Chapitre II ~ Dans La Forêt De Vieux Hommes (In the Forest of Old Men)
enter the council chamber of the King my father. Herein is the forest of old men with their voices rustling above me saying ~ Why do we concede such tribute to Hrolf?~ and another saying ~ Even the great heathen army of Hrolf could not take the Île de la Cité ~ and another saying ~ He piled the bodies of executed prisoners into La Seine to fashion a shallows over which to attack the Tower ~ and another saying ~ The twelve in the Tower fought to the death and still Hrolf could not take the Île de la Cité.~
And yet this day I learned that I have been pledged to this heathen Hrolf The Walker in marriage.
From across the chamber I see the King my father and the Queen my mother sitting. And standing between them is Mafeo, the Venetian advisor to the King my father. I call him Mafeo The Motherfucker. He festers with all the cunning and deceit unpossessed by the King my father. It appears that cunning and deceit are required in order to rule men. Mafeo whispers into the ear of the Queen my mother.
The Queen my mother speaks saying ~ Hrolf and the great heathen army have seen that we live a better life. Always have we given the heathen army tribute to go away. Now we offer land and title and power in the service of a Christian King.~
A man speaks saying ~ Can we really believe that Hrolf will kiss the foot of the King?~
The Queen my mother answers with a smile saying ~ His lips shall relish the foot of the King the way he relishes our food and wine.~
There is laughter. I speak loudly saying ~ And so Mother you will offer me to Hrolf like a piece of cheese?~
The King my father pounds his chair saying ~ Giselle! Insolence!~
The Queen my mother speaks bitterly saying ~ Giselle, you have always been spiteful and ungrateful. And all know that I nearly died to give you birth.~
The Queen my mother feigns weeping. I speak saying ~ What difference to me? I have always been dead to you!~
The King my father pounds his chair with both fists and rises up roaring ~ You shall dare not raise your chin thus to the Queen your mother!~
My eyes boil in tears and I speak saying ~ If Hrolf may kiss the foot of the King, oh, Father then the Queen, oh, Mother, may kiss my ass!~
I stomp out of the chambers and the forest of old men is as impotently silent as are felled trees behind a passing storm.
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