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Three Word Thursday #52

Welcome to Three Word Thursday #52. Please join us in our weekly romp as we try to rescue lost and forgotten words from the dusty halls of antiquity. If you enjoy reading my story, leave a comment then click on the names of the other players and go see how they used these bygone words. You’ll be entertained (and possibly educated) all at once.

This is my story.  All the other players posted theirs last week.  I have added the Mr. Linky below in case you didn’t all visit one another.  Enjoy!

The Words:

  • gardyloo, interjection. a call used in warning; perhaps from French garde à l’eau! look out for the water!
  • swoopstake, adv. in an indiscriminate manner
  • wanion, n. unlucky

The story in full.

From episode #51:

“We buried and burned everything at the cabin so the mage warriors wouldn’t be able to find us through a possession which contained our aura,”  Vernal said.

“But they’ve found something of yours just the same?” Chevall asked.

“Worse,” Vernal said.  “I gave it to them.

What!”  Evaard exclaimed.  “When?”

“When I killed Fronesk, he took a piece of my soul forever.”

“Yes,” Chevall said.  “Taking someone else’s life always forfeits just a bit of your own.  That is true.”

“According to Threfal,” Vernal explained, “Fronesk claimed my bit of soul not in his own name to prolong his own life, but in the of his commander.”

“Ronald?”  Evaard said.  “But he, too, is dead.”

Vernal shook his head.  “Both Ronald and Fronesk were commanded by the Mage King.  He has a piece of my soul.  Threfal says that when I sleep, which I must, the Mage King will be able to control my actions.  You must protect yourselves from me.”


“In order to sleep, we will have to tie Vernal up,” Chevall said.

“Boy,”  Evaard put his hand on Vernal’s shoulder.  “I fear it was your wanion day when the king made you my page.”

“Not so,” Vernal said.  He stepped away from Evaard’s hand.  “I fear it was your wanion day when you were given me. I have brought nothing but trouble.”

“You did not bring the trouble,” Cheval said.  “It was brewing long before you or Evaard earned your ranks.  Sir Driscomb died fighting the Mage Warriors.  In retrospect, I imagine he encountered them stealing the dragon eggs.  At his death all of the Knights below him in rank advanced.  I became the 11th Knight of Strawberry Fife, leaving the 12th position open for Evaard.”

“Then I stumbled upon the intrigue and began investigating in a very swoopstake manner.  At every step I intended to take my concerns to the King, but there always seemed to be just one more thing to do first, and now we have come to this.  I have put my own page in grave danger.”

Vernal scoffed, “One cannot serve a battle warrior and expect always to be safe.”

“That is so,” Chevall said.  “And look, at least your page is still conscious.”  He pointed at Fencil, who moved restlessly in his fevered sleep.

Gardyloo! Gardyloo!”  The call echoed up the cannon. Evaard and Chevall reached for their swords and moved toward the overhanging willow branches.

Vernal pulled his sword as well.  “I know who hails us,” he said.  “Do not answer.  And do not turn your back on me.”

Evaard turned to look at his page.  Vernal trembled violently. “You shall die!” He roared and his brown eyes flashed silver.  “I-I-I can’t c-control him!”  Vernal appeared to be fighting against himself.

“Drop the sword,”Chevall said softly.

“I cannot!”  Vernal answered.  Again his eyes flashed silver and he lunged toward Evaard.


The 3WT #53 words will be:

  • delenda: n.  things to be erased or blotted out
  • imbroglio: n. an intricate and perplexing state of affairs; a complicated or difficult situation.
  • tantivy: adj. swift, rapid

Got it? Good! In that case: Your story is due on: May 6th, 2010


  1. Still enjoying the story, but I think “gardyloo” was a very specific kind of warning, that a chamber pot was about to be emptied from above. It’s the precursor to the British English noun “loo.”

    1. Doug — I read about the origin of the word gardyloo, but thought it had evolved beyond the specific since folks don’t actually empty their chamberpots out windows anymore. And, it is no wonder I left the e out of sleep. I had been leaving the sleep out of me for about 7 days!

      1. See now, Quilly, I emailed you about the spelling so you could discretely fix the problem and appear bright-eyed despite your lack of sleep. Help me help you.

        As to “Gardyloo,” I have no idea except that I’m not persuaded. The fact that the old sense is obsolete doesn’t mean the meaning changed if the word itself is obsolete. Have you heard someone yell “gardyloo?”

  2. ACK: Poor Evaard. This is still exciting Q.. I had a real hard time with gardyloo and I don’t think I used it right at all but oh well.

  3. oh, more drama, and some bits of history revealed!

    it was an awkward choice of words this time (wanion=noun=unlucky??)

    from the site you linked:
    Main Entry: wan·ion
    Pronunciation: \ˈwän-yən\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: from the obsolete phrase in the waniand unluckily, literally, in the waning (moon), from Middle English, from waniand, northern present participle of wanien, wanen to wane
    Date: 1549
    archaic : plague, vengeance —used in the phrase with a wanion

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