The short story “Bel Nemeton” appears in the anthology After Avalon from 18th Wall Productions. A novel-length retelling is scheduled for February 2017.
The dream was over. Tears streaked down his wizened face as he surveyed the landscape. Bodies lie strewn throughout the Camlann Valley, chill winds carrying the stench of smoke and blood into his acute nostrils. He had arrived too late, taking too long to escape the bewitching Nimue’s imprisonment. The escape was a tale worthy of Arthur’s best knights, but it didn’t matter. He had failed in his duty.
In his mind, Myrddin saw how the battle had unfolded, as surely as if he witnessed it. Without the benefit of his counsel and his knowledge of tactics learned from the old Romans, Arthur and his men had simply charged, trusting that valor and strength of arms alone could carry the day against the rebellious Mordred and his Saxon allies. Arthur and his knights had won the battle…and destroyed themselves in the process. The king had lingered for several hours afterward, so Myrddin had been told. But the old man had not reached the Camlann in time to say goodbye.
Now, Britain was without her king. The foe was vanquished, but there would be another wave of Saxons. As far as he could tell, there would always be another wave of Saxons.
He looked up, it was Cei.
“Is it done?” Myrddin asked, wiping the tears from his face.
Cei nodded gravely. Myrddin noticed the wound to his face. His cheek would always have a scar. It would match the one on his heart.
“What will you do now?”
Cei considered the question. “Stay here. Rally the others. Try to pick up the pieces. You?”
Myrddin, too, thought before answering. “Darkness descends upon this land and no man shall stop it. I shall walk the wide world searching for Arthur’s spirit. And, if I do not find it, I shall simply go home.”
“God be with you in your quest,” Cei said.
“And the gods be with you in yours.”
Continue to another excerpt from Bel Nemeton.
c. 2016 Jon Black