Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Scene with Arthur

Here's a scene with Arthur that I may include in a Guinevere story...I haven't quite decided yet whether I'm going to do the "sword in the stone" option or if he's just going to be the prince, son of Uther...maybe it's a "Sleeping Beauty" story where Arthur gets sent off to live with peasants until Uther feels he's ready to come to court? Hmmmmm....

Arthur sat in the field, enjoying the warm sun on his face. In the far distance, he could see the sparkle of the lake and the soft mist that rose from the water. Arthur was taking a forbidden break from his cousin Morris's demands, hiding in the field instead of washing Morris's ornery horse. Morris was the fortunate one who was learning to be a knight in the King's army, while Arthur had to cater to his every whim. Arthur tried hard not to complain, his uncle did take him in when he had no where else to turn, but instead of treating him as a second son, he stuck him in the servants quarters and made him work for Morris as a squire. A sigh escaped his lips as he watched the sunlight dance on the waves.

A rustling in the wind to the left caught Arthur's attention. The woods stood tall on that side of the field, dark and mysterious. Arthur was not allowed to enter the woods; stories of ghosts and other legends kept the village people out. Today, though, his curiosity got the better of him. He stood up and brushed the grass off of his pants. At the line where the field stopped and the trees began, he hesitated, just a little, and then stepped into the cool darkness.

Almost as though he was being propelled forward, he walked with a purpose. Over tree roots and under the branches, in and out of the light filtered through the leaves above, he marched. He could smell the pine in the air and hear the soft breeze rustling. He even thought he heard the waves of the lake lapping the shore, but figured it was his imagination; he couldn't be close enough to the lake to hear it. An eerie feeling of being watched fell upon him all of a sudden and he stopped dead. Arthur peered as far as he could around him, and after reassuring himself that he was alone, he continued on.

Eventually, he came to a clearing. He stopped, awed by what he saw in front of him. In the middle of the grass and the purple and yellow wildflowers stood a stone, about the size of a large tree stump. Sticking vertically out of the stone was the hilt of a silver sword. The sword seemed to glimmer in the half-light, calling to Arthur, prompting him to approach it. Stepping forward, he reached out a shaking finger and touched the cool metal. Inscribed across the handle was the word "Excalibur".

"Excalibur," Arthur whispered softly, feeling as though he's heard that word before. This all seemed completely natural, yet surreal at the same time. All of a sudden, he knew what to do.

Arthur curled his fingers around the hilt of the sword, and braced his foot on the stone. Expecting a struggle, he took a deep breath and pulled as hard as he could. The sword came out of the stone like a knife through butter, throwing Arthur to the ground with surprise. Sprawled on the grass, he regarded the smooth blade laying across his legs. A stirring in the trees turned his attention to the woods around him.

Coming through the grass was the most beautiful lady he had ever seen, draped in a blue shimmery dress and dripping wet. She walked as though underwater, slowly but surely toward Arthur. When she was only about two feet away, she stopped and looked at him with ocean blue eyes.

"King Arthur, I am the Lady of the Lake." Her voice was like pebbles skipping across the surface of water.

"Ki--, what? King?" Arthur stammered, the Lady's presence overwhelming him. He knew he should rise in the presence of a lady, but his skinny legs refused to hold his weight.

"You have pulled the sword from the stone," she continued. "That means you are the true King of Britannia and your rightful place is the throne in Camelot. I am here to set you on your true path."

Arthur heard the galloping of horses' hooves, and a magnificent white horse entered the clearing, neighing and whinnying. The horse nuzzled Arthur's ear, and helped Arthur stand up.

"Hengroen is the name of this horse, and he will lead you on your way. Good luck, King Arthur," she whispered, and then she faded back the way she came. But for a damp spot on the grass, it was as though she was never there.

Hengroen nuzzled his ear again to get his attention. Arthur looked at the horse, then at the sword in his hand. He looked over to the stone, which still had the gash in it from where it was pierced. Arthur grinned and mounted the stallion. At last, his adventure was ready to begin.

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