Tale Of Two Cities

BOOK III cont...

Thinking that Gabrielle went home after Perdicus' trial, Callisto made arrangements to pay the house in Soho a little visit.

"Hurry up and get my wagon ready!" she yelled.

Some of her followers hoisted her into the carriage. They watched emotionless as their leader rode off towards the horizon. They hoped she would return soon.


Atalanta had heard the bad news. Mr. Lorry, though, had wrote that there was hope. He told her to tell Carton about what happened, and tell him to keep Gabrielle for one more day, and then walk with her to Atalanta in a nearby inn. Mr. Lorry would be there, as well. Gabrielle would follow. Xena would be there in a few days. She wanted to make sure of exactly where Perdicus would be.

"I don't believe this. I should have gone," Atalanta muttered to herself. She looked around at the house in Soho. She had packed a few things for her short stay in the inn. She was about to leave when she heard a sound from downstairs.

She went into her room and grabbed her last belonging - a staff that she taught Gabrielle with.

"Cleared the place out, huh?" Callisto Defarge stood in front of Atalanta.

Atalanta stared at the evil woman with hate.

"Get out of my way," Atalanta ordered. Callisto just laughed, lifting up a pistol and aiming at the maid.

"I feel as though I am staring at the wife of Lucifer," the maid hissed. She twisted her arms, swinging her staff to Callisto, knocking the peasant off her feet.

Atalanta lifted the stick above her head, ready to come down on Callisto's head.

Callisto grabbed the staff and pulled Atalanta down with her.

They rolled on the ground, fighting over the pistol.

A shot was made.

All was still. Callisto was covered in blood. Atalanta got to her knees and then slowly stood up. Callisto had rolled over on the pistol.

"What a way to die," Atalanta shook her head. She dragged the body to the fireplace. She shivered at her own thoughts.

The maid knew, though, that if she didn't do it, she would risk her loved one's lives'. She threw the body into the huge fireplace.

She didn't watch it burn. She just left for the inn.


"Up there. See him?" Xena pointed out a window to Gabrielle. With tears in her eyes, Gabrielle saw her husband's cell high up in the prison.

"You'll have to go back to England. Stay with Atalanta and Mr. Lorry. Little Gabrielle is already there. I will come in a day," Xena ordered gently.

Gabrielle sighed and nodded slowly, knowing that this was that last time she would see her beloved. She waved to the window, not knowing if he could see her. It was too far away. It was too depressing to think that little Gabrielle had not gotten to see her father for the last time.

Gabrielle waved goodbye to her mother as the carriage approached. Xena waved back, and smiled a bit for courage.

Xena needed the courage more than Gabrielle did.


It had already been a week, and Xena was still in France. She had tried everything from dressing as a soldier, to trying to get imprisoned herself; but there was no way to get to Perdicus Darnay. All the peasants knew what she was trying to do.

She got on the ferry and looked at the prison from a distance.

"Goodbye, Perdicus. I'm so sorry," Xena's voice cracked as she lowered her eyes.

He didn't deserve this.

"The guillotine death is planned for Monday!" Gabrielle cried and flung herself on the bed. Xena sat next to her, comforting her as much as possible. Monday was in four days.

The executioners were finally getting around to Perdicus after so what seemed like so long. Little Gabrielle now knew what was going on, of course, but she was only twelve, and didn't quite understand this government and justice corruption. She remembered her father, but couldn't match up to her mother's grief.

Xena had done everything in her power to find a way for Perdicus to escape, but this was going to take an inside job.

There was no hope left.


"I leave for France tomorrow. I want no one to follow me, I want no one else to know. Understand so far?" Joxer Carton walked into Mr. Lorry's office. He took off his hat. Mr. Lorry stared at Joxer with surprise.

"You have to be out of your mind to go there. You know that this is the bloodiest time yet!" Hercules shook his head.

"Listen to me and listen good," Joxer said, sitting down. Hercules listened intently. "I made a promise a long time ago that I would do something if something like this came about," he began. Hercules nodded.

"I need your help. Can you be at the coast on the border of England, waiting with horses, on Monday morning?" Carton asked seriously, his eyes piercing.

Hercules nodded, not understanding what was going on.

"Good. Have three horses ready at the England border. One for you, one for Barsad, and leave when my place is occupied. Understand?" Carton said.

"Barsad? He's a spy!" Hercules shook his head.

"He's working for us! Not against us! Just cooperate!" Hercules was thrown back at Joxer's attempt to take charge.

Hercules knew what Joxer was getting at. He wanted to argue with him to save his life. He wanted to go with him to be a hero. He wanted to urge him to save Darnay.

He wanted to rewind time.


The next morning on the ferry, Joxer was lost in thought. He got almost no sleep the previous night, and suspected that he wouldn't for a while.

