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Tales of Yorr

(A Mediaeval Monk in need of a Chiropractor)


Book I of the Renaissance Series



What if Richard III was not a hunchback…


What if one of his bastard sons was…


This is the tale of Yorrick, bastard son of Richard III, hunchback extraordinaire.  Scholar, poet, lover, husband, adventurer and warrior.  A dab hand at Latin, he has quite a way with words, usually in verse across a tawdry bar.


Not everyone agrees who wrote William’s work, perhaps he was inspired by a character such as this.  Alas, for poor Yorrick, we may never really know.


Followed by


The Birth of Venus


The whispering Mime


Scroll down to read a few sample chapters Paperback and Ebook now released on Amazon Click on one of the links above
Tales of Yorr Death Becomes Us All 1550 A harvest moon rose in the ruined peak of a Gothic arch, as the funeral procession crept amidst the shadows it cast. Time could be so insidious, a third of it slipping away between sunset and sunrise. There would be no sunrise for the leader here, his withered bones barely supporting the haggard cloth of his being. A shovel dangling from one hand scraped the lichen off the ancient monastic flagstones. His other cradled a goblet, well-worn, yet half full and dripping alarmingly. The will to hold it upright burned with the desire of a youth sampling his first tavern, but the flesh proved unwilling. The choir of the disillusioned church marked the spot, the inscription on the stone slab familiar to few, despite the meagre passage of time it had witnessed. With a nod from his companions, the leader of the nocturnal procession, the sexton of a nearby graveyard, raised the goblet to his lips; the warmth of the turgid brew worth the effort. Licking the last drop from the rim of the upended vessel, he smacked his pruned lips and dropped it to the grass, so lush between the shadows of the crumbling monastic walls. His task from here would be consumed by leverage, much as his life had been. The shovel slid beneath the grave slab and he pried it loose. His three companions lifted the stone with care and rested it on the grass nearby. The grave cut beneath appeared clean and empty as expected, despite decades bereft of the roof of a church, yet it was uneven. The three companions dropped in to the plot and hacked away at the frozen earth without success, attempting to create a level resting place. The hunchback sexton raised his hand, realizing the futility of the exercise, and climbed into the awaiting void with the ease of a mud-encrusted crab. His manner of reclining did not please his companions, although it had served him well on many an occasion. “Cannot you lay straight?” “I never have, why should I now?” “Just thought you would be more comfortable, like.” “I am the last of my order. I am old, many years past the kings who fought over me, and if I lay here long enough I will find my deserved place in the afterlife quite soon. Do you think they will remember me? Do you think the men beyond my time will acknowledge my vast body of work?” “Yes, brother, just as they have in your own time. Rest you now, your God awaits.” The sexton closed his eyes to await death. He may have been robbed of an actual digging, but cutting a grave was no longer a performance his aged form enjoyed, so his disappointment did not linger beyond the shutting of his lids. Death seemed imminent and he awaited the scraping of the slab as his companions moved in to slide it above him. The thud of the feet astride him disturbed his premature attempt at eternal slumber, forcing his eyelids to surrender to the moon one more time. The glint of it on the blade that sliced off his scalp brought forth a howl unbefitting this once hallowed turf. A dagger was wedged into his balding crown to silence him, but he was not dead yet, just numb with imminent expiration. The hatchet that released his brain matter, used so intensely, yet wasted through superstition, liberated him from the Earth as it delivered him unto it. He had no memory of the final indignities served him; the binding of his hands and the wounds so well documented they would echo through time along with his agonized howl. The deliverers of the insults were far from done; tossing two leather-bound, calf-skin wrapped tomes into the grave, before assessing their work with nods of consensus and replacing the slab as they had promised. “There you are, Yorrick, now you have a death fit for a king. You have been mocked in death as you were in life; deformed to the very last. And so your words come back to haunt you… if every word is in its correct place, Time will make a writer of thee… not that any man but a ghost shall know.” Chapter One A Tavern 1534 The tavern’s bar, perfumed with stale ale, assorted meads and potent ciders, provided the perfect platform from which to launch a bawdy tale, but there had to be a willing audience. Leering over the regulars, whilst running his fingers through the dregs of his previous tankard, Yorrick assessed the mood of the room. They always eyed him a little suspiciously at first, and he always returned the look as crookedly as only he could, drawing them in, come one and come all, with his shoulder dipped, as if asking them a question. He enquired of his ale one final sip before wiping his boyish face with the back of his hand. The charm of those youthful features often disarmed the uninitiated, and there were enough of those in tonight to draw an advantage. “What shall it be tonight? You there, what is your pleasure?” He chose an unfamiliar face deliberately for effect. “Come now, you must have a particular pleasure.” “I… a...” “Spit it out, man, it cannot be enjoying itself there in the dregs of your mouth.” “I choose… a song.” “SONG, SONG, SONG, SONG...” “Quiet, you lot… this fellow has obviously not heard me sing. What say you all, shall I sing you a song, as yet unnamed, or should I blow you a tune?” Turning his back on the tavern’s patrons, Yorrick grabbed his britches at the waist and feigned a full moon, much to the amusement of all gathered. “DROP ‘EM!” “BLOW US A FAVOURITE!” “WHISTLE US A TUNE!” “How tight do you consider me, that I could whistle you a rendition from the far side of the moon? Is this any way to initiate our virgin guzzler? I think I shall tell you a tale. What is the fashion this season?” “WE’LL ‘AVE A COMEDY.” “NO, A TRAGEDY, SOMETHING WE CAN DRINK TO ‘TIL LATE.” “A HISTORY, GIVE US A HISTORY.” A smile crept across Yorrick’s face as a rather inappropriate theme emerged from the depths of his id. “A history it is... charge your flagons and lower the lights, I require an atmosphere worthy of History’s blackest characters.” Several of the taverns lanterns were extinguished. Each patron leant forward in their seats. Their newly appointed master of ceremonies crouched above the bar like a vengeful gargoyle and picked at his teeth, drawing each patron in with a salivating silence. “Let me present to you a tale from 1482. Picture if you may, a man, royal of blood. Some may say he was not unlike me in visage and stature, yet missing the essential core of his very being.” “Was he wont for a wife?” Yorrick paused, the tone of the voice not the usual for this setting. Staring up at him from the foot of the bar he discovered a vision; a raven-haired beauty, rare in these depths, yet most essential. “And what, pray tell, be thy name, gentle wench?” The barmaid blushed to the crevice of her ample bosom before answering with a pout more sensual than she could comprehend. “My name is Evangeline. Did John the Innkeeper not inform you of my position here at the Spraint Otter? I’m sure he mentioned you to me; you are the jester, are you not?”


