Thursday, 8 December 2016

Gawain, 1623 - 1689, Everyone's feelings are complex and weird.

The lord full loud with life and merry laughter
When he sees Sir Gawain, with solace he speaks.
The good ladies were got out, and gathered the many;
He shows them the slabs and shapes them the tale
Of the largeness and length, the litheness also
And the will of the wild swine in wood where he fled.
That other knight full comely commended his deeds,
And praised it as great prize that he proved had,
For such a brawny beast, the bold brother said,
Nor a swine of such size he had never seen.
Then handled they that huge head, the knight horror claimed,
And let loudly thereat the lord for to hear.
"Now Gawain," said the good man, "this game is your own
By sincere stipulation you certainly know."
"It is so," said the chevalier, "and as is stil true
All my gain I shall give you again, by my Truth."
He took the knight round the neck and tenderly kissed,
And another of the same he served him again.
"Now we are even," said the horseman, "in this eventide,
Of all the covenants we kept since I came here,
          as law laid.
The lord said, "By saint Giles,
A bold deal I've made!
You'll be rich in a while,
If you keep on such trade."

Then they set up the tables on trestles aloft,
Cast cloths upon; clear light then
Wakened on the walls, waxen torches;
Servants set and served up supper for all.
Much glamour and glee growed in the hall
About the fire upon feasters, and in fair ways
At the supper and after, many sweet songs,
As conducts of Christmas and carols new,
With all the mannerly mirth that man may of tell,
And ever our lovely knight the lady beside.
Such semblance to that chevalier seemly she made,
With still stolen glimpses, that stalwart to please,
That all for-wondered was the wanderer, and wroth with himself,
But he could not for his nature turn from her face,
But dealt with her all dainty, how-so-ever the deed would
          be seen.
When they had played in hall
As long as the lord would deem
To chamber he did call
And to the chimney's gleam.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Gawain 1581 - 1647, You were the real hero, Boar.

Til the knight came himself, kicking his mount,
Sees him biding at bay, his hunters beside.
He leaps lightly down, leaves his courser,
Brings out a bright brand and strides bigly forth,
Forcing through the ford-waters towards the fell beast.
The wild one was aware of the weapon in his hands,
His bristles bunched, out burst such a snort
Those lads feared for their lord, lest befell him the worst.
The swine surged him out at the stalking man so,
The boar and Lord Bertilak fell both in a heap,
In the swift part of the water; the worst had the former,
For the man marks him well, as they meet first,
Set strongly the sharp in the swines throat,
Hit him up to the hilt, that the heart sundered,
And snarling he fell, was swept under the stream,
          into its core.
A hundred hounds surged as he sank,
That bit on him full sore,
Servants dragged him to the bank
And dogs to death him tore.

There was blowing of prize in many brave horns,
Hunters hallooing on high with heaving lungs;
Brachets bayed over the beast, as their master bid,
Of that cheerless chase they had the chiefs been.
Then one that was wise in woodcrafts
To loose and unlace this boar he begins.
First he hews off his head and on high sets,
And then rends him all roughly down the spinal line,
brings out the bowels, burns them on embers,
With bread blended with them his brachets rewards.
Then he brings out the boar-meat in bright broad slabs,
And rips out the remnants, as is right to do;
And set those halves all whole so they hung together,
And certain on the strong shaft stoutly them hangs.
Now with this trophy they set course for home;
The boars head was borne before the bold lord
That had felled him by the ford by the force of his hand
          so strong.
Till he could see Sir Gawain
In hall seemed him full long;
He called, and Gawain came
To get what to him belongs.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Gawain 1535 - 1580, I am kinda on the Boars side, even though he's probably a metaphor.

