2.24 – Laws as Written

For the people who are wondering about the memory pictures – The happy ones retain some colour, while the normal ones turn grey. The more grainy and dark around the edges they get, the older they are, or the deeper they are buried.
The exception are the “big” memories. Those are sharp. They’re either colourful, happy memories that the characters draw strength from even now, or grey memories that plague them still.


“It’s not right! If you want him, you can go through me first!”

“You can’t be like that. You have to be a king that does right by his people.”
“I will. You have my word, Gawain.”

“Isn’t it obvious? I’m going to be a knight.”

“Make no mistake, Gawain. A guard dog is all you will ever be. Even as the royal pet. You can pretend to be a knight all you want. But you will never be more than a lowly commoner, performing tricks on command like a dog for its master.”


With Gawain rapidly climbing up the ranks of the castle military and earning himself a place among Arthur’s men, the young redhead had started to receive a very generous living wage. Generous enough to move his family out of their small city hovel and into a much more luxurious cottage, not ten minutes from the castle.

It was an improvement in many ways. Their family had never been poor, and Gawain would never say this to his father’s face, but Lot was not exactly the most skilled of merchants. Like Gawain, he was a generous man who preferred to see the best in people. Even to his own detriment. It was an admirable trait, and one that had been inherited by all three of his sons.
It just was not the greatest trait to have for a merchant.

But none of that mattered anymore. As a member of Arthur’s personal guard, Gawain earned enough to move his entire family into a better home. It no longer mattered if Lot failed at his business endeavours. Unless he did something truly stupid, Gawain could simply cover for him.

The young redhead sighed, relieved to feel the familiar cobblestone road under his feet again. Even though his home was only ten minutes away from the castle, Gawain did not get to come home nearly as often as he wanted to. Mostly, his family had to come to him.

Gawain looked to the left. The garden had changed since he’d last been home. The trees that his mother had tended to had finally started to bear fruit; Gawain could see dozens of round, juicy-looking apples hanging between the leaves. The faint scent of lavender passed by his nose, drifting on the cool autumn wind and originating from the direction of the cottage. The young redhead could feel a wave of nostalgia overcome him. They’d always grown lavender back in the city, too. His mother always said that their scent would “help you find your way home”.

After what had happened in the square, Gawain had been convinced that he’d never get to go home again.

He still remembered the look on his little brother’s face. The expression of panicked horror when the town guard tackled him to the ground, restraining him. It had been a terrible sight, and poor Gaheris was already easily scared. A seven-year-old shouldn’t have had to see something like that.
But he did, and there had been nothing that Gawain could do about it.
Again.

He just hoped that it hadn’t ended up giving the poor kid nightmares.

Gawain was taken out of his worried thoughts by the sound of running footsteps. He raised his head just in time to see two flashes of blue – and then his brothers jumped at him, launching themselves straight into his chest and nearly knocking him over. The young redhead could hear two loud, squeaky, excited little voices blasting into his eardrums.  
“You’re back! You’re BACK! MUM!”
“MUUUUUM! GAWAIN IS BACK!”

Gawain barely managed to stay upright. His brothers were getting big. A few more years, and they’d be able to knock him over for real. The thought made him strangely proud. A smile spread across Gawain’s face as the young redhead grabbed onto his brother, lifted him in the air and hoisted him on top of his shoulders, making Gareth burst out in laughter.
“Missed me, did you?” Gawain grinned.

That instantly caught the attention of Gaheris. The boy’s eyes grew as round as gold coins, almost falling out of their sockets as he stared at the scar on his big brother’s mouth.
“Whoa – Gawain! Your face! It’s all cut up!”
“Yeah, I know.”
“It… It looks-”

“It looks so cool!” Gareth yelled, finishing his little brother’s sentence for him. The look of shock on Gaheris’s face instantly turned into frustration.
“Does not!”
“Does too! Is it going to turn into a scar? It is, isn’t it? That’s so cool! It’s a battle scar! Every knight has battle scars from fighting bad guys!”

