Gray skies, rain and cool temperatures aren’t good for much--sleeping and maybe procrastinating at the pc. No, no, not procrastinating, I’m researching trade routes in the 12th century…yeah, that’s it--research.
At least that’s what I told myself a few years ago. I was supposed to be researching trade routes for a copy edit on Dream Knight. And I did, but along the way I fell into something far more intriguing. Kalaripayat, or Kalari Payattu--an ancient form of martial arts in India. For more info see the website:
With its roots in the 4th century, Kalari Payattu is a silent form of armed and/or unarmed combat…mock or real depending on the era. For some reason I found that bit of info fascinating and it led to more “researching”. Obviously I’m a history snob, because I’d never researched anything outside the boundaries of what I’ll call the Norman Empire just to make it simple. But the stars must have been aligned differently just then, because I spent weeks digging up info on Ancient and Medieval India. In the 12th century India was one of the, if not the, richest and most advanced nation in the known world...glass in the palace windows, spices the rest of the world paid to get.
Some of regional princes reinstituted the gladiator games that had been brought to them by Alexander the Great. Along with the chariot races, archery, etc., they also had exhibitions featuring Kalari Payattu. As with the original gladiator games, sometimes the combatants fought to the death.
I don’t know about you, but this historical author was unable to contain her imagination. Talk about a “what if” session…well, what if they used slaves as gladiators. They did. KEWL. Ok, so, what if some of these gladiators had been captured. They had been. MORE KEWL. Ok, so what if some of the men taken in captivity came from, oh, say, England, Normandy or France? Well, that I couldn’t prove either way. On the other hand, nothing said it didn’t happen, so…enter poetic license.
Combine a little Kalari Payattu with some Tantra, a touch of the Sutras and a really ticked off ex-gladiator home for revenge and what do you get? How about an April 2007 Harlequin Historical release titled Commanded To His Bed. And who says procrastination is a bad thing?
Speaking of procrastination….I'm sure everyone knew this except me, but play along...did you know that in the UK there’s this group of women call FANYs -- the Corps was formed in 1907 with the purpose of assisting the Military and Civil authorities in times of Emergency. In WWII some of them were drivers and decoders at home and in far flung locations all over the globe. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for me, some of the US troops had the strange idea that FANY meant something other than First Aid Nursing Yeomanry. Shame on you, boys. But let me tell you the “what if” is again working overtime.
So, please, excuse me while I let the mind out for another wild walk in procrastination land. Have a great day!