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Happy Storiversary. It is a bit long...but I hope you all enjoy this piece. - Fraank Foolish Muscle by F_R_Eaky Many years ago, in the time they called the Dark Ages, there was a couple who ran a troupe of traveling minstrels, jokesters, and mummers named Cadman and Beca Howels. They had limited success with their troupe, but still managed to garner requests for performances at some of the well to do halls and churches. Now it just so happened at one semi-well to do hall, that the Lord was indeed very, very old. So much so in fact that upon some brilliant performance by one of the members of the troupe, it excited him so much that he expired on the spot. As he fumbled his way toward a hall corner, he cried out the name, "Amlodd" (ahmloth) and collapsed just in front of a crib. Inside this crib was his son, Amlodd Pryce. It was reported that his mother, a mysterious woman who came, and left, in the darkness of the night, was perhaps some kind of Elvin princess who wished to disobey her father. She was very tall for a woman, with a long, though quite beautiful form, and they say her face had elf like features, but on moonlit nights, in the streams of moon beams, she was absolutely breath taking to behold. But whether that was true or not, she was not to be seen for ages, and what was to become of the poor child? Like his mother, the baby Amlodd was long and lanky for a child, particularly for a baby. This only added to the mystery and fear folks had about the child thinking Amlodd would grow into something fearsome or disgusting looking like a changeling. As it was one of the performers who had, by accident, killed the Lord of the hall, and nobody there wished to care for the child, it was deemed that some member or couple of the troupe should take care of him. Thus the townsfolk snuck him into one of the troupe's pageant wagons and when the discovery of him was made half a day's ride away, Cadman and Beca decided to adopt him as their own. Although, they did keep his original Christian and surnames, lest any powerful dark magic become attached to them. If there was any dark magic connected to Amlodd, it was kept firmly inside him and turned on him over the years. He was eighteen years old now and grown into a fairly tall man, if one could call him that. Six feet one inches tall from his bare feet to the top of his head. Taller than most in any village they visited, but still a number of men taller than him, and they were almost all much bigger built than him. His limbs were spindly like a willow. His skin was white like birch and smooth like hazel. His hair was this drab blond, the color of dirty water or linen and hung straight like moss or vines that was lifeless. His face was smooth, soft, and round, still much like a child's, and the same could be said for his body and build. The only thing that was striking about him was that he had these piercing green eyes, bright as a field and yet deep as a forest. Perhaps it was because of his drab and unhealthy looks that he seemed invisible. Most people ignored him, even most of the troupe members. Although Cadman and Beca loved him, as he got older he was given more and more behind the scenes tasks when travelling, packing up or down, or during performances. If he was skin and bones before, Amlodd thought he would surely die soon one day from pure exhaustion. Now, no one is sure exactly how it happened. Had the other neighboring kings hired all the best troupes before him? Had all the other troupes become ill with the plague or something less severe? Were all their paths blocked by dragons, trolls, or brigands? Whatever the reason it seemed the only folks King Cai Trahern could book for his Twelfth Night celebration were Cadman and Beca's troupe. And thus the troupe found themselves in the royal palace hall of King Cai, entertaining him, his son, Prince Rhys, and many of the kingdom's Lords, Ladies, and Knights. It was during shows such as these, Amlodd was relegated to being the "silent jester." Not a mime as some would guess, but a quiet behind the scenes jester. He would be the one to come out and do clumsy summersaults in order to show how good the acrobats were. He would be straight man for jokes, pie slams, pitcher dumping, water buckets, and depantsing. Of course he was also the gofer and prep person for the acts when they needed items brought to them or to be told they were up next. All of this done in a second, third, fourth hand me down jesters outfit whose vibrancy was so low, one almost swore his outfit was black, white, and gray. As the acrobats and jugglers were performing, Amlodd was rushing in to bring the props needed for the magician & herbalist, Baeddan (bAthan) the magnificent who would be next. Amlodd was crossing the back of the hall, when a floor candelabra snagged a corner of one of the handkerchiefs of a long trail of them that were connected. It broke free but left a tail of silk streaming behind Amlodd a good several feet. At the same time as Amlodd's crossing the hall, a man rose from his seat... and rose...and rose.... It was Macson Roderick, the tallest, biggest, bravest, and most boastful of all King Cai's knights. His figure cut broad at the shoulders and tight at the waist on a six foot four inch frame. His chest barreled out so that his tunics were stretched tight at the collar and those tunics nearly fit like dresses upon normal sized men His arms were such it was difficult to create sleeves for them, even worse to create a rerebrace, upper arm armor plate, that fit his arm relaxed yet allowed freedom of mobility of his biceps when he raised and flexed them during combat. The same could be said for a cuisse or greave to fit his thighs and calves respectfully. He had jet black hair with streaks of white mixed in. His eyes were beady, narrow, and so dark brown folks often mistook them for black. And his teeth.... although nearly perfect and white, had canine teeth were large enough it seemed as though he had fangs and might be part wolf or perhaps daemon. So, as Amlodd was crossing the main hall, Sir Roderick was crossing Amlodd's path. His right foot came down upon the tip of the silk handkerchiefs, which became taught as Amlodd continued to walk forward, and his left foot then became caught in the silk handkerchiefs and Sir Roderick went down upon the stone floor with a mighty thud. The hall became deathly quiet. Everyone looked towards the fallen knight. He spilt his ale all over the floor, himself, and his own body weight crushed his wooden goblet into many pieces. Roderick turned his face from the floor and glared at Amlodd with a gaze that would freeze a man's heart and kill him the very instant their eyes met. Rising up from the floor, Roderick let out a string of expletives as he called out to the unknowing and unwitting Amlodd. "You witless, walking willow! You ass gas full-gorged hugger-mugger!" "What?" "What? WHAT!? You make a string of second hand silken kerchiefs to trip me and after I fall flat on my face, crushing my goblet, and you say WHAAAAAT!?" And although Amlodd is extremely thin and lithe, Sir Roderick still displayed quite a bit of strength as he hoisted Amlodd by the throat into the air with one arm. The young man hangs there choking as Sir Roderick bellows at him, "Tell me why I shouldn't have at thee, now?" "Because, it is Twelfth Night. It is my house. It is my hall. It is my table, and I, the King, for one, care not to see battle nor bloodshed on the last of the blessed nights of Christe-mass! Now put him down, Sir Roderick." Sir Roderick glanced over to King Cai but still held his grasp on Amlodd's neck firm and kept him supported in the air. "Macson!" Reluctantly Sir Roderick brought Amlodd down, but did so by way of flinging him half-way across the room. "I will have recompense. He caused me to crush my one and only good goblet. I have nothing and there is nothing else in this kingdom that will hold enough to quench my thirst like my goblet could. And although I can order one it will take months to carve it, stain it, weather it, reset jewels from the old one into it." "Then we shall ask the boy to pay you. Young man, do you have anything to cover the expense?" To stunned for words, Amlodd stood up, bowed towards the king and softly muttered, "No, sire." "Sire," Cadman came forward and spoke. "He is an orphan boy, adopted by myself and my wife. As he stays with us and we feed and clothe him, we keep most of his earnings. The only thing of value that he has is a small amulet, but that is the only thing he has connected to his father who passed away when he was just a baby, and it certainly will not cover the cost of replacing Sir Roderick's carved and bejeweled goblet." "Then he shall face me." bellowed Sir Roderick. "If he has no material worth, his human worth will do. If he survives the combat, he's paid off the debt. If he does not survive, again, he's paid off the debt... ... ... with interest." King Cai spoke out again. "Surly you can see that he would never survive. He may be a man, but just barely. He has no beard. You said so yourself that he was a walking willow. I've seen you snap logs four, five times in thickness compared to him with your bare hands, and you wish to go to combat with him in armor and weapon? I implore you. For Christmas. For Chivalry." Macson Roderick stood there looking Amlodd up and down before finally scoffing and sneering at him. "Alright. In honor of Christmas and chivalry, I will concede, with this caveat: There is no doubt that he owes me for the cup; accident or no it was his fault. He has nothing to pay me back with save himself. He is, surprisingly but a few inches shorter than me, so that should make him man enough to be able to face me. I will allow him one month per each year it took me to develop and double it. That would give him ten months. And since it is the last day of Christe-mass, I will even give him a gift of two more months to train. One year to train in total, however he can, see if he grows any, see if his beard comes in. As an added bonus he receives one extra day, for my Liege would not have us fight on Christmas so then on January sixth the beginning of Epiphany, not the morrow, but the next, we shall have our duel." With that Macson pulled out a rather tatted and worn glove, not one of the fine ones on his hands, and threw it down at Amlodd's feet. Amlodd nervously bent forward and picked it up as he knew he had to and placed it under his belt. Toward the end of the evening, when many of the guests had left, retired, or flat out fallen asleep at the tables, Amlodd darted from this end of the hall to the other gathering bits and pieces of props, costuming, and equipment and packed them away in their proper boxes and trunks. After setting a number of the trunks near a side door, he began to notice he was being watch by someone in the shadows. He was more average in height, around 5' 10" tall, his frame had a slight build to it, but was much more lithe than what Sir Roderick was - he was more like an acrobat