VIVE LA REVOLUTION
A Timelines Inter-Season Showcase by Grubnessul
Originally Posted by Editor's Notes
“If the legislative power is united with the executive power in one person, or in a single governing body, there can be no freedom, for men must fear that the same monarch, or senate that creates tyrannical laws, will also execute those laws tyrannical. Nor is there freedom if the judicial power is not separated from the legislative or executive power. If it be united with the legislator power, the power over the life and freedom of the citizen would be random, for the judicator would be legislator. If it would go hand in hand with the executive power, the judicator could acquire the power of a tyrant.”
Charles Montesquieu, De l'esprit des lois (the spirit of the laws)
Paris, July 12th 1748,
A soft breeze played with the estandarte real on the Bastille. The captain of the guard sighed in relief as he felt the cool wind touching his face. A short, gentle touch as the fingers of a lover playing along the line of his jaw, soon it would disappear again into the motionless, burning summer heat. The captain made the same few passes his predecessors had made for centuries. Whoever controlled the Bastille, controlled the city, and who controlled the city controlled France. Or so they said.
In silence, the captain watched over the city, a city that seemed calm in the afternoon sun. Deceivingly calm. Ever since that Montesquieu fellow had been locked up in the dungeons deep beneath the Bastille. The city had been full of tension, the surface seemed calm but beneath was boiling.
Three months had passed since this man had published a rebellious book, claiming the necessity to split up the legislative, executive and judicial powers. Worse, he had pleaded for a separation between church and state, questioning the título divino, the divine right of the Emperor to rule.
It was still a mystery how the man could have written such a complex work without the Spanish Inquisition ever taking a note. Given this man’s earlier publication, Lettres Persanes, in which two imaginary Persian subjects visited Madrid  and criticized the Spanish way of ruling, it was suspected in the Silent Room that both in writing and in publishing the Persians had aided Montesquieu.
“Persian gold and heretic writers” the captain thoughts, “even that is enough to blow up the entire city. And what if they are right? What if whoever controls Paris, does control France?” “Captain Antonio!” the sound of the young soldiers voice roughly brought him back to reality. “What is it, private?” captain Antonio asked the soldier. “Sir, Cardinal Ximenez is awaiting you downstairs.”
“*hic* Bu… but they got him… they got… Mont… Monte… Mo… *hic* you know… the ma… man…”
“You’re drunk, Pierre!” his companion replied. “You cannot go to the Bastille! With all the tension around, the soldiers will shoot you before noticing you’re just another drunk!” Renault and their other companion grabbed Pierre’s shoulders. “You’ve had quite enough, Pierre”, he growled.
“Xavier, let’s bring him home before he actually goes to shout at the soldiers.” “
My thoughts, Renault” the man named Xavier said. “Still he is somewhat right, Renault. Montesquieu shouldn’t have been captured by the Spanish.”
“I know, my friend” Renault replied. “There is nothing we can do right now. The Inquisition will find him innocent of collaborating with the Persians and release him… eventually… Anyway, let’s bring Pierre home first.”
Regardless of the centuries of occupation by the Spanish, Paris was still a city of world format. And smelled like one. Swiftly Renault and Xavier carried their drunken friend through the narrow streets of the metropolis, evading the patrols of Spanish soldiers through the avenues and hoping Pierre was to far away to notice the white Spanish uniforms, in his current state he would probably assault them without thinking and be killed before he could blink his eye.
The dungeons were cold and damp; rats disappeared as soon as Antonio and the guard that called for him made their way down. Their boots made a sucking sound on the moist floor. Antonio had never liked this place, for all the years that he had been stationed here in Paris, he had only been a few times this deep down in the dungeon. The place smelled of death and disease. “Here the Cardinal said they would keep him, captain.” The guard soldier said. Antonio nodded. The head of the Spanish Inquisition was well known in the Empire, the fact that he had come here personally was worrisome. Antonio knew somewhere deep inside that there was something big about to happen.
With the sound of iron upon rusty iron the soldier opened the door and stepped back. “This is as far as the Cardinal allowed me to go, captain”, he said. Antonio nodded, he understood the fear of the Cardinal, the fear that somewhere down here the soldier would learn of Montesquieu’s words and would write about it in letters home. Unleashing his heresy in the heartland of the Spanish Empire could lead to a disaster. No, it was better to keep out as many people as possible.
Antonio entered the cell and was immediately hit by the smell of blood, suffering and human excretion. Vaguely he recognised the man hanging on the wall as Montesquieu. The man was only a phantom of what he had been before, he had never been a fat man, but how he looked more like a skeleton than a human being, only a few places on his skin there were unmarked by evidence of whips or burning iron.
Antonio had to swallow a few times before he entered the cell. He had never seen the head of the head of the Inquisition at work and had little desire to do so. The Cardinal was shadowed by his inseparable companions only known by their nicknames “Fang” and “Claw”, Antonio knew their reputation well enough to feel Goosebumps rise over his arms. Looking at the hawk face of the Cardinal. “Your excellence, you asked for me?” he asked, proud that his voice only shake a little.
