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Chapter 5 of Jucy and the Barbarian

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  • Herod Antipas
    Thank you all for comments thus far. I know chapter 4 was a little boring because not much happens, so here is chapter 5, where alot happens! Let me know what
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 30, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      Thank you all for comments thus far. I know chapter 4 was a little
      boring because not much happens, so here is chapter 5, where alot
      happens! Let me know what you think. Things are getting
      interesting. I received a comment in another group that the
      logistics are hard to understand in this chapter. Please let me
      know if you think it works.


      Chapter 5

      By Herod Antipas 2005

      "Stand and deliver!"

      It was the eighth day of the journey when disaster struck.
      The barbarian and the princess has dismounted to stretch their legs
      and were letting the horses graze in a meadow a short distance
      behind them. Gwig's sharp ears made out the sound of hoof beats
      behind them. When he turned to look he also heard men on horseback
      coming from around a bend in the road in front of them. The party
      of brigands, almost all mounted, numbered about twelve or thirteen.
      Their apparent leader was a thin scraggly-looking fellow with buck
      teeth, and it was he who had made this demand. A bandit on foot
      held the reins of his own horse, and also those of Buttercup and
      Gwig's smaller roan. Gwig said nothing, and Jucunda, for once, held
      her tongue.

      "You heard me, musclehead! Deliver your goods, for you
      stand at the mercy of Barzac, reaver of treasures and looser of
      souls! These are my men, Barzac's raiders, and I am Barzac
      himself." Gwig looked from one man to the next as if mentally
      trying their mettle, and with a lack of excitement which the
      brigands found unnerving.

      "I am Gwig." He said at last, standing his ground. In the
      silence which followed Jucunda coughed several times into her hand,
      and finally shot him a look of annoyance, offended that he had
      failed to introduce her as well. Gwig turned to her in
      disbelief. "Hold your tongue and let me handle this," He said in a
      stage whisper, through gritted teeth.

      "O ho Barbarian! Can't control thy woman?" Barzac
      taunted. "But gentlemen, we forget our manners," he said to the
      company at large, "Yon lardbiscuit wishes to speak." Jucunda
      elbowed Gwig aside and took a few steps closer to the brigand chief.

      "Thank you," she began, "it seems that…" The insult had hit
      home. "Lardbiscuit?! Thou bull's pizzle! Only come closer and
      I'll slap off thy beard! You who dare to talk to me this way, I'll
      have you know I am eep!" Gwig, in a desperate bid to recapture the
      floor and prevent the princess from revealing her identity had
      reached over and given her a vigorous pinch with his thumb and
      forefinger, provoking gales of raucous laughter from the raiders.

      "Well done Master Barbarian!" roared Barzac "But I see your
      plumpkin is a spirited lass. I'll tell you what. Let us take her
      off into the meadow and sample her charms and you may keep your
      horses and baggage. Why she look to be enough girl to satisfy us
      six at a time!" Jucunda blanched with real fear at this, while Gwig
      stepped firmly between her and Barzac. With his back to the woods
      he was still surrounded by robbers on horseback on the other three
      sides.

      "You already have our horses and baggage. Count yourself
      lucky and be gone." He stood stock still.

      "Stand aside, barbarian, or my men and I may decide to send
      you early to Hell."

      "Mayhap you could accomplish that," Gwig replied, looking
      each man in the eye, "but answer me this: Which five of you will be
      accompanying me on the trip?" With one single motion and an icy
      noise, his sword slid out of the scabbard on his back. He held the
      two-handed blade with one hand for a moment, sinews standing out
      like cords on his arm and then adopted a two-handed fihting stance,
      one foot forward, arms cocked back to swing. The blade was so long
      that it eliminated the horsemen's greater reach and it looked heavy
      enough to cleave through a horse's forelimb, meat and bone.
      Barzac's men looked uncertainly at their leader.

