Last Chapter to this story. Anyone out there want to hear more or shall I move off to something else.
Galias searched the perimeter of the battle field for his friend. After the last charge he and Arthur had become separated and he'd been searching for his friend ever since. "Lancelot!" he called out. "Have you seen Arthur?"
"He's probably by the water's edge getting cleaned up. This was a bloody battle and you know how he is at the end events like this." Lancelot nudged a fallen soldier's body with his boot. "I'd leave him alone if I were you. He's not likely to be happy about your little stunt with that village boy."
"Stunt? The boy would have drowned if I hadn't…"
"And how did saving his life help anything? You're foolish actions almost cost us our leader and future king. Worse yet, you almost cost us the best friend either of us have ever known." Lancelot turned on his heel and walked away.
Galias watched him walk away, his heart sinking in his chest. He turned and ran back to the river's edge, hoping Lancelot was wrong. It didn't take long to spot the tall, lanky frame of their leader, walking back out of the shallows. "Arthur!"
Arthur looked up, pulling his shirt back over his head. "What is it Galias?" he asked, sounding tired.
"Lancelot said I'd find you here. I need to talk to you about … about what happened on the barge."
Arthur frowned. "What about the barge?"
Galias shifted awkwardly on the river bank, his hands behind his back. "I'm… I'm sorry, Arthur. I wasn't thinking when I jumped into the water. I shouldn't have done that without thinking…"
Arthur rolled his eyes and sat down to pull his boots back on. "Let me guess – Lancelot told you that you nearly cost the army its leader."
"Yes" Galias admitted, hesitantly. "But he's right. I shouldn't have just acted without thinking it through."
Arthur gritted his teeth as he rose. He reached out and grabbed the younger knight by his shirt and pulled him close, looking the man straight in the eyes. "You listen to me boy and listen well. You will NOT apologize, not to me or to Lancelot, not to any other being in this realm, for caring about the life of an innocent. Your desire to save that boy makes you more valuable to me than any of my knights, even more valuable than Lancelot and his talent with a blade. You understand me boy?"
"Yes, Arthur" Galias replied, shaken. "I'm sorry."
Arthur groaned and pushed the younger man away. "Think about what I've said, boy. It will make more sense the more blood you see spilled and the more lives you see destroyed." He walked back up the bank to the battlefield and started ordering his knights back into action, leaving the stricken younger knight seated in the wet ground behind him.
In the House
"You were angry with me" Jenkins murmured, leaning his head on this hand. "Angry and something else."
"Sad" Rowen said, leaning her head on her brother's shoulder. "You were sad about him feeling he had to apologize for saving a life."
"Yes" Arthur admitted. "It was wrong to hear. I never wanted you to become as blasé abut death as I was." He held up his hands as Jenkins began to protest. "I know, I know – you were already a man when I met you. But to me you were still my little brother and I wanted to protect you as long as I could. Death in battle is one thing but letting an innocent die just because it would be inconvenient was more than I could bear for you to accept."
Jenkins smiled sadly. "You were right, of course. And that conversation stuck with me even after…"
"After you found out I wasn't Arthur Pendragon?"
"Yes, even then. It took a while but eventually I could look past that one lie and see all that you were trying to teach me. In the end, I leaned on those lessons when I went on my quest. And I've leaned on them ever since." Jenkins smiled at Rowan. "I only wish I could have met you sooner lady. It would have explained a lot about the sadness I saw in my friend."
Rowan returned his smile. "As do I, sir knight. As do I." She looked back at the librarians and motioned to the group to raise their glasses. "May I make a toast? To old friends and new one – may we always be as content in one another's presence as we are now."
The group raised their glasses to the toast, knowing there would be more stories to come.