Ser Chrisfer and Lancyn

Fiction by Pen . . . . . not real, made up, purely intended for entertainment

Encounter on the Road

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"Not as much as before. My muscles must be getting used to the weight."

"As, if you recall, I told you they would. Just remember, kid, the mighty Ser Chrisfer is always right. Stick with me long enough and you'll be perfect. As am I."

"Yes, O mighty Ser Chrisfer," said Lancyn obediently. "I will endeavour to develop a taste for burnt meat." There had been an unfortunate incident with supper last night.

"Undercooked food is bad for the digestion," Ser Chrisfer pointed out piously. "But you can do all the cooking, if you wish."

"No, no, I have much still to learn." Lancyn opened his eyes wide and innocent, a look he had refined in front of the looking glass while in Master Perel's employ. Since his discovery that Ser Chrisfer actually named his mount 'Horse', he had found it possible, in a quiet way, to tease his knight. What was better yet, was that Ser Chrisfer seemed to like it.

Life was very good.

He still wanted a proper sword, his own sword, but he had been doing drills now for long enough to realise that he was nowhere near being a competent swordsman yet. So there was no hurry. He borrowed Ser Chrisfer's spare for the exercises which, every morning, they went through together, even if it was raining. One could not, after all, rely on being attacked only in good weather. And for combat practise, sturdy sticks. Ser Chrisfer flatly refused to be on the wrong end of a pointy metal object held in Lancyn's inexperienced hands. Both hands. They worked with the sword held left and right. Ser Chrisfer said it could be very useful to switch, in a fight. Lancyn had suspicions that Ser Chrisfer was as unorthodox in fighting style as he was in appearance, and was very much looking forward to seeing him in action again.

Meanwhile, he was doing his best to keep up with the lessons. Weapons training and weapons-free combat. Lancyn knew that most of the elite knights started their training before their voices changed. He was years behind. But he could and would work twice as hard as any beardless boy, and not care for the aches and tightness in his limbs. He was determined to be a real squire, useful on quest, not just a companion-servant.

Lancyn didn't know where they were heading. Ser Chrisfer had simply instructed him to keep his eyes open. And now that he felt confident on horseback, he was able to take in his surroundings and trust Brown to carry him onward.

Though he was a little troubled about Brown of late. She'd been unusually restive as he saddled her. Ser Chrisfer had frowned over the news for a few minutes, and suggested she might be in season. Lancyn wasn't sure whether to ask what that meant, or see if he could work it out for himself, and his knight had said it probably wouldn't matter since anything they met on the road would most likely be gelded.

The explanation of that had put him off asking any more questions.

So there they were, on a clear, fresh day, riding down a respectable track through a wood that was brightening with springtime. This was infinitely better than spending his days scribbling in the account books.

Indeed, life was very good.

"Oh, now look, a little ray of sunshine," Ser Chrisfer announced happily. Suddenly visible round a curve in the pathway, three riders were approaching. The foremost of the trio was clad in bright yellow, and occasionally flashed in the sunlight. Jewels, presumably. "There's a pretty little lordling on his way to somebody's name-day celebrations."

It was a pretty lordling, indeed. As the strangers drew close, Lancyn distinguished a tumble of sun-bleached curls atop that well-shaped young body. Taller than himself, he reckoned, though it was hard to tell with the youth on horseback. The lordling's horse was the most splendid Lancyn had ever seen, huge and proud, a vivid chestnut that gleamed in the sunshine. It seemed to be a bit too splendid for its rider, who was struggling to control the spirited beast.

"It just occurs to me," said Ser Chrisfer, "that this might be a bad—"

The chestnut reared high, and vented a mighty noise. Brown danced nervously, and Lancyn leaned over her neck to soothe her down. He caught a glimpse of the lordling's horrified face as the chestnut horse closed with Brown, heard his own name called in an anguished shout, and hurled himself to the ground as the chestnut reared again and descended, its front hooves thrashing in the air above Brown's back. Lancyn scrambled away, all hope of dignity gone, and stared up at the astonishing sight. The chestnut stallion—definitely—with yellow-clad rider still clinging to its back, was... oh, dear.

