The Painter

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

A medieval love story.

He arrived with the other men to train as a soldier. He swore an oath to serve the Queen, and was given a small room in the castle with a straw bed in the corner. He brought with him his only possessions other than the clothes on his back, some paint brushes and a half dozen glass jars of colored paint. He did not have a weapon, so he was given a sword and told to go to the training grounds each morning at dawn. One of the men saw the jars of paint placed neatly on the shelf in his room and had a serving girl bring him a dusty canvas from the cellars. A stable hand built him an easel from wood pilfered from an unused horse enclosure. Alone in his room, he painted the stream near the castle as it thawed in the spring, icicles dripping into the rushing water. He sold the painting for three copper coins to a soldier who hung it on the wall in his quarters. The Painter bought another canvas and hid his remaining coins in his mattress.

Sometimes the Queen’s daughter walked past his room, which had only a bead door seperating it from the hall, and sometimes he would notice her while she watched him. He would smile at her, making her face burn, and sometimes she would feel a strange wetness between her legs. He was tall and skinny, and the other fighting men told him he should eat more meat and drink more mead at dinner. The training in the yard was making him stronger, but in his heart he knew he was no fighter. When we wasn’t in the yard he painted animals and birds, landscapes from faraway places and people that lived in the castle. The Princess could see his painting was very good and some things looked so real she thought she could reach into the canvas and touch them. He sold his work so he could buy more canvas and jars of paint, and she heard one of the fighting men say he had re-sold a painting of the stars in the sky to a merchant in town for a gold coin. One day he made her a small drawing of a pony which she brought to her room and put on a shelf. Today, hiding shyly behind the beads, she watched him paint a beautiful girl with bare, upturned breasts. She stood there until the wet feeling had started between her legs and would not stop. Sometimes she hated the Painter for making her feel so strange.

One day, The Painter and all the other fighting men were called to the courtyard. A great army was approaching, and they were sent to halt its destructive march. The men were gone for three days, and only half returned. The Painter limped through the castle gates bare chested, favoring an injured leg bandaged with a red cotton shirt. He’d taken the blade of a halberd through the thigh, and when it had stuck fast, the Painter stabbed the man holding its handle through the chest with his sword, then sat in the grass while he tried to free the heavy blade. Before long everything went black. He’d awoken with a scream when a fighting man pulled the weapon out with a yank.
“Still alive are ya?” The fighting man laughed, but seem relieved.
 It was late evening and the battle had ended. The Painter wrapped his leg with his shirt and staggered toward home with the others.
“You did fine lad but you’re surly a better painter than you are a solider,” the fighting man laughed and slapped his back and the painter nodded.
At the castle, he stood in the hall, leaning on a crutch made from a tree branch and painted the battle scene. The fighting men sat around and watched while they drank.
“Is that Old Walder there lad?” One of the fighting men asked, pointing at the Canvas with his mug.
“Yes…it is. He got an arrow through the eye.”
“That he did Lad, I saw it myself.”
The painter added an arrow through the eye of Old Walder, and when it was done, the fighting men hung the awful scene in the hall. The Queen’s daughter stopped to look and saw a man with a smashed steel breast plate and dented helmet sitting on the grass, leaning against a dead horse. The man used to bounce her his knee when she was a small girl and make noises like a mare, but the Queen told her it was not befitting a lady to have a fighting man’s leg between her thighs. She hated the Painter for making this horrid painting.

Months passed when one day a messenger arrived to tell of a great battle won by the King who was away at war, the Queen ordered that a banquet be held in his honor. The cooks worked all day to prepare the many dishes needed for the feast. Everyone in the castle had a seat at one of the banquet tables. Even the washer women and stable boys. The Painter was told to bring his easel next to the Queens chair and paint the banquet while the men and women danced to the music of the band. When the painting was finished, the Queen had it hung on the wall next to the battle scene. She was so pleased she took the painters hand and told him to ask her daughter to dance. With fire on her face, he moved her about the dance floor, and when he touched the curve of her hip she stumbled slightly as she felt heat blossom between her legs. When the song was done she thanked the Painter with a curtsey before hurrying to the ladies privy. Behind the curtain she placed a hand between her legs and tried to hide a moan while a tall woman in a long black dress stepped through the door to the water basin. The woman heard the noises and looked beneath the curtain expecting two pairs of legs but saw only one, pale and bare, with a dress pulled up high. She thought of going behind the curtain with the young woman, but guessed that it may be the Queens daughter so after washing her face in the basin she left with a smile. The Queens daughter shuddered in ecstasy on the cushioned seat, drowning in waves of pleasure behind. Breathing heavily, she washed her glistening face in the basin and straightened her dress.
I hate that stupid Painter, she thought.

