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Old 12-13-2017, 12:08 PM   #6
Benny Mon
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
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Default Chapter 3

Chapter 3

Faint, morning light had only just begun to fill the windows of the castle as Almarka rolled a tray of food down the corridor (several meat pies, a bowl of candied berries, a pitcher each of tea and of milk). Normally the Sous-chef never had to leave the kitchen, let alone deliver a meal herself, but these were not normal times. Sadesh has requested this breakfast for his companion, and Almarka could not pass up any opportunity to see this woman face-to-face. Certainly, she hoped to learn the secrets of the woman’s shocking obesity. But even if she had had no agenda, Almarka could not resist the stranger’s mysterious pull. She had seen none like her, had never even dreamed of someone so large. Nervousness churned her stomach, and desire stirred between her legs. This was dangerous territory, but tantalizing all the same.

Two of the red guards stood outside Sadesh’s chambers, and they stood aside and pushed the doors open as she approached and rolled in the breakfast, her generous but firm buttocks bouncing tightly as they followed her into the room. There was no mystery, no waiting: Sadesh was absent, probably making his case to the Assembly at that very moment, but his companion sat before Almarka. The woman was seated on the bed, the only surface that would hold her, the bulk of her legs and buttocks and belly spread out like the base of a mountain, rising from the sheets to the peak of her beautiful features. A white bodice enclosed her sprawling midsection, while her whole body was overlaid with a draping, gauzy fabric wrapped around her much like a robe. She sat at the edge of the bed, bending it noticeably, her thighs and belly hanging off and her meaty calves and delicate feet and ankles dangling. A mirror had been moved in front of her, and with a brush--was it her brush? Muzara’s brush?--she sat combing her long, dark hair. At the edge of hearing, Almarka detected the sound of the woman’s breath, a slight, quiet panting passing through her half-pursed lips. She seemed a bit winded, whether from moving into this position or simply from moving her massive arms to brush her hair, but she bore it with grace and composure. Without stopping, she turned her red eyes wordlessly to Almarka.

The Sous-chef felt her legs weaken, and her grip tightened around the handle of the cart to steady herself. “My…” she began, but didn’t know how to continue. “My Lady.”

“No,” responded the woman, her voice as clear and bright as the morning light. “I am Heskaya, Princess of the Riverine Kingdom of Geta.” She spoke with an accent, yet all her words were comprehensible.

“Your Highness, a thousand pardons,” Almarka replied, furrowing her belly as she bowed deeply and began to regain her composure. The red eyes were still on her as she rose. “Lajjar is humbled and honored to have you as its guest.”

The corners of Heskaya’s mouth turned up in a muted smile. “I am pleased.” No more.

Almarka hesitated, then rolled the tray up to the bed, and Heskaya wasted no time in scooping up a pie and a fork and steadily shoveling bites--not too small, not too large--into her mouth. Almarka moved to step back but, surprisingly, Heskaya stopped eating and placed a hand on Almarka’s shoulder. The Sous-chef shuddered at the touch of this hand--fat in the palms, but tapering gracefully to delicate fingertips--on her body. “Please,” said Heskaya, “stay a moment. Join me on the bed. Have you breakfasted?”

“My--Your Highness, I do not deserve this generosity. I must return to the Kitchens to supervise--” She cursed inside at her stupidity, ruining her opportunity to spend time with this stranger.

But Heskaya saved her as she cut her off: “Nonsense. Has the Sous-chef no liberty to move about the castle? You have brought me my breakfast, and your staff will make the rest as they do every day. Join me. I desire companionship, and you are the only woman in this realm who has not looked upon me with disgust or hatred.”

With envy, thought Almarka. With awe. She felt as though she lacked all will of her own as she took a seat on the bed next to Heskaya, as the foreign princess urged her to pick up a pie and eat. Heskaya, too, resumed the river of food entering her own mouth. Almarka tentatively placed a bite in her mouth, then another, then another, careful not to keep pace with her enormous companion. But Heskaya frowned.

“Clearly you are a woman of appetite,” she said through a mouthful of food--and yet somehow with perfect clarity. “Do not hold back. Already your body shows the beginnings of beauty. Feed it! Cultivate it. Let me be not an obstacle but an inspiration.” Almarka began to speed the pace of her eating, feeding herself as she would when alone. Heskaya again smiled that cautious smile. “Very good,” she said, shifting her bulk slightly toward the Sous-chef, placing her hand on Almarka’s back, then her belly. The Sous-chef blushed and stopped abruptly--no one but Tahar touched her like this--and scrunched her legs together. But the foreign princess’s fingers sunk into Almarka’s belly as she said, “Don’t stop. This is your birth rite. Eat. Give in.” And the last of Almarka’s defenses fell away as she began shoveling pie into her mouth, eating faster now, like she only ate when Tahar fed her.

