Curse of the Locket

By , Kingwood, TX
As he stood atop the rubble, which had once been a magnificent castle, the elderly man examined the scenery before him. Luscious green grass rolled down toward the lake at the bottom of the hill. A lone tree sat at the bank, its leaves brushing the surface of the water as the sun set, turning the blue sky into stunning shades of red. A vast forest stood behind him, the leaves rustled in the light wind. The peace seemed to mock him.

What had gone wrong? He had raised the boy to be a man loved by all, strong but kind, just as the boy’s father had asked him to do. He had known all along, since he laid eyes on the babe, what would become of him. He had done everything, everything, in his power to stop this day from coming, yet, here it was. It was done. How cruel life could be.
From somewhere at the edge of his vision, he saw a flicker of movement. Turning quickly, so that his purple robe became awry, he saw a small crowd had gathered, the people of the kingdom. They stood at the bottom of the debris, looking up at the man. The whisper of the children’s tears could be heard, as they clutched their mothers, frightened. He bowed his head, thinking of their loss, his loss. He heard someone softly sniffle from somewhere behind him.
“Oh, my Lord.” she gasped He turned to see a woman in rich velvet attire kneeling in the blackened ashes next to a man lying on the ground. Her long golden hair, which had been braided down her back, was in disarray. Her large brown eyes were glistening with tears as she took the man’s hand. Another man, a Knight dressed in combat armor, stood behind her. A large emblem of a golden lion rearing on his hind legs on his breastplate, his helmet had been tossed aside and his messy black hair was damp with sweat. Feeling the old man’s eyes, he looked up, his eyes searching, helpless.
“Is there anything that could be done to-,” he began, but the man in the robe cut him off.
“No.” He said sharply. “It is too late.”
At these words, the woman cried harder. The knight nodded, solemnly, and looked down at the man on the ground. The man’s golden curls were plastered to his ashen face, but his large sky blue eyes were unmistakably kind and gentle. He was wearing armor that glistened in the sunlight; his helmet had been set next to him. His breastplate was missing, and in its place a deep wound pierced his side. The lady attempted to stop the gushing wound with the soft skirt of her dress, but he gently pushed her hand away.
“My dear, Guinevere,” he murmured, his voice weak. “Do not pity me.”
“B-but my Lord,” she tried to protested, but he waved his hand dismissively. His time in this world was short. He reached into his breaches and pulled something out. He placed a small brown package in her hand, wincing as pain shot through his weakening body. The Queen stared at it in disbelief, a question forming on her lips.
“I have no need for it anymore, my love. My time here has come to an end,” he looked past her, at the knight and smiled weakly. “My friend.”
Dropping to his knees, eyes glistening with tears, the Knight began to speak. The words came suddenly, tumbling out of his mouth with no forethought. “My Lord, I am at your mercy. I have betrayed you and my fellow brothers. The trust you have bestowed on me is broken. ‘Tis my fault this day has come. I shall not be surprised if you will not forgive me. I have brought dishonor to the name of the Knights of Camelot.” He looked away, ashamed.
The man smiled, kindly. “Dear Lancelot, all is forgiven. This day would have come to pass regardless of your prior deeds,” Guinevere bit her lip, looking down at the package in her hand, her cheeks red with shame. “But, through all this, you both have earned my blessing.” Their head snapped up, eyes astonished. Ignoring them, he looked to the old man. “Merlin, my old friend.”
The enchanter moved closer to the injured man, the one he had raised since his father’s death.
“Arthur.” The king smiled at the wizard.
“You are truly a great wizard, and the dearest friend I’ve ever known.”
“And you are by far the greatest king to have walked the land, my boy. You have made your ancestors proud. Your name will go down in history for all of time. They will tell great stories by the firesides of your heroic deeds.”
“As will yours, old sorcerer. For I could not have done any of it without you.” He took a shaky breath. “He is not dead.” His voice became serious.
