King Arthur has returned and he has brought his sword.
This was the month long prompt for all of March.
This week we have stories by:
Philip (Norval Joe) Carroll
And Jeff Hite
By Arlene Radasky
“Theodora, get that door open before I swat you!”
Bit pulled her blonde hair out of her eyes, and pushed the door open with her hip. Lord in Heaven, she hated serving food. The trays were heavy and she was always afraid she would drop the soup in someone’s lap. Taking orders from Claire was not easy either. Claire always called her by her given name and she hated it!
“Don’t call me that! I won’t answer if you do! You know to call me Bit.”
Theodora. Her mom laid that name on her. “Your father never cared, he didn’t stick around long enough to even see you born, so I thought about the best name I could find and there it was, Theodore, but I couldn’t name you that, could I, you’re a girl aren’t you?” As if she were confirming that for herself. So all the adults around her called her Theodora. And she hated it.
“Well, I wouldn’t have to call you anything if you’d keep up with what you are supposed to be doin’, and not always day-dreamin’ , silly girl,” Claire whispered as they got closer to the table filled with giggling women.
She had thought long and hard about her name, ever since she realized it was her name. She used to get teased, but as soon as she got old enough to fight, the teasing stopped.
Bit’s mother had died when she was six and Claire, her aunt, brought her into the kitchen and started her peeling vegetables and serving. That was six years ago.
One day when she was helping Edward carry in a bucket of mead that was beginning to slop all over the floor and her, he, the King, stood, walked to her and easily took it from her, setting it on the table for his knights and guests to start dipping from.
“That was a big load for a little bit like you.” And then he ruffled her hair.
After that she started insisting everyone call her Bit. It was easy to convince her pals but others were more resistant. Again, after some minor tussles, no one wanted to get hurt just because she wanted to change her name, more of the people her age started calling her Bit. But the adults were different, she was not old enough yet to demand respect from them. Someday, she told herself, someday.
She and Claire were placing the loaves of bread on the table when the lady of the castle, Guinevere, spoke. “I do hope you have a special meal planned for this evening meal. He will be riding in about that time, according to the boy he sent ahead this morning.”
“Oh yes, m’Lady. We are having roasted boar. The hunters shot a big one and brought it in three days ago. We dressed it and I started preparing it last night. It will be ready to fall apart on his plate when he arrives, m’Lady.”
“That is perfect. His favorite and I am sure he has not had time to do much hunting on this trip. He will be pleased. Would you please bring out some mare’s milk? I have a desire for that today.”
“Oh yes, m’lady. Right away. I’ll send Theodora right away.”
Bit winced at hearing her name. She had been day-dreaming again. When she heard that he was coming home today, the procession that accompanied his return came to her mind. There would be people in the road welcoming him, his knights riding in before and after him and his protectors on either side of his mount, swords at hand.
She wanted nothing more than to be a part of it.
She hated being a girl. The only time she had seen women ride with him they were dressed in their finest riding clothes, never a sword or knife to be seen. Bit wanted to dress in armor and protect him, not serve him his cheese.
Back in the kitchen, Claire turned to her. “Now off as fast as you can to the stables. Find James and tell him to milk a mare for the lady. If you get back here before she leaves the table, you can have a few minutes free before we have to set up for the evening meal.”
“I’ll do it but I’ll hold you to my free time when I get back.” Claire had not always kept her promises.
Bit ran out the kitchen door, down the path to the stables. The main door was not open as most of the horses kept in the stables were all gone on this journey with the King. Bit knew it had been an important journey. There had been talk of his visit to his sister’s holdings at the evening meals for many nights before they left. Something about his sister and her son causing trouble in the land was what the servants had talked about. Bit didn’t understand how it could be but she had also heard that the boy was the King’s son. “How can he be the King’s son and not live here?” Bit wondered this to herself because when she asked she’d had her ears boxed by Claire.
Bit ducked under the fenced corral and slipped into the stable. There were windows way up high but coming in from the bright sun, it seemed to be as dark as full night inside.
“Whatcha doin’ here, girl?” boomed a voice right next to her.
She jumped and let out a small screech.
“James, you scared me! I’ll be lucky to have enough strength to get back to the kitchen after that!”
A deep throated chuckle was his response.
“Here, I brought you a sweet roll. The ladies just had their meal and we made honey bread for them today. There was some left, they hardly seem to eat anything.”
