Athos did not press the boy for any response to Aramis's words. It was obvious that he was trying to absorb the revelations, desperate to comprehend all that it meant.

Instead he went to the fire and stoked it a little, anxious that room should stay warm for his patient.

"….Athos?" Philippe said timidly.

The old musketeer turned around and looked at the young man.

"Do you know the King? My…my twin?"

Athos swallowed hard. The mere thought of Louis made the revulsion rise in him.

He managed to nod.

"Yes Philippe, I know him."

"Is he…is he really as bad as Aramis has said?"

"Louis is a bad King, yes," he said, incapable of hiding his hatred.

"What has his done?"

Athos closed his eyes and thought of Raoul. A handsome young man, his whole life ahead of him….The tears came.


In spite of himself, Athos had to run from the room.

Philippe looked after his rescuer, terrified by his reaction.

He dragged himself up in spite of his pounding head and made to follow the older man. Using the wall for support he struggled onto his feet. He felt unbalanced and dizzy but he was determined.

Like a new born colt he stumbled to the door and out into the corridor.

"A..Athos?" he said uncertainly.

Suddenly he was overcome by weakness. Without even a moan, he fell heavily to the floor.