My feet went numb from dancing, my lungs were weak from laughter, and my mind fizzled into a trance of the party from the meed. The bone-breaking stone floor never shuddered at the crowd of giddy dancers, granted it wouldn’t have mattered if we beat the floor into fine sand we would have danced till our legs snapped. The meed was to blame for the enthusiasm but the reason for the drinking was an anniversary, mine actually as I force my brain to think why. “Ah got it! My knightship!” I thrust my goblet to the air in victory as my mind straightens enough to remember. It’s been a year since I had arrived here in Camelot and defeated the goblin of fire and ice and acquired my knighthood. Black armor for this lass and I preferred it. The overdone and the showy display of the gold and silver armor just made a mockery of the responsibility it represented. This was a job of protecting and, and…well other stuff that I had to do daily.
“Oye! Give this kingly knight a dance, and I’ll buy you a pint.” said Ol’Gusman, “That lame leg of yours couldn’t handle my spirit! But I’ll take some of that wine of yours.” I slap back. I see all two of him start to fire up his angry remark when Jespin nails himself in between us, I notice his eyes about to split my head open with a glare so strong. His hand snatches away my meed and pours out the wine Ol’Gusman had. Before we could finish our jumbled words of protest, his deed was done.
“Now what the Heldogs was that for! Couldn’t you see I was having a very in-depth conversation?” My accent came out a little stronger with my mind meddling back into its drunken mess.
“I just saved you honor, and possibly your knighthood. You can’t get anymore plastered than you are now without completely making a fool of yourself!” Jespin whips out, his words laced with anger but he couldn’t help but smile at my dopeness.
“Wait, you said plastered. That’s my realm, I truly am rubbing off on you.” My eyes way about a thousand pounds and my body begins the nice ride to drunk sleep. I feel him lift me up of my seat, and start to move out of the festivities to my quarters. I slide into the warm depth of nothingness.
Warm rays caress my face with a gent awakening, but then my head catches up and starts to wage war on my decisions last night. Squeezing my eyes till sparks appear I push my palms into my temples. The war continues so I get up and get myself ready for the daily tribulations of a knight. An honored one at that, King Arthur wanted me to be celebrated for the year of success I’ve brought him. I didn’t feel the need but maybe that was my realm talking. It still feels different, like I stepped into something I wasn’t allowed to, that if I fail in any way I lose everything here because it was just a crazy dream. That I’ll wake up in Wales with the world as ordinary as it always was. I walk out into the main hall when I hear the heavy footprints of two guardsmen approaching, I turn before they call.
“The King asks for the knights to gather.” States one.
“Alright, I’ll head over.” I casually announce.
“Thank you for the cooperation with the short notice but I’m afraid it is a pressing matter. Life is at stake.” Arthur says with a confident yet stressed expression. He continues, “If you gaze on this courtroom of knights, see the proud armor dressed on the brave honorable men I have chosen to serve my kingdom along my side. But I’m afraid we need to look closer, we have lost a friend. Avidran has betrayed us, gone behind our backs to the Unritc armies. To gather their forces against ours, if he succeeds in this we will have a war and death with be dwelling in our ranks. My advisers and I have decided, should you agree, to ask for a peace agreement before waging a war.” He scans the room searching our eyes, “I will be choosing a knight to go and discuss peace and come to an agreement. And I feel Ralva would do best.” My face says it all, “My king, this is an honor but surely Percival or Jespin would be better suited.” I try to say this slowly and calmly but it just stutters out.
“No, I have chosen you. You will take escorts and another knight of your choosing to accompany you, travel to the Unritc armies, and make a peace agreement. Is that understood.” His words repeated themselves to the walls and floors, but his authority rang true to stand as a mark for no further discussion. We bow our heads in submission then turn to leave. As I am filed to the back of the line, I feel his gaze on my back so I move to the side and wait till we are alone. Then, “Not as much eagerness as I had hoped for.”
“Well, it’s not like I love negotiating with traitorous knights armed with an army whose sole motivation is to remove us from this realm. Also, you did kinda just throw me in this, a little pep talk prior to the meeting would have been nice, my king.” The title has lost its dignity and is just a formality at this point.
“Knighthood is never an easy undertaking, challenges will arise and so we must rise to the actuation as well. I chose you because Avidran always cared for you as a sister, using that to your advantage.” He was becoming stern and disciplinary in his words.
“I am no young child needing to be scolded, I understood what was needed from me. Have you forgotten what I have accomplished for you, how I vanquished your enemies to keep your throne secure?” I’ve lost the respectful demeanor, my temper flares and his cools down to an ember.
“You know how much I appreciate you, I had hoped that had been evident in last evening’s festivities. This isn’t a mere errand for the squires to handle, this is a responsibility worthy of those whom I deem fit. Now, who is accompanying you on your quest?” I feel myself regain the proper conduct and disclosed to him that I have chosen Jespin as my accomplice. As I leave the council chamber a hand snags mine, my other hand snatches a dagger to swing around and press it against his throat. Jespin’s throat, a mischievous smile spreads as he slowly lowers my armed hand.
“Don’t you know not to apprehend the black night? I’ve heard she will cut your head clean off with a spork.” My own smile spreads.
“What is this magical weapon named a spork?” He inquires. I giggled remembering that I bear the knowledge of two realms while he has only been here.
“It’s a genius combination of a fork and a spoon so that one never needs both,” I explain.
He hums in concentrated thought as I start to speak, “Now why is it that you risked your life just to hold me?” I say raising my eyebrow in speculation.
“Well, how else does a man gain favor to be asked to join your escort to the Unritc armies. Now, when shall we depart?” his face brightens and his eyes shine with new rays of excitement.
