Here lately I have been having a bit of trouble connecting wit my latest WIP- “Isis’ Savior”. Iseult is proving to be a bit stubborn – the good ones usually are. That is still its’s working title. So for the time being I am going to put it aside and work on something completely different.
It seems to me that King Arthur and his Knights of the Table Round never go out of style. I thought for the moment that I would retell some of those wonderful tales.
I started a rough draft that works off of that iconic first scene of that legendary king. Arthur pulling the famed Excalibur and claiming his birthright.
Feel free to leave me feed back and as always, Happy Reading!
White snow fell softly from the night sky. The snow covered a dirt road that was lined with wood and stone buildings. On the stone buildings were dying torches with glowing red embers. On one side of the street was a large stone inn. On the other a church with darkened stained glass windows. Silver moonlight reflected off of a gleaming sword sticking out from a scorched stone anvil. In the distance the raucous sounds of a cheering crowd could faintly be heard.
The sword was seated in the quiet church yard; snow piled up around the anvil as though it were highlighting something special. The sword was the only thing brightening this cold night. Wrought iron fencing closed off the courtyard. Low hedges lined a path to the heavy wooden doors of the church. There was a plaque at the base of the anvil that made no sense to Arthur as he couldn’t read.
From beyond the gates a boy with a muddied face and gleaming blue eyes peered through. His blue eyes were fixed on the sword. His hair was shaggy and his clothes tattered and torn. The young boy looked left and right making sure he was alone. With a deep breath he slipped through the bars and carefully approached the stone and sword.
A trembling arm reached forward and grabbed the hilt of the sword. Firmly the boy pulled on the sword until it began to slip from its stone sheath. The boy’s eyes widened as the sword briefly warmed in his palm.
Within a moment the gleaming steel sword lay in the hands of a street urchin no older than ten. He looked one way then another. Seeing no one in the courtyard the boy scampered back through the iron fence and down the street.
He quickly made his way to the crowd. Once there he weaved through a sea of brightly colored tents until he stood outside one that was adorned in blue and red. The colors of his guardian – Sir Ector.
Sir Ector was a bit rough around the edges but he had been a kind guardian for as long as the boy could remember. Sir Ector was the only guardian the boy knew. The man had been kind enough to raise him along side of his own son – Kay.
The boy peeked into the tent of Sir Ector and saw it empty save for a girl his own age. “Seraphim, have they left for the joust yet?”
The girl whirled around to face the opening and softly exclaimed, “Arthur! You’re almost late. They left a few moments ago. If you hurry you should be able to catch up with them before they enter.”
“Thank you, Seraphim,” Arthur gratefully told her.
“Just because I am a girl doesn’t mean I can’t keep an eye on things for you. Were you able to get Kay’s sword from the inn?”
“It was locked up tighter than a prince’s treasure room. So I borrowed one instead,” Arthur quietly informed her as he turned to leave the tent.
“What do you mean borrowed,” Seraphim asked as she followed him out of the tent.
“That old one sitting in front of the church. I’ll return it in the morning,” Arthur defended himself.
“Are you sure about that Arthur. That sword is holy! What if they find out it’s missing before then,” Seraphim worried.
“It’s not holy, Seraphim,” Arthur told her sternly.
“Than why was it at the church,” Seraphim asked pointedly.
Arthur shrugged his shoulders as they continued weaving through the crowd. After bumping into a few people the two found Sir Ector and his son Kay. Father and son stood waiting outside the registry ten. They were both stocky with stringy blonde hair.
Arthur tugged on the tunic of his guardian. “Here’s Kay’s sword, Sir Ector,” Arthur eagerly informed.
Sir Ector nodded his head as he blindly reached for the sword in Arthur’s hand. With his back to Arthur, Ector dismissed the child. Before Arthur could take two steps though Ector whirled around and demanded, “Boy, where did you get this sword.”
“From the church sir! The inn was locked up tight and Kay needed a sword for the joust,” Arthur replied with a tremor to his voice.
“Who gave it to you,” Ector harshly demanded.
“No one sir! It was just sitting there and Kay needed a sword for the joust. I was going to put it back,” Arthur insisted.
“Did that young wench put you up to it,” Ector demanded motioning towards Seraphim.
“No sir! She stayed in the tent as you told her too,” Arthur desperately informed.
By this time Ector had drawn the attention of the crowd around him. Surprised rumblings were going around the crowd as the spectators took in the sword that Sir Ector held. It took only a moment for the field marshal to come out of the registry tent. “See here! What’s all this fuss and grumbling about,” he demanded.
Sir Ector was in shock for a moment before answering, “It’s my ward, Sir Girard. He claims to have taken the sword from the stone in the churchyard. See for yourself,” Sir Ector finished, handing over the sword.
“What,” Sir Girard exclaimed as he took the sword from Sir Ector. As Sir Girard examined the sword his eyes turned into saucers. This was nigh on impossible. The letters engraved on the hilt said otherwise though.
Sir Girard looked down at Arthur and demanded, “How did you get this sword?”
“I pulled it from the stone anvil Sir! The one at the old church!”
“It’s crooked to lease to a marshal at a joust, lad,” Sir Girard pointedly stated.
“I’m not leasing sir,” Arthur insisted.
“He wouldn’t know how. The boy is a truth teller to the last,” Sir Ector inserted gruffly.
Sir Girard looked doubtful but shouted for a page. “Yes sir,” a boy no older than Arthur answered.
“Go find the Bishop Blaise and tell him that I need him here. After that find Prince Pellian and tell him the same. There’ll be a silver piece in it for you when you return with the Prince,” Sir Girard promised.
“Yes Sir,” the boy excitedly replied with a bounce of his head.
“In the mean time, the two of you best get in here and stay quiet,” Sir Girard instructed. A mute Arthur and Sir Ector followed him into the tent.
Arthur did his best to stay out of sight. These people could be scary. There were half a dozen men in the tent and they all had swords. Arthur had been practicing with a wooden sword so he knew the basics. Kay had let Arthur watch while he practiced with the real blade and those things were devilishly sharp. Arthur had even watched Kay slaughter a pig with one before. He had no desire to be near these people with their weapons at the moment.
In the center of the tent was a long wooden table. It was covered with what Arthur knew to be parchment. What was on the parchment had to be a list of knights competing today. Arthur had no need to know those names though. Or any other written word.
He was an orphan destined to work the land. The land was all he needed to know. Truthfully he liked it that way. Let Kay worry about making sure people were fed and duties were paid to the crown. That was more fuss than Arthur truly wanted in life.
While lost in his thoughts Arthur didn’t notice the arrival of an old man in a worn grey cloak. In fact, it seemed as though no one noticed the man’s arrival. He stood off to the side of the tent just beyond the opening. His dark eyes took in the excitement of the people here. In the end though his gaze rested on the steel sword. It was finally time.