Wednesday, 28 December 2016

A Review of Blood in the Chocolate by Kiel Chenier

The writing, design and cartography are all by Kiel Chenier. That's right, he's a threefer! Get him while he's hot kids. This also means there is no-one to shuck blame onto.

The art is by Jason Bradley Thompson.

If you're reading this you've probably already read the blurb so I won't bother repeating much of what its about. There's a woman making mysterious Chocolate in the Netherlands: investigate.


General Info Design

Like Broodmother SkyFortress this has endpaper cheat sheets at front and back, The front has a factory map and basic key with page number references. The back has ALL the monster and NPC stats along with tables for the numerous wierd drug and chemical effects plus a PYGMY TRACKER.

So at any point in the adventure, if you need surrounding geography, flip forward, if you are in a combat situation & need stats or pigmy numbers, flip back.

The book sections are all colour-coded by page-tincture, which is a really nice idea. it would probably be more useful in a thicker book where the page colours would show up more clearly in the spine but its still a pleasant thought.

(It's possible that this hovers close to the ideal of a 'natural size' for a particular kind of adventure and format. Just like human groups tend to hover around certain sizes, around 5-7 for a squad or team, 25-35 for a platoon or tribe, 200 for a small company etc, so it might be that, depending on the format of the book, this amount of adventure might be roughly the right size of you want to fit a lot of encompassing knowledge in the end-papers.

If it was much bigger you would need to make much sharper choices about what to include and you would simple need more architecture to deal with it. The adventure (stripped of everything else) in BSf is about the same size as this.)


Adventure Background

The fake-history leading up the events of the adventure is pretty good.

It's specific and imaginative enough to tie the whole thing into the LotFP aesthetic and its preferred 17thC history. Chocolate = Colonialism = South America = Strange Tribe = Ancient Mayan Sorcery + Colonial Exploitation + Proto Capitalism = Adventure. Ok, I can buy that.

The PCs will probably never find out all of this unless they exhaustively interrogate one of the NPC's and probably not even then, but it gives the DM enough info for them to improv with if the PCs investigations ever turn to the history of the factory or of the main villain, enough that they will feel there *is* a history, even if they can't make it all out, and enough that spending some time in Madrid or dropping a few coins with a well-travelled galleon captain, to find out about Lucia De Castillo is a useful and interesting process.

It also gives us our villain, primary NPC and animating spirit of the adventure (almost literally the "genius loci", though possibly that's the magic tree).


The Hook

Is simple and sharp, essentially an armed recon plus theft if you think you can handle it, plus assassination if you think you can handle that.

Its an actual job with individual payments for objects, information, *mapping* (which is interesting, there's our formal support for exploration as a playstyle as in BSf, rather than just tacit encouragement) and one part in which you are not explicitly told to assassinate the main NPC but are informed that if she happens to permanently dissappear, leaving you in control of her stuff, this is how much money that is worth.

So this is a neat chunk of information for a pickup, one-shot or con game, but also useful for a campaign game. It gives you a lot of ways to fit it in. Almost anyone powerful could hire you to do this.

Doing proto industrial espionage makes quite a bit more sense than an 'adventurers guild' and depending on the context would be a handy idea to import to other adventures.



The 'genius loci', Villian or Primary Bitch. A torturing, murdering, kinda sex-offendy fat lesbian. Juliet D'Aubney plus Wilson Fisk plus Willy Wonka plus Cortez.

(I actually just made a G+ post about the Noetic value of 'heavy' characters, and she is that in spades.)

She is not a combat monster, which gives you the excuse you need to run her clever. She comes with some classic villain advice combined with some more specifically LotFP advice about the nature of materialistic evil.

Almost all of the lengthy RP interactions you (the DM) have with the PC's will be as Lucia (the Pygmies can barely speak your language), Kiel gives you a lot to play with. Re-watch Skyfall and try to get Mr Silva's voice down.

The talisman she wears is interesting - a specific 'kill button' and powerful magic item with a built-in trap effect. This gives doomed or screwed parties a last chance to win and survive and clever parties a potential sniper shot.


The Pygmies

As Tactical elements they are a stealth swarm with darkvision (which means a lot more in LotFP than other systems). Slow, weak and easy to kill. A mid-level party is going to end up covered in their blood.

If the giants in BSF create a feeling of powerlessness and necessary scheming, encouraging you almost to play 'as rats', the pygmies in BitC (yes the initials almost spell 'Bitch') are a tide of almost-faceless goons backed by one very large personality, they will create an initial feeling of seeming potency, anarchic, gleeful, murderous, going down like cartoon characters. Killing the pygmies is going to start as a comedy.


- There are 150 of them (exactly 150, no less and no more, not an infinite number, this is where the pygmy tracker in the back is a really sweet idea).
- They can see in the dark.
- They have 5hp with means a 1-shot kill is possible but not entirely likely, they could soldier on through 3 or even 4 hits.
- They have these blowgun poisons.

There will be so many pygmies firing that this is their main threat. Both toxin effects are almost certain to happen to most parties.

Paralysis poison - Stuck for 5 to 20 minutes, this guarantees carrying someone around, separation, hiding or capture.

Berry Poison - This gives you 20 minutes till you are immobile but you remain kinda-useful up until then, first as a fat party member, then a giant beach ball (presumably rolled about to squash pygmies) then as a blue explosive lump (your juicy death could conceivably be used to kill even more pygmies).

So this is designed to get parties carrying and rolling each other desperately through the factory, separated, running and at least partially captured and interrogated so the DM can have fun putting on their terrible Spanish accent as Lucia.

Even though every individual combat is probably going to be fun, with you throwing them into machinery, shooting them in the face and stamping their brains out, its going to gradually get very desperate.

As cultural artefact:

Well you can dress it up but they are still pygmies straight out of a Tarzan film or one of those adventure serials George Lucas grew up on which sometimes leads him to say questionable things.

They make sense in the imagined world and are well-explained, and they make sense in the adventure a number of ways but you still couldn't describe them on RPG.NET without someone (everyone) talking about them being banned.


We also get the wikipedia article on chocolate making, I can see this being useful somehow, somewhere. This is another thing the PCs (& players) could find out about and conceivably use in some way to gain an advantage.


Kiels Mind

Kiel really, really wants your character to get fat. Like, magically, intensely, superbly impossibly fat and round. There's the Berry Curse, which makes them fat and blue, the 'Terrible Swells' which make you fat, bouncy and high-voiced and a Chocolate effect which just makes you fat enough to burst your armour.

And then he wants them to be trapped and squeezed by a fat lesbian played by the DM. In a seductive way.

He's also OK if you find exciting new ways of squeeeezing each other and you are actively encouraged to do so.

Well, so far, so LotFP, welcome to whatever is going on in the creators amygdala and I hope you enjoy the multiple, multiple, multiple insanity tables in Veins, if it ever comes out, and the extensive cannibalism rules



We have the front endpaper diagram-map with opposing key. Then in the middle of the book we have the full-spread full colour map, this is done in an almost-Nintendo style, it has that slightly gemlike pixelated quality you get from bright Nintendo primaries. Its gridded if you need to calculate precise movement. The rooms and area's are colour-coded, we have white snow outside, 'civilian' floored areas, green grass for the greenhouse areas and purple for the industrial which makes it easy to work out what kind of place you are, and each individual room has a layout with all the crap you can hide behind, set on fire and throw pygmies into.

The room maps are repeated with the description so you have their internal layout there when you flip. In almost every case everything you need to run a room is contained in a single open spread (except for maaaybe one or two times) but the surrounding rooms and the page number you flip to when you leave any room are not included in those smaller room-diagrams so its a two-flip process, read and run room, exit, flip to main map of front endpaper, get the number for the next area then flip back, that's 4.5 stars out of five.

(I will stank-talk your info-game but its not like I've ever done any better when I was working on my own.)



The adventure starts with a classic 'get inside the castle' problem then breaks into a flow of lots of low-threat encounters that get the players covered with pigmy blood complexified and made much more difficult by the almost certain drugging, poisoning and mutating of the players as they get exposed to various things then complexified again by however the DM decides to play Lucia, presumably stealth pygmy drops, attempted buyouts, a few Hans Gruber monologues (Spanish accent), seductions & druggings, drowning in chocolate and leaving doors open/jamming them shit, to get PC's where she wants them to be.