“Yes, captain De la Tolarenciae”, the Cardinal replied. “I fear our dear writer has little to tell us. If I were to believe him he wrote that book of his in his spare time and financed the publication himself. Did you search his house?”
“Ye… yes, your excellence, my men and I searched every corner. No hint of Persian gold or other support. Would it be possible that he was speaking the truth?”
“Possible, but unlikely”, the Cardinal replied in his cold, harsh voice. “Now you’re here, Captain, send one of the local priests to mend him up enough for me to continue interrogation again tomorrow.”
“Is he that drunk again?” Pierre’s wife asked when Renault and Xavier carried him in.
“Yes, I fear so, Maria” Renault replied as he put Pierre down on the bed. “He kept insulting the Spanish in public.”
Maria sighed. “My poor lovely fool. He is just too full of passion about all of this. He must learn to be more careful. But he is right, La Resistance should act now.”
“We cannot act now, Maria” Xavier said with a sad voice.
“Than when will you act? Do you want to carry the yoke of the Spanish forever?” Maria’s voice had turned sharp and her cheeks had turned red. “Xavier, La Resistance has existed forever now! It is time that we French should do something about it! If this goes on any longer, men like my Pierre will get hurt! Do you want him to get hurt?”
“And what will happen in a revolution, Maria?” Renault asked. “More people will get hurt, more women will lose their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons!” Maria turned to the window, looking out over the dark city, to the Bastille lighted by torches. “Some things are worth dying for, aren’t they, Renault?” Renault did not reply and he joined her behind the window.
“We’d better go, Xavier.” He finally said. “We’ll see what we can do, Maria.”
“She is right, Renault.” Xavier said, “It is time for La Resistance to act. Sooner or later, they will kill Montesquieu, and if they do so, all of Paris will boil over, that will be our moment.
“Yes, my friend, the moment for La Resistance”, Renault replied. “We’d better inform the cells then I guess.”
Paris, July 13th 1748
The rising sun made the monastery of St Germain de Charonne bathe in soft golden light as Antonio climbed the stairs. He hesitated a little before he knocked on the door. “Greetings, brother,” he said as one of the monks opened the door, “would it be possible for me to have a word with brother Francisco?” The monk nodded, “Brother Francisco is in the garden, do you know your way or do I have to show you?” “I know the way, brother.” He answered.
He had always enjoyed the silent tranquillity of the monastery, sometimes he had even wondered if his choice for the life of a soldier had been a mistake. But it wasn’t like him to come back on decisions he had made. He made his choice a long time ago, now he had just to live this choice. It was only a small walk to the garden where the monastery grew the herbs the monks used when called upon to aid the sick.
Recognising the figure working in a corner of the garden, Antonio hesitated for a second and walked to the monk. “Carlos?” He asked.
Slowly the man rose and turned to Antonio. “Here I am known as brother Francisco.” He replied, than his face cracked open into a wide, almost boyish smile. “Antonio! Good to see you! It has been far to long! What brings you here?”
Antonio smiled “Far too long, brother, but this not a pleasant visit, I’m afraid. We need to talk. Somewhere… private.” His brother nodded. “We can talk in my cell, but I trust my brothers unquestionably.”
“I know brother,” Antonio sighed, “but this matter is of far too much importance.”
“It’s about Montesquieu, isn’t it?” Brother Francisco asked after he closed the door of his cell.
Antonio nodded. “Cardinal Ximenez sent me, he wants a local monk to mend Montesquieu enough so he can continue to interrogate him.”
“And you want me to help in such a thing, Antonio?” his brother asked.
“You’re the only one I know who takes his duty serious enough to do what must be done, brother.” Brother Francisco was silent for a moment.
“I understand it, Antonio. Well, we cannot let the Cardinal wait any longer than I guess.” He changed the subject to something more cheerful, “heard anything from Isabella, lately, Antonio?” He asked as he started to collect his herbs and bandages.
Antonio smiled as he though about Isabella, beautiful Isabella, his Isabella. “I received a letter from her last week,” he answered, “she’s still waiting for me on her father’s estate. In two years I will have earned enough to marry her.” Francisco nodded, “I’m happy for you brother.”
La Resistance had always been a very careful organisation; most members had never met, and most didn’t even know the names of other members. Every member belonged to a cell, every cell had one leader, and he got his orders from the Directorate.
The man grinned; it had been easy to contact those who needed a sign from him. As soon as there would be a sign of the dead of Montesquieu, the gunpowder keg that was Paris would explode. The plan had been simple, create a mass rally near the Bastille and demand justice, he hoped it would be a peaceful rally, but he knew that chance was little. The Spaniards would not give up their stronghold that easily, and he doubted the angry mob would be controllable. Xavier and Pierre would make sure the mob would be armed in that case. He now only had to visit one more address, today. Than all the pieces would be set and he would have to wait what way the game would resolve itself. But for now, he was still in charge.
