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Exile - Arthurian Original

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Exile - Arthurian Original

Post by Ashley » Tue September 7th, 2010, 3:00 am

Well, I'm a bit nervous to post this here as I think I'm too soppy when it comes to the romance between Lancelot, Guinevere and Arthur, but so be it. ;) Thanks to anyone who takes the time to read this.

I was listening to Heather Dale and was struck by a line in her song "Exile," and this came of it.

Author: Ashley
Warnings: implied m/m relationships (if you blink) and mild described nudity m/f. PG13, I'd say.
Summary: Lancelot dreams.
Author's notes: any constructive feedback is more than welcomed. I beta read this myself, so all mistakes are mine. This is my take on the legend.

You say that I am weak
and kiss the tears away
you offer what I need, for more than I can pay
my choice is who I should betray
Or stay in my exile
I’m free in my exile
I’m free
~ Heather Dale

Lancelot has a dream some mornings, when it’s early and the birds haven’t begun to call. The dawn is only an idea still, and the snowy landscape is crisp and quiet and he sleeps fitfully, his arms around his thin torso, his body crunched into one unmoving position to preserve heat.

“You are too quick by far,” Arthur shouts, his blond hair lank in the midday sun. He, like Lancelot, is shirtless, dressed in soft, old trousers, and they circle each other, blades drawn. The wicked shine on the weapons forces the brilliance of the sun into hiding – the sharpness of the swords echoed by the smiles on the men’s faces.

“So now I understand your reluctance to really fight, my lord,” Lancelot calls back, and the grin that sparks like fire is only matched by the one that flits over the king’s features.

Lancelot knows what’s coming next, but his eyes are still squeezed shut, and he shifts in the snow, the tree that hangs over him providing a little shelter from the winter drifts.

They clash together, and Arthur really seems to let loose this time. The knight is driven back, back, back into the throngs of people that have gathered to watch them. He raises his sword and flails against gravity, but for once the king has gotten the best of him, and he falls, tripping over someone’s foot.

The sound he makes as he crashes to the ground is spectacular; his blade is lost and it skitters away from him, the steel scraping on the flagstones of the courtyard – Lancelot winces even as the back of his head smacks the ground; he knows how much work it will take to re-sharpen the sword.

Arthur is running toward him, his expression one of instant guilt and concern, but when Lancelot looks up through the sweaty dark hair that partially hides his eyes, the face he sees is not his friend’s, but the woman’s.

“My lord,” her voice is like the softest of dewdrops on a lily blossom in spring. “Has my husband hurt you again?”

The wind blows through the trees, and shakes the one Lancelot calls shelter. He burrows further into his thin blanket, and tries in his sleep to meld to the bark; the sharp bits of wood not bothering him as his skin is torn and scarred in so many places now he has lost the ability to feel it. Icicles fall in a random pattern near him, the frozen branches shivering as if in sympathy.

He is helped to his feet, both hands held by Arthur and Guinevere at once. Lancelot stands, eyes darting from one to the other, the king’s face etched with worry, his sweat stained skin streaked, like Lancelot’s, with dirt and grime from the ring. The queen is …

“Sire,” she admonishes gently, her hair catching the rays of the sun as she turns her head, and Lancelot, still holding both their hands, has to blink from the blinding sparks that make Guinevere’s head appear haloed. “Have you hurt my champion again?”

“My lady,” the king says, even as he puts a hand up to Lancelot’s chin, turning the knight’s head so he can see the back of his skull, “I am ashamed to admit – I fear it is so. My friend – are you injured?”

They’ve played this game before. Lancelot flashes on a memory – the king’s skin is bare, as is his, and they joke and laugh and talk and drink as the night sky is dotted with stars they can see from Arthur’s chambers. They mock battle, and every time, the king asks the same question as Lancelot pretends to fall to his knees.

He wants to free his hands, but he blinks again, trying to breathe as the audience they’d had drifts away in subservient silence, knowing the king and queen will care for the knight. At least that’s the reason Lancelot gives for their actions.

This time when Arthur asks the question, his youthful face drawn and white, his hair sticking to his forehead, Lancelot finally, slowly removes his hands from theirs, and wipes shaking fingers over his nose and mouth. He slides one hand to the back of his head, and the fingers come back with a bit of red on them.

