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This is based on a true story that happened to my friends and me at a regional Renaissance Faire. I didn’t intend for this story to be quite as long as it is (to get right to the ‘good’ scene, skip to the middle of page 2); however, some stories write themselves. Enjoy!
Dierdre laughed to herself as she surveyed herself in the mirror.
“What do you think?” she asked her friend Ciara, who stood nearby donning her own outfit.
“I think you’d better put sunscreen on those, girl, or you’re going to have crispy cleavage for weeks.”
“Probably so,” Dierdre agreed, looking straight down at her jiggling chest. Her 36D breasts were nearly pouring over the top of the corset that made up a good portion of her costume. She wandered to the bathroom to get her sunblock.
Dierdre and Ciara, best friends who shared an apartment, were preparing for an annual ritual – the local Renaissance Faire. They, along with another girl, Maeve, had been going to this particular fair since they were 15 – seven years now – and somewhere along the line they had decided that dressing up was more fun than going as regular citizens. Because they all had distinctly Irish names, they decided to go as the three different original settlers of Ireland: the Firbolg or working class, the Milesians or warrior class, and the Tuatha de Danaan or priestly class. They weren’t distinctly ‘classes,’ of course, but the girls had been forced to say they were to sort out the different costumes.
The original plan had been to rotate who played which role each year, but after the second year, they decided it was too much effort to remember who played what the year before and settled on permanent roles. Ciara instantly chose to play the wispy, willowy Tuatha de Danaan character, who wore flowing semi-transparent robes and had a wreath of flowers in her hair; Maeve selected the Milesian role and was thrilled to get to dress up in leather and carry weapons (privately, Ciara and Dierdre thought that it was a sort of female penis envy, as Maeve was a tiny girl); and Dierdre was perfectly happy playing the Firbolg wench, who dressed to offset her ample bosom and flirted with every guy who passed.
Dierdre smiled to herself as she applied sunscreen to her chest. She loved the fact that she was single – most of the actors who worked these fairs were just as dirty-minded as herself and Ciara, and she loved having the opportunity to make passes at handsome men her own age. Ciara was single, too; but Maeve had a boyfriend this year.
“Hey, when you’re done, can I borrow some of that?” Ciara asked from the other room. Even though her robes were long, they were quite thin and Ciara burned easily.
“Sure,” Dierdre yelled back. “I think I’ll bring it with us, just in case Maeve forgets hers again.”
Maeve was famous for being ditzy.
“Probably a good idea.”
In due time, the girls were done, and they happily meandered out to Dierdre’s car. They were meeting Maeve at the fair and knew they were going to be late, but they didn’t really care. When they pulled up to the fairgrounds and made it to the castle keep, Maeve was waiting.
“Hey, can I borrow your sunscreen?” she asked Dierdre in greeting. Dierdre reached into her coin purse and handed it to her with a sigh. “Thanks.”
Maeve slathered the cream over her body as they headed for the ticket booth. Even though the fair had already been open 20 minutes, there was still a line. Patrolling the line were some of the actors, including a young man whom Dierdre and Ciara instantly spotted. He was shorter – maybe 5’6”, and had sandy blond hair and an infectious grin. He was dressed in a black and tan kilt and tan sleeveless shirt and had a sack slung over his shoulder. A large sword hung down at his side, and, given the strength the girls could see in his arms, he was well able to wield it.
“Check him out,” Ciara whispered to Dierdre.
“I know, and he’s your height,” she responded. “Maeve, see him?”
“Who? Where?” Maeve answered, standing on tiptoes. “Oh, well. I can’t flirt today anyway. Ron wouldn’t like it if I did, and I’d have to tell him.”
Dierdre and Ciara rolled their eyes.
“He’s coming for us!” Ciara squealed before becoming more sober so she could act innocently surprised.
“Good dae, m’ladies,” the boy greeted them. “You dinnae think I was gonna let such beautiful lasses pass me by, did ye?”
“I suppose not,” Dierdre answered for all the girls. Somehow, she always became the leader. “Pleased to meet you.”
“Nae, the pleasure is all mine,” the obvious Scotsman answered as he made a sweeping bow. “William McLeod, at your service, and your names are?”
“Dierdre,” she answered vaguely as William lifted her hand to his lips for a gentle kiss, his eyes locked to hers. She couldn’t believe they were already being hit on.
William greeted the other two girls the same way, then promised to find them later and encouraged them to attend the living chess match that afternoon. The girls promised, not really knowing whether they would escort kartal make it or not. They watched William continue down the line, greeting more guests with a friendly smile and hello.