Reaching the apartment, he knocked on the door and waited. He smiled when the beautiful lady opened the door, “Madame de la Pael, we’re needed.” She looked at him for a second and nodded.
“Which of the two?” She asked.
“Mother” he replied.
“I understand, Monsieur Canasson. I figured you wouldn’t come over just for tea.”
“Under any normal circumstance, tea or champagne would be lovely, madam, but Mother requires my work, I fear. You’d better prepare your coach right away now it’s still more or less calm at the streets.”
“I’ll leave right away, monsieur Canasson. It was a pleasure to serve at your side.” He looked her in the eyes and kissed her carefully on the cheek.
“The honour was mine, madam De la Pael.” He said and left the building without looking back once.
Montesquieu was in the same condition he’d been when Antonio left. Antonio knew he was looking upon an enemy of the Empire, an Empire he had sworn to defend with his life. But all he could feel was sorrow for the chained man, covered with blood and ooze from his wounds. He had smelled the air in the cell before, but his brother almost retched when he entered the smell. “I see why the Cardinal needed me here” the monk mumbled and started his work.
Hours passed as brother Francisco banded up the deepest wounds and cleaned those less serious. Finally he threw a little bit of white powder in a cup of wine and let the tortured man drink. “A good year, brother” the broken voice of Montesquieu surprised them both.
“I figured you could use something good, my son”, the monk smiled.
“Yes, brother, last good thing I’ll taste on this world, I suppose? Say, could I do my last confession now you’re here? I fear the Cardinal has little time or patience for such trivialities as the well being of the soul of a heretic.” The monk could do little but smile sad at the tormented face.
“I have time for you, my son.”
A relief filled the wounded face of Charles Montesquieu, “please forgive me father, for I have sinned…”
Antonio waited outside the cell for the Cardinal, granting his brother and the heretic a moment of peace. Every time he thought about the face of the tortured man, he felt tears coming up, he had seen wounds like this before, but the look of thankfulness and relief for wine and confession tore right through the steel walls right to the centre of his heart.
Distant footsteps of three approaching men gave him just enough time to clean his eyes from tears and clear his throat. The Cardinal would not be pleased to see him crying for the fate of a heretic.
Soon the Cardinal arrived shadowed as always by Claw and Fang. “Have you done as I ordered?” he asked.
“Yes, you’re excellence, brother Francisco should be done with him any minute.”
“He’d better be” the Cardinal replied and opened the cell door. Just as they entered, brother Francesco walked towards the door. Antonio was relieved that his brother had either heard the Cardinal arrive or that due some luck he had been done in time, for the Cardinal would have been displeased at the very least to see a monk taking confessions from this heretic.
“I hope you’ve done your work well, brother.” The Cardinal said to brother Francesco.
“I’ve done what I could, your excellence. But your … men have been quite harsh on him.”
“He should have talked,” the Cardinal said, “Fang, Claw, do your job. Or do you have something to say, Monsieur Montesquieu?”
“Yes,” the tied down man said with a soft voice, “go to hell!”
The Cardinal smiled softly, “Dear me, brother, you’ve not only mended his body but also his fighting spirit. This will prove interesting. Captain, you can escort the good brother back to his monastery, after that I want you to report back here immediately.” Antonio nodded and left the cell, followed by brother Francisco.
With only the greatest reluctance, Antonio made his way down towards the cell again. His brother and he hadn’t said a word after leaving the cell. Talking about it was just too hard right now. From afar he heard the screams of Montesquieu already. As he opened the door, the sound of sudden silence hit him in the face. Claw and Fang still stood over the body of Montesquieu, but it was no more than a body, Charles Montesquieu had died. Claw and Fang backed a bit of to give the Cardinal a little space, but he stared at the body and walked out. As he passed Antonio he ordered him to throw the body into the Seine, the heretic would not get a Christian burial. Antonio carried out his order slowly but effective, there was no point in disobeying the Cardinal in such a small matter, but deep inside he frowned sadly, knowing that he asked for the only monk who truly knew his duty.
Paris, July 14th 1748
The square and streets around the Bastille were crowded with man and women, demanding the release of Montesquieu. The temperature rose with every hour and with the temperature the anger of the mob. The guards at the gates had decided to retreat inside and barricade the gates a few hours before. Antonio had summoned all the soldiers in the Bastille to their battle stations, and even moved some of the soldiers from the lesser defendable positions to the fortress. He dreaded the decision to leave the depots and city walls guarded, but removing those soldiers would leave the city unguarded and tell the citizens that it was war. Earlier in the morning the Cardinal had ordered him to aim the main cannons at the densely populated parts of the city. “If they want war, they’ll get war” was all he had said after the order was carried out. Antonio did not want war. He did not want to shoot at innocent men, women and children, but there was no way he could stand up against the Cardinal, not now. His soldiers felt both the tension from deep below in the city, but also his own doubts. “Will I know the right path when it is presented to me?” he wondered. “Will I make the right choice?”
