Squire

I started writing this as a 1,000 words post but it needed more room to breathe. I hope you like it. -B.

“Heaven forgive me my sins this day. Let the mother of all shine her light on this pennitent soul…”

The squire listened to the soft pleas of the knight as he washed the gore from an axe. Only recently had the young squire been allowed to handle the knight’s weapon and he was amazed by the heft of it. The man who was his knight had swung the axe in battle that day, drunk with anger and under the banner of his King he had killed men whose sins were no blacker than his own. The squire had remained far from the front in the safety of a captured town. He had been coaxing kisses from the baker boy when the knight returned with the first wave of the victorious. The squire’s heart gave a sharp jolt when he saw the hulking man returning from across the camp with his shoulders slumped and his heavy axe laid slack over his left shoulder.

In the beginning the squire didn’t understand why the knight seemed so distraught. One of the first days of his apprenticeship, the squire worked up the courage to ask the knight why such a famous warrior should seem so defeated by success. The knight answered with the back of his hand and the bruise the squire wore for a week was the badge of his naiveté. He had earned others in the interim and with time those beatings chipped away the indignation that the squire felt about being handled roughly by a man whose birth was lesser than his own. In total, the knight was a decent man: tolerant if not patient, fair if not kind, and brutal when brutality was called for.

The squire, being from a house of some repute, had once thought to embarrass the knight and challenged him with fencing steels. The squire was a champion fencer and he knew that the knight, being from more provincial means, would not have had extensive training with the weapon. The knight accepted the challenge and as soon as the bout began, the knight hurled his weapon at the young squire and charged him. The squire, not used to such direct combat, flinched as the weapon hurtled toward him and all at once it was over. The knight wrestled the younger man’s steel away from him and bashed the side of his head with it. The squire’s ear was badly injured and his hearing somewhat damaged. The squire had grown his hair long to hide his injuries in the months it took to heal.

“Heaven protect me from my wrath. Steel me from my inquity. Defend me from hatefulness…”

The squire ran an oiled cloth across the surface of the axe once he had rinsed the blood, hair, and viscera from the weapon. He noted the nicks and scratches along its double-edges and thought of taking the weapon to the army’s travelling smith. He would ask the knight first, of course, lest he earn another clout. He took great care finishing the maintenance of the axe, which was the knight’s primary weapon and then after a final inspection, hung it on a rack above the fireplace.

The little wooden house they were staying in was not theirs. It had been taken from a couple whose intentions had been to hold on to it. The man had foolishly responded with anger once the knight explained to him that his house and lands were forfeit by order of the king. That anger earned him more than just a clout on the ear. Either way, the house was no longer inhabited and they would hold it until the army once again began its slow, bloody march across the country.

The knight made himself comfortable in the bedroom and the squire made do with a bear skin on the floor. He had won in a fistfight with another squire. Though he slept on the floor, he slept warmer and more comfortably than many other people in the town. There was a big blond beast of a squire who could swing a war hammer harder and faster than most soliders, but he slept out by the town’s well in the cold despite his bullish strength. His knight was a cruel sot who resented his squire’s battle prowess. Or at least that’s what was said.

“Heaven save me. Heaven save me. Heaven save me…”

The squire put some more wood in the fireplace and placed a pot full of water on a metal hook hanging over the flame. He would make a stew tonight to feed them along with some bread fetched off of the baker’s boy. The baker’s apprentice wasn’t his son. He was a boy who had been rescued from the street corner by the kind-hearted baker who willing to take a (nearly) talentless youth into his business, his house, and his bed. Still the baker’s boy preferred friends of his own age and had taken a liking to the effervescent squire of the sullen knight.

The squire used his little dagger to cut the salt beef for the stew and the carrots into ragged chunks. He peeled the potatoes and threw them into the boiling water as well. A few vegetables and chicken bones for consistency.

He was getting ready to sweep the floor when he heard the knight’s call.

“Boy.”

