February 6, 2016

In Which Falidor Is Employed by a Chivalrous Pervert

March 8, 1198

"Wait, what?" Young Marsden's face scrunched in confusion. Falidor, clearly, had not done well in formulating a child-friendly version of the events--not that he had expected that he would. He didn't know much about children, apart from the fact that Ivy had wanted several.

But, he worked his posts on weekends in preparation for his full hours post-graduation, and when the master of the castle was young, the steward had to take on a few uncomfortable duties. The snickering guard who had put the tanner away had been only too eager to remind him of that.

"Uh... it's complicated. But the tanner... wasn't treating his horses all that well."

"Well, duh! Tanners make leather out of old horses. That's their job."

"Yes, but..."

"Did he whip them? Because everybody whips their horses. It's mean, but not jail mean."

Falidor cringed. What the tanner had been doing was, almost by precise adult definition of such a stilted spontaneous child's term, 'jail mean'. Too bad he wasn't talking to an adult. "Well..."

"The tanner matter?"

Thank God! Falidor sighed to himself as Lady Nata stepped into the study. Well-bred lady or not... well, living in her castle over the weekends had allowed him to overhear more than enough evidence of her being far from an innocent. But, she was also a mother, with her son's best interests at heart.

"Yes. That."

Frowning, Nata shut the door and joined Falidor at the foot of her son's chair. "Marsden, do you remember how I told you that there are certain situations in which other people may or may not want to be touched? And that in these situations, you should always ask before you touch them?"

In spite of the generalities, Marsden nodded. This previous conversation must have been somewhat more specific, or at least as specific as the boy's age would allow. "Uh-huh."

"Well, the same thing goes for horses and other animals. Stroking a horse's mane is all right, as is sitting on one, but there are certain ways in which a person shouldn't touch a horse without the horse's permission--and as horses and other animals can't tell us whether or not they'd like those touches, we have to refrain from touching them in those ways."

"Like pulling their tails?"

Lady Nata's eye twitched. The tanner's activities had, indeed, included pulling on something. "...Something like that, yes."

"Well, he's lucky he didn't get kicked, then." Yes, lucky he hadn't been kicked. Or hadn't had his colon ruptured. "Can I go and play now?"

"Yes, you may."

As apparently eager to be done with the conversation as Falidor was, Marsden sprung from the chair and dashed for the door. He had a new squadron of toy soldiers that had to get back to a very important war against the cook's poor cat.

As the door swung shut behind him, his mother smirked. "Well. I'd heard the phrase 'beating a dead horse', but I never thought I'd have to deal with the aftermath of someone acting it literally."

"The horses were dead?"

"Some of them, apparently. If you ask me, those ones were the lucky ones--though he knows how he traumatized them while they lived."

"Some madman broke into the pen and had his way with one of my father's pigs once. That pig was never quite the same after that." Falidor shook his head. "I'll be sure to find some loving new homes for the surviving horses."

"Not too loving of homes, though."

"Ah. Yes, right." There really was no suitable way of discussing the matter.

"Keep one yourself, perhaps; a man whose pig once suffered so wouldn't do the same to a horse. Call it a graduation present."

Falidor shrugged. His mother had a horse--a present from her own prominent stepmother--but he'd never had one of his own growing up. "All right, but I'm not too familiar with them. I might be too big for a horse."

It wasn't until Lady Nata's eyes flickered down to his pelvic region that he quite heard himself. Yes--no suitable way at all. "For riding one, I mean."

Lady Nata raised an eyebrow.

"Er, for transportation. Not--"

"Yes, yes. Riding. Good Lord, Falidor, I don't know how you expect to work for me if you don't realize that my mind will always immediately go to the most disgusting option possible."

"Just... getting used to it, I suppose." He grimaced. Why did he find Lady Nata so perplexing? His own mother, certainly, was by no means a bashful woman. Then again, Ivy rather had been. "At least I know you take a strict stance on unwelcome touching?"

"Indeed, I do. Call me a chivalrous pervert."

"I don't know if it's wise to call one's employer a pervert--not to her face, at least."

Lady Nata snorted. "If an employer acts on it, call them what they deserve. And maybe fling the nearest blunt object their way."

"I don't think I could ever fling a blunt object at you, even if you were being a pervert."

She chuckled. Her laugh managed to be feminine despite not being ladylike. "Then it's a good thing I make a point to be chivalrous."


1 comment:

Van said...

I just can't get over how much Falidor looks like a palette-swap of Cord. o_O