to Paris to be introduced to the Infanta, soon to be the Queen. Most girls would envy her, but Marie felt she was being manipulated. The Infanta was her age and it was her father’s idea that she should have a companion—his way of currying favor with the throne. Marie had an adventurous spirit and was never satisfied sitting at home or attending balls. She shunned the usual things that young girls enjoyed. She was bored with life and wished that something exciting would happen to her.
While Marie dreamed of excitement, Athos made his weary way from the Louvre to his residence. While he found the constant activity in the Guard de Corps interesting, he was not fulfilled. He had not yet drawn his weapon in defense of his King, and wondered if he ever would. He wore a simple brown cloak over his uniform and made his way anonymously. No one bothered him on the Pont-Neuf today, and he was glad for it. He was in no mood to trifle with anyone today. He was anxious to get home to his dinner. He had only recently hired a servant by the name of Grimaud, and was looking forward to see what kind of cook this man turned out to be. He noticed the carriage emblazoned with the coat of the House of Rohan, but immediately banished it from his mind. His mind wandered as he continued on his way, until he heard the distinct pop of a pistol shot behind him.
He whirled around. A rugged looking man was standing in the middle of the Rue Dauphine in front of the horses with a smoking pistol pointed in the air. The startled horses reared up, but progressed no further as the belabored driver struggled to control his steeds. From the stairs leading to the riverfront, two other men rushed to the carriage and wrenched the door open.
Marie reflexively screamed, startled by the sudden appearance of men with firearms. Hercule, the duke, dashed the papers to the floor and stood up between the men and his daughter. For his heroic effort, he found the end of a pistol against his head. He fell back on the seat, bleeding from the temple. Furious, Marie leapt up and charged the attacker, catching him by surprise. Her right shoulder caught him in the chest and he stumbled out of the carriage. She stuck her head out of the door just in time to see Athos rush up the way, sword drawn.
Even though Athos longed to use his sword in a proper duel, he still retained enough honor to refrain from stabbing a man in the back no matter how undeserving that man might be of his respect. However, there was nothing preventing him from cracking the assailant on the head with the sword’s pommel. Running to the carriage, he saw one of the men falling out of the carriage while his partner watched in disbelief. He swung the sword, pommel first, across his body and connected firmly with the back of the head of the closest man, who crumpled to the ground.
Their eyes met. She was immediately fascinated by the gallant young man who so easily disposed of one her attackers. The surprised bandit stumbled from the carriage. Once his eyes left Marie, she kicked out at his hand. His pistol flew out of his hand and clattered to the stones without discharging. The assailant scooted away from Athos and grabbed his sword. Leaping to his feet he attacked the young guard. Athos calmly retreated a few steps, keeping the thug between him and the third assailant in front of the carriage. Athos easily parried every slashing blow given to him by his attacker. The brigand had not one-tenth the skill that Athos had with a blade, but Athos did not underestimate him. He waited until the perfect opportunity presented itself before sending a killing thrust into the man’s chest.
He immediately dropped to the ground. Now that his opponent was defeated, the man in the street who initiated the attack had a clear shot at him. He heard the pop of the pistol and the buzz of the bullet sailing above him. He knew that he had time while the man reloaded. He dove for the discarded pistol and, once in possession, fired a bullet deep into the man’s chest, killing him.
Athos looked around, for other attackers, and seeing there was none, he sheathed his sword and pulled out his own pistol. He looked up at Marie. She gazed upon him wide-eyed and out of breath. Athos was momentarily taken away by her beauty, but soon regained his senses.
“Can you drive?” he called to the driver.
The driver called back down. “The horses are pretty spooked, but I think I can get them to go.”
“You should get inside,” he said to her. She nodded and climbed back into the carriage. He looked in. “Are you hurt, my lord?”
Hercule held a bloody handkerchief to his head. “It looks worse than it is. Protect my daughter!”
there are others.” He closed the door and holding on with his left hand, stood on the running board. He ordered the driver to take them to the Louvre. The carriage lurched and raced onto the Pont-Neuf. Nonplussed, pedestrians ducked into the frequent ramparts along the bridge to avoid the speeding vehicle. When they reached the halfway point of the bridge at the Île de la Cité, he saw André and shouted to him. André immediately ran to meet the carriage and jumped on the left running board.
“What’s all this, then?” he asked.
“Assassination attempt,” Athos said curtly. André nodded and drew his own pistol. Both men examined every window and doorway with their eyes, looking for hidden dangers. When they finally arrived at the Louvre, the other guards saw the unusual sight of two of their comrades on the running boards, and ran out to meet them. Surrounded by Louvre guards, Marie helped her father out of the carriage, and under the protection of a dozen men, hastily rushed into the Louvre.
When they felt certain they were in no danger, the grateful Rohans dismissed their guards. As Athos turned to go, Marie called out.
“Who are you so that I may know the name of my rescuer?” she asked.
“My lady, I am but a humble servant,” he said.
“But what is your name?” she implored.
“Athos, my lady.”
“Athos,” she repeated. She slipped a ring from her finger and placed it in his hand. “Sell this if you have need, but if not, keep it close and think of me.”
“Always, my lady,” Athos said, bowing.
She flashed him a swift smile, and joined escorted her father down the hall away from them. Athos watched her go. When she was out of sight, Athos turned and joined André at the entrance of the Louvre. André wanted to hear every detail of the attack, which Athos supplied.
After he parted ways with his friend, Athos restarted his journey home, his thoughts consumed with images of the young girl in the carriage. He hadn’t caught her name, but he knew her father, the Duc of Montbazon. After some thought he realized that the girl must have been Marie, called “Mlle de Montbazon.” Athos had loved only one other woman and he was struck by how different the two women were. While Anne was cool and reserved, at least he felt that he could never truly know her. Marie had warm eyes and he was amazed in the way she fearlessly confronted her attackers. Athos wondered what would have happened if he had not met Anne de Breuil so many years ago. Perhaps he would have stayed single for a while. A marriage between the House of Rohan and the Comte de la Fère would have been entirely possible. Athos tried to banish such thoughts, they would never come to fruition, but for many days afterwards he found himself thinking about those soft green eyes.
- All For One- Chapter Ten
The Next Chapter in the Three Musketeers prequel
- All For One- Chapter Twelve
The Next Chapter in the Three Musketeers prequel