"Are you all right?" Ser Chrisfer's dark eyes stared into Lancyn's, and his arm was gripped rather harder than was altogether necessary.

"Yes, yes, I'm all right," he replied impatiently, "but—Brown!" He stared indignantly at his poor little mare. It was impossible to look away. The chestnut horse surged back and forth in unmistakable rhythm, utterly indifferent to its rider. The unfortunate lordling's face was a picture of boggled horror, which turned to panic as he found himself slipping out of the saddle to the ground. He rolled clear, and stared back at the coupling, as transfixed as Lancyn by the sight.

It was outrageous, but, but it was compelling. Primal. It was rather—oh, this was not good. He felt a blush spread across his cheeks, and turned his gaze away from the rutting horse, only to meet the vivid blue eyes of the lordling, wide and aghast. His face was the colour of ripe beets. Lancyn glared at him, then folded his arms and stood determinedly with his back to the mating pair. Horse, he observed sourly, was cropping the long grass beside the track and taking no notice at all of the goings-on.

Eventually the rhythmic noises stopped. The lordling's two manservants, hitherto frozen, rushed to the rescue once it was all over. Hah. The chestnut stallion appeared decidedly smug, Lancyn thought crossly. Monstrous beast. It was quite passive now, and followed the servants without fuss. The young lordling in yellow finery looked at him, and at Ser Chrisfer, and opened his mouth, but no sound came out. He looked mortally embarrassed. It seemed he could find no words for the occasion, for after a moment he offered a hasty bow, remounted and hastened to ride on down the road.

Lancyn, thoroughly unsettled, hurried to Brown's side. She seemed remarkably calm for a mare that had just been violated in such unseemly fashion, but he knew she must be distressed. He ran a comforting hand over her neck. It came away wet and reddened. That fiend in equine shape must have kicked—or bitten her!

"Well, REALLY!" he said, exasperated beyond expression.

There was a wheezing sound behind him. He turned to see Ser Chrisfer fall to his knees, and then collapse face forwards into the grass. His body shook.

"Ser Chris! Ser Chris! Are you all right?" Frantically Lancyn pushed at his knight, rolled him onto his back, terrified that he must be having some sort of fit.

Ser Chrisfer was laughing so hard he could barely breathe. Tears of mirth trickled down his cheeks and into his beard, high-pitched sounds squeaked out of him, as he clutched helplessly at his squire, and fought to inhale. Lancyn growled with annoyance, but after his heart calmed to a normal beat, he smiled reluctantly. The lordling's mortification had been funny, he had to admit.

"Ohhhh... your face!" Ser Chrisfer moaned.

My face? Lancyn thought, startled.

"I thought—I thought—your eyes—going to pop out, oh, oh... And that boy, too, oh, riding that stallion while—oh, it hurts!" He sat up, rocking with mirth, and swiped a sleeve at his wet cheeks.

Lancyn went back to his mare, and cleaned her neck.

After a bit, the hilarity from the grass verge subsided into hiccups. Ser Chrisfer stood, emitting occasional snorts, and swung himself back on to the indifferent Horse. Lancyn mounted Brown, and they went on their way.

"Tell you what, kid," said Ser Chris, after he had stopped giggling. "That should be a fine foal. We'll have to leave Brown at the most convenient Tower, come autumn, but she can be ridden until then."

"I'll have to leave her behind?" And they were getting on so well.

"Fraid so. The stable master will be impressed, though. Sire of that quality, usually the owner makes a lot of fuss about where he's mated." He laughed. "Wonder who the lordling was? We could write and thank him for the donation."

"Hah," said Lancyn, darkly.

Ser Chrisfer smirked. "I don't suppose we'll see him again. Judging from your face, it's just as well."


On to the next story: Lewd Songs and Laughter


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