Tale Of Two Cities

BOOK II cont...

That very night, certain people plotted against the man nicknamed "god of war and hatred".

Ares had no idea what was coming to him.

"Go get my silk pillow," Ares ordered one of his five servants in the room. When the servant moved away from the nearby window, a shadow covered the room for less than a second.

"What's outside?" Ares asked fearfully. "Go check!"

Another servant opened the side door of the chateau and looked left and right. No sign of any intruder.

About ten minutes later, the servants left Ares to sleep. And practically left Ares wide open - extremely vulnerable.

A rustle in the bushes did not awake St. Evremonde. Only the crickets noticed.

The prowler opened the window with expertise and approached the hated-aristocrat.

He laid a single piece of paper on Ares' heart.

The man raised the huge, sharp knife and stared at Ares. He was definetly asleep, dreaming about his subjects.

The intruder plunged the knife into the heart of Ares, proving that it could be stopped a second time.

As he walked away, the murderer read the note aloud.

"Drive him fast to his tomb!"


The turmoil the next morning was overwhelming for the country of France to handle. There were only a handful of people who sat still that day.

Callisto continued making saddles for her horses.

For some strange reason, she couldn't stop smiling. Neither could her husband.

Anyone in the stable shop was calm. It was as if a secret was passed on - without being spoken. Anyone that didn't know the secret before they came in, knew it when they left.

And no one minded the truth.


It was a year later, and Perdicus Darnay was doing exceptionally well, even including the loss of his uncle's potential money and estate.

Perdicus tutored French, translated books, and wrote about French literature - all of which he enjoyed.

He claimed that his inspiration was Gabrielle.

It took a long time for him to build up the courage to ask for her hand in marriage. When he decided to do so, he figured the gentleman thing to do was to ask Xena first. He had already asked her once, and Xena had brushed it off as a joke. She thought that the young couple had to show they were serious first.

Perdicus found the right time to be right after dinner one evening. Gabrielle was going upstairs to bed, and Perdicus and Xena were alone in the living room together.

"Ms. Manette," Darnay asked for Xena's attention. She looked up from her sewing.

"I need to ask a serious favor of you," Perdicus continued. Xena's stomach flip-flopped. She was hoping this day wouldn't come for a very long time.

Xena nodded slowly for Perdicus to continue.

"Please allow me to ask Gabrielle for her hand in marriage," he sighed.

Xena exhaled and opened her mouth to speak. She changed her mind suddenly and merely nodded. Her quick decision surprised even herself.

"Thank you so much!" Perdicus rushed up and held Xena's hand and kissed it politely. He bowed and went to leave the room, rushing to go home to think how he was going to ask his love a huge question. Then he spun on his heel and slowly walked back to the den.

"I also need to speak with you about something else," he said, swallowing. Xena knew what this was going to be about, too.

"Yes," she said, speaking for the first time in a couple of hours.

"I need to be truthful with you and your lovely daughter. My uncle, Ares St. Evremonde, is the one who jailed you. I had no knowledge of this until just the other day…" Perdicus paused to observe the reaction on the warrior's face. There was none. A blank look occupied the woman's face.

"Do not tell Gabrielle until the morning of your marriage," Xena said quietly.

Perdicus nodded, and in an unspoken understanding, he left the house, embarrassed, bewildered, and extremely relieved.


Xena retreated to her room and pulled out her chakrum-making instruments from her closet. She practiced with the dangerous weapon, tossing it back and forth, seeing if she could aim out the window.


Iolaus Stryver strutted into the room with a boastful grin on his face. Joxer rolled his eyes, knowing what Iolaus was always thinking about - himself.

It was Monday morning at Tellson's bank, and everyone was hard at work on something or another. Joxer continued to think about his conversation to Gabrielle, and knew Gabrielle had a clue at what he was getting at.

Joxer knew Perdicus was going to pop the question to Gabrielle.

"I am going to ask for Gabrielle's hand in marriage," Iolaus said promptly upon arriving at Carton's desk. He leaned against it and smoothed out his wig.

Joxer let out a soft chuckle. "Oh?"

