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The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized

on Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:07 pm
It was over! His time had ended! The bells above were ringing, ringing not with their usual beauty, but with a sort of scathing, cringeworthy sound as they augmented senselessly the cacophony of ruffians about him. His guards--the guards, where had they been? But there was still hope, wasn't there? Of course there was! This was preposterous! He was the King! But he had already told them. Certainly they realized it.

His sweet Adrienne! Where had they taken her? And their children; no, no, certainly these revolutionary thugs would not be so uncivilized, so wantonly cruel as to lead them to the Razor also. They could not; the Lord above would not allow it! He would descend from the skies, He would set things right. And yet no matter how hard he kicked, how hard he screamed for his Queen and his children, there was no help forthcoming. Only the cruel rain, and the worse realization of what they had begun to approach.

The crowd and the smoke cleared long enough for him to take in fully what was going on. His guards had not come to his aid; instead, he had come across his guards, or what was left of them: their beautiful gold and white uniforms stained with blood, their noble faces scarred, their loyal hearts pinned to the courtyard wall. He was sick, for a moment, until he witnessed what was to become of him. He dared not think of his son or daughter.

Before them, on a pedestal, backed by the wicked, thundering sky, there stood a guillotine. It had been hastily erected; likely minutes ago. There could be no more delusions; his Subjects had turned against him. They no longer heeded his calls. Somehow, even God failed to listen to his rapid breaths and broken words. It dawned upon him, horrifyingly, that he and his ilk were to be left behind.

If they had indeed breached his own walls, desecrated his own house and family, there could be no doubt that House Bourbon, House Valois, and House Plantaganet were all doomed. No, what stood before him represented not only the death of his physical body or any number of his loved ones, but the end of an era, the end of an age of progress and stability. He wept; he wept openly, without regard for the opinions of such savages as these.

As his head was placed over the basket, the blade of the guillotine was hoisted high; the cheers of the crowd grew into a roar, drowning out even the thunder that seemed to spring from above on cue. As if God cared at this point. But he didn't either. There was no way to escape, but there was one way to live on. To be immortal. For all one had to do was speak.

"I am the State!" he thundered with all the strength he could muster. "I am your King! I am Capua!"

The blade fell. Its edge was dull, and for a moment after the Device's first application, there was naught but pain and the ringing in his ears. But God, and perhaps the revolutionaries, had some love left for him. A few seconds later, there was a slight snipping noise, and then the embrace of complete and omnipresent nothingness.

A few pigeons lifted off from the nearby walls; they approached the sky as the clouds opened up. A ray of sunlight illuminated the Palace of Marsaille, and all of its beautiful windows. History had been made.
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Re: The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized

on Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:02 pm
Antony Lassale sat at his desk, deeply troubled by what was going on outside. He lived outside of Capua; surely, for tonight, the Communists would be preoccupied with whatever debauchery they could execute in the Capital. He had no doubt that the Palace had already been sacked; it would be in the nature of so opportunistic a movement to strike at the neck of their opponent first. Perhaps literally. He began shuddering.

Why had he published? Why hadn't he kept his mouth shut? Why was he a professor at all if it was so damned dangerous? Before him was a paper he'd written and a response to it. The Failings of Marxian Economics, by Dr. A. R. Lassale. In much less immaculate print, with much less lofty intent, a poison pen letter. A particular string of words kept jumping out at him--"we will have your head". He closed his eyes. No, they would definitely come for him. And possibly tonight.

At his side was a pistol; he'd won it at an auction, and he'd never fired it, but he knew how to clean it, load it, and use it. He prayed that that time was not forthcoming, but within him a fire burned. He would not be a victim of such troglodytes. It was shameful, but he would have to flee. But there were yet matters to attend to.

On the desk ahead of him were provisions enough for a couple of days' journey; ammunition for his pistol. Hanging near the door was a raincoat and a hat, enough to serve as a bit of a disguise. But the most important item in the world to him at that very moment was just left of the poison pen letter. It was a case full of papers.