As Gaheris pouted in huffy silence next to them, Gawain carefully placed Gareth back on the ground. The boy grabbed on to his uniform, still smirking up at him.
“Don’t listen to Gaheris. I think it’s really cool!”

Gawain let out a chuckle as he looked down on his brother.
“Yeah… I guess it is.”

“I knew you’d come back, you know,” Gareth continued. “Gaheris cried last night because he’s a wuss and thought the bad guys got you. But I knew you’d be fine.”
“I’m not a wuss!” Gaheris yelled, stomping his foot on the ground in anger.
“You so are!”
“Am not!”
“Am too!”
“Am-”

“Okay, that’s enough,” Gawain chuckled, ruffling his youngest brother’s hair. “Neither one of you is a wuss. And it’s all right. The bad guys didn’t get me. The Prince helped and got me out in time.”

“Prince Arthur did?!” Gaheris gasped. His eyes began to sparkle with excitement at the mentioning of his hero. He opened his mouth, no doubt to unleash a flood of questions – and immediately got cut off by the much louder voice of his brother.
“Did he help you escape from the castle?! Are you a runaway now?!”
“No, he let me out,” Gawain gently corrected him. “I’m still one of his men.”
“Man, that’s so cool! I want to be friends with a Prince, too.”
“Me too!” Gaheris echoed. Gareth shook his head at his brother.
“You’re too much of a wuss to be friends with the Prince. You can be friends with the Princess.”
“Nuh-uh! Princesses are stupid! I want to be friends with Prince Arthur!”

“I’m sure that you can both be his friends,” Gawain chuckled, looking down on his younger brothers as they squabbled. His comment fell on deaf ears. They had been that way since they were toddlers. Always at odds with each other, competing over everything from the moment that they were born. But despite all that, Gareth and Gaheris still couldn’t fall asleep without the other one in the same room.

Not that they’d admit that to anyone, of course.

The young redhead had been ten years old when his brothers were born. He could still remember it vividly. With an age gap that large, Gawain had long since lost sight of where he had stopped feeling like an older brother and started feeling like a parent. He remembered teaching the both of them how to walk. He had showed them how to properly hold a sword, without getting splinters in their hands from the wood. They were almost eight years old now. Very soon, Gawain would start teaching them how to fight for real.

The young redhead was looking forward to it. In a way, he felt responsible for them.

And in a way, he was.

Someone had to keep them safe, after all.

And sometimes there was no one else.

Gawain was abruptly pulled out of his dark musings by the feeling of two small hands grabbing hold of him. Gareth and Gaheris began to drag him off, pulling their big brother in the direction of the front door.
“Come on! Mum is making apple pancakes. We need to tell her to make more.”
“I’m not that hun-”
“Liar! You were looking at the apples. I saw you look. Don’t worry, she promised to leave out the seeds this time!”
“She said she wants to make them into coil,” Gaheris nodded. That earned him another scoff from his brother.

“Not coil, you fopdoodle! She said oil!”
“Did not!”
“Did too!”

The two of them bickered the whole way to the front door. As they dragged him off, Gawain could smell the delicious scent of freshly baked goods wafting towards him. It smelled of home, in a way that only his mother’s cooking could. Gawain could feel a warm feeling spread through his chest.

On second thought… the young redhead was suddenly starving for some pancakes.


With an obnoxious flurry of his quill, Lionel Gaunness scribbled his house’s signature onto the parchment. It was a gaudy, over-the-top, ridiculously curly signature that took up way more space on the page than it was supposed to.

The nobleman took a step back, nodding in approval at his own penmanship.
“Mark my words, gentlemen,” Lionel said with a smirk. “You are watching history in the making. History, I tell you! My noble house and I will be remembered for eons to come, for our valour as well as our grace with both the quill and the sword!”

