Something New

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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.

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The Final Order

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Hi all,

For this post we have gone back to Arthurian Legend. Here we have a different perspective on the court of King Arthur in its final days. That of his disgraced queen, Guinnevere.

In a hard chair on the balcony above the Table Round sat a stately woman in dark green brocade. No smile graced her face as silver began to weave its way through her reddish gold hair. No one sat on either side of her. On this day she sat alone with her noble head bowed, blue eyes closed in contemplation of her sad state.

It was only now becoming clear to her the price she had paid for her folly. No longer was she respected. She was a queen in name only.

After her treachery Guinevere had concluded that a return to the court was the best she could hope for. Her new position allowed Guinnevere to relish the unease on her detractor’s faces. She enjoyed watching their bafflement. For some reason that Guinnevere couldn’t understand, they were having trouble accepting the fact that Arthur would keep her as his wife. After all, they caught her breaking her vows.

That bothered her enemies the most, that they caught her. Guinnevere knew that there were several other nobles doing the same thing that she had done. The difference between them and her was the fact that they caught her. Her enemies knew what they would have done had they caught their spouses with another and they couldn’t figure out why the king wouldn’t do the same.

If Guinnevere ever reached her dotage, she would treasure the memories.

Ever since Arthur allowed her to return to Court, Guinnevere watched its key players closer than ever. Guinnevere brushed off the lessons of her youth and followed the instructions of her dame. She never thought that she would need the lessons that she learned as a child in Caledon.

Guinnevere was present at the last three sessions, and judging from what her ladies-in-waiting told her there was more happening than her husband knew. After the meeting scheduled for that day, she planned to tell him all. There was no way that she would allow the kingdom to fall any farther than it already had. Arthur wouldn’t allow it when he discovered her infidelity and she wouldn’t allow it to fall when Mordred was trying to commit treason. Trying was the key word because she highly doubted the boy could accomplish anything if he tried. She saw him try his hand at many things, all of which generally failed – unless his dame was at his side.

That day the knights were more restless than usual; especially Seraphim. On the few occasions that she had seen the Lady Champion, she was like a simmering stew pot ready to boil over. She had been like that for almost a month, and to anyone who knew her that was never a good sign. Most people found that it pointed towards a foolish idea of Arthur’s; more often than not, they were right and his ideas were foolish, if not plain stupid.

It felt good to be able to call Arthur husband and mean it. It had been far too long since she was able to do either. It simply meant that some things reverted to the way that they were supposed to be with time.

Guinnevere knew her husband was contemplating war against his nephew. The treacherous boy was attempting to destroy the Table, bent on Camelot’s destruction.

Guinnevere knew that his actions were partly her fault. There was no way she was fully to blame for it, but she readily admitted that the signs of war that were beginning to show were partly her fault.

However, Guinnevere knew that Morgause was more to blame than anyone else was. Guinnevere knew that if Seraphim had any ideas on how to accomplish such a feat, than the deed would already be done. Knowing Seraphim, she did but they were not practicable due to the amount of blood that they would shed; and everybody knew that you weren’t supposed to shed royal blood. Such an action would inevitably force Arthur into war and that was something that he did not want if he could help it.

Guinnevere, like everyone else, was unsure when the attack was scheduled. True, her sources weren’t as good as they once were, but they were better than most other people’s sources. After all, she was still a queen, and frankly, they were not.

The opening of the thick wooden doors to the great hall pulled Guinnevere from her wandering thoughts. Arthur walked in followed closely by Seraphim. The expression on the Champions face – or rather the absence of one – told the queen many things. None of which she liked.

Seraphim escorted Arthur to his seat and then took her own. The stiffness of her posture indicated that the meeting would be an explosive one, and at worst, it could spell destruction to all they knew. There were many spectators for that day’s gathering of the knights. All present seemed to know that it would be a very important meeting.

When Arthur took his seat, the noise in the hall ceased and silence reined for a brief span of moments. Guinnevere had the impression that would be the last time anyone in attendance would hear silence of that profound a nature.

“My knights, for more than a generation we have lived in peace. That changes this spring. For when the snows melt and the land dries, we march against Mordred and those who follow his banner.

“You know as well as I, more than a few of those with him used to sit at this Table. I regret that I must order you to fight against those that you have called friends and brothers. If we are to survive, I have no choice. Just as I have no choice in giving another unbearable order, one by all rights that I shouldn’t have to give.” There he paused and then turned to look squarely at his Champion.

“My Champion, I forbid you to fight in what is most likely to be our final battle.” Stunned silence followed his statement.

