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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6

Seals of Power - REVIEW THIS STORY

Written by Michi-chan and KazeRogue
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 1

The carriage rumbled through the forest, shaking it's passangers. Comte de Montmiraille à Sartpassant sighed and leaned back in his seat. His daughter, Jacqueline Henriette watched him with concern. He'd came all the way from Montmiraille to the little convent school where she'd been educated for the past couple of years to take her home. But he was an old man and the long strenous journey was exhausting him. But soon they would arrive at home.

She couldn't wait to see Irene Corbeau, the woman who had been like a mother to her after her real mother had died. The woman who had taught her to survive, who had made her strong. Her father had always had a soft spot for her, granting her every liberty she demanded. Mme Corbeau had directed her wildness into the right way, giving her a strong will, but also wisdom. But then, her aunt had persuaded her father that her formation would be better finished in a convent, to prevent Jacqueline from having a free will - God forbid! - and - most important - become a good wife for one of the nobles who wanted to link with her family. She was now in the age of marriage, but she despised the idea. She had other plans than spending the rest of her life in this golden cage. Luckily her father had promised her that she could choose her husband-to-be herself. Well, that choice could wait a while.

Jacqueline grinned to herself. She was certainly looking forward to see Irene again and discuss this certain matter with her. She would be delighted to think of a strategy to hold off the unwanted suitors. Planning and scheming were her favorite pasttimes.

Suddenly she heard a noise and the carriage came to an abrupt halt. She fell forward and had to cling to her father to not hit the floor. Angrily, her father opened the door to see what was going on outside, but he saw just long legs dangling from the top of the carriage. The young comtess was surprised, she hadn't even heard someone jumping on it's top, the owner of these legs had to be light-footed like a cat. She became evidence of that as the man let himself drop to the floor elegantly to face her father. And he was good looking, too. Young and handsome, strong in both body and will, as one could easily see. And raiding them. Men, similary dressed as their leader - Jacqueline had no doubt that the one in front of her held that position - , covered the Comte's men, swords in their hands. A young girl with short red hair ran around between them, taking their valuables.

"What do you want?" Her father asked with a strong voice, the strains of the voyage forgotten.

"We're jus' some hungry wanderers, asking kindly for a donation."

His men roared with laughter at their leader's joke. So he was a thief AND he was making fun of her father. That got him some minus points at Jacqueline's scale.

"Monsieur, just give us what we want, you don't look as if you would miss it, and we'll leave you and your little sweetheart here alone. What do you think?"

"How dare you! This is my daughter!"

Jacqueline could barely hold back. Anger was boiling in her and blurred her vision. Just the presence of her father kept her from leaping at that guy and scratching his eyes out. So he was impertinent, too. Jacqueline didn't like him. Big time.

"Is that so? Well, your 'daughter' is quite pretty, we might as well take her instead of your jewels."

Again, roaring laughter from his men was the response. The Comte was so shocked he nearly forgot to breathe. His face was turning red, but before his anger could erupt, his daughter exploded. She tried to get past him, a dangerous look on her face. He could barely hold her back by her upper arm while she was already insulting the thief with swearwords he had never imagined a lady to KNOW. And his little daughter was just USING them! The thief seemed equally surprised at her sudden outburst, but then laughed out loud.

"Wild thing you got yourself there, Comte." He said while ripping off the necklace the young woman was wearing.

He looked at it closely, seizing it, then tossed it to the young redhead who catched it with the blade of her knife. The thief returned his attention to the scowling comte and his furious daughter. A huge grin spread over his face that Jacqueline, under different circumstances would have called impishly cute, but now it digusted her.

"Ah, don't take it seriously, ma chère, jus' kidding."

"Isn't it enough that you're raiding us? Do you have to make fun of us, too?" Jacqueline asked, slightly embarassed by his familiar address.

The thief seemed to consider this for a moment, then nodded thoughtfully.

"Yes, I think I have to, that's the funny part of my hard work."

Again his men met this comment with laughter. The comte had enough of this scenario. He pulled his daughter back in the carriage and left it in the same movement. Though he was a tall man, the young thief was even a few inches taller Jacqueline noticed.

"That's enough! I didn't expect a thief to have manners, but you're exceeding the limit! I won't let my family be insulted by a lousy street rat, no matter how many men you have there backing you up. You will excuse for these insults immediately!" The comte said, his eyes firmly locked with the thief's, who seemed to have lost his humour. He sensed that this conversation was turning serious, and the comte calling him 'street rat', a title he had heard too many times and still despised it like nothing else, didn't help. His jaw set angrily, he closed the distance to the elder man.

"What about you take your little daughter and leave before something happens that we both would like to avoid. I have what I came for and you can survive for all I care. But don't ever cross me!" He told him, an equal pride shining in his eyes as in the comte's.

"So there's just one way. I have to reestablish my honor." The comte draw his sword and lifted it to his face in a gesture of greet to his opponent.

The thief took a step back to have space to draw his own weapon, but that wasn't neccassary anymore. An arrow trembled in the old man's chest and he broke down soundlessly. Not as soundlessly was the scream that escaped his daughter's lips. Jacqueline shoved out of the carriage and kneeled next to her father's body in an instant.

The young thief turned around angrily to find the assailant. He immediately saw the content face of one of his men, wearing a cruel smile and still holding the bow. He snorted disgusted. Sure, who else?

"Chatton, what do you think ya're doin' there?" He yelled at him.

"Savin' yer hide?" The one called Chatton yelled back, still smiling, confidently. His leader believed him no second. Chatton and he didn't get along that well, the elder one would stab him in the back anytime. He had killed the man out of fun nothing else.

"I was absolutely balanced, no need to kill a man of honor like a coward. Don't ever dare to do something like that without my strict order again, do you hear me?"

Chatton snorted. He didn't seem to hold his leader's principles too high. But the thief had already turned his attention back to the dead comte and his sobbing daughter who clenched to the corpse desperately. He touched her shoulder, but she slapped his hand away. Jacqueline turned to look at him, a cold fire burning in her soul.

"You!! You killed him! You killed my father. He was an old man and YOU LET YOUR MAN KILL HIM FROM BEHIND BECAUSE YOU WERE TOO COWARDLY TO FIGHT HIM LIKE A MAN OF HONOR!!!!!!! I'LL KILL YOU FOR THIS!" Jacqueline attacked him with an unarticulated scream. The thief held her off by her wrists, trying to calm her down.

"Look, I'm sorry for what happened here, wasn't supposed to. But you should really go now before the situation escalates." He motioned for one of the comte's servants to take care of the comtess, then let go of her. She slowly regained her composure. She looked at him with more dignity and cold hatred than he had ever seen on a person.

"One day, thief, no matter where you will try to hide, you'll wake up with a knife at your throat. And I will be there. And I will laugh. Never forget this. You will die!"

With these words, she entered the carriage, took her fathers body in her lap, and let the carriage drive her home. The thief looked after her and suddenly felt colder than anytime before in his young life.


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