“The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”s Launch Week+ is nearing its end! Only this post and one last Kiss & Tell interview to go, at which time I’ll announce the winners of my Rafflecopter giveaway. So if you want your best chance at one of the prizes on offer (including a Merry Men-signed map of Avalon Faire, a tote bag from my Society6 store, a paperback copy of Tirzah Duncan’s “Grace the Mace”, or a one-of-a-kind bookmark), you’ll get those entries in before Friday!
Now, onto today’s hurrah. As I certainly hope you all know by now, “Ballad” is a book, not a movie. And while I’ll take a book over a movie 9 days out of 10, there is one advantage that filmed media have over the printed word:
I mean, just imagine how funny it would be to have cut footage of the Merry Men ‘n’ ‘em goofing up their performance of the story!
Or, wait a minute… We totally CAN imagine that! So hey, for today’s post, what say we all just suspend our disbelief for a moment and see what happens “on set”…
Overture, Take 1
Marion’s full lips turned downward in disapproval. The place had been closed to guests for hours. All nonresidents should have been long gone, not loitering around the Faire, and certainly not wandering so deep into Sherwood.
Taking hold of the knife at her hip, she moved away from her half-concealed position and made her presence known.
“Make no sudden movements, please,” she requested, polite but firm, and silently struggling to remove the knife from its sheath. Blast the props department — why wouldn’t the wretched blade come loose? The young man — not yet out of his teens, at first guess — obediently froze.
“Thank you,” Marion said — and, giving up the lost cause of drawing the knife, improvised, “And so you know, I can menace you just as well with my bare hands and razor wit, so take care.”
Quoth the young man, distinctly over-solemn, “No doubt.”
The sniggering author called, “Cut!”
Stanza Three, Take 4
“Aquinore,” the cold one said, moving in the blink of an eye to loom over Allyn-a-Dale. “Wind of the North.” He held out a hand which Allyn did not dare refuse to meet, even though, in the excruciating seconds before the mutual touch was over, he feared with a musician’s panic that his own hand was in danger of freezing right off.
“Austeryn.” The mist-mantled wind gusted smoothly up next. “Wind of the South.” When this touch of greeting ended, to Allyn’s profound relief, his hand felt a little thawed, albeit a great deal wetter.
“Cut!” cried the author. “Euroval, I told you: Just the hand-clasp, right now. We have to add the lightning and thunder in edits, or you’ll blow out the cameras and mics!”
The Wind of the East scowled. “How is that fair? My brothers got to—”
“Affect the temperature and humidity? Yeah, not the same. Kindly restrain your powerful presence in the next take, alright? From the top of the intros, people. Places!”
Stanza Four, Take 2
Gawain opened the door wider, admitting another man dressed in the same metal underclothes and crested tunic. The second man stood imposingly tall (compared to all save Little John), his face cool and proud, his sweep of hair an astonishing, if muted, shade of silver-gold. In his hands, he bore an object of some great length enveloped in a purple cloth. This he strode forward to offer up to King Arthur, who stepped down from his elevated seat to remove the cloth, and withdrew from its finely wrought scabbard of golden leather— I say, and withdrew… (psst, Arthur – what’s the trouble?)
Arthur’s brows knitted in vexation. “Sorry, just… *grunts* …can draw the sword from a stone, but not its own scabbard… There we go!” he sighed as the magnificent blade pulled free at last. “Sheesh, are we to have nothing but scabbard troubles in this production?”
Merlin’s ironic look for the camera could’ve come straight out of “The Office”.
Stanza Five, Take 7
Will led Allyn into the quaintly congested interior of a bookseller’s shop, reasoning to himself that to do so didn’t count as spilling secrets. If anything, it was a cover-up, Avalon-style.
“Behold,” he said, the sweep of his hand sending a shelf-top display crashing to the floor. Jumps and cries of startlement all around, plus an explosive curse from Will Scarlet. “Of all the places to stack a bunch of books …Ahem, anyway.”
A slightly less extravagant gesture indicated the clutter at his feet. “Novels. Picture books. Coloring boo— Allyn, leave those there! This is still usable! Everybody just carry on like my klutz attack was scripted. Lord knows they usually are…”
“As could my act of tidiness have been scripted,” said Allyn, exasperated, “if you hadn’t said that.”
Will opened his mouth. Closed it. Hung his head. Grumbled a few more words his author wasn’t about to print outright and knelt to help Allyn gather up the books for the next take.
Stanza Eleven, Take 1
“Oh! There they are!” said Marion, half-risen from her chair. Through the window could be seen the minivan Robin had selected, moving only semi-erratically up alongside the front of the bakery. …and which then just kept on going, right out of frame and beyond. The Merry Men inside the donut shop exchanged glances.
“Wasn’t he supposed to stop and pick us up?” said Marion.
“Yes,” said Robin. “Yes, he was.”
Allyn pointed out, “I did suggest a stunt double do the actual driving.”
“Yes. Yes, you did.”
“Do you think Will even knows where the brake pedal is?”
“No,” Robin said into the hand pressed over his face. “No, I don’t.”
Marion nodded slowly, eyes on the various personnel hastening after the runaway van. “Okey-dokey, then.”
Stanza Fifteen, Take 3
“…Then, of course, there’s the radio.”
“And what does that do?” Allyn asked.
Will’s eyebrows bowed up. “What, didn’t you know? Radios play music.”
The magic word. “Music? They do?”
“Yep. News shows and sports and things, too, of course, but mostly music. Go on — why don’t you see if you can find a little something to drive by?”
Buzzing with anticipation, Allyn ran his fingers over the hodgepodge of buttons, finally settling on and gingerly pressing the one marked “power.” At once, sections of the system lit up in red and blue-green, and a blast of sound filled the minivan’s interior:
“NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP,
NEVER GONNA LET YOU DOWN,
NEVER GONNA RUN AROUND AND DESERT YOU…”
“No…” Will’s gasp was filled with horror and delight in equal measure. “Who did this?!”
Allyn’s wide eyes were all alarm. “What’s happening?”
In the seats behind them, the wickedly laughing Hoods exchanged high-fives, crowing, “#Rickrolled!”
Ahhh, what could have been! But happily, the first Outlaws of Avalon novel is full of laughs as-is – lauded as “fun, humorous” and “thoroughly delightful”, even without a menu full of special features.
Though really… isn’t a special features menu kind of what this Launch Week+ has been? ;D
Welcome to Avalon, a Renaissance Faire where heroes of legend never die. Where the Robin Hood walking the streets is truly the noble outlaw himself. Where the knightly and wizardly players of King Arthur’s court are in fact who they profess to be. Where the sense of enchantment in the air is not mere feeling, but the Fey magic of a paradise hidden in plain sight.
Enter Allyn-a-Dale. The grief of his father’s death still fresh and the doom of his own world looming, swirling realities leave the young minstrel marooned in an immortal Sherwood Forest, where he is recruited as a member of Robin Hood’s infamous outlaw band. But Allyn’s new life may reach its end before it’s scarcely begun. Their existence under threat, the Merry Men are called upon to embark on a journey to the dangerous world Outside – ours – on a quest which must be achieved without delay, or eternity in Avalon will not amount to very long at all.
How many wizards does it take to change a light bulb?
Will Scarlet, adopting a glowering gray drawl: “The light bulb will change when it’s meant to.”