For references to the asylum, please watch the movie Quills with Geoffrey Rush and Michael Caine.

How the Mighty Have Fallen

Once upon a time, in a far away land, near a small village in France, there was a madhouse. It was called 'Le Maison des Lunes'.

The madhouse was located a safe distance from the village. Although the madhouse area was surrounded by large gates and high walls, you couldn't be too careful. The people who were locked away in here…you didn't want them walking around freely. The inmates were crazy: you never knew when someone would snap.

It was almost dinnertime. The dining hall was a dark and gloomy place; the only light came from the fireplace and a couple of chandeliers. The room was filled with long tables and benches, enough for at least two dozen inmates. The inmates...they were poor unfortunate souls who had lost all touch with reality. They walked around the room aimlessly, some with blank stares, others shouting about nothing.

"A beast in a castle?" one of the young novices asked, as she listened to the story the man in the middle of the room was telling her. She was trying to get the man to the dinner table. Only the man was so caught up in his own story, the girl had a hard time doing her job.

"YES! And it was at least eight, no, more like ten feet tall!" the man said happily. Finally, here was someone who would listen to him!

The novice nodded. "Of course he was ten feet tall," She smiled indulgently at him, as if she was talking to a small child. "Now sit down. It's almost time for dinner." They were almost to the table…only two more feet and this inmate could sit down. Almost there... when the man walked away again, rambling on about how he had tried to defeat some kind of beast. She let out a deep sigh. Back to square one.

"Is he still talking about a beast in a castle?" one of the nuns asked her.

"Unfortunately, yes. Still the same delusions," the girl said. "I feel so sorry for him."

"Don't feel too much. Every case here is a sad case," the older woman said. She looked at the man with pity. He needed far more help than they could give him here.

"Who would have thought the most popular man in town would end up like this?" the novice thought out loud.

She was right. It was hard to understand, but the insane man in the middle of the dining hall of the mad house, was no other than the handsome hunter from Montville: Gaston de Soleil. But he wasn't the man he used to be. His hair wasn't thick and shiny anymore. Greasy and it was no longer in a neat ponytail, it hung down, covering his once-gorgeous features. His frame was still impressive, only it was now hidden under the ugly and very cheap cotton asylum uniforms. He was now hardly a shadow of his former self.

"Get him to the table," the nun said to the novice. "I'll go get Monsieur d'Arque."

The girl sighed. It was such a sad sight to see. "Monsieur Gaston, why don't you sit down and let everyone eat in peace," the girl said as she walked over to him. She placed her hand on his arm and tried to lead him to the table. "We're going to pray in a few minutes."

As Gaston looked at the girl, the insane stare gradually disappeared from his eyes and he eyed her, intrigued, almost the way he would have looked at a girl back in the days when he still lived in his own village. "What's your name, little one?" He smiled at her, convinced that it would make the girl swoon, or even better: faint.

"My name?" the girl asked confused. The smile of the man scared her: not just the yellow teeth or the bad breath, but more the way he looked at her, like he would eat her alive. She swallowed before she answered, trying not to show any fear. "They call me Sister Maria Barbara, after the Great Martyr Barbara of Nicomedia." She paused for a second, thinking whether or not to tell him more. "But my given name is Jolette."

"Jolette... Tu es très jolie." He brought her hand to his lips, trying to kiss it, but she pulled back her hand before his lips touched her skin. He ran his hand through his unwashed hair and put his arm around her shoulder. "Too pretty to throw your life away."

"I'm not throwing my life away. I live to serve," she said as tried to get out of his grip. If only he wasn't over six feet tall and so incredibly strong...

"You should be married," Gaston hinted.

"I am married. To Our Lord," the girl explained simply. Change the subject, Jolette, come on, you can do this! "Why don't you sit down, monsieur? Look, they are already bringing in the porridge!" She pointed at the several servants walking by with damping kettles of porridge. "It's Sunday, you know what that means? Porridge with raisins!"

