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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 3

Remy was alone in the small hut which served the thieves as their hideout. One of the few privileges of being the thieves' leader was the possibility to order them to leave him alone whenever he needed some privacy. And right now he was in desperate need. There were so many things going on in his head. His gaze was focused on the object he was holding in his hands. It was the picture of a young woman, about his age, with flaming red hair, which surrounded her delicate features. She was smiling. Remy smiled back, but unlike hers, his was a sad smile. His fingers clenched around the simple wooden frame and for a moment he feared it would break.

"LeBeau!" The door was flung open forcefully, causing Remy to wince and drop the picture. It made a clattering sound as it hit the floor and rolled a few feet until it came to a halt at the foot of the small table. Remy looked up to see who had dared to ignore his order. He felt his anger burn as he caught sight of Chatton standing in the door frame. He had never liked this man, but since the incident with the old noble man his antipathy had turned into loathing.

"My order goes for you as well, Chatton" he said, his voice threateningly calm. The look Remy shot him would've caused every other men to back up, but on Chatton it didn't seem to work.

"We have to talk."

"I'm sorry Remy. I told him you didn't want to be disturbed but he wouldn't listen to me." said a voice from behind Chatton. Sarah slipped past the big man but remained at the entrance unsure what to do.

"Don't worry Sarah, it isn't your fault." Remy reassured her. No, it certainly wasn't. If Chatton wanted to talk to him, there wasn't much little Sarah could do to stop him. Nonetheless Remy admired her courage. It took a lot of bravery to stand up to someone like Chatton. Remy turned to Chatton again.

"So, what do ya want to talk about?" Chatton finally left his spot at the door and walked towards Remy.

"No, LeBeau I want to talk to ya alone, without yer pet hanging around." he gestured towards Sarah. The young girl tensed at his nickname for her. Remy's pet. How she hated to be called this - how she hated Chatton. He had been against her inclusion into the thieves band, had plead that she was too young, that she'd just be a millstone around their necks. Still Remy had given her a chance and she had proven herself a valuable member of their group. She had earned the respect and acceptance of the others. Well, except Chatton. From her look, Remy could tell that Sarah was really mad and being short tempered as she was, he feared she'd try and attack Chatton. Suddenly the memory of another redhead with an equally hot temper came up in his mind. No, that one wasn't red, it was more like auburn... He pushed the thought away. There were more important matters to attend to right now.

"Leave us alone, Sarah." he told the girl before she could do anything they'd both regret afterwards.


"NOW!" he cut her off, before she could say anything more. There was a second of hesitating, but then Sarah turned around and left the hut, closing the door behind her. When she was gone, Remy folded his arms in front of his chest. He looked at Chatton with narrowed eyes, waiting for the other man to speak. Chatton was about to say something, when he spotted a small object on the floor. Remy's eyes followed Chatton's and he noticed the picture still lying under the table. Without a word he went over to the table to pick it up, but Chatton was faster. He gave a quiet whistle as he saw the potrait of the beautiful woman.

"Hey, who is this little honey, LeBeau? Yer mistress?" he asked leering.

"Dat's none of your goddamn business!" Remy hissed through clenched teeth as he snatched the picture from Chatton. He put it away quickly then returned his attention to Chatton who seemed to be amused by his reaction.

"My my, so irritable today?" Remy wasn't in the mood for Chatton's games. All he wanted was to get this 'talk' over with and then get rid of Chattons company. At least for the rest of the day.

"Say what you want to tell me or leave!"

Jacqueline slowly let herself glide out of the saddle. She buried her head in the horse's mane and closed her eyes, trying to clear her head. 'This is crazy' a voice in the back of her head screamed. She'd left her home, her uncle, Irene, everyone who had ever cared for her, just to hunt down some thief who could be anywhere by now. For a moment she played with the thought of going back, taking Irene's advice and come up with some kind of plan first. But then she saw her father, remembered how he used to throw her up in the air when she'd been a little girl, his face full of love when he called her 'his little wild princess'.

These happy memories were quickly replaced by the one of his body, limp and lifeless in her arms and her hate flared up again. She pushed all thoughts about going back away. No, she did the right thing. She had to do this and - as much as René may wanted to help her - she had to do it on her own. 'It's just the strain I've been under the last couple of hours' she thought. Jacqueline had been on horseback since she'd left her home about five hours ago. And now she was exhausted, hungry and most of all terribly tired. She let out a low moan, as she stretched and felt her muscles protesting at the movement. What she'd give for a warm meal and a bed right now...

