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In the midst of that mild summer Lleu learned to use a sword.

 

He gets taught by Bedwyr, who is one-handed, and who finally notices Lleu because he's still got this broken arm. And Lleu blossoms.

 

     

 

Isn't the hook great? It's the wrong hand, but whey-hey.

 

Medraut, meanwhile, goes hunting. He hasn't been able to hunt for a while, due to the mysterious injuries he sustained last summer, and now he is very happy. I was very happy, too, constructing this vast forest for him to hunt in.

 

 

 

His companions on this occasion are Priamos and Caius, and they are, maybe a little foolishly, going confidently after a boar.

 

 

 

I think this is my Best Set-Up Ever.

 

Lleu doesn't like to hunt. He is very soft-hearted. He calls Medraut bloodthirsty, which as you can imagine does not go down well, and Goewin points out, "I like hunting—am I bloodthirsty too?"

 

So, Medraut:

 

Bloodthirst was not all that Goewin and I had in common. One autumn afternoon, while she was roaming the colonnaded porch that opens off the atrium, she came upon me sitting on the wide stone steps that lead down to the Queen's Garden. I was fitting feathers to arrows, and Goewin sat next to me to watch. It is a task I enjoy, calling for deft hands, and perfect judgment and balance. Goewin sat companionably for a few minutes without speaking or interrupting me; then suddenly she asked, "How did you hurt your hand?

 

He tells her, kinda sorta. It was a hunting accident and the bones of his fingers were "set badly" and "had to be broken and set over again." Then they talk about some other stuff, ending up on their favorite subject, i.e. kingship.

 

 

Goewin scooped a handful of brown dry leaves from the flagstones and spread them over her skirt. It was a gown she had worn for two years, and was too short for her. In spite of the chill she was barefoot. But no one ever scolded her for that as they did Lleu; suddenly I saw her a little neglected. "No," she answered me. "After all, I could never manage a sword." She scattered the leaves about her dusty feet. "Only..."

 

"Only you could manage a kingdom," I said.

 

In a voice so soft it was almost a whisper, Goewin said, "Yes. I think I could."

 

"You see, Princess," I said quietly, "you and I are not so different."
 

They go inside and there's Lleu, sitting on the floor of the atrium beneath one of Ginevra's pot-bound lemon trees, toying with an unfinished corner of the mosaic.

 


 

He notices Goewin and leaps to his feet to whirl her in a short, wild dance across the tesserae, scattering a few unused tiles that clicked beneath their feet and shot across the floor like thrown stones skimming over ice. He's all excited cause it turns out he's disarmed his sword master four times today.

 

 

 

Both Goewin and Medraut are rather shaken by this. Goewin is quite pleased. Medraut doesn't think it's funny.

 

Artos is away at the time but when he hears about it he sends Lleu a letter exulting, "Lleu, my Bright One, you will make a king, after all--think of it, the finest swordsman in Britain at fifteen! I'll begin to train you as I've trained Medraut....Stay strong, grow wise, and I'll crown you with pride in the spring."

 

Medraut is jealous.

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