“Alright, who are you?”
“Well, that’s an interesting question. Esoteric, deep, confusing. But you can call me Mordred. Agent Mordred or Knight Mordred, if you feel like being specific or formal.”
“Agent? What agency, then?”
I rolled my eyes and gave a breathless chuckle. “Granted, a title of ‘Agent’ is generic but ‘Knight’? Honestly, didn’t quite think that one through before opening your mouth, do you? You’re very bright, Eggsy, but your quick mouth will get you into trouble every time. And to make it official - Kingsman. I am an agent and a knight of Kingsman, an independent intelligence agency operating at the highest levels of discretion.”
“Nay, lad. There is no Mordred in the Round Table.”
“Nor would we ever open a slot of that name. It is - a despicable name.”
I smiled at my interrogators wryly. “I always felt like it was a bit of a spit in my face by the other knights when they granted me my name, Harry. At least, once I had done research on the original Mordred. But they insisted it was the correct name for me and the only one they would allow me to hold. If I wanted a spot at the Table, Mordred I would be.”
“I said, lad, there is no Knight Mordred, not in Britain, or any other branch of Kingsman.”
“Not yet, no, there isn’t.”
“Wait, wait. Why is it a despicable name, then? Who’s Mordred?”
I turn my head from the chief of my questioners and look at the youngest member of the group. “In the tales, Mordred was King Arthur’s illegitimate son by his half-sister who magicked Arthur and essentially raped him to get herself pregnant. He grew up hating and coveting his father's position and eventually went to war, destroying Camelot and killing Arthur. Mordred is the king killer, Eggsy.”
I watch the younger man wince and look down.
“Excuse me, Mordred , but what did you mean, there is not yet a knight of your designation? Are you claiming to be psychic?”
“Ah, Roxy, oh, no, pardon me, I should use Lancelot, I’m not psychic nor am I claiming to be.”
“Then what was your meaning? Lancelot was correct, you phrased it oddly.”
“Ah, Galahad, I meant that I was named to the Round Table in March of 2015.”
“But, it’s February 2015! Yesterday was Valentine’s, yeah?”
I grinned slyly, “Oh, yes. But I was named after the events of February 14, 2015 when the results were being seen and more knights were needed.”
I watched the flicker on the young man’s face in front of me. He was bright, I knew that, and had a remarkable ability to put disparate pieces together to form a whole before others could even see the edges of the puzzle.
“Yer, You’re saying you come from the future, ya? You time travelled or somethin’?”
“Well done, Eggsy. That is precisely what I am saying.”
“Time travel is impossible. It is fiction.”
I shook my head in disappointment at the older knight. “No, Galahad. True, currently , humanity doesn’t quite have the understanding or technology to time travel. But that will change in the next several decades. Or in my timeline it did.”
“I’m a Londoner, born and raised, bruv. I know all about the freaky, creepy stuff. And the rumors about the guy with no real name, always hoped to run into him, didn’t I. Friend of one of my friends went on some weird adventures in his blue box, but he ain’t no human. You’re saying that humans’ll be able to time travel in the next few decades? Without some alien help?”
The others in the room look at Eggsy, astounded, their eyes wide and mouths open. I’m not sure if they are all surprised by the same thing. I suspect that Roxy thinks he is a bit off of his nut, but Merlin and Harry, they would both know about Torchwood and the Doctor. They just are so used to dealing with upper class snobs who don’t know what those on the streets know. I suspect they are flat footed at Eggsy’s possession of what they would think is very top secret knowledge.
“Yes, Eggsy, with no help from the one they call the Doctor or any other alien tech or influence. Granted, we aren’t completely clear on the temporal mechanics. After all, I have changed my past, so now there is no reason for me to return to change things in the future, so we somehow have gotten around the grandfather paradox. The Merlin in my time thought that if I succeeded in changing things, I would likely be in a parallel universe or something like that. I’m no scientist. I didn’t need to understand how the machine worked, just that it did and I could complete my mission.”
