In Pan Post 158, still on Outpost Finagle, Sir Kay and Sir Bedivere are accosted by giants after Sir Bedivere made a comment about penis-size in relation to the body mass of the creatures being disproportionate. Sir Kay almost manages to agree to a truce but he couldn't help laugh at the giant's name being Michel, which prompts a chase. Sir Lancelot takes his son, Sir Galahad, to a strip club to help his son see his first real woman. Galahad wants to talk about his mother but Lancelot avoids the question. They are horrified when the strippers turn out to be men, not women, and they flee the strip club. King Arthur is banned from the casino for winning too much money and is headed to his hotel room with the mountains of gold when Sir Palamedes arrives and tries to attack Morganna le Fay. He was sent on a fake quest by Sir Caelia in Pan Post 157 to retrieve Morgan's underwear in the name of God. Morgan finds her magic doesn't work against Palamedes' armour so she buries in him Arthur's winnings. The Greene Knight and The Red Rose Knight are in the Botanical Garden where there is a small tree that existed in the universe prior to the NeSiverse and is the last remnant of it. Then they see a human who is not from Camelot. They interrogate the unassuming man and learn of the Old Republic. They speculate these humans are the descendants of Prince Oberon, the ancient fairy that left Earth for the stars. The Old Republic, and its capital planet Coruscant, are under threat from the Aos Sí known as the Dread Masters. King Arthur also learns of this from a bus boy in the hotel. He initially wants to conquer the Old Republic but Queen Guinevere convinces him it would be more Christian and honourable to save the Old Republic from the villainous Dread Masters. Newrias arrives at the room in search of Sir Palamedes but takes the opportunity to request that he could build a laboratory on Camelot to create his potions. Shortly after, Guinevere is walking outside the hotel room when she watches The Red Cross Knight run by with a spring onion he believes, also thanks to Sir Caelia in Pan Post 157, to be of God. She then meets Queen Iseult who confides that her father, King Óenegus, may be plotting a rebellion against Arthur. The two queens see Sir Kay and Sir Bedivere escape giants down a garbage shoot before they are then taken prisoner by King Caradoc and his mercenaries. In the arena, Sir Tristram defeated the rancor and stood victorious. But with its last breathe, the beast kills him from behind. His wife, Isolde of the White Hands, uses every ounce of her power to keep him alive and restore his broken body. But because she is restoring his life, not making him undead, she reaches the brink of death herself. She remembers how she became a White Hand, introduced to NeSferatu by her Aunt Anna, where she was fed on by Nyneve to the very point of death and then restored to life again. This repeated process gave her great powers over the undead and when she met Sir Tristram, banished from England, she told him everything and he accepted who she was. Her father, and the Templars, eventually learnt of the evil in his lands and he killed the NeSferatu in their covens and the White Hands were burnt at the stake. When he found his own daughter to be one he showed enough mercy to kill her by the sword himself but she was restored by her Aunt Anna. Anna was then killed but Isolde escaped with her husband to King Arthur's court. She wonders if she will survive now but she realises she is not quite strong enough. In the docking bay where Camelot rests, Admiral Ltexi has just finished graffiting the ship when Sir Galahad shows up. He nervously kisses her and she returns the romantic sentiment. She has to return to Jupiter, however, and her several husbands. Their kiss is interrupted by Sir Robin who sees the giant penis drawn on the ship and Gamma Pans who is surprised at how ugly a human penis looks.
Dark Times Part II
Characters: King Arthur | Queen Guinevere | Prince Mordred | Morganna le Fay | Merlin the Younger | Sir Kay | Sir Lancelot | Sir Bedivere | Sir Galahad | Sir Tristram | Sir Caelia | Sir Red Rose Knight | Sir Black Knight | Sir Faerie Knight | Andy | Admiral Ltexi | Gamma Pans | King Mark | Queen Iseult | Sir Gawain | Sir Robin | Sir Greene Knight | Isolde of the White Hands | Sir Palamedes | Newrias | King Óenegus | Princess Guinevak | King Lot | King Urien | King Caradoc | Queen Morgause | Anglitora | Prester John | The Red Cross Knight | Sir Scottius | Sir Britthomas | Sir Alistair | King Hoel | Tiarna Des-Mhumhain | Nyneve
Sir Kay: "What did you say to the guy!?"
Sir Bedievere scrambles off of Kay and peeks around the edge of their table.
Sir Bedivere: "I merely pointed out that many of the largest creatures actually have very small penises in relation to their expansive bodies!"
Sir Kay stares at Bedivere.
Sir Kay: "You said that to a giant!?"
Sir Bedivere: "Yes, I'm sure to us his penis may appear large. But in relation to the actual size of his body I'm sure it is actually--"
A bar stool hits their table.
Sir Kay: "I seriously don't want to discuss penis sizes with you, Bedivere!"
Sir Bedivere: "Apparently neither did the giant! I don't know why, it's a fascinating topic if you stop to think about it!"
Sir Kay: "You stop and think of penises a lot do you?"
Sir Bedivere: "Sometimes, yes! I mean, just consider foreskin for a moment--"
Sir Kay: "Nope!"
He jumps from behind the table and runs towards the grand piano. This time a body flies in his direction and slams the lid of the piano down. It was the pianist himself.
Sir Kay: "From penises to pianists. Sounds like the name of my memoirs."
Sir Bedivere: "Did you know that only the first three inches of a woman's vagina are truly sensitive? The rest is just... extra room?"
