living room set has been cleared out to make room for the Christmas tree, so unfortunately we won't get as far as Chapter X in time for Midwinter's. However, courtesy of Simien Mountain Fox, we bring you Morgause and peacocks to brighten up your seasonal celebrations. (Actually, the peacocks are courtesy of
. They were my birthday present.)
Morgause! At last! It seems sudden to Medraut, who has been wilfully ignoring her existence, when in fact the whole reason she's here is because he told Artos to take her kids away from her. She comes along to see them ensconced in Artos's court.
Medraut comes home from a day in the mines and there they are, the whole fam-damily, sitting in the Queen's Garden.
I wrote this book in the late 1980s. It was not until I put this scene together that I realized HOW MANY OF THEM THERE ARE, when you stuff them all into the same garden. Or the same living room. FIVE of the boys are teenagers, plus another teenage girl. Plus, like, MORGAUSE, and Medraut. Can you IMAGINE what it is like living in this house???
Sara has pointed out that the Orkney boys all have the same hair. What she means is not that they all have orange hair, but that they all have their mother's hair—actually they all have girl hair, which is why it is so wavy. Agravain is surely my favorite.
I stepped onto the colonnade to join the family in the Queen's Garden, where we rested through the late sunsets, and stopped, struck through with a stunned, wintry surprise that felt something like despair.
Smiling, you rose and crossed the garden to where I stood, and clasped my hands in greeting.
I stood trapped, desperate and ridiculous, trying to find the sense in why you were here.
Ginevra, who is not stupid, sees how freaked Medraut is and orders him to come and sit by her. But
Oh, God, they were all staring at me--Lleu at his mother's feet stopped fiddling with his sandal straps, and your own four boys gazed with unabashed curiosity. Even Goewin watched intently from her perch on one of the low stone ledges, knees drawn up and chin resting on bare arms. And Artos, my father, bored through my patent desolation with ruthless scrutiny.
Morgause makes rather a show of attention to Lleu, which further freaks Medraut because he is now jealous as well as scared, so he gathers all the kids and takes them away for a tour of the estate. They also take a look at the menagerie Morgause has brought with them.
Mark made the menagerie. He was particularly proud of the flying crow.
Segue into a few scenes where the Orkney boys and the Pendragon twins start to get to know each other.
Lleu and Goewin, merely by doing what was expected of them and acting with friendly courtesy, quickly gained the devotion of their two younger cousins; for Gaheris is rarely treated with courtesy, and Gareth is easy to like. Not so with Agravain, the jealous one, the dour one. He is a few years older than Lleu and Goewin, but not, as is Gwalchmei, old or wise enough for the twins to feel they must respect him. So, your four children were subject now to the careless arrogance of the prince of Britain, who could not keep straight their names.
Their games over the course of the summer consist, relentlessly, of trying to get the best of the prince of Britain, and failing. They do a lot of mock-duelling… and one day Morgause comes along to watch, which puts everybody off (except Lleu, of course).
They decide to try fighting him three to one. Gwalchmei and Gareth refuse to participate (we like Gwalchmei and Gareth). Medraut, however, is incapable of saying no to his mother, and ends up having to join in.
Lleu disarms Gaheris more times than any of them bother to count. Gwalchmei and Goewin, the judges, tell Gaheris to get lost.
And with Gaheris out, Agravain, Lleu, and I were suddenly pitted against one another in earnest, and playing a little desperately.
Lleu basically hasn't got time for Agravain; he's focused on Medraut, who he probably considers his only serious opponent, which in fact is the case.
Agravain fought doggedly, retrieving his sword twice from the ground, growing more and more irritable. The third time Agravain's sword went flying across the grass, Lleu stamped furiously on the wooden hilt so that it splintered and cracked before Agravain could pick it up again. Agravain snatched hold of Lleu's arm, trying to pull him down with his hands.
Everyone shouts at Agravain to stop being a pain. So then Medraut and Lleu get to have their own private duel.
It ends, inevitably, with Lleu's wooden sword at Medraut's throat.
I knelt before him in formal surrender, as before a judge or an executioner, with head bowed and neck bared.
They are both very polite to each other. Gareth is impressed. Everyone else is seriously ticked off for reasons of his or her own.
-fin du chapitre-
Mark's set up:
The flag says, "FOOD (Humans)"
The speech bubble on Morgause's head says, "I'll have that one"