Fairly unassuming parchment it was, at least at first glance. But Lassale was an intellectual; no paper in the house of an intellectual was truly useless. They weren't all his, as The Failings of Marxian Economics was; after all, he wasn't that self-centered, even if arrogance was one of his many "qualities". Inside of that case was the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen; the hauntingly beautiful music of Liberty Triumphant; the fantastic mathematical and economic insight of On The Production and Consumption of Goods in a Liberal Society.

They weren't all his work, but his spirit was present in all of them. His colleagues and he had worked on these for many long hours, in efforts toward peaceful reform. They may have failed in that regard, but there was no reason for the fire to die out. He didn't know what he meant by that thought. Certainly he was no national leader. But if he could just preserve these ideas, these repositories of knowledge--and his own skin--perhaps something good would come of it.

He put on his coat, concealing his flintlock under it. From next to the door he removed a sword, which he could also conceal--and his lantern, to guide his way. The papers could fit in an inside pocket also. He had no place to go around here; certainly any trip into New Capua would be fruitless and likely to invalidate his whole mission. But he had a place to go; incredibly, a place where he might be safe. His friend Leon; a military officer. Or he would be shot dead when he got there by some paranoid fusilier. Or torn apart by a mob before even getting out of his hamlet.

But he had to try.

The rain beckoned him. He set out across the wilderness. The roads were suicide.
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Re: The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized

on Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:54 pm
OOC: News of this one will spread fast. Feel free to respond to the King's execution.
Antony proceeded through the field behind his house quietly, covering his lantern as he made his way across, into the wilderness. His sense of direction, he hoped, did not fail him; the local Bastion was north of his home. Of course, he usually took a Ramm or walked there on roads, not over bocage.

Behind him there was smoke and Revolutionary fire. No doubt they'd burned his bloody house down by now. It was getting dark, however, and he was approaching the woods; soon he could relax. Hopefully some animal didn't attack him, but the chances of that were remote if he made enough noise. Now he just needed to know how he could get into contact with Leon.

His unit, judging by its lack of deployment near Capua, was neutral. Any straightforward route would be impossible; they'd search him, find the letters, and he'd be ousted. But sneaking in would be nearly impossible also. No doubt Leon had them on high alert. Anything else would be foolish.

As he made his way closer to the Bastion, its construction became clear. It was a fort, lined with cannons, no doubt with sentries posted. To get to Leon would require getting to the officer's quarters, which were in a field nearer the center. Luckily, it was night; the sentries would probably be the only guards posted, save those in the Tower itself. But at that point, he'd be dealing with people he knew. He could only hope his charm would carry him past that point.

And now he had to think of a way to climb a sheer stone wall. He as pretty fit; granted, a professor, hardly an athlete or a soldier. But fit. The only thing precluding his ascending the wall would be the likelihood of a guard seeing him and immediately deciding on a course of action that would be bad for his health. But Antony decided to avoid thinking about that as he withdrew his pistol.

With great care, he removed the wax cell that contained the pistol's shot and a deal of powder. He had come prepared--he had six or seven shots with him. Of equal import was the fact that he'd planned for this; he also had, with him, a long fuse. For lighting it, he had his flintlock pistol.

He slowly, carefully, in the dry conditions under his raincoat, tied the fuse around each shot; when he had a long line of potential gunshot noises he looked up at the walls. It was foggy; there was no way they'd see him approach, and gunshots would be even more confusing in these conditions. His flintlock went off; he pulled the trigger and a spark emerged. He tried again, and suddenly, the fuse was lit. It would be about three seconds before his distraction went off.

He booked it. He didn't even think. Thunder went off above, but soon it went off behind--seven shots. He even heard yells from the tower! They'd taken the bait! But there wasn't any stopping; sinking his fingers into the gaps between the stones, he scrambled, with frantic effort, up the wall, spurred on by some incredible fire within. He went over the top, and he had to think fast.

