Student Projects - Arthurian Myth
Interim 1996, Calvin College

O Fair Lady Knight

By Rachel Baljeau

It was a lazy day in late summer, the type of day in which the musty breath of autumn could be smelled, and the sun which was once unrelentingly hot and burning was now replaced with a warm and hazy one. Now, the shadows from a tree in the distance had lengthened, and the sun was on its way to setting.

A woman was sitting under that tree. From far off, she seemed to be an ordinary lady, but approaching her I noticed the sun glinting off a piece of metal by her side. It was not a brooch, or a necklace, or a bracelet. No, it was a sword half-unsheathed as if lying in wait for some danger that might be encountered. Getting closer to the lady I noticed something else amiss with the picture. The lady was beautiful, about thirty winters of age, and she had long curly locks of rich dark brown hair, which contrasted the fair complexion slightly bronzed by the outside wind and sun. Her forearms, showing from her short sleeved dress were laced with scars, as those which fighting men commonly have. The woman's dark brown eyes, reflecting the orange setting sun in them, looked as if they had a story to match the scars.

* * *

"Phar! Get up! Today is the day we start our training!"

Phariance, muttering to himself as he turned over in his bed and pulled his bearskin over him to linger in the warmth, opened his eyes, squinting at the early morning sun creeping in over the window sill. "I don't want to go, Pal," he said, getting up and splashing cold water on his face.

"Why ever not? There's not one kid out there who doesn't want to start his training to be a knight," Paladir exclaimed.

Phariance continued, "I heard father talking last night. You won't be coming with me anymore. It was fine that you helped out in the kitchen, but you are a girl and girls can't become knights."

She felt insulted by this. Phariance and her had been together in the same womb, and had never been separated before. Looking at the two, people often mistook them for twin brothers. Her boyish appearance complimented her own personality. Paladir didn't want to go and play with all the other girls, learning embroidery and such. When she had chances to go to tournaments and jousts, she imagined herself and Phariance as the ones besting all the other knights and claiming the prize together. "If only I could become a knight, how happy I would be then," she thought. Not once before now did it cross her mind that she wouldn't be able to do that, and now, her brother and best friend would be leaving her. Maybe running away would solve something. Unless...

"What is it Paladir? You look like you just had an idea."

Paladir's eyes had lit up. "I have. Come here," she said excitedly. She could hardly restrain myself from jumping up and down she was so happy. She knew her plan would work. After whispering it to him in his ear, he knew it would too. There was no way their father could make Phariance go to his lessons if Paladir didn't go with him.

* * *

A few years had passed and Phariance and Paladir were both doing exceedingly well in their training. Whereas she was better than he in hunting and archery, he was better in jousting and sword fights, and received most of the praise from their instructor because he was stronger than her.

Paladir became increasingly aware of the fact that Phariance was doing better, so she worked even harder. Every day she arrived an hour early to practice with the quintain. Charging and searching for that correct point to place her spear, and then turning around and repeating the whole procedure again, striving for perfection each time. She stayed an hour after practice also, even though she was completely tired out from the day, improving sword strokes. Three times a week she would practice with a weighted sword to increase strength. A slash on the right, a cut on the left, and a blow from the right again. Then, the sword would switch hands to make sure both sides were equally conditioned.

All this was done in vain, however, for she could not be strong enough to be an equal match for her brother, who despite that still treated her as an equal. She became more and more despondent as the weeks passed by. About this time also, she noticed changes in her body too; she was becoming a woman.

One particular day, her instructor was being especially hard on her. She couldn't handle it anymore. Something inside her snapped. Paladir spurred her horse and rode off, afraid she might start crying any minute. She didn't know where she was going, all she knew as that she had to get away. She rode for a few hours, as the sun moved from the top of the sky toward the western horizon. It was getting late in the day, and the cool breeze that had been refreshing now came on as an icy bone chilling wind. She shivered.
Looking around she discovered she had gone further than she intended. None of the surroundings were familiar. The woods enveloping her father's castle she had long since passed. Passed also was a large open stretch of heather and hills. Presently she found herself in a thick wood, the ground densely covered with bracken and big leafy ferns.

Paladir shivered again, this time not from the cold but from an uneasy feeling which suddenly came upon her, as if something was awaiting her ahead. She dressed her shield and picked up her spear from its setting. She slowed her horse down to a walk, still feeling very unnerved.

A gentle lapping of water on a shore could be heard in the distance in front of her. Up ahead was a misty clearing, and a solitary silhouette of a woman at the edge of the mist. Reaching the clearing, the lady beckoned her to come. For some reason, shaking as she was, Paladir obeyed.

"Paladir," she said in a soft voice.

Her thoughts were tumbling over each other. How did that lady know my name? Did she draw me here? Is she good or is she evil?

"I have been waiting for you. I am the Lady of the Lake. I understand you are on a quest of sorts. What do you wish so that I may grant it to you?"

If Paladir thought her mind was tumbling before, it was now hurtling off a cliff face. This was her only chance to become a knight.

Pausing for a minute, she answered. "I would like, more than anything to be knighted, and be able to compete with the rest of the men. I cannot do that now since I am a woman, be it in body only. A man's mind trapped in a woman's body. All my life I have spent training for knighthood. I live and breathe in that facet of life. I know no other way. Please, if there is a way, increase my strength so I can once again be equal to man."

The lady silently looked at me with her eyes of copper, her hair glistening in the mist. Responding to her plea she said, "I can grant you what you wish, only , as there must be a limit somewhere, you cannot have the strength and stature of a man forever. You will once again become as a woman if a man sees your face after battle."

"Wait," she cried, "what about my brother? He will have to know."

"Since he is your brother he can know, but no one else. Now, drink this."

The Lady of the Lake handed her a cup she had not noticed before. She took a sip of the drink, which had an odd musky flavour to it. On giving the cup back, the Lady quickly turned and disappeared into the mist, leaving the place in a mysterious stillness. It was so still, and it had that certain timeless feeling to it, that she wondered whether the events fresh in her mind had occurred or not.

* * *

King Arthur had declared another tournament for the all Hallomass Feast. All within his realm were invited to come. Phariance and Paladir, knighted at last, decided to participate. They had determined that they would take turns in the tournaments and jousts to preserve Sir Paladir's identity. If she won a prize, Phariance would claim it for Paladir as she always left the field after the game was done. This time, it chanced that it was her turn, and she was excited, for this was rumoured to be the best tournament ever hosted in these lands.

