Sunday, January 10, 2010

Exclusive US Preview: Arthur and Excalibur - Chapter 7!

Chapter 7


ALL THE ELDERS had been touring around their regions of responsibility trying to persuade as many of the kings and lords as they could to go to Silchester this year for the King making council, as it promised to be something different. When challenged on this, all they would say was that indications were that a new High King would be found, as Merlin had prophesised. This little bit of intrigue aroused the curiosity of many, but some were still not convinced, or if it be known, not bothered, as they had been left to their own devices the past few years and were more than happy with the situation as it was. Still, sow the seed and see what happened, was how the Elders viewed it, as curiosity often got the better of the human race and should ensure a good turn out. Merlin was concerned that even if Arthur should show his hand by some means or other, would he receive enough support or would he have to fight for the right to be King. One never knew in those situations, but his birthright would be there for all to see if he had the opportunity to remove the sword from the stone, he would make sure that circumstances arose that would give him the chance. Arthur’s age would be the problem, but what he had seen and heard from Sir Ector indicated that he had been trained well enough to cope with that, and there wasn’t much more that could be done anyway, time was too short.
The Elders had kept in touch with each other through their normal telepathic communications and it looked as if the turnout would be good, even if a little volatile, due to the recent disputes between several of the kingdoms. There was an unwritten law at these councils that no major conflict should be entertained in its vicinity or surrounding area, even if fatal clashes should occur between individuals whilst there, and this had always been adhered to by the British Nobility. The Britons nearly always stuck to the rules, written or otherwise, even when other nations didn’t, and although a good principle to uphold was often their undoing unfortunately, but in that respect they stood apart from others and were proud of their heritage. This was one of the many reasons why the Elders had given so much of their time and effort over many generations to such a relatively small country. One that could one day change the destiny of the world if they persevered, and helped bring peace to all mankind in the process. There were still many centuries to go however before that had a possibility of occurring, the important thing in the meantime was to help the likes of Arthur move this nation into a period of peace and stability, and hopefully build on that for the future. Much would depend on his resolve and strength of character to bring that about, but Merlin and the Elders were quietly confident in his ability to succeed, even though the cards would be stacked against him in the beginning.

* * * * *
In the west final preparations were being made for the long trek to Silchester, Kay and Arthur had been detailed to check the horses and make sure that there were enough provisions for the journey for all that were going. They would travel fairly light, but well armed, with a troop of only fifty horsemen drawn from the area around Padstow and Tintagel, as neither Sir Ector nor the Lady Igraine wished to leave the region under defended, even though a concerted attack from outsiders was unlikely. Sir Brastias, Igraine’s battle chief and senior knight, would act as constable for the area whilst her daughter Morgause would look after the social and domestic running of the fort. Morgause had ignored Arthur since their passionate encounter in the stables, which he found quite amusing as it showed the shallow aspect of her character and how she attempted to use people by bestowing sexual favours on them. A woman to beware of unless you were strong enough to counter her advances and then she would probably find a way to ensnare you if you weren’t on your guard, he thought, I will not have to worry about that for several weeks as she was staying behind, which she appeared none too happy about for some reason. Kay’s voice brought him back to reality, asking him if he was ready as they were moving out on their long journey to Silchester.


Across many parts of the country heavily armed groups were making their way slowly towards Silchester. Some had a great distance to travel and had already been on the road sometime, whilst others were just starting out, but all were glad of the legacy that the Romans had left behind of many good straight roads crisscrossing the land. The majority of the British nobility were on the move towards the King making council, some still determined to prove themselves as a contender for the High Kingship and others just out of idle curiosity, intrigued by the Elder's comment that this year might be special. Even the northern kings and some from the isles were making the long journey south, only some from the northern welsh kingdoms appeared to be missing, which had been expected. Surprisingly none encountered any hostilities on the way, everywhere seemed peaceful, or was it just an illusion, the lull before the storm as hostile forces made their preparations and plans for battle. None knew, but many were unsettled by the eerie calm and general feeling of foreboding that was in the air. It was too quiet and peaceful and that spelt trouble, somewhere and sometime in the not too distant future violence would raise its ugly head again.

