AAR Status: On Hold until ???
Mood Music for this Chapter
(If the video fails to load just remove the 'endless' part of the URL and it'll load up from Youtube instead.
Endlessyoutube seems to be temperamental sometimes)
October 14th, 1806. The Prussian army, under the command of King Frederick William the Third, was defeated by forces of the French Empire under the leadership of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt. The Prussian forces fled further East into Prussia, and Napoleon’s army sped after it, entering Berlin on the 25th. The Prussian forces under the command of King Frederick had held the city desperately, hoping that perhaps General Blücher’s or General Hohenlohe’s army would come to their rescue, but the surrounding countryside remained empty, the French smashed aside the Prussian resistance, and chaos was ripe in the streets of Berlin.
Colonel Pierre Deroux entered the royal chambers of Berlin and looked upon the King of Prussia who stood resplendent in a horridly gaudy Field Marshal’s uniform. The shouts and screams from the streets could be faintly heard within the chambers, the soldiers of Marshal Louis-Nicolas Davout’s III Corps taking part in the age old soldier’s rights of the pleasures and spoils of a city bought with the blood of their comrades.
Colonel Pierre Deroux
King Frederick nodded to the Colonel and stepped forward. There were other men in the room, servants and guardsmen of the king, a young boy, a French captain from the 1st Foot Artillery, two French sergeants of the 30th Line, a corporal from the 111th, and four privates from the 25th. They were men that Leroux had handpicked for this task, a task which had been given to him from the Emperor Napoleon himself. A more suitable candidate for the task would’ve been impossible to find, for to Colonel Pierre Deroux it was not the 25th of October, 1806, but the 3rd of Brumaire, Year 15 in the Revolutionary Calendar. To Colonel Deroux God was not a being in the heavens that watched upon his flock, but a man born in Corsica, and ruler of the French Empire. King Frederick held out his sword to Colonel Deroux and bowed his head gravely, “It is with great sadness I surrender my arms to you, Colonel, to be entrusted into your care.”
It struck Leroux as odd that Frederick had not managed to escape the city before it fell, but he assumed that Marshal Murat had sped his cavalry, fresh from their victory at Jena and Auerstedt, quickly North to cut the retreating army’s escape route off, leaving them with only Berlin as a safe refuge. Leroux smiled at King Frederick, one that he had meant to be kindly, but Leroux was not a kindly man, and his face, bearing the faint marks of Pox that told of his lowly birth, only managed a menacing grin; the grin's malevonlence was certainly not helped by Colonel Deroux's jaw that jutted too far forward, his crooked nose, or his too small eyes that darted over the King and his surroundings. He reached for the handle of the sword and Frederick surrendered it to the Frenchman’s grasp, Leroux’s men behind him tensing slightly as they knew the moment was close.
Leroux stared at the blade admiringly, tracing the smooth steel with his gloved finger. It was a fine blade, fit for a king, though it was too gaudy for Leroux’s taste. Such a blade would mark a man on the battlefield as surely as if he wore a crown of diamonds, and draw the fire of starved and rabid enemies. He ran a finger down the blade’s edge and snorted; it was dull, too dull to take into battle, but it would do. He turned his gaze back again the King Frederick and spoke, “It is a shame, of course.”
Frederick, thinking he spoke of Prussia’s defeat and the capture of Berlin, nodded his assent. “A shame indeed, but there will be other opportunities!” He joked, but the Colonel’s eyes narrowed as he shook his head vigorously.
“No. I don’t think there will be.” He rammed the blade into Frederick’s chest. The point, though dulled as it were, ripped through the Prussian king’s skin and lodged in his chest as the blood ebbed into the blade's grooves, Frederick’s face showing a convulsion of terror, pain, and surprise. Behind Leroux the musket’s of his men banged and coughed smoke, throwing the King’s servant’s and guardsmen back, before the French soldiers surged forward with a growl and finished the survivors with bayonets. Leroux let the body slump and fall before kicking the dead king’s chest and wrenching the blade free, pulling out his pistol and shooting the corpse in the heart for good measure.
“What do we do with the boy, sir?” It was Captain Dupont that spoke, gesturing with his bloodied bayonet to the table by the window, where the boy was hiding, crying to himself with his knees drawn up to his chin.
Leroux shrugged. “Bring him here.”
The boy screamed as two French privates dragged him forward, thinking that he was about to be killed. He hit them feebly before he was thrown to the floor in front of the French colonel. He looked up through bloodshot eyes at the man.
“What is your name?” Leroux said with a sneer, as if the kid were merely a stray dog that he regrettably must exert himself a small amount to see away.
The boy didn’t speak. He was crying again, and Leroux very faintly felt the tiniest pang of regret deep within himself that he immediately crushed. He had a mission, from his very own God, and he would see it done. Leroux lashed out with his hand and backhanded the boy across the face, the smack of his body hitting the floor echoing faintly in the chambers, mixing with the sounds of breaking glass and sporadic fighting outside.
“When you are asked a question, it is expected you answer it.” A French sergeant was tearing apart a cupboard, looking for loot. Leroux didn’t stop him, his job was done, save for this boy. He wanted to know who he was though.
The boy still wouldn’t speak, and so Leroux dragged him off the ground by his collar and lifted him so they were face to face.
“What is your name?!” He shouted at the boy, and laughed as it brought about another fit of crying. “Weak little thing, this is why the French are the rulers of Europe, because other men raise their boys to be crying lumps, fit only for a choir.” A private behind Leroux chuckled and added his assent.
The boy finally managed the courage to look at Leroux, and the Colonel’s laughing stopped as he stared at back. He dropped the boy and hastily walked over to the dead King’s body, kicking it over so that he could see the face. He looked to and from the dead man to the boy who stared at him, a faint trace of defiance showing through the bloodshot eyes. Leroux smiled again, for the boy was not some servant or son of some aristocrat sent to learn the ways of the court. The resemblance was faint, but it was there; the boy was Frederick William the Fourth, and with a start Leroux realized that the boy was now King of Prussia, since his father had died.
Leroux had his orders - Kill the King. He had done that, but not quite. The old king was dead, but this boy on his knees in the room was now the king. His orders had said nothing about the boy, but they were explicit that he should kill the king. He slowly reloaded his pistol, ramming the bullet down the grooved barrels, all the while staring at the boy. He finished loading the shot and pointed it at the boy’s head.
“It is a shame.” He chuckled.
The sound of the shot echoed in the chambers loudly, blending seamlessly with the chaos that still gripped the city outside the palace walls.