Things had gone well for both Phariance and Paladir after she had come back from the Lady of the Lake. Within a week her strength was equal to that of Phariance's, and he had had to catch up to her since she had put in all that extra time earlier to improve herself. The competitive nature in both of them caused them to become two (or one, depending on which way you looked at it) of the best knights of the land.

The day arrived, and Phariance came to help her put her armour on in a wooded area not far from the castle. With one last check to see if everything was soundly in its place, he helped her up to the saddle and bade her luck. A final farewell, and she urged her horse towards the game field.

Paladir reached the field now and joined her ranks. She felt good about herself today, and that feeling carried on throughout the day, except that she also felt that she was being followed. Every knight that came up to her she smote off his horse with her lance. Alongside of her was a knight arrayed in blue who matched her strokes exactly. She thought it strange that one knight would follow her so closely. Try as she might, she could not shake him loose of following her. In the end Paladir and the Blue Knight went on to be the best knights of the tournament. As Paladir realized this, she hurried off to give Phariance notice of how she had fared, as usual. She still felt like someone was following her, but since she saw nothing nor heard anything but her own clanking armour, she cast it aside for the moment.

Phariance met up with her at the spot she left from earlier that day, unlaced her helm for her and took off on his own steed to claim the prize. Paladir shook free her long hair and let it flow by her shoulders. As she did so, she heard a gasp from the trees. Unsheathing her sword, standing ready to fight, the Blue Knight stepped out from behind some bushes.

"O fair lady knight," he said, still astonished by what he saw. "I did not realize you were a lady. I saw you ride up and admired your ease at which you rode, and the way you carried yourself, so I deemed I should follow you to do battle with you. When you left the field in such a hurry after performing so marvelously I had to come to see your purpose. Now I see."

"Yes, you see," she replied bitterly, "and never shall again. I am Lady Paladir, sister to Sir Phariance, who was, by a gift from the Lady of the Lake able to fight as any man could. But, since you have followed me and seen my true self after battle, I shall lose my strength and become weak like other ladies."

"Ah, but there you are mistaken. You also have strength in beauty. You are the most beautiful damsel I have ever laid eyes upon, and if you will, I should like to marry you."

* * *

Now the sun was almost gone. The sky glowed red for a few minutes, and then the sun disappeared. The lady that was sitting under the tree whistled shrilly and presently the thundering of a horse's hooves could be heard coming closer, until it was beside her. She mounted the horse with an ease I had not seen before, and wondered again at who she was. She nodded politely at me as she rode by, slowly and majestically, I thought, away to the castle in the distance.




Sir Balamar Saves the Day

By Sara Bus

It was but a fortnight ago, or at least, it seems but a fortnight ago... I was near the end of a long arduous journey away from a nasty skirmish in the North. My knightly duties had left me exhausted, mentally and physically. Surely rest and shelter were no longer very far off. At the base of the next hill, my armor moaned with brittle tension and I began to question the faithfulness of my faithful steed (somehow his sudden love affair with the ground seemed a "bad" thing...). No matter, I reasoned this incline to be the last and trudged on. I soon found the steepness increasing along with my fatigue; the thought of stopping until morning began to tantalize my weary senses. Wait, what was this before me on the crest? A marvelous stone fortress, extensive, sprawling, and most impressive in stature. Perhaps here, a humble and noble knight such as myself might find lodging for the evening! I decided to present myself to the lord of the castle and hope for the best. Onward, to the entrance!

Interesting, this castle--I wasn't sure what to make of it. The style was foreign, with towering domes and imposing pillars; maybe I had wandered into another country? And, what was this? The whole compound was surrounded by men, clinging to strange objects.What sort of lord had outfitted his knights with these strange weapons, and no armor?! As I moved towards them, I began to feel increasingly disoriented. They were all carrying on excitedly, and as I was about to shout my name and purpose over the din, I heard an angry voice exclaim, "Hey, you in the tinfoil, get away from that tripod!"

What was going on around here and what were these strange people doing? "Excuse me," I bellowed, "My name is Sir Balamar, knight of the Round Table, and I beg of your lord lodging for the night."

"Look buddy, I don't know who gave you directions, but senator Feinstein's costume party is over at the Georgetown Hilton. Looks like you're a little late!"

"Sir, by the honor of the round table, I wish only to request lodging for the night, here in your castle. The climb up this hill was quite wearing and I must shamefully admit that I cannot find the strength to go on."

Someone else shouted at me, "You think the hill is bad, try those steps on the other side!"

By this time I was quite out of sorts. I demanded of the first man, " See here now, what is this emblem on your shield--this' CNN'?" More of these strangers were beginning to stare at me now; the one I had addressed looked at me with suspicion.

"My shield? If you mean my camera vest, it's my press card--what are you, some reject from CBS?"
"I told you, I am Sir Balamar, knight of the Round Table. Do you serve our Lord and King, Arthur?"
"The only one I serve is Turner Broadcasting, and if they weren't paying me I wouldn't have made it up that hill either! And for pete's sake, what's all this 'king' and 'round table' stuff?"

No king? No Round Table? Where frightful place had I come to? Suddenly, I realized, this must be dream from the Lord! Perhaps there was a reason I had fallen into such outlandish company; I decided to make the most of the experience and began to explain myself to the now gawking crowd. I told them all of Camelot, of the mighty and wonderful Arthur, and of the brotherhood of the Round Table. It was my duty, I explained, as it was of all good knights, to go on a quest. However, I told them with great sadness, somehow I still didn't know what I was questing for!

"Now that I've told you of my intentions, I demand to speak to whoever rules this great castle," I finished. After a few silent moments, the sound of laughter began to surface among the multitude; soon it became a roar.

"You mean you really don't know?" said one.

"They're gone!" said another, "The Congress has gone and shut the government down!"

I still couldn't understand what these gentlemen were referring to and I was WROTH that I was still being denied access to the lord of the castle! One of them came over and said, "Let me explain this in 'your' world. See this 'castle' is called the Capital Building of the United States of America and we call its rulers the Congress. You can't stay here tonight because the building is closed. Actually, I hope you got a motel somewhere because all the buildings in this area are closed at the moment. And you can't talk to the head of this house because he's not here and neither is anyone else".

Finally, these people were talking sense! Their lord was out on a quest, as I was. If the gentleman had been right, then I was in their capital; perhaps they too had a Round Table and maybe they could tell me what I was questing for!