Gaston didn't hear her. He was getting caught up again in his own world. "Imagine yourself married to me." He flexed his biceps. Once that had been a very impressive sight, but now half hidden under the asylum robes, it just wasn't. Gaston didn't notice; in his mind, he hadn't changed one bit. "Imagine yourself with me in our wedding bed." He grabbed the girl by both shoulders, pulling her in closer, his face close to hers. "You're waiting for me, yearning for me. You almost go wild from passion. Your naked body is aching from yearning to feel my perfect muscular--"

The girl was shocked. The very idea of this man and her! Or these ideas in general! "Monsieur, I bid you to keep your sinful thoughts to yourself! At least till your next confession!" she whispered, appalled, as she tried to free herself.

Why did no one see that she needed help? Whose idea was it anyway to let her take care of Gaston de Soleil? A man twice her size and a thousand times stronger!

"I was going to say 'biceps'," Gaston said smugly as he let go of her. This girl looked like Belle. He could see a few stray brown hairs escaping her ponytail, those big surprised eyes. The same look Belle had when she talked about that Beast... The Beast! That dreadful Beast who had gotten him locked away here! He had to get out! "You believe me, don't you?"

"About your biceps? Yes, they are fine," the girl nodded absentmindedly. She rubbed her shoulders. No doubt she would have some bruises by tomorrow.

"NO! ABOUT THAT BEAST!!" Gaston yelled angrily. "BELIEVE ME!!"

The other inmates looked in his direction. The nuns tried not to pay attention to it. They all had their own patients to look after and keep quiet. Besides, they all thought that this would be a good opportunity for Jolette to show what she was really made of.

Jolette started to get desperate. "My opinions don't matter, monsieur. You have to see yourself that what you are saying is... well..."

"WHAT?!"

"Impossible," she finally concluded.

"You mean I'm crazy!"

"I wouldn't put it--"

"I'M NOT CRAZY!!!" Gaston screamed. "WHY WON'T YOU BELIEVE ME?"

"There is no beast here, you are completely safe," Jolette begged. "Come now, Monsieur Gaston, sit down and eat your porridge."

"You know what you can do with your porridge?" Gaston took a large kettle off the table, lifted it above his head and threw it into the fireplace. "There's your dinner!"

"Calm down now, Monsieur Gaston! You don't want me to call the guards!"

"Call your guards, I'm the strongest man in the world!" Gaston shouted as he started throwing the chairs and benches through the room. "No one can defeat me!"

He's delirious, Jolette thought, panicking. It was getting worse with this patient every day. She was too petrified to move. She knew she had to do something, but she was too scared. He was so big and strong. What could she do?

The head warden came running in when he heard the commotion. When he saw Gaston was getting violent, he immediately knew what to do. And fast or things would get out of control. He took his whip from his belt and yelled at Jolette: "Sister! Ring the bell!"

It took Jolette a few seconds before she realized that the warden had given her an order. She rang the bell and within seconds, five muscular men stormed into the room. Two of them also armed with whips, the other three with large wooden sticks.

"Get him to the floor!" the warden ordered.

Two of the men with the sticks tried to attack Gaston from behind, but hitting him on his back only made him attack them. Whatever had happened to him, he was still a hunter, with quick reflexes. As soon as one of them hit him on his back, he reached out and rapidly got hold of the sticks. He broke them in two like twigs and threw them back at the caretakers.

"He's too strong!"

"What do you mean? He's just one crazy idiot, we're six healthy strong men!"

"WHO ARE YOU CALLING CRAZY?!" Gaston threw everything he could get his hands on at his attackers. They didn't dare to come close to him. They let their whips crack, but they never came close enough to hit him. They were too afraid to lose their only weapons.

"What's this?" a calm voice said all of a sudden. "A riot?"

