1. Bawdy Tales Pt. 05 — The Soldier's Story


    Date: 9/13/2017, Categories: Historical, Author: KindOfHeart, Source: LushStories

    Colsterworde, The Cony, May 29th. Our journey yesterday took us through the centre of the great town of Newark, where King John had died of the bloody flux just seven score years afore. His death, though still spoken of in lore as a warning, was little lamented as he was a cruel tyrant and his hand on his subjects was heavy and unfair. We did not tarry long in Newark. We were afeard to announce our presence because we had heard tales of bands of robbers falling upon the few defenceless travellers on the road. So after buying a few items from the paltry stalls in the market place we continued on south. In older and happier times, even as far north as a York the great market in Newark had been famed for the wonders on sale there. As we crested a small hill a thousand paces or so from the town centre we could see the great cathedral of Lincoln shining like a beacon in the distance, though it offered little hope in these hellish times. Another mile brought us to the village of Benningtun where we hoped to rest our bones for the night. But when we came to the inn — the White Cock from the board swinging in the breeze above its door — there was no welcoming sign of smoke rising from its chimneys. The door was open and on entering we were greeted by the stench of death. On the floor were the rotting and partially devoured bodies of half a dozen people, lying in dried up pools of piss and blood. After crossing ourselves out of custom rather than belief, we hurried on into the falling ... dusk. We were glad of the company of our man of arms, for passing through a place where the trees pressed close on the road we were set upon by brigands. With two strokes of his sword our new friend dispatched two of them to meet their maker, leaving their bodies bleeding in the dust of the road as a warning. The rest fled for their lives into the forest and I was sure that we wouldn't be troubled again that night. In God’s truth I felt sorry for them, driven as they were desperation rather than malice. Such is the state into which we are descended. It was long dark when we arrived here and we were in no mind for stories. So after a meal of broth and bread washed down by a flagon of weak ale, we made our way to our beds exhausted and footsore. Today after a long sleep we tarried here and after a fine supper of mutton we cast around for who would regale us with a saucy tale to wile away the hours to bed. In truth Dame Elizabeth’s story had rather depressed our spirits because of the sadness we all felt at the loss of her child. The soldier then spoke up and offered a tale of his own from out the store of memories of his long life. ooOoo The Soldier’s Tale I am now a very old man and most of my old comrades in arms have either died in battle or those few who were lucky in the arms of some whore. As I have survived both war and pestilence I surmise that God, or more likely the Devil, is not yet ready to accept my soul. As a youth I was well built for my age and eager to see the ...
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