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The Black Knight and The Lady - Chapter 1

Prologue

 

Many say legends are fanciful stories eroded by time. If the simple expression Once Upon a Time does not provoke a pleasant reaction in the reader, then this might not be the story for you. For those who feel a warm thrill at the expression, this is a story that will gratify the true romantic within us all.

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

Once upon a time…

 

Alicia Lascelles watched from the shore as King Arthur became lost among the mists of Avalon, the lake that now also held the great sword Excalibur. This timeless and ethereal site was a fitting place to send the one true King of England upon his death.

 

Only a sigh revealed her mind was working overtime. What would become of the ladies in waiting to King Arthur’s Queen now? The loss of the king and the apparently uncoerced vows the queen had taken in the church had ended an era of magic, mystery, chivalry, and romance in Camelot.

 

Count Lascelles a French nobleman and Alicia’s father had pledged his sword to the king many years before. He had also sent Alicia, his eldest daughter, as a pledge of good faith to be a lady in waiting to Queen Guinevere. For the last four years, Alicia had been a faithful friend to the troubled queen. The queen’s frustration at the politics gathering in dark shadows in Camelot had caused much anguish between her and King Arthur. Now that he was gone and Guinevere cloistered in a nunnery, what would become of Alicia? She had spurned the attentions of the knights who tried in vain to court her. Yet, there was one such knight that had paid little or no attention to her at court. His name had been Sir Edwin D’Argent. There were many suitors hoping for her hand, but she had eyes only for the blue-eyed knight whose eye color matched the very skies on a wonderfully clear day, yet he ignored her at every approach. Where was the noble knight now that the battle had ended? Was he also a victim of the foreigners who had tried but failed to conquer the lands of the proud King Arthur?

 

“M’lady, it is time to ride back to Camelot. The skies grow dark with the cloud of death that has taken our good king.” Sir Arnold Debouis quietly spoke.

 

Turning, Alicia looked at the boyish features of the knight who had remained constant in his affections for her. She had never returned his advances but gently attempted to shift his attentions elsewhere. Her heart was set, and she felt could never be moved away from her knight of the sky-blue eyes.

 

“Camelot? Sir Knight, will the castle not decay now that our lord king has returned to the place of ancient legends?”

 

“M’lady, Camelot will remain. We, the Knights of the Round Table, will stand for all the values that our king taught us. We will create this place for all time with the stories that are spoken. For the songs that are written of the adventures and the essence of the reign when Arthur came to us as a mere boy. Even then, he showed the spirit of a great king within such a frail body. Camelot will stand for the justice of our land. The love of our people, m’lady, it will never decay.”

 

“In thee I trust, Sir Debouis. Please, lead on and take us back in safety to Camelot.” Alicia looked around at the fallen bodies of those that had given their life as Arthur had done. The carnage made her stomach churn. Her heart wept silently for the solitary knight of the sky-blue eyes. What had befallen him?

 

“Lady, I will not betray your trust.” Sir Debouis walked ahead, instinctively battle ready, his hand on the hilt of his bloody sword.

 

Alicia mounted the horse that had been readied for her. The other three ladies in waiting had gone before her, unable to watch their lord king disappear for the final time, into the mist of legend.

 

“Have we lost many knights in the battle, Sir Debouis?”

 

“We have lost several of the Round Table, as well as many from the provinces. Today was not a good day for anyone.” He stoically replied.

 

Alicia nodded and looked one final time at the battlefield that would forever change her life.

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