Monday, 15 January 2018

The War On Mother Goose

So, this guy;

Went to war against this woman;

And nearly won.

I've been reading through the Oxford Book of Nursery Rhymes and its magnificent (and extremely acidic about academics and writers fucking about with imaginary or deluded nursery rhyme origins), from there comes the following;

"Higglety, pigglety, pop!
The dog has eaten the mop;
The pig's in a hurry,
The cats in a flurry,
Higgletyl, pigglety, pop!

This rhyme, orally collected in England in 1945, was the invention of one who was an ardent opponent of nursery rhymes. Samuel Griswold Goodrich, and American born in 1793, and best known as the original 'Peter Parley', devoted thirty years to an endervour to reform children's literature. 

H wrote, on his own reckoning, some seventy volumes of truth and instruction, and in the thirties of the last century very nearly succeeded in banishing the nursery rhyme and fairy tale from the more expensive nurseries of both England and America. In 1846, incensed by the revival of the old lore as exemplified by Halliwell's researches and 'Felix Summerlay's Traditional Songs for the Nursery, he wrote a skit for Merry Museum. Nursery rhymes, he said, were nonsense. Anyone, even a child, could make one up. Listen!

Higglrty, pigglety, pop!
The dog has eaten the mop;
The pig's in a hurry,
The cats in a flurry-
Higgletyl, pigglety, pop!

And because, in spite of everything, he was a bit of a genius, Goodrich had unwittingly added to the store of nursery rhyme literature. The rhyme formed the basis for Maurice Sendak's story Higglety, Pigglety, Pop; there must be more to life (NY: Harper and Row, 1967.


And this article by the Southern Literary Messenger is incredible for its 19thC writing style and for its content;

"There are some persons, and those too among graduates of colleges, who mourn over the change of books for youth—who lament the disgrace into which Mother Goose, Tom Thumb, and Jack the Giant Killer, have fallen. But this mental obliquity only shows, that there are persons, whose minds are so perverted by a false start in education, as never to have enjoyed the exercise of that good old-fashioned guide to truth—common sense


Mr. Goodrich was originally a bookseller, and from his position, his attention was directed to the defective character of books for children and youth. The works of this sort in circulation were, for the most part, reprints of English publications; and nearly the whole of them were designed for amusement, and consisted of antiquated and monstrous fictions. It is not a little curious, that while fiction was thus dealt out in this department of juvenile literature, truth and knowledge were generally presented to children in the dry and repulsive form of technical compends and catechisms.


He has shown that truth, upon which nature and philosophy alike teach us that the young intellect should be fed and fostered, may be rendered as palatable as matters of mere fancy. While it has been discovered, that the stomach of the infant need not be soothed with toddy and paregoric, he has made it apparent that the mind and heart need not be stimulated by fiction.


In illustration of the dramatic and descriptive talent displayed in these works, we will make an extract from Parley’s Tales about America:
“At length the morning came, and the chief of the tribe arrived, with several other Indians. He was an old man, but still strong and active. The Indians told him of my capture, and attempt to escape, and asked him what should be my fate. Having heard the story, he came near to me, and in a stern voice, he spoke as follows:

“White man, listen to me! Once the red man was king over these woods and waters. The mountains and rivers were then the red man’s, and then he was rich and happy.

“At length, the white men, thy fathers, came. The red men bade them welcome. But they were ungrateful and treacherous. When they grew strong, they drove the red men over the mountains, and took their lands—and I was still the white man’s friend.

“But see here,” said he, pointing to a scar on his breast, “this is the mark of a white man’s bullet. I had harmed him not—I had lived among the white men, and served them. But they shot at me as if I were a wild- cat.

“White man,” said he, “listen! I was once the white man’s friend—I am now his enemy. Think no more of escape. This hour you shall die.”

“Chief,” said I, “do as you like. If it is God’s will that I die, I shall die contented. My father was a friend to the red man, and his son has never harmed them.

“My father saved the life of a red man, and now you will kill his son. If it will make an Indian chief happy to spill the blood of one who saved a red man’s life, then kill me—I am ready to die.

“And my soul will go to the Great Spirit, and will say to Him, ‘My father was a benefactor to the red man, and they murdered his son!’ ”

“Speak,” said the Chief, “Where did your father live?”

“In Boston,” said I.

“And who was the Indian whose life he saved?”

“His name was Wampum,” I replied.

“White man,” said he, “look at me, I am Wampum! I know you. You were the boy who came to my wigwam at Holyoke. You were the boy who went with me to the Great Falls. It was your father who saved my life! And shall I suffer his son to die?

“Brethren,” said Wampum, speaking to the Indians, “I was a stranger in a distant city of the white men—I drank their fire-water, and it made me wild—

“I struck a sailor, and he was angry. He came upon me with twelve men. They beat me down, and trampled on me. They would have killed me, but a white man with a strong arm, beat them off. The friend of the red men saved my life. Here is his son—shall he die?”

The Indians answered by untying my hands and feet— “Go,” said Wampum, “go to your friends and tell them that the red men will not forget kindness.

“Tell them that we will repay to the children the good deeds of their fathers. We war only with the wicked; we seek only the blood of our enemies.”


"I know that there is a certain music in them that delights the ear of childhood...but what I affirm is that many of these pieces are coarse, vulgar, offensive, and it is precisely these portions that are apt to stick to the minds of children."1 "Do not children love truth?" he asks. "If so, is it necessary to feed them on fiction? Can not History, Natural History, Geography, and Biography, become the elements of juvenile works, in place of fairies and giants, and mere monsters of the imagination?"2

Quoted in The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature, Carpenter, Humphrey and Mari Prichard, but googled here.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Terminator vs Plastic Man - FQ Book 5 Canto 9

A poor Canto

The first bit is fun, A&A hunt 'Guyle' who is a LOT like Cugel the Clever.

Then they are both taken to the Court of Good Queen Mercilla (another Elizabeth), who, if you've read even one Court Scene in the Faerie Queene, is pretty much exactly like every other one.

Slow approach through qualitative bodyguards, in this case Awe and Order, witnessing of a doomed baddy, in this case Malfont a *poet bad& who spread scurrilous stories and who has his tongue nailed to a plank.

Then Fairest of the fair, surrounded by virgins, rusty sword because kingdom in peace blah blah blah, the only interesting thing is that they are in the middle of a trial.

It's our own friend Duessa, who you may remember right from the beginning of the book and from the friendship Canto in which she was a massive dick.

The list of witnesses is very slightly interesting; Zeale is the prosecutor, Kingdoms Care, Authority, the Law of Nations, Religion and Justice all speak against. Ok, dull so far.

Those speaking in defence are Pittie, Regard of womanhead, Daunger (threatning hidden dread, And high alliance unto forren powre), Nobilitie and Griefe.

Here she is by Walter Crane

SHOCK TWIST, Duessa gets off. I suppose because its Mercy's Court?*

There are probably complex philosophical reasons for this, none of which I care about.

Instead I'll go back and highlight some of the first twenty verses in which A&A hunt Guyle becasue they are great fun.


".... not fare thence lay;
To weet a wicked villaine, bold and stout,
Which wonned in a rocke not farre away,
That robbed all the countrie there about,
And brought the pillage home, whence none could get it out.