One day she walked past his room and saw a naked woman with long legs and straight black hair sitting on a tall wooden stool. The painter focused on the canvas and the woman straightened her back which emphasized her breasts. The Queens daughter paced the halls until the sun went down. She heard the woman with long legs moan as the painter fucked her on the straw bed. She had heard the serving girls talk, and knew that was what it was called. When the woman with long legs walked through the beaded door the Queen’s daughter grabbed her by the hair and tried to throw her down the stairs. The Painter tried to separate them but was tossed to the floor. A fighting man rushed down the spiral staircase and pulled them apart. He carried her to her bedroom where she sat on her bed and cried and thought about how much she hated the painter.
The next day she went to the Painters room again and told him he was going to do another painting. She took off her dress and sat naked on the tall stool. The Painter put a wooden backed piece of paper on the easel and began to sketch the Queens daughter with a charcoal stick. She arched her back and stuck out her breasts like the woman with the long legs and watched the painter’s leather pants bulge as he worked. When he was done told her to take look at what he had drawn. She looked at the sketch and saw the curves and shadows of her body, but the woman in the drawing had no face.

“I can’t be found with a drawing like this of the Queens daughter.” He explained.
“You think I’m any different than that other woman?” She asked. With deft hands she unlaced his leather pants and jerked them down to expose a long manhood so hard it pointed upward at the ceiling. She took it into her mouth the way the washer woman said to do. The Painter moaned and for a while did not move. When he began to sweat she moved faster and pushed him deeper into her mouth. She was so wet she was feeling lightheaded when he gently pushed her away.
“No more.” he said, “You are the Queen’s daughter,” and he told her to get dressed. She went back to her room and slide her fingers between her legs as she thought about the Painters manhood in her mouth and soon she was once again drowning in a sea of pleasure so intense it made her entire body tremble and she hated the Painter for sending her back to her room.
He was brought to court in chains and made to kneel before the Queen. The Priest had accused him of defiling the Royal name. A painting sat on the easel of the fall harvest celebration. Almost hidden in a scene of celebration a man and woman had snuck away and the woman had her dress pulled up to her hips and was being entered from behind by a fighting man with no shirt and unlaced leather pants. The woman in the painting was trying to stifle moans of pleasure and her eyes were closed tightly. The painting was done in exquisite detail and the Queens daughter knew it had taken the Painter a very long time to paint. The woman looked like the Queen, and the Priest said it was the devils work and celebrated the sins of men, woman, and too much drink. The fighting men in the courtroom leered at the painting and grinned at each other. The Queen stared and shifted in her chair. She crossed and uncrossed her legs and the Queen’s daughter knew she was feeling the same wetness the Painter made her feel. The Painter was handed a lit torch and told to burn the painting or lay his head upon the Executioners block. With tears streaking his face he held the flame to the canvas, the crowd hooted and jeered as it caught fire.
 What kind of man cries because of a burnt painting, thought the Queen’s daughter. Her eyes watered and she hated the Painter for making her cry again.  The Queen told the fighting men to bring the Painter to her chamber where she would punish him herself as she saw fit.
 The Queens going to fuck the Painter, she knew. She thought of grabbing the Queen by the hair and throwing her down the stairs onto the courtroom floor, but she made herself sit still and watched as a fighting man grabbed the Painters chains and led him out of the courtroom.
 “Remember that you’ve sworn to serve the Queen,” the fighting man said to him with a grin.
 That night from her room she listened to lusty moans from the Queen’s bedchamber and the rattle of chains. She looked at the painting of the pony on her shelf and hated the Painter for fucking the Queen while she could only lie in her bed and listen.

 The next morning a messenger arrived with a letter from the King which read that all remaining fighting men except those in the Queen’s guard must join with the Kings army until the war was won. The Queens daughter found the Painter in his room leaning over a canvas of a half painted wolf in the falling snow.
 “You cannot go to war. You will die as you are surely no soldier.” the Queens daughter told him.
 “It’s not so simple as that. I must do the King’s bidding,” said the painter. Short deliberate brush strokes thickened the fur on the wolf’s head.
 “You can come away with me,” said the Queens daughter. “We can leave together on the morrow.”
 The Painter smiled sadly. “Such a thing is impossible,” he said. The Queens daughter kissed him on the mouth until he put down his paint brush and carried her to the straw bed. She gasped when he entered her and she thought the mixture of pain and pleasure was so much better then when she used her fingers. She closed her eyes as she once more slipped beneath the waves and dug her fingers into his back. Her hips began to shake and her stomach convulsed as she exploded, clutching him tightly. Her screams brought fighting men running down the spiral staircase. He pulled away and beckoned her out the window where she was to stand naked on the ledge that circled the castle. The painter closed the wooden shutters and the Queens daughter stood above the courtyard in the chill fall air on shaky legs with blood on her thighs.
 “We thought we heard the Princess screaming,” said one of the fighting men. He stepped into the Painters room and looked under the bed and in the closet. He threw open the shutters and looked down into the courtyard. “If ever we catch you with the Princess, your head will lay upon the Executioners block.” They left the Painter’s room to search the rest of the castle, and the Painter carried the Queen’s daughter in from the window ledge. He told her to get dressed. 
 “We leave tomorrow at dawn,” he said. “Meet me under the trees in the courtyard.”
 She’s wearing a rough spun hooded cloak and he’d brought a sack with his coins, paint brushes and jars of paint. They hurried down the road away from the town toward a destination they did not yet know. The Painter told her they must get as far from the castle as possible and avoid people as much as they could. He knew the Tracker would soon begin hunting them.
 In the morning the Queen had the castle searched for the missing Princess, then again for the missing Painter. She was enraged and swore savage vengeance and called for the Tracker. She told him she would lay his head upon the Executioner’s block if he did not return the Painter and the Princess to the castle.

