« Et finalement, qu'est que c'est l'histoire ? »
La Rose Jaune
Rosalie still remembers the thrusts of the swords, the sounds of metal against metal going clang-clang-clang as the sharp, bell-like voice rings through the air. It was a voice of tough love, a voice both mocking and commanding, a tone of clashing, fiery passions and irresistible charm. Years have passed, yet the voice and hair and eyes refuse to fade, and the memories have stayed so long that Rosalie could not imagine life without them. After all, the dreams of youth remain forever, even as the youth matures, and the dream herself is literally shot through by a dozen bullets.
She also remembers those other blue eyes, the ones larger and rounder than that of her hero's, though by the end, they had grown so frail and hardened that Rosalie was grateful for the lack of Oscar's presence. The owner of that second set was something Rosalie could never understand, a pot of passion and self-destruction, of capricious will and boiling suicide. She isn't sure whether she'd felt sorrow or vindication when the guards had led Oscar's former protectee away for the last time. But the white rose remains in Rosalie's room; it will stand for as long as paper retains color.
The executions did not stop there, and the emperor was soon to take over. The knowledge that this fight was what her beloved had died for sends a wave of righteous anger through her that only Bernard can quell.
Occasionally, images of mothers and sisters run through her head, a sharp reminder of the difference between the "what should have been" and "what actually was". But whenever the pain threatens to tear itself into regret, she closes her eyes, imagines a lady on a white horse, and lives on.
La Rose Noire
The thrill of the adrenaline is something Jeanne Valois would never forget, no matter how long she lives, though most likely her days are numbered. It is the rush, the knowledge that she could best anybody, that she was truly meant for more than what God had given her.
It's not her fault she isn't like Rosalie. It's not her fault she isn't content with beggar life. And if her strong, clever will was such a source of evil, why would God have implanted it into her soul?
When it all comes down to it, it's the world's fault anyways. They could have given her a happy life, gave her a normal route to contentment. Instead, it was either the black rose, or a life of living death. She simply chose the path she liked. How could they blame her for that? And so, she lives in a way silver-spooned Oscar would never understand, or at least, Jeanne would never know how much she understands.
And with these thoughts, Jeanne turns the entire country on its head. She commits the greatest crime in all of French history, and destroys the Queen's reputation beyond repair. With honeyed words and swift movement, she causes the disappearance of 20 million dollars, and ignites the country in the sparks of revolution.
And Jeanne vows, that even as her loneliness entraps her, even as her bottle consumption increases, she will not feel regret. No matter how much that inner pain pulls her into the depths of hysteria and madness, she will never allow nostalgia, never hope for a different ending. For this is the only way things ever could have been, the only way that offered some semblance of salvation. And in the end, when Jeanne realizes that this salvation would not come, she laughs ironically and sips continuously and dives headlong into flames.
Alain doesn't bother in war and politics anymore. Why should he? It's not like Napoleon will matter in the long run. Time will pass, and he'll be just another Robespierre and Antoinette, just another little player in this crazy game called government. Smooth words and fluff promises, Alain doesn't need them. He has his farm, and that's enough for him. Thank you very much.
But his neutrality isn't entirely true, and Alain knows it perfectly well, for if she returned, Alain would gladly give his life---and heart---to the service of Oscar Francois.
But like his mother and his sister, the Commander would never return. She would remain forever with Andre, happy and beyond his reach.
So, Alain hoes his fields and is perfectly content. He plants seeds in spring and harvests in autumn and talks with Bernard whenever he can. And he smirks or shrugs disinterestedly whenever his friends starts speaking of politics, because the world had only one hero, and all will falter in her light.
L'Ombre de la Lumière
How could such release be possible?! Andre thinks as he submerges himself in the angel. Not that her spirit could be approved by the clerics, but isn't the virtue of tranquility overplayed? At night, Andre now drinks in the smell of hair, the warmth of flesh on flesh and the sweetness of smiles. By day, he follows and serves her as always, but these moments have bloomed a radiance as they have never had before. He now greets the noblemen she meets with an honest cordiality. Why should he envy or fear them? He has more than they ever will.
Once upon a time, Andre had had nightmares, living dreams powerful enough to frighten the most lustful and bloodthirsty of men. He was Prometheus against the rock, Anthy against the Swords. He'd been torn into and ripped out of and torn into and ripped out of and screamed and bled and rebled and lived a million deaths all for the sake of the world, his world. The gods condemned him for his hubris, punished him for unlawful devotion. He continued warming and shielding and unendingly drew blood. Other times, Andre himself was the Swords, a million blades living in such simultaneous lust and terror as to make Hel herself shirk in agony. Tortuous cravings ripped through his body with satiating and horrific dreams, in which desire was satisfied with the touch of ravished flesh in poisoned wine.