Thereto both his owne wylie wit, (she sayd)
And eke the fastnesse of his dwelling place,
Both unassaylable, gave him great ayde:
For he so crafty was to forge and face,
So light of hand, and nymble of his pace,
So smooth of tongue, and subtile in his tale,
That could deceive one looking in his face;
Therefore by name Malengin they him call,
Well knowen by his feates, and famous over all."

Cugel? It is Cugel isn't it? Somehow he got in here.

Not only that buy he lives in a D&D dungeon;

"And eke the rocke, in which he wonts to dwell,
Is wonderous strong, and hewen farre under ground
An dreadfull depth, how deepe no man can tell;
But some doe say, it goeth downe to hell.
And all within, it full of wyndings is,
And hidden wayes, that scarse an hound by smell
Can follow out those false footsteps of his,
Ne none can backe returne, that once are gone amis."

Crane Again

Not only do these two dickheads refuse to go to the Queen before they have caught the uncatchable man, they essentially force this poor Damizell to act as bait to lure out the baddy.

So she hangs out by this rocke and 'Gan weepe and wayle, as if great griefe had her affected.'

Out comes out fellow and he's magnificent.

"Full dreadfull wight he was, as ever went
Upon the earth, with hollow eyes deepe pent,
And long curld locks, that downe his shoulders shagged,
And on his backe an uncouth vestiment
Made of straunge stuffe, but all to worne and ragged,
And underneath his breech was all to torne and jagged.

Come on guys

And in his hand an huge long staffe he held,
Whose top was arm'd with many an yron hooke,
Fit to catch hold of all that he could weld,
Or in the compasse of his clouches tooke;
And ever round about he cast his looke.
Als at his backe a great wyde net he bore,
With which he seldome fished at the brooke,
But usd to fish for fooles on the dry shore,
Of which he in faire weather wont to take great store."

When she sees him of course this girl is affraid, but;

"He gan with guilefull words her to perswade,
To banish feare, and with Sardonian smyle
Laughing on her, his false intent to shade,
For he in slights and jugling feates did flow,
And of legierdemayne the mysteries did know."

He juggles too!

He grabs the girl in the net and runs to his Rocke, but is blocked by A&A. He drops her and bounds away 'Like a wyld Gote, leaping from hill to hill'. His DEX is so high that Artegall just sends Talus after him and they have a wonderful chase because this dude can also change shapes.

It's the Terminator vs Plastic Man!

"Into a Foxe himselfe he first did tourne;
But he him hunted like a Foxe full fast:
Then to a bush himselfe he did transforme,
But he the bush did beat, till that at last
Into a bird it chaung'd, and from him past,
Flying from tree to tree, from wand to wand:
But he then stones at it so long did cast,
That like a stone it fell upon the land,
But he then tooke it up, and held fast in hand.

So he it brought with him unto the knights,
And to his Lord Sir Artegall it lent,
Warning him hold it fast, for feare of slights.
Who whilest in hadn it gryping hard he hent,
Into a Hedgehogge all unwares it went,
And prickt him so, that he away it threw.
Then gan it runne away incontinent,
Being returned to his former hew:
But Talus soone him overtooke, andbackward drew."

And then the guy turns into a snake and Talus beats him to death becasue he beats everything to death.

I quite like Talus as a character because he is fucking horrible, but in being so he exposes something in the poem, and something in Spenser, that is just as horrible, but oh my god is he shit for storytelling.

The position of all of these 'helper' characters has been a bit complex when it comes to generating drama. Una knew how to do everything but was sepereated by being a super-pure lady so she couldn't lay hands on anything. The 'Blacke Palmer' also knew everything but would just be a dick about it and inform Guyon after the event. Britomarts Glauce was probably the best, she ended up trapped in drag with a guy who wouldn't listen to her. Fuck knows what was going on with the Friendship Canto.

And now Talus who is just awful awful awful. Drains any drama or danger from a scene. Makes his hero both impotent and also more disgusting. Has no fucking emotions to express. Is probably an avatar of Spenser watching those Spanish and Irish prisoners be executed by his boss. Just an epically BAD idea on Spensers part on every level, yet somehow a very apt one. The nastiness at the heart of Chivalry made manifest.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Castle In a Bag

A bag of holding is a tiresome thing, but I have in mind a plague of castle-bags.

It's like a Bag of Holding but you can only fit one thing in it, and one type of thing. Pull the drawstring of the bag open, hold it near the castle with one hand, reach out, grab the wall and with a gentle hand smoothly tip the castle into the bag.

Do it handily and it will come off the ground like a cereal box and disappear into the bag like a snooker-ball into a hole.

But hesitate, judder, pause or flail and the mass of the castle comes back and you die in an avalanche of stone, along with anyone inside.

Once the castle is inside the bag it fits quite neatly, it looks and feels as if you were carrying around a dolls-house in a sack. If you judder or smash the bag then the castle can get damaged inside.

From the perspective of those inside it feels like the castle is now in a gloomy non-dimensional space. They can't see the fabric of the bag or get out. If you open the top to look in they see an polarised pale glow, but they don't see your giant face looking down at them.

If you dump anything 'normal sized' in the bag then it will crash into the castle. It retains its relative dimensions. If you are being nice you might want to pour corn down a chimney so they can make giant popcorn to feed themselves. If you want to be horrible you can dump a giant rat or some insects in there so the people are chased around the castle by the huge beasts.

When you tip the castle back out, any huge things inside will still be huge. So, huge man-sized popcorn and huge insects and huge rats. You can try to dick about pouring in gold coins and gems but people with a castle bag usually have more important things on their mind, plus when you tip the castle back out all the people in it will still be there (unless they starved and died, in which case they will be undead) and they will want to guard their giant gems and gold coins.

Time does pass in a castle bag, but slowly. Anyone who dies in one becomes a scale-shifting undead and these undead can climb out of the bag, obsessed with killing whoever put them in there and with taking the bag themselves. And this is what ultimately happens to many castle bags, they are left too long and the castles inside them poorly treated and they are stolen by some scale-shifting undead and taken off to some dark corner of the world where the creatures sit and play with their castle.

If you find a castle-bag that already has a castle in it then be careful because if you tip the castle out then it may be full of angry undead and weird spirits.

It could also be full of treasure though, or artefacts from whenever the castle is from, plus its still a castle that you can put wherever you want (so long as there is room), and that's useful.

Plus you could just dump the castle out somewhere and run for it and now you have an empty castle-bag and you can grab a new castle if you want to.


It's best not to get too clever with your definitions. If you slip over into mansion territory on one hand, or just a hill with a fence on the other, then you will only find out if the bag will not accept the castle at the worst possible moment; just as you are about to tip it in.

The bag also only accepts built elements, so if it’s a fort on a hill 90% of the hill will be left behind. In situations with attached aqueducts and other buildings it will usually cut them off after a few metres.

Not what I was thinking of when I came up with this 
but if you want to find out more about Helen Anthonys castle bags 
there is an article here.


The bag will do its best to integrate the castle with wherever it is tipped out, but there are limits to what it can do.

There has to be room. If there are other buildings on the site then, if you are lucky [if the DM has prepped something or doesn't mind winging it] then you might get a mad Escher/Tardis style integration of forms. If you are unlucky [if the DM is pissed with you or you roll badly] you get rubble.

If the shape of a castle is very highly integrated into its environment (like a mountain peak, a river crossing or a port) then its best to try to find somewhere similar to tip it out or you might get a bad reaction.

The bag can't generate water courses. If there is one there then the bag will try to plumb in wells (if they exist) and sewers (if they exist) but that can easily go horribly wrong. If there is no water course then the sewer backs up and the well has no water.