“Thank thee,” he said, bit off half the roll and started chewing. Bit had known him for as long as she could remember. He used to visit her mother before she died and would tell Bit about all the colts born in the spring and training the huge horses the knights used to fight. The knight counted on his horse to know where he wanted to go without using the reins because with all his armor on, sword in one hand and shield in the other, all he could do was lean and press with his knees to give direction. That took a lot of training of the horses and James seemed to be able to train them without breaking their spirit, or so he said the King said.
“James, I’m in a hurry. The Lady G wants some mare’s milk. Do you have a mare here that can give up some?”
“More milk? Oh yes, the King is due home tonight. I swear, I’d never heard of such a thing before she came. Mare’s milk to help produce a baby. She especially always wants some mare’s milk the night he comes home from a trip. All our ladies before her and around her seem to get pregnant without mare’s milk and it doesn’t seem to be helping her. Well, its not my place to question her. I am just lucky I have had mares feeding most times she asks. Edward! Come here!”
Bit’s best friend Edward walked over from the shadows. “Hi.”
“Did he send you in this morning?” Bit asked.
“Yes, he wanted me to let the Lady know he was coming.”
Bit heard James gruffly whisper, “Probably to make sure her bed is empty.” Bit didn’t understand what he meant. He turned to Edward and continued, “Go to Faerie’s stall and milk her for the Lady. Only take a cupful. Her foal needs it more than the Lady.”
Bit’s eyes were used to the dim light now and she followed Edward back to the stall where a mare and colt stood. “Stay outside until I get settled. She should be good, but with these feet, she only needs to shuffle and I will be maimed.”
Edward talked to the huge horse and moved slowly. He was fourteen years old and tall for his age. He managed her well and she let him have a cup of milk without too much trouble. “Here Bit, cover it and take it to her as fast as you can, if you get it to her while it is still warm, she will thank you.”
“How do you know?”
“I brought the last one in the middle of the night before he left.”
“Edward, I will have some time free after, will you, since he is not here?”
Edward was now a page to the King but had been Bit’s friend since they both started working in the kitchen. They still got to see each other sometimes around mealtime. He would often sneak into the kitchen when the King was eating.
“Yes, I will meet you at the steps to the tower. I have something I went to show you.”
“Good. Until later.
“Yes, until later.”
Bit walked as quickly as she could and not spill all the milk out of the cup. The kitchen was filling with the smell of the roasting boar filled with onions.
The door to the dining room was open and Bit heard Claire. “I’m sure she will be right here, m’lady. Here she is!” Bit sat the cloth-covered mug in front of her and the Lady smiled, reached into her pocket and pulled out a small quartz stone. “I found this on my walk yesterday, Theodora. It carries the color of the wild rose deep inside. It might bring you luck.”
Bit took the small offering, still warm from the Lady’s hand and curtsied, speechless.
“Say thank you, you ungrateful girl!” whispered Claire.
Th-th-thank you m’Lady! It is beautiful!” Bit’s fingers wrapped tight around her gift.
Claire waved her hand and Bit took off to the steps to meet Edward. It was just a few minutes later that he arrived.
“I have something to show you,” he said.” We have to climb all the way up.”
“All the way? How long will that take? I have to be back down here to set up for the evening meal before he comes.”
“We have time, he will not be here until close to sunset.”
Bit and Edward climbed the first three flights of stairs with no problem. The stairs at that level were crafted to be used by everyone gaining access to the other floors of the castle. The last set of stairs were the narrow, spiral stairs to the very top, the tower room. Bit had never been up this high. She started to wonder if they should be this high.
“Edward, wait. Are we supposed to go up there?”
“I have been up there several times. I don’t think anyone else but the king goes up there. But he is not here and I want you to see something.”
“Then let’s go on,” Bit said and started climbing the gray, stone steps again.
The thick-planked door was heavy. Edward had to lean, full body, into it to open it. Bit walked into a very sparse room. A chest against one wall, a tiny table with a small oil lamp and a cot were all that furnished the room. Everything seemed to disappear into the curved walls yet there was not much room to walk. Bit made her way to the cot, placed just under the only window in the room, climbed up and looked out. She could just see the road below. Farmers and vendors were haggling but she could barely hear them. A bird flew by and Bit reached out as if she could touch it. A rattle next to her drew her attention, she turned and Edward was on his knees in front of the plain, wooden chest. He lifted the latch and she saw several colors of folded cloth.