* * * * *

Kay and Arthur were enjoying their travels, seeing new places, listening to stories recounted by their travelling companions and no training schedule to think about. This was the life they joked, total freedom and not a care in the world but still wise enough to know, even in their youth, that this was just a brief respite in what was likely to be a volatile existence fraught with danger and intrigue. They stopped at Glastonbury and were introduced to the bishop and were shown around the Abbey church, then took prayers with him, which Arthur found a moving experience. He asked many questions of the bishop in the short stop that they made and was given clear answers on the role of the church and how Joseph of Arimathea had arrived on those very shores and set up the first Christian church in Britain at Glastonbury. How that had begun to change people's thinking and was influencing, for the better, the way of life of many souls. The bishop suggested that during his life he should always be firm but fair, uphold justice and right, show mercy and compassion, help the poor and listen to other’s points of view before making decisions and acting on them. He would not always be popular by following what he had advised, stated the bishop, but he would earn respect and trust and people would listen to his words of wisdom. Arthur thanked him as they departed and said he would give his words much thought and try and live by that sound advice in word and deed. The bishop replied that he would not regret it and as they moved off he had a thoughtful expression on his face as he watched Arthur disappear from view, an inner insight perhaps on a young man that was going to have an exceptional life and leave his mark on society. One that would be spoken of throughout many lands for his deeds and valour, a man of the people, for the people, renowned for the peace and prosperity that he brought to his country.
They made their way to Bratton Castle for the next overnight stop, then east to Sidbury the following day and finally to Beacon Hill, where it had been decided to rest for a day before the final leg of their journey to Silchester. They were in plenty of time as the King making council was still five days away, and from their vantage point on Beacon Hill they could see the settlement of Silchester not a dozen miles away shimmering gently in haze of the afternoon sun.

Many people were already gathering for the council and more arrived each day as kings from distant parts set up camp for their entourage in the surrounding area. Merlin and Taliesin were busy checking on the arrivals to see who was still missing of those that they expected to turn up. The major surprise was that King Lot of Lothian and Orcanie had shown up, as he was known to keep himself to himself and not meddle or be concerned with what other kingdoms were up to. Merlin welcomed him and expressed his surprise that Lot had ventured so far south when he was not known for travelling far afield. He laughingly replied that the comment that Ganieda the Elder had made intrigued him and aroused his curiosity. Merlin Emrys had indicated that this year’s King making council might be different and his prophecy could be fulfilled, so here he was old man to see if he could deliver, and with that he wandered off still laughing to himself.
Taliesin meanwhile had discovered Sir Ector’s and Lady Igraine’s camp and was busy as usual answering questions from Arthur and Kay as to what he had been up to since they last saw him, which gave Merlin the opportunity to slip in unseen and speak to Igraine privately, before joining them. Merlin also had to recount the story of his travels, as soon as the two young men spotted him, and Sir Ector, Gwendolyn, Lady Igraine and Sir Cador joined them to hear to his story. Quite a crowd had gathered to listen to his colourful tales by the time that Merlin had paused saying that was enough for the moment, turning to Arthur he reminded him that the following day he would come of age and asked him if he had any plans for the future. Arthur looked surprised and glanced across at Gwendolyn for confirmation, who smiled and nodded in reply. He said he had forgotten all about it on their travels to Silchester, as for plans he had none other than to follow his heart along whatever pathway life directed him to take, and to take note of the bishop’s advice that he had been given at Glastonbury.

“Whatever life has in store for me I will deal with to the best of my ability along the way and pray to God that I make the right choices for all concerned,” he answered in a gentle voice uttered from the heart.
Merlin had been smiling to himself and nodding his head as if in agreement as Arthur made his little speech, then he broke the silence that had descended on them all by suggesting that they celebrate. Then tomorrow visit the other camps and meet some of the distinguished kings and lords whilst they were gathered in one place. Everyone agreed that it was the best idea that they had heard in a long time and the party began, lasting well into the night, with many attracted by the noise and wondering what was going on, coming over to their camp and joining in on hearing that it was Arthur’s coming of age.

