I thought I would continue with the Arthurian theme for a bit here. So for today’s short trek into my weird mind I give you A Call To Arms. This one features Palamedes the Saracen and the, by now, rather infamous, Lancelot du Lac.
Several seagulls flew around the stone castle making their braying call heard throughout its numerous halls. The outer walls of the stone castle had four parapets. Each parapet was covered with gleaming red tile. Atop each parapet was a white triangular flag with an embroidered raging blue lion on it. The flags were limp as there was no breeze to hold them stiff. From the top of these parapets you could see cresting ocean waves hitting the sandy shore.
A grey stone wall covered in salty brine protected a modest castle. If you stood just outside of the main hall you could catch a whiff of a pheasant dinner being prepared.
This castle by the water was the famed Joyous Guard and its master was the most famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) Knight of the Table Round: Lancelot du Lac.
Currently he had one guest in his castle and that was another knight of the Table – Palamedes the Saracen.
Palamedes was one of three knights of the Table from the country of Babylon. Many courtiers were shocked to learn that the distant lands of the Saracen had heard of the wonders of Arthur’s court at Camelot.
Even now when the glory was beginning to fade Arthur’s dream of peace and safety for all people was spreading. And that’s what the two men seated in wooden chair decorated with brightly embroidered dorsals on the backs were discussing.
“This I tell you true, Lancelot,” the dark skinned Palamedes began, “though Arthur will die, his dream will not die with him.”
“Talk of such a great man bodes ill for a splendid dinner of pheasant and vegetables,” said the fair skinned, dark haired knight. If one looked closely you would be able to see the fear in his blue eyes when talking of the death of a man he still considered to be his greatest friend and liege lord.
“I do not mean to ruin our dinner, Lancelot, but surely you must see his mortality as I do,” Palamedes explained.
“After all these years Palamedes, do you still not know what he means to us personally,” Lancelot asked his guest in slight confusion.
“Well I know that many of you consider him a friend and companion. I myself consider him to be a great friend. But what I am trying to impress upon you is that his dream will outlive him,” Palamedes explained as the servants brought the food in and set it on the long wood board table before the two middle aged knights.
As the servants backed out from the dining table the two men began to load their plates although their conversation took on a different tone.
“Do you believe how far the fame of Camelot has spread,” Palamedes asked his companion.
“My friend, when you and your brothers first came to Camelot as emissaries from your father, Esclabar, King of Babylon, I had trouble believing. As for this day his fame is almost inconceivable,” Lancelot replied truthfully.
“Yet Gaul is closer to Britannia than Babylon,” Palamedes replied.
“True,” Lancelot conceded.
After a moment of silence Palamedes said, “Word from my home land is that even Belshazzar respects what Arthur has managed to accomplish in these times.”
Lancelot winced at the disdain in Palamedes quiet voice. All residents of the castle knew that Palamedes had little respect for his oldest brother who now ruled their father’s kingdom. Lancelot could understand those feelings, they were after all, the same way he felt about Mordred.
Only with Mordred there was more black-hearted hate than lack of respect. That villainous, base born bastard had nearly destroyed the kingdom. And while Lancelot knew he played a part in the near ruin of all that he held dear, he knew for certain that Mordred’s part was far larger than his own. Lancelot knew that many people would agree with him. Including his guest.
“It amazes me how one man’s dream can mean so much too so many,” Lancelot replied.
“He is a great man surrounded by great people who would do anything that he asked of them,” Palamedes told his friend.
At this moment a man with wild eyes and straggly hair was ushered into the room. The only saving grace about his looks was that he wore a red tunic embroidered with a gold dragon. This man was a messenger from Arthur.
Lancelot motioned the man forward. As the man approached the aging knight he extended a scroll secured with a black ribbon.
Lancelot opened the scroll and quickly scanned the contents of it. His tan face was pale when he raised his head to look at Palamedes
“What does Arthur say,” Palamedes asked, slightly alarmed at his friends paleness.
“He has asked for aid in a battle against the surly peacock Mordred. A final battle,” Lancelot replied gravely. The tone of the scroll told Lancelot that this battle would be one for the famed castle of Camelot itself. Because the man who controlled Camelot controlled the nation.
Lancelot and Palamedes looked at each other and hoped that they would arrive in time. Both knights knew deep in their hearts that with war between nephew and uncle this would be the final tolling of the bells for the greatest nation on earth. And in the backs of their minds they hoped against all hope that Arthur’s dream would live on in the memory of the people.