Ser Chrisfer and Lancyn

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

Lewd Songs and Laughter

This story is available as podfic (mp3): right-click to download

Say, gentle maiden, may I be your lover?

The question was resounding through the wall, sung at a lusty pitch by a voice whose owner was plainly not afraid of being overheard. Lancyn and Ser Chrisfer seated themselves on a comfortable settle, and the servant who had shown them in went away to find the mistress of the establishment.

Cut down in my pri-i-ime

"Are you, perhaps, going to explain what we're doing here?" Lancyn asked, firmly ignoring the singing which was, he rather thought, tending towards the vulgar in tone, although the words, so far, seemed innocuous.

"All part of your education, kid," said Ser Chrisfer airily.

Enter your keep, nonny-nonny, enter your keep, nonny-nonny...
Lay down your drawbridge, I'll enter your keep.

The knight's eyes sparkled with the wicked glint that was by now utterly familiar, and which always meant Ser Chris was plotting something. The surprises, while sometimes disconcerting, were always enjoyable eventually, even if sometimes the way was strewn with embarrassing hazards. That drinking game last week, with the deceptively thin, long vessel he had been required to drain at one draught. So this might prove to be another questionable surprise, or it might quite truthfully prove useful and educational. Either way, Lancyn knew his role—he was to look innocent and startled. This was not difficult, even though he was perfectly capable of taking Ser Chrisfer's little surprises in his stride. But he knew his knight enjoyed trying to disconcert him, and it was easy enough to look naive and nervous. His prowess in this area was an asset, on occasion.

He's off to the war for a twelvemonth or longer
And taken the key to my chastity belt.

And sometimes, looking innocent and startled came quite naturally. Lancyn was beginning to wonder exactly what kind of house this was.

He adjusted his expression from startled to politely neutral, and looked hopefully at his knight for further explanation.

"Magnificent though we are," Ser Chrisfer began grandly, "we knights don't function alone. Obviously. We have to deal with farmers for food—"

"And butchers," Lancyn suggested helpfully.

"Yes, and—"


"Yes, and—"


"Shut up, Lancyn."

"Yes, Ser Chrisfer," Lancyn said meekly.

And see if he's able to unpick your lock
Unpick your lock, nonny-nonny

"As I was saying," Ser Chrisfer resumed, eyeing his squire, "we have to deal with other people. Experts in their own field, who are in certain cases granted Elite status as specialists. People who fulfill certain... needs. Not exclusively to the Towers, as a rule, but generally."

My specialised knowledge is to no avail

"What kind of needs?"

"Oh, say... leatherwork. If you need boots, best go to someone with the black trefoil badge that signifies they know what they're doing, and not give your poor feet over to some half-wit who'll leave you with blisters and a limp."

"And is this house—"

"Ser Chrisfer!" A curvaceous and vivid woman in dark red came into the room, and smiled as she spotted the black-clad knight. He leapt to his feet and caught her in a firm embrace, bestowed a noisy kiss on her lips, and stood back to admire.

"Looking good, Cally. I suppose that husband of yours is still making a nuisance of himself?"

She grinned. "Yes, but you know, I do encourage him. Shameful, isn't it? And yes, there's another on the way. Due in late spring. But who is this beautiful young man?"

Lancyn could feel the blood tinge his cheeks with pink, but he bowed politely as Ser Chris introduced him to Cally.

Alas and alack, I am locked up for ever sounded through the wall in eyebrow-raising falsetto.

"I would ask him to stop the caterwauling," Cally said severely, "but now that I know who our visitors are..."

"You know I'll be singing along in a moment," Ser Chrisfer supplied. "And where are your brat—your boys?"

"Gone for a snow-fight with their uncle. They'll come home ravenous and roaring for their dinner—you'll be joining us at table, of course."

"Certainly," replied Ser Chrisfer, with the kind of promptness that led Lancyn to conclude Cally must be an exceptional cook.

"I'll tell Joel you're here, and set some wine to warm," she promised, and made for the door.

"The wine will be more than welcome, but never mind about Joel. I dare say I can make my presence felt."

"I dare say you can!" Cally laughed, and left the room.

If you will permit me to... enter her... chamber

The wicked expression on Chrisfer's face, and the lascivious waggling of his brows, left Lancyn in no doubt whatever of what the singer had in mind. Not that he had been in any—the voice was remarkably expressive, and Lancyn was not quite as innocent as Ser Chrisfer liked to think.

Ser Chrisfer opened his mouth wide, and joined in.

