Monday, December 24, 2012

the last woman - 3. companions on the road

by ameline d'ambois

illustrated by roy dismas and rhoda penmarq

as a member of the highest aristocracy, the marquise annette de normand had been trained from birth in the twin arts of diplomacy and duplicity.

so it was with no visible trepidation that she accompanied her captors to the carriage they had brought for her arrest. the younger, and apparently better bred of the two men in gray, opened the door of the carriage for her, waited until she was seated, and then, to her mild but unexpressed surprise, followed her in and seated himself across from her. one of the two blue-uniformed guards put his pistol in his belt and jumped up beside the coachman.

the other guard joined the coachman on top of the second carriage. the door of the second carriage opened from within and the older man in gray entered it unassisted.

the guard on top of the first carriage glanced back and signaled to the second coachman. he tapped the coachman beside him on the arm and in seconds they were off down the hill.

annette could not forbear looking out the window at the castle. but the carriage gained speed so quickly that she had no opportunity to see if anyone was at the front window, or to wave to them even if she had.

she leaned back. the carriage was surprisingly comfortable. she looked around the interior. it was also surprisingly clean. suddenly she lurched forward, as the carriage raced around a bend in the road, but she quickly recovered without falling all the way forward into the young man's arms.

leaning back again, she favored her companion with her most dazzling smile. "are we in a hurry?"

"i am afraid so, mademoiselle. the revolution is in a great hurry." he smiled at her. "i, myself, not so much. but i am only a servant of the revolution."

"yes, you mentioned that before. if it is not too impolite, might i inquire your name?"

"manfred. citizen manfred."

"manfred! rather a romantic name, for a humble servant of the revolution."

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