Excerpt from King Arthur & The Holy Grail
A brilliant light streaked through the largest window of the hall and cast a warm glow on the entire room.
Traveling down the soft yellow radiance, were four colorful globes. One green, one deep gold, another the color of blue, and one the gleaming silver of a sword blade.
The people in the room stood, and many knights and ladies moved back, in fear of the unknown.
The globes settled behind the chairs of Arthur, Gawain, Galahad, and Lancelot. The round, fog-like apparitions grew until forms appeared within them. The colors became four stunning women, young, but not young. They were mysterious and beautiful.
The first maiden stood behind Lancelot. She wore the green of early spring, the deep forest and the muted gray/green of a stormy sea. A circlet of white roses crowned her luscious, dark brown hair.
Percival recognized her immediately. The maiden was his sister, Dindrane.
The woman behind Gawain wore a golden dress with a fine golden rope for a belt. A thin, golden hat sat precisely on top, covering her head. The hat covered with a crown of gold roses. The women were all different, but alike as well, similar in stature and countenance.
Behind the king stood a maid who wore metal and moonlight, her hair pale, almost white. She was the same Silver Maiden who came for Lancelot and took him to the nunnery.
The fourth maiden, dressed all in pastel blue, placed her outstretched arms on the top of Galahad’s chair, and moved to the table itself, standing between the king and Galahad.
In her hair a tidy headdress of cornflowers, the little blue petals dancing as she moved. She came closer, and to the astonishment of the crowd, Lancelot cried out in recognition.
“Elaine, my wife. Dead these long years yet come back.”
The woman in blue nodded to Lancelot as she cupped her hands together and placed them both on her heart. With this gesture she turned to Galahad, the son she had loved from heaven itself. She bent over and kissed his forehead, one small tear escaping and flowing down her soft cheek.
His mother enchanted Galahad. The Silver Maiden spoke.
“We are sent from God as messengers of essence and love. A powerful sorrow yearns to find the Spirit from where we come. Knights, lords and ladies, we are here to hold you true to a path you do not yet know exists.”
With these words the vision of a golden goblet appeared in the center of the Round Table. The chalice floated, suspended on a beam of light several feet above the surface. Emanating from its bowl a fine radiance whose brilliance made many shy away from the apparition. The cup was alive with translucent engravings creating images upon the walls of the hall.
Galahad knelt immediately before the image.
“Behold. Before you is a vision of The Holy Grail,” said the maiden.
“The cup of Christ’s own blood, a cup of goodness and power to bring darkness into light, to cast out evildoers who will not take a more caring path. Let it be known, this day, this hour, and this moment we, The Grail Maidens who care for God’s own holy light, do issue this challenge. You, the Knights of the Round Table, led by your king, are to rescue this Holy Relic, and be forever its guardian.
“The power of this cup brings hope, forgiveness and faith to the world. Love’s light lies within this wondrous chalice. May you find the Grail before the Evil One does. For if he possesses it, all hope is lost.”
As they listened, the other Grail Maidens waved their extended arms over King Arthur, Gawain, Lancelot, and Galahad. Next the women moved around the table, as the Grail Cup’s image hovered at its center.
The vision transfixed Gawain. With outstretched arms, he reached out toward the image, wanting to get ever closer. The cup floated out of reach of the knights, but came nearer to Arthur, Lancelot, and Galahad.
They bathed in its golden light, the light moving ever higher and wider. Its warmth and peaceful glow soothed the hearts of all there.
Galahad opened his arms, turning his palms to the ceiling to allow the light to enter more of his body.
Dindrane whispered so that many in the room moved closer to her.
“This is a Quest. A Quest to find The Holy Grail,” she said. “You are charged to discover the place of God’s Holy Cup and keep it from the Evil One, so there will always be hope and courage in this world.”
“I came to tell you how you and your knights might find this most treasured Holy Relic,” said the Silver Maiden. “One of the finest kings on earth sends you his greeting and asks for aid.”
“Pray, tell, who is this king,” said Arthur.
“He is the Fisher King.”
“I know of him. Here are his once son-in-law and own grandson, Lord Lancelot and Lord Galahad. God grant him his wish, for we will help him,” said Arthur. “How can we do this?”
“I will tell you,” said the Golden Maiden. She lifted the bright gold hat from her head and revealed she was bald. A gasp rose up from the awestruck crowd.
“I once had golden hair, long, thick and lustrous. In my time on earth, I was selfish and proud. My hair was my glory. Until, of course, I found the light of goodness in the hearts of men and women exceeded the brilliant strands of my hair.
“Before I learned this, I had no sympathy for those who were weak, or homely, or less beautiful than I. One day, and one night, in visions and dreams, I learned the falsehood of what I thought beautiful; my hair fell out, strand by strand. Look down on no one, good knights. Accept only the good, and fight evil. The task ahead of you is a trial some will not survive.”
The Blue Maiden, Elaine, her head lowered in humility, lifted her eyes, faced the knights and addressed the men in a pleading voice.
“Only men of virtue can achieve the Grail. Only the best knights will gaze upon it again. Those with hearts and minds pure and selfless, kind and giving, brave and true, will find and keep the Grail for now and all eternity. Seek the Grail. Aid my father the Fisher King, and he in turn, will assist you on this quest.”
She put her arms around Galahad, embraced him in her pale blue light, nodded to Lancelot with the softest of smiles, and began to disappear. The other maidens were fading as well.
Excerpt from King Arthur & The Holy Grail
A few hours later, the wailing wind blew cold, and Galahad sat upon his horse marveling at the beams of twilight streaking through the trees on the mountain ahead.
