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Knights of the Round Table

Part I

“Gwenevere, you are missing the best tournament Camelot has ever held. A young challenger called Lancelot is making quite an impression. You must promise me to attend tomorrow.” King Arthur lumbered into the room, his size making it feel suddenly crowded.

“You know how I despise these events, for they are childish sports that only injure good men for no purpose.” Queen Gwenevere gave her husband a sidelong glance and, as usual, she was startled by how rotund he was getting. She longed for the days when she basked in the envy of other women. Ironically, Arthur was never her type, but she loved the prestige of marrying the most powerful and desired man in Britain.

“I remember when you loved the tournaments.” He sat beside her and both his bones and the furniture creaked with the effort of seating his bulk.

“That was because my own husband was dominating the field, not because I care for those silly games.” In her peripheral vision she could see fat rolls now hid his sword belt and even rested on his lap. He'd recently begun wearing it tightly around his broad hips since it would not fit well around his now rotund middle.

“True, it was more rewarding when I could compete myself, but there is value in appreciating the next generation.”

“So we're old, are we? Am I to just give up?” Suddenly Gwenevere was in one of her famous furies because she did not want to admit she was aging, even though it wasn't showing yet. Finally she looked fully at her husband. With his golden wavy hair and warm brown eyes, he would still be ruggedly handsome if he would only lose that belly. With a shudder she noticed for the first time that his powerful chest was developing soft mounds that strained against his tunic and competed with his stomach for attention. “You must know that the whole court makes fun of you and yet you lay about and gorge all day and night.”

“Well, I didn't know it was so important. For you I promise to work this off.” He laughed as he patted his paunch, surprising Gwenevere with his good nature. She realized she had been almost hysterical in her anger and was now ashamed of her behavior. She also realized she flushed with excitement whenever they talked about his weight and wondered what it meant. “But first I will enjoy the feasts that we have planned, and then I will restrain my appetite for your happiness.”

Gwenevere was assured by this, knowing King Arthur always kept his promises. She nibbled on a slice of bread while everyone else was feasting, and she congratulated herself on her superiority. She did not even mind that her husband stuffed himself more than ever, knowing this would soon be a thing of the past.

However, her mood was ruined again when all anyone could discuss was the already legendary newcomer Lancelot. She hated not being the center of attention, but she was forced to repeatedly hear the story of how he appeared from nowhere to challenge the great Knights of the Round Table, so far beating each one effortlessly. She overheard that he was not at the feast tonight as he was fasting and would be awake praying all night only to compete again in the morning. She decided to hate this man she hadn't even met in proportion to how much everyone else seemed to love him, not liking imbalance. For some reason, she couldn't wait to meet him and snub him in person.

The next day she attended the tournament as she promised, denying the fact that she was painfully curious to see this great Lancelot. Despite herself she took in all the gossip around her. They said he had no formal training as a warrior yet his ability was such that he could fight off a dozen of the best knights in Britain all at once. Everything he knew about fighting, he'd taught himself as he'd been raised among women on the Isle of Avalon. Some claimed he had fits of madness but Gwenevere would not take it seriously or believe it until much later.

From a distance he was not at all impressive with his average height and slender frame. The Queen was content that the invincible Sir Gawain would unhorse this upstart, but she was quickly proven wrong. Gawain gave him the best struggle so far, but still the graceful Lancelot prevailed with energy to spare. The crowd was wild with excitement, and everyone except Gwenevere (and Gawain) was pleased to find such an asset to the Round Table.

No one was happier than King Arthur, and he chose to knight Lancelot right then and there. Now that Gwenevere had a close view of the young knight she was overwhelmed; this was the most gorgeous man she had ever seen. While he'd appeared thin from a distance he was surprisingly well muscled and his compact body exuded strength and discipline. His deep-set blue eyes were as intensely sensual as his inviting smile. Gwenevere had a weakness for brunettes and Lancelot had the silkiest black hair she'd ever seen, framing sharp but friendly features. Involuntarily, she gasped when their eyes met, and desire was mirrored in his gaze upon her. Awkward for the first time, he bowed to her, unable to speak due to longing for her.

