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In the Way that the Three Musketeers Met This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Aramis walked down the dirt road. It was a fine day, perfect for learning Latin. The sun shone down, sharing its beams with all who strode by. He was walking to the Cathedral, thinking about all of the possibilities for poetry (in Latin, but of course). He wore a fine cape of deep purple, almost as the color of orchid. There were not many people on the road, only a carriage that was approaching. It belonged to the Cardinal, all decorated with gold and silver that shown in the sun. Aramis bowed in respect as the carriage rolled by, covering Aramis in dust. Oh, well, he thought. The Cardinal evidently has no time for children. He was hardly a child anymore, at age nineteen. He held him in the highest respect. His dream in life was to become a Monk and recite a Latin poem for the Cardinal.

Unfortunately, that was not to be his destiny.

His father had enlisted him in the musketeers. Despite his protests, his father had insisted. After he had come to accept his fate, he figured that, as he was protecting the king, he would be able to somehow recite his epic poem for the cardinal. After all, the Cardinal was a close friend of the king.

He arrived at the Cathedral, only to find it closed for repairs.

“What!” he cried. Then he noticed a small sign on the door:

Aramis:

You need to go to the king and begin your first day of training.

You cannot write your poetry today anyway, as the Monks are preaching in Italy.

You missed their traveling caravan this morning.

From,

your father.

“Drat!” cried Aramis, in great dismay.

“Not only do I have to start musketeer training, but Father Damascus won’t be back for several days!”

Father Damascus was the name he cried, as he was his main Latin teacher, as well as his mentor.

Aramis sighed and began to walk very slowly to the king’s castle. He could already tell that it would be a very long, horrid day as the sun disappeared behind a cloud.

Athos had always wanted to be a musketeer. His father had taught him to love the art of sword fighting, ever since he was a child.

“It’s a dangerous world out there,” he had told the young Athos.

“You need to learn this skill for self defense. If you want to become a musketeer like myself, you have to practice.”

He trained with his father for nine years, until he was seventeen, when his father died. When he had died, he had told the teenage Athos to remember what he had taught him and to go be a faithful musketeer to the king.

“You will do great things, Athos. I believe in you,” were his dying words.

Athos had always respected his father, and yet when his father died, Athos didn’t seem sad at all. In fact, he had told his father that he would go that very day and enlist in the musketeers.

After a loving good bye, he walked out the door.

This was not unusual for Athos. Anyone who knew him would tell you that he rarely showed any type of emotion. He was one of those people who faced any situation with a fearless stare. Whether he was facing his father dying, an earthquake, or the entire English army, he would simply shrug and do whatever he needed to do.

Even now, two years later, he had become a musketeer. He was highly respected among the musketeers, although he didn’t really care about respect-just as long as he fulfilled his father’s wishes and was able to do what he wanted to do. He strode to the courtyard in the king’s castle, where the musketeers were practicing their sword fighting for the upcoming siege. The musketeers stopped sword fighting when they saw his distinctive dark blue cape. One could say that he was treated like he was the captain of the musketeers, even though he wasn’t, as he was too young.

A musketeer had to be twenty-one to be a captain.

He blinked.

“Continue,” he said.

The musketeers resumed their practice.

Athos continued through the courtyard, over to the captain of the guards. Now, do not confuse the guards with the musketeers. While the musketeers protected the king, the guards protected the Cardinal, a personal friend of the king. The captain of the guards highly admired Athos, although he was several years older.

“Good morning, Monsieur Athos,” he said to him. Athos nodded his head in reply. He often never said anything to anyone else, unless it couldn’t be avoided.

“How are you today?” the guard attempted.

Athos shrugged.

“No better than you.”

Suddenly a man, slightly younger than Athos, trudged into the courtyard with the captain of the musketeers behind him. The captain seemed to be trying to explain what the courtyard was, and what the musketeers did. The man winced.

“It would appear as though we have a new recruit. An unanxious one, at that. First one I’ve seen in quite some time,” commented the guard to Athos, who raised his eyebrows in surprise.

“Why don’t you go introduce yourself, Athos. He looks like he could use a friend.”

