Chapter 1: Enjolras and His Lieutenants
5 June 1829
Infirmary Report of Valérien Enjolras, Captain to Patria
Captain Enjolras taken to the infirmary at 1100 hours for mild hypothermia, lightheadedness and vertigo due to the thinness of the air at high altitudes. Training Master Farnaud explained that it was Captain Enjolras's first solo flight on the dragon Patria and that he flew to a dangerous height. Training Master Farnaud suggests that it was probably a mistake and not deliberate recklessness. As of 1500 hours, patient, still half-conscious, was heard murmuring about touching the heavens.
At the dragon pavilions of the Ecole Polytechnique, all the officers and all the students who wished to become officers were in their full dress uniforms. Admiral de Courfeyrac had arrived in Paris at dawn, and his son, Lieutenant Courfeyrac (who disdained his particle in a completely unconvincing attempt to pretend he was not the admiral's son) had been seen dressed so exquisitely that he could not be going anywhere but to meet his father. As Lieutenant Courfeyrac was already something of a dandy, this manifestation of sartorial perfection had sent nearly all the students into a frenzy of washing, ironing and cravat-tying.
At least two men, however, were immune to the fashionable frenzy sweeping through the campus: Enjolras, captain of the Flamme-de-Gloire Patria, and Combeferre, who had, that morning, accepted a position as the doctor on Patria's crew. Enjolras was off fencing Captain Fidelio of the Honneur-d'Or Manfred, in one of their usual endless bouts that ended in a draw and heavy flirting from Captain Fidelio that Enjolras failed to notice. Combeferre, on the other hand, was in his shirtsleeves and apron, tending to Patria's latest bout of hayfever. Combeferre was a handsome, if somewhat sharp-featured and perpetually scruffy surgeon who made up for this defect by wearing his dark, straight hair slightly longer than was fashionable. He appeared, like most of the crew, to be in his mid-twenties, though anyone who had heard Combeferre discuss any of the vast number of scientific, social and artistic subjects that interested him would have assumed him to be much older.
"I am so dreadfully sorry," the Flamme-de-Gloire sniffed, as Combeferre leapt out of the path of yet another jet of flame. "It is only that there is so much in the air it makes it hard to breathe; I cannot help it, Combeferre."
"I know," said Combeferre, dusting himself off. Patria's pavilion was at the base of the Montmartre hill, far enough away from the other dragons that she did not accidentally light them on fire, and close enough to the walls of the Ecole Polytechnique's training fields to alarm the impoverished on the other side of the wall, who could not afford to move away from a neighborhood full of aviators and dragons. Combeferre thought about asking Patria to curl up on the stretch of verdant green lawn in front of them instead. The ground was uneven and sloped, but at least then she could only burn up sections of the lawn, as opposed to anyone unfortunate enough to walk past her pavilion. Or course, if she had hayfever, this would probably only aggravate her symptoms. Combeferre resigned himself to a very active examination. "Do not blame yourself; it is a natural reaction. I have never heard of it occurring in a dragon before, but the draconic respiratory system does seem to be—"
"I shall sneeze again," Patria informed him miserably.
"Lift your head up," Combeferre urged her, though he decided to jog a little ways back from the enclosure. He nearly ran into the newly-appointed second lieutenant, Jehan Prouvaire. Jehan, a short, mousy-haired poet who cultivated flowers with the same loving care as he cultivated his ability to knock a man senseless within five minutes of a fistfight, was cradling a pot of violets.
"Hallo Patria!" he called, beaming at her. "My violets bloomed today, would you like to see?"
Patria swung her head around automatically, to see who had called her, and looked at Jehan's violets with horror. "Oh no, you have brought flowers and those ha- ah- ah—!"
The more aware officers scurried out of the way, clearly deciding that it was every man for himself, leaving two oblivious blonds, one in a Polytechnician's uniform and the other in a tailcoat and top hat, to continue their stroll and their conversation in front of Patria. The Polytechnician was saying, "It is my one lucky day Jolllly! They did not catch me cheating on my officer's exam and I am new-made lieutenant! Nothing bad can—"
"Oh I am going to sneeze!" Patria exclaimed wretchedly, before releasing an inadvertent jet of flame. Jehan and Combeferre dove out of the way at once, Jehan's pot of violets going flying.
Jolllly and the new-made lieutenant were not so lucky. Jolllly, hearing the word 'sneeze,' turned just in time to see a large jet of flame about to envelop them. He dropped to the ground, seizing his companion by the arm and attempting to pull him out of harm's way.
This did not entirely work; Jolllly's top hat was badly singed, and the Polytechnician's hair caught on fire.
"Jehan, how could you bring your violets here when Patria has hayfever?" demanded Combeferre.
"Of course, I keep forgetting, one hardly would think a dragon could have hayfever!" lamented Prouvaire.
"OH GOD MY HEAD."
Combeferre and Jehan turned to see Jolllly feverishly extinguishing a fire. The Polytechnician, who was no longer blond, as he no longer had any hair whatsoever, looked back at them in resignation. "I knew that lucky streak wouldn't last."
"Are you all right?" asked Jehan, somewhat stupidly.
"I am sorry to say that worse things have happened to me," replied the now-bald Polytechnician. "Lieutenant Lègle, by the way."
"I am second lieutenant Prouvaire of the dragon Patria," Jehan replied proudly. "Patria, you ought to apologize."
Patria looked at Lieutenant Lègle and the smoldering remains of his golden hair in horror. "I have destroyed your gold!"
Jolllly, who was shorter than his companion, forced Lieuteant Lègle to sit down to better see his burnt scalp. "And burnt his head rather badly."
"I am so very sorry," Patria said, as Combeferre rushed over with his medical kit. After a lengthy internal struggle, she offered, "You may have some of my gold, if you like, since I have unjustly taken yours from you. I did not mean to do it, so I hope you will take that into account." The thought of parting from her gold was extremely distressing, however, and she soon came up with a better alternative. "Actually, I think it best if you joined my crew, for that way you have a secure position and will be able to earn your own gold instead of having to take mine."
Lieutenant Lègle, his head swathed in bandages, managed a, "Thank you, that is very decent."
"I am glad you think so," Patria replied, with some relief. "I think it the best solution by far, and I am sure that my captain will agree."
Enjolras could not be consulted about this new addition to his crew, as he was currently fighting for the final point out of five in a fencing match with Captain Fidelio and was unsuccessfully attempting to repost after his disengage. Captain Fidelio countered with a quick parry six and a bind that forced Enjolras into a retreat.
