Tonight’s the Knight.By Dave Turner.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Buffyverse or the tradition song and story entitled ‘King Henry’. I write these stories for fun not profit.
Crossover: Myths and Legends/Songfic. ‘King Henry’ from the Steeleye Span Album, ‘Below the Salt’.
Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation; Written in glorious English-English. Mainly English idioms are used throughout this fic.
Timeline: BtVS post Season 7, song/legend, alternative universe 1930’s
Summary: Faith turned into a horrible overweight hag-monster? Faith is the King’s mistress? Confused? That’s because it’s ‘grim up north’.0=0=0=0
Heaving her corpulent body into a sitting position, Faith cursed long and hard. She knew it wouldn’t do any good, apart from making her feel slightly better…for a moment. Puss oozed from the open sores on her arms, legs and face; her stomach started to rumble, she was beginning to feel hungry again. Holding her head between her huge misshapen hands she thought back along the chain of events that had brought her to this sorry state.
Buffy had sent her south from Cleveland to Halifax in Yorkshire where she was supposed to slay one, Alison Gross (reputed to be the ‘Ugliest Witch in the North Countree
’). A simple task for an experienced slayer and so it would have been if the charms and protection spells cast over her had worked. Faith promised herself that when she got home she was going to have a long talk with a certain red haired witch…if she ever did get home that is.
To cut a long story short, Faith had confronted Gross; there had been an insane cackle, a bang and a flash and Faith had found herself looking for ‘out-size’ clothes in this fantasy version of 1930’s England. Of course she could break the curse; the witch had almost died laughing telling how. All she had to do was to persuade a nobleman to sleep with her…simple.
It would have been simple too had she still been her normal hot self; nobles would (no doubt) have been queuing up to sleep with her then, but not now. Growling deep in her throat, Faith stood up, her head almost hitting the roof of the cave that she called home. Stamping her feet the walls shook and little bits of rock fell to the ground around her.
By now the hunger she felt almost all the time had grown until it was a ravening beast in her belly. Shaking her massive head she moved her ghastly form out into the evening chill. She sniffed the air; she could smell food close by, probably at that hunting lodge a couple of miles down the valley from where she lived.
Hitching up her ragged skirt, Faith threw her cloak around her shoulders (it smelt like there was going to be a storm tonight) and started to tramp towards the lodge, her footsteps shaking the ground as she passed. Pushing her way through the trees and bushes she came out onto the road that led to the hunting lodge. There, in the gathering gloom, she could see expensive motorcars lined up on the forecourt of the lodge. Grooms led away horses as fine young gentlemen laughed and chatted about the day’s hunting.
Huddling down in the cover of a large bush, Faith watched as a tall handsome young man led the party into the hall. After watching for several more minutes Faith smiled to herself. Standing up she started to walk slowly towards the lodge, her smile grew wider as she wondered; would tonight be the Knight?0=0=0=0
Thirty-one year old, King Henry the Twelfth, by the grace of God, King of England and her Dominions across the sea, didn’t actually like hunting. Yes it was nice to go out riding and shooting with ones friends. But he could do all that on a field day with the army and he wouldn’t have to shoot any poor defenceless deer or anything, and as for fox hunting…what had that author chappie said? The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable; something like that. Anyway, if they had to hunt things why not hunt something that was a bit of a challenge, maybe something that fought back? He smiled as he looked at the young gentlemen who clustered around him each trying to out do the others in their attempts at flattering him. Perhaps it was time to call a halt to these tiresome, so-called, hunts.
Sitting at the head of the table a mug of mulled ale in his fist, Henry listened as the storm broke over the lodge. He heard the rain start to lash down drumming against the roof and windows as the wind started to shriek in the chimney. In the distance thunder began to rattle and boom. As he took a mouthful of ale, Henry noticed how his hounds had started to whine and creep towards where he was sitting. For a moment he gave the hall a puzzled frown, maybe it was the storm that was so un-nerving the dogs as nothing else seemed to be amiss.
As if to mock him at that very moment the door at the end of the hall burst open. Framed in the wreckage of the barred and bolted door and illuminated by flashes of lightning; stood a hideously misshapen figure. It ducked under the door frame and stamped into the hall it opened its mouth and roared exposing teeth like tether stakes. As it moved its great pendulous breasts swung from side to side under its ragged shirt and the floor boards groaned under its weight.