“He kissed my hand!” Ciara announced excitedly. “That’s never happened before!”
Dierdre grinned as she headed to the counter to buy a ticket. “You’re so easily amused.”
“Well, pardonez moi,” she flipped back. “It’s not like I’m the type that gets hit on everywhere I go.”
Dierdre wanted to something with something modest, but she couldn’t. She knew Ciara was right. With her ample chest, long blonde hair and piercing green eyes, she had no problems attracting a man’s attention, although she always had thought her legs were her best feature. Ciara wasn’t ugly, though. She had blue eyes, with light brown hair and a smooth, creamy complexion that was nearly milk-white.
The girls entered the park, each with their own agenda. Ciara and Dierdre had talked over their plans until theirs were able to coincide, but Maeve was obviously feeling a little left out.
“What should we do first?” Dierdre asked, eyes roving the grounds for handsome men.
“I want to get some henna done,” Maeve answered promptly. Ciara and Dierdre exchanged looks. They had grown out of such juvenile amusements many years back – if they were going to get a pattern put on their skin, they could get a tattoo – but Maeve always had the same plans as the year before. It was getting old.
“All right,” Dierdre finally acknowledged. “Let’s head down to the gypsy camp.”
As the girls walked, several actors nodded or bowed to them as they passed and they always nodded or curtseyed in response. Dressing up did have its advantages. When they came to the henna booth, Maeve began looking through the design books. Dierdre and Ciara knew from experience that this would take a while, even though she would always choose the same design as the year before, and they told her they were going to go find some place to have lunch after she got done. Maeve nodded her agreement, gave them some money to go buy her annual stock of incense, and returned to the obviously excruciating dilemma of selecting a pattern.
The incense stand was only two stalls away, so Ciara and Dierdre quickly bought the sticks and returned with them to Maeve, who was still sifting through pictures. Dierdre and Ciara then walked the other direction. They didn’t make it far.
“Pardon me, ladies, would you care to learn a new dance?” asked a nasally-sounding voice on their right. When the girls turned, they found a thin young man in a bell-laden shirt, with a buttoned-up vest, baggy pants, and skullcap surveying them eagerly.
“Why not?” Dierdre returned charmingly. Even if this guy wasn’t cute, it would pass the time and others might stop and watch.
“Wonderful, wonderful,” the man responded. “Right this way, then. My name is Nicolai. Not Nicholas or Nicole. Nicolai. But you may call me Nico-LYE.”
“Nico-LYE,” the girls repeated. They were amused at this funny but charismatic little man. “Got it.”
“Right, now, if you’ll step over here,” he indicated a line in the dirt. “You will learn the secret gypsy initiation dance.”
The girls dutifully stood on the line while Nicolai and his minions recruited more guests to learn this secret dance.
“You know Maeve will kill us for doing this without her,” Ciara mentioned.
“Tough,” Dierdre replied with a toss of her head. “If she can’t grow up, she’ll have to live with the consequences.”
“True,” Ciara admitted. “And she did say she wasn’t going to flirt today.”
“I know… what’s up with that, anyway?”
“I don’t know. I never had a problem with flirting while I had a boyfriend.”
“Same here. I mean, you know my belief, that you can look at the painting…”
“…as long as you don’t take it off the wall,” Ciara finished for her. It was a well-known fact that Dierdre was somewhat of a tease. She had driven many guys to the breaking point before revealing to them that she had a boyfriend.
At that point, Nicolai deemed he had enough victims for his little dance, so he proceeded to teach a silly little thing that got everyone laughing. It was a simple, four-step pattern that included sound effects and ended with everyone shaking their bodies as hard as they could – so their bells would ring, Nicolai said. He was the only one wearing bells.
“Now you have learned the secret gypsy initiation dance,” he ended. “You are now officially gypsies. If you step over here, I will give you a small sage sachet. If you wear it today, the sheriff will not be able to arrest you.”
Dierdre and Ciara shared another look. One of their annual rituals was to get one or the other of their group thrown in the local jail, where one had to remain for 15 minutes. This year, the obvious victim was going to be Maeve.
“Just watch her throw her money around trying to get us arrested,” Ciara giggled devilishly as the girls received their sachets and pins. “Pin me?”
“I maltepe escort know. She’s always bragging about how her parents still give her money. Did you see inside her bag when she gave us that dollar for the incense? She must’ve had a hundred bucks in there!”
“I didn’t see that, but it doesn’t surprise me. She’ll never grow up if her parents don’t stop treating her like a child. Want me to pin you now?”