Sir Kay slowly turns his head as though he's being followed by an insidious demon. And frankly he sometimes wonders.
Sir Kay: "I just moved away from you so I don't have to have this conversation!"
Sir Bedivere: "I thought we were moving to better cover!"
Sir Kay whips a white flag out of his armour and waggles it in the air. The flag is a constant hidden asset used in the most dire of times. Which is frequently.
Since no more objects, or persons, are flung in his direction, Kay assumes it's safe to come out. He slowly inches from behind cover and finds the giant standing there, waiting. The monstrous man is three times the size of Kay and has long, lank, blonde hair that could have made a good duvet. The man is lithe with sinewy arms and visibly bulging veins. His face is chiselled with a sharp, square jaw.
Sir Kay: "Look, fella. I'm sorry about my mate. He's a daft sod that doesn't know what he's talking about half the time--"
Sir Bedivere: "I do!"
Sir Kay: "Or when to stop talking!"
There's a pause.
Sir Bedivere: "I believe that is what you call a hint, am I correct?"
Sir Kay: "See what I mean?"
Giant: "Your boyfriend needs to learn his place."
There's some jeering from the giant's pals.
Sir Kay: "Heh, boyfriend. Yeah, good one. Right. So we cool?"
Seeing he has the upper hand here, the giant presses.
Giant: "I dunno. I feel like some kind of reimbursement might be in order. For psychological damages."
His pals get a good laugh again.
Sir Kay: "Right. We ain't got anything to give you, mate. Sorry. How about we just leave you boys to your evening and we'll get out of your way."
The giant takes a mighty step forward.
Giant: "You punks insult the Mighty Michel and think you can just walk away!?"
Sir Kay snorts and quickly tries to cover his mouth.
Sir Kay: "I'm sorry, you said your name is Michelle?"
Michel: "It's French for Michael. Not like--"
Sir Kay starts guffawing. Prompted by the sudden hilarity, even Michel's friends start bawling with laughter. The giant looks desperate as he's humiliated.
Michel: "Hey! It's not funny! Quit it! That's it!"
Michel grabs one of his friends and throws the man straight at Sir Kay. Kay ducks and the man slams into the piano with a resounding clanging of keys.
Sir Kay: "Okay, okay. Sorry... Michelle."
The whole bar starts laughing.
Michel: "You-- you'll pay for that!!"
The giant charges and Sir Kay draws his sword.
Sir Galahad: "Dad, what did you say this place was called again?"
Sir Lancelot: "Bunny-somethings. I don't know. These space people think that women dressed as rabbits is sexy. And honestly from some of these bunny girls I've seen strutting around, I'm inclined to agree! Just you wait, my son! We'll make a man of you today!"
He slaps Galahad on the back. Galahad feels like he's about to step into a deep, dark chasm he'll never return from.
While they're waiting, Galahad takes the opportunity to address something that's been bothering him for a while.
Sir Galahad: "Father... there's something I've been wanting to ask you about."
Lancelot leans forward and nods knowingly.
Sir Lancelot: "I know, I know."
Sir Galahad: "You... do?"
Sir Lancelot: "When you're with a woman, the most important thing is to act like you know what you're doing. Confidence is the key to unlocking her soul. And her underwear if it's a chastity b--"
Sir Galahad: "I didn't mean that! I wanted to ask about... about my mother."
Sir Lancelot taps the table with his knuckles and glances around.
Sir Lancelot: "Why hasn't someone waited us yet? Hello, we need to order a couple of drinks over here!"
He waves at one of the waiters.
Sir Galahad: "Don't ignore me."
Sir Lancelot: "I'm not ignoring you."
Sir Galahad: "So, my mother?"
Sir Lancelot: "Oh look, they have roasted peanuts!"
Sir Galahad: "Dad!"
Host: "LADIES AND GENTS, LET THE EVENING'S ENTERTAINMENT COMMENCE!!"
Lancelot hushes Galahad and they watch as the red, velvet curtains are drawn back. Saxophone music starts to flow through the speakers of the club and a bare leg slips into view from the darkness. Several more legs join it. Lancelot almost claps with joy.
Then the bunny-suited hunks strut onto stage.
Lancelot's jaw drops.
Galahad's eyes widen with terror.
Sir Galahad: "You wanted me to see THIS!?"
Sir Lancelot: "NO!"
The hunky men whip off their thongs and our two protagonists flee for their sanity.
Security Robot: "Out, out, out!"
King Arthur: "But I was winning!!"
Security Robot: "You've done enough of that for the night! Try elsewhere!"
King Arthur sulks and turns to look at the cart full of money. Merlin whines as she tries to pull it but it doesn't budge an inch.
Morganna: "I am not pushing anything."
Morganna wiggles her fingers and the cart starts to roll with magic. Merlin straightens her back.
Merlin: "I could have done that."
Morganna: "But you didn't even think of doing it, which is why I'll always be better than you."
Merlin: "You shouldn't rely on magic to solve every problem, Morganna. If ever you're in a place where you can't use magic, you'll be completely useless."
Morganna: "Like that's ever going to happen."
There's a sudden horrifying silence before the three of them sigh with a chuckle.
King Arthur: "You know, for a moment there, I thought you'd jinxed yourself. Haha!"
Merlin: "I half expected a Witch-Warden to come screeching round the corner."
Morganna: "Yeah, let's get out of here before that jinx comes back to bite me on the ar--"
From around the corner emerges a man in shining armour.
