beyond the truth

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Empty caves are hard to come by now; they are usually filled with muskets. This one however, has nothing in it except for one barrel of gunpowder. The single barrel is filled to the brim with the powder that can cause so many deaths. Blanchard shoots a glare at the barrel one last time before he sees that there is a pile of flint stones next to it. As he walks to the pile of the stones he slightly shakes his head in disgust. “Those blam’d men, always looking for trouble,” he mumbles in his thick French accent. He scoops up the rocks and throws each one in a different direction in a field of grass nearby. As he kicks up some dirt in the cave, he once again murmurs under his breath “Never in my days have I seen such a pathetic…” His complaining gets cut off by the sound of rustling grass from above.

He hears a familiar voice yell “Blanchard! Blanchard come quickly!” Blanchard runs out of the cave to investigate his visitor with his saber ready. To his surprise his visitor was his pathetic excuse for a brother.

When Blanchard was 3 years of age, his mother — Jacqueline Voisard — decided that she wanted another son. For two years she and her husband — Nicolas Voisard III — tried to have another son but failed. In the end, they had three daughters, but no son. Jacqueline and Nicolas desperately wanted another son, because in their minds, Blanchard would not be able to stay with them and take care of them when they are old. They were proud of Blanchard, but wanted a son to take care of them. To get a son, Jacqueline searched for a son that she could buy, since she lost all hope in giving birth to one. She did find a woman who had a baby boy, Jacqueline convinced this woman to sell the boy. However, the woman demanded a very high price, too high for the Voisards. Scared for his wife’s well-being he got the money that was required. Not caring how he got the money, Jacqueline bought the boy and named him Alexsandre — her favorite name. She later found out that Nicolas sold their daughters to get the money for Alexsandre.

As Blanchard and his brother grew up, Jacqueline found that she was glad she had no daughters anymore. She figured in her wicked mind that Alexsandre could grow up to be a strong and masculine man, without the feminine influence that sisters would have brought. She cared and loved both of her sons, but mostly Alexsandre. He was behind in everything, while Blanchard was ahead. Blanchard knew that he was superior to his younger brother, he had much more potential, but his mother favored Alexandre. Blanchard grew a grudge against his mother, but still loved her just the same. Despite that love, he still knew he would leave her when he was old enough.

Just outside the cave, Blanchard looks up to his brother and shouts “What do you want?”

“Soldiers are attacking our house, come quick!” Before he speaks he thinks for a second. It is your house, I don’t live there anymore. Blanchard almost said this aloud, but kept it in his head.

“Are they soldiers or Robespierre’s men?”

“I am not sure. Please come, brother!” Blanchard followed his adopted brother into the city. They got to the edge of Paris when Alexsandre stopped and turned around. Blanchard had to slam his feet down to not run into him. Barely breaking a sweat himself— seeing that they only ran for two minutes— Blanchard noticed that Alexsandre was completely out of breath, had dampened clothes with sweat, and was at the brink of crying. Shaking his head Blanchard asked in disgust “What are you doing? Your mother and father could be getting killed right now.”

“Are you going to kill the soldiers?” Blanchard rolled his eyes at that, and immediately lost his patience.

“If you are going to be like that, just stay here and I will handle it. I won’t let my parent be the 17th execution today.” At that Blanchard walks around his brother and restarts his run to his parent’s house.

When he gets there, he finds some of Robespierre’s men pointing their muskets towards Nicolas while another man ties some rope around Jacqueline’s wrists. To not attract attention yet, Blanchard sneaks in the back door of the house. When he sees his parents getting arrested again but from a different angle he decides to act. “Hold on!” Is what came out of Blanchard’s mouth to his disappointment. Everyone in the room turns towards Blanchard. With everyone’s attention he tries to speak again. “What is going on here? What did these people do to get arrested?” He tries his hardest not to make it apparent that “these people” aren’t his parent, for that may provoke them into killing them quicker.  

“None of your business, boy! Get out of here before you get hurt!” This statement was a surprise to Blanchard. He hasn’t been called a boy since he was 18, which was 19 years ago.

