Tweet of the Day: Swordplay in Books
Buckingham Palace, City of Westminster, London, 1 September 08:15 hrs GMT
I looked at the flimsy fabric of the anointment gown, “Did she really wear something like this?”
Owen handed me Excalibur in its new leather scabbard, “Yes, she did. It’s part of the ceremony.”
“Made up, completely fake ceremony,” I said. “The Sword in the Stone and Excalibur are not the same. “You see–”
Owen put a hand on my shoulder. Reassuring warmth spread from his finger tips. “Things change, Gwen. You said it yourself, this is important.”
“Won’t be worth much if the politicians don’t get their act together and did it had to be live on television?” I asked.
“You’ll be fine. I’ll be right behind you,” he said.
“You always are, aren’t you?”
“Ever since an ex-girlfriend of mine stormed into my family’s pub and shamed me into helping her into saving the world.”
“You could have changed your mine.”
“Yeah, but the guilt thing just kept pulling me back.”
“Just the guilt?” I asked. My skin burned when he put both hands on my shoulders. “And what about now?”
“What about it?”
“What do we do?” I asked. I turned down dozens of interviews and offers to ‘tell my story’. Although, “Oxford made me an offer, to set up a course of ‘magical symbolism’.”
“The Midlands? Sounds like a plan.” he said. One of the Queen Guards, in full uniform, opened the door. “Now go, the nation awaits their saviour.”
I walked out into the Quadrangle. Around a large granite boulder stood Her Majesty and the representatives of Cornwall, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales as well as the leaders of the major denominations across the isles. Two inscriptions decorated the stone.
On one side: “For the Good of the Many.”
On the other: “For the Wealth of All.”
I drew Excalibur from the scabbard. I stepped on a plinth beside the stone. My hands trembled as Excalibur edge pointed down to the top of the giant boulder. With an application of Will, amplified by the gift of Avalon, Earth yielded to steel with nary a spark. Thus Excalibur, wedged in Earth’s embrace became the new Sword in the Stone. A symbol of the new commonwealth of nations across Britain. My job was done
The Prime Minister spoke, “As my last act as Her Majesty’s Minister, I pray that this marks a the beginning….”
Mt, Etna, Sicilian Autonomous Region, Sicily, Italy, 23: 55 GMT + 2
A man clad in layers of dark velvet and silk walked through the tunnels beneath the mountain. A tight cloth around his nose and mouth protected him from the noxious fumes of the Other World. Even the enchanted garment kept the worst of the heat away but he still walked with measured steps, less he come in contact with the hot stone that pressed at him from all sides in the heat haze. He carried on his right hand a bronze sickle sword, inlaid with Phoenician runes of power. This was no copy. It had passed down from father to son, from mother to daughter from the last ship to flee Alexander’s siege of Tyre, to the burning of Carthage. It saw the coming of the Sea Peoples, the Rise of the Baal of the Sinai, the scourge of the Druids, the migrant tribes that spread through Europa and the constant wars that plague their descendants.
Deeper into the bowels of the earth he went, sword in hand, until he reached the heart of the mountain. A giant cavern opened before him. Rivers of lava cascaded from the domed ceiling, their orange glow illuminated the scene. At the center rested a giant boulder in a lake of fire, with only a thin finger of rock connecting it to the shore. Giant chains, writhed across the boulder. Each chain was the width of a man ans as they moved like snakes across the surface, sigils glowed upon them. The man crossed the stone causeway. Before him one of the links moved into place.
He raised the sword over his head, “We will not be bound,” he shouted and struck the link with the sword. The blade bit deep into the metal. It snapped clean. The chains fell away into the lake of fire. The stone cracked open. Fingers, which were serpents broke through the layers of stone. Wings of metal sprang forth. A roar, as ancient as the Earth that gave it birth filled the Void, as parents did so. As the beast took form, the cascade of lava flowed over its shoulders unto the outstretched hands of his liberator. Man and sword were consumed in a splash of molten rock.
Above the clock chimed midnight. Below the world shuddered in fear. The Ancients had returned.