Amazonian Support 17
This will be the last chapter, and it'll be the longest one in the story. I don't think there will be a sequel to it, but you never know.
As the Knights formed a circle around Arthur and Marius to protect him from the Roman's hired help, a priest squandered up to Areia and said in a dazed idiotic tone, "I was willing to die with them."
Areia sneered at him in disgust as he added with glazed over eyes, "Yes, to lead them to their rightful place. It is God's wish that these sinners be sacrificed. Only then can their souls be saved."
Arthur, by that time, had reigned in his temper and stood up. He eyed the priest of his religion in barely concealed repugnance and said slowly like he was talking to a five year old who didn't quite understand Briton, "Then I shall grant his wish."
He cast his gaze around the entire courtyard and ordered to the poor serfs, "Wall them back up."
Lancelot and Sarmatia, who had by then placed the girl in the healing wagon, eyed each other worriedly, and Lancelot started, "Arthur…"
But his friend ignored him and ordered again in a more serious and angry tone, "I said wall them up!"
The priest who had been talking to Areia pleaded in desperation as the serfs eagerly grabbed him and his brethren and through them both into the terror chambers, "Don't you see it is the will of God that these sinners be sacrificed? Unhand me, defil... They're sinners!"
Ganis shouted in unrestricted glee, "Get in there!"
Lancelot sighed as the caravan they were leading behind enemy lines slowed down once more. He trotted up to Sarmatia and Arthur and started in a weary tone that both his friends recognized as hopelessness and depression, "We're moving too slow."
He nodded back towards the wagon where three survivors were located and continued just as sadly-like he didn't really believe what he was saying but felt like he had too as it was his job as second-n-command, "Neither girl is gonna make it, and neither is the boy. The family we can protect, but we're wasting our time with all these people."
Sarmatia sighed and said strongly as she placed a hand on his leather-clad thigh, "We're not leaving them."
Lancelot continued mindlessly as he stared back at the little girl he and Sarmatia had found, "If the Saxons find us, we will have to fight."
Arthur knew his friend was right in one regard; they were moving much to slow. But, his conscience wouldn't let him abandon all those helpless people to the torture of the Saxons. Not when he could help them in any way possible. He also realized that Lancelot knew this too, but felt like he had to keep things in perspective, as was his role as lieutenant.
He also knew that Lancelot was horrified by what they had found in that terrible place. Arthur knew that Lancelot had wanted to gut Marius himself, and Arthur was proud of his best friend for not acting out his anger as he had done.
He looked at Sarmatia and Lancelot together and said purposely, "Then save your anger for them."
Lancelot had, by then, come out of his dazed musings and asked slyly as he and Sarmatia glanced at one another and started to slow down so they could check up on the small girl-child that they had saved, "Is this Rome's quest or Arthur's?"
As they reached the healing wagon, Dagonet looked up and gave them a tired smile. Sarmatia placed a hand on his shoulder and asked, "How is she? She seems stronger."
Dagonet nodded and said, "She is well enough surprisingly. I think she had only been down there for a week or two. She wasn't down there long enough to suffer long-time damage. Once her face stops swelling, and her cuts heal, she'll be as good as new."
Lancelot sighed and said in relief, "That's good."
Sarmatia and her secret lover-to-be turned to the girl and looked her over. She had vivid blue eyes and curly black hair. Lancelot couldn't help but think that she looked enough like him and Sarmatia to pass as their daughter.
He blushed and quickly swept that thought aside as he asked in a soft, reassuring tone, "What's your name child?"
The girl gazed up at him with adoring eyes and said in a hoarse whisper, "Sebille, My Lord."
Lancelot and Sarmatia smiled at her and Sarmatia said softly as she gently caressed the girls dark curls so much like her own and Lancelot's, "You are definitely a fairy as you name suggests, my little one. And when you awaken, it'll be time to eat and a warm bath, how's that?"
Sebille nodded and quickly fell into a deep healing sleep.
Lancelot sighed and said as they exited the wagon, "How anyone could do that to a child…I…"
He turned to Sarmatia and said in a horribly, hysterical voice that conveyed to her more about Lancelot's feelings about their current situation than anything else, "I know I said it, but I really think we are doing the right thing it's just…"
Sarmatia shushed him and said soothingly as she held him close to her heart, "I know, I know."
Sarmatia looked up from her caresses, when she felt a familiar green gaze filled with concern upon her. She glanced up and nodded to Arthur. He nodded back with gratefulness in his eyes. She knew that he wanted to be there for Lancelot right then, but he still had to check up on their wounded survivors first.
As Arthur entered the wagon, he glanced once more at Lancelot. His best friend was troubled and Arthur felt horrible guilty for not being there to comfort him, but he was also grateful and slightly jealous of Sarmatia being there for his First Knight instead.
When he turned towards is healer, Dagonet bowed his head and said in greetings, "Arthur."
Arthur cast his gaze to the boy and asked, "How is he?"
Dagonet sighed and answered as he placed a cool rag over the boy's fevered face, "He burns. Brave boy."
Arthur nodded and then turned towards the two females. The child Sarmatia and Lancelot had rescued was sleeping-he was glad. She didn't deserve the pain she had lived through-none of them deserved it, but a girl-child was just that much more evil.
He edged closer to the Woad woman and said in a claming voice as she scooted away warily from his helping hands, "Some of your fingers are out of place. I have to push them back."
He added when she still didn't move towards him, "If I don't do this, there's a chance you may never use them again."
He felt a jolt of pride when she allowed him to push her fingers back into place. When he was done, she collapsed against him and said as she gazed into his eyes with her own pain-filled amber ones, "They tortured me with machines. To make me tell them things that...that I didn't know to begin with. And then...I heard your voice in the dark."
She paused and added on like she wasn't to sure about what she was going to tell him next, "I am Guinevere. You are Arthur...of the Knights from the Great Wall."
Arthur wasn't to sure he liked how she was staring at him in contempt but replied evenly enough-after all she deserved to know who had rescued her from that hellhole Honourius placed her in no matter what Woad or not, "I am."
At his answer she continued on more strongly before she fell asleep against his armored chest, "The famous Briton who kills his own people."