"Yes. I figure she might be a little… you know, intimidated by me, being tough and manly, but we are the perfect couple," Iolaus smiled, his ego getting the better of him.

"Some might not think so," Carton teased.

"You're jealous!" Iolaus said loudly, pointing mockingly at Joxer. A few workers looked at the scene. Joxer blushed slightly.

"Of course not. It's just that… that Miss Manette could do so much better," Joxer smirked at his own comeback.

"You know what? You should get a wife. A wife with a lot of money and her own property, yet a commoner. You'll need someone to take care of you in your declining years!" with that half-kidding comment, Iolaus strolled away, thinking he was God's gift to women.

Stryver put on his coat and hat and closed the door to the shop. That Monday evening, he planned to go to the Manette's house in Soho and ask Gabrielle to marry him. He knew she would accept his invitation.

On the way, he decided to stop at Mr. Lorry's - only to rub it in slightly.

The knock at the door surprised Hercules, he knew it was after business hours, so he didn't see why anyone needed him at the moment.

"Hercules! Friend! I have a story to tell you!" Iolaus laughed and put his arm around the muscular man, acting like they were best friends. Mr. Lorry looked at the arm on his shoulder and back at the short man. Iolaus took the hint and pulled his arm away.

"I am the bearer of fantastic news! I am leaving now to ask Gabrielle to marry me!" Iolaus held out his arms, as if expecting a hug.

All was quiet. Then Hercules burst out laughing. He had to sit down to calm down.

"What?" Stryver wasn't getting the joke.

After Hercules had calmed down and dried his laughing tears, he broke the news to the stuck-up lawyer.

"I'm sorry, Iolaus, but Perdicus Darnay is going to ask for Gabrielle to be his wife," Hercules said sympathetically. "He's already asked Xena for permission."

Iolaus didn't know whether to scream or cry. He frowned and looked lost in thought.

"Oh, well, I was doing her the favor," was Iolaus' only reply as he opened the door to go to his own home, skipping the trip to Soho.


"You hear about Ares' murder?" one man said to another.

"Of course I have, who hasn't?" the other man responded.

It was a while since the incident, and people were still talking about it.

Callisto looked up from the saddle she was working on. She looked at one of her followers, known as "The Vengeance" or Velaska, and smiled evilly. The murderer should be showing up anytime now.

Just then, the door burst open.

"I need to speak to the Defarges!" the burly looking man yelled. Just then, a few soldiers rushed in and dragged the man outside. A few customers ran outside to watch what was happening.

"Put him in the cart to the guillotine!" a soldier screamed to the cart driver.

"I haven't done anything wrong! You can't prove I killed Ares!" some recognized this terrified man to be Malen. His son was run over by Ares…

"At least let me deliver the message I came to deliver!" Malen yelled.

"What?" Callisto spoke up from the back of the gathering.

"Perdicus Darnay and Gabrielle Manette are to be married soon! He is asking for her hand in marriage tomorrow!" he said to Callisto, making eye contact. Callisto knew he was being truthful.

"How are you so sure she'll accept the offer?" Velaska spoke out.

"Anytime a Frenchman and an Englishwoman who are aristocrats are in love, power needs to be questioned! Death to the St. Evremondes! Death to the Darnays! Drive them fast to their tombs!" Malen got a wild look in his eyes, arms flailing.

"Murderer! You don't even get a trial!" the French soldier changed back the subject, and with those words, he was tied up and thrown in the back of the wagon, screaming. It was only a mile to the nearest guillotine.

The crowds cheered outside. Fifty people that day had died by guillotine… and the executioners of the guillotine were taking orders from just about everyone - everything was in confusion.

Callisto looked at Velaska and grinned. She slowly made note of who was next on her register to kill - Perdicus Darnay and Salmoneus Barsad.


"I swear! I didn't know about it!" Salmoneus was dragged in by Draco Defarge.

"Oh, really?" Draco yanked the man towards him. They were only inches apart. Salmoneus was shaking with fear, and Draco with anger.

"Calm down," Callisto sauntered into the room, a certain horse saddle in hand.