or tumbling jester. His clothes seemed as though they may be fine, at least in cut if not in material. It was too dark to tell the quality. The silhouette of the man's hair was definitely cut in a well to do fashion. As Amlodd stood there staring at the man in the shadows, when the wind came wafting from behind the man towards Amlodd he could smell a pleasant and heady fragrance coming off the man. The man leaned his head forward ever so slightly and Amlodd saw a silver glint from the man's forehead. "Come." The figure took to walking down a spiraling staircase until it came into a storage room, where upon he lit a torch and used it to light a few more within the room. There were a number of trunks and several casks stacked here and there, but was still fairly bare. After lighting the last torch, the figure turned around and Amlodd could see it was Prince Rhys. Grabbing Amlodd's tunic, he pulled the young jester around and backed him against a wall. Then with one hand running down the neck of Amlodd's tunic and one running up the bottom hem of the tunic, Rhys began to rub the chest and crotch of Amlodd. "I like men who are bigger than me... ... ... but not just any big man; I want one who is not only large but has a decent heart and soul. You are somewhat tall, you may become big and muscular or not, but you definitely have a decent heart and soul. You knew you should and wanted to pay Roderick back, but really couldn't. Yet, Roderick didn't need to make you owe him as it was an accident. He could've watched where he was going. "This is the start of my private treasury. The one separate and apart from the kingdom's treasury. My father isn't fond of my lifestyle. I know it's your lifestyle too. You eyes never went to any of the women, including the dancing wenches, but when the acrobats came out in their tight tights and tumbled... Your ratty-tatty clothes didn't hide much, if you knew when and where to look. If a man could beat Sir Roderick... ... ... he could possibly be my champion as well. You're kind of cute when you lift your head up. I like your eyes." Amlodd almost couldn't breathe. He felt the blood rushing to his face, and rushing to his organ, and yet at the same time all that blood felt as though it was streaming through all his limbs and chest trying to inflate them as well. "I don't want to see Roderick win in anything. He's too haughty. He bullies too much. And I think he's after my father's throne, certainly wants to make sure I don't inherit it. I don't know if you could grow large enough and powerful enough in a year to protect my father and me, but you could grow big enough and learn enough skill and strategy to possibly defeat Roderick. To that end, you have my permission to come in and borrow as much as you need from my treasury. Just leave me notes or receipts for what was paid. Course how are you to get in here? The guard was in the middle of shift change when we came down and they certainly won't let you in, so follow me." With that Rhys led Amlodd to a lone cask in the corner. It appeared to have a leaky tap that constantly dripped wine. "It's hooked up to a miniature aqua duct that brings in a tiny stream of water that passes through iron ore. If in here, give this tap a twist.... and the cask front opens. Step inside.... close the door and turn this knob the other direction. Same thing but backwards when you come back unannounced." They walked down a tunnel for quite some distance until the corridor ended and Rhys pushed open a smooth marble section of wall. This allowed them to step into another room full of sarcophagi. "Take this key. Head up the stairs and as quietly as you can unlock the gate. This is the royal tombs, no one ever comes down here. Relock the gate once out and go to the right. Push at the wall within the frame and it will open to the outside. It will look like you're coming out of the memorial stone for one of our great poets. If any of the brothers from the church catch you near the gate, tell them with a confused look that you were looking for the shrine to Saints Bacchus and Sergius. After they redirected you, act like your praying, and after they leave come back to the gate." Rhys stared fully at Amlodd now. "Tell me... do you find me striking?" Amlodd nodded and stammered out a yes, to which Rhys grabbed him by his crotch again and then looked up in delight. "You may be a few inches shorter and much, much lighter than Sir Roderick, but I do believe your lance is more than equal to task than his...." With that Rhys gave Amlodd a full kiss, which caused the room to spin, stars to move across the heavens, the air to be removed from Amlodd's lungs, and time to be frozen. When Amlodd finally woke from his bubbling feeling of awe, Rhys was gone. ***************************************************************** Late that night, after finishing the packing of things away within the pageant wagons, Amlodd squeezed himself into the rigging attic of his and his parents' wagon. Upon reaching the decent height of 5' 8" he was slightly too big for this space, now at five inches taller, it was impossible for him to even really sit up in the space at all. But with it being winter, it was easier for him to roll and slide his way into position to sleep from the trap door and over the furs he used for covers. He also like the space in the winter time because with the furs, it was easily heated up just enough with only one or two candles, as opposed to the summer when it never became cool. It was relatively quiet around the wagons tonight, most of the troupe seeking rest within the castle's great hall. Amlodd however had been told to sleep out in the wagon in order to help keep watch over them. A couple of the acrobats in two other wagons helped to keep watch as well. Halfway through the night, the wind picked up slightly and Amlodd awoke to what sounded like a moan on the wind. At first Amlodd was exceedingly frightened as he thought he heard his name on the wind. When he was sure of it, his mind thought it must be a banshee come for him, but soon he realized it was a man's voice that was calling. Hopping down from the rigging attic, Amlodd went to one of the side window shutters and opened it up. The moon was dancing in and out of clouds creating quite the light and shadow show that to modern eyes might have almost look like some kind of slow strobe effect. Standing in the middle of the square the pageant wagons encircled was a man in flowing white robes who pointed a finger towards the window and Amlodd and then made a "come hither" motion, after which the man began walking. Thinking that he surely must recognize this man, Amlodd quickly put on his boots, grabbed two-three cloaks to brace himself against the winter weather, put them on and then left the wagon. Following the white robed figure out the gate, Amlodd walked down the road, then onto a path for quite some time. Eventually he found himself in a clearing in the forest, located beside a stream. It was cut into a circle and at the outer perimeters the young man noticed there was a ring of trees: Elder, Birch, Rowan, Ash, Alder, Willow, Hawthorn, Oak, Holly, Hazel, then some Vines growing upon one Beech tree, Ivy growing upon another Beech, and Reeds springing from the bank of the stream. There in the center was a large stone block and standing beside it was the white robed man. Amlodd went to approach the man, but as he did so, flits of light began to dodge to and fro in front of his face, grabbing his hair, pulling his cloaks, undoing the laces at his boots. Eventually there was such a great swarm of the lights bobbing and attacking Amlodd folks would swear he himself was glowing, but poor Amlodd was nearly blinded. Then they began to prick and poke, cut and jab at him, rip and tear at his hair and tie it into knots. Finally Amlodd could go no further, and he wondered why the man who had led him here wasn't speaking out or assisting him. "Please! I mean no trouble, good sprites. This man came to me and I want to ask why and who he is. If this is wrong, communicate with me, let me know what I should do." At that moment the flits of light all left Amlodd and began to form two rows a person's width apart from the stone to the outer ring of the circle. A silvery figure appeared who flashed and shimmered as it approached until the silver light was gone and a woman with auburn hair coated or made in Autumnal leaves, a gown made of deep rich moss, and a tray of many miniature pitchers stood in her place. Setting the tray upon the stone, she walked towards Amlodd, poured just a drop from one pitcher on top of Amlodd's head, then smiled at him and kissed him. Suddenly it felt as though Amlodd was in a shower, and all the small cuts and scratches he received were healed and disappeared. "My Lady..." said the robed man and he bowed deeply to the woman. Amlodd looked up and over to the man in white and then stammered, "Bae... Bae..Baeddan?" "Yes, young sir. It is I, you whom you know as Baeddan the great magician and herbalist. However I am actually a druid and today I have come to petition for you. My Lady, I fear for this young man's life. Through a small accident it is threatened and not only do I fear this to be a great tragedy, but the man who has issued it is cruel, harsh, hard, and has little regard for human, let alone animal or plant life. On top of that, I feel something for this lad. I feel him connected somehow to this land. He is needed. The cur that bids him to fight has only allowed him a year to train, where he has had several years to work on and grow into the tower of strength he is today. I beseech and implore you, Lady. Is there naught you could do to help him?" The woman smiled again at Amlodd and then a female's voice was heard on the wind as she took Baeddan's hand in hers, and the other hand twirled and waved over the small pitchers on the stone. "In a cup of oak to provide stability and strength..... Birch bark to make you the Achiever, one who strives after and completes his goals... seeds of a Grand Fir to grow straight and tall.... the seeds of willow to observe and move with agility.... Hazel nuts for wisdom and knowledge.... Rowan berries so that you can think clearly and learn of strategies... Holly berry for cutting and piercing and to know how to lead and rule.... the grape of vine to help you see both sides of situations and thus equalize things out... the berries of ivy to be a survivor, to overcome your adversaries and their plots.... .... Lavender and Lemon for attraction, grace, and sexual prowess.... a pinch of thyme so time may be on your side. To be heated by fire!..." And lightning struck the inside of the cup. "Stirred by air!" A gust of wind caused the liquid to swirl. "Made consumable by earth and cleansed by water!" A patch of moss rose out of the river bank and the liquid rose out of the cup landing and straining itself through the moss, flowing back into the cup. "Now drink, my handsome young lad...." Amlodd wasn't sure why he felt safe in drinking the oddly mixed concoction, knowing some of the