The paintings are worth a bomb. This is classing double-blind territory, whenever I enter a LotFP dungeon I compulsively steal the cutlery and avoid anything that seems magic and I have done ok out of that. (The fact that it's specific Rubens paintings is a nice touch, and fits well with Kiels and Lucias... proclivities.)

You also get punished at least twice for trying to treat it like Willy Wonka's factory despite the module effectively saying "yeah, its wonka's factory", so, so far so LotFP.

The dungeon has loops and multiple entries & exits from and to almost every room. Most of the loops require access to the main chocolate river room and involve you crossing its very narrow, very slippy bridges, probably while being shot at by pygmies.

Leaping onto the pygmy-powered unstable riverboat is going to start looking very good.

There are two 'end points', one cthonic, down deep where the river takes  you, this is the psychological and horrific end point of the dungeon, the one with the torture victims, poisoned kids and pressing machine.

The other end is up, this one is full of treasure, we get some serious bank along with a portal to R&PL, which fits with the theme. I'm always up with portals to other worlds and it works well with LotFP  "you find a doorway to another exciting Lamentations Product, which you can buy right now online!

(But no link to 'Tales of the Gingerbread Princess?',maybe its out of print?)


What about the aesthetic unity of the whole thing and THE ART.

I know I said this with the last review, but this is another LotFP product where the art is both very good, directly expressive of the unique mood and feel of the adventure and also useful and expressive of the intended playstyle.

Jason Bradley Thompson's painted 'kawai-horror' style fits the text perfectly, he makes the cannibalism, mutation and slaughter of the thing look gleeful, funny, manic and still horrible, which I think is the main intention

His slightly picture-book figures can both emote and die well. He's given enough space to breath, even in an A5 book. He adds to, expands and sometimes specifies the mood and action of the book. This is what a pygmy combat in the factory should look and feel like. This is whats going on with the chocolate in the salons of Europe. This is what it feels and looks like to be in this place or that place, and his colourful style meshes well with the page tinctures, the relatively bold colours used for the tables, title and maps. It's a bright book, not comic-booky like BSF, more storybooky, like a toxic children's tale.

Toxic Childrens Tale is a good description except don't play it with any actual children as there is some strongly-inferred lesbian rape.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

A review of Broodmother Skyfortress by Jeff Rients

The action of the adventure only takes up the first two thirds of the book and I will deal with that first.

This is a specifically campaign-bollocking adventure (you will need to have a campaign going first and are given some pretty good advice on incorporating it).

There are bad giants in the sky, you have to fight them.

The Giants are highly personalised wrecking balls, difficult for even a competent high level party to reliably take out, even in the ideal circumstances. So they require situational, environmental solutions. Since this is all meant to happen to an on going campaign we can assume that this is a happy holiday for a mid to high level party back to the old days when they had to work out how to trick a Goblin into falling into its own hole.

The Giants are obviously dangerous but most parties will probably have the stank kicked out of them at least once in the initial encounter before they learn that they are meant to act like rats in the house. Beyond that point its a question of hide, sneak, flee, explore until you can trick the baddies into falling in their own stank hole or into killing each other. Or you wake up the conan demigod that kills everyone.

There are only two bad, or lukewarm things I have to say about it and both of them are down to personal aesthetic.

One, I didn't really like that they were Elephant-Sharks

(I think we can call this the Patrick Corollary or the Awesome Corollary.

"The more likely a nerd is to say something is "awesome", and the more intensely they are likely to say it (we might call this the exclamation supplement to the awesome corollary) the more likely Patrick is so grasp the bridge of his nose and go 'hhhnn'.)

The fact that they are elephant sharks is by no means central to the adventure (I think Zak turned them into Scorpion Men in his thing) they could be anything, and we are given a bunch of ways to re-skin them.

But the fact that's what they are is a primary element of selling the thing, one is literally bursting out of the front page and it makes quite a vibrant, colourful and joyful example, so if you are not into the elephant-shark thing then even though you can still use it easily enough you are going to have less fun reading it, which makes you less likely to use it.

Two, I'm a pretentious quasi-literary, actual-verified-hipster (have been in Vice -or at last on their website) deep-time, dungeons-need-an-aesthetic guy rather than the gleeful pop culture omnishambles kind of guy/girl Jeff advises you to be, so while there were parts of this I really liked, as a whole, it is a bit tangential to my preferred aesthetic.

Broodmother Skyfortress isn't very interested in what I want from it anyway. What it is interested in it does very well.


The art, layout, design and the synergy between all of these is really good.

Layout - Alex Mayo

The info layout is as good as you are going to get with an A5 format. I couldn't find any unnecessary page-flips. Everything is in the more modern large-font Lamentations style rather than the primal super-dense Vornheim or the more medium R&PL. Its also in some kind of Ariel (I think) which makes it look super-clear and definitely-not-gothic, which matches both the tone and the intended authorial voice.

The borders have this 'kirby krackle' effect which sweeps around the corners and highlights the art very well, its also aesthetically perfect for the tone of the piece. In the back third where we get to lots of Jeffs game advice articles, the bordering changes in style, this means you can easily tell the two sections of the book apart from looking at the spine, which is handy and a nice touch.

Art - Ian Maclean

Ian does an almost impossibly solid job on the art considering the wide variety of aesthetics that have to be incorporated, he has to link the LotFP actual-Europe setting to the Jeffs dayglo-Kirby world and make them feel like a whole thing.

He also just has to draw a LOT of stuff and does it all really well. Ranging from the different kinds of potential shark giants to the objects in the dungeon to the scenes from the module that sweep across the bottom third of some of the spreads in pretty good facsimiles of kirby energy to the colour splash pages to the seemingly endless authorial inserts (more on this later), the art never feels like it is out of control or out of place. Its expressive of the imagined larger LotFP world, of the world of the Skyfortress adventure specifically and of Jeffs chosen mode of address.

Maps and Cartography - Jez Gordon

These are exactly as good as you would expect from Jez. The front and endpapers have the maps on for convenience. Each map has the page number for each of its elements and each map has the encounter chart for that area *on the map*.

The larger map has what I think are painted(?) clouds and the building map successfully unifies two interlocking levels in one image without obscuring either. Maximum points for both beauty and utility.

The synergy of all these elements and the knitting together of them into a single aesthetic whole is worth remarking on. It's literally snap (Jeffs Gygaxian & Marvelesque tone), Crackle (the Kirby borders and thrillin' heroism) and pop (the direct incorporation of the pop-cultural elements in both content and narrative voice and the vibrant splash pages).


The Back Third

This is a 'greatest hits' of Jeffs Blog, which also manages to be a pretty good expression of his ludic heart.

We have:

- Motivations: The correct motivation for someone who wants to play D&D but then won't go into the dungeon for 'character reasons' is a slap in their stupid face, but if you don't want t do that, here you are.

- Carousing: the table that launched 1000 other tables.

Jeffs 20 questions - Has been & remains a really interesting way of looking at an imaginary world. From the play 'up'. This is really what should have been in the 5e DMG, along with Zaks 'you wake up in a dungeon and when you get out the world is decided by the backgrounds of the characters you made and the things you interacted with' thing rather than 5es "first, choose your gods" version where at the end you jam your players in it. "Ludogenesis" - creation from play rather than creation-then-play

- Wandering Monsters.

- Exploration.

- Morale.

- Henchmen.

- How to Awesome-Up your players.

- Wessex Grimores - the grimores are really good & would be a fine addition to any game, even a very culturally different one could have them turning up occasionally  - the euro-specific heresies would just be strange fragments of esoteric alien knowledge

(I don't relay understand the spell selections, they seem thematically disconnected from the idea of each book and from each other but perhaps they have a ludologic of which I am unaware.)



All of this is about what is *in* the book not what the book *is*. What it is is really interesting, its kind of the closest we have got to an OSR DMG.

There's a few interesting things about it. One of the most interesting is the presence of the author in the text.

Up until now most creators in my particular range of the OSR have been silent prophets, who give you tools and problems but speak very little to you, not necessarily even friends but possible antagonists. They/we tell you the basic minimum you need to play but at no point tells you the attitude you should have playing or what kind of culture you are joining. From what is explicitly said you may as well not be joining any culture at all, you may be entirely on your own in this.

The first minute of this clip from 'Knightmare' encapsulates the kind of authorial voice I'm talking about

That's basically me describing a dungeon to you. Or Zak maybe.