Gaston was distracted for a second and the head warden took advantage of this. He aimed his whip at Gaston's boots. He cracked it and the rope wound itself tightly around the boots. He pulled and with a quick draw, he got Gaston to the floor. The other caretakers immediately pinned him down. They put their feet on his arms and legs, so he couldn't go anywhere.

"Monsieur d'Arque!" the old nun whispered. "Thank God, you are here!"

"What's going on here?" the old man asked.

"It's De Soleil again, Monsieur d'Arque," the warden said. He stepped back to show the head of the madhouse what had happened.

"Paul, finally! You're here!" Gaston panted. "Get me out of here!"

Monsieur d'Arque knelt down next to Gaston. "What's wrong, Gaston?" he asked in a friendly way.

"They don't believe me! I've seen this Beast, I fought him!"

"You did?"

"Yes! I was about to throw him off the tower when Belle ran in, and she picked this Beast over me! She loved him, not me! She came to help him!"

"I see," Monsieur d'Arque said slowly. "A pretty young girl chose to be with a monstrous beast instead of taking the hand in marriage of the most popular man in town?"

"YES! Belle wanted the Beast! Not me!"

"And you were so incredibly stunned by that fact that you forgot to kill this beast?"

"YES!!!" Gaston said nodding. Finally someone here understood what really had happened. "Paul, get me out of here! I need to kill him!"

Monsieur d'Arque ignored Gaston's pleas. He just went on with his questions. "And where did this happen?"

"In that hideous castle on the hill!"

"You refer to the prince's castle?"

"NO! The Beast's castle!"

"You really have to learn to watch you're saying, Gaston. You are better off here, hidden safely away, than in the prince's dungeons, being arrested for insulting our beloved prince," Monsieur d'Arque grinned. He stood up and looked down on Gaston.

"Why don't you listen to me? There is no prince! I'm talking about the Beast!" Gaston felt like he was now losing his mind for real. "You saw the Beast, didn't you? In the mirror?"

Monsieur d'Arque shook his head. "Gaston, the mirror fell and shattered before anyone could see what was in it, remember? But I'm sure if we had seen it, there would have been nothing there, only a reflection."

"No!" Gaston insisted. "The Beast WAS there! He was covered with fur! Fangs, the size of swords! Claws bigger than your arm!"

"I've heard enough," Monsieur d'Arque said, snapping his fingers. "Put him back in a straitjacket and take him down to the basements. I think Monsieur de Soleil needs to stay in the calming chair for another hour or so."

The guards put Gaston back on his feet and started dragging him towards the door. "NO!" Gaston yelled in despair. "Paul, what are you doing?!"

"Any other orders, Monsieur d'Arque?" the head warden asked.

"If he's still yelling after an hour, bring him to his chamber and put a scold's bridle on him." Gaston's eyes turned to panic and almost to fright. Monsieur d'Arque patted Gaston on the head. "It's for the best, Gaston, you know that. We need to exile these delusions."

"PAUL! I'll pay you! You can have all my money! Don't let them take me there!" Gaston pleaded.

It took all the strength of the six men to take Gaston out of there. He was kicking and screaming. It was such a horrible sight that all the other inmates crawled away into corners. The other nuns tried to get them back to the table to continue dinner in a calm way, but it was impossible. Gaston's screams echoed through the entire hall.

"No need to be concerned, sister," Monsieur d'Arque said when he saw how worried the girl next to him looked. She was almost trembling from fear. "We have to do this for his own good."

"I hope you are right, monsieur."

"I'm only thinking of his well-being, sister." He patted the girl's hand reassuringly. "Go take care of the other inmates now. And let's leave this incident behind us."

"Oui, monsieur." The girl nodded and went back to her work.

The sound of Gaston's screams faded into the background.

How the mighty have fallen, Monsieur d'Arque thought as he walked back to his office. Good thing Gaston put me in charge of his money and all his possessions. 'Just in case something happened to him.'

And what do you know…D'Arque smiled with a glint in his eye. 'Something' did happen...