Needless to say there were quite a few sore heads in the morning and the camp was late to stir as a consequence. There was a hive of activity all around them, the numbers that had gathered had swelled during the night and early morning as more arrivals poured in looking for a space to set up camp. Merlin and Taliesin were not to be seen as they had risen early as usual and were doing their rounds, checking the newcomers and noting who was still missing from their expected list. A good turn out they agreed as there was still two days to go to the council meeting and all the main participants that they were sure would attend had arrived, plus some that they did not expect. Obviously the Elder’s comment had sufficiently aroused the curiosity of even the most uninterested and distant kings. Merlin was asked several times at various encampments what magik he was going to conjure up to produce a new High King, to which he replied that he needed no magik as the true born king would reveal himself in the manner that he had prophesied, and all of the congregation would bear witness to his claim. When a prophecy was made, he added, it could not be changed or undone by anyone, it could only be fulfilled as decreed, and this year the time was right for that to happen. Everything that happened did so at its appointed time and they had reached that point, was his parting comment as he moved on scouring the masses for faces that he knew and wished to speak to.

Sir Ector, and the Lady Igraine spent the day renewing old acquaintances and being introduced to others, Arthur and Kay went along with them as they knew a few of the people, but so many names to remember in one go, it was a daunting experience. It was surprising how many people seemed to know Lady Igraine, even just by name, as few had met her and then often just in passing when visiting her husband Gorlois, before his untimely death. It was a man's world and the women tended to stay in the background most of the time, only being seen at social functions and tournaments. Surprisingly she got on well with King Lot when introduced to him, and invited him to Tintagel before he returned home after the council meeting. He seemed quite taken aback by this generosity and readily accepted, as most kept their distance from him due to his known unruly and sometimes hot headed temperament. Perhaps this reminded her of her late husband as their characters were very similar in that respect, although Lot was much younger than Gorlois.

The day drew on and even though many introductions had been made they hadn’t covered the whole gathering and Arthur and Kay were feeling quite mentally exhausted at the end of it, as they were not used to such a long period of what they classed as inactivity. They much preferred physical exertion and being out and about on horse, as against saying the same thing over and over again to different groups of people. However they were both astute enough to know that at times it was necessary if they were to get to know others well. Merlin and Taliesin rejoined them at camp in the evening, indicating that their day had been interesting and that they were very pleased with the number of people that had gathered for the King making council. As Merlin emphasised it was always of great benefit to have the majority of interested parties at events such as this, as the more people that could physically see the result made it much easier to be accepted as genuine and not just engineered by a select few for their own benefit.

Arthur was interested in what would take place at the council meeting, so Merlin outlined the proceedings and added that they would all be there to see for themselves who removed the sword from the stone. It promised to be an interesting time and not all would be happy with the result, but such was the way of life, it was rare to get unanimous approval from all the kings, whatever was being proposed. They all had their own agendas and were not used to working together as one, each had their own power base of which they were fiercely protective, and they were not inclined to tolerate outside interference, as they saw it, in the running of their kingdoms. It was a short sighted view and many of those kingdoms changed hands frequently as they were continually warring with each other over minor matters. The Romans had used this to their advantage when they took over this land and the Saxons would do the same, unless the kingdoms stood together under one High Kingship and pushed them back into the sea from where they came. Time was running out my friends, therefore his prophecy would be fulfilled this year, one way or another and the new High King would reveal himself and lead this country into a time of peace and prosperity. Creating a new era of understanding that would change the way of thinking in the world.

Igraine asked him the question that was on everyone’s mind, did he know who the new High King would be. Merlin smiled as he confirmed that all the Elders knew and had for many years, but it would only be revealed at the right time, by the High King himself, not by any of them in advance. Igraine was very thoughtful as she followed up her question by asking if the new High King already knew of his destiny. Merlin’s reply was deliberately vague, indicating that it was possible but unlikely, and he had not sought to read his mind lately as some things were best left alone to avoid any undue influence taking a hand.

The group were fascinated by this revelation as they would see history being made right there in front of them, totally unaware of the reason behind Igraine’s pointed questions, but that no doubt would become apparent to them later. Igraine expressed her thanks to Merlin that he had been so forthcoming in his answers and that she looked forward to the coming council meeting with renewed interest. Merlin bowed his head in acknowledgement, knowing that she had understood exactly what he had meant and pleased that she had raised the topic in open forum so all were aware that something out of the ordinary was likely to happen.
Arthur and Kay were totally enthralled by the conversation and it seemed to put in perspective for them all the wanderings of the day, meeting all those different people and that somewhere amongst them was the new High King, and he would soon be revealed to them. Their excitement grew and they understood now why a lot of those that they met during the day had been in a buoyant mood, the anticipation was growing as the day and time drew closer, and the fact that Merlin had promised a result this year. They too looked forward to the coming event with great interest and wished it was the following day, but alas no, there was still another day to go before history was made.