The other voice could be called Americaian-mercantilist, but that's a bit harsh, maybe "Yankee Shriner" is a more pleasant way of putting it.

This voice is a little like Stan Lee for Marvel or Gygax for D&D. The friendly paterfamilias, the creative market trader. Genial, chummy, simultaneously all-knowing and deeply experienced, generally dismissive of intellectualisation and quite definitely inducting you into a club.

(Americans just really, really really like being in clubs and things. I think De Torqueville even mentioned it. You guys never just want to play, you want the badge as well.)

In this Jeff basically creates himself as a kind of OSR Gygax. He is directly and deeply present in the text at almost every level. The man himself is imaged multiple times:

Pg5 Jeff as terrible Sex God.
Pg6 Jeff as Urban Fantasy Badaass.
Pg36 Jeff a Kirbyesque odin-style figure w fake beard.
Pg85 Jeff as Gandalf/Elmister Figure.
Pg94-95 Jeff as Dr Strange fighting a guy w a burning skeleton head.

(I think we should all take a moment to respect the number of times Jeff was willing to write "I want you to draw me as a heroic ......." with an admirable lack of the shame or cringing self-awareness more common to lesser men.)

His voice to the reader is literally his *voice*, his paragraphs get little speech-bubble borders around them. He gives you his fucking email in the intro. His explanations are him there pictured on the page, explaining things. This continues into the text even when he is not imaged and even when his 'jeff is talking' voice segues seamlessly into the 'dungeon description' voice. It binds and ties the whole together, like the Force from Star Wars, as Jeff would probably point out at this point in a paragraph.

So this is a fundamental shift and a really different thing.

The "Jeffs Greatest Hits" section might be old hat to most of us but they are a pretty good precis of a lot of ideas and processes fundamental to OSR play, wandering monsters, you-should-be-exploring, have henchmen, carouse. To someone unfamiliar with the OSR this tells them an awful lot of what they need to know, or a least a version of it, which is as close as you are going to get to a formal into in an anarchist community.

Will it work?

It feels like it could really work. It's a strange combination of things, an adventure you use only once you already have a campaign. A bunch of advice and tools on how to run and think about that campaign at the back, after the adventure, and a tone and authorial voice which is prefect for introducing people to a new idea.

Before when you recommended Finches Primer to people asking what you were on about you can now extend that conversation to "and also buy Broodmother Skyfortress if you can afford it."

Monday, 26 December 2016

A Review of Orality and Literacy by Walter J Ong

This book is too good, too dense and too short to easily review. It's hard to summarise something that is already a very able summary of a long career or to provide a doorway into something that is itself a doorway into an entire field. There's something quotable or interesting on every page and if I began then it would be hard to stop and here I would be typing out the whole thing for you.

The book is about the shift from an oral culture, one without writing, to whatever our modern one is, usually called literate, where almost everyone can read and reads continually but we also use orality all the time as well. It looks briefly at whatever the new orality will be, the world opened up by first radio, then television and the internet, in which speech, sound and rhetoric re-emerge in new forms, now combined with methods of recording and projection that effectively turn them into new things.

We start with an analysis of the oral origins of language and of the perhaps necessarily destructive state that lies between Orality and Literacy.

"Fortunately, literacy, though it consumes its own oral antecedents and, unless it is carefully monitored, even destroys their memory, is also infinitely adaptable. It can restore theri memory, too."

Then we move to a brief historiography of our understanding of orality. Of particular interest, the fact that our literate, then chirogrpahic culture, was strangely, wilfully blind to the nature of orality. As if in disentangling the two modes of thought the original had to be not only rejected, but denied.

The one destroys the other. We can't watch our minds as they transform as they are too bound up in the transformation to keep a sober record of it. It is like a man leaping over a crevasse, if he wishes to make the leap he must not look down or think or pause.

"The fact that oral peoples commonly and in all likelihood universally consider words to have magical potency is clearly tied in, at least unconsciously, with their sense of the word as a necessarily spoken, sounded, and hence power-driven. Deeply typographical folk forget to think of words as primarily oral, as events, and hence as necessarily powered: for them, words tend rather to be assimilated to things, 'out there' on a flat surface. Such 'things' are not so readily associated with magic, for they are not action, but are in a radical sense, dead, though subject to dynamic resurrection."

Then in the modern age, the 'rediscovery' of orality and the various pioneering studies showing that what we are looking at ("looking at" is a very post-literate metaphor) is not just a retarded version of literacy but an entirely different arrangement of thought.

Then a  breakdown of some qualities of the oral state of mind with an interesting look at the wide variety of ways that spoken words are not written words, how the library of an oral world is made up of patterns, rhythms and formulae, endlessly re-performed and continually exchanged

Speech as an event and an interaction rather than as a thing.

Here's Ongs list of opposing values and states between Orality and Literacy:

1. Additive rather than subordinative.
2. Aggrigative rather than analytic.
3. Redundant or 'copious'.
4. Conservative or traditionalist.
5. Close to the human lifeworld.
6. Agonistically toned. "By keeping knowledge embedded in the human lifeworld, orality situattes knowledge within a context of struggle."
7. Empathic and participatory rather than objectively toned. "For an oral culture learning or knowing means achieving close empathic communal identification with the known, 'getting on with it'.
8. Homeostatic. "That is to say, oral societies live very much in a present which keeps itslef in equilibrium or homeostasis by sloughing off memories which no longer have present relevance."
9. Situational rather than abstract.

"But even with a listener to stimulate and ground your thought, the bits and pieces of your thought cannot be preserved in jotted notes. How could you ever call back to mind what you had so laboriously worked out? The only answer is: Think memorable thoughts."

Then the development of alphabets, symbols and grapholects

The book then moves to looking specifically at the dynamics of print rather than just writing without print. All the artefacts and modes of thought and arrangement that print makes possible (almost no indexes before print)

"Here even visual retrieval functions orally. Ionnes Ravisius Textors' Specimen epithetorum alphabetises 'Apollo' before all other entries under 'A' becasue Textor considers it fitting that in a work concerned with poetry, the God of poetry should get top billing. Clearly even in a printed alphabetical index, visual retrieval was given low priority. The personalised, oral world could still overrule processing words as things."

(See this is interesting becasue its a nice factoid but its also like the kind of thing that Scrap or I would do just for the fun of it. We literally invented a new letter and put it in the index of FotVH, a playful re-creation of the warm, personalised oral world view?)

(Also "world view", another post-literate metaphor.)

This is a section and a group of ideas of particular interest to RPG players and especially the Douchebag Hipster Division of the OSR with our obsessive interest in and pursuit of high chirographic art, that is: layout and information design. The specific and careful arrangement of hyper-dense chirographic artefacts on a page in subtle and innovative ways combined with an equal obsession if inter-refferability in the manner of a a dictionary or educational book.

Book as printed artefact, book as tool.

But the thing we are producing with this tool is a deeply oral performance. Everything is spoke and acted out. I wonder deeply what Walter J. Ong would make of a D&D session, one of the strangest symbiosies between the oral and chirographic arts ever produced.

D&D in regards to this system is an utterly bizarre synergy between a hypertextual, hyper chirographic culture, impossible without writing and without print, but more than that, obsessed with lists, tables and specific and highly dense kinds of informational layout. Also  based around a kind of cultic re-creation of the classic "epic" style of story-telling, the kind arranged most conveniently for the human memory, stories with powerful heroic element, "heavy" characters, travels through unusual geographies, unique animals, monsters, characters and remarkable objects. The kind of story created (in part) because its the easiest way for the human mind to encode information in a non-literate society (the adventure is the library of the epos).

The D&D session as the epic taken "inside out" in some way, the same elements being used yet in an entirely different way, generative instead of preservative.

Then we have a section about the development of story shape and plot and the shift to certain forms of plot and action that can really only exist with writing, and really only with print.

Then finally a chapter largely to do with the interactions of the study of Orality and Literary Criticism, which was invented by the devil so I'm going to ignore it.


one thing that came to me reading this is that a lot of the things that nerds are into use elements of oral culture in a new way, a strange affection since nerds are in some ways the most 'mechanised' 'technologised' and alienated people in a culture and yet they/we carry this instinctive interest in (parts) of the culture of orality.

