Excerpt from "Manglorious, King of the Seas" (1977)

As the pimp's blood oozed across the bar Manglorious put his arm around the serving girl's shoulder and grasped the golden hair at the nape of her neck. "Now, I believe I have a prize to claim." He planted a savage kiss on her full, enticing lips.

Celidh slumped on her stool and pouted as barbarian and maid disappeared behind the beaded curtain. She brushed back one of the red-gold curls that fell in front of her eyes. "At every town — another, and another, and another. Sometimes I wonder what I am to him. Sister-in-arms? A convenience? Or something even less?"

She was startled out of her funk by Thorkald's booming laugh. "Buck up, wench!" His huge hands gave the warrioress's pert rump a meaty thwack that echoed through the tavern.

"You're a comely lass, to be sure, more than enough to turn the head of any farmer or merchant or prince. Some priests too, I'd wager." The burly northman reached over the dead pimp and helped himself to a jug of grog from the shelf behind the bar. He took a long swig and wiped the spill from his scraggly gray beard.

He lifted Celidh's chin with a thick finger. "But those are mere men. He is the man. The Manglorious. It is not a name, it is a title, one won through years of battle, by becoming all that a man can be — all a man should be." He flipped over the pimp's body and gave an annoyed grunt when an experimental poke at his coin purse made no noise.

"A man like that craves one thing, the spoils of victory, gold and glory and plunder and rape. What chance do you have against every other woman in the world, winsome and wanton and waiting — nay, willing! — to be despoiled? New prizes to be won, novelties a thousand times more appealing than a well-worn scabbard used many times before?"

Celidh could take it no more. She rose and turned to leave, tears glistening in her cerulean eyes, only to be stopped when Thorkald laid a powerful hand on her shoulder.

"What do you have to offer such a paragon? A life of adventure? That he has already! Would you drag him back to Hyrkania and make a pig farmer of him? That would be death to one such as him — and the end of everything in him you find attractive. Take your joy from him when you can and thank your lucky stars you have known the most glorious of men more than once."

With a mighty grunt he tossed Celidh into the air. She gave a girlish shriek as he caught her in his manly arms.

Thorkald looked down at the curious expression on her freckled face and broke into a lecherous grin. "Besides, I think you'll find the consolation prize quite acceptable."

It wasn't long before Celidh's troubles were forgotten.

Comments (0)

No comments have been posted for this article yet.

    Post A Comment