The final day seemed to drag, although they still had some other camps to visit, but Arthur and Kay managed to slip away in the late afternoon on their own to look at Silchester itself. Hoping to get a glimpse of the sword in the stone, but their way was barred by guards who turned them back.

“Never mind we will come back and get it tomorrow, if it isn’t stolen whilst you sleep tonight,” they jested as they rode off back into the town proper.

Back at the camp Merlin had found Sir Ector on his own and decided that he should make his friend aware of some of the things that were likely to happen the following day, so that everything did not come as a complete shock to him. He explained about Uther, Igraine and Arthur and what the Elders had decided as the best course of action to take to protect all those involved, and mentioned the healing sanctuary at Lydney and Gwendolyn’s part in it all. He apologised for not being able to say anything beforehand, even to such a good and trusted friend as him but the Elders view was that total secrecy was needed to protect Arthur and those around him from any possible harm, and it still had to remain secret until the sword was removed from the stone. Sir Ector was taken totally by surprise at these revelations and was speechless for a moment as it all sunk in, the fact that he had been bringing up the future High King of Britain in total ignorance. Then he wanted to know why he himself had been chosen for this ‘fostering’ role and why so close to his birth mother anyway. Merlin responded that he had been chosen because he was the best knight to teach Arthur all that he needed to know, and that being so close to his mother was the last place anybody would think to look if wind of his existence had ever leaked out.

“You my friend,” Merlin reinforced, “had the best credentials, and your part of the country was away from the main trouble areas allowing you to concentrate on teaching your son and Arthur what they needed to know, to prepare them for life in the best possible way. I am sorry that we could not let you into the secret before, Igraine knows I am sure, by her questions yesterday, that her son is here, but she has no idea who he is and she has waited all these years to be re-united with him after that difficult sacrifice she made long ago. It will also come as a shock to Arthur as he has only known Gwendolyn as his mother, and has not been told otherwise. She is aware and has accepted that his mother will be made known soon but she is not aware of Arthur’s pedigree, that will come as a complete surprise to her even though she knows he is of noble birth outside of wedlock. There my friend, as you see there is much that will come to the surface tomorrow, and you will understand the necessity for total secrecy, thankfully that has been preserved over these long and difficult years.”

“But he is so young for this responsibility,” commented Sir Ector, “how will he be accepted, if at all?”

“We do not know the answer to that one,” answered Merlin, “we can only hope and pray, but from what I have seen and heard from you he is capable enough for the difficult task at hand and with support from his friends he will make it work. The problem I have at the moment is how to get him to draw the sword from the stone and I might need your help in this matter, as although he is of age he is not a knight or a lord and therefore not on the official list of those entitled to try. Although that does not disqualify him as all are entitled to have a go. It would obviously be best if I were not seen to interfere in any way by influencing the choice of participants or use any method that others could class as devious, purely to fulfil my prophecy. When it is your turn to try the sword, make sure that Kay and Arthur accompany you, offer Kay the opportunity after you and then Arthur, that would be acceptable to all the others as it would be the normal family way through the male line of succession.”

“Yes I see the problem,” Sir Ector replied, “but as you say that is the normal way and would get round it nicely, and something the lads would look forward to irrespective of the outcome, and talking of them here they come by the sound of it.”

Two horses flashed into camp neck and neck and pulled up sharply in front of the two men as two bodies flew in the air and landed on their feet in front of Merlin and Sir Ector.

“Well who won?” they asked together.

The men laughed and Merlin said, “no one as you even talk at the same time, its got to be a draw again, now when you have seen to the horses you can tell us what you have been up to.”

Some while later they returned and related to the gathering what they had seen in the town and that they had tried to see the sword in the stone, but guards kept them away, so they jested with them and said they would come back tomorrow and collect it if it was still there. Sir Ector and Merlin exchanged glances at this totally innocent comment that held so much truth in it. Sir Ector informed them that they would get their chance to remove it from the stone when it was his turn.

“That’s great,” muttered Kay, “we can show it to the guards on the way out,” and everyone burst out laughing and that set the scene for the evening, laughing and joking and listening to tales of old from Merlin and Taliesin.

