The Return to Sarmatia 15

Camelot

Lancelot looked to the coved shore through the Captain's magnscope and saw a blockade of twenty ships blocking the main port entry into Kameland City.

Fortunately the Key Points were miles from shore, so their entrance into the city was still unknown.

Lancelot turned to Nazim and said, "Head to the east! There is a secret cove hidden by the mountains there! We can gain entry there!"

Captain Nazim, by now, had come to recognize that these Lords knew the ways of warcraft and followed the orders given.

Once inside the key points, he steered the tiller to starboard and with a hale gust of wind, the Nomadic Tribe sailed silently through the crystal clear waters.

As the reached the hidden cove, the Captain eyed the white mountain nervously.

Gawain, who had come to stand by him, smile in understanding and said soothingly, "Keep going, the whites in the mountain hid the entrance. With the growing dawn, the path will be revealed."

Even as he said this, the sun's rays hit the white marble mountain and a blue line of water, like an arrow to the heart, appeared and lead the way into a small cove.

On either side of the cove though, two severe watch towers, each manned with ten soldiers armed with heavy Sarmatian bows for reach and mirror smooth shields for blinding the enemies eyes, loomed over the Nomadic Tribe.

Tristran, raised a golden horn, in the shape of a dragon with sapphire eyes, and blew into it three times.

The crew of the Nomadic Tribe listened in awe as three high and pure toned blasts reverberated through the cove.

All the arrows that had been pointed threatening at them vanished and a cheer was heard from the tower's battlements.

Once the ship had been put to port, Lancelot and the others of the Order of the Dragon and Knights of the Round Table, rushed up to the commander of the hidden cove and Lancelot ordered, "Send word to the King! We have landed and will be there momentarily!"

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

It had been a long four months for Arthur and those who remained of his court.

It had stared weeks before Lancelot and the others even left Camelot.

At first, it was tiny things like barely veiled threats from the Western Empire and discriminating letters about his choice of wife and home.

Lancelot had been terribly worried then; not he.

But then again, he had the kingdom to worry about; Lancelot's duty was to protect him and his family.

Not that it wasn't his duty to protect his family, but Lancelot's duty was more focused on protecting the Royal Family while he as King protected the entire kingdom; his wife, son, and daughter included.

Once Lancelot and the others left their shores, it seemed like he and the others were besieged on all sides by Emperor Odorace and his pirate ring of mercenaries.

It wasn't all out war, to that Arthur was very thankful, but the skirmishes all along Camelot's borders were causing him and the others no small amount of sleepless nights.

In fact, the very next day, after Lancelot left them, Camelot's heir apparent, Prince Mordwen, and Queen Cordelia, his beloved son and wife, had been attacked and wounded.

Without Lancelot's protective aura beside him, his once hidden worries about his family's safety roared into being.

If not for his insistence that they have guards whilst they walked along the beach, they would have died out there all alone with arrows lodged in their shoulders.

The guards got them out of there and fought off the raging bandits that tried to come ashore.

He wrote his letter to Lancelot then and there.

He purposely left out the wounds though.

He didn't think making Lancelot panic on the way back would do him or the others any good.

Cordelia and Mordwen wounds had healed easily enough.

He and the others knights couldn't quite claim the same healthy bodies as his wife and son though.

He had lacerations on both of his shoulders that were quite deep. They ached even now months later. The Healers theorized it was because his muscles and tendons wore torn. While muscles healed quickly; tendons did not.

He could barely lift Excalibur in defense.

Bors had a concussion and a cracked rib. Neither wound would let him fight in any future battles.

Dagonet had a pierced shoulder and a broken clavicle.

Dean, Seamus, and Conner were better off than he and other others, but not by much.

It was a truly sorrowful picture they made in their Great Hall.

As Arthur read a battle map of the surrounding area, a messenger came running in and gasped out as he fell to his knees before his Lords and Majesty, "My King! My Lords! Marques Lancelot and the other Lords of Britain have returned! They shall be here momentarily!"

Arthur, despite his wounded shoulders, jumped to his feet in glee and commanded, "Get this man food and drink!"

As his orders were being done, he turned to his friends and said, "Now, that Lancelot and the others have returned, we can start our little ruse."

Bors, Dagonet, Dean, Seamus, Connor, and the Duke's of Britain smiled evilly.

This plan had been made weeks ago, when the ships began to block their ports. It called for the armies to swarm the enemies' infantry and the kingdom's navy to attack the enemies' navy head on.

While this was happening, Lancelot and the others would have ample chaos in which to travel to Camelot.

From there, Arthur would ride out, showing his true aches and pains to both native and enemy alike, under a counterfeit white flag of peace, and ask for treaty.

Emperor Odorace, who had arrived not two weeks ago, would then come to meet him, overconfident in his belief that Arthur was alone.

For some reason, Odorace had waited until it was proven that Lancelot wasn't here by the King's side.

Unknown to Arthur and the others, Odorace had experience in fighting Lancelot before. Once when they were children, Odorace came upon a learning Lancelot and challenged the thirteen year old to a duel.

Overconfident in his abilities, fourteen year old Odorace charged at Lancelot and began to beat his sword against the younger man's sword.

And for a time, it looked like Odorace would win, for Lancelot's skill was novice level at best then, but as Lancelot's sword arm lowered and Odorace made to move in for the kill, Lancelot's arm swung with a strength not seen yet in their battle and tumbled Odorace's sword from his hand.

Unarmed, and totally vulnerable to Lancelot's sword, a young Odorace fell to his knees in terror. Lancelot, with adrenaline flowing through him, raised his sword to take his first victory; only he couldn't.

Instead, to appease his guilty conscious, he slashed his sword along side his elder's face.

Odorace's face would forever more carry the scar along his left eye-which would eternally be out of focus, down his nose, and across his lips, which would forever scowl at everyone-friend or foe-and end just under his chin.

Odorace vowed revenge against Lancelot and for the next twenty years watched and listened for any word of his enemy.

At first he planned revenge on the Lion Tribe, and he in fact had a hand in urging the Huns into attacking the Tribe years before (reference to Reunion), but when he realized his enemies true heart lay elsewhere he watched and waited some more.

When word got out that Lancelot was leaving his beloved friend and king, Odorace, now a powerful man with authority and power behind him, knew it was time to get his long awaited revenge.

He attacked Camelot.

He attacked Lancelot's King and country.

He attacked Lancelot's friends and family.

Though they didn't understand why he had waited, it was obvious he didn't like or want Lancelot around.

So Arthur, Bors, Dagonet and the others built a final siege plan around this strange aversion to Lancelot and his presence in Camelot.

Unfortunately, until Lancelot returned to Camelot, the Knights of the Round Table had to play a defensive strategy that none cared for.

But now, with news of his and the others' return, their long awaited plan could be initiated.

With Lancelot and the others, traveling under the camouflage of battle, when Emperor Odorace arrived in the Great Hall for treaty, Lancelot would already be there ready and waiting.

Arthur, though thrilled by his friend's return simply because he was home, was ecstatic that Lancelot was finally here.

He could finally fight back!