Teenage Wasteland 3: The Legend of Catherine of Gawthwate continues some more!

Sorry no proper reviews since last week. It’s been busy times in Womblevonia. In lieu of exciting commentary on other people’s work, I give you: terrible writing from my childhood!

(Catch up on parts one and two of TLoCoG here and here.)

General accounts of part two are that it wasn’t quite as funny as part one, which I think might be correct. It was still bad, just in other ways. I suspect because I’d moved to talking about a kid’s life (something I’d have had a chance to understand) as opposed to two nobles courting, falling in love, and going to battle (something I knew nothing about except maybe what I’d learned from watching Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves – I’m pretty sure that’s where the whole archery thing comes from, actually). I also didn’t realised quite what a fan favourite Belinda the horse would turn out to be when I was eleven. If I’d known I would have given her a bigger part! Still, there’s 2,000 words left, and anything could happen!


Catherine of Gawthwate (refered to as both a lady and a queen at times) is fighting a protracted war to take back her birthright from Lord Colotus. Sir Richard is a knight of… well, we don’t actually know, but his horse is called Belinda! Sir Richard was captured whilst escaping from a pack of wolves. Sir Ganathry took him to be an enemy agent, but for some reason Catherine could tell just by looking at Richard that he wasn’t. She apologises profusely and declares a feast in his honour. Richard explains that he has come to join the rightful force. Catherine and Richard flirt at the feast, causing Maid Jane to comment that Catherine’s really taken a shine to him. Maid Jane has a truly terrible country accent exuent.

The next day Catherine and Richard go hunting and flirt some more. Then they eat. Then they have an archery contest. Catherine is preternaturally good with a bow – she wins every single time; although Richard is the only one who is surprised by this. Catherine’s people are used to having their arses handed to them at archery.

The day after that there is a battle. Richard is wounded, and Catherine nurses him back to health. They fall in love, get married, and have a kid. The kid is called Calith. On the day he is christened, the officiating vicar declares that Calith will grow up to defeat Lord Colotus, because I guess vicars are prophets in Gawthwate or something. For some reason, Sir Ganathry is assigned to look after Calith, and he resents this. He dislikes Calith and grows to hate Richard. Finally, Catherine notices Ganathry’s neglect and assigns Mary, a 20 year old girl who likes children, to look after him instead. For some reason we are told that Mary is single. Calith grows up being as weirdly good at everything as Catherine was at archery. And at age 14 he starts sneaking his way into battles. The story continues…

Part three:

” Father I am 17 and … ” Calith began.

” Nothing would change my mind on this subject Calith, thee is my son and will not go into battle!!” Richard shouted.

” But father I’ve paged thee three whole years.” Calith would have gone on, but he noticed his mother entering the room, and decided to stop.

But daaaaad…‘ Yup – Calith is a teenager, now. He’s paged three whole years. I’m pretty sure this is me having read The Song of the Lionness by Tamoira Pierce and just ripping the fantasy-training structure she describes wholesale. Also, I like how any use of the word ‘battle’ seems to inspire extra exclaimation marks from me. I haven’t really got the hang of exclaimation restraint, yet.

” Catherine would you get it into Calith’s head that being your son he is not to enter battle?!! ” Richard voice had lowered but he was still just as angry as before.

” I don’t see why he shouldn’t he must put his training to use some time and you know the prophecy as well as I. ” As Catherine said those last words her voice lowered to a whisper. ( Richard and Catherine wished Calith not to know his destiny. But Calith often over heard them talking about the prophecy he was so involved in.)

I like how it’s the Dad who wants to protect his child more. Although Catherine’s a bit Sarah-Connor-hardball in the mothering department, it must be said.

” All right, all right,thee can go to battle. IF you go at the very back, AND stay there! ” His voice was lowered and he was less angry. ( Calith had predicted this result as soon as his mother had entered the room. )

‘Calith, you may go to the ball, but you must be back by midnight or thee shalt turn into a pumpkin!’ All of this language is totally in keeping with the fantasy-medieval setting. And I’m not just ripping teenager/parent relationships from every 90s family sitcom I ever watched.

The next morning they prepared for battle. Calith found it very strange having some one else getting his sword for him, for all the battles he’d been in before he had had to sneak around to try to get at some spare swords and armour.

Why did Calith even ask this time if he’s been into battle before? And, I know he’s, like, superhuman-chosen-one, or whatever, but how did a 14 year old manage not to die in scrounged, presumably ill-fitting armour? I blame C S Lewis for encouraging inflated ideas of what children can do in a fight.

” Good-luck Calith! ” shouted Mary.
” Come back in one piece won’t thee Master Calith? ” Cried Jane. And then they were off to battle!

Only one exclaimation mark! Whatever next?! Soon I’ll be using commas appropriately!

Calith ducked and dived, and twisted and turned managing to knock several mens heads off and to keep his fermly on it’s neck. Then he found himself right next to his father in the front line … he tripped knocking his father to the ground.
” Calith what art thow doing in front line? ” Richard said speeding to his feet, and finding himself face to face with Ganathry!

I actually think this bit’s OK. Quite dynamic, for a battle scene. Although the idea of casually ‘knocking’ men’s heads off is slightly comical.

” You married her! She wasn’t meant to be yours! You, you common scum and traitor!!! ” Ganathry screamed.

Wow. Say what you really think, Ganathry! So that’s why you never really liked Richard. Newsflash! Just because you fancy someone, doesn’t mean they belong to you!

