This to Rix’s commission
Reynard loved telling stories. He had, in more than one town, earned his supper (and, more often than not, a place in a bed or three) telling tales – fairy tales, sometimes, tales of the days that had been, horror stories of the war.
He told them all the same, fiction and truth – he told them as prettily as possible, made them as engaging as he could, and embellished where he needed to to make the story flow.
He thought, perhaps, in this situation, he ought to keep the embellishment to a minimum. But that didn’t mean he couldn’t make the story interesting.
After all, he wanted this woman to like him, didn’t he?
I’ve enjoyed it – my Name – truth be told (he continued), and everything that it entails. I’ve had fun being the innocent-looking one, the sweet boy, the harmless guy.
And I’ve had fun in those moments where they find out that that is most definitely not the case. Quite a bit of fun, actually. I’ve even had fun – perhaps the most fun – running from the scene of the crime with my pants in one hand and my sword in the other.
Ah, I’ve done that a few times.
I’ve run a few cons in my time, but, for the most part, my crimes have been of the more sensual nature – who am I to say no, if a lady or a gentleman wants me in their bed for the night or the week? The nights are cold, and the road is hard.
So when I moved into that town – I don’t remember the name. It had a wall around it, but most towns do these days, don’t they? It had doors painted in wild colors and houses painted in grey. And it had the prettiest mayor I’ve ever seen, a dark-haired lady with warm brown skin and a laugh like you wouldn’t believe.
She wasn’t married, and it wasn’t one of the Super Christian God Will Save Us From The Fairies places, so I didn’t see any problem with sliding into her henhouse, if you’ll forgive the metaphor. And that was actually going quite well for me for a while.
And then there was this boy, the town cobbler. He had the big wide shoulders and the big strong hands… and he was quite a bit of fun with his shirt off, too.
And he wasn’t married either, and, like I said, it wasn’t the most Christian town in the world, so I didn’t see any problem. And that was actually going pretty well for a while, too.
And then there was this young lady, with the bluest eyes I’d ever seen, and she was engaged, but he didn’t pay her much attention and she had plenty of love to go around.
So that was about a month in, and then there was this gorgeous blonde woman who came to town in a wagon with about seven other people – a travelling caravan – and there, somewhere in there, I missed a step or someone threw a monkey wrench in my dance.
One way or the other, the mayor found out about the blonde lady, and she found out about the cobbler, and he found out about the blue-eyed girl… and this peaceful little town was all over shouting and yelling.
I like shouting and yelling, I admit it. I like the chaos – some say I thrive on it. It’s fun.
(Here he ducked his head and smiled, hoping it was sweet and innocent.)
And so everyone shouting was just as fun for me as all the love-making and bedroom games. Quite fun. And so I would talk to one and then talk to another, fueling the flames, and maybe I let them catch me in the middle of a delicate situation with the baker’s son. And it was all, let me tell you ma’am, far more fun than maybe ought to have been.
So I kept it going and kept it going – and then this pretty – no this gorgeous thing, redheaded woman with, you know, the way you can’t tell with fae if they’re twenty or a thousand but she was solid iron under her freckles.
And she said to me “I’m sorry. I’m sorry, but we can’t have this sort of nonsense right now.” That’s all she said. I mean, I asked questions, and I denied it, and I played innocent. I’m very good at playing innocent, ma’am.
But that’s all she said to me. The rest was her guy. She stepped aside, and he…
…ma’am, I’ve been beat down, and it was never like that. I’ve been punished, and it was never like that. I’ve gotten in fights, hell, when I had to, or when I felt just that chaotic.
This guy destroyed me. And then he got me on my knees, and he gave me a choice.
He looked up at her and tried to swallow. “And that’s how I ended up Belonging to a terrifying mass of muscle, ma’am.”
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