King Arthur didn’t die in Avalon. At least not yet.
Morgan le Fay had taken her new role as The Great King’s primary caregiver about as seriously as she would a bun shortage during an impromptu bakeoff with a four-foot-tall wiener. One with detachable legs but no family drama to speak of, quite unlike the twisted bloodsucker she greeted every morning at dawn without a lifetime’s worth of unshed tears in hand to pail.
There was no governing rule that all land-dwelling fairies must correct the mistakes of their amphibious counterparts before man doomed himself to a flaming horse on unlightable match speed. Surely, if Morgan ever met that darn Lady of the Lake she’d wring her neck for turning her estranged nephew against King Arthur. Her beloved half-brother that had meant less than nothing to Mordred before the rise of Camelot to silver-splinted glory many ephemeris life cycles ago.
Mordred hadn’t survived The Battle of Camlann, but The King would live on to inspire endless generations of chivalrous fence warmers to come. At least if Morgan would let him.
She knew Arthur’s limitations as a leader of lesser men. Even if he never truly broke out of the chain-link mausoleum that was his own mortal destiny on a “We rule this land for the chance to hack you into itty biddy bits” whim, he pushed every knight he encountered to challenge himself for the sake of his own growing folklore. One that had already been tarnished by Queen Guinevere’s wayward heart amongst a sea of running paint provocative lechers, but was King Arthur dreaming of her this very moment?
His chest continued to rise and fall like the misanthropic ashes Morgan le Fay sifted through with her own steadfast bosom, as she questioned from the foot of the bed, “What do you think, Mertwin?”
Elspeth was usually quite tolerant of Morgan’s lighthearted puns. Even if he did in fact possess the same magical prowess as the aforementioned chancellor of Camelot enchantment, he’d never answer to such a boorish appellation without adjusting the mood light in his own mountainous eyes first.
Despite his rather brutish physique for a glorified housemaid, Elspeth had attended to The King ever since he had taken up silent residence in Morgan’s private chambers the previous day. After quickly chastising the Queen of Avalon, Elspeth made for the furthest coastline by once again letting her drown in her own unchecked desires.
They had both heard the gossip concerning her and the real Merlin. Lancelot. Morgan le Fay had even been rumored to have mothered a child by Ogier—the Uglier Dane. Every war-time Viking she had ever vetted above the neck looked ten times better with a hocked-off beard, at least during those fleeting moments when she wasn’t totally sure what to do with a shrinking wand or twisted smile while in the presence of an earthbound god.
King Arthur was surely just this, but his work in Camelot was done. He had overcome the greatest odds a man ever possibly could, a traitorous whore for public scrutiny that never bothered to just talk things out, and yes, Guinevere’s shameful knack for phonetic infidelity as well.
The Great Queen may have never assured The King that she loved cheating on him. Certainly not while standing before a court of unarmed steers incapable of sounding their own steely horns without watching a taken woman blush first. However, when Morgan suggested to Elspeth that they simply hint at a new rising leader to come and nothing more he replied, “Perhaps.”
Perhaps a young boy, surely of direct relation to one of King Arthur’s most trusted knights, had sat beneath his beloved round table every night. By doing so, he had unknowingly written himself into Camelot’s greatest ruling age to come. Or maybe the mer-woman knew something. The lady trapped inside a clogged drain that had once bestowed Merlin’s powers to him after knighting Arthur with Excalibur, or so the tale went.
Arthur had carried the prized weapon with him to Avalon, but neither Morgan nor her aids had been able to handle the darn thing without help from The King’s guiding hands. Surely, it would have to be buried with him, but why couldn’t he live on? At least long enough to be bested by one of those fire-breathing creatures in the woods beyond Avalon’s coast Morgan probably shared microscopic birthing matter with.
At least he could leave a note for his loving wife and faithful kingdom, or so Elspeth urged Morgan with a quizzical expression. His bushy hair only fell half a spell below both ears. A succession of wind-smitten dirt clouds and cinnamon sky oven shrouds failed to interfere with his inner thoughts, as he visually assumed the acting role as Arthur’s most trusted advisor.
There was no exclusive theatre house to be found in Avalon, but then again the rest of the world would believe anything The Great King said about his terminal layover at the least farmed place on a naturally green earth, or so Morgan thought.
Elspeth agreed, so they immediately got to writing:
‘Tis no tragedy to perish on thy Fortunate Isle.
To take to disease upon a land of leisure
is to cultivate a victory plan for battle
upon an empty stomach, so I elicit
with the passing of this 24-line torch
your stiff-heeled ceremony.
Your King is worthy prisoner only
to fire ant orchards the size of Mordred’s
dueling doubts. Despite our synonymous ends,
I remain slave only to Sister Morgan’s burning
boutique of nighttime affection—
For the dragon’s lair heat bred from thee’s
fateful next wink has already driven Your King
away from the bloody sword—
a flooding plain of serendipity
where only a hundred-year-old
crop can quell the overwhelming might
of a fortune-free tomorrow in pristine riding boots.
the antithesis of The Great Defector—
and Morgan le Fay—
chief of the nine sisters of Avalon,
a welcome bother to murder row no more,
prodigious friend, and hairy-legged hen.
Elspeth was visibly pleased with himself after proposing the final line. Luckily for The King, he hadn’t been able to turn anything into a frog in quite a few spells.
Before Morgan’s golden thighs began to glisten like fresh rainwater on child’s play in the dark of her own mystical mind, she threatened to make her present companion’s forefinger bleed like she had herself had the last time she attempted to shave herself by supposed practical means.
Once they settled on a final draft of the poem, Morgan drew near to Arthur’s bare forehead. She drew up a kiss and circled her own growing discontent for her first departure from Avalon in ages. She did so with a lipstick pencil best conceived of in A.D. red, before making arrangements without a bastard god’s blessing. Something to help foster change in a “night nursery with edible wicks” doomed race perhaps.
* * *
The moment Morgan le Fay laid Arthur’s broken body down in the lake and plunged Excalibur directly through the final page break in his throbbing legend, she lost the will to take another familiar man’s hands by force. The ground beneath her gliding feet became a stranger. All she knew was The Damp Lady’s inherited plight; she just wouldn’t bother imagining her failing to close Arthur’s hands around his fateful sword a final time.
Whenever she did so, the entire earth began to shake. The quake that resulted destroyed several spiritual strongholds around the world so infamous that the blood of Jesus refused to spill between the victory chords of Lancelot’s greatest hymn left unsung.
The Holy Grail would remain a sea-based treasure at large, as long as King Arthur and his dear Lady of the Lake clung to true might’s recurring origin at the most opportune of times. Not for the sake of the anonymous author of all Christ-bound chronicles but for any true believer in love’s eternal commitment to war and vice-versa. After all, Morgan le Fay could never stymie the magical notion of forward motion in man’s incomplete works. Not with so many elfin ears growing at an equal rate every day on a completely round earth.