Tuesday, November 3, 2009

In Which The Princess Needs Help, and Lady Winifred Does Something About It

King Davin of Bentlefay to Lady Winifred Fleem:


This is ridiculous. My daughter needs reliable protection, not a damned circus. Today's bodyguard didn't even last two hours before he loosened his jerkin and started talking about her lips in front of a houseful of guests. It isn't even funny anymore. In fact I'm not sure it was ever funny -- but it used to amuse Dulcie, so I didn't like to say anything.

In any case, we have to get Dulcie a bodyguard who won't try to seduce her on two hours' acquaintance. I don't care if he's a eunuch. I will let you have the new guardsman three nights a week between midnight and two if you get this solved before the queen gets back. She's on the verge of betrothing Dulcie to the heir of Hingbach without even bothering to introduce them. Dulcie says she'll run away to sea first.

I'm going hunting at dawn. Let me know when I get back if you've thought of anything.


P.S. Don't bother asking Rafe, I already thought of that. He asked me why I would think that any self-respecting sodomite would want to spend his entire day around women. I have to admit he has a point.


Lady Winifred Fleem to Duncan Rose, taverner of the Burl Pig:

My dear Duncan:

Has it really been ten years? I hope you will forgive my familiarity, I know it can be disconcerting for an old flame to appear out of the blue. No, really, I know – it happens to me constantly, and half the time I don’t even remember the poor fellows. But you were my absolute favorite of the victory parade guardsmen, and I’m not just saying that because I need something.

I remember you used to joke about how rough the customers were at your father’s tavern, and if they are anywhere near as rough as your hands, you might be able to do your nation a service. Do you know anyone who is strong and crafty enough to slay a prince with his bare hands, and intelligent and confident enough to know when such treatment is deserved? You may think it an odd request, since we have the flower of the nation’s fighting men here at the capital – and a blooming flower they are, I can attest – but there is a catch, of course.

The catch – and this is a dark secret, mind you – is that this paragon is needed as a bodyguard for Princess Dulcie, who since her debut has been hounded by marriage proposals from men of high and low estate wherever she goes. Her bodyguard, therefore, must be both thoroughly uninterested in women and thoroughly incorruptible by anyone who is interested.

The king suggested a eunuch, but I would imagine they might be hard to come by. I would not object to a confirmed bachelor, but it must be one who comes at it either through fear or indifference – no rouĂ© who might try to seduce her! Not that I fear he would be successful, but I would not want the poor man’s blood on my hands if she should happen to have a decanter nearby.

Do write, Duncan dear, even if you cannot help. I am anxious to know how it goes with you after all these years.



Duncan Rose to Lady Winifred Fleem:

My lady,

I surely do remember you – fondly, and more than fondly. I have a great deal to thank you for, even to this day. My wife openly proclaims herself the happiest woman in Bentlefay city, and the envy of her friends. I am afraid I have not told her that I owe my skill to your training. She thinks I was born with it.

I am glad to receive your letter for another reason, however. A young relation of mine, skilled in arms and strong and intelligent above the average, has recently arrived in Bentlefay city seeking employment. You will receive a separate letter, so that you may judge for yourself, and I am confident that you will be favorably impressed – and perhaps a little surprised.

Yours very truly,

Duncan Rose