Ok, I admit, “popular” is a bit exaggerated — I think it was a sum total of one person who wanted to see Kustennin again. But I’m an obliging soul (sometimes), and one is enough of a demand for me. So in honor of the date, 9-18, here are nine short paragraphs from page eighteen of A Wasted Land. In this scene, Kustennin is at the horse fair of Durnovaria to try to find some likely mounts for their mobile troops, the basis of much of the British military success in the previous Pendragon books:
Bedwyr was just taking the mare’s reins from her former owner when Kustennin felt a commotion behind him. He turned, but there was nothing there. It was his power of knowing again.
Then, in a distance, he heard the cry go up: “Raid!” followed closely by: “Saxons are attacking!”
Bedwyr hurried for the mounting block Kustennin had so recently used and swung himself up onto the newly purchased mare. “I hope I can keep myself on her back, even without a saddle, until I reach the camp of the soldiers traveling with us,” he said. “You locate the rest of our party at the horse fair. We will meet against the enemy.”
Kustennin nodded. People sometimes found it odd that he, the king of Dumnonia, so readily took orders from Bedwyr, who had only a modest seat in Gwent. But they had been fighting together for so many years now, and Bedwyr had decades more experience. For Kustennin, the old warrior had very nearly taken the place of Arthur.
He commandeered a likely looking dark bay stallion. “I will either bring him back to you when we have put the raiders to flight, or compensate you for him after the battle.”
The owner nodded unhappily and shouldered an ax, obviously prepared to do his best to defend Durnovaria.
The horse fair had been transformed into a chaos of running people and horses. Kustennin went in search of the other members of their party. “Cador! Judual!”
“Kustennin, here!” Cador and Judual had also “borrowed” mounts from the merchants with horses for sale, and together they started to ride in the direction of smoke rising near the southern gate of the city.
“Wait,” Kustennin called out. “If it is a raid, would not the Saxons target the horse fair itself?”
WIPpet Wednesday is a nifty meme where a bunch of us writers share something from their current Work In Progress that somehow relates to the date. It’s the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you want to join in the fun or just read the other excerpts, the linky is here.