**This is story #2 that I had to write for my Creative Writing Class - this prompt was "fan-fiction". We could pick anything and do whatever we wanted with our selected character from a TV show, movie, video game, history, and etc.**
Doomed to Survive: A Re-Telling of Marie Therese of France
by: Carole Rae
“And I present to you, your son.” The Physician handed me the small baby. I tried to hold back the emotions, but tears rushed down my cheeks. Everyone, except for Antoine, my husband who looked close to tears himself, sighed and 'awed' over what they thought were tears of joy.
No. My tears were for this child I did not want. My tears were for my child's gender. My tears were for my boy's cursed future. His Great Uncle Xavier and future advisers would push my poor boy into treading a dangerous road; the road of reclaiming France.
“What shall we name him, my dear?” Softly asked Antoine.
I thought for a moment and kissed my son's head. A small noise that sounded like a small kitten came from his little turtle mouth, a diminutive smile settled on my lips. I responded, “Charles.” That was the name of my dear, lost brother.
The years flew by like a summer breeze. Charles continued to grow even though I prayed to God to stall his growth and leave him my little chubby-cheeked baby. A cynical part of me even wished he would die young and innocent like my little sister, Sophie, who did not have to suffer the prisons like my family and I did. My heart ached as each birthday came and went. My heart ached even more as Charles grew to look more like my murdered mother, the late Queen of France, with fair hair and eyes bright like a clear summer day's sky. My heart ached as Charles grew to be a man right in front of my eyes. As much as I wanted him to be innocent and carefree, his Uncle Xavier trained him to be a king. He trained him in diplomacy and etiquette. Antoine trained Charles how to led an army and how to kill if necessary. As much as I loathed these lessons, I was not so innocent myself in his upbringing. My hatred for the people who killed my family and my old life, bled through and infected him as well.
All these things would doom my poor son on his 18th birthday. I knew the day would come that he would think he was ready to take on the French people and reclaim the throne.
“Please, don't do this!” I cried as I softly caressed my son's cheek. Oh, his cheeks had once been so soft and pinch-able, but now they were covered with the stubble of manhood.
“I must for it is my God given right! I am the heir and I want what is mine back.” Charles exclaimed. His eyes were filled with faith and dedication. My poor, poor naive boy.
“France is lost. We have been trying for years to reclaim it. The people do not want us! They want the Republic. They want that Emperor.” He walked away from me and went to the window and stood by Uncle Xavier. This man was mine and Antoine's uncle, but also my murdered father's brother. This man was nothing like my kind and loving father. This man burned with a passion to regain France at any cost. If Charles had not been born, I can imagine him trying to claim the throne for himself.
The silence of Uncle Xavier broke, “It is his destiny, Marie Therese.”
“What...to die like my family did? To have his head hacked off just like your brother?” I hissed. Oh how I loathed him.
“Yes. The throne MUST be reclaimed at ANY cost.” Uncle Xavier responded so heartily his jowls gave a bounce.
“Antoine. Say something.” As much as I loved my husband, I hated him at the same time. He was so awkward and stammering when nervous. I always wondered how he was able to led armies?
“I-it's seems that Charles wants to do this, my dear. A-as much as I fear for him, w-we must allow him to try. P-perhaps he can do what we could not.” Antoine responded.
“Yes, mother. I would be willing to die for my rights.” Charles said softly, but filled with such hope and undying faith that made me want scream.
I slumped to the chair defeated. My gaze took in the red and gold room. It reminded me so much of Versailles at times. My mother would have fainted to think the place of her birth, Austria, would have such a similar room as her adopted land. Mother would have loved little Charles as much I did. He was such a kind little boy and full of mischief and pride. That pride of his! Oh, I remember when he was trying to learn how to walk, he would allow no one to help him! The most serious of looks would appear on his face and he would try and try. The moment he was able to, the brightest smile appeared and he cheered in joy. After that feat was done, he would be off challenging himself again. Now, he stands at the brink of another adventure and I can not do a thing to stop him. A little breeze from the window blew through Charles' fair hair and made the crystal chandelier twinkle. The silence hung like a threatening thunder storm. The clock ticked on.
Finally, I heaved a sigh, “Go then. Go to your doom, son.”
“Milady, a messenger is here.” The monotone voice of my Steward shook me out of my memory of me chasing after Charles around the fountain below the window. It had been three years since I had last seen my poor boy. He had left that night with troops of Austrian and French soldiers eager to do his bidding. I watched him leave through this same window. Charles had seen me watching him and he threw me a salute and a grin that illuminated the night. I tried to smile back through my tears. In no time at all he was lost from my sight.
In the matter of only a couple of months, Charles and his army claimed victory over the rebels. The throne was his. I could only imagine the smile that sprung to his lips as the crown was placed onto his head. Even though such good news would reach me in Austria, I knew his victory would only last so long, for the people of France did not want a King.
I was correct, his reign only lasted two years. The rebels struck back up and Charles did not have the money or the manpower to keep them at bay. The throne was lost again. Refusing to be in exile like me, he stayed. He stayed and continued to fight to no avail. The people soon arrested him and threw him in prison as a traitor to the French Republic. No matter how much Austria and England begged and pleaded and tried to pay them off for him, they refused to let him go. My poor, poor boy. I try to keep images of him in prison out of mind, but I can not help but picture him alone and miserable in his defeat.
“Let him in.” I responded and straightened out my dress. The messenger walked in ragged and tired from his hurried journey here. His skin with burnt from many miles traveled under the summer sun.
With a bow, he handed me a letter that had been in his side bag, “I came as quickly as a I could, milady.”
“Thank you, my steward will pay you for your great service.” With a nod and a bow, he quickly exited the room. The letter was worn and had seen many miles of sweat and heat. My heart raced and my greatest fear hung over me for I knew in my heart of hearts this letter held ill news. Before I can open the letter, Antoine rushes in the room.
“What news?” He exclaims.
“I have not opened it yet.” I chuckle at his anxiousness.
“T-then open it!” He sits down in the chair away from me.
“Alright, alright.” Without another second, I rip open the letter and pull out the once piece of paper from the envelope. There are only a couple lines from our informant, “Charles is dead.” The letter slips from my fingers and I lose myself to the pain and shock, but the tears will not come for I knew this day would come. My silly, proud boy, who only wanted one thing in his life, was gone forever. I had shed all my tears for him over the years for I knew his fate was cursed just like the rest of my family who lost their lives. My fate, I feel is worse for I was doomed to survive without my father, my mother, my brother, and now my poor, poor boy.