The Fault in Our StarsPart 1 | Suggested Soundtrack
C A M E L O T
The Kingdom of the Britons | The Year of Our Lord 536
The banners were streaming from atop the parapets.
The sounds of minstrels and the singing of bards punctuated the celebrations on this, the Feast of Stephen. The courtyards and markets brought alive by the tourney that had sprung up around the castle walls to celebrate the hallowed festival of the martyred saint.
The sound of dense wood smacking against wood beat the rhythm of the war drums of child's play. A small gathering of knights and squires surrounding where a pair of boy's sparred in the round. Of the audience, they were the legends. Gods of war in this era and every era since. Sir Galahad, the Knight of the Grail. Jason of Normandy, the Knight of the Blood. Sir Gawain, the Maiden's Knight, greatest of the Knights of the Round Table.
The larger of the boys was Anduin, squire to Sir Jason. A true Briton, of Roman ancestry. His tunic was overlaid in a short coat that was a field embroidered with the likeness of a gold lion - the colors of his knight.
His opponent was a bastard of the Gaels. His Welsh heritage bespoken of by the fair hair and blue eyes that cast a likeness to the king himself. His tunic shifted about his body, cinched at the waist by a double-wrapped Celtic belt. His feet pressing into the moist earth, clad in a pair of caligae that - like his tunic - were largely unchanged from the days when Roman soldiers had marched upon Hadrian's Wall. A time which, for them, was but a few decades earlier. His tabard was two-toned, sewed together of equal parts of white and red.
The colors of the Silent Knight.
Anduin started forward. His size making him like a Goliath moving upon David and fueling an overhead swing that threatened to overpower the smaller page. But the Welsh bastard was fleet-footed, his movements like that of a dancer as he stepped off t the side. His wooden sword angled back as he brought it up in a watershed block that pushed Anduin's blunted blade aside.
It created an opening, into which he neatly stepped through. His wooden sword brought around and then forward, an overhead strike as he pressed the advantage. The attack drove the larger boy back, his desperate leap robbing him of balance as he careened into the audience behind him, stumbling and falling arse-over-backwards. The sight of which sparked the men to laughter.
Still clutching at his wooden sword, the Welsh page had watched the scene transpire with a kind of detachment. His throat warm as he sucked in breath, felt his heart racing inside his chest.
A hand reached out, grabbing his wrist and pulling his sword arm up into the air. As the boy's gaze turned upward, he saw his knight smiling over him as the man raised the boy's arm in a triumph that signaled the end of the match. There was a small smattering of applause, while a others helped Anduin back to his feet.
For his part, the Welsh page was confused. This was his first time taking part in a tourney such as this. Or even seeing such a thing as the Feast of Stephen on the lawn of Camelot.
The confused only deepened as he felt himself seized and lifted up, then spun around. Tankards of mead were raised, as the knights began belting aloud a song of Caedmon. Hugging onto his knight, the page saw the world turn. A merry go round of revelry and good cheer. The minstrel's ballad inciting people to dance.
Shifted around, he found himself feeling somewhat weightless as he went upward. He settled a moment later on the shoulders of the Silent Knight. A man who stood there, wordlessly, as he expressed his gratitude in a language without words for a tankard of mead.
The two of them.
In the shadow of Camelot. From atop the man's shoulder's, the boy looked up and saw the Kent banner flying beside all of the banners. Not least of all the standard of Pendragon.
His mother told him that he would be a king.
To be honest, there was nothing more he wanted so much as to exist in moments like this one. Sir Galahad speaking to Sir Jason. Sir Gawain regaling the maidens fair with stories that were both adventurous and bold. And the Silent Knight, a voiceful member of the company even without uttering a single word.
Maybe he should want to be a king. But to be a knight... to be a knight of the round table... that seemed a far more magnificent thing to him.
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THE REALM OF ANNWN
The Mystic Isle of Murias | Present Day
He woke with a start.
Part of him still dreaming, he reached out. Reaching, as though expecting the Silent Knight to be there. Part of him, the part not yet awake, wondering why he wasn't.
And then he remembered.
And wished very much that he didn't.
Dreams. Vile, wicked things. Like honey-lipped demons with butterfly wings, they pulled from memory the sweetest moments... only to pull them away again with the waking. The realization that yesterday was no more, and today was not what it was supposed to be. The promise of so many tomorrows. So many lies.
This a new day surely would birth still more.
He sat up, his eyes exploring the inside of a room within a castle that time had forgotten. Stone hewn walls with small, arched windows that offered an enviable view out over an emerald isle. He rose from out of the bed, the simple shift that was his nightgown falling just shy of the tops of his feet as the bed-headed young page stumbled from out of the bedroom in a kind of sleepy-eyes stupor.
The search for a chamberpot took him through the interior of a fortified mansion that seemed to date somewhere back to the 11th Century, though some of the tapestries and armors spoke of some time later. Strange, then, when he ducked into a room off from the hall and flicked on a light switch. Fully illuminating a modern bathroom, complete with a western toilet.
When he'd emerged some moments later, stretching with a large yawn, the boy started down toward the kitchens. He passed through the foyer. He passed through the great room. He passed through the library. Each progressive step sending a certain feeling of unease through him. "Mother?" the question echoed as he voiced it aloud, giving form to the slight anxiety of being in a large house, alone.
The kitchen, like the bathroom, didn't seem to make sense within the period castle. A modern refrigerator aglow with electricity as the boy tugged on the door. Pulling out a container of orange juice, he ventured next toward the cupboard. "Mother?"
Silence there, and nothing more.
A wooden cup and a poptart encased in silvery foil came away as he withdrew his hand from the cupboard. He moved to sit at the servant's table, there in the kitchen, with his breakfast of juice and a poptart.