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Lord British Has Baby with Melba The Tavernke
The rumors of Lord British's illegitimate child had reached me in my offices not a fortnight ago, and already I was to interview the mother. My excitement was irrepressible.

Pushing open the doors to the Blue Boar Inn, I was immediately greeted by a cloud of foul green air, followed closely by the crusty cheerfulness of Melba the Tavernkeeper.

Beckoning me to sit, she smiled a crooked, yellow grin as she "cleaned" the filth from the table. Quite smugly, I imagined our visit would be short. There would be no truth to this story. I ordered my drink and Melba bustled towards the kegs, her stench remaining with me to keep my company, I suppose. By the virtues she was hideous! Truly the King could not have sired a child with this woman.

Returning with an ale for each of us, she sat beside me and drained her glass before I even reached for mine. She folded her hands in front of her and leaned in close, eyeing me in something that might, on a younger woman, be coquettish.

A shout from across the room bellowed, "That there's the mother of the Prince of Britain, best behave yerself." A burly man of some six and a half feet tall with long, braided hair and a beard down to his chest slid a chair over to our table. "Douglas dah Cook at yer service and lemmie tells ya, dah lassie's tale is true. Don't ya dare doubt it." The last part sounded almost like a threat.

I smiled my best smile and turned my attention to Melba. "M'lady, how is it one, erm, such as thyself comes to know the King?"

"Well 'e comes in 'ere all the time, 'e does." I must not have hid my doubt as well as I thought, for she continued, "O'course 'e doesn't come 'ere with 'is crown on and in 'is royal robes. Naw, 'e dresses like us folk. About a year ago, 'e took a liking to me and..." She paused for a bit and pursed her lips into a grotesque girlish pout, "Well, ya know 'ow babies are made don't ya?"

I nodded and continued smiling, laughing to myself inside, "Of course m'lady." I continued, stifling a giggle, "As I understand it, you expect the King to give you and your child a place in the castle. Twould be quite the change in lifestyle, nay?"

At this, Douglas slammed his fist into the table, nearly splitting it down the middle. The force of the shock rocked me back on my barstool. His body shook with the intensity of his conviction as he growled in my face, "Dat's right lad! Not only dat, but da King should marry her and give his child a proper upbringin."

At this, the tavern's patrons clanked their glasses and cheered, "To Queen Melba! Queen Melba!" Drinks were ordered all around as Melba was whisked away by the now very drunk crowd.

I knew making light of the matter would get me no where with these believers. But I was still dumfounded. I excused myself from Douglas' company and made my way to the castle, determined to get a statement from the King himself.

As I neared the gate two guards, dressed in the royal plate-mail, intercepted my progress. Their hands on the hilts of their weapons and the stone cold stares they each gave me made it abundantly clear they cared not for my profession.

"Hail good sirs.", I said in my politest tone. "I needest to speak with the King regarding the matter of his child."

Both guards immediately stiffened, obviously taken aback by the statement. One of them quickly recovered and went into the castle, with a glance at his fellow guard. I endured a few moments of chilling derision from the eyes of the second guard until the first returned with another man in tow.

Dressed in the finest of robes, his hair groomed to perfection, he smiled at me as if I were a child. "I'm afraid my friend, that the crown has no knowledge of that which you speak and therefor has no comment. Be gone."

With that, I was escorted, rather roughly away from the castle.

Doth he protest too much? Perhaps there is more to this story than I first believed.
-Drenon Quick 

Published: April 1999
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
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