"Come away, O human child!| CAMELOT| Sub-Roman Britain | The Year of Our Lord 535
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand.
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand..."
-W. B. Yeats"Life Is But A Dream" [ Part V ] [ Supposed To Be ]
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. 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 child of two worlds. His Welsh heritage bespoken of by the 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.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -| NORTH AMERICA| Rutland, Vermont | Present Day
He stepped across the threshold.
A single step.
The moment that his heel connected with the dry, rotted board on the rustic front porch he knew that he had arrived
. He felt some of the magic fade away, as the familiar bitterness
of reality nipped at his senses.
Tears were streaming down either side of his face. Once, many centuries ago, he had been willing to die to avenge the death of his patron knight -- a better man than any he knew. Now, taking his first step into the realm of the living, Mordred faced life in a world without the Silent Knight.
Even if no one knew that name, even if no one sang of his deeds, to Mordred he was a greater knight of the round table than Arthur could have ever hoped to be. The boy knew no other father, and no better friend. That Mordred was here and Sir Brian was not, it was a thought that was instantly lonely for him.
He continued another step. The caligea
wrapped around his foot and ankle pressing down on creaking planks, until the youth had passed from out of the door, across the porch, and down the steps. When his feet touched down on the ground, the boy stopped to look behind him.
It seemed an abandoned house. The front door lay off its hinges, the inside gutted and warped with exposure to the humid air. Not at all what it seemed on the other side of the open door.
Holding his head back, the child felt the breeze blowing through his dark hair. The caress of the sun on his face dried his tears, the warmth of cold world. A place he was born and condemned for it. Because of who people said that his father was. A man that Mordred knew only from afar.
Stretching out his arms, the boy braced himself for a moment. An intricate series of movements occupied his fingers, as the child uttered something in ancient Gaelic. "Benthyg dros amser...
The breeze picked up, leaves swirling around where the young sorcerer's apprentice uttered aloud the will and word. "...byr yw popeth...
" he continued, centering himself as he tried to understand how the energies moved in this reality. It was quite different than in the Dreaming.
The magic flowed so seamless there, so effortlessly
. Here, he could feel the resistance. "...a geir yn y byd hwn,
" the boy said, the last syllable slipping from his lips as his eyes seemed to radiate with a luminous energy as the incantation was completed.
The breeze passed him by, as the boy's form was transfigured amid the swirling leaves. In place of the tunic and tabard, the boy was dressed in a pair of jeans. A white, A-frame shirt was dressed with a red hoodie that had white accents.
Holding up two fingers and his thumb, the boy used his other hand to make a circular motion. There was a spark in the air, as a teleportation circle opened a portal in front of him.
As his arms dropped by his side, the boy crossed through the portal, as the path closed behind him.
It was a timeless piece of knowledge as old as civilization. Everything in this world that one might possess was merely borrowed for a short time.
A man's life.
A wizard's magic.