Tournament Armoured Hero #2

Struggling, he lifted himself up from the foulness of the water, his armour rusted with the rot and sin of the world around him. What little of his face that could be seen behind the mass of tangled hair and the wiry curls of his beard was now spattered with filth and blood.

His sword lay he knew not where, lost within the undertow of those murky waters and, likewise, his strength had also deserted him. All that remained was his determination, his will to drag his battered and bruised body onward through the endless toil and achieve that for which they had been tasked with.

A blinding flash of light filled the dour skies above and Sir Bors, who once dwelt in riches in his own native land and now seemed consigned to rot with the foulest of sea creatures, lifted his head at last to catch a glimpse of the heavenly youth standing but a short way from him.

Time seemed fractured, the stream of filth momentarily like liquid metal, dragging him down beneath the surface, filling his eyes with images of a thousand other worlds before he broke free once again, clawing his way up through the roiling liquid and turning bloodshot eyes to where the youth remained.

A second flash of light filled the heavens and, on the horizon, he saw the immaculate young man in his spotless white armour reach up to the skies, drawing down something solid from those higher realms.

“Galahad,” he croaked, his voice little more than a dry whisper as he reached out for the figure in the distance, “Galahad!”

The heavens swelled and another burst of light broke against his tired eyes, momentarily burning the scene from his sight and filling him with an insurmountable dread.

He felt the waves of metal wash over his ruined armour once more and suddenly the world returned, that youthful figure, his head rich with curls of dark brown hair and his armour unhindered by the dirt of the world around, crouched down before him, reaching out and taking hold of his hands.

“Bors,” the youth said, his voice calm and patient, “I ask of you to take this to the King.”

The older man felt something rough and wooden pushed into his hands, a cup of some kind, a goblet, a grail!

“Take this to the King,” the boy commanded, “I go now to meet with my Father.”

“L-Lancelot?” Bors stammered in confusion, “Lancelot is with us?”

The boy shook his head and smiled sadly as if such understanding was beyond the older man.

“No, Bors, I go not to meet with my earthly father but rather my Father who waits in Heaven.”

Bors opened his mouth to protest but the younger man was already rising, his armour unstained despite contact with the filthy waters. Desperately, Bors reached out.

“Galahad,” he murmured again, his voice rising. “Galahad!”

There was another flash of light and once more, the beautiful youth was upon the horizon, an insurmountable distance from his fallen companion. He turned and spared Bors a faint, disinterested smile.

From above his head, the older knight imagined he heard the sound of chariot wheels and horses descending from on high…

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