Friday, October 22, 2010

Yaoi fantasy: Episode Five


Episode... 1 2 3 4

Prolog: As the bandit Yussan dissolves back into the night, Martin finds himself looking up into a handsome face. His name is Leon -- his voice is deep, his accent is as indeterminate as the Gypsies's. He's broodingly beautiful, and Martin is just a little breathless.

But what does Leon want with him? Is this a rescue -- or is he just headed for some other marketplace?


"You're lucky," Leon says baldly. "You could have been halfway to market before I caught up with you."

"You were -- looking for me?" Martin stammers.

"And you were lucky it was Yussan," Leon continues, "because if it had been anybody else -- and there are scores of the bastards out here! -- there'd have a pail of blood spilled in the sand tonight, and bloodletting puts me in a foul temper."

Martin is more confused than ever now. "You were looking for me? I -- don't understand."

"I know you don't," Leon scoffs. "You're an idiot. Do you know that, boy? What are you?"

"An idiot," Martin sighs.

"Louder. Let's hear it."

"I'm an idiot -- I know I'm an idiot! You think it didn't occur to me, when Yussan was talking about taking me to some place and selling me? Would he have done that?"

"Of course. It's how he makes a very good living -- trading in morons," Leon scoffs. "Get up on your feet. Are you hurt? I don't see a mark on you. Nobody touched you, then?"

And Martin makes it back to his feet, and stands contritely, still wondering what's to become of him. "Nobody touched me. You know there's a gang of men out there armed with bows? They could shoot you -- us! -- dead in a second."

Leon lifts a scornful brow at him. "Who told you that?"

"Yussan the bandit. It's what he said. A whole gang of men, all armed."

"And you believe everything you're told?"

"Well, no, but --"

"I think you do. I think you followed some wild goose out here, and you need your brains examined. My gods," Leon growls, "you deserve to be groomed for the markets, and then stood up on an auction block! It's the lesson you need to learn ... except it would be a thousand times too much trouble to bring you back."

"You're going to take me out and -- and sell me, same as Yussan was going to," Martin says miserably. "You just got in his way because you want the purse, because he owes you a half dozen favors. I was listening. I heard."

"Did you, now?" Leon glares down at him. "I'll say one thing for you, moron. You have the kind of luck that makes people think there's an angel standing right behind you."

"I'm so lucky, because you're going to sell me instead of Yussan?" Martin demands, and can hear the petulance in his own voice. It does him no credit, and he knows it.

"Lucky you walked right into Yussan," Leon retorts. "For a start, even if he'd taken you to some market with a price painted on your butt, he'd have spent weeks grooming you, making you over into the most precious toy. There's no skill you wouldn't have mastered by the time he was done with you -- and then he'd have made sure he sold you to somebody who could barely afford the asking price. Do you know why?"

Martin's head shakes mutely.

"Because people who can barely afford the price of their toys take care not to break them. You'd have been treated well, so long as you did what you were told."

"You call this luck?" Martin demands.

"And you don't?" Leon's voice is full of scorn. "You owe somebody an explanation and an apology, and as for you -- if I ever managed to track you down, I'm under oath to put you over my knee and tan your butt till you're red as a bunch of roses."

"You -- what?" Martin gapes up at the man. "Who said -- who told --?"

"You have a guardian," Leon says darkly. "Get your clothes on, you idiot. I'm camped about three miles from here, back at the old cenotaph. It's too late, and too wild, to make it through to the city tonight, but I'll deliver you back where you belong in the morning ... and in the meantime, you can tell me what in the names of the gods brought you out here. Convince me you had a reason. Then I'll decide if you go over my knee, and for how long, and how hard I tan you before I hand you back to your guardian."

"You wouldn't!" Martin is aghast. He scrambles into his clothes. "I'm a man grown, you can't tan me like a -- a kid!"

Leon tilts his head in question. "Then you want to be handed to the sheriff, for breaking curfew and making an affray out here? That'll get you the bastinado -- because you've come of age, as you said, but you still haven't done a day's worth of militia service, so you don't have the rights of majority. Not yet. Your guardian is still responsible for you." He pauses and thrusts a hand down toward Martin. "Give me your hand. Ride behind me. Let's get back to my camp -- I'm hungry."

So is Martin. He's hungry and cold, and he knows Leon is right. It's the law that until a young man has done his three years with the militia, his rights and privileges are few. He's of age and can wed and work, but he must obey the curfew -- be inside the city walls by sundown, and not cause other people to risk their lives coming out into the wilds to hunt for him.

And Leon is also right about the foolishness of coming out here ... and about the anger his guardian must feel. He swings up behind the saddle and takes a grip on Leon's leg for balance. "I did have a reason for being out here," he mutters."

"It had better be a good one, to save your butt," Leon warns. "Feed me a lot of nonsense, and I'll put some heat into your cheeks that'll still be glowing in the morning. Your guardian is furious. And as for me -- I'm supposed to be at a tavern, eating dinner, drinking ale, putting my feet up in front of a nice fire and listening to music, and where am I? I'm still on a saddle, still in the middle of the badlands, and if it had been anybody else but Yussan, I'd be blood up to the eyeballs!"

The big Gypsy horse swings around, and as the mist begins to roll in off the heath Leon sets him back onto the track toward the old cenotaph. Martin hangs on -- confused, filled with questions, and fully suspecting that nothing he can say will appease either his guardian or Leon enough to spare him the chastisement he is due. The truth is, the sheriff would be merciless, and Leon -- Leon would call it luck, again, Martin thinks miserably, even while he was tanning the butt off the hapless stray.

"I had my reasons," he mutters. "They were good enough for me."

"Yes? Well, you can get fed and get warm, and then tell me," Leon growls, "and then I'll decide how much you owe us, your guardian and me -- and what coin your debt will be paid in."

=============

Go to Episode Six, where Martin's burning questions will be answered. You're dying to know if Martin is going to get whupped, aren't you? Perfectly natural curiosity. The pot is up as of October 26...!

Jade, 22 October
Related Posts with Thumbnails