THE ROSES OF DESTINY
CHAPTER 1 - FATE OR DESTINY
-Have you heard about the count de' Senna?
-Yes, who hasn't? Finally after four years he is returning in France to serve His Majesty.
-And I have also listened that his eldest son is going to join His Majesty's battle army as a high grade commander.
-His son? But he has no son. His only son died four years ago and that is the reason why he decided to go to Austria. That's …
''Oh my god! Can't they stop gossiping for even a moment?"
Commander Oscar François de' Jarjayes, tired of listening to the ladies, leaned her head against the wall. She was trying not to think about her latest problems in the court but unfortunately the ladies weren't helping her.
-Do you know how he looks like? I think that he must be very charming and…
-Oh good, this is exactly what this place need more! Another haughty noble to gossip about, - Oscar left the room and went outside so she could wait Andre and finally she would be able to go home.
-If he doesn't hurry up, I'm going to rip his head off!
-Oscar, are you ready? -she heard a voice behind her back.
-What in the world took you so long? I've been waiting for you for more than half an hour!
-Sorry Oscar. I had to take your horse too, and you know how Lena is.
-Fine, fine. Now let's go. We have to pass through the city. My father wants me to take something for him.
They got on the horses and started riding silently. André understood that something was bothering his friend but didn't say anything. He knew that if she had something to discuss with him, she would have done it already.
On the other hand, Oscar was in a dilemma. She had a bad feeling that something was going to happen soon and didn't know if she should talk about that with André. She didn't want to seem weak or paranoiac in front of him but she felt that she had to talk with somebody about that. Finally when they reached the city, she decided to speak.
-André have you heard about count de' Senna?
-I think I have heard his name mentioned in the court lately. He is returning to France after he and his family have gone to Austria for more than four years now.
-Yeah, I know that too but… Do you know the reason why he and his family left? -she was starting to get curious.
-I am not sure Oscar but I've heard that after his eldest son and his wife were murdered by an unknown person, he moved to Austria. People at Versailles say that he couldn't stay here anymore.
-Why? -Oscar asked immediately. -Well Oscar, I don't know exactly. Even the things I just said, are only some gossips that I've heard here and there.
-But if you want, I can make some research and then talk to you with real facts.
-No, no. It's okay, -she said quickly.
They continued their way to general Bouie house. In the middle of the way they heard somebody shouting.
-WATCH OUT! - Things happened so quickly that none of them understood the whole situation. A carriage was passing the road with an unbelievable speed and it was ready to hit a small child on its way. Oscar didn't think twice and got off the horse. But the moment she was ready to rush over to save the child, she saw somebody grabbing the little boy on his arms and flowing at the other side of the road. When the carriage finally stopped, people went to see what had just happened and if anyone was hurt. Oscar climbed on her horse again and approached the person holding the child. She was surprised from what she saw. The unknown person had a very beautiful and fragile woman face, but was wearing man's clothes and had a sword in her belt. She blinked her eyes and started getting even closer.
-Oscar, where are you going? - She heard André's voice behind her but didn't turn back. Suddenly somebody covered her view. When the guy moved, the little child was in the ground crying but the girl was nowhere to be seen. Oscar turned back to André really confused.
-Did you see that?
-Of course I did. A crazy coachman almost hit a small child, and you were this close to jump in front of the carriage for that child's sake. Are you alright?
Oscar didn't pay attention to his words: -I didn't mean the accident. I was asking about that woman. Did you see her, or where she went?
-Oscar, what woman? I didn't see anything; - Oscar stared at him like he had gone mad or something. Then she turned her head once more at the place where she saw that woman and then after not seeing anything, she calmed down a little.
-Oscar… Is there something wrong?
-Umm, never mind Andre. It… It was probably my imagination. I… I thought I saw a woman dressed up as a man. Well I think I saw wrong.
-A woman, dressed up as a man? Oscar, I think you need to lie down, -André said surprised.
-I said never mind. Let's go now! We're going to be late if we don't hurry up, -as she said that, Oscar pulled the reins of the horse.
-Do you know what Oscar?
-What? -she asked surprised.
- Maybe you weren't wrong at all. After seeing you, some ladies might have begun to launch a new mode, now days, -André said laughing.
–Ha ha ha, very funny André! Now if you have time to say jokes, better hurry up! -she started to gallop faster leaving him behind.
And that was the end of that conversation. They headed to complete the task that Oscar's father had asked her to do. At their way home, Oscar wanted to forget that talk, but deep inside she couldn't stop thinking it over and over again.
"What is happening to me? Was it probably my imagination? No, no I am sure I saw her, and… And I am sure she was dressed in man's clothes. Whatever she was, I have a feeling that we are going to find out soon enough."
And with those words, she continued her way home beside her friend without even knowing how right she was.
-Granny, have you seen Oscar?
-Oh, my little Oscar, she is outside practicing fencing with those dangerous swords, while she should be wearing beautiful gowns (dresses), practicing dancing and attending balls and…
-Okay thanks granny …
Oh my god! - André said rushing out from the kitchen to the garden where he found Oscar. -Oscar, have you ever heard about "taking a break" sometime? Nanny said you've been here all the morning.
-Good morning to you, too André!
-Sorry Oscar, but you really need to take a break sometime.
-I don't need a break André. I need to practice my fencing. You know Her Majesty's parad at the city is next week, -she said and continued working with her moves.
- Okay, okay! But how about going for an early horse riding before you go to the court? I need to tell you something.
-Fine, but what's the matter?
