Chapter 10

“Why are you bowing?” The question had come unbidden, with a tone of anger to it, Sir Ton preempting his Knight Commander’s words. “Because it is the way, why do you not?” Findling stared at the Knight of the tower almost defiantly, and although Turg thought that perhaps challenging death was a bit extreme, in that moment he was also fiercely proud of his first named clan member, in a way that would make her his second in command, so when he saw the Knight shift his posture, shoulders raising then leaning back, Turg wasted no time and stepped between him and Findling.

Gwenn34 had immediately shut out Sir Ton’s communications, if not for his impertinence in speaking before the Knight Commander, than at least for his rude laughter, who did he think he was anyway, just because her Knight Commander had picked him for the proud few the blundering oaf seemed to think he could get away with everything . “Gwenn, did you lock Sir Ton’s comm again? ” Her Knight Commanders voice graced her with its presence, there had been a question, something about Sir Ton, quickly she checked her data banks. “Yes sir, I have in order to prevent further complications.” Her Knight Commander took a moment to reflect on her words. “I understand your intent Gwenn and it is noble, however I do believe now would be a good moment to restore his communicative abilities , at least partially.” She wished she could sigh as she restored Sir Ton’s limited ability to speak, although it was, for now, limited to inter squad communication. The first thing that became audible was laughter.

Mordred thanked Gwen34 in silence before stepping up to Sir Ton, and punching him firmly on the pauldron, a official sign of rebuke that, had anyone of Sir Ton’s own order been present, would have meant a demotion or even removal from leadership entirely. However since it was just them it meant that Sir Ton would automatically shut up and remember to pay attention to his surroundings. “What our inelegant friend here was trying to ask was, How did you know to bow? ” Dame Ariadne had made placating gestures, mainly for Sir Ton’s benefit really, as she too had closed in, slowly encircling the band of dirty children. “and more importantly, how did you know to who to bow?” Suddenly the two agitants went rigid as they stared at something behind her.

The next few moments seemed to seep past her in a manner akin to syrup dripping from a table after the bottle had fallen over, time itself seeming to slow down as Knight Commander Mordred lept to the side, the children hurled themselves at the floor in terror, and Sir Ton raised his gun and discharged three rounds from the hammer, his personalized hand held grenade launcher, it’s name owing to both the heavy impacts the projectiles typically made, as well as to the secondary mode of operation, as in close combat sir ton would wield it as a battle hammer walloping the foe with the butt end of the deadly weapon. There were three consecutive flashes followed closely by three deafening blasts as the rounds detonated on impact, and the terrible napalm fueled heat rolled over them. Time resumed it’s natural course, and Ariadne swiftly turned round, behind her stood a imposing figure currently wreathed in cloying flames, the armours ornaments already glowing soft orange from the fire’s heat, still the figure strode forward. Beneath the flames the plates shone with a almost unnatural green hue, the figures chest proudly bearing a crowned stags head emblem, the personal heraldry of none other than Arthur, King of the Camelot, and suspected murderer, in his right hand his sword, the left pointing a smoking gun at Dame Ariadne.

Mordred gripped the hilt of Merlin tightly as Sir Ton switched out his munitions, cursing under his breath, Dame Ariadne lurched forward, catching herself at the last minute, so as not to crush the children under her weight. “Arthur! What do you think you’re doing old man?!”Mordred spat out his words, rage boiling beneath the surface, he could distantly make out Gwen34 as she mentioned his blood pressure and adrenaline levels being dangerously high, especially considering the lack of hostile activity. Arthur’s voice came amidst a persistent crackling static. “I am Still hyour  KING!  now lay down your arms and yield to ME! HYou insolent WHELP!” The single clarion that signified Sir Ton’s personal hailing frequency interrupted Mordred’s train of thought “Sir, Thermite loaded, the tower awaits your command. She will live Sir, her armour took the brunt of it.” Mordred’s face contorted. “Gwen34, identify the suit before me as hostile, Sir Ton, Bring down the tower. End him.” Knight Commander Mordred Damodred sheathed Merlin as he turned to tend to Dame Ariadne. Her armour had a deep crater centered between the shoulders, the shot had been meant to take her head off. Behind him he could hear Arthur’s approach, he recognised the paces, the scraping sound his foot made when he prepared to side step, the crunch of a beginning dash, he used to spend hours listening and watching as Arthur trained, Arthur his mentor, Arthur his father, he grabbed Merlin, drew it as he turned, slashing outward, he could be wrong, Arthur could still be that man he had respected, that man he had loved, yet all doubt faded from his mind as deep crimson started staining green plate, Merlin bit deep into Arthur’s side Justice, Arthur’s repeater pistol had jammed and was clicking furiously mere inches from Mordred’s helm, five deep gauges stood out in a shimmering yellowed white on Arthur’s gorget, indicating where Sir Ton’s Thermite shots should have connected. Arthur’s voice rumbled deeply, but Mordred had no time for his former mentor’s words,no that man was gone, replaced by this burbling mad man. With a vicious twist he released Merlin from Arthur’s side twisting his own stance to counter what he knew should come, should have come but would not come, as Arthur suddenly fell backwards, his feet pulled out from under him. in the fraction of a second it took the former Knight  to realize he had been attacked from a very unexpected angle Sir ton closed the distance and without any form of grace, or restraint brought the hammer down on Arthur’s head, first denting the face, then warping the helm itself. yet not even then did he stop, for Sir Ton would not make the same mistake twice, he would not allow himself complacency nor woud he allow Arthur so much as a chance of survival. It was only after he had heard the metallic clank of hammer on deckplate that he stopped his rhythmic pounding, looking down only to find that Arthur’s old and mall maintained helm was reduced to scraps, as was the head within.

“Well done Sir Ton, have your men scour the vessel, any unknown Knights are to be apprehended, dis-armed, and put through a strict medical and psychic evaluation, although I doubt many, or any will be found, I will escort Dame Ariadne to medical, Children, walk with me.” Sir Ton swallowed heavily as the reality of his deeds sunk in, not yet fully comprehending that he had received a compliment. “Mordred?, I ,, I am sorry, about the King I, ” He fell silent, uncertain what to say, he Knew what Arthur had meant to his Commander, knew the stories he used to tell about the king, having killed the Knight Commanders mentor, even if the man had been mad and willing to attack a fellow Knight. “There are no Kings or nobles amongst Knights Sir Ton” Ariadne Groaned as she rose herself from the floor. “I guess we did not truly find the Mighty Arthur than? ” Her words seemed harsh, but her voice betrayed her concern, what would they tell the men, should they even tell them? Mordred faced a terrible choice.  “We found Arthur, he was mad, we found the crew, they were dead, the pattern is clear, we launch the Camelot in two hours, there is no need to fight out a siege over a world that only exists because of Arthurs madness, are either of you hurt?” Sir Ton shook his head, Ariadne grunted, “Just bruised, and dishonoured, nothing more.”Mordred nodded. “And you lot? ” the small clan looked to each other still half in shock, then shook their heads.

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