Could it be that the growth of 'the genres', specifically Pulp, Superheroes, Fantasy Fiction in its post-Tolkien form, the Sci-Fi epic, and D&D, are re-discoveries or re-applied uses to a part of human culture that no longer has to carry the heavy weight of preservation?

A plot of land, once used to farm a subsistence living, now no longer needed, laid un-used for a while, now re-created as a garden. Similar techniques used but now for pleasure and expression rather than survival?

The re-colonisation of the oral mindset by an alienated chirographic culture?

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Gawain 2478 - 2530, Merry Christmas everyone.

He's actually pretty sad.

Wild ways in the world Gawain now rides
On Gryngolet, that by grace had got still his life.
Oft he harboured in house and oft all thereout,
And many adventures in vale, and vanquished oft,
That I will no take the time in this tale to recount.
The hurt was whole that had had rent in his neck,
And the bright belt he bore thereabout,
Across, as a baldric, bound by his side,
Linked under his left arm, the lace, with a knot,
Betokening he was caught and taught of a fault.
And thus he comes to court, knight all in sound.
There wakened wonder in that residence when they learned
That good Gawain was come; a great thing they thought.
The king kisses the knight, and the queen also,
And then many super knights that sought him to know,
How he fared, what he found, and he frankly told,
Lets be known all the costs of care that he had,
The chance of the chapel, the cheer of the knight,
The love of the lady, the lace at the last,
The nick in his neck he naked them showed,
That he was allowed for his lewdness at the lords hands
           for blame.
He quailed when he should tell,
He groaned for grief to name;
The blood in his face blushed well,
When it he should show, for shame.

"Lo! lord," said the lad, and the lace handles,
"This is the banner of the blame I bear in my neck,
This is the shame and the scar that I seemly received
For the cowardice and covetousness that I have cast there.
This is the token of untruth that I am taken in,
And I must needs it wear while I may last;
For man may hide his harm, but un-harmed may not be,
For where it once is attached it  detach never will."
The king comforts the knight, and all the court also
Laughed loudly thereat and lovingly accord
That lords and ladies that belonged to the Table,
Each bro of brotherhood, a baldric should have,
A band across them about of a bright green,
And that, for sake of that sire, they swore to wear.
For that was accorded the renown of the Round Table,
And he honoured that it had, evermore after,
As it is bound in the best book of romance.
Thus in Arthur's day this adventure befell,
That Brutus' book thereof bears witness.
Since Brutus, the bold bro, bowled hither first,
After the siege and the assault that ceased at Troy,
          ended so amiss.
Many adventures here-befallen
Have happened so 'ere this.
Now who bears the crown of thorn,
May he bring us to his bliss!



If you'd like the whole thing in PDF or MOBI format then clicking on the cinquefoil below will take you to the shared drive where you can download them both for free.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Gawain 2429 - 2478, I wouldn't go back to that house either.

"But for your girdle," said Gawain, "God give you thanks!
That will I wield with good will, not for the wild gold,
Nor the sake of the silk, nor the side pendants,
For wealth nor for worship, nor wondrous works,
But in sign of my surfeit I shall see it oft,
When I ride in renown, to remind myself
of the fault and the faintness of our frail flesh,
How tender it is to entice touches of filth;
And thus, when pride shall me prick for prowess of arms,
The look of this love-lace shall leap to my heart.
But one thing I would pray of you, displease you never:
Since you be lord of yonder land where I have spent time
With you with worship - the wise one send you
That upholds the heavens and on high sits -
How known is your right name, and then no more?
That shall I tell you truly," said that other theign;
Bertilak de Hautdesert I am in this land.
Through might of Morgane le Faye, that in my house dwells,
And kindness of clergy by crafts well learned,
The mysteries of Merlin many has taken-
For she had direct dealings full dear sometime
With that accomplished clerk, as know all your knights
          at home.
Morgan the goddess
Therefore is her name:
Wields none so high haughtiness
That she cannot make full tame.

"She girded me in this guise, and to your good hall
For to assay the chivalry, if it truth were
Those rumours of the great renown of the Round Table.
She worked on me this wonder you wits to rob,
For to have grieved Guinevere and scared her to death
With horror of that ghastly guy that ghostly spoke
With his head in his hand before the high table.
That is who that is at home, the ancient lady;
She is even thy aunt, Arthurs half-sister.
The duchess's daughter of Tyntagell, that there Uther after
Had Arthur upon, that autarch is now.
Therefore I ask you, Gawain, to come to your aunt,
Make merry in my house; my many thee love,
And I will thee as well, wanderer, by my faith,
as any guy under God, for thy great Truth."
And he answered Nay, he would no way come.
They accorded and kissed, and commended each other
To the prince of paradise, and parted right there
          in the cold.
Gawain on his horse lean
To the kings burgh rides bold,
And the knight in bright green
Where-so-ever he would.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Gawain 2358 - 2428, Sarcasm, and a bit of arguable misogyny, Gawain is a poor winner.

"For it is my work you wear, that woven girdle;
My own wife it you gave, I know well for certain.
Now know I well your kisses and your cost also,
And the wooing of my wife; I wrought it myself.
I sent her to assay you, and I certainly think
You the most faultless fellow that ever foot set;
As a pearl to dried peas is worth prize more,
So is Gawain, in good faith, than other gay knights.
But here you lacked a little sir, and lewd you were;
But that was for no wild work, nor wooing neither,
But for you loved your life; the less I you blame."
That other staunch man in study stood a great while,
So aggrieved for guilt he greyed within;
All the blood of his breast blushed in his face,
That all he shrank for shame at what the man said.
The first word upon field that the found to reply:
"Cursed be cowardice and covetousness both!
In you is villainy and vice that virtue destroys."
Then he clasped at the knot and the cloth loosens,
Whipped wrathfully the wrap at the waiting knight,
"Lo! there is the false thing, foul may it fall!
For care of thy cut cowardice me took
To accord me with covetousness, my kind to forsake,
That boldness and bravery that belongs to all knights,
For I am faulty and false and have broken my faith,
Am treasonous and untrue - am abhorred both, beyond
          all care!
I confess you knight, here still,
All faulty is my fare;
Let me overtake your will
And after shall be ware.

Then laughed that other lord and lightly said:
"I hold it healed whole, the harm that I had.
You are confessed so clean, and know your faults,
And had you your penance at the point of my blade,
I hold you pared of that plight and purged as clean
As you had never forfeited since you were first born.
And I give you sir, the girdle that is gold-hemmed;
For it is green as my gear, Sir Gawain, you may
Think upon this thing when thee have found thy way
Among princes of prize, and this a pure token be
Of the chance of the green chapel among chivalrous knights.
And you shall return in this New Year season to my home,
And we shall revel the remnant of this rich feasts
          full cream."
There pressed him the lord
And said: "With my wife, I deem
We shall you well accord,
That was your enemy keen."

"No, for certain," said the chevalier, and seized his helm
And tips it off civilly and the knight thanks,
"I have sojourned sadly; sweet future to you,
May he send you your salary that our saviour made!
And commend me to that courteous one, your comely wife,
Both that one and that other, mine honoured ladies,
That thus her knight with her cunning has cleverly beguiled.
But that a fool behave foolishly should hardly faze her,
And through wiles of women be won to sore end,
For so was Adam in earth with one beguiled,
And Solomon with a fair few, and Samson as well-
Delilah dealt him his wyrd - and David thereafter
Was blinded by Bathsheeba, with baleful result.
Since they were wrecked with their wiles, it were a wynne huge
To love them well and believe them not, if only we could.
For these were formed the finest, most favoured alive
Excellently of all these other, under heaven
          that mused;
And all they were bewildered
With women that they used.
That I be now beguiled,
I may think myself excused.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Gawain 2309 - 2357, Gawain = ALIVE!!! But WHY?

He lifts lightly his cleaver and let it down fair
With the barb of the bit by the bare neck.
Though he hammered heartily, hurt him no more
But snipped him on one side, that severed the hide.
The sharp slice to the flesh through the white fat goes,
That the scarlet blood past his shoulders shot to the earth.
And when the boy sees the blood splatter the snow,
He sprang forth, (from standing feet,) more than a spears length,
He heaved up his helm and on his head cast,
Shrugged with his shoulders his shield into his grasp,
Brings out a bright sword, and boldly he speaks-
(Never since that he was boy born of his mother,
Was he ever in this wide world half so blithe),
"Cease, knight, of thy severing, swing you no more!
I have a stroke in this stead without strife had
And if you rehearse me more, I shall readily return them,
And serve severely back - and therefore sit there -
          and stew!
But One stroke here me falls-
The covenant set it so,
Formed in Arthur's halls-
And therefore, knight, fuck you!"