Blanchard smirks “Or before you get hurt,” before he unsheathes his saber and launches towards the man closest to his father and slashes his chest with the blade. As that man, falls Blanchard gets to the next man and impales him through the stomach. Before Blanchard gets to the man who tied up Jacqueline, he punches Blanchard in the head. He falls over, as he falls, Blanchard twists his body to stab the man’s foot. The man screams out in pain until Blanchard gets up to cover his mouth with his hand.

Blanchard then pushes him to the nearest wall. “When I move my hand from your mouth, you won’t scream. Understand?” The man nods in agreement. Blanchard moves his hand as he said he would. “Now, tell me why you were trying to arrest these people.”

“Because we were told to by our superiors.” He spits out, trying to stop his whimpers.

“Your superiors? You mean Robespierre? Why would he want these people dead?”

“No. No. A man far higher than Robespierre. He… he said that we needed to kill them.” He stuttered in fear

“Why? Who is this man?” Blanchard started sweating from the anticipation.

“Because he controls the war.” These were his last words before he grabbed hold of Blanchard’s saber and glided it into his gut like a hot knife through butter. Blanchard stands shocked at the actions that just took place before him. He knows that he needs to know more, if Robespierre isn’t the cause of all of the chaos he needs to know who. He then remembers why he is there in the first place: to save his parents.

Blanchard turns around to look at his mother and father, and sees them huddled up against a wall, scared. In response, he slides his saber from the suicide and walks to his parents. He opens his mouth to speak to them when in one moment two things occur. First, his mother pulls Blanchard into a hug while his father pats him on the shoulder. While this happens, Alexsandre runs through the door and gasps in horror when he looks at the ground and sees the bodies. Blanchard gets out of his mother’s arms to allow Alexsandre to be pampered and to pamper. He needed to get rid of the bodies; the last thing his parents need is to be accused of murdering all of these men; they have always been good citizens who hasn’t done anything to seem loyal to the dead king.  Blanchard is already acknowledged as a fighter of Robespierre's men, so if anyone should be blamed, it is Blanchard.

As soon as Robespierre came to power in the past fall after the killing of King Louis XVI and — according to him— rid the nation of enemies of the revolution, Blanchard has fought them. This fighting often requires killing though. Ever since he was a small boy Blanchard learned how to fight: with a saber, a musket, and hand to hand. His father has said that Blanchard should be a French soldier, but Blanchard didn’t want to follow military orders. Once the “Reign of Terror” started last year and Blanchard could fight Robespierre’s men, they have been desperate to get him in the military, but he has denied all requests.

Blanchard dragged all of the bodies to the road behind the house. He figured they would blend in with all of the other bodies that have been thrown out. He sits at his parents’ table to think about recent events. After contemplating the matter, he knew what had to happen: he needed to capture another one of Robespierre’s men and make him explain what is happening. He knew that he may risk getting arrested and being hanged. “I know what you want to do. I can’t allow that son. It is far too risky.” Blanchard was deep in thought, and jumped when the deep voice echoed through his brain. He spins around and looks at who interrupted his thoughts. It is his father.

“You can’t stop me father. This is what I need to do.”

“You know nothing of these matters. If you get information you are not meant to hear, they will kill you.” At this comment Blanchard shakes his head in disagreement.

“Father, I know what I am doing. Besides, my risk will be for the good of France and all her people.”

“You listen to me son. If you want to disgrace me and risk putting our family name to shame and getting yourself killed, fine. Just do one thing for me: tell the military what you’re doing, so you won’t get into trouble with them.” Then he walks away shaking his head and clenching his fists.

Very well, I can at least do that for the man. Blanchard thinks to himself as he got his coat on and walked out the back door. He knows what he needs to do in order to please himself and the small order from his father. He can’t just go to the head of the military without proof of what he is doing isn’t a useless effort. He decides that he needs to find a high ranking man under Robespierre’s command- or whoever this all powerful man is. As he walks he observes his surroundings a little more than usual, to find his target.

While he walks he can’t help but think about his argument with his father. Ever since his father sold his sisters, there has been tensions. Even at his young age, Blanchard thought that what his father did was wrong, even if they were desperate for another son. His mother and father’s love to him was strong, but their love for Alexandre has always been stronger, despite him being bought. Blanchard still loves his mother and father, but he never feels comfortable doing what they say.