"My wife, here is Salmoneus Barsad, just as you wanted," Draco said loudly. Some customers looked at the folks making the scene.

Callisto sighed. Sometimes her husband just couldn't get it right. You don't make a scene of getting prepared to kill someone. It was too obvious. She actually didn't love Draco. They only got married because of his inside advantage to the Bastille (it's not what you know, it's who you know) and he married her because of her leadership.

Together, they were invincible. Apart, they were already defeated.

"No, no, no," Callisto hissed quietly. Draco bit his lip. He always forgot…

"I didn't want Salmoneus, and said I needed a chicken! Do those words sound alike? I don't think so!" Callisto said loudly, clearing her customer's doubts. Draco got the hint quickly.

"I'm sorry… I guess I wasn't paying attention…" Draco said, releasing Barsad. The spy quickly raced out of the store.

"I guess you weren't." Callisto watched patiently as the man ran out of view.


"Gabrielle! Mr. Darnay is here!" Atalanta called to the woman from the bottom of the stairs. Perdicus was at the bottom, and he took off his hat.

As Gabrielle came down the stairs, Perdicus practically melted. She was more beautiful than he remembered.

For Gabrielle, it was the same way. He was the man of her dreams. She was walking in the clouds, as far as anyone was concerned, and she smiled at Perdicus, thinking that they belonged together.

Atalanta grinned and walked out of the room, prepared for a possible shriek or two.

The maid was right. As soon as the happy cry sounded from the foyer, Atalanta and Xena rushed in to see the happy Gabrielle in Perdicus' arms, Perdicus spinning her around.

"Mother! We are getting married next week!" Gabrielle said, still giggling in Perdicus' arms. Her own arms clinged around his neck.

Xena fainted.


The wedding was a beautiful one.

Everyone was dressed in bright colors, and the church was alive with happiness at the uniting of this terrific couple. For more than a year, people were only whispering about Darnay and Manette getting married. Now their thoughts had come true. Everyone was thrilled for them.

Almost everyone.

At the exchange of the vows, the small crowd was in an uproar, cheering for Gabrielle and Perdicus. All Perdicus and Gabrielle heard was each other - everyone else was blocked out.

"Off to your Honeymoon!" Atalanta cried to Gabrielle as she tossed handfuls of tiny flowers toward the bride outside. The maid was crying happily.

Hercules approached Atalanta.

"Ah, to think that I've missed out on this lovely gift of… love," Hercules could only shrug.

Atalanta nudged him with her elbow. "You were born a bachelor, and meant to be one forever," she smiled good-naturally to the man. Hercules took the comment as a joke and laughed it off.

He waved to his good friends as they left, waving, in a horse and carriage, off to Wales for two weeks.

Xena sat in her room. Many chakrums were made and used by her - only in this room. The only sounds heard from her room for a week were metal clings and clangs.

Hercules was staying in the guest room at the Manette's house. He figured he might need to protect the house from any angry peasants. Lately, at any aristocrat wedding, a certain group called the "Revolutionists" were burning the aristocrats' homes.

A knock sounded on Hercules' door one night. It was Atalanta.

"I'm worried about Xena…" she said.

Hercules nodded. "I am, too. We need to figure out a way to get the chakrum materials out of Xena's reach."

"Why does she do this?" Atalanta said, frustrated that this was one thing she could not help with.

"This was her way of keeping mentally busy in prison. Anytime she gets upset or nervous, she does this. I certainly don't think that this is healthy, and I need to get her to stop this. Whatever you do, do not say anything to Gabrielle about this," Hercules kept his voice to a whisper.

A few hours later, when they were sure that Xena was asleep, Hercules and Atalanta crept in and brought Xena's chakrum tools into Hercules' guest room. With a sad smile and nod, Hercules broke one tool over his right knee.

It took the entire night to finish destroying Xena's chakrums and tools. It was a good thing that Gabrielle and Perdicus were going to be back in two days.

As Atalanta returned to her room, slightly shaking from her latest actions, she heard a sound coming from Xena's room.

