Title: Giving Lancelot
by Faith Luna
Genre: m/m, historical, 1300’s, interracial
Rating: PG 13, for violence
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It’s only a short story, but it was an intense story. In 1349 the Black Plague was eating Europe and people didn’t know anything about bacteria or antibiotics. Possibly as many as twenty-five million people died. In February of 1349 Strausbourg would liquidate its Jewish quarter. Perhaps as many as persons would be burned alive. It is said that people pulled young children from the arms of their parents. These children would have been baptised and raised as Christians. It is a far and distant world. It wasn’t a good world to be gay in. My main character, Thybaut, has fallen in love with a Jewish man. This is what happened to them the weekend of the purge.
From the first day he’d seen Crispen, he’d dreamed of some similar adventure. Never had his imagination included unimaginable death, the coming of Armageddon. That first moment had been five years previous. He’d just begun to shave, to dream in certain ways that Wolf said a man was meant to dream in. He’d taken to drawing the dark haired beauty, the long silky hair, the eyes like a dark forest. He hadn’t known a name or even a sex then, but he’d searched the city for his love, walking the streets day-after-day. Crispen Elijah Gelernter had been found on a summer day, sitting in a garden, a scroll in his lap, his hair long, free around his shoulders. Thybaut had fallen from the wall and into the garden, an awkward blond, with wide blue eyes.
Crispen, several years older than Thybaut, leaned back in his chair, the scroll resting in his lap. “And what kind of little bird has God brought to me today?” His voice was deep, but deep like poetry touches the soul, smooth as melting honey, light as sunlight caught in that golden sweetness.
Thybaut’s voice had been dry as bones in that moment, his mouth hanging open, as he pushed up to his hands and knees. “You’re a man.”
“Why,” Crispen said, amusement lifting his dark rose lips in a unbalanced smile, “so I am. So seem you to be. It’s also summer and the afternoon is quite warm.”
“Uh,” Thybault knelt back on his heels, a hand over his mouth. “You’re Jew.”
Crispen touched the tip of a slender finger to his lips, looked up into the branches shading them. His finger slipped down just below his full lower lip. “Really? I thought I was an angel.”
“So do I,” Thybaut whispered. “My priest said my Lord Jesus said, ‘If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.’”
The smile that followed was the first breaking of spring for Thybaut. Not as if it were a perfect smile, a beautiful smile as one finds in portraits of kings. A tooth to the left had long since find a different place to be. His lips were a touch too dark to be what poets spoke of. A little higher on the right than on the left, perhaps to hide that missing tooth, but the light in those dark green eyes touch light in Thybaut’s heart and just like Adam eating the fruit for the first time, Thybaut knew he’d been alone for ever moment of his life until that one. He chewed his own lip, then inched just a little closer. “Tell me please, your name, fine sir, for I must etch it deep into my heart, lest I lose my way forever in the world the moment you send me away from you.”
There was a fleeting moment of confusion in those green eyes. “Crispen Elijah Gelernter. Who are you?”
“I am Thybaut Bessette. Who must I ask for your hand in marriage?”
The laughter that rolled over him would reoccur in his thoughts many time after that day. It seemed very like the hot oil ancient people would throw against invaders. “Well, hello little Christian,” Crispen’s older brother, Alain. “Did my little brother tell you that he has been sickly all his life, that he barely leaves the house, that he’s a man? That my father will kill you dead as your Christ if he catches you here trying to corrupt his favorite son?”
Thybaut blew air into his cheeks, a blond eyebrow arching. “My Christ isn’t dead and he said all things are possible. I will ask your father. God gives love where He gives it.”
“God gives laws, which the Christians then make jewelry out of it, when they borrow money from us for the gold. Penny, may I throw your Christian out?”
Crispen lifted his scroll, eyes on it, even if there was a slight blush on his cheeks. “Alain, if you please.”
The larger and rather amused Alain got Thybaut by the scruff of his surcoat, dragged him to the garden gate and thrust him out with enough force to land the young man on his hose.
“I shall be back!”
“Yeah? Bring scrolls. He reads Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and that dogrel the British call language.”
“Don’t tell him such things,” Crispen shouted. “Don’t encourage him! Papa will kill him.”
Alain winked. “All things are possible, little Christian?”