items were surely poisonous to men, but he felt that the lady could do no wrong and Baeddan urged him to do so. He tossed back the contents of the cup. It felt and tasted like mulled wine. As soon as the last drop was down, his head spun, things began to go in and out of focus, his knees gave way, and he felt as though he would sleep for a thousand years. Looking up he saw Baeddan's face for just a fleeting moment. "I must take leave of you and the troupe now. Tell them you followed me, but that you lost me and have no idea where I was heading. Tell no one about this night or sight. If you wake late, tell folks you had to much mead." ************************************************************* Amlodd awoke the next morning just before the break of dawn. A mist was rising from the river and in eastern distance a rooster could be heard crowing. Glancing around he could see the clearing, the trees still standing, but the large stone was gone, likewise the Green Lady and Baeddan. But as his vision cleared his stomach roared and roared so long and so loud it sounded as though thunder was rumbling in the distance. He wasn't just hungry, he was downright starving. He was craving food, any and all kinds of it, where as normally he ate lighter than the smallest bird. He couldn't hunt in these lands, they might still be the king's. The wagons didn't have enough food. He knew what he must do. Running back to the grave, the church, the catacombs, the treasury, Amlodd took a healthy amount of gold, leaving a note saying it was for the purchase of food. He then took a basket from the wagons, took it to the market place, and began to buy pies, bread, and anything else; one item from each stall so as not to arouse inquiry, and hiding it in the basket beneath a towel. Once that was done he returned to the wagon where he began to pull out each item and devour it quickly as though he hadn't had a meal in weeks, months, perhaps a year. He ate all of it. He ate so much his stomach felt like it would burst. He thought he might be sick. He lay down on the floor and soon fell asleep. The season of Christe-mas over, things would be quiet for a while until a couple of days around Mardi Gras and Shrovetide, and then quiet again until the celebrations of Easter. January would be a time of rest and maintenance. No performances, but the repairing of rigging and props, re-sewing of torn costumes and clothes, the decision of which Biblical stories they shall present in each wagon for Easter and thus change in sets and paint. However it wasn't tasks as usual for Amlodd this January. At first things were normal, except for his appetite being ravenous, especially a newly large craving for milk. It was so extreme that not only did he start getting up early each morning to work at a couple of farms milking cows, he nearly, on more than one occasion, went to drink directly from a teat like a calf. Amlodd truly wondered and almost feared this craving, but felt he could keep it in check and the extra money didn't hurt anything either. But then there were the stares... ... ... and the new accidents. Originally folks would turn and look up at him, but their glance would quickly turn back away, not because they felt ashamed for looking, but because Amlodd wasn't that tall nor huge as they perceived he might be from peripheral vision. However as the days of January faded into time, more and more people began to stare at him. Their faces began to carry more awe and fear. They began to part the way for him without any request to do so. Amlodd kept getting this feeling that their faces were getting farther and farther away. Other things were happening too that were confusing and frightening to Amlodd. He used to be able to simply bow his head and bow slightly at the waist, as though bowing to the king, when walking through a doorway, but more and more he kept banging his head on door frames, needing to bend over perhaps even more than Sir Roderick had too. Signs from on high became attackers and Amlodd wondered why people were hanging them so low. The rigging attic was getting smaller and smaller, harder and harder for him to slide into and even then, he couldn't get comfortable as his feet were growing longer and wider and now being pushed out further by the longer legs, kept getting caught in the rigging ropes, or smacking props, pulleys, and winches. Shrinking clothes, shrinking chairs, shrinking beds. Bowls seemed like cups, cups looked like thimbles. It seemed as though everything were getting smaller and smaller. Why even the horses for the caravan began to appear almost dog like to him, great Dane type to be sure, but still the equines did not seem so large and domineering as they once did. Amlodd's tunic was riding up higher and higher on his thighs, so too did his pants on his calves. His shoes kept bursting side seams ripping all the way around his feet. What had started out as mid calf boots were now simple shoes that only came up to the bottom of the ankles. By the end of January folks couldn't help but stop and stare, whisper, and gossip. Amlodd now had to bend at the waist and the knee in order to come through doors as the door frame only came up to the top of his shoulders, His parents... well, his adoptive father, only came up to just under his arm pit. Even though he was still very skinny and slight of build, he had grown as tall as some trees said some folks, but most everyone was certain he was taller than the largest man of the kingdom, Sir Roderick. Amlodd's possessive craving for milk subsided quite a bit at the beginning of February, but his appetite for bread, meat, and vegetables only became stronger. He would trek deep into the forest, beyond what was listed as the bounds of the king of course, and set snares, traps, and hunted for animals. If townsfolk could see what Beca saw, they would think Amlodd was catching and eating all the wild game of the forest, if not the world. Two to three quail plus eggs in the morning; an eighth of a boar or a couple of pheasants for lunch; meat, vegetables, and bread for dinner and going back to finish all the leftovers. It was at this time that the troupe began to practice for the pageant plays they would perform at Eastertide, and it was also at this time a number of accidents began to happen to all members of the troupe. The first time it happened to the man in charge of the thunder and clouds. He had fallen out of the top rigging on one wagon and broke his arm. Amlodd was sent to replace him, but he couldn't quite fit due to his height. And so he reached in to grab the pulling system with his right hand and began to pull it one handed, then reached with his left hand for the other and began to alternate curling his arms up and extending them out back and forth to make the clouds move. Next came the two acrobats. At the same time they both took a tumble wrong spraining and pulling muscles here and there. The men who lowered and raised the Angel Gabriel during the Annunciation Play had to go forth and replace them. Amlodd was called upon to handle that, which he did after reworking the system with several pulleys. By the end of the reworking, Amlodd was standing on the ground, behind the wagon, back to it, pulling on two ropes walking forward to raise the actor up and backward to lower him down. Later in the year the act and motion would evolve into Amlodd simply pulling his arms forward in front of his chest and squeezing hard and then extending his arms back behind him again. In The Temptation of Jesus, the man who pumped the bellows for Lucifer's smoke and fire, caught his pants leg on fire and had to recuperate due to small burns. Again Amlodd was called upon to fill in, but his arms were already too tired and aching from moving the clouds and Gabriel, so he stood upon the billows and began to alternately press down with his legs back and forth, back and forth. The men who raised the whale's mouth from the floor and thus lowered and rose Jonah, got caught and pinched in the rigging and were laid up for several weeks. Poor Amlodd was again called in to replace him, but his arms were already so taxed and his legs worked that he would crawl on his back to the position under the wagon and he would alternate between hoisting the whale and Jonah up by pushing up with his hands straight out from his chest, or move up further and push with his legs and feet straight up from the hips. Then there was the typhoon from Jesus Calms the Sea. No accident to anyone there, but the system froze up and thus the waterspout was completely motionless. That is until Amlodd realized the cloth formation was as long as he was tall, and so he would climb up onto the roof of the wagon, drop down into spout, with arms outstretched upon the roof to hold him and then rotate his legs round and round to make the waterspout move. After each performance poor Amlodd thought he would vomit whatever he had for lunch his stomach and abs felt so sore. And thus on and on it went, poor Amlodd was worked to death, so one would think. Yet, over time the tasks became easier and easier for him to accomplish and changes began to happen. By the end of February Amlodd looked broader in the shoulders although not much beefier. There was some definite definition to him which people would marvel at and yet still proclaim he looked like death, all skeleton like. By the end of March he had ballooned out to where his abs began to stick out a little bit, his chest began to hang in two very slim crescent moons, his back was a little wider, his arms although not huge looking had taken on a solid firm ball shape with a vein riding across the top. He finally had a look to him like he wore his clothes instead of his clothes hanging from a pole, and he was eating more. It might have been said that he eating four to five quail plus eggs in the morning; one fourth of a boar or four pheasants for lunch; meat, vegetables, and bread for dinner for three men and going back to finish all the leftovers, but Lent had now started so instead Amlodd was swimming in streams with nets and baskets and while one to two baskets could help feed everyone in the troupe for the day, Amlodd was eating about three baskets full all by himself. At the end of April, Amlodd sneaked into the vault for a fairly large sum of money. The troupe needed a new food wagon, primarily because of how much food Amlodd was bringing in or buying just for his growing needs. He could polish off six quail now without thinking about it, three-eighths to one-half of a pig or boar satiated his stomach at lunch. and they began fixing one whole cauldron full of soup or stew and bread just for him. His body was assuredly becoming very athletic with his pants hem beginning to cut into his calves while his thighs filled out the pants nicely. His chest that looked like two large crescent moons began to pull his tunic tightly across, while his upper arms were filling tightly the sleeves of his tunic. and they had begun to hang out away from his body. In May his clothing troubles began. His chest was now that it looked