The old man frowned; he knew the face of the dead man, floating in the water of the Seine. Somewhere before he had seen it, but where? It happened from time to time that the inquisition threw the bodies of dead heretics in the river, denying them a proper Christian burial. He had to be important; the whole city was in an uproar about something or someone. Questions like these made his head hurt and he took another sip of the sour wine he had been drinking all day. Maybe someone would pay him for this finding. With all his strength, the man pulled the corpse ashore. Now he had to find the right person, with the right purse.
Xavier was impressed with the number of people on the square, it almost seemed like the entire city had decided to gather around the Bastille. He smiled, such a popular uproar had to make some impact on the officials, he wondered if the Spaniards had done as suspected and smuggled the Imperial Administrator into the fortress. It would be folly to do otherwise. He had delivered their demands early in the morning before the guards had retreated, a smart move, he’d done the same. Their demands had been simple, the release of Montesquieu, a more autonomous position for Paris, or maybe the whole of France and the removal of the heavy guns from the Bastille, they had little defensive purpose and were aimed at the city right now. Of course, he was prepared for a less favourite outcome as well. His most loyal men were positioned near the main gates and military depots. Would the necessity arise, he would soon have the control over the main access to the city and to a vast supply of weapons. He prayed it would not be necessary.
Pierre looked down on the body, it was Montesquieu, and there was little doubt on that, the question was what action he should take next. Making a public statement would make the city explode, but keeping it a secret wouldn’t work for long, he couldn’t trust the old man, nor the people between the old man and himself, he had to act now. Xavier had always been the mastermind of the organisation, he was just a writer and a poet, he played the people and Xavier organised them, together they could form an army to liberate France. And of course there was Renault, wealthy, sneaky, dastardly Renault, the man with the right connections, the money and sneaky plots. Together they had reformed the old system of La Resistance, bringing it back to life from almost deathly existence.
The door busted open and that very Renault stormed in. “I see you’ve heard the news already” he said looking at the corpse at Pierre’s feet.
Pierre nodded, “so it is out?” Renault said nothing but looked Pierre in the eyes.
“Yes, Xavier has accepted what happened and directed the fury of the people towards the Bastille. He is leading the assault himself.”
“I’m sad and overjoyed, Renault. This is the day for France! Viva la France!”
Renault smiled sadly. “Don’t go into this head over heels, Pierre.”
“Are you ready to do what must be done, Renault?” Pierre asked a few minutes later, as he put his sword and pistol, that had been delivered for them by some men who had sacked one of the depots, behind his belt.
“Yes, my friend,” Renault replied, “I’m ready to do whatever must be done.” With no further words, he drew a knife and smashed it into Pierre’s belly and twisted. Pierre looked at him, his eyes wide open in agony and disbelieve.
“Why, Renault?” Pierre asked, looking down to the knife in his belly. “Why did you betray France?” Renault looked sad in the face of his friend,
“I’m sorry, Pierre. But I follow orders from above.”
“You… you betrayed… your people…” Pierre said, his voice harsh of pain and sorrow.
“My people? You cannot base loyalty on something as accidental as birth or to a just as randomly born and defined collection of individuals as a ‘people’, I’m sorry, I did what I had to do, Pierre.” He finally let go of the knife in Pierre’s belly and rose. “I’m sorry, my friend.” He said and left the building without looking back once.
Antonio looked down at the angry mob, knowing that it had begun. A few minutes earlier, one of his men had spotted fires in the city; quickly counting them had taught him that they arose from the military depots and watch houses in the city. The mob had retreated from the immediate fire range of their muskets, but was still in the range of the cannons. Far away he saw metal blink in the sunlight, weapons were distributed amongst the men. He had ordered his men to stay calm, but one sound of a musket going off would mean the start of a battle, a battle they could not hope to win. The Bastille harboured less than two thousand soldiers, most of them with little combat experience. Ordering them to fire at the angry mob would mean their death sentence.
The Cardinal, accompanied by Fang and Claw arrived at the battlements. Cursing, Antonio turned towards him, he could not use this man here, he would order action immediately. “I’ve read the rebel’s demands.” He said calmly, “I’ve never read such a waste of paper before. What’s the status? Let the rebels know that if they haven’t disappeared within the hour, I will destroy this city.” Antonio explained the situation even though he knew his next orders. The Imperial Inquisition would impose the death sentence on all who would violate the property of the Empire. As he had expected the Cardinal nodded as soon as he had heard the details. “Fire” was all he said.