Blanchard was in the dangerous world of his mind when a man with the typical red jacket and tan vest and trousers of Robespierre’s men comes into view of Blanchard. He practically screams his authority. Blanchard notices him just as the man started to arrest a woman with her child. Without thought Blanchard jumps into action. He grabs the child out of the man’s hands and hands it back to the mother—  probably too rough for a small child, but he couldn’t think about that. After this he grabs the man at the back of his neck and starts dragging him to a back road. When he starts resisting, Blanchard kicks his knees to make him collapse, and continues dragging.

After around 20 minutes of punching, arguing, and cursing, Blanchard got a sufficient amount of information from him. He found out that the man’s name is Edgard Ducasse, he was a well-recognized and respected man among his comrades. So Blanchard was right with his status. The man Blanchard questioned in his parents’ house was right, there is a powerful man that randomly chooses people to have killed, and makes up a random excuse to do so. This man’s name is Remy Carbonneau. He is considered a lord among his people, so he is called Lord Remy. He is far higher than Robespierre and even the king, since no one other than his men know about him, and everyone obeys his orders. Robespierre’s actions have all been commanded by Remy, all he has done has been the will of Remy. Nobody knows of him because he is practically underground, and everyone that follows him has sworn to never reveal his secrets, or they have to die. The last information Blanchard could force out of Edgard was that Lord Remy was in a cave at the edge of the city, with one barrel of gunpowder in it, and that to get in Blanchard would need to find the tunnel in it. So Edgard did say he had to go and find out how to die, once he accepted he couldn’t kill Blanchard after telling him so much secret information.

Blanchard knew what cave Edgard spoke of, it was the one he was at when Alexsandre told him about their parents being arrested. The barrel of gunpowder he spoke of was the one that had the pile of flint stones that he threw in a field. He starts running towards that end of the city, when he realizes that it was pitch dark outside. The weight of his eyelids smashed into reality in one second, and he got extraordinarily drowsy. He can’t fight a bunch of men in the middle of the night. Blanchard drags himself to his own house to get some rest. His house is on the west side of Paris, which in 1794 is a large residential area. The cave is also on the west edge of the city, so when he wakes he can get there right away.

After he had a quick meal in the morning he went straight to the cave, avoiding as many people as possible, so nobody stopped him. When he first found the cave, a couple months back, he thought it was strange that is empty, since all caves are filled with muskets, ammunition, and other supplies for Remy’s men. He brought a pickaxe just in case he needed to use it to get to this tunnel. He also brought the saber his grandmother gave him as a gift instead of the one he usually carries that he bought.

In the cave, he discovered that a large boulder was all that covered the tunnel. It was a very dark tunnel with many bats in it. After about a half an hour of walking, he heard talking. It was distant, but he defiantly heard a voice. He crouched down against one of the rock walls and slowly walked until he came upon a large cavern with many people in it. All of these people wore red jackets and tan vests: he found Remy’s hiding place. In one corner of the cavern was a large table with one person sitting at it, surrounded by piles of papers. At the very sight of this man, Blanchard knew who it was: Lord Remy Carbonneau. He was a very skinny man, and a little bit older than Blanchard. While watching Remy, Blanchard realizes that one of Remy’s men was walking right towards him.

Acting on instinct, Blanchard prepares himself to fight without attracting attention. Once the man turns the corner Blanchard puts his hand on his mouth and draws his saber to cut his throat. When he falls, and stops struggling, Blanchard releases him. Blanchard puts the dead man’s shirt and coat on, and puts his clothes inside his buttoned coat. He has an idea to get close enough to Remy, if he looks like one of Remy’s men, he could get close enough to capture him.

Blanchard walks around in the cavern, matching the behaviors of everyone around him. The darkness, and chill of the cave hits him as he struts in. The only difference he sees on himself is that he still has his grandmother’s saber instead of the type most others have. There are a few people with out of place sabers so Blanchard doesn’t think he will look suspicious. As he gets closer to Lord Remy he notices what people do when they go up to him: they slightly bow and address him. When Blanchard gets to him, he does so. “My Lord… My Lord Remy… May I talk to you in private?” At that Remy glares at Blanchard.

“Excuse me? Are you asking me to remove me from my work? To have me listen to your whines on something I don’t want to listen to?” Blanchard thinks on how to respond. This man is insane. He doesn’t even respect his own men. How do I get him to listen?

