The Quest for the Holy Grail was a complete and utter failure.† It appeared for the briefest of moments and has gone forever for the world of human beings.† It meant nothing to those knights, just another reason to venture out and claim glory.† But alas, it was not to be.† Not one man received another glimpse of the Holy Grail.† Even Sir Galahad the pure failed in his search for this most elusive chalice.† Slowly, the disheartened knights returned to Camelot.† By Pentecost, exactly two years after the Grailís appearance in the Great Hall, all the knights had made their way back to court.† Mordred alone had not set off on the Quest for the Holy Grail.† He remained in Camelot, insinuating himself into King Arthurís confidences.† To all casual observers, he was a loving nephew and brilliant advisor, always keeping the good of the kingdom and Arthur in mind.† However, Mordred was not one to be underestimated.† Practiced in deception, he carried his own hidden agenda all the while.† His aim was to bring down his fatherís Christian kingdom and rule himself from the seat of Avalon.
When all the knights returned alive to Camelot, Mordred was deeply disappointed.† He had counted on Galahadís passing into the realm of the dead.† By Avalon, he had Seen it.† Why had it not come to pass?† Were his powers of the Sight fading already?† Or perhaps he was being cursed by that worthless mother of his; too weak to return on her own to Avalon, puttering about in the kingdom, disturbing what has been set by the Goddess for him to carry out.† Galahadís survival was a setback, but it could be overcome.† He would just have to murder the man himself.† With his cunning and Druid training, it should not be too difficult.† Immediately, he began to make plans to kill Galahad and disrupt the succession to the throne.† Should it be a poison, a hired assassin, or a challenge?† A poison, and a slow acting one, he decided would be most effective and least traceable to himself.† If it appeared that Galahad contracted a fatal disease, no one would raise suspicions about his death.† Except perhaps that meddling mother of his.
Sir Mordred was a busy man.† In between mustering an army to rival the Knights of the Round Table, plotting against Queen Gwenhwyfahr and Sir Lancelet, and advising King Arthur, he still had to that ridiculously difficult poison to brew.† A memory from his Druid training, nearly forgotten, dredged from the back of his mind.† Only those trained in the Druid arts would notice the subterfuge that Mordred was perpetrating around the court.† Morgaine was away in Avalon, completely secluded.† Lancelet was still in the rages of madness, not completely coherent.† Young Galahad was utterly trusting and open to everyone.† He never suspected any ulterior motives.† The only man left was Kevin, Merlin of Britain.† However, his words carried far less weight that Taliesinís did.† He was accepted only as a brilliant harper and not as a political advisor.† Kevin saw what was happening, but almost too late.† Being a cripple and confined to his own studies had dulled his training and his senses.† Then getting the King alone in order to convince him was even more difficult.† But he did see reason after a spell and set up surveillance to catch Mordred in the act.
On the night of a grand feast, Mordred was seen slipping a vial of some green liquid into Galahadís goblet.† Immediately, this was brought to the attention of King Arthur and Mordredís rooms were searched.† The offending goblet was immediately taken away and test fed to a cat.† It was a slow-acting poison and the cat was not immediately effective.† King Arthur was enormously relieved, believing that Mordred was in fact innocent.† However, he was persuaded to continue watching the young man.
Since the wine containing the poison seemed to have no effect on the cat, Mordred was allowed to keep the remaining poison in his cauldron in his quarters.† He claimed that he was doing research on new healing methods but was hard pressed to explain why he was clandestinely slipping it into Galahadís wine.† He decided to lay low for a little while, knowing that he was closely watched.† Over the next three weeks, the victimized cat became increasingly ill and died a most painful death.† However, very few people noticed as the cat was only one kept to rid the kitchens and storerooms of rats.† Little did Arthur know the danger Mordred posed to him.
On cold and dreary day, a dense fog spreading tendrils throughout the land, a woman, no longer young, arrived alone on horseback to Camelot.† A rare occurrence this was, despite the peace that reigned over the land, women were cautioned to always travel with an escort.† However, this woman was not ordinary woman.† It was none other than Morgaine, Lady of the Lake in Avalon.† Her plans had failed; she had attempted to kill Arthur and was no longer accepted in his company.† Yet, when the Sight showed her Mordredís plans for Galahad and subsequently the kingdom, she could not leave Arthur to his disgrace and doom.† She had once believed in the cause of Avalon so fiercely that she would do anything to keep the priestess island from receding further into the mists.† But now, she understood what Taliesin and Kevin had seen and tried to convince her of all along.† All Gods are one and the Christiansí worship of their God is equivalent to the priestessí worship of the Goddess.† The God and the Goddess are only names given to symbols of hope and redemption.† She would not let Mordred murder and pillage in the name of Avalon.† This time, she would protect her brother, the baby that she had loved and cared for in her childhood.† Once, she would have been proud to see her son fight for the cause, but now she was disgusted.† She was determined to put a stop to Mordredís plans and redeem herself in Kevin and Arthurís eyes.†
She came in secret, disguised as a beggar.† She took only a little food and drink in the kitchens, huddling by the fire.† She watched from afar, Mordredís sickening behavior, his false concern with which he treated Arthur.† Oh yes, she could still see a deception even in another who was Avalon trained.† She first sought out Kevin; she had once considered punishing him for his betrayal of Avalon but decided against it.† Now, though he could still play the harp beautifully, he was becoming increasing frail and dependant on the care of others.† He still cared about her and forgave her for the last argument with all his heart.† Together, they managed to convince Arthur of Mordredís deception and plans.† They found evidence of his consorting with the Saxons and his help in planning an attack on Britain.† He was convicted for treason and exiled from the land.
No longer having to keep up the mask of intrigue, Mordred openly the supported the Saxons.† They led an attack on Britain but Arthur was prepared.† With the help of the old people as well as the knights of the realm, the defeated the Saxon army.† Lancelet was killed but managed to bring down Mordred.† Arthur and Gwenhwyfar continued to live happily though constantly aware of the missing laughter and camaraderie that Lancelet brought with his presence.† Arthur lived to a ripe old age and died peacefully.
I chose to end the story in this way because I am a sucker for happy endings.† I never liked Mordred as I was reading the story.† I felt that he was too arrogant and scheming for his own good.† Though Morgaine did as bad or worse than Mordred, her attempt on Arthurís life through Accolon a prime example, I was always able to rationalize her actions.† Perhaps it helped that the story was told from her perspective, but I always had a positive outlook on Morgaine.† Just the name Mordred sounds rather creepy; the word for death in French is ďmortĒ and that prefix also means death.† I wanted Mordred to get what he deserved.† I felt that he had no right succeeding in destroying all of Arthurís hard work.† Arthur was a good man and deserved none of this traitorís contrivances.† Another character that I really did not like is Gwenhwyfar.† She is entirely too pious for my tastes.† I hate that she tries to make Arthur feel guilty in order to get what she wants.† She is completely irrational and I wish Arthur had gotten rid of her much earlier.† Unfortunately, I respect that in all versions of the story, Arthur loves Gwenhwyfar.† I did not get rid of Gwenhwyfar in my ending because that would have caused more pain for Arthur.† I do not understand what Lancelet sees in Gwenhwyfar because I happen to like the character of Lancelet.† I wanted to change the scene early on in the story when Lancelet and Morgaine lay together on the Tor and Gwenhwyfar interrupts.† However, that would have entailed changing the entire story, much more that altering the ending.