Mar. 11th, 2014

wipe the sleep from tiger eyes

After the unexpected failure with Modrun, Sagramore elects to learn about kissing for himself, and he quickly winds up in the beds of at least half of Camelot. He's young, but he's eager, as quick to learn in the bedroom as he is in the training yards, and sweet.

But after a while, rumors begin spreading about his sickness, that there's something not quite right with him. Sometimes the story is that it's contagious, sometimes that it's some sort of devil in him, but combined with his promiscuity and his foreignness, it coalesces into a general distaste, and it's not unusual for him to be gossiped about amongst the Queen's ladies, over the sewing circle. He has no one to champion for him -- he has friends among the knights, but many of them are young, as he is, and many of those unwilling to tie themselves to him: only Gawain is staunchly in support of him, despite Agravain's sneering; but Gawain is much in demand lately, a kind of rising star, with his good humor and his broad, open face and his excellent skill at arms, and he's rarely around to hear the talk.

Sagramore is easy to bait into fights, as he suggested to Modrun, and getting a rise out of him turns into a kind of game amongst some of the knights who find that funny, or are just spoiling for fights themselves. He's learning about the fleeting pleasure of getting drunk, too, and he often comes back to his rooms of an evening with a split lip and a smell of wine about him.

Gradually he stops seeing almost everyone except Gwytha, one of the queen's tiring-maids. Gwytha is gentle and patient and sensible, seems to balance his passionate nature; the mysterious illness doesn't seem to frighten her, and she takes his misadventures in stride.

It's late morning, and Gwytha is straightening things in Guenever's chambers, dusting a little where it pleases her. She left Sagramore sleeping, and for the moment she's unconcerned with anything but doing her work.

Mar. 7th, 2014

and dance away my blues

Gawain and Agravain rescue the boy, somewhere out on the plains, and bring him back to Camelot -- he's a few years younger than they are, and with his dark curls and bright eyes and the shadow of beard he's trying desperately to cultivate, not to mention his limited grasp of the language, he's something new and exciting. The sword at his hip is too large for him, but he won't hear of being fitted with another. No one really understands where he's come from -- except that it's across the sea, somewhere -- but he says he's been sent to serve King Arthur. King Lot's boys vouch for his valor, and a few days later they're all of them knighted.

Sagramore, as he's called, seems to glow with his excitement. Many of the maids, and not a few of the young men, are already pining for him; they gossip about him in the stables, in the kitchens, in the Queen's sewing circle. So far he hasn't yet chosen where to bestow his affections, and this, too, is a topic of much conversation. Gawain and Agravain have certainly made the most of their sudden surge in popularity.

When Arthur touches his shoulders, one after the other, with Excalibur, he lifts his bowed head in spite of himself to look, and the king smiles at him.

After the ceremony, there's much drinking and dancing to be done -- after all, exotic newcomers aside, Gawain is well-loved in Camelot already, and his knighting is easily cause for celebration in and of itself. Sagramore grins and blushes at everyone who solicits him, and dances exuberantly. Despite his lanky youth, he's astonishingly graceful, and he moves with such pleasure in movement that it more than makes up for the fact he doesn't know the dances. More than a few people stop to watch him; he is, in this moment, beautiful.

Aug. 1st, 2011

[alternate universe]

Sagramore has been messing around all day, probably busily engaged in the project of trying to get himself killed -- it seems to be one of his hobbies, as Mordred often points out -- and when he gets back to his quarters in the castle, he's dirty and a little bruised, humming a Hungarian marching song under his breath, one he vaguely, vaguely remembers the soldiers singing back home when he was a child.

Gwytha has left him whitbeer and bread by his fireplace, and he crouches down to take his boots off, drinking eagerly. He knows he should probably have mentioned to Mordred that he was going out and wouldn't be back until very late, but he forgot, as he sometimes does, and so he figures he won't see Mordred until some time to-morrow night. They won't have time to steal a quick encounter before then.

He mostly finishes his supper, and starts to get ready for bed, undoing the laces on his tunic.

Aug. 23rd, 2010

Despite the fact that she and Sagramore are all but soulmates, Gwytha still occasionally has rows with him, and when she comes to Mordred's room this evening she's alone. Her face, which is ordinarily all smiles, is furrowed into a frown, and she stomps through the door trying to unpin her hair and unlace her dress at the same time, looking tired and extremely cross.

Aug. 9th, 2010

Sagramore has been away for a while--a small assignment in a not-too-distant city, to clear up a little trouble in Arthur's name, his first real piece of work alone and he was delighted by the chance. It's kept him away from Camelot for the last three weeks, and it's safe to say there's only one thing really on his mind by the time he gets back.

He stables his horse quickly, not bothering to rub her down; a stableboy will do that, it is after all their job. He stops in his own room (slightly dusty from neglect) only long enough to throw down his things, and then dashes down the hall, long-legged and graceful, to Mordred's door, where he knocks with great impatience. He hasn't even bothered to change out of his travelling clothes, and he's sweat-stained and disgusting and needs a bath badly, not to mention a shave (his cheeks are covered in three days' stubble), but there are, as far as he's concerned, much more important things than these to attend to.