'You're just not used to this' she told herself angrily 'but you have to keep moving, if you ever want to find that damned thief!'. She had tried to find the place again where the thieves had gotten hold of her father's carriage, because she was sure, that their 'headquarters' or whatever it was called in 'thief-language' would not be far away. Thieves bands always had hideouts in the woods, and they never went away too far from it for their attacks. That way they had to carry the loot only a short distance. At least that was what she had heard and what she hoped was true. Unfortunately lessons in tracing somebody's trail weren't given in the convent and her sense of orientation wasn't what she now wished it would be. Or in other words: she had no clue as to where she was and if she was even near the place she was searching.

She remebered passing a group of trees which had been different from the others that grew in this wood, shortly before they were attacked. But how was she supposed to find them? It had been day then and now in the darkness of the night, all trees looked alike to her. Knowing that she wouldn't find the thieves in the dark, she decided to rest for awhile. She took her bags off the horse and put them down under a tree. Then she gathered a few small branches and tried to make a fire that would warm her and keep wild animals away. She wasn't sure if there were any dangerous animals in the forest at all, but better safe than sorry.

Fortunately it hadn't been raining for a week and the wood was dry and caught fire easily. As the flames slowly licked upwards, Jacqueline silently thanked Irene for teaching her how to light a fire. Leaning back against a tree she grabbed for her bag and pulled it onto her lap. She considered eating a bit of her provisions but decided against it. Who knew how long they would have to do for her. Getting the picture of her parents - the only memory of her family she had taken with her - out of the bag, Jacqueline looked at it for a moment, then kissed her father and the mother she had never known. Pressing it to her chest, she drifted off to sleep.

"We have to move. This place is no longer safe." Chatton said without further ado.

"So? And who says dat?"

"Me. Listen, LeBeau, we've been here for how long now, three weeks? And we've robbed dozens of rich bastards. What if they told the gendarms? Maybe this whole forest is already full of soldiers, searching for us. I have no intention of ending on the gallow."

"So, do you? Den maybe you got yourself de wrong job, mon ami?" Remy said mockingly. Still, and has much as Remy hated to admit it, Chatton was right. It was really time for them to move on. They had already spent to much time in one and the same place, and as well hidden as this place may be, it wasn't untraceable. The risk was just too big. Unconsciously glancing at the frame he still held in his clenched hands, he nodded.

"D'accord. Tell de ot'ers to pack up. We're moving tomorrow at dawn..."

When Chatton left the young leader's hut, he heard him whisper something like 'maybe we will find what we're searching elsewhere...' but neither was he sure to have heard correctly, nor did he care enough to ask what he meant with this statement. Grinning inwardly he yelled orders at the other thieves to prepare everything for their leave. He had it his way and that was all that counted.

Sarah was still boiling of rage when she punched at the old tree in front of her. 'That goddamn Chatton! Who does that nerd think he is?'. The young girl had been walking through the dark forest for quite some time now, trying to work off some steam, but still the thought of the elder man pushing past her as if she was nonexistent made her guts clench in anger. And Remy... her only friend... the person she trusted most all over the world, had nearly thrown her out of the hut, treating her like the child the other thieves always pretended she was. He had never done that before! Her lips started to tremble treacherously, but she fought down the tears. She wouldn't cry! She wasn't one of those pampered princesses! She had learned to fight for her life at a very young age and she had never cried, no matter how harsh life had treated her. But when somebody showed her that she was weaker, like Chatton had done today, at such an injustice, she couldn't help but shed burning tears of helpless rage.

A feral growl escaped her throat as she kicked against another trunk when she saw the shimmering of a fire through the branches in front of her. Slowly crawling forward, remembering all the stealth Remy had taught her, she approached the fireplace. A still figure laid there, leaned against a tree, a horse grazing besides. She slowly creeped closer till she could make out the figures shape. It was a woman, or more likely a girl. Probably running away from her evil daddy who wanted to marry her to an old Lord. Sarah grinned bitterly. Life was sooooo harsh to these pampered daddy-girls! Her grin turning evil, she stepped closer to the 'sleeping beauty', planning to scare the shit out of her. At least she had found someone where she could let off some steam!

When she bended over the girl she couldn't help but gasp for air. That was the girl they had robbed a few days ago! The one whose father Chatton had killed! At the sound of Sarah's gasp, Jacqueline woke up. The two girls looked into each others eyes incredously, similary shocked. After a split second, they both reacted with trained speed, but to her misfortune, Jacqueline had only the picture of her parents in her range, while Sarah's belt was bristling with knives, so the odds were clear. As pigheaded as Jacqueline was, even she yielded face to face with a sharp knife. In a gesture as old as mankind, she lifted her hands over her head, defeated.

"Now, look who we have here, the little lady-wildcat." Sarah snarled as she motioned Jacqueline to get up. "I guess I'll bring you to leader-dearest and let him decide what we do with you, and, more important, with your horse and your package!"

Silently, the young Comtess packed up her belongings and followed the thief's orders, hoping that the girl wouldn't see her triumphant smile at the thought that she had finally found a guide to the thieves' hideout.


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