Sir Palamedes: "MORGANNA LE FAY!! I HAVE COME!"
Morganna: "Yes... yes you have. Now you can go again."
Sir Palamedes: "I HAVE COME FOR YOUR KNICKERS!"
Morganna slowly reaches out for Arthur and then pinches him.
King Arthur: "OW! What was that for!?"
Morganna: "Checking if I'm awake..."
King Arthur: "Pretty sure you have to pinch yourself for that to work."
Merlin: "Sir Palamedes, you do know it is rude to ask for a lady's... unmentionables?"
Morganna: "Merlin, you're younger than me but you speak like my great-grandmother."
Merlin: "Fine. Have her knickers, Sir Palamedes. I won't stop you."
Sir Palamedes: "Nor should you, fair lady, for I am on a holy quest of God himself!"
King Arthur: "You are!?"
King Arthur: "Actually that's probably true."
Morganna: "Okay, maybe, that is probably true. My knickers are full of evil magic. But you're still not having them!"
King Arthur: "Why?"
Morganna glares at her brother.
Morganna: "Why!? Because they're my knickers! I don't just hand out my underwear to every lunatic that shows up!"
King Arthur: "Well, you could give them to me and I'll give them to the lunatic-- I mean, Sir Palamedes."
Morganna: "Not going to happen."
Sir Palamedes slowly draws his sword and looks skyward (not that there is actually a sky but imagines there's one... or maybe he really doesn't realise there's no actual up in space);
Sir Palamedes: "Oh Lord, grant me thy strength and I shall retrieve that which you seek."
Merlin: "The day that God sought Morganna's knickers... how could I not have predicted this day would come?"
Morganna: "Because it's ridiculous!"
Sir Palamedes: "In the name of the Lord!! WRAAAA!!!"
He charges at Morganna. The witch just shakes her head with disbelief and, with the flip of her wrist, exerts telekinesis upon the knight. He stops still and glances down at himself, checking he's still in one piece. Morganna frowns at her own fingers.
Merlin: "It's his armour. He's protected from magical effects on his person."
Sir Palamedes: "AHA! That's right! I'm protected from your foul sor--"
The cart load of gold slams into Sir Palamedes and he's buried beneath the mountain of gold. Merline winces in sympathy.
Merlin: "Poor man..."
King Arthur: "No true knight of Camelot will give up on his sacred quest so easily. He'll recover and come back to claim God's prize."
Morganna: "Seriously? We're talking about my underwear here."
King Arthur: "Who are we to argue with the will of God?"
Morganna: "Well since I'm a real person and he's not, I think my opinion is the one we'll go with."
King Arthur: "You need to capitalise that, or it's disrespectf--ACK!!"
He's then buried, along with Sir Palamedes, under the weight of his own success.
The Greene Knight: "Feeling better?"
The Red Rose Knight: "Huh? I'm fine-- oh, you mean the plant."
The two of them are in the botanical garden. The entire disc is made of four quadrants, each quadrant having different atmospheres that suits differing plants from across the Multiverse. The stream that runs in a complete circle around the disc has a filtering field at the border of each quadrant, totally changing the minerals within the water as it passes through.
Security droids had already warned Tom a'Lincoln and the Greene Knight from passing into one of the quadrants as they would have melted thanks to the high acidic content of the atmosphere. All they could do was look in through the invisible barrier. There seemed to be a lot of squiddy-looking people in there. The information droid had droned on and on but through the boring spiel they did learn that the quadrants are changed each cycle (whatever passes for a year on the station) to a whole new set of atmospheres. Botanists come back every year to see the new leafage. Only one plant remains there, year-in and year-out. At the dead centre of the barriers, protected by its very own sphere, is a teeny-tiny tree. To Tom it looks like a baby tree, but Greene can sense that the tree is unfathomably old. He could sense that it was feeling a little chilly in its lonely little sphere so he meddled with the tree's warmth to make it feel better. Greene could feel the tree's gratitude.
The Red Rose Knight: "The droid said the tree is from the previous universe that used to be here. It's the last remnant of it. I'm not even sure I know what a universe is."
The Greene Knight: "It's everything."
The Red Rose Knight: "Everything?"
The Greene Knight: "So the information stations tell me."
The Red Rose Knight: "If the old everything is gone, so that mean our everything can... be gone too?"
The Greene Knight: "I suppose so. That's kind of a depressing thought isn't it?"
They stand in mutual silence, a kind of mourning for what would happen one day, until they both see something. They had seen a lot of people on this station. A lot of aliens. Many of them looked like humans but weren't. The Greene Knight himself isn't exactly a homo sapien, but as a naacal he is a genetic cousin as his people have the same evolutionary ancestor. Standing before them now, however, is, most surprisingly, another human. An actual human and not a human-looking thing.
The Greene Knight: "Is that someone from the ship?"
The Red Rose Knight: "Definitely not."
The two men sidle up to the complete stranger, hemming him in from either side. He's a middle-aged man, probably married to a wife and has two kids, a stable job and a nice house. The very picture of an unassuming, good-natured human being that lives in the Old Republic.
And he is confronted with two very peculiar knights in armour that are glaring at either ear.
Unassuming Man: "Can I help you guys?"
The Red Rose Knight: "Are you... human?"
Unassuming Man: "If I answer yes, will you hurt me?"
The Red Rose Knight: "How... are you human?"
The man pauses. He feels he's being led into a pit of snakes.
Unassuming Man: "I was... born?"