Captain Fidelio, by now extremely weary, did not press his advantage and stood, panting, on his part of the strip, his sword-arm trembling. Enjolras stood very still, almost at the limit of the strip before a sudden fleche attack forward that zoomed over its target only because Captain Fidelio had bent in half to catch his breath again. Enjolras caught himself before he ran into the railing of the fencing strip and whirled around for a quick double advance and a thrust that Captain Fidelio barely managed to beat away. He retreated, Enjolras following and riposting with a bind that did nothing but shorten both their tempers.
"For God's sake, we have been fighting for the fifth point for ten minutes," snapped Captain Fidelo, still panting.
Enjolras said nothing and instead attempted to knock Captain Fidelio's sword out of his hand. Captain Fidelio, desperate to end the match, attempted to do the same to Enjolras and they both found themselves swordless at one end of the fencing strip.
Neither captain was entirely sure how to proceed, nor did their attempts to discern the correct procedure meet with any satisfactory conclusion. They were quite grateful to be interrupted by the sound of applause.
At the other end of the fencing strip stood an immaculately dressed Polytechnician, his dark hair perfectly curled and parted to the side, his neckcloth knotted with such understated elegance it proclaimed its wearer to be a dandy at once, and his green eyes gleaming with amusement. "Bravo, bravo."
Enjolras removed his mask first. He did not appear the worse for the match; his usually pale complexion was flushed and his golden hair was sweaty and falling out of his ribbon, with several strands tangled around the gold hoop earrings he wore, but his blue eyes were alight from the exercise and nothing could ever quite take away from the perfection of his features and his figure. "Hallo, Courfeyrac."
Lieutenant Courfeyrac grinned at him. "Hallo, Enjolras. Giving Fidelio the what for?"
"We have never managed to finish a fencing match," Enjolras replied.
Captain Fidelio removed his own mask, shaking out a dandyish crop of short, black curls and revealing a handsome enough face with an Italinate complexion. "We should learn but we never do. I put the gear away last time; your turn, Enjolras." Fidelio handed over his foil, his glove, and his mask. They had been fighting in breeches and shirtsleeves as it was a warm day and the fencing strips were outside, by the barracks. Enjolras returned to the building, leaving Fidelio and Courfeyrac on the fencing strip.
"Hallo, Musichetta," Courfeyrac said, with his most charming smile.
It did not have the effect it intended. "Hallo, Delphine," Fidelio replied cheerily, picking up the towel hanging off of the fencing strip and wiping her face.
"Delphine? Since when have I been a 'Delphine'?" Courfeyrac asked, pouting.
"Since you started calling me Musichetta. It's a horrible name."
"Like 'Fidelio' isn't the most blatantly obvious moniker since Sophie called herself 'Cherubin'?"
Musichetta flung her towel at him, though not with enough force for Courfeyrac to miss catching it. "Oh hush, not everyone goes to the opera like you do. Besides, you have to find ways about it- you get a ridiculous scold if your hair is past your ears and if you wear anything that would suggest a less than masculine figure, you are docked that day's pay, as women cannot work in the armed services." Once one poined out that Musichetta was, in fact, a woman, one felt stupid for not realizing it, but, though she passed for a nice-looking man, there would have been something awkward about the way she carried herself and her facial structure if she had gone about in skirts. "God, I wish I'd been in the service back during the Revolution, when they were sensible about these things and let us serve in the open. They know they can't get rid of us, not when there are half a dozen breeds of dragon who will never accept a male captain, and after that was revealed under the Revolution they can't go back to keeping it a secret like the Ancien Régime. So what do they do? Spout their hypocritical blather about duty and submission and female delicacy and the natural order of things, officially fire us all, and only let us enlist if we use male names and wear trousers and cut our hair. Not that I object to the trousers, but the tyranny of the regulation haircut! How does Enjolras get away with having her hair as long as it is? And having earrings to boot!"
"Patria saw an etching of Saint-Just and insisted on it," said Courfeyrac, who was used to Musichetta's rants and had been listening tolerantly. "Besides, Enjolras is not a woman."
"Are you sure?" demanded Musichetta, rolling up the sleeves of her shirt. "Have you seen?"
Courfeyrac was not entirely sure how to answer. The correct answer was 'no', but Courfeyrac took a certain pride in the rumors that his charm had won over even Enjolras. "As a matter of fact…."
"Oh!" Musichetta leaned forward conspiratorially, resting her tanned forearms on the railing of the fencing strip. "It is true, then—so… how big—"
"Aaaaaand that's an end to this conversation," said Courfeyrac, spotting Enjolras, who looked to be caught up in his usual abstraction. It was dangerous to assume that Enjolras was not paying attention, as he invariably was and could recite in detail any conversation which you particularly wished him to ignore. He returned more-or-less in his full-dress uniform, with Musichetta's waistcoat, cravat and uniform coat draped over his arm. Courfeyrac stared in horror. "Enjolras, what the hell did you do to your cravat?"
"I tied it," he replied, stopping by Musichetta and handing her her clothes.
"You look like you tried to strangle yourself," Courfeyrac replied, wincing. "For all love, let me fix that for you before the Admiral reads you a lecture about the Terror and anarchy and drums you out of the service for being a Jacobin."
"Does he just want to see Enjolras, or does he want to see all of us?" asked Musichetta, curiously.
"Ah, not that I told you," Courfeyrac said, taking the pin out of Enjolras's cravat and unwinding the strip of muslin (muslin! Not silk!) from around his neck. "He wishes to see all new captains and confirm postings for the crews this afternoon, after he's done the pretty to all the bureaucrats. You have filled up your rosters?"
"Nearly," said Enjolras. "There are two lieutenants, a gunner's mate, and two runners missing."
Musichetta ran a hand through her short, sweat-dampened curls. "I am in desperate need of a surgeon. Courfeyrac, know anyone?"
"I can ask around," Courfeyrac replied, stepping back to observe his handiwork. He made an infinitesimal tweak to Enjolras's cravat before deciding himself satisfied. "Enjolras, I would ask you what you did with your hair, but I very much doubt that you did anything to it after tying it back this morning."
Enjolras lifted a hand up to check that his hair-ribbon was still in place. "It is still tied back."
"Barely," Courfeyrac complained. "Fidelio, just look at him!"
"With pleasure," said Musichetta, taking in Enjolras's disheveled appearance with every sign of enjoyment.
Enjolras, completely oblivious, turned back to Courfeyrac and said, "Would it satisfy you if I stuck my head under the pump?"
"It would be a start," replied Courfeyrac, unwilling to completely give up the point. "But your cravat—"
Enjolras had already taken out his hair ribbon and gone around the building to the pump.
