Camelot's knights lay clustered around a fire. Camping, that was what the King had called it. Now Percival lay reclining with Galahad by the fire, Lamorak was far too close to Lancelot and Gawain for their comfort, Sonic was grinning like a moron and holding something soft on a stick over the fire and Caliburn was ignoring everyone.
"So" the King decided to break the silence "why don't we tell stories?"
Disdainfully Lancelot regarded the king "Tales are for children"
Galahad grinned "they don't have to be Father. The story of how you got your sword wasn't!"
Green eyes lit up "hey that's a good point, how did you get your blades?"
Percival frowned "well it's a bit hard to believe…"
The girl stood surging against the blade's weight. Her small frame trembled wildly as it crashed down near her feet. Her hair, once pristine in a ponytail, hung loose at the sides of her face which was dipping with sweat. The light shift she had belted at the waist no longer floated and clung to her awkward figure. The blade fell to the ground with a clatter and she followed it down. Her three observers were silent for a moment before the dark furred hedgehog spoke
"I think it just became apparent why there are no female knights in this order"
Gawain shook his head and sighed "I admire her determination but she lacks the strength to be a knight"
The third knight frowned and walked off to inspect a pile of weapons. Red and violet eyes followed.
"Lamorak needs to realise his sister isn't cut out for this" Lancelot snarled
Ignoring Lancelot the hawk wandered over to the young cat with something in his arms. Gently he bent down and pulled her to her feet.
Sighing Lamorak regarded his 15 year old sister "the blades you're trying to use are too heavy"
The girls eyes were filled with tears she refused to let fall "I can do it Lamorak just let me keep trying"
"Here Percival" the hawk blushed as he pushed what he was carrying into her arms "you'll be able to use this… just stay of the bigger blades" the blush darkened "I don't want you getting hurt"
Lancelot and Gawain were speechless. Lamorak; rough, insensitive, womanising Lamorak, was being nice. Caring even.
Percival glanced at the slim sword she now possessed "what is it brother?"
Lamorak grinned as he pulled her hair back into its usual style "it's a rapier"
The girl beamed then, narrowing her eyes, leapt elegantly towards the training dummy and decapitated it with a single, swift blow. Lamorak beamed, Gawain applauded and even Lancelot gave a nod of approval.
The echidna laughed "If she does that before the king we finally have a female knight"
Purring happily Percival beamed at Sonic "as you can see I did show the king and he liked it"
Lamorak grinned across to her "I knew you could do it Percy"
Laughing Sonic looked at Lamorak "I had no idea you had it in you"
Galahad smirked "Father was the same when he watched me struggle with a sword"
Even Caliburn's eyes flickered to the cold knight before returning to his son. Lamorak darted between the two youngest knights.
"This I've got to hear!" the hawk smirked as Lancelot and Gawain brushed the shoulder the hawk had placed his arm round.
Galahad chewed his lip nervously "well then…"
It was years of practise that saved the knight from the blow; it still left a fine scratch on his chest. Wearily red eyes trailed to sheepish gold which widened at the sight of welling blood.
"Father are you alright?" Galahad frowned and let the blade slide from his grip.
Lancelot ran a hand through his upturned quills and sighed "it is nothing Galahad… merely a surface wound" the elder hedgehog frowned deeply "Though I don't recall telling you to attack me"
The young knight in training blushed "I- I didn't mean to f-father, I can't make the blade go where I want"
Sighing again Lancelot regarded his son "I must take my leave now Galahad" white ears fell back and Lancelot frowned "Do not despair… perhaps I will find a solution on my travels"
A few weeks later Lancelot hit the ground rolling and smirked "You almost had me that time my son"
The gold eyes shone as the boy clutched his small spear like blade "You were right Father; a shorter blade was what I needed" he beamed up at the other hedgehog "thank you for this"
Lancelot gave a rare smile and ruffled his son's quills "You will only come of age once Galahad and now you are truly a knight I suppose I must stop telling you what you can and can't do" Lancelot held the other at arm's length and smiled sadly "If you wish to fight battles then so be it"
Waving his sword in triumph Galahad grinned back at his new teacher "I'll be the greatest knight that ever lived… after you of course my Lord" he added as an afterthought.
Joyfully Lancelot threw back his head and laughed "I'm flattered Galahad but you will surpass me easily"
Sonic gave a low whistle "that was modest of you Lancelot… we should see that side more often"
Even Gawain seemed impressed "aww I knew you loved the kid really"
The comment caused Lancelot's pale son to blush whilst his father glared at the echidna "have one yourself and see what happens"
Gawain roared with laughter "Doesn't seem to have changed Lamorak"
"Hey!" the hawk protested "I don't have any children!"
The whole camp fell silent. Again.
Gawain cracked first "want to hear how I gained my swords?"
Letting out a sigh of relief Sonic grinned "go for it"
Arthur watched the row of targets fall. His nephew charged powerfully through without blocking the blows from his training companions, his shield hung uselessly on his arm. The young knight had power though; no one was coming back for more from the youth. Gawain seemed to tilt with his sword like he was off balance, the thought was a surprise to the king and he knew what he must do for the other. A hand was held up and the training stopped.
Gawain grinned as he jogged over, he was unaffected by the weight of the blade which confirmed Arthur's decision "How was that?"
Wordlessly Arthur took the shield, examined its undamaged surface for a moment, and passed his nephew an identical sword to the one he already held.
Violet eyes widened in surprise and the king sighed "you may gain fewer injuries this way"
The echidna raced off and ten minutes later was the lone combatant on the field. In this case it truly seemed attack was the best form of defence.
Lamorak laughed as the tale ended "seems we have something in common there Gawain"
Percival glanced up at her brother with a burning curiosity reflexed in her amber-gold eyes "You've never told me why you duel wield brother"
The hawk grinned and, tucking his hands behind his head, leant back against the log his two companions were also using "well it actually involves our father…"
"Oh great" Gawain rolled his eyes "another Pellinore story"
Harshly Lancelot snapped at his violet eyed ally "Place you silly family feud aside Gawain else we shall be subject to this story whilst we are trying to sleep"