Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 48
The musicians changed their song, and several more friends of Godfrey’s appeared. They came over, joined them in a fresh round of drinks, and led Godfrey away, back into the crowd.
“I will see you later, young man,” Godfrey said to Reece, before leaving. Then he turned to Thor: “Hopefully you’ll spend more time in the alehouse!”
“Hopefully you’ll spend more time on the battlefield,” Kendrick called back.
“I very much doubt that!” Godfrey said and roared with laughter with the rest of his compatriots, as he disappeared into the crowd.
“Do they always celebrate like this?” Thor asked Reece.
“Godfrey? He’s been in the alehouse since he could walk. A disappointment to my father. But he’s happy with himself.”
“No, I mean the King’s men. The Legion. Is there always a trip to the alehouse?”
Reece shook his head.
“Today is a special day. The first hunt, and the summer solstice. This doesn’t happen that often. Enjoy it while it does.”
Thor was feeling increasingly disoriented as he looked around the room. This was not where he wanted to be. He wanted to be back in the barracks, training. And his thoughts drifted, once again, to Gwendolyn.
“Did you get a good look at him?” Kendrick asked, as he came up to Thor.
Thor looked at him, puzzled.
“The man in the woods, who shot the arrow?” Kendrick added.
The others crowded around close, trying to hear as the mood grew serious.
Thor tried again to remember, but he could not. Everything was fuzzy.
“I wish I did,” he said. “It all happened so fast.”
“Maybe it was just one of the King’s other men, shooting in our direction by accident,” O’Connor said.
Thor shook his head.
“He wasn’t dressed like the others. He wore all black, and a cloak and hood. And he only shot one arrow, aimed right for Kendrick, then disappeared. I’m sorry. I wish I saw more.”
Kendrick shook his head, trying to think.
“Who would want you dead?” Reece asked Kendrick.
“Was it an assassin?” O’Connor asked.
Kendrick shrugged. “I have no enemies that I know of.”
“But Father has many,” Reece said. “Maybe someone wants to kill you to get to him.”
“Or maybe someone wants you out of the way for the throne,” Elden postulated.
“But that’s absurd! I’m illegitimate! I cannot inherit the throne!”
While they all shook their heads, sipping their ale and trying to figure it out, there came another shout in the room, and all the men’s attention turned toward the staircase leading upstairs. Thor looked up and saw a string of women walk out of an upper hallway, stand by a banister, and look down at the room. They were all scantily dressed and wore too much makeup.
“Well, hello, men!” called the lady in front, with a large bosom and wearing a red lace outfit.
The men cheered.
“Who’s got money to spend tonight?” she asked.
The men cheered again.
Thor’s eyes opened wide in surprise.
“Is this also a brothel?” he asked.
The others turned and looked at him in stunned silence, then all broke into laughter.
“My God, you are naïve, aren’t you!” Conval said.
“Tell me you’ve never been to a brothel?” Conven said.
“I bet he’s never been with a woman!” Elden said.
Thor felt them all looking at him, and he felt his face turn red as a beet. He wanted to disappear. They were right: he had never been with a woman. But he would never tell them that. He wondered if it was obvious from his face.
Before he could respond, one of the twins reached up, clasped a firm hand on his back, and threw a gold coin up to the woman on the stairs.
“I believe you have your first customer!” he yelled.
The room cheered, and Thor, despite his pushing and pulling and resisting, felt himself shoved forward by dozens of men, through the crowd and up the staircase. As he went, his mind filled with thoughts of Gwen. Of how much he loved her. Of how he didn’t want to be with anyone else.
He wanted to turn and run. But there was literally no escape. Dozens of the biggest men he had ever seen shoved him forward, and did not allow retreat. Before he knew it, he was up the steps, on the landing, staring at a woman taller than he, who wore too much perfume and smiled down at him. Making matters worse, Thor was drunk. The room was positively spinning out of control, and he felt that in another moment he would collapse.
The woman reached down, pulled Thor’s shirt, led him firmly into a room, and slammed the door behind them. Thor was determined not to be with her. He held in his mind thoughts of Gwen, forcing them to the front. This was not how he wanted his first experience to be.
But his mind was not listening. He was so drunk, he could barely see now. And the last thing he remembered, before he blacked out, was being led across the room, toward a lady’s bed, and hoping he made it before he hit the floor.