Meanwhile back at the mansion as some Saxons dragged the priests forward, a black-hared man reported to a tall blond hared leader, "I found tracks coming from the south, but none going back; horsemen traveling light and fast."
The man shrugged and added, "Could be Roman cavalry."
Then he said in a tone that held a bit more caution and awe in it, "Could be knights."
The long hared leader shot the black-hared man a scratching look as he said to the men gathered around him, "They know we're after them."
The same black-hared man replied promptly, "They'll head east now, through the mountains."
Before a younger man could say anything, one of the priests blurted out, "God's holy work has been defiled. I am a servant of God! No, please, I... Agh!"
The priest held his stomach in pain as one of his Saxon captors punched him harshly in the gullet and answered, "He says they walled him up in a building and took the family."
The second Saxon guard added as the first was to busy playing with the downed priest, "Someone who goes by the name of Artorius."
The black-hared man sucked in his breath as he looked into the leaders eyes and said in a hushed whisper, "It's him."
The leader nodded, turned to the younger bald-hared man and ordered, "Take your men east. Hunt them down. I'll take the main army to the wall. Bring the family there."
The bald second-n-command nodded and stated curiously, "And the monks?"
The leader replied with an air of blandness, "Put them back where you found them."
The priests cried out in fear, "I am a servant of God! Please, I... I am a servant of God!"
In one last attempt to be courageous, one of the priests yelled out, "Unhand me, you defiler!"
The leader sighed in relieved satisfaction and ordered, "Burn it all."
As Arthur rode closely to the wagon, he turned to gaze at the woman he had rescued. He couldn't deny that she was beautiful even with her wounds and malnourishment, but there was something about her that caused him to be wary of her.
Lancelot and Sarmatia, who rode beside him, glanced at one another, rolled their eyes, and together called out, "Yah!"
Arthur's head spun around in shock as his friends rushed off and left him to the mercies of the Woad woman.
He turned back to her when she said in a casual voice, "My father told me great tales of you."
He snorted and replied in a non-caring tone, "Really, and what did you hear?"
She smiled lightly at him and answered in a thoughtful tone, "Fairy tales; The kind you hear about people so brave, so selfless, that they can't be real. Arthur and his knights."
Then her eyes narrowed and her voice grew slightly more dangerous, "A leader both Briton and Roman. And yet you chose your allegiance to Rome. To those who take what does not belong to them."
She still continued in a voice that raised his ire to dangerous levels, "That same Rome that took your men from their homeland."
He retorted angrily because he already knew all this and didn't need her to remind him after all Lancelot had said to prove his point to him after all their times together, "Listen, lady, do not pretend you know anything about me or my men."
She eyed him coolly but demanded, "How many Britons have you killed?"
He sighed but replied, "As many as tried to kill me. It's the natural state of any man to want to live."
She snorted and said in a strong commanding tone, "Animals live! It's a natural state of any man to want to live free in their own country."
Then her voice softened as she continued, "I belong to this land. Where do you belong, Arthur?"
Areia and Galahad, who were traveling just behind the wagon, looked to each other in worry. This woman was unnerving Arthur, and in all his years with his roman commander, Galahad had never seen Arthur look so lost. He wanted to yell at the Woad woman. He wanted her to leave his friend and commander alone, but at the same time he wanted her to bring Arthur out of his dream world, and into the real world. Areia smiled at Guinevere's words. Her Ladyship's prophecy about Arthur and Guinevere was in the process of finally coming true. She couldn't wait for the wedding!
Arthur cleared his throat and asked, "How's your hand?"
Guinevere smiled at his change to topic but replied honestly enough, "I'll live, I promise you."
As she gazed out across the blue wintry lands of her homeland she asked gently, "Is there nothing about my land that appeals to your heart? Your own father married a Briton. Even he must have found something to his liking."
Arthur said nothing, but shook his reigns to rejoin his Knights and his Amazonian followers as they grouped together just ahead of the caravan.
When he reached his Knights, he said, "We'll sleep here. Take shelter in those trees."
He turned towards his two scouts, and said as he, unconsciously, marveled at the thought of them being married, "Tristan, Theaia."
The scout couple tapped their feathered friends under their beaks and asked softly, "You wanna go out again? Yeah."- "Let's go flying, eh?"
Athena, who had up until now, remained close to Gawain as they discussed his fading memories of Sarmatia, eyed the gathered Romans warily as she set up her tent nearby. She wanted to keep an eye on Marius Honourius because she didn't trust him as far as she could throw him.
Her eyes narrowed as a tiny piece of their conversation floated up to her with the help of the breeze, " It is here, given to us by the Pope. These people, they send an army for us."
Guinevere sighed in contentment. For now she was in a warm bath and being cleansed of all the aches and pains she had suffered at Marius' hands. She smiled at the wife of Marius and was rewarded with one back. Truly, this shell of a woman was as gentle as a newborn lamb, and didn't deserve the hate she felt for her husband.
At the sound of a splash and a giggle, she turned and saw the curly black-hared woman washing little Sebille. Guinevere had to smile at the warmth the two black-headed females were already sharing with one another.
As she rested her arms on the wood tub, she asked, "What is your name? How are you connected to Arthur and his Knights?"
Sarmatia, who was in the tub with Sebille now had soap and water drowning her hair, peaked through her wet curls and answered with a welcoming smile towards her unknowing-future-queen, "I am the High Princess Sarmatia of the Amazon Nation. There is a prophecy that says we shall follow the man who would be king. I and the other Princesses of the Amazon Tribes believe Arthur to be this king. We follow him to make sure he will become King."
Guinevere blinked at that. So others knew what her father, Merlin, knew of Arthur too. That was a surprise.
As she opened her mouth to ask another question, a man's figure caught her attention from the corner of her eye.
Her mouth dropped open in shock. It was the second man who had found her. The one with curly black hair like Sebille and Sarmatia's. He glanced at her quickly, but his attention was just as quickly drawn back to her new friend and the girl in the tub. Guinevere watched as his brown-black orbs gazed hungrily at Sarmatia and paternally at Sebille. When he caught her looking at him, he blushed, tilted his head down, and quickly walked away.