The thundering crack of one of the small canons, aimed at the mob, turned into frenzy. Whatever hope the Cardinal had had that a shot would drive the mob off, was now blown apart by the wind as the thick grey smoke that left the barrel of the cannon. The mob on the square and in the streets went crazy as the cannonball harmlessly struck a house bordering the square. Within minutes several small cannons from the military depots and gatehouses were moved in and an artillery exchange between the mob and Spanish soldiers began.
Xavier had been running around all day, ordering a group of citizen here, encouraging another mob there, checking their supplies on a third location. He was tired with running, his ears hurt from the cracking of cannons and yet there was too much to accomplish. Sooner or later he had to give the order he dreaded most, storming the Bastille. Many would die doing so, but it was necessary. He looked down on the group of wounded that had been put down in the building. A cannonball had exploded in a house near them and debris had severely wounded many of them. “Why do I have to go through all of this?” He wondered, I never wanted people to suffer; I wanted a peaceful revolution, spreading the light of reason over the entire Empire. I never asked for bloodshed and violence.” Somewhere in the back of his head he heard a small voice; the voice of a young lady. “Some things are worth dying for, aren’t they, Renault?” deep in his grey eyes a fire of determination lid. “You were right, Maria,” he thought, “some things are worth dieing for.” He turned around and left the building, some things are worth dieing for, but he would prevent as many needless deaths as possible but he would take down the symbol of Spanish oppression, he would take the Bastille by force, today.
A few moments later, one of his men reported that the charges to demolish the gates he had asked for were ready. He sighed, it was time. “Move the charges and the main group to the south gate, we’ll use the sun to blind them! Move the largest cannons we have to the western wall, we’ll try to distract them!
The French clearly had a smart fellow in charge, Antonio observed him assembling the main part of his host in front of the south gate, while his artillery was concentrated to the north. It was a smart move against an under defended fortress, he would have to spread out his men between the two positions or…
“Sergeant, they’re charging us on both sides! We’ll abandon the outer wall and focus our men in the keep itself!” The sergeant nodded at him and distributed his orders; his men were trained enough for an orderly retreat from the walls.
As soon as the fire from the defenders of the south gate diminished for a second, man carrying charges stormed forward to the gates, many would never cross the square, but he had too few men still there to hold the outer wall. With an almighty bang, the gate exploded, pieces of wood, brick and steel rained down on the retreating defenders and advancing citizen.
Antonio felt a heavy hand on his shoulder. “What do you think you’re doing?” The cold harsh voice of the Cardinal sounded behind him.
“I gave up the outer wall to focus my defence in the keep, your excellence.” He knew his answer wouldn’t satisfy the Cardinal, but there was nothing else to it. Would they continue to fight they would be dead by the evening, there was only one small chance of them to survive…
“Sergeant! Open the gate, we’ll join the rebels!” For a second it was silent on the top of the keep, only the crackling of the bombarding cannons.
“I beg your pardon, captain De la Tolarenciae,” the Cardinal said, “you must be mistaken. If you do not bring us victory here and now, you will die alongside your men.” Antonio looked into the hawk-face of Cardinal Ximenez.
“No, your excellence, I will spare my men from further bloodshed. Sergeant, you have your orders!”
“Dismiss those order, sergeant, the captain is no longer in command of the garrison. Fang, Claw, deal with the captain.”
The following few moments happened in slow motion for Antonio, the Cardinal’s henchmen jumped forward, their long, curved knifes eager for his blood. It took more luck than skill from him to catch them both on the side of his musket, using it as a lever to push them away. Again they jumped forward with an almost inhumane speed, slashing at his head and chest. He managed to block the slash at his head, but received a deep cut in his right shoulder. Blinded by the pain he stumbled backwards, his soldiers moved back as if he were a ghost. With his last strength he lowered his musket ready to use the sharp bayonet at the end, as Fang and Claw jumped forwards once again he smashed the blade in the chest of Fang. The henchmen sank to his knees, gashing for air and looking at Antonio in disbelief. Antonio sighed in relief and suddenly realised his mistake, Claw jumped for him. His bayonet was still stuck in the chest of Fang, he wouldn’t have time to remove it and there was no escape. He would have to pay for his treason with his life. A musket shot almost blew of his ear. When he opened his eyes he looked in the wide smile of his sergeant. “Thought you could handle those men alone, cap” he grinned.
Men lie down everywhere between the outer walls and the keep of the Bastille, moaning in agony. Xavier looked up as soon as he noticed the Spanish fire had stopped. His men looked up to him, confused by the lack of resistance, wondering whenever they should continue storming the keep or that their commander had different plans. He hesitated a little in confusion, it could very well be a trap of the Spanish to lure them in, on the other hand this might be his chance to get enough men through the splintered gate to actually take the keep. He was ready to give signal to continue the storming, when a small door opened and someone put a white flag out. Xavier briefed deep, he could very well have won the day by now, if he could trust the Spanish word, of course. There was but one thing a man of honour could do. “Reload your muskets, but hold your fire!” He ordered. Slowly he walked towards the white flag and the door that was slowly opening.