Countless ladies swooned shamelessly over him and Gwenevere in her jealousy became angry that she was affected similarly. How dare he be superior at arms with no effort whatsoever and be more beautiful than even herself? She also couldn't help noticing the look of disdain he gave her husband, his glance gravitating obviously toward King Arthur's massive gut. How stupid and shallow of him! Half of her despised him out of spite, but the other half was seduced against her own will. She found herself wishing she could possess him for herself, but a man that perfectly made would always attract attention.

For a long time Lancelot dealt with his desire for the unattainable queen by being always out, proving himself unbeatable in heroic battles and quests. Meanwhile, Gwenevere's life revolved around their complicated feelings for each other and frustration over what could never be. She was so preoccupied with Sir Lancelot, she truthfully did not even notice when Arthur did lose a little weight for her. In fact, no one seemed to notice so he gave up trying and regained the weight.

Lancelot actually had noticed Arthur's midsection was finally getting under control, but he wasn't going to congratulate him until the change was significant. He did not know why he was summoned to see him today, but perhaps he could fit in such a compliment. However, when he saw the King, he thought he thought he looked fatter than ever. He was in the middle of an enormous meal, and Lancelot almost had to look away, wishing this could have waited until after he finished.

“Sire, I think you've had quite enough to eat already,” Lancelot suggested stiffly as he involuntarily stared at the belly that seemed to be blowing up before his eyes. “True, you have a large frame to support it, but how long to you think you can keep gaining weight like this?”

“First Gwenevere and now you. Surely you can understand that times are good and I like to eat.”

“Perhaps you could simply wear roomier clothing and better hide your weakness.”

“You are clearly in the right. It is time to order new clothes, as these have handled too much abuse.” Looking down at his bursting clothing the King became more serious. “As you can see I'm not exactly in my prime anymore, Lancelot. No, don't deny it. I am tired and fat and have more injuries than I can count. I must have my wife protected at all times and since I am no longer able, I would appoint you to the position.”

Lancelot was secretly ecstatic that he would be so often with his idolized queen, unaware it was her secret plan to domesticate and fatten him. That way she imagined she would have him all to herself, keeping him at her side and making him less irresistible to other women. She had insisted to her husband that only the best knight of all would be appropriate to guard her most precious person, and he readily agreed.

Only Sir Kay, who ran the kitchens, knew of her intentions since his assistance would be required for fattening Lancelot. Sir Kay was more than happy to participate, as he was envious of Lancelot in every way and here found an outlet for revenge. He and Gwenevere devised a dozen ways to plump up a man without his detection, intending to use them all on poor Lancelot.

So Gwenevere had created the sedate job, and Sir Kay was adding fats to his foods and giving him more and larger servings. Along with the discretely added herbs for appetite stimulation, these methods finally produced the lightest layer of fat over his muscular stomach. Lancelot had always been in naturally excellent condition and thought he could eat whatever he wanted, so he was alarmed that he was getting out of shape. Well, he was definitely going to put an end to that before anyone noticed he was losing his edge.

However, when the Queen brought in the usual indulgences Lancelot was not allowed to resist. He took small servings to humor her, but she forced more and more on him and before he knew it his stomach was distended with gluttony. He pushed his empty plate away and rested back in his chair, too stuffed to do anything else.

“I have to stop eating like this.”

“Don't worry, you could use a few more pounds.” She poked him in the side and was pleasantly surprised by the softness already developing there. Then she lied to him to advance her scheme; “You would be so handsome if only you had a belly like my husband's. That is what I love in a man.”

He was shocked by this and couldn't think of a response. It never occurred to him that anyone would want such a thing. Thinking hard on the matter he hesitantly decided to do nothing about his recent gain in order to become more attractive to the Queen, but he would stop now before it became truly noticeable.