Blinking into the flickering light, Henry suddenly realised he was all alone with the monster. His so-called friends had left him, running for their lives into the night. He decided that should he survive the night there would be some very hard words and choices for his so-called companions. He also hoped that if he didn’t survive the night his brother Edward would make those self-same friends pay for deserting him in his moment of peril.
Henry eyed the distance from his chair to where the rifles and shotguns where neatly stacked against the wall. He’d never make it, he got the impression that if it wanted to the monster could move very quickly and he wasn’t too sure whether bullets or buckshot would have any effect on her. No, he corrected himself; it would probably just make her very, very angry.
The monster was now standing only a few yards away and Henry discovered that apart from a weight problem, poor dentistry, appalling fashion sense the monster also had a body odour problem. Waving his hand in front of his nose Henry mustered all the courage he could, he took a swig of beer and said;
“Jolly awful weather we’re having,” he smiled as if he was meeting the mayor of some small provincial town, “and-and how long have you been a-a…um,” Henry gestured vaguely at the creature, “for want of a better word, monster?”
“Some meat, some meat you King Henry, some meat you give to me,” chanted Faith as the hunger gnawed at her belly like a living thing. “Go kill your horse you King Henry, and bring him here to me.”
“Now, steady on old thing!” the king almost dropped his tankard at the thought of having to feed his best hunter to the monster.
However, she was obviously hungry so he needed to do something; he didn’t want her snacking on him for instance.
“I say,” began the king slowly, “I can see you’re a little peckish, so, why don’t you start on what’s on the table while I go and look at what’s in the larder?”
The monster that had once been Faith thought about this for a moment before nodding her enormous head; great rat’s tails of filthy hair fell across her repulsive face hiding it for a moment.
The King jumped from his chair and for just a moment he thought again about going for the guns that lay so tantalisingly close. He shook his head and started to head for the kitchens. For all her vile form this creature was one of his subjects and he saw it as his duty to find out what had brought her to this sorry state. So, if he had to feed the creature to find out why she was like she was then so be it. Also it would distract her from eating him…or so he hoped.
For the next hour the king scurried back and forth between the kitchen and the hall. He brought meat and fowl and put them in front of the monster; she opened her cavernous maw and gobbled them down. Just as he was beginning to think that he was going to run out of food the monster belched and sat back on her haunches.
“Some drink, some drink now King Henry,” grunted Faith, “some drink you give to me.”
“Yes I expect you are a bit thirsty after such a big meal,” smiled the king; maybe he could get her drunk. “What would you like? Ale? Wine? Spirits?”
The king looked up into the monster’s great bloodshot eyes and sighed, “Whatever comes first, eh? Righty-ho, lets see what we can find.”
The king started by rolling over barrels of ale. Faith took the kegs in her great scared hands and smashed in the tops before tossing off the drink in one go.
“I can see there’ll be no drinking you under the table,” said the king quietly.
After six barrels of ale King Henry started to bring up bottles of wine from the cellar. He looked at the bottles as he brought them up from below and shrugged his shoulders. He wasn’t a great wine drinker so had little knowledge of what he was giving the monster. But, as some of the bottles were covered in dust he took heart that he wasn’t giving her any of the new stuff.
Eventually Faith, farted, belched and picked her nose, she turned towards the king and grinned lasciviously at the monarch.
“A bed, a bed now King Henry, a bed you'll make for me,” she hick-upped and swayed a little as she spoke. “Oh you must pull the heather green, and make it soft for me.”
“Oh I think we can do better than heather, don’t-cha-know?” the king laughed nervously up into the monster’s eyes, “There’s…at least, what? Twenty-four bedrooms in this old place I’m sure we can find one to suit.”
Leading the bloated and slightly drunk monster by the hand, Henry took her on a tour of the lodge. Eventually they found a room with a bed sturdy enough to take the creature’s weight. The monster bounced on the mattress as the bed groaned and creaked under her weight and the king started to sneak off towards the door.
“I’ll wish you a pleasant night and sweet dreams,” grinned the king just as he was about to close the door and run for his life; somehow he’d guessed what was coming next.
“Take off your clothes now King Henry, and lie down by my side,” Faith patted the bed next to her suggestively. “Now swear, now swear you King Henry, to take me for your bride.”
