| `...Aelfthryth, wife of King Edgar, whom she married in 965. She was said to be very beautiful, which beauty caused the death of her first husband. Her lasciviousness caused the death of an abbot and her ambition that of her son-in-law, King Edward the Martyr... `Her brush with the abbot is a splendid story. Riding through a forest he was forced to "satisfy the needs of nature" and was surprised on looking round carefully "as he was a modest man and of great integrity" to see the queen under a tree preparing a magic potion ("Transformed by her caprice and magic art into an equine animal... so that she might satisfy the unrestrainable excess of her burning lust running and leaping hither and thither with horses, showing herself shamelessly to them, regardless of the fear of God and the honour of the royal dignity")...' C.E. Wright, `The Cultivation of Saga in Anglo-Saxon England'Stefan shifted about in the saddle for possibly the hundredth timethat morning, finding it no more comfortable than before. Despite hissoft linen undergarments (a distinct contrast to his rough hessianabbot's robe), his crotch itched abominably. Perhaps it was time tosubmerge his body in the river, again, to drown the fleas. After all,it had been almost two months since his last bath.He dug his heels into the sides of the horse, a large roan percheronstallion who had once belonged to one of the King's favourites; thehorse knew his passenger, however, and refused to move any faster thanabsolutely necessary, proceeding along the overshadowed forest road atjust over walking pace.He idly, automatically repeated his rosary in his mind; his bodysignalled its thirst and his hand went down to the wineskin which layalmost flat against his right leg. He tilted his head back, swilled thethin, bitter liquid and let the empty skin fall. It bounced on the endof its leather thong.A few minutes later, almost rocked to sleep by a combination of theminute amount of alcohol in the wine, the rocking motion of the horseand the morning's warmth, his bladder signalled that it was full.Ignoring it, he went to sleep, still murmuring his rosary.It was late afternoon before he awoke, his neck sore from sleeping atan odd angle, his throat dry from snoring and his bladder swollen towhat felt like three times its normal size. He groaned, felt for thereins and stopped the horse. Muscles creaking, he lifted one leg overthe saddle and slid to the ground, autumn leaves kicking up around him.He looked around. Still within the forest, more or less, but to theleft were fallow fields; to the right, more of the same but wilder,obviously no longer tended. The once-forest, once-pasture had almostbeen reclaimed, and only the relatively straight lines of trees whichbordered the field differentiated it from the wild forest through whichhe'd been travelling since yesterday.He stepped over the border of tall grass which grew alongside therough road and through the trees into the semi-forest. The only soundshe heard were birdsong and the wind through the leaves; no-one (atleast, that he knew of) lived around here. The city was less than aday's ride from here, however, so he made a cursory search of thesurrounding area before hitching up his robe, untying his loincloth andfreeing his itching, sweaty genitalia. Not subscribing to the tenets ofSt. Augustine the Misogynist, he freely scratched and fondled his wakingerection and as his bladder emptied, waved his penis about, watering thebushes with his urine and only taking care not to splash his own feet.He'd finished, and was standing there idly rubbing the foreskin backand forth over the head of what was left of his erection when he heard avoice, coming from deeper in the forest. Startled, he let his cassockdrop and, foul-smelling loincloth in one hand, he carefullyinvestigated.The voice was sounding only intermittently, so it took a while tolocate it source; when he did so, he was greatly surprised, for it wasthe Queen, Aelfthryth - he'd've recognised that waist-length silver hair(and that cleavage) anywhere. Many were the times he'd glanced downthrough half-closed eyes while delivering a benediction, his gazelingering on the soft curves hidden beneath her robes. He'd never daredapproach her, given his position, but he'd heard that she was free withher favours (in fact, a monumental understatement), and if he didn'tfind this for himself this afternoon, perhaps he'd learn something withwhich he could convince her to do so at a later date.The Queen appeared to be marking out a circle with small rocks, aboutfive paces across; at the centre sat a bowl full of flowers. Stefanrecalled that she'd been associated with the Old Gods and the LittlePeople; he held his breath, wondering if he should quietly stalk awayand thus remove himself from any danger, or if he should stay andpossibly be treated to a display of the Queen's wanton reputation.The voyeur in him won out, and crouched behind a huge oak, he watchedsilently as she invoked the quarters and knelt down before the bowl, herincantations reduced in volume to a murmur. He was almost tempted tocrawl closer and try to catch what she was saying when his attention wascaught by motion in the trees on the far side of the small clearing inwhich the circle had been laid. A horse, possibly one of a herd allowedto roam these woods by the nearest land-owners, had emerged from theforest and was watching the Queen intently. It was joined by at least adozen others, almost equally spaced around the clearing. One of them, agrey stallion larger even than his own mount, stood not more than fivepaces away from him. His eyes widened and he almost made the sign ofthe cross when he noticed the furtively moving appendage which dangledfrom between the horse's rear legs, almost to the ground.He was aware such animals' endowments, but it wasn't something he wasgiven to dwelling on; yet, typical phallocrat that he was, he associatedsize with potency, and in his view this was an animal to be feared. Hecrouched silently and watched as the horses moved with an uncannycalmness and intent into the clearing, forming a circle around theQueen. Infrequently, one of their number would paw the ground as ifimpatient.She stood at the centre, looking proudly from one beast to the nextbefore stripping her robe and tossing it carelessly to the ground behindher, breasts quivering as she straightened and threw her arms up in abeseeching gesture to the heavens. There was a cracking sound, as if ofthunder - but the skies were clear - and the air in the clearing hazedover as if he were looking over a fire. What he saw next threatened hisvery sanity:The air around the Queen was thickening, almost like fog; as if shewere surrounded by a swarm of bees. She stood with her arms pointingskyward, her head thrown back, her long silver hair trailing down tobrush against her behind; the haze grew even thicker for a moment andsuddenly the Queen was gone. In her place stood a horse, a pure whitefilly with a silver mane and tail which twitched over the quiveringdivide between her hind legs. She tossed her mane, snorted; herconsorts gathered around her stamped the ground restlessly. Stefandidn't doubt for a minute that this was the Queen, magicallytransformed; logic would dictate that she must have darted behind a treeand this animal had taken her place, but logic wasn't Stefan's strongsuit.She cantered twice around the circle, occasionally dancing around oneor another of the stallions gathered here to worship her; as sheexamined each one and somehow found him wanting, she would chase him outof the circle, darting at the hindquarters and driving him back with asnap of her teeth. Eventually, there was only one stallion left: alarge roan stallion, obviously impatient, his erection slapping againsthis belly as he danced around the Queen. She whinnied and backedtowards him, tail twitching aside, her front legs slightly bent, hindlegs straight, presenting her behind at an inviting angle. The roanneeded no further encouragement; he pushed off with his forelegs anddraped them over her back, arching his back and pushing the end of hisswollen, glistening black shaft into her. When the head had been forcedin, the filly gave an almost human cry of pleasure, and it wasn't untilthey were both vigourously fucking that Stefan realised:`That's my horse!' Awed by what he'd witnessed, he could do no morethan crouch behind the bush and watch as they cavorted, celebratingtheir climax with a shrill scream before running off wildly. He stoodup, scratched his head and reflected that he'd have plenty of time tothink of what he was going to tell the Seneschal during the long walkhome.-- this story is on my website somewhere.if it finds favour, i'll post the one about Empress Catherine I.