Tag Archives: King Arthur

Under in the Mere

A perfectly preserved 900-year-old sword has been discovered on the sea bed off the coast of Israel…


Moses and Aaron reached the top of the hill and gazed in wonder at Canaan, spread out before them.

It was all that had been promised – a fertile, green, sun-warmed land of softly rolling hills and gently murmuring streams. It truly was a land of milk and honey – well, a flat-pack version, in that they could see cows and hear bees, so actual milk and honey would require some further assembly. It was perfect, apart from one thing.

The Red Sea was between them and it.

“I was not expecting that,” said Moses.

Aaron looked back over his shoulder. Behind him were the Israelites, wearily taking this pause as a chance to sit and rest.  Behind them, though, and for the first time, he could see a distant cloud of dust.

The Egyptians were gaining on them.

Aaron nudged his brother . “We have to move,” he said.

“Move where?” asked Moses, spreading his hands in despair.

The sea parted, leaving a passageway between two huge walls of water.

Aaron looked in astonishment at Moses, who quickly dropped his hands. “Your guess is as good as mine,” he said.

They stared into the passage. Fish gasped on the sea-bed. Crabs scuttled sideways, claws poking at the walls. A monk seal sat confused in mid-air for a second, Wile E Coyote-like, before dropping to the wet sand with a loud squelchy splat.

But these sights were ignored by the brothers, who were gazing instead at the figure standing in the centre of the corridor.

It was a woman – a beautiful woman, in a long, flowing white dress, water streaming from her long, flowing blonde hair. Her hand held a long sword and her eyes held a look of absolute fury.

“Who are you?” said Aaron.

“I am the Lady of the Lake,” replied the woman icily.

Moses looked at the huge sea. “Lake?” he said.

The Lady shrugged. “It’s just my name,” she said. “It doesn’t mean I’m from here, like Denzel Washington’s name doesn’t mean he’s from Washington.”

“I don’t know who that is, and I don’t know where that is,” said Moses.

The Lady sighed. “That’s the problem with being immortal, and moving back and forward through time,” she said. “I’m never sure who knows what. Anyway, never mind that now,” she went on, waving one arm along the passage. “What’s the story with this?”

Moses went to spread his hands, then thought better of it. “I needed a way across,” he said simply.

“And you’ve never heard of boats?” snapped the Lady. She pointed to the reeds growing by the bank. “You could have quickly made some from these,” she said.

“What, like a Moses basket?” said Moses. “I never thought of that.”

“Or,” continued the Lady, “you could have let me help you, which is why I came here in the first place.”

“And how were you planning to do that?” asked Moses.

The Lady held aloft the sword. “I was going to give you this,” she said. “To vanquish your enemies.”

Moses looked behind him. The cloud of dust was nearer now. He could see the Egyptians. There were lots of them.

“What, on my own?” he asked.

“Of course not,” said the Lady. “The sword makes you King. Your people then follow you into battle.”

Moses and Aaron looked at the bedraggled group sitting on the hillside. They had been awakened at night and urged by the brothers to flee their homes immediately, so they carried few possessions. A few of the older ones had walking-staffs. A small child was clutching a Noah action doll. The lack of weaponry was of biblical proportions.

“I can’t see that going well,” said Aaron.

“No, it works,”  said the lady. “I’ve done it, or at least will do it, with a guy in England.”

“And how does he get on?” asked Moses, intrigued.

“Well,” admitted the Lady, “he gets killed in battle.” She saw the look on their faces and quickly went on, “but he’s called the Once and Future King,” she said. “He’ll be back one day.”

“A second coming?” said Moses. “It doesn’t sound very likely.”

“Look,” said Aaron, “as I see it we have two options here. We could take a sword from a mermaid dressed in white -”

“Clothèd,” said the Lady.

“What?” said Aaron.

“I am clothèd, in white samite,” said the Lady. “It’s got two syllables.”

“Whatever,” said Aaron. “Anyway, we could try that option, where Moses takes this sword and heads off to get his head off, or we could use Plan, er, the second letter in Hebrew,”

“And that Plan is?” asked the Lady.

“We could all just run along the passageway through the water.”

They could now hear the yells of the Egyptians approaching. The Israelites had all stood and were looking imploringly at Moses, who looked at the Lady.

“Sorry, Miss,” he said, “but we’re out of here.”

The Lady of the Lake looked on sullenly as the brothers hastened their people into the narrow corridor, the terrified Israelites gazing to either side at fish gazing back at them from the world’s first aquarium. She watched until they reached the far shore, then slowly brought her hands together.

The waters closed. The Egyptians came to an emergency sliding stop on the stones at the sea edge, though a few were thrown over their camels’ heads and into the foaming waves.

The Lady of the Lake breathed in, gratefully filling her lungs with water. Then her arm broke the surface, the sword held by its hilt. She brandished it three times, then hurled it as far as she could out into the sea.

“I am pissèd off,” she said, “with two syllables.”





A Song Of The Sea

The last girl had left the stage in tears, having been told that her voice sounded like whale-fart played through a conch-shell. The judges were getting frustrated. They had been auditioning for three days now and were no nearer to finding what they were looking for.