The huge man hunched over and on his axe rested,
Set the shaft upon the shore and to the sharp leaned,
And looked to the lord that leapt over the steam,
He that doughty, dreadless, undaunted there stands,
Armed, alive, angry; in heart it him likes.
Then he mouths merrily with a mighty voice,
Like caroling bells he to the knight said:
"My brave boy, on this bank do not be grim-dark.
No man here unmannerly your honour has harmed,
Nor acted but as covenant at knights court shaped.
I owed you a stroke and you have it, hold you well paid;
I release you of the remnant of all other rights.
If I deadlier had been,  a buffet par-adventure
I could wrathfully have worked, to thee have wrought anger.
First I messed with you merrily with a minor game,
And left you with no lacerations, as I legally should,
For the pledge that we promised that primary night,
And thou tried no tryst and truth with me kept,
And all the gain you gave me, as good men should.
That other mark for the morrow, man, I thee proffered,
You kissed my clear wife, then kissed me in return.
For both two here I you bade but two bare marks,
         no pain.
True men truth restore,
Then that man dread no bane.
At the third you failed though,
Therefore that third tap you gain.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Gawain 2258 - 2308, The Green Knights main deal is fucking with people.

Then the guy in the green got swiftly set,
Gathers up his grim tool. Gawain to smite;
With all the brawn in his body he bears it aloft,
Moved full mightily as maim him he would.
Had it driven down as directly as it could,
There had been killed by the cut that knight so good.
But Gawain on that guisarme glanced him beside,
As it came gliding down to shear him from our globe,
And shrank a little with the shoulders from the sharp iron.
That elvish surgeon with a shunt the steel withholds,
And then reproved the prince with many proud words:
"You are not Gawain," said the guy, "that is so good held,
He never arsed it from horror by hill or by vale,
And now you flinch for fear before you feel harm!
Such cowardice of that knight could I never hear.
Neither flinched I nor fluttered, my friend, when you struck,
Nor claimed any complication in king Arthur's house.
My head fell to my feet, and  yet not a flicker;
And you, before the slightest bite, shrank in your heart.
Lawfully, the finer fellow I feel I should be called
Said Gawain, " I shrank once,
And so will I no more;
But that my head fall on the stones,
I can not it restore.

"But get busy bro, by your faith, and bring me to the point.
Deal to me my destiny and do it out of hand,
For I shall stand thee a stroke, and start no more
Till thy axe has me hit - have here my Truth."
"Have at you then!" said that other, and heaves it aloft,
And swung it like a psychopath, that mad motherfucker.
He strikes out with certainty, but right at the slice,
Expertly withheld his hand before it might hurt.
Gawain gravely bides it and moves with no member,
But stood still as the stone, or the stump of a tree
Rightly locked in rocky ground with roots-a-hundred.
Then merrily he remarked, the man in the green:
"So, now you have your heart whole, hit you I must.
Hold you now the high honour that Arthur gave you,
If it cures decapitations, you might keep your skull."
Gawain full raging with anger then said:
"Why! strike on, you stupid man, you threaten so long;
I think that that your hearts pumping your own bullshit."
"Faith," said that other fellow, "you speak so fell,
I will no longer lightly let thy errand lie
          right now!"
Then set he him to strike,
And frowns both lip and brow;
No marvel that him misliked
That hoped of no rescue.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Gawain 2213 - 2258, Do it bro! Dooooo iiiiiiiittt!

Then the knight called out full high:
"Who claims this place, to keep my meeting?
For now is good Gawain hanging right here.
If any one wants me, win hither fast,
Either now or never, you need to speed up."
"Abide," said one on the bank over and above his head,
"And you shall have all in haste that I thee might owe."
Still he ground with his gryndelstone, getting it done
Worked his whetting awhile, before he would come.
And then he crops up by a crag and comes from a hole,
Whirling out of a vent with a fell weapon,
A Danish axe new devised, to deliver the gift,
With a burnished bit bent to the haft,
Filed with a flint-wheel, four foot large -
It was no less than that lace that gleamed full bright.
And the guy in green was geared as before,
Both the look and the legs, locks and beard,
Save that fair with his feet he finds now the earth,
Sets the steel to the stone and stalks beside.
When he walks to the water, he would not wade,
He hopped over on his axe, and awfully strides,
Brutal and bold over a bank that broad was about,
          with snow.
Sir Gawain came that knight to meet
His bow was by no means low.
That other said, "Now Sir, sweet,
What they say of you may be true."

"Gawain," said that green guy, "God may you keep!
With good will you are welcome, wanderer, to my place.
And thou has timed thy travel as true men should,
And you know the covenant kept us between:
At this time twelvemonth past, to take what befell,
And I should at this New Year indemnify in full.
And we are in this valley, verily, on our own;
Here are no knights to come between us, keep as we like.
Have your helm off your head and have here your pay;
Speak no more debate than I served thee then
When you whipped off my head with one blow."
"No, by the God," said Gawain, "that me gave life,
I shall bear you no bitterness for returning the blow.
But stick to one stroke please, and I shall stand still
And take you no trouble but cut as you like,
He bent his neck and kneeled
And showed that skin all bare,
And let as he nought feared;
For dread he would not dare.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Gawain 2160 - 2211, gryndelstone = ACTIVATED

Then girds he Gryngolet and gets on the path,
Shoves through some shrubbery at the sheer side,
Rides down the rough slope right to the dale.
And then he walks his gaze, and wild it he thought,
And sees no sign of settlement anywhere about,
But high banks and buttresses upon both halves,
And rough rugged knarrs with gnarled stones;
The skies by the scree scraped he thought.
Then he halted and witheld his horse for a while,
And oft changed his cheer the chapel to search.
He sees nothing on either side, and strange it he thought,
Save, a little across the glade, a knoll as it were,
A bitter barrow by a bank the beck beside,
By fall of a flood that flashes there;
The burn bubbled therein as if to boil.
The knight catches his halter and comes to the knoll,
Alights down lightly, and at a linden attaches
The reins and his ride with a rough branch.
Then he goes to the knoll, about it he walks,
Debating with himself what it might be.
It has a hole on the end and on either side,
And overgrown with grass in gobbets and tufts,
And all was hollow within, naught but an old cave,
Or a crevasse of an old crag - he could not it name
          or spell.
"Say! Lord," said the gentle knight,
"Whether this be the green chapel?
Here might about midnight
The Devil his matins tell!

"Good grief," said Gawain, "grim it is here;
An ugly auditorium, with herbs overgrown;
Well beseems it the one wrapped in green
Deal here his devotions in the Devils way.
Now I feel in my five wits it is the fiend,
That has set on me this scheme to strike me here.
This is a chapel of mischance, may chaos it betide!
It is the coarsest church that ever I came in!"
With his helm on his head, his lance in his hand,
He roams up to the roof of the rough house.
Then heard he of that high hill, in a hard rock
Beside the brook, in a bank, a wondrous bold noise.
What! it clatters in the cliff as if it cleave should,
As if one upon a gryndelstone was grinding a scythe.
What! it whirred and whisked as water at a mill;
What! it rushed and rang, raw to the ear.
Then "By God," said Gawain, "that gong as I think,
Is raised at my reverence, to my rank a herald
Let God work! 'Oh no'-
It helps me not a mote.
If my life I must forego
Dread then me no note."

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Gawain 2117 - 2159, Gawain confirms, Knight Levels = MAXIMUM.

"Therefore good Sir Gawain, leave the guy alone,
And go away some other gate, for Gods sake!
Career to some other kingdom, there Christ may you speed,
And I shall hie me home again, and I wholly declare
That I shall swear by God and all his good saints,
So help me Jesus and his holy mum, AND everyone else,
That I shall loyally lie and the tale never tell
That ever you ran or retired from a fight in this realm."
"Grant mercy," said Gawain, and grimly he said:
"Well work you, sir, that wishes me well,
And that loyally lie I think well you would.
But hid you it never so wholly, if I here passed,
Fucked-off in fear and fled, in form you suggest,
I were a knight coward, I might not be excused.
But I will to the chapel, what chance may there fall,
And talk with that terror the tale that me likes,
Whether it mean weal or woe, as wyrd likes it
          to have.
Though he be a stern knave
To meet, armed with glaive
Full well can Jesus shape
His servants for to save."