He thought mainly about Gabrielle. He thought about how much he loved her, and how lucky she was to have such a terrific family and life.

Did she deserve all of this? Of course not.


Hercules arranged the horses to be saved for him Monday morning. He thought he should prepare a few days in advance. He had no idea how crucial Carton's plan was, or how accurate everything had to be to the plan. He didn't even know about this Barsad character. He didn't trust Salmoneus.

He didn't know if he trusted Joxer.


"Barsad, I swear it - my lips are sealed!" Joxer hissed behind the prison. It was Sunday night, and it was almost time.

"You really won't tell anyone about my past actions? I could get the guillotine, you know!" Salmoneus whined.

Joxer sighed. This wasn't working out as well as he had planned it. He wanted things to go smoothly - was that too much to ask?

"Barsad!" Joxer warned.

"All right! All right! I'll do it! I'll get you an interview with a prisoner, as you say," Salmoneus' stomach began to get queasy.

"Not just any prisoner - I want Darnay. I will drug him, and then we'll go from there. Understand? You follow my instructions after that - no matter how spontaneous!" Joxer whispered.

Salmoneus nodded and went back to his position in work - janitor in the prison.


"Where's Carton? He said he would take care of Gabrielle today while I went to the market," Gabrielle said to Atalanta, her eyes read. Today was the day.

Today was the day her love would be sacrificed for only a portion of the world's beliefs.

And where was her closest friend to help her out?

"Anytime soon!" Joxer said sarcastically to Salmoneus. Joxer had a hooded cloak on to conceal his face.

"Sorry!" Barsad apologized, cringing. Blackmail was the threat, and he was well aware of the consequences.

Salmoneus cleared his throat. "Excuse me, sir, but this man is here to interview a prisoner. May he pass?" his voice shook.

The guard eyes the two suspiciously and then nodded after what seemed like an eternity.

The halls were mazes to Joxer, and he felt regrets falling upon him as he saw Darnay's prison door.

He didn't know how he knew which one was Perdicus', he just did…

He nodded to Barsad to open the door.

"Darnay!" called Salmoneus as he pulled the door open. "You've got a visitor."

The door opened to reveal a sickly-looking Perdicus at a modest table writing a letter. A tiny cot was behind him, and the room was the size of a closet.

"Carton?" Perdicus cried, almost a little too loudly.

Joxer put his finger up to his lips and slipped into the room. Barsad shut the door behind them, looking around guiltily.

"Give us five minutes," Carton whispered through the small peephole to Barsad. Salmoneus didn't answer, but he heard and understood.

"What—" Darnay started to ask, not knowing whether to have hope and smile, or feel self-pity and cry.

"No time to explain," Joxer said hastily. "Get out a new piece of paper, and get ready to write something for me," Joxer demanded. Darnay did as he was told.

"Here goes," Joxer began as Darnay put his quill in ink.

"'A long time ago, I made a promise I intended to keep'," Joxer said. Darnay paused mid-sentence and stared at Joxer.

"Hurry!" Joxer ordered. Darnay continued.

"'I wish you the best in your life'," Joxer ended.

"Who do I address this too?" Perdicus asked, still confused.

"Put it in your pocket," Joxer instructed. Darnay did so.


"Callisto?" Draco whispered loudly. He was in the house of Soho, and was looking for his wife. He knew she came here, but she never sent word on when she would be back. She couldn't miss the people being guillotined today. This was the moment of truth - or at least they thought.

"Looking for someone?" Xena stepped out of the shadows.

"Oh! Xena! Uh… just my wife…" the coward backed up towards the stairs, wanting to run down them and leave the house.

"No, no, no… you were looking for Gabrielle and her daughter, just like Callisto was," Xena corrected, chakrum in hand.

"'Was'? What have you done with her! Tell me!" Draco tried to act tough.

Xena just laughed. "Do you want to go with her?" Xena shuddered at the thought of where Atalanta told her Callisto's remains were.

"Please! Don't hurt me! This whole revolution thing just isn't a good idea to me! I follow her because I'm scared of her!" Draco cowered away.

"You didn't have to marry the evil witch!" Xena scolded harshly.

"It wasn't my choice! Please! Don't hurt me! I swear, I'll do anything!" Draco pleaded.

"All right, then. Perhaps a deal can be made. Get your rebels out of France, and release the prisoners that you helped convict."

"I can't do that!"

Xena raised her chakrum.

"But I can always try!" Draco held his arms in front of his face. Yeah, right, like that would protect him.

"We leave now, and the first person to be released is Perdicus Darnay," Xena demanded. Draco ran down the stairs and prepared a wagon for the two. They left within minutes for France.

France was at least a day's journey.

Xena could not just wait around, though. She owed it to her daughter.