It was a chakrum, bouncing off the stone walls and the window. Atalanta moved to retrieve the weapon. Hercules was standing in the doorway of his room.

"No!" he hissed. The maid looked at him with curiosity.

"If it's only one…" he began, shaking his head. Atalanta understood immediately and walked back to her room.

She fell asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. It didn't matter - it was already dawn.


Two days later, things were back to normal - as far as Gabrielle was concerned. To her, her mother was acting strange before the wedding, and Xena kept saying something like "he hasn't told her… he hasn't told her".

Now, though, Xena was more lively than usual. No one argued or questioned this. They took this to their advantage.

The doorbell rang, and Darnay peeled himself out of his wife's arms, parting from their embrace. Perdicus opened the door.

"Congratulations!" Carton said, shaking Perdicus' hands. His attitude was happy, but almost fake. Gabrielle was hesitant to say anything to the man. He didn't even show up at the wedding.

"I need to tell you something…" Carton began, making eye contact with Perdicus. "In confidential…"

Gabrielle took the hint, smiled at the two men, and walked upstairs.

"What is it?" Perdicus asked, almost worried. He figured Joxer must have needed a favor.

"I need your forgiveness," Joxer said quietly.

"About what?"

"About that night of your trial, when we went out for a drink."

"Correction, my friend. I went out for a drink, you went out for many!"

"Yes, you are right," Carton stopped to smile and chuckle. He had been sober for a long time now. "I would like your permission to visit your family a few times a year," Carton continued.

"Of course you may!" Perdicus shakes Carton's hand again, politely signaling that he should leave. Carton took the gesture personally, bid farewell to Atalanta, and left the house in Soho, his heart crushed, and his head dizzy.


Eight years later, Gabrielle had a daughter, little Gabrielle. She also had a son, but he died very young.

Callisto and her group of Revolutionists still held partial control in France, bringing their version of justice to all those who opposed them.

Gabrielle hadn't been to France in over eight years, even though Perdicus left often on business; and they still lived with Xena, who was almost fully recovered now.

Carton heard about Gabrielle having a child from Mr. Lorry. When Hercules burst in to tell Carton about the terrific news, he also told him news of Iolaus.

Iolaus had taken a short vacation, and met a common woman who he fell in love with. He married her and had moved away. There was doubt that he would come back to visit. They were happy for him, though.

Salmoneus Barsad, on the other hand, had been seen a lot in both France and England. He had gotten a job that was on and off at the Bastille prison. He told soldiers that he was set up interviews for people to interview prisoners inside the jail. In reality, he led some Revolutionists in and out - without much trouble.


Gabrielle sat at her chair, embroidering, but not consentrating very hard. She poked herself with her needle and almost cursed to herself, but knew it wasn't a lady's place in society to do so.

Gabrielle paused and looked out the window. She sighed. It was cloudy out, and perhaps that is what triggered her mood. She wasn't in a bad one… she was just having visions lately. Almost daydreams. For some odd reason, she kept imagining her husband and herself at the guillotine. The only person she confided in with these dreams was her maid.

"What do you think?" Gabrielle pursed her lips after speaking with her friend on this for what seemed like the millionth time. Atalanta smiled at Gabrielle.

"I wouldn't worry about it too much. You're probably just nervous about Perdicus' trips back and forth, here to France - or who knows where - all of the time," the maid patted her almost-daughter on her shoulder. Gabrielle kept her gaze outside.

"Something isn't right, but Perdicus would consider it an insult for me to tell him how to live his work life," Gabrielle shook her head slowly.

"No. He would consider it a warning - and a kind one at that. Go to sleep. You haven't been feeling well, and I can handle little Gabrielle for the evening."

Gabrielle nodded gratefully and put away her things. Carton was coming to visit later, and he was like an uncle to little Lucie.

It was good to have Carton over while Peridicus was gone. It gave them all a sense of security. Whether or not it was a fake one was not something they worried about. Their house in Soho was safe, and the Darnays had made it known that even though they were among the aristocrats - they were for "the people". They had to make this known to everyone in France - and in England. Risks weren't safe anyway. Then again, when are they ever?

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