      "Huh." Barzac said at last, my physician has been telling me
      that I need to cut down on pork in any case. Come men." And with
      that, he turned his horse around and started walking it back the way
      he had came. The man on foot led the travelers' horses away and
      some of them caused their horses to walk backwards so that they
      could keep an eye on Gwig and his sword, which remained at the
      ready, his arm only beginning to tremble from the heft of it when
      they were almost out of sight. At last he let it drop, wiped his
      brow with a rag and said

      "Aye, looser of souls indeed, but twere lucky there was not
      a bow among them, or I'd have been feathered for sure." It was all
      too much for Jucunda to bear and she began to pummel him with
      surprising strength about his chest and shoulders.

      "Lucky?!" the girl screamed, and let loose a stream of
      invective containing a number of words that most princesses probably
      did not know. "They have taken Buttercup! And our expense money!
      And all of my garments!" She paused with the realization of further
      losses "And my beautiful wedding dress, for which it was so hard to
      find a seamstress (though it truth it did chafe a bit)! And my
      dowry!" She howled as she slapped him.

      "Nay, princess, your dowry is here in my survival pack," he
      said brightly, gesturing to his back, along with a small tent, some
      dried venison, and the first third of my pay."

      "Your pay?!" she exploded, "I call it forfeit, for you have
      done not a thing to earn it! Letting them call me "ladbiscuit"
      and "plumpkin" and..and.." the outrage was almost too great to put
      into words, "you pinched me! Tweaked like some village slattern!"
      She aimed an especially viscous kick at his right shin, but her
      slippered foot bounced off his hard leather riding boot.

      "Jucunda" he said in a commanding tone, taking hold of her
      arms. It was the first time he had used her given name. "Primus: I
      would hardly call offering to die to save thine honor a nothing, but
      as far as my pay being forfeit, `tis true, for without our expense
      money we must spend it to survive. Secundus: had I been alone,
      mayhaps I would have fought thirteen brigands to the death for the
      sheer sport of it, but I had your welfare to think of. Had I gone
      down swinging, `twould have left one chubby princess against seven
      or eight angry highwaymen. Tertius: that pinch were a stroke of
      desperation to prevent you spending your wedding day being held for
      ransom in a bandit camp eight days ride from home. We crossed the
      border of your father's kingdom yesterday in case it scaped your
      notice.!" She gingerly rubbed the area in question.

      "I'll grant you that last point, but I shall be black and
      blue for a week. What are we to do now?" Gwig smiled at her
      recovery of her composure.

      "We shall survive and I shall see you wed. But we shall be
      on a tightened budget and for now we must perforce walk." Jucunda
      smoothed the font of his tunic, rumpled from her blows, and stepped
      away.

      "Very well then. And since we are about to become even more
      intimate traveling companions than previously, you may as well call
      me by the pet name by which I am known to my family and friends."

      "And what is that?"

      "Jucy." He gave her a toothy grin

      "Well then, Jucy, let us be off for Ghaspar."

      "A moment, Gwig." She said, sitting down on a large boulder
      and smoothing out her dress. "I shall be much better able to walk
      after I have had a good cry." And with that, she put her face in her
      hands and sobbed like a child.
    • Herod Antipas
      Anyone have a chance to read this yet? ... chief. ... way ... probably ... but ... her
      Message 2 of 4 , Dec 1, 2005
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        Anyone have a chance to read this yet?