1535 - 1580

"In good faith," said Gawain, "God you reward!
Great is the good glee, and game to me huge,
That one so worthy as you should wander here,
And pine you with so poor a man, and play with your knight
With such cheerful countenance, it eases my cares.
But to take the trouble to myself to true love expound,
And teach the terms and text of tales of arms
To you that, I know well, wields more skill
In that art, by the half, that an hundred of such
As I am, or shall be, on earth long as I live,
It were a folly manifold, my fair one, by my Truth.
I would your will work as I might,
As I am truly beholden, and ever-more will
Be servant to yourself, so save me Our Lord!"
Thus him tested that tempter, and tried him full oft,
For to have won him to woe, what-so she thought else;
But he defended him so fair that no fault seemed,
Nor no evil on either half, nought were they aware of
          but bliss.
They lazed and laughed long;
At the last she him kissed,
Took her leave at the gong
And went her way, thank Christ.

Then rolls he right over and rises for mass,
And then their dinner was done and dearly served.
Our lad with the ladies larked all day,
But the lord over the lands lanced full oft,
Seeking his super-swine, that swept by the banks
And bit the best of his brachets their backs in sunder
Then he bode in a burrow, till bowmen found him,
And made him move his head into more open ground,
Such fell flights there flew where the folk gathered.
But he set the staunchest to start by the stands that he made,
Till at last was so whacked-out he might no more run,
But with the haste he had left he to a hollow wins
In a ravine by a rock there reigns the boar.
He got the bank at his back and began to scrape,
The froth foams at his fearsome mouth all while he,
Whets his white tusks. Willing they were not,
All the brothers so bold that by him stood
To near him (they feared him) go, of these men none dared
          by oath.
He had hurt so many by then
That all there were full loath
To be more with his tusks torn,
that were brave and brutal both.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Gawain 1476 - 1534 - Yep, it got rapy.

She comes to the curtain and at the knight peeps.
Sir Gawain welcomes her worthily at once,
And he she replied to, full sweet with her words,
Sits her softly by his side, simply she laughs,
And with a loving look she laid out these words:
"Sir, if you be Gawain, wonder me thinks,
One that is so well-worked in etiquette good,
Cannot comprehend the conventions of nobility,
And if one commends you these claims, you cast them from your mind;
You have forgotten easily what I yesterday taught
By the most oak-obvious token of talk that I could."
"What is that?" said Gawain. "I claim my wits bare;
If it be truth that you breathe, the blame is my own."
"I educated on kissing," said the clear girl,
""When-so countenance is couth quickly to claim;
Then befits such a knight that courtesy uses."*
"Do not," said that doomed man, "my dear make that speech,
For that I dare not do, lest I denied were;
If withheld, I were wrong to have made the advance."
"My word, said the lords wife, "who could stop you?
You are staunch enough to constrain with strength who you like,
If any were so villainous that you deny would."
"Yes, by God," said Gawain, "good is your speech,
But such is un-thought of in lands where I live,
And each gift that is given not with good will.
I am at your commandment, to kiss when you like;
You may lay on when you like, and leave when you thinks,
          in space."
The lady leans down
And comely kisses his face;
Much speech they there expound
Of loves pain and grace.

"I have wanted to know what," that worthy there said,
"If it raised not your wrath, the reason was
That one so young and un-yielding as you at this time,
So courteous, so knightly as you are known everywhere -
And of all chivalry to choose, the chief thing praised
Is the true talk of love, the gospel of arms;
For to tell of the adventures of these true knights,
It is the title and token and text of their works,
How long for their true love their lives they have ventured,
Endured for her duty doleful times,
And after, vindicated with valor and voided their care,
And brought bliss into bower with bounty their own -
And you are, knight, comeliest kind of your age,
Your worth and your worship walk everywhere,
And I have sat by your side here on two seperate times,
Yet learnt I never of your lips no words
That ever belonged to love, less than none.
And you, that are so courteous and claim a knights heart,
Ought to a young thing service show
And teach some tokens of true love-crafts.
What! Are you so lewd, that all the world loves,
Or else you deem me too dizzy your dalliance to hear?
          For shame!
I come here alone and sit
To learn from you some game;
Do teach me of your wit,
While my lord is from home.

*Really not sure that I got this right. Is a little elliptical even in the original I think.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Gawain 1421 - 1475, Y'all ain't gonna wanna mess with this pig.

