Sorcery and stuffing

Chapter 1

My lover’s breasts are like melons, heavy and ripe,

Sweeter than apples and fuller in flesh…

-from A Song of Love by Cato Carolinus d’Aravel, c. 1121, translated from the Mumberley Manuscript

My lover is like the moon, she waxes full and fair,

But unlike the moon, it’s rarely she wanes,

And if she does , my loving attentions

Soon see to it that in charm she gains…

-from A Song of Love by Cato Carolinus d’Aravel, c. 1121, translated from the Mumberley Manuscript

“Of course A Song of Love is not actually about intercourse with an obese woman. That would be laughable. Instead it is a subtle glorification of the expansionist policies of Carolinga in the 12th century. Carolinus d’Aravel was prominent in the Carolingan court. His family name of Carolinus points to the importance of his family in the kingdom, derived as it is from the same root, from “to lack tongue”, a reference to Atis Careolinus, the former slave who was instrumental in the overthrow of the Darish Empire and for whom the new nation was named after his death in the struggle. The poet Cato Carolinus d’Aravel was a direct descendent of the son borne by Careolinus’ slave wife. Carolinus d’Aravel was renowned as a swordsman as well as a poet. He was a confidante of King Goric and there is evidence suggesting that he may have acted as a spy for the kingdom at times during his extensive travels throughout the known world.”

-from Expansionist Aesthetics: the hidden meanings of Carolinus d’Aravel’s A Song of Love, by Professor Avery Gannon, published in the Journal of Medieval Politics, Vol. 13, Issue 3

Early 21st century college student: Dude, I’m reading this, like, long-ass poem for class, and I’m pretty sure the guy who wrote was it just, like, totally into banging fat chicks.

Second early 21st century college student: …Oh, really? What’s it called?

****

The Carolingan delegation had retired for the evening, after the banquet held to welcome them. Angharad had registered only a blur of beardless faces and names that rang oddly to her ear. There was such a short time left before she left to accompany the princess to Carolinga. She wished she knew more about these strangers. She tossed aside her heavy wool blanket and rose. She knew a spot above the barracks in which the visitors had been quartered where a person could peak through the ceiling and sneak a look at the men below. She and her fellow lady-in-waiting Rhoda had done it often enough as curious young girls.

Angharad threw on a cloak and slippers and padded through Dun Gewloc’s halls to the secret spot.

The men from Carolinga were sitting around the room’s central table, discussing their first impressions of her homeland.

“Thorns, they called that a feast!” groaned one. “I’ve never seen turnip prepared in so many ways in my life!”

“It looks as if the cunny will be better than the eating,” said another. “Did you see that sweet little blonde thing among the ladies-in-waiting?”

“Ladies-in-waiting for a good pumping,” said a third man, with a lewd gesture. There was a round of laughter.

“I noticed her as well,” said the man who’d complained about the turnips. “A sweet piece, yes?”

This was followed by a general chorus of agreement.

“I propose a little wager, then, while we’re here on this backwater island. Each of us puts in five gold coins. The first man to get his leg-over wins the purse.”

Angharad bared her teeth in anger on behalf of her friend Gwen. Were these men so stupid they couldn’t tell Gwen wore the badges of a dedicat of the Goddess and so was sworn to lie with no man? Besides, Gwen would never be unfaithful to her lover Rhoda.

“Great idea, Waric!” said one man, slapping his companion on the shoulder.

A slender brown-haired man wandered over to the table.

“You boys have it all wrong,” he said mildly.

“Are you in, Cato?” said Waric.

“No,” returned Cato. “But I’ll offer you a different wager, that none of you will mount the blonde before I have my way with the dark haired lady-in-waiting.”

“The dumpy one?” said Waric in astonishment.

Angharad knew this referred to her.

“Yes,” said Cato confidently. “You see, I have a strategy. In a bevy of roses, a cabbage is likely crying out to be plucked, neh?”

“Say again?”

“The plain one among the beauties is likely desperate for a little attention, and will easily give in to a charming person such as myself.”

“You know, Cato, for a poet, you’re not very romantic,” said one man after a slight pause.

Cato laughed, throwing his head back, so Angharad caught a glimpse of his face. He was startlingly attractive.

She rose and fled back to her room. The humiliating thing, Angharad thought, was his plan might have worked. Men had always used her to set up trysts with other ladies, if they weren’t busy pining with chaste love for the beautiful Princess Brangwen. A handsome stranger might well have been able to turn her head. But not now, she resolved. She was forewarned about the kind of man this Cato was. She would do him a bad turn if she could.

****

He came across her, seemingly by accident, in the garden the next day. She was cutting flowers for the ladies’ hair.

“Well met by the dim light of an overcast sky,” he called, smiling dazzlingly.

She stared at him coldly.

“I’m Cato Carolinus,” he said, sweeping into a bow. “And what is your name, lady?”

“Angharad,” she said shortly.

“I noted that you are to be in the party that accompanies the princess to her wedding. I know Prince Goric is eagerly awaiting her arrival. Have you travelled so far before?”

“No.”

“You’ll like Carolinga,” he said, confident that everyone must love the land that he loved. “It is as unlike this place as, as a rose is unlike a cabbage.”

At the mention of roses and cabbages, Angharad’s temper flared. She felt a red surging behind her eyelids.

“Be quiet! Go away!”

To her surprise, the Carolingan shut his mouth abruptly and walked away without another word. She watched in astonishment as his entered the dun. She tasted copper in her mouth.

That was odd, she thought.
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Comments

James Marlow 9 years
This is a fantastic story
GrowingLoveH... 9 years
This is literature. Period. Nicely done.
Juicy 11 years
This was stunning. And very clearly connected to another (research) life? But so sensual and very romantic without being sickly sweet. Brava.
Maximum 14 years
Very nice, I don't normally read things that aren't so obviously about fat, but I enjoyed this. smiley
Tsap 14 years
[i]Oh, went and checked the ancient Mumberley Collection and found bio of professor Gannon, by the way. In the light of those the background work of the author here made quite an impression, I must say.

Truly outstanding. Wow! [/i]
Tsap 14 years
Large books have been written from weaker material then we find here, methinks.
Understandably the magic element was left in side-role, but it was there and added a flavor as well as a thing to use later, perhaps.

Exellent writing and the quotations in the beginning worked fine! I really liked. A lot.