“Saddle-goose,” Elyan grumbled, annoyed at the man’s bragging. “You’ll be remembered for having the fighting skills of a soggy piece of parchment.”
That earned him an indignant scowl from Lionel. The nobleman turned around, turning up his nose at Elyan before sneering:
“Just because you have the fighting grace and elegance of a donkey, does not mean that civil, honourable combat is conducted in the same way. You may come and apologise to me once you’ve been disqualified for breaking the simplest rules of chivalry.”
“And what is that? Not having a proper glove to smack in your face the next time you decide to insult my friends?”
“You wouldn’t even know from what end to hold your glove,” Lionel scoffed at Elyan. “And you’re supposed to drop the thing. Not assault someone’s facial features with it like it’s a cudgel. Leave it to a barbarian like you to fail at even the simplest-”

“Enough,” Lancelot interjected. “Restrain yourselves. You’re being a disgrace to our Prince.”

Lancelot’s tone had lowered to an icy chill. Out of all of Arthur’s men, the Duke’s son was the best at controlling his emotions and keeping a calm exterior. As a result, whenever Lancelot did display anger, the effect was immediately noticeable. Both Elyan and Lionel visibly shrank at his words. The two of them sheepishly turned around to face Arthur, who had been watching the scene unfold with his eyebrow raised.
“Apologies, sire.”
“Sorry, my lord.”
“You are excused. But if you repeat this behaviour during the tournament, I will disqualify you both. Understood?”
“Yes, sire.”
“Yes, my lord.”

The rest of the registration proceeded in silence. Lionel handed the quill over to Percival, after which the remaining noblemen swiftly began to register their participation in the tournament. Inwardly, Arthur let out a sigh of relief. So far everything was going well, despite his lengthy absence. Everything was still going according to schedule. Lancelot had had no small part to play in that. The Crown Prince would have to thank him properly later. As well as get the charges against Gawain dropped, introduce a new training regimen, shore up the city’s defences…

And speak to his uncle.
The Crown Prince was not looking forward to that.

But for now, everything was going well.

Until the doors to the throne room opened, and a familiar figure came walking in.

“How are preparations going?”

“Fine, my lady,” Lancelot answered, looking a little uncomfortable to be standing that close. “Every knight and willing noble in Camelot has signed up, with the exception of the late Sir Bertrand. The group that you see here is the last. After that, we will have everyone from Camelot.”
“I see. Thank you, Lancelot.”
Her smile widened.
“But you’re wrong on one account.”
“My Lady?”
“Would you excuse me for a moment?” Morgana replied, ignoring his question. “I have some business with that book and quill over there.”

Arthur watched with slowly raising eyebrows as his little sister made her way past his men, stepping up to the registration stand. That expression turned into into straight-up confusion when he saw her pick up the quill.
What in the Watcher’s name…?
The Crown Prince stopped by her side just as she dipped the quill into the ink jar. With a hesitant, confused smile, Arthur called out.

“Err… Morgana, what are you doing?”

“Registering for the tournament, of course.”

The Crown Prince blinked. He could hear several polite coughs behind him, coming from the direction of his men as they shuffled their feet in discomfort.
“Er… that’s not how that works, my lady,” Elyan finally spoke.
“Yes,” Lionel added. His cautious smile was both uncertain and slightly fearful – a very different expression from what the nobleman had worn a few seconds ago.
“With all due respect, your highness, there are certain… qualifications… that need to be met.”

“Lionel is right, Morgana,” Arthur spoke. “You’re not a knight, or a trainee. Or even a man, for that matter. Are you feeling all right? We’ve hosted tournaments before – have you forgotten how this works?”

Morgana merely smiled at them in response.
“Of course I am not a knight. It matters not. I am the royal princess. Agravaine,” she said, turning towards her uncle. “Is it not so that, being of royal status, I am entitled to every single privilege that those born below me enjoy?”

