“I will eviscerate you in fiction.”

Imagine being Chaucer before The Canterbury Tales.

Nobody you know writes poetry in English. Certainly nobody you know writes poetry in English in iambic pentameter.

For centuries, the literati have written in Latin (or French), but you, Chaucer, have the idea of writing in English. (Middle English, for you literary types.)

Great literature.

High symbolism.

Various characters in all their embarrassing and heroic complexity.

Except you do it in English. Even worse, you do it in rhyming, metered verse.

Your first effort involves an animal allegorya parliament of birds.

Nobody reads it. (Well, not as many as you’d hoped!)

So you seek adventure in other ways.

And lose all your clothes gambling.

Which means you end up on a road somewhere in France, naked, trudging.

When a not-knight comes along with his fellow servants and rescues you, if you will forge for him patents of nobility.

You spend the next year writing heraldic introductions for him and proofs that he is of the nobility.

But you still have this need for gold.

So you play at cards.

And lose all your clothes.

Your not-knight confronts you about your gold-digging

And you beg, “Please, Will... Please, will you help me, Sir Ulrich? I promise you won’t regret it.”

Your creditors mock you when you give them their gambling gains.

“It’s sixes-and-sevens tonight, Chaucer. Do you feel lucky?” “Do you wear enough clothes?”

“Go on, be gone. I’m done with you,” you respond. “Except to exact my revenge.”

The Pardoner and Summoner grin. “What on earth could you possibly do to us?”

You riposte: “I will eviscerate you in fiction. Every last pimple, every last character flaw. I was naked for a day. You will be naked for eternity.”

They scoff. 

Because who cares what some naked poet-to-be says he can do with words? They’re the ones with the gold!

The poets of the Dragon Common Room have gambled our gold in the hope of winning at the telling of tales.

But we’re naked.

Please, will you help us?

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