“Sure. We’ve got to find a way to be on our own today, or she’s going to have us going into every stall in this entire village to look for something stupid like a new cape. I mean, I enjoy dressing up and all, but only one day a year!”
“Yup. There, you’re all pinned. And there’s a place right there where we can get some lunch. What do they have?”
“Looks like bread bowls of potato soup or mac and cheese,” Dierdre answered, peering at the board on the front of the building.
“Ooh, mac and cheese. Split one with me?”
“Sure, but I guess we better go see if Maeve’s done. I’d love to lose her now, but she still has my sunscreen.”
“Oh, that’s right. Ok.”
The girls headed back toward the henna booth just as Maeve was standing up, her right shoulder adorned in a Celtic cross.
“Got the usual, eh?” Dierdre asked.
“Yeah, I just couldn’t see anything that I really wanted more. Plus, it looks good on me,” Maeve responded with her traditional air of self-righteousness.
“Yup. Hey, can I get my sunscreen back?” Dierdre requested.
“Oh, yeah, I forgot I had it,” Maeve said, sorting through her bag until she came up with the right item. “Did you find a place for lunch? I’m starving!”
Ciara and Dierdre shared another look. ‘Starving’ for Maeve meant maybe a dozen bites of food. She wasn’t anorexic or anything, she just never ate much. When she did, she became violently ill.
“Yeah, we found a stand right down the way a bit,” Ciara said as she began walking. “Potato soup or mac and cheese in bread bowls.”
“Yummy!” Maeve exclaimed, much to the embarrassment of the other two. “Race you down there.”
“OK,” Dierdre answered. Maeve took off.
“What time is it?” Ciara asked. Dierdre’s one concession to modern life was a watch so they wouldn’t miss the shows.
“Ummm, ten till noon,” she answered. “We’ll probably see the parade while we eat.”
“I thought so,” Ciara nodded. “Then we can go watch the joust.”
“The joust with Maeve. That oughta be fun,” Dierdre said, irony dripping in her voice.
“Truth hurts. Want me to order the food while you go get us some drinks?”
“Sure. What do you want to drink?”
“Just get me a bottle of water. Don’t want to dehydrate.”
“OK. See you in a minute.”
Dierdre got in line and joined her friends at a nearby bench several minutes later.
“Where’s yours?” Maeve instantly asked Ciara.
“Oh,” Maeve said, returning to her potato soup. The answer obviously depressed her, because she was silent for several minutes and actually ate the majority of her soup. The other two, who were raving about their own dinner, hardly noticed that Maeve had eaten so much.
The parade did, in fact, pass while they ate, and the girls noticed several handsome actors in the procession, including one dressed in blue and black.
“Damn,” Dierdre muttered, making the word into two syllables and mentally vowing to herself to find him later. Ciara poked her with a fork.
“Keep your tongue in your mouth.”
“Shup. I saw you eyeing him, too.”
“Guilty as charged. You ready to go to the joust?”
“The joust?” Maeve chimed in. “What time is it? I want to get my good seat!”
“Relax,” Dierdre replied. “It doesn’t start for another 10 minutes.”
“TEN MINUTES?” Maeve shrieked. “My seat will be gone!”
With that, the wee warrior dashed away, leaving the more stately two behind to clean up and hope that Maeve found her seat empty, but with no other seats nearby. Their wishes were granted. Maeve was wedged in between two families with children, but she waved enthusiastically to her friends as they planted themselves in a shady spot beneath a tree.
“We’ll still be able to hear her,” Ciara commented as the riders took the field.
Sure enough, moments later, a shrill screech from their rear announced to their ears that Maeve’s shouting was just as annoying as ever.
“Shoulda brought earplugs,” Dierdre joked. “Some for the horses, too.”
Ciara giggled. “You’re awful today!”
“Can’t help it. She brings out the bitch in me.”
The joust ended in due time, with the finale – a ‘fight to the death’ – to be staged at 5 o’clock. Dierdre and Ciara had dutifully shouted for their knight and hadn’t noticed that Maeve’s shrieking had been silenced halfway through the program. They rose and turned to find her in the stands, only to see an empty spot where she had been. The family that had been to Maeve’s left was still there.
“Excuse me,” Dierdre asked the mother. “Do you know what happened to the pendik escort bayan girl who was sitting here?”
“Oh, you must be the ones she was talking about. She’s quite sick. She’s in the privy, right over there. You might want to take her home.”
“Thanks,” Ciara replied as they headed for the bathrooms.