Apr. 27th, 2010

Sagramore knows he isn't supposed to see Gaheris any more, but he witnessed the tail end of the disaster with Luned by mistake, and he just can't let something like that go unacknowledged. He grabs a small flagon of hot spiced mead from by his fire and hurries off to Gaheris' rooms.

Gwytha is in her own room, for once--since usually she's either with Sagramore or Mordred, this is an odd occurrence, but she's settled into a chair by the fire (the April nights are still cool) weaving on the loom. It isn't a job many of the girls get, but her hands are very steady.

She's humming to herself, not particularly concerned with anything at the moment.

Feb. 10th, 2010

Things have been better since he came home for good and stopped his constant questing. Gwytha is back with him, and she's not the only one; to be honest, he's been making a lot of friends lately, the sort of opposite extreme of his earlier fight-spoiling. It's not Gwytha whose room he's leaving now, his hair damp and his clothes rumpled, his face flushed from exertion. His tunic is not properly put on, and he looks a little dazed as he stumbles back to his room.

Jan. 15th, 2010

Over the last few weeks, Sagramore has spent much of his time out on small quests or long rides, barely back at Camelot. When his horse does turn up in the castle stables, she's generally hard ridden and put away badly. Sagramore himself is hard to find whether or not she's in evidence, his room for the most part abandoned, although the persistent rumour in the castle, for those who listen to rumours, is that he's found other rooms to stay in.

This is the first day he's been in his room for two weeks now. The weather is bitingly cold, but he's stripped to his waist, washing his face in the basin; he has a black eye and a split lip, and bruises on his shoulders and chest.

Dec. 6th, 2009

After Sagramore has stomped back to his room, and Gwytha has pried the details of the fight from him, then scolded him soundly, she heads over to Mordred's room, still dressed in her nightgown, carrying a candle. She taps on the door softly, pushing her hair behind her shoulder.

"Mordred? Are you there?"

Oct. 24th, 2009

Cecily has been married since September, to a courtier who takes good care of her and keeps her in fine dress, which was all she really wanted out of marriage anyway. At first she meant to be forsworn of all other men once she was married, but that has turned out to be a very fine ideal which she hasn't much kept to. Of the men she's seen, though, Sagramore hasn't been one.

When she sees him again in the gardens he's teasing Gwytha over some trifle. They're both laughing, and Gwytha looks beautiful, and Cecily honestly never imagined that she'd miss him, but she does, and it hurts. She's always known that he gives freely of his affections, that she wasn't the only lady he loved; still, it's true to say she's never seen him with someone he looks so well with. Gwytha, whose skin is shady like his, has a sweet round body that would fit well in his arms.

Cecily's never been jealous before. Now she feels like she's on fire.

She finds a quiet place in the castle to sit, and rests her head in her hands and burns.

---

Sagramore's beard is getting ridiculously fine, and he is getting ridiculously proud of it, not least because it makes him look a great deal older than he is. He is curly and tall and thin as a willow, and looks handsome even when he's sick, which is gratifying and the only thing that mitigates the sickness (as he gets older, he gets sicker more often, two or three times a week now and he supposes he should try to find the herbs Ane's physicians used on him but he doesn't want to have anything to do with doctors and medicine now that he has the opportunity to be free of them).

If Cecily asked he'd take her back in a heartbeat, he truly would. He just doesn't suppose she wants him. Meanwhile he's more than happy with Gwytha and Mordred and Maggie.

---

She doesn't just want to be his lover; she finds that she doesn't want to share him, that if she could have him she wouldn't share herself either. She wants a true lover, to be the most important person in the world to someone.

There's got to be some way to win him.

In the meantime, she wants to make him just as jealous as she is, and there's only one man she knows he loves. She has her maid dress her hair with flowers and small jewels, wears her prettiest, least ostentatious gown, and goes to find a place where she can meet Mordred without appearing to have sought him.

Oct. 15th, 2009

It isn't until nearly five o'clock in the morning, and a day later, when Sagramore's fever breaks; he wakes up in a room that's nearly dark except for the faint glow of the last of the fire. Gwytha is asleep at the end of his bed, leaning with her back against the wall and her hair unpinned, her hands knotted loosely in her skirts.

He sits up, wiping his forehead and looking around; he has that feeling of newness and reawakening that comes after a fever, as well as being ravenously hungry.

"Gwytha? Mordred?"

Oct. 13th, 2009

With October comes weather that Sagramore actually gives his blessing to, the cold fierce winds that wander down from the Northern parts of Britain, and the freezing rain that accompanies them. He spends the day out in the stables attending to his fat mare, who is less enthusiastic, and gets back to his room soaked and shivering.

Gwytha helps him out of his wet clothes and for a while he stays safely ensconced in bed with her, which does even better for his state of mind. After that it's back to his own room for hot mead and the usual daily care he lavishes on his father's sword, ritual-like.

