Friday, 2 December 2016

Red Dawn & Gawain 1319 - 1372, Bloody numbles

I'm interested to see what Jeff Rients and Kiel Chenier produce with their new adventures. They both have quite a different aesthetic feel and a different animating spirit to the part of the post-Vornheim OSR with which I am most intimately familiar which orbits quite closely around a particular vein of darkness, decadence, alienation and ruin.

Jeff is pre-Vornheim. Jeff may be pre-dice. It's possible he's teaching Beowulf from first-hand experience. All we know for certain is that he is a confirmed cannibal. (Broodmother has been in-vitro for so long that when its born it will be legally able to drink.)

Keil has also been around for ages but his aesthetic is more post-Steven-Universe than post-Vornheim. So, still social justicey but without decaying onto a fat pile of passive-aggressive tics or an eternal entropic socio-political-maelstrom like a boring Chaos God.

If I was betting on anyone from the OSR finally getting a good enough toehold in mainstream D&D to finally beat some decent fucking information design, or even some actual original ideas into them then it would be Kiel. he's a worker, he has the almost magical ability to get on with people in corporate situations and he still has decent quality control and a capacity for originality. I would recommend checking out his ENWorld adventure in the Feywild which is almost interesting enough to make me not hate the name 'Feywild' and has decent enough informational layout that I sense he must have strained his whip-hand chastising the peons of WotC to get it produced properly.

Jeff is kind of joyful with the imperishable sweetness of a child, Kiel is kind of modern and millennial but without being punchable. It's interesting becasue we've not had anything quite like this in LotFP before (Zzarchovs 'Gingerbread Princess' comes closest I think). Together they rise like twin ginger suns over the glorious bochean wasteland of our imaginations, perhaps adding  the lyre of Thalia to the song of Melpomene which as for so long been our anthem.

Ruins must sometimes prove themselves cradles and even death can die if it permits no change. Who knows what might spring from such visions? We must build out as well as down. Beyond the horizon what strange new lands might lie beneath these ginger suns?


Now here are some scenes of disturbing butchery.

This while the lord of the land is lost in his games,
To hunt through hoar-frost and heath the barren hinds.
Such a slaughter he served there before the sun sank,
Of does and other deer, you'd deem it a wonder.
Then fiercely they flocked in, folk at the last,
And quickly of the quelled deer a quantity piled.
The nobles came nigh first, with butchers and knives,
Gathered the greatest of that gruesome hill,
And sliced them quite rightly and searched within;
Two fingers-width of fat they found on the thin.
Then they slit the throat, seized the gullet,
Scraped it with a sharp knife, and the guts tied.
Severed right the four limbs and ripped off the hide,
Then breaked open the belly, the bowels out took
Lightly, not to loosen the loop of the knot.
Then grasped the gorge, and grimly divided
The maw from the wind-hole and whisked out the guts.
Then shear out they the shoulders with their sharp knives,
Heaved them through a little hole to keep whole both sides.
Then broke open the breast and burst it in twain,
And then at the gargling part began their work,
Ripped it up roughly, right to the bite,
Dumped out the flesh-dregs, and directly thereafter
All the rib reinforcements they rapidly slice.
So strip they in the same way the spinal cord,
Trimming to the haunch, so together it hung,
And heaved it up all whole and hewed it off there -
At that part they call "numbles" by name, as I claim,
          by kind.
By the back of the thighs
The skin they cut behind
To hew it in two thy hie,
The backbone to unbind.

Both the head and the neck they hew off then,
And certain sunder the sides swift from the chin,
And the corvids fee they cast in the grass;
Then perforate they each thick side through by the rib,
And hung them by either the hocks or the legs,
Each fellow for his fee, as fell them to have.
Upon the fur of the fair beast fed they their hounds
With the liver and lights, the line of the paunch,
And bread bathed in blood blended among.
Boldly they blew "prize!", bayed their hounds,
Then flung up their flesh, faring for home,
Sounding full stoutly many strong notes.
By time the daylight was done, the dogs were all home
Into the comely castle, there the knight bides
          full still.
With bliss and bright fire waits.
The lord is come therein
When Gawain with him meets,
They were both well at will.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Gawain 1263 - 1318, Gawain keeps his shit together.

"Madame," said that merry man, "Mary reward you,
For I have found, in good faith, your Franchise noble;
And some full much from other folk facsimile deeds,
But those dramatic  dividends I have never deserved -
It is from your own greatness that nought but good comes."
"By Mary," said the maiden, "me thinks it quite other;
For were I worth all the weight of women alive,
And all the wealth of the world were in my hand,
And I should bargain and barter to buy me a lord,
For the things that I have seen within you, knight, here,
Of beauty and demeanour and blithe semblance,
And what I have heard of and hold it here true,
There should no man on earth before you be chosen."
"Indeed countess," said the knight, "you already chose better;
But I am proud of the praise that you put on me,
And, soberly your servant, my sovereign  hold you,
And your knight I become, may Christ you reward."
Thus they matched muchwhat till midmorn passed,
And always the lady let as if she loved much;
The prince parried, defended, with perfect restraint.
Though she burned the brightest of all the broad world,
The less warmth in his words for the weight he could not
The blow that he must brave,
And needs it must be done.
the lady then spoke of leave;
He granted her full soon.