Antonio pushed the door further open now the musket fire had stopped. Pushing his sergeant out of the way, he slowly walked into the devastated space between the keep and the outer wall. The amount of fallen on such a small space astonished him, these citizen had been furious to take such a beating and continue pressing, or they had a very skilled leader.
Only one of the citizen had lowered his musket, Antonio figured him to be in charge of the mob. Judging from his cloths and weaponry he was one of the more wealthy citizen. “Who is in charge here?” he asked, the man without musket walked forward.
“I’m Xavier Savreu he said, I suppose you’re Captain De la Tolarenciae?” Antonio nodded. “I’ve come to offer the surrender of the Bastille, both in name of the garrison of Paris and in name of his Imperial Majesty’s administrator.” Antonio felt the eyes of the Frenchman drill deep into his own. “What about the Inquisition, captain?” he asked. “Cardinal Ximenez fled through a hidden tunnel to the sewers after I decided to surrender, monsieur …. Under what terms will you accept it and let my men live?”
“Why did you surrender, captain? You could have let your men out through that tunnel, or smuggled reinforcements in. At the very least you could have held the Bastille for a lot longer than you did. You don’t look like the stupid type to me, so, why do you surrender?” Antonio lowered his head,
“I… ehm… my men and me, we wish to join you.”
Xavier had expected many reasons for giving up Paris, but never a disloyal Spanish captain of the guard. “Why?” he demanded, “why would you, a captain of the guard in the Spanish army join a bunch of rebels?” He stared the captain in the eyes, he was a proud man, he surely had his reasons. The big question was could he trust them? A garrison of a thousand Spanish professional soldiers would be an enormous asset to his army, men who knew how to march or reload a musket in far less than the five minutes even his best shooter needed. The captain hadn’t spoken yet. Again he demanded why they would take the word of a Spanish soldier.
At last, Captain De la Tolarenciae spoke: “I was there when Montesquieu died…”
Paris was exploding with festivities, fireworks cracked and food, wine and beer were handed out everywhere. Paris celebrated its liberty for the first time in centuries. Spanish flags were being burned everywhere and statues of famous Spanish were brought down. For the survivors, the dead were something for tomorrow, but many, many families could hardly be moved to join in. Over ten-thousand had died that day, many more wounded or mutilated for the rest of their lives. But the mass could not be contained after it tasted liberty. The Spanish soldiers had received the chance to either join the rebels or leave the city unarmed. Those that decided to stay had agreed to be locked up for the night in the more comfortable parts of the Bastille, speaking Spanish would be signing your own death sentence for the coming few days. Of course, the Xavier and his most trusted men had made sure that their new allies against the Empire wouldn’t lack a thing, and the Spanish had been given a more than fair share of wine, bread and meat.
Xavier had overlooked the removal of the dead and handing in of the weapons he had distributed earlier that day. The dead couldn’t wait until the city came back to its senses and he wouldn’t trust his fellow citizen celebrating this victory armed. France had always been a stable factor within the Empire, it would take months before a Spanish army would march on Paris. For today he was at peace. At peace to mourn the death of a dear friend and comrade.
“I knew it the moment he fell.” He said over his shoulder to Maria, she had been sitting wordless in her chair from the moment he had entered their house. Xavier hesitated “Pierre was a good man and friend, he didn’t deserve to die this way.”
“He didn’t fell in battle, did he? He always dreamt of the glory of the battlefield. I saw it… it’s horrible. There is no honour to be won there… only death and misery.”
“I’m sorry, Maria. He was betrayed by one of us. Stabbed in his belly by someone close.”
“Who?” To lie to her now was harder than charging the Bastille on his own, yet he couldn’t bare to tell her the truth.
“We… we don’t know, but I will find out and I will bring him to justice.” Betrayed by a friend… one they had regarded as their brother, one Maria had trusted above everyone but Pierre himself.
“Where… ehm… have you seen Renault?” She asked, letting the subject of Pierre go. Xavier put his arm around her shoulder as they looked together to the partying mass below them.
“No,” Xavier heard himself reply, “he hasn’t been accounted for… yet”
Fifteen kilometres south of Paris, December 14th 1748
Xavier looked over the vast army that had assembled in the past few months, he smiled, victory would be theirs today. It had to be. His revolutionary soldiers had dyed their uniforms blue, the colour of ancient France. Above them in the cold, harsh wind the new flag he had created played in the wind. The blue of France, the white of their hopes and the red of the blood they would spill. He trusted in the spirit of his soldiers, for in weaponry, training and numbers the Spanish army outdid them. Ever since Captain Antonio had joined him they had been drilling their army of fédérés  to the maximum. He prayed it would be enough. Over fifty thousand men had gathered from all over France, he hoped this army would have the power to invoke the ideas of Montesquieu upon the Spanish Empire, bringing justice to all of its citizen. For that purpose he regretted that only Frenchmen had rallied to his banners. An independent France had been Pierre’s dream, not his. He had wish for the light of reason to spread across all citizen of the world to bring everyone the ideals of Montesquieu, ideas that would prevent oppression and randomness. But for now, Pierre’s dream would live, poor Pierre, today his death would be avenged. Today, he would use the speech Pierre had written long ago for this purpose. He slowly rode forward to address the army.