Musichetta sighed as Enjolras disappeared from sight. "Oh Enjolras. She is, at once, the most gorgeous and the most oblivious person I have ever met in my life. If only she actually, you know, understood I was flirting with her."
"I've been with Enjolras ever since we were midwingmen together on our first assignment in Marseille," Courfeyrac replied. "If, in all that time, Enjolras has never noticed that I flirt outrageously with him-or her, I've never found a good way to ask- then all hope is lost."
"Ha, knew it wasn't true," said Musichetta, stretching. "Poor Courfeyrac."
Courfeyrac looked at her, woe-be-gone. "I think, in the face of this mutual disappointment, we ought to console one another as best we can. Perhaps you'll take a glass of wine with me this evening?"
"Sorry, darling, I'm only attracted to blonds."
"You could have told me that before I made an ass of myself trying to flirt with you," Courfeyrac said, a little nettled.
Musichetta burst out laughing. "Courfeyrac, nothing can keep you from making an ass of yourself. I am very sorry, there's nothing you can do about it."
"I have heard something about lemon juice and sunlight," Courfeyrac replied hopefully.
Musichetta raised her eyebrows at him. "A curling iron and lemon juice? That's just asking for trouble. I had a friend who tried it and a curl just came off in her hand."
"Wait- so it's not just that I'm a man? It really is just the blond thing?"
"What, you think I have something against men? Delphine, my darling, I have one requirement for my collection and that is blond hair."
"Such wit! It's not like you have any discernment what-so-ever when it comes to yours."
Courfeyrac drew himself up to his full height. "I pride myself on the diversity of my taste."
"I am shocked to discover you have taste." She glanced back at the building and made a small, pleased sound to see Enjolras returning, wringing out his wet hair. "God, male or female, no one can wear a dress uniform like Enjolras can."
"Someday," Courfeyrac said, a little dreamily, "I shall get Enjolras to put on a silk cravat and actually do something with his hair. Impossible, you say? Perhaps, but I can be terribly charming and terribly persuasive when I want to be."
"You are always terribly charming," replied Musichetta. "Unforunately, Enjolras is completely immune."
"Ah but remember that I can also be terribly creative and have a number of spare, white silk cravats…."
"I would kiss you if you got Enjolras in a high, white silk cravat," said Musichetta, quite taken with this image. "I'm off though- I suppose I ought to go and make myself presentable if the Admiralty is to confirm our crew appointments." She waved at Enjolras and made her way back to the barracks.
"Better?" asked Enjolras, presenting himself before Courfeyrac.
"The points of your shirt collar look as if they have never seen starch," Courfeyrac observed. "Enjolras, it may be my father, but he is still an Admiral. Would a decent black silk cravat be too much to ask?"
"I do not believe I own a black silk cravat," Enjolras said, after a moment.
"What the hell did you wear to your exams, then?"
"This—or something like it. They are all neckcloths."
Courfeyrac dramatically pressed the back of his gloved hand to his forehead. "Enjolras, you have known me for how long?"
Enjolras began walking back to the dragon enclosures. Courfeyrac followed at once.
"I believe since we were both ten. We served our first midwingmanships on the same dragon in Marseille—yes, ten."
"And in all that time, you have never understood the fine art of cravat tying?"
Courfeyrac sighed. "Sometimes you make me very sad to be a dandy." He shook his head, careful not to derange his curled hair, and walked on.
"Courfeyrac," Enjolras said, after a moment. "We have known each other a very long time."
"Over half our lives?" Courfeyrac had nearly failed the math portion of his exams and was now very wary about anything that involved calculations of any kind.
"That is true," Enjolras said. He fell silent.
"Well, that was edifying," said Courfeyrac. "If you were leading into asking me a favor, you know you only have to ask."
Enjolras hesitated still, looking forward into the middle distance with a flush clouding his pale skin. "It is…."
Courfeyrac draped an arm around his shoulders and entertained the vague hope that Enjolras would ask for the sort of favor that Courfeyrac found the most interesting. It was not a very reasonable hope however; Enjolras's reaction to propositions tended to complete incomprehension or a disdainful look and a coldness that made one feel like glaciers would soon be covering Western Europe.
"Courfeyrac, I know that you have your choice of postings. You could be made a captain if you so wished; you are capable of it, and have the remarkable ability to get diverse groups of people to find and fight for a common cause. It is, perhaps, too much to ask of you—"
"Ask anyways?" suggested Courfeyrac, lightly squeezing Enjolras around the shoulders.
"If you have not accepting a posting anywhere else, I should like you to be my first lieutenant." Enjolras looked steadily ahead, flushed but composed. "It is perfectly understandable if you refuse, but we have served together since we were children. I cannot imagine fighting without you by my side."
Courfeyrac was not very good at replying to heart-felt statements in kind, but could not find it in himself to be flippant either. He tightened his grip around Enjolras's shoulders, for some moments unable to say anything at all. Once they had reached the dragon pavilions, he managed a deliberately airy, "I would rather be your first lieutenant than a captain any day." Then, feeling slightly awkward, he added, "Besides, I wouldn't be foregoing a promotion by accepting. I was born very specifically to be captain to Phèdre, after my father got his useless title and his even more useless particle, and I have several years yet before collecting on this inheritance. At least I shall receive a perfectly charming dragon who appreciates that flirtation is my default method of communication; my elder brother is inheriting all the useless words and all the stupidity and pride that accompanies them."
Enjolras didn't say anything, but smiled.
It was not entirely fair, thought Courfeyrac, that Enjolras could look the way and smile the way he did without being the least aware of their effects.
"Oh, when they land, remind me that I need to pay my respects to Phèdre."
"You didn't this morning?"
"No, this morning was devoted to the Admiral himself."
"How did it go?"
Courfeyrac released Enjolras's shoulders. "It went quite well, as far as breakfasts with my father go. Of course, it was short and I arrived late enough for him to have had his coffee already, so it was a quick and cheery exchange of wit and information. The wit, of course, was on my part, and the information was on his."
Enjolras smiled at him. "I am glad you found it to your satisfaction. Ah… does that look like…?"
They were nearing Patria's enclosure by that point, and, as the others were tending to the burnt, bald Lègle, they were not aware of the two gamins holding the ruins of Jehan's pot of violets and what appeared to be home-made fire-crackers.
"Two gamins about to blow themselves up? Why yes, I would have to agree." Courfeyrac and Enjolras began running madly towards the two boys, Courfeyrac even finding the energy to shout inarticulately and wave his arms around. The gamins, having ignored the shouts of authority figures all their lives, saw no reason to now listen to a flailing lieutenant, particularly when said lieutenant was not actually grabbing them by their ears to force them to listen.
