Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Charles the Younger Pt. 1

This is another story set in the Tanners and the Brute universe. For Charles' first appearance, read Tanners and the Bankers Boy on Charles is quite the little shit.

The seventh day market was possibly the most obnoxious event in the town. Charles the Younger had been stuck in the crowd for the better part of an hour, guiding his horse anywhere there was an opening and shooing pickpockets away from his purse. Had not his wife requested new ribbons he never would have ventured into the fray.

"I detest the market," he groaned loudly, not for the first time.

"Well known," his friend Wolfgang replied wryly. The young man urged his mount around a spice hawker to catch up with the banker's son. "You've been bellyaching the entire morning. Why do you bother coming?"

"My goodly wife has many requests, and I am an obliging husband."

Wolfgang didn't respond to that, knowing full well that only half the statement was truth. Charles, turned as he was to speak to him, didn't notice the approaching family until he had nearly trampled them.

"Good sir!" cried a woman.

Charles reigned his horse sharply. It was that goatherd with the big eyes, her belly swollen with child. Who should be laden with her other bastard but the handsome village idiot? Charles grinned, waiting for the man to look up.

"Apologies," Wolfgang said for him. The goatherd bowed as best she could and moved along. Was it imagination that made her eyes seem as though she could look into a man's soul? Charles wondered if she knew what her simple lover was up to whenever Charles sent for him. Likely so, for the way the peasant spoke of her, the goatherd was his sole confidant.

"Indeed, apologies," Charles added at Wolfgang's sharp look. At the sound of his voice Tanners finally raised his gaze as Charles had known he would. Those odd eyes widened, almost glowed in the morning sunlight. Why be so shocked? Everyone was at the seventh day market. Charles winked at the man and was rewarded with Tanners’ bright red blush. He felt his friend look sideways at him.

“You’ve an odd rapport with the tanner’s boy,” Wolfgang commented once the goatherd had moved her party on.

Narrowing his eyes at the strapping peasant’s back, Charles replied, “You would as well, had you ridden him like a charger.” He would have to summon the man soon.

Wolfgang shook his head. “I’ll never have a straight answer from the likes of you," he laughed.

Charles pretended affront. “You doubt my honest lips?”

“I’d believe he enjoyed a good sodomizing but for the common knowledge that he has taken up with the little goatherd on the hill.” Wolfgang raised a knowing brow at his longtime friend. “I very much doubt that she has the equipment for the task.” With that he clicked his heels against the bay he rode and made his way through the market crowd.

Charles followed the other man pensively. Dare he tell Wolfgang the truth? The man may never have liked Charles’ wife, but the revelation that Charles preferred the rough hand of a tanner’s by-blow could destroy the bonds of even a lifelong friendship. It was a shame, Charles thought, that he and Wolf had never gone further than to compare sizes and hair growth during their adolescent years. Would it that Wolfgang be the one Charles met in the forest…The banker’s son shook those thoughts from his head. His companion was comely and fit, but was not the kind of man to encourage the sort of passions Charles favored. He was too genteel; too genial; too good. There was no devil in Wolfgang.

The two men’s conversation turned to more mundane matters as they neared the edge of Wolfgang’s property: business, estates, the rumors that a band of gypsies was camping between their town and the next. Charles responded distractedly, his mind still on Tanners and his goatherd. She didn’t seem to mind that her lover spent four days fucking Charles every moon. However, if the gypsies were the sort who caused problems for villagers, would that not herald the return of the brute squad? In that case, the simple romantic would surely return to the famed Keilan, leaving no one to satisfy Charles during those sweet brief days of extramarital freedom. Should he find a whore beforehand? Were there men of age and stature who could be discreet?

“Charles!” Wolfgang said suddenly. “Where is your head?”

Charles blinked. “My apologies. It seems I am preoccupied.”

“Is it the good Lady Elanore again?” Wolf’s tone made it clear that he expected as much.

Only in that her very regular menstrual cycles have become the highlight of my marriage, Charles thought dryly. “In part,” he answered. “Shall we have a swim in the pond?”

As soon as the other man opened his mouth Charles was off, spurring his mount over the packed dirt on the road. He heard his friend’s whoop not far behind, and looked over his shoulder to see Wolfgang’s mouth stretched in a bright grin, green eyes sparkling playfully. Be still, lonely heart. Charles turned to urge his horse faster down the road.

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