There was no way he could just jump down. He'd have to proceed into the tower and down the staircase there. He saw sillhouettes on the wall; they were still taking his bait. Clearly, he was the luckiest man alive. So he took his chance, walking as quickly and silently as he could muster into the watchtower, swinging down the stairs, and suddenly finding himself face to face with a soldier.

He was drunk, judging by his breath, and very nearly asleep. He looked at him, eyes half-closed. Tired, too.

"Who are you?" he asked, groggy as all get-out. "I'm not supposed to--"

"At ease, soldier," Antony replied, thinking awfully fast. "Return to your duties. I'm merely inspecting these facilities."

The soldier fell back asleep. Sot was probably supposed to be on watch duty. But it didn't matter; there was another hundred meters to go. The door was right there. The cover of night was on his side. Thunder could cover his steps. And if he made it to the door of the Bastion's tower, he would be safe.

He was off and running again! Only a few yards to go; panting, he made his way across, fearing the eyes of the soldiers above--and suddenly, he reached the door of the Bastion. He knocked. The answer was immediate. In his face was the wrong end of a musket, bayonet included. A soldier, looking quite livid, had the safer end of the contraption.

"Master Lassale!" came the cry of one of the Bastion's staff. "No, no, Sergeant, you may stand down! This man is a friend!"

Lasalle breathed a sigh of relief. He stepped into the Bastion. Why was he doing this? And yet he had to go on. Something important would come of this, he was sure of it. He hoped, at least.

"I must see Leon," he said gravely. "It is a matter of the gravest importance."

"I see," the staffer said, understandingly. He took his coat, but not before everything of much worth was removed by Antony. "Right this way..."

The soldier wasn't happy, but Antony didn't care. The letters were with him, ascending the gilded stairs of the Bastion, and all of the ideas busting inside of his head could be transmitted to someone who could potentially do something about them. The staffer left him at the top of the stairs. Quickly a different voice took over.

"Antony! Great skies, my friend, it's good to see you safe," he said as he got up from his desk, "You look awful... were you attacked on your way here? Do you need anything?"

Leon Ribault was a high-ranking officer in the Army. Though he was not in uniform, he still looked as posh as ever. His posture was immaculate, his face stern, his voice commanding even in sympathy. Atop all of his professional qualities, he was an impeccable friend--the kind of man you could trust with your very life. And that trust was exactly what Antony's ideas needed at this very moment.

"I want for nothing save your ear," Antony said, taking a seat as it was offered. "Pardon how I appear--I ran here."

Leon leaned in, listening as intently as ever. His concern was obvious. Antony withdrew the letters and documents in a bundle from his pocket, placing them on the table between them. He didn't speak for a moment.

"That's everything that the Group has written," Antony said. "As I'm sure you've no doubt heard--"

"The King is dead, yes," Leon replied, some anger in his voice. "And most of the Royalist Army, too."

"Yes, Leon, and I don't know--I don't think that as a people, we're going to be that safe. You know my opinions on the Crown, but this alternative--they're savages, Leon! Surely before you retreated, your troops saw the massacres at Rheims."

"Yes. Yes, we did." The officer's eyes closed for a moment. The memory was obviously painful. "The Communists have taken that city completely."

The words hit the professor like a load of bricks. "We have to do something about this. The work that the Group has done, it' all right there. Those are ideas waiting to be realized. Surely there are other officers and men in the same position as yourself."

"Are you asking me to march against the Communists?" the officer asked, eyes wide. "I'm sure there are, but the casualties--the costs would be immense. I don't know if we could handle a civil war, Antony, because that's what this would be, and if we didn't gain victory immediately, I shudder to think of the consequences. And what happens if we don't have the people on our side? Is your message really that persuasive?"

