Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Pey d'Or

Not for the first time, I have tried to summarise all that Poul Anderson tells us about a fictitious place and have found that there is a lot more detail than I had realised.

Kemper, spared in the War of Judgement, became the largest town and chief seaport in Brezh and the capital of Ar-Mor. It has a multi-denominational Cathedral of St Corentin and a museum housing ancient relics.

The Pey d'Or, a basement tavern in Kemper, mostly for labourers and sailors, has smoke-blackened beams, low ceiling, clay floor, a dusty clerestory (high window above eye level), four tables with benches and stairs from a door to the street. The balladeer Peyt "Plik" Rensoon, an Angleyman from Free Church-governed Devon in southern Angleylann across the Channel, sings in Angley, plays his lute, drinks from a goblet of wine, smokes a clay pipe, addresses the Francey-speaking barmaid Sesi as "Vineleaf" and, at different times, drinks with sailors, labourers, farmers, psyans (peasants), the Stormrider Iern and visitors from the Northwest Union.

Two members of a new green-uniformed force, the Terran Guard, enter the tavern with an announcement from the new Captain of Skyholm, thus provoking political argument among the sailors from ships in port and other patrons present. The tavern becomes a familiar setting to which the narrative returns and where some of the major characters meet for the first time.  


Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

The "Pey d'Or" reminds me as well of that other tavenr, "The Old Phoenix," Which you can find in stories like "House Rule" and novels like A MIDUMMER TEMPEST.


Paul Shackley said...

I will have to check, and have still not finished rereading, but I think that, despite the impression generated by my post above, the Pey d'Or maybe only appears 3 times in the novel? Anderson is able to use it sparingly but to create an impression of familiarity nonetheless. I had to look up "clerestory" and have still not checked what "Pey" means.