The Jacoban priest crossed his arms, nodding to her in response.
“Well, technically, yes. But that is not how that law is intended. You can’t-”

“Intention does not matter,” Morgana said, cutting him off before he could finish speaking. “What matters is what is written. ”

A devious smirk spread across her lips as Agravaine’s frown deepened. So did Arthur’s. He had seen that look on her face before. Many times. It was the same look that she had worn just before she tried to pair up Arthur and Guinevere. And when she had threatened to have Sarah cut his hair if he didn’t train Gawain. It was that devious, characteristic glimmer, paired with a smirk that warned Arthur she was playing some hidden angle.
He really disliked that expression.

Dear Watcher, what are you planning now?

“That still doesn’t change anything,” Arthur persisted. “You may be a woman of noble birth, but you’re still a woman. You cannot participate in this tournament. Or any tournament.”
“Of course not!” Morgana replied sweetly. “That would be preposterous. But, as I recall, any noble that is willing but unable to participate, can choose to be represented instead. And they can choose that representative freely, without restraints.”

… Oh, no.

The Crown Prince suddenly knew exactly what she was trying to do. And she was right. He couldn’t stop her. He narrowed his eyes at her as a sinking feeling spread through his stomach. Reluctantly, Arthur opened his mouth and growled:
“…Who do you choose to represent you?”

“Gawain.”

Bollocks.

14 thoughts on “2.24 – Laws as Written

  1. Oh I liked that section 😊
    It was interesting to see Gawain’s relationship with his little brothers and to see all his memories.

    Morgana has started moving the pieces in her chess game. All customs are put to the test and now she has moved her first piece. For Gawain, it means his dream is coming true.♟
    Who was it that said he would never become a knight!?
    Some laugh while others get red ears. The facial expressions in your photos are amazing 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I liked it too! Turns out writing happy bits is fun =D Gawain inherited my own feelings towards my little brother. There’s a ridiculous age gap there too, and when he was growing up, I completely lost sight of the big sister vs parent divide, too. I taught him to walk up and down stairs. It’s a weird point of pride, haha.

      You can link a good number of characters in the story as chess pieces on a board. We have the king, queen, bishop, knight, rook, and a whole lot of pawns…

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. D’aww, we finally get to meet Gawain’s brothers. And they look up to him so much. Too much cuteness. I can’t take it.

    What are they hiding from in that memory where they’re all under the table?

    Elyan’s reaction in the last picture is priceless. That being said… I get why Morgana’s doing this, and I’m sure Gawain will be ecstatic to participate, but it also kind of feels like she’s inadvertently putting a target in Gawain’s back.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Gareth and Gaheris are way too adorable for my sim world ❤

      That is a very good question. Please feel free to direct your inquiry to my attorney, Mr. Bickers. I believe he’s in the garden, running from dragon-Nimueh after he tried to file her claws off.

      I have such a soft spot for Elyan xD he’s a good dude, even if he’s crude and loud-mouthed and slightly vulgar at times. The rest of the nobles definitely won’t be as happy as Elyan and Lancelot, though. You’re very right about that.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That info about how you present the memories is really interesting. Not only that you put so much thought into your screenshots, but also what this suggests; that some memories are buried/plaguing the characters, then I want to know all the hows and whys and… I’m gonna be over-analysing them all from now on. *adds new tab to notebook*

    Gawain, feeling sorry for himself while his buddies dance about, oblivious, with their shiny sticks next to him. That memory of him as a kid, all battered with the black eye and bright dream is all sorts of sad. And you didn’t fail ill-fated Rupert, Gawain, everyone else did. You’re a knight in my eyes. (Also, I know Rupert was never officially ‘Rupert’ – mostly so you didn’t have to add him to your death count – but it’s much shorter to type than ‘young, skinny, dark-haired kid Gawain tried to protect in the square’.)