In history there were only ever thirteen Castle-Bags.

Three made by 'Brass Beard' a short and hairy Rumplestiltskin figure in a complex ongoing situation with three Princesses, three Kings, Three Castles and the exact wording of a wish

Seven made by the Greatest Thief Ever Known, who famously used them to re-orient the military border between two powerful nations as part of the  confidence scam that won him (or possibly her) a continent, the so-called 'Continent of Thieves' which does not appear on any map and which can be found only by Thieves, and which probably doesn't actually exist or if it does exist is likely a China Mieville-esque metaphor for the invisible nation of thieves that exists inside and upon our own*.

One handed over by the Devil at a crossroads.

And a pair made for two sisters 'Lady-Bird' and 'Snail-Girl' in a Steppe-Myth which turned out to be true. One bag being forgotten in the treasury of a major Kingdom for a millennia and the other found in a Steppe Tomb.


Eight are held by the two most powerful adjacent nations in the world. Both put enormous resources into attaining and retaining as many bags as possible and maintain a balance of Mutually Assured Parcelling. Each Nation has four each. If one were to gain an advantage in bags then it could precipitate a war.

Three are inside each other, (you can do that, so long as each has a castle in it) with the last being held by 'Brass Beard', this being the current situation with the Princesses. Brass Beard is searching for his True Love, but he is a manipulative riddle-obsessed sociopath with poor person hygiene whose only positive qualities are his ability to make interdimensional bags. He also likes vegetables carved from jewels (lettuces from emeralds, radishes from rubies etc) and one particular song played on the piccolo, but nobody knows which one. To summon him simply sing "Brass Beard, Brass Beard, where are your Swans? The season is setting and shadows are long." three times and he will usually turn up. (You don't want this to happen).

One has been dragged off somewhere by the undead occupants, maybe to Fairyland.

One is in Hell and is used by the Devil to grab new castles to populate that land and also handed out in more crossroads situations to invariably negative effects for everyone.


Someone has found out how to make the bags and is handing them out. A Castle-Stealing war has begun. Troops of Thieves called 'Fortification Men' are sneaking about between kingdoms. No castle is safe. It's geopolitical and architectural chaos. No-one knows what their defence posture is. Every nation seems vulnerable but castles could pop up in strategic places at any time. Peasants are briefly happy that the dicks in the castle have gone until the military chaos enfolds them too. A ridiculous number of Dukes, Duchesses, Princes, Princesses and Horses have all been stolen, along with all the ordinary people paid to follow them about. Knife-fights between gangs of thieves are leaving castles strewn all over the docklands. Someone recently bet a castle on the turn of a card. Confidence men on every corner promise to sell you a castle in a bag, some of them may even be telling the truth. Adventurers are being hired to steal castles, to get back stolen castles, to defend castles from being stolen, to find out what is going on, to stop anyone finding out what is going on. A dwarf calling himself 'Bran Nine-Castles' is heading for the Frontier with what he claims is the beginning of a fresh Empire. Bags are banned in many places and anyone carrying a bulky object in a bag has become a suspect. A small army of bounty hunters was held in a standoff for five days by a Bedlemite who said he would drop a castle on them. Is it Brass-Beard? Is it The Greatest Thief Ever Known? Is it the Devil? The Gygaxian locig of a replicable effect applied to a magical situation? U DECIDE!

See, I did it in one paragraph. Efficiency.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Misogyny Chip: OFFLINE FQ Book 5 Canto 8

This is a rather turgid Canto redeemed slightly towards the end with an interesting fight scene and a rather gory death.

After being freed from cross-dressing bondage Artegall sets off once more on his quest to do whatever the hell it was thing Book was about.

We get a classic meet-cute between Artegall and Arthur, another case of shadow meeting shadow;

Artegall sees a Damizel fleeing some dudes, with another dude following them.

Artegall attacks one of the guys, meanwhile, the pursuer, Arthur, attacks the other. Both win and in the confusion they start fighting each other. Once blows are struck, in true badass fashion, they both realise they are ultimare tough guys. They are about to supermurder each other when the Damizell calms them down;

"They stayd their hands, when she thus gan to speake;
Ah gentle Knights, what meane ye thus to wreake?
I am the wrong'd, whome ye did enterprise
Both to redresse, and both redrest likewise:
Witnesse the Paynims both, whom ye may see
There dead on ground. What doe ye then devise
Of more revenge? if more, then I am shee,
Which was the roote of all, and your revenge on mee."

Luckily Talus's misogyny processor must be offline at this exact moment becasue he doesn't immediately slaughter her, and both Arthur and Arthegall are agreed that this is one of those women that they won't compulsively try to murder.

Info Dump: there is a very nice Queen, Mercilla, and a very bad man, in this case a Souldan and Idol-Worshipper, with an even worse wife, Adicia who are typically bent on being super-evil for reasons. The Queen sent this particular Damizell, Samient, to try to be reasonable with this woman and;

"Me like a dog she out of dores did thrust,
Miscalling me by many a bitter name,
That never did her ill, ne once deserved blame."

She then sends these two to kill Samient, which is where out heroes come in.

Arthur and Arthegall disguise themselves to get into the guys castle and a fight breaks out. This bad guy has a Dick Dastardly Whacky Races Chariot;

"And mounting straight upon a charret hye,
With yron wheeles and hookes arm'd dreadfully,
And drawne of cruell steeds, which he had fed
With flesh of men, whom through fell tyranny
He slaughtered had, and ere they were halfe ded,
Their bodies to his beasts for provender did spread."


The Souldan throws darts at Arthur and Arthur wards them, attempting to strike back, but;

".. he was mounted in his seat so high,
And his wingfooted coursers him did beare
So fast away, that ere his readie speare
He could advence, he farre was gone and past."

The Souldan throws another dart which makes "a griesly wound in his enriven side" and opens "the wellspring of his blood".

"... like to a Lyon wood,
Which being wounded of the huntsmans hand
Can not come neare him in the covert wood,
Where he with boughes hath built his shady stand,
And fenst himself about with many a flaming brand."

Whenever he gets close "His charret wheeles about him whirled round" and his carniverous horses chase his brave, but still herbiverous horse.

"Thus long they trast, and traverse to and fro"

Which an uncharitable mind would regard as somewhat equivalent to a Hanna Barbara cartoon. Arthur still can't get close so he unveils his magical shield;

"Like lightening flash, that hath the gazer burned,
So did the sight thereof their sense dismay,
That backe againe upon themselves they turned,
And with their ryder ranne perforce away:
Ne could the Souldan them from flying stay,
With raynes, or wonted rule, as well he knew.
Nought feared they, what he could do, or say,
But th'onely feare, that was before their vew;
From which like bazed deare, dismayfully they flew."

Fast did they fly, as them their feete could beare,
High over hills, and lowly over dales,
As they were follow'd of their former feare.
In vaine the Pagan bannes, and sweares and rayles,
And backe with both his hands unto him hayles
The resty raynes, regarded now no more:
He to them calles and speakes, yet nought avayles;
They heare him not, they have forgot his lore,
But go, which way they list, their guide have forlore."

There are a few verses of this until;

"At last they have all overthrowne to ground
Quite topside turvey, and the pagan hond
Amongst the yron hookes and graples keene,
Torne all to rags, and rent with many a wound,
That no whole peece of him was to be seene,
But scattred all about, and strow'd upon the greene.


