Saturday, January 16, 2016

Gawain is tried in a court of love in Ch9/Sc1e of RAGING SEA by @KimHeadlee #amwriting

Graphic overlay (c)2015 by Kim Headlee.
The medieval concept of "courtly love" and its corollary, the "court of love," where men who violated the "rules of love" were tried by a jury of women, most likely were invented by troubadours to entertain their noble patrons. Whether or not these social constructs were practiced in real life remains a matter of debate. 

In Arthurian legend, Gawain is hauled before a court of love, presided over by Guinevere, for his crime of having raped a virgin. The interesting takeaway from the tale is that Gawain was punished less for the act of sexual predation than for the fact that he had denied the woman her choice in the matter, and Guinevere sentences him to a yearlong quest to help all women he encounters so that he may figure out why what he did was so wrong.

I pay brief homage to this legend in today's excerpt from Raging Sea.

Previous excerpts of Raging Sea 
Chapters 1–6 in Raging Sea: Reckonings
 Chapter 7: Sc 1 | Sc 2 | Sc 3 | Sc 4 | Sc 5a | Sc 5b |
Chapter 8: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 2 | Sc 3a | Sc 3b |
Chapter 9: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 1c | Sc 1d |

Raging Sea Chapter 9, Scene 1e
©2016 by Kim Headlee
All rights reserved.

Fergus ran his tongue across his bottom lip as it curved into a grin. “What says the Scarlet Dragon? The man be one of your soldiers,” he said to Arthur, “and ye’ve been strangely silent all this time.”

Arthur took that as his cue to stand, and he looked none too happy to do so. “In the Dragon Legion, a soldier’s punishment is meted by his unit commander.” He offered his hand to Gyan, who accepted it for only as long as it took to push to her feet beside him.

Even in the throes of battle, Gawain had never seen her look so stern.

She drew a long breath and expelled it. “Since there was no commission of rape—”

“By Scáthach, he intended to!” Caitleen wailed. Fergus shushed her, stroking her cheek.

“Only the gods may judge a man’s intent, if there exists no action to demonstrate it,” Gyan stated. “Gawain’s actions demonstrated lewdness and a public breach of self-discipline. Therefore, his punishment is the legion standard ten lashes.”

Fergus released his wife and stalked closer to the dais. “Not good enough! Not by half!”

Urien raised his hands. “I agree.” He faced Arthur and Gyan. “Gawain attacked an honored, highborn lady in front of scores of honored, highborn witnesses. That demands special consideration.”

For a long time Gyan regarded the man to whom she had once been betrothed. Finally, she turned toward Gawain and extended her hand, palm up. He felt his eyes widen as the implication set in. She confirmed it with a nod. With fumbling fingers, he unfastened his legion badge, letting his blue Comites Praetorii unit cloak slip to pool at his feet. The pit in his stomach suggested how long he would be forbidden to wear it.

“Forever?” he dared to whisper as he leaned across the table to surrender the badge to his ex-commanding officer. Again, his hand trembled, and his self-loathing deepened.

Her fingers eclipsed the dragon brooch, her gaze steady but sad. “Commander Peredur,” she said to her brother without taking her eyes from Gawain, “arrange to have this soldier escorted to the camp and confined there, under guard and allowed no visitors except yourself, Arthur, Merlin, and me, for the duration of this mission.”

As Peredur joined Gawain from his place on the dais, the Scotti warriors returned to theirs. Gyan said to Fergus and Caitleen, “I am truly sorry for my soldier’s reprehensible behavior. Please accept my assurances that it shall never happen again. To that end, I appoint my second-in-command to deliver the physical portion of his punishment”—she glanced at Peredur—“to commence after my duties here are concluded so that I may be present.”

“We demand to be present too. Else how would we know if—”

If Gyan’s glare had been any colder, Fergus would have turned into a pillar of ice, and his wife along with him. “You shall be informed. My lord.”

Peredur clamped his hand around Gawain’s arm, and his march into disgrace began.

*** The end of Chapter 9 ***

All this month, you are invited to...
— Follow Kim on Twitter
— Follow Kim on Pinterest
— Subscribe to Kim's YouTube channel
— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter, Pinterest, and/or YouTube follow
... and each action this month is good for one chance to win a copy of any of Kim's e-books. Please enter often, and good luck!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Scribble a note on the wall of the Maze so you can find your way out again... ;-)