Soon one called of a a quest by creeks side;
The hunter urged the hounds that it first declared,
Wild words he warped with a wrenched voice.
The hounds that it heard hastened there quick,
And fell as fast to the foot-path, forty at once.
Then such a clamor and cry of the crowded hounds
Rose that the rocky hills rung about them;
Hunters halooed them with horn and with mouth.
Then all assembled surged together,
Between a gulf in that forest and a fearsome crag.
In a knot by a cliff, at the creeks side,
There where the rough rocks had randomly crashed,
They fell to the finding, and footmen there after.
Then in-between the creek and the knot both,
They sought, till certain and sure that inside this place was
The beast that the baying of the bloodhounds claimed.
Then they beat on the bushes, and bid him uprise,
Unsoundly, as it turned out, for he surged through the lines;
A swine, extremely serious, slashed from the hedges,
Long cleaved from his kin-herd by claim of his age,
For he was BIG, of boars-all the greatest,
Full grim when he grunted, then grayed many men,
For at the first thrust he threw three to the earth,
And spurred off at good speed without spitting more.
Those others halloed "hyge!" full high, and "hay! hay!" cried,
Held horns to mouth, heatedly recharged;
Many was the merry mouth of men and of hounds
That breaks after this boar with bugles and noise
          to quell.
Full oft he bides the bay,
And maims the mute in the mell;
He hurts of the hounds and they
Full somberly cry and knell.

Servants to shoot at him skirmished up close,
Haled to him of their arrows, hitting him oft;
But the points would not pierce the pith of his shoulders,
And the barbs would not bite of his brow -
Though the smooth shaft sundered in pieces,
The head heaved up again where-so-ever it hit.
But when the battering blows bothered him, he burst out,
Hurts them full heartily, hoves into their crowd,
And many arsed it, and ran for their lives.
But the lord on a light horse lances him after,
As a bro bent on boldness his bugle he blows;
He resounded, and rode through hedges full rank,
Seeking this wild swine till the sun slipped away,
The day with this mad deed they drive all the while,
While our lovely lad lies in his bed,
Gawain, happy at home, in gear full rich
          of hue.
She did not give in easy
And came him to salute;
She was with him full early
His mode to renew.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Gawain 1372 - 1420, It's already slash-fic really.

Then commanded the lord in that hall to assemble the many,
Both the ladies on high to alight with their maids.
Before all the folk in the fortress, footmen he bids
Verily his venison to fetch him before;
And all goodly in gaming Gawain he called,
Teaches him the tally of the full-tined beasts,
Shows him the sheared flesh shorn from the ribs.
"How prize you this play? How Have I praise won?
Can I claim your thanks through my craft and skill?"
"You can," said that knight, "here is a fairer kill
Than I have seen these seven years in season of winter."
"And all I give you, Gawain," replied the great hunter,
"For by accord of covenant you claim it as your own."
"This is so," said the chevalier, "I say you the same:
What I have worthily won here in your home,
Shall with as good a will be given to you."
He holds his fair head his arms within,
And kisses him as comely as he could arrange:
"Take you there my achievement, I claimed little else;
I vouch it you freely, and would if were more."
"It is good," said the good man, "grant mercy therefore.
It may even be better, if you would bravely tell
Where you won this wonder by wit and by skill."
"That was not agreed to," said Gawain, "ask me no more;
For you have taken what is owed, nothing other
          is meet."
They laughed and made blithe
With words that were sweet;
To supper they hied,
With dainties to eat.

And so by the chimney in chamber they sat,
While the willing waiters brought them wine,
And joyful in their jesting they justly agreed
To fulfill the same forwards that they before made:
What chance so achieved, their prize to exchange,
What new thing they gained, next night when they met.
They accorded of their covenant before the full court -
The beverage was brought forth in a pledging-bowl -
Then they lightly took leave of each other at last,
Each bro to his bed slowly crawled.
By time the cock had crowed and cackled but thrice,
The lord was leaping from his bed, the servants too,
So that the meat and the mass was meetly delivered,
The boys bound to the forest before the day sprung,
          to chase.
Thence with hunt and horns
These players pass in space,
Hounds among the thorns
Baying, ran to race.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Red Dawn & Gawain 1319 - 1372, Bloody numbles

I'm interested to see what Jeff Rients and Kiel Chenier produce with their new adventures. They both have quite a different aesthetic feel and a different animating spirit to the part of the post-Vornheim OSR with which I am most intimately familiar which orbits quite closely around a particular vein of darkness, decadence, alienation and ruin.