So was this Souldan rapt and all to rent,
That of his shape appear'd no litle moniment."

Arthur takes the shield and that has done for the Souldan, what of the wife?

She's pretty cool;

"Yet not, as women wont in dolefull fit,
She was dismayd, or faynted through affright,
But gathered unto her her troubled wit,
And gan eftsoones devize to be aveng'd for it

Streight downe she ranne, like and enraged cow,
That is berobbed of her youngling dere,
With knife in hand, and fatally did vow,
To wreake her on that mayden, messengere,
Whom she had causd be kept as prisonere,
By Artegall, misween'd for her owne Knight,
That brought her backe. And comming present there,
She at her ran with all her force and might,
All flaming with revenge and furious despight."

Artegall manages to grab the knife from her hand;

"With that like one enfelon'd or distraught,
She forth did rome, whether her rage her bore,
With franticke passion, and with furie fraught;
And breaking forth out at a posterne dore,
Unto the wyld wood ranne, her dolours to deplore.

As a mad bytch, when as the franticke fit
Her burning tongue with rage inflamed hath,
Doth runne at randon, and with furious bit
Snatching at every thing, doth wreake her wrath
On man and beast, that commeth in her path.
They they doe say, that she transformed was
Into a Tygre, and that Tygres scath
In crueltie and outrage she did pas,
To prove her surname true, that she imposed has."

She gets away with it! And turns into a Rage-Tyger. End of canto! I told you that robots Misogyny chip was down.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Wizard Ghost

Not a Lich, they are still Skeletons, and they are thinkers and do-ers. A full on ghostly ghost.

The fearful element here being that a Lich at least wants something and is vaguely connected enough to reality to understand if you will or will not give it that thing. But a ghost is just a memory, its pseudo-selfhood feeds into and out of that memory and can relate coherently to nothing else.

And a ghost does not know that it is a ghost, it does not know that it is dead.

So imagine someone terrifyingly intelligent, who can affect reality on a basic level, travel through time, pass through dimensions, summon demons, whatever. And then imagine that they have dementia, and that they don't know they have dementia because they are so powerful that reality around them is usually whatever they think it should be, and that they can't die because they are already dead, they just don't know it, and that you can't punch or stab them and if they touch you they age you to death.

And they are wandering the world haunting something_, but no-one is sure what it is that they haunt because they can fucking time travel and see other dimensions so maybe it’s a ley-line or a particular strand of causality or a particular hive of bees or a gene cluster or a tachyon shower or some fucking thing.

And they turn up, according to some impenetrable logic, and start doing crazy old-man shit, but they can reformat reality, clone people, change memories, charm people, polymorph people and things, summon hyper-intelligent beings who might know they are a mad ghost but who _still have to do what they say_, steal souls or put them back, freeze people in, or move them through, time itself and just do any amount of insane Dr Who shit except they are doing it all in unconscious service to some traumatic memory that _even they_ don't really understand the shape or cause of.

So to get rid of them you have to solve the Ghost Mystery, which could be something as simple as burying a bone comb, but good fucking luck doing that as anyone who gets close to them gets sucked into some reality-mangled hall of mirrors situation, and that's if they are lucky.

Basics of this idea;

  • Driven by Memory
  • Timeless itself, could appear before the cause of its own death, or before its own life.
  • Could 'put off' appearing until the distant future.
  • Can affect reality through spells.
  • Has lots of spells and regenerates each time with all its spells intact.
  • But regenerates with no memory of its previous encounters.
  • So, almost impossible to beat the first time, but could be a live-die-repeat situation where if you survive the first fight or encounter then you stand better and better chances of surviving the next encounters.
  • But as you find out more and more, you get pulled deeper and deeper into the mystery of the wizards death/ghost creation

Ghost-Council-of-Orzhova from magic the Gathering.
The first think I have seen that made me give a damn about MtG.



What is the Triggering Trauma?

  1. Betrayal, by lover, student or friend.
  2. Irreparable Loss of a loved one.
  3. Despair leading to magical suicide.
  4. Death at the hands of super-enemy*.
  5. Death by freaky magic accident.
  6. Religious troubles (knows hell is real as has visited there personally).

*Things that can kill a super-wizard

  1. another super-wizard
  2. a major demon or devil
  3. themselves
  4. inter-dimensional being
  5. a dragon (a big one)
  6. a god or demi-god
  7. the illuminati

And Their Insane Response to It?

  1. Compulsive re-enactment of the event in different forms.
  2. Doing forensics of event it can't remember by following all possibly physical or mental consequences.
  3. Keeps trying to build impenetrable defence against unknown threat but can't remember the threat.
  4. Compulsively tries to stop the same thing happening to anyone else, no matter how likely, with no exact memory of what it is trying to prevent.
  5. Instinctively building a thing or ritual to replace this entire reality with one where the thing didn't happen.
  6. Kill god of death, of just God, or just open the gates to the afterlife permanently.

How Do the PCs Fix It?

  1. It’s a simple object related to the event, redeem, cleanse, destroy or return it.
  2. It’s a person, find, redeem, return, free or condemn them. (Could be the Wizards own self from another time or dimension.)
  3. It’s a secret one other entity knows, they have to state it openly to the ghost.
  4. It’s a dead person like another ghost or spirit, find them & present them to the Wizard for forgiveness or redemption.
  5. You just have to find out what happened and persuade them that it happened so they can remember it, without being blasted into atoms.


All the weird things the Wizard does which would cause people to become interesting in what he is up to and draw them in.

Hooks are also effectively 'approaches', they could be the chaos left in the blast-radius of the Wizards entry into the world.

  1. Everyone in a population, or half of everyone, mass-charmed and going about life as if they are characters in an historical epic or strange fiction.
  2. Farm or wild animals in a certain area given intelligence, personality and strange drives, they act out the history of an ancient kingdom, or one yet to be.
  3. Wanderers snatched through time, interrogated about some minor element of their lives, then let go. They all speak different languages and come from different eras.
  4. Every living thing in a particular wave-front slowly being transformed into one particular person, maybe a primary, or tertiary character from an important memory.
  5. Big things made small and small things big, giant bugs rule a grass-forest with a floor carpeted with bonsai temperate woodlands, you get bison in your shoes and might step on a city.
  6. Cities or random areas of land teleport-swapped over insane distances.
  7. Particular architectural memory breeding like a disease and replacing local objects, like a cancer of a particular building, an empty plain with the same tower repeated like temple columns, building of a city being consumed by a single set of rooms, or the same house growing like pustules over every surface.
  8. Some Djinn or Demon set to grab every blue shirt in this reality or every descendant of a particular person from a millennia ago, or everyone whose name is an anagram of a particular world, and they are so powerful that they are nearly unstoppable, but they don't really want to be doing this insane bullshit and will drop heavy hints as to what it is all about.
  9. Everyone in a population given the power to read the minds of one other person, an insane informational economy breaking out.
  10. Every dragon on the planet spazzing out because one particular kind of object was stolen from each of them, but the oldest dragon is super-powerful and now it looks like they are going to have a dragon-war.
  11. Everyone’s dreaming of the same girl and can't speak without singing laments to her and no-one knows who the hell she is and it's driving everyone nuts.
  12. A crazy old man or woman comes bustling through everyone dreams, every single night, turning things over, looking for someone, calling you by someone else’s name before getting upset and storming off. When he leaves the dream he leaves a door open and if you go into it in the dream you disappear from this life.