Heskaya leaned back again and held the pie tin to her mouth, guzzling down the dregs, before placing it on the tray and starting in on the next one. For several minutes, the two women sat there in silence, Almarka working her way through the first pie, more slowly through a second, Heskaya plowing through a third and a fourth in the same time, sipping tea and guzzling milk between each one. Almarka couldn’t quite bring herself to finish half of the second pie--she had no more room--and Heskaya, sensing this, took it from her hands and devoured it herself. Almarka looked up at her in wonder, Heskaya red eyes returning her gaze while she steadily finished Almarka’s pie, then picked up the last.

“You dream as I do,” the foreign princess said as she ate. “All women do, whether they know it or not, but you are one of the few who know it. There is a bond between us that I will not forget.”

Almarka could barely move or talk her belly was so full, so tight, so she squirmed into a more comfortable position and asked, “Your Highness, if I may be so bold...who are you? Really? Why are you here? I am more gratified by your arrival than I thought possible, yet your presence remains a mystery.”

“All will know in time,” the foreign princess replied, “but I am pleased to make you one of the first.”

And she told her story. Beyond the mountains that protected Lajjar from the rest of the world, past their peaks and foothills, lay a marshland and a pair of entwining rivers that nourished the Riverine Kingdom of Geta. There may once have been a time, centuries ago, when the two kingdoms exchanged goods and people--the similarity of their languages suggested as much--but that time was lost to the memory of both kingdoms. And they shared more than language: in Geta as in Lajjar, female obesity was prized as a sign of wealth and status and of the flourishing the of the realm. But the similarities stopped there: in Geta, men spurned the slightest hint of adiposity, valuing fit, martial physiques, even if they never knew a day of military service. Heskaya sneered a bit at the soft bodies of the Lajjari nobility. To her, they were disconcertingly effeminate.

But she, of course, was the finest specimen of Getayin beauty their kingdom had ever known. Kept fat in her childhood, her body bloomed in adolescence, seemingly growing with every massive meal she consumed. The royal tailors were forced to make her new garments nearly every month as she swelled larger and larger. These earliest years of her adulthood were the period of her fastest growth: she went from a respectably fat child to a stunningly obese woman in a matter of two years, surpassing in size even her mother, the fattest woman in the kingdom. Her gain slowed somewhat after that, but she never stopped growing.

This ought to have been a joy to her family, but there was a problem: her growth was contagious. Every maid who attended to her, every noble lady who paid her a visit (but never any men, common or noble) seemed to catch the same bug and to eat with unprecedented abandon. Her parents could practically see these visitors ballooning in their presence, and it dismayed them to no end: it threatened to the supreme size their daughter had achieved. That she was far ahead of anyone else in size thrilled them, but the idea that those near her began to catch up with her, that even commoners began to swell as though they were high-ranking ladies, terrified them. Over the years, they began isolating their daughter from the women around her, assigning her only male servants and making excuses to those who called on her to prevent them from visiting. By her twentieth Name Day, she dwelled in almost perfect isolation, rarely leaving her chambers, visited only by her parents and by the occasional suitor they brought along--to whom, inevitably, she turned a languid, enormous cheeked and paid no attention. Her appetite began to flag, though this was of course a relative matter--she still ate more in a day than any woman in the castle, her mother included. Her gain slowed to a crawl, though it did continue to creep up, pound by pound over the months.

Her only real companions became the guards who ensured her isolation. Though they could not disobey the orders of the King and Queen, they became deeply sympathetic to Heskaya. They knew her only as a kind, generous soul and came to see her as wrongly imprisoned by her parents. She confided in them her loneliness, her dream of sharing her passion for gluttony and indulgence with any women in her presence. It was in mutual gourmandise that she experienced communion with her fellow women, that the bonds of friendship and companionship ran deepest. The guards, clad in the red armor of the kingdom, felt the princess’ pain deeply. But they did not know what they could do.

The years passed this way. Slowly but surely, she continued to grow--even isolation could not stifle the transcendence to which her gluttony elevated her. By the end of her third decade, she had grown as heavy as a small cow. And on her Thirtieth Name Day, she sat alone in her chambers, reclining on an enormous chair and biting lazily into a slice of candied peach, when she heard the guards shuffle outside and the door open. In stepped an unprecedented man: a traveler’s cloak (worn but rich), brown skin (darker than that of the Getayin), a square jaw and a face with handsome angular features, alert brown eyes with flecks of green. Sadesh, King of Lajjar.

* * *

The full Assembly of Nobles, not a soul missing, erupted again into a cacophony of shouts. “My--My King!” cried out Lord Hatha, a short man in a ridiculously large green headpiece. His voice rose above the others. “You have told us enough of the story of your consort. We understand the nature of her kingdom, the travails of her upbringing. But we do not understand why she is here today, or why you left!”

Sadesh stood before the Assembly, seventy-eight lords arrayed around him in the seats of a small amphitheater at the heart of the castle. He stood alone on a dais at the center of this circle, beside the throne normally held by the king. Garun sat in the chair he had occupied before his election, when he was merely a noble. And Tahar observed the entire proceedings from above. A secret stairway led through the inside of the walls to their top, where pillars held a great dome above the chamber, and open air flowed between the pillars and down to the amphitheater. Tahar was able to sit behind one of the pillars, peeking down and listening without anyone noticing him. He was strictly forbidden from being here, but Sadesh’s return had overturned all the ordinary rules of play. Tahar’s loyalty to his kingdom, to his king, Garun, meant that he had to violate procedure. He needed to know what Sadesh had to say.

