Sir Trent has a problem
“God rot it all!” Sir Trent, Knight of the Oval Table, yanked the chain mail shirt off and threw it across the room. Damnation! It had fit only a fortnight ago, so why not now?
Sir Trent bit back another oath as his wife, the Lady Eleanor, entered the room. A voluptuous woman, she delighted in raising eyebrows with her low-cut gowns. Her golden hair fell across her cheek and she brushed it away with a languorous movement that normally would have started a fire in Sir Trent, but not this time.
“What ails thee, Husband?”
“This rotted chain mail, Wife! It will not go on.“ He pressed his lips together when she giggled.
“Oh, ‘tis awful, Sir Knight.”
Sir Trent scowled and Lady Eleanor rearranged her features into a more suitable expression.
“Mayhap a bit of activity will restore thy disposition,” she suggested.
“I have need of something to take my mind elsewhere,” he agreed, and followed her out of the room.
“I am certain thou remembers the privy chamber the workman built, Husband?”
Sir Trent paused on the stairway to catch his breath. Damned staircase!
“How could I not? It has drained the treasury as no frippery of thine has ever before.”
“’Tisn‘t frippery, Sir Knight,“ Lady Eleanor protested, touching her husband’s shoulder. “Thou knowest Merlin himself has the same in his hall.”
“So the peddler would have you believe, Wife.” Sir Trent knew he was too indulgent with his wife, but he found he could deny her nothing she wanted.
“As I was saying, a slight mishap has need of your brawn.” Lady Eleanor smiled broadly and opened the door to the privy chamber. A hideous smell wafted out.
“God in heaven!” Sir Trent clapped his hand to his face and gagged.
“I am certain thou wilt be victorious, Sir Knight,“ she said, and thrust a stick into his hand.
“Wife, I’ll not--wife! Where art thou going?” He choked again on the smell and then looked at what he held.
It was peculiar, to be sure. It consisted of a smooth stick with a round, flat scoop of some kind on the end. He touched it, and jerked his hand away. Odd. The thing was soft, yet firm.
Sir Trent scratched his head. What the devil was he to do now? A pox on that wizard, for this was surely his doing.
The knight took a deep breath and stepped into the chamber, holding the instrument before him, as if that could ward off the stench.
He’d not bothered to see his wife’s privy once it was built, and he stopped short, awed. Never had he seen the like. A white, stone-like chair sat in the middle of the floor, and when he got closer, he could see a hole in the seat. The hole was filled with brown sludge, the source of the awful stench.
Sir Trent stepped back out for another breath and went back inside. A silver lever caught his eye, and he pressed it hesitantly. The foulness in the hole burbled a bit, and then quieted.
“Ah,” he said aloud, forgetting for a moment the reason he held his breath. “I begin to understand.” Instantly he began to retch and gag, and had to retreat once more.
After a bit more ruminating, Sir Trent went back inside and used the stick to swirl the brown stuff around, and tried the lever once again. The foulness burbled again, and he cursed.
“Wretched magicking!” He gazed at the slop sliding down the stick toward his hand and dropped it to the flagstones. Disgusted, he called for a maid to clean up the mess.
Sir Trent paced back and forth, thinking hard. He had never failed his wife before, and he would not now.
“It is finished, Sir Knight,” the maid announced, and scurried away with the stained and stinking rags.
When he went back inside he noticed the girl had placed the scoop-stick upright on the floor. The scoop part rested on the stones and gave him an idea.
This time Sir Trent plunged the scoop-stick into the foulness several times before pressing the lever. He was rewarded with an ear-splitting whoosh that made him squeeze his eyes shut.
Cautiously he opened them and beheld the empty hole. Satisfaction surged through him, and he smiled. Once again, it was a good knight’s work.