CHAPTER ONE: Haunting the Streets of Paris

The streets of Paris were as empty as the beginning of a western. Although no billowing hay or rushing winds served as the setting, there was definitely the feeling of serenity, yet mystery. But just as the westerns do, the story of the young musketeers has to start sometime. As the sun began to rise slowly on the horizon, quiet footsteps could be heard throughout the garrison halls. They were awakening to the new day, tired and hungry. Four of the captain's favourites started their morning rituals of dressing and sparring before their routine morning trip to the café across the way.

Jacques LePont, one of the strangest and undeniably the "prettiest" musketeer grinned slyly at his comrade as he pinned him up against the courtyard wall with the tip of his sword. D'Artagnan, his partner for this match, took the defeat as he always did…as soon as Jacques had backed far enough away from him to leave room to move, the sneaky musketeer pushed his sword away and made a thrusting movement with his own towards Jacques' throat. LePont, just as stubborn as his opponent, reacted in a similar fashion. These matches always ended up like this between the two. The other musketeers were used to it and many rose earlier each morning to secure a spot to watch the two at work.

Siroc and Ramon stood watching their friends lash out at one another. They knew that the two were just practicing but many times the fighting seemed so real that they had to remind themselves and each other periodically of that fact. Siroc, the logical musketeer as he was fondly known by his friends, studied their strategies and jotted down the plays for his own use later on. He loved to make notes on almost any topic under the sun and would not rest until he had perfected any task set out before him. He proved theories, built inventions he created himself and found ways to help his brothers-in-arms out of unfortunate situations. He was obviously the smartest and most patient of the bunch but never would admit it himself.

Ramon's stomach began to growl as he watched the battle continue as it did every morning. He was starting to think that waiting to eat breakfast was a bad idea. His stomach never seemed to be full and he was constantly stuffing himself with chicken and coffee at the Café Nouveau. Hearing the upsetting sound of a disgruntled organ, Ramon left the party alone in search of some scraps before breakfast.

When Jacques and d'Artagnan finally admitted the end of their duel, they found Siroc and Ramon and the four friends walked down the streets of Paris towards Ramon's one true love: food. They laughed at thoughts of the festivities the night before but grew solemn at the mention of the Cardinal and his men. There had been a street fair the previous day and a poetry reading took place at dusk. The red-clad soldiers had decidedly consumed too much of the House Special and were more than slightly intoxicated by the end of the night. When a verbal confrontation broke out between them and a few civilians, the musketeers stepped in and some of them were badly wounded. Siroc and Ramon managed to escape without a scratch and d'Artagnan and Jacques were only a little battered. Many of the Cardinal's Guard were not so fortunate. Two men were brought to the doctor's house for broken wrists or minor stab wounds to the shoulder and feet.

Many had said that he match could have been avoided but others were not as sure. Parisians were immensely aware of the mutual hatred between the two groups of men but few had any idea why. What had been meant as a day of fun and celebration had turned into a horrible display of slashing swords and thumping fists. The streets of Paris were momentarily transformed into a wrestling rink and became forever haunted with those memories.

Nobody had meant for it to happen. Nobody usually does. But it took place nonetheless and everybody was at fault. Everyone was to blame. It was just too bad that the guards didn't see it that way. As always, Cardinal Mazarin found a way to clear his men of their crimes and pin it all on the musketeers who dutifully admitted their part in the charade.

Whatever the reason, the musketeers had found themselves in yet another precarious position due to the Cardinal's power with the young King Louis. But once again, the king cleared the charges set against his beloved musketeers. As much as he trusted Mazarin's advice and decisions, however wrong they may be, he could never find fault in the musketeers. He was just like a small boy playing with his lead army men. He couldn't find fault in something he owned. He enjoyed setting tasks and praising his toys, his men, his musketeers. The musketeers knew that, for now at least, Mazarin did not have the complete power that he yearned for and that, at least, was a comforting thought. As the masquerading religious figure strived towards his malicious goals, the blue-and-grey clad men strived towards ridding France of the evil it held. An evil that never seemed to rest. Not even within the garrison itself.

Author's note: Hope you liked the first chapter. I know it was a little slow. I just wanted to familiarize you with some of the characters and introduce them to any new readers. I am off to figure out a topic for the next chapter now. Unfortunately, I cannot give you any sneak previews this time as I have no idea what is going to come next. I don't write the characters, they write themselves and so we'll all just have to wait and see what comes up next. I will, however, promise to add in the ever-sought-after love story of d'Artagnan and Jacqueline and maybe even find some new characters to spark an interest in Ramon and Siroc. Hope you enjoyed it so far! Please review and send some ideas if you have any! I love feedback almost as much as I love this show…ALMOST. I've received some great reviews for my previous story so I hope you like this just as much, if not more!!!!!