Beyond the Legend - Part One: Darkness
Beyond the Life
The wind kept crying among the trees, careless of the sound of the blades that kept cutting relentlessly the air. A soft smile appeared on the warrior's face and from his eyes, now sealed, slipped a last warm tear.
For a moment the world slowed down while the battle around them went on as if nothing had happened.
Living arms clasped vigorously the wounded and lifeless body lying on the cold ground. Trembling lips, wet with tears, touched the pale and bloody forehead of the man, of his friend who was forever gone.
I wanted you to know, I love the way you laugh
"Just so you know, next time YOU will go through the whole forest, alone, to confer with the Great Dragon and 'I' am going to fight escorted by the whole army of Camelot!" Merlin shouted, pretending to be annoyed and turning his torso toward the top of the hill, while his horse trotted calmly directed to the forest.
"Merlin..." Arthur's voice echoed in a tone of playful reproach from above the green hill where he stood along with the most valorous warriors of his kingdom. They looked at each other, still close enough to be able to see each other's smile.
"Yes, okay! I will shut up... my King!" Said the magician mocking the title of his friend and giving him his back. In a few moments he reached the entrance to the forest. He pulled the reins gently, stopping his horse, and threw one last glance toward the high ground where the Knights were standing, lined up like a wall of steel. Three men stood at the head of the group; their dark uniforms catching the eye.
The King's Trusted.
Percival, the tallest of them all, was talking animatedly with a nervous Leon, while Gwaine, his wild hair ruffled by the wind, was laughing silently, probably because of their always absurd speeches. In front of them, at the head of the troops, was Arthur.
His hair and his barely visible beard appeared golden under the beams of the sun at dusk. The smile on his face was gone. His attention was directed elsewhere, toward a place that Merlin could not see. He seemed focused on something distant and unreachable.
After many years of peace, war was now trying to bring darkness to the kingdom. His Kingdom. But he showed no bitterness in his eyes, nor hatred, nor anger. In Arthur's eyes Merlin could see only pain.
I wanna hold you high and steal your pain away
The magician gave a little back-heel on the animal's body and he began to gallop until he disappeared among the thick greenery
Air had become suddenly colder. Everything seemed to have stopped as if time didn't want to flow. Arthur exhaled loudly, closing his eyes. When he opened them again, they were filled with determination.
He snapped the reins and set off directed toward the battlefield, quickly followed by his men. The horses' hooves beated on the ground like noisy drums of war, increasingly stronger and more frequent. Their weary breath condensed instantly as soon as they made contact with the cold air, forming clouds of white steam. For each stride of his horse Arthur could feel Excalibur hitting his leg. Ever since he had pulled it out of the stone, years earlier, the sword had never seemed so heavy.
'cause I'm broken and I'm lonesome
The warrior's horses went on with their rapid march until they reached the edge of a big valley. They stopped and following Arthur's command they sided in multiple lines. The Trusted were at the top, side by side, next to their King. None exceeded the other, none was more worth than the other. Equal on the field as at the round table, bonded forever as brothers. Before them an immense valley, naked and lifeless. A few rocks sticked out of the dead grass, tearing the dry ground and in the end, on the horizon, a mantle of dark trees.
No. Not trees.
A sea of soldiers standing in front of the forest, lined up and ready for the imminent battle. Arthur instinctively turned to his right, seeking that comforting eyes that had always given him more confidence than he had ever thought he had in his heart. But he found no one. Just a missing place between him and Gwaine. For a moment among of all his knights, along with the most faithful warriors of the kingdom, he felt alone like that empty space beside him.
At the head of the opposing army, in front of all the warriors, was a single man who, like a beast who masters his flock, was impatiently waiting. His armor was the color of coal and on his shoulders he wore a long dark green cloak with the hood raised on the head to hid part of his face.
Arthur looked at that knight with great care: there was something familiar about his black hair, ruffled on his forehead, his smooth face, pale as marble, his icy eyes, cold and penetrating. It took him several minutes to understand, to recognize in that man someone he had met many years earlier.
The child had grown up.
A shudder ran through his back. He didn't feel calm. Yet the battle was no different from all those he had faced so far.
Same armor. Same weapon. Same spirit.
But something was missing.
Someone was missing.
And I don't feel right when you've gone away.
Lyrics from Broken by Amy Lee & Seether