The clanging of horses' hooves sounded on the cobblestones outside of King Leodegrance's huge castle in his domain of Cameliard. Six soldiers reigned in their overworked horses and one dismounted and pounded on the door to the keep.
"Open in the name of the King!"
Leodegrance heard the ruckus from his solar on the second floor of the castle. He rose from his desk, and his secretary Loholt swore as his lord knocked over the ink bottle in his rush to the window. Leodegrance heard the whisper of voices below, then silence. He exchanged a glance with his servant when suddenly the knocking was on his chamber door.
Loholt opened it to find a quivering, bowing servant lad. "Milord, there are men here to see you, they say they have great and terrible news."
The king pushed past the small boy and hurried down the stone steps to the Great Hall, where guests and messangers were brought. The soldier was standing by one of the stained glass windows, but turned when he heard Leodegrance approach and bowed low.
"Your Grace, I have news of your friend and companion, King Uther Pendragon. He has died of poison. During his illness, he contracted his will, and has entrusted with you the keeping of the Round Table, which my men and I have brought with us today."
Leodegrance nodded, sorrow filling him at his friend's awful passing, but also concern that other lords of the land may now attempt to overthrow the reign of Uther and his ancestors. "And his son, Arthur?"
"Is now King of all Britannia, milord."
The lord nodded again, and waved the soldier away. Deep in thought, he didn't hear the soft step approach him or the rustle of skirts as a curtsey was offered to him. He started when a quiet voice said, "My lord Father."
He turned to find his daughter, Guinevere, had entered the room and was looking at him sadly. "I heard news of the death of King Uther. I am sorry; I know he was your friend."
"Yes, my child, he was. His son, Arthur, is now king of the realm. We shall see how he does against the rebellious lords of the land who accept no one as their king."
"And you, Father?"
"My loyalty has passed from father to son. King Arthur will have my support."
Guinevere bowed again and left the room. As the door closed behind her, a small idea was forming in Leodegrance's clever brain. He stroked his beard. His Guinevere, wife to the new King to show support. His army connected to Arthur's to become the most powerful in the land. It is a thought requiring much pondering. For now he must supervise the arrival of the Round Table and dictate a letter to Loholt to send to King Arthur Pendragon.
Outside, the soldier mounted his horse and turned it back toward London, his mission complete. Servants were unloading the Round Table and carrying it into the castle. His men made to follow, when something out of the corner of his eye made him stop-- a flash of pink against the stone-gray of the castle. A breath-takingly beautiful woman stared at him through dark, ebony eyes, one hand on the castle door as though she had just stepped out. A light breeze ruffled the mahogany waves of her hair, which was loose underneath her rose colored headdress. The soldier was caught in her gaze, and it took his men's voices to shake him free.
"Sir Lancelot, come, we have many other domains to traverse."
He tore his eyes away from the angel at the door and spurred his horse. Within just a few seconds, the castle with its alluring inhabitant was merely a speck on the horizon.