JE: The Hermetic Garbage of Jenny Everywhere Act V, part I
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Fri Feb 18 16:01:34 PST 2022
A Cry in the Dead of Night
"Jenny! Wake up!"
She heard D'Artagnan's voice calling out to her in the distance. Slowly
she stirred, pulling herself up off the tangled bedsheets.
D'Artagnan was outside her window, waving frantically. Jenny stuck out
her tongue at him. She got into her clothes and scrambled out the window.
"Shhh! Not so loud!" she said. "And don't use that name so much where
others here may hear it."
"I wanted to make sure you would get up," said D'Artagnan. "You were
sleeping like a log."
"That's because it's past midnight!" said Jenny. "What kind of business
is worth getting up now for?"
"The enemy," said D'Artagnan, "as you well know, does not sleep at night."
The Situation of Gaynor D'Aeon
It had now been five years since the individual who was known to most in
the court as Gaynor D'Aeon had arrived in France and joined the King's
Musketeers. When the storm had brought her here, D'Artagnan had joined
with her early on as a fellow stranger to the city of Paris. When she
showed a natural gift for swordplay, he convinced her to join the King's
Musketeers. Normally, the membership of this distinguished organization
was closed to all save nobles, but for her gallantry and courage shown
against the enemy, the King had awarded her the honorary title of
Chevalier. In truth, she did not trust the King or his men, but held a
deep-rooted antipathy toward his rival the Cardinal, and so, with a mix
of excitement and reluctance, she had signed on.
The Doings of the Crimson Guard
"So what's the Crimson Guard up to now?" said Jenny.
"Well," said D'Artagnan as they raced through the midnight streets,
"we're all working a little bit in the dark right now. But from what De
Tréville told me, a particular individual has come to Paris to auction
off a particular object--an object which, some say, will determine the
future of Europe, or all the world--"
"Ah, one of those," said Jenny.
"No one has seen it, and no one even seems willing to say what it is.
The Cardinal, of course, wants to get his hands on it. He has sent out
his Crimson Guards to intercept it, and we in turn must intercept them."
"Sounds good to me."
They caught up with Athos, Porthos and Aramis--the original "Three
Musketeers" who D'Artagnan had joined up with in his arrival at Paris,
and brought Jenny into their circle in turn--on the run, heading to the
Rue des Esseintes where, De Tréville had been informed, the Crimson
Guard were planning their ambush.
"The hounds are on the hunt for the fox," said Porthos, "but we are on
the hunt for them! Tally ho!" Which, in Old French, had of course meant
"swords up"--and so they were.
As they approached, they slowed down the tramp of their boots and moved
stealthily and quietly. There, they saw five of the Crimson Guard
waiting in the shadows of the newly-installed streetlamps. At the front
was none other than Ruthven, one of the deadliest of all the Cardinal's
men. Jenny smiled. She owed him a sword-stroke after the last time, even
if she wouldn't manage to hit him through the heart.
A Dance by Streetlamp
With Ruthven were Tormenar, Feval, Gautier, and Grubert--all men who had
taken a considerable amount of blood at the points of their swords and
the points of their teeth.
They heard the Musketeers coming, with their more-than-human hearing,
and turned around. "You!" snarled Ruthven.
"Even so!" said Athos. "You should have given us an invitation to your
party, you know. Now, like the wicked fairy, we are displeased."
As in a dance, they paired off, one on one. Each of the Musketeers had
hoped for the prize of claiming Ruthven's heart, but it was Jenny,
slipping nimbly through the chaos as she always did, who came to face him.
An Exchange of Pleasantries
"Hello again, Ruthven," said Jenny. "Did you miss me?"
"I did last time," said the Crimson Guard, thrusting at her. "Never again."
"That joke was old when the Cardinal turned you," said Jenny, slipping
away from the blade's thrust just in time and meeting it with her own.
The clash shot sparks into the night.
"Hell," she said, spinning around and thrusting at him, "it's older than
your mother--and I should know: I've fucked her."
Ruthven met her thrust. "Then you're a disgusting creature indeed. She's
been dead these five hundred years."
"And so have you," said Jenny. "And now I'm going to put you back in the
gave where you belong." Feinting to the left, she whirled around again
and struck Ruthven squarely in the shoulder. She'd been aiming for the
heart, but anything that gave him pain was good.
The Conclusion of the Battle of the Rue des Esseintes
Ruthven howled in pain and terror, scattering several cats off into the
night. Most weapons would not vex him so, but the swords of the
Musketeers, like all the champions of France since the time of
Charlemagne, held within their hilts the relics of saints. Jenny's
sword-hilt held a chip of steel from the sword of Joan of Arc herself.
With a whirl of his cloak the Crimson Guard changed himself into the
form of a bat and flitted away.
The battle was over now. Grubert was slain; the others, all sorely
wounded, had retreated to their dwelling-place in the Rue Morgue.
"We won!" said Jenny. "That'll teach the Cardinal to try and cut ahead
"Aye," said Athos, "but I fear our troubles are only beginning.
Turbulent times are falling upon Paris."
"Let's head back to De Tréville," said Aramis. "He'll set us straight."
The Latest News from Paris
In De Tréville's chamber of the Louvre, Jenny flipped through the
newly-printed pages of the latest Gazette, another newfangled invention.
D'Artagnan read over her shoulder, while the other three gossipped of
affairs and trysts.
It seemed that the Zone of Chaos that had consumed much of Germany was
now encroaching upon southern France. The King and the Cardinal were
arguing it out in the pages of the Gazette about how to handle it. Jenny
was not impressed by the verbiage of either.
"Slow down!" said D'Artagnan. "I can't read as fast as you."
"Well, maybe you should scrounge up your own copy, then!" said Jenny,
and stuck her tongue out at him playfully.
"But isn't our oath, 'all for one and one for all?'"
"True. But it wouldn't hurt you to wait a minute until I'm done." Jenny
was conscious of the eyes of the other Musketeers upon her, a piece that
did not fit in more ways than the most obvious, and worried about
attracting suspicion--but suspicion for what, she could not say.
The Briefing of M. De Tréville
Thankfully, De Tréville, the Captain of the King's Musketeers ended the
awkward moment by entering the room. "Well done, all of you," he said.
"You put the Crimson Guards to route. Now, of course, begins the hard part."
"I knew it!" said Athos.
"In three days time begins the auction," said De Tréville. "No doubt
there will be other plots and subterfuges in that time. Our object, of
course, is to ensure the King gets his hands on it at all costs--which
means we may have to engage in a few of our own."
"Oooh," said Jenny. "Exciting. I hear the King of England is sending
some of his people here."
"Yes," said De Tréville. "Specifically, his daughter. She can't be
allowed to get ahold of it either, of course."
"I've heard of her," said D'Artagnan. "I suppose the usual tactics of
distraction won't work on her. Her iron heart is said to be proof
against Cupid's bow."
"I've heard of her too," said Jenny. "I've always been curious."
"Well perhaps you can distract her, then, Gaynor" said Aramis. "You're a
strange one, just as she is."
"A moment," said Porthos. "Do you care to explain just what is this
object that's got all of Paris in a tizzy?"
"Yes," said De Tréville, "but you must promise that knowledge must never
leave this room."
The Musketeers all nodded.
"It is the Legendary Time Crystal," said De Tréville.
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