“Forward, children of the Fatherland, our day of glory has arrived! Against us stands the tyranny! Their bloodied banner of oppression is raised! Do you hear in the countryside? The roar of those ferocious soldiers? They come right here among us! To slaughter our sons and wives!
What does this horde of slaves of the Spanish crown want? This army of traitors and conspiring peoples of Europe want? For whom do they prepare these vile chains? These long-prepared irons? Frenchmen, I tell you, for us! What an insult for France! What fury it must arouse! It is us they dare plan to return to the old slavery!
“These foreign cohorts seek to rule our homes! These mercenary phalanxes, would cut down our proud warriors! Good Lord! By chained hands our heads will be brought under the yoke of these vile Spanish despots who seek to become the master of our destinies!
“Tremble, tyrant of Spain and traitors from all over Europe! The shame of all good men Tremble! Your parricidal schemes will receive their just reward! Against you, we are all soldiers If our young heroes fall, the earth will bear new ones, ready to join the fight against the Spanish oppression!”
Pierre had done his job well, Xavier thought. His soldiers cheered and roared at their leader shacking their muskets in the air. He had to win today, he had to, for humanity, for France, for Pierre and all who fell that day, five months ago.
Nia looked over the enormous Spanish army that had assembled. Not just Spanish soldiers, men from all over the Empire had heeded the Emperor’s call to arms. Dutchmen, French loyalists, Italians, Portuguese, Germans, the Emperor had even made sure there was a large detachment of the famous Polish lancers. Even the general the Emperor had ordered to take Paris back wasn’t born on the Peninsula, he was born a Dutchman, some far descendant of the legendary General Schenkhuizen. And a man worthy of that legacy. Here, under his command was an army of gigantic proportion, over two hundred thousand men present. She and monsieur Canasson had scouted the French army that had taken position on the plains. Their infantry outnumbered the rebel army three to one, and their cavalry and artillery even six to one. “Poor rebels”, she thought, “you’re about to feel what it’s like to face the full might of the Spanish Empire.” She moved her horse to the general. “They have chosen a double line, instead of a traditional triple one.  I think it will spread their casualties and make it harder for us to surround them. But it will make them far more vulnerable for a cavalry charge.”
Schenkhuizen smiled, “leave it to me, madam De la Pael.” He turned to his adjutants, “Give the order the start the attack, give the cavalry orders to confront theirs first, as soon as those are driven off, harass the infantry, but do not engage in a melee, try to force them en carré, than give them a full artillery barrage!”
General Schenkhuizen’s plan succeeded more or less, although he was mainly saved by his huge cavalry advantage. Xavier had had little to no experience with cavalry combat and nor had his Spanish allies. While a couple of smaller cuirassier and hussar squadrons had joined their rebellion, they would prove no match for the Spanish elite cuirassiers Schenkhuizen deployed, nor could they escape the sharp lances and inexhaustible horses of the Polish lancers. Before noon, the five thousand cavalrymen Xavier had at his disposal were either dead or had fled far beyond the borders of France, one squadron was even reported to take service in the Russian army.
With his cavalry gone, Xavier was forced to concentrate his cavalry in carré formation, just as Schenkhuizen had intended him too. Fortunately for Xavier, a large number of the Polish lancers decided their job was done and started sacking a small nearby town, removing a major threat from his infantry. Harassed by Spanish Cuirassiers from all sides, Xavier was forced to make a last charge with his whole reserve, pushing the Spanish a small bit back, but his forces were decimated by a counterattack led by Schenkhuizen himself. Of the fifty thousand man who cheered for him that morning, a mere eight thousand survived that day, of which six thousand were severely injured or disabled for the rest of their lives.
Xavier looked up to the grey sky. Only this morning he had addressed his troops, now he lay among many of his friends and comrades, his brothers in arms. With great trouble he managed to remove his arm away from the dead Spanish soldier who had fallen onto it. It took all the effort in the world to sit up and look over the battlefield. As far as his eyes reached, men lay dead. As he tried to stand up, he remembered his most severe wound, his right hand had been cut off by the sabre of a Spanish cuirassier.
A small figure clad in a long black cloak wandered around on the field, realising how thirsty he was, he called out for it, a plea for water and some living company. As the figure came closer he realised it was a beautiful young woman, her black hair fell graciously around her pretty face, which had a exotic dark colour.
