A Call To Arms

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Alright folks,

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.

As always,

HAPPY READING!!!

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.

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Born of Common Blood

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The following is a one-shot background piece on an early book I wrote. It is part of a set of one shots about the goings on of King Arthur and his Noble Knights of the Table Round. This one happens to center on two characters one is my own creation the other is a mainstay in Arthurian Mythology. Sir Bors is the mainstay as he was on the legendary Quest for the Grail. The character of my own creation is Lady Seraphim, Champion for the King. I present to you, – THE TALE OF SIR BORS, A SWORD SWORN KNIGHT OF COMMON BLOOD.

As always,

HAPPY READING!!!

It was nearing sunset on a warm summer’s day when someone knocked on the door of the little three room cottage. The villagers down the road didn’t visit the old woman that lived within. The village elders thought that she was off of her somewhat rusty hinges.

As for the children of the village, they were a different story altogether. They thought she was a bard. The old lady told them stories of Camelot. Of great Lords and Ladies. Even ones of knights in shining armor at tournaments jousting for a ladies favor.

She even told them of a time when there was no famine or war. When miracles happened as often as the new dawn, and good deeds were a knights daily fare with his lady’s smile as a reward.

The old woman gave a heavy sigh as she rose from her old wooden chair to answer the door. Her dark hair had long sense faded to white and her joints ached with the cold, but she was still as alert as she had been when she was a young maid of twenty.

Upon opening the door it wasn’t to find a child as she expected. Instead she found an apparent man of the gentry on her doorstep. His long white hair was tied back with a thong and his blue eyes were shadowed with the wisdom of age. The lines of his face spoke of a hard life lived with many adventures. It was obviously a face that spoke volumes to the right person.

“Seraphim? King’s Champion? Is it truly thee? Has my long search sought thee out,” the man asked. Relief was evident in his gravelly voice.

Seraphim, for that was the woman’s name, was shocked. Who was this man? How did he know the truth of her past? Seraphim had thought herself successful in erasing herself from popular memory.

“Who art thou,” she asked with a slight tremor in her voice that had nothing to do with fear and the frailty of age. While she may have sounded weak, you could almost hear the hidden strength that lay just beneath her surface.

“Do not you remember the Knight born of common blood,” he asked in a soft voice.

“Born of common blood? Bors? Could it possibly be you that stands at my door?” Confusion was evident in her voice. This couldn’t be Sir Bors.  He hadn’t been seen since he left on his quest to find the Grail with Perceval and Galahad. Rumors had abounded of his death for years now.

“It is Milady. Might I beg entrance into your cottage,” he enquired politely.

“Granted Bors,” Seraphim answered in the same tone. Bors walked humbly into her home. Granted her home was not as grand as the rooms that she had acquired at Castle Camelot but the cottage was comfortable and it suited her needs perfectly.

“Please arrange thyself to thy comfort. For I wager that our conversation shall last well into the next sunrise,” Seraphim told him.

“Indeed Milady. For we have much to tell each other,” Bors agreed. He spoke quietly as though he were afraid to disturb the memories she held. Bors knew that his friend held a temper most powerful and he did not want to be the one to disturb it should it be resting peacefully after all these years.

Even though his voice was quiet it was serene. Just as it had always been at court, where Arthur and Guinnevere had presided in days long gone. Seraphim thought she detected a note of weariness in his voice as well. If it were there it would be a first, for Bors wasn’t known to be weary of anything.

“Before we begin would you care for refreshments?” Seraphim’s tone was polite, yet her eyes shone with merriment.

“I’ll not turn it down if you’ve a mind to share your precious ale,” he answered her with a slight grin. For in times now past it was almost unheard of for the Lady Champion Seraphim to share any ale or mead that was in her possession. It was just something that wasn’t done.

Seraphim nodded her had as he went into her little kitchen. She returned with two wooden mugs and a jug of ale.

“Where have you been Bors,” Seraphim asked after she sat down with her ale. There was more than a hint of sorrow in her voice.

“I shall answer your questions if you shall answer mine, Lady Seraphim.”

“Name thy question, Sir Bors.”

“What happened Lady Seraphim?”

“It fell apart. Her Majesty took to Lancelot’s bed,” Seraphim informed Bors gravely.

“The stories are true then? The tales told on peoples lips,” Bors asked in confusion.

“They are, my friend. Everything from the betrayal of Mordred and Morgause to that of the king resting on the isle of Avalon,” Seraphim confirmed. Her eyes bright with unshed tears.

“How? Why?”

“I do not know. It was a combination of many things. The battle with Lancelot for Guinnevere shook the people’s faith in Arthur. Thus opening the door for the vile that was spread by Mordred and Morgause,

“Other than that I know nothing more,” Seraphim replied.

Bors grew upset at the news. This was not what he wanted to hear. Especially not from the only female knight of the Table Round. She was the King’s Champion! How could she not know hat destroyed the realm?

“How did you survive? You who were his staunchest supporter and protector, yet there isn’t a tale in all the land that bears your name or presence,” he accused.

“Tis not what ye think, for you see, I am still bound by orders,” Seraphim stated simply.

“How is that possible?”

“Before the final battle, during the last gathering of the Court, I was ordered not to fight in the final battle against Mordred.

“Arthur gave that ordered at the beginning of the gathering in front of every surviving knight. I was furious. And I let my anger be known by storming off after he explained his orders.

“He said that I was to survive so that Camelot would be remembered,’ Seraphim explained.

“In other words, he left the hardest task to you,” Bors clarified.

Seraphim nodded her head in agreement. “And you Bors? What happened to your companions, Galahad and Perceval,” Seraphim asked.

A look of sadness mixed with joy crossed his face before Bors replied, “They are no more Seraphim. Listen well and I shall tell thee of the holiest adventure of the Knights of the Table Round.

“Across the blue sea and the land of hot sands there lies serene a hollow hill. Within it stands a glorious stone Cathedral dedicated to our Holy Father. It was protected by a silent order of monks.

“Before we reached the Cathedral, Galahad joined the ranks of the eternals.

“Upon reaching the Cathedral Perceval and I were silently led to the bishop of the Holy Ground for he was the only one permitted to speak.

“He told us, Perceval and I, of how his ancestor Joseph came into possession of the Cup of Christ.

“And then we were told of Joseph’s long journey from the land of milk and honey.

“After this he bid us to stay the night. And to receive communion the next day.

“So we stayed in the simple quarters provided. And truly we intended to stay but a single night. But that night turned into many seasons.

“Finally one day I awoke for communion to find that I woke alone. For in the night Perceval had ascended the steps of heaven.

“On that day the bishop told me that it was my duty to return to tell the tale of Christ’s Cup.

“And so I returned only to find that Camelot was no more. Arthur and Guinevere were no more. And absolutely no one knew of the Lady Champion Seraphim.

“Seraphim, I am most sure that when you were charged with keeping Camelot alive in the hearts of the people you were not supposed to erase yourself,” Bros finished.

“You may be right but it was all I could think of so that they will remember the most important parts,” Seraphim replied.

“Could you not have saved Her Majesty’s honor,” Bors asked.

“I tried and tried true. But by the time I started ‘twas already too late. She had been condemned in the eyes of the populace,” Seraphim replied.

And so the two old friends sat there and talked long into the night. They talked of recent times and those long gone.

Come morning Seraphim knew she had more to add to the legend before she could take her eternal rest.

So when the children came the next day Seraphim told them a new tale. The tale told that day would forever be remembered as the greatest adventure for Arthur and his Knights.

It would come to be known as the Quest for the Holy Grail.