like he was trying to steal two large platters underneath his tunic, that is until he breathed deeply and arched his back slightly and suddenly the tunic tore down the front. This was not to be out done by the sleeves which were constantly making small popping and ripping noises complaining about the developing and balloon size of Amlodd's arms. They too would at times eventually burst wide open. Of course how could one hear that? Whenever Amlodd reached for something in the rigging or leaned over to grab more food, a tear could be seen and heard right under his arm pit and the formation of what some folks called wings would poke through. Beca had to take time to mending all Amlodd's clothes, who never thought about himself as he was too busy helping cover accident after accident and problem after problem and when he wasn't doing that he was busy hunting, catching, or scarfing down his food. Quail were gone being replaced by three chickens or pheasants; one-half to three-fourths of pig for lunch; a vegetable stew, bread, and the meat was left whole in the forms two to three extra large steaks. This didn't take into account the small quantity of fruit and nuts being snacked on in between. The towns folk began to comment on how Amlodd not only stood taller than a doorway, but could fill the entire space that a door did and then some. Five chickens, dozens of eggs and biscuits were eaten at breakfast daily by June's end, along with an increase of food at lunch and dinner. Doctor's and clergy began to speculate that Amlodd was the daemon of gluttony personified in human form or that he had a spiritual hole in his stomach that made the food disappear. Meanwhile his arms had grown thicker and filler, making a noticeable peak whenever he moved them into a curled position. Beca by now had banned him from having any sleeves as he kept bursting out of them. Two small half-globes filled Amlodd's tunic, making it look as though he was now sneaking good sized bowls somewhere. The tunic would split down the front save Beca now used the sleeve material to add fabric to the front and then embroider heavily a design down the middle. She did have to contend with the fact that now whenever Amlodd bent over his back would tear down the middle, as well as the fact, she kept forgetting to account for his odd developing wings, which made his back much wider and thicker and pushed his arms up farther away from his body that a normal person's should ever be. Not to mention that his calves were set on ripping his pants hems every single day and they were becoming so full, Beca wondered if Amlodd wasn't becoming built so weird way around as they seemed the size of arms, and not just any arms but the size of his own upper arms. This doesn't even take into account Amlodd's thighs which Beca swore were larger than most men's waists, perhaps even their torsos. They were so big, it gave Amlodd this odd, near hourglass shape but not with the soft curves of a lady, but with hard slanted angles. The thighs were becoming a problem to Amlodd as the neighborhood children started to make fun of how he walked, which was now with him kicking his legs out to the side a little bit. At the festivals at the end of July, more teasing came from the children, but gasps of awe and wonder from the people in the villages the troupe visited. Carrying in a large tree sized pole for a pole dance, folks couldn't believe Amlodd was able to carry it by himself. They couldn't believe how his neck looked as thick as the pole. They marveled that the silhouette of his shoulders, back, and deltoids looked like the same shadows cast at sunset by the mountains. That his arms were hanging at near forty-five degree angles from his body, pushed away but those growing wings that made his waist look smaller and smaller. His chest now looked as though he was carrying out two hogsheads, or small barrels. His arms looked like boulders, almost as large as a man's head. Any amount of physical bending, twisting, or work made him swell and inflate slightly larger than when at rest and he frequently ripped his tunic here there and everywhere until it would suddenly just fall off of him, revealing a pair of pants that were ripping in the crotch, around the thighs, up the calves, and even around his ass which had begun to bubble out harder, firmer, and larger. Beca didn't know what to do, the base for Amlodd's clothing was being shredded to nothing and she was running out of scraps to use for repair. And still, Amlodd was loading more and more food onto the spit and onto his plate to eat, and Beca wondered what Amlodd was turning into. End of August and Amlodd is walking around in a full sized cloak that fits him more like a cape and will not close in front and a pair of pants that look more like three-quarter length shorts. Breakfast consists of several chickens, two dozen eggs, and about half a pig, while lunch and dinner are even larger, and some are betting that Amlodd is to the point of eating half a cow. His neck is as thick as his own head, but it's hard to distinguish that as his traps rise so high they almost touch his ears. His deltoids look like small boulders connecting his arms to his shoulders and his arms are now so large the biceps are beginning to take on almost a square appearance and the triceps simply pop and stand out from behind. His back and lats are making him look twice, three times as wide as any man he stands next to and his abs look like the side of a castle wall, which is topped off by two barrels that are Amlodd's chest. So full, round, broad, and thick they are that Amlodd's nipples have begun to point down and out from his torso. His forearms look like a whole cow or pig's leg cooked in size and shape, yet still have veins criss-crossing all over them so that when Amlodd moves his hand at the wrist, it had the appearance of one of Baeddan's old magic tricks of a bag full of writhing snakes. Amlodd wishes Beca could make him a tunic again as his thighs cause his pants legs to become very tight, and not only can one see their three-four tear drop shape definition, and also that of his thigh biceps, and how firm and round his butt is, but also the outline of his soft cock hanging down. Between that and him walking around shirtless, flashing his increasingly hairy torso and arms now to the world, townsfolk began to call him barbarian or Viking behind his back. At the end of September Cadman has added two new acts to the troupe's entertainment repertoire: The Giant Jester and Guess the Weight. Beca doing the best she can, Amlodd is sent out on stage with a patchwork pair of pants, matching jester's cap, and his torso painted here and there with matching colored diamonds. However he isn't turning flips or telling jokes, he is doing a strong man act: lifting boulders, snapping large pieces of wood, hoisting people in the air one handed. He goes out to fields and has a yolk placed over him and runs a challenge between him and a local farmer's horse or oxen team to see who can plow the most on a field. It is fitting that last act as the horse used for pulling the troupe's food wagon sprained his foot and thus, as Amlodd did for many of the other members of the troupe, replaced the horse in pulling and pushing the wagon here and there. And of course, Guess the Weight is there to see who can guess how much Amlodd weighs, a particularly hard job as not only does muscle weigh more than slim and fat, but that Amlodd is still eating, still performing muscle grueling tasks left and right, and thus is still growing bigger, harder, denser, fuller, thicker and stronger. During October the town the troupe was staying in, the local Archbishop hired Amlodd for two things: one during the day to help some local stone masons with moving blocks of stone while making repairs to the cathedral and adding to the structure. In the evenings, the Archbishop allowed the townsfolk to have a festival in the square in front of the church and he dressed Amlodd up to look like a gargoyle come to life. During the day he was hoisting and hefting and lifting and carrying huge stones of granite hither and yonder, and during the evening he could've relaxed in his role but found the children were more frightened and thrilled if the gargoyle picked up heavy stones. Of course the stones weighed so much more than the pull of the rigging or the pulling of the food cart and it caused Amlodd's muscles to hunch and bunch and swell and grow in newer, faster, and more challenging ways. There were times having Amlodd help out brought work to a standstill. The other workers, the master masons, even the brothers of the church would all just stop and watch Amlodd work. When moving his arms, whether loaded with weight or empty, the shape of them changed from something almost block like to this sudden towering mountain peak. His chest barreled out more and more as the day wore on until his shirt would split down the front center. Amlodd would sometimes take his shirt off and everyone would marvel at his torso which looked like a brick wall topped with two meaty and hard slabs making the merlons of a parapet castle wall. His legs swelled, everyone could see even with pants the pull and strength of his hamstring. His calves simply pulsed and throbbed with size and strength. Some thought it looked like a heart, but if it was, it was the heart of God himself as it was far too large to ever be that of a human. Every day the builders and clergy men saw Amlodd's form grow bigger and thicker on a daily basis. The Archbishop and his men frequently had discussions on how this must be how Goliath looked, how Amlodd was a walking statue like those of the giants mentioned in Genesis or those of the archangels, except they were never so fully built, or riddled with so many lines scored across their muscles, or criss-crossed with so many throbbing, pulsing, veins. And of course there was discussion that maybe Amlodd was a fallen, as in fell in an accident not cast down to Earth, angel as there was no man who could be so.... "blessed"....by God in the groin. These changes were not lost on Amlodd. He noticed many of them over the course of time: doorways were a foot shorter and he was twice as broad as them, seats barely fit, tables were raised by his knees, he needed double the fabric for clothing, tubs only came up to his waist when he sat in them and his form sent half the water spilling out. If he attempted to stretch his legs just the slightest, either his feet would kick out the front of the tub, or his thighs winged out and the tub split from the sides, but it wasn't until one evening in November that it really hit home. This November evening, he was sneaking back out of the vault and the catacombs after grabbing a large sum of money. He had to get it. There was simply no way his clothes could be pieced together like a large patchwork quilt any longer. Just the slightest movement, the shortest intake of breath and his clothes would scream, give up their hold and life, and fall away to the floor. He desperately needed new shoes before