Last Knight (Novel)

I crave of thee then, that thou obtain for me Olwen, the daughter of Yspaddaden Penkawr; and this boon I likewise seek at the hands of thy warriors.


After Atlantis sank and irrecoverably took European civilization to the bottom of the Atlantic, the White Book of Rhydderch tells us that Arthur gathered his knights for one last great stand against the darkness.

You have heard the bittersweet story of Camelot, Arthur, Guinevere and the problem child Lancelot. That is the wrong story. (I am not saying that Camelot and the cup didn't happen. But it is not going to happen here.)

The Welsh Chronicle tells what really happened.

The White Book (confirmed in the Red Book of Hergest) tells you a story that you will not read in English books, and not just because the English never got the hang of pronouncing Welsh names, like Kynyr Keinvarvawc. And even if the English warmed to cuddly names like Olwen, their enthusiasm cooled once they found that she was the daughter of the unpronounceable Yspaddaden Penkawr who was quite good at throwing daggers.

We know the English have had problems ever since they lost civilization. (To tell the truth, i have never really gotten the hang of the English. I have put off travel over there because i am not sure i would understand either the language or the culture or places with more than 4 or 5 people, like cities. But this story is not about me, or what happened last night. Which I meant to ask you about. But, maybe another time.)

This is the (real) story of those that Arthur gathered as the world burned. And about those other knights, the ones that got lost.

Sir Cie (of the Peculiar gifts)
Sir Gwaddn (of the Bonfire)
Sir Gwefi (of the unfortunate Lips who was sometimes Sad)
Sir Morfran (the ugly)
Sir Osla (of the Big knife and who died of death)
Sir Ossol (who stands responsible for Flat English mountains)
Sir Sugn (the Sucker),
Sir Uchdryd (of the Cross beard)

It tells the story about the last knight,

and, as i mentioned earlier, Olwen.






Lechyd da!



Introduction to Sir Orfeo

"Dear Orpheus", I tried to start again. My words slurred, "I have a fraught relationship with astrology and commonplace dogmas, religions and humanist dialectics. I am unclear how any can tell us much about the future or guide our paths through that future (it is a little like trying to make a detailed law from human rights or religious principles - despite my best efforts, I do not think it is possible - I have tried my best and failed)."

We had been drinking many hours and those elusive questions were all now within grasp of the answers that lay littered around our lives.

The shadow that was Sir Orfeo grunted, "Their strength lies elsewhere - each forces us to consider options and possibilities that might not have naturally occurred to us."

I nod and added, perceptively, "The weakness is that those waiting for a predicted lotto win will wait in vain."

We briefly considered how life would change were the lottery determined on merit rather than chance. 

I continued, "This year, astrologically, all of my friends would have variously become happy, treacherous, loyal, ill, pregnant, menopausal and cancerous. Few have actually transpired - but each prediction forces contemplation and allows a sequential focus on a different possibility. Other dialectics, humanist and religious, provide tools for helping to mediate a reaction."

Sir Orfeo's shaggy eyebrows lifted and he interrupted, "Once, I studied in depth palmistry. I did it to get background for something. I forget now. One of Arthur's crazy plans. I listed to a hundred and one hours of learned, umm, art, on palm crease association with behaviour. While I approached skeptically, I left with greater caution. For fun, I took on volunteers from the crew I wander with, to practice reading. It ceased to be fun very quickly, for me, for when I started to explain how a life line or health line worked, I sensed great discomfort and anxiety in the person concerned. So I always trivialised and ended the sessions in fun, rather than being serious."

He took a long deep drink and hacked a cough, "Don't think you are immune. Despite you living in an age dominated by secular scientific humanism, you are just a heartbeat away from reaching for superstition. All around us is a battle between the comfort and stasis of certainty, and the desire to dance in the winds of uncertainty."

He faded as the bar closed and I was hunted out into the cold and the Brownstones.

Sir Orfeo shuffled along behind me, a black dog in the lamp lights. He mutters

"Come!
In evening's hush, through melting snow, arrive here at your goal
Ignore the mill of explorers, slavers, and banking crows left behind.
Trust your surrey to drug-stained hand. Climb the brownstone stairs.
Stamp ice from leather boots. Trade bitter truth for furnace coal.
And, leave your earthly cares at the door, together with your gloves."

I feel him touch my shoulder and he pulls me into his shadows.

(work in progress)




Comments

Anonymous said…
This has been "in progress" far too long. It deserves to be told... It needs to be! :)

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