It's time for Chatterbox again!!! This month the topic is resurrection. I had fun writing this- actually, it just wrote itself this afternoon. It was one of those times when you feel like you are merely holding the pen in your hand and something else is guiding it to write the words.
To learn more about Chatterbox or to join in, visit THIS POST on Rachel's blog.
“Hurry Llew!” the girl ran down the hall and peeped through the half-open door into her brother’s bedroom. “It’s story night you know. We do not want to be late!”
“I’m coming, I’m coming! If I ever get these boot laces untangled and fastened properly,” Llewellyn grumbled.
“Do you need some help?” a voice asked from behind the girl. Alexias, second son of Anax Arimathe of Corbenic, pushed open the door and walked over to Llewellyn. He bent down and made swift work of untangling the laces of the troublesome boots.
More footsteps came down the hall and another voice asked, “Ready for dinner and stories, Seren?”
Seren turned and smiled adoringly up at Philippon, youngest son of the Anax and her secret favorite of the three brothers.
“Yes sir! Lord Zosimus’ stories are wonderful. Do you know what story he will tell tonight?”
“No, I don’t. I was going to ask him earlier, but he was grumpy, so I didn’t.”
Alexias, coming out of Llewellyn’s room with his hand on the boy’s shoulder, snorted. “He was grumpy because you messed up that report and he had to spend an extra forty-five minutes showing you how it should have been done.”
Philippon shrugged dismissively, “Details, details.”
Seren and Llewellyn grinned at each other as the four of them began walking to the dining room. Philippon was more often in trouble than out of it.
“I’m so glad we’re old enough to join the story nights now,” Llewellyn said. “It seemed like we were never going to be ten.”
“You are growing up so swiftly,” Alexias looked down at the head of curly brown hair that reached the top of his stomach now. “It was only a few months ago you came to live here.”
“It was past two years ago,” Seren objected, twisting around to look at Alexias. “We were seven. It just seems like months to you because you’re an elf.”
Philippon snickered and Alexias grinned at Seren, his eyebrows raised teasingly, “Thank you for reminding me.”
“Looks as though we are just in time,” Philippon said as they neared the dining room. The Lord Officials of Corbenic were passing into the dining room and that meant the Anax and Anassa were not far behind.
Seren and Llewellyn skipped over to their seats on either side of Iorwerth, their elder brother by two years. They stood respectfully behind their chairs, as did everyone else in the room, waiting for the Anax and Anassa to enter and take their seats.
After dinner, the whole company filed into the Great Hall and sat down. As usual, Iorwerth, Seren and Llewellyn sat with their adopted brothers on a tapestried couch. Llewellyn was next to Alexias, with Iorwerth between him and Maron and Seren between Maron and Philippon.
Lord Chancellor Zosimus walked to the storyteller’s place at the head of the room, between two of the large fireplaces. He cleared his throat and the light chatter in the room quieted instantly.
“Last story night, you heard the story of the Crowning of Arthur. Today, you will hear of the Fall and Rise of Arthur.”
Seren wrinkled her brow and looked up at Philippon, “Why did he say it like that?” she whispered. “Isn’t it proper to say Rise and then Fall?”
“That isn’t the way this story goes, Seren,” Maron told her in a low voice before Philippon could reply. “Listen and you will understand.”
“Arthur was truly a great king and you all know from other stories of how his skillful leadership ushered in the Golden Age of Brythonia. It was indeed a golden age. Peace and prosperity reigned throughout the land. Trade and friendship flourished between all of the realms of elves and men. The Knights of the Round Table, the Paladins of Cambria and the Trefoil Knights of Cornoval stood ever ready to ride to the aid of those in need, whether rich or poor, old or young, male or female. The valkyrs rode throughout the land on their fleet alacorns, bringing justice and helping the kings.”
He paused and sighed, “But alas, sin still remains in our world and thus greed, jealousy and hate were not dead. Mordred had brooded long on his imagined wrongs until he had become a bitter, angry man bent on vengeance. He began to plot rebellion. At this crucial time, Arthur, not suspecting his cousin for a moment, left for the duchy of Joyeuse to confer with Lancelot and settle some misunderstandings between them- misunderstandings that were about their wives.”
“It was while Arthur was away that Mordred saw his chance and seized the day, usurping the throne and declaring himself King of Cymru.”
Seren and Llewellyn leaned against Philippon and Alexias and closed their eyes as the story went on. They had heard this part before. Arthur and Lancelot hurrying back to find the city of Camelot barred against them and Mordred’s adherents on the walls. The king going into hiding with his loyal knights, Roland and Mark gathering their armies and hurrying to Arthur’s aid and then the disastrous battle of Camlann where Malduc appeared and unleashed his Shadows for the first time. Even the elven armies, hurrying to join Arthur, could not stem the tide of defeat and Arthur, Rolando, Mark and the Brynhildr all died that day, under the blazing sun, surrounded by the bodies of their knights and valkyrs who had fought to the last to protect their liege lords. Mordred, too, died on Arthur’s blade. The weeping of the widows and hundreds of fatherless children when the news came back of the death toll.
Zosimus’ voice was subdued as he spoke of Queen Guenivere’s retirement to a nunnery with her young son and daughter, of the widows and children of the dead knights and kings going into hiding and finally of Arthur’s burial in Escalot, by the lake of Ynys Afallon.
“Though Arthur was buried that day, it was not the end of him,” Zosimus voice rose and now it resounded through the hall.
Eagerly, Seren and Llewellyn sat up. Here was the part they had never heard before.
“The Doctis and the surviving two elven reges convened in council at Corbenic. The Magister Mysta and Magister Videntium told of a vivid vision that had come to both of them three times each in the weeks since Arthur’s death. A vision bright with hope for the future, for they prophesied that in Brythonia’s hour of greatest need Arthur will rise again. The Knights of the Round Table will rise with him, as will the Kings of Cornoval and Cambria. And with King Rolando on his left hand and King Mark on his right hand, the knights of all three kingdoms behind them, and aided by the valkyrs, Arthur will sweep to final victory over the Shadows.”
The room was silent. Anax Arimathe rose and faced the audience. “We wait for that glorious day.” He nodded to Zosimus, “Thank you, my friend. A good night to you all.”
Solemnly the listeners dispersed, the spell of the story lingering over them.
Philippon leaned over and kissed his little sister, “Maron will take you all up to bed tonight. Alexias and I must report to the Lord Marshal.”
Maron scooped Seren up and carried her upstairs, Llewellyn and Iorwerth walking one on each side of him. At the door to Seren’s room, Maron set her down. She put a hand on his arm before he stood up.
“Is it true? Or is it just another legend?”
Iorwerth and Llewellyn crowded in, eager to hear their brother’s reply.
Maron’s throat tightened as he looked at the three of them. Little do they guess how true it is. “It is true, little ones, very true. The day will come when Arthur will rise again.”
“I hope I’m here to see it,” Iorwerth threw his shoulders back determinedly.
“Me too,” Seren and Llewellyn chimed.
Maron kissed Seren gently on the forehead and stood up. Putting a hand on the shoulders of the boys, he said softly, “So do I, little ones. So do I.”
He turned and led Iorwerth and Llewellyn down the hall to their bedroom.
And in the Hills of Llanuwchllyn, a twelve-year old boy who had heard the same story that night from his father, gazed up at the stars and located his favorite constellation, Excalibur.
Miss Melody Muffin