Guinevere turned when she heard a sigh of disappointment.
Sarmatia was staring at the black-hared man's former place with longing desire in her eyes.
Arthur was tired. But, unfortunately he couldn't find a nice enough knoll to sleep on. Plus, his emotions as of late were not exactly what one would call amicable to sleep with. He was a torrent of emotions: worry, anger, fear, frustration, hope, jealousy, envy, and even lust.
As he tilted his head back to try and sleep, a tiny crack caught his attention.
He felt his mouth go dry as he spied Guinevere walk by him in a revealing blue gown.
As they reached a clearing, she turned to him and watched as Merlin appeared from the shadows.
Arthur pulled Excalibur from its sheath and roared, "You betrayed me."
Guinevere replied, "He means you no harm."
When Arthur opened his mouth to retort, Merlin cut in, "Peace between us this night, Arthur Castus."
He continued with a purpose, "So Rome is leaving. The Saxon is come. The world we have known and fought for is ended."
He ended righteously, "Now we must make a new world."
Arthur cut in harshly, "Your world, Merlin, not mine. I shall be in Rome."
Merlin interrupted with a sarcastic wave, "To find peace? The Saxon will come to Rome."
Arthur placed Excalibur in between him and Merlin and said, "My knights trust me not to betray them to their enemy."
Merlin shook his head and countered, "Rome was my enemy, not Arthur. We have no fight between us now."
Arthur replied with wild eyes, "You tell that to the knights you killed before my eyes, whose bones are buried in this earth."
Merlin shook his head and said in understanding, "We have all lost brothers."
Arthur roared back, "You know nothing of the loss I speak! Shall I help you remember? An attack on a village. The screams of an innocent woman."
A young Arthur runs to his home in fear, "Mother!"
Arthur continued, "I ran to the burial mound of my father to free her."
Arthur ended dangerously, "To kill you."
"Father, please let loose your sword."
Arthur ended as he placed his sword near Merlin's heart, ""I feel the heat of that fire on my face even now."
Merlin shook his head in sadness and replied, "I did not wish her dead. She was of our blood, as are you."
Guinevere cut in pompously, "If you were so determined to leave us to slaughter, why did you save so many?"
Merlin continued as if Guinevere had never spoken, "My men are strong, but they have need of a true leader. They believe you can do anything. To defeat the Saxon we need a master of war."
Merlin ended as he stared Arthur down, "Why do you think I spared you in the forest? That sword you carry is made of iron from this earth, forged in the fires of Britain. It was love of your mother that freed the sword, not hatred of me. Love, Arthur."
Arthur shook his head and marched away. He couldn't believe what Merlin wanted him to do. He had, had enough of wars and fighting. All he wanted was peace. As he marched back to his tree, he saw Sarmatia and Lancelot standing a few feet from him. Each had their weapons out and both of them were staring at him-Lancelot with understanding and Sarmatia with sympathy. He nodded towards them, but said nothing as he sat back down-this time sleep came more easily to him.
The next morning as Athena woke up, she spied Marius and his Roman hired bodyguards shuffling closer to Dagonet, Lucan, and Romana.
Before she could sound an alarm, Marius ordered, "Seize him!"
Lucan shouted out in fear as he was pulled away from Romana and Dagonet's side, "No!"
Romana moaned as she held her sword out pointed towards Marius, "No...Lucan…"
As Dagonet roared in defiance, Marius called out in superiority, "I have the boy!"
Marius stared at Dagonet and Romana with what he saw as superior standing and said carelessly, "Kill him!"
Before Romana, Dagonet, or Athena, who was also armed and facing the Roman troops, could do anything Fulucina, Marius' gentle wife cried out as she wrapped her arms around her husband's fatty ones, "No, don't! Let him go!"
Marius threw his wife off him and ordered ecstatically, "Kill him now!"
Before his men could fulfill his commands, an arrow was shot from the shadows and punctured Marius straight through his heart-just an inch or two above Lucan's head.
Romana screamed in relief as the boy she and Dagonet saw as a son ran to them. Dagonet pushed him down as he said, "Down! Hah!"
Guinevere pursed her lips together as she shot another arrow into the ground in warning as the mercenaries took a step closer and Arthur, Sarmatia, and Lancelot appeared beside her.
Lancelot smirked and said with his swords resting on his shoulders, "Your hands seem to be better."
Then they were interrupted when Bors came riding in with his sword waving above his head in an imitation-like charge, "Artorius!"
As he came to a stop, he asked dangerously, "Do we have a problem? Huh?"
Arthur shook his head and said darkly, "You have a choice. You help or you die."
The leader of the mercenaries looked around him nervously. Seven Knights and eight women were armed and each arrow in the women's bows were loaded and pointed directly at him and his men.
He nodded and ordered, "Put down your weapons. Do it now!"
From his place guarding Lucan, Dagonet yelled out in challenge, "Yeah!"
Then from the woods came two horses. Upon those horses were Tristan and Theaia. They each carried a weapon that looked like the lance throwers from their earlier confrontation with them-but much smaller and compact.
Bors asked with a cheerful grin, "How many did you kill?"
Tristan answered, "Eight, four a piece."
Bors laughed out right and exclaimed, "Not a bad start to the day!"
Tristan snorted, threw down the machine and said seriously, "Armor-piercing. They're close. We have no time."
Arthur stood straight and ordered with a strong nod, "You ride ahead."
After a full day of riding, Arthur once again found himself riding close to a wagon. This time it held Alecto and Fulucina Honourius.
Arthur sighed and said as he looked into the younger boy's eyes, "I'm sorry for your loss."
Alecto replied, "My father lost his way. He used to say the Church is there to help us stay on our path."
Alecto looked down and ended, "It didn't help those he made suffer."
Arthur said in a tone he hoped was supporting of the Church and assuring to the boy himself, "The path he chose was beyond the reach of the Church, Alecto."
Alecto shook his head and said forcefully, "But not of Rome. What my father believed, so Rome believes."
Arthur winced but retorted kindly, "What, that some men are born to be slaves? No, that isn't true."