        >
        >
        > Chapter 5
        >
        > By Herod Antipas 2005
        >
        > "Stand and deliver!"
        >
        > It was the eighth day of the journey when disaster struck.
        > The barbarian and the princess has dismounted to stretch their legs
        > and were letting the horses graze in a meadow a short distance
        > behind them. Gwig's sharp ears made out the sound of hoof beats
        > behind them. When he turned to look he also heard men on horseback
        > coming from around a bend in the road in front of them. The party
        > of brigands, almost all mounted, numbered about twelve or thirteen.
        > Their apparent leader was a thin scraggly-looking fellow with buck
        > teeth, and it was he who had made this demand. A bandit on foot
        > held the reins of his own horse, and also those of Buttercup and
        > Gwig's smaller roan. Gwig said nothing, and Jucunda, for once, held
        > her tongue.
        >
        > "You heard me, musclehead! Deliver your goods, for you
        > stand at the mercy of Barzac, reaver of treasures and looser of
        > souls! These are my men, Barzac's raiders, and I am Barzac
        > himself." Gwig looked from one man to the next as if mentally
        > trying their mettle, and with a lack of excitement which the
        > brigands found unnerving.
        >
        > "I am Gwig." He said at last, standing his ground. In the
        > silence which followed Jucunda coughed several times into her hand,
        > and finally shot him a look of annoyance, offended that he had
        > failed to introduce her as well. Gwig turned to her in
        > disbelief. "Hold your tongue and let me handle this," He said in a
        > stage whisper, through gritted teeth.
        >
        > "O ho Barbarian! Can't control thy woman?" Barzac
        > taunted. "But gentlemen, we forget our manners," he said to the
        > company at large, "Yon lardbiscuit wishes to speak." Jucunda
        > elbowed Gwig aside and took a few steps closer to the brigand
        chief.
        >
        > "Thank you," she began, "it seems that…" The insult had hit
        > home. "Lardbiscuit?! Thou bull's pizzle! Only come closer and
        > I'll slap off thy beard! You who dare to talk to me this way, I'll
        > have you know I am eep!" Gwig, in a desperate bid to recapture the
        > floor and prevent the princess from revealing her identity had
        > reached over and given her a vigorous pinch with his thumb and
        > forefinger, provoking gales of raucous laughter from the raiders.
        >
        > "Well done Master Barbarian!" roared Barzac "But I see your
        > plumpkin is a spirited lass. I'll tell you what. Let us take her
        > off into the meadow and sample her charms and you may keep your
        > horses and baggage. Why she look to be enough girl to satisfy us
        > six at a time!" Jucunda blanched with real fear at this, while Gwig
        > stepped firmly between her and Barzac. With his back to the woods
        > he was still surrounded by robbers on horseback on the other three
        > sides.
        >
        > "You already have our horses and baggage. Count yourself
        > lucky and be gone." He stood stock still.
        >
        > "Stand aside, barbarian, or my men and I may decide to send
        > you early to Hell."
        >
        > "Mayhap you could accomplish that," Gwig replied, looking
        > each man in the eye, "but answer me this: Which five of you will be
        > accompanying me on the trip?" With one single motion and an icy
        > noise, his sword slid out of the scabbard on his back. He held the
        > two-handed blade with one hand for a moment, sinews standing out
        > like cords on his arm and then adopted a two-handed fihting stance,
        > one foot forward, arms cocked back to swing. The blade was so long
        > that it eliminated the horsemen's greater reach and it looked heavy
        > enough to cleave through a horse's forelimb, meat and bone.
        > Barzac's men looked uncertainly at their leader.
        >
        > "Huh." Barzac said at last, my physician has been telling me
        > that I need to cut down on pork in any case. Come men." And with
        > that, he turned his horse around and started walking it back the
        way
        > he had came. The man on foot led the travelers' horses away and
        > some of them caused their horses to walk backwards so that they
        > could keep an eye on Gwig and his sword, which remained at the
        > ready, his arm only beginning to tremble from the heft of it when
        > they were almost out of sight. At last he let it drop, wiped his
        > brow with a rag and said
        >
        > "Aye, looser of souls indeed, but twere lucky there was not
        > a bow among them, or I'd have been feathered for sure." It was all
        > too much for Jucunda to bear and she began to pummel him with
        > surprising strength about his chest and shoulders.
        >
        > "Lucky?!" the girl screamed, and let loose a stream of
        > invective containing a number of words that most princesses
        probably
        > did not know. "They have taken Buttercup! And our expense money!
        > And all of my garments!" She paused with the realization of further
        > losses "And my beautiful wedding dress, for which it was so hard to
        > find a seamstress (though it truth it did chafe a bit)! And my
        > dowry!" She howled as she slapped him.
        >
        > "Nay, princess, your dowry is here in my survival pack," he
        > said brightly, gesturing to his back, along with a small tent, some
        > dried venison, and the first third of my pay."
        >
        > "Your pay?!" she exploded, "I call it forfeit, for you have
        > done not a thing to earn it! Letting them call me "ladbiscuit"
        > and "plumpkin" and..and.." the outrage was almost too great to put
        > into words, "you pinched me! Tweaked like some village slattern!"
        > She aimed an especially viscous kick at his right shin, but her
        > slippered foot bounced off his hard leather riding boot.
        >
        > "Jucunda" he said in a commanding tone, taking hold of her
        > arms. It was the first time he had used her given name. "Primus: I
        > would hardly call offering to die to save thine honor a nothing,
        but
        > as far as my pay being forfeit, `tis true, for without our expense
        > money we must spend it to survive. Secundus: had I been alone,
        > mayhaps I would have fought thirteen brigands to the death for the
        > sheer sport of it, but I had your welfare to think of. Had I gone
        > down swinging, `twould have left one chubby princess against seven
        > or eight angry highwaymen. Tertius: that pinch were a stroke of
        > desperation to prevent you spending your wedding day being held for
        > ransom in a bandit camp eight days ride from home. We crossed the
        > border of your father's kingdom yesterday in case it scaped your
        > notice.!" She gingerly rubbed the area in question.
        >
        > "I'll grant you that last point, but I shall be black and
        > blue for a week. What are we to do now?" Gwig smiled at her
        > recovery of her composure.
        >
        > "We shall survive and I shall see you wed. But we shall be
        > on a tightened budget and for now we must perforce walk." Jucunda
        > smoothed the font of his tunic, rumpled from her blows, and stepped
        > away.
        >
        > "Very well then. And since we are about to become even more
        > intimate traveling companions than previously, you may as well call
        > me by the pet name by which I am known to my family and friends."
        >
        > "And what is that?"
        >
        > "Jucy." He gave her a toothy grin
        >
        > "Well then, Jucy, let us be off for Ghaspar."
        >
        > "A moment, Gwig." She said, sitting down on a large boulder
        > and smoothing out her dress. "I shall be much better able to walk
        > after I have had a good cry." And with that, she put her face in
        her
        > hands and sobbed like a child.
        >
      • Herod Antipas
        Sorry for the repost, but I noticed a few errors and fixed them. Please let me know what you think! H.A. Chapter 5 By Herod Antipas 2005 Stand and deliver!
        Message 3 of 4 , Dec 7, 2005
        • 0 Attachment
          Sorry for the repost, but I noticed a few errors and fixed them.
          Please let me know what you think!

