Chapter 1 Meeting the kings Approval
He touches the musket nervously, aware that his three comrades and friends were elsewhere on business for the king. Something not unusual however His summoning here shortly after there leaving made him highly uneasy.
Treville unable to tell him anything only that the king wanted to see him on urgent matters. With any other time the king has noticed his absence or that he had been presented to him the most notable being at d'Artagnan's arrival in Paris where he had been accused of the death of the young musketeers father along with others.
As he now pushed his hand through his unruly hair, feeling the twinge of pain to that memory alone. Treville managing to find him at the nearest tavern with the lush apartment that was now his being a place that he did not want to go home to. Even though to his surprise the people who now worked his fathers land had sent what true few last possessions of his father which were left to him from that house which he had grown up in.
The apartment being requested by Queen Anne for him though he suspected it was her relationship with Aramis which might have had more to do with it. With what had come from his noble background filling the spacious two rooms along with the wine.
His thoughts now diverting aware of the great responsibility that he was somehow never allowed to shake. That had in many ways been his since boyhood and what his father had bestowed on him. Not helped by the fact he had been the favourite son and the one who inevitably failed.
Being a musketeer his only escape from the one woman he thought dead whom he loved and who was now the Kings mistress. As he now gave a faltering smile to his first memory of Aramis and Porthos his meeting with them and like d'Atragnan it had not went well for him either.
That he indeed had ended up on the loosing end of that fight one which neither of them has ever let him forget either. As he now frowned aware that he would gladly at any moment give his life for any of his comrades with the self destruct mechanism which he tried to hide yet went along with the drink.
Being something Aramis - like there youngest comrade being something he had picked up on way to quickly from the first the darkness and sadness of his past.
Something Aramis had not pushed him on though d'Artagnan had and his oldest friend here the most romantic and religious of the four - could read between the lines in ways that possibly kept there friendship distant something he had maintained.
Only adding to conflict between them when it came to the Queen, the king and there young son. His feelings on Aramis on this starkly clear even though he knew his feeling for the queen were all to real.
His thoughts now triggering to Milady as his eyes softly closed, that he indeed and always would love her as his head now jerked up not going there as he felt his heart miss a beat. Becoming aware he was no longer alone as his eyes snapped open. Coming to attention and that he was being summoned as he took a deep breath.
Gripping the hilt of the sword as though his life depended on it. As the doors in front of him opened. The early evening light adding to the halls vast aurora and splendour as he again fidgeted nervously his usually arrogant gait not coming forth as he continued to walk forward.
The doors closing behind him as he now neared the vast halls second set of doors which opened, the guards coming through as he entered shutting the royal doors with an audible click.
Finding himself alone again in an even more vast room and clearly the Kings own quarters and a room he had never been in before either for that matter. As his head now rose, his handsome set features measuring the room and all its contents as a voice now startled him:
'You don't approve of all this finery Athos.'
The question direct as he now bowed to his king rising quickly to answer the question:
'Rather over empowering your majesty but I guess you did not call me here to talk about decor?'
It was a question within a question the king knowing it too the handsome features giving him that cruel smile the one which he always took as a bad omen. With the king again taking him off guard:
'You are much respected by your comrades, the queen and that we all owe you our lives but I see the darkness too Athos you are a tortured man and though you don't know it. Our families crossed paths before.'
The words knocking him for six, confusion now clouding his features as he turned away from the king to take in the room again:
'I think your majesty is mistaken my father was a good noble man and I have no royal connections only what I do as a musketeer, former captain and for king and country.'
The statement causing a happy smile to come to the Kings set features his humour almost coming to the fore as the king lifted something. Giving it to him with a bow my confusion and anxiety hitting new heights as I remove the cloth.
Beholding something I have not seen since the time I was married and something which had been my fathers. Yet like many things had become lost to me as I look at the antique beautiful sword in front of me. My own initials inscribed on the hilt as I draw back my stunned silence saying it all. The king making the most of it:
'My mistress gave me this for you but not even she knows its whole significance does she?'
As I look up drawing the blade liking the feel of it, the gem stones glistening in the light with the blade true and sound. My gaze only coming briefly to the king as I become mute refusing to answer as the king answers his own question:
'There is a painting in your apartment he is your great grandfather and the man who owned this sword but what you were never told was he too was of royal blood.'
The words again hitting the mark as I quickly change the subject:
'Porthos would give everything to own such a sword but it is no longer mines by right and as for my forefathers even if what you say is true. Why was it kept from me and what is the significance now?'
The king greeting him with a serious gaze:
'Honourable words musketeer and saving the king must run in your blood Athos yet your lineage makes you an asset. One I was wholly unaware of till recently and did you not think the queen might have another reason for her kindness toward you of late it's how I found out about the painting which adorns your apartment as well.'
As I now put two and two together:
'I gather Constance has told the queen something of my past.'
The king now nodding as I hand the blade back the king not taking it as I deliberately now let it fall. The sound echoing in this vast chamber as our gaze meets swiftly.
With the king picking this moment to lay down the gauntlet:
'My son is Aramis’s and my relationship with my queen is questionable never more so than now. Yet I will not do as the council or the late Rochefort wishes I love my queen and son to much for that.'
The glint in my own eye changes as I flinch at the tone used and that his next words are meant only for me:
'You are loyal when I have given you more reason than most not to be, we love the same women even though she betrayed you by murdering your brother.'
As I flinch hard my tone no more than a growl:
'Why did you bring me here your majesty and my only duty can be to king and country anything else would destroy me but you know that.'
My head, bowing no longer looking at the king finding myself again vulnerable to the power of the king of France:
'You are relieved of all duties Athos you are as of now no longer a musketeer and your nobility and stature is of more us to me elsewhere.'
