THE LADY OF SHALOTT


A/N: This is an idea I had from reading to much David Gemmel and Terry Brooks, I therefore apologise ahead of time, because this story contains magic where as the movie was very 'realistic'. The 'Wyrd' is partially a celtic myth partly David Gemmel creation, 'The Lady' who appears later in the story is part "Lady of the Lake' part Terry Brooks' 'Lady'.


Disclaimer: Other people own everything except Elaine, and my version of Avalon. So don't take them, cause i'll send Bors round to visit you with his axe. This story was inspired by the brilliant writings of D. Gemmell and T. Brooks, and I don't mean to use their ideas but I haven't got enough of my own, which is why I'm writing FanFiction and they are published writers, and also by the movie King Arthur(duh) umm and they own that... Wish I owned Lancelot though.
Summary:(I hate these things) Elaine is a Woad warrior who turns her
back on their way of life for solitude on the magical isle of Avalon
where the healers heal those who are dying of illness or injury
through magic and love.
But there are those who believe she must return to her people, for
she is the neice of Merlin, Guinevere's cousin and the chosen of a
goddess to suceed Merlin. This goddess, the Wyrd or "olde woman of
fate" believes that only one who has the strength to survive all the
horrors of life and still give freely and compassionatly has the
right to lead the blessed Woad. Elaine is the only such among the
Woad peoples. The Wyrd therfore plans to have her captured, after all
she has an appointment with destiny and the future of her people
depends on her, the 'Devil General' of the north...
Feedback: I will love you for the rest of your life!
Archive: Umm YES PLEASE!
Rating: PG-13 violence mainly, nothing you didn't see in the film...
NOTE: This opening chapter is set three years before the movie, the next chapter is set four years before the movie, Elaine is is 23 at the time of the movie.
The Lady of Shalott

Prologue: The End and the Beginning

The headless body teetered a moment before slumping slowly to the
ground. Her breaths came fast as her bloody sword hovered in the air
over the body. She looked up at the boy who knelt nearby, his eyes
wide as he looked at the head before him, he blinked and then looked
up at her.
"Go." She told him. Her voice did not shake, rather it seemed soft
and deadly. "Go!" she repeated as he paused. He suddenly scrambled
away, crawling on hands and knees before gaining his feet and running
into the woods. Slowly she knelt beside the body, her sword fell from
her shaking hands. The tears came then as broken sobs issued from her
mouth.

Three months later:

All was silent in the roundhouse as Merlin looked around. The
chieftains who were present were silent and still, their blue paint
and warlike raiment contrasting with their silent reflective
expressions. Merlin returned his eyes back to the door, within just a
few minutes the still air would be broken by the entry of his niece.
Elaine was his brother's daughter, strong willed and an excellent
warrior Elaine was the only child of Silagh, a princess from Ireland
who had married Merlin's brother Mulain, the recently deceased
chieftain of Shalott. Merlin paused in his musings as the double
doors opened. The slender figure who paused on the threshold looked
just as Merlin remembered. Her hair was thick and curled wildly
around her Pixie like-face, which was dominated by huge emerald green
eyes dominated.
She turned those brilliant green eyes slowly around those around the
room. With purposeful strides she began her way into the room. She
stopped before him, he met those brilliant eyes and felt a slight
flinch shudder through him. At a closer inspection he could see dark
smudges beneath her bright eyes, and her pale skin seemed almost waxy
in complexion. He paused as her green eyes closed a moment.
With a deep breath he prepared to begin the ritual that would confirm
her as chieftain of Shallot.
"Elaine, daughter of Mulain, chieftain of Shallot and Silagh,
Daughter of Michael, lord of Malkirk, honoured in the battle's of-"
"Stop!" he paused as the voice rang out through his words. He looked
down at his niece. She was shaking he realised with a frown. Her eyes
were filled with tears. She shook her head at him as he opened his
mouth to begin speaking again. "I have not come here, to be placed as
chieftain of Shallot. I will not become that." She shook her head
again. "I want no more, no more death, no more war." Her words rang
out with conviction and more bitterness he had ever heard in her
voice. She took a step forward, her eyes moved from one to another of
the chieftains. Meeting them, challenging them. "That is all I have
known, for my entire life I knew..." she shook her head. "I knew what
I was to be, what my people needed of me, what my heritage demanded
of me. But all my life, I have never known who I am." She paused a
moment as a mutter swept the chamber.
"Everyone I kill, they visit me at night, in my dreams, my
nightmares. There is so much blood on my hands-" she reached out with
those selfsame hands and Merlin knew a sudden and terrible fear. "-
that sometimes I fear they will never be clean." She shook her head
again as though she were fighting some inner battle. Then those
anguish filled eyes turned on him.
"I want no more to be a part of your world, your battle, your war. It
is tearing our people in two, with every battle we lose more children-
and for what?" Merlin shrank down within himself, she had the gift
of her parents, to make men listen when she spoke, and he knew she
was too intelligent to speak without reason behind those same words.
Reason, he felt half way betwixt laughing and crying in hysteria. Her
cool rational reason was why he held her so precious, she was the
cooling, soothing balm of sanity to the passion of his own child,
Guinevere was headstrong and wilful. Her cousin had been his hope,
for they loved each other dearly, and when Elaine spoke, Guinevere
listened. And she was speaking now.
"Pride? Is that what we fight for?" her voice was low, encouraging
those who listened to lean forwards in their seats to hear her
better. "For our people? If we, their leaders thought in their best
interests we would let them be! We would not bribe away their sons
with false promises of Glory!" her rebuke rang out like a slap to the
face, causing a flinch amongst the predominantly older male audience
who listened. "I have lived battle since I was twelve, that was the
first time I killed in battle, and there is no glory to be found
there, only death and pain, suffering and misery. Because for every
battle you win... There is still another to fight." Tears had
actually fallen from her eyes.
"And this one I won't fight." With those words she drew the longsword
strapped to her back, it fell at his feet with a dull clang, rising
dust and quashing his plans for his people's future. And as he
blinked the dust that had risen from his eyes he realised she was
gone.