I'll open her up with my duplicate key.
Duplicate key, nonny-nonny
Duplicate key, nonny-nonny
Open her up with my duplicate key.

Lancyn was accustomed to hearing his knight sing, though he had never mentioned how much he loved hearing the sweet, fluted notes. He was a little surprised, though, to hear Ser Chrisfer sing a descant line rather than the melody.

A moment later, there was a bellow of delight from the doorway, and a large, sturdy man whose beard did nothing to conceal an immense grin, strode across the room and seized Ser Chrisfer in a mighty hug.

"Chris! Good to see you!"

"You too, you big ox—now let go, you're breaking my ribs."

"So..." said the newcomer, who was presumably the aforementioned Joel, and Cally's husband. "To what do we owe the pleasure of this visit? Chris—have you been abusing your equipment again? You'll go blind, you know."

"This," said Ser Chrisfer, ignoring the sally magnificently, "is my squire, Lancyn."

"You—you have a squire? You are teaching someone to become elite?" Joel offered his hand, and Lancyn clasped it in the ritual greeting. "How did that happen?"

"Oh, I found him in an alley and he's been following me around ever since," Ser Chris shrugged. "He's about ready for your services, which gives me an excuse to come around and ogle your lovely wife."

"Ogle away," said Joel, complacently, as he assessed Lancyn with shrewd eyes.

"I assume you're still in the same line of work," Ser Chris went on. "Or are you singing for food these days?"

"I doubt I could earn enough singing to keep the boys fed and watered. You've no idea how much the little monsters can eat. Growing like weeds, they are. So your custom is much appreciated. Let me get my tape."

The room seemed colder without Joel in it, but Lancyn took advantage of his host's momentary absence to ask in a low voice what exactly were the services Joel provided.

"Oh, he's a swordsmith," said Ser Chrisfer, casually.

* * *

Dinner was noisy, delicious and substantial, eaten at a vast wooden table in the kitchen while hot spiced wine simmered on the hob. The boys turned out to be lively twins, sturdy almost-four year-olds with mischievous brown eyes, blond hair, and their father's irresistible grin. They babbled ecstatically to Ser Chrisfer about their snowball fight, and their progress in learning to count, and the baby sister their mother was growing for them in her tummy, until they were conveyed firmly off to bed by Cally.

"A girl, then? Your midwife been casting question charms?" Ser Chrisfer asked.

Joel smiled, trying ineffectually to conceal the delight he felt. "Not a midwife. It was Jesse. Turned up one day, made feed-me eyes and stayed for a sennight. Not that we made much progress fattening him up, I think he's hollow, but we tried. Just as he was leaving, he said he hoped he'd see us again before our daughter was born. Cally wasn't even sure... but you know Jesse."

"I do, and no doubt Lans here will have the pleasure soon."

Lancyn felt a surge of pleasure at hearing this casual reference to himself. He'd never had a pet name before, at least, not since his mother died. He was still too excited to speak much, he'd been measured for his very own sword only this afternoon, height and reach and grip and all sorts besides, for his very own sword, no more practising with Ser Chrisfer's spare... They were going to a leathersmith tomorrow to order belt and scabbard.

The evening continued in the same style that had begun the visit. Ser Chris and Joel were obviously friends of long standing, and the swordsmith was plainly willing to welcome Lancyn to his circle. Lancyn was glad of that—Joel was loud and uninhibited and instantly likeable, and Joel was willing to tell tales of Chrisfer's past, ignoring all protests about knightly dignity, and laughing uproariously when Chrisfer retaliated with tales of his own. They were awake well after midnight, drinking spiced wine and eating candied fruit and singing—Lancyn had learned several disgraceful songs before Cally suggested that the boys would be mad as bears tomorrow if they were woken this late. Eventually, knight and squire staggered back to their lodgings in the Tower, where they woke late next morning to groans and Lancyn's second hangover.

They had been given a quest at the Tower which would take them away from town for a few days, but Joel had assured Lancyn that a good sword was not to be made in a hurry, so he accepted the diversion without complaint.

Indeed, it was a good day. The horse he had to ride until Brown was delivered of her foal was a comfortable, well-tempered beast—called, of all things, Viper, which just went to show that naming your animal Brown was far from the most foolish thing a rider could do—and the midday, though crisp and cold, was bright with winter sunshine. Just right for riding across snow-sprinkled countryside.

Lancyn found himself humming. Recognising the tune, he began to sing.

Say, gentle maiden, may I be your lover?


On to the next story: Nasty Cold White Stuff


Back to the Chronicles Index
Back to Popslash Index