She climbed down, and joined him on the floor. He reached in and brought out a piece of very worn blue and yellow cloth. When she touched it, she was afraid that it was going to fall apart, it was so old.
“What is this?” she asked.
“He didn’t tell me what the cloth was from but he showed me this.”
Edward laid the bundle on the floor and unfolded it. The small sword was uncovered when the last layer was laid aside. Bit stared at it. It was very small. A man’s hand would cover the hilt and part of the blade. As she looked closer she could see that it had been used and the blade was scratched and pitted. Bit turned her head up to look at Edward.
“Who does this belong to?”
Bit could not believe that, she could not see the King with any sword except Excalibur. His hand was never small enough to fit this sword.
“I don’t believe you.”
“It’s true. He brought me up here one night, just before we left on this journey.” He said he wanted to think but wanted me to see this and remember where it is.”
“But why? This is his private room. Why would he bring you up here?”
“I don’t know, I just know he told me that this was his when he was little, before he found Excalibur. And he told me his son played with it, too.”
“His son? Who is his son?”
“The man living with his sister is the King’s son. I overheard them all arguing. Even Merlin was there. She was screaming that the kingdom was their son’s to inherit and the King was yelling that he would have to take it by force. Merlin was trying to quiet them and I heard a laughing in the background that must have been Mordred, The King’s son. The King stomped out of the room, with Merlin on his tail, saying ‘Remember the prophecy, remember!’ The King answered back, ‘I remember but I do not believe it. I will not believe it! Leave me alone now, old man.'”
Bit watched Edward’s face as he told the story. He did not look at her as he told it, but his mouth was lined with white and his cheeks flushed.
“I followed him out of the hall, and ran up to him outside. He asked me if I’d heard. I told him, yes, I had.”
“Edward, I have tried my hardest to do my best with this land. You are the hope of the land, all you of your age. I charge you to remember what your life was like while I was King. Remember the good times we have had, the grain our land gave us and the peace we lived under. It has been good. Remember the small sword? That sword was part of my life before my responsibilities, before I had to worry about the lives of others. I want you to keep it safe. Take it to the crystal caves and hide it. I will come back to get it. “
“But you will be home and can take it to the caves yourself.”
“No, I will not have time. The council will gather and plan our future. I am charging you to do it.”
“I will take it Sire, I told him.”
Bit saw tears fall from Edward’s eyes. “Bit, he was crying! He had tears on his cheeks! He told me to go get some bread, meat and water, get on my horse, go home and tell the Lady he was coming. I came as fast as I could. Bit, I think there is going to be a battle. What I am worried about is Merlin’s warning. The King has been in battles before but this all seems so different.” Edward shook his head from side to side, his tears falling from his cheeks spotting Bit’s dress.
She scooted closer and hugged him. They both heard the commotion through the window at the same time. She watched as he picked up the sword. It fit right into his hand. He looked at it, felt its balance and nodded his head as if he had made a decision.
The cot was just big enough for both of them to stand on and watch the parade of horses and men. There were many more than had gone from the castle two weeks ago. The King had called in his warriors from their fields and farms. They walked behind him, behind all the knights in armor on horseback. Bit had never seen so many men on the castle grounds.
“Oh no, these are the men he gathers before battle,” said Edward. “His farmer soldiers he calls them. The battle must be soon. I have to go tonight and hide this sword. I have to go.”
“Then I am going with you,” she said.
“I knew you would,” Edward said. “We can both ride my horse.”
They both watched as Arthur rode home, holding Excalibur unsheathed, laid across the pommel of his saddle. Bit reached into her pocket and touched the pink stone the Lady had given her. It was cold.
Philip (Norval Joe) Carroll
t was a bad area of town in a town already bad enough.
Every morning, around sunrise, an old man walked up the street, thou no one ever saw where he’d come from. A worn out hounds tooth fedora pressed down, hard on his forehead, it met the bridge of his cheep dime store sunglasses.
He sat, everyday, on the corner of Fourth and T. He was old, bent over and wrinkled, but when he sat on his soap box he was straight and tall. He had such a commanding presence, he looked like a king in his court. His name was Art King but everyone called him King Arthur.
He’d been coming to the corner, where he held court for more years than anyone could remember. His smile was a permeant fixture on his time weathered face, and his good natured advice was freely given to any who asked. But you had to ask.
