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A Knight's Trial

by Kieran Coghlan

Artwork © Lotte Reiniger
Camelot! That shining city at the pinnacle of civilization, its many-turreted castle the seat of King Arthur, the greatest ruler that Britain has ever known. With the assistance of the wise wizard Merlin and the dashing Knights of the Round Table, Arthur has ushered in a golden age where all are looked after and causes to complain are few. And now, you have been selected by the wizard himself to undergo a trial; a trial that will decide if you are worthy to join the ranks of the legendary knights! The knights themselves have trained you rigorously and now one of them rides up to your house on his magnificent white steed. He pulls back his visor revealing the handsome smile of Lancelot, most brilliant of all King Arthur's knights.

"Are you ready?" he asks kindly.

"Certainly," you answer with a smile.

Lancelot extends a gauntleted hand, helping you up onto the saddle behind him. He then wheels his mount around and races down the cobbled streets towards the castle, your fellow townspeople cheering you on and wishing you luck as you pass. The horse's hooves reverberate along the wood of the drawbridge, the ever-alert sentries raising the portcullis to let the two of you pass through the outer gate and into the courtyard. As you both dismount, you spy another knight sauntering up to you, his armour sparkling in the noonday sun. It is the black-bearded Sir Bedivere who approaches, a wooden sword held in each hand. He tosses one of these weapons to you and you catch it easily by the hilt. Bedivere turns to the puzzled Lancelot.

"I am to give our candidate here one last assessment before he begins the trial," Bedivere responds to Lancelot's unasked question.

The other knight nods and turns to you, reassurance beaming from his face. "You'll be fine. Just remember all that I have taught you."

You nod and ready yourself as Bedivere takes a defensive stance across the way, wooden sword gripped tightly in both mailed hands.

"Alright," he says. "Let's see what you're made of."
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