“Oh bugger!” breathed the king, how was he supposed to get out of this? “Umm…look,” the king smiled again and took a step towards the bed, “it’s not that I don’t find you attractive it’s…its just…that,” the king’s mind worked faster than it had in a long time, “that…”
“Fuck sake, pretty boy,” growled Faith, “you don’t have to ‘DO’ anything!”
“I don’t?” gulped the king sighing with relief.
“No,” Faith sniffed and wiped her nose on the back of her hand, “I’ve just gotta get ya to ‘sleep’ with me.”
“Oh!” exclaimed the king relieved, he advanced on the bed, “Umm, do you mind if I ask why?”
“Can’t say,” Faith lifted her legs onto the bed and cursed as the extra weight caused the bed to collapse.
“Never mind,” breathed the king as he squeezed onto the bed next to her, “I can buy another…so you can’t say, eh? Oh well,” the king tried to get comfortable, “there’s a few things I'd rather people didn’t know about too…” like this, he added to himself.0=0=0=0
The morning broke, as mornings sometimes do after a bad storm, clear and sunny. Birds twittered in the trees as fluffy whites clouds sailed majestically across a startlingly blue sky.
King Henry awoke, he cracked open an eyelid and looked around, there was a distinct lack of monster-hag-thing in the bed with him; even her smell appeared to have got up and left. For a moment Henry was actually sorry he’d not got to the bottom of the creature’s story. Maybe he’s have a battalion of Foot Guards search the forest for…
“What the hell are you going on about!?” the king sat up and stretched glad to be alive, “Leave these sorts of things well alone old chap,” her told himself, “nothing good ever comes of it.”
Just as he was about to swing his feet onto the floor Henry heard something that sounded like gentle snoring coming from under the covers next to him. Maybe the monster hadn’t gone, maybe it was lying in wait to attack him…after it had bathed and shrunk?
Gingerly he moved the covers aside until he came across a mass of silky smooth dark brown hair.
“I say!” the king started to explore further but suddenly found it hard to breath when a rather attractive young woman sprang from the bed clothes and held him by the throat.
“I say!” chocked the king as the naked young woman tightened her hold on his wind pipe.
Being a properly brought up young man the king averted his gaze from the naked woman even as she was trying to strangle him. All of a sudden the woman must have realised she was naked and gave a small scream. She let go of the king’s throat and gathered the sheet around her to hide her nakedness.
“You!” she said looking straight at the king.
“Indeed,” coughed the king rubbing at his throat, “it is I…and you are?”
The king stopped himself from asking what she did for a living and how long she’d been doing it.
“Faith,” replied the woman shortly as she looked around the room and then down at herself, she smiled, “thank fuck for that! Have I still got it or what?”
“I would hazard a guess that, yes you have,” smiled the king bemused.
“Hey,” Faith gave the king an appreciative once over, “B’ s gonna be so pissed! Even as a hag monster I’m just sooo hot!”
“Umm yes I’m sure you are,” nodded the king more than a little confused, “but would you mind awfully telling me what the devil's going on?”
Faith took the next five minutes explaining what had happened to her.
“Y’know?” wrapping the sheet around herself she padded over to the window and looked out at the world. “I’ve had a good feed off a lot of guys in this forest. But I’ve never got everything I needed offa any of ‘em…‘til now.”
Faith turned and let the sheet drop to the floor.
“Oh I say!” gasped the king.
“Reckon you deserve a special reward!” Faith launched herself at the king and landed on the bed next to him…0=0=0=0Several weeks later
Sitting on the end of the bed, Faith ran her hand through the soft silky fur of the coat that Harry had just given her. She moved her hand from the fur coat to the diamond tiara perched on her head, she sighed. Much to her own surprise she felt guilty; she felt guilty about being the King’s mistress, she felt guilty about all the nice things Harry had given her over the weeks. But most surprisingly, particularly to her, she felt guilty about not trying to get home.
The people here didn’t need her; they had their own way of dealing with monsters, for instance. The Royal Air Force in this reality spent most of its time chasing and shooting down dragons. Harry was in fact sitting at the other end of the bed reading some reports about the new Spitfire fighter planes. In a way it was all weirder than home and she missed home.