“I have a report on Edgard Ducasse.” Remy looks from a map and shakes his head.

“Very well. Come with me.” They walk through a hole in the rock wall. Once they turn a corner and is out of the sights from anyone in the cavern, Blanchard kicks the back of Remy’s knees, making him fall on his face. Once on the floor Blanchard grabs Remy’s face to not let him speak. “Your reign ends now, my lord.” Then Blanchard stabs Remy in the stomach, to make his statement true. As Remy goes limp he says his last words.

“May France be cleansed in my absence.” Then he lets out one last breath and goes limp. Blanchard lets out a sigh and puts his own clothes back on.

When he sneaks out of the cave, he tells the admiral what he did, and brought Remy’s body. After getting out of the dark and cold cave, Blanchard starts towards the building that he has been invited to so many times: the admiral’s house. Latouche Tréville has been the admiral since Blanchard was born; he has visited Blanchard many times talking about the benefits of joining the military. Despite being rejected dozens of times, he kept coming to and inviting Blanchard. As he walks to Latouche’s house, he determines how he will present his situation, without seeming to be asking for praise. After going through several different possible conversations, he arrived at the Tréville’s residence.

Blanchard walks up to the door of the house and knocks on the door. Soon after a voice shouts “One moment!” from somewhere in the house. After about a minute, the door opens and a tall and muscular man with a full head of straight blond hair appears. A smile spreads on his face at the sight of Blanchard. “Blanchard Voisard. What a pleasure to see you at my house instead of yours. I hope you have thought about our last conversation,” referring to one of the many conversations about recruitment “Please come in. You are welcome here at all times.” Latouche leads Blanchard to a large table littered with maps and pieces of parchment. Latouche pushes some maps to the side and they sit down. The admiral opens his mouth to speak, but Blanchard interrupts him, without any thought.

“What I am about to say isn’t meant to impress you.” Then he just spills out everything into a large vine of intertwining thoughts that even raised the eyebrows of the Admiral. He doesn’t take any breaks to let Latouche speak, so he can get it over with. Once he finally stops, Blanchard is out of breath and sweating under his ripped shirt that he refuses to get rid of. Latouche slightly chuckles as he speaks. “I have never heard a man speak so fast in my life. As for the contents, I can assure you that we have never found any evidence of a Lord Remy. We know that Robespierre is behind these executions, we have meet the man in custody actually, and he is not a man who takes orders. That is why he will be executed in two days’ time. ”

“No, you don’t understand. I know these things, sir. I just got back from the cave Remy was in and killed him, what do you think the body I carried here was for? I have already proved what you said to be wrong!” Latouche’s face is now stained with his large and pleased smile.

“You are no fool Voisard. You are like the son I always dreamt of having. I admit that rumors of the things you spoke of have been brought to my attention before, but ignored them. You have proved these rumors to be true. I give you my thanks.”

“You’re welcome, sir.” He starts to get up to leave, hoping the conversation was over.

“I have always said that there can always be something beyond the truth,” He gives a small smile, then walks from the table they talked at, and patted Blanchard’s shoulder. “And you have experienced that first hand, boy. I trust that you will remember this. I will take care of the body, and I still need to go on with the execution, he still has some responsibility.”

“Of course sir, I may come to that. Make sure to tell the truth of what happened though.” The last part was muttered, but Latouche still nodded in response.

After the Admiral expresses his gratitude to Blanchard, and tells him to leave the rest of the men in the cavern to the military, and Blanchard was too tired to argue, two days in a row of constant action was very tiring. While Blanchard leaves the house — to his delight— he grabs Remy’s saber, to have as a trophy of some kind.

In the next two months, Robespierre was publicly executed, along with some of his elites. The word spread of Remy Carbonneau and him being behind Robespierre’s orders to kill. The military destroys the cavern and tunnel that Blanchard found Remy in, with all the men, to avoid new complications.  Blanchard was honored for his heroic success of stopping the Reign of Terror. The military continued to try to recruit Blanchard, but much more often. Blanchard continued to deny their requests. Blanchard kept what Latouche said in mind: there is always something beyond the truth.


Submitted: May 25, 2017

© Copyright 2021 mary waltor. All rights reserved.

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