Being An Accounte of the Relationships Gained, Lost and Bartered Upon the Opening Day of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire by Phillipus
“GOD SAVE THE QUEEN!”
These were the words my lads and I had travelled for over two hours to hear, two hours of vicious currents, man-eating sharks, and stale, inedible breakfast foods. But as this accounte shall tell, we gladly diced with the Devil to arrive at yon Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, being just several kilometers beyond the borders of the shire of Lancaster, in this, the Year of Our Lord 2008.
Some early words of mutiny and vile oaths were made upon being required to await entrance for over one hour, but entrance being ultimately made we drew our cutlasses, charged our flintlocks and made sure our cell phones were on “Vibrate”. THIS was the event we longed for – The Faire. Where men are manly and wenches are…um…wenches.
Moving with both haste and stealth, as the Queen’s Guard well remembered our black exploits of years past, we arrived within several minutes at the Queen’s Merchant’s Way, where we were set upon by that roving horde of dancers-of-the-belly known as “The Belly Dancers”. We fought the valiant fight, ’tis truth, but in the end went down swinging amidst the clamour of finger cymbals and jingling coin-belts. As well, I reacquainted myself with Lliana, the Mistress of this foul brood, who upon pain of death extracted a promise of meet from yours truly.
Recovering from this impromptu attack, I thought it prudent to stash the lads where no harm would come to them. Although Anticus is in his majority and is showing definite signs of following his Father’s ways with the weaker gender, young Mad Mike had no such advantage, being not quite 10 and 2 years of age. Thereupon I stashed the lads in the closest tavern, with 10 pieces-of-eight each and a stern warning to watch for watered-down libations.
Little Nelly and King Lear
Having divested myself of innocents, I proceeded with my plan to lay waste every wench whose path crossed mine, or die trying. As soon as this thought formed I spied Little Nelly bouncing up the path, a radiant smile appearing on her face as she began to call my name. Fearing the attentions of one of the many mercenaries present that day in the Shire, I quickly hushed her exclamation with my lips. Thank Neptune she had experienced this disciplinary action many, many times before and thus did not react in an untoward manner.
Leaving Little Nelly to compose herself I strode East toward the Globe Theater, where my ears detected the sounds of merriment. ‘Twas “King Lear” being acted out upon yonder stage, a favorite of your author’s, but time was of the essence on this mission. Turning South after 12 paces, I came upon Constance the Herbalist, a Lady Fair who had upon prior occasions administered just the right touch of solace to bring me back among the living. Feeling the need for such sustenance once again, I announced myself at the entryway of her small sod-covered hut. Lady Constance flew into my leather-clad arms, ravishing this Privateer with her attentions as the jealous customers slowly left the area.
“Three down”, thought I, “and Neptune only knows how many more to go!” Tearing myself from m’lady’s grasping hands and heaving bodice, I made haste for my next port of call – the Drench-A-Wench pit. I was sure I’d make many more re-connections at this venue, and as it proved I was not disappointed. Lady D, Merriweather, Kat (#4) and Lady Snow were all engaged in this, the favoured sport of Kings and knaves alike. When once they spied my countenance a general hue and cry went up as they all rushed to my position on the North side of the Pit. As they were until that moment engaged in the Sport they were still covered in soap and water, which they managed to convey upon this Pyrate in a most amusing and goodly-received manner.
Time to check on the powder monkeys thought I, so I away to the Bull and Boar Tavern to check upon my progeny. There they were, images of their Pater, drunk as skunks and with a wench on each arm. I silently stole to their table as they were regaling the lasses with tales of daring-do and deposited yet more shillings in their purse – it would do them until the closing ceremonies, of that, I was assured.