As I at last find myself grasping the fallen sword unsheathing it in an instance bringing it directly towards the king. Who steps back and that he had been ready for my outburst of irrational behaviour. As I voice it anyway:
'You risk loosing queen, country, your son and the whole of Paris if you dare send me away from my current duties and your musketeers will disband so why are you doing this?'
My hot headed anger getting the best of me my tone far to cruel as the king makes a further statement:
'Athos you sound like an old departed friend of ours and I am doing this to protect my son, the future king and my queen.'
My gaze rising as I sheath the sword, again letting it drop - giving him a nod to continue with him jumping at the sound of the falling sword.
With him changing tact in a way only a King can:
'Though you are slightly younger than Aramis it was he who helped get you in as a musketeer.'
The Kings look turning devious and cold:
'And Porthos of course and you remain Trevelle's favourite musketeer though I suspect d'Artagnan will soon fill that place.'
As I give him a glare, wishing I had never come as I now find myself in uncharted territory something I am now getting well used to in this space of this vast meeting:
'To do harm to Aramis.
Would only hurt my queen and son more and I see no reason why he can't see his own flesh and blood grow.
I also as you yourself made me aware of need Treville but as my captain and the musketeers will stand by him and he will take me at my word over yours Athos.’
As I give a defiant glance shaking my head:
'I did not think you to be so foolish and you know my place is here I refuse your wishes and you still have not fully explained yourself.'
With my blue green eyes flaring in anger the king at last flinching as I turn to leave completely ignoring him and the sword which lies between us. As he now picks it up the tone dark:
‘Milady my reinstated mistress and whom we both care for will be murdered if you stay.
Plus she is with child your child more to the point and you could not resist her forever Athos.
She was your wife and you still love her and if you don't leave Paris.
Milady and the musketeers behind completely along with your parental lineage which makes your nobility valuable to me. For it helps me expand the French empire in ways only the Duke of Wellington can only imagine.’
As I turn to quickly for a moment thinking only of her the women I love and hate in equal measure finding fresh vivacious thinking of that one night not so long ago and on that front the king has spoken the truth.
With what he has underscored with those later words making him his more than unfathomable self.
Drawing my own blade simultaneously the king seeming to enjoy this fight of his own making. Our swords clashing the king far less certain though as I use it to my advantage finding my voice:
'Do with her what you want but do not harm her child which could be yours not mines and your still holding something else back and for a king your own father would be ashamed.'
The statement hitting a raw nerve the king matching his pace his statement filled with equal anger:
'Your father also wanted more for you Athos it drives you as much as my mistress for you lost all your father held dear and I can relate to that. For you are your fathers son and he never told you of your parental line as he knew you would never leave your home.'
My blade faltering as I make a connection:
'Are you saying my brother was murdered by Milady to motivate me and that my father set me up to a path which would lead me here.'
The king hitting his answer with a simple nod more accustomed to my usual stance. As I stop looking to the family air-loom the king now holds the light from the blade reflecting of my eyes:
'I won't fight you and you are lying for your own justification to protect an unborn child which might not be yours.'
As the king now steps aside another familiar face coming to the fore the tone vicious taking the sword which belonged to my father and those before him:
'Then your fate is chosen for you Athos the long dead cardinal will finely get his wish to see you dead also.'
With an enemy in every manner of the word finishing speaking the duke of Wellington the man who brought Milady back to Paris and back into the kings hands.
Now picking up fully where the king left off, the new speed surprising him and that his years and wisdom could do with the youth and zeal of d'Artganan right now.
With him now fighting for his life - the duke drawing the first blood, the blood seeping quickly to the floor from just above his left wrist. His sword and instincts at last coming together as he fought back finely striking the Englishman across the face and would leave a worthy scar.
His skills as a swordsman following through the duke of wellington easily taking it though and like that long ago fight with Aramis when he came to Paris. One which had almost cost him his life then and what his gut told him now that he was once more on the loosing side of a battle which he was not meant to win.
As his thoughts turned inwards to his comrades and friends, those he has fought beside and saved time and again. To the young lovers he seen in d'Artagnan and Constance, Porthos who had come to his aid time and again and could on occasion still surprise him with his comments.
Both Aramis and d,Artagnan being experts at reading his soul when he had chosen to hide deliberately in the drink, the older of the two having parallel skills to his own.
With all three treating him as an older brother as his ferocity changed his confidence seeping through, the blood from the wrist still coming and that he was weakening.
As he felt a secondary blow to the chest his thoughts now focusing hearing the duke
'You made it much to easy Athos and the king does not like those who do not obey his wishes hence his now alliance with England but you always were a bit of a rebel.
Even for one of the most trusted musketeers in Treville's ranks and a man who temporarily held his place as captain before I changed all that.
With the tone becoming deadly:
‘Captain Treville like the others will mourn your death but much will be gained and maybe I am saving your possible unborn child great grief.'
As I turn sharply dodging the blade while at it my cry ringing out emotions and turmoil over taking me as the duke finds his moment. As the steel of the blade hits deep my cry changing as I fall back from the sword which is my birthright, the cool floor enveloping me.
My eyes closing to the world feeling my life blood seep from me. That death is indeed near as I hear a female voice one I know and love with it coming from that world I am leaving.
It is her voice, Milady and that she is begging for my life with that self destruction that I have always craved now coming from the most surprising of places the king himself.
As I relent to all, no longer caring knowing that this time it is indeed over that the mighty Athos has finely met his match, my death probably only giving her satisfaction anyway as all fades to black my hand for the last time falling from the musket of the sword....
To be continued