This is the place you have to go to encounter the Wizard Ghost in its most active form.

This is always the same place, it could be a tower, a city street, an isolated house, a ship, an interdimensional hideaway.

The key thing for the adventure is that the floor plan is always the same but the nature of the encounter is always different. The Ghost keeps creating these places wherever it comes so it feels safe and familiar, but that has no (obvious) logic to anyone else. It leaves this shape behind like the trail of a snail, repeated everywhere it goes.

It could be;

  1. Underwater.
  2. Semi-submerged in a swamp.
  3. Hanging side-on a cliff.
  4. In a forest.
  5. On a mountaintop.
  6. In the middle of a city.
  7. In the middle of a ruined city.
  8. Hanging in the air.
  9. Interlaced with the lair of whoever you thought was the most powerful bad-guy. The wizards thoughts have driven them off.

The encounters inside are of three kinds

Stuff from the Hooks; the same kinds of polymorphed, cloned, memory-changed, time-snatched, gated-in or just strange thing that drew your attention.

Stuff from the environment; whatever was living here before is either hiding from the Wizards ideas, fruitlessly contending with them or has been changed, charmed, re-written, altered

And the WYZARD themselves, in all their ghostly and deranged hyper-powerful glory

Kaya, Ghost Assasin, ANOTHER great MtG image.
Is there a whole world of ghostly action I have been missing out on by not caring about card games?


What happens when you actually bump into the wizards ghost itself, this is a mixed social encounter with a crazy, memory-damaged ghost who may be in completely different moods each time and who has insanely powerful spells.


Who doesn't remember meeting you, for either good or ill, and who is always, ultimately, obsessed with the same thing. Even though they might seem to be into different things it all relates to the same mystery.

Even though its the axle of the adventure this is probably the simplest part to create, its essentially a big list of very-powerful spell effects, basically the engine of an interesting combat encounter.

What are they Like?

  1. Opulent, like the Pope of This Dude.
  2. Noble & super-fancy, Queen Elizabeth-style.
  3. Low-Key Gentleman Ghost, like a Squire, Mr Norrell Style.
  4. Heavy-Metal DCC Wizard, mutated & tattooed to fuck with a demon staff & shitload of pentangles.
  5. Animal Form.
  6. Dimensionally Bargled like that painting style, The Angles!
  7. 5E High-Fantasy Asshole.
  8. Storybook.
  9. Potterverse Academic.

How Are They Acting?

  1. Familiar, they treat PCs as people they remember. Better keep up the act.
  2. Paranoid, surrounded by threats, afraid of something they can't sense.
  3. Mundane, acting as still alive on a boring average day, confused as to why work hasn't been done.
  4. Semi-Aware, knows something is wrong, suspects may be in parallel reality or victim of mind-maze.

Triggers! (could just use all of these)

  1. Sanity Status, better not question it.
  2. They are DEFINITELY ALIVE right now and NOT A GHOST, ok?
  3. Politeness.
  4. Do Not Disturb My Great Work!
  5. There's this one particular colour....
  6. Just don't mention the name of that person connected to the thing that definitely didn't happen..

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Sexy Amazons, Part 2, FQ Book 5 Cantos 6-7

Canto Six

Spenser is afraid we will 'deeme in Artegall Great weaknesse,' for yeilding to 'th insolent command of womens will', but reminds us not to judge him too hastily;

"For never yet was wight so well aware,
But he at first or last was trapt in womens snare."

Britomart, who we haven't seen in a while, has been waiting for Artegalls return. waiting too long for she starts 'to cast in her misdoubtful mynde A thousand feares, that love-sicke fancies faine to fynde.'

Shes hanging around imagining an amped-up version of the things we all imagine when someone doesn't turn up; something terrible has happened to them and we will have to feel sad, they have stopped giving a shit about us for some reason and we will have to feel terrible, or they are just a dick for being late and we will have to be angry. So, on the horns of the time trident; 'Each hour did seeme a moneth, & every moneth a yeare.'

One day she is looking out of a west window, plagued with 'vane fancies' and sees Talus approaching; 'Whereat her heart was fild with hope and drede;'

She runs to meet him and interrogates him at the door. This gives us our first impression of Talus' inner state;

"The yron man, albe he wanted sence
And sorrowes feeling, yet with conscience
Of his ill news, did inly chill and quake,
And stood still mute, as one in great suspence,
As if that by his silence he would make
Her rather reade his meaning, than him selfe it spake."

Talus eventually confesses that Artegall has been captured 'Not by that Tyrant' 'But by a Tyranesse'.

Britomart jumps to bad conclusions;

"Cease thou bad newes-man, baldly doest thou hide
Thy maisters shame, in harlots bondage tide.
The rest my selfe too readily can spell."

And then runs off to her room to make a 'monefull plaint' and to think about what a bad idea this relationship was. Spenser tells us she does not lament with 'loud alew As women wont, but with deepe sighes, and singfuls few.' Then we get an excellent verse about being upset;

"Like as a wayward childe, whose sounder sleepe
Is broken with some fearefull dreames affright,
With froward will doth set him selfe to weepe;
Ne can be stild for all his nurses might,
But kicks and squals, and shreiks for fell despight:
Now scratching her, and her loose locks misusing;
Now seeking darkenesse, and now seeking light;
Then craving sucke, and then the sucke refusing.
Such was this Ladies fit, in her loves fond accusing."

Eventually she calms down and returns to Talus to find out more, in particular, is her guy cheating on her? Talus gives her details and in a trice she is into her armour, hops on the horse and they are off.

Britomart is riding 'melancholicke' and 'Chawing the cud of griefe and inward paine,' when she comes upon a knight who seems aged, friendly and COMPLETELY INNOCENT and who invites her to his home to rest for OBVIOUSLY NON-MURDEROUS REASONS.

Even the original audience by this point should be questioning if every NPC wants to kill the main characters.

Anyway, 'Sith shady dampe had dimd the heavens reach', 'The Championesse, now seeing night at dore' follows the completely innocent and reasonable man. They chat till dark, but Britomart refuses to take off her armour, which troubles the dude. He leaves but Britomart cannot, or will not, sleep. She even addresses her own eyes in this excellent verse;

"Ye guily eyes (sayd she) the which with guyle
My heart at first betrayd, will ye betray
My life now to, for which a little whyle
Ye will not watch? false watches, wellaway,
I wote when ye did watch both night and day
Unto your losse: and now needes will ye sleepe?
Now ye have made my heart to wake alway,
Now will ye sleepe? a wake, and rather weepe,
To thinke of your nights want, that should yee waking keepe."

Aaaaaand, its a trap.

The bed falls away and dumps her into a lower room. Britomart is unfazed by this. She hears armed men coming on and, fully armoured and armed herself, prepares to meet them.

(Its a curious element of the story, the springing of a trap on, not only the wrong person (as we shall soon read) but on someone by temperament, nature, companionship and current mood, most fully prepared to escape or defeat it. An interesting little counter-story.)

Two knights burst in with a 'raskall rout, with weapons rudely dight'.

Talus of course, doesn't sleep and is even more prepared than Britomart. He beats everyone up and they run away.

Now we get the reason for this situation; the housholder, Dolon is a generally-chivalricly-evil dude whose 'slie shifts and wiles did underminde All noble knights'.

Artegall has killed one of Dolons sons and they have planned for revenge. On recognising Talus they thought Britomart to be Artegall and went for the old pit-trap bed deal.