"Maybe you can still help me. Tell me, where does the King meet with your Round Table? I think they may know what it is that I'm searching for". As I looked around, a most curious expression appeared on the face of the first man I'd talked to and he said,

"Hey, the closest thing we've got to your 'Round Table' is this Congress I already told you about and in case you haven't figured it out already, they're not the most reliable bunch! But listen, have I got an idea for this 'quest' of yours--- ya know, I think maybe YOU were sent to help US. This Congress of ours has been on a 'quest' of sorts, though it isn't exactly what you'd call noble in nature. You see Balamar, the government, excuse me-- the rulers, have spent more money than they had to spend and now our country is in great debt to many. Unlike your land, our 'king' and 'round table' don't get along too well. Right now they can't agree on how to pay off this huge debt and so the 'round table' has 'quit', so to speak. I wonder if your medieval quest might be to help us post-modern idiots out of this mess!"

I could see hope among all of their faces and began to hear a chorus of resounding "yeses" and "right-ons"(whatever that meant!) Could this be? I had found my quest and true knightly duty! I suggested a jousting match between the members of their divided Congress and their president. This was widely received and I was given a seat of honor to watch the great contest, during which all the parties in question killed each other in bloody battle. It was determined that I was to be ruler, by virtue of the fact that I had been the only one capable solving the budget crisis (complete with low interest rates and no taxes!). I established my own Round Table and the country prospered again.

The End



Rexque Futurus?

By Derek Christians

Many people believe the story of King Arthur is just that, a story. Some take the entire myth as truth and are awaiting Arthur's return. I think he is already among us.

It was the mid-eighties, and I was your typical slacker at an east coast college. I was attending parties on a regular basis and occasionally even attending class. I began to feel that something was missing in my life so I decided to take the spring semester off to try and find meaning. A sort of quest you might say. I figured the best way to do this was take the first flight I could to Europe and spend the next 6 months hiking the continent. Besides, I had always wanted to see Paris.

It was mid July and I was touring the British Isles. With any luck, I would finished within the next few weeks and be home in time for the beginning of the fall semester. One night I decided to set up camp on a cliff overlooking the channel. As I was putting up my tent I kept getting glimpses of a small curious looking boat out in the channel. Every time I would stop to take a closer look, it would disappear again. I couldn't figure out if it was just my eyes playing tricks on me due to the lack of sleep, or if there was actually something out there. As it was nearing sunset, I gave up on the idea and started preparing my usual meal of freeze dried foods. Once my meal was done I quickly rinsed my dishes and climbed into my sleeping bag. After an exhausting day of hiking, sleep came easily. During the night I woke up and thought I heard a boat and voices down on the shore, but I soon fell back to sleep due to lack of interest. A few hours later I was startled awake again, only this time the noise was only a few feet away. I could hear something rummaging through my food and thought that it must be a bear. I grabbed my flashlight and pepper spray, crept over to the door and carefully peered out through the screen. What I saw next caught me totally off guard. Digging through my food was a strangely dressed man. He was wearing a tunic covered by a large cloak and jangled like he was wearing some sort of metal. Unwilling to let him eat my food, I crawled outside to stop him. I shined my flashlight directly on him and demanded he stop. The man, obviously surprised, suddenly stood up and drew a sword from under his cloak. At this point I was completely petrified. When he began to move towards me, I pulled out my pepper spray and gave him a shot directly to the face. The man dropped his sword, and with his hands covering his face reeled backwards while letting out an anguished scream. As he rolled on the ground in pain, I quickly picked up his sword and then stood back while I waited for him to recover. When he realized that he had lost his sword, he tried to stand up to look for it. I commanded him to stay where he was, or I would spray him again. He dropped to his knees and said he would yield if I would just return his sword. Unsure of what this guy was up to, this seemed like a bad idea to me. Of course I told him I would not be returning his sword. He then began babbling something about how I was acting dishonorably and since I was a great magician possessing the secrets of powerful enchantments I did not need his sword. I had to interrupt him here just to figure out what he was talking about. Apparently he thought that my pepper spray (liquid fire thrown from the hand) and flashlight (blinding light of 100 torches) were the result of some great magic I possessed. I tried to explain to him that I possessed no magic and these were just common items. He just couldn't fathom it so eventually I decided to humor him. Since he was obviously in such great fear of me, I finally decided to give him his sword back. I did warn him however, that if I saw him try to take it out of its scabbard I would throw fire from my hand again.

Once he seemed to be settled down I asked him who he was and what he was doing here. He told me he was King Arthur of Camelot and had returned to reclaim his throne. I had a little trouble believing this one, but I let him continue. Apparently he had been sailing about in that small boat I had seen ever since he was wounded in his last battle. He didn't seem to realize that 1300 years had passed by since then. He said that when he came upon my tent and saw no armor or horse, he assumed no one was around. Since any good knight would be more than willing to offer hospitality to another, he thought he would just help himself and wait for my return. Then he started asking more questions about why I was dressed so oddly. It was a manner befitting neither knight nor magician. Why and how was I traveling with all this equipment if I had no horse to carry it? I tried again to explain that I wasn't a knight or magician, that there were no knights or magicians in this day, and I was merely a college student backpacking through Europe. This just seemed to confuse him all the more. I was getting annoyed by all his questions, but since I was usually alone I enjoyed having someone around even if he was crazy.

Since it was nearing sunrise, I decided to prepare breakfast. I pulled out some Grape-nuts, honey, powdered milk and coffee. When he saw me boiling the water with my stove, he started off on the enchantment thing again. He couldn't understand how I could produce so much heat from such a small object, especially since there was no wood burning. While he tried to figure out the spell powering my stove, I took down my tent and loaded my pack. He was so amazed at how everything fit that he insisted on carrying it. After months of carrying 40 pounds on my back everyday, I was more that willing to let him. The first time he tried to put it on, he had it upside down and was so tangled in the straps that I had to help him out of it so he could try again. He was quite offended that I found his difficulty so amusing. Eventually I got him straightened out and we were on our way.

All morning long, he told me stories of Guenevere, Lancelot and all the quests he and his nights had been on. He wondered what kind of quest I was on. I didn't have any ladies with me, and I wasn't prepared to do any battle. I told him it was a spiritual thing. I was looking for meaning. He said it sounded like the quest his knights went on to find the Holy Grail. After a few hours we passed near a construction site. He said it looked like it would be a grand castle and he would have to be sure and visit it after he had settled his affairs as king.

Suddenly he stopped and grabbed my arm. He pointed towards a group of construction trailers and started going on excitedly about some kind of animal and a Sir Palomides. I was able to get him to slow down and he explained to me that he had seen the Questing Beast. It had the head and neck of a snake and it made the noise of 30 hounds. If the Questing Beast was here, then Sir Palomides couldn't be far behind. He stopped talking and pointed when he saw it again. All I saw was a big yellow backhoe. I explained to him that it was just a common piece of equipment used in construction. At first he was disappointed, but that quickly changed as he saw the thing work. If he had only had one at Camelot, he could have built and done repairs on his moat in a fraction of the time.