She missed Buffy, Red and Giles. She missed the new slayers, she even missed Xander. She liked Xander, he was a good friend. He’d been there for her when Woody had run out on her. He’d sat and watched her get drunk then taken her home and put her to bed. He’d not even tried cop a feel when she couldn’t have stopped him and that meant a lot to Faith.
“Harry,” she said softly.
“Yes, old thing,” he looked up and smiled, “sorry I’m not giving you the attention you so richly deserve, but I’ve got to read these damn reports, don’t-cha-know?”
“Hey,” Faith smiled, “doesn’t matter, look…I’ve been thinking…”
“You’re going to go,” Harry put the papers to one side and gave Faith his full attention, “aren’t you?”
“Yeah,” Faith nodded her head sadly, “ya know I’ve gotta try and get home see. People are relying on me…”
“I know just how you feel,” the king forced a smile, “When will you be leaving?”
“I thought I’d go now,” Faith stood up and looked down at her soon to be ex-lover king.
“Yes,” agreed Harry, “yes indeed, probably best. No long goodbyes, and all that. Don’t want to make a fuss.”
“No,” Faith started to walk towards the door leading to her dressing room; she turned to look one last time at her lover, “it was fun, y’know?”
“Oh, yes,” Harry forced a smile, “jolly good fun…”
“Hey, Harry,” Faith turned to face the king full on, she held her coat open and struck a provocative pose, “something to remember me by.”
She laughed and a moment later vanished from the room and from that reality, leaving the king with his reports and a big Faith shaped hole in his heart.The End.This story line will be completed in ‘The Ugliest Witch in the North Country?’0=0=0=0
You may like to copy and paste this link to you’re favourite search engine and hear Steeleye Span sing ‘King Henry’.
Let never a man a wooing wend
That lacketh things three,
A store of gold, and open heart,
And full of charity;
And this was seen of King Henry
Though he lay quite alone,
For he's taken him to a haunted hall
Seven miles from the town.
He's chased the deer now him before
And the doe down by the den
Till the fattest buck in all the flock
King Henry he has slain.
His huntsmen followed him to the hall
To make them burly cheer,
When loud the wind was heard to sound
And an earthquake rocked the floor.
And darkness covered all the hall
Where they sat at their meat,
The grey dogs, yowling, left their food
And crept to Henry's feet.
And louder howled the rising wind
And burst the fastened door,
And in there came a grisly ghost
Stramping on the floor.
Her head hit the roof-tree of the house,
Her middle you could not span,
Each frightened huntsman fled the hall
And left the king alone,
Her teeth were like the tether stakes,
Her nose like club or mell,
And nothing less she seemed to be
Than a fiend that comes form hell.
Some meat, some meat you King Henry,
Some meat you give to me,
Go kill your horse you King Henry
And bring him here to me;
He's gone and slain his berry brown steed
Though it made his heart full sore,
For she's eaten up both skin and bone
Left nothing but hide and hair.
More meat, more meat you King Henry
More meat you give to me,
Go Kill your greyhounds King Henry
And bring them here to me;
And when he's slain his good greyhounds,
It made his heart full sore,
She's eaten them up both skin and bone,
Left nothing but hide and hair.
More meat, more meat you King Henry
More meat you give to me,
Go fell your goshawks King Henry
And bring them here to me;
And when he's slain his gay goshawks,
It made his heart full sore,
She's eaten them up both skin and bone,
Left nothing but feathers bare.
Some drink, some drink now King Henry
Some drink you give to me,
Oh you sew up your horse's hide
And bring in a drink to me,
And he's sewed up the bloody hide
And a pipe of wine put in,
And she's drank it up all in one draught
Left never a drop therein.
A bed, a bed now King Henry,
A bed you'll make for me,
Oh you must pull the heather green
And make it soft for me;
And pulled has he the heather green
And made for her a bed,
And taken has he his gay mantle
And o'er it he has spread.
Take off your clothes now King Henry
And lie down by my side,
Now swear, now swear you King Henry
To take me for your bride.
Oh God forbid, says King Henry,
That ever the like betide,
That ever a fiend that comes from hell
Should stretch down by my side.
When the night was gone and the day was come
And the sun shone through the hall,
The fairest lady that ever was seen
Lay between him and the wall.
I've met with many a gentle knight
That gave me such a fill,
But never before with a courteous knight
That gave me all my will