Patria, who had been sniffling to herself quite miserably, turned at the sound of Courfeyrac's voice. Of course, this meant that the gamins were under her chin and the pot of violets was alarmingly close to her nostrils.
"Enjolras!" she exclaimed, quite pleased. "You are in your full dress uniform. And Courfeyrac I-ah- ah!"
Enjolras seized the two gamins by their collars and yanked them out of the way before they turned into charred lumps of carbon. The rest of the crew, seeing what was going on, raced over. Combeferre snatched the explosives away with a look of extreme alarm.
"Did you... try to make your own fireworks?" he asked, rather faintly.
The grubbier of the two gamins tried to twist away from Enjolras's extremely firm grip on what passed for their collars. "Hey, hey, if you leave gun powder all over, it ain't our fault if we show a little initiative. And if you're all lazy enough to leave the gates open so we can get out of the slums to the pavillions-"
"You ought to have asked me before you did that!" exclaimed Patria, sniffling.
"You would have said no!" cried the other gamin. "Ladies always refuse."
"It would have been wise of her to do so, as all you have in your firecrackers is gunpowder," said Combeferre. "The only color you would get would be the red from your own exploding, charred bodies--"
"Aaaand we are going to send you back to your parents," Courfeyrac interjected hastily.
"Funny story, I mislaid them last winter," said the less grubby gamin. "I put up signs but no one has returned them. Navet, you misplaced yours too, didn't you?"
"What you did," said Enjolras, with a severe look that terrified the gamins, "was incredibly stupid."
"You- you ain't gonna feed us to the dragon?" asked Navet, uncertaintly. "Gavroche and I, we're real boney, she wouldn't want to eat us."
There was a hint of a smile in Enjolras's blue eyes. "No, I think you will have to make amends to Patria another way. You will have to work off your offenses. I am currently in need of two runners to complete my crew, and I think I've found just the boys for the job."
"A what?" asked Navet.
"I've done plenty of runners," replied Gavroche, helpfully.
"You help clean the tackle, help pass out balls and powder during a skirmish and do anything an officer asks of you," Courfeyrac said, with a comforting, friendly smile. "It's not the most exciting job in the world, but it gets you places."
"Hm," said Combeferre. It was not entirely clear if he approved or disapproved of this plan. "This is the most unusual recruitment I have ever seen. Then of course, I have known mostly officers, and their case is rather different from an ordinary crew."
"What, you all aristos?" asked Navet, trying to squirm away from Enjolras without any success what-so-ever. "To the lampposts with you lot!"
"Hardly," Enjolras said coolly.
"No we are not all from aristocratic backgrounds, but the selection of officers is admittedly rather elitist," said Combeferre.
"Could you expect otherwise?" asked Courfeyrac. "Dragons attach to one man and whatever direct descendant they like all their lives. You can't have an idiot who's going to treat a dragon like the objects the government thinks they are. Did you hear, Combeferre? I saw it in Le Moniteur, Charles X is trying to limit the draconic right to property. I mean, the Revolution comes along and gets rid of all the ridiculous stuff about hiding the fact that there are women in the Dragon Corps and about treating the dragons like they are some sort of inherited estate instead of living, breathing, feeling creatures, and now Charles X comes back and wants to drag us back into the eighteenth century. I mean, as much as I dislike Bonaparte, he did more for dragon rights than anyone else. Under the Empire the dragons first got the right to property, the right to enter into a profession if they so desired, the right to be treated like any other officer in the military, meaning that they are provided with cooked food, they are provided with housing so that they do not have to sleep in a goddamn field, like a herd of cattle- which Charles X would change if he got his way- and-"
Jehan had been scowling at the two boys with crossed arms and interrupted. "Courfeyrac, we all agree, the problem is what to do with these two idiotic miscreants. Do you really want them associated with a branch of the Polytechnique, the most exclusive temple to higher learning in all of France? They tried to light firecrackers made only out of gunpowder by making a fire-breathing dragon sneeze."
"Everyone deserves a chance at redemption," said Enjolras.
"So one day, I could harness a dragon?" asked Gavroche, with a faux-dreamy tone that Jehan took at face-value.
"Not likely," Jehan said, with a ferocious scowl. "You have to get near perfect marks on your exams if you're not inheriting, and neither of you have impressed me with your intelligences so far. I wouldn't trust any of you around a hatching dragon. Instead of putting her into harness you'd teach her rude songs and she'd go wild. All dragons do if they're not put into harness immediately. Anyway, you wouldn't have the scratch to buy enough trinkets to appeal to a dragon. I've known dragons silly enough to go to the officer holding out the most gold, even if the officer had the intelligence of a box of hair. The magpie instinct never leaves them. Any hatchling stupid enough to choose one of you as her captain without your bribing her would be no good to anyone- to the service or to- don't think I didn't see you do that, that was disgusting."
Navet sulkily popped his finger out of his mouth. "No it weren't."
"Use a handkerchief," Jehan snapped, brandishing one at Navet. "We keep a clean, tidy crew around here, you disgusting wretches. I am taking you straight to the showers."
The boys protested at once, trying furiously to twist out of Enjolras's grasp. Cleanliness may have been next to godliness for others, but it was clearly anathema to them.
"You should have thought about that before blasting my violets to pieces!" bellowed Jehan, grabbing each ensign by the ear and dragging them off. "The assistant-training master has dealt with worse cases and-yech, was that a louse? Regulation haircuts for the two of you!"
The two boys complained bitterly, but Jehan remained resolute, and Enjolras moved on to other business once they had gone.
"I still need another lieutenant--"
Patria, trying very hard not to sneeze as Combeferre rubbed some sort of salve into her nostrils, said, "Oh no, I have found one."
"Oh?" asked Enjolras.
Bossuet stood and bowed. "I believe she means me- Lieutuant Lègle of Meaux, at your service. Most people call me Bousset."
Enjolras glanced at Courfeyrac.
"Oh, hallo my eagle of words," said Courfeyrac, eying the bandages around Lègle's head with amusement. "Did they fly you too close to the sun?"
"Merely too close to a dragon with hay fever," he replied. "I think my scalp has been thoroughly cooked."
"I did not mean to," Patria said wretchedly.
Courfeyrac drew Enjolras aside slightly and murmured in his ear, "You could do worse than Bossuet- he keeps his head in a crisis and knows exactly what to do whenever anything goes wrong. You had better make him fourth lieutenant, in charge of the he is on dragon back, he inevitably falls off. He's best kept in the belly netting. He's also a bit of a Jacobin."
"And Patria likes him," said Enjolras, as if that resolved the matter. He stepped forward and held out his hand to Bossuet. "I would be very glad to welcome you to my crew as fourth lieutenant."