“We leave in two dawns with 10 escorts all on horseback, it will take only a day to reach,” I explain.
“I don’t know whether to be glad for the short ride or worried that they are that close.” His face draws up into fake worry trying to further his point. I push away and head to the armory, he follows but no words are shared.
We breach the final hill when the horizon births the vast army, we halt on the top of the hill and stare aghast the enemy’s growth. A year ago they posed no threat to us, but this might be more of a fair fight. As we travel down the hill and a small group of armored escorts barrels our way to stop us. They raise their hands and we yield to their direction. Avidran was in the lead still adorned in his Camelot armor, he had his battle mask on his face. I removed my helm but I know he knew who was here, “What is your reason for this?” He asks with a tone of overconfident authority.
“You know exactly why we are here, traitorous snake!” Jespin spits, With my eyes rolling annoyance at him, he stands down. “We have come to negotiate which is what you had expected of King Arthur, we wish peace, not death and your leader doesn’t need to slaughter his men for his own quest for vengeance. It would be a waste of blood. Allow us a negotiation for a treaty and we will leave as soon as everything is settled.” I make my point clear and my gaze blank, this wasn’t an emotion errand but a discussion of peace and death. We needed in and Avidran knew that his feelings for me couldn’t get in the way of his new vengeful leader.
“I will escort you to his chambers but I cannot guarantee an entrance.” Avidran was worried and that could help my team.
“That is all we ask,” Jespin adds to sound as though he is an important part of this transaction. I turn to him with a look that spoke unimpressive, and he just shrugged defensively. The Untric soldiers surround us and lead on our horses down into the encampment. After a long maze of tents and camps, we reach the center where a tent that can only be occupied by a leading general stands. Avidran disembarks his steed and shoots us a worried look, it seemed to be lined with concern and that is what startled me. I stare on at him as he almost stalks his way to the tent then vanishes behind the flap of the tent. After a few long moments of stirring in our saddles and exchanging distrustful glances, he returns. His gaze is to the ground till he is in front of us by a few feet, then he takes a breath and looks at me with newfound bloodlust. I grip the hilt of my sword and I hear Jespin’s sword be drawn slightly. The Untric soldiers look to Avidran for orders and the only word that slipped through his lips was, “No.”
“No, what Avidran?” I force.
“No killing today, he accepts. Come.” and everyone stands down except for me and Jespin. I swing my leg over and my escort follows, then we all follow Avidran inside. The interior was very lavish and almost a cloth palace, in the center was a square table carved with gold and cedarwood, at its head was a throne. The sleeping quarters were only blocked off with thin lace sheets, you could see the two women shaped curves on the bed. Then he appeared from the sheets to blaze through them with no gentle hand. His build was massive and unnatural, with his scalp half-shaved and the other braided with beads of gold. His whole body that you could see was covered in brutal scars, he had his upper body completely showing only wearing leather pants. He walks slowly to his throne and plants himself in it. Then his finger flips up and Avidran scurried over to him and leans his ear to the beast. After standing straight again he says, “You may begin.”
“Your highness, we have been sent from His Highness King Arthur to discuss peace. He has no intention of having a war waged against you but since you have now recruited one of our knights and built your army on our borders, we feel that you wish to shed blood with our kingdom. Will you accept terms of a peace treaty?” I state the matter of the sentence of fact. I see his mind swirly thoughts of either death or peace which I’m sure my face is mirroring the same. “I will accept if your weak king gives me his capital and half his land. You may live out your days in the far lands of your kingdom.” His accent slurs the words but his absurd threat comes clear.
“I beg your pardon, but that is not reasonable. My king would never accept and you know this, why do you want to wage war on Camelot?” My voice rises with my temper. He chuckles, the man chuckles at me, “I have a quest, a quest to bring down the king of Camelot and I will do so by a victorious battle. So unless you wish to be slaughtered here and now I would suggest you leave and scurry back to your kingdom to declare this doomsday message.” He ends with a bloodcurdling smirk. My guards stands tall and grip our swords but we are severely outnumbered and in the middle of the enemy’s battle camp. I turn and walk away with so much anger in my steps, I swing onto my horse and gallop out without waiting for my team knowing they’ll catch up. Once I reach the top of the same hill I stop, waiting to hear their horses breach the top as well. And I do after a few seconds, I hear Jespin wo his horse next to me.
“That went poorly.” He states with a bit of teasing.
“You think this is funny! That now we have one of the largest armies coming after us, and have no chance at a peace agreement! We are screwed and have no chance of winning, and here you are finding humor in this! People are going to die Jespin and we can’t stop it!” I storm off, forcing him to follow.
Once we make it to the capital I storm to Arthur, he was in a council meeting but he interrupted it promptly just by one glance at my face.
“Prepare for battle, they are coming full force with no mercy. They wouldn’t agree to anything except to give him the land and capital. He forced us out with threats, I don’t think he will be giving us much headway.” I rush out the facts and his face deepens with dread.
“You will be head general with Jespin as your right hand, You’ll guard the front lands and don’t let them breach.”
The next dawn we wall line the borderlands, there are 50,000 men with us and all were trained to fight but if we lost we had little reserves left. The tension was growing and men and horses alike stirred constantly. I move my horse in front and turn around to face them all, “Here we are! The main defense of our beloved home Camelot, we are here to protect our homes and families. We need the courage to stand, to fight, to die, for our home. These enemies don’t have a cause to fight, they will be scared and weak while we fight victoriously to win for our cause! This battle will be the end of the war because you are here, YOU are here for Camelot!”
“For Camelot! For Camelot! For Camelot!” the words rang across the battlefield and down the rolling hiss to meet the enemies of Camelot.