Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Write for the FANTASY and/or SCI FI Genre (10/16/14)
TITLE: The Year Is 1793
By Gloria Pierre Dean
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The beloved Royal family is dead; executed at the hands of cruel angry peasants who now rule France. Everywhere there is turmoil, chaos, mistrust, death and fear.
Maximilien de Robespierre and his committee are in charge. Death and terror are in the air. Except for Papa and myself, my beloved family have all been arrested and executed by The Guillotine at Place de la Revolution.
Papa has escaped arrest because he has been secretly traveling to the coastal village of Plevenon to arrange for our exit to Britain by Pimpernel's agents. All the maids and servants have run away except for Adele. On the day of my family's arrest they leave the chateau taking with them as much as they could.
My name is Dviner and I am in hiding. Adele my trusted maid knows where I am. I spent most of my time in my hiding place for fear that the `mob' would return for more loot and find me. Adele and I hatch a plan in which we dress like peasants and sneak out at nights to forage for food. I pretend to be Adele's mute sister so no one could tell my class by my speech. In truth I am Her ladyship, the Princess Dviner, the daughter of a count and well known in French high society so I am in great danger.
Three days later my papa Le Comte returns secretly from his tryst. He sneaks into the chateau and finds me and only me. Our family are gone. Papa howls in the pain and grief of his distress. I give him the account of how with only minutes to spare my beloved older brother Tristan hides me. There was barely enough room in the base of Maman and his walnut four poster bed.
I am Papa's one consolation in this time of terror and we have no time to lose. Through overheard street gossip we become aware that this very night our chateau is the next on Pimpernel list. Somehow the news of our presence has leaked out.
I plead with Adele to accompany us to Britain but she chooses to return to her family farm in Auxerre. We say a tear-filled good bye. I have known her all my life.
That night Papa and I disguise ourselves and stay in the undergrowth near the back gate on the lookout for a one eyed raggedly dressed man on a garbage cart. Through subterfuge and stealth we have somehow managed to hoard some gold which we will use to pay for our escape. We keep ourselves in readiness. We wait close by the back gate disguised as ragged beggars.
The minutes pass by so slowly.
Before we leave for the last time we have a dinner of hard bread and cheese; no wine of course, that is all gone. Around dusk and almost simultaneously we hear two things. At the back gate we hear the hooves of a mule and a cart drawing up. The one eyed cart driver of an old rickety garbage cart draws up and tends to his animal. He is pretending that his animal has gone lame.
At the front gate there is a loud drunken revolutionary `hunting party looking for aristocratic `enemies of the revolution to take to the Bastille.
Keeping to the shadows, Papa and I scurry into the cart. We are hidden in a hollow space under the driver's seat. The hunting party has torches and I think they would have found us or burnt us out.
Papa and I express audible `Thanks to God' because once again our lives have been spared.
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