The Stars Are Right: The Irish Rose: Letter3

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Pages discovered in a Purple Gang safehouse by Jack Casey.

H. Flynn to M. de Bonnevault, date unknown[edit]

"Give me your knife." At first we did not know what he wanted. But it became quickly clear when he set aside his cuff links, and turned up the sleeves of his shirt, to bare from the elbows down.

"Mssr. de Bonnevault told us to protect Her by all means. He will not take it well if She were to die from Her own stubbornness."

Jean-Marc shook his head. "Do not do this, Franz," he said. "If you fail, She will hate us, and by connection Mssr. de Bonnevault, too. If you succeed, something worse may come of it."

"Give me the knife," Franz said more firmly. "She will do as She must, or I will die. If She is as they said, the choice will be simple. If I die... then She is Unworthy of ourselves and of Mssr. de Bonnevault — whom we all love."

He looked at me then, and I felt ice on my spine. As if he had just rearranged some fated event with his words.

Though we all have never had cause to doubt the strength of our family — it has been Franz, braver in his own strange way than the rest of us. How little we have known of the depths of this quiet, fussy little man.

Jean-Marc looked at me, and I back at him, as if he expected me to make the decision.

"Go ahead, do as Franz asks," I told him. All of us knew for a certainty then what he intended, and the depth of the loyalty he holds for you. Because you charged us with this task — to keep Her well, safe and alive — he went forward. Not to help Her, but because to allow Her to continue to suffer (even if it was Her own desire to do so), or perhaps to die — would mean failure in the task you had set us.

Franz took the knife, and with shirtsleeves rolled up, went into Her private rooms through the adjoining door, and closed it behind him.

"Is Franz a fool — or a brave man?" I asked Jean-Marc.

He shook his head. "Neither," he said back to me. "Only a man who loves Mssr. de Bonnevault more than life."

I cannot tell you the details of what happened behind that door. Jean-Marc took the boy away to bed, and only I stayed behind to wait. I can tell you that I heard voices — his and Hers, raised sometimes in anger, sometimes in fear, sometimes in black despair. I could not make out the words said, and I am happier not to know.

There was the sound once, of glass breaking, something else turned over. Then a silence so deep and empty that it made me certain that Franz had given over himself for nothing. I simply waited, and after a while, with Petit Jean safely in bed asleep, Jean-Marc came back to wait with me.

When at last the door was opened again, we did not know what to expect.

It was Herself... calm and distant, yet run through full with Franz's Life. Life that by right should only have been given to you, Maturin.

She was alive, yes — but there was no warmth, no understanding or acceptance of the gift made to Her. Only a cold indifference when She spoke to the two of us.

"This will not occur again." It was as much an unshakable command as I have ever heard come from you.

Franz was alive, his wrists bound as good as any doctor might. There was no sign of disturbance in the room. Of the knife — we both searched for it, Jean-Marc and I — and we did not find it. It is still missing.

We put Franz in his own room, where I sat with him, while Jean-Marc went to follow and watch over Her, to insure that She did nothing foolish. I do not know for certain when She returned to Her rooms. Franz, pale and cold as he was, slept peacefully. Color and warmth came back to him as the hours passed.

What has not returned is the man's heart and spirit. Franz tends to things no less effectively than he did before. He is as unfailingly polite and as prim and fussy as he has always been.

But he is not the man whole that he was before. He will not speak to either of us about what he shared within Her room. The two of them pass by, not speaking more than is needed — and when it happens, it is only with dead pleasantries.

I would read the cards on this — but the air is too unsettled around us. What I would read could be tainted by turmoil, and in the reading it might be made true.

You must come quickly, Maturin. To set things straight, and to take this responsibility from us. All three of us want to be safe and secure in our own household again.

We need your guidance and your strength. We need to be amongst ourselves again, to allow Franz to heal from whatever has hurt him so deeply.

For myself... I want simply to be near you again. It has been almost a lifetime since we were apart. And now it seems almost a lifetime since we have been together. I am strong for the others as I need to be, but I am desperately weak in my need to hear your voice, and to feel your touch again.

We are broken without you — we are whole when we are with you.