Saturday, November 08, 2008

Short Story

As the story progresses the new parts will be in a different color.

Middlesex England
AD 1190

“John, is everything ready to go?” Dame Maude asked.
“Yes mistress,” the newly knighted youth answered. “Sir Edmund sent me to let you know he is ready to leave.”
The mistress of the castle then turned to her three daughters, “Follow me.”
Once past the front gate the carriages were lined up and waiting. John Fletcher, who had lived in this castle since age seven and had progressed as first Page, then Squire and just the week before became Knight; assisted each Lady into their carriage. Lord Edmund Preston, Baron of Offendike, motioned for the head of their procession to proceed and the five hundred person entourage began its journey.
Every five years the Baron would spend an entire summer visiting every city, village, and hamlet of his domain. He would check on all town or village leaders, audit their tax records, make sure every church had a priest, dispense justice, and basically let his presence be felt. On this particular journey he was going to visit six other castles that had sons needing wives and daughters in search of a husband. It was time for his son, now twenty to find a wife and add to the family tree. His three daughters now aged thirteen, fifteen and seventeen were in need of husbands.
John was stationed to guard Elizabeth, the middle daughter’s, carriage. She was a few years younger than him, but they’d been in love for the last three years. A week before his knighting ceremony she’d snuck our of her room in the afternoon when her absence would be least noticed and they left the castle to spend time in a meadow. At the edge of the meadow the grass was purposely grown up to ten feet high to be used as thatching material. Elizabeth removed her gown and stood in all her glory. John was mesmerized by her long black hair and pale white skin. She sat down in an open invitation for him to join her.
Chivalry demanded that he cover her up and take her back unspoiled, which is what John with much regret forced himself to do. Once her clothes were back on they kissed and he promised her that once he was a knight he would ask for her hand. 
At this she wept. “This was our one chance to love each other. It will never come again.”
“Once we’re married, we will have years to love each other,” he tried to dry her tears.
“Listen to me, John,” she put both her hands around his face. “You must never ask father for my hand. He will send you back to your small manor house where you will die in poverty.”
He stepped back. “Your father has always favored me above all the other pages and squires. I’m to be knighted two years younger than your brother. He would gladly grant our marriage.”
She threw up her hands in despair. “In sixteen years of living in our castle you’ve learned nothing.” She mounted her horse, “I’m the daughter of a Baron, there is no way he would marry me to a lowly knight. My husband will have to be of equal or greater rank.”
Riding beside her carriage now he knew that she was right, their one chance for love was lost. She would not be returning.
Two weeks of constant travel and John Fletcher had blisters on his butt. They visited the closest villages and one town, but it was evident from the cursory glance over the tax records and quick dispensing of other official duties that Sir Edmund was in a hurry. The best relief was on the visit of the first Castle. They stayed for a week. On the first night at the banquet Sir Edmund and the host Sir Guy announced the betrothal of Sir Guy’s son Perciful to Elizabeth.
John knew that on the trip this would happen, but it came so fast he was not prepared. Lest he embarrass his benefactor and the Castle’s owner he laid his head down and pretended to be in a drunken slumber. But out of the corner of his eye he could see the look of satisfaction on both the men’s faces. Sir Guy was marrying his son to a Baron’s daughter, and Sir Edmund was getting rid of a daughter without having to pay a dowry.
This marriage spoke volumes. Matilda the eldest daughter would be the only one to have a dowry, and even then a rather modest one. Elizabeth and little Eleanor would have to marry landed knights, but ones without a title. Once William, the son chose a wife all that his father owned would be pledged as surety to her father should William die and leave her a widow. She would have a substantial dowry, but surety would be expected and that left nothing as a dowry for the two younger sisters. Hence Sir Edmund’s haste in getting them married early in the trip.
While the wedding was being planned John felt like his leg had been cut off. His gloom didn’t last long, after all young men are resilient, and the day before the wedding while breaking fast one of the castles serving wenches caught his eye. She was like all peasant stock, buxom, round, smiling, flirtatious and after a quick meal he grabbed her and took her to his quarters. This wasn’t the first time he’d bedded a serving wench, after all that’s what they were for. 
It was a good trade off for the girls, they left a small hut or hovel, were well dressed, fed, lodged, and after their allure faded for the knights the lady of the manor or castle would arrange a marriage with one of the serving men or perhaps a merchant.
After he was satisfied he rose from the bed on his knees and looked down on the his consolation for being so stupid and not giving his love to Elizabeth.
This girl’s hair was reddish brown, not pitch black, her skin was more olive instead of pale white and she had large round mounds with huge nipples. He buried his head between them. She nuzzled him and stroked his hair. None of the serving girls he’d used before had responded or touched him tenderly like this. They’d endured his manly attention, dressed and left as if nothing had happened.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
She giggled at this, “Uda, but the Lord’s son just called me ‘you there.’”
“Does he use you often?” He hadn’t expected to be using a favorite serving maid who could land him in serious trouble should the Lord find out.
“No, not that one,” she laughed out loud. “He can’t get it up for a woman, that poor girl marrying him tomorrow will never become a mother.” 
For some odd reason this made him the hardest he’d ever been in his life and he moved down to seek pleasure again.
As he entered her, “Oh, young knight, you’ll father twenty children with that strong lance.”


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