So why then, did their soft moments seem so sweet? Why were their times of happiness so encompassing, so all-engulfing? How was it, that for every kind gesture he made and she reciprocated, Andre's heart would fill with that unbridled, secret joy? For every moment that Oscar spent with him, laughed and argued and fought and beat him, Andre felt his affection grow. Could he make it last forever? There was just something about Oscar, something about serving her, a majesty which stirred the very bottom of Andre's heart and soul. If loving is to suffer, he thought, then he would suffer every day, if not for himself, than for the sake of this incredible, dominant spirit.
And so, the years passed and the two of them fought and waited. Fought for themselves and their country and waited in hope of resolution. They fought and waited. Andre grew, and Oscar discovered. The changing winds blew and breathed life into their battered, steadfast souls. And as the two of them transcended to something above all current understanding, Andre smiled, and light and shadow met in truth for the first time. And now, they rise and fall together as their bloodied, triumphant selves. They are tainted and terminal, but victorious nevertheless.
La Rose Rouge
Antoinette often wonders about the battle, about when the fall began. How much of it was her fault? How much the world's around her? She looks back and tries to piece tragedies, but doesn't get straight answers. And in all honesty, she doesn't except any, nor is she sure she needs them.
The sharpest memories are her emotions, and her strongest emotion is pride. She views herself as having survived on it. No mistake or tragedy would efface it. But her pride has become hardened and ossified, and it has always lacked omniscience. As for her most sweetest memories…well…those who knew her well would know.
Whenever she's not thinking of Fersen or her children, (for obvious reason, she can't bear to think of Louis) she thinks about Oscar, proud Oscar of light smiles and great loyalty, the War Goddess on white horse and the most faithful vassal of them all. She remembers all her compliments and accompaniments, the humble servitude of her voice and the fierce devotion in her eyes. She begs Rosalie for stories, and laps up them up like wine.
Yes, Oscar was a brilliant woman, the dreams of every gentleman and lady at court. How could such an embodiment of spirit exist in an inhibited, unethreal world? If Antoinette had the power, she would capture every piece of her and preserve it in night's sky, so for eternity, every man and woman would see that shining star. She'd wanted Oscar to live forever, and cried for hours when she died. It's not fair, how only a select few people would ever feel her vivacity, her freedom.
And yet, sometimes, when Antoinette looks back on her memories, she finds things, little signs which screamed of something underlying. She remembers little moments of hesitation, of disappointment, every moment of Oscar's quiet desperation laid next to each other and brought to light. Since when did Oscar's consistent advice turn into silent resignation? And since when had the admiration in her eyes began to distance themselves into shadows? She remembers her resignation and then their final meeting, the unknowable depth in Oscar's tears and eyes as she turned her back for the first and last time. Panicked, Antoinette scrambles for answers, reasons for Oscar's pain and betrayal. She'd done everything she could, so why had she done everything wrong? But in the end, she can only wonder, guess the unfathomable turmoil in her best friend's soul. And when Rosalie isn't around, she cries, because she doesn't know.
La Rose Blanche
And sometimes, she is still here, among the bushes and grasses and weeds. She dashes by crops and glides by roses and rustles all of the plants of the world. The flowers raise and bow in shock and reverence whenever her spirit sweeps by. She is the wind, never kept, but always felt, in shade or sun or stone.
In sky's residence, she flies and watches, through continuous rains and days and nights. She flies and watches, and sees millions of flowers, each clear in her sharp-learned eyes despite the myriad of colors and hues. For each rose that is born, she relieves and records their legends, as they bud and bloom and they too, scatter in their poignant beauty. She witnesses droughts and harvests. She sees hurricanes and fires. She watches as every miracle and disaster that could ever happen in this garden happens, and she remembers them all.
In her new, empyreal body, she still shines in light. Blond hair fluttering in the wind, her figure still soars like Pegasus, trembling on wings of desire. And her blue eyes, as brilliant and alive as ever, still shine with the intensity of fire and sea. This flame will never fade and she is glad it never will. Her person is a testament to her final, closing triumph. Her memories are a sacred temple to every wheel of her old world. Occasionally, the thorns return to re-entangle her, and she once again feels that feeling, the painful, gratifying feeling of being enveloped in all the world's vines. But she always breaks free in the end, because breaking free is what she does, and she continues to live what could now be called her life.
Perhaps there is more. Perhaps there is far more to the death of Oscar Francois. But for now, this is all I know.
And for now, it is enough.
Finished January 8, 2008
Minor Edits on January 15, 2008