At the beginning of his speech, Arthur’s tone was grave; by the end of it, his voice was as hard as Excalibur’s steel. His tone told everyone present he and his Champion already had that argument and they were about to have it again – in public. Those knights closest to the two surreptitiously moved away from them. They knew what happened when those two argued and they wanted no part of it. Actually, they wanted to be nowhere near the danger zone but at present, they couldn’t leave so they opted to move further from the immediate vicinity. Even a small distance from the two contenders would offer a minor degree of protection.

“Milord, you cannot give me that order. To stand by your side in battle is my God given right as your Champion!” Righteous indignation filled Seraphim’s tone. Every member at the Table agreed with her – yet none would speak against Arthur. They were Knights of the Round Table, but they were not that brave.

None of them held any illusions of the upcoming battle. They all knew the caliber of the knights they would be fighting and they knew the likelihood of their survival was slim. They also knew that without her on the field they would have one less ally on their side. At least their memories would live on, hopefully not too tainted by her version of storytelling. Assuming that she decided to mention any of their names at all, that was.

All could hear the determination in her voice and all knew that this was one battle Seraphim was destined to lose. They only hoped she could accept what was likely to be the loss of Camelot. Because she was the one who had believed in it before it existed. She was the one chosen to see the dream die. It was a fate none of them envied.

“Nonetheless I am giving you that order. And as a loyal subject you will follow it.” All could tell he truly did not wish to give her that order but they knew as well as he did someone had to survive, and that unlucky lot fell upon Seraphim. For many generations the women folk had persevered in the face of adversity and they all knew if Camelot were to be remembered, she would have to carry the torch.

“I will not. My place is by your side when danger threatens. And there is no place more dangerous than a battlefield!”

“You will stay off the field and you will tell the world the wonders of Camelot or you will face my displeasure!” With Arthur’s last statement Seraphim’s jaw snapped shut. There was no one at the Table who would risk his displeasure. Not even Seraphim.

Without another word, she rose from her seat and stormed from the great hall. That was the last time anyone saw her in Court…

To Roma

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Here lately I have been posting quite a bit of Arthurian one shots. I truly hope you are enjoying them. Today I have yet another one shot for you. This particular one takes place early on in Arthur’s reign. As always feel free to leave a review.

Happy Reading!

To Roma

Sunlight filtered through the arrow slits of what was quickly becoming known as the king’s workroom to the denizens of the castle. The sunlight allowed enough light to see by and a slight breeze to circulate the air of the some what stuffy room.

In the light’s path sat a sturdy wooden table covered with scrolls. The paper was imported from Aegyptus and known as papyrus. It was extremely durable and versatile. The durability of the papyrus was invaluable to the nation,

Although Khitai was able to produce a cotton blend that was cheaper, it was also more delicate. The papyrus was one of the few extravagances that Arthur allowed his administration this early in his reign.

Behind the table of scrolls sat a man with reddish brown hair and dancing blue eyes. The man was bent over the table carefully reading a scroll. There was a slight frown on his face as he stared at the scroll.

After several moments the sound of a man clearing his throat alerted the seated man to the presence of another in this his workroom. The seated man looked up and said, “Sir Gareth, come and sit for I have something of a quest for you.”

Sir Gareth entered the room and looked warily at the man before saying, “A quest, Your Majesty,” alarm colored Gareth’s voice.

“Of a sort,” his majesty confirmed with a half smile on his face. It was a smile that made Gareth nervous.

With trepidation in his stomach Gareth echoed, “Of a sort?”

“Yes. I would like for you to make a journey with the Lady Seraphim,” Arthur answered. Gareth could have sworn that he saw amusement in the king’s eyes as he said that.

Gareth almost sagged in relief. Doing anything with Lady Seraphim was both refreshing and amusing for the fact that it was common knowledge that Seraphim acted like no lady that any knight had ever met.

It was well known that you could take Lady Seraphim into a tavern and she would encourage one to act with boisterous pride amongst your peers. The Lady Seraphim also tended to act as though she were any other knight. That tended to help with thinking of her as a comrade in arms rather than a damsel in distress.

“What sort of journey had you in mind, your majesty,” Gareth asked his king.

“’Twould be naught but a journey across the seas, to the land of Roma,” replied Arthur, his hazel eyes sparkling in mischief.

“Then thou wish a mission of secrecy,” Gareth questioned. The prospect of traveling in secret with the king’s champion sparked the knight’s interest. Gareth, like all other knights of the table, had never served with a female knight and the king’s chosen champion was a woman. This was a highly unconventional thing to have.