With this, Athos strode across the courtyard to the confused looking man.

“Ah, Athos!” cried the musketeer captain when he had been spotted.

“Aramis, this is Athos. He’s been with the musketeers for a couple of years. He’s the best sword fighter of all of the musketeers. Other than myself, of course.”

(In fine, Athos was a better sword fighter than the captain of the musketeers. The captain was only too vain to admit that.)

“Athos,” continued the captain, “This is Aramis. He is a new recruit, and he doesn’t know much about sword fighting, even though his father is a musketeer!”

(Aramis’ father was, indeed, a very good musketeer. However, he was not as good a musketeer as Athos.)

“Show him around a bit,” said the captain, “and then begin to teach him to sword fight. I trust that you will do a good job with him.”

Athos nodded, and then prompted Aramis to follow him with another nod. The two strode about the courtyard in silence, until Athos said,

“This is the headquarters of the musketeers. We train, practice, and learn to defend the king here.”

“What about the Cardinal?” Aramis interrupted. Athos gave him a questioning look.

“The Cardinal has his own guards. Speaking of which, we will be arrested if we fight with the guards, so we tend to stay away from them. Although they do not seem to want to stay away from us.”

Indeed, the Cardinal’s guards rather liked to pick fights with the musketeers. While the guards may have been larger, the musketeers could actually fight with a sword.

“In addition, I should tell you right now that only those who actually want to be a musketeer are accepted. I have noticed your hesitation, and I would suggest that you make up your mind whether you want to be a musketeer or not. Because if you really don’t want to risk life and limb for your country, I am wasting my time in telling you anything more.”

Aramis blinked for a moment.

“It wouldn’t matter if I wanted to be a musketeer or not, as my father enlisted me as a musketeer before I was born, very nearly.”

“The question is not whether or not you have to. The question is, do you want to?”

“Frankly, no.”

“Then you have no place here.”

Aramis felt much like when he was younger, and he really wanted something, like that new quill pen that a traveling peddler had once brought by. His father refused to let him have it. He had tried anything to get that pen, and had pleaded, begged, and argued with his father about that pen. In the end, however, he realized he was just never meant to have that pen, as his father had a mind that would not be manipulated. This was very much how he felt about being a musketeer: he didn’t have a choice. He had to.

“So, Aramis, have you made up your mind?” asked Athos with his arms folded, leaning against one of the walls around the courtyard. Aramis realized that he had been lost thinking about that quill pen and had not noticed Athos asking the same question for several minutes.

“Erm,” Aramis began awkwardly, “I suppose that I must learn to accept my fate.” He sighed.

“Fine, I will be a musketeer.”

“Somehow I knew you would make the right choice,” said Athos, drawing his sword.

“Have you ever sword fought before?”

“Maybe once or twice, with my father.”

“Then I will train you. Take this,” Athos said, tossing Aramis the hilt of a sword that had been hanging on the wall, which he gracefully caught.

“Alright, then. Let us begin.”

They began to swordfight, with Athos instructing Aramis the entire time.

“Guard your right arm, yes, that’s it. Now, right lunge, one, two…”

Some of the musketeers stopped their mock swordplay and began to watch the two. Aramis sold himself short on how good he was at sword fighting. He wasn’t excellent, but he wasn’t poor at it, either.

After the sword fighting between the two was over, Athos spoke to Aramis again.

“You have only fought twice with your father before? Because you seem like you have been sword fighting for at least four years!”

“No, I have only sword fought twice.”

“You are good, but you could be better. Meet me out here tomorrow, at the same time.”

“Alright, then.”

“Goodbye, Aramis.”

“Goodbye, Athos.”

As Aramis strode out of the courtyard and began to head home, he realized something that he would never admit to his father: he actually liked sword fighting after all.

Over time, the two musketeers became good friends. Aramis became better at sword fighting faster than anyone Athos had ever trained. Athos trained him well, and soon they were dueling not to train, but to compete. Many of the musketeers enjoyed watching them.

“Athos,” said Aramis one day as he entered the courtyard, “I do believe that I will beat you today.”

“Alright. Show me, my friend, how good you are.”

