Chapter 11

Mordred had set a brusque pace as he started walking towards the Camelot’s bridge, his mind roiling with conflicting thoughts and feelings. Arthur had been a brilliant man, a great king and a just commander, so how then had he fallen to madness? What had driven his former mentor to the brink of sanity and beyond? The doubts kept returning, as did the questions, key amongst which: Had he done the right thing?

Three paces behind him and not by choice his comrades followed, they knew the Knight Commander was not in his right mind simply because he did not slow to account for the civilians, or Dame Ariadne. Sir Ton struggled as he supported her while he attempted to dispatch proper orders to his men, a task much complicated due to his lack of breath. Meanwhile Turg and the clan of the wall followed behind in a daze, practically running just to keep up with the Knights.

After the third hallway a broad shouldered Figure wearing a similar armor stepped forward, and simply seeing this man made Turg stop dead in his tracks. An action which of course resulted in a pile up of almost comical proportions. Still none of them laughed, instead they stared at this new form of armor clad murder that appeared before them. The armor seemed normal enough, bare metal plates with a red copper trim around the edges, dents where impacts had been deflected showing the suit had seen proper use, pauldrons also unpainted yet oddly tinted in a deep blue hue, and the only embellishment seemed to be a golden sickle set on a single tasset  plate, almost as if it were meant to be hidden, on the Knight’s left side was a small hammer that seemed to somehow cling to the armour by some unseen force, the rear side of which had a wicked sharpened curve, on the left hip a strange elongated pistol did the same thing. This however was not the reason Turg had made a sudden full stop, that had been because this Knight had no helmet on his head, instead they could look straight at the mans angular face, and the promise of  violence that it held had struck a familiar fear into Turg’s heart, this man had the face of a warboss, strong rough features square jawline and heavy brow marking him as a natural fighter.

Sir Oleg gazed wearily at the dregs that had piled up before him, fifteen malnourished shivering excuses for humanity, their features showing only minor deviations, almost suggesting a form of inbreeding or, hopefully, Close familial ties, at least he could see a shimmer of intelligence in them. “So this is where I pick my knave from eh?” there had been many civilians lately, and some had chosen to become apprenticed to a knight in one way or another, a very welcome development as they had run out of suitable candidates a few decades before, and with the Camelot crewless they could use the extra hands. Calmly he bent down and started setting them on their feet, surprised to find them cringing away from his touch. No-one had done so since, well since before he had joined the Knight’s way back on Earth, for just a moment his features tensed and hardened into a frown as he remembered those days, then he shook it of, and set about assessing the fresh meat. “they are not to be separated, Sir Oleg” Dame Ariadne’s voice sounded strained and he refrained from objecting immediately. She had chosen a closed frequency for a reason, and answering vocally would throw that reason out the window immediately, better he wait and ask about it later, after his helmet was back from maintenance, or in a private moment, perhaps he could visit her in the medical center.”I will take you all under my wing, little hmm, commoners? “We are the wall clan, why would we listen to you?” The boy’s voice shook with barely concealed terror yet he tried to keep a brave face, in a way he fascinated Sir Oleg, even though he could see he would have to teach these kids a lot before they would be Knights. “Because otherwise you will be left to get lost in the bowels of this starship, with no food no water and no teacher, it is simple really, you listen to me, I teach you, many things, like how to get food around here, or how not to get lost.” His voice was steady, he had practiced tirelessly to get it under control and few could boast being as calm as him, well within his order of course. The boy seemed to take a moment to think, and Oleg could see the processes clearly on his face, first defiance, then realisation, doubt, and finally acceptance. He had been right, they were clever, that was good he could work with clever.

Reports came streaming in, repairs had progressed well within expectations, the foe had been less than dangerous as long as they did not fire rocket projectiles, and it seemed they had run out, the fuel stores had been found undamaged and nearly full, which was a small mysterie all on it’s own, no further Knights had been found so far, all life support values were far above nominal, and the ships mainframe and electric systems were although intact, more than two thirds off-line with no hints as to the cause. All those reports were made at nearly the same time and Gwenn had quite her proverbial hands full seeing to it they would be presented to her Knight Commander in an orderly fashion, leaving her with exactly no time to spare in which she could ask him what in the world was going on. Until he spoke her favourite words; Gwenn, have all verbal reports relayed to Sir Ton, have the crew informed he acts in my name.” the words were like honey ever so sweet, immediately she delegated the reports to Sir Ton, including the message that Knight Commander Mordred had appointed him as acting commander. For a brief moment she feared it meant he would remove his helm, usually he would, but instead of doing so he merely touched his forehead before dropping his hand, stopping, turning, and bounding back to relieve Sir Ton of his extra burden. He had sorted things out, set his course, and released the anger of the tower. “Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war.” The words had been barely audible, but he know who had spoken them, Carefully he hefted Dame Ariadne upon his back, and carried her the remainder of the way to the medical bay, then changed his mind, and called for a teleport back to the Sword of Damocles. He would not have her treated here, after all he still did not know how or why Arthur had lost his mind.

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