Christmas Celebration: Part 3 - Reasons
WARNING: Since our castle is based on the story from First
Knight, and it is slightly different from the various King Arthur fables,
this story will contain references to things that happened or could have
happened in the First Knight version. I will be making random decisions
about the history of the Knights and the Castle that may not have been
mentioned in the movie... Call it Writer's Prerogative <g>!
The scene below was chaotic, filled with people and horses milling around and punctuated by excited shouts and cheers. Methos and the Cossacks had arrived at long last. Sharon was laughing and crying and hugging Efram until it looked like his back would break. Methos and Jason had grasped hands and headed off to catch up on the intervening years. For Methos, it had been hundreds of years since he had seen Jason.
At least half the knights had come to the courtyard to comment on the herd of horses ranging in size from small ponies to huge draft horses. Mostly though, the Knights were enviously appraising the white Lipazzan mare and her jet black colt and the two giant golden chestnut horses with cream colored manes and tails. The chestnuts stood at nearly 18 hands, towering over the rest of the herd. With their thickly muscled, arched necks and a powerful body, it was surprising to see how fluidly these two moved. There was some laughing speculation that the chestnuts might be even larger than Monster. The Cossacks just smiled, knowing these "gifts" would lead to many days worth of trading and bartering for the stock still at Pavlovsk.
Perched high above on the castle wall, Jair watched the scene below feeling more than a little bit detached. Some part of her was pleased to see that her friends had finally arrived, all the horses (gifts) recovered. In large part though, Jair was just numb.
<Christmas might not be affected by Kronos' insanity after all.> Jair thought dully.
Once again her mind flashed through a now familiar sequence of pictures. Jair saw these images so frequently, that she wasn't even shocked by them anymore. Kronos grinning down at her wickedly in the morning, Kronos laughing as he helped her wash all the mud out of her hair, then Kronos with death and fury in his eyes as he held a knife to Efram's throat. The constant flashing of various images was starting to tire her out. Jair had still not reconciled what Kronos had done with who he was or had been.
Below, Jair could pick out Patrice deep in conversation with Kristov, and she smiled remembering her evening spent in the stables. It had been a healing experience for Jair to discover just how different each Vim was. It was easy to assume since they looked so alike that they were almost the same men. At least it was for someone who didn't know any of them. All the same, while it was nice to have narrowed the focus of her discomfort to the only truly deserving person, Kronos, it was still difficult for Jair to contemplate the effects of Kronos' actions. If he was the only one she could be upset with, where did that leave the two of them?
"Shouldn't you be down there, with your friends?" A deep gravelly voice asked quietly.
Jair spun around, almost falling off the wall in her surprise. Beside her on the stone walkway stood King Arthur. Jair hopped off the wall to stand before the King fidgetting from foot to foot.
"You're not supposed to be up here." Jair blurted out without realizing it. Arthur lifted an eyebrow in amusement and Jair blushed furiously.
"I said that out loud didn't I?" Jair stammered sheepishly. Arthur nodded in amusement.
"Let me start over here okay?" Jair asked with a smile. Before Arthur could say anything, Jair swept down into a bow, bending one knee to the ground and resting her forehead on the other.
"Your Majesty, I welcome you to the walls of your own castle. I am yours to command." Jair said solemnly, only to ruin the effect by peeking up at him through her bangs with an impish grin before continuing, "How's that?"
Arthur chuckled at Jair's impudence and helped her back to her feet.
"I've found little need to stand on ceremony here. This is not as my world was." The King said somewhat wistfully. "It is odd to be in a land that is so close to the dream I had for Camelot, a place at peace without the threat of war where the law rules fairly and impartially. Yet, this is not my doing, nor can I claim responsibility for the continued peace."
Jair understood some of what Arthur was getting at. Here, he had no place, no purpose. He ruled nothing, he built nothing. In her paradise, King Arthur only "existed", and Jair knew how uniquely painful plain existence could be. A small frown crinkled her brow as she looked up Arthur.
"It is so strange for me to find people that aren't as 100% in love with this island as I am." Jair said slowly.
"Please," Arthur chuckled from deep in his chest, "This is a wonderful place to be. My people are safe. Everything I wanted for my Kingdom is here. I am free to enjoy the companionship of my Knights and a great number of new friends, without the weight of ruling. It is just strange not to have to carry that weight anymore."
"I mean, for me, this is a perfect world." Jair scowled and muttered, "Or at least it was *perfect*..."
"No place is perfect. That is how God makes each place unique." Arthur admonished Jair gently.
"I know that." Jair snapped irritably, then she sighed and continued, "Maybe perfect wasn't the right choice of words..... This place is more home to me than the world I came from. I was more alive here, more connected to the people, than anywhere else."
"And now something has changed that?"
Jair considered the King for a moment. He didn't seem to be patronizing her, he seemed genuinely curious.