They dueled, with all the musketeers watching them, chanting one name or the other. And, in the end, as every time they dueled, it was a draw.

“Drat! I must suppose that we are equally matched, Athos,” said Aramis afterward.

“Perhaps that is so,” Athos replied in a direct tone, grinning.

This was their game, every day showing up in the castle’s courtyard to duel each other. Neither of them actually cared about who won, for they were such good friends. Then one day, the captain of the musketeers never showed up. This was rather unusual for him, because he was very proud of his rank and never let anyone forget it. The musketeers in the courtyard were called over to below the king’s balcony, where he gave all of his announcements and speeches. The musketeers began to whisper about why the king had called them over. Some suspected that they had failed him and he had come to lecture them about the importance of being a good musketeer. Others suspected that the Cardinal’s guards had been released from their duties. Only Athos knew what he wanted.

“Something has evidentially happened to the captain,” Athos said to Aramis.

“We must assume that this meeting has something to do with him,” agreed Aramis.

The king emerged onto his balcony. The musketeers fell silent. The king cleared his throat with authority.

“I thank all of you for gathering here today. You must be wondering why I called you all here today. As you may have noticed, Captain Alejandro, the captain of all of you, is absent this day for the first time in several years. He has been promoted to international ambassador to England.” At this several people burst out in speech.

“Ambassador-him? Ha!”

“What’s more, an ambassador to England?!”

“Does he actually think that there can be peace between us and England?”

“There will never be peace between us, do you hear me? Never!”

(This talk was because of the many years that England had been fighting France; they were worst enemies.)

Athos and Aramis looked at each other in confusion.

“Peace, musketeers!” cried the king.

They ceased their speaking.

“Thank you. As I was saying, because Captain Alejandro is no longer a captain, I would like to ask who you would want as your new captain.”

In unison they all (including Aramis) cried, “Athos!”

“But, he is too young!” a few others cried out. Immediately the musketeers turn upon those others who had spoken, protesting that the obvious best choice was Athos. Athos said nothing in reply.

The king thought for a moment.

“Silence!” he cried at last.

They were silenced.

“Athos,” said the king, peering down at him, “how do you feel about this?”

Athos shrugged.

“If no one else wants to take responsibility, then I will take it, your highness.”

“Alright, then. Does anyone dare to challenge Athos in a sword fight? It will determine who will become the new captain.”

“What!” cried Athos.

“That is the law. Whenever a captain is promoted or demoted, a duel takes place to determine his successor. Again, is there anyone who will duel Athos for captain? Anyone?”

Suddenly a man near Athos’ age stepped forward. He was not a musketeer, nor had anyone ever seen him before.

“I dare to challenge him!” he cried. He wore a cloak of deep green, which he was quite proud of. He was a little bit taller than Athos and Aramis. A deadly silence fell upon the musketeers. The king was not fazed, and asked,

“Are you a musketeer?”

“No, but I have always wanted to be a captain of musketeers.”

“Do you sword fight?”

“I have my entire life.”

At this point the reader may be thinking that Athos was getting pretty nervous. But if they know Athos, they would know that, if he was nervous, he did not show it.

However, the man’s talk made the king nervous for Athos, because he had wanted Athos as the captain of the musketeers all along.

“What is your name, monsieur?”

“My name is Porthos.”

A few musketeers chuckled at his name, thinking that it was rather girly. Porthos glared at them and they ceased.

The king gulped. He had heard rumors about this Porthos man, who had been the best swordsman to ever live. (Those who had said this may have used sarcasm in their voices, but the king would not have noticed.)

“Athos,” said the king, looking down at him, “do you wish to fight this man in a duel?”

Athos shrugged, and the musketeers began to chant his name.

“Athos! Athos! Athos!” They cheered.

“I believe your friends want you to duel, Athos,” said the king, turning paler by the minute. Thus we see that he did not know Athos very well, for he supposed him to be a regular musketeer.

“Alright. I accept. Come, Monsieur Porthos, and let us duel,” said Athos plainly.

“Do you really want to be beaten in front of all of your friends?” asked Porthos mockingly.

Athos did his famous shrug.

