We Will Not Fall

Nikolai Ravigne, age thirty-eight, had been fighting the revolution since it began five years prior when the Bastille was stormed in 1789. He did not have the honor of being in that battle that started it all, but it only took a few moments after he heard the news for the seeds of revolution to be planted in his soul.

He strode down the middle of the cobbled street. He forced himself to inhale the rancid scent of the filthy people and waste that surrounded him, for it reminded him of what he was fighting for.

He felt a weak tug at his coat followed by a frail, crackling voice, “Monsieur!” The woman plead. Nikolai turned to face the beggar with his hand already in his pocket. “A coin, a crust of bread, sil vous plaît?” She continued. Her eyes were wide just like all the beggar women. They all shared the shameful knowledge that most men would strike them instead of giving them aid.

Monsieur Ravigne was not one of these men. He always kept the coins he could spare and a few biscuits in his pockets for these situations. He gave the woman one of each, trying to be as stealthy as he could. He was aware that if any more of the destitute saw him he’d be swarmed and trampled to death as they tried to get at his pockets.

“Merci, Monsieur!” The woman quietly thanked him then scurried off. She served as further motivation for his fight.

Monsieur Ravigne continued at his previous pace. He was the head of this meeting, he could be late. He was never a man to rush. Revolution sure would not happen overnight. If it did, he would not be making this journey to the empty flat would he? He was a patient man. He was a determined man. He knew revolution would happen. It just would not happen by tomorrow. He just wanted to assist in the inevitable.

“Monsieur Ravigne!” It was not a beggar who called to him this time. It was much worse.

“What is it, Alaire?” He sighed, and continued his stride.

“I hear you’re organizing something, Monsieur! I want to know what the plan of attack is!” Alaire, age fifteen, could barely contain his excitement. The fire of rebellion burned hot and out of control within him (same as his hormones). Nikolai knew, however, that this fire was just the vision of getting to fight an enemy before he was old enough to enlist. Even if that enemy is who he’d be enlisting under.

“Nothing is finalized. When I call a meeting with you and the other trigger happy spitfires, there will be something to tell you.”

“But, Monsieur, I’m the most determined of the lot! You can tell me your idea! I’ll keep it secret if that is what you wish! I want to fight with you, Monsieur! I’ll shoot a whole regiment of those aristocratic, monarchy loving army men!”

“Dear, God, boy! Calm yourself! Save your energy for the fight that is to come!”

“So it will be a fight then, Monsieur?!” The exhilaration from the prospect of him getting a gun in his hands lit up Alaire’s pimpled face.

“Well of course, you imbecile! What else is there to be? We are not going to win the bloody revolution with a strongly worded letter!”

“Of course, Monsieur!”

“Now away with you.” Monsieur Ravigne waved the boy away with a few flicks of his hand. He let out a long exhale when he did not get a reply and turned to see Alaire running back to his huddle of friends.

Nikolai Ravigne could see the door now. Just a block away. He could not help but walk faster now. His mind tried to run through his proposal, but for some reason he could not get the image of young exuberant Alaire out of his mind.

“The fire in that boy needs to be contained. He’ll get himself killed someday if he does not.” He muttered quietly to himself.

That led to the unpleasant thought that the “someday” could be any day now in this world where the water runs red. What he and his followers were doing was dangerous work. Many had died from it in the past, and no doubt more would die in the future.

He stopped the train of thought there. He pretended it was one of the flies that buzzes about the garbage and excrement in the street, and swatted it away.

With his new clear mind he smiled, for he had reached the stairwell to the apartment.

Up the stairs he raced, pausing only to fling open the apartment door.

“Salut, my friends!” He greeted his comrades with a wide smile. “Before I make my proposal I would like to say a few things. I know fear resides in even the bravest of your minds. Fear that we are not strong enough. Fear that numbers win a war. Well I would like to dispel that disease from all of you! As long as we keep our drive and determination, and if God is with us, you will all go home to your wives and families. I swear this to you, my men. As long as we stand together we will not fall!” He paused and let what he said sink in. “Now who is with me?!” He bellowed.

His smile widened when everyone in the room rose with a fist in the air and declared “Aye!”

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