Bossuet took Enjolras's hand and grinned. "That was a less harrowing search for a position than I had expected."
Joly stared at him in astonishment. "I hate to point this out, my dear fellow but you... your head got set on fire."
"Like I said, a less harrowing search for a position than I had expected. Oh, Joly, do you know Courfeyrac? Most everyone does, but, in case you don't, Joly, this is Lieutenant Courfeyrac of...."
"Patria," Courfeyrac said, grinning fit to burst. "First lieutenant of Patria."
Patria let out a delighted shriek. "Oh you are staying, I am so very pleased, I would have been so very blue-deviled if you had gone!" She lowered her head and Courfeyrac very carefully hugged her around the snout.
"--right," continued Bossuet, "and Courfeyrac, this is my very dear cousin, Joly."
Courfeyrac turned to hold out his hand to Joly. "It is a pleasure!"
Joly shook it and grinned at him. "Likewise. Bossuet's told me quite a lot about you, when I was nervous about coming to the dragon corps after medical school."
"Oh, have a position yet?" Courfyerac eyed Joly's blond hair speculatively. It was a very nice shade of ash blond, fashionably cut and parted to the side. Joly had a bit of the dandy in him and was good-looking when he smiled; Musichetta would be thrilled.
"Ah no, actually. Why, do you know of anyone in search of a dragon surgeon?"
Courfeyrac beamed. "Yes, Captain Fidelio of Manfred- Manfred's pavilion is the fourth from the right, tell Manfred that Lieutenant Corufeyrac sends his compliments to Captain Fidelio and... oh yes, when you see Fidelio, tell him I hope he enjoys the lattest addition to his collection."
Joly looked slightly puzzled, but clearly thought it was some sort of air force slang (a collection probably meant a crew) and went to pay his respects to Captain Fidelio.
In the meantime, Jehan had returned and climbed up to sit on Patria's shoulder, to better tell both her and Enjolras what he thought of the new ensigns. "Creative- and there is a native innocence that the harsh realities of the lives of the poor have yet to crush, but--"
"Enjolras, these are two urchins you nearly picked up off the street," Combeferre observed.
There was a hint of pride to Enjolras's tone. "Yes, they are."
"You cannot pick two gamins off the street and make them your runners."
"I do not see why not. Courfeyrac and I entered into the service at ten. Gavroche and Navet are ten, from what they have told Jehan."
"Yes, but you entered into the service with the intention to become an officer. You were prepared to take your specialized baccalaureat at sixteen, to then enter into the Polytechnique, to then fulfill your two years of intensive theoretical study, to then pass your officer's exam and to then have a year of practical training either as a lieutenant or a captain before taking a permanent position in the air corps. The Polytechnique started off as an engineering school before it undertook the necessary education of officers of the dragon corps and the curriculum is still highly mathematical, scientific and theoretical. Do you think these two boys are prepared for that?"
"Are you sure?" Jehan asked, from his perch on Patria's scaly shoulder. "I do not think they can even read…."
"If Courfeyrac and I passed our bacs and our officer's exams," said Bossuet, "anyone can. Come to think of it, Courfeyrac, how did you pass your bac?"
Courfeyrac picked an infinitesimal speck of lint off his coat sleeve. "Although it is true that my scores were borderline, the captain overseeing my practical examination found my performance more than satisfactory." He brushed off his sleeve and looked up with a grin. "And, of course, there were the Barbary pirates…."
"I have heard so much about the pirates," Jehan sighed, leaning against Patria's neck. "I always wish I had been there."
"Lieutenant Lègle, will you take responsibility for the boys then?" asked Enjolras.
Bousset saluted. "Aye aye captain."
Jehan clapped his hands in delight. "Oh, wonderful! Don't you think so, Patria?"
Patria affectionately butted her head against Enjolras to show her happiness, and nearly sent Enjolras sprawling.
"It's so odd to see Patria large enough to knock you over," Courfeyrac commented to Enjolras, righting him and taking the opportunity to adjust Enjolras's uniform. "I got so used to seeing her curled up in Enjolras's lap, like a cat—or a tiger cub, as the case may be." He patted Patria's yellow-striped black hide and turned to his captain. "I think she's the only being you've ever kissed."
"I am very fond of Patria," replied Enjolras. "She tried to purr once- do you recall? She had been trying to breathe fire for months and that was the first time she had managed it."
"We were lucky we had a pitcher of water on hand, or your uniform would have been burnt to your skin. Still, I believe I am justified in applying the word 'adorable' to the fact that you read Patria The Social Contract every night in lieu of a bedtime story."
Patria looked very pleased at this. "That is my favorite book. I liked it much better than when Enjolras had a cold and you came out to read Thérèse Philosophe to me."
Combeferre stared at Courfeyrac. "You read Thérèse Philosophe to Patria?"
"The philosophy was very interesting," Patria said dutifully, "but I did not understand why everyone had to be naked while discussing it."
Combeferre sighed. "Courfeyrac...."
"Oh, look at the grand lady up there," Patria said, in some awe. Courfeyrac glanced up and saw a very large brown and gray dragon swooping down over the training grounds. It took only a look at the large, gold and pearl breastplate for Courfeyrac to place her.
"Ah, that would be Phèdre," said Courfeyrac, with a wince."I shall go do the pretty- everyone be very polite when she comes over."
Courfeyrac adjusted his gloves,tugged his uniform coat back into order and headed down past the other pavillions. He waved to Musichetta as he walked past Manfred's pavillion, and took a moment to check on the success of his project. Joly had seemed a cheerful, friendly, very pleasant sort of person and Courfeyrac did not doubt that he would fit in well with any crew he chose to join. The fact that he was blond would have endeared him to Musichetta immediately.
Courfeyrac was extremely pleased to see that he had been right, as Musichetta was very obviously flirting with Joly, much to the amusement of her (mostly blond) crew.
Joly himself was oblivious to it until Courfeyrac walked up and said, faux-innocently, "I hope I am not interrupting anything?"
Musichetta attempted to wave him away and turn back to Joly.
"I- oh." Joly blushed and then said, quite hesitantly. "Captain Fidelio, I am... I am quite honored but I... my preferences lie elsewhere."
Musichetta looked as if she had just been appointed Admiral of the Air. She turned to Courfeyrac at once. "I will never be able to repay you for finding him."
"I live to serve," Courfeyrac said airily. "So his preferences lie elsewhere, eh? That must have been what Bossuet meant when he said they were cousins."
Musichetta looked ready to swoon with happiness. "Oh be still my heart!"