          H.A.


          Chapter 5

          By Herod Antipas 2005

          "Stand and deliver!"

          It was the eighth day of the journey when disaster struck.
          The barbarian and the princess has dismounted to stretch their legs
          and were letting the horses graze in a meadow a short distance
          behind them. Gwig's sharp ears made out the sound of hoof beats
          behind them. When he turned to look he also heard men on horseback
          coming from around a bend in the road in front of them. The party
          of brigands, almost all mounted, numbered about twelve or thirteen.
          Their apparent leader was a thin scraggly-looking fellow with buck
          teeth, and it was he who had made this demand. A bandit on foot
          held the reins of his own horse, and also those of Buttercup and
          Gwig's smaller roan. Gwig said nothing, and Jucunda, for once, held
          her tongue.

          "You heard me, musclehead! Deliver your goods, for you
          stand at the mercy of Barzac, reaver of treasures and looser of
          souls! These are my men, Barzac's raiders, and I am Barzac
          himself." Gwig looked from one man to the next as if mentally
          trying their mettle, and with a lack of excitement which the
          brigands found unnerving.

          "I am Gwig." He said at last, standing his ground. In the
          silence which followed Jucunda coughed several times into her hand,
          and finally shot him a look of annoyance, offended that he had
          failed to introduce her as well. Gwig turned to her in
          disbelief. "Hold your tongue and let me handle this," He said in a
          stage whisper, through gritted teeth.

          "O ho Barbarian! Can't control thy woman?" Barzac
          taunted. "But gentlemen, we forget our manners," he said to the
          company at large, "Yon lardbiscuit wishes to speak." Jucunda
          elbowed Gwig aside and took a few steps closer to the brigand chief.