"Stop!" Elaine ignored the angry cry as she strode across the yard
towards her horse. Her tall form and fiery mane of hair would mark
her a mile away amongst her dark kinsman, so she did not attempt to
hide as her cousin scrambled after her.
"Elaine!" she was getting closer, Elaine blinked away the tears that
fell from her eyes and kept her long limbed pace firm and steady. A
small hand gripped her arm and spun her in her place. She stopped her
momentum and looked down at the darker Guinevere and for just a
moment she felt as though she would take it all back if Guinevere
asked her with those enormous eyes. But the moment passed swiftly,
and she saw it reflected in the way Guinevere drew backwards. Some of
those under Elaine's command had taken to calling her the ice
queen', they said that nothing could shake her icy personality in
battle, and this would be one of her hardest battles. For from the
time when they had been children Elaine had never been able to resist
her Cousin's passionate nature, it lit the dark places in Elaine's
soul, set fire to her own personality, causing her to become even
more rational and precise. The exact opposite of her outward fiery
appearance.
"Traitor!" the growl broke Elaine from her musings with a start. She
took a small breath, an unnoticeable movement of her shoulders, to
remove the hitch the disgust and anger in her beloved cousin's voice
had caused.
"Think of something more original, Guinevere." She said, the words
precise and deadly. They hit their mark perfectly, just like a dagger
hitting the bulls-eye. Guinevere reared herself up to her full
height, eyes wide open with anger and shock, her mouth open and
speechless. Without a word Elaine turned away, walking swiftly
towards her saddled grey.
"You can run Elaine!" She paused at the words. And turned back to her
small cousin, standing still and radiant as snow drifted from the sky
in softest sheets of white. "But the cry's of your people will reach
your ears wherever you go, you can run to the ends of the earth, but
you will still hear us calling to you, in our need, in our desperate
hour, when we need you most... But you will be to far away, hidden in
the web made of your own cowardice and betrayal!" the words thrummed
in her heart and mind, finding some place deep inside where her own
banked fire of passion lurked and took root there. Outwardly she had
not changed.
"When you have done what I have done- speak on Guinevere, until then-
" she shrugged and with a fluid movement flowed onto her horses back.
And as she turned the horse into the snow, deep inside, buried behind
walls of uncaring and unshed tears that small seed of words waited to
bloom.

Dark night closed around her, and her small fire seemed pitifully
inadequate against the night. Suddenly she heard the cawing of a crow
and with a start she looked up at the black cloaked figure beside
her. She looked back down at her small fire as anger built inside her
at the old woman's interfering presence.
"Go away Wyrd, pester some other poor soul this night. I am in no
mood for your foul games and fair words." The cloaked and veiled
figure neither moved nor spoke, she waited, silent and indomitable.
Elaine looked up at her once more, she noted the old woman seemed
smaller than usual, more drawn into herself, as though she had lost
something. But that was impossible. The Wyrd was a spirit, a goddess.
She was the manifestation of fate, she could not lose a part of
herself. Three times before in her life the Wyrd had visited Elaine,
each time she had helped her, yet each time the aid had turned foul.
Each time ending in a horrid experience that Elaine wanted never to
think f again. And each time she spoke the same words-
"You are special child." The words were spoken by a voice like a
rustle of dry autumn leaves.
"Go away." Elaine shut her eyes and willed away both the woman and
the memories she brought with her, the promises she would make, the
things she could bestow. All the blessings that would turn to
curses. "Tell someone else your fair promises, let someone else taste
the ashes you feed them." Her words were laced with bitterness.
A sigh, like the wind through trees stripped bare for winter sounded
from the spirit goddess. "You noted I am smaller, that I seemed to
have lost something." The words were mournful, and Elaine turned her
head slightly. To listen.
"I have child, I gambled for a terrible prize-" her pause was laden
with horror, one which her very essence was supplying. "The prize was
you..." Elaine's eyes opened with a start. "and I lost."
She stood swiftly, her long limbs unfolding swiftly and with a grace
that was as deadly as it was beautiful. She stared around the
clearing in shock, a crow cawed in the distance, and a sudden cold
breeze blew over her. The Wyrd was gone.
Without a sound the young woman settled back down by her fire, this
time though the darkness was not only everywhere around her, it was
inside as well, a blank emptiness that comes with all great decisions
in life, when one chapter ends and another begins. And the question
that repeats itself over and over again. Was this the right choice?
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