Facing the enemy for #WIPpet Wednesday

I’m crazy tired right now — watched the US – Belgium game last night, which went late, and I have only just now finished packing for my flight to London tomorrow. But at least I *am* done now, and since I know I will not be posting next week — Wednesday is the Wedding! — I figure before I trundle off to bed for my much deserved rest, I will post another snippet from A Wasted Land for WIPpet Wednesday. My math for today, 7/2/14, is to add up all the digits, giving me 14. So here are 14 short paragraphs from the same scene as last week. Taliesin’s plan has worked, and they have been called into the presence of Cerdic, the enemy they went to Venta to spy on:

Cerdic called Taliesin forward, the ostensible head of their troupe of musicians.
Taliesin bowed in front of the King of the South. “How may we serve you, Lord?”
The corners of Cerdic’s mouth turned up in a surprisingly charming smile. “Serve me? Is that what you want to do?”
“Certainly. That is what bards and minstrels do.”
“And do you know where you are, bard?”
“Why, we are in Venta, Lord. Our most recent stop was Leucomagus, and before that, Cunetio. In Cunetio, our audience was generous, in Leucomagus not so much, so we decided to continue on.”
“And do you know who rules in Venta?”
“You?” Taliesin ventured.
A wave of barely repressed chuckles could be heard around the room. Kustennin found himself in awe of Taliesin’s spontaneous acting ability.
Cerdic shook his head, and his lips twitched — it appeared he too was repressing laughter. His son Cynric was grinning as well.
Kustennin gazed under his eyelashes at the British leader of a largely Saxon army. Arthur’s former general appeared to possess a rare combination of character traits — ruthless ambition and the ability to laugh at himself. But that might well explain much of Cerdic’s talent for drawing men to his cause.
You must shield your thoughts more, came Taliesin’s whisper in his mind. I feel the presence of magic in this room.

This time tomorrow, I should be much closer to Winchester / Venta, where this scene takes place — Salisbury, to be precise:

Salisbury Cathedral by John Constable
Salisbury Cathedral.

Depending on how much time I spend running around the Wilds of Wiltshire and the surrounding area, I may try to blog a bit about the research half of my trip while I’m there, so watch this space. And I think I’ll also try to get to Stonehenge again, just for the fun of it. :)

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts.

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7 thoughts on “Facing the enemy for #WIPpet Wednesday”

  1. Nice excerpt! I especially like the interaction between Taliesin and Cerdic.

    I am also heading to the UK this week (although I leave on Saturday). I look forward to reading about your experiences over there!

  2. Enjoy your trip!!! How exciting. :-)

    I adore the combination of traits you gave your villain! I don’t think I’ve ever seen that mingling of ruthlessness with the ability to laugh at oneself in a villain outside certain (rather clever) cartoons.

  3. I’m a little jealous of your trip. :) I can’t wait to read about your adventures.

    I love the last line of your snippet. I wasn’t expecting that at all.

  4. I am sooooooo enjoying this. I love the interchanges between the characters. And I also like how Cerdic’s reaction is a bit unexpected.

    Have fun at the wedding. I’d love to visit Stonehenge some day. It’s always held a bit of fascination for me. Of course, I’d like to visit it at night, with a full moon, for some reason. Not sure if they allow that. ;)

  5. I love British dialogue. And a snooty British villain who can laugh at himself. Great!! I like villains who are well-rounded people :)

    Enjoy your trip!! London is on my bucket list of places to visit.

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