The squire leaned the broom against the wall and went inside the bedroom to find his knight sitting on the edge of the massive bed at the center of the room. He was dressed in some of the clothes of the previous owner of the house, a dark brown set of smooth cotton pants and a loose white shirt with both sleeves rolled up.

Once the knight might have been handsome, before his face became a patchwork of battle refuse. A gouge in his cheek had healed poorly, his nose was a hatch pattern of old, darkened scars. His forearms were massive and scarred. His hair was shorn at the edge of a knife instead of between the blades of a scissor and his gait held all the old pains of a career soldier.

The man sitting at the edge of the bed was impressive, but no one had called him beautiful in a long time.

“My axe?”

The same question every night. “Clean. Oiled. Nicked on either side, I would take it to the smith if you will it, sir.”

The knight grunted his assent. The squire stood there for a moment with both hands behind his back and waited patiently for further questions or instructions, when none were forthcoming he turned to leave.

“Boy.”

“Sir?”

“Whose faith do you keep?”

It was the most personal question the knight had ever asked. It was disarming, but after well over a year of obedient service, the squire answered without hesitation. “My mother’s, sir. The Virgin and the Sword.”

“And do you pray?”

“These days? Rarely, sir. I have…lapsed in my faith over the years.” The squire felt a pang of guilt and a flush down his neck. His mouth began drying up.

The knight grunted. The squire had grown used to reading those noises, but this one was ambiguous. There was silence for a time and then the knight began speaking. “No one can make you a man, boy. Not me. Not the gods. And a man is more than killing or honor. I don’t expect you to understand.”

“What makes a man then?” The squire asked.

“They say intuition is the work of women. I say they are fools. Intuition wedded with courage is the closest I’ve come to being the man I should be. But like the axe, these things dull with disuse.”

The conversation lapsed again. The knight just sat on the bed in his purloined clothing and stared at the wall as if it had secrets to unravel. The squire wet his lips and stepped forward. This was the moment. It had to be now.

He touched the knight’s shoulder and the bigger man looked up at him. The knight’s eyes were dark brown and impenetrable in the candlelight.

“I’ve watched you, sir. As closely as you’ve watched me. I think you need someone.”

The knight didn’t respond. He just sat there staring at the squire until the younger man questioned whether he had overstepped his bounds. He moved to take his hand away, but the knight reached up and snatched the hand so fast that the squire startled. The knight stared at his hand for a time and said, “an unscarred, unbloodied thing you are. Still soft and handsome. War will ruin you, boy. At dawn or at dusk, war will ruin you.”

The squire brought his other hand down and cupped the knight’s hand. “Maybe, but we’re here right now.”

The knight finally looked up and extended an arm to stroke the squire’s hair. The white-blond strands filtered through his dark, heavy hands. He trailed down the squire’s cheek with his rough finger tips and outlined the squire’s lips, lifting the trace of spit from the young man’s skin. Finally he nodded.

The squire took a step back and lifted his linen shirt up over his head. The knight’s features were impassive but his eyes were rapt. He scanned the squire’s flesh with sublime concentration.

Then the squire unlaced his breeches and let them fall. The knight’s face changed. Whatever he had held back came loose in an instant and the knight went from the edge of the bed to his knees in a motion that was not quite falling but not completely intentional either. He brought his hands to either side of the squire’s hips and stared at the quickening organ between his apprentice’s legs. It was half hard and growing harder, sturdy already and reddish at the head. A pearl of need coalesced at the tip.

The knight looked up at the squire whose eyes were half-open, his face twisted with anticipation. The knight stretched his neck and opened his mouth, his tongue played across the very edge of the squire’s cock and tasted him. The blond shuddered and his skin broke into goosebumps.

“Are you alright —”

“Yes. Don’t stop, please, sir.”

“I won’t.”

And he didn’t. The knight continued forward, taking the head into his mouth. The sensation was almost too much to bear. It had been too long since the knight had been with a man or woman. The realization of all that time past brought heat and moisture to his eyes and he blinked them back as he coaxed the squire’s full hardness further into his mouth.