“It doesn’t matter to me who wins. Let us begin.”

At this, they crossed their swords and began to duel. Porthos was very strong and he used this to his advantage in dueling. However, it became evident that he had lied about how he had sword fought all of his life, as Athos had him pinned to the ground and begging for mercy within a few minutes. Athos must have looked fairly frightening to the poor man, as he cried out,

“Please! Have mercy on me, Monsieur! I beg of you! I…I have a… a… horse! Yes, a horse that I could give you if you just let me go!” Porthos whimpered.

“Peace, man! You whimper like a young child!” cried Athos, sheathing his sword.

“Wha…? But I thought this was a duel to the death!”

Athos rolled his eyes.

“We do not duel random people who oppose us to the death,” said Athos, clearly annoyed.

The musketeers burst into cheering as they realized that Athos had won the duel.

“Congratulations, Athos,” said the king.

“Or should I say, Captain Athos!”

Athos nodded as Porthos picked himself up off of the dusty ground.

“Ahm, forgive me Athos,” continued the king awkwardly, as the cheering died down, “but the captain doesn’t receive anything for being captain.”

“Was I to expect anything for being captain? The title is enough for me, your majesty,” replied Athos.

The musketeers cheered again for their new captain and returned to the courtyard after they had been dismissed. As Athos began to walk back to the courtyard, Aramis caught up with him.

“Congratulations on your new title, my friend,” he said.

“What can I say? Monsieur Porthos is all talk.”

“And no action. I doubt he had ever sword fought before today, let alone ever dueled in his life!”

“Hey! I have dueled my entire life!” said someone behind the two. They turned to see none other than the mighty Monsieur Porthos trailing behind.

“As have I.”

“I declare a rematch!” cried Porthos, drawing his sword.

“Fine by me,” replied Athos.

They dueled, while Aramis stood by, cheering on Athos.

Porthos fell, defeated, on the ground, while Athos sheathed his sword.

“How…how do you do that, Monsieur Athos?” asked Porthos, utterly confused.

“I practice,” was his simple reply, as he began to walk away with Aramis.

“Do you… think you… could… teach me?” Porthos asked, the words nearly killing him. He had not asked anyone for help since he was… was… Porthos thought for a moment. It had been so long since he asked for help that he could not remember the last time.

Athos abruptly stopped walking and turned to face Porthos, who was now on his feet. Athos stood for a moment in thought, looking Porthos over.

“You’re a foot taller than I am. And you’re not a musketeer.”

“But if I became a musketeer…”

“Then I would have to train you, as a captain.”

“Good. Then I will beat you, and I will be captain, and then I will rule the world!” cried Porthos, with all the sincerity of a musketeer. Athos and Aramis exchanged glances. If he ruled the world, they both thought, it would probably explode out of vanity.

The first thing that Athos taught Porthos was to not beg for mercy when someone pinned him to the ground (which happened a lot during their lessons). Each day, as Athos had done for Aramis, the three musketeers met in the courtyard at the same time. Athos had Aramis duel Porthos, while he shouted instructions to the new recruit.

“Guard your right leg, Porthos. No, the other leg, Porthos! Good, yes, that’s it… Watch the sword and the hand, Porthos, not the person!”

Unfortunately for Athos, Porthos was not quite as fast a learner as Aramis. Make no mistake, Porthos was not an idiot. He only seemed so at times because of his vanity. Eventually, he could duel as well as Athos and Aramis. We must pity Porthos, however, because he could not seem to ever beat Athos. It was always a draw, as it had been with Aramis.

While they trained, the three became close friends. Athos, as captain, trained many new recruits and showed them how to duel by showing how he and his friends dueled. Athos came to share his captain duties with his friends. Aramis taught the recruits the code of honor (sometimes through poetry and sometimes in Latin, although Athos almost relived him of duty when he found out that no one could understand him). As for Porthos, he taught the new recruits how to fight an opponent if they are much taller or shorter than you. (This was a rather useful skill, as we can see, for one hardly ever finds a person to duel who is the exact same height as them.)

We could say they lived happily ever after, but there is still more to the story.

But you probably already knew that.

THE END




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