“You’ve gotten me fair this time, my lord,” he says, and his voice sounds tinny and far away as he stares at the blood on his hand. He looks up as both Arthur and Guinevere converge on him, and Lancelot’s last thought is of both of them, always both of them, and he raises his head to the sky and cannot breathe.

He jerks awake, and more bits of snow and ice, dislodged from the sleeping tree, assault him as he sits and tries to scrub the dream from his memory.

His next motion is to reach for his sword, which lay next to him as it always does. He caresses the sheathed weapon, the scabbard still beautiful and oiled carefully, the sword itself in pristine condition.

”She is yours, my love,” the queen tells him, her hands holding the blade as she glides toward him, her hair covering her naked body. Lancelot doesn’t need to see it to know what Guinevere looks like; her flesh and the feel of it imprinted on his skin and his mind forever.

He shuts his eyes, his lips moving in self-flagellating prayer. The sword he moves to his lap, and his grimy hands grip the weapon as if it were the lifeline to the one thing, the one action, the one success that would fix his life.

”Whom do I chose, Jenny? Whom do I betray? Which one of you do I love more? Which one of you can I live with hating me? I am his knight, my love! I sit at his right hand, and my sword is pledged to him.”

He kneels at her feet, and weeps, his hands covering his face helplessly. Her fingers touch his shoulders, and he looks up, her expression one of cold marble – her skin perfect and her eyes, those eyes he’s spent what seems like thousands of hours staring in to – are dry.

And then her face crumples and she kneels with him, her arms going around his torso, and Lancelot is destroyed again –

“I could not choose.”

His tattered garment shifts loosely around his whip thin frame as he stands. He’s wrapped rags on his feet, but he’s not sure if they help or hinder him in his foraging through the woods, and he belts the sword on as he walks from his sleeping place, a broken scarecrow wrapped in gilded power.

The sun is beginning to show an inkling of rising, and Lancelot starts to plot in his mind his quests for the day. He stretches, relieves his bladder, and after finding a few berries hidden by the winter frost, he shuts his eyes once more. Kneeling in the snow, he faces the rising sun, and prays.

He foregoes the horse; with a single pack and his weapon, Lancelot threads his way through the quietly swaying trees and finds the door at the back of the queen’s garden.

A hand touches his shoulder. He turns, expecting this, but his mouth drops open in an ‘o’ when he finds the hand does not belong to her.

“You’re going.”

The knight bows his head, and sighs. He had chosen this way to leave in order to avoid this particular confrontation.

“Aye, sire. I cannot…please, my lord.” He bows in obeisance and puts out his hand. “Give me your permission, sire. Send me away, so I can … so I can breathe. There are things out there, tasks I can take on, something to succeed at, anything, a quest…”

He sucks in air as Arthur takes his hands, but Lancelot does not, cannot, raise his eyes.


The grip is tight and warm, but the word – Lancelot stands, hesitates, Arthur’s fingers wrapped in his. The sky is clear and dark, and the wind blows strong, and the king and the knight that has betrayed him stay motionless.

Lancelot pushes away, the door into the forest opening easily, and Cadbury and its king and queen are closed to him abruptly, the oaken planks sliding shut behind him, and he is alone.


The prayer is lost in his hazy memory, but he knows he has to go through it every morning.

He squints up at the canopy of broken, winter torn branches above him, and sun weakly filters down into the tunnel of pathway – the bark and whispery branches music to Lancelot’s frostbitten ears as he begins to walk.

He wonders if the other knights ask about him, or what she says.

He wonders if Arthur misses his friendship, his talk, his love.

The world is suddenly sun blasted white, and Lancelot is thankful he cannot see too far.

Last edited by Ashley on Tue September 7th, 2010, 3:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

King Arthur Fan Fiction, maintainer

My writing can be found on my Live Journal, HERE.

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Post by cat » Wed September 8th, 2010, 8:40 pm

I loved this piece the first time that I had read it. And I love it still. Beautiful and lyrical writing, honey. I'm glad that you shared it here as well. :)
Book Cover Designer ~ http://www.avalongraphics.org

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Post by Ashley » Thu September 9th, 2010, 1:49 am

;) Thank you for reading it again and your support. :D

King Arthur Fan Fiction, maintainer

My writing can be found on my Live Journal, HERE.

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