Jeff is pre-Vornheim. Jeff may be pre-dice. It's possible he's teaching Beowulf from first-hand experience. All we know for certain is that he is a confirmed cannibal. (Broodmother has been in-vitro for so long that when its born it will be legally able to drink.)

Keil has also been around for ages but his aesthetic is more post-Steven-Universe than post-Vornheim. So, still social justicey but without decaying onto a fat pile of passive-aggressive tics or an eternal entropic socio-political-maelstrom like a boring Chaos God.

If I was betting on anyone from the OSR finally getting a good enough toehold in mainstream D&D to finally beat some decent fucking information design, or even some actual original ideas into them then it would be Kiel. he's a worker, he has the almost magical ability to get on with people in corporate situations and he still has decent quality control and a capacity for originality. I would recommend checking out his ENWorld adventure in the Feywild which is almost interesting enough to make me not hate the name 'Feywild' and has decent enough informational layout that I sense he must have strained his whip-hand chastising the peons of WotC to get it produced properly.

Jeff is kind of joyful with the imperishable sweetness of a child, Kiel is kind of modern and millennial but without being punchable. It's interesting becasue we've not had anything quite like this in LotFP before (Zzarchovs 'Gingerbread Princess' comes closest I think). Together they rise like twin ginger suns over the glorious bochean wasteland of our imaginations, perhaps adding  the lyre of Thalia to the song of Melpomene which as for so long been our anthem.

Ruins must sometimes prove themselves cradles and even death can die if it permits no change. Who knows what might spring from such visions? We must build out as well as down. Beyond the horizon what strange new lands might lie beneath these ginger suns?


Now here are some scenes of disturbing butchery.

This while the lord of the land is lost in his games,
To hunt through hoar-frost and heath the barren hinds.
Such a slaughter he served there before the sun sank,
Of does and other deer, you'd deem it a wonder.
Then fiercely they flocked in, folk at the last,
And quickly of the quelled deer a quantity piled.
The nobles came nigh first, with butchers and knives,
Gathered the greatest of that gruesome hill,
And sliced them quite rightly and searched within;
Two fingers-width of fat they found on the thin.
Then they slit the throat, seized the gullet,
Scraped it with a sharp knife, and the guts tied.
Severed right the four limbs and ripped off the hide,
Then breaked open the belly, the bowels out took
Lightly, not to loosen the loop of the knot.
Then grasped the gorge, and grimly divided
The maw from the wind-hole and whisked out the guts.
Then shear out they the shoulders with their sharp knives,
Heaved them through a little hole to keep whole both sides.
Then broke open the breast and burst it in twain,
And then at the gargling part began their work,
Ripped it up roughly, right to the bite,
Dumped out the flesh-dregs, and directly thereafter
All the rib reinforcements they rapidly slice.
So strip they in the same way the spinal cord,
Trimming to the haunch, so together it hung,
And heaved it up all whole and hewed it off there -
At that part they call "numbles" by name, as I claim,
          by kind.
By the back of the thighs
The skin they cut behind
To hew it in two thy hie,
The backbone to unbind.

Both the head and the neck they hew off then,
And certain sunder the sides swift from the chin,
And the corvids fee they cast in the grass;
Then perforate they each thick side through by the rib,
And hung them by either the hocks or the legs,
Each fellow for his fee, as fell them to have.
Upon the fur of the fair beast fed they their hounds
With the liver and lights, the line of the paunch,
And bread bathed in blood blended among.
Boldly they blew "prize!", bayed their hounds,
Then flung up their flesh, faring for home,
Sounding full stoutly many strong notes.
By time the daylight was done, the dogs were all home
Into the comely castle, there the knight bides
          full still.
With bliss and bright fire waits.
The lord is come therein
When Gawain with him meets,
They were both well at will.