    Yeah, seeing good in people as a merchant in these hard times? Gonna be loaning to good-for-nothings and falling victim to a few swindlers, I should think. “Unless he did something truly stupid” which sort of suggests he has/did. I love your description of the embrace of home; lavender, cobblestone path, apple pancakes and two over-excited kids greeting their big brother hero. This comment is ridiculously huge already, so I’m gonna dump the nostalgia bit over on the forum. Gaheris’s little face is the sweetest damn thing, I can’t even cope, and the contrast between his gentle care and Gareth’s boyish flippancy is brilliant. Let these two grow up, please! I wanna see them again.

    But the ominous undertone here… phew. Gawain feeling unable to protect his brother from something, ‘again’. I get that he’s felt like protector all his life, we saw that in his earlier years with Morgana, right through to Rupert, and again here with his brothers. Who protected Gawain? He has parents… so I can only assume that they either provided no protection or support (he taught his brothers to walk…), were absent a lot, or worse, they were what he needed to protect from. Although mother’s cooking invokes fondness… But then I feel that “He just hoped that it hadn’t ended up giving the poor kid nightmares” and “Gareth and Gaheris still couldn’t fall asleep without the other one in the same room” are connected; it’s all connected isn’t it. Hm.

    Well done; you’ve made me dislike someone with just a description of their signature alone. I’m still thinking of Monkey Island when I read your fight insults, though. Ugh, I don’t care if it is barbaric to “assault someone’s facial features” with a glove, I’m gonna fill mine with stones and take a solid swing at your smug smile, Lionel. Wow, this is some fast hate I’ve cultivated here; I don’t even like Elyan and Lancelot much, don’t know why I feel the need to jump in. Oh, did Lancelot step into Arthur’s shoes while he was gone? Oh, my. Let’s hope that’s the last time.

    “With all due respect, your highness, there are certain… qualifications… that need to be met.” Balls. You need balls, Morgana. Although we know that you are capable of conjuring some up, which is why half of Camelot is currently being dragged into jail, so maybe don’t do that again. Ah, see! Arthur knows what you need and has put it rather succinctly at the end there. Maybe he’ll harvest you some from all those dead fellas in the jail. Ack, damn it! I almost made it through a whole essay without falling into Random River. Maybe next time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It wasn’t like that from the very beginning, but that’s how I’ve started to use them. I’ll spare you some time digging into previous chapters – the last “big” memories were in “For the Future of Albion”, with one being buried and one being very very sharp.

      [That memory of him as a kid, all battered with the black eye and bright dream is all sorts of sad. And you didn’t fail ill-fated Rupert, Gawain, everyone else did. You’re a knight in my eyes.]
      Oof, my heart. If only Gawain could hear you. Rupert is definitely shorter. Unless you abbreviate it to YSDKGTTPITS. Wait, no, Rupert is still shorter.

      Luring real-life me over with lasagne, apple pie or lavender (not at the same time though, my gods) always works, and since they don’t have lasagne in medieval Camelot, Gawain inherited two of those things from me. Sort of. And who knows? Perhaps these two are lucky. Some of my characters just get to be happy. It’s like winning the sim-lottery.

      [it’s all connected isn’t it.]
      Maaaaaaybe. Possibly. I’d like to refer you to Mr. Bickers for any further mental probing.

      I have way too much fun with writing Lionel’s pompous, obnoxious dialogue and actions. It doesn’t help that his entire face is just so punchable. Oh my, do we have a new most-hated character here? Over his signature and manners? The poor guy. He’ll have to sit at the hated table again now, instead of the forgotten table.

      I was doing pretty well making it through your comment with a straight face, maybe little smile here and there, but that last paragraph broke me. Dear lord. xDDDDD I almost spit out my drink, lol. I love Random River.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Gawain might be able to hear me if he wasn’t always falling about drunk and half-dressed. YSDKGTTPITS might not be shorter, but it is certainly catchy. Like a rash.

        Lionel has only overtaken Aggro this chapter because a) Aggro didn’t do much to further irk me this time and b) because of my latest desktop background. Aggro is still very much at the hated table with Uther and whoever that git was in Gawain’s memory.