Britomart waits for the next day then bursts out of her room and searches the house, finding it empty.

She sets off on her previous course and comes upon the same pridge where Artegall fought Pollente, the narrow one with the traps. On the bridge are the two knights that tried to kill her.

Talus offers to take care of this for her;

"But she thereat was wroth, that for despight
The glauncing sparkles through her bever glared,
And from her eies did flash out fiery light,
Like coles, that through a silver Censer sparkle bright."

She rides on them so fast that one is shishkebabbed and held there to the other end of the bridge and the other knocked over the side.

And on she rides.

Canto Seven

The opening verses indicate that its about to get Renaissance-weird. Edmund brings up justice as an ancient principle and 'highest Jove, who doth true justice deal'.

So this doesn't make any sense from our perspective because our Jove is an impulsive rapist and our version of the ancient world isn't very nice. But in Edmunds renaissance dream-shadow of God, where you can't talk directly about God like he's a character because he's too important, but you can talk about his shadow-self Jove, who is a little like Britomart and Arthegall being the shadow-selves for the Faerie Queene and Arthur, who are themselves the shadow-selves for Queen Elizabeth and Britain itself, then you can talk about Jove, a little like he's a 'pure-good' god, and a little like he's a Marvel Comics character.

And Edmunds version of the ancient world is a better and more-pure version of his world.

So from his perspecitve, it's fine.

And its about to take another step into weirdness because he's bringing in Osiris;

"Well therefore did the antique world invent,
That Justice was a God of soveraine grace,
Calling him great Osyris, of the race
Of th'old AEgyptian Kings, that whylome were;
With fayned colours shading a true case:
For that Osyris, whilest he lived here,
The justist man alive, and truest did appeare."

So, Jove = real, Osiris = godlike legends of a real guy. This reminds me a bit of Christina de Pizans ultra-rationalist view of legendary history, and no doubt she was getting that from somewhere else. I feel like the real fairyland is whatever Edmund thinks actual history is.

The wife of Osiris is Isis;

"A Goddesse of great powre and soverainty,
And in her person cunningly did shade
That part of Justice, which is Equity,"

So the notes tell us that Renaissance Justice is made up of Justice (knowing what is right), Equity (taking circumstances into account) and Mercy. Although Spenser seems to be rolling with Justice as Arthegall who knows what is right, Equity as Britomart and instead of Mercy he has Talus as (just-fucking-murder-everyone).

Point being that Britomart meeting Isis is another case of two shadow-selves of a particular idea bumping into each other.

We are not even past Verse three. I need to speed this up.

So Briomart and Talus arrive at the temple of Isis, Britomart is allowed in but Talus is not.

Inside are priests wearing a wonderful and hilarious costume;

"All clad in linnes robes with silver hemd;
And on their heads with long locks comely kemd,
They wore rich Mitres shaped like the Moone,"

Moon Hats!

Britomaret moves in and meets the idol of Isis, wearing a crown of gold and silver robes, and standing on a Crocodile;

Moon Hats!
"And at her feet a Crocodile was rold,
That with her wreathed taile her middle did enfold.

One foote was set upon the Crocodile,
And on the ground the other fast did stand,
So meaning to suppresse both forged guile,
And open force: and in her other hand
She streched forth a long white slender wand."

Britomart prostrates herself with 'humble heart' and Isis wiggles her wand at her in approval. Britomart falls asleep.


We get a brief digression on the diet of the priests of Isis, they;

".. mote not taste of fleshy food,
Ne feed on ought, the which doth bloud containe,
Ne drinke of wine, for whine they say is blood,
Even the bloud of Gyants, which were slaine,
By thundring Jove in the Phlegrean plaine."

So wine is the blood of giants, the earth who created them was so pissed at seeing them killed that she sucked back up all their spilt blood and brought it forth in grapes, which becomes wine, which;

"Having the mindes of men with fury fraught,
Mote in then stirre up old rebellious thought,
To make new warre against the Gods againe:"

So when you are getting drunk, that is Gyant blood you are drinking, and making you rebellious.

(Giants bleeding wine and spirits and that being why they are so fucked up all the time is a good D&D idea.)


Britomart then has a freaky vision. First she's sacrificing to Isis, dressed real fancy, which feels good. Then a huge tempest blows through the temple spreading the holy flames so everything is on fire. Then the crocodile wakes up and devours the flames and the tempest, the crocodile grows swollen with this and threatens Isis until she whacks him with her wand. The Crocodile calms down and, I think they bone?

"Him selfe before her feete he lowly threw,
And gan for grace and love of her to seeke:
Which she accepting, he so neare her drew,
That of his game she soon emwombed grew,"

I doubt we'll be seeing that in a Walter Crane illustration.

Then Isis gives birth to a Lion which subdews all other beasts, then Britomart wakes up. I suppose this is what you get for falling asleep in the moon-temple.

Britomart is rather freaked out by this but on talking to an old fellah in the Temple is informed that she is Isis/Britomart, the Crocodile is Arthegall/Oriris and all it means is that Arthegall is going to beat up everyone and then they birth a race of Kings.

So that's alirght. She sets off again for the land of Amazons and we enter Misandry vs Misogyny; The Battle by the Castle. Whoever Wins.... WE LOSE!

Radigund is told of her coming and;

"Not with amaze, as women wonted bee,
She was confused in her troublous thought,
But fild with courage and with joyous glee,
As glad to heare of armes, the which now she
Had long surceast, she bad to open bold,
That she the face of her new foe might see."

Britomart places her pavillion outside Radigunds city, just like Arthegall did previously. The next day a trumpet sounds and and Radigund comes out to fight.

To start, Radigund "Began the streight conditions to propound, With which she used still to tye her fone;". Britomart responds with 'high distaine' and refuses all terms but those of Chivalry.

"The Trumpets sound, and they together run
With greedy rage, and with their faulchins smot;
Ne either sought the others strokes to shun,
But through great fury both their skills forgot,
And practicke use in armes: Ne spared noe
Their dainty parts, which nature had created
So faire and tender, without staine or spot,
For other uses, then them them translated;
Which now they hackt & hewd, as if such use they hated."

We get a niCe animal-comparison verse and some standard spenserian bloodletting, there is this good line;

"They trode, and on the ground their lives did strow,
Like fruitles seede, of which untimely death should grow."

There is also some excellent smack-talk;

Radigund - "This token beare
Unto the man, whom thou doest love so deare;
And tell him for his sake thy life thou gavest."

Britomart - "Lewdly thou my love depravest,
Who shortly must repent that now so vainely bravest."

BritOmart takes a glancing blow on her shoulder plate that bites into the bone and forces her to drop her shield.

But 'having force increast through furious paine' she smites Radigund on the helm 'That it empierced to the very braine, And her proud person low prostrated on the plaine.'

Britmart 'with one stroke both head and helmet cleft'

I don't know who drew these or where they are from.

and on seeing this her 'warlike traine' fee into the town.

Talus then begins his increadibly horrible work;

"For all that ever came within his reach,
He with his yron flale did thresh so thin,
That he no worke at all left for the leach:
Like to an hideous storme, which nothing may empeach."