Arthur requested that they hear some of the stories concerning Eudaf Hen and Magnus Maximus and they listened intently well into the night to the exploits of those two great leaders, as they gathered around their camp fire.

The day of the King making council dawned and there was soon a hive of activity all around the camp sites as people prepared themselves for the big event, which would start at noon in the great church hall. Merlin and Taliesin had left early as usual as they had much to do they said, they would see them all at the great hall later. Everyone sorted out their best attire to wear and made sure that their weapons were clean and shining for this was as much a social event as it was a serious council gathering, and everyone was keen to show their status and importance by the robes they wore.

Soon there was much movement across the area as small groups of nobles headed for the town and its church, others would follow later as they would have to take up position outside as dictated by their lower rank, whilst the main body of escorts would remain in camp. Sir Ector together with Sir Kay, Arthur, Gwendolyn, Lady Igraine and Sir Cador were amongst the first to arrive at the great hall, their stable lad who had accompanied them would look after the horses during the proceedings and see that they were watered and fed, as it promised to be a long day. Taliesin saw them enter and hurried over to welcome them and usher them towards Merlin, who was deep in conversation with the bishop. On seeing them said something to the bishop and waved indicating that they should join him. Merlin made the introductions to Bishop Dyfrig, also known as Dubricius in some quarters and said that if any disputes arose from the council gathering his word would be the law in settlement of the matter, as if laid before God himself.

The hall was beginning to fill up now so they took their leave and moved to one side as others approached the bishop for introduction by Merlin and Taliesin, and Arthur and Kay watched to see how many faces they could remember amongst the new arrivals, alas not many. Soon the gathering was complete and Merlin called for their attention to explain the procedure that would follow before handing over to Bishop Dyfrig to lead them in prayer. The Bishop blessed the congregation and prayed for a successful outcome to what was about to take place and reminded everyone of the benefits of supporting a new High King, whatever their personal feelings, if they wished to protect the country from usurpers. United they would prevail, divided they would crumble and disintegrate, one at a time, and this land would be lost forever. With those strong words he handed back to Merlin, who led them out into the large walled courtyard with its stone centrepiece from which protruded the hilt of the Sword of Britain, gently moving in the breeze, catching the sun’s rays and sending darts of light all around the faces staring at it. Many had seen it before but for some this was their first glimpse of this famous sword and always produced gasps of awe from the newcomers, including Sir Kay, Arthur and Sir Cador. Although only partly visible it was still magnificent to behold, even Lady Igraine was moved when she saw it again, such was its majestic splendour.

Merlin spoke and said he would call them forward one at a time to try and remove the sword and each would be allowed the same amount of time as shown by his magik light stick. The crystal ball at its top would start as white when he rubbed it and gradually go through various colours until it got to red, then it would go out and time would be up. He stuck the staff firmly in the ground and called the first name, a minor lord from one of the welsh kingdoms, and when he was ready rubbed the crystal and started the light display. Arthur and Kay were fascinated as Merlin had never shown them this on his visits, they weren’t watching the attempt at removing the sword, just fascinated by the crystal changing colour. Many tried and failed to remove the sword but Arthur and Kay couldn’t say how many as they were so intent on watching the crystal. They were brought out of their mesmerised state by voices being raised complaining that it was taking so long and Merlin’s reassuring voice saying that everyone would have their turn until someone removed the sword. Arthur and Kay started to take an interest in the various methods of trying to release the sword, from one handed to two handed and even a father and son trying at the same time until they were politely told that it was not allowed, only one person at a time as only one could be High King if successful.

The complaining voice at the back of the crowd had started again and was pushing himself to the front when Sir Ector was called forward, and motioning to Kay and Arthur they walked out into the centre. Just as Merlin was about to rub the crystal a giant of a man pushed himself to the front amidst great complaining, that subsided quickly when they saw his size. He strode purposely towards the sword, pushing Sir Ector and Kay to the ground as he muttered 'out of my way,' this needs a man. Sir Ector fell awkwardly on his shoulder and was obviously in pain. Kay jumped to his feet to help his father, trying to draw his sword at the same time to attack the giant.

Arthur moved forward and raised his hand towards Kay, “leave this to me Kay, see to your father as he appears to be hurt,”

Merlin was going to intervene and was just about to speak when he saw Arthur start to take a hand and stopped himself and decided to watch what developed. The giant was trying with all his strength to remove the sword when Arthur’s voice cut into his exertions.

