Tag Archives: Taliesin

Post-travel update and more from Taliesin for #WIPpet Wednesday

As a result of a week spent traveling around England, I’m a bit behind in my word count goals for the round so far. I’m shooting for 2500 words a week, and the first two weeks in July only added up to 4000 words total. But I’m confident that I can make make good on those missing words, especially since this week has started out so well — 1600 words total for Monday and Tuesday.

I also completed one of my goals and posted the reports from my trip to my blog. If you missed those and are curious, they begin here.

Now on to WIPpet Wednesday! I will continue where I left off in A Wasted Land two weeks ago, with Taliesin and Kustennin being led into the presence of Cerdic, a British war leader who has allied himself with the Saxons. Since today is the 16th, I give you 16 short paragraphs:

Kustennin tightened his hold on the strap of the drums he carried. That was the last thing they needed, someone who might uncover their magic and see through their illusion. They were relying on their special abilities to get them out of this expedition alive.
But Cerdic still leaned back on his elaborately carved chair several steps above them. Intertwining fantasy beasts competed with each other for dominance on the arm rests and the top of the wooden frame above Cerdic’s head, so different from the streamlined elegance of the furnishings in the villas and hill-forts where Kustennin had grown up.
Cerdic’s lips curled up in a hint of a smile. Despite the magic Taliesin had sensed, it appeared no one had betrayed them to him yet.
“Yes, and who am I?” Cerdic asked.
“The ruler of Venta?”
Laughter broke out in the hall.
“Well deduced, bard.” The near-smile disappeared, and Cerdic leaned forward, his elbows on his knees and his hands clasped. “I ask myself where you have been for the last few years, coming here with the songs you were singing in the market of Venta.”
Taliesin rubbed his chin. “Something tells me this is a trick question. I have been many places, Lord of Venta. For a time I was in the court of Maelgwn of Gwynedd, and that of his uncle, Owain of Rhos. I have also had the honor of playing for Morgan of Powys and his sons. Besides that, our troupe has played at markets all over Britain.”
Kustennin admired the way Taliesin mentioned only kings who had held themselves out of the recent wars and sent no fighting men to support Arthur in his nephew’s rebellion. The bard’s answer gave the lie to his implied claim to be ignorant of politics — on the contrary, it was proof of how well versed he was in the power structures of Britain.
Cerdic motioned to the tall redhead who had spoken to them at the market. “Nerienda, come forward, please.”
Nerienda? The woman was Cerdic’s daughter? Then they were surely lost. Kustennin recalled rumors of Nerienda losing her wits after her husband died fighting against her father. As that obviously was not the case, Kustennin could only presume that her marriage had been part of Cerdic’s plan all along, and she was his accomplice in increasing his power base.
She stepped up to Cerdic’s self-appointed throne. “Yes, father?”
“Does the bard tell truth?”
She bobbed her head. “He tells no lies, my father.”
She is the source of the magic, Taliesin whispered in his mind.
And she had just saved them. But why?
Nerienda turned and looked at him. To have you in my debt.

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.

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.