"I believe it is," Antony replied, quickly. "The people's participation in the Revolution is based on fury, my friend, not any love for the Communists. If we can usurp their message, promise and deliver good outcomes--we may win support enough to purge our land of nobility and authoritarians both, potentially within a short amount of time."

"I'm sorry, Antony," he said, his voice almost sad, now, "But as much as I'd love to assist you, it is impossible."

"And what is the alternative? Communist rule? A reign of terror until such time as the mobs calm themselves? What sort of barbarism must we be willing to endure--you know as well as I that the alternative to action is unthinkable."

"The answer is no, Antony." He beckoned to the door. "You may rest here if you please, but you must leave me in peace."

The professor stood up. A sort of fervour inside him only became stronger. He could tell that Leon's reservations were mostly pragmatic, but also simply hesitation; but he could tell that his friend knew the gravity of the situation they were in.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing," Antony said, etiquette gone from his voice. "If we do not mobilize, perhaps no-one will. Pockets of sanity such as this very fort will be surrounded and extinguished by the rising tide; we will find ourselves suffocating in a sea of red, and finally we will find ourselves with no place to go, awaiting the Razor as we calmly tell ourselves there was nothing we could do despite the chance we have right now! Leon, be brave. I know your reservations, and I feel them too, but we must march forward. If not to succeed, but as decent human beings, whatever our chance of victory."

"You'll be the death of me," Leon replied. "Go downstairs. The staff will ready a room for you. I... will send a dispatch to as many officers as possible. You'd better be right."
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Re: The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized

on Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:38 pm
Antony sat at one end of a table. Across it was Leon, appearing much more content with this whole arrangement than he had a week ago. Importantly, however, the two weren't alone; flanking Antony's left were a number of his colleagues from the University. Some of them looked rather worse for wear; one, Gilles, appeared to have a broken arm. Flanking Leon's left, however, were a variety of officers. He only knew a couple of them in passing; but if they were friends of Leon's, they were comrades all the same. He could only hope they'd listen to his blind idealism long enough to be convinced. Leon stood up.

"Gentlemen, as time is of the essence, I would move to walk briskly past the traditional formalities of such a gathering." He cleared his throat. "Though one half of this table knows this man extraordinarily well, I introduce Dr. Antony Lassale."

Leon sat down. Antony's turn had come, and the success of the insane pipe dream he had brewing in his head depended on this very moment.

"I do not have to introduce you to the happenings of the last eight days," he began, his tone grave but, he hoped, not too corny, "and I need not introduce any of you to the despicable happenings perpetrated by the Revolutionaries. And at the same time, learned men such as yourselves are no doubt sharply aware that continued Royal rule is unacceptable and, most likely, given the probable fate of all three Houses, completely impossible to reinstate. This would seem to place us between the horns of a dillema, as you are, again, no doubt aware.

"There is as yet a third option, and, Gentlemen, we are that third option. You have been brought here because Leon and myself trust you to offer your intelligence, ability, and resources to the realization of the best possible future for Capua. I have no doubt that you are well aware of the liberal, Republican future of which I speak."

The room was silent for a second, until Gilles spoke up. He leaned forward, old face smiling just a bit. Antony could tell he'd touched on his comrade's mischevious streak.

"If we're all crazy enough to go along with this man's mad vision," he said with some sarcasm in his voice, "We'd need a plan. There is no way we could maintain control under Antony's proposed system using military force. By following him we subscribe to tactics of political guile and backroom strategy in addition to military force and coercion. I for one am up to that challenge."

Suddenly, it was extremely tense. A military officer began to speak.

"I will follow you," he said. "For the good of this country. If you have orders for us, Fort Europa is listening."

"The Sixth Army, also," another said.

As they slowly pledged their allegiance, Antony knew that they had what it would take. But it would have to be one blow; one blow during this uncertain time before the Communists could truly get a base.

"With that, my friends, it's time for us to march immediately..."
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Re: The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized

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