Athos Ch. 01bytamKitten69©
Chapter 01: New Arrivals
On returning from a long journey, a young man arrived at his home in Berry. On first view of this man, an observer would note his pale blue eyes which burnt with all the fire of youth and his long dark hair that gently rested on his shoulders. This young man of merely 25 years was M. Agnan Comte de la Fere, returning from a trip to Paris.
The young Comte's father was troubled by his son. M. de la Fere was nearing the end of his life and wished his only son to be married before he died. The young Comte was 25 years and had no wife to give him an heir to the La Fere estate. The young Comte seemed more interested in hunting in the woods than seeking a wife and so M. de la Fere called his son to his study upon the young man's return.
Agnan entered his father's study. The room itself was lavishly decorated with artifacts which M.de la Fere had collected from his travels around the world. The young Comte had rarely been invited into his father's study. The last time the Comte was in this room was when his father told him his mother had died. As the young man recalled the memory of that awful day, he felt his heart fill with tears. Before the young man was able to gather his emotions, he felt his right cheek become slightly damp and quickly wiped the tear away before his father was able to see his grief. M.de la Fere beckoned his son to come closer to the desk.
"Son, I am an old man of poor health and I have no grandchild. Why is this? Why do you show no interest in finding a wife to give me a grandson?''
The young Comte thought for a moment, then answered his father, "Father, forgive me for saying so. I can not find a woman worthy of bearing the rank of 'Comtesse de la Fere.' The girls in Berry are beautiful but are just that...girls....and would not live up to the title."
"But, son," interrupted M.de le Fere, "you spend all your time in the woods and fighting the servants. How can you find a wife if you do not look for one?"
"If she is worthy of the title, she will be drawn to me father."
At hearing this, M.de la Fere was slightly annoyed. "So you say you wish to seduce a woman with your rank and power? That is no way to find a wife. A woman who falls in love with power alone will not be faithful."
Seeing that he had dug himself a hole, Agnan looked for a way to escape his father's trap.
"All I am saying is when the time is right I will know and so will you."
M.de la Fere did not wish to argue with his son and therefore gave him permission to leave, le Comte bowed gracefully and left the room.
When he had left the room, le Comte headed to the stables.
His father had given him a lot to think about and he always found peace in riding around the woods on the edge of the estate. Because it had not been long since he returned from Paris, his horse had only just been unbridled and was finishing off a bucket of water. He ordered the stable boy to re-tack the horse quickly and sat on a near by hay bale. While he waited, le Comte carefully recalled every word of the conversation he'd had with his father. After a very short wait, le Comte had mounted his horse. As soon as the stable boy had opened the door, le Comte put spurs to his horse and set out for the woods at full gallop.
In a matter of seconds he was diving in and out of the trees and jumping over fallen trees and small rivers. Le Comte stopped for a while to rest his horse when he noticed a coach heading towards Berry. Normally le Comte would not have given any other coach a second look but he seemed compelled to follow it to Berry. He quickly remounted his horse and cantered towards the road, staying behind the coach but unable to see inside because the curtains were closed.
The coach stopped outside a local inn, The Golden Sun. Le Comte halted a few steps away from the coach and saw a young man get out of the coach first. The man was dressed in priest's clothes and le Comte was in the middle of surveying this stranger when he saw a beautiful young girl step out of the coach. She was as beautiful as the dawn. Le Comte had never seen such beauty. He was transfixed by her and was intent on speaking to her, so he walked his horse towards them.
The man saw the Comte coming over and tried to rush the girl into the inn but le Comte was already upon them. Le Comte dismounted his horse, walked up to the two strangers, bowed low and said,
"Good day to you both. I am Comte de la Fere the Seigneur of this district.''
The priest was still a little on edge but showed all the grace of a gentleman. "Good day to you, sir. I am M.de Breuil and this is my........sister Anne de Breuil."
Anne smiled sweetly and held out her hand for le Comte, which he kissed gently. Anne blushed slightly although le Comte did not notice. Le Comte kept his eyes on the girl.
"What brings you to Berry?"
M.de Breuil hesitated a little before answering, "We have heard how quiet it is to live here and come to see if it is true."
"As seigneur, I have rights in welcoming newcomers. Therefore I invite you both to my house this evening for dinner.
Anne looked at her brother and tilted her head slightly.
"That is every kind of you, M.le Comte. We would be honored to join you this evening."
"Very well. Is 6 o'clock convenient for you?"
"Then I shall see you both this evening at 6."
"And now I must bid you both good day and take my leave." Le Comte bowed to the two strangers, put spurs to his horse and head back home.