Wednesday, 18 May 2016

In The Sacred Wood

There is a conspiracy against Gratillonius. The Roman authorities move most military men out of Ys. Then hundreds of Franks march in to challenge the King in succession. Gratillonius defeats the first challenger. Then, healed of his injury by Dahut, he shows his leadership qualities by leading an unexpected sally of armed Ysans against the Frankish camp. That is the way to do it.

Look out for appeals to at least three of the senses when the King and his first challenger walk into the Sacred Wood:

"Dead leaves crackled underfoot. Sun-speckled shadow filled the space among the oaks, below their arching crowns. For some reason, no squirrel or bird was about, but the wind blustered through branches, making them creak as well as rustle. It smelled of dampness."
-Dahut, Chapter VII, section 1, p. 137.

The reference to dead leaves is appropriate since one of the men will soon be dead. We have got used to the wildness and symbolism of the wind. For sight, we have sunlight, shadows and spaces between the trees. There is silence from animals and birds but also crackling, creaking and rustling. And the concluding sentence, as we expect, gives us the sense of smell. There is not only deadness but also dampness in the Sacred Wood. Do not hurry on to read about the fight. Pause to appreciate the sensory impressions, for one of these men his last.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Gratillonius' enemies made what seems a very obvious mistake: sending HUNDREDS of Franks merely united all Ys behind the King. Far better to have sent only one or two at a time to challenge Gratillonius. Sooner or later, after all, one of them would have eventually slain Gratillonius.


  2. Sean,
    Thank you for multiple comments so far this morning. (It is morning here.) I have just added another post.

    1. Kaor, Paul!

      Anytime! I'm simply glad you are such an enthusiastic fan of Poul Anderson. And, I've already replied to your "First Contact" blog piece! (Smiles)