Letters to Camelot: At First [G]Lance

Dear Lancelot,

I must apologize.

It was one thing for Allyn-a-Dale to form a certain impression of you during Books 1, 1.5, and 2 of the Outlaws of Avalon series. He was but a fellow character, with a character’s limited view. And for all his exceptional talents and abilities, soul-reading is not one. Of course he thought you were merely stuck-up.

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But I, as your author, ought to have sooner known better. Ought to have taken half-a-moment to scrutinize past your frigid exterior. Ought to have figured out sometime before the third novel I wrote you into that, oh, you weren’t an arrogant asshole, you just had autism.

Also, misery. You had a whole lot of that. (And they say you can’t take anything with you, when you die…)

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Once I actually went looking inside your head, I found you unexpectedly appealing to write about. Sure, you still pulled some jerk moves; did some people wrong; were as far from perfect as anyone semi-universally agreed upon to have cuckolded his beloved king would have to be. But you’re more than your faults, and bigger than your blunders. And to  my mind, you deserved better than you got.

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May the future renaissance of Camelot see the wrongs you’ve done (and done to you) made right.

Your author,

~ Danielle E. Shipley

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One for the #CamelotWIP playlist!

For Lancelot = I don’t know what made me first think so, but now I can’t unthink it: Lance singing “Falling Slowly” (Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, ‘Once’) to Arthur would be just a little bit perfect.

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Everyone knows the story. Nobody knows the truth.

According to legend – and to Merlin’s prophecies – the great King Arthur Pendragon will someday reign again. But “someday” has been a long time in coming, with decades spent confined in Avalon, the ancient Faerie isle disguised in modern times as an everyday  Renaissance Faire. What remains of Camelot’s court pass their summers by putting on famous faces for the Outside world, all the while questioning who they were before death and magical rebirth robbed them of their memories.

For Camelot to rise again, they must remember the fall.

With nothing but centuries of hearsay to mine for clues, the mysteries remain: Were Queen Guinevere and Sir Lancelot the betrayers, or the betrayed? How came Sir Bedivere to be known as “the One-Handed”, and what hand had he in the kingdom’s undoing? Did the inscrutable Morganne le Fey stand with Arthur, or with his enemies?

And do truly great enemies ever die?

In this epic successor to the Outlaws of Avalon trilogy, the time comes at last for “once” and “future”  to unite, thanks to – (or in spite of) – a king and a wizard, the Round Table and the Fey folk, and one outlaw minstrel whose destiny has only just begun.

The Once and Future Camelot” – coming soon!

Edit: Sooner than soon, in one respect: The Barnes & Noble/Nook e-book edition is available for pre-order here! Buy now, receive the goods on October 25th! Kindle and print editions, still to come. Stay tuned!

“Payback” or “We Who Are About to Die…”

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“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”

“Every Saturday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon’ trilogy—”

“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”

“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”

“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you: ‘We Who Are About to Die Serenade You’!”

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[Sirs Bedivere and Gawain enter from opposite ends of the stage, a vigorous little tap number accompanying their song.]

Chorus: This is a musical comedy.

We are the members of the chorus three.

Some would say it’s not right

To do this to a knight,

But here we are anyway.

Gawain [turning to Bedivere]: That last line didn’t rhyme with anything.

Bedivere: Yeah, and the second line was a lie, because Lancelot has too much self-respect to get roped into this kind of nonsense. Whatcha gonna do?

Will [offstage]: Get on to the second verse, will you? You’re holding up my entrance!

[Bedivere and Gawain resume.]

Chorus: What shall follow, we guarantee

Will have you cracking up with hilarity.

Sit tight, sit still,

Because here comes Will,

And he’s wearing ladies’ underwear!

Will [offstage]: WHAT?!

Gawain [struggling to keep a straight face]: That didn’t rhyme with anything either.

Bedivere [laughing too hard to say a word]: …

[Will stomps onto the stage, dressed as a Roman gladiator.]

Will: What is the matter with you people? That was NOT the second verse.

Gawain: Oh, apologies. Did we skip to verse three?

Will: You skipped to the verse I never wrote, is what you did!

Bedivere: It was a distinctly memorable portion of the script, Scarlet.

Will: What script did you read??

[Bedivere pulls the folded sheets of stapled paper out of the back of his waistband and hands them to Will, whose eyes rapidly scan the first page then fly open wide.]

Will [waving the papers in the air]: Who the devil did this?! Allyn-a-Dale, is this your idea of a joke?

[Allyn steps in from behind the curtain, carrying the train of his overlarge toga.]

Allyn: This entire production is my idea of a joke, Will. But I didn’t tamper with your awful script, if that’s what you’re asking.

Will: Then who did?

[A cloaked silhouetted appears at the back of the theatre.]

Mysterious Cloaked Figure: That would be me.

Will [with a gasp]: Merlin?!

MCF/Merlin [chuckling]: Consider this partial payback for decades of your antics, Mr. Scarlet. Now please, carry on with the show. You may find some interesting surprises in store at the end of Scene Five.

Will [facepalming]: Pranked by the wizard. If that doesn’t just beat all. I just hope he didn’t write out the kiss scene with the lion.

Allyn: I rather hope he did.

Bedivere [shaking with amusement]: Oh, Lancelot, you don’t know what you’re missing…

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“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Steven Bourelle and Miranda McNeff,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘musical comedy’ and ‘Merlin pranks Will’.”

“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes!”

“Anything at all,” says Allyn with a martyred sigh.

“Oh, pull your face up, you love it. Until next week, friends! Will and Allyn out!”