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First blood

Sarah Marques

72 pages
2012 - États-Unis
SF, Fantasy - Nouvelle

Intérêt: **

 

 

 

Cette longue nouvelle constitue une sorte d’introduction au roman Sword and blood, même si elle a été écrite plus tard. Les deux textes signés Sarah Marques (pseudonyme de Sarah Hoyt) se situent dans le monde des « vampire musketeers ». Une variation de l’univers des trois mousquetaires où les vampires ont envahi la France. Dirigés par le cardinal Richelieu, ils étendent petit à petit leur emprise face à des humains qui résistent tant bien que mal. Le corps des mousquetaires, en particulier, s’efforce de contenir le fléau.

Cette histoire est centrée sur le jeune René d’Herblay. Expédié au séminaire par son demi-frère aîné Corin, l’adolescent rêve depuis toujours de devenir mousquetaire et de faire ses preuves de guerrier, en dépit de son penchant pour les livres qui lui vaut le mépris de son aîné.

René se trouve par hasard en position de sauver un évêque attaqué par un vampire. L’homme d’église lui explique que les prêtres, considérés par les vampires comme leurs pires ennemis, n’ont plus d’autre solution que d’entrer dans la clandestinité pour continuer la lutte. Il confère les ordres au jeune homme.

Rentré chez lui, d’Herblay découvre que Corin et sa jeune épouse sont devenus vampires. A l’occasion d’un combat entre humains et vampires dans les rues de Paris, il fait la connaissance de deux mousquetaires, Athos et Porthos. Ils se lient d’amitié et les deux hommes font entrer René d’Herblay chez les mousquetaires, sous le nom d’Aramis (voir extrait ci-dessous).

 

Comme dans le cas de Sword and blood, cette nouvelle fonctionne étonnamment bien. Le personnage du futur Aramis est bien campé. On appréciera notamment la façon dont, dans ce monde parallèle, Aramis se trouve devenir à la fois prêtre et mousquetaire, dépassant ainsi, au nom de la lutte contre les vampires, les éternels atermoiements qui le caractérisent dans les romans de Dumas.

 

Extrait

 “We are musketeers,” the giant said. “Recruited by Monsieur de Treville. I am
Porthos and this is my friend Athos.”

“Athos is not a man,” Rene said, blustering, not sure of much, but sure of that.
“It is a mountain. There is a monastery there!”

The man introduced as Athos laughed. He looked up at Rene as though evaluating him carefully. “Some of us in Monsieur de Treville’s regiment are running from vengeance or... minor infractions. Minor infractions committed when fighting vampires." He looked into Rene’s eyes, and Rene was startled to find the man’s eyes, which looked, at first glance, black were in fact a very deep dark jade green.

The man called Athos sighed. “But from what we gathered during your fight, and after, when you were... I’m afraid, raving out of your head in pain, you too are running from something and in much the same circumstances. On your honor, will you keep our names?”

“I- Yes."

“Then I am Raphael, Comte de la Fere. And this is my friend Monsieur Du Valon, who prefers to answer to the name of Porthos. And you?”

“I am Rene D’Herb1ay. I suppose... Chevalier D’Herblay until my son— That is, most will consider me the Chevalier D’Herb1ay.”

“But you’re not?” the giant rumbled.

Rene shook his head. “No. I am Father D’Herb1ay.”

For a moment, he thought he'd scared them. They looked at each other. The taller man raised his eyebrows. The blond man shook his head, but it wasn’t a denial, more of a concession.

“I’ve never heard of a priest fighting like you,” Athos said.

“We... The bishop said we needed a different kind of priests to... to protect the people.”

“Warrior priests,” Porthos said. He paused a moment. “Monsieur de Treville—”

His friend took it up. “Has given us the power to recruit trustworthy musketeers who will not be afraid to confront and kill vampires. Will your vows prevent your doing that?”

“No,” Rene said. “I don’t believe so." He looked down at his wrist. “I don’t know how much good I will be. I—”

“You have very good technique,” Porthos said. “It needs only practice, and I promise you’1l get plenty of that. I know you have the making of an exceptional swordsman, and I should know. I was once a fencing teacher.”

Rene blinked at the thought. He’d tried to avoid the church to become a warrior, and now... and now he found the church led him to be a warrior.

“And we’1l look out for you, while you learn. There is an oath Athos and I have had, since we started going out fighting vampires together. One for two and two for one, but now...”

“But now we’ll change it,” Athos said.

Rene’s hand was wresting upon his knee, and Athos lay his own upon it. “One for all,” he said. Porthos grinned broadly and put his hand on top of their two hands, “And all for one.”

“You’ll do,” Athos said. “Are you enlisting under you own name? You’ll have to tell your real name to the captain, anyway, but if you are a priest, it is perhaps better to go under an assumed name. What would you like to be called?”

It took no time at all to think about it. A million dreams of leading men in war, a million school boy fantasies rushed in on Rene, and it was with a smile for his foolishness, and an embracing that his path did, indeed, lay in fighting that he said, in a voice that seemed to him older than he’d ever been, “Aramis. I am Aramis.”

 


 

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