          "Thank you," she began, "it seems that…" The insult had hit
          home. "Lardbiscuit?! Thou bull's pizzle! Only come closer and
          I'll slap off thy beard! You who dare to talk to me this way, I'll
          have you know I am eep!" Gwig, in a desperate bid to recapture the
          floor and prevent the princess from revealing her identity had
          reached over and given her a vigorous pinch with his thumb and
          forefinger, provoking gales of raucous laughter from the raiders.

          "Well done Master Barbarian!" roared Barzac "But I see your
          plumpkin is a spirited lass. I'll tell you what. Let us take her
          off into the meadow and sample her charms and you may keep your
          horses and baggage. Why she look to be enough girl to satisfy us
          six at a time!" Jucunda blanched with real fear at this, while Gwig
          stepped firmly between her and Barzac. With his back to the woods
          he was still surrounded by robbers on horseback on the other three
          sides.

          "You already have our horses and baggage. Count yourself
          lucky and be gone." He stood stock still.

          "Stand aside, barbarian, or my men and I may decide to send
          you early to Hell."

          "Mayhap you could accomplish that," Gwig replied, looking
          each man in the eye, "but answer me this: Which five of you will be
          accompanying me on the trip?" With one single motion and an icy
          noise, his sword slid out of the scabbard on his back. He held the
          two-handed blade with one hand for a moment, sinews standing out
          like cords on his arm and then adopted a two-handed fihting stance,
          one foot forward, arms cocked back to swing. The blade was so long
          that it eliminated the horsemen's greater reach and it looked heavy
          enough to cleave through a horse's forelimb, meat and bone.
          Barzac's men looked uncertainly at their leader.

          "Huh." Barzac said at last, my physician has been telling me
          that I need to cut down on pork in any case. Come men." And with
          that, he turned his horse around and started walking it back the way
          he had came. The man on foot led the travelers' horses away and
          some of them caused their horses to walk backwards so that they
          could keep an eye on Gwig and his sword, which remained at the
          ready, his arm only beginning to tremble from the heft of it when
          they were almost out of sight. At last he let it drop, wiped his
          brow with a rag and said

          "Aye, looser of souls indeed, but twere lucky there was not
          a bow among them, or I'd have been feathered for sure." It was all
          too much for Jucunda to bear and she began to pummel him with
          surprising strength about his chest and shoulders.

          "Lucky?!" the girl screamed, and let loose a stream of
          invective containing a number of words that most princesses probably
          did not know. "They have taken Buttercup! And our expense money!
          And all of my garments!" She paused with the realization of further
          losses "And my beautiful wedding dress, for which it was so hard to
          find a seamstress (though it truth it did chafe a bit)! And my
          dowry!" She howled as she slapped him.

          "Nay, princess, your dowry is here in my survival pack," he
          said brightly, gesturing to his back, along with a small tent, some
          dried venison, and the first third of my pay."

          "Your pay?!" she exploded, "I call it forfeit, for you have
          done not a thing to earn it! Letting them call me "ladbiscuit"
          and "plumpkin" and..and.." the outrage was almost too great to put
          into words, "you pinched me! Tweaked like some village slattern!"
          She aimed an especially viscous kick at his right shin, but her
          slippered foot bounced off his hard leather riding boot.

          "Jucunda" he said in a commanding tone, taking hold of her
          arms. It was the first time he had used her given name. "Primus: I
          would hardly call offering to die to save thine honor a nothing, but
          as far as my pay being forfeit, `tis true, for without our expense
          money we must spend it to survive. Secundus: had I been alone,
          mayhaps I would have fought thirteen brigands to the death for the
          sheer sport of it, but I had your welfare to think of. Had I gone
          down swinging, `twould have left one chubby princess against seven
          or eight angry highwaymen. Tertius: that pinch were a stroke of
          desperation to prevent you spending your wedding day being held for
          ransom in a bandit camp eight days ride from home. We crossed the
          border of your father's kingdom yesterday in case it scaped your
          notice.!" She gingerly rubbed the area in question.