Alecto reinforced, "It is so! He told me so."
In one last attempt to prove his faith in his country, Arthur said, "Pelagius, a man as close to me as any, is there now, teaching that all men are free, equal. And that each of us has the right to choose his own destiny."
Alecto shook his head and asked with wide confused eyes, "Teach? How? They killed Pelagius a year past. Germanous and the others were damned by his teachings. They had him excommunicated and killed."
He ended gently, "The Rome you talk of doesn't exist, except in your dreams."
Late in the day, as the Knights circled Tristan, Arthur asked, "Is there any other way?"
Theaia shook her head and said as she got off her horse and held her reigns tightly, "No. We have to cross the ice."
Sarmatia turned to her ladies and ordered, "Get them all out of the carriages. Tell them to spread out."
Everyone was silent as they edged their way across the ice. With every creek and groan, the women held their children closer and the men closed their eyes. The Knights and Amazons looked at one another as the drums grew louder and louder as the land between the two groups grew alarmingly short.
Arthur sighed, "Knights..."
Bors stated first as Guinevere joined them, "Well, I'm tired of running. And these Saxons are so close behind my ass is hurtin'."
Tristan looked at his wife of a few weeks and said shortly as he stared into her eyes, "Never liked looking over my shoulder anyway."
Gawain held Athena's hand and said as he glanced around him at his brothers and the other Amazons, "Be a pleasure to put an end to this racket."
Galahad and Areia said together with wide grins, "And finally get a look at the bastards."
Galahad shot his lover an odd look as she smiled and pecked his lips quickly in response.
Dagonet shook his head and said as he retrieved his and Romana's weapons from their horses, "Here. Now."
Lancelot shook his head but commanded, "Jols!"
As Jols rushed to the wagon that held the Knights heavy-duty weapons, he ordered to servants beside him, "You two, take the horses."
As Ganis came up to the Knights to join them in battle, Arthur replied, "Ganis, I need you to lead the people. The main Saxon army is inland, so if you track the coastline till you're well south of the wall, you'll be safe."
Ganis protested, "But you're seven against…"
Sarmatia corrected, "Ah…make that thirteen…"
Guinevere interrupted, "Fourteen, you could use another bow."
As Arthur and the other prepared to defend those who they were sworn to protect, Ganis arrived by Arthur again and announced, "I'd rather stay and fight."
Arthur placed his hand on Ganis' shoulder and said confidently, "You'll get your chance soon enough."
He looked at the mercenaries and ordered, "This man is now your captain. You do as he says. Am I understood?"
The mercenaries pursed their lips, but the leader said, "Yes, sir."
Ganis nodded and shouted as he waved his hand forward to order the group on wards, "Go, Go! Right, come on, then! Move on!"
As this was occurring, Alecto appeared at Arthur's side and said as his mother watched on worriedly, "I am able. I can fight."
Arthur shook his head and said, "No, you must bear witness to all you have seen. There's one thing you must do, and that's get back to Rome."
At the same time, Sebille jumped out of her wagon and threw her arms around Lancelot's legs as she begged, "Please! Don't go! I'll be a good girl! Please don't leave me!"
Lancelot blinked in shock as he stared into those vivid blue eyes. He glanced up and saw the others eyeing him with sympathy-Bors especially.
He knelt down and said softly as he wrapped the young girl he was starting to think of as his own in a hug and said, "I will not leave you Sebille. But I must help the others protect these people and you too. They are counting on the others and I. You must be a strong girl and go with Miss Fulucina and get to safety. Sarmatia and I will see you after the battle, eh?"
Sebille sniffed and said as Sarmatia reached down and picked her up for a great big hug, "I will…I p'omise!"
Lancelot placed a kiss on the top of her head and said, "That's my girl!"
Sarmatia kissed her cheek and said, "Go now, my little one."
Sebille smiled with tearful, trembling lips and nodded as she scampered off and into the wagon that housed the nice roman woman.
As the fourteen defenders lined up, Arthur commanded as the Saxons came into visual range in the lake valley, "Hold until I give the command."
Lancelot, who was standing between Sarmatia and Guinevere, turned to Sarmatia and said with a smirk, "You look frightened. There are a large number of lonely men out there."
Sarmatia pursed her lips and was about to retort when Guinevere interrupted with a teasing smirk of her own, "Don't worry, we won't let them rape you."
The Knights and the Amazons swallowed their laughs as the Saxon leader commanded, "Archer!"
The women smiled as the archer came forward and released his arrow. It flew through the air and landed in the middle of the two groups and skidded to a stop twenty feet away from the Knights and their lady loves.
The archer turned and reported, "We're out of range."
The bald-hared leader, Cynric, exclaimed heatedly, "I can see that!"
Arthur looked at his men from the corner of his eye and said in a conversational tone, "I believe they're waiting for an invitation. Bors, Tristan…"
Sarmatia added with a wicked looking smile, "Yes, have at it Theaia, Athena!"
Guinevere looked at the two with disbelieving eyes and exclaimed as she pointed towards the large Saxon group, "They're far out of range."
Arthur smirked superiorly as he asked lightly despite the serious situation they found themselves in, "Haven't you ever wondered how my Knights and I defeated your people when we were almost always outnumbered three to one?"
Sarmatia rolled her eyes at Lancelot, who was smirking at the two, and commanded, "Aim for the wings of the ranks. Make them cluster."
As the men and women shot arrow after arrow, Cynric, who saw what his men were doing and more importantly that they were panicking, on ice, shouted angrily, "Hold the ranks! Hold the ranks! Hold the ranks!"
He lieutenants echoed his commands sharply as they continued to march across the frozen river, "Hold the ranks! Hold the ranks!Hold the ranks!"
Cynric still ordered, "Hold the ranks, or I kill you myself!"
As Arthur reached down to grab another handful of arrow, he felt the ice and its thickness and shouted out in alarm as he stepped back and gripped Excalibur, "It's not gonna break. Back. Fall back! Prepare for combat."
As the Knights and the Amazons reached for their close combat weapons, and Guinevere released yet another arrow into the Saxon hoard, Dagonet who was itching for battle, dropped his sword and grabbed his axe instead.
