I am terrible at starting Fanfictions and not finishing them. But hopefully this will be a break from the norm as I'm only planning on writing five sections to this story, the final four being somewhat longer than this first entry. Any comments or criticism are welcome and I hope you will also check out some of my other writing if you have the time.
Where Turmoil And Terror Begins
He'd been winning, he was sure of it. The opponent had afforded him every opportunity possible to end the contest quickly and devastatingly easily. In the end he'd simply dragged it out to avoid embarrassing the young noble too badly and to could throw in a little extra sword work. The boy, Phillip, had family in wealthy and powerful places, it wouldn't have done for d'Artagnan to have the boy on his arse after the first five minutes and it wasn't difficult to judge where the next strike would be.
Brought up on stories of great musketeers and desperate to prove himself Phillip had appeared at the garrison early that morning. He shifted from foot to foot, knotting his dark hair nervously through his fingers as he waited for D'artagnan to unsheathe his sword. The boy's stance was a little off and the tremors running through his arm could be seen in the waver of his sword. d'Artagnan put it down to nerves and allowed the boy the first move, side-stepping a rushed lung and sweeping the next blow away with ease. Grinning her kept his eye on the boy, smile widening as the next blow came lashing forward.
Athos had glanced to the side, turning his head to say something to Aramis and looked back with laughter playing around his lips. With Phillip between them d'Artagnan could just about see him, his head visible over Phillip's shoulder.
"d'Artagnan!" Athos' voice rang out across the garrison and d'Artagnan suddenly felt the world wrench violently beneath him. In front of him Phillip's face danced, looming further and further above him as Phillip seemed to grow in size.
Porthos had already been moving, feet pounding the dust before Athos had, had chance to speak. Sprinting across the training grounds he'd been on his knees with Aramis still standing on the sidelines frowning. Athos wasn't been far behind and soon enough his hands joined Porthos' tearing at d'Artagnan staining shirt to get to the wound below. d'Artagnan's hand wrapped around Porthos' wrist, confusion creasing his features.
"Shit." Porthos' voice was tight, his eyes darting as he worked.
d'Artagnan heard Athos barking orders, the voice blurring as the world seemed to soften and simply lying still became a much more appealing idea. If only the others would be quiet then the situation would be rather peaceful indeed.
"-rtagnan! d'Artagnan!" Athos was trying to talk to him, hand pulling at his shoulder and sending his head lolling from one side to the other.
"I don't think he can answer Athos," said Aramis, now crouched alongside the other two.
"He can and he will! d'Artagnan!"
"Athos! You're not helping him. We need to stop him from loosing anymore blood!"
There should have been pain d'Artagnan realised, pain and pressure, pressure from the hands clustering against his skin, doing their best to seal the cut oozing blood and pain from the wound itself. He felt none of that though. It seemed for some reason that should have worried him. He was wounded wasn't he?
There were voices again.
"Get him on the table and for God's sake fetch a bloody physician."
"The noble boy. Phillip or whatever the hell he was called. He's gone."
"Probably ran off. Must think he killed one of the King's musketeers and nearly pissed himself."
"Nah. I don't think so. I've got this feeling-"
"Later! Right now you need to be keeping pressure on that wound."
"Aramis. Do something."
"I am. I'm trying."
The last voice was Athos. d'Artagnan could tell that at least but after the words all seemed to melt into nonsense. There were shapes. Things shifting in and out of view as they moved around him. It didn't matter though. Why would any of it mattered?
"You did it then?"
Phillip nodded, careful to keep his face hidden deep in his hood as he slid the sword across the tavern table and towards the thick-set man opposite. Purpled lips pulled back two rows of blackened stumps and a forked tongue.
"That's yours laddy, a thank you gift from the boss for a job well done."
"I don't want it," Phillip mumbled, his fingers trembling as he tried to reach from his drink. He misjudged the distance and stubbed his fingers against the glass sending wine spilling across the table. The glass bounded twice and then fell to the floor where it smashed.
"Clumsy one ain't you," chuckled the man. "Don't suppose it matters now though does it?"
"Please," Phillip whimpered. "I just want this to be done with!"
The man clicked his tongue and sucked the air past his ruined teeth.
"Well you see..." he said, drawing out his words and tilting his head slightly to the left. The silver bar treaded to what was left of his right ear caught the light. "The mark ain't dead and the boss ain't gonna be happy until he is."
"But the sword," Phillip whimpered. "You said a scratch would do it!"
"I know what I said, but clearly I was incorrectly informed by the associate who so kindly supplied me with the solution employed upon that sword."
Phillip laced his fingers together and pressed his hands against the coarse wood of the table-top.
"So you still want me," he whispered, his voice wavering.
"You?" chortled the man. "Holy mother of God no! You're as useless as a wine glass in a house bare of drink! We ain't go no more need of you."
"So then what?" asked Phillip, his voice strengthening slightly.
"You go home," said the man. "And throw yourself from the top floor, of tallest tower of your father's impressive, old castle."
Underneath his hood the colour drained from Phillip's face.
"Pardon?" he squeaked.
"Well you see there was some debate over what we'd do if the D'artagnan boy was dead by the time I met you tonight. A couple of the council wavered towards mercy and letting you crawl home to your shallow, little life, but most of them were keen to see me wring the neck of any noble born who happened to step in my way.
The adam's apple in Phillip's throat bobbed.
"So you're going to kill me."
"No. You're going to kill yourself."
Athos' neck ached and he could feel the years of his age hanging across his shoulders.
"He lives friend. Be thankful for that," Aramis said, passing Athos another bowl of soup that would be set aside untouched once it had turned cold.
They sat in d'Artagnan's room at the garrison, watching the boy as he trashed against his bed sheets against the monsters in his nightmares.
"Any news from Porthos?" Athos asked, his voice cracked and brittle from forgetting to drink and sitting silently for so long.
"Not yet. He's moved into the Court of Miracles in the hope that someone he used to know might have something that will give us answers."
Athos let out a bark that was supposed to be a laugh.
"We need an antidote. Not answers."
"I know my friend but one may lead us to the other. Whatever the poison that young Phillip coated his sword with, it was vicious. I fear that if it ravages d'Artagnan for much longer then there will be no bringing him back."
"He'll die," Athos said.
"Perhaps," Aramis replied. "Or he may simply never wake, wasting until his body can no longer support life. Neither provides us with much comfort I'm afraid."
Setting aside his own soup Aramis stood and moved towards d'Artagnan's bedside.
"It is the fever that worries me most though."
d'Artagnan whimpered in his sleep. Lashing out against something that the other two men could not see and almost striking Aramis in the process. Catching hold of the boy's wrist Aramis brought it close to his own chest, holding onto it as d'Artagnan yelped as if burned and tried to wrench his limb back.
"Calm young friend." Aramis soothed, pulling the cool cloth from the bucket of water beside the bed. "There are no demons to hurt you here."
The words had no effect and d'Artagnan lashed out with his other arm, catching Aramis this time and opening a cut across his lip.
Athos stood to help, stepping forward to pull both of d'Artagnan's hands into his own.
"He must not die Aramis. He must not."