The Red Rose Knight: "Born, eeeeeh?"
Tom glares at the poor man with one eye narrowed in suspicion.
The Greene Knight: "He doesn't appear to be a magical construct of any sort..."
Unassuming Man: "Magic? No. I'm from the planet Coruscant. I was born there just like everyone else... Am I being interrogated? Who are you people?"
The Greene Knight: "We'll ask the questions here!"
The Red Rose Knight: "Where is this planet, Crusted Ant?"
The man looks at Tom aghast.
Unassuming Man: "How does that sound anything like--"
The Greene Knight: "Answer the question, unassuming man!"
Unassuming Man: "Unassuming man? What-- okay, okay! I'm no pilot, I can't give you coordinates. It's part of the Old Republic. The capital, in fact."
He has an inch of pride on his face before it whittles quickly away in the face of these two maniacs. He points sheepishly.
Unassuming Man: "See? More humans."
The knights turn from him to a group of humans that just entered. Like the man before them these people were wearing simple trousers and smart jackets, mostly around the theme of beige and other such unobstrsive colours.
The Greene Knight: "There's many of them!"
The Red Rose Knight: "Do you think this is a test of faith from God?"
The Greene Knight: "I don't believe in God... so sure, why not."
The Red Rose Knight: "How can humans be out here? Did God make us on multiple planets?"
The Greene Knight: "Honestly, that's more believeable than we evolved coincidentally the same on multiple planets..."
The Red Rose Knight: "Aha! It's always wonderful when a heathen converts--"
The Red Rose Knight: "He was a fairy?"
The Red Rose Knight: "I remember that thing. Nobody wanted to go inside."
The Greene Knight: "Could be that these humans are descended from the humans that left Earth with Prince Oberon. He had a human wife himself, they must have had children."
The Red Rose Knight: "Wouldn't they have been magically adept like my son?"
The Greene Knight: "Maybe, but I don't know what they'd have been like. Your son is half-faerie not half-fairy."
Tom winces. He just heard the same word twice.
The Greene Knight: "Your wife looks like a little girl, right?"
Unassuming Man: "Ew, dude."
The Red Rose Knight: "Don't judge me, she's a magical girl!"
Unassuming Man: "Yeah, because that made it so much better."
The Red Rose Knight: "She's older than she looks!"
Unassuming Man: "The old soul argument, huh? Pervert."
The Red Rose Knight: "Do you think Arthur will let us declare war against these guys?"
Unassuming Man: "You were mentioning the difference between fairy and faerie?"
The Red Rose Knight: "The difference between the same word? How are you two doing this?"
The Greene Knight: "Well, a fairy is a tiny little one."
Unassuming Man: "Uh, so if his looks like a girl then the fairy looks like... a baby?"
The Greene Knight: "Smaller than that. More like a doll."
Unassuming Man: "Didn't you say this fairy had children with a human?"
The Greene Knight: "I expect Oberon used magic to... enhance himself."
The Red Rose Knight: "You mean to make himself bigger?"
Unassuming Man: "Or to make himself bigger. You know what I mean, right?"
The Red Rose Knight: "Why are you getting involved in this anyway?"
Unassuming Man: "Hey, you guys came to me, remember?"
The Greene Knight: "I do know fairies have wings."
They look at the guy.
The Red Rose Knight: "Know any people with wings?"
Unassuming Man: "Not really no... but if it was a long-ass time ago then that would have been bred out anyway. Their kids would have been with humans, and their kids with humans again. They'd be like 1% fairy by now."
The Red Rose Knight: "Maybe this unassuming man is a descendent of Oberon!"
The Greene Knight: "Could be! Actually all of them probably are. If you go far back enough down the lineage. Unless there's a lot of incest out here in space, then the genes should have been spread enough that they'd all be related to those ancient settlers."
The Red Rose Knight: "Hey, unassuming man, when was Coruscant founded?"
Unassuming Man: "Hey, I'm just a window cleaner. I clean peoples' windows. I don't know anything about history. Except the history of the super bowl playoffs. Sports history, I'm your man. Boring history, better ask a teacher or something."
The Greene Knight: "Maybe... maybe we shouldn't tell the king about this."
The Red Rose Knight: "Why? This is amazing news!"
The Greene Knight: "He'll only want to try to conquer them."
Unassuming Man: "Oh great. You know, that's exactly why we're a republic. Dictators and kings trying to go round and conquer everyone. Your guy sounds just like them damned sith."
The knights perk up, as all heroes should, at the sound of a dangerous villain. The mere intonation that the man used was enough to confirm the evil within these 'sith' characters.
The Greene Knight: "Please explain, Unassuming Man."
Unassuming Man: "They're Æon that have gone bad."
From the blank expressions on the knights' faces, the man realises he's in for the long ride. After a while of explaining, as best he could with what little knowledge of the subject he has, he managed to convey that the Æon are people who use their souls to affect the physical world around them. They're supposed to be neutral in all things but some go bad and become Aos Sí, otherwise known as Sith, while others are so good that they become Daoine, known as Jedi. The Red Rose Knight likes the idea of the Jedi but The Greene Knight, being more pragmatic, understands the need for neutrality.
Unassuming Man: "Coruscant isn't in danger yet, but this group of sith, the Dread Masters, are a rising menace in the Old Republic. Like phantoms they strike and vanish and have never been defeated by the republic forces."
The Red Rose Knight: "Sounds like the republic needs our help, we might be their old hope!"