A figure of an old knight, tall and gaunt, his arm wounded and bleeding through a ragged bandage, walked down the narrow road towards him. He was half covered by a dark hooded robe, and cried to Galahad in a hollow voice. “For the love of charity, sir knight, give alms to a poor outcast man.”
Galahad rode up to him and gazed into his sunken eyes. “God give you comfort, poor soul,” said Galahad, “use these to get a roof over your head and a meal, for the northern wind blows chill this time of year.” In pity, he handed him some coins.
“God bless you, for courtesy and pity such as yours are rare. Where do you go this day?”
“I seek the Chapel Perilous,” said Galahad.
As Galahad answered, the hooded shape threw back its head and cried out as if in much sorrow. “God defend you, sir knight,” he said, “and bring you home safe. For what you acquire, keep in your hands until the dawn, or your soul will suffer death.”
The figure turned black and with a screeching scream was swept away with the wind, vanishing into the trees of the forest. Galahad realized he had faced a phantom. He turned to the mountain once more. Through some thin and withered trees he noticed again a shimmer of light.
He rode towards the glow, and soon he came upon a high wall, broken down in many places, and an old grey chapel beyond, and the windows were glistening with an eerie light.
Drawing near the chapel, the trees were all dead, with neither leaf nor twig upon them. The roots of the trees grew crooked out of the ground, and the limbs stretched as if they strained to clutch the sky.
Coming to the entrance in the wall, his horse trembled, and would go no further. Galahad got down, tied Archangel to a tree, and opened the gate.
By the ghostly light coming from the windows of the ruined chapel he perceived under the eaves were hung shields. They had rich designs, and all were turned upside down. Many of them belonged to knights who were long since dead or lost. Galahad walked along the overgrown pathway towards the door.
Out of the shadows ten knights came fast from behind the church. They were all larger than he, and each had their sword pointed forward as they rushed toward him.
Their feet and their armor made no sound as they pressed forward, and a thin blue flame licked about each naked blade.
They came upon him swiftly, but Galahad braced his shield and sword and stood firm.
They attacked him not singly, but in groups, and their swords rattled against his shield as they slashed, but Galahad stood his ground.
In frustration, they flipped their visors up and he beheld their skull-like, spectral faces. Horror seized him, for he saw they were dead men. But he would not be overcome, for they were without substance, and he called out in a loud voice, “In the name of God, move off.”
He made a step forward, and they scattered before him. Galahad entered the chapel with the dead knights at his heels. He quickly glanced back and they stopped as he entered the doorway. In the chapel a small, dim lamp was burning upon the altar.
The chapel was ancient, with dust thick upon its floor, walls and windows broken, and the timber of the pews rotten.
He walked toward the altar, and in front was a platform, and upon the raised area was a dead man covered with a cloth of black silk. Galahad stooped down, and with his sword removed the cloth. There was nothing but a skeleton under it.
His blood turned cold, and his feet were eager to run, for a mighty roar shook the earth beneath him, and the walls of the chapel rocked.
He searched for the sword, which he promised Merlin to retrieve, and spotted it leaning against the altar. He ran forward, clutched the sword and left.
The ghosts of the departed knights pressed about him as he pushed by them. They tried to tear the sword from his grasp, but he would not let them, and when he reached the gate they could go no further.
At the gate a fair damsel ran up, crying to him.
“Please brave knight, give me the sword, so I might take it to my mistress. She is at the point of death and only this holy relic can cure her.”
But Galahad remembered the warning of the phantom beggar said, “Damsel, I will take it myself to your lady, for I cannot give this sword to anyone until tomorrow’s dawn.”
The woman started to reach out for the sword, but he, aware of her intent, stopped her, and told her in the name of God to withdraw.
She let out a horrible shriek and vanished with a gust of wind, much like the phantom beggar. All was still and quiet as Galahad mounted his horse, and made his way down the trail.
Excerpt from King Arthur & The Holy Grail
Arthur, in a daze, turned around, searching, “Where are Bors, Kay, Palamedes, Ector, Lancelot, Galahad, Tristan, and Percival? Where are the Knights of the Round Table?”
“I know not of Lancelot and Galahad, Tristan, or Percival. Last I knew they were still holding the north side of the field against overwhelming forces. The rest, sire, they are here, dead, murdered, but you are still the king.”
“They died for me. I am but king of the dead. My reign is over.”
“We still stand, sire.”
“Guenivere. She was fighting behind me the last I knew.”
In the gloom of dawn they saw a horse stepping over the bodies. In the haze and smoke, Goron rode in with Guenivere slumped across the saddle in front of him. Her signature blue tunic bloodied on her prone and slack body.
Goron stopped the horse away from them, his sword drawn against the smooth pale skin of her neck. He nicked it with the sharp edge and a line of blood flowed slowly down.
Arthur lurched forward in rage, but Belvedere held him back. She moaned, but did not awaken.
“She is alive, for now, but not for long unless you bring me the Spear. Your time is over, Arthur. I demand the Spear now. You and your foolish dreams are finished. Bring it to me, or your queen dies.”
“Percival has the Spear, and I know not where he is.”
“Then give me Excalibur, or the blood will gush from her throat.” His tall, shadowy form melted into the bleak forest until the dark trees, the evil stench of death and his words, were all one. “Give it to me now.”
Arthur nodded his head in submission. Belvedere looked at him in shock and horror as the king walked slowly toward Goron and his wounded queen. Arthur turned Excalibur around so the hilt faced Goron in surrender as he moved even closer. All was lost.