Richard launched into attack. Calith hastened back to his position, but he managed to see, from the corner of his eye, the death of his father. From that point onwards Calith would always blame himself for the tragedy. And very discreetly he began to cry, but then realising what this could cause he dried his eyes and fought like he’d never done before.

Calith became a great swordsman and swore to avenge his father.

Oh no! Sir Richard! But he was so charming and poetical! Again, it would have been nice to have a blow-by-blow description of this fight, considering how the emnity between Richard and Ganathry was built up (well, mostly from Ganathry towards Richard) it was over kinda fast. And we do move fairly quickly from this to Calith becoming a great swordsman. But I like how Calith both shows emotion and knows he needs to look brave for the troops. It’s no Shakespeare, but I’m improving.

Eight Months later Calith began to take just that little bit more notice of his best friend Sally, and suddenly he realised that he was madly in love with her and she with him.

OK. That was quick. I’m not even sure where Sally came from, and we go from introducing her to Calith being in love with her inside of a sentence. And, you know, I thought Calith was being all broody and avenging about his dad. Oh well.

” Miss Sally Rose White, delight of my eyes. ” He said to his love one frosty winter evening as they sat by the fire, ” Thee hath given me great pleasure these last months, and I wish it to go on till we both lie dead in our coffins. So my love I ask thee if, I might have thy hand in marriage? “

Wow. Umm, that started out well, ‘delight of my eyes’ and all – he was really channelling old Richard – but ’till we lie dead in our coffins’… talk of coffins isn’t usually what you expect in a proposal. Unless she’s a goth. Is Sally Rose White a goth? She doesn’t sound like a goth.

Incidentally, there’s some really cunning referencing going on, here. Two of my closest friends as a small child were a girl called Sally and another girl whose last name was White. And I’m a Rosemary. ‘Sally Rose White’? I see what you did there, eleven year old me.

Sally’s eyes opened wide in happiness, ” I-I, don’t know what to say…”

” Say yes, my love. ” Calith said.

Tears of happiness streamed down her cheeks. ” Yes, yes, oh Calith yes! I’ll be thee’s forever! ” Calith spun her off her feet, and hugged her close to him until he heard her heart pounding through her breast. Then he let go his hold and wiped the tears from her eyes.

” Come love, we must announce our news to the rest of this fair land! ” He said, locking her arm in his, and walking her down the stairs.

This is all pretty sickening. I can only apologise. I’d clearly been sold on the idea of romantic love, but didn’t really know what caused it. Just two people fancy each other and then: wham, bam! proposal and marriage and happiness forever. It goes on like this for a bit:

” Jane, maid to my fair mother, and Mary former nanny. I wish to announce the joyous news that Sally and I shalt be wed! ” He said to Jane, and Mary.

I like to think Jane and Mary totally hang out, bitching about how weird everyone is in Gawthwate castle and giggling over tea and toast. That’s why he happened to find them both together when he went to tell the world that he’s engaged.

” Oh, I’m so happy for thee both! ” Jane said, smiling as she remembered Catherine’s wedding. Then she had to struggle to stop the tears fall, though, remembering that treacherous of Ganathry!

Yeah, that was only 8 months ago. Maybe one of you should have a talk with Calith about rushing into marriage so soon after a big emotional upheaval?

So the word was spread and many a happy tear shed.

Oh, thank goodness, I thought for a moment that they really were going to try and tell the whole world.

One month later Sally walked down the aisle, in Catherines wedding dress, she looked just as beautiful as it’s last mistress. Her long blond hair in a french plait, and her startlingly green eyes flashing with joy and happiness, her beauty more than any other for that one special day in her life!

See how I got out of making up another wedding dress, there? Nicely done.

And, oh, she has long blonde hair and startlingly green eyes, does she? Colour me shocked. I’m sure no other girl has ever written a description like that for a heroine of their fiction. And a french plait? I pretty much thought this was the most awesome thing you could do with your hair that didn’t require magic, at the time.

Calith and Sally were very happy, they had two children, Trelessa and Julia, within 5 years of their marriage.

That was quick. Incidentally, ‘Julia’? Also a name of a childhood friend. And, I’m not 100% sure, because ‘Trelessa’ could just be from the same imagination flaily made-up-names-are-awesome pot as ‘Calith’ and ‘Colotus’, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s a reference to Lessa, of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern books.

The next section picks up with the adventures of Trelessa and Julia, so I think I’ll stop here, for now. What, you thought this book was actually both Calith, now? Guess again! You know prophecies are never that straight forward…

3 thoughts on “Teenage Wasteland 3: The Legend of Catherine of Gawthwate continues some more!

  1. I am enjoying this, as it reminds me of the horrible bits of my youthful fiction especially the ‘and then something happened that I don’t know how to describe so I’ll skim over this major development very quickly’ parts. Next time I’m at my mum’s I’m going to see if I can find any of my old work for a similar treatment.

    I also like the random way ‘you’ becomes ‘thee’ at certain points, which makes me think they’re being played by Yorkshiremen.

    • But they rarely if ever use ‘thee’ at the right times! 😀

      Glad you’re enjoying it. I have both affection and giggles for my old writing. I was full of ambition, but no idea how to do the things I wanted to do. Experience, it matters. But I kind of think you need the deluded confidence to write a bunch of crap and think it’s good to start figuring out the right way.

  2. Pingback: Teenage Wasteland 4: The Legend of Catherine of Gawthwate – Finale | In Search of the Happiness Max

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