By this time he's fairly humming with a kind of frantic energy. He moves too quickly but doesn't feel it, and his body is burning to touch.

Sep. 15th, 2009

Sagramore has been dallying a great deal the last week or so with the wife of a visiting lord--the lord has been in conference with Arthur for hours on end, and the lady is young, lonely, and excitable. Her name is Eleanor, and she has a considerable talent for languages; she's picked up enough Hungarian to make love and conversation.

He's learning to be very discreet, but the lady isn't, or at least she's shared with her maids, and they've shared with the castle's, and it's common knowledge to anybody who listens, which evidently her husband doesn't. If Arthur knows, he hasn't chastised Sagramore yet (which makes it unlikely that he has).

But it's not Eleanor he's kissing good-bye this evening. Gwytha's been telling him the castle gossip, as she does, and in Arthur's place she issued a stern warning.

"Sweet-heart, canst not have sport with a lady like that. Her lord's one of them to be cordial with, and there's naught cordial in bedding his wife. Leave her be, tell her something. Tell her something fine, thou knowst lots of fine things to say."

"But I love her--"

Gwytha leans close. "Sweet, hush thy tongue and listen to me. The Queen bade me tell thee so. Thou'lt make things ill between our cities."

He sighs and nods, his hands at her waist. Gwytha smiles up at him--he's getting tall enough that it's not just Mordred who has to stretch--and kisses the base of his throat.

"Th'art a good boy."

Sagramore's arms tighten a little and he buries his face in her hair.

Aug. 7th, 2009

Sagramore is bleeding again, which should not especially come as a surprise to anyone--he gets into a lot of fights, a lot of battles over honour or girls or trivial things, and loses a little more often than he wins; even when he does win he usually ends up bloodied or bruised. This time it's his nose and a small, deep wound in his shoulder, right between his breastbone and his arm, and the latter is leaking profusely.

He's in his room, mopping up with a fistful of his bed linens, his teeth gritted against the pain. It looks like a murder's taken place, what with his bloodstained tunic thrown over a chair in one corner, his washbasin full of red water, and the damp blankets pulled up to his body. The chief indication that he's alive, however, is the fact that he's swearing profusely and unprintably in a mixture of English, Hungarian, and Turkish.

If there were wallpaper, it would undoubtedly be curling.

Jul. 2nd, 2009

It's just one of those inevitable achingly hot July evenings, when you think that the sun going down means things are going to get cooler and instead it just makes them stifling, everything suspended in the heat, so much so that even sounds seem impossible and everything is still.

It makes him miss Hungary, or the bits and pieces he can remember of Hungary, which he's always grasping desperately at (Hungary is the same as his father, his father is Hungary; and everything that fades into childhood feels more and more like some kind of betrayal of a man Sagramore had only got fragments of to begin with (but he was kind, Sagramore thinks, he never worried about anything, and he cheated at cards, and he promised to teach me to ride and use my sword), before he and Hungary were lost to Constantinople and the masters there who taught Sagramore to ride and use his sword, and the physician who was always present). In the heat he feels as though he's gotten as far away as it's possible to get from Hungary.

And compounding it all is the fact that another girl has left him because of his seizures ("No, no," he told her desperately, when she refused to talk to him that afternoon in the courtyard. "The priest swears God did not do this, I am baptised, I have been blessed and anointed, I swear to you," but she hurried past with her lips tight. "Them black ones always gets the Devil," her companion said. He spent the rest of the afternoon in his room cursing his mother and her swarthy Greek skin, and trying not to sob).

Now he's in the stables with his horse, stroking her velvety brown nose and nursing a bottle of wine Cecily stole for him from the King's cellars. His eyes are wet and red, and he's talking to the horse in Hungarian, his accent unusually thick.

Jun. 13th, 2009

It's been a few casual days mostly spent with Maggie--he took her off riding into one of the small towns scattered around the outskirts of Camelot, and they wasted plenty of time and most of his money on a good inn and pleasant things; and all of his usual exuberant energy and good spirits are back. Maggie, too, seemed especially happy when he left her with her sheep, and he spent some time in the stable putting up his horse and playing with the dogs.

Even better, at least to his mind, is that the seizure managed to hold off until he got back, and now he's in his room quietly cleaning up after himself, using a handful of wet straw to clean the floor and then changing out of his soiled clothes.

He fetches the washbasin and scrubs himself off gingerly, crouching on the stone floor, wringing water over his body with a spare tunic wadded up, and shivering pleasantly under the cold of it.

Jun. 9th, 2009

Sagramore has only been in Britain a few months, still without his device, still settling in--his swordwork is improving with Gawain's help, and it's probably not as much a secret as he'd like that there are two or three castle ladies who visit him on a regular basis, and he's usually out of money from buying them gifts, but he doesn't seem to mind that, and he usually doesn't borrow, so nobody else minds either--but the truth is he's always been bad at lying low, and Kay's new nickname for him stung more than it should have, and the way things have turned out--

Well. He's at Mordred's door with a bloody mouth and nose and a limp, looking somewhat hangdog, his usual bright smile subdued.

"Sir?"