Romana, who was beside him, saw what he did and said as her vision came back to her in a flash of power, screams, and colors, "Oh hell no! I don't think so!"
She spun around, grabbed the shield that was behind her and rushed out after him as Bors shouted out at the same time Dagonet hit the ice with his battle-axe, "Dag!"
Arthur yelled as the two, Dagonet hit the ice once again and Romana covered him with her shield, "Cover him!"
Cynric yelled at his men to shoot the two down, and as Dagonet swung a third and final time breaking the ice, Lancelot yelled, "The ice is breaking!"
Dagonet shouted as an arrow pierce the shield and hit him in the shoulder, "Yaagh!"
Romana cried out in fear, "Dagonet! Dagonet! Speak to me! Please!"
Cynric yelled at his men in anger, "Kill them!"
Bors yelled in fear as he grabbed his own shield and rushed out to the center of the lake that was currently cracking, in an attempt to cover his friends, "Dag!"
Dagonet groaned as the ice broke under him and Romana and dragged them down into the frozen waters below, "Yaagh! Romana…"
She met his eyes and whispered sadly, with a tiny smile, "Dagonet…"
Arthur didn't even think. He ran out into the fray as well and as he reached his two soldiers, Lancelot cried out, "Back! Back!"
Bors, who had dropped his shield, reached into the frozen water with Arthur and yelled out as his hand fisted the cloth of Dagonet's cape and Arthur's fisted Romana's, "Dag!"
Lancelot screamed in fear as his best friend nearly fell into the waters, "Pull back! Arthur!"
Dagonet groaned as Bors accidentally pulled his wound, "Argh!"
Cynric ordered as more of his men fell beneath the ice, "Kill him!"
As he pulled Dagonet out of the cracking ice and Arthur did the same with Romana, Bors yelled back behind him towards the others, "Help us!"
Romana groaned as Galahad, Areia, Tristan, and Theaia rushed out to help pull their friends back to the safety of the lake's dry lands, "Aagh!"
Sarmatia rushed to their sides, placed her fingers at the neck and said as she pulled the arrow out of Dagonet's shoulder, "They'll live! But we need to bind this and get them into warm, dry clothes!"
As night fell upon, the group of tired men and women, they came upon the slowly traveling caravan. As the reached the healing wagon, Sarmatia said warily, "Place them inside and cove them with the furs. It's all we can do until we get to the wall."
Arthur nodded and said determinedly as he met each of his followers' eyes, "We ride ALL night."
Sebille, who had strived to remain awake as long as was needed until she saw her father and mother again, smiled and exclaimed as she jumped out if the wagon and landed in Lancelot's arms, "Daddy!"
Lancelot's mouth dropped open at her words. He felt tears well up in his eyes, but stubbornly held them back as he said with a watery smile as Sarmatia joined them with her own wet eyes, "Didn't mummy and daddy say we'd be back, little one?"
Sebille nodded cheerfully as she lunged into Sarmatia's arms and said, "Yep! You came back! You didn't leave me!"
Lancelot closed his eyes and said as he held both females in his arms, "No, we didn't leave you, my precious one."
Arthur smiled at the three while everyone else fretted over Dagonet and Romana. It lightened his heart to see such love in a desolate time in their lives. He took hope and faith from it, and prayed to the guardian above…please, lets us ALL survive this…my Lady…
Two hours after dawn the next day, they reached Hadrian's Wall.
As they entered their stables, Bishop Germanous, who was awaiting them with a fake smile cheered as they dismounted their horses, "Ah, God! Christ be praised. Against all the odds Satan could muster."
As Alecto exited the wagon that held the pale, shaking forms of Dagonet and Romana, Germanous cried out happily, "Alecto, let me see you."
Alecto shivered at him and said in a hard tone as Galahad and Gawain removed the still unconscious form of Dagonet and carried him to the Healing Chambers and Areia and Theaia did the same with Romana's pale blue body, "Kindly get out of my way!"
The Bishop steadfastly ignored him and continued, "You have triumphed! Young Alecto let me see you. You are here!"
Alecto eyed him in fear and was very grateful to feel his mother wrap her arms around him.
Lucan, who had ridden in the other wagon with Sebille and Guinevere jumped out ran after his father and mother.
Guinevere shouted out in alarm, "Lucan!"
As Lucan rushed to his parental figures, three roman soldiers pulled out their weapons and demanded, "You, boy! Stop!"
The Romans froze as Bors placed his wrist knives at the Romans' throats.
Bishop Germanous laughed nervously as the remaining Knights and Amazons glared at him and said as cheerfully as he possibly could, "Our great knights. You are free now! Give me the papers. Come, come."
He continued as Lancelot ripped the pieces of paper from their holdings and started to hand them out to his brothers, "Your papers of safe conduct throughout the Roman Empire."
He ended softly as Arthur marched up to him and stared him in the eyes, "Take it, Arthur."
Arthur stared at him with unnerving green eyes and said dangerously and softly as he walked right passed him, "Bishop Germanous, friend of my father."
Germanous' chuckles dwindled as he spoke to Lancelot who was holding Sebille protectively in his arms, "You are free now. You can go."
Sarmatia took Sebille from Lancelot and said softly, "Take it to Bors for Dagonet. It'll give him a positive reason to see Dagonet."
Lancelot nodded and said as he held the piece of paper out to the father of eleven, "Bors…Bors!"
When the older Knights met his gaze, Lancelot added more gently, "For Dagonet…"
Bors grabbed the paper that granted them their freedom and said in a loud voice and met the Bishop's eyes squarely, "This doesn't make him a free man. He was already a free man days ago! If he dies now…."
Guinevere, who had remained quiet, watched Arthur as he left the courtyard. As silently as she had been taught, she followed him. She followed him right into a graveyard.
When she found Arthur, he was knelling next to a grave with no sword protruding out of it. She had a feeling that THIS was the grave of Uther Castus, Arthur's father.
She knelt down beside him, placed her chin in her right hand and simply stated softly, "A grave with no sword."