The squire watched through lidded eyes while the knight’s mouth slowly enveloped him. The older man’s mouth was hot and wet, but his motions were extremely deliberate. It was nothing like the baker’s boy whose playful ministrations were driven by mischief and lust. This was slow and calculating and reverent. The knight licked at the squire’s cock and worked it deeper until it had slid to the hilt. The knight coughed as it blocked his breathing, but diligently kept the organ planted for a moment while the squire moaned and cursed.

“Gods. Stay, just like that. Just a moment, sir, please, sir.”

The knight grasped at the squire’s hips and began urging him back and forward. The squire took the hint and began gently rocking his hips fucking his cock into the knight’s mouth and throat. A hot, wild thrill of pleasure shot up the squire’s prick and spread warm into the rest of his body. He could not have imagined this. He could not have predicted it. It felt right.

The knight gasped and gagged, but kept pulling the squire forward just the same. The smell of his squire’s sweat and arousal filled the knight’s nose as it brushed up against his feathery crotch hairs. The knight’s head felt light as much from the monstruousness of his need as from the obstruction of his breathing. A thick indentation his cotton pants telegraphed the intensity of his desire. When the knight reached down to attend himself he found his cock twitching, sensitive and already closer to orgasm than he’d thought possibly. Half consciously he’d been thrusting his own hips, grinding his erection against the front of his pants while sucking his squire, he reminded himself to be careful lest he arrive too early. He needn’t have worried, the squire was red-faced and sweating. He was mumbling incoherently and he was thrusting recklessly into the knight’s mouth.

The larger man tried to accommodate his apprentice’s wild gyrations, but he found himself pulling away. As the knight caught a breath, the squire’s hand went to his own cock.

“I’m going to —” the squire announced, “I’m sorry. I’m going to.”

“Do it now, boy.”

“Sir, yes—”

The knight opened his mouth and the squire leaned forward and began quivering as he unloaded in thick splashes across the knight’s face, into his mouth, on his chin, and into his dark hair. The squire’s hard, wracking orgasm was all the knight needed to spark his own and in a moment he began emptying his balls in powerful blasts and groaning low in his throat and he licked the fresh seed from his lips and swallowed.

Both men were still in the darkness afterward. The candles in the room had guttered out and the only light was from the half-moon outside the window. Both of their chests heaved and the scent of sex and sweat permeated the room. Both men were silent.

The knight got to his feet and stood face-to-face with his squire. He made no attempt to hide his dripping half-erection. The squire, though somewhat embarassed of his nudity, did the same.

“You’ve done me a great service, Horatio,” said the knight. “I owe you a debt.”

It was the first time that the knight had ever called him by his name.

“There is no debt between us for this, sir. It was not owed, it was given freely and greatly enjoyed.”

The knight raised an eyebrow. “You would discard a boon from a knight of the King’s Service?”

“I would sooner have your friendship, sir.”

The knight blinked at that and the squire couldn’t help but take in the size of him. The veritable mountain of a man could crush him easily and be done. To call such a man his friend? The squire almost retracted his statement, but then he saw something that he had never considered possible. The knight smiled. It was a true smile, not just an upturned corner of the mouth in wry, cynical amusement, but a genuine smile that was white and unbroken with a crooked molar that made him look boyish of a sudden.

“You’ll make a fine knight some day soon, Horatio.” His smile faded then. “An admirable pity.”

The knight shook his head as if dispelling some thought and tried another smile, this one was smaller, more reserved, no teeth. The sadness had already crept back in.

“Until then, you have dinner to make and I have a battle to plan for.” It was as gentle a dismissal as the squire had ever received.

“Yes, sir,” the squire said, and began collecting his clothing.

Once he was dressed, he left the room and closed the door behind him, in the last instant catching the knight returned to his bedside on his knees and folding his hands in prayer.

“Heaven forgive me my sins this day…”

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