Joly, looking extremely confused, opened his mouth to say something, thought better of it and smiled in uncomprehending but cheerful resignation. "Ah, alright then. Glad it's not a problem."
Musichetta took his hands in hers. "No, not a problem at all. You are very welcome to the crew- Lieutenant Sand, will you show our new surgeon around? I'll introduce him to Manfred whenever Manfred wakes up, the lazy brute."
Her dragon made a little huffing sound. "I am not alseep, I am merely resting my eyes."
"Oh yes, I believe that," Musichetta scoffed, though she smiled at the dragon fondly enough.
Courfeyrac had taken the opportunity to look around Manfred's pavilion and to take stock of the crew. He recognized a good deal of them, since Courfeyrac was on friendly terms with nearly everyone, but was struck by the peculiar absence of brunettes and red-heads among the lieutentants and midwingmen. "Musichetta, you better hope that Marie never sees your crew together; it looks like you recruited solely from Norway."
"I'm following Catherine the Great's model of enlightened despotism," Musichetta replied, ignoring the reference to her more-or-less mistress, Marie. "I cannot be unfairly prejudiced towards my favorites if they are all my favorites."
Courfeyrac burst out laughing. "You may be even more shameless than I am."
"Delphine, I take that as a very high compliment. Look, the Admiral stopped by already and saw nothing wrong with my arrangments, so--"
"Oh, has he gone off already? Damn, I have to catch up." He saluted and ran off. It was not very difficult to spot his father again, as Phedre was one of the largest dragons in the covert and also liked draping her captain in gold braid. Courfeyrac ran over to them as they strolled down the row of dragon pavillions. Phedre swung her enormous head around and said, with pleasure, "Ah, Ernest."
Courfeyrac refrained from pulling faces, as he had done as an ensign. At least it wasn't his full name. "Hallo Phedre! I cannot say how you manage it, but you look more and more beautiful each time I see you."
"Flatterer," Phedre said fondly. "You were such a good egg- it is so pleasing to see you have turned out so well."
"All in the hopes of someday winning your affection," said Courfeyrac, with a particularly dazzling smile. "Hallo father! Passed a good morning, I hope?"
"A productive one, at the very least," said Admiral de Courfeyrac, with a woe-begone expression. Admiral de Courfeyrac had once been a very handsome man and was still aware of it. He carried himself with the ease and assurance of someone whose good looks had made life very easy, and, though he was no longer an Adonis by any stretch of the imagination, he still dressed so well one was not aware of the way he favored his left leg, or the fact that he rivaled Danton in weight and facial scars- though his were from a Jacobin Flamme-de-Gloire attack rather than smallpox. He still did have the particularly charming smile he had passed on to his son, and a pair of very bright and expressive green eyes. "Hallo, boy, you seem pleased with yourself. Out with it."
Courfeyrac beamed at him. "I've been asked to be first lieutenant to Patria!"
Admiral de Courfeyrac beamed in return. "Ah ha! Knew I wouldn't have to post you somewhere myself. Patria's captain is...?"
"You'll see her captain in a minute," said Courfeyrac. They were making a fairly good progress down the line, considering that Phedre had to move quite carefully to keep from bumping into anything or anyone. "Patria's about... three pavilions away? She's a Flamme-de-Gloire so she's a bit past the rest."
"It always takes so long for Flamme-de-Gloires to mature," said Phedre, doubtless a little annoyed that Courfeyrac was serving on another dragon. She hid it quite elegantly in an absently cutting comment, as any marquise would."She hatched two years ago, I believe, and was harnessed by an Ange-something."
"Your memory is better than mine," Admiral de Courfeyrac admitted.
"My friend Enjolras," said Courfeyrac. "There's the pavilion."
"Ah, your friend Enjolras?" Admiral de Coufeyrac asked, looking appreciatively at the fine figure Enjolras made, in a well-tailored Polytechnician's uniform of black with red piping, and with his golden hair waving loosely around his shoulders. "I remember reading your letters about… him. I understand now." He clapped Courfeyrac on the shoulder. "I am immensely proud of you, my boy, you make an old man very happy."
"I am shocked but highly gratified," Courfeyrac said, not entirely sure what his father was trying to say.
"You ought to be! Now, I understand entirely that you wish to serve as Enjolras's first lieutenant and far be it from me to break up a partnership that has held its own against pirates and the rigors of barracks life, but are you quite certain there will be no conflict of interest?" Admiral de Courfeyrac laughed at Courfeyrac's bewildered expression and replied, "I suppose not. Bear in mind, my boy, I wish to see you made admiral in my place some day and you need to behave yourself accordingly."
"I cannot imagine myself as an admiral," replied Courfeyrac.
Phèdre, moving herself onto the uneven stretch of lawn before Patria's pavilion, lowered her giant head to look Courfeyrac in the eye or, as might be more accurately stated, to set her eye in front of Courfeyrac, so that Courfeyrac could look into a reptilian pupil about the size of his full-length mirror. "Your modesty does you credit, but I have always made my captains into admirals."
"That is surely a sign of your talents rather than our family's," Courfeyrac replied gallantly.
Phèdre made a pleased rumble. "So very few of the younger generation know how to turn a compliment these days. Monsieur l'admiral, are you quite determined on keeping your son away from me?"
Admiral de Courfeyrac patted her on the snout. "I am as loath to let him go as you are. He shows great promise—or will if he applies himself to his trigonometry. Don't think I didn't see your test scores from your officer's exam. Even I wasn't that bad at mathematics when I was your age."
"I did much better on my practical," Courfeyrac replied, nettled. "A nearly perfect score—and Captain Revel found my performance on my bac to be so exemplary, she, that is to say, he requested to administer my practical problem solving examination herself."
"Himself," corrected Admiral de Courfeyrac. "Women are not allowed to serve in the armed forces, if you recall." He paused, looked at his dragon and said, "Courfeyrac, I very much hope that it was not merely your ability to please Captain Revel and possibly Captain Enjolras that got you your lieutenancy."
"She- he, sorry, also took the pirate incident into account." Rather defensively, Courfeyrac added, "Besides, I did do very well on my practical. I was on Gloriosos for the controlled combat part, and he said that he had never seen such a creative use of space and personnel in years."
"Creative," Admiral de Courfeyrac repeated.
Admiral de Courfeyrac stared at him with weary resignation. "Boy, I do not know what I am going to do with you."
"Confirm my appointment as Captain Enjolras's first lieutenant?"
"He at least knows how to charm," Phèdre said. "Of course, all de Courfeyracs do, except for that first egg you had- I was always so glad you had a second one for me." She slid her head to the side, to very gently touch the side of her snout to Courfeyrac. "He needs very little polish."
