In England, our England, a legend is told about a great and goodly king. The court of Arthur Pendragon, the Knights of the Round Table, and the Wizard Merlin are common knowledge. It has proliferated in cinema, progressed in literature, and vaulted itself onto the constellation-like Mythos of the West. Any child of a few years will tell you that “He who pulls this sword from this stone is the true and rightful King of England.” Any child would also jump at the chance to pull such a sword from such a stone - which demonstrates how incredibly dull children are. Worse, I fear that many of adults would do much the same. In any case, it matters little. There is one, and only one, Arthur Pendragon. All that Mythos, all that rot about the knights and things, is just a legend. Well, sort of. I should say: It will be a legend.
You see, a few generations back a man named sir Thomas Malory wrote Le Morte D’Arthur, and may I say - as a fellow of the Order myself - he was balls at being a prophet. He told what is now considered the legend of Arthur. It’s wrong. We, rather I am aware of the truth. Sorry, I sometimes forget that I am the only one left. I will always be the only one left.
Little. Old. Me…A tad frightful, but that’s alright. I’m not completely unhappy.
When it rains and I look out my window into the alleyway across the street - it is said (by me) that his journey begins on a rainy day - I pour myself the last drops of cold tea from previous night’s pot. It’s Earl Grey, usually. I sip down as much of it as I can in a single go and then try to catch my reflection in the leftover residue. I can usually make out a beard, eyes, and maybe a few distinguished wrinkles. You may laugh, but this little ritual reminds me who I am. It reassures me that I am not mad; I am Merlin, the man meant to carry the weight of the truth.
It’s far less elegant than Malory would have you believe. The truth, I don’t mean being Merlin - that is fairly elegant. It is this: A University student named Arthur is going to run into that very alleyway, tug loose a screwdriver embedded in the concrete sidewalk, and go home. Shortly thereafter, people, ultimately people anyway, will begin trying to assassinate him. This is natural. I have never heard of a king who didn’t have to worry about attempts to take his crown. Ah, the point, sorry again.
Legends start as prophecies - most things do. A legend, in my experience, is a prophecy that has been carried out. Malory was writing a very poor analogy for a prophecy. The true Legend of King Arthur will not exist for many centuries. People have to confuse reality with a story first - and that is what it is, for now: a story.
Every story, even the worst ones, needs to start with an event. This one begins with a young man, a younger woman, that younger woman’s father, an accident, a screwdriver, and, of course, a rainy day.
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