Britomart is somewhat less of a genocidal shit than Arthegall (you are too good for him girl!);

"Yet when she saw the heapes, which he did make,
Of slaughtered carkasses, her heart did quake
For very ruth, which did it almost rive,
That she his fury willed him to slake:"

She releases all the cross-dressed knights from prison, including Arthegall;

"She turned her head aside, as nothing glad,
To have beheld a spectacle so bad:"

"Ah my deare Lord, what sight is this (quoth she)
What May-game hath misfortune made of you?
Where is that dreadfull anly looke? where be
Those mighty palmes, the which ye won' t'embrew
In bloud of Kings, and great hoastes to subdew?
Could ought on earth so wonderous change have wrought,
As to have robde you of that manly hew?
Could so great courage stouped have to ought?
Then farewell fleshy force; I see thy pride is nought."

She frees everyone,  gets Arthegall back in his armour and reigns a while in the city as its Princess;

"And changing all that forme of common weale,
The liberty of women did repeale,
Which they had long usurpt; and them restoring
To mens subjection, did true Justice deale;

Well thank god for that eh?

Monday, 1 January 2018

Sexy Amazons, Part One FQ Cantos 4-5

Canto Four

This actually begins with a small classic 'moral-maze' situation involving some Squires, some Damizells and a chest full of treasure. Its pretty par for the course and has nothing to do with the  rest of the multi-canto micro-epic of Radigund so I have moved it to the end of the post, below the line.

Edmund kicks us off with a sermon on Justice and how it takes skill', 'mightie hands' and 'dreadless might' to do it, and so it is given to the best knights to bestow it.

"Whereof no braver president this day
Remaines on earth, preserv'd from yron rust
Of rude oblivion, and long times decay,
Then thus of Artegall, which here we have to say."


Artegal comes upon a 'rout of many people';

"To whom when he approached neare in sight,
(An uncouth sight) he plainely then descride
To be a troupe of women warlike dight,
With weapons in their hands, as ready for to fight."

These woman have a knight tied up, "as ready for the gallow tree prepared:", and they are quite enjoying this state of affairs "And him reviled, and reproched sore, with bitter taunts, and termes of vile disgrace."

Artegall asks them what is going on, but soome becomes aware of their "ill minde" and, since it would be wrong for a knight to beat up girls, he gets his terminator robot to do it.

The women are driven off and Artegall questions the knight;

"What make you here?
That ever in this wreched case ye were?
Or have ye yeelded you to proude oppression
Of womens powre, that boast of mens subjection?"

The knight, Terpin, explains that he heard of a warlike Amazon who fell in love with a knight, Belladont the Bold. Since he would not return her love she "turn'd her love to hatred manifold" and now does terrible things to knights. Terrible terrible things;

"First she doth them of warlike arms despoile,
And cloth in womens weedes: And then with threat
Doth them compell to worke, to earne their meat,
To spin, to card, to sew, the wash, to wring;
Ne doth she give them other thing to eat,
But bread and water, or like feeble thing,
Them to disable from revenge adventuring."

And if they still get handy she puts them in a gibbet to die, which is where Terpin was being taken before Artegalls robot saved his ass.

The name of this Amazon?

"Her name (quoth he) they Radigund doe call,
A Princess of great powre, and greater pride,
And Queene of Amazons, in armes well tride,
And sundry battels, which she hath atchieved
With great successe, that her hath glorifide,
And made her famous, more than is believed;
Nor would I it have ween'd, had I not late it prieved."

Artegall has heard enough, he takes off Terpins chains and asks to be lead to this Amazons city;

"A goodly citty and a mighty one,
The which of her owne name she called Radegone"

When Artegall & crew are seen arrving;

"Eftsoones the people all to harnesse ran,
And like a sort of Bees in clusters swarmed:
Ere long their Queene her selfe, halfe like a man
Camd forth into the rout, and them t'array began."

Radigund orders the gates thrown open, Artegalls group surges in;

"But in the middle way they were ymet
With a sharpe showre of arrowes, which them staid,
And better bad advise, ere they assaid
Unknowen peril of bold womens pride."

They get beaten up and Radigun knocks Terpin so hard on the head he is "Dismayed so with the stroke, that he no colours knew."

Then she stands over him;

"As when a Beare hath siez'd her crull clawes
Uppon the carkasse of some beast too weake,
Proudly stands over, and a while doth pause,
To heare the piteous beast pleading her plaintiffe cause."

Artegall doesn't like the look of this and "left the bloudy slaughter, In which he swam" and attacks Radigund;

"There her assayling fiercely fresh, he raught her
Such an huge stroke, that it of sence distraught her
And had she not it warded warily,
It had depriv'd her mother of a daughter."

Artegall gets an animal-comparison verse, he is "Like to an Eagle in his kingly pride"  taking prey from a Goshawke.

Radigund is;

 "Through vengeful wrath & sdeignfull pride half mad:
For never had she suffered such despight."

But her "warlike maids" gather round her before she can counterattack. Talus does his usual damage and the fight goes on;

"But when as daies faire shinie-beame, yclowded
With fearfull shadowes of deformed night,
Warn'd man and beast in quiet rest be shrowded,"

So until evening them.

Radigund orders her people to retreat and counts them back into the city. Artegall sets his pavilion outside and makes the robot keep watch. Radigund is piiiised and "full of heart-gnawing griefe, For the rebuke, which she sustained that day,".

She sends out a messenger to offer single combat to Artegall;

"But these conditions dow to him propound,
That if I vanquishe him, he shall obay
My law, and ever to my lore be bound,
And so will I, if me he vanquish may;
What ever he shall like to doe or say."

Canto Five

"So soone as day forth dawning from the East,
Nights humid curtaine from the heavens withdrew,"

So about 9am, the two get ready to fight. Apparently in this case Artegall will actually hit a girl.

Radigund looks fabulous;

"All in a Camis light of purple silke
Woven uppon with silver, subtly wrought,
And quilted uppon sattin white as milke,
Trayled with ribbands diversly distraught
Like as the workeman had their courses taught;
Which was short tucked for light motion
Up to her ham, but when she list, it raught
Downe to her lowest heele, and thereuppon
She wore for her defence a mayled habergeon.

And on her legs she painted buskins wore,
Basted with bends of gold on every side,
And mailes betweene, and laced close afore:
Uppon her thigh her Cemitare was tide,
With an embrodered belt of mickell pride;
And on her shoulder hung her shield, bedeckt
Uppon the bosse with stones, that shined wide,
As the faire Moone in her most full aspect,
That to the Moone it mote be like in each respect."

Honestly the Faerie Queene is one of the few epic poems that could probably support cosplay.

She and Artegall go into the lists, a huge crowd gathers to watch;

"The Trumpets sounded, and the field began;
With bitter strokes it both began, and ended."


Radigund goes for Artegall;

"With furious rage, as if she had intended
Out of his breast the very heart have rended:"

Artegall is cooler and defends himself calmly;

".. her blowes he bore, and her forbore,
Weening at last to win advantage new;"

But Radigund does not stint in her RAAAAAGE;

"And though her powre faild, her courage did accrew,"

"So did Air Artegall upon her lay,
And if she had an yron andvile beene,
That flakes of fire, bright as the sunny ray,
Out of her steely armes were flashing seene,
That all on fire ye would her surely weene.
But with her shield so well her selfe she warded,
From the dread daunger of his weapon keene,
That all the while her life she safely garded:
But he that helpe from her against her will discarded."

(These often do seem more like light-sabre battles than sword duels.)

Artegall manages to shear half her shield away;

"That halfe her side it selfe did naked show,
And thenceforth unto danger opened way."

This enrages Radigund so much that;

"With her sharpe Cemitare at him she flew,
That glauncing downe his thigh, the purple bloud forth drew."