His one possession, besides the few clothes he carried on his back, was an old Marine Band harmonica. For a nickel, or a soda, or a cigarette, he’d play you a song. Most men ignored him, the children and old women all loved him. The punks, and toughs, and wise guys all left him alone.
One day, a stranger, he must have been passing through from a different neighborhood, saw him sunning himself on his box like an old cat. He pulled a knife on Art and said, “Gimmee everything you got.”
“Well, let me see what I got here in my pocket,” he wheezed cheerfully
He pulled out the old harmonica, held it out to the stranger, and said, “This is all I got. You can have it, and every disease I’ve blown through it.”
He laughed until he coughed. Through the wheezing and spluttering, all the while he smiled.
Eventually his fit passed and he said, “if you want, I can even teach you how to play it. He laughed again, spat, and played a song.
“No one makes a fool out of me,” the stranger growled and slapped the harmonica from Art King’s hands.
The old man stared at his stinging hands, and then at the harmonica on the concrete sidewalk, his smile was gone. He got slowly to his feet, took the few steps to the shiny metal instrument and bent to pick it up.
“You think you’re really funny, don’t ya, old man,” the stranger continued. “Well, I have a little joke here in my pocket, and it’s gonna make us both laugh, don’t ya think?”
He pulled a long switch blade from his pocket. With a snap, he flipped the blade open. He held the blade’s point at King’s nose where he remained bent over as he reached for the harmonica.
Art grasped the harmonica, his long coat hung heavily on his old frame. From his crouched position he said, “no, I’m not funny. Just old.”
With a long sigh that spoke of centuries, he stood. As he did he pulled the sword from the very concrete of the sidewalk. It sang as the steel rose free of it’s stone scabbard. It resonated in elation as it was held free toward the sky to receive the sanctifying rays of the morning sun.
The would be thief didn’t hesitate, but ran his knife into the old mans heart.
Art King coughed at the impact of the knife in his chest and gasped for air to refill his shocked lungs.
Blood ran freely from around the knife in the mans clenched fist. The thief laughed at the shock on the old man’s face. His triumph turn to incredulity as the pain in his hand made him aware it was his own blood, and not that of the old man that ran down his wrist.
On meeting something impenetrable on the old man’s body, the knife stopped short of piercing King Arthur’s skin. Instead the thief’s fist continued forward, the razor sharp edges cut cleanly through skin and muscle to bone. The smell of well oiled chain mail was crisp in his nostrils.
As the thief fled, several men in chain mail or studded leather stepped from the ether to surround Arthur. As one they knelt, heads bowed, the tips of their swords pointed down, and hovered a fraction of an inch from the ground.
“My Lord,” Lancelot said, “it is time you come with us. We have all drunk from the Grail. But as you must be, we are all now weary. It is time we drink a second time from the sacred cup and find our eternal rest.”
“You have brought it with you,” the king stated blankly.
King Arthur finally lowered Ex Caliber, and said, “Yes, let’s go.”
The knights fell into step behind their king and followed him down the street and back into legend.
As they began to fade from the vision of mortal men, Arthur asked Lancelot, “it was pulling the sword from the ground that alerted you?”
“Yes,” he said. “Yes, Your Highness, we have been looking for you for centuries.
Return of the King
“It was September, and not a nice September day, that much I do remember. There were no birds signing and the rain, though nothing new on this little island, was cold. I think if it had been a few degrees cooler it would have been just about painful to stand out in. But then I might be remembering today, because it is so much like that today. It makes my bones ache. Ache to the point of not wanting to be here. Here The place that I have come for the last ten years. Every year at this time, to remember, and hope that maybe this will be the year that he will return. That he will wake up and help to bring us back from this brink, this dark time that has befallen us. Though I know it will not. I even I am allowed to hope, and old man who has seen time forward and backwards. I am spent, I have nothing left to give this world, but I would find a way if he were to return to us.”
I watched Merlin ramble for a few more minutes, as he stood before the door to King Arthurs grave. He had given more than his share in the king’s time, and it was unfair what they was about to do to him, but life is rarely fair. I watched him move carefully away from the door, he raised his staff looking so much like the powerful wizard that he was and lock the door to the tomb. It was for the last time he knew. The last time that anyone would be able to open the door, unless it was opened from the inside, Or so he thought.
