Karragon’s Bane: The Guardian of Avalon

Eastward he went, cursing himself as he traveled: what nonsense was this? Lost and with no means of survival, he had listened the word of the wind. Anger overtook him as distant memories began to appear in his mind.

A great stone hall, draped in deep red and amethyst. Great warriors. Knights. Large feasts, smooth beer. Mead. What little he could remember made him long to be whisked away, back to the moments locked in memory, whatever they had been. Knowing this was hopeless, he proceeded forward.

The trees were old and strong. Their roots were large and firmly embedded into the soil. Oak, most likely. And very alive. Perhaps it was too alive. Was it…no…trees can’t—what witchcraft was this? The tree was staring, as if with its own eyes.

“What the—?” As he turned not too uncomfortably away, he found that the entire wood gazed upon him. Then he saw the creature that had astonished him earlier.

It was a man, Or seemed so. His features were strange, exaggerated greatly, although he couldn’t have been a foot tall. Large ears, long nose, spider-like limbs. Curious creature, he thought.

“What?” it croaked, with a sudden air of offense. “Never seen brùnaidh before?” Evidently the youth hadn’t kept his last thought to himself.

“My apologies, I meant no—“ a second look of displeasure from the strange man checked his speech for a moment, and he endeavored to say that he hadn’t seen any man of the kind before.

“Man?!” the brùnaidh gagged. “Man?! I have not lived four hundred years to be so insulted! My kind has been here long before yours was born, boy, and mark my words, we’ll be here long after!”

A buck with long, strong antlers and deep, dark eyes approached them. Apparently the strange creature the knew the beast, and called out, “Hey, Lightfoot! did you hear? This young fool thinks I’m a man! A man!” .

“Enough.” The knight started. The buck continued, “This man is wounded, he needs—” Lightfoot’s eyes rested on the sword. In a look of wonder and realization, exclaimed, “Get Aero. Make haste!”

The brùnaidh went off, and spitting the word Man as if swearing.

After some minutes, high-pitched, raspy voice echoed from further behind the circle.

“Is it he?”

Assuming it was another animal, the knight looked around, only to find a Dwarf sitting next to a squirrel, his white beard resting on his legs and extending into the grass.

“It is he.” Deep, soft tones matched the commanding sound of the east wind, followed by the sound of pad-feet on the forest floor. Before the young man’s eyes was nothing less than a gryphon. Of such beasts he had heard before, but what justice were stories to the sight of it?

Dark, discerning eyes, menacing talons, graceful wings. Large, powerful, yet without malice. Here was a being to be feared, yet why did love accompany it so readily? All the knight’s confusion turned to wonder and worship at the sight of so noble a creature, so that he fell down upon his knees.

“Young knight, why do you kneel?”

He could not answer. The gryphon paused, looking at the sword with great intensity.

“Rise. I am Aero, King of the Sky and Guardian of Avalon. I am sent by the Knight of the Lake, Pelleas, the same who was of the Round Table. Your arrival has been long awaited, Pendragon. All hail the Pendragon, King Arthur of Camelot!”

As cheers arose in the forest, the knight’s head swam and his memory revived. Pendragon. Arthur. Arthur! Fear seized him, and with a violence of passion he swung the sword. He stood, swinging all the more wildly.

“Away, foul traitor! You are no brother of mine! You shall not have the King!”

Pain gripped him once more, causing him to fall. His sight failed him, and he could hardly hear anything, save a few words from Aero.

“He is losing consciousness. Grimboch, take him…”


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