After watching the backhoe for nearly half an hour I was able to convince him to move on. Another hour of hiking brought us to a highway. The first thing Arthur noticed was the incredibly fast horses in strange armor. Initially I was confused, but then I realized he was talking about cars. He said he would like to try riding one. So he began waving his sword at cars as they passed trying to get them to stop. Obviously this didn't work to well. I suggested he put his sword back in its scabbard and use his thumb. He could not believe that it would work, so I told him to let me show him. Within a few minutes an old man stopped for us. I told Arthur to let me handle things and I would get him a ride. I was afraid that if left to himself he might unknowingly commit a carjacking. I told the old man that my friend and I needed a ride to the next town. He was unsure about Arthur, but I convinced him that Arthur was just a senile old man with an active imagination and was really quite harmless. The first thing Arthur did once the car got moving was stick his head out the window into the wind and laugh uncontrollably. Then he started telling the old man all about knights and magicians and the like. I used the senile excuse again to ease the old man's fears.

By this time Arthur was really starting to annoy me. When the old man let us out, I explained to Arthur that I was headed a different direction than him and that we really should split up. This was at least somewhat true. He wanted to find Camelot and I was headed back home to the U.S. I told him that Camelot was now called London, and he should use the newer name. Above all else he should not talk to people about his taking back the throne or he could find himself in trouble. He had trouble understanding why so I told him that the people he meets could really be evil magicians. If they heard him they might try and put a curse on him that would prevent him from regaining the throne. This seemed to convince him of the danger. I then pointed him in the right direction and sent him down the road with his thumb out. After a few minutes some one stopped for him and he got in without incident. I put my pack back on my shoulders and headed off by myself once again.

I never saw him again after that. I really did miss him and after all his talk and curious ways wondered of he just might be King Arthur. About two weeks later as I was waiting in the airport for my flight back home, I decided to pick up a british tabloid to fight my boredom. The first page was filled with the usual pictures of the royal family in compromising situations, but inside I found the story that really interested me. There on the third page was a picture of Arthur sitting next to the queen at a polo match. There was no mention of who he was or what he was doing, but a few months later there were rumors in the tabloids that the queen had secretly married and there was now a King of England. I suspect that Arthur is now once again on the throne.

Gareth

The tale of a frenzied savage in pursuit of an independent wommon's affections

By Lance Dykstra

Long ago, in the medieval age of the country known as England, there lived a king named Arthur. Initially, Arthur tried to fulfil the standards of a loving and sensitive monarch, but the economic and political demands of the feudalistic society, coupled with the stubborn rigidity of his Y-chromosome-influenced patterns of thought soon became too much to bear. In a short time, Arthur became like all monarchs of the time period: repressive, violent, and neglectful of his duties as a husband.

Under Arthur's selfish reign, the individuals living in the areas outside his castle were reduced to abject poverty, and while this was a very lamentable situation, his kingdom quite naturally became economically advantaged, empowering the cruel society to propagate itself. It was a sad commentary on the predicament of those persuns of disadvantage, but such was chivalric life.

Since violent behavior was very much a part of daily life, it was necessary for male individuals possessing high levels of physical strength (and equally high levels of arrogance and testosterone) to encapsulate their bodies within ill-fitting garments of steel and utilize devices designed to reshape the flesh of their adversaries in such a manner that would eventually halt basic life functions. By employing these devices, Arthur and his like-gendered violence facilitators took part in many adventures, and while a number of these were merely the result of delusions induced as a result of an overabundance of alcoholic beverages, they did cause the knights (as the warmongering cohorts came to be called) to become very well known throughout the land.

It happened one Pentecost that King Arthur and his egomaniacal purveyors of violence were seated around a large banquet table to take part in a holiday feast. Rather than name the repast after the Christian festival of the time, Arthur opted instead to the gathering, The-celebration-of-any-such-holiday-in-which-anyone would-choose-to-take-part. In this way, the name was certain not to offend those members of the primitive gender-exclusive society who might find the imposition of such religious gaiety distasteful.

As was the custom, no one seated at the large table would be served until a story was told or an event of less than common frequency took place (this, of course, was for the complete amusement of the exploitative monarchists, who were no doubt indifferent to the fact that their imprudent rite was greatly inconsiderate of the individuals who labored in the kitchens and pantries in a selfless effort to comply with the whims of the persuns of birthright).

As the sumptuous feast prepared by the hardworking sustenance artisans began to cool, a persun of less than average vertical stature entered the hall. He was accompanied (surely of their own free will) by three gentle-persuns, one of which appeared to exemplify the accepted norms of attractiveness of the archaic aristocracy, if you believe in that kind of garbage. Since physical beauty was not at all representative of the inner charm and effervescence that is, of course, the true measure of any individual, such norms were immaterial. Considering that his greater than average physical attractiveness would somehow compensate for lack of courtly experience, the non-vertically challenged individual felt no trepidation as he approached the king.

"Greetings, King Arthur," he said to the imperialistic greed-centered monarch, "I have come to request three gifts from you, and as I observe that you are involved in a grandiose exposition of your obvious monetary advancement, it would be wrong of you to deny such humble requests." Hearing this, King Arthur had no recourse but to submit to the gentle-persun. "My first request," continued the vertically-empowered individual, "is that I be allowed to live within your feudalistic commune for precisely 365 diurnal anomalies, at the end of such time I will present my final two requests."

Arthur was not accustomed to favor distribution of such a rigidly defined nature, but he acquiesced without regard. As a result of the individual's apparent lack of desire to reveal his true nomenclature to the gentry (which was certainly his divine being-furnished right), a member of the court named Kay advocated the use of a pseudonym, referring to the mysterious persun as Beaumains, meaning, "beautiful hands." The emphasis placed upon this physical characteristic was not without foundation, since the persun in question possessed large and externally beautiful hands that were quite distinctive from those of the other court members who had over time degraded the visually-appealing characteristics of their phalangeal capacitors in assertion of their repressed passive-aggressive tendencies.

Beaumains labored long and hard within the kitchens of the castle, and since the diet of the court members consisted mainly of charred flesh cruelly torn from the bones of a deceased animal, he decided to do his best to convince the court that such a barbaric culinary rite was not at all acceptable. To accomplish this, Beaumains prepared savory vegetarian meals, delicious wheat-germ desserts, and other species-safe morsels which won him great acclaim from his guests.

