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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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.