Picture is worth a Thousand Words

Jenkins picked through the piles of books on the desk, sorting them by subject. He examined one of the books closely, wondering which of the Librarians had been researching the Salem witch trials.

"Interesting subject" a gravely voice behind him commented.

Jenkins dropped the book, startled, and turned quickly. "Really Arthur – I am surprised someone hasn't put a bell on you. You nearly gave me a heart attack."

Arthur grinned unrepentantly. "My sister has threatened it on numerous occasions. She says she's tired of me sneaking up on the cats." He looked around the empty room with mild interest. "So – where is everyone?"

Jenkins put the book on the table and turned to sit on the edge of the table. "They are around – it's a big library. Are you looking for someone specific?"

"I'm playing messenger for Rowan. She's asked me to deliver this envelope to Miss Cassandra." He held out a large brown envelope with a raised emblem of a sword and rose on the front. "And before you ask – I have no idea what this might hold. I tried to open it but she's sealed it so only Cassandra can look into it."

Jenkins smiled slightly. "What happened when you tried to open it?"

"The bloody thing tried to bite me!" Arthur snarled, incensed.

"Teach you not to open something not addressed to you" Jenkins said smugly.

Cassandra chose that moment to come running into the room with Baird and Stone behind her. "I knew it! I knew I heard Arthur's voice! Did you bring me something from Rowan?"

Arthur handed the envelope over with a courtly bow. "Here you are little lady."

"Is that what I think it is?" Baird asked, excitement creeping into her voice.

"I hope so" Cassandra said, quickly opening one end of the envelope. She peeked into the open container and grinned mischievously. "Oh this is so good!"

Jenkins and Arthur looked at each other, with a frown. "What's good?" Arthur asked, nervously.

"I asked her if she knew of a spell to show us what you and Jenkins looked like when you were fighting for Camelot. She said she thought she could put something together for me."

"Oh no" Jenkins muttered.

"Just wait till I see that little minx of sister of mine again" Arthur growled.

Cassandra pulled out several prints and laid them out on the table. "This is so cool!" she exclaimed, looking at the photos. She picked one randomly and held it out to Jenkins. "Was this you?" she asked, pointing to one figure.

Jenkins looked at the photo nervously. Two men stood facing one another, both laughing. One was obviously Arthur, wearing his chainmail and carrying Excalibur. His normally shaggy blond hair was cut almost military short. Beside him was a much younger, skinner version of Jenkins, also in armor and his long dark hair blowing in his face. "How did she do that?" Jenkins whispered, looking at Arthur.

"It's a spell she put together when we were at a loss for a present for Father's birthday. She figured out how to pick a point in history to see in her glass and then transfer that one second image onto paper or canvas. Looks like that is what she's done here." Arthur poked at the pile absently then stopped and pulled another image from the stack. "Look at this one."

This time there three men in the photo – Arthur, a young Jenkins and another thin, dark-haired man. The third man was leaning his forehead against Arthur's shoulder, laughing hysterically. Jenkins was leaning on Arthur's other shoulder, grinning. Arthur, caught between the two men, had his head thrown back obviously roaring with laughter.

Baird looked at the image with a frown. "That's DuLaque. I remember that face from the Loom of Fate."

Arthur frowned for a moment then looked back at the photo. "DuLaque? Oh – of course – Lancelot DuLaque. He would circle back to that name. It's the one he's had for the longest amount of time."

"That's Lancelot?" Stone asked, squinting at the photo. "Sure doesn't look like the guy we know. Guess he didn't age well." He looked over at Jenkins and Arthur with a frown. "You guys look pretty chummy in this photo."

Arthur sighed in frustration. "As I said before, Lancelot wasn't always the bad guy. Full of himself, arrogant, and sometimes just plain annoying but not evil. At least, not when I knew him."

"I wonder which conversation this was" Jenkins murmured, poking at the other photos. Another shot of Lancelot and Arthur slid out of the pile. The tall young warlord was leaning on his compatriot, one arm around his neck. Lancelot was looking off out of range of the photo, his arms crossed on his chest.

"Could have been any of a dozen talks we had. The three of us were always together but Lancelot and I were especially close – at least in the beginning. I often wonder when exactly he realized I wasn't the Arthur he had come to offer his service and sword to and if that was what started him down this dark path."

"It wasn't your fault Arthur" Jenkins said, putting his hand on his friends back.

"In a way it was" Arthur said, shaking his head. "I came to this realm to take out my frustrations on men I saw only as ghosts. Lying about my name seemed a reasonable accommodation but it was wrong. I should have been honest – at least with the two of you."

"One thing I've always wanted to know" Cassandra asked hesitantly. "How did you travel to that time? I'm assuming you went backwards to Camelot – right?"

"Yes" Arthur admitted. He reached into his shirt and pulled out a silver chain with a pendant hanging from it. The pendant was a rose and sword, like the image on the envelope. "This is my sister's sigil. When I lost her I created a spell around this item that would take me where and when I wanted to go in time. When we got her back I erased the spell from the chain and kept it in memory of my time away from home."

"Jenkins did say you had to use the same time machine to go back and forward in time" Stone commented, looking at Baird.

"Yes – each machine creates its own path through time so you have to use the one you started with to finish the journey. This one was mine." Arthur tucked the chain back in his shirt, and reached for another of the prints. "I remember this day."

The photo was of Jenkins standing with a tall English longbow with Arthur at his side. They were both looking at a target just out of sight. "So do I" Jenkins commented. "You had just taught me never to shoot against you with a bow."

Arthur grinned, his mood changed for the better. "Want to try to beat me again?" he challenged.

"No thank you" Jenkins snorted. "I learned my lesson a long, long time ago."

"I might take you up on that" Stone said, a gin on his face. "I'm pretty good with a bow. Learned from an old Navaho man that lived down the road from me."

"Oh good – fresh meat" Arthur laughed, two long bows appearing on the table. "Care to lay a wager on this?"

"Unless you have money to burn" Jenkins warned a small smile on his face. "I wouldn't bet with this man over anything. He cheats."

The sound of laughter filled the Library as the group filed outside to watch the fun, the photos from days gone by silently returning themselves to the envelope they had been delivered in.

I can't come up with a face for the younger Jenkins but I imagine Arthur as Sean Bean. You can imagine him looking like anyone else but if anyone knows a good face to match Jenkins as a younger man I'd love to hear it.