          "I'll grant you that last point, but I shall be black and
          blue for a week. What are we to do now?" Gwig smiled at her
          recovery of her composure.

          "We shall survive and I shall see you wed. But we shall be
          on a tightened budget and for now we must perforce walk." Jucunda
          smoothed the font of his tunic, rumpled from her blows, and stepped
          away.

          "Very well then. And since we are about to become even more
          intimate traveling companions than previously, you may as well call
          me by the pet name by which I am known to my family and friends."

          "And what is that?"

          "Jucy." He gave her a toothy grin

          "Well then, Jucy, let us be off for Ghaspar."

          "A moment, Gwig." She said, sitting down on a large boulder
          and smoothing out her dress. "I shall be much better able to walk
          after I have had a good cry." And with that, she put her face in her
          hands and sobbed like a child.
        • avalmistress@aol.com
          I love it. I love how you are showing a developing relationship....there is a gentle softness and understanding between the two characters that is very
          Message 4 of 4 , Dec 8, 2005
          • 0 Attachment
            I love it. I love how you are showing a developing relationship....there is a gentle softness and understanding between the two characters that is very warming to the heart.

            I like it alot..........thanks for your comments on my chapt 3 by the way.

            I hope to make some changes in the first 3 chaps and submit next week. I have completed my synopsis and cover letter as well.

            Thanks again,
            Christina-NC

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Herod Antipas <antippas@...>
            To: fantasyfictiondungeon@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Thu, 08 Dec 2005 02:22:53 -0000
            Subject: [Fantasy Fiction Dungeon] Chapter 5 of Jucy and the Barbarian


            Sorry for the repost, but I noticed a few errors and fixed them.
            Please let me know what you think!

            H.A.


            Chapter 5

            By Herod Antipas 2005

            "Stand and deliver!"

            It was the eighth day of the journey when disaster struck.
            The barbarian and the princess has dismounted to stretch their legs
            and were letting the horses graze in a meadow a short distance
            behind them. Gwig's sharp ears made out the sound of hoof beats
            behind them. When he turned to look he also heard men on horseback
            coming from around a bend in the road in front of them. The party
            of brigands, almost all mounted, numbered about twelve or thirteen.
            Their apparent leader was a thin scraggly-looking fellow with buck
            teeth, and it was he who had made this demand. A bandit on foot
            held the reins of his own horse, and also those of Buttercup and
            Gwig's smaller roan. Gwig said nothing, and Jucunda, for once, held
            her tongue.

            "You heard me, musclehead! Deliver your goods, for you
            stand at the mercy of Barzac, reaver of treasures and looser of
            souls! These are my men, Barzac's raiders, and I am Barzac
            himself." Gwig looked from one man to the next as if mentally
            trying their mettle, and with a lack of excitement which the
            brigands found unnerving.

            "I am Gwig." He said at last, standing his ground. In the
            silence which followed Jucunda coughed several times into her hand,
            and finally shot him a look of annoyance, offended that he had
            failed to introduce her as well. Gwig turned to her in
            disbelief. "Hold your tongue and let me handle this," He said in a
            stage whisper, through gritted teeth.

            "O ho Barbarian! Can't control thy woman?" Barzac
            taunted. "But gentlemen, we forget our manners," he said to the
            company at large, "Yon lardbiscuit wishes to speak." Jucunda
            elbowed Gwig aside and took a few steps closer to the brigand chief.

            "Thank you," she began, "it seems that?" The insult had hit
            home. "Lardbiscuit?! Thou bull's pizzle! Only come closer and
            I'll slap off thy beard! You who dare to talk to me this way, I'll
            have you know I am eep!" Gwig, in a desperate bid to recapture the
            floor and prevent the princess from revealing her identity had
            reached over and given her a vigorous pinch with his thumb and
            forefinger, provoking gales of raucous laughter from the raiders.

            "Well done Master Barbarian!" roared Barzac "But I see your
            plumpkin is a spirited lass. I'll tell you what. Let us take her
            off into the meadow and sample her charms and you may keep your
            horses and baggage. Why she look to be enough girl to satisfy us
            six at a time!" Jucunda blanched with real fear at this, while Gwig
            stepped firmly between her and Barzac. With his back to the woods
            he was still surrounded by robbers on horseback on the other three
            sides.

