Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tall Tale Tuesday :: William and Winnie (Part II)

Author's Note: I've removed the Post Script from the previous part and incorporated into this second part in an attempt to create a more comfortable flow. My apologies. Read On!

May 2, 1945


Should everything go as planned, this will be my final entry for a very long while. The briefing adjourned only moments ago. Winston told us what he seeks in the caverns below the green grasslands of Glastonbury. It’s Avalon. I mean, the Avalon. A few moments of silence passed after Winston shared his intentions before Terry, George, and Charlie let out a peal of exasperated laughter. The Doctors Owen and Brand stared at them reproachfully. I think they were apart of our company under no pretense or shroud, but in full awareness of the proposed mysticism. Charlie told Winston he had lost his marbles and that he wasn’t about to be taken in by some paunchy old duffer. He left the barracks for Lord knows where. Terry and George took their leave with him.

That left the four of us. I asked Winston what it was he after in Avalon. “The person to whom this belongs,” he said smiling, and he took a parcel wrapped in a thick brown cloth from a rusty footlocker at the end of the bunk adjacent to him. He undid the wrappings.

It sat for a moment, glinting like a bright ribbon of quicksilver in the pallid morning light, before Winston continued. “This is the sword Excalibur, Arthur’s cold brand, sometimes called Caledfwlch. We make to reconcile the two, the Sword and the Sovereign, so that upon its swift sharp sting our quarry, and Hitler himself, will meet Lady Justice!” Winston’s eyes flared with an innate bloodlust and it startled me. His demeanor swings wildly and he speaks of things as though he’s calling into the deep and ancient hollows of the world.

The sword was a most extraordinary thing. Its haft crafted with an intricate design of fire opals and ice diamonds. The blade shone and hummed in the pale rays of morning, refracting the light, making me dizzy and drunk with desire. Winston let the sword’s seductive enchantment sluice my mind before sheathing it in the golden scabbard and placing it out of my vision. My heart was bent on it and I began to sympathize with Tantalus.

This was Excalibur. One glance was enough to slay my inflexibility and to slake my skepticism. The blade was, all at once, otherworldly and familiar. The only thing I can liken seeing this sword to are the still moments of recurrent dreaming in which your sleeping mind is sure the world is flat and though your conscious mind interjects and warns against such scientific sedition, saying the world is globe and has been for hundreds of years, practicality is dismissed and your inevitable destiny is to sail over the horizon’s edge and slide down the dark sky with the ocean’s cataract through the stars and the cold for all of eternity. Nothing could be more enticing and true. Seeing Excalibur was like never waking, letting the adventure manifest and taking the stars as your inheritance.

I was left suspended in astonishment for a while. When I did come around, I asked Winston who he was and how he came into possession of the sword.

“Like I said, I’m Winston and that should be enough to suit you. As for the latter bit, well, let’s just say I’m well connected and highly motivated.” He told me. “Dr. Brand and Dr. Owen will discuss the schematics of the underside of the Tor, if you’re still game,” but he damn well knew of the inexorable magic the sword invoked and set to work on me. I acquiesced. “Good,” he said.

Our point of entry is the undercroft in St. Michael’s Tower on top of the hill. That’s all they’ll divulge to me at the present. We wait for sundown.

I’m not entirely sure what I’m in the middle of here, Gwen. My world has grown chaotic in a matter of hours and now I’m trekking on the fringe of sanity with no perceptible notion of which way leads out of the murk. That’s one of the most miserable things about not having you near. You always made certain I was set upon solid ground and had my wits about me. You gave me traction. Now I’m spinning my wheels.

I’m not frightened, but I’m beginning to feel very much like some dispensable cog or pawn in a scheme beyond my awareness, like Aladdin. Fortune favored him in the end, but I’ve no magic ring or genie to afford me aid and succor. Please watch over me. Be my genie.

All my love,