Sadesh, now more lean and muscular than before but still with a trace of a paunch, looked back up at Lord Hatha. “Yes, you shall have my story now.

“Five years ago, my rule was at its apex. Under my direction, the kingdom had developed a potent fertilizer, and we cultivated the land like never before. But our prosperity soon grew hollow, for I was forty years old and had no wife to partake of our bounty, to recognize the heights of my achievement in the contours of her flesh. I was ashamed.

“And so I decided to leave, silently, alone. There were two paths before me. I might find a fitting wife and return triumphant, more fit than ever to lead our realm to greater heights of prosperity. And if I failed to find such a wife, I would not be missed anyway. Lajjar deserved a ruler who could manifest the success of the kingdom back to itself.

“Not even the Mountain Guard who protect our borders knew of my departure. I slipped away into the Great West and became the first Lajjari to venture beyond our kingdom in over two centuries. I wandered for four years, and it would take me years to recount to you all I have seen. I followed the mountains south and rode camels with the desert nomads. I reached the coast and followed it west, spending my nights in the strangest villages you could imagine. I sailed with pirates through the Archipelago at the End of the World. And as I finally made my way back east through the Heartland Plains, I heard a rumor of a great princess, more glorious and beautiful than any the world has ever seen, viciously imprisoned by her cruel parents, barred from flourishing as fully as she might. I followed the skein of these rumors east, back toward the mountains, until I reached the marshlands, and Geta. I presented herself to her parents as a nobleman from a distant land, showed them my signet ring as proof of my high blood.

“I spent months earning their trust. They thought me an exiled lord, respectable enough to welcome but alone in the world, without friends. They thought I sought refuge in marriage to their daughter, to assume the power of their kingdom. In Lajjar we would mistrust such a man at once, cast him out of the kingdom. But the rulers of Geta saw my apparent isolation as an asset: I was not yet entangled in the complex politics that surrounded the isolation of their daughter. I could be enfolded into their scheme, fully indebted to and reliant upon them. I could propagate their line while propagating the imprisonment, and the prestige, of their daughter.”

Sadesh smiled, shook his head. “Of course, it is the Lajjari who are wise. Geta should not have trusted me. One day I asked the King and Queen for Heskaya’s hand in marriage, and they agreed. And the very next day, she and I were on the road, accompanied only by the Red Guard who had stood beside her so faithfully, grown so fond of her. I will not tell you now how I effected our escape, but suffice it to say that the monarchy of Geta does not understand either. They do not know I have whisked her away. They do not miss me. Lajjar is under no threat of attack. And the Princess Heskaya now lives among you. When we are married, we will wed not only her to me, but the prodigious energies of her appetites to the productive power of Lajjari agriculture. And we will not be ashamed of her gregariousness, of her ability to spread her appetites to those around her. This is a gift, and we would do well to be grateful for it. Geta is a lesser kingdom than we. They did not recognize the tremendous boon that is their daughter, but we will not make the same mistake.”

Through all of this the Assembly mumbled and muttered nervously, lacking the boisterousness of just minutes ago. They did not recognize the names of the lands Sadesh had listed, could not fathom how he could have carried out the secret escape of a woman as titanic as Heskaya, did not understand what had inspired the king to undertake such extraordinary action to bolster his anxieties and shortcomings. They had only his word to go on, and that was little. They were overwhelmed, at a loss as to what to do.

“I do not believe,” said Sadesh, his voice rising, “that I require a vote to retake the throne. Election is for life. In all my years of wandering, I have never ceased to be your king, and I do not require further approval from the Assembly to resume my place in the life of the kingdom. And yet….” He looked down to his feet. “And yet, I know that my actions have brought confusion and turmoil. And so, as a gesture of generosity, I will permit you a vote, to demonstrate to me and to the kingdom that your confidence has not flagged. And I will permit my brother his say, before any vote is taken.”

Sadesh stepped off the dais and looked across the amphitheater to Garun. His brother looked diminished in his chair. He looked weary and confused, but resolved. “I must admit,” he said, rising to his feet, “that I grasp very little of what you have just related. But I know one thing: that my first loyalty is to my kingdom and my king, and, as you say, you have never ceased to be my king. And so I will step away from the throne and cast the first vote in favor of your kingship. You have my confidence, my loyalty, and my love.” And one by one, the remaining lords rose to their feet, joining Garun in a swelling chorus of affirmation. A grin spread across Sadesh’s face as each man rose, and when they had finished--a unanimous vote--he took his seat on the throne, and Garun placed a silver circlet on his head.

Tahar turned his head away. He remained crouched behind the column, but sagged against it, staring into the hills and fields beyond the city walls, a cold wind blowing against his brow.

Last edited by Benny Mon; 12-13-2017 at 12:08 PM. Reason: formatting
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