Singing a song of Arthur for #WIPpet Wednesday

I skipped #WIPpet Wednesday entirely last week, knowing I just didn’t have the energy for visiting lots of blogs. I think I’m slowly shaking my lethargy now, and I will try to be a good fellow blogger this week. 🙂

For this excerpt, I’m returning to A Wasted Land and Kustennin, the new Dux Bellorum of Britain. When I last posted an excerpt from his story, he and Taliesin were posing as minstrels to scout out Venta / Winchester, the capital of Cerdic, their enemy in the recent wars. This snippet follows shortly thereafter. I am giving you 25 sentences for the 25th day of the month:

They wandered between the stalls until they found an empty spot where they could begin to play for coin or gifts of food.
Taliesin pulled the strap of his lute around so that the instrument was draped comfortably in front of him and began to pick out a melody on the strings. The other two soldiers who were of their party got out their own instruments, a flute and a lyre. Kustennin was still taking the tambourine and the small drum out of his bag when Taliesin launched into a ballad dedicated to Arthur, Dux Bellorum — and spurring Kustennin to try to reach him with his mind.
Do you know what you’re doing, Taliesin? This is not a city to sing Arthur’s praises!
Of course I know what I’m doing, Young King. We want to gain an audience with Cerdic, do we not? What better way than to praise his enemy!
It will get us thrown out of the city, more like. Assuming we survive the ordeal.

All the while they were arguing in their minds, Taliesin sang of how Arthur defeated the famous Frankish king Chlodowech and saved Roman Britain. People began to gather in front of them, dressed in both British and Saxon garments, and murmuring amongst themselves.
Come, Kustennin, add a little rhythm to the ballad. And smile!
Kustennin knew his expression must be more of a grimace than a grin, but he dutifully began to shake the tambourine and hit it against the heel of his hand, just as he’d been practicing in recent days.
A woman with copper hair stepped up to him. “In these parts, that is not a wise choice as a song to sing. I think you should tell your friend to stop.”
He shrugged. “He’s the leader of our group.”
By now, a number of the spectators were clapping to the rhythm Kustennin beat out, a marching beat to verses of riding in the defense of Diablintis. A battle Kustennin remembered well, a decisive victory during their campaign in Gaul.
And now here he was taking orders from a bard. Kustennin shook his head, smiling. If they came out of this alive, this trip might go far to helping him get his sense of humor back.

Minstrels on stage

Leaving you all with a picture of minstrels at the Esslingen Medieval Christmas Market. 🙂

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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15 thoughts on “Singing a song of Arthur for #WIPpet Wednesday”

  1. Talk about some massive multitasking abilities going on here! I wish I could do that!…oh that and the part about talking in peoples heads. That’d be cool too.

  2. Lovely excerpt Ruth. I got a good sense of Kustennin’s unease about the situation they’re in. The atmosphere is a little ominous too. It makes me wonder what will follow. 🙂

      1. Given his life… it’ll take time, I’m sure. Glad he’s making the effort though. Everyone deserves time to smile.

  3. Gutsy. almost at odds with the whole subterfuge thing. I like it. 🙂 Especially the line at the end. In a very round about way which I shall not attempt to explain, the scene reminds me of the scene in High Anxiety in which Mel Brooks and Madeline Kahn get through airport security unrecognized by being loud and obnoxious.

  4. Haha, I guess you can’t fault his logic, even if the plan does seem a little dubious. I also admire the skills of singing, playing AND having a conversation with someone else in your head!

  5. Ha! Love it!! I’m not sure I could have a conversation in my head and play at the same time, but then again, I’m not a musician by any definition of the word. 😉 It’s an excellent plan. Well, it does have some downfalls if it goes other than they’d like. But, nothing ventured and all that. And I love Kustennin’s thoughts, especially because he was actually there.

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