29 December 2012 @ 10:28 pm
*NaNo Project* Part the Fourth - Section the Tenth - Camelot - 953AD  
It was the first time I’d really taken in the lower town of Camelot.

With Gaius as my guide, we headed out to partake in the festivities, while the nobles and dignitaries would be entertained in the Great Hall of Camelot Castle, the rest of us were left to make our own entertainment.

And I have to say, the peasantry of the city didn’t do a bad job of it at all.

One of the first things I saw was a maypole set up in the lower town’s square and all ready young children and maidens were dancing around it. Meanwhile, various people had set up stalls, selling breads, cakes, fruits and pies.

There were also various small clusters of people playing lutes and fiddles and singers, thankfully most of these people had talent enough, although every so often we would walk past a group that really should have kept their music to themselves. Still I supposed it was the thought that counts.

By far the busiest part of the town aside from the maypole was the local tavern, the Rising Sun, people spilled out into the street, most of them holding tankards and toasting anything and everything they could think of.

I hesitated slightly when I realised it was this building Gaius was leading me to. Taverns and I didn’t have a relationship, frankly I preferred lemon drink to alcohol, but telling Gaius that seemed rather rude and the patrons of the tavern seemed pleasant enough, it didn’t appear that there would be brawls breaking out.

Still, it was difficult to actually get inside the establishment and I’m quite sure I would have a few bruises the next day from wayward elbows and just general jostling.

“Travis!” Gaius shouted over the din when we finally got within a reasonable distance of the bar.

“Gaius!” Travis easily recognised my friend and I had to wonder if he often visited the place. I’d never thought of Gaius as much of a drinker, but then I didn’t really know him all that well. “A day off, reason to celebrate right?”

“Certainly is! Travis, this is Geoffrey, he’s Cedas’s new apprentice.”

Travis, a rather short man with a lazy eye looked at me in surprise. “Really? And you’re allowed to roam free? Did you drug him or something?”

Gaius laughed and gave me a slap on the back. “No! It seems he’s actually got on the man’s good side, or at least slightly less grouchy side.”

“Well done, young man!” Travis gave me a nod then grabbed up a tankard and headed over to a large barrel that was lying on its side behind the bar. “The usual, Gaius?”

“Please! And one for Geoffrey as well. That all right with you, Geoffrey?”

I hesitated for a moment, but then Gaius didn’t really have the look of a hard drinker about him, so I was reasonable sure that whatever the ‘usual’ was it wouldn’t kill me, so I nodded gamely.

A few moments later Travis set down two tankards on the bar for us, and Gaius took up his, gesturing for me to do the same. Once I had my tankard in hand I inspected the foamy beer inside and gave it a tentative and I hoped subtle sniff. It had an interesting aroma...apples I thought and I felt somewhat hopeful that it wouldn’t taste as awful as some alcohol did.

“To Apprenticing!” Gaius held up his tankard and made his toast.

“To...Camelot!” I answered somewhat hesitantly, but Gaius didn’t seem to notice as he tapped his tankard against mine and took a long chug.

I meanwhile was far more tentative taking a small sip, there was definitely a beery taste, but there was also the twangy flavour of cider, which was rather pleasant. I took a more ambitious sip and gave Gaius a grin.

“I don’t really drink.” I explained.

Gaius chuckled and shook his head. “Why am I not surprised?”

Gaius may have had another tankard, but I found that one was quite enough for me, the prospect of wandering around town and falling flat on my face or otherwise humiliating myself did not appeal at all.

Still I was probably a bit tipsy when we left the tavern to join in with the festivities, which is probably why I agreed to dance around the maypole in spite of my notable handicap of being unable to dance at all. Gaius was actually drunk, but seemed to have sense enough to stay away and cheer me on from the sidelines instead.

I would certainly never recommend maypole dancing to the tipsy, I was all right for a few revolutions, but eventually my feet became entangled and the next thing I knew I was falling and taking down the person in front of me, who promptly tripped up and knocked over the next person and so it went until we all ended up in a heap.

Fortunately, the festive air and drink had put everyone in a very good mood and rather than be berated within an inch of my life and quite possibily reported to the guards my wholly inelegant actions only produced mirth.

After all that though, Gaius declared it was probably in my best interest to stay setting for the rest of the celebrations and even arranged for me to eat some strangely herbed bread assuring me it would prevent hangovers.

I wasn’t sure if that was true, but the bread was delicious so I took him at his word.

Later that evening when the sun had well and truly gone done the bonfires were lit and songs of celebration were sung. The atmosphere was happy and content and I was very pleased with myself for having taken the time off to enjoy it.
Current Mood: jubilant