Then she gave him good day, and with a glance laughed,
And as she stood, she shocked him with full strong words:
"Now he that speeds each speech reward you for this sport!
But that you be Gawain, it goes not in mind."
"Wherefore?" says the chevalier, as if stung,
Feared lest he had failed in form of his tongue.
But the lady him blessed, and "By this sign" said:
"So good as Gawain is generally held,
And courtesy is closed so completely in him,
He could not lightly have laughed so long with a lady
But he had craved a kiss by his courtesy,
By some touch or some trifle at some tales end."
Then said Gawain, "Good lady, claim as you like;
I shall kiss at your commandment as a knight must,
As you desire, lest he displease you, so plead it no more."
She comes near with that, and catches him in arms,
Leans lovingly down and the lord kisses.
Then comely commend they to Christ each the other;
Then goes she forth at the door without a sound more,
And he reaches him to rise and rapidly too,
Claps for his chamberlain, chooses his clothes,
Wanders out, when feels ready, blithely to mass.
And then he moves to his meat that meetly, he eats,
And makes merry all day till the moon rose,
          with games.
No knight had more fun
Between two loving dames,
The old and the young;
Much joy gave the same

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Gawain 1208 - 1261 - Gawain uses all his game to cock-block himself.

"Good morning, Sir Gawain," said that gay lady,
"You are an unsubtle sleeper, that one can slip in.
Now are you taken in a trice! If no truce we shape,
I shall bind you in your bed, that you may trust":
With laughter the lady laced  her jests.
"Good morning, gay," said Gawain the blithe,
"I shall work at your will, and that me well likes,
For I surrender, certainly, and seek your grace;
And that is best, I suspect, what necessity needs."
And thus he rebounded with many blithe laughter.
"But would you, lovely lady, then leave me grant,
And release your prisoner, and pray him to rise,
I would break from this bed and beclothe myself better;
then I should keep more comfort to speak you with."
"Nay, for certain, fair sir," said that sweet,
"You shall not rise from your bed, I reckon you better:
I shall tuck you in here, that other half too,
And then speak with my knight that I caught have.
For I clearly cogitate, Sir Gawain you are,
That all the world worships where-so you ride;
Your honour, your humor is highly praised
With lords, with ladies, with all that life bear.
And now we are here, and we are on our own;
My lord and his lads are in the far woods,
All the brothers in bed, and my broads are too,
The door drawn and fastened with a fat hasp.
And since I have in this house him that all like,
I shall spend my time well, while it lasts,
          with tale.
Sir you are welcome in my eyes,
Of your own will use all,
Duty's law then declares I
Your servant be, and shall.

"In good faith," said Gawain, "great I would think
"That I could be he that of you do speak;
To receive such reverence as you rehearse here
I am well unworthy, my wits well declare.
By God, I'd be glad if you thought it good
Your succor or service I might assist, or
Be a pleasure to you, princess - would be a pure joy."
"In good faith, Sir Gawain," said the gay lady,
"The prize and the prowess that pleases all other,
If I laughed at or sold lightly, I'd be slightly vile.
But here are ladies enough that I think would like more
To have you held in their hand, as I have here,
To dally with dearly your dainty words,
Claim their comfort and cool their cares,
Than gems or gleaming gold they now possess.
But I thank that high Lord that all life holds,
I have it wholly in my hand what all desire,
          by His grace."
So made she with great cheer,
That was so fair of face;
The knight with speech clear
Answered to each case.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Gawain 1150 - 1207, Gawain is in Sexy Danger.

At the first cry of the quest quaked the wild;
The deer in the dale by dread were deranged,
Hied to the hills, but were hemmed closely in
Ringed and restrained by the shouting servants.
They let the harts have the gate, with their high heads,
The bold bucks also with their broad antlers;
For the fierce lord had declared in final season
That there should no man move so the male deer.
The hinds were held in with "hay!" and "war!",
The does driven with great din to the deep dales.
There might man see, as they slipped, slanting arrows;
At each warp through the wood whisked a shaft,
That biggly bit into the brown, with full broad heads.
What! they bray and bleed, by banks that descend,
And all the brachets in a rush rashly them chase,
Hunters with high horn hasted them after
With such a cracking cry as if cliffs had burst.
What wild things so escaped the shooting bows
Were brought down and torn open in the deep dales,
Chased from the high cliffs to chokes by the streams;
The servants so skilled at the ambuscade
And the greyhounds so great, that grab them by jaws
And then fall, crash them as fast as a chasers eye
          snapping tight.
The lord for bliss abides
Full oft with lance and light,
And drove that day with joy
Thus to the dark night.

