Yesterday, my Camp NaNo novel’s main character, Lark, found herself running from the palace guards who were trying to arrest her. The guards did manage to catch up with her after she ran smack dab into a Scottish guy (who is a future MC). Lark was taken to the castle, sedated, and today, she will wake up in Queen Alessandria’s palace. What does that have to do with the interesting word in the title of the blog post? Well, knowing I would be putting Lark into a castle at some point, I checked out a book at the library: The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in the Middle Ages: The British Isles from 500 to 1500. This book and the rest in the series are great if you’re writing historical fiction or in my case, happen to need a list of castle terms. As Lark’s now trapped inside a castle, I thought it was a good time to pull out my handy-dandy castle term list and get my facts right! Looking over the list, I came across a lot of interesting words and decided to share “oubliette” with my readers! 🙂
An oubliette is a tiny dungeon where prisoners were kept, according to my Writer’s Guide book. It also says that “it was so small that the person stood hunched over and could neither sit nor move into a comfortable position.” It was typically a secret dungeon with a trap door on the ceiling as an entrance, but it had no exit. The owner of the castle could throw a prisoner down there and completely forget about them. The word oubliette actually is derived from the old French term oublier which meant “to forget, show negligence” according to http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=oubliette.
I found a really interesting video on YouTube about an oubliette that they discovered at the Gallery of Justice.
Thankfully, the palace guards didn’t have any plans to lower Lark into an oubliette. I’m sure I can find some way to work this word into my story, though. It’s too interesting to be left unused! 🙂