Hic iacet Arthurus, rex quondam, rexque futurus.
(Here lies Arthur, who was once King and King will be again.)
The old wood of the boat creaked as it glided over the water, making its way steadily to the shore. The moon, almost completely obscured by clouds, reflected off the water in wavering strips that distracted the eye. The chilled air was only now recovering from the long, cold breath of winter. Numerous lights on the shore suggested the presence of a large host. Hundreds at least, perhaps thousands of men and their campfires. In all likelihood, they had just landed on the shores of England earlier that day and planned to march on the morrow. Dark times indeed.
He stood in front of a map of England, his country of old. Some names he recognized, and others he did not, sprawled over the surface of his homeland. He sighed with longing, wishing to return. Even as he did so, a dollop of ink appeared on the edge of the map. This black blot expanded at an alarming rate. His heart beat faster and faster as it enveloped his entire kingdom, leaving only an ebony sheet in front of him.
The vision had been clear to him, but he still sought the advice of Morgan, who knew more than he of these matters. She had agreed: he must leave Avalon; his kingdom needed him once more. He had set out immediately, and now, as he neared shore, he could see why. A light rain began to fall, invisible to the eye in the night, but easily felt as it dampened his mantel. Yes, England needed him, but what kingdom could amass a force so great as to conquer England? Rome? France? Truth be told, he would not know the name of any King or Emperor living.
He felt alone. What could he do to overthrow such an army as the one awaiting him? Lancelot was surely dead by now, as were all his knights. It had been so long, he doubted whether he had any allies left in England. Perhaps he had even been forgotten during his sojourn at Avalon. He would need to rebuild a kingdom he had already spent a lifetime building. He would have to start anew.
Well, not entirely.
His New England would be built upon the foundation of the Old England. He had claimed sovereignty before, and he would do so again by the same means. “I need Excalibur.”
In response to his utterance, ahead in the water he saw a hand reach up out of the water, holding a gleaming sword. As his boat passed, he reached out and took the sword from the hand’s grasp, which retreated to the water again. He examined his blade. Everything, from the jewels in the hilt, to the edge sharper than a dragon’s tooth, remained exactly as it had been when had last seen it. Feeling it in his hands again gave him power, fueled him with energy. He would retake England.
The sound of waves crashing against the shore disturbed his thoughts; he drifted closer and closer to shore. Within minutes, the boat’s prow scraped up against stones, and he stepped out. As his boot splashed through the shallow water and onto the ground, he felt as if a veil had been drawn away from him. His entire body felt somehow changed. Even his blood flowed differently through his veins. He was home.
He stood on a stoney beach beside a small, steep ridge covered in very short grass. Beyond the ridge he could see nothing. It struck as strange that over the ridge lay his entire homeland. All he needed to do was climb, and all his kingdom would be before him. It would feel good. He wished it were daytime, so he could see it clearer. The night would lend well to his purpose, however, which was to sneak past the encamped soldiers, perhaps find a horse, then journey to Camelot.
With this plan in mind, he clambered up the slope. The journey was not long, and soon he stood at the top of the ridge. The sight at the top gave him pause. Surely, this was no army of campfires before him. If not, then what?
Curious, he stepped over a small, metal fence onto the road and got hit by a SmartCar.