"Mary! said that other man, "now you so much spell
That you will your own termination to yourself name,
If you lease your life that lightly, the letting I won't keep.
Have here your helm on your head, your spear in your hand,
And ride you down this ill rut by the rock side,
Till you be brought to the bottom of the barren valley.
Then look a little to the land on your left hand,
And you shall glimpse in that glade the green chapel,
And the mad murdering motherfucker that it keeps.
Now fare well, in Gods name, Gawain the noble!
For all the gold under ground I'd not go with you,
Nor bear you fellowship a foot further through this forest."
With that the wise lad winds his bridle,
Hits the horse with his heels as hard as he might,
Leaps him over the land, and leaves the knight there
          all alone.
"By Gods sake," said Gawain,
"I will neither grieve or groan;
To Gods will I am full fain,
And to him I shall atone."

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Gawain 2069 - 2017, My new favorite character: Nameless Doomsayer.

The bridge was brought down, and the broad gates
Unbarred and borne open upon both halves.
The knight crossed himself quickly and came over the planks-
Praises the porter who before the prince kneeled,
Gave him God and good day, that Gawain he save-
And went on his way with his wise one,
That should teach him the turns to that place
where the rueful wound he would receive.
They rode by hill-banks where boughs were bare,
They climbed by cliffs where clings the cold.
The heavens were upheld, but ugly thereunder;
Mist murks on the moor, melts in the mountains,
Each hill had a hat, a mist-helmet huge.
Brooks boiled and broke down the hill banks,
Sheer shattering on shores where the doomed path showed.
Well wild was the way that through the wood wound,
Till it was soon season that the sun rises
          that tide.
They were on a hill full high,
The white snow lay beside;
The man that rode him by
Bade his master abide.

"For I have won you here, wanderer, at this time,
And now you are not far from that notorious place
That you have spied and spurred so specially after.
But I shall say you for certain, since I you know,
And you are a lad upon life that I well love,
Would you work by my wit, its worth to you more.
The place you set path to full perilous is held;
There walks a one in that waste, the worst upon earth,
For he is stark and stern, and to strike loves,
There's more to him any man upon middle earth,
And his body bigger than the best four
That are in Arthur's house, Hector, Hercules, any.
He chops down chevaliers at the chapel green,
There pass none by that place so proud in his arms
That he not drive them to death with a dent from his hand;
For he is a man mirthless, and mercy = none uses,
For it be churl or chaplain that by the chapel rides,
Monk or mass-priest, or any man else,
He thinks as fun to fuck them up as laughter is to us.
Therefore I say you, as certain as you in saddle sit,
Come you there, you'll be killed, as the knight collects,
Know you that truly, if you had twenty lives,
          to spend.
He has lived here since yore,
And wrecked much the land;
Against his blows sore
You may not defend.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Gawain 2025 - 2068, He's had some practice at doomed goodbyes by this point.

While his richest robe he wrapped round himself -
His coat with the cinquefoil of the clear works
Emblazoned on velvet, virtuous stones
About beaten and bounded with embroidered seams,
And fair furred within with fine pelts -
He left not the lace, the ladies gift;
That forgot not Gawain, for good of himself.
When he had belted his brand on his steel-bound hips,
Then drawed he his dishonour double him about;
Swiftly and succinctly swathed around his sides that knight;
The girdle of the green silk, that gay well beseemed,
Upon that royal red cloth that rich was to show.
But wore not this woeful man for wealth this girdle,
For pride of the pendants, that polished they were,
Or that the glittering gold gleamed upon ends,
But for to save himself, when suffer he would
To bide that blow without debate of brand or
          of shield.
By that the bold man bound,
Goes out into the field,
And that many of renown,
With thanks their arms sealed.

Then was Gryngolet groomed, that great was and huge,
And had a more secure sojourn, and snug stabling;
He was pumped-up, well prepared that proud horse.
The knight comes to him and his coat smooths down,
And said soberly himself and by this truth swears:
"Here is a many in the mansion that are mindfully kind -
The man who maintains them, joy may he have;
The liege lady, in life, love her betide.
If they for charity cherish a guest,
And hold honour in their hands, may happiness them send
That holds the heavens upon high, and also to you all!
And if I might live upon land long any while,
I should return you some reward readily, if I might."
Then he steps into the stirrup and strides aloft;
His servant showed him his shield, on shoulder he it cast,
Goads he Gryngolet with his gilt heels,
And he starts on the stone, stood he no longer
          to prance.
His knight on horse was then,
That bore his spear and lance.
"This castle to Christ I commend".
He gave them all good chance.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Gawain 1978 - 2024, Gawain exits like a boss for the second time.

With care and with kissing he speaks a little still,
And full-felt thanks he finely bestows,
And they said to him samely of that kind;
That commended him to Christ with full cold sighs.
Then from that many he meetly departs;
To each man from that meeting, made specific thanks
For his service and his solace and his personal role
That they with busyness had been about him to serve;
Was each sire as sore to sever with him there
As if he had lived honourably in that house for ever.
Then by lads with lights he was led to his chamber
And blithely brought to his bed to be at his rest.
If he slept soundly say not dare I
For he had much on the morrow to mind, if he would,
          in thought.
Let him lie there still,
He was near what he sought;
If you will a while be still,
I shall tell you how that worked.

Now nears the New Year and the night passes,
The day drives to the dark, as the Deity bids.
But wild weathers of the world wakened there-out,
Clouds casting keenly the cold to the earth,
With noise enough from the north, the naked to scour;
The snow sintered in sky, snapped at the ground;
The wrathful wind whisked down from the heights,
And drove each dale full of drifts full great.
The lad listened full well, that lies in his bed,
Though he lowers his lids, full little he sleeps;
By each cock that crowed he knew well the time.
Directly he dressed up 'ere the day sprung,
For there was light of a lamp that gleamed in his chamber.
He called to his chamberlain, that called back fast,
And bade him bring him his hauberk and saddle his horse;
That other fellow gets up and fetches his gear,
And arraigned Sir Gawain in splendid guise.
First he clad him in his clothes, the cold for to ware,
And then his other harness, that close by was kept,
Both his plackart and breastplate, polished full clean,
The rings ridded of the rust of his rich mail;
And all was fresh as upon first, as he was fain then
          to thank.
He put on each fine piece,
Wrapped neatly as a tank;
The gayest into Greece,
The man bade bring his shank.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Gawain 1922 - 1978, Gawain confirms he is Kinsey One max.

And then they hied away home, for it was near night,
Sounding full stoutly on their strong horns.
The lord alights at the last at his beloved home,
Fire flickers on flag-stones, the knight there-beside,
Sir Gawain the good, that glad was with all,
Among the ladies for love he laid much joy.
he wore a tunic of teal that just touched the earth;
His surcoat seemed him well that soft was furred,
And his hood of that ilk on his shoulder hung,
Each all of ermine were edged all around.
He meets with this good man in midst of the floor,
And all in gaming he greets, and gaily said,
"I shall first fulfill our final deal,
That we speedily spoke of when spared was no drink."
Then clasps he the knight and kisses him thrice,
As sweetly and strongly as he could them set.
"By Christ," said the other knight, "you caught a good sale
In choosing this commodity, if you cheaply it got."
"Think not of the cheapness or charge," said chiefly that other,
"As I have parceled and presented the purchase I made."
"Mary," said that other man, "mine is much less,
For I have hunted all this day, and naught have I got
But this foul fox fur - the fiend have such goods! -
And that is full poor to pay for such prized things
As you have carefully caressed me with, these kisses
          so good.
"Enough," said Gawin
I thank you, by the rood,"
And how the fox was slain
He told him as they stood.