On the first anniversary of his arrival at court, Beaumains was skillfully chopping carrots and rutabagas to be used within a delectable sugar-free chocolate cake, when he heard a voice he did not recognize from outside the kitchen. Wiping his attractive hands (for which he was named) upon his equally beautiful apron (which he wore), Beaumains opened the door to the great hall and peered in at the banquet.

The voice he had heard belonged to a wommon who, although she was not at all persun-dated to do so, identified herself as the Lady Lynet. King Arthur bade her come forward, and she boldly approached his chair.

"King Arthur," she began, "it is well known that you are in command of many individuals trained in swordplay and injury-avoidance, and such individuals, while possessing little power in and of themselves, together create quite a persun acing force. By the commutative property, then, I suppose it could be said that you are a powerful persun...though you won't hear it from me."

Arthur blushed, flattered. Being a white male, he was, of course, totally oblivious to the fact that such statements carried a subtle hint of insult. After a moment, Arthur recovered and asked the wommon what it was that she desired.

"My sister has been imprisoned by the Knight of the Red Lands," the lady answered, "And I would be very pleased if you could spare one of your protectors to rescue her." When Arthur agreed, Lynet grinned. "Good," she said. "I'll take your best one."

Upon hearing this, a heavily muscled knight with long flowing blond hair rose from his seat at the banquet table. All the other knights looked on in awe, for this was Lancelot -- the champion of Arthur's court. However, before Lancelot (a textbook example of a repressive white male) could take on the quest, Beaumains burst forth from the kitchen to face the court.

"King Arthur," Beaumains said, "I have labored for a year in your kitchens, and now the time has come for me to present my final two requests." The king nodded, silently vowing that he would never again allow himself to be ensnared in a verbal arrangement. "My two desires are as follows," Beaumains continued. "I wish to be knighted by Lancelot, and, following that, I desire to accompany Lynet to the Red Lands, where I shall free her sister from the oppressive dominion of the Red Knight and bring her here to Camelot, which, I must say is really no less oppressive, but now is not the time to discuss that matter."

The Lady Lynet, oddly enough, did not object to the proposal, for she was a wommon of class, and she knew that it was wrong to judge an individual based upon social status. Besides, she reasuned silently, it was very likely that Lancelot would, in the course of allowing Beaumains to prove himself, mortally violate the young cook's personal space. Were such an event to take place, Lancelot would take up her cause, so there was no reasun to show displeasure at the moment.

And so it was decided. Soon, a brief disagreement began about who should lead the group to the practice field (Beaumains, for reasun of his bravery to take on the quest; Lancelot, for reasun of his knightly prowess; or Lynet, who felt that it was a sexist tradition to follow submissively or, for that matter, to be forced to give reasuns why she should lead). Eventually, they all made it out the door and walked harmoniously to the field.

Beaumains and Lancelot donned their suits of armor and began to fight. Soon, Lancelot became aware that, for once, he would not be victorious (mainly because the large quantity of mead and grog he had imbibed earlier were weighing heavily on his enlarged prostate, and he was unable to unbuckle the skirt of his armor in order that the great pressure might be relieved). Sighing heavily, Lancelot asked nicely (for it would have been less than virtuous to command) if Beaumains would reveal his name before he was knighted. Beaumains agreed, and informed Lancelot that he was in fact Gareth, the brother of Gawain, a virtuous knight of the Round Table. Since it was customary to keep a wommon in the dark about important details, Gareth bade Lancelot to keep his identity a secret, and since the two men apparently shared a bond impervious to neither the charms of a wommon nor simple logic, Lynet was not informed of the existence of Gareth's alias.

The Lady Lynet and Gareth mounted their horses and rode in the direction of the Red Lands. Before they had ridden long, the wommon began to express her dissatisfaction that her sister's fate was resting in the hands (attractive as they may be) of a common cook. Gareth tried to make small talk, but to no avail. The wommon's pleasant demeanor had vanished completely, leaving in its place an aura of hatred, displeasure, and resentment. But then, if Lynet had a desire to make the journey unappealing by adopting the personality of spitting cobra, by [insert name of divine being or supernatural force], she would do just that!
Before long, Gareth and Lynet encountered a tall mounted knight dressed in black armor and brandishing a fearsome-looking sword.

"I am the Black Knight!!" said the warrior, speaking for the benefit of anyone within earshot who might happen to be in possession of pigmentally-inoperative optical sensors. "It is my desire to maintain a xenophobic persun-tality, and it is my choice to shroud my fear of others behind a mask of hostile behavior! So, if one of you should choose to crassly violate my borders, I feel I must warn you that such action will be detrimental to your health."

Upon hearing this, Lynet promptly dismounted and walked over to the border about which the Black Knight previously spoke.

"It is my intention to step across this line," she said, "but before I do, I just want to make it totally clear that it was not at all my idea. I have been commanded to violate your borders by the mounted individual behind me," Lynet treacherously voiced, "and any aggression you may feel should be directed to him alone." Gareth looked ill.

Smiling contentedly over her shoulder, Lynet stepped daintily (though she could just as easily stomped toughly) over the border line.

With a roar of anger, the Black Knight, spear in hand, charged past Lynet, his fury misdirected toward Gareth. The startled paladin raised his own spear and spurred his horse toward the Black Knight. With an auditory organ-disrupting crash, the two collided, and both spears were instantly rendered unusable. However, while the spear of the Black Knight (being of inferior quality) had shattered upon Gareth's shield, Gareth's spear had sunk deep into the abdominal cavity of the Black Knight. Seeing that his opponent had been mortally wounded, Gareth decided to exchange his armor for that of his adversary (an action which could hardly be considered theft, but rather, a trade).

Lynet was struck vocally-inoperative. She could not believe that Gareth could be so incredibly endowed with unlikely-event probability (otherwise known as luck). Nevertheless, she averted her eyes as Gareth disrobed to put on the Black Knight's armor, an action that was completely for Gareth's benefit, for she regarded the human body as inherently artistic in form, and one would therefore be devoid of any shameful emotions should such form be exhibited in its natural state.

They rode onward until they came to a second knight, dressed completely in green armor. "Stanley!" the Green Knight shouted to Gareth, dressed in the armor of the Black Knight. "I'm glad to see you, brother! Though, I must say, I am not presently aware of your reasun for visiting me. Why have you come?"

"You mentally-challenged bovine-headed lout!" cried Lynet. "If you regarded the sanctity of the family unit as truly important, you would have taken more time to get to know your relatives, and you would therefore be aware that this persun next to me is not your sibling! He is a kitchen laborer who dishonorably deprived your brother of his pulse, and I humbly as you to deprive this imposter of his!" As it seemed, Lynet, though refined, could utter a stream of insults that could evoke feelings of embarrassment in a veteran sea-traveler.