“Well that depends, Evangeline. Do you find me amusing?”

“I am not sure I know. Is there a wife in your story?”

“Indeed there is, but she is not essential to the tale.”

“Then I like your story not.”

“Perhaps if I added a dog and a pirate king?”

“Ooh, I do like those. Are they part of this core of which you speak?”

“Not ‘alf,” Yorrick, now in full jester mode, bent down low and swept the ring of daisies

from Evangeline’s head, placing them atop his own before assuming a bolder pose;

legs astride and hands on hips, “but this is what the hero of my story desired; this my friends is his crown.”

The patrons guffawed and slapped their thighs, yet the young barmaid was clearly not amused.

“Why do you strike a pose of such ridicule to our kings of yore?  A king does not slouch so!”

“The king in my tale does.”

“Why, what happened to him, and what happened to your back?

“My back, my back, what’s wrong with my back? Is it not there?  What the feck is holdin’ me up?” Yorrick toppled off the bar and crumbled to the floor. Evangeline squealed amidst howls of laughter. The jester in him feigned a faint before shaking out his head and smiling up at the young barmaid. “I have a hunch I know what you are alluding to, wench.  I am what you might call, and it sorrows me to say this… deformed.”


“Yes, yes my friends, alas I am afraid it is true. I am deserving of a bell tower, watched over by the most garish of gargoyles. A pox be on my spine, yet I stand and I can dance.” Yorrick leapt to his feet and as nimble as a cat sprung back up onto the bar and performed a jig. “And I am renowned for my sword-play.” At which he drew his sword, despite the fable of his withered arm. With a deft parry and a daring thrust he lurched forward, sweeping his blade through a row of candles above the bar.

“You missed!” More laughter followed the barmaid’s exclamation.

“Did I now?” Yorrick squatted before the candles, his eyes rolling back in his boyish face, and let rip the most potent reveille he could muster. The candles toppled in a ball of flame. He stood majestically amidst the applause, head held high and arms outstretched, yet he did not bow. Noticing the smile Evangeline concealed behind the daintiest of hands, he held up his hand and the tavern became silent. “Do not laugh, my friends, I cannot but emulate the deeds of my dear old dad.”

“Who is your father, a good man no doubt, for he did not club you at birth?  Pray tell us, kind sir.” The tavern rippled with muffled laughter from all those in the know.

“Nay, quell your chortles; she is a mere bud yet to bloom, while most of you have seen the passing of several kings. I, my dear Evangeline, am the offspring of a turd.”

“A turd?” Evangeline blushed again while a chorus resembling a song filled the tavern’s fusty depths.


“A turd, indeed, indeed I am. I am the son of Richard the Third!” The tavern erupted around him as he leant down and whispered in the barmaid’s willing ear.  “See what I did?” He gave her a wink and paraded along the bar singing. “I am a bar steward, be careful of the word, did you say illegitimate, or the bastard son of Richard the Third.”