Arthur acknowledged her as he explained, "It was my father's wish that if he died on this island, he would be buried with his knights."
Guinevere asked gently, "He died in battle?"
Arthur snorted and said wryly, "It's a family tradition."
The daughter of Merlin looked about her and said as she tried to imagine all the men who had lost their lives because Rome ordered them to fight against her own people, the Woads, "I can see why you believe that you have nothing left here. Except what you and your knights have done."
She added in an attempt to instill hope in him, "You have your deeds."
Arthur explained passionately as he stared at her willing her to understand what he was thinking at the exact moment, "Deeds in themselves are meaningless unless they're for some higher purpose. We have waged a war to protect a Rome that does not exist. Is that the deed I am to be judged by?"
Guinevere replied gently but with force, "You stayed and fought when you didn't have to. You bloodied evil men when you could have run. You did all that for no reason?"
She reached up and held his face in her hands as she said softly, lovingly, "These are your people."
Jols interrupted them by shouting, "Arthur, come to the wall now."
As Arthur rushed to the top of the Wall's battlements, he saw Lancelot and Sarmatia looking over the stonewalls with wide eyes. Both sets of brown and violet were wide with horror.
A roman wall guard said unneeded as Arthur rushed by him with Guinevere following behind him, "The Saxons are here."
Another guard shouted, "Make way! Make way!"
As he and Guinevere gazed at the thousands of Saxons lining up at the wall, Arthur turned around and met each of his Knights eyes. They were filled with dread and hope. He knew they wanted to go home. In fact, HE wanted them to go home too! He also knew that the Amazons were to fight for HIM, and no matter what they felt for his Knights, they would stay here to fight. He wasn't thrilled with that because he knew his knights loved the women under his command. But he didn't know what to do. Sarmatia lead them-for the most part, and her place was by his side-to make him King.
He sighed as he gazed out at the poor serfs that made a living at the wall-he ha to protect them, he couldn't run. Which meant, that the Amazons would stay and his Knights would be heartbroken.
He gazed deeply into Lancelot's eyes and said sadly, "Knights, my journey with you must end here. May God go with you."
Sarmatia, who was still holding Sebille close to her, watched with sadden eyes as Lancelot shook his head and chased after Arthur, "Arthur, this is not Rome's fight. It is not your fight. Stand fast!"
Arthur froze and turned back to Lancelot as his friend continued, "All these long years we've been together, the trials we've faced, the blood we've shed. What was it all for, if not for the reward of freedom? And now when we are so close, when it is finally within our grasp..."
Arthur couldn't bare to see the pain in Lancelot's eyes so he turned to walk away, but Lancelot knew him to well.
His First Knight gripped his shoulder and spun him around as he continued with wet eyes and a pleading face, "Look at me!"
He added helplessly, "Does it all count for nothing?"
Arthur looked at hi with wounded eyes and asked softly, "You ask me that? You who know me best of all?"
Lancelot sighed and pleaded again as he stared deeply into Arthur eye's, into Arthur's pure soul, "Then do not do this. Only certain death awaits you here. Arthur, I beg you! For our friendship's sake, I beg you!"
Arthur shook his head, placed his hand around Lancelot's neck and said passionately as an idea came to him, "You be my friend now and do not dissuade me. Seize the freedom you have earned and live it for the both of us."
He glanced behind Lancelot and saw two very pretty black-hared women and added, "Live and have many children with Sarmatia! I cannot follow you, Lancelot. I now know that all the blood I have shed, all the lives I have taken have led me to this moment."
As the Knights packed, their ladyloves watched them from the doorway.
Lancelot sighed and said in a knowing tone towards Sarmatia, "You will stay and make Arthur a king."
Sarmatia swallowed her tears and said, "That is why we are here to begin with, don'cha remember."
She entered his room, and sat down gently on his bed, and added as she caressed the tiny black head that slept on Lancelot's favorite blanket, "You will take her with you?"
Lancelot nodded and said, "Yes, I will tell my family that she is mine from a girl here."
Sarmatia let the tears fall, and said as she placed a loving kiss on Sebille's head, "I cannot see her and tell her goodbye. I will not be seeing you off. You'll take care of her and yourself?"
Lancelot placed a hand on her shoulder and said as he gave her a sizzling kiss that made both their souls tremble in longing, "I will, I promise."
In Galahad's room, Areia crossed her arms and said, "You know I'm staying, so don't even try to dissuade me. You knew this when we first arrived. I will NOT deviate from my duty just for you Galahad."
As Galahad opened his mouth to retort, she stormed out.
Galahad blinked and fell to his bed as tears fell from his blue eyes silently.
Gawain stared at Athena and sighed. He didn't even bother to try and stop her. He knew she wouldn't listen to him. He simply wrapped her in his arms, hugged her close, and gave her a sweet kiss on the lips. When they parted he said, "Just don't die…"
Dagonet and Romana were still unconscious as Bors and Vanora appeared to transfer Dagonet from the room to the wagon they had commandeered for the journey back to Sarmatia.
"And what of Romana?" asked Vanora tearfully as she placed a blond lock of hair behind the sleeping woman's ear.
Bors sighed and said gruffly as he threw Dagonet over his back like a sack of potatoes, "She has to stay here. It's her duty. No matter how much I want to take her with us…"
Tristan and Theaia stared at one another in silence.
"You are my wife."
"I am also a Princess of the Amazons sworn to fight alongside Arthur and to see him become King."
"You will die here."
"You'll find me in Sarmatia?"
As the sun started to rise over the green hills of Badon Hill, the Knights of Sarmatia slowly left the future battlefield. Each man felt as if their hearts were bring ripped from their chests and then trampled under their horses' hooves.
Lancelot studiously ignores his friend's standard and body on top of his war steed and his lover, Sarmatia, astride her own horse proudly beside him with the others behind them. He closed his eyes as his child, Sebille, cried and cried out for her mommy.
He was torn.
He wanted to see his homeland and family again, but he didn't want to leave Arthur and Sarmatia to do it. He also didn't want to leave them here to their fate either.
Bors wasn't through with Arthur though.
He trotted out of the caravan's line, raised his sword into the air, and yelled, "Artorius! Ruuuuuusssssssssssss!"