“Please… help me…” he managed to produce when she reached him. She handed him a hipflask and watched as he drank.
“You’re monsieur Xavier Savreu? She asked.” He nodded. She smiled,
“I’m Nia, but you may know me as madam De la Pael.”
“You’re that friend of Renault?”
“Monsieur Canasson, indeed.”
“What are you doing here?” he asked, “so far away from Paris.”
She laughed softly, “I’m here in service of the Silent Room, monsieur Canasson and I was ordered to assist the Inquisition of Holy Mother Church in Paris.”
“Why?” was all could think, “why did you betray us?”
“It wasn’t a matter of betrayal, Renault explained that to Pierre before he died. You see, the Spanish Empire stands for something you cannot comprehend, it unites peoples from all over the world, does not judge them on birth or people they belong to, but on capability. If you’ve wondered why Pierre had to die before you, that’s the reason. You, even in your perverted views wanted to spread the light of Reason, Pierre sought the irrationality of nationalism, with him, you could have unleashed a powerful monster in France. Pierre was both your strength and weakness, he managed to rally the French to your banner, but he turned every other person away from you by making this a French revolution, not one of Reason. You could have been a great man, Xavier …, a great man in Madrid, but there are powers in this world that disagree with Charles Montesquieu, people who would go far beyond any boundary you can imagine to safeguard their power and influence. I’m telling you this so you can understand why you failed, just before you die…”
Nia de la Pael pulled a pistol from under her robe and shot the flabbergasted Xavier between his eyes. “I hope it was worth it, Xavier Savreu” she mumbled as she left the battlefield.
Antonio looked upwards to the grey sky, he knew he was only seconds away from death, he had seen such wounds before, his belly had been cut open and his internals lay around him.
“So this is where you ended up, Antonio de la Tolarenciae?” A familiar voice asked him in Spanish.
Antonio looked up. “Padre Agustíne?” he asked, his eyes big of disbelieve.
“Si, my son.” The old man answered him. “You’re a long way from home…”
“What brings you here, Padre?” Antonio asked the priest and close friend of Lord d’Santiago.
“I rode here with Lord d’Santiago. He was, in fact, in charge of the Spanish cuirassiers.”
Antonio tried to laugh, but his wounds hurt to much to brief more than a small gasp of air a time. “Cut down by my father-in-law to be, I doubt many men will ever taste that irony. But tell me, Padre, you’re not here to ease my death with a joke, are you?”
“No, listen Antonio, I need to know where Cardinal Ximenez is.”
“He left just before the Bastille fell… When I capitulated, he sent his henchmen for me and fled through a secret tunnel to the sewers, by now he could be already in Madrid…”
“Cardinal Ximenez hasn’t made it to Madrid,. Listen Antonio, do you have any idea where he went? I have no idea how much you know of the Inquisition, but his ways were illegal, in fact, he acted on other orders than those of the Pope. There are… people… who have little regard for laws, and order, or just willing to sow chaos, people who bribed the Cardinal… into killing Charles Montesquieu the way he did… The pope has used all his authority and influence in Madrid to remove Ximenez from his position as Head of the Inquisition, he’s to be trailed in Rome.”
“ Bribing a Prince of the Church, Padre?” Antonio asked in disbelief.
“Everyone has his price I fear, my son. But enough talk, the Cardinal seems to be beyond our reaches and I fear there is nothing I can do about those wounds of you. All I can do is comfort you and take your confessions, I fear.”
Antonio laid back, “there is little I regret, Padre… only that I can’t see Isabella again ones more… When you get back… please tell her I did what I had to do and that I don’t regret it. Tell her that I… no… just tell her that she has beautiful eyes.” Antonio closed his eyes. He felt neither cold nor pain anymore. He just laid back and felt the life flow away from his body, all he thought about were two beautiful eyes. A last thought crossed his mind as he lost consciousness.
“Goodbye, beautiful… Isabella.”
 In our timeline, they visited Paris.
 French for volunteers for the revolutionary French National Guard during the French Revolution in our time line.
 The text of Xavier’s speech is very similar to France’s national anthem in our timeline, the Marseillaise. In the timeline of this story, the speech was recorded and put on music by an unanimous composer, after the reconqusta of Paris, it was banned and outlawed on penalty of death by the Spanish. However, it remained a very popular song by anti-Spanish fractions. Eventually it made way to Russia, where it became very popular as well, until it started to be associated with anti-Tsarist movements in Russia itself and henceforth also outlawed there, although it remained popular as ever.
 In our timeline, the double line was used by the British, due their far lower manpower (and the other advantages Nia mentioned). I figured it would make sense to use by outnumbered rebels.
 In our timeline, use of torture by inquisitors was reserved only for religious heretics and would not have been implemented if the prisoner was willing to confess. The spilling of blood was also prohibited. One may understand Cardinal Ximenez's actions, therefore, to have been flagrantly repugnant to the law of God and the Church.