Yorrick waved his hands at the heckler while staring down his angular nose at him. “You ask too much my good fellow.

What say you wench that is called Evangeline, shall I attempt this thing, or do I risk the men dying of laughter? What

say you?”

“Yes, good sir, tell your tale, let them die happy.”

With his most chivalrous bow he continued. “Then it shall be so,” yet Yorrick did not return to his former royal

stance. He prowled along the bar with an exaggerated hunch, his arms flailing from side to side as if cow’s

udders. “This is the winter of our discontent, as espoused by this son of York…


So it is the wise and young, never do live long

So it was the sons of my brother

One a bar steward, as was the other


Who was I to dabble in song?

Grim-visaged war had smoothed this wrinkled back

Yet am I despised and that’s a fact






























I knew their ascension to God to be wrong

And amidst bunny ears and accusations of bacon rind

It was true that this crown of thorns be mine

Born of a look that could slay candles with a pong

I could but give a raspberry tart

Within my words I knew there was art

Stretched out with a butcher’s hook so strong

On a razor’s edge I set my cobbler’s awls

I required a distraction; a dish fit for these soils

To feed the masses, to side track the throng

I beseech thee trouble and strife along the Fosse

I have the pie, dead horse, dead horse,

My kingdom for some sauce

Bloody though art and bloody will be thy end

Dead horse, dead horse, my kingdom for some sauce…

…thus ends my good friends, another ‘orrible ‘istory from the Tales of Yorrick. Drink up, drink up, the day is almost done, have you done with this York of a son?”


“Then drink up I say.” Yorrick scooped up his tankard and saluted the throng, who cheered and clapped as if he had paid them all in gold. “Best you go back to work, Evangeline. They have a mighty thirst and their tankards be toasted dry.”

The barmaid curtseyed to Yorrick’s bow and went about her serving. The innkeeper, John, returned a sly wink and Yorrick retired to the stairwell with his tankard as he did every night. Every man in the tavern knew him, yet he had no actual friends here. His deformed heritage and his hunched form had seen to that, and as was his wont, he twisted it further each night; mirth his only true friend, and loyal to the last drop.


* * *


“Why do you drink alone? That is not a state fit for a jester.”

“If but I were a jester, sweet Evangeline.”

“You are not a jester, yet John…”

“John the innkeeper would have me keep his patrons drinking and me in drink as recompense. This is the prison of my youthful face and my misshapen stance. It seems, because of these traits, my abilities have always been underplayed by those around me. But always remember, good wench, there is an advantage in the unusual, such as your name for instance. Where did you find such an angelic moniker, sweet, innocent Evangeline?”

“My ma was not English, yet she named me thus. My da had no teeth and could nary say the word, so he called me Little Eva instead.”

Yorrick ogled the wench sideways and lengthways, a look that seemed more angular to others. “If only he could see how you’ve blossomed.”

“You make me blush, jester.”

“That was my intention.”

“Aw, you… I am so much taller than I was back then. I would not fit into the dress I wore back then.”

“I would like to see you try, so would half the bar and the other half if their wits were drier.”

“You have a funny way about you, but what do you call yourself, seeing as you shudder each time I call

you jester.”

Yorrick had been called many names and played many parts, yet there had only ever been

one true name for him. “I am Yorrick, son of York.”

“Son of York? My, that is a title if I have ever heard one.” He could see the name burrowing

a frown into Angeline’s tender face. It seemed to be the trouble with youth,

attempting to hide one’s true feelings. “Are you really the King’s son?”

“Oh aye, but not the current one. My blood be of a different house,

henceforth I jest with frivolity about my own; one must remain

on the right side of the argument.”

“And your mother?”




























“Was not his wife.” The confession cut his as it

always had, bringing on a melancholy only a woman

could appreciate. “She was a good mother until Death sweat the life

out of her.”

“Oh dear, yet you survived and still find mirth in life.”

Yorrick nodded and managed a grin for her sympathy.

“Do you always speak in riddles, master jester?”

“If they know not what I say, they cannot hold my words against me.

Although, there’s not much can be held against me without finding my wit and form too curvaceous.”

“Has it been so long since you’ve been comforted?”

“Oh aye, and there is nothing worse than when a wench understands my pain and feigns a sad restraint. It is a miserable life, it is true.”

“Have I made your eyes water, dear Yorrick? Oh my!”

Beyond the sheen of Yorrick’s sweep of black hair a tear reflected his boyish charms, despite having passed his fiftieth year.

“Do not let it trouble you, Eva. I am beyond regret and there is no one to care if I did.”

“I will care, Yorrick.”