the winter set in harshly and the Christmas Pageant and Twelfth Night festivals would begin once again. But this last time it was hard to leave. Amlodd was still having problems adjusting to his new size and strength. He thought he was pulling the royal catacomb gate slowly and quietly, but the rusted gate was no match for his bulging arms and hulking-bulking body and the gate swung closed quickly and clanked loudly. He ran down the corridor to the secret door to leave, but this made it worse for no matter how quietly he attempted to run, the heel to toe movement of his massively muscled body caused his feet to thud with thunder! After barely making it out of the Royal Cathedral, Amlodd ran and ran and then stopped and rested by an ancient looking pool. He pulled one knee up and held it, trying to rest his head upon it, but this was difficult to do because his chest mounding out so thick made it near impossible to grasp his knee or get his head to his knee. He had extended his right leg out fully and he could see his massive foot, nearly half a floor tile wide and perhaps a tile and a half long. He took off his cape and felt the cool breeze caress his body. Closing his eyes to the wind's touch, he couldn't believe how good it felt, how many mounds and crevices on just his body alone the wind had to caress and swirl into and over. He bent over and looked into the pool and was so shocked by what he saw. His hair had become lighter, in the moonlight it looked as though it glowed a bright honey-golden color. It was long. It was thick. It was a like a mane that surrounded his head and it blew this way and that, so carefree, and yet perfectly in place at the same time. His nose had defined into classic arrow point. His cheek bones had raised up a little higher, but his jaw had become a bit wider and much more square which was now outlined in a nice bit of a three day stubble beard that was just as golden hued as his top hair. Hair continued down his chin, over his throat, spreading across his chest and down his abs. In wonder, Amlodd touched his jaw and then moved his fingers down to his chest. A shock ran through his system when his hand grazed his left nipple. Amlodd shuddered and took in a gasp, but he brought his hand back quickly and began to massage, fondle, outright grope his own left pec. He could feel it swell slightly to his touch. He could feel his nipple lengthen and harden. Continuing to run his hand down his abs, he stopped just before his cock base and ran his hand backwards up, up, up, through his ab and chest hair. Once that happened it started another swelling action. Feeling a stretching in his groin, Amlodd let out a soft "oh no" and attempted to grab a hold of his cock as though perhaps he could squeeze it and stop it from becoming erect. This only resulted in keeping what little of pants cloth he had from moving while his cock continued to stretch and grow. "Auuuuuuuuuuugh" Amlodd moaned as his traveling cock head rubbed against the tightened pants. Letting go of his cock, Amlodd bucked his hips up at the rubbing sensation the cock head received, and with that his cock shifted in the pants while springing fully to length and girth, tenting his pants out tremendously and then ripping a hole in them. As the evening breeze whipped and swirled, filling Amlodd's crotch with newer, cooler, fresher air, Amlodd yelped in ecstasy, his hand knee-jerk reactions went straight to his cock, catching a hold of loose fabric still clinging to his peen and began to rub it and rub it, stroke and caress it. The touch and sensation coming from this mighty and thick rod of sexual pleasure overwhelmed Amlodd's senses. His stroke brought a buck from his hips, a moan from his lips, and quiver from his mega frame. Over and over he stroked that club, that was almost too big for his own hand, until finally that jolt went through him. The jolt that went out from the groin, around the balls, across the ass, up the back, around the neck, up the chin, over the lip... ... ... before suddenly taking a dive straight back to the cock base where it then shot straight out from it. His ample balls suddenly pulled into his body and then felt as though they were being softly squeezed, deflating, but they would pop back to size and squeeze in again, over and over. Leaning back and crying out, Amlodd's right hand reached out, accidentally grabbing an ancient stone pot and shattering it, nearly crushing it to dust. His left hand tightened his grip on his cock, but that didn't stop it from shooting out stream after stream after string after string after ribbon after ribbon. As Amlodd shook and convulsed, it felt as though he was getting hit by strips and strips of hot leather that had fallen and now lay across his groin, his abs, his chest, his neck, his chin, his face, and perhaps even shot beyond! After several, no, dozens of convulsions, Amlodd collapsed and when he began to feel a film forming over him where the copious cum strings had fallen, he flipped himself into the brisk pool, washed himself off and then, seeing he had destroyed his pants, wrapped the cape around his waist so it hung in front like a loin cloth and ran back home to the wagons, with money in tow. The month of December progressed along. The work at the Cathedral kept working his muscles out to the max, mainly because when the master masons began to notice the load was become light for Amlodd, they'd pile more stone and brick on. The first three weeks of December they had to make him work inside the enclosed cloister courtyard as he had no clothes. The Archbishop took pity on him, it was said, and ordered enough fabric to make him a descent respectable outfit. With the money Amlodd took from Prince Rhys' stores, he bought enough cloth to make him a work outfit, something he could wear at the Cathedral or quarry, and another bolt or two to make him a new work outfit for the troupe. The people of the villages and towns he went to stared at him in awe and wonder now, but with all the work he had done at the church, the dairy farms, and other areas, people knew that although he was a mountain of a man he had a most caring soul. Thus whenever they saw him, although they made way for him to pass, they always looked up at him and smiled and greeted him: "Wes Hael, Great Amlodd!", "Good morrow, Giant Amlodd.", "Well met, Mount Amlodd.", and from the children, "Pop your arm, Amlodd, pleeeeeeease!" And they would take turns squeezing it and then run away giggling. This of course all had an effect on Amlodd. He stood straighter and taller when walking, with his head up high. His chest that already barreled enough, was stuck out further when he walked now, with his shoulders back and broad. He had become used to his size and fallen into the giant and broad man's gate: his arms having gone from straight, acute, right, to damn near obtuse hanging angles from his body; his stance becoming set with feet shoulder, his broad-broad shoulders, width apart; and when he walked he kicked his legs out to the side and then rolled them around and forward in order to move. Indeed for the last some folks swore that if one put a pair of sticks between Amlodd's legs while he walked, a fire would soon be struck. And then came all of his new clothes, which despite being measured just shy of month ago, still did not quite fit. The poor giant still stretched them very taught and although they held together and did not burst, it still looked as though he were wearing clothes that were one to two sizes too small. **************************************************************** Finally Twelfth night of the next year was upon them. Amlodd and his troupe were back in the great hall of His Majesty, King Cai Trahern. The fires were stoked to a roaring blaze, the cooks had slaved over many a delicious dish for weeks, whole roasted pigs and towering cakes were laid out, nobles and guest from every corner of the kingdom had arrived to celebrate, even Baeddan the magician was there, although he looked to be more of a close advisor to King Cai, and was dressed in brilliant white robe with golden torse. Sir Macson Roderick was there, of course, bully barreling his way across the hall, knocking men and women down, taking the largest portions of the feast and giving a nod shrug off to folks who had to wait for seconds to arrive now, in order to eat their first. First course out, the salutations to the King, the Prince, and other fine Nobles, as well as to God and Kingdom made, it was now time for the entertainment to begin, King Cai made the gesture and his herald made the announcement, "Lords and Ladies of the Court and Kingdom, it is time now for the Green Rose Entourage!" Cadman and Beca came in followed by their troupe making a mini parade around the inside of the tables until all, save Amlodd, were in and Cadman and Beca we once again standing in front of the King. They all graciously bowed, some pleasantries were exchanged and then Cadman clapped his hands, the troupe members disappeared, and the Herald made the introduction of the first act. "Lords and Ladies, here for you now are Tyler and Taylor the Twin Tumbl...." "Yes, yes, yes, yes.... oh let's do forego all these in between acts and get to the main attraction everyone has come see." Said Sir Roderick as he stood up from his seat and glared at the Herald. "As we're awaiting the oh so one-sided match tomorrow, everyone watches to see what our man, Amlodd, has become so they can make appropriate wagers tomorrow. Let us just cut to the chase and have him perform his act. What is it... he's supposedly a great, mountainous strongman now?" Sir Roderick's group of men cackled and guffawed with laughter and snorts. "Bring him out now and the other acts can fall in line behind him." Just then the hall's main entry doors opened and the Herald announced, "Her Majesty, Queen Ifanna Appleonia of Ælfanweald." Under the arch of the doorway, there stood the most enchanting woman ever seen. Tall, quite tall for a woman, although still shorter than Sir Roderick. Her gown was full and shimmered with several layers of translucent colored fabric? A magnificent strand of diamonds and amethyst hung about her pale neck while small clusters of the same hung from here ears. They matched her eyes which sparkled in her comely, ivory-like face, above her lips of ruby. She wore a crown that looked like lace made out of golden threads, which rested upon great buns of hair spun of silver, combed perfectly, glowing, studded with diamonds or was it fireflies? The Queen half-way across the hall without making a sound and then politely curtsied to King Cai. Sir Roderick however was incensed that his calling for Amlodd had been interrupted and shocked those assembled by turning addressing Ifanna in an extremely unchivalrous manner. "Regal wench. You need to learn your place, in line behind a man and after he's finished." He turned to actually take his hand and smack her face, and the crowd gasped in shock and awe, twice. The first time was because he dared to openly strike a woman, and one that was a