The Green Knight was very much distressed at this proclamation, and he made a quick decision to be completely assertive, venting his feelings of sadness and pain upon the individual wearing his late sibling's armor. As before, the two knights battled, but since the Green Knight possessed a great degree of skill than his brother, Stanley, did, this battle was not quite so short-lived.

After enduring a flurry of kidney punches and groin kicks from the Green Knight, Gareth realized two things: first, the wisdom in wearing his armor, and second, the fact that the Green Knight was accustomed to fighting of a despicable tendency. But even such treachery could not overcome the strength of will expressed by the valiant Gareth, and soon, the Green Knight (incidentally named Martin) was on his knees, begging for mercy, much like a pre-adult that had fractured the unhealthy norms imposed by a parental figure.

"Don't be such a machismo-devoid individual," Gareth chided, "I'm not going to bring a halt to your internal fluid . Instead, you and your knights will swear allegiance to King Arthur. Oh, and just so you make no mistake of it, the only reason you're alive is that your armor isn't better than mine." Gareth looked down at the beaten fighter. "Now, get out of our way. We have a quest to complete, and if you intend on continuing to grovel, may I suggest that you do it elsewhere, and allow us on our way."

Lynet again found herself lacking the ability to vocalize, but her condition was only temporary, and it soon passed as the two rode onward. However, her condition returned when Gareth encountered and defeated both the Puce Knight (named Conrad) as well as the Indigo Knight (named Frederick). Before long, Lynet and Gareth found themselves before the Castle of the Knight of the Red Lands.

Lynet was still shocked from the realization that a kitchen thrall had defeated so many powerful knights to get this far. Finally, she conceded (of her own free will, and not at all as a result of Gareth's influence) that perhaps this cook was more than what he claimed to be. She gazed into his azure eyes and smiled. Opening her mouth, she was about to voice a feeling of sentiment, when a crossbow bolt whizzed past her head, narrowly missing her left ear, and embedded itself into a nearby oak.

Lynet leapt from her horse to behold the towering figure of the Red Knight, adorned in his crimson armor and gripping a silver crossbow.

"Good evening, strangers!" the scarlet hulk bellowed. "I do hope you weren't upset by my introductory shot...my entrance wouldn't have been nearly so dramatic without it, you know."

"Introductory shot?!" Lynet exclaimed angrily. "You tried to kill me!!"

The Red Knight thought about this for a moment. "Well, now that you mention it, I suppose I did. You see, if I wounded your armored friend there," he said, motioning to Gareth, "the battle would be over quite prematurely, and I'd much rather it go on for a bit. If, on the other hand, I happened to bury a bolt or two into your body, your guardian would quite naturally be rather upset about that, I'd imagine, and he would want to avenge your death. That way, I'm guaranteed a smashing fight!" The Red Knight grinned. It was the sort of grin upon which stressed individuals often felt drawn to assert themselves, and it was at that precise moment that Lynet did just that.

"Try to kill me, will you!!" Lynet screamed. "You're all the same, aren't you!!" Lynet punctuated each insult with alternating kicks and jabs to certain sensitive parts of the Red Knight's body which were unprotected by his armor. "We just ride along," she continued, "and without so much as a 'by-your-leave', you make an attempt on our lives!! What a self-centered, narrow, brutal, oppressive philosophy! I can't stand you!!"

With that, Lynet threw herself into the strong arms of the Red Knight and kissed him soundly on the lips. Never before had she encountered an individual so content with such a barbaric ideology that he could inflict harm on innocent people. To be honest, it excited her. Gareth was taken aback, for it was the first potential conflict that had not ended in a plasma release -- and it was accomplished by a wommon (which should not be surprising, but considering the society of the time, might be worth a raised eyebrow).

As per Gareth's request, Lynet was exchanged for her sister, the Lady Lyoness, a wommon of impeccable taste and character. They returned to Camelot, where Gareth revealed his identity and presented King Arthur with the allegiance of the knights he had battled on his quest, thus ensuring that Arthur's tyrannical regime would continue for years to come. Lynet had found love, Gareth had found his opposite-gendered (though equal) life-partner, and King Arthur had gained more individuals with whom he could ensure that his orders, no matter how repressive, would always be followed. In the end, everyone got what they desired...except, of course the financially and socially disadvantaged, but since they had nothing to begin with, it is logical to assume that they, too, were content to at least break even.


The Round Table

By Roderick Francisco


The radiance from the retiring sun enters the room like a silent angel. Its light touches every object in the room casting long, lifeless shadows. The wind is whistling its way through a crack on the door. Outside it is dusk and although it is a glorious sight, a loneliness lingers in its atmosphere. Another day has come to an end. I cannot believe I made it through.

Today had been a battle that I thought will never end. I had been assaulted by my enemies one after another but instead of fighting fearless knights, I fought anxiety, instead of battling dragons, I battled loneliness, and instead of defending myself against spells, I fortified myself against depression. All got away with the better of me, and all left me overwrought like the gray remains of a campfire.

Darkness is slowly invading the room and the angel of light is nowhere to be seen. The flame from the candles in the corner offers some warmth but its feeble light is unable to fill the emptiness of the room. Somewhere in the flickering shawdows, loneliness is lurking like a scrowling plague waiting to envelop me. I am not afraid of it though, for it has become as familiar to me as my shadow and I have grown accoustomed to its ways.

I cannot even begin to understand the emotions I am feeling at this moment. It is like a mixture of betrayal, guilt, and sorrow all boiling in a cauldron of hate, waiting to errupt. But depression sits unyeilding on the lid and it is weighing down all my efforts to react. I do however fear this emotion of hurt I feel for it constantly burns my heart and I feel I have no control over how I will respond to the pain. Time passes by like cancer spreading and every tick from the clock on the wall is forcing a stake through my soul.The room is silent when all of a sudden a hollow sound echoes down the corridor. Someone is at the door. I am not expecting anyone and I have not the strength to entertain anyone. So I let it be. Again a knock invades the room but this time it sounds different. This time it sounded more inviting and it fills me with this foreboding feeling that whoever is at the door is not just anybody. So I muster all the strength I have left in me to open the door. It is Sir Gawain, Sir Gareth, and Sir Lanceulot ( I refrain from using their real names) the three friends I love the most. I feel ashamed letting them see me like this so I put on this fake smile. "We heard." Gawain remarks before I could even make myself look convincing. He saw right through me like he always had and I guess that is what I always admired about him. His eyes at this moment was a blazing blue mirror that showed me a reflection of soul beyond the hardness of the facade. "We came as soon as we could" he adds with a omniscient tone. I let them in. As they make themselves comfortable on the seats I notice how the room does not seem so empty anymore. Exhausted and tired I abjectly fall on my seat.