However, he continued to cooperate with the increasingly elaborate meals, satisfied just to be with her. The more he ate, the more she rewarded him with hungry looks and smiling approval. During this time the Queen did fall in love with her enticing knight, especially as he stuffed himself and his body swelled. This confused her, but she reasoned she liked how it proved his devotion to her. Besides, the subtle curves he was developing looked so delicious on him. At times she would inadvertently brush against his protruding gut, sending sensual shivers throughout her body. The lightest touch pressed deeply into his soft skin now and the thick muscles were well buried.

Gwenevere made him wear a robe that barely fit around her husband's gut to discretely measure Lancelot's progress. At first it was impossibly capacious for him, but he was expanding into it steadily. Soon his obvious potbelly was the frequent topic of conversation. People gossiped that he was getting as fat as the King himself and would be unfit for the tournament this year. He was conspicuously absent on the training field, and his fellow knights harassed him whenever their paths crossed.

“So, have you given up the warrior's life for good?” The other knights were all in excellent condition and couldn't help laughing when Gawain grabbed Lancelot's bulging love-handles and shook, sending his whole torso jiggling, “I see your life with the queen agrees with you.”

“I can still beat you soundly with any weapon.” Lancelot stepped away from the prying fingers and held in his gut as much as he could. He always thought he could hide it in this manner, but now he felt his stomach protrude no matter how hard he tried. Even worse, he could feel where the extra padding was spreading to other previously rock hard areas.

“I don't know about that, you're making a bigger target nowadays.” This time he rubbed the front of his engorged tummy, “I'm sure I could beat you now but I wouldn't take advantage when you're clearly too full to move.”

Lancelot was not conceited, but he thought highly of his skills, “I am always up to any challenge you would pose.”

So they competed with swords, and just as everyone except Lancelot had predicted he had become awkward, a far cry from his abilities of only a year ago. He quickly was so tired he was forced to relent, although he did get in some powerful hits. He was a gracious loser, but the news spread quickly that he was no longer the greatest fighter, and he began to feel the need to prove himself again. Besides, as much as he loved the Queen, he hated being fat. It just wasn't his nature. He decided to go questing for the Holy Grail and she was predictably enraged.

“Not that again! Do you have any idea how many of our best men have already left on this fruitless mission, leaving minimal defenses for Camelot? How many are dead or missing, and for what?”

“I don't expect you to understand the ways of men.”

“Oh, I understand. You are just upset that Gawain is now a better swordsman than you are. So what?”

“Yes, I'm upset but not just because of that. I am not your pet or your toy. I have my own destiny to pursue.”

“Fine, then just don't come back!” Even as she said it she regretted it. She didn't want him to leave at all, but now that he was defying her it became a matter of pride. She turned away as if she could care less what he did.

Sir Lancelot's blue eyes darkened and flashed with emotion before he regained his composure, “I shall leave immediately, then.”

At that moment, his heart and mind broke from her rejection, and he fled into the forest, hopelessly lost to one of his episodes of madness. Tormented by hallucinations, he lived like an animal in the depths of the woods, forgetting even his identity. Frightened by humans, he ran from Camelot's search parties and they eventually stopped looking for him, assuming he'd died.

Gwenevere took leave from Camelot to seek help from her sister, the witch Morgan. When they got together they could accomplish great feats of magic and they easily located her lost knight. He was so wild they had to enchant and sedate him just to capture him safely and lock him in the dungeon. Even in his ill state he was exquisite, and they both admired him while they bathed and dressed him in fine clothing. Obviously his physical health had not suffered, but his tight athletic body reflected his harsh life in the woods. Morgan was just about to pull him out of the trance and start the spells to recover mental and emotional stability, but Gwenevere stopped her.

“No, I don't want to heal him yet. He needs consequences for disobeying me.”

“That sounds wickedly fun. What do you have in mind?” Both sisters had a mean streak that got worse when they were together.

“I was plumping him up when he ran away. We have to start all over again, but I want to see how portly we can get him before returning him to Camelot. Maybe then he won't be so prideful.”

“What a wonderful idea, and easily done. I have countless spells and potions for just that and some of them I haven't had occasion to try yet. We can grow the fattest pig in Britain if you wish.”