“My Dearest Duchess”

Dinner had been a fairly routine affair by Bortimer’s standards, although anyone else would have marveled at how much food two people could devour. The youngest child of the Queen of Slothjemia, Bortimer would at first glance have a lot going for him. In reality he did not. He had only one close friend, his erstwhile bodyguard and cohort in shenanigans, a jorish huntsman named Shr Grogdahl. Tonight’s meal had not been typical of these two rather infamous ne’er-do-wells. Instead of dining at The First Decree, their favorite haunt in the city of Slothenburg, they had instead opted to stay at the royal residence in the capital of Jordrakenschloss. They had been using one of the smaller rooms in one of the upper towers on the main keep. This sort of room was usually called a lounge, and that was precisely what the two men were doing. Lounging.

Bortimer had with him a small wooden tablet upon which to write, and a small stack of blank papers on the cushion next to him. He was fully occupying a small leather couch with a rather high back that sat facing the windows of the tower. In between two of the windows along the wall sat Grogdahl in a matching leather chair. The jor sat slumped in the chair and lazily ran an oiled cloth over his sword, which sat across his lap. Bortimer hummed softly to himself as he wrote, every so often stopping to ponder his choice of words, and then dipping the pen into the inkwell and with a sly smile putting his thoughts onto the paper.

With a somewhat heavy sigh Grogdahl asked, “What have you gotten so far?” This was a dangerous thing to ask. Grogdahl wasn’t really at all interested in what was being written, but knew he might have to step in and help his friend with this project. Almost as soon as the words had escaped his mouth, Grogdahl regretted it.

Bortimer cleared his throat and held the paper so he could better read his own writing.

My Dearest Duchess,

Bortimer lowered the paper and nodded knowingly at Grogdahl. “Nice start, eh? Is it too provocative?”

The jor set his hand on his sword and closed his eyes. “Guardians of hell, give me strength.” he muttered to himself. He looked at Bortimer and said with a clearly exasperated tone, “How is that supposed to be provocative? What is the next bit?”

Looking down at the paper, Bortimer said merrily, “That’s all I have so far.”

A deep silence filled the room, and Bortimer went back to his writing. He tapped the pen on his chin as he mulled over his next words.

“How long did it take you to come up with that?” Grogdahl asked wryly.

Bortimer looked at the clock that stood along the wall to his right. “Just over two days.”

Grogdahl felt his hand raising to his brow as he muttered in his deep growling voice, “Oh for….” and then his voice just trailed off. Looking back at Bortimer he asked, “It took you that long to come up with an opening for this letter? That is the only provocative thing about any of this! Shouldn’t some mad poetic drivel be flowing onto the page if you are so heavily besotted with her?”

With a big smile Bortimer replied, “I’m no poet.”

“Yeah, no kidding.” shot back Grogdahl. “Yer gonna have to do better than this if you plan on wooing the fair maiden.”

Bortimer started writing again, and said, “Ok, how about this for the next line.”

I cannot help but think of your lovely smile and your breasts like two overripe melons.

The look of horror on Grogdahl’s face mixed with anger spoke volumes, but the jor nevertheless yelled out “OH COME ON! YOU HAVE GOT TO BE JOKING!”

Bortimer was startled by the outburst and asked, “What? Too provocative?”

Leaning forward Grogdahl growled, “Why on earth are you starting off with her breasts? Have you completely lost your mind?”

Bortimer looked down at the paper, and back at Grogdahl. “I started off with her smile. Then her breasts. Those are after the smile. Smile, then breasts.”

Wagging a finger at Bortimer the jor said, “You know full well what I meant. No woman wants a letter with her breasts compared to overripe melons, and certainly not as the first damned line!”

“Her breasts make me smile.” said Bortimer with a happy little smile to illustrate his point. “Halfling sized, and yet still so…”

“DEAR GOD MAN! ENOUGH WITH HER BREASTS!” bellowed Grogdahl. The glass in the windows on either side of him rattled with the sound of his voice.

“Fine.” Bortimer resumed his writing and the sound of the pen scratching on the paper filled the small room. His humming also resumed.

Grogdahl had a headache now. He rubbed his forehead with his hand and after a few minutes took a deep breath and asked, “What have you got now?”

Bortimer cleared his throat again, and read carefully.

As per our agreement, I have returned that which was stolen. Soon I will be on my way to you in Maelonbourg to seek your hand in marriage, and with joy scoop you up and bury my face in your bosoms.

Bortimer put the paper down again and grinned. “Pretty good, huh? Used a different word for breasts like poets do.”

“I’m going to have to kill you.” replied Grogdahl.