"You probably are not in the mood to talk" says Lanceulot in a collect manner, "but there are things we feel we have to tell you." Lanceulot is the elegant prince of the group who is always in control of his actions and with his unavoidable looks and his impressive talents he was unresistable to the women. It is no wonder he is always so confident. "We understand what you are going through, we've all been through this" Lanceulot's eyes are following mine with curious intensity, "And, there is only one way we know how to deal with it" he finishes. Gawain sits up like he is about to say something, "My friend, we have known you for a long time now and in all those times we have never seen you in such a state" The fire in his eyes is gone and there is only a placid blue lake."See this as a trial, your greatest battle in life, and prove yourself worthy in the eyes of God." His words are ringing in my ears. It has been a while since I had heard any mention of God that now it sounds so foreign to me. My thoughts are broken by Lanceulot's voice, "Leave the past behind and head out on new quests. There is no use blaming yourself over things which cannot be undone. All you can do now is learn from it, be strong, put on your armour from God, and move on." Lanceulot's voice sounded like angelic song from heaven, a song in which my salvation was hidden amongst the words. I feel stronger now. Their words have touched me. They have gone past my defences, through the darkness and misery of my soul, into my heart and they have lifted it beyond the coulds and beyond the heavens. My spirit is as free as a bird. But there was still something missing.

Gareth the quiet observer understood this need I had. Gareth was never the leader of the group, he never exchanged harsh words with anyone, and never really attempted to be better than anyone but in his silence was wisdom and Gareth always had this way of saying things when it mattered the most, "We should pray."

It was pitch black outside that even the moon and the stars could not illuminate the land. It was as if a giant dark hand had covered the heavens from the earth. The wind is chanting songs of the suffering and misery it had seen in distant lands and the trees are dancing to its tune. Outside the shadows are alive and everything is chaotic and restless...but not everywhere. Amist all the pandimonium and sombreness lies a room where four friends are praying in a circle. There is a glow of peace that is radiating from within the circle of hands; a light that can only be found in the most tranquil of dreams. This is what the four friends have called the beginning of their round table.



The Trial of Guenevere

By Karen Gilliland



If Guenevere could be tried today,
What would her verdict be?
What would she plead that fateful day?
What would the jurors see?

The trial is set in May,
The jurors are selected,
Preparations are made,
Some jurors are rejected.

Galahad wore white that day,
He'd protect the queen,
From all who wished to see her pay
For something that was ne'er seen.

Mordred dressed in a suit of red,
Darkness covered his face,
He was determined to have her head,
Through his prosecution of this case.

The jurors entered one by one,
They looked around the room,
They knew that it would be no fun
To determine the queen's doom.

Sir Bors was first to enter in,
His suit was red and white
To match the colors of his kin
And bring out his great height.

Behind him followed Sir Gawain,
Dressed in a suit of blue,
Would he be the one to end the queen's reign?
He would see she got her dues.

Sir Kay was next to enter in,
In a suit of green,
Anxious for the trial to begin,
And give aid to his queen.

Sir Balan resurrected from the dead was next to enter here,
His suit of black was tailor made,
With tails in the rear,

Sir Accolon was next in line to look for his acclaim,
Dressed in a suit with black and white,
Who was he to discern wrong from right?

Harry the Hermit, garbed in robes of brown,
Humbly entered the room,
Upon his face he wore a frown,
Was Guenevere to be doomed?

Blest with speech, the Questing Beast,
A juror she became,
She was impartial to say the least,
Although the others feared her name.

Lady Rachel came in next,
In an elegant dress of blue,
Though the case was considered complex,
The men thought she would do.

Bob the Blacksmith made the number nine,
Dressed in plaid and overalls,
Because he was not of the royal line,
Would he want the queen to fall?

Sir Thomas Malory was the last to enter,
The truth would now be told,
Was Lancelot at her life's center,
As prophets had foretold?

Gareth would be the judge,
For he holds not a grudge,
And so much conflict has he,
He can not side with either party.

So on this day in May, Guenevere is tried,
For deadly crimes against the state;
Howe'er she said they lied!

Treason and adultery were the charges she did face,
Knowing that a guilty plea would forever seal her fate,
She pleaded "Innocent" at that famous case,
Hoping that the truth would not come out too late.

Then Galahad stepped up to the plate,
His opening statements he would make,
He said that it was due to hate,
That these charges had been raised.

"Who saw these two together here?
Who caught them in the act?
Since gossip as evidence can not appear,
There seems to be a lack of facts."

Mordred's eyes of pink did flare
Upon the hearing of these words,
For Guenevere, he did not care,
And the trial he thought absurd.

"An unseen act has little proof,"
Galahad continued mild,
"It might as well have been a spoof,
Or a goose chase wild."

Then Mordred rose to repute
The statements that had been made,
He said that she was a prostitute,
And with many men had laid.

"Take one good look at your queen,
The one you thought so pure,
She, like all women, is a fiend,
Who men to her bed lures."

"Blood was found upon her sheets,
When ten wounded men did lie,
She called one to her room to meet
Her. That you can't deny."

"But evidence goes further yet,
For when confronted with the truth,
She begged the lord to forget,
And he did cry, 'For sooth!' "

"Though all ten men deny being there,
The blood stains are enough proof,
That one knight lay in her bed bare,
And shows it's not a spoof."

"Then there is the other part,
Of Guenevere and Lancelot,
Who knew that it would start,
Who knew that they'd be caught?"
"Caught! Yes, caught indeed,
In her very chamber,
Fourteen men heard him plead,
And wish he had a saber."

"He painfully wished he could escape,
So slaughtered ten men did he,
And so as the scene began to shape,
Plainly the facts we could see."

"Why would he kill ten men,
If innocent was she?
Yet he would do it again,
To protect his precious queen."

"I beg you all to see the facts,
Quit protecting your queen,
The defense your attention will try to distract,
And cause you towards their side to lean."

Then Gareth made his opening remark,
Asking all to hear to the tale,
"Though the truth may be so dark,
It must in the end prevail."

Mordred was first in line,
To call forth witnesses,
Thought he, "Vengeance is mine,
They come forth to confess."

First to come was Agravaine,
Willingly he swore his vow,
Upon his heart there was a pain,
Wondering how Guenevere's sins had been allowed.