The danger this trip held for the King’s Champion was great. This much Gareth knew. The danger was primarily because Seraphim was a woman. All in Camelot knew how the Romans tended to treat women.

Especially given the fact that the primary religion of the Roman conquerors was that of the Christ child. This was a religion that saw women as a frail lot that were to be protected and kept far from the fields of bloodshed.

And the King’s Champion, the Lady Seraphim, was anything but meek and mild. In many ways Seraphim was more of a knight than some of those that sat at the Table Round. For she truly did believe in and try to live by the ideals that the King had set forth for his Knights. It was rumored that the Lady Seraphim didn’t even know the meaning of the words ‘lip service’. That was something that Gareth found to be extremely true in the few dealings that he had attended with the Lady Knight.

As Sir Gareth lost himself in his thoughts the king interrupted, “I have every confidence that my Champion can defend herself. Unfortunately I also know the depths of treachery that the Roman Senate can fall too,” he finished sternly.

“Understood, Your Majesty. I shall do my utmost to keep faith with the high honor that you have seen fit to bestow upon me,” Gareth finished solemnly.

Arthur gave an ironic grin as he nodded his head. As Sir Gareth strides were taking him from the room the king intoned, “Oh, and Sir Gareth, remember to tone her temper with an alehouse if need be.”

Gareth paled at the thought of what could drive the formidable Champion to the alehouses to calm down. With a half bow towards the king, Gareth strode the door shaking his head at the adventure to come.

Already A Legend

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Hi Folks,

Once more we are sticking with the Arthurian theme. This time though we have an appearance made by Elaine, Lady of the Lake. She is known to have raised Lancelot du Lac. This time though the eternal figure has a question for the famous descendants of the king of Albion. From here on out I give you – ALREADY A LEGEND.

As always feel free to leave a review and Happy Reading!

Already a Legend

 

In a German prison-palace sat a man with bright reddish-gold hair and eyes the color of a cloudless sky. There were no adornments on his fingers and his clothing lacked any fancy embroidery. It was in this palace that he resided since his capture by his cousin Leopold of Austria. Normally the man had a jolly grin on his face, today though he was pensive. His current predicament was heavy on his mind.

The weather had forced him to take the more dangerous land route from the crusades back to a kingdom that he really didn’t like and the only use he found for it was as revenue. This latest Crusade had been trying on him but at last Christians had more access to the holy land of God.

Here in this prison-palace he had basic rights and the assurance that his captors would not kill him due to his exalted birth – although his brother John would probably like for him to disappear permanently. His daily routines were not changed. He had one servant girl assigned to him. She had dark hair that was held back with an iridescent pearl net and ancient blue eyes. Never once did she say a word to him and yet Richard got the feeling that every time the woman even glanced his way she said a volumes.

The raven haired woman always bore him his meals, but never once had she uttered a word, causing him to assume that she was a deaf mute. A fair occupation for such a creature.

Richard would swear though, that she was not dumb. There was too much intelligence in her aged eyes.

In a few minutes Richard would once again see the raven haired woman. For the sun was about right for his midday meal.

Right on time the servant girl came into the room with his noon victuals. This time though, when she looked at him she asked a question, “Tell me Coeur de Lion, which would you prefer – the sword or the scabbard?”

Her soft voice was melodious. Richard looked surprised at the woman. Without a moments hesitation he answered, “The sword Milady. How else were I to defend myself?”

The dark-haired lady shook her head mournfully and answered, “Than I fear, brave-hearted one, that your demise shall be as sad as Charlemagne’s predecessor.” She ended this statement on a sigh as she set the tray of victuals down.

“The man you speak of was naught but a myth,” Richard replied haughtily.

“Arthur was more than myth and fable. But if it is the sword you want than it is the sword you shall get,” she stated with finality. There was a slight sneer on her delicate lips as she turned from him and left the room in something of a temper.

As the woman left she slammed the heavy wooden door as hard as she could and if Richard could have seen her blue eyes he would have wondered if the woman was mortal or one of the Church’s despicable demons.

Once outside of the room the woman carefully worked a spell throughout the castle so that she could leave as unnoticed as she had arrived.

Oh! Why did the men of Constantine have to be so stubborn! Could none of them see that Arthur was right all those years ago? Even now, not a sole believed him and that deplorable fact was the fault of Arthur’s final orders to his Champion. Why did she have to be so successful?

But there was no use in lamenting the fact that orders had been followed successfully so she’d best get on with the future, else it wouldn’t happen the way that the immortals wanted it to. So if it was Excalibur that the Kings of Albion wanted it was Excalibur that Elaine of the Lake would give them.

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.