The Greene Knight: "And in return, Arthur will expect to be made king of the republic."
The Red Rose Knight: "Arthur enjoys a good conquest, it's true. But he's a man of honour and chivalry at his core. If good and honest people are in need, he would help them, I'm sure of it."
King Arthur: "AHA! LET'S CONQUER THEM!"
Arthur has cornered another unassuming man, this time a bus boy from the hotel he's staying at, and has learnt much of what our knights in the botanical gardens have learnt. And come to a very different decision after all.
Sir Gawain: "Sire, if we were to conquer this Old Republic, we would inherit this problem of the Dread Masters for ourselves."
Arthur's room is the royal suite of the hotel and he has hired the entire floor for the use of the people of Space Britain with his massive winnings from the casino downstairs. Queen Guinevere had suggested that they could place the money into a bank or invest it to earn more money, but Arthur started to get bored and blanked out much of what she said until they came across the innocent bus boy.
King Arthur: "That's fine. We'll conquer them too!"
Unassuming Bus Boy: "You underestimate them, Mr Pendragon. Actually you underestimate the republic for that matter."
King Arthur: "Or is it you that underestimates me!"
Arthur plants his boot on the table to strike a dashing pose. Silence ensues as the bus boy is obviously unimpressed. Arthur grumbles and quietly vows to conquer the bus boy's house first.
Queen Guinevere: "Couldn't we help these people instead?"
King Arthur: "Why would we do that?"
Queen Guinevere: "Then they'll like us."
King Arthur: "AHA! GENIUS! Then they'd declare me their new king!"
Queen Guinevere: "Not what I had in mind, really. They'll help us establish our own colony."
King Arthur: "... no conquering?"
Sir Gawain: "Space Britain."
Queen Guinevere: "...Right."
King Arthur: "I suppose it would be the more noble and selfless act. Defeat the Dread Masters and become the saviour of the republic..."
Queen Guinevere: "Defenders of mankind."
King Arthur: "They might help me set up a new cheese farm on our colony..."
Unassuming Bus Boy: "Oooh! I love cheese! Can I taste your cheese when you make it?"
King Arthur brightens up in an instant.
King Arthur: "Absolutely, my dear boy! I, King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, shall save your kingdom--"
Unassuming Bus Boy: "Republic."
King Arthur: "--and grant you the first taste of my fine, fine cheese!"
Sir Gawain: "That's wonderful, Sire! A holy quest! I just know every knight will be excited to hear the news!"
There's a faint knock at the door and Sir Gawain, the young, naïve man with zero cunning and zero sense of caution as a result, bounds over to the door and swings it open before Guinevere or Arthur could stop him. Luckily it's just the stray drow boy they'd accumulated from Caledonia.
He appears worn out.
Newrias: "Is... is Sir Palamedes here?"
King Arthur: "No. Last I saw him he has chasing Morgan into the women's bathroom. I don't think he ever came out again, actually... I hope she didn't hurt him too much..."
Queen Guinevere: "Why don't you come in and sit down, young squire."
Newrias manages to nod and drag himself into the royal suite. He marvels at the beautiful décor, which is clearly designed by someone who only thinks they know what royal décor is rather than actually knows. Gaudy is the word Guinevere would use. There are even windows with curtains on - curtains to stop nobody from space looking in through the glass.
Newrias slumps on the sofa, which is patterned with far too many frills and pastel coloured flowers than should be legal, and glances at the unassuming bus boy beside him.
Unassuming Bus Boy: "Hi there. Were you kidnapped by these guys too?"
Queen Guinevere: "I'm sorry, you are free to leave. You are not our captive. My husband was just very excited to meet you is all. We didn't expect to meet humans away from Earth."
Unassuming Bus Boy: "Earth? Huh!"
Queen Guinevere: "You know of our world?"
Unassuming Bus Boy: "Only the legends. The legendary birthplace of mankind. How our ancestors travelled the stars and fought dangers to find a new home. I didn't think the place existed. I don't know that anyone does, actually."
King Arthur: "That sounds like our quest!"
Sir Gawain: "It would seem it is human instinct to travel and expand to new lands."
Newrias: "Like a disease..."
King Arthur: "What?"
Newrias: "Sorry, nothing! Just came to me is all! I'm remembering things from my past lives. Phrases and ideas just pop up from nowhere. Sorry."
King Arthur: "Past lives? What blas-"
Queen Guinevere: "Everyone has their own faith and we tolerate that, don't we Arthur?"
Sir Gawain: "The gods don't occupy space like we d--"
King Arthur: "So if we put up with their nonsense, we'll put up with yours."
Newrias: "Thanks. I think..."
Queen Guinevere: "I think I should find some of the other knights and spread the word of our new venture."
King Arthur: "Sir Gawain, so with her and tell everyone you meet."
Queen Guinevere: "No need, I can do it myself. News of this will surely travel fast."
Newrias: "I was actually wondering if I could open a laboratory of my own on your ship, Sire? I know that Merlin has one, I would like one too. If you wouldn't mind?"
King Arthur: "A magician are you?"
Newrias: "Not really. I can make potions. And I think I'd like to try my hand at making some. You have a lot of ingredients, I noticed, in Merlin's lab. So I could borrow some and make all manner of potions."
King Arthur: "Now that sounds useful!"
Sir Gawain: "Could you make a potion to give me super strength?"
King Arthur: "A potion to make my cheese smell even better!?"
Sir Gawain: "A potion to make my hair turn purple!?"