"What now? Why did you come to visit me?" Darnay asked, wondering out loud.

"I'm sorry I have to do this, but you'll be grateful for it in the future. Send Gabrielle my love," Joxer said. He punched Darnay in the head, and Perdicus crumpled to the floor.

"Now! Barsad!" Joxer whispered loudly, untying his cloak and wrapping it around Darnay.

The door opened quietly.

"But sir! They will know I only came in with one other person! You can't take him with us!" Salmoneus argued, arms flailing, looking out for the soldiers.

Joxer ignored the spy's argument. "Take him to the ferry and cross the way into England. Hercules Lorry will be waiting, and let him take it from there. Now!" Joxer said quickly, taking one last look at Perdicus Darnay.

Barsad was confused as ever, but did as he was told. He threw Darnay's arm around his neck as the cloak hid the unconscious man's face.

The door slammed, and Joxer's stomach flip-flopped. His plan was almost complete.

A guard saw Barsad leaving through the back door with what looked like a drunk, unconscious man.

"Hey, you! What are you doing with the interviewer!" the familiar guard shouted at the spy.

"Oh! Him? Uh… one too many drinks before he came, sir!" Barsad tried to make eye-contact with the skeptical man. The soldier nodded and walked down the opposite end of the hall.

"Dear God, I hope this makes up for everything I've done," Salmoneus muttered as he threw Darnay on the back of his horse and climbed on himself. Not looking back at the prison, he rode off toward the coast.


Mr. Lorry was waiting at the coast. He saw Barsad off in the distance.

"Let's go! Now! They might be following me!" Salmoneus said, paranoid.

"They're not. Joxer, here's your horse. Barsad, yours is over there," Hercules pointed to a couple of saddled-horses. He eyed "Joxer" suspiciously.

"What?…" Hercules shook his head.

"I'll explain on the way, come on!" Salmoneus was already ready. Everyone wanted to go home. Barsad tied Darnay safely to the horse, and they carefully went to the inn.


"The seamstress known as Meg, number twenty-two. Perdicus Darnay, number twenty-three," a soldier called out the people to get on the carriage ready to leave for the guillotine.

Carton stepped forward, and stood behind a woman that looked a little like Xena.

"Mr. Darnay?" Meg turned around. "Oh, Mr. Darnay! I have heard your sad story, about your mother-in-law turning you in! I am so sorry!"

"Darnay", who looked so much like the real one, smiled but shook his head.

"She didn't turn me in," was all Joxer said.

"I was turned in by Callisto Defarge, who accused me of treason. All I did was say I disagreed with the revolution!" Meg whispered. She started to cry.

Then Meg eyed "Perdicus" and her eyes went wide. "Wait a minute… you're not…" she was hushed by Joxer's finger to her lips.

"You seem so brave about dying. May I hold your hand as we walk up those steps?" she asked.

Joxer nodded slowly. The horses started to trot, and in no time, they were at the guillotine steps.


"Faster!" Xena called out to the driver of the wagon. She had to get there before Perdicus was called to the guillotine.

They were in France, but Xena had a gut feeling that it was too late.

Carton was always good at driving a carriage. Where was he when they needed him most?


"Traitor!" a man called out to Joxer. The man stood on the road side, one of the thousands that came to watch the days deaths.

"Hush," another man said to him. "He will pay the ultimate price today. Let him die in peace." The louder man bowed his head.

"Number twenty!" the executioner called. An old lady walked up the steps and spit into the crowd. They booed at her.

With a loud thump, the crowd cheered. One rebel held up her head and everyone yelled louder. Joxer turned away at the cold-hearted rebels. Did it have to be this bloody?

"Where is madam Callisto? She cannot miss the death of the last St. Evremonde!" Velaska looked around in the crowd. Her usual seat was taken by her, and Callisto's saddle making supplies sat on the evil woman's empty chair. Velaska was worried.

"Number twenty-one!" A young man stepped up to the machine and bravely stuck his head over the wood. A loud crunch and thud signaled his life was over.

The crowd cheered.

"Number twenty-two!" the man shouted.

Meg looked at Joxer and gave him a small kiss on his check.

"You are so brave, I hope we will meet again soon," she said, hugging Carton. Carton exchanged the hug and closed his eyes.

"We will, we will," he said quietly.

"Number twenty-two!" the man repeated.

Meg walked up the steps and did not look back. Joxer tried to block out the sound of the guillotine. He couldn't.

Tears welled to his eyes, but he just brushed them away. His chin high, he listened to the next call.

"Number twenty-three!" The crowd cheered even louder.

"Death to St. Evremonde! Death!" they called.

Joxer sighed and slowly walked up the steps. They tied his hands behind his back and looked up at the sharp blade. All sounds were blocked from his mind.

"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."


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