On Sweaters and Swords

I was very bored today, and thought that I should write something, so I began a story about King Arthur, probably since I was thinking about the fact that I haven’t even finished season 1 of Merlin. It’s almost my birthday, and that makes me depressed, for some reason.

On Sweaters and Swords

“Oh, dear,” said King Arthur. “I think I lost something again.”

“Now what?” snapped Merlin. It had been years after the sword-in-the-stone fiasco, and he’d come to realize that Arthur Pendragon was not the sharpest knife in the drawer. The king had a habit of forgetting, losing, disregarding, and generally overlooking anything of any importance. Merlin hoped Arthur hadn’t lost one of his official documents, or anything like that. This could end very badly, he realized. The last time Arthur had lost something, it had been his sword. Apparently, he’d dropped it in a lake. Fortunately, the lake happened to be the abode of the Lady of the Lake, the Maiden of No Determined Name Whose Appearance Relies on an Arm Rising From a Body of Water. The Lady had very graciously returned Excalibur, though only with the extraction of a promise that Arthur would be more careful next time.

Then again, Merlin told himself, it may as well be a small thing Arthur had lost, like a sock or a spoon. It was probably something trivial. At least, he hoped so.

“What is the object you have lost, Arthur?” Merlin asked, peering at the king.

The king put his hands behind the sagging bulk of his hand-knitted sweater, and attempted to look dignified. This was, of course, unsuccessful, as it is near impossible to look dignified when one’s sweater is three sizes too big and the colour of an overcooked cabbage. But Queen Guinevere had made it herself (she was currently in her knitting phase), and everyone knew that Queen Guinevere did not take no for an answer.

“Well, Merlin,” began Arthur miserably.

The sound of the throne room’s doors slamming hastily open interrupted him before he could continue.

“Your Majesty!” cried Sir Percival, stumbling inside. “The kitchen’s on fire!”

“Not Gawain again,” groaned Merlin. “I told that ninny not to meddle in affairs he ought not meddle in, but he must’ve tried to bake something without permission.”

The doors slammed open again.

“Your Grace!” cried Sir Agravain, sprinting inside. “There’s a dragon in the courtyard!”

“Tell Sirs Gareth and Geraint to take care of it,” moaned Merlin. “And tell them to – ”

The doors slammed open yet another time.

“Your Highness!” cried Sir Hector, spiraling inside. “Bagdemagus has buttered the floors again!”

“I knew we shouldn’t have trusted a man with a name like Bagdemagus!” sputtered Merlin.

The doors slammed open one more time with an ear-splitting bang.

“King Arthur!” cried Sir Elyan the White, skidding inside. “There’s a letter from Morgana asking you to let Mordred stay in Camelot for the year!”

“THAT WOMAN NEVER GIVES UP!” roared Merlin.

“Merlin,” Arthur said hesitantly, as curious knights and servants peeked from the doorway.

“Not now,” Merlin said, massaging his temples. “Why I’m still doing this in my old age, I’ll never know. Get me a goblet of water, somebody.”

“Merlin,” Arthur said, tugging on Merlin’s robe.

“Just a minute,” Merlin replied, waving hurriedly at the gathering bystanders. “Don’t worry, there is nothing wrong. Go on, walk along.”

“Merlin,” Arthur persisted insistently.

“What do you want?” Merlin sighed, turning to the king in a resigned manner.

“I can’t find my crown,” said Arthur.

At that very moment, everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong.

“Your crown?” said Merlin incredulously. “How can you lose your crown?”

“The kitchen’s on fire!” Percival shouted, racing back inside.

“Have some cake,” Gawain said, producing a black rock from behind his back.

“Dragon in the courtyard!” Agravain, Gareth, and Geraint yelled, dashing into the throne room in terror.

“Come back here, Bagdemagus!” Hector screeched.

“There’s another letter here from Morgana!” Elyan the White waved a large envelope with an imperious red seal on it in front of Merlin’s face.

“Dearest, I’ve found myself a new knitting pattern!” Queen Guinevere declared.

“I’VE GOT YOU NOW, ARTHUR!” Morgana said, appearing out of nowhere.

“Mercy!” the knights yelped.

“Lower your voices! Look for the crown!” Merlin ordered.

“Fire! Fire! Someone fetch water!”

“Anyone want cake? Cake? Free cake?”

“At arms! Dragon in the courtyard! We’ll hold them off!”

“Bagdemagus, wait until I get my hands on your filthy neck, you maggot-infested, potato-nosed, slimy-haired – ”

“Letter! Letter from Morgana!”

In the midst of the ever-growing racket, King Arthur reached into his pocket and felt a cold, round item bulging inside its woolly prison.

“Found it!” he said triumphantly, pulling it out. “I found my crown!”

“Ha!” Morgana said, snatching it away. She stepped back, admiring the crown’s shiny gleam, and bumped into Gawain, whose cake went flying. It hit the dragon’s eye, which had been peering from the window, causing it to flail and howl in pain. Its arm hit Gareth, whose sword went clattering on the ground, its tip smacking Lancelot’s ankle. Lancelot shrieked and hopped around, clutching his foot, and knocked both Bagdemagus and Hector over, which made the servant boy behind Hector drop Merlin’s goblet of water, which splashed onto the ground, which caused Percival to slip, which made his leg kick Elyan the White in the face…

While this was all happening, the crown in Morgana le Fay’s hands slipped out of her grasp, soaring in an exquisite arc over their heads, and landing in the dragon’s outstretched jaws.

The dragon swallowed, looking uncomfortable, and Sir Elyan, who’d assumed that Percival had kicked him in the face on purpose, ran towards the poor man, brandishing his sword. Percival brought up his shield, which smacked Geraint’s arm in the process, causing Geraint to shout in protest. Before they knew it, it was an all-out brawl, every knight for himself. And in the center of the ring of furious knights, there stood Arthur, looking quite lost and unsure of himself.

“Oh, dear,” he said, as the dragon, looking green around the gills, lifted its wings and flapped away. “I think I lost something again.”

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