Unassuming Bus Boy: "A potion to give me a better name!?"
Guinevere glides from the royal suite and onto the corridor of the hotel. It's quiet now. Not all of the knights even know they can stay up here yet, that news will likely travel slowly. But she knows that a venture for God will be a hot topic and boost flagging morale. After Saturn and Caledonia the people would be all the better for this task. The glory and respect this Old Republic would give them will make the knights feel like heroes again.
A knight suddenly bursts from one of the hotel rooms holding a very fresh spring onion.
The Red Cross Knight: "I have found it!!"
He runs off with his prize before Guinevere could tell him of the new quest. She shrugs and continues on before she is, again, interupted. This time by Queen Iseult of Dumnonia, the lady of Cornwall. Unusually she is absent her husband. Guinevere spends the majority of her time surrounded by men, especially knights, so to find herself suddenly alone with another woman is a sudden unusual experience. They give each other a little curtsey but Iseult's is quick and impatient.
Queen Guinevere: "I hope that wasn't a sign of disrespect Lady Iseult?"
Iseult realises what she's done and replies with her thick Scottish accent;
Queen Iseult: "Nay, by God! I'm sorry yuir highness. I just was nae thinking clearly."
She repeats the process properly this time.
Queen Guinevere: "Anything on your mind you need to share?"
Queen Iseult: "Aye, actually, there is. I think... I think my father is hatching a plot against you and your husband, your highness. I know I'm betraying my father when I tell you this, but, frankly, he's a right arse."
Queen Guinevere: "He's a very shrewd man, I'll give him that. I'm actually surprised it took him so long to get round to it."
There's suddenly a loud ruckus down the corridor.
Queen Iseult: "Oh no, has it already begun!?"
They watch as two knights run by, one desperately waving a little white flag while the other is trying to explain that he didn't mean to suggest that a tiny head meant a tiny brain. Following them are several giants.
Queen Guinevere: "Sometimes I do wish I could live just one day as Sir Kay or Sir Bedivere. They do live such exciting lives."
They watch as Sir Kay is caught and flung straight into Sir Bedivere and they both go sprawling into the wall. The giants then start to fight over who gets to smush the humans into a pulp. Given a couple of minutes of this, the two knights have managed to slip away through what appears to have been a waste disposal chute.
Queen Iseult: "D'you think we should help them?"
Queen Guinevere: "And spoil their fun? I don't think so."
The giants go stomping off having lost their quarry.
Queen Iseult: "What should we do about my father?"
King Caradoc: "You don't need to worry about him, my dear Iseult. Worry about me."
The two women turn to find King Caradoc standing with several of his own knights; all of them mercenaries hired for plenty of coin to do dark deeds freely. Caradoc's long, lank hair is greasy and his skin is coated in a layer of blistering acne. His blue eyes are dull and almost lifeless as they stare at the two beautiful women. Guinevere, a striking woman in her thirties, and ten-years her younger, Iseult, with her fiery red mane. He is wearing a big black coat that gives him more bulk than is emaciated form actually has and the mink fur lining it is most exquisite - yet unclean. He motions to his knights to take the two women and they know there's not much they can do to resist right now.
The rancor falls to the ground with an almost sorrowful wail and Sir Tristram stands victorious. He places his bow back to his back but he doesn't revel in the cheers as most would. He merely stands and looks out from the arena, searching for his wife. Of course he won, she knew he would, and now she has lost all of her money. That's her self-inflicted punishment for being so difficult with him.
The announcer asks if the challenger would like to take on the next opponent but before Sir Tristram could accept or decline, there's a sudden shout from the crowd. Everyone sees it and they all begin to call out in warning.
It is too late.
The brainless beast doesn't know the concept of honour or respect. It merely lashes out to the man that hurt it. Able to muster enough strength to make one final effort of aggression, the rancor's claws blast through Sir Tristram's back and pierce his lungs. Blood spurts from his mouth and he hangs on its claws with a look of absolute bewilderment. Isolde almost barrels the other audience members out of the way as she surges forward. She hits the railing and grips it until her knuckles are as pale as her namesake. Her mouth hangs open in a silent scream.
Raising the dead is a simple process. She uses a tiny ounce of her own life energies to insert into the corpse and it will bounce around to her music. Granting an undead minion some autonomy requires much more of her life force but she could recover that given time. Stopping death...
She latches onto Sir Tristram with her aura. He slips from the rancor's claws, the beast now as dead as its victim, and his body falls flat on the floor. There are boos and jeers from the crowd, angry that their new hero should be killed by such an underhanded method. He deserved better, they would cry out. And she agrees. He deserved better, possibly deserved better than to be with her as a wife. But she does love him and she knows she loves him more than Iseult did or ever could. And she will prove it.
Her own energy begins to fill the body. She could animate his corpse now, have him shuffle around after her for all eternity. But that would not be than man she loves. More energy and he could have some independent thought but that wouldn't be the true Tristram, his soul still departed and his identity purged. She would have to mend the body and contain the spirit so it couldn't leave. Donn, god of death, would not get his sacrifice this day.
She feels her own life draining. At first it feels like a slow dripping within her chest. Then it feels like all of her innards are gushing out. She hopes she doesn't pee herself, or worse. That would be an embarrassing way to go. But she wouldn't notice if she did because the sensation is the same.
As she dies in favour of her husband, her own life flashes before her eyes. She sees her father;
King Hoel: "You can't marry this vagabond knight of yours, Isolde. I know he is a strong warrior but he has none of the virtues a true knight should hold."