"I sound like a piece of gold," said Courfeyrac, pouting a little. "Still, if it means I count as one of your treaures, I am highly flattered by the compliment. I hope one day to be worthy of it."
Phèdre let out another pleased rumble. "Admiral, I do not believe the boy needs trigonometry. It appears he can charm his way out of any problem."
"You shall give him an inflated opinion of himself. I ought to show you his diciplinary record."
"That is Monsieur l'Admiral to you, Lieutenant Ernest Ferréol Philadelphe Engelbert de Courferyac. Be glad that you will only be discussing your disciplinary record with one admiral instead of a board of them. Ah, Captain Enjolras!" Admiral de Courfeyrac walked forward briskly, to where the training master was busy being humiliated by Enjolras's total indifference to his appearance.
"Do you call that a regulation hair-cut?" demanded the training master. "You look like Saint-Just."
Patria preened happily. "Do you think so? I have often remarked upon it myself. The resemblance is striking, is it not?"
Admiral de Courfeyrac cleared his throat and waved the training master aside.
Enjolras bowed with his usual unconcious grace, which pleased the admiral very much.
"Captain Enjolras, it is a pleasure. I have heard so much about you." Admiral de Courferyac took the moment to wink at Phèdre.
Courfeyrac was indignant. "Now look here, father- I mean, Monsieur l'Admiral-"
"I was referring to the Barbary pirates," Admiral de Courfeyrac replied, with remarkable innocence.
Courferyac threw up his hands. "If you will allow me? Father, this is Captain Enjolras; Enjolras this is my father, Admiral de Courfeyrac," he said, laying an undue stress on the particle. "Oh, and Phèdre, this is Patria, who has Enjolras as her captain; Patria, this is Phèdre, who has the misfortune of inheriting generations of Courfeyracs, and puts up with it with remarkable good grace."
Phèdre let out another pleased rumble.
Patria eyed the admiral with interest. "Oh, so you are Admiral de Courfeyrac?"
The admiral bowed gallantly. "Indeed I am."
"Then," Patria said, with the air of a mathematician who had just solved a rather difficult equation, "you must have met Charles X."
"I have had that honor."
"Then perhaps you can tell me why, if he is a king, and therefore a tyrant, he has not been guillotined."
The admiral did not quite know how to respond, and stood there for several moments, staring at Patria.
"Ha ha," Courfeyrac interjected weakly. "I hope you enjoy the joke as much as I do father! We've been reading her Mignet's Histoire de la Révolution française and I can't help but add irreverent commentary; ha ha, you know me- and you know dragons! Oh, dragons- I mean; young dragons, young dragons, not the ones who have graced these, ah, serious events with their lovely presence, ha ha. No understanding of history, young dragons."
"Evidently," replied Admiral de Courfeyrac.
"You pick damn odd reading material, Enjolras," said the training master.
"It- it's been making the rounds in all the popular salons," protested Courfeyrac.
"The French Revolution is one of the most worthwhile topics of study," replied Enjolras.
"Is it?" The training master, not waiting for a reply, drew the admiral aside. "If it wasn't for his test scores and that escapade with the Barbary pirates off the coast of Marseille, sir, Enjolras would never have made captain."
Admiral de Courfeyrac winced. "Ah yes, the pirate incident. Did Captain Enjolras really receive a letter of thanks from Jefferson?"
"That would explain why his dragon is a Jacobin," the training master replied.
Meanwhile, Patrias's crew, having previously hung back with a decent semblance of respect, busied themselves limiting the extent of the damage; Jehan took Enjolras aside to aid in this particular endeavor and Courfeyrac and Combeferre took turns respectively flattering and reasoning Patria into a more tractable frame of mind.
"One should not start up conversations about tyrants with those who serve them," Combeferre said diplomatically.
Patria protested, "But that is not fair, Combeferre- the admiral was clearly expecting me to make conversation. It was only polite! What am I to do if they should ask me about the king?"
"You must not even deign to answer when the lackeys of tyrants attempt to force their conversation upon you," Courfeyrac said, patting Patria on the snout. "Reply 'yes, sir' or 'no, sir'. Even then, you are treating them with more civility than they deserve."
"But is not the admiral your sire?"
"I did not ask to be the son of a tyrant's lackey," Courfeyrac replied, nettled.
Patria lowered her head sulkily. "Oh, and now I have been impolite to you, when that Grand Chevalier already said that you were her hatchling, not my lieutenant. I know I should not have listened in, but you are my lieutenant and she seemed so very possessive of you. You would not leave me for her, would you?"
Courfeyrac could have called himself heart-broken. "I am sorry, Patria; I was born to someday be her captain—but I am first and foremost your obedient servant."
Patria nosed the gold chain Courfeyrac had given her. Enjolras had been rather disappointed at Patria's desire for treasure and it had fallen upon Courfeyrac, who prided himself on understanding a woman's taste, to make up for Patria's sad lack of jewelery. "But you are mine now and she cannot take you away."
"No more than kings can take away the sovereignty of the French people."
Patria did not seem satisfied and continued to play with her chain. "She said that the admiral specifically gave his wife an egg for her." After brooding over this unhappy circumstance, Patria raised her head and said, quite hopefully, "Well, if you give Enjolras an egg, then it shall be my hatchling, shall it not?"
Patria floated this theory during an unfortunate lull in the conversation; Enjolras, the training master, Admiral de Courfeyrac and Phèdre all turned to look at Courfeyrac and Patria, as well as a good number of crew members and Polytechnique students.
"I thought as much," said Admiral de Courfeyrac, in tones of great satisfaction.
Phèdre neatly folded her wings before sitting, with all the elegance of a countess rearranging the fall of her skirts. "My dear girl, any egg sired by a de Courfeyrac belongs to me by birthright."
"But Enjolras is my captain and Courfeyrac is my lieutenant," Patria complained bitterly. "You cannot say that, you might as well say that your captain is your slave, instead of the other member of a rational partnership, based on trust and understanding! Surely you did not come out of your shell and choose the most servile to put you into harness. You listened in your egg for the voice that sounded the sweetest and made the most sense to you and waited until it called to you again. That is my Enjolras, and if he has an egg I will speak to it as he spoke to me and it will be mine, for Enjolras is currently my captain and Courfeyrac is not currently your captain." Patria jealously pulled Courfeyrac to her chest with a giant forearm.
Phèdre twitched her tail from side to side. "You speak very decidedly for one so young."
"I only wish things to be fair," Patria replied, after nosing Courfeyrac's shoulder for comfort and nearly knocking him over. "You already have a hatchling off your captain, I ought to have one off of mine." Then, with what she appeared to think was truly admirable generosity, Patria offered, "You may have their second egg."
