Saturday, March 5, 2016

Angusel begins to feel forgiven in Ch10/Sc3c of RAGING SEA by @KimHeadlee #amwriting

Graphic overlay (c)2016 by Kim Headlee.
Extending forgiveness to others can be a daunting task, especially if the person's actions result in the loss of a loved one. 

Far more daunting, however, is the task of forgiving oneself.

The legendary friendship shared by Lancelot and Gawain receives its start in today's excerpt from Raging Sea. Both young men have suffered extreme consequences from their actions, though Gawain, being a bit older and wiser, is the first to recognize this fact.

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 | Sc 1e |
Chapter 10: Sc 1a | Sc 1b | Sc 2a | Sc 2b | Sc 3a | Sc 3b |

Raging Sea Chapter 10, Scene 3c
©2016 by Kim Headlee
All rights reserved.

“As you will, my lady.” He pointed a look at his new subordinate that he hoped was stern enough to keep him quiet. “Soldier Gawain, come with me.”

The silence lasted for exactly as long as it took for them to salute the Comitissa Britanniam, depart her workroom, and leave the praetorium. On its black-veined marble steps, prancing up and down and around Angusel like some moon-mad maiden, Gawain started in with:

“What is your will, sir? Repair your armor? Mend your tunic? Shine your shield? Muck your horse?” He looked at Angusel’s scuffed footgear. When his gaze rebounded, his lips had curved into a wicked grin. “Lick your boots?”

“Just shut your gob,” Angusel muttered. “That’s an order.”

“Shutting up, sir!” Gawain gave an exaggerated salute, biting his lips to stunt another grin.

“And stop being an ass.” As if there was much hope of that happening any time soon, Angusel thought as he careened down the rest of the steps and into the main thoroughfare.

“Right, sir. Because that’s the one thing that you most certainly do not need an assistant for.”

Angusel gazed at the darkening twilight sky, clenching his fists, thankful that none of the fort’s other residents were abroad at this hour. Her summons, which he’d mentioned beforehand to Centurion Cato, would prevent him and Gawain from getting the lash for reporting late to barracks, but Angusel had no desire to test the limits of that reprieve. He veered onto the first cross street of the barracks complex and kept walking.

When he could muster a mote of civility, he asked, “What in the name of all the gods is that supposed to mean?”

“What does ‘Ainchis Sàl a Dubh Loch’ mean?”

“It’s my name.” First Ala’s barracks was not far, and neither was the end of his patience.

Gawain quickened his pace to move into step beside him. “Stupid self-indulgence is what it is. Angusel. Sir.”

Growling, he hustled Gawain into the nearest alley, which separated the kitchens and mess hall, and shoved him up against the wall. “She took kin, clan, country, privilege, purpose—everything from me! I am nobody now. I—” He sucked in a ragged breath, released the neckline of Gawain’s tunic, and turned to brace his back on the rough, cold stone, eyes closed. “I do not deserve my name anymore,” he whispered with a sigh. “And I especially do not deserve to hear it from any member of the family that I failed in the very worst way imaginable.” Pursing his lips, he shut his eyes even tighter to trap the welling moisture.

When Gawain didn’t answer, Angusel opened his eyes and blinked, expecting to be alone. What surprised him even more than the fact that he wasn’t alone was that Gawain was regarding him with compassion.

“If you had said that to me a fortnight ago, I would have agreed with you.” Gawain extended his sword hand, but Angusel made no move to take it. “Aunt Gyan was right to pair us. My name has become like a stench to people; perhaps I could do with a new one too.” He gave his hand a slight shake, extending it further, and smiled. “Have you any suggestions, sir?”

“Amadan.” Cracking a lopsided grin, Angusel clasped Gawain’s forearm.

“And that’s Caledonian for—?”

“Ass. The animal, not the anatomy.” Angusel let go and chafed his arms, glancing down and away, the grin flattening as the guilt resurfaced. “I meant no offense by it.”

“None taken. Angusel.”

He nodded at Gawain and pushed away from the wall. “Summons or no summons, Centurion Cato is going to spit our heads on pikes if we don’t hurry.” He broke into a jog, and Gawain kept pace. “And it’s Optio Ainchis Sàl when we’re in public,” he said between breaths. “That is an order, Soldier Gawain.”

“Until the duty roster changes, sir.”

They charged toward the door opening into the room block Angusel shared with the centurion, where they would have to make room for the new century member. This would also give Angusel the opportunity to petition Centurion Cato to promote Drustanus into the ala, since his martial skills were improving and the harsh winter had opened more spots on the roster.

Gawain reached the door first and yanked it open for his superior, executing a salute that held no trace of mockery.

As Angusel returned the salute, he welcomed the return of his most non-legion grin.

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