-Come on, I will tell you on the way, -he climbed the horse and pulled the reins. Oscar hesitated firstly but then gave up and climbed up to her own horse. That bad feeling hadn't gone away since that day, and this time she had begun to worry about that. Also some strange dreams had been following her lately. The two of them started to ride in silent beside each-other but after some minutes Oscar lost her temper.
-Okay André! What do you need to tell me?
-Well do you remember when you asked me about de' Senna family? - He started.
-And after that I started getting curious so even though you told me not to research, I still did.
-So what did you find out? -She was starting getting curious herself. -It came out that the gossips had been true. His family left because of the death of his son, but the funeral was made here in France.
-I do not understand what is strange here.
-I haven't finished yet. The day of the funeral one of count's daughters bowed on her knees in front of the grave and shouted: "I promise you my brother, no matter how much it cost to me, I will revenge you. I promise you!"
After listening that, Oscar froze. She had been seeing a strange dream lately in which a young girl with tears in her eyes shouted "I will revenge you! I promise! I PROMISE!" Could it possibly be a coincidence?
-After that the family moved to Austria and nobody heard of the girl again until last week. But the strangest thing is that the count and the countess don't have any other boy only three girls. Even the child of the count's son and his wife was a girl, who was only one year old when her parents died. Do you understand what I mean now Oscar?
-Well, that's a little strange, still…
-Oscar maybe that day… When you said that you saw that girl at the streets, maybe that was one of the count's daughters, the one promising at her brother's grave?
-WHAT? Andre that's totally impossible. It was only the promise of a small girl, she couldn't be that serious. I mean… Anyway the count will come here by the next week from what I've heard at the court.
-I don't know Oscar, but I've a bad feeling.
-Look, do you know where their mansion is?
-Yes, in the middle of a large meadow not far away from Versailles. Why?
-We can pay a visit at it before we return home. Only to make sure that they haven't arrived yet. Now let's return. I've got to go to the court.
Oscar didn't understand anything. She was confused from what André had told her this morning. Even Her Majesty, Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna, understood that something wasn't right with Oscar that day.
-Oscar is there something wrong? Maybe I can help you.
-No your highness, everything is fine, -Oscar stood silent for the other part of the day. She had decided to ask Her Majesty, Marie Antoinette, about the count when they were alone. Finally after thousands of meetings and talking that Her Majesty had to perform, she went exhausted in her room, singing all the way there.
-I can't stand it anymore, Oscar, - she said when they were finally alone. -Every day I have to do the same things like attending meetings in the morning and balls on evening. Isn't there something more interesting in a queen's life? Even one of my true best friends left me, without saying goodbye. And you too, singing all the time. Am I so unbearable?
-No your majesty, -said Oscar coming closer to the queen, -you are a great queen, but there are persons who don't want to accept that.
-Oh Oscar, you are my only true friend. Please promise that you will always stay by my side.
-Of course your highness! -As she spoke those words, she stopped a moment and that restarted with a surprising question. -Your highness, may I ask you about something?
-Of course you can Oscar. Tell me.
-Your Majesty, have you heard about count de' Senna?
-Of course I have. His majesty is going to offer his son a post as a high grade commander at the Battle Army.
-I know that too. But Your Majesty the only son of the count died four years ago.
-Yes, I've heard about that around the court. But when I asked His Majesty, he said that we all were going to find out the truth when the boy attend the court next week, because he had promised to the count that he wouldn't tell anything before the right time. So I don't know anything either.
-I see. Than thanks a lot your Majesty. If you would excuse me, I've to leave now. I promised my father that I would be home early for dinner this evening. With your permission, -she said and bowed once before leaving the room.
-Goodbye Oscar. See you tomorrow!
Oscar left the palace and joined André outside.
–So, are you ready? -He asked.
–Yes, let's go or we will be late for dinner. They rode all the way till at the de' Senna's mansion, but when they arrived there they didn't notice any servant. That was quite strange, since they would come by the next week.
–It seem that they haven't returned yet, -said André. -Let's go closer.
They started watching the mansion on every direction, but they found nothing unusual.
–So after all it has been my imagination, -Oscar finally agreed.
–Well it seems like that.
–Let's go. We've nothing to do here.
Oscar and André left the mansion and rode home.
-Athenodora Gabrielle de' Senna, what are you doing outside?
-I am sorry Elena but I thought I heard something.
–Well there is nothing out there, so get back inside. Is so cold out here.
–Yes, I'm coming. Maybe returning at this country has made me more paranoiac than ever. I just don't feel safe here anymore. After what happened…
–I know that you only want to protect me and little Chelsea, especially now that our parents are away, but you have to worry more about yourself. Despite the fact that you wear man's clothes, deep inside you are a woman.
–No, you're wrong Elena. It's been so long time since I told goodbye to my womanhood. Now I am a man and soon I will be a commander. I'm not weak. Go inside now! I am going to check around the house once more.
Elena Corbin de' Senna left her sister alone in the darkness of the night.
"You are wrong Elena; I am not a woman anymore. Or at least I will never confess it at your eye. I will protect our family with my life. I won't be as fragile as I was when seeing my brother dying in front of my eye and not being able to do anything. No I am a man now and soon a commander."
After saying that to her heart, Athenodora, a body with woman feelings inside and a man's strength outside, went to keep her promise.
Late that night a young woman sat on her bed crying and worried to death.
"Please my god, please! Protect my sister. She has gone outside her nature but I know that inside she still has woman feelings. Returning at the court will be hard for her heart, but please, protect her. Send one of your guardian angles from paradise to protect and look after her. Please hear my prayers!"
Late that night at the Jarjayes mansion, Oscar François de' Jarjayes was dreaming of a strange girl fighting in a battle of thorny roses, saying: -"I'm not afraid, I'm a man."