queen at that, and second because Ifanna took her hand to grab his striking wrist and stopped it cold. Made more impressive that her hand upon catching his didn't even budge inward towards her. Just before she spoke some of the assembled guests swore her face glowed and flashed, as though her complexion were made of tumultuous skies filled with storm clouds and lightning. He voice then boomed and echoed throughout the hall. "I am no wench! Regal or otherwise! I wait for no man and I am never in queue, waiting in a line... ... ..." and looking towards King Cai, "Save when protocol calls for it from me for my most gracious host." King Cai nodded his head, "You are most welcome, cousin of crowns. We shall arrange a seat for you at my right." With that the crowd saw a sight that once again caused gasps to grasp the air; Ifanna still holding Sir Roderick's hand, turned and twirled herself and him as though they were doing some sort of dance, and suddenly Sir Roderick was thrown back and onto his awaiting stool and appeared somewhat stuck there. Ifanna passed gracefully by and looking down upon Roderick said, "You need to learn your place... knight." After another throne like chair was placed at the head table and Ifanna sat down, apologizing sweetly for arriving so late to the festivities, the herald turn to see what should be done, the acts in order as the troupe wanted to present them or ask for Amlodd to be brought forward. Reluctantly the King granted Sir Roderick's request, but stating loudly much to Roderick's embarrassment, "Let's see this newest act so Macson can see the man, his challenged opponent for tomorrow, and once viewed perhaps the blow hard will go home to prepare and the rest of us can enjoy this feast in merriment and peace." Although he somewhat growled a response back, Macson Roderick ended it with a "It'll be good to see the small willow twig once again...." and then let out a series of laughs, chuckles, downright obnoxious blasts of mirth as he sat back at his table and had all his men laughing as well. Many of the gathered guests laughed at his remark as well, but they soon began to taper off into silence. Even Roderick's men fell into being as silent as church mice as they saw Amlodd approach and come to stand in the center of the hall. Still chuckling as he turned and started to speak, it faded away and became very timid as Roderick finished his question and stood there looking up to the face of Amlodd. "So this is the mighty... ....mountain.... Amlodd?" Roderick had gone to stand toe to toe with Amlodd was stuck dumb at the fact he only came up to just under Amlodd's nose. He noticed that Amlodd's torso extended wider than his shoulders, by a good bit, and that didn't even begin to include Amlodd's boulder like shoulders, wing like lats, or his upper and forearms. Scanning him top to bottom, Roderick was going through a mixture of shock and rage as he could see that the costume, jester booties, tights, tunic were all brand new, but they clung closely to Amlodd's skin leaving nearly nothing to the imagination. The diamond shapes on the tunic were pulled so taught across Amlodd's chest, they looked more like some kind of misshapened trapezoids. Both in the chest and in the arms, if Amlodd breathed one could see the rise, the fall, every twitch and movement of the bulging, bulking muscles. And the tights were even worse, looking as though they were thoroughly painted on showing every absolute crease, crevice, bulging mound, popping muscle, throbbing vein, cable like ligaments and tendons as if Amlodd were nude. Only the striations were missing and some weren't so sure of that. Not knowing Amlodd's new size, he had stepped up a little too close and place, what most used to think were ginormous feet, on top of Amlodd's toes. Amlodd wiggled them a bit, rising Roderick's feet as his did so. Then looking down as Roderick did, when they raised their heads Amlodd stared at Roderick's face and gave a soft and non-meaning, "ow", with an arched eyebrow down to Roderick. Roderick didn't speak but had he, he would've stammered, and he slowly so as not to look afraid, backed off of Amlodd's feet. While everyone laughed lightly, Roderick went into a tantrum directed towards King Cai. "It is just as I heard. He has turned into a beast. A beast within a year! This is most unnatural! This is magic! His body is enhanced by the fae and I know it was done on the early morning of Epiphany last by that mad mage!" Baeddan stood up to protest. "I did no such thing, Your majesty. The contest between them tomorrow is as fair as can be!" "You didn't feed him a potion then? One that would make him grow into a giant? To give him muscles like granite? To have him cheat so he could best me? Brother Relgo, now!" With that a priest, built nearly as large as Roderick himself suddenly hurled a large iron cross at Amlodd. While Amlodd held it after catching it, the priest began to chant sternly and quickly, "In nomine Patris, ut deleret omnes magicae et dryadalum sanguinem de corpore... In nomine Patris, ut deleret omnes magicae et dryadalum sanguinem de corpore... In nomine Patris, ut deleret omnes magicae et dryadalum sanguinem de corpore!" There was a glow from the cross, and then one around Amlodd which then began to form a line, a stream at the top of his head, but after gathering for so long it receded back into Amlodd followed by a blinding flash. When everyone could see again, there was Amlodd still standing in the center of the hall, still as large as ever. "Brother Relego, I thought you said iron and that prayer would cast out all fairy magic and fairy blood from Amlodd!" Relego stood there dumbstruck, but the question wound up being answered by Baeddan. "It didn't work for two reason, Sir Roderick. Number one there is a small bit of magic here, but you allowed it. You did say when making your challenge last year that Amlodd had a year and a day to build himself up in any way he saw fit. You knew that although he would become a titch healthier, maybe even a tad bigger in a year, he would never gain the size needed unless he could have the training for years like you did. But you gave him that. You said you would give him a month for each year of training it took you to become the near giant man you are today, and you even then gave him a couple of months extra. So I did give him a potion, one that would make his body work and grow a year's worth within each month, but that was decided to be legal and just by the universe, otherwise it wouldn't have worked. The second reason why it didn't leave? He was a late bloomer. The height he has and the frame he has would've naturally happened to him in the next couple of years. He was indeed to be a giant of a man." Sir Roderick roared, "Auuuuuuuuugh! I will not have what was once a twig of a fool ruin my plans! He will not best me, and I still declare he cheated! I shall have this kingdom and rule over it!" With that his men, plus a few hidden ones, held swords and knives to key nobles, the king, and the prince. Roderick then grabbed a quite heavy, long oaken bench and smacked Amlodd upside the head with it. Amlodd having looked to see how Prince Rhys was doing didn't see it coming. Seeing stars Amlodd collapsed to the floor, attempting to shake off the blow. He just barely got his vision cleared to see the next strike with the bench and catch it with two hands as if he were hoisting a bar over his head. Roderick jumped and landed on the bench causing Amlodd to go into a crouching position, the bench in his hands and resting upon his broad back. He began to easily lurch back up, but then some of Roderick's men came to assist and jumped onto the bench as well. When even those three men didn't seem to slow the lurching down, Roderick bellow to all of his men to come over and assist. "Pile on. PILE ON! We keep him down we can take him out and the kingdom will be ours; the king too frail and the Prince a scullery maid!" Other men joined five men on the bench, eight men on the bench, twelve men on the bench... Roderick's dog handler jumped on. Thirteen men and two dogs on the bench. For a brief moment it seemed that Amlodd was pinned and the men could draw swords and daggers and stab him through. But Roderick forgot his time given for Amlodd to build up was still going. The challenge day wasn't until tomorrow, and Roderick and his men, left Amlodd in a grand position to work out and grow. The crowd began to speak in whispers and cries wonder what was going to happen? Was it a kingdom over throw? Was poor, poor Amlodd dead? When suddenly they began to hear grunts and moans from a low pitched voice followed up by some "whoas" from Roderick and his men. More grunts and groans, heavy labored breathing, whoas. Soon the sounds became on long string being chanted over and over again. The bench and the men on them began to bounce and bob as if they were actually in a small boat out on the water. It was Amlodd. He had positioned himself when they piled on to have his bulbous bubble butt resting on his ankles, while his arms were up and holding onto either side of the bench. He was currently bouncing on his legs... more and more he bounced... more and more and every ten reps or so higher and higher. Soon guests began to see his legs and they began to hear his tights. A rip here and zip there. Each rep, each bounce his tights became tighter and tighter, exceptionally form fitting. The guests could see as the tear drops of his grew larger, fatter, fuller, almost as though they were two, three, four wine skins being filled to capacity and prepared to burst. His thigh biceps mounded out more and more making his thighs look twice, three times as big as his waist, each! The hamstring pulled so thick and taught it could be used as an instrument string, probably a bass as big as it was. The diamonds on his calves grew wider and harder losing that shape and moving to large hearts with rising veins, making his calves appear to be two large sacks holding pythons that writhed and wriggled. With each bounce and size increase the seam of the tights popped and spread apart. Runs in these tight hose began to sprout on every side, soon one appeared every inch or so and pulled and ran the entire length of Amlodd's legs until it looked as though he wore leggings made of ribbons that were only attached and gathered at his waist and his ankles. By this time Amlodd was able to get his legs fully extended and standing straight despite the bench and its occupants' weight. Now it was time to get the bench up off his back. Still stooped, he began to once again bob his attempting captors and killers up and down in the air. Moaning and groaning, breathing through clenched teeth, Amlodd nearly swore as it seemed to be taking him so long to get them lifted, but eventually he did, but being in a stooped position began to lose some balance and so he somehow switched the load over his head and the pressing up came more from his chest and not his back. Now the bod and ride up and down was becoming really wide as Amlodd pushed them far up