“Sir Knight are you always so rude and arrogant? You are a disgrace to your title.”

The crowd gasped at this, a young lad throwing down a challenge to this giant who must have been a foot taller and very much broader, just plain madness they thought to throw his life away, even for the sake of honour and chivalry. The guards in the courtyard looked towards Merlin for advice but he shook his head for them to stay put, at which they breathed a sigh of relief.

The giant of a knight turned and surveyed the voice that had accosted him and laughed, “go home lad whilst you still can, or I’ll run you through,” and turned back to try and remove the sword again.

Arthur’s voice cut through him again, “is that what you do Sir Knight, kill young lads and old men and women? If so you are not only a disgrace to your title and family, but you are also a barbarian.”

The crowd groaned at this as they could see bloodshed very quickly happening, and the end of this lad.
Arthur’s last comment was like a knife in the ribs to the giant and he turned and drew his sword and advanced towards him.

“Time has run out for you lad after that vicious comment, not that I will have pleasure in dispatching one so young, but with you I will make an exception.”

Arthur stood his ground and drew his sword, and as the giant made his move he countered the blow and moved in to the attack, slicing into material but missing his body. This shook the giant and he realised that the lad knew what he was about and he better be wary. The clashing of blades, as attack and counter attack moved them around the courtyard, reverberated around the walls. The crowd became enthralled as Arthur held his own against this giant and at times forced him to back off, but now and then they had to get out of the way for fear of losing their own heads. The giant had begun to realise that he had certainly met his match with this lad, who showed no fear as he attacked or countered and he obviously had complete confidence in his own ability, and that was worrying. They had been fighting for some while when Arthur ducked from a particularly vicious swing and turning quickly caught the giant with a blow in the side, which drew blood. This infuriated him and he renewed his attack on Arthur with even greater force which was met with equal force, then luck turned against Arthur, as in one almighty clash his sword went spinning out of his hand to land at the giant’s feet.

“Now my lad what are you going to do without your sword? Come and get it if you want so that I can slice your ears off.”

“You have me at a disadvantage at the moment Sir Knight as you have both swords and I have none.”
“If you need a sword lad then use the one behind you, if you are man enough to remove it,” replied the giant with a great laugh, referring to the sword in the stone.

That’s an idea, thought Arthur, if I back towards the stone so that the giant moves forward then my sword will be behind him and if I vault the stone I might be able to run around and retrieve it before he realises what I am doing. Slowly Arthur backed towards the stone until he came to rest against it and as expected the giant moved forward, wary in case he had another weapon. Arthur saw that his sword was a good distance behind the giant now and waited for a moment until he saw him relax slightly, then he turned quickly, saw the energy vibrating gently around the sword in the stone as he grasped it and vaulted agilely over the obstacle. Landing lightly on his feet the other side he shot around the rock to gather up his sword before the giant had time to react fully.

The giant was astounded as one minute Arthur was there then he was gone, realisation dawned on him as to what he was up to, at the same time that he noticed that the sword in the stone was missing. It can’t be, he thought, that’s impossible, and swung around as Arthur came haring round from behind the rock, sword in hand.

The giant dropped to one knee and pushing the point of his sword into the ground cried out in a loud voice, “I yield my lord.”

Arthur stopped dead in his tracks, halfway to his sword, and saw the giant on one knee head bowed.
“I am no lord Sir Knight, just Arthur the squire.”

“No sire, by the grace of our Lord you are Arthur, High King of Britain, you hold the Imperial Sword of Britain in your hand and I Sir Bors will not raise my sword against my King. I humbly beg forgiveness for the error of my ways sire, and place myself at your mercy”

Arthur had not realised that he had the sword in his hand, so intent was he on retrieving his own sword, but there it was for all to see. Nobody else had seen it either until that moment, as they were all engrossed in the enthralling fight and Arthur’s dash for his sword.

“Arise Sir Bors, you are forgiven, you fight well but I must teach you some manners, and I will be a hard task master, otherwise who knows what trouble you will end up in.” Arthur said laughingly.

The crowd had just begun to realise that Arthur indeed held the Imperial Sword of Britain in his hand when Merlin’s loud voice cut across everyone.

“The prophecy of Merlin Emrys the Elder has been fulfilled, behold, King Arthur the first born son of Uther Pendragon and the true-born High King of all Britain”

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