“Who, my Lord?”
“My brother, Morbid. Though his body was destroyed, his spirit lives on. He will return.”
“Ah, but not for centuries to come, my King.” A new, lighter voice replied from behind Merlin. A woman with hair as dark as the midnight sky that fell halfway down her back, walked toward them. She was dressed in a blood red velvet gown, her black traveling cloak fluttered lightly in the breeze. Her eyes were a violent shade of purple, the sign of a Seer, which flashed when she spotted the wizard.
“Lady Morgan,” Merlin said stiffly. He and Morgan Le Fay had never liked each other, but as advisers of the King, they were forced to work together.
“Merlin,” the Seer said dismissively. Returning her attention to the dying king, Morgan spoke, “You have indeed weakened him, my king. But the spirit that was within him still thrives. It will strengthen over time, centuries from now.”
The king nodded as his breathing became shallow. He felt Guinevere holding his hand. He knew his time was coming quickly, but there was one last thing for him to do. His kingdom needed a leader, someone to take his place. He looked up at his fellow knight.
“Rise, Sir Lancelot, and take the throne. Rule over the people with benevolence and might.” He said, using his remaining strength. He closed his eyes and his breathing slowed, until it stopped all together.
His advisers bowed their heads in respect as Lancelot took the sobbing Queen in his arms; tears streaked his grime covered face. The sun had set, covering the small party in pale darkness. The torches of the crowd at the bottom of the pile shone through the darkness.
“Merlin,” whispered Morgan, “You know as well as I do, our kind must go into hiding. Once the news of this,” she gestured to the couple kneeling over their king and the pile of rubble of which once stood a kingdom, “gets out, we will be persecuted as monsters.”
“I know,” the wizard, shook his head in defeat. It couldn’t be ignored for any longer. “The world has known magic for too long. It has turned the mortals greedy. We have been enslaved for centuries, forced to do their bidding. But,” he sighed, “until I have found a safe haven for us, we must bear the scorn of the world.” The Seer nodded and looked at Lancelot and Guinevere.
“And the children?” she inquired, nodding to them.
“Do as Arthur asked. They will rule the new kingdom.” He approached them and placed his hands on their heads. His hands were shrouded in a gold mist as he said a silent blessing. There was a blinding flash of light as he removed his hands.
“Rise, King Lancelot and Queen Guinevere.” As they stood, Lancelot struggled to hold his head high, not wanting to disappoint his liege again. While the queen stifled her sobs and hid her face. Her hands were shaking, rattling the forgotten package in her hands. The wizard tilted his head in curiosity. “I must admit,” he began. “I’m curious. What is in the package, my dear?”
Guinevere, suddenly remembering the package, slowly tore back the wrapping and carefully lifted a gold heart-shaped locket for the wizard to examine.
“It’s locked,” he murmured in frustration, his hands shaking as he tried to pry it open.
“H-he always wore it,” she whispered, her voice thick with tears. “He had given me the key on our wedding night. I promised him I would always wear it for it was part of a pair. ” She pulled a silver chain away from her neck, where a small golden key hung. “He told me….. He told me it kept him balanced, mortal. I was never sure as to what he had meant by those words.” The elderly man nodded. Lancelot, who was staring at the mass of shadows at the bottom of the mountain of debris, inquired,
“What shall we tell him?” he looked at the advisors, his advisors. “Surely not the truth?”
“No, we shall come up with something, bide our time until we have thought of a plan.” Morgan explained. He nodded and took the fallen king’s sword, Excalibur. Turning to the crowd and raising it above his head, he shouted,
“All hail Arthur! King of Camelot!”





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

aquarian26 said...
Dec. 31, 2009 at 10:59 am
Great intro...keep writing...would like to see more.
 
smd0831 said...
Dec. 31, 2009 at 8:19 am
Excellent...very intriguing. You are definitely on to something with this story idea.
 
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