The stone melded together, forming a perfect wall of rock, without blemish. Then carefully he inscribed it in a writing that only another wizard like him would be able to read. “Here lies Kind Arthur, King of the round table, The once and Future King.”
He coughed as he finished the last word and blood trickled out of the corner of his mouth. Consumption, or whatever they called it in his day was eating him from the inside out. He would die soon. I knew that, and so did he. It was not something that I enjoyed watching, but I had seen it more times than I cared to count. He would lay down next to the tree to rest, with plans to make his journey to the place everyone thought he was already was buried. But he would never get up from the spot. After he stopped breathing, the lady would come. She would carefully pick him up, and undo what had cost him his life’s energry with a slight wave of her had. The great door would open and he would be laid next to his king.
“Dr Mander, I have reviewed the logs and I think we have met the conditions you were looking for.”
“Good Matt. Let’s take a look.”
“I have found the spot when they are all together. She is so much more powerful than the other two. Why not just get her?”
“She would not help us alone, She will not work for anyone, but to help the other two. To help the world. Now you are sure she was helping him, and now trapping him?”
“Yes, she was helping, but if we really needed it, why didn’t it just happen on it’s own.”
“So many questions today Matthew. You disagree that we need the help now?”
“No I just wonder why it has not happened on it’s own.”
“Come with me, I will show you.”
“What I am going to show you, I have never shown anyone else. It has taken me years to get this far, and your work, has allowed me to continue mine uninterupted. I really appreciate that.”
“Your welcome Dr.”
“This is very important, we have to complete our work so that we can wake the King.”
“But what have you discovered that will allow us to do that.”
“Let me show you.” The Professor led Matthew to the back of the build and down into a basement room. When we stepped into the room the cold hit me like and arctic blast, and I shivered in spite of myself. Once my eyes had adjusted to the low light I could see there was very little actually in the room, a number of large pieces of equipment that I didn’t recognize and there in the middle of the room, was a silver coffin shaped box.
“Ten Years ago when I was on a survey mission, I found her, I found the Lady you just saw watching Merlin into the the cave.”
“She was Frozen in the bottom of the lake. We were on a geologic survey of the area and thought she was another bog body. But then we found her, she was perfect. She looked just like this.” He said pulling the lid back.
There laying before us was the sleeping form of the lady that I had indeed seen in the view screen only ten minutes ago. She had put Merlin in the cave with Arthur and sealed it up.
“Your research proves that most of the so called historical accounts of her were fictional. She seemed to be helping Merlin and not trapping him. Or at least laying him to rest with as much respect as was paid to Arthur.”
“Ok that sounds about right but what are we going to do?”
“We are going to wake her up of course, and get her to understand what a mess the world is in. Ask her, no beg her to get the sword and wake Arthur and if possible Merlin up too so they can help get us out of this mess.” We stood in almost reverent silence until my teeth started to clatter. “Alright it is time to get started. You will help me wake her up now.” He said as he turned and left the room.
It took what I thought was a surprising like short amount of time to wake the sleeping lady. We had barely warmed the temperature of her chamber above freezing, and she started to stir, within an hour she was fully awake. That was when the trouble started.
“Who are you?” The now fully awake and surprisingly tall goddess of the lake as demanding of Dr. Mander.
“Madam, I am Dr. Mander, I, we have found your body frozen in the bottom of a lake and rescued ou. We woke you up hoping that you could help us with a problem.”
“You woke me up. I wake up on my own time.”
“Yes, I know,” he said almost cowering, “But you have been asleep for nearly two thousand years.”
“Two thousand years the earth has survived without the old gods why have you woken me now?”
“We need leadership and guidance that we think you can help us with.”
“I am not a leader. I cannot do what you ask.” She said as she began to walk away from him. “Where is my lake from here, I will need to return to my slumber.”
“Madam, I beg your forgiveness, but we were not looking for you to lead us. We were hoping that you could help us find King Arthur and awaken him.” She stopped then and rounded on him.
“King Arthur? You seek the leadership and guidance of him?”
“Yes, we are in dire circumstnaces, our governments are falling apart, we need someone who can help lead us.”
“He was a Minor king, who managed only to untie his people for a few years, then he was distracted by a woman and sqandered the powers of the one man who could help him. Merlin,” she said choaking a little on the name, “was a fool to have helped him. He swandered his life and his power protecting an even greater fool.” There was silence in the room while we stared at each other and then she turned to walk out of the room. We followed her and Dr Mander continued his argument.
