(I should probably go post these on an earlier part of the story too, but for now I am putting them here.)
Before jumping into the rest of this story (which you'll noticed I've already posted a chapter of, I'm not just leaving you with an author's note), I feel the need to do a little "housekeeping" in order to clarify a couple of things and make the rest of this story a bit easier to follow (I hope). I feel I owe that to everyone who has stuck with this story for so long. (Thank you, by the way!)
First, it has been brought to my attention that there appear to be certain inconsistencies in the setting/time period of this story. This is intentional in that I consciously chose to combine key parts of two types of Arthurian literature - French romance and post-Roman - to create the setting for this story. This is why we have have knights, castles, and all the trappings of medieval England, but the Morrigan and other characters and tropes of a much earlier period make an appearance. I chose to do this for a couple of reasons. Primarily, it allowed me the most flexibility with my plot and characters; since I’m writing this story purely for my own enjoyment (and the enjoyment of a couple of people I know irl), that flexibility was more important to me than “consistency.” The second reason is that I happen to like the feeling that this setting evokes (at least for me), a combination of the light, idealistic French romance-style Arthurian tales I read when I was little, and the more realistic, darker versions I prefer now. Regardless, please just understand that the “inconsistencies” are not due to any lack of understanding of Arthurian literature on my part ; ).
Second, on the topic of inconsistencies, I will cop to the fact that the timeline has issues. I wrote Part I of this series about 5 years ago and did not plan for it to turn into anything longer than that. Post-Part I have worked to make the timeline consistent. It goes something like this: Part I should have been set in the fall prior to Part II, which is set in the spring, and Part III occurs late spring and early summer; Part IV (this part) will take place at the end of the summer and into early fall; and the plan for Part V has it set around the winter holidays. After that we’ll have to see. Generally speaking, just...ignore some of the detail issues in Part I, please. Maybe someday I’ll go back and edit it to make it consistent with everything that comes after, but I have no time for that right now.
Third, I’d like to explain a little headcanon of mine which crept into this story without my noticing and is about to become somewhat more obvious. In this conception of Arthur’s Britain, there are regular knights (for some this is an inherited title and for some earned) and then there are Knights of the Round Table. The latter are much fewer in number and are specifically chosen by Arthur after they have proven themselves. Essentially, it is an order of knighthood that places them above and separate from the regular knights. Generally, you have to be a knight to become a Knight, though I’m sure there have been exceptions to that. Gareth was knighted at 18 and became part of the Round Table shortly thereafter.
Right, and now that the housekeeping is out of the way - on to the story!