“I guess she ate too much,” Dierdre reflected as they reached the privies. “I’ll go in. I know your weak stomach, and if she’s throwing up, I don’t want you to join her.”
“Sounds fantastic to me,” Ciara said, turning slightly green at the thought. “I’ll wait here. I hope she doesn’t need a ride home.”
“We’ll see,” Dierdre said, girding up her loins and entering the small bathroom. “Maeve?”
“Dierdre?” a thin voice answered from the back stall. “Back here. I think I ate too much.”
“You did eat a lot of that soup,” Dierdre responded as she knocked on the proper door. “Can I come in?”
The door was unlatched and Dierdre peered in to see Maeve leaning against the wall, still looking rather ill.
“Are you going to be ok?” Dierdre asked. “Do you need a ride home?”
“No, I think I’ll be able to drive myself, but I do think I need to go home. I don’t think I need to be out in the sun all afternoon.”
“Probably wise,” Dierdre commented, trying to keep a sympathetic face while her heart leaped for joy. “We don’t want you getting sick in someone’s shop or something.”
“Yeah,” Maeve mourned. “I might come back tomorrow, though. You gonna come back tomorrow?”
“We’ll see. Don’t know if I can afford it.”
“Oh. Well, I think I’m feeling a little better now.”
“Ok. Ready to come out then?”
“I think so.”
Dierdre guided Maeve to the sink, where she cleaned up and washed out her mouth with the last of her bottled water. She was still holding her stomach, but seemed to be stable. They walked back into the sunlight and found Ciara waiting.
“You gonna be all right?” she asked Maeve.
“Yeah, just make sure I get to my car, ok?”
“Sure,” the girls agreed, sharing an ecstatic look. “At least, we’ll take you to the gate. We can’t go out, you know. But give us a call when you get home so we know you’re ok.”
“Thanks, guys,” Maeve looked relieved, and the other two felt slightly guilty at how they felt.
“No problem,” Ciara answered.
They took Maeve to the front gate and watched as she lurched her way to her car.
“I do hope she’ll be all right,” Ciara said gently. “I feel kinda guilty now about some of those things we said.”
“I don’t,” Dierdre pointed out. “You didn’t hear her ask me if we were planning on coming back tomorrow, because that’s what she wants us to do.”
“Really? How on earth are we supposed to afford that?”
“Exactly,” Dierdre said as Maeve disappeared into the parking lot. “Anyway, where to now?”
“I dunno. Let’s just wander and see who we can see.”
“Like your little McLeod friend?”
“Shup!” Ciara giggled and pretended to be upset.
Dierdre turned away and began walking, pretending to be offended as well. Ciara quickly caught up and the two began wandering aimlessly around the park. About half an hour later, they entered a shady grotto and passed two of the actors who were talking near a tree. The girls barely noticed that one of them was the man in blue and black they had drooled over during the parade. They continued their stroll until Dierdre noticed that they were being followed. She turned.
“May we help you?” she asked before her breath was taken away. One of the men – for no other word would suffice, and they were at least the girls’ age – was the one she had been hoping would pay her some attention. He was clothed in black and blue tight leggings, black flowing shirt, blue vest, and black hat with blue and white feathers. He carried a gun in a holster on his hip and had a blue flagon of water over his shoulder. The flagon was stopped up with a cork that had a silver fleur-de-lis on the top.
His body was sculpted like the ideal man of the Renaissance era – all the right muscles in all the right places – but his hands were small and white. His face was tanned, but not too deeply, and his blue eyes sparkled when they met Dierdre’s.
“We are your guards,” the blue-and-black sex object said, making a deep bow. “You hired us, no?”
“Ja,” said the other actor, a plump young man in black and yellow who was dressed somewhat like the handsome man. “Vee haf safed your lifes tvo time already.”
“Have you?” Dierdre said, her eyes locked on the Frenchman’s. “I suppose we better keep you around then. What will we owe you for this service?”
“Zat depends on how good you sink our service ees,” he answered, and Dierdre felt her insides flutter. This was definitely going to be the best Renaissance Faire ever.
“What do you think?” she asked Ciara. “Should we let them guard us?”
Ciara looked over at Dierdre, a matching twinkle in her eye. “If you think they’ll do a good job, sure.”
“Oh, I think they’ll do a wonderful job, won’t you?”
“Ja,” replied the German. “Vee vill do ein vunderbar job, ja, Philippe?”
“Oui, we will, Dieter. Oh, watch out!” Philippe sprang in front of Dierdre as another costumed actor approached. “You do not want zis villain near you. We weel protect you.”
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