Saturday, December 5, 2015

Gawain wrestles with the enemy in Ch 9/Sc 1a of RAGING SEA by @KimHeadlee #amwriting

Graphic overlay (c)2015 by Kim Headlee.
Welcome back to my weekly #amwriting excerpts on The Maze! 

Life was brutal in ancient times, and most cultures revolved around the men who kept the people safe: the warriors. Even celebrations could be bellicose in nature, especially among Celtic peoples.

One of the most popular Celtic traditions during a feast involved staging a wrestling match. Two champions were chosen to compete for the "hero's portion," the choicest haunch of the feast's main attraction, usually a roasted boar.

Today's excerpt is set during the feast celebrating Morghe and Urien's nuptials. Arthur's oldest nephew, Gawain, finds a worthy opponent in Fergus, foster brother of one of Arthur's deadliest enemies.

This wrestling match, though on the surface a friendly bout, sets in motion consequences that will hound Gawain for the rest of his life.

Previous excerpts of Raging Sea 
 Chapter 7: Sc 1 | Sc 2 | Sc 3 | Sc 4 | Sc 5a | Sc 5b |
Chapter 8: Sc 1a | Sc 1B | Sc 2 | Sc 3a | Sc 3b |

Raging Sea Chapter 9, Scene 1a
©2015 by Kim Headlee
All rights reserved.

HALF CROUCHING AND half lying across his supine opponent, pinning the man’s arms and immobilizing his legs, Gawain struggled to regain his breath while awaiting the victory proclamation. Fergus had fought a hard wrestling match that had ended only when the Scot had made a tactical error to give Gawain the opportunity he needed to secure the win.

Now, listening to the whistles and claps and hoots of the feasters, he could only imagine how he and Fergus must look: shirtless, sweating, panting, and sprawled across the slate and rushes, body to body like a pair of spent lovers.

Gawain grinned. “I thank you for the fine tumble,” he murmured to his opponent. “It was most satisfying.”

Fergus’s answering grin seemed to carry a sly undercurrent. Gawain could have sworn that the man answered with something that sounded like, “Good luck.” Since that made no sense, he decided the Scot must have said, “Good bout.”

“Well done, Gawain map Loth, my new sister’s son by marriage!” boomed Urien from his place at the high table. “Rise and claim the hero’s portion.”

The disappointed groans uttered by the Scotti contingent were drowned by the accolades of Gawain’s kin and companions-at-arms and the other Brytoni guests. Gawain rolled to his feet and offered his hand to help Fergus stand. The Scot turned to address his countrymen.

“Nae need for that noise, me brave sword-brothers! I shall be having me way with yon bonnie lass ere long.”

“Any day!” Gawain swatted Fergus on the backside, and the Scot jumped like a startled maiden. “Or night.”

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