Leaving the tavern I made greetings with Lord Po, an old acquaintance with whom I had shared many battles, among which not the least memorable was the infamous War of the Rogues, where so many of our comrades fell to the massed fire of proper female types. As we recalled our days of glory, Po suddenly turned and exclaimed, “Phillipus, I see that Kat is calling you – best not keep her waiting – you KNOW how she is!” Saying this, Po made a rapid exit through a vendor stall and I was left alone wondering exactly WHICH Kat this was. Be it known that in Faire, one of every seven wenches is named Kat, Katt, Cat or some derivative thereof, so your beleaguered scribe knew not whether this was Kat of the Milk Baths, Katt of the Gentle Flogger or Cat of the Sharp Pointies.
Cat of the Sharp Pointies
Neptune be Damned!!! ‘Twere Cat of the Sharp Pointies, so named for her bodice which, being custom-crafted by leather-and-iron workers of years experience in order to contain her voluminous assets, yet had palisades of sharp metal points sticking hither-and-yon about the circumference of her bosom. “Give me a hug, Lover!” she bellowed as the crowds quickly parted. They knew better than to make stand betwixt Cat and her intended prey. Since I was in mortal danger of becoming impaled upon said sharp pointies, my mind split: run, or admit defeat? Cat was coming ever nearer, the battle-points brilliantly reflecting the mid-day sun like so many stacked Spanish cutlasses. Discretion being the better part of Valor, I chose to beat my heels and live to embrace Cat yet another day. Her screamed oaths ensured that there WOULD be another day, whether to my liking or not.
I was, as you may surmise, 7 up and 1 down at this point. Most would have been happy but not Phillipus! “Take what you want – leave nothing behind” has been my motto since childhood, and it stood me in good stead yet again. As I ruminated upon my next attack who but Lady Cheryl should appear before me like a wraith wrapped tightly in black cloth, her mystical eyes and elvish mouth giving a clue of intent along with her sinuous movement in my direction. Unlike Cat, no words needed uttering between us – we picked up where we had left off 3 years before, melting into one another in ways both familiar yet newly exciting. Falling through the fathoms of passion, we ignored the mass of unwashed humanity about us as we took, as only feral animals can, until we could indeed take no more. Lying spent upon the grass beneath the shade of a towering oak, Lady Cheryl began to hesitantly whisper in my ear a missive seemingly most urgent, concerning a long-term relationship with Your Humble Narrator and how we could SO easily become…
“Turkey Legs!” I yelled as I regained my boot-clad feet and flew to the vendor stall offering said foodstuff. There she was, all moist and clammy with her silken blouses sticking to her like seaweed to an oar. “Beloved” I uttered in a low, dangerous voice. Her sudden jump and turn pleased me no end, as it meant she remembered her rightful Lord and Master. Ignoring the peons lined up like geese in a market, she tripped over to me at the far end of the counter and breathlessly asked “My Lord – what pleases you upon this Day?”
I made her delirious with my silence over the next several seconds, until I decided to give her relief by ordering “Legs – two of ’em – spread ’em – NOW!”, this last word being used in such a manly and awe-inspiring fashion that the poor girl could do naught but leap to obey. She nervously yanked two of the meaty turkey legs off the spit and, wrapping them separately rather than together as was the general custom, returned to me in a wink of an eye. “Does this please m’Lord?” she begged of me. I flipped her a sovereign along with my best rogue smile and dashed off to pick up the lads, this now being seven o’ the clock and the tide waiting for us eagerly.
The booty from this raid? In total, 8 to the Goode; 1 to the Poore; and 1 (Lady Cheryl) Undecided. My boys had similar successes, albeit of course with smaller numbers. Yet their enthusiasm and techniques made me proud, and as we Pyrates Three strutted ourselves to the gangway we broke into song…
There are those who feign enjoyment
From merciless employment
This condition was their deployment
From the minute they left the school
Now they save and scrape and ponder
While the rest go out and squander
See the world and roam and wander
And we’re happier as a rule
There are sober men a-plenty
And drunkards barely twenty
There are men of over ninety
Who have never yet kissed a girl
Give me a ramblin’ rover
From Orkney down to Dover
We will roam the country over
Together we’ll face the world
GOD SAVE THE QUEEN! HUZZAH! HUZZAH! HUZZAH!