and out when his arms extended, but lowered them long and slow with his elbows sticking far behind his back and the bench resting on his chest. This too became quite cumbersome and soon Amlodd began to hoist them over head quickly into order to alternate between back and front, chest and back. As this was done he began to swell larger and thicker in his torso. The chest and back pulled, stretched, tore the diamonds on his tunic. In one sudden movement his back snapped the collar and started a rip down the center back. Next switch the chest snapped it and produce a rip all the way down to Amlodd's upper abdominals. This was followed by long ripping strips happening under the arms as Amlodd's lats spread out wider and wider as though a pair of wings were being unfolded. So it was just strips of multi diamond ribbons that were hanging off of Amlodd's shoulders that eventually fluttered to the floor and revealed a colossal column of cobblestones and bricks that a horse could walk across as a road, a chest that appeared as hard and to barrel out as large as any of the mead or wine casks created to hold hundreds of gallons, and a back and lats that grew into an upside-down evergreen tree that had grown on the bottom as wide the tops of 400 year old oaks. Through all the bouncing and bobbing, many of Roderick's men now yelped for fear, dropping their knives and swords and holding on to each other for dear life, not sure they wanted to find out what a ten to eleven foot drop in full armor would feel like. For Amlodd had now worked his way up to having them hoisted above his head. And he lowered them on his back and neck, then back up and down on his chest, over and over and over every time his biceps, triceps, forearms grew, expanded, became thicker, harder. So full were his biceps now when relaxed or full straightened they looked nearly square. Combine them with the clydesdale sized horse shoes Amlodd was now sporting for triceps, it looked as though Amlodd had the blocks he was hoisting at the Cathedral for upper arms. His fore arms grew as well, coming in thick, hard, veiny, pulsing and popping looking like most men's legs and calves, or gigantic roasted turkey legs were attached at Amlodd's elbows. The sleeves, the only thing left to Amlodd's clothes besides the crotch of his pants and his booties, everyone watched them stretch and pull and shrink wrap the mighty upper arms and tops of the forearms until when in the down position of holding the bench and knights on his chest or back they finally simply tore the fabric across the top of the bicep, or along the side exposing the crevice between bice, brachialis, medial and long heads of the tricep, or creating rips from the elbow up to the wrist, or snapping the cuffs. Eventually the sleeves having been shredded to threads drifted to the floor and there stood Amlodd nearly naked with his hands and arms held high above his head holding the bench with the knights and dogs. He stood motionless, his muscles, all of them totally swollen, fully hard, veins crossing over their valleys and dales, and streams of sweat winding and rolling in and out over the mountains and valleys of Amlodd's body. Hair matted from the sweat all over his body: across the expanse of his colossal chest, down the abs to his waistband, feathering over his quartz like quads, his block like biceps, his freakish forearms and concrete like calves, not to mention the five o'clock shadow on his jaw line or his mane of head hair. His neck looked like it had ballooned as well, becoming possibly thicker than his own head, and suddenly it looked to be pinched off by his trapezius which was mounding more and more mountain like as he held his attackers mid air. He was a living walking statue of the ancient Greco-Roman gods that folks had seen, except he was two...three...four...five times as built and broad as any of them. Finally Amlodd's gritted teeth came open and a low growl that became a scream came out of his mouth as his arms swung back and dipped down a little bit, only to instantly push out and swing forward at the same time, sending the bench, knights, and dogs hurtling through the air across the hall to land near to the double entrance doors. And now Amlodd stood there, breathing heavy, his chest heaving, his arms slightly bouncing up and down, up and down. Finally, he clenched his fists, bent his torso slightly forward, and brought his hands down and in front of his abs, flexing and crunching everything at once with a primal scream. "eeeeerrrrrRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAUGH! .... .... ..... huh.....huh..... The....huh....huh..... challenge..... huh....isn't......huh.....until to.....huh....to.....huh...huh.....TOMORROW!" And having been somewhat bent down in this pose, Amlodd picked up the Iron Cross from the floor, took in both hands on either side of the side bars, and making the same pose and growling louder, proceeded to bend the iron cross until it looked like two of the letters thorn for "th" (þ) placed next to each other in mirror image. Although Roderick's men were shaken and fumbling still from the thrown fall, Roderick was back on his feet screaming and rushing towards Amlodd. He went to strike with his left hand, Amlodd caught it. He went to strike with his right hand, Amlodd caught it. There they stood pushing one another with their hands together, fingers intertwined. A couple of times it seemed Roderick was winner and pushing Amlodd's hands backwards to touch his wrists, but this was only because Amlodd still was unsure of how large his body and muscles were or how easy it was to execute some movements with them. Still it wasn't too long of them going back and forth before Amlodd had the idea of basic fighting principles, and with a loud yell, moved forward, bending Roderick's hands back to the wrists and then twisting his arms down and out, nearly snapping Roderick's forearms off. A simple push sent Roderick then stumbling backwards towards the entrance door again. Amlodd turned to face King Cai and to apologize for having to fight on this last day of Christe-mas when he knew and understood the King's order for no fighting to occur until the first day of Epiphany was being disobeyed. But Roderick wasn't done. His coup wouldn't be stopped by a lowly jester... no, a jester's lackey. Screaming he snatched up two spears and chucked them at King Cai and Amlodd's back. "ENOUGH! NOUGH Nough nough ough gh gh gh....." It was Queen Ifanna who had stood up and with her hand stretched out. There was a flash of light and as her voiced echoed near endlessly throughout the hall, the spears stopped midair and then suddenly changed course flying into the back of two empty server's chairs. Stepping out from behind the head table, Ifanna walked towards Sir Roderick with a cold and stern look like a mother reproving her child. "I will not be undone! I will have..." "SILENCE!" and her voice again seemed to echo eternally throughout the castle halls. "You have caused men to fear you, not respect you for your size. Instead of helping your fellow man with your natural gifts of size and strength you have bullied them and taken from them to preserve yourself and never to help out your fellow man. Your king gave you a powerful position so you had something to occupy your time, to keep your idle hands busy and not turn to pursuits un-noble and wrong. And you repay him thus? Belittling him, his people, his son, and attempting to overthrow and become king yourself? Your king.... .... .... the Earth and Universe are much displeased with this." "And what will you do about it, witch?" "I AM NO WITCH! I control power of the Earth and Stars as guided by them to ensure harmony, prosperity, and peace. And this.... shall happen this eve." She gave a nod and motion of her head to have Amlodd stand near or over Roderick. Roderick stood up, presumably to take yet another swipe at bringing Amlodd down, but before he could, he felt a chill and a lack of ability to move. " Macson, oh, Macson, so vain with your size, It's blinds you to seeing life's true and great prize. Belittle and bully those weaker than you, Now called one a cheat, when his actions were true. So abhorred were your deeds, we now place this curse, To take what your prize away with a verse. And grant it unto your most gracious foe, To ensure you're in check, he more now shall grow. Your lack of chivalry tis now your downfall, live life here among us so tiny and small!" Sir Roderick and Amlodd both began to feel a tingling sensation all over their body and before he knew it, Roderick's worst nightmare began to take form. Two minutes pass and suddenly he realizes that his head only comes up to the bottom of Amlodd's jaw or chin. Two minutes pass quickly again and it becomes much worse, he just barely stands taller than Amlodd's shoulder. He cries aloud in protest, but once done realizes that now he only stands as tall as the top of Amlodd's chest. A string of expletives towards Ifanna and then he only comes up to the join of Amlodd's deltoid and upper arms, or right at his underarm. A defiant cry of "this is not happening!" and suddenly he's only as tall as the bottom of Amlodd's chest and it seemed to just out feet to him like some great awning stretching out above him. He now cries and sobs as pieces of his armor slough off of him as though he were a tiny child playing dress up in his father's clothes. And then Roderick only came up to where Amlodd's lats and mid torso meet. "You are a bitch and you will undo this right now!" And Roderick picked up dagger and as best as his much smaller and shorter arms could do, threw it at Queen Ifanna. It clattered to the floor well short of its mark, not due to magic but because of how weak and small he was. "Auuuuugghh...." Macson stood up straight for a second and then suddenly, he watched as the next row of Amlodd's abs rose above his vision and his head. "The curse shall stay upon you and for every time you are again bullying, arrogant, or abusive towards someone, you shall shrink another two inches, lose more muscle size and strength and it shall be given to your perceived foe or more to Amlodd should you cause that person to cross over. It shall do this until you have learned your lesson or your are as small as a fae, and then you will have to come to live in my realm." Macson let out a small yelp and as quickly as he could pulled his tunic out from under his armor, wrapped it around himself and then left the hall. Meanwhile servants were running into one another as they attempted to bring Brandywine and snifters for what with all the growing just added to Amlodd, none of his clothing was left intact. His feet had exploded out of his shoes, and if not his bubble butt, his more than enough, ample package caused the last bit of his pants to split and give way. He was now standing totally nude and with a pendulum greater in size than perhaps the town clock swinging in the breeze. Dozens of women fainted, many men looked despondent and depressed now, and it was rumored that even Prince Rhys let out a