"Please tell the court in your own words,
What happened on that day,
When Lancelot with his sword,
Did ten men slay."

Agravaine looked at Mordred,
Then at Guenevere,
He also wanted the queen's head,
For the queen he did not revere.

"On that fateful afternoon,"
Agravaine slowly started,
"Fourteen men stood outside her room,
When out of it Lancelot darted."

"We tried to slow him down,
We asked him for the truth,
But he was like a man bound,
Fighting to get loose."

"When we mentioned adultery,
Then his sword began to fly,
He said the matter was paltry,
And we had no right to pry."

"Ten men went down beneath his stroke,
Each body down was one less to go,
He was almost gone when someone spoke,
He heard them call him a 'Traitorous foe!' "

"With those words he turned around,
To see the very speaker,
He had every intention to pound
The man and send him to the Grimm Reaper."

With those words, turned Mordred to his seat,
For no more need be said,
Then Galahad arose to his feet,
And a cross examination was lead.

"How killest he ten men,
When he lacked for a sword?
How struck he again and again?
Did you strike the first blow, my lord?"

"Nay," he answered solemnly,
"I did not strike a blow.
Whilst we stood at the columns
We saw his anger grow."

"My comrade did feign to strike,
When Lancelot stole his sword,
And smote he my cousin Mike.
So we fought in like accord."

"So Lancelot was provoked,
Is that what you are saying?
He had just cause for what he did,
Though you were only playing."

"No!" shouted Agravaine,
"It did not happen like that.
We came to her room to make a claim,
We were only the King's diplomats."

Galahad persisted on,
With one more question,
"On whom did the first blow come upon
For whom was the first blow destined?"

"Colgrevaunce was first to swing,
But Lancelot was first to kill,
If false were the charges that we bring,
He should have but stood still."

Then Galahad dismissed the witness,
And rolled his eyes in disdain,
Agravaine had shown his denseness,
And made his prejudice quite plain.

Sir Meliagaunt next took the stand,
In his double breasted suit,
He was here to tell the land,
About Guenevere's cahoots.

"Please tell the court," Mordred began,
"About the blood upon her sheets,
About the scheme so grand,
That Lancelot wanted you to beat."

"It started when I awoke the queen,
She had slept so late,
Then I noticed that the sheets weren't clean,
For with blood they were caked."

"When I accused her of her act,
That one of her wounded knights had laid,
Beside her must be a fact,
Her eyes turned heavenward and she prayed."

"Lancelot did challenge me to a duel,
Howe'er he did not show,
Making the queen look like a fool,
And the state's foe."

"When later he arrived,
He claimed he had been waylaid,
That this plan had been contrived,
And that for it I'd been paid!"

"We fought the duel and e'er he won,
So I pleaded for my life,
But after the deed was done,
He tried to kill me with a knife."

Meliagaunt's tale was done,
Mordred turned to her and smiled,
He had had today his fun,
And her anger he had riled.

Galahad had but question one,
"What did the knights say,
When stood accused of this deed done,
Had one in her bed lay?"

"Not a one by their accounts,
But no one expects the truth,
When deadly sins have been about,
To tell would be uncouth."

With his hand, Galahad dismissed him,
No importance was his story,
Had it not been on a whim,
That Guenevere he had been imploring?

He kidnapped her and took her to his castle,
So that he could do to her what she is now accused,
Then gave her great hassle,
And everyone confused.

Mordred called up to the stand,
Lancelot the brave,
Wearing the military uniform of the land,
His testimony he willingly gave.

"Please tell the court your account,
Of that vivid night,
Before on your horse did you mount,
And run away from the fight."

Lancelot scorned at these words,
"What could I do when but attacked,
For to a fight I was lured,
While I a weapon lacked."

"Fourteen men did accuse my queen,
In defending her I did my best,
For if only they could have seen,
That together we had not rest."

Mordred smirked at this statement,
"So you deny being with her that night?
Do you deny you did not relent,
When in the midst of a great fight?"

"No, I do not deny being there,
Howe'er I could not end the fight,
For none of you did care,
If my death was right."

Mordred persisted for information to secure,
His case and prove him correct,
"Had you to her bed been lured,
Were you her affection's object?"

"No!" he shouted and pulled his sword,
And placed it against Mordred's neck,
"I humbly obeyed her lord,
And came when I was beck."

Mordred smiled and walked away,
His task and goal accomplished,
Now Guenevere would have to pay,
No matter what Lancelot now wished.

Galahad approached the stand,
With ease and easy manner,
He asked, "Did you have a hand,
In this great big clamor?"

"I did not," he replied,
"I knew not what they charged,
All they said was that she had lied,
And they wanted me discharged."

"Then who struck first?" asked Galahad,
Making his first point,
"Through their charges did they make you mad,
That you to their party were joint?"

"Nay, it twas not like that at all
They struck me and hoped I would fall,
But someone's sword I did steal,
And defended myself with zeal."

Then Galahad dismissed him,
And Mordred ended his case,
Now the case would either sink or swim,
The time was short, it was like a race.

To the stand came Guenevere,
In hopes to herself defend,
Her husband's wrath she did fear,
And she wanted this case to end.

"Tell us what happened on those nights,
That recently have been mentioned,
Who started those fights?"
Galahad asked in dissension.

"I have been wrongly accused,"
Guenevere began,
"These men were all quite lewd,
So from them I had ran."

"Lancelot did protect me,
From those who wished me impure,
I wish that you could all see,
How it was they that did me lure."

Mordred stood up and looked her in the eye,
He would soon see her die,
"So the incidents that night you do deny,
And say that these men lie?"

"That is not what I said at all,
Impure act ne'er befell on me,
I am at my lord's beck and call,
I shall do as he doth please."

So endeth this case on that note,
The jurors were dismissed,
While Mordred began to gloat,
And was filled with great bliss,

The jurors returned within the hour,
Their verdict they did hold,
It was in their power,
To cause the queen to fold.

"Guilty," each one said,
And bowed his head in shame,
Shameful lives had each one lead,
It was hard to place the blame.

Then the grail descended,
And the power of heaven did fill the room
Then the trial was ended,
While all awaited Guenevere's doom.

"Virtuous and pure is she,
Who survives this fire,
No matter how much she pleads,
There is no escape for a liar."

Then all around her flames did burst,
An all consuming fire,
It seemed that Guenevere was cursed,
To death upon the pyre.

Then from out of the fire stepped,
Guenevere unsinged,
Out of shock, Mordred leapt,
For on this moment all had hinged.

No mortal sin had occurred,
Between these two great people,
No men she to her bed did lure,
Though neither one is fully pure.