        …Should it be Random Ravine? Either way, I give up trying to be sensible with my comments now as clearly the river/ravine is where I belong, wallowing in the abyss with all the other funeral clowns. 😆

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so glad you found a spot to fit Gawain and his brothers. This chapter is adorable ❤ Gaheris and Gareth’s squabbles will be the end of me though. I wouldn’t know what to do with them!

    Who’s the third kid in gawain’s memory? The one with the momotaru haircut?

    I’ve decided that the only reason why Lionel signed up for Knightship is to boost his reputation or pristege, but at the first sign of trouble he’ll cower and run. Maybe I’m prejudiced but my goodness he is so unlikeable! xD

    How many dumbfounded faces did you have to find for this chapter lol? Agra’s the best. Only because I don’t think he’ll be making that face any time soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I’m glad I finally got to wedge them in somewhere, too! Poor Gawain has been having very little screentime lately so this was the perfect moment for it.

      You’re looking at toddler Gaheris. =P

      Nah, you got him pretty much spot-on, actually. What is the opposite of a fan club? Looks like poor Lionel is going to need one of those! xD

      I cycled through so many dumbfounded faces, lol. I don’t have all that many, and there’s not that many “wtf” faces in my game yet, either. Needs the more. All the more. xD

      Like

  5. Oh, so that kid from last chapter’s Gawain’s younger brother and the woman’s still his mother. I’m not too far off! 😀 Are Gaheris and Gareth identical twins? That’d explain their close bond, no other two siblings I’ve seen squabble more than twins! 😉 What sort of memories are those and who were they hiding from in that memory? Interesting, since I like to figure out the past. 🙂

    Oh, I forgot to mention last chapter, where Agravaine said that several people had dark hair and a slim body (and also a male), doesn’t he fit this description himself? Why isn’t he in jail yet? xD Morgana fits this description, too, but she was the one who Agravaine saw, except her being a male, so I suppose that’s obvious.

    I can see why the men are stunned in the last part, especially Arthur who’s her brother. After all why would a woman sign a male knight’s tournament? Oh, of course, to be represented! 😀 And she’d choose Gawain, obviously, since they were friends since childhood, though does she realize what she’ll be doing to Gawain? Hmm… I can see why that might enlighten some people such as Lancelot and Elyan. I bet Agravaine and Lionel are fuming like crazy back there, but what may be Arthur’s reason for looking frustrated? Hmm… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup, they were his mother and little brother! They’ve been in my game for ages now, but with everything else that’s been happening, I never managed to find a moment to wedge them in before now. Gaheris and Gareth are twins, but not identical. Whatever happened in the past, it definitely had an effect on all three of them, that’s for sure.

      Ha! Yes, by that description Aggro should be looking at himself, too. Go jail yourself already, dude. Something tells me that he probably ignores that little detail.

      Morgana has a habit of doing things with one or even multiple hidden agendas in mind. The easiest answer is that she’s doing it to be kind to Gawain, but… who knows? Well, I know, but I’m not going to tell you, haha. Oh Lionel is having such a little toddler tantrum in the background. But yes… why is Arthur complaining? Good question…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, okay, I thought so. Guess they were on an errand. Good to see we can finally get to meet them now! 😀 Hmm, does this mean Gaheris and Gareth are fraternal twins or half-identical twins? (I’ve heard about a phenomenon that happened with the latter, haha.) Probably the former. Hopefully whatever happened in the past made them for the better. 🙂

        Agravaine is definitely ignoring that detail, someone needs to point that out. Morgana or Arthur, maybe? 😆

        Morgana is cunning, lol, so I’m not going to question her now. Lionel is haughty and tough but has the utmost respect for the prince and princess… what a weirdo, lol. Maybe Arthur suspects something is up with Morgana? I’m guessing so. 🙂

        Like

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