With mirth and minstrally, with meat of their will,
They made as merry as any man might -
With laughing of ladies, with joking of bawds,
Gawain and the good man so glad were they both -
Unless both demented, or drunk were they all.
Both the men and their many made many japes,
Till the season was certain that they sever must;
Bros to their beds be-heaved them at last.
Then loyally his leave of the lord first
Files this free man for, and for his fayre thanks:
"Of such a sweet sojourn as I have had here,
Your honour at this high feast, the high king you reward!
I'll swap you me for one of yours, if yourself likes,
For I must needs, as you know, make off in the morn,
So lend me some servant to teach, as you said,
The gate to the green chapel, as God will me suffer
To deal on New Years day the doom of my wyrd."
"In good faith," said the good man, "with a good will
All that ever I promised you I shall fulfill."
There assigns he a servant to set him on the way
And conduct him by the downs that he no delay had,
For to drive through the dales and so the green chapel,
The lord Gawain then implored
That in leaving he would grieve;
Then of the ladies pure
The knight then took his leave.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Gawain 1871 - 1921, Planned sex game or just weird situation, we will never know*.

Then she takes her leave and leaves him there,
For more mirth of the man might she not get.
When she was gone, Sir Gawain gears him soon,
Rises and dresses in noble array,
Lays away the love-lace the lady him gave,
Hid it full stealthily where he might later find.
Then quickly to the chapel chooses the way,
Privately approached a priest, and prayed him there
That he would listen to his life and learn him better
How his soul should be saved when he should see heaven.
There he shrove him sincerely and showed his misdeeds,
Of the min to the maximum, and mercy beseeches,
And for absolution he on the priest calls;
And he absolved him surely and set him so clean
As doomsday should have been due on the morn.
And then he made him as merry among the free ladies,
With comely carols and all kinds of joy,
As never he did but on that day, till the dark night,
          with bliss.
Each man had delight becasue
Of him and said, "What is
The cause, merrier he never was
Since he came here, 'ere this."

Now lets leave him lounging there, may love him betide!
Set is the lord on the land, leading his men.
He has boxed in the fox that he long followed;
As he sprinted over a span to spy the schemer,
There as he heard the hounds that hasted towards,
Reynard came writhing through a rough bush,
And all the rabble in a rush right at his heels.
The watcher, aware of the wild one, warily waits,
And brings out the bright brand and at the beast cuts.
And he shifted from the sharp and should have escaped;
But a dog rushed upon him before he might rise,
And right before the horses feet they fell on him all,
And worried they the wily one with a wrathful noise.
The lord alights quickly and grabs him all up,
Brought him full boldly from the biting mouths,
Holds him over his head, halooing loud,
And there bayed with him many brutal hounds.
Hunters hied them thither with horns full many,
All blowing loudly till they their lord saw.
By that was come his company noble,
All that ever bore bugles blew them at once,
And all these other, that had no horns, hallooed;
It was the merriest mass that ever men heard
The rich roar that was raised there for Reynards soul
          with gloat.
Their hounds they then reward,
They stroked their heads and throat.
And then they took Reynard
And stripped him of his coat.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Gawain 1817 - 1869, Wait, what if I was creepily non-consensual, with MAGIC.

She offered him a rich ring of red gold worked,
With a star-like stone standing aloft,
That held blazing beams as of the bright sun;
Be aware reader, it was worth a well full horde.
But the rider refused it, and readily he said,
"I wish no gifts, for God, my gay, at this time;
I have none to offer, nor none will I take."
She bade it him full busily, and he her boldly warns,
And swears swiftly his certainty that he would refuse;
And she saw he forsook her, and said thereafter,
"If you renaig on my ring, for seems it too rich,
You would not so highly beholden be to me,
I shall give you my girdle, that gains you less."
She unlached a lace lightly that lead under her sides,
Cast upon her kirtle under the clear mantle,
Geared it was with green silk and with gold shaped,
Its borders embroidered, beaded with pendants;
And that she gave to Gawain, and glibly claimed,
That it unworthy was, that take it he would.
And he said that he would not in no way take,
Either gold or gift, before God his grace sent
To achieve to the chance that he had chosen there.
"And therefore, I pray you, displease you not,
And let be your busyness, for believe I will never
          so grant.
I am dearly to you beheld
Because of your sweet semblance
And ever in hot or cold
Will be your true servant."

"Now forsake you this silk," said the sweet girl,
"For it is simple in itself? And so it well seems:
Lo! so it is little, and less it is worthy.
But who-so knew the cost that knit was therein,
He would it praise at more prize, peradventure;
For what guy is so good with this green lace,
While he had it well wrapped about,
There is no human under heaven to hew him that might,
For he might not be slain by any strike on this earth."
Then the knight considered, and it came to his heart
It was a grant from the jeopardy he would soon be judged by:
When he achieved to the chapel his check for to fetch,
Might he slip to be un-slain. A noble slight.
And he thawed his resistance and thought she should speak
And she bore on him the belt and bade it he wear -
And he granted, and gave in with a good will -
She besought him, for her sake, discover it never,
But to loyally elude her lord; the lad he accords
That no one in the world would ever learn, or but those two
          know the whole.
He thanked her oft,  full kind,
Full true with heart and soul.
At that, for the third time
She kissed the knight so bold.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

A Riddle and Gawain 1769 - 1816, Look, no means no.

Here's a riddle for you.

I am;

1. Additive rather than subordinative.
2. Aggrigative rather than analytic.
3. Redundant or 'copious'.
4. Conservative or traditionalist.
5. Close to the human lifeworld.
6. Agonistically toned.
7. Empathic and participatory rather than objectively toned.
8. Homeostatic.
9. Situational rather than abstract.

What am I, and what am I not?

(Below is your daily Gawain.)


For that princess of prize pressed on him so thick,
Spurred him so near the thread, that needs he must choose
Either let through her love, or loathly refuse.
He cared for his courtesy, lest churl he should be,
And more for his mischief if he should make sin,
And be traitor to the knight that that tower had.
"God shield," said the chevalier, "that shall not befall!"
With love-laughing and lightness he laid him beside
All the speeches of solicitude that sprang from her mouth.
Said that girl to the guy, "Blame you deserve,
If you love not that life that you lie next,
Before all the women in the world wounded in heart,
But if you have another, a lover, that you like better,
And hold faith to that lady, fastened so hard
That you not loose it lightly - that's likely the case.
And that you tell me that now truly I pray you;
For all the love of him on high, hide not the truth
          for guile.
The knight said, "By Saint John,"
And gently then he smiled,
"In faith I wield so none,
Nor none will wield this while."

"That is a word," said that woman, "that worst is of all:
But I am answered, certainly, and sore it me thinks.
Kiss me now comely and I shall cast myself away;
I may but mourn in this material world, as may those who much love."
Sighing she stooped down and seemly him kissed,
And certain she severs from him, and says as she stands.
"Now, dear, at this departing, do me this ease,
Give me something as thy gift, thy golve if it were,
That I may mindfully think of thee, man, my mourning to lessen."
"Now really," said the wanderer, "I would I had here
The loveliest thing for thy life that I in land wield,
For you have deserved, for certain, several times over
More reward by reason that I reach might.
But to to give you for gift some cheap geegaw! -
It is not for your honour to have at this time
A glove as a pargon of Gawains gifts,
And I am here on an errand in areas uncouth,
And have no bros with no baggage with beautiful things;
That mislikes me, lady, for love at this time,
Each man must do as fortune make, take you not ill
          or pine."
"Nay, knight of high honours,"
Said that lady so fine,
"Though I have nothing of yours,
Yet you shall have something of mine."

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Gawain 1719 - 1768, Sexy and increasingly creepy.

Then was it lovely upon life to listen to the hounds,
When all the mutts had met him, the pack merged.
Such slurs at that sight they set on his head
As if the clustering crags had clattered in heaps.
Here he was hallooed at when hunters he met,
Loud was he saluted with snarling speech;
There was persecuted and often thief called,
Always the terminating chasers at his tail, that tarry he not;
Often he ran out, was attacked, ran back,
And turned on his own trail, intelligent Reynard.
And so by a hairs length lead them, the lord and his many,
In this manner, by the mountains through mid afternoon,
While the healthy knight at home handsomely sleeps
Within the comely curtains, on the cold morn.
But the lady, for love, let not to sleep.
Nor the purpose to pale that pierced in her heart,
But rose up readily, rushed her hither
In a merry mantle whose hems met the earth,
that was furred full fine with fleeces well pared,
No coif on her head but care-hewn stones
Traced about her features by twenty in clusters;
Her tempting face and her teasing throat were naked both,
Her breast bare before, and behind as well.
She comes within the chamber door, and closes it her after,
Raises up a window, and on Gawain calls,
And rapidly thus rallied him with her rich words,
          with cheer.
"A! man, how may you sleep?
This morning is so clear."
He was in drowsing deep,
But then he could her hear.