“But wait, with your help, he might still be able to help us.”
“His short comings are all but forgotten now, he was known as the great leader, and a man who could bring men together. If he were brought back he would be listened to and maybe just maybe he could help us turn our lives around before the human race kills itself.”
“I think you put too much faith in a long dead king.”
“What about Merlin?”
“What about him?”
“Can he help us?”
“Unlike Arthur, he died. Arthur was put to sleep before his wounds could kill him, if here were woken up he would need a doctor right away, or he would die too.”
“So you can’t help us.”
“I tell you that you are as big of fools as Merlin was to want him to come back. He was an ancient king and would know nothing of this worlds problems. I have been sensing the world since you awoke me thought your communications devices and your in-ter-net and that fool man child would be utterly lost. He would not know what to do.”
“What made Arthor who he was?”
“I did, I did and Merlin. Without our powers he would not have been able to do what he did. He knew what he wanted to do, but in order to convince people he was right he needed out help. but once he got a taste of the power.” She trailed off and a tear rolled down her cheek. “I don’t know why Merlin helped him for so long.”
The room was scilent for a long time then, and only the hum of the computers filled the air.
“Take me back to the lake.” She said finally.
“Yes, of course.” Dr Mander relented.
“I need to get the sword execaliber. I think there is something I could do for you. You young man, What is your name?”
“Very good sir Matthew, I will need your assistance. You know history?”
“Yes, me’lady,” I said with a little bow.
“You will come with us. I can teach you what you need to know.”
A week later, we had gotten the necessary documents for her to travel with us back to the coast of Enland where her body had been found. We sailed out in a small rented sailboat to near the middle of the lake, she got the sword and gave it to me.
So here I am, dressed as king arthor, Dr Mander dressed as Merlin, at my side. It has been like this in nearlly a dozen countries in the last two weeks. Merlin Knows who I am of course, but everyone else believes it, I mean really believes it. But now we stand before our real test as we stand at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial waiting. And even though I know what is going to happen, when it happens I am startled. From the center of the reflecting pool something begins to surface, slowly the blade of excaliber raises out of the water. I look around the pool and thousands of cameras turn their focus from me to the sword that is now fully above the surface. Now the hand that holds it is beginning to emerge. I know the hand, I know what it looks like because I have seen it do this before, when she gave the sword to me two only weeks ago from the lake were Dr. Mander had found her. The arm is now visible to the elbow and is moving toward this end of the pool. The clear water shows no one below the surface, and no matter how the camera’s scan they will not see her. She is not there after all. She is in her lake at home, the source of her power.
“Now King Arthur,” The presidents voice portrays how much he believes that is really who I am. “How are we to know that sword is for you?”
“Send your men out to retrieve it. If they bring it back to you, you can hold the power of Camelot, and bring peace to the the world.” he nodded and three of the secret service men plodded out into the pool water not quite at their waist. They each reached for the sword in turn and all three hands passed over the sword without being able to grip it.
“What is this?” The president was angry now.
“Only the rightful owner the ruler may hold the sword.”
“Then why did you send them out there?”
“You had to be sure it was safe, they would go with you anyway, would they not?” His face was dark but he nodded his head.
“So I am supposed to go out there not and try to grab it?”
“You are the most powerful ruller in the free world, if the the position is to be yours, you will be able to grab it.”
“I was freely elected by the people. I have not tried to wrestle this position from anyone.”
“I make not arguments to you claim. Go retrieve the sword for yourself.” He Nodded again and started toward the pool, when it was clear the sword would come no closer to the edge five more secret service men entered the pool ahead of the president, sweeping the pool with their feet as the surrounded their charge. He stood before the sword and hesitated. In that was his mistake, she had said that there was a chance that if he were a true leader and reached for the sword right away, he might be able grab it, but becuase he hesitated it meant he was not the leader the world needed, and the sword again go to me. I had almost hoped that he would be able to grab it. Let us find a true ruler, the next king Arthur and then we would not have to go on with this charade.
The anger was clear on his face as I walked out to the center of the pool to meet him.
“So the sword is yours?”
“We will see,” I said and reached for it. It came away from the hand and rested in mine as the arm disappeared below the surface. I stepped away from the president to the side of the pool and raised it above my head. Merlin was the first, but soon after everyone along the mall fell down on bended knee.
“King Arthur has returned, and I have brought my sword as proof.”