As he grew silent, the other Knights, Lancelot included, turned back around and stared at Arthur.
After a moment, Arthur and the Amazons, raised their own weapons and cried back, "Rrrruuuuuuuuuussssssssssssss!"
As Cerdic and his High Council met in the center of their armies set up point, the black-hared from before ran up to him and gasped out, "The Roman Auxiliary has left the wall."
Cynric asked sharply, "And the horsemen?"
The black-hared spy replied with a tiny smile, "Leading a caravan away from the fort. They're running south...with their tails between their legs."
Cynric nodded and said proudly, "So there will be no resistance."
The spy shrugged and replied, "A few dozen villagers."
Cerdic cut in sharply as he glared at the turncoat that had been of great help to him, "We're going to slaughter your people. I think you should watch. Your tree might be a good place."
Then a councilman shouted as he pointed up a hill, "Up on the hill!"
Cynric shrugged and said exasperatedly, "A single knight, father."
He grabbed the spy's throat, squeezed it, as he asked perilously, "Didn't you just say they were gone? What is this, a ghost?"
The spy gasped out as his hand closed around the Saxon's, "One man. A tiny fly on the back of your... great army."
Cerdic demanded as his son released the spy, "Who is he?"
The spy cleared his throat and answered warily, "Arthur…"
Cerdic echoed thoughtfully, "Arthur…Arthur…Arthur…"
Then Cerdic clapped his hands and said, "Get the white flag. I will talk with him."
Upon the hill, Arthur saw a man waving a white flag in his direction. He knew that the Saxons did not want peace, but he was curious as to what their leader wanted, so he said, "Shall we go see what he wants Sarmatia?"
Sarmatia nodded and together they galloped down to the black-hared man and the long, muddy, blond-hared man.
He began as he eyed the armored man in a red cape, "Hmm… Wherever I go on this wretched island I hear your name. Always half-whispered, as if you were a...god."
He sneered at Sarmatia and continued as he eyed the Roman man upon his warhorse, "All I see is flesh, blood. No more god than the creature you're sitting on."
Arthur cut in harshly, "Speak your terms, Saxon."
Cerdic blinked but stated in a hoarse voice, "The Romans have left you. Who are you fighting for?"
Arthur glanced at the raven hared woman beside him and glanced into the woods where another beauty awaited his signal and said righteously, "I fight for a cause beyond Rome's or your understanding."
Cerdic was silent for a moment before he smiled evilly and stated as he pointed towards the ground with his sword, "Ah, you come to beg a truce. You should be on your knees."
Arthur placed the tip of Excalibur under Cerdic's neck and said dangerously, "I came to see your face, so that I alone may find you on the battlefield. And it would be good for you to mark my face, Saxon, for the next time you see it, it will be the last thing you see on this earth."
With that he and Sarmatia, who had remained remarkably silent during the whole meeting, turned and galloped back into the wall's protective boundaries.
Cerdic sighed and said as he pounded his chest proudly, "Ah, ah, finally…A man worth killing."
When he reached his men, he shouted his orders, "Ah! Prepare the men for battle!"
As the drums reverberated throughout the valley, the horses the Knights rode upon started to jump and toss their heads as they turned to face the on coming battle.
Each Knight gripped their reigns in shock as they tried to calm their war steeds, "Whoa." (Bors)
In that moment, each Knight remembered just who and what they were. They were men of honor. They have fought to protect this land for fifteen years. This land that they thought they hated, they had unknowingly grown to love. In that moment, they realized that they couldn't leave it or Arthur and their lovers. Lancelot grinned and the others followed suit.
He turned to his daughter and smiled sadly. She was already crying, but she smiled bravely up at him and said, "Don't die, daddy…"
He placed a kiss on her forehead and said, "I'll try not to…"
Vanora smiled and said, "Don't you worry none, Lancelot. I'll watch her well enough."
Lancelot winked at her as Bors' children waved at their father sadly yet proudly.
Tristan tapped his hawk under his beak and said as Dagonet, who was up and about under stern disapproval from him and the other Knights, lifted the canvas from their weapons wagon, "Hey, you're free."
Then he pulled out his bow and stretched the string as the others quickly armored up.
Cerdic tapped the bread he was eating against his open palm as he said, "He's got a plan, this Roman."
He leaned towards his son and ordered, "Send what's left of your infantry."
Cynric gripped his sword and asked in shock, "Do you want to kill my men?"
Cerdic roared, "They're my men!"
As Cynric made to move with his men, Cerdic said, "No. You stay here with me."
Arthur was sick with worry. They were seriously outnumbered, and for the first time in his life, he was riding out into battle without Lancelot's familiar presence beside him. He wasn't sure he could so this. He had been truthful when he had told Lancelot earlier that with Lancelot by his side he could defeat anyone and thing.
Just as he prayed for Lancelot to once more grace him with his presence, Sarmatia gasped out, "Lancelot!"
Arthur spun around in his saddle as Lancelot came to a stop beside him and gave him a wondrous smile that was all his. Arthur returned the smile wholeheartedly and said, "I'm so glad you came back!"
He shrugged and said, "Ah, I couldn't let you go into battle alone…you'd probably end up dead, and then where would I be? If I'm not mistaken, you are the only one I know who can deal with me when I' m in one of those rages…eh?
Arthur burst out laughing as he and the Amazons heard more rumbles in the earth underneath their horses' hooves. Arthur and the girls looked at him in hope. He grinned and tilted his head to look behind him.
"Dagonet! Bors!" (Romana)
Arthur looked at his Knights and said to them proudly as they awaited his orders one last time, "Knights, the gift of freedom is yours by right. But the home we seek resides not in some distant land. It's in us and in our actions on this day. If this be our destiny, then so be it."
He pulled out Excalibur and ended delightfully, "But let history remember that as free men we chose to make it so."
"Rrruuuussssssss!" cried his men as they thrusted their pendants into the soft emerald grass.
"Hah!" they cried out as they raced through the battlefield and smoke that made them invisible to human eyes.