Thus sports this lord through the border-wood eaves
And Gawain the good man in gay bed lies,
Lurks while the daylight gleams on the walls,
Under a coverlet full clear, curtained about.
As he slipped in and out of slumber, it seemed he heard
A little din at his door, which quietly unlocked;
And he heaves up his head out of the clothes,
And a corner of the curtain he casts up a little,
To watch warily what might be thitherward,
It was the lady, loveliest to behold,
That shuts the door after her full stealthy and still,
And crept towards his crib; the knight was ashamed,
And laid him down lightly and let as he slept.
And she stepped softly and still to his bed,
Cast up the curtain and crept within,
And sat her full softly on the bed side,
And watched there waiting to look when he waked.
Gawain lay lurking a full long while,
Compassing his conscience as to what this case might
Mean or amount to - a marvel he thought;
But said he in himself, "More seemly it were
To seek with my speech what she seems to desire."
Then he wakened, and widened and toward her turned,
And unlocked his eye-lids, and let as he wondered,
And crossed him Christs sign, his soul to save
          this while.
With chin and cheek full sweet,
Both white and red in guise
Full lovely so she speaks
With lips small she smiles.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Gawain 1105 - 1149, Gawain has learnt fuck-all about games.

"Therefore," said the fort-lord, "let us freely set:
What-so-ever I win in the wood is worthily yours,
And whatever you achieve indoors, we exchange.
So, swap we Sir - swear with Truth -
Whether, lord, we lose or like the other better."
"By God," said Gawain the good, "I grant it so;
If you like to gamble so, a grand game it makes."
"When brings in the beverage, this bargain is made,"
So said the lord of that land; they laughed each one,
They drank and danced and dandled around,
These lords and ladies, as long as they liked.
And then with verbal flair and full fair words
They stood, then stalled a little, spoke softly,
Kissed full comely and claimed their leave.
By gathering footmen with gleaming flambeau
Each guest to their bed-rest was gently returned
          full soft.
Before leaving, both called
Recorded their covenant oft;
The old lord of that hall
Could well hold game aloft.

Full early before the day-folk uprose,
Guests that would go, their grooms so called,
And they briskly pack up and saddle the bags,
Untangle the tackle, truss up the mares;
The rich clad in richness, to ride all arrayed,
Leaping up lightly, latching their bridles,
Each one on his way that him well liked.
The large lord of that land was not the last
Arrayed for the riding, with servants full many;
Ate a soup hastily, when he had heard mass
With horn to the hunt-field he hurried with haste.
By time any daylight gleamed upon earth,
He with his honchos on high horses were.
Then these catchers that each claimed their hounds,
Un-closed the kennel door and called them thereout,
Blew biggly in bugles three bare notes.
Brachets bayed therefore and booming noise made,
And the chasers were chastened and cheered as they went,
By a hundred of hunters, as I have heard tell,
          the best.
Huntsman started surveying,
Hounds started to quest,
There rose from their baying,
Great noise in that forest.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Gawain 1079 - 1104, (・_・;)

Then was Gawain full glad, and gamely he laughed:
"Now I thank you full-totally before all other things;
Now achieved is my chance, I shall at your will
Dwell, and else do what you so deem."
Then seized him the sire and set him beside,
Let the ladies be fetched to like them the better.
There was some solace by themselves still;
The lord let out for love, language so merry,
Like one wild of his wit, who knew not what he did.
Then he spoke to the chevalier, stated aloud,
"Since you have deemed to do the deed I bid;
Will you hold this oath, here, now, at once?"
"Yes, sir, for certain," said the true knight,
"While I bide in your burgh, I'll obey your command."
"As you have traveled," said his protector, "truly far,
And since waked with me, you are not well suffused
Neither of sustenance nor of sleep, certain I know.
You shall sleep in your loft and lie in your ease
Tomorrow till the Mass-time, and to meat wend
When you will, with my wife, that with you shall sit
And comfort you with company, till I to court return.
          You rest
And I shall early rise
And a hunt make my quest."
Gawain grants all this,
And bows, as a good guest.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Gawain 1046 - 1078, Green Chapel = Found.

Then frankly, directly, the Duke framed his words:
What dread deed had driven him at this dear time
So keenly from the kings court to cut his fate alone,
'ere the holy-days wholly had happened to pass?
"For certain, sir," said the chevalier, "you speak only truth;
A high errand and a hasty one took me from my home,
For I am summoned, myself, to search out a place,
I know nowhere in nature its name can be found.
I would not fail to get near it on New Years morn
For all the land in Logres, so help me our Lord!
Therefore, sir, this request I require you to hear,
That you tell me with truth if ever you tale heard
of the green chapel, where it on ground stands,
And of the knight that it keeps, of colour of green.
There was stated by statute a deal us between
To meet that man at that minster, should I so live;
And of this dying December, few days now remain,
And I would look on that lord, if God let me would,
Rather gaze on him, by Gods son, than any gold wield!
Therefore, my lord, your leave I must ask
Now my adventure has left me bare three days,
And I am as fain to fall fatally as of my errand fail."
Then laughing said the lord, "Now you can't leave,
For I shall take you to that temple by the times end,
The green chapel upon ground grieve you no more;
But you shall be in your bed, brother, at your ease,
For four days, going forth on the first of the year,
And come to that man at mid-morn, to make what you like,
          your meeting commence.
Dwell here to New Years day,
And rise and ride then.
I shall show you the way;
It is not two miles hence."