squeak of pleasure and then passed out in his chair. Amlodd went to grab the bench and hold it in front of his groin, but Queen Ifanna waved her hand and soon dew drops swirled all over him, the breeze blustered and gusted all around him and he was clean and well wash from his ordeal and then all his scraps of cloth from his torn clothing, along with a few of the banners on the wall, combined together to make a brand new pair of pants and tunic that fit him well and just snug so that he was dressed both with comfort and move ability, but all could see he was a man with extreme muscular size and strength. Amlodd approached the high table, bowed before King Cai and issued an apology for having burst through his clothes and being nude in front of everyone. The King chuckled and said there was no need to apologize as number one, the growth really wasn't in his control and two, because he had just saved the king and the kingdom. But at that very moment one last pop was to be heard, It was the pop of Amlodd's necklace. His neck had grown too thick and strong for the necklace and it had managed to stretch the chain, some of the links apart and release causing his amulet to fall onto the table in front of King Cai. Cai looked down at the amulet and then his eyes grew wide. "Who gave you this amulet, boy?" "I assume my actual father did, sire. It was around my neck when Cadman and Beca found me." "Cadman, Beca, come forth. You say you found this child?" "Yes. As we said last year, it was half a day's journey from the last great hall at which we performed that season." "Young man, what is your last name?" "Pryce, your majesty, why?" "That amulet contains the crest of the Duke of Langberch, Sir Islwyn Pryce. I know this for that duchy is part of my kingdom and Islwyn is a distant cousin, thus part of the royal family. Something like the mid thirties or so in line for the throne. I had heard of his death, but nothing about you, except how you had gone missing." "Your Majesty," said Beca. "We didn't take him, truthfully. We found him amongst props and other thing in one of our wagons. The staff of the household feared him to be a changeling due to his long size as a baby. We accidentally caused the death of Sir Islwyn, so the staff thought it was our responsibility to take care his child. We told them no. When we discovered Amlodd, we saw his name on the back of the amulet and knew he was Sir Islwyn's baby boy but we didn't think anyone there wanted him. We only knew Islwyn as some great local Lord... by name.... we didn't know him by title." King Cai sat back in his chair and sighed. "Well then, before festivities resume, we must take care of some business. I want all to hear me and hear me well and good. These are formal and royal proclamations and the scribes shall do well to note it, as well as the Chamberlains and Heralds. First, for saving us and the kingdom this day, Amlodd Pryce is here by granted knighthood in our most prestigious order. Second Sir Pryce is hereby to assume his station as his father's son and heir and it to be Duke Pryce of Langberch. Third, the regent whom I appointed to govern Langberch until the heir be found, has sided with the former Sir Roderick, so I will send you immediately to take back your duchy, trounce the regent, and restore order and control of the duchy as quickly as you can. Fourth once you have done that, you are to find someone to act on your behalf in those lands for you are to move back here for two reasons: reason A. You are to take control of my armies. A man of your gigantic stature, size, build, and strength, just by being here will surely dissuade any enemies for thinking to attack. We shall have the best of my warriors help teach and train you in fighting and tactics. and B. In as much as I'm not sure about this.... lifestyle.... I certainly cannot change my son, nor where his feelings of adoration and passion take him. I have no idea how you feel, but given that we now know you are of royal and noble birth, not to mention the addition of physical stature to the royal line wouldn't hurt, if you manage to come to some agreement on having children somehow, then I have no problem with an arrangement of marriage between you and him, if you'll have him." The giant, Sir Pryce blushed deeply and sheepishly said, "I thank you, your Majesty for all these gifts, and.... yes if he will have me, I will have Price Rhys." Shouts of joy and laughter filled the air. King Cai ordered the armor of Macson taken away to be reshaped and used to make new, larger armor for Sir Amlodd Pryce, Duke of Langberch. Amlodd was asked to sit at high table, Cadman and Beca and all members of their troupe were given extra payment at the end of their performances for not only being such good entertainers but for having restored the Duchy of Langberch, a branch of the royal family, and the reason why the kingdom was saved. Prince Rhys was finally roused awake and spent the remainder of the evening sitting in Amlodd's lap, who prayed all night that he would not pop and erection in front of the crowd in the hall, even with wearing well fitted pants. Later the Prince and Amlodd went strolling up the Prince's bed chambers. Amlodd remembered first meeting the Prince, when although taller than the Prince then, the Prince at least came up to Amlodd's brow. Now the Prince just barely made it up over the bottom of Amlodd's pecs, just under the arms or right where the deltoids and upper arms meet. Speaking of upper arms, the Prince went through his yearly clothing allowance that night, having Amlodd pull his pants up over his arms, lacing the pants shut, and then flexing his arms and watching the laces or the waist band snap. Rhys nearly went into orgasm when they compared the tattered challenging glove of Macson to Amlodd's hand which dwarfed it considerably well. However Rhys became quite the surprise and great lover to Amlodd. Bringing Amlodd into the castle, several things had to be redone. He now stood head and pecs taller than the doorways, the end of the beds hit him at the knees, if his head was completely against the headboard, his knees tilted tables so that he tipped them over, and chairs frequently broke under his size and weight. Of course, it was still a chore to make clothes for him as well, and most horses shied away from now, so he rode into battle not upon a horse, but drawn in massive chariot pulled by four great plough horses. Nothing ever truly fit Amlodd.... .... .... save Prince Rhys. Amlodd wasn't sure how it was possible, but Rhys would slide down, taking Amlodd's mighty rod all the way to his globe like balls. It seemed that Rhys never tired of Amlodd and his great physique. Every night all Amlodd had to do was to bounce a pec here or pop a bicep there, or let his trews drop and let his staff sway. Within a heart beat Rhys was there, climbing him to reach his mouth and kiss him, clinging to his neck, groping his shoulders, cupping his pecs, pinching and sucking his nipples, sucking or squeezing his biceps and upper arm, tracing his abs, grasping his buttocks, caressing his thighs, following the contour of his hamstrings, kneading his calves, massaging and comparing his feet or hands, combing his chest hair with fingers, or stroking, sucking, or sitting on his colossal cock. The pair were frequently late for morning breakfast and meetings because Prince Rhys usually had to perform all these actions and he took his time doing so, sometimes even stopping and waiting, reducing Amlodd the giant to moaning and tears. During festival times, Rhys would work Amlodd up for several nights in a row and then leave him hanging and on the last evening of the festival, perform the ritual of caressing again and then Either shimmy his ass slowly and bouncing down Amlodd's royal scepter or take his average prick and fuck Amlodd's mighty anaconda until Amlodd screamed and roared in ecstasy. It's been said they have broken five beds, up to ten tables, and nearly a gross of chairs, and those festival nights, Amlodd fills at least two chamber pots completely full, but not with piss or poo. It is this they have used to impregnate the "Proxy Queen", a fair lass selected by both Rhys and Amlodd to be the surrogate mother for their child... make that children. All of them strapping young lads who matched in height, if not stood taller than their father Rhys by the age of eleven, and sometimes given to small bursts of growth, probably due to small ones Amlodd continued to have. Yes.... no one is exactly sure how long it took, or how much size Macson gave still to Amlodd. He was able to live decently and alone after selling the jewels that were once incrusted into his goblet, but oh he still had an attitude. A man here, a young lad there, he still threatened and picked fights, becoming more and more upset and jealous because these fights left him smaller and weaker than before. Of course there were the few who came back hoping to gain more height and strength from Macson, only to be extremely pissed when they didn't grow again and took it out on him. The royal family wasn't sure how long it took before Macson caused his own disappearance, but they guess he killed at least three men in his fights from the size Amlodd had grown, which in turn affected his son's growth. The local townsfolk say that the last time they saw Macson Roderick was at a tavern one festival night. He had ordered his usual large tankard of ale which he could barely hold let alone consume. His stature having shrunk so small, this tankard alone was enough to make him a rude angry drunk and picking an unwarranted fight with three men. They say he stumbled home that night only to discover that he was now so short he couldn't even reach the door handle to his house. As he cried and pounded on his door in frustration, there was a blinding flash and he was faced by Queen Ifanna who took him into the fairy realm with him screaming and kicking. And those folks who live in the woods warn travelers that Macson still didn't learn for he came in as one of the biggest fairies that night, but now there are a band of fairies that stand nearly two feet tall and poor Macson now sits in a fairy sized bird cage, a pet to Queen Ifanna. And that's the story of how our fair kingdom came to be ruled by a giant, mountain of a man. Some took him for a fool, a real fool, but he grew into a powerhouse! And now only a fool would attack our fair kingdom and Kings Rhys and Amlodd, for not only is Amlodd a huge and powerful man to contend with, but their five sons are all grown now and mountainous giant each in their own right, equal to the size of their father, if not a wee bit bigger. If you ever want to see what gods look like in all their glory, it's nearly sun rise now, and that near hidden path leads to Loch Cyhyrau, the loch where the royal baths are built over and almost every morning at dawn you can see Kings Rhys and Amlodd and their five sons: Glanmor Foawr, Drystan Famhair, Efrog Arafa, Kyledyr Fathach, Caswallawn Cawr, and their five husbands, taking a bath.... amongst other things.