Sarmatia gasped as a Saxon sword cut deeply into her upper arm. She twirled around and out of the range of the sword, and caught her breath. As she gathered her remaining strength, she saw Guinevere battle the man from the lake and knew that this was the moment she was waiting for. With a mighty heave, she thrusted her swords into the Saxon's belly and viciously ripped them out.
As he lay dying, Sarmatia flew to Guinevere's aid. As she passed by Lancelot she said, "Go! Tristan needs you!"
Lancelot's head snapped up and he spun around to see what his lover was talking about. There in breaking smoke, he spied Tristan warily circling the Saxon-King, Cerdic. He unconsciously blocked a few clumsy strokes from a young and inexperienced Saxons warrior, and searched for Arthur and Theaia. He found Arthur beheading a Saxon who had come up on Gawain from behind, and Theaia was with Athena helping her to fight off three very large and very strong Saxon warriors. With a nod, he ran through the fires and reached Tristan's side just as he fell to the ground weakly.
As Cerdic swung down to wound Tristan even more, Lancelot lunged the final few feet and intercepted the sword stroke and said, "Uh, un, that's my friend you mean to kill. I can't let that happen."
Sarmatia sighed in relief as she saw from the corner of her eye, as Guinevere rolled out from under the three swords that were hopelessly locked above her.
Cynric sneered at her and said, "I remember you…you were at the lake with the Knights!"
Sarmatia smiled cockily and said, "So, what of it? Are you afraid to fight little old me?"
Cynric roared and swung his sword viciously at Sarmatia. She blocked each stroke masterfully and said as she made a few bloody marks upon his body herself, "You won't win."
"My father's army WILL win! We have never lost a battle!"
Sarmatia snorted and said as she slammed her swords against his one and watched it fly through the air and land ten feet away from them both, "Take a look boyo…this battle is over!"
As Cynric gazed about him, he swore and turned back to the woman he had been battling.
She was the last thing he saw on this earth.
Cerdic met each of Lancelot's swings evenly and said, "You came to your friend's aid, why? You should have left him to die. He is weak. You are strong. Why wait your time with him?"
Lancelot didn't bother to answer as he, instead said, "You know, you really shouldn't have challenged Tristan to begin with…when it was two women friends of ours that killed your second son months earlier."
Cerdic roared with anger, but his powerful strikes never gave him purchase.
Lancelot was tiring though. He was evenly matched to this Saxon-King, but he was tiring out faster than normal. He supposed it was because he had gotten little to no sleep in the last three days, but he also knew the Arthur was close by.
As he tripped over a protruding bloody arm, he looked up into the victorious eyes of Cerdic, the Saxon King. As Lancelot readied himself to role to the left, he spotted Arthur's red armor from the corner of his eyes.
Lancelot sighed in relief as he rolled to the side, and Arthur took his place.
He did it. He saved Tristan's life.
Now, all he had to do was get him AND Tristan back to the Healing Chambers safety.
Arthur gazed around him and felt a huge weight lift from his soul as Cerdic's body collapsed at his feet. The battle was done. The Britons had won. Now, all that was left was cleaning up.
As he looked through the wispy smoke, he saw Sarmatia kneeling next to a weakly sitting body. It looked familiar to him too-GUINEVERE!
As he rushed to her side, he threw off his helmet, and wrapped his arms around the lithe figure of the woman he JUST realized he loved.
Sarmatia looked at them and said as Guinevere wrapped her arms around him too, "She's alive Arthur…we all are."
The day was bright and beautiful. Arthur, who was dressed in his finest Roman Regalia, was standing in the center of the Ring of Stones with Guinevere, who was dressed in a beautiful white dress and veil, Lancelot, who was standing to his left beside him, was dressed in his best armor, and Sarmatia, who was standing to Guinevere's right, was dressed in a beautiful violet gown that nearly matched Guinevere's wedding dress and Sebille who was dressed in a pretty yellow gown too.
Merlin handed Arthur a golden chalice.
As he and Guinevere both drank from it, Merlin took it back, place it on the alter, and said proudly, " Arthur, Guinevere, our people are one. As you are."
The people cheered happily as the new couple had their first kiss as husband and wife. No one was happier for them than the two inside the circle with them-Lancelot and Sarmatia. They smiled lovingly at one another and both dreamt of their own wedding-to-be in two weeks.
Bors, who was celebrating with everyone else, looked upon the contented face of his commander and king, looked at Vanora, and then said to his eleventh child, whom he was currently holding, "Now I'm really gonna have to marry your mother."
Vanora, who was hugging Romana, her best friend, happily, snorted and said sarcastically as she took eleven from him, "Who said I'd have you?"
Then Merlin went to his knees, and shouted, "King Arthur!"
The Knights were astounded as everyone around them went to their knees too. In amazement, they slowly fell to their knees too as the people cheered, "Hail, Arthur!"
Arthur from his place upon the cliffs with his new wife, Guinevere, looked out upon his lands and new subject and said in promise, "Let every man, woman, child bear witness that from this day all Britons will be united in one common cause."
With those words, he thrusted Excalibur into the air and smiled when Guinevere's hand joined his.
The Knights watched with wide eyes as the threw their own swords into the air in a respective salute and the Britons jumped to their feet and cried out gloriously, "Arthur! Arthur!"
Bors threw his own into the air and cried out loudly, "Artorius!"
Arthur glanced at him with a smile and said smile grew even larger as Lancelot cried out, "Hail, King Arthur Pendragon! King of the Briton Isles! Hail!"
In a place that is and a place that once was, a woman stood guard over the world and watched with proud eyes as Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Sarmatia, for the first time ever in all the lives they've had, laughed and acted childishly during the wedding celebrations of Lancelot and Sarmatia.
"Well done my children...you've beatan Fate."
"Not necessarily..." echoed three voices in harmony.
The gaurdian smirked mirthlessly and said, "We'll see, Fates, we'll see..."
I cut a few scenes out because the women were there. Like the scene with Lancelot and Guinevere. That didn't happen here because Sarmatia was there and Lancelot didn't want to hurt her feelings by talking so intimately with Guinevere!
I added a couple of scenes too because I added a third survivor, Sebille.