Isolde: "I love him. That should be enough for you."
King Hoel: "It isn't. Most kings would have their princesses married off for political alliances but I wanted better for you. I wanted you to marry a good man. Yes to love but also a man who has goodness in his heart. A kind and caring man."
Isolde: "That kind of man wouldn't suit me, father. He would just make me feel guilty for not being more like him."
King Hoel: "Isolde..."
She wasn't wrong. She had already given away her soul. She had already been claimed by evil hands. She was corrupted long before she met Sir Tristram. He was not evil-doer, but his spirit was not so pure that it could burn her.
She remembers her Aunt Anna. Anna was actually Isolde's first cousin once removed, her father's cousin, but that was too much of a mouthful and so she was dubbed 'Aunt Anna'. Twin sister to Morgause and half-sister to Arthur, Anna was often seen as the 'sane twin'. Unlike Morgause, Anna kept a low profile and never married. It seemed she was destined to join a convent but she was not a Christian. Being from Henn Ogledd, she was one for the old ways of her people. She worshipped the old Celtic gods and the ancestors and through Anna, Isolde turned her back on the Seat of Rome. But Anna began to change and Isolde watched as the youthful, young woman became thin and pale. She remembered when Hoel had insisted on a doctor's visit, who believed that Anna was losing blood. The marks on her neck suggested only one cause; vampires.
Hoel was a man of modern thought and old superstitions didn't concern him. Isolde, though, was intrigued. Once Isolde pressured her aunt to spill the secrets, Anna led her niece into the dark world of blood and rituals. The vampires were, in fact, NeSferatu - an ancient brand of vampires that desired specific blood over all others. A special blood they called blood ink. Isolde had considered becoming one of them, to turn herself into an immortal and powerful being to roam the world alone and terrible. But her aunt showed her another way. The way of the White Hands.
The NeSferatu had several small covens around Gaul and the leader of them was a man dubbed Tiarna Des-Mhumhain by the Celts. He was a figure of great and ancient power that seemed to outstrip every other NeSferatu, as though he may be the original one. But another, even smaller, organisation also existed in Gaul. The cult of the White Hands and they had a deep, dark pact with Tiarna Des-Mhumhain. Anna believed that Des-Mhumhain was, in fact, Donn himself; the god of death. Isolde remembers the first time she watched Des-Mhumhain feed on her aunt. His teeth sank deep into the woman's neck and blood slipped out, splashing down her pale skin. Despite the initial wince of pain, Anna seemed to enjoy the experience and Isolde couldn't help but wonder what it would feel like. But he didn't stop and Isolde thought he would kill her. But Anna survived. Each time. He would drain her to the brink and then leave her. The other White Hands then used their own life energies to restore and revive Anna. This was the process to becoming one of them. To reach the brink of death and be brought back, over and over and over.
Then it was Isolde's turn.
Isolde wasn't important enough to be fed to Tiarna Des-Mhumhain himself. Instead she was given over to his favourite protégé. An Irish woman with long, raven hair and a sadistic streak. When she had watched Des-Mhumhain drink from Anna, it had been methodical process to him, no matter how Anna felt. To him she was food. To Nyneve, Isolde was a toy.
The teeth of the NeSferatu insert a sliver of poison into the wound as they drink. This gives the victim a sense of euphoria, even pleasure, meaning the victim will stop resisting so readily and will not cry out. They hang limply in the arms of their attacker just as Isolde hung in the arms of Nyneve. She felt herself dying then and she didn't mind. She wasn't afraid. She was relaxed. She was dropped onto the floor unceremoniously. She heard Nyneve giggle, as though it was all fun and games. This would happen once a week. Isolde felt herself changing, just as Anna had done.
Before long she was being healed by Anna herself, who was then Anna of the White Hands. Because she had been constantly exposed to the fangs of the king of the NeSferatu, Anna's abilities were much greater than most. Few could match her powers over the undead. Should she wish, she could have controlled legions of men.
When at last Nyneve had turned and gained her powers, she became Isolde of the White Hands. Nyneve, however, didn't want to stop drinking from her toy and would keep returning for more. Isolde would fight with Nyneve, trashing her bedroom in the process. Sometiems she would win and Nyneve would flee from the window with a laugh despite her injuries. But usually she lost and she would be left in a pool of blood on the silk bedsheets. By this time she was able to start saving herself from death. She could stabilise her own life energies and use them to heal her broken body; enough to keep her alive until Anna would find her and do the rest.
Although she kept this all a secret from everyone, including her father, when she met her knight she told him everything. She was surprised when he seemed unperturbed. He explained he had met NeSferatu before and that he had met far more evil creatures than either them and certainly more so than the White Hands. His acceptable of her only emboldened her desire for him. She knew he was the only man she could ever be with. The resemblance between her physically and in name to his ex-love only seemed to prove that The Morrigan, the goddess of fate, was with them. He admitted that he told her more about himself than he ever told anyone. He trusted her more than he trusted anyone. And yet, as their months turned to a year, Isolde could sense that his heart was split between the two Isoldes.
Then, unbeknownst to her, King Hoel discovered the White Hands and the NeSferatu coven. With the Pope's blessing he led a small army of Templars into the hole where they destroyed many of the NeSferatu and any of the White Hands that resisted. The NeSferatu were butchered on sight, while the White Hands were permitted to surrender. Not that it helped. The Pope sentenced them all to be burnt at the stake anyway. Better to have died at the sword.