            "You already have our horses and baggage. Count yourself
            lucky and be gone." He stood stock still.

            "Stand aside, barbarian, or my men and I may decide to send
            you early to Hell."

            "Mayhap you could accomplish that," Gwig replied, looking
            each man in the eye, "but answer me this: Which five of you will be
            accompanying me on the trip?" With one single motion and an icy
            noise, his sword slid out of the scabbard on his back. He held the
            two-handed blade with one hand for a moment, sinews standing out
            like cords on his arm and then adopted a two-handed fihting stance,
            one foot forward, arms cocked back to swing. The blade was so long
            that it eliminated the horsemen's greater reach and it looked heavy
            enough to cleave through a horse's forelimb, meat and bone.
            Barzac's men looked uncertainly at their leader.

            "Huh." Barzac said at last, my physician has been telling me
            that I need to cut down on pork in any case. Come men." And with
            that, he turned his horse around and started walking it back the way
            he had came. The man on foot led the travelers' horses away and
            some of them caused their horses to walk backwards so that they
            could keep an eye on Gwig and his sword, which remained at the
            ready, his arm only beginning to tremble from the heft of it when
            they were almost out of sight. At last he let it drop, wiped his
            brow with a rag and said

            "Aye, looser of souls indeed, but twere lucky there was not
            a bow among them, or I'd have been feathered for sure." It was all
            too much for Jucunda to bear and she began to pummel him with
            surprising strength about his chest and shoulders.

            "Lucky?!" the girl screamed, and let loose a stream of
            invective containing a number of words that most princesses probably
            did not know. "They have taken Buttercup! And our expense money!
            And all of my garments!" She paused with the realization of further
            losses "And my beautiful wedding dress, for which it was so hard to
            find a seamstress (though it truth it did chafe a bit)! And my
            dowry!" She howled as she slapped him.

            "Nay, princess, your dowry is here in my survival pack," he
            said brightly, gesturing to his back, along with a small tent, some
            dried venison, and the first third of my pay."

            "Your pay?!" she exploded, "I call it forfeit, for you have
            done not a thing to earn it! Letting them call me "ladbiscuit"
            and "plumpkin" and..and.." the outrage was almost too great to put
            into words, "you pinched me! Tweaked like some village slattern!"
            She aimed an especially viscous kick at his right shin, but her
            slippered foot bounced off his hard leather riding boot.

            "Jucunda" he said in a commanding tone, taking hold of her
            arms. It was the first time he had used her given name. "Primus: I
            would hardly call offering to die to save thine honor a nothing, but
            as far as my pay being forfeit, `tis true, for without our expense
            money we must spend it to survive. Secundus: had I been alone,
            mayhaps I would have fought thirteen brigands to the death for the
            sheer sport of it, but I had your welfare to think of. Had I gone
            down swinging, `twould have left one chubby princess against seven
            or eight angry highwaymen. Tertius: that pinch were a stroke of
            desperation to prevent you spending your wedding day being held for
            ransom in a bandit camp eight days ride from home. We crossed the
            border of your father's kingdom yesterday in case it scaped your
            notice.!" She gingerly rubbed the area in question.

            "I'll grant you that last point, but I shall be black and
            blue for a week. What are we to do now?" Gwig smiled at her
            recovery of her composure.

            "We shall survive and I shall see you wed. But we shall be
            on a tightened budget and for now we must perforce walk." Jucunda
            smoothed the font of his tunic, rumpled from her blows, and stepped
            away.

            "Very well then. And since we are about to become even more
            intimate traveling companions than previously, you may as well call
            me by the pet name by which I am known to my family and friends."

            "And what is that?"

            "Jucy." He gave her a toothy grin

            "Well then, Jucy, let us be off for Ghaspar."

            "A moment, Gwig." She said, sitting down on a large boulder
            and smoothing out her dress. "I shall be much better able to walk
            after I have had a good cry." And with that, she put her face in her
            hands and sobbed like a child.








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