Saturday, September 19, 2015

En route to the royal wedding in RAGING SEA Ch 7/Sc 3 #amwriting #Arthurverse

Graphic overlay (c)2015 by Kim Headlee.
Some of the constants I maintain in my vision of the Arthurian legends, while turning every other aspect upside down and inside out, include the major relationships. 

One of the major relationships is the marriage of Arthur's sister (usually Morgan le Fay; sometimes Margause or Margawse, depending on the source) to one of his most troublesome enemies, Urien (or Uriens). Whether their forced union is coldly polite, fraught with friction, or engenders an entirely different alliance also depends upon the literary source.

In today's excerpt, Gawain offers a glimpse of his thoughts about riding escort duty for his aunt, Morghe (Morgan le Fay)—and the unexpected wedding guests they encounter along the way.

Previous excerpts of Raging Sea 
 Chapter 7: Sc 1 | Sc 2 |

Raging Sea Chapter 7, Scene 3
©2015 by Kim Headlee
All rights reserved.

Rather than individual oath swearing, which would have tried the patience of people and animals alike, Uncle Arthur addressed the assembled troop:

“Do you swear by all that is holy to protect Gyanhumara nic Hymar, Comitissa Britanniam, on and off the battlefield and to obey all lawful orders given by her either directly or through your superior officers, even unto death?”

“Even unto death!” chorused the Comites Praetorii, Gawain included.

The trouble was, he mused days later as the procession plodded at the pace of the horse-drawn litters carrying Ygraine and Morghe toward the Clan Moray stronghold of Dunadd, no one had ever said anything about the possibility of dying of boredom.

That changed in a blink as they neared a fork in the road to find a band of mounted Scotti warriors approaching them on the intersecting trail, which originated at the seacoast.

“Praetorii, alert!” ordered Gyan in Latin, sword drawn. Arthur had already done likewise, countenance darkening.

Gawain and the other soldiers drew their swords and closed ranks around the litters.

The Scots halted and fixed their attention upon Morghe’s escort but seemed otherwise unperturbed.

Gyan and Arthur nudged their mounts forward, as did the Scotti leader. A second Scot detached himself from their formation, a spear clutched in his left fist. From its shaft rippled an undyed, unadorned linen flag.

Gawain’s aunt and uncle sheathed their swords, but neither relaxed in the saddle.

“Commander Fergus,” said Gyan, switching to Brytonic with a slight dip of her head. “You survived.”

“As did ye, Chieftainess, though ye both”—he jerked a contemptuous nod toward Arthur—“made it damned hard for me sword-brethren and me.”

They were referring, Gawain realized with a start, to the First Battle of Port Dhoo-Glass, after which a small number of Scots escaped by stealing Brytoni fishing boats two nights after the battle.

“Next time, we’ll make it easier for you to meet your gods,” Arthur growled. “What business brings you onto Brytoni lands under the banner of truce?”

“Business that be nae concern of yours, Scarlet Dragon.” On the Scot’s lips the title became an insult.

Arthur scowled and seemed about to speak, but Gyan shot him a look. He desisted but remained wary. She smiled at the Scot named Fergus. “And yet it appears that your party and ours are bound for the same destination.” By the tilt of her chin, she appeared to scan the enemy troop. “With your womenfolk?”

Blinking, Gawain eyed the Scots closer. True enough, as many women rode in their ranks as men, and not a sword or even a dirk in the lot that he could see. And each woman, he noted, shifting in the saddle to relieve the sudden pressure, was prettier than the last. At the first moment of danger, Gawain had seen only the spears and swords.

Gyan continued, “It seems my brother-by-law has invited you to attend his wedding.” Her eyes narrowed to slits. “Why would he do that, I wonder?”

“Urien’s counsel is his to keep,” Arthur said. “The fact remains that these folk are here, and so are we.” He turned a predatory grin upon Fergus. “And I imagine that Urien’s—guests—shall not mind a bit of added protection as they travel to Dunadd. Attacks can be ever so unpredictable at this time of year.”

Fergus had the ballocks to laugh, as did some of his men. “We shall indeed rest easier knowing that the great Scarlet Dragon guards our backs.” With upraised fist, he signaled his party forward.

And as we choke on their dust, and gag on their horses’ stench, and tread through their cac, Gawain grumbled to himself, stifling a cough with the back of a gloved hand as Gyan gave a similar order to her men. But with that treacherous lot, white flag or no, Gawain wouldn’t have had it any other way. He could well imagine that Arthur and Gyan and everyone else in their group felt the same.

Enter The Challenge giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter this great giveaway for an
autographed print copy of Dawnflight!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


All this month, you are invited to...
— Follow Kim on Twitter
— Follow Kim on Pinterest
— Subscribe to Kim's YouTube channel
— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter, Pinterest, and/or YouTube follow
...and each action this month is good for one chance to win a copy of any of Kim's e-books. Please enter often, and good luck!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Scribble a note on the wall of the Maze so you can find your way out again... ;-)