"Yes. Now it isn't the same." Jair said looking over the wall at the courtyard below. "Before - if there had been no raid, I would have been down the hugging everyone and laughing. If I had not been part of the raid, I would be as Sharon is, relieved and grateful. Now I would rather not be down there. Now I feel apart, separated - and I came here to get away from that feeling."
"The raid I was told of - this Kronos - he is the reason for this? But how can some action he alone is responsible for take away that which you hold dear?"
Jair leaned back against the wall, hands behind her butt, to consider Arthur's words. Logically, and even rationally, Jair knew the words to be true - but the feelings didn't vanish just because logic said they were irrational.
"There are many layers to this I think, and they get so mixed up and confused inside me, that my heart and mind can't sort them. While I argue with myself over what has happened, and what part I am to blame for, I can't remain connected and part of the rest of this." Jair's brow was furrowed with deep lines as she tried to think of the words to explain what she was feeling.
"On the most obscure layer - there is the whole Christmas factor."
"The Christmas factor?" Arthur asked perplexed. "What is that?"
"Christmas and the Olympics are like the two 'sacred' holidays. The only times of the year when there should be absolute peace and happiness. Christmas is the time of year that you forgive your parents for being cruel, you forgive your children for being ungrateful, you forgive the loud mouth jerk next door that always steals your parking space... Peace on earth, good will to man - that's Christmas. And what Kronos did violates the spirit of this holiday. It's just *wrong* - like taking candy from a baby."
"Ahhh.. " Arthur nodded his understanding. "And the other 'layers'?"
"Well, then there's the whole 'my friends' angle." An Arthur's questioning look, Jair explained. "It's really a two fold thing. First there is the fact that he attacked and beat my friends. I mean, Radzin will be bruised for a while. Rad's a mortal, he will takes a while to heal. It isn't like if Kronos had beat up Methos or Caspian - they would heal in a matter of hours with nothing to show for the fight. A part of me is seriously pissed off at him for what he did to my friends."
"Another part of me is just plain hurt. I cared for Kronos some, and he knew how I felt about the Cossacks. How could he do something that would so obviously be hurtful to me? How could he not have thought I would be upset? And if he knew I was going to be upset, why do it if he didn't want to in some way hurt me? Unless he just didn't care what I would feel." Jair grimaced at the thought. "I have yet to decide which would be worse - that he did it to purposely hurt me, or he just didn't care."
"Perhaps it was none of those reasons - perhaps he was hurt also." the King offered softly. At Jair's skeptical look he continued.
"Have you ever heard of Prince Maligant?'
'No.. but tell me anyway." Jair coaxed. smiling as the King settled himself comfortable on the wall.
"Maligant was once one of my Knights, second only to Agravaine. He left us bitter and unhappy, consumed by petty jealously and mindless greed, but Maligant was not always so. As a young boy he was strong in everything he did, but he had a thread of compassion running through him that died a few years before he left us."
Jair was caught up in Arthur's slightly gravelly voice, and the emotions that his words carried. What ever he was telling her had weighed heavily on his soul for some time now.
"You see, Pathfinder, Maligant discovered a secret that burned the compassion out of his heart, leaving behind the bitter and cruel man. Feeling betrayed, Maligant left Camelot in anger, seeking to create a new kingdom. He burned villages and farms all along the border, destroying or stealing anything in his path in an attempt to draw my forces into a war that would only destroy us both.
Maligant didn't care that in the end, the battle he desired would ruin that which he sought to possess. Maligant wanted Camelot, and if he couldn't have it he wanted it destroyed. Everything he did was done for three reasons. In part to cause me pain by forcing me to watch my kingdom be torn apart and because he no longer cared for me or Camelot itself. These two are the same reasons you are attributing to Kronos. It is the third reason that is probably the most correct though. Maligant tried to destroy Camelot, not because he was evil, but because he felt betrayed by the dream that Camelot represented. The secret he discovered cut his soul so deeply that Maligant was forever blinded to the true power and beauty of Camelot, "
"Please tell me you aren't trying to say that Kronos tried to kill an innocent man, beat my friends bloody and stole Christmas present because he was 'upset' about something." Jair asked acidly. "Because ultimately I don't care what his motivation was, the act was wrong!"
"Then why is it you are spending time trying to 'sort out', I believe you said, how you feel about this. Are you not seeking understanding of his reasons?" Arthur asked her gently. "Make no mistake, there are laws here, and my Knights and I have pledged to uphold them. Kronos will have to answer for his crimes. I am merely giving you something to consider. Yet, it is he who will answer and not you. Do not confuse whose actions are in question here. "
With that, Arthur stood again. Bowing to Jair, he placed a light kiss on the back of her hand before walking down the wall and out of sight behind a parapet. Jair watched his broad back with a troubled frown.
~ End of Reasons ~
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