Monday, 23 May 2016

The Death Of Budic

There are many fight scenes in Poul Anderson's works but for different reasons. He wrote much action-adventure fiction in which, e.g., the hero regularly escapes from the villains by attacking a guard and grabbing his sword/spear/gun etc. But he also wrote historical fiction that necessarily involves battles including some that were real.

Single combat is integral to the plot of Poul and Karen Anderson's The King Of Ys. The King must face challengers and their fights in the Wood must be described realistically. I described how Gratillonius defeated the younger Carsa. Now we have an all too plausible account of how he kills Budic.

When they face off during a pause, Gratillonius asks whether Dahut will accept her father's murderer. In Ysan law, Gratillonius' death would be legal and thus not murder. In any case, Budic reveals too much:

"'She's ready for me.'"
-Dahut, Chapter XVI, section 1, p. 354.

That should surely tell Gratillonius something whereas he merely finds it puzzling. However, it enrages him so much that he quickly dispatches Budic. He momentarily immobilizes the trained soldier by shouting, "'...atten-TION!'" (ibid.) This gives him the chance to drive his sword into his opponent's throat.

Good work for a man, isn't it?

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

You mean a BARBARIC way for a civilized state to handle the problem of the succession, of how to transfer power from one leader to the next.

All other factors being even, I think the outcome of a duel between Budic and Gratillonius would have been 50/50 in each other's favor. Gratillonius' anger at how Budic mentioned Dahut inspired him to use the one means that might have tipped the odds in his favor, play on a momentary "warring" of habits and loyalties in Budic's mind.