Which she is a complete dick about and "with great boast" and "spightfull speaches" gives him shit.

Now Artegall is pissed, and his "great hart gan inwardly to swell With indignation at her vaunting vaine," and lays a blow on her that shatters her shield fully.

Then he whacks her on the head "That downe she fell upon the grassie field,".

It looks like Artegall has won and he leaps to her;

"And her sunshynie helmet soone unlaced,
Thinking at once both head and helmet to have raced."

Big Mistake Artegall;

"But bath'd in bloud and sweat together ment;
Which in the rudenesse of that evill plight,
Bewrayd the signes of feature excellent:
Like as the Moone in foggie winters night,
Doth seeme to be her selfe, though darkned be her light."

Because Radigund is Super Hawt, and you are a Spencerian male.
(She is also covered with sweat and blood, which Spenser seems to generally be into.)

"At sight thereof his cruell minded hart,
Empierced was with pittiful regard,
That his sharpe sword he threw from him apart,
Cursing his hand that had that visage mard:
No hand so cruell, nor no hart so hard,
But ruth of beautie will if mollifie."

(Remember when Artegall had his robot cut off that womans hands and feet a few Cantos back?)

Suddenly Radigund wakes up, sees Artegall weaponless and mooning and directly starts to beat the shit out of him. This time she gets the animal-comparison-verse. She is like a Kite attacking a Falcon with a wounded wing.

Whatever, Artegall submits and Radigund has won.

"Yet was he justly dammned by the doome
Of his owne mouth, that spake so wareless word,
To be her thrall, and service her afford."

Terpin she just kills, so there's the cost of your mooning Artegall.

They try to move Talus, but he whacks everyone with his 'yron flail' leaving heaps wounded, slayed and dismayed;

"yet all that while he would not once assay,
To reskew his owne Lord, but thought it just t'obay."

In typical robot fashion.

Artegall is stripped of his cool stuff and dressed in womans clothes. His sword is broken and he is put with the rest of the forcibly cross-dressed knights;

"Spinning and carding all in comely rew,
That his bigge hart loth'd so uncomely vew.
But they were forst through penurie and pyne,
To doe those workes, to them appointed dew:
For nought was given them to sup or dyne,
But what their hands could earne by twisting linnen twyne."

"Such is the crueltie of womenkynd,
When they have shaken off the shamefast band,
With which wise Nature did them strongly bynd,
T'obay the heasts of mans well ruling hand,
That then all rule and reason they withstand,
To purchase a licentious libertie.
But vertuous women wisely understand,
That they were borne to base humilitie,
Unless the heavens them lift to lawfull soveraintie."

There are a lot of verses and lines about how terrible this is for Artegall and how brave he is to bear with it all.

But he has an advantage, he is also super hawt, and Radigund has fallen in love with him and is now full of weird feelings. She is super-proud, and also super into Artegall;

"Yet would she not thereto yeeld free accord,
To serve the lowly vassall of her might,
And of her servant make her soverayne Lord:
So great her pride, that she such baseness much abhord."

Well if you have fallen for someone you can't possibly have fallen for, who isn't into you, there's only one thing to to; engage in a labyrinthine plan of coercive emotional manipulation.

Radigund summons one of her women, Clarinda, "whom of all I trust a live, sith I thee fostered first" and tells her what's going on;

"With that she turn'd her head, as half abashed,
To hide the blush which in her visage rose,
And through her eyes like sudden lightning flashed,
Decking her cheeke with a vermillion rose:"

Edmund really does like his women blushing and sweaty.

".. seest yond Fayry Knight,"

"... how I may him unbind,
And by his freedome get his free godwill;
Yet so, as bound to me he may continue still.

Bound unto me, but not with such hard bands
Of strong compulsion, and streight violence,
As now in miserable state he stands;
But with sweet love and sure benevolence,"

The ultimate lovers question. How can I make them be into me? I mean, not make_ make them, just generally rrange things so that of their own free will they are totally into me.

So Clarinda goes off with "Armies of lovely lookes, and speeches wise," to make Artegall fall for Radigund; "Even at the markwhite of his hart she roved, And with wide glauncing words, one day she thus him proved."

Now we get a couple of duelling verses between Clarinda and Artegall;

Clarinda opens with how sad it is to see Artegall "In sad despaire, and all thy senses swowned In stupid sorrow," since things could so easily be different.

"Much did her marvel at her uncouth speach,
Whose hidden drift he could not well percieve;"

(I think this is the earliest mention of a 'hidden drift' I have ever read. It always seemed modern to my ears.)

Artegall replies; "For though this cloud have now me overcast, yet doe I not of better times despayre."

Clarinda criticises his "stonie mind", what kind of idiot doesn't take a "windowe open wyde, And to his fortunes help make ready way?"

Artegall cannot but agree.

"Then why does not, thou ill advized man,
Make meanes to win thy libertie forlorne,"

After all, Radigund "was not borne Of Beares and Tygers" Why not chat her up?

Artegall says it is not his "obstinate distainefull mind" but "want of meanes hath bene mine onely let, From seeking favour, where it doth abound;" and asks Clarida for help doing just that;

"She feeling him thus bite upon the bayt,
Yet doubting least his hold was but unsound,
And not well fastened, would not strike him strayt,
But drew him on with hope, fit leasure to awayt.

But foolish Mayd, whyles heedlesse of the hooke,
She thus oft times was beating off and on,
Through slipperie footing, fell into the brooke,
And there was caught to her confusion.
For seeking thus to salve the Amazon,
She wounded was with her deceipts owne dart,
And gan thenceforth to cast affection,
Conceived close in her beguiled hart,
To Artegall, through pittie of his causelesse smart."

So now everyones in love with Artegall.

So now Clarida plots against Radigund and tells her Artegall is "obstinage and sterne" "Not would be taught with any termes to lerne So fond a lesson as to love againe."

Radigund is enraged by this, but when she calms down, advises;

"Say and do all, that may thereto prevale;
Leave nought unpromist, that may him perswade,
Life, freedome, grace, and gifts of great availe,
With which the Gods themselves are mylder made:
Thereto adde art, even womens witty trade,
The art of mightie words, that men can charme;
With which in case thou canst him not invade,
Let him feele hardnesse of thy heavie arme:
Who will not stoupe with goode, shall be made stoupe with harme.

Some of his diet doe from him withdraw;
For I him find to be too proudly fed.
Give him more labour, and with streighter law,
That he with worke may be forwearied.
Let him lodge hard, and lie in strawen bed,
That may pull downe the courage of his pride;
And lay upon him, for his greater dread,
Cold yron chaines, with which let him be tide;
And let, what ever he desires, be him denide."

Now Clarida "all her subtill nets did she unfold"

"As a bad Nurse, which fayning to receive
In her wone mouth the food, ment for her chyld,
Whitholdes if to her selfe, and doeth deceive
The infant, so for wont of nourture spyld:"

She lies to Artegall about Radigund, saying she wont be reasonable, and lies to Radigund about Artegall, saying he defies her.

"Yet ever did deceitpfull Clarin find
In her false hart, his bondage to unbind;
But rather how she mote him faster tye."

"Thus he long while in thraldome there remayned,
Of both beloved well, but litle frended;"

But he is not going to stay there long, because his murder-robot Talus is already on the way to the other person in love with Artegall; Britomart.

Tune in for Cantos six and seven for a girl-on-girl showdown!