Author : Gray Blix
Glastonbury Tor was cordoned off by military, of course, but one hundred and fifty metres below tens of thousands coursed through the town and fields east, where a festival was underway. Costumed performers from Renaissance faires, popular in Somerset, entertained the masses, who gave little thought to the historical inaccuracies, given that the occupant of the shiny capsule next to St. Michael’s Church claimed to be from an era predating Elizabeth I by nearly a millennium. He presented himself as none other than the legendary King Arthur come to life, or more precisely, come home from a journey across the cosmos.
If he had wandered into town and made such a claim, he would have been ridiculed. But having arrived in a shiny capsule the size of St. Michael’s tower, disgorged on the Tor from a triangular alien spacecraft whose shadow darkened the town as it passed over, he was accorded the status of, well, not the reigning monarch he desired, but that of a galactic rock star.
Communicating through a viewscreen which materialized on the exterior surface of the capsule, he looked to be humanoid, middle aged, of modest height but regal posture, whose muscled physique was apparent beneath his gold-flecked robe. He spoke in a quiet yet compelling tone in a language first taken to be extraterrestrial but recognized as Old English by a local scholar who’d heard his statement that he was displeased to find a foreign army occupying his kingdom. He warned that if they could not bring him a translator he would have to forego negotiations and proceed directly to the task of reconquest with weaponry and wiccecraeft they could not even comprehend much less resist.
The scholar hastened to what appeared to be twin towers on the Tor where, as soldiers pointed guns and military aircraft circled, she exchanged words with Arthur through the viewscreen and was invited within. She did not emerge for thirteen days and would later write a best selling book, “My Fortnight with King Arthur.” Suffice to say, Arthur was besotted and Gwynn was beguiled. She let him call her “Gwenhwyfar,” after his Guinevere, and her book described in prurient detail everything she had done to please him and make up for the period, lengthy in Earth time but just a few years by his, in which he had lacked female… companionship.
As her other book, “King Arthur in Space,” explained, the wounded monarch had been abducted from a 6th century battlefield and taken at near lightspeed to a faraway planet to heal. Old English lacks words to describe all the wondrous things he had witnessed and experienced, so she made a lot of it up. Who could contradict her, now that he had departed, the triangular spacecraft having returned to beam up the capsule and rocket away moments after she had left him?
And, yes, she did indeed leave him, screaming Old English swear words as she exited the capsule and stomped down the hill. Although pride and book royalties wouldn’t allow her to admit it, he was a fraud. Something he had said, a casual comment as they lay together, looking up at a viewscreen of an Earth torn by wars, polluted by poisons, and transforming into a planet of desert islands surrounded by warm and lifeless seas, had broken the spell he had on her, something about even a wizard as powerful as himself being unable to change the course of human events and an Eorthe gone mad. At that moment she had realized it wasn’t Arthur who had enchanted her but someone else from that tima… Merlin.