“I cannot ask that of you. To waste your thoughts on such a creature as sits before you is a waste of your youth.”

“I have kindness enough to share.”

“No, I cannot allow you such excess. Nor can I allow it of any other kindly wench. I am a blight on humanity, a pox on manhood.  Be done with it then, I shall climb these stairs and leap from the balcony beyond. Perhaps the fall will end my miserable existence and straighten my back for once and for all!”

Yorrick pulled himself up by the balustrade, placed a fatherly kiss on Eva’s forehead, turned with a sigh, and stormed up the stairs. Evangeline, wide-eyed and innocent, held her hands to her mouth, aghast at what she had caused, before tripping up the stairs behind the hunchback in hope of a miracle. She faltered at the landing, her words blurting out with accompanying tears…

“I thought you would…”

“I thought so too, but this seemed a much softer landing.  Come, sit and share my feathered, crestfallen nest.”

Yorrick lay in the folds of a four posted bed; a luxury afforded the Brothers for the money they had brought into this establishment over many years. He tapped his hand on the sheets; an invitation the wench found tempting, to say the least.

“So, you will not jump?”

“Not amongst company.”

“Then I shall keep you company until you rid yourself of the melancholy.”

“What of your work, Eva?”

“My work is done. I was wont to recline for the night myself.  Come, no more tears, good jester.” Evangeline slipped off her shoes and padded across the lumpy feather mattress, dropping herself down as if a parachute at the head of the bed. “Rest your head here a while and tell me of your ills. The soothing heartbeat of a good woman can cure all. This is something my mother taught me long ago.”

“I cannot believe it has been so long for you. How many summers have you seen?”

“I have seen sixteen!”

“Well then, I submit myself to a master of many years.”

Yorrick laid his head at the barmaid’s breast and sighed as if melancholy, while she ran her fingers thoughtfully

through his hair.

“Tell me, Yorrick, how long is it since anyone comforted you?”

“Not since my own mother.”

“No, surely you jest.”

“I am known for it, I admit, but not in this moment. There is nothing quite like a mother’s love.”

“Are your… ills, so disturbing?”

“I cannot tell; I will not blight another’s eyes with the deformity. However, thanks to this

gift I can see my own back with ease.”

“It is still God’s work, Yorrick. Come; show me this curvaceous form of yours, let

me see what God has bestowed on you.”

“I cannot.”

“You can, I will not accept no for an answer.”

































Fight as he may, the hunchback could not stop Evangeline

from clawing at his shirt. She had it up and over his mutant form as

she would a younger brother at his monthly bath time. At the end of the

ordeal she dropped to her knees as he cowered before her; his right shoulder

angling down a run to the point of his left. He turned in his shame and she witnessed

the deformity of the hunchback. Eva knew few letters, yet she recognized this shape and her

fingers snaked gently down the S as it slithered to his waistline.

“Am I so disfigured that you can no longer speak to me?”

“It is quite beautiful, Yorrick.”

“Is it not so unlike any other’s as to be devilish?”

“Has it been so long since you considered another’s curvature that you no longer know?”

“I only know what I feel on my own decrepit form.”

“Then we shall have to do something about this distortion.” Evangeline knelt, her back to the hunchback, and raised her skirts to her neck. “Come, I have studied yours, you should show me the same honour and review mine.”

“Have you no shame, wench?”

“It is only flesh. My shame remains concealed and you deserve the favour you afforded me returned.”

Yorrick crawled over the bed to where the barmaid knelt, her bare back a picture of perfection. He reached out to the subtle line of bumps that punctuated her flesh. Eva shuddered, ever so lightly, as their skin met, and as he traced her spine south, her flesh radiated a rash of pleasure.

“It is most beautiful, Eva.”

“No, it is I who am deformed; my S is shy, self centred, inward.  Yours is bold.” Yorrick leant in closer to study her as she spoke, his lips taking over where his fingers trailed off. “What do you do back there, jester?”

“I am but appreciating the perfection of your spine. Is this not pleasing?”

“Yes, but…”

“Then I will desist.”

“No, I will permit your lips to appreciate God’s work.”

“If it be God’s own work, then I shall appreciate each portion individually, beginning at the top.” Yorrick was true to his word, his tongue and lips tracing each vertebra from Eva’s neck down, until…

“Why do stop?”

“It is this damnation of a deformity. I cannot bend far enough to appreciate anymore.”

“What if I leant over like this and raised my hips to your lips?”

“Yes, that would do quite nicely.” The hunchback licked his lips and continued down the wench’s spine to her coccyx… and beyond.


“Shall I stop there?”


Yorrick found the barmaid ripe to be pleasured, yet a concern grew within him.

“I think all God’s creatures should be appreciated as he designed them to be, do you not agree?”

“Yes, but…”

“Then let me show you.”