The crunching of fallen leaves signaled that a group of people were nearby. The ground was soaked by a storm that had passed over. A group of six, young men in tattered clothing made their way towards the precincts. Their leader, Francois, shrouded in a fringy, ruddy cloak, had heard about a voluptuous party being held on behalf of the monarchy. With feelings of curiosity and anger as to why people of their social status were not invited, a few sagacious men volunteered to investigate the event.
A crow called out to the sable sky as the dauntless group reached the outer walls of the castle. One at a time, they climbed up a bare tree and out onto a long branch, in which they used as means to get over the barricade.
The six were now on the grounds of the palace; Francois had not thought that he would have made it to where he was standing. He gazed up at the architectural masterpiece. Visualizing the guests inside, he imagined that the “clothing” he and his companions were wearing were not a great profusion.
The leader of the group was yanked out of his reverie when his close companion, Augustine, approached one of the castle towers to their left. Directly under the parapet was a casement. Francois and the others followed their friend, who was looking up thoughtfully. The golden light poured over them as Augustine began to devise a plan that would allow them to reach the window and climb inside.
With no other option, they stood on each other’s shoulders until one, Raphael, was able to push the panels in and peek his head inside. He parted the long, heavy curtains to look into the large room. There was no one in it. With this advantage, Raphael and the other five held onto the opaque curtains and walked down the interior wall quietly. They were able to hear that the commotion of the extravagant ball was not far from where they were. Filled with anticipation and nervousness, the six ambitious men walked out of the room into the corridor.
Out of haste, the group did not close the casement. Perched on the windowsill was a crow. It had been following them since they had been in the view of the castle. The bird flew down to the floor of the vacant room and stood in the center, as if it were waiting for something to happen. It then crowed a second time, the sound echoing through the room but inaudible to the six.
Various formal gatherings were arranged by the French monarchy, specifically by Her Majesty. There was little talk about these gatherings, however, especially with the lower class. Rumors had circulated around some of the small towns that there was much wanton, drunkenness, and that it was an overall waste of time; but there were also others that said that there were actually disguised, secret meetings in which the higher class was plotting against the poor. This was why the six, poor men wanted to see what exactly was going on during these parties.
Francois was the first to reach a door after what seemed to be an endless hallway that had no supply of light. Behind that door was what they believed what they were searching for. He looked back at Augustine, who nodded in approval, and carefully cracked the door open. The multitude was loud and merry. The whole room was filled with proud countenances; perhaps they were too proud. They appeared as if they had forgotten about the current state of France. They were not worried about the call to reform or the grotesque civil war. Even the queen appeared to not have a worry in the world as she laughed and smiled.
Raphael began pushing the door open all the way and stepped out into the room until one of the men ferociously pulled him back inside. They were not supposed to be there, so their gaudy clothing would give away their identities. Instead of going out into the open, they just stared at the wealthy partygoers.
They had a pretty good idea as to what was going on behind the castle walls. It was nothing of their concern. As one of the young men turned around to make the trek down the long corridor, he inhaled sharply and audibly. There was a black object heading straight towards him. Some ducked down and some pressed themselves up against the hallway walls as the object soared passed. Without moving, they heard the multitude start shouting as they tried to get out of the way of the unidentified projectile. The horrific scene could only be heard by the group of six, who refused to turn around. The shrieks were earsplitting. It seemed as if they would never end. It was absolute pandemonium.
After about five minutes, the screaming began to die down and eventually ceased completely. Afraid to look back, the six young men fled the scene. They could not believe what they had just listened to.
Sitting on top of the shoulder of the queen was a black bird. The phantasm of revenge had swept across the room, now full of empty guests and an empty monarch. The bird crowed a third time.