The king is dead. Long live the king. THE MASK AND THE MIRROR Chapter 1.3 | Post Theme Shall we sit around the fire and tell sad stories of the deaths of kings? SUB-ROMAN BRITAIN The Battle of Camlann | 537 A.D. "BASTARD!" The sound of steel beating upon steel. The ringing of swords cutting edge to edge. The young squire's eyes burned with Hell's baleful fire. Furious as a vengeance, he threw himself upon the king again and again and again. Each wound only igniting the passion that spurned him on, ever as his blood spilled out onto the ground at his feet. Two years. For two years, he had fought. For two years, he had bled. For two years, he had toiled and he had loved and he had lost. And what had any of it been for, but a dream. All for Camelot. All to be the future king his mother required. All to be the bastard son his father might be proud of. Camelot was burning now. Burning down around them, as Arthur and Mordred danced round perdition's flame. Excalibur and Clarent each erupting with powerful magics as the two mystic blades connected time and time again. It was a contest for which Mordred was woefully outmatched. Arthur, wielding Excalibur, shielded by Pridwen, encased within Goswhit, was like a god of war -- a killing man who had reached his killing prime. Mordred was yet a boy. Dead almost before their contest had begun, and yet some sheer force of will compelled him to continue on. Throwing himself back into the fray, as though a demon spit out of hell again and again to come at the knightly lord of Camelot. He lived for a purpose. He died for a purpose. And he would not be put to rest until he saw his purpose through. It ended here. As Prince of Camelot, Mordred came not to succeed his father, but to end his reign. All their work, all their labors, their hopes and their dreams scattered to the winds as their castles and armies and all the self-righteous arrogance burned down around them. ...and Arthur had none but himself to blame. + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + LONDON The British Museum | Present Day He'd found a fast food place called Five Guys in Piccadilly Circus. Curious name for a place, Five Guys. He'd gone looking for the Burger King, but apparently that was now a bank. Strange how much things changed, even while they looked the same. Thinking back on it now, it had been about ten years since he'd visited London. He caught the Underground over to Central London, the British Museum being located in Bloomsbury. Police at the entry ways provided a security check, taking the boy's courier style backpack and running it through some kind of machine. It came up empty, and he was sent on his way through the museum. Of course, the section that he wanted to visit was cordoned off. The child passing without much notice by the two Bobbys standing vigil at the entry to the Matter of Britain exhibit, which contained artifacts and articles attributed to the Arthurian Romance -- the litany of folklore that stemmed from the events of Mordred's life and death. Well, Arthur was supposed to be the main character, he supposed. Folding a map and visitor's brochure about the museum, the boy brought a hand up, two fingers extended out. As he moved his hand in a slow arc, he whispered. "A elfyntodd dwyr sinndyn dvw." A tale as old as time. The will and the word. The latter was Gaelic. A form of Gaelic anyway. The Gaelic spoken by the Britons, the people of Camelot. They were known as the Welsh later on in time, as the Middle Ages progressed on after Arthur and Mordred's deaths. The will was supplied by virtue of his mother's blood. The homo magi some called them. Mutants might even be another term. People with an affinity for tapping into the currents of aether that surrounded them, and bending it to some cause or effect. Planing out his hand, the child pressed his hand downward as he uttered, "Os syriaeth ech saffaer tu." There was a ripple. To the observer, the child might well have appeared to vanish in between the time it took to blink. To Mordred, it seemed as though a translucent curtain had passed over everything. It was the Mirror Dimension. A parallel plane of existence that subsided alongside the mortal plane. A useful corridor for passing unnoticed. No more than a spectre of a shadow on a wall. Striding forward, the boy ventured toward where the exhibit had once held Arthur's helmet on display. The last time that he had looked upon that helmet, he had been trying to take Arthur's head off with it. Suffice to say, theirs was a complicated relationship.