“Next,” said Poseidon loudly.

The next girl looked different to the others. Sure, she had the bedraggled curls of a girl who had spent her entire life in the water, and the wrinkled finger-tips to back that up, but her hair was less bleached-looking, as if she had lived in fresh water rather than the sea.

She was almost as naked as the other girls, but wore one really wide white sleeve.

“Why are you wearing one sleeve?” asked Shyryll.

“All I could afford,” said the girl. “Do you have any idea how much white samite costs?”

“Why did you need it?” asked Luway.

“I had to wear it for my last job,” said the girl. “The job description said ‘an arm, clothèd in white samite, held aloft Excalibur’, so I could hardly do it in a red knittèd shawl.”

“Excalibur?” asked Tulisa, whose name was strange enough not to have to mess with it.

“Some sword,” said the girl, shrugging. “A guy took it so he could be King. The once and future King, they called him, which tells me that somewhere along the way there’ll be a gap in his Kingship. Possibly literally, swords can make a pretty big hole.”

Poseidon got the feeling that this girl hadn’t spoken to anyone for a long time, and was making up for it now.

“Anyway,” she continued, “the job at the lake was obviously about as temporary as it gets, so when I heard about this audition I decided to give it a go.”

“Might as well start so,” said Tulisa. All of the judges put on their best “I‘m not going to be impressed” faces.

The girl cleared her throat, coughing a small patch of pondweed onto the studio floor in the process, and then loudly shouted “nee-nar, nee-nar, nee-nar”.

There was a short stunned silence. Eventually Poseidon spoke.

“I’m not sure,” he said, “that you actually know what a Siren is.”

“Of course I do,” said the girl. “I can do a really good ice-cream van as well.”

“That’s not what we’re looking for,” said Luway. “Our Sirens are singers who lure sailors onto rocks with the beauty of their songs.”

“Why?” asked the girl. “What have they ever done to you?”

“They take our fish,” said Shyryll lamely.

“Plus they throw their pee over the side of their ships,” said Tulisa.

“I know a song that can lure sailors onto an iceberg,” said the girl. “Would that do?”

“This isn’t going to be My Heart Will Go On, is it?” asked Poseidon.

The girl began to nod, then saw the look on his face. “Er, no,” she said. She thought for a few seconds. “How about this then?”

She began to sing, a melody without words, and the judges mouths fell open, which is unfortunate when you’re underwater. Her voice had an aching, haunting beauty, the kind that took your soul, kissed it, then crushed it like a rose-petal.

When she finished the final notes seemed to hover in the air, almost visibly. The four judges stood and applauded.

“Oh my God,” said Poseidon, forgetting for the moment that he was in fact his own god. “If we get you some backing singers you could be a huge hit. What’s your name?”

“The Lady Of The Lake,” she said.

“Too long,” said Tulisa. “We’re going to call you Lorelei.”

“And keep the white sleeve,” said Shyryll. “We can use it as your gimmick.”

And there she is (via Wikipedia)

And there she is (via Wikipedia)

The Once And Future Tin

The prompt at our Inksplinters Writers Group this week was to write about ancestry…


Great-great-great-to-the-power-of-about-ten-Grandfather Tin was one of the Knights of the Round Table.

He was short, as I am, so he was never sent into battle, since his suit of armour was so small that if he wore it he looked like R2D2.

Instead he became the Scribe of Camelot, writing a daily journal which he published under the title Worth Doing Nightly. He didn’t mean anything rude by this, he just wasn’t very good at spelling.

His interests included quaffing, wenching and rolling cheeses down a hill. In this he and I are very different, as here in Ireland we don’t have round cheeses.

Like me, they say his heart was in the right place, but since everyone’s is this is not all that interesting. What is interesting is that, like me, his heartbeat could be erratic, so as a pacemaker Merlin conjured up a small ball of fire inside him, which would power him should anything go wrong with his heart. After this Tin cut down drastically on his wenching, you don’t want to do anything too exerting when you’re wearing what is basically an internal volcano.

Tin used to take part in the Weekly Portrait Challenge, in which he would write a story inspired by that week’s portrait of Guinevere. It was after he unluckily made up one about a queen falling in love with the king’s most trusted knight (“they kiƒsed, then went at it like bunnieƒ”) that he was banished forever from Camelot.

He was forced to live in Penury, a small town in Gloucestershire, with a square table and with his bride, Lady Missustin. He had met her when she was a handmaiden (what we now call a manicurist) to Guinevere.

And there he started the Tinfamily, leaving a lineage of a love of writing, a dearth of verticality and a tendency towards volatile cardiology.

I realise that I have forgotten to explain how he became a Knight of the Round Table in the first place. Arthur knighted him after Tin saved his life, killing a boar that had been about to gore Arthur. He did this by stabbing it with a sword that he found stuck in a nearby stone.

Arthur had then taken the sword, looking thoughtful, then dubbed Tin on both shoulders with it and then said “let’s say nothing about this.”

Sir Tin, as he now was, had agreed. We were never a very bright family.