t was a matter of a few weeks after Sebastien’s death that I found his personal journal. I had not been looking for it, nor had I intended to pry into those thoughts that were most certainly his and his alone. The dark brown leathern covers looked well worn, used and kept amongst my husband’s private things. I thought, in our years together that were now all but too short a span of time, I had seen him writing in it, as he had seen me writing in my own, but far more immense book. This one now beckoned. It was an invitation, and I could almost see him standing there in front of the fire, holding his precious tome out to me and saying, “I want you to know, Faelyn. I want you to know all of me. See this beast of a man that you have married and locked your soul to for all that he is.” Wordlessly, but not without gratitude I accepted that invitation.
As I parted the covers I know that the book was made with great care, the book maker had chosen the best in leather and paper to assemble it. It was made for a nobleman, made to last, and by its manufacture I knew it had been costly. Sebastien would have accepted no less as being a proper place to set down his thoughts. Inside the face pages, I recognized the refined and familiar flourish of my husband’s handwriting:
Mémoires de Monsieur le Comte de Rochefort
He began at the beginning, about his premature birth that was the result of a drunken coachman overturning the carriage of his parents. Sebastien spoke of how no one had expected him to survive being born nearly two months before his time and how his mother had died a mere four days after his birth. He talked openly of his childhood, of his love and devotion for his elder sister and his friendship with the young Comte de la Fere, Oliver, who was later to become Athos. The tales of their mutual mischief and escapades as young men spoke volumes about the near-brotherly bond between the two of them. They had truly been inseparable. Where Oliver had at times been inerested mostly in fun and the crueller of the two, Sebastien had been studious and kind, focused upon the goodwill and well-being of his role as the future Comte de Rochefort. He took to heart the responsibilities he bore within that title. All of his fears, his frustrations and concerns were here. And while most women would bristle with jealousy when reading of their husband’s past loves, my heart was overjoyed at his finding love with his first wife, Genevieve Soleil. I was at once thrilled to read of their grand news at expecting their first child; only to weep bitter tears of sympathy with the knowledge and his elaboration of her senseless death at the siege of La Rochelle. Here is where my angel come to live among the world of men had come to be fallen. His rage, grief and anger were palpable.
As I read further I came to know of my husband’s direct involvement in the death of King Henry IV, and his betrayal of the Musketeers. He retold in detail how he had lost his eye at the hands of the elder D’Artagnan. He had kept nothing from the page when recounting the schism between he and Athos and how once brothers could become the bitterest of enemies. I learned of the plots, the murders, the extortions and the tortures of countless men and women and the level of his involvement. There were times where he had taken paramours only to destroy them with the same efficiency that he demonstrated in everything else. This he did all in the service of the political ambitions for Cardinal Richelieu. Sebastien, now the Comte de Rochefort, acted as Captain of the Cardinal’s guard and as both the Inquisitor, executioner and enforcer of the Will of the Crimson Cardinal. Where some women might reel back in horror at such revelations about the man that they had married, I did not flinch nor turn my eyes away. I understood it. I could taste the bitter fruit of it on my tongue and I accepted the gall of it. Every word was imbued with the sound of his voice and I could hear him in my ears. “Yes, Faelyn,” I could hear him say in that refined yet deep rumbling voice of his,” I am that monster that Heaven has rejected, and in spite of my connections, Hell has no need of.”
I then came upon the passages concerning our meeting, the endless arguments over religion, politics and Power. He spared no account of his frustrations at me, although I could not help but smile that even then, in spite of our differences which lessened over time, his fascination. A silent tear slid out of the corner of my eye and my heart ached when I read the passage where the man who was most noted for always wearing the black of mourning had come to realize that he believed his heart had found love again, and I was the object of his new found affections. I noted the date and realized that it had been far sooner than I myself had realized that I loved him, too. Had he even given me the slightest indication at that time, there is no doubt in my mind that things would have been far different for us. The night he had been called away on urgent business for the Cardinal, he had intended to say so. He wrote on during those long months away of his longing to come home, to write, but not being able to do so and his joy at at last being able to come home, only to have his hopes dashed through my having become affianced to Athos.
I wanted to break away to weep with the shame of it, but still the ethereal hand and voice bade me to continue. There was an account of the night when Sebastien’s men killed Athos and Sebastien slew each and every one of them for their dishonour and betrayal of his one-time brother. With a straight face he had lied to their widows about their noble deaths and like the Count that he was, saw that the Cardinal compensated the wives and the families left behind. His sentiment for me had in all of this not wavered, and he was determined to remain respectful and wait out the length of my time of deep mourning. It was very nearly to the day that it was to have ended, that Sebastien re-entered my life. We were married, again, within what was considered respectable. He was a nobleman, and neither his nor the new Comtesse de Rochefort’s honour would be wondered about. Peace would be his, all that he had ever wanted had fallen finally into his hands and into place. It had, it seemed, until Athos, not among the dead, came back to challenge Sebastien to a duel. Sebastien would not tell me of it, he of course, would not lose and he would defend that which he had earned. It was that day that I found him in the mud, held him until he died in my arms. He had been unable to form the words, his throat slashed, both of us covered in his blood.
Now, having relived everything until that moment that happened in our lives from my husband’s perspective, I clutched the tome to my breast and wept. The room swam through tears. I wept not because of what I had read but for the times I had misjudged him. For all of his wretchedness and temerity, I had come to love him not less but rather that much more. How, I wondered, would I explain to him that I had read his private words once I reawakened him from the Land of the Dead?
Later that night, I fell asleep in my clothes, the book still clutched tightly to me, I dreamt that Sebastien came and placed a small kiss upon my brow before leaning back and looking at me with his one eye. “There, Faelyn,” he said, “now you know .”
Muse: Fanny Fae / Faelyn
Fandom: Original Character / Folklore / Mythology
Word Count: 1301 (or thereabouts)
OOC Note & References Blithering: This story was written as close to the canon of the muse all_forme and what has been created around the Three Musketeers Fandom in both the novel and movieverse. Both Faelyn and I must give grateful thanks to Monsieur and his amazing scribe.
The Mémoires de Monsieur le Comte de Rochefort was written by Gatien Courtilz de Sandras in 1678 and this book, along with a similar fictionalized memoirs of M. D’Aartagnan, served as the major sources of inspiration for Alexandre Dumas’ many masterpieces, including “The Three Musketeers”. What many fail to realise is that de Sandras penned these books having actually known the real men behind the stories while she had served in the French military. Dumas was merely borrowing from history, as he had a tendency to do. It would seem also, that Alexandre Dumas lifted more than just the name of the Comte de Rochefort from de Sandras’ work. It would seem the entire plot device regarding Athos’ wife, Charlotte and the brand of the Fleur-de-lis was borrowed wholesale from de Sandras’ account of Rochefort’s stepmother.
Between Rochefort’s Scribe and myself, we own copies of M. Le Comte de Rochefort’s memoirs in French and in its English translation. Whether in French or English, the book is considered extremely rare and yet we both have endeavoured to remain as true to M. de Rochefort as possible. He would demand that of any biographer, really. And even though he is, according to his scribe, (and I will definitely agree), an unmitigated, arrogant French asshole that is every bit the bastard that his reputation infers that he is – his wife, however, absolutely adores him. Anything less as far as effort on our part to recount any of their collective stories would be considered completely unacceptable.
And lastly, and certainly not least, both Rochefort’s scribe and I would also like to thank Mr. Michael Wincott, whose portrayal of M. Rochefort started the both of us down this long and winding road of research. It’s been a fabulous ride! 🙂