The interrogations of the surviving White Hands, however, led to further arrests of those who had not been caught in the attack. Isolde knew it was a matter of time before someone said her own name. She became afraid of her own father, the only man she loved more than her husband.
The Templars came for her in the dead of night, her father with them. But the good king couldn't bear to see his daughter burnt alive and pleaded that he be allowed to end Isolde by the blade. The Templars were usually not prone to mercy for witches, but they granted the king his request. She hugged her father goodbye and prepared to die. She looked into his loving face. Then the sword cut her open.
As she lay on the cold floor of her father's castle she had seen her husband burst onto the scene. He started attacking the Templars with his fists but they knew the unthinking actions of a desperate man. They beat him, but spared him. Isolde watched him as she died. A good last thing to see, the face of the man she loves.
But then she began to heal. He body fixed itself. She felt the life energies flowing into her body. She was being restored to life. But this was not the brink of death, this was from beyond that brink. She ought to have died but she was being brought back. The energy to do that would be too much for any single White Hands.
And it was.
The Templars rushed up the stairs to tackle Anna Pendragon but she was prepared with her own undead minions to fight back. She only needed time.
As Isolde began to rise, King Hoel knew he must end her again. Only this time, Sir Tristram was there to stop him. With Hoel's own sword, Sir Tristram cut down the king. His father-in-law. The man that had taken him in after he was banished from Cornwall. Never had Isolde seen Tristram weep. And never again since then.
Anna of the White Hands died at the top of the stairs. Her undead minions collapsed as she did and the Templars stood victorious. So they thought. The real victory belonged to Anna as Sir Tristram escaped along with his now living wife. They fled to England. To her father's cousin's court; to the court of King Arthur.
The memory was unsurprising, she realised. The most important events of her life would of course come to the surface. But it was also the moment that she learnt how to give her life for someone she loved more than her own life. Someone she believes is worth more than her own life. Anna believed that Isolde was worth more than her own life and Isolde now believes that Tristram is worth more than hers.
She falls to her knees, clutching the railing.
A spark of hope hits her.
Perhaps she is more powerful now. Many years she has lived with this power. She may yet save herself after restoring Tristram. Even now she feels him alive and rising from the floor. She longs for the moment that he would embrace her again. She imagines it. Dwells on that thought.
She holds onto that dream because in that moment she sees that she is not strong enough after all...
In the docking bay where Camelot is tethered to Outpost Finagle, Admiral Ltexi is looking up at the grand old ship for the last time. It does look better than The Hopeful, she begrudgingly admits, but it doesn't have the same charm. Or so she tells herself. She had considered stealing the damn thing while all of the humans are on the station, it would prove very useful in comparison to The Hopeful and unlocking their mutual secrets. However she does like the humans enough to not be such a jerk. Besides, the gift she left them would be too funny to pass up.
She tosses the helmet back into the repair shuttle she had been piloting and turns to leave. She's then confronted by a knight. She jumps and is instantly on the defensive.
Admiral Ltexi: "It wasn't me!"
The knight blinks in confusion and she realises he's not here about her 'artwork'.
Admiral Ltexi: "Nevermind. What's up?"
The knight looks up.
Admiral Ltexi: "Not literally! By the teeth of Marduck, I'm going to make sure you humans learn some modern terminology one day."
She struts past him. She does recognise the young man. He always has these doe-eyes and a kind of puppy-dog scampering after his father. His father, Sir Lancelot, is an absolute slut. Ltexi wonders how many STDs the guy has. She doesn't mind a prostitute, they get screened regularly. Sluts, on the other hand, don't.
Sir Galahad: "So-so you're leaving now?"
Admiral Ltexi: "That's right. Glad to be rid of me?"
She chuckles as she heads down the bay. She has booked passage with a a trader headed for a Jupiterian world, where she would be able to use a magical portal to get back to Jupiter itself. All Jupiterian worlds had them, allowing instantaneous travel throughout the queendom. Their worlds were never in any logical pattern on a map, because they didn't need to consider proximity.
Sir Galahad: "Not really."
He scurries after her.
Sir Galahad: "Actually no, not at all. The opposite, in fact. I'll miss you very much!"
She stops with a frown and turns to face this handsome boy. Through the confused and terrified mumbling, Ltexi believes she may be getting an admission out of this guy. How adorable, she thinks. A nice, traditional boy confessing his love for her. A lovely way to end this trip.
The knight suddenly leans in and plants his lips on hers. It's light and afraid, but she feels his affection for her through that kiss. As he draws away she smirks.
Sir Galahad: "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that. I just couldn't let you go without-- showing you how I feel."
Admiral Ltexi: "You don't go round kissing all the women like your father does, do you?"
Sir Galahad: "No! No! I've never-- actually-- that was my first--"
Admiral Ltexi: "You are adorable. How about I give you something to really remember me by?"
She scoops him up in her arms and slides him back so that his back is arched and she supports him from falling over. A traditional, romantic kiss. She connects her lips to his fiercely and she feels him trembling within her arms. Her tongue explores his mouth and she knows he would give anything to stay in that moment forever with her.
She, however, has several husbands to get back to.
Their kiss is interrupted by a sudden exclamation.
Sir Robin: "Who drew a gigantic penis on the side of our ship!?"
Admiral Ltexi: "My cue to leave!"
Gamma Pans: "Is that what a human penis looks like!? How ugly looking!"
Sir Robin: "Oi!"