 The Tracker selected four fighting men from the Queen’s elite guard and went to the kennel to collar and chain the tracking dogs. They set off down the road with the tracking dogs yelping and straining at the ends of their heavy chain.

The Painter and the Queen’s daughter walked all day down the dusty road, then followed a path into the woods. At night they stopped under a tree to rest. Suddenly they could hear the yelping of dogs in the still night air. They struggled to their feet and fled into the woods. All through the night they ran through thick forest and over rocky hill, always just ahead of the Tracker. One of the fighting men collapsed and the tracker set the dogs on him. The Tracker decided he had to stop for a while and rest.
In the early morning the Painter and the Queen’s daughter reach a dusty road and the Painter stopped a farmer on a strong horse pulling a wagon of golden hay. He paid the farmer a silver coin and told him to pull them at full speed until the horse was lathered and could go no more. In the wagon they bounced along the road for miles until the farmer said he could go no further. The Tracker cursed when the tracking dogs circled each other in confusion and sniffed at the road. He knew he had lost the trail.
 I’ll wait, thought the Tracker. You’ll show up somewhere. I know what’s in your heart.
 The Painter and the Queen’s daughter travelled to a town and bought a small house at its very edge with a thatched roof. The Painter bought a canvas and a new easel, and in their house painted a small fishing boat on a stormy sea with a man at the helm. The man fought the waves with a grim expression and looked as if he would grip the wheel until he was pulled under. They needed more money to buy food for the winter so the Painter, wearing a new beard and long hair, walked as far as he could with the painting under his arm and sold it at a market for a silver coin. 
 The Tracker with his fighting men and the tracking dogs had been travelling from town to town asking about the Painter and the Queen’s daughter. After many days of traveling, a man showed the Tracker a painting of a boat on a stormy black ocean. The Tracker thought the man on the boat looked like his father who had been a fisherman and was lost at sea when he was just a boy. He told the man to show him exactly where he had bought the painting. The tracking dogs circled and sniffed the ground, howling as they reacquired the scent and the tracker licked them with his whip and they strained so hard on the chain that they nearly pulled him into the dust of the street.
 The tracking dogs led them to a small house with a thatched roof, and a fighting man shattered the wooden door with a heavy mace. The dogs forced the broken door open and swarmed into the tiny house where the Painter stood shirtless over a canvas. On it was the outline of a beautiful woman, traced from the Queens daughter who lay naked on the bed. One of the tracking dogs scratched and whined at a floor board and a fighting man smashed it apart with several strokes of the mace. Hidden below they found many paintings. Horses galloping against the sunset. Fighting men in battle. Confusing landscapes of distant worlds, and naked women painted in fantastic detail. The fighting men brought the Painter outside and told the Queen’s daughter to get dressed. She was fitted with leg shackles so she could not run away and a fighting man left to buy a horse on which she could ride back to the castle. A man with the ghost of a scar crisscrossing his face lit a torch and touched it to the thatched roof. This time the Painter did not cry as the house burned and with it, his paintings.

 The Tracker fitted him with an Iron collar, chain and uncoiled his whip. He stroked the Painters bare back with the whip once, then again and set him marching down the road with the tracking dogs nipping at his heels. They would maul him when he stumbled and fell, and the Tracker had to use the whip to keep them off until he got up again. The Queens daughter watched from horseback, and wondered how it was that the Painter always seemed to make her cry.
 At the castle in front of a roaring crowd the Painters head was laid upon the executioner’s block while the Queen’s daughter was made to watch.

 “Do you have any last words, sins to confess, or regrets to repent?” asked the Executioner.
 “I have no regrets.” The painter said as he framed in his mind through the flickering torch light a perfect image of the crowd, a dark and fine painting, he thought.

 The heavy blade of the executioners axe cut the air silently and the Painters head fell into a wicker basket with a scream from the Princess and cheers from the crowd. A fighting man put the head on a spear point and mounted it on the battlements overlooking the field of a hundred battles, and wondered what the painter would had done with such a view had been alive to paint it.

Submitted: October 12, 2016

© Copyright 2021 Dominic Wilcott. All rights reserved.

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