Phèdre snorted. "You grow impertinent. I shall have their first and, if you learn to guard your tongue and show proper deference to your betters, I shall allow you to take their second."
"They shall not be making eggs on my watch," the training master said grimly.
"It is not, perhaps, the most opportune time," Admiral de Courfeyrac agreed.
Enjolras, of course, was not even paying attention and had engaged a dumbfounded Combeferre and a very unsurprised Jehan in a conversation on how best to treat the hayfever of a fire-breathing dragon.
Admiral de Courfeyrac directed the sweetest of smiles directed at his mortified son, before adressing the training master, "Well, that resolves any doubts I had. Lieutenant Courfeyrac's wit often carries him beyond the limits of polite conversation. I believe I will confirm Captain Enjolras's postings and put him in a division with... hm. Captain Fidelio struck me as a very competent captain."
"Not a leader, but excellent at following instruction," agreed the training master, eyeing Lieutenant Courfeyrac sternly, as Lieutenant Courfeyrac was not always the best at following any sort of instruction unless it was given by Enjolras. Even then it was touch-and-go. "Competent is the right word for Fidelio, holds his own against whatever you throw at him- and he and Captain Enjolras are equally matched in fighting ability. However, I had wanted to put Fidelio in a division with Sadi Carnot. I have a strong suspicion that Fidelio's female and being in a division with a pair of ladies might hamper Carnot enough to keep him out of trouble. I hadn't thought of putting Enjolras in the division."
"Sadi Carnot?" repeated Admiral de Courfeyrac. He had not really been attending; he was very much amused by the continuing quarrel between Phèdre and Patria and was reflecting that, if such an event came to pass, that Enjolras girl would probably provide him with really gorgeous grandchildren. It looked likely enough, given that his son's attempt to distract Enjolras from the ongoing conversation was to point out that Enjolras's hair ribbon had come loose and to immediately start playing with Enjolras's hair. "You did say 'Sadi Carnot', did you not? As in the son of Lazare, the regicide? As in, the member of the Committee of Public Safety?"
"Yes sir," replied the training master.
"This might be something of a stupid question."
"I train Polytechnicians ages ten to late twenties, and regular crewmen, sir. I scarcely ever hear an intelligent question."
"Right, so... why did we ever let the son of a member of the Committee of Public Safety have a dragon?"
"The dragon wouldn't take anyone else, sir. Lazare Carnot was Messidor's last captain and she refused to take anyone but the son. Carnot and that dragon together could be dangerous, which is why I do not want to put another Jacobin in the same division as Sadi Carnot. Even if the other Jacobin is female."
Admiral de Courfeyrac glanced back at his son, who was busy tying back Captain Enjolras's hair. "I think my son can keep her adequately contented. Or, at the very least, pleased enough with her… position so that she would not wish to begin another Reign of Terror. Ernest's wit runs away with him at times." He sounded rather pleased to admit it. "He has opinions mostly to shock me- I remember in my youth I played at being a constitutional monarchist to shock my father and please my captain- I never knew if she actually believed in it all, mind you--"
"Yes, sir," said the training master, not really inclined to take a detour off the training grounds and into memory lane. "I can never get a good grip on Captain Enjolras's opinions, he never talks about anything but practical business with me. I've heard rumors he's a Jacobin, but it's not Enjolras, it's Patria that worries me."
Admiral de Courfeyrac considered this problem carefully. "Yes, I think... yes, give them a strict training regime out to knock all this liberal nonsense out of them. Most radicalism in the young is a mix of high spirits and boredom. Get rid of those and--"
The training master nodded. "Yes, the problem's mostly gone. There's merit in that plan, sir- I think we can safely put Carnot with Fidelio and Enjolras, with Enjolras as division captain."
Admiral de Courfeyrac observed his son's hair-dressing skills thoughtfully. "Are you entirely sure that it is wise to put a division under the command of a woman?"
"Captains of fire-breathers have always been the division heads," replied the training master. "It won't do much harm. Nothing against the way the service works, sir, everyone knows Captain Enjolras arrived at the Polytechnique and put in to share a room with your boy. There are only so many ways that can be interpreted. Jacobin she might be, but political radicalism's a catching disease. If your boy developed a fancy for it, she might have just to please him- or vice versa. We will wear it out of them, as you said. Besides, I know her head's turned with dragons. I am sure you read all the incident reports of her sneaking her dragonet into the barracks."
"The maternal impulse can be very strong," observed Admiral de Courfeyrac. "Very well, I agree to your plan- though I shall make some appointments to the crews on my own, to keep Carnot from following too closely in his father's footsteps." He looked away from his son and turned to the training master. "Also, bear in mind that the mother is the most dangerous of the species. Keep an eye on our two Jacobins. If there's another Terror, it will be our heads in the basket." Then, looking enormously pleased with his own wit, Admiral de Courfeyrac added, "I should hate that, as I am rather attached to mine."
Infraction Report, 9 May, 1828
Captain Valérien Enjolras
Lieutenant Ernest Ferréol Philadelphe Engelbert de Courferyac
1. Dragon, female, fire-breathing, in barracks
2. Destruction of barracks
3. Destruction of school property
4. Possession of forbidden books (Comte de Saint-Simon)
5. Endangerment of fellow officers
At 2100 hours, Captain Enjolras brought the dragonet Patria to the room he shares with Lieutenant Courfeyrac. According to Lieutenant Courfeyrac's oral testimony, Captain Enjolras did not wish to be parted from his new dragonet, claiming that it was afraid of the dark, and smuggled it into the barracks to read it bedtime stories. Both Lieutenant Courfeyrac and Captain Enjolras claim that they had not intended to endanger their fellow officers as, though she was of the fire-breathing Flamme-de-Gloire breed, Patria had not yet succeeded in breathing anything but sparks.
Lieutenant Courfeyrac reports that Captain Enjolras had been petting Patria for several hours, when Patria attempted to purr. She instead breathed a jet of flame that immediately consumed the book from which Captain Enjolras had been reading and set both Captain Enjolras and his straw mattress on fire. Lieutenant Courfeyrac threw a pitcher of water over the flames, successfully extinguishing the blaze. The book was completely destroyed, except for the cover, upon which the words 'Saint-Simon' were still visible.
10 May- Infraction four stricken from the record; both Captain Enjolras and Lieutenant Courfeyrac protest that the book was in fact the fourth volume of the memoirs of the duc de Saint-Simon, not the work of the radical socialist. Both Captain Enjolras and Lieutenant Courfeyrac were assigned a week of manure-shoveling duty for other infractions.