Merlin steps forward and looks me in the eyes. “We’ll take you at yer word fer now. You aren’t going anywhere. We can indulge you until we come up with an alternate theory or you change your story. So, taking it as a given that you time travelled, when did you come from?”
“When I stepped into the machine that sent me here it was January of 2038.”
“So, you travelled 23 years back in time?”
“Actually, it was closer to 24 years. I got here last March. I needed the time to complete all of my objectives. This wasn’t some simple mission like stopping a lone assassin. It required work and advance planning, both before I left and after I arrived.”
Harry stepped forward and took a chair and placed it in my line of sight before flipping it around and straddling it backwards. Even in such an undignified, common position, the older man looked like a complete gentleman. I don’t know how he could pull it off but he always did, elegance and grace, in all situations.
“So, you said you would be recruited next month -”
“No, I said I was appointed next month.”
“So, lad, you were already recruited? Did you wash out of a previous trial? You don’t look familiar. And I ran the last four training sessions.”
“Well, I have had extensive work done. About three years from now I was on a mission in Switzerland and the snow, it looked solid but it was actually just snow hanging off the side of the cliff. When I put my weight on it, I plummeted down over 150 meters. If it had been a sheer face, I would have died but it was filled with outcroppings, and I hit most of them before finally coming to rest on one. Broke both legs in multiple places, my left arm was a compound break, my right shoulder was dislocated, six of my fingers were broken from trying to grab onto something, my skull was fractured and both of my cheekbones, my left orbital bone and my jaw were broken from falling face first into several boulders. Plus assorted internal bleeding and contusions and cuts and bruises. My face needed lots of emergency reconstructive surgery and with all of my issues that needed surgery, making me look exactly like I had before wasn’t a priority. I was in physical therapy for over a year but I got everything back. And I’ve gotten used to this face. I’ve been seeing it in the mirror for around two decades now. Plus, I couldn’t take a chance on anyone recognizing me or finding things suspicious until after I finished my mission, so I’m also wearing tinted contacts. They don’t change the color, just the shade.”
“So, you have already been through Kingsman training by this point in time?”
I nod and both Merlin and Harry stare intently at my face, I can tell they are trying to find something familiar in the features. Roxy watches me but she I can see that she doesn't think she could possibly know me. But Eggsy, he is staring at his hands and biting his lower lip. He’s putting it together. Bright, indeed. He really was the one I was most worried about before now.
“Mordred, the king killer? And It was the only thing they would name you?” The younger man looks at me with wide, sad eyes.
“And you were already recruited by now? Just not a knight, yet? You failed the trials?”
“Ya couldn’t shoot the dog, could ya? Not fer that wanker.”
“But ya killed him, didn’t ya? King killer. Not wif malice but it was him or you?”
“Yes. And used a nice little line there, I always felt.”
Eggsy smiles through the tears in his eyes. “I thought so.”
“What are you talking about, dear boy?”
I interject to spare him, or at least give him a minute to compose himself. I slip into the accent of my youth and quote myself, “The problem with us common types is, that we are light-fingered. Kingsman's taught me a lot, but sleight of hand - I had that down already.”
Eggsy nods at me. “Yeah, I was pretty sure. King killer. Me.”
I smile at him. “Yes, I go by Mordred and it is probably easier to refer to me that way, if only for the convenience of telling who we are referring to, but I was born Gary Edward Unwin, nicknamed Eggsy within hours by my father. I was his ‘little Easter egg’.”
Eggsy nodded with a sad smile. “It’s why I still go by such a kiddie nickname, innit? The connection to me dad. If he was still alive, I’d have bin using a different one long ago. Woulda saved a lot of teasin’, wouldn’t it? I’d never totally leave that name behind, even if it’s only in me mind, yeah? To me dad, I was Eggsy, so for memory of him, to everyone I’m Eggsy.”
I smile back at him and I take great pleasure in the gobsmacked looks on the faces of the others in the room.