In deep torpor of dream drawled that noble,
As man that was in mourning, of many stark thoughts,
How that destiny should that day deal him his wyrd
At the green chapel, where he the game ends,
And must his blow abide without debate more.
But when that comely came, he clasped his wits,
Starts out of the swoon and swears with haste.
The lovely lady leaned, laughing sweetly,
Folds over his fair face and finely him kissed;
He welcomes her worthily and with winning cheer.
He sees her so glorious and gayly attired,
So faultless of her features and of so fine hues,
Quick welling joy warmed his heart.
With smooth smiling and silliness they sank into mirth
Then all was bliss and bounty that broke them between,
          and Wynne.
They lanced words right good,
Much joy there was therein;
Great peril between them stood,
If Mary her knight would not win.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Gawain 1668 - 1718, Poor fox.

And there they drank and dallied, and deemed it keen
To keep the same compact on New Years eve;
But the knight craved leave to escape on the morn,
For crept closer the calendar with its cold end,
And near was the meeting that miss he could not.
The lord tried to relieve him and ask that he stay,
And said, "As I am a true chevalier, I swear by my Truth
You shall make the green chapel, your meeting to match,
Directly, on New Years dawn, before day fully breaks.
So you lie in your loft and laze at your ease,
And I shall hunt in my holdings and hold to the terms,
And exchange my achievment when I choose to return;
For I have tested you twice and faithful have found.
Now 'third time, all testifies' think on the morn;
Make we merry while we may and our minds upon joy,
For a man may catch sadness when-ever he likes."
This was gravely granted and Gawain agreed to stay,
Blithely brought were their drinks, and then to bed went
          with light.
Sir Gawain lies and sleeps
Full still and soft all night;
The lord that his craft keeps,
Full early he alights.

After Mass, a morsel he and his men took;
Merry was the morning, his mount for he asks.
All the hall-men that on horse should hold him after
Climbed boldly aboard their broncos before the hall gates.
Full fair was the field, for the frost clinged;
In red ribbons of cirrus rose the sun,
And full clear coasts through the clouds of the sky.
Hunters un-hounded by a holt side,
Rock-sides resounded with the ring of their horns.
Some hounds fell in the furrow where the fox bade,
Scanning for scents, a dogs expert science.
A whippet whined warning, the whole group pricked up;
His fellows fell to him, a flurry of dogs,
Rushing forth in a rabble on the rightly found trail.
And the fox whisks between them, they found him soon,
And when they set their sights on him they speeded up,
Denouncing him diligently with a dreadful noise;
And he twists and tourneys through many tight gaps,
Stops hard and hearkens by hedges full oft.
At the last by a little ditch he leaps over a span,
Steals out full stilly by a swampy marsh,
Thinks with his wit of the wood he had won from the hounds.
Then as he crawled, before he knew, he came upon a pack,
There three threw themselves at him at once,
          all gray.
He blanched again backwards
And stiffly sprang away,
With all the woe in his heart
To the wood he went away.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Gawain, 1623 - 1689, Everyone's feelings are complex and weird.

The lord full loud with life and merry laughter
When he sees Sir Gawain, with solace he speaks.
The good ladies were got out, and gathered the many;
He shows them the slabs and shapes them the tale
Of the largeness and length, the litheness also
And the will of the wild swine in wood where he fled.
That other knight full comely commended his deeds,
And praised it as great prize that he proved had,
For such a brawny beast, the bold brother said,
Nor a swine of such size he had never seen.
Then handled they that huge head, the knight horror claimed,
And let loudly thereat the lord for to hear.
"Now Gawain," said the good man, "this game is your own
By sincere stipulation you certainly know."
"It is so," said the chevalier, "and as is stil true
All my gain I shall give you again, by my Truth."
He took the knight round the neck and tenderly kissed,
And another of the same he served him again.
"Now we are even," said the horseman, "in this eventide,
Of all the covenants we kept since I came here,
          as law laid.
The lord said, "By saint Giles,
A bold deal I've made!
You'll be rich in a while,
If you keep on such trade."

Then they set up the tables on trestles aloft,
Cast cloths upon; clear light then
Wakened on the walls, waxen torches;
Servants set and served up supper for all.
Much glamour and glee growed in the hall
About the fire upon feasters, and in fair ways
At the supper and after, many sweet songs,
As conducts of Christmas and carols new,
With all the mannerly mirth that man may of tell,
And ever our lovely knight the lady beside.
Such semblance to that chevalier seemly she made,
With still stolen glimpses, that stalwart to please,
That all for-wondered was the wanderer, and wroth with himself,
But he could not for his nature turn from her face,
But dealt with her all dainty, how-so-ever the deed would
          be seen.
When they had played in hall
As long as the lord would deem
To chamber he did call
And to the chimney's gleam.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Gawain 1581 - 1647, You were the real hero, Boar.

Til the knight came himself, kicking his mount,
Sees him biding at bay, his hunters beside.
He leaps lightly down, leaves his courser,
Brings out a bright brand and strides bigly forth,
Forcing through the ford-waters towards the fell beast.
The wild one was aware of the weapon in his hands,
His bristles bunched, out burst such a snort
Those lads feared for their lord, lest befell him the worst.
The swine surged him out at the stalking man so,
The boar and Lord Bertilak fell both in a heap,
In the swift part of the water; the worst had the former,
For the man marks him well, as they meet first,
Set strongly the sharp in the swines throat,
Hit him up to the hilt, that the heart sundered,
And snarling he fell, was swept under the stream,
          into its core.
A hundred hounds surged as he sank,
That bit on him full sore,
Servants dragged him to the bank
And dogs to death him tore.

There was blowing of prize in many brave horns,
Hunters hallooing on high with heaving lungs;
Brachets bayed over the beast, as their master bid,
Of that cheerless chase they had the chiefs been.
Then one that was wise in woodcrafts
To loose and unlace this boar he begins.
First he hews off his head and on high sets,
And then rends him all roughly down the spinal line,
brings out the bowels, burns them on embers,
With bread blended with them his brachets rewards.
Then he brings out the boar-meat in bright broad slabs,
And rips out the remnants, as is right to do;
And set those halves all whole so they hung together,
And certain on the strong shaft stoutly them hangs.
Now with this trophy they set course for home;
The boars head was borne before the bold lord
That had felled him by the ford by the force of his hand
          so strong.
Till he could see Sir Gawain
In hall seemed him full long;
He called, and Gawain came
To get what to him belongs.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Gawain 1535 - 1580, I am kinda on the Boars side, even though he's probably a metaphor.

1535 - 1580

"In good faith," said Gawain, "God you reward!
Great is the good glee, and game to me huge,
That one so worthy as you should wander here,
And pine you with so poor a man, and play with your knight
With such cheerful countenance, it eases my cares.
But to take the trouble to myself to true love expound,
And teach the terms and text of tales of arms
To you that, I know well, wields more skill
In that art, by the half, that an hundred of such
As I am, or shall be, on earth long as I live,
It were a folly manifold, my fair one, by my Truth.
I would your will work as I might,
As I am truly beholden, and ever-more will
Be servant to yourself, so save me Our Lord!"
Thus him tested that tempter, and tried him full oft,
For to have won him to woe, what-so she thought else;
But he defended him so fair that no fault seemed,
Nor no evil on either half, nought were they aware of
          but bliss.
They lazed and laughed long;
At the last she him kissed,
Took her leave at the gong
And went her way, thank Christ.

Then rolls he right over and rises for mass,
And then their dinner was done and dearly served.
Our lad with the ladies larked all day,
But the lord over the lands lanced full oft,
Seeking his super-swine, that swept by the banks
And bit the best of his brachets their backs in sunder
Then he bode in a burrow, till bowmen found him,
And made him move his head into more open ground,
Such fell flights there flew where the folk gathered.
But he set the staunchest to start by the stands that he made,
Till at last was so whacked-out he might no more run,
But with the haste he had left he to a hollow wins
In a ravine by a rock there reigns the boar.
He got the bank at his back and began to scrape,
The froth foams at his fearsome mouth all while he,
Whets his white tusks. Willing they were not,
All the brothers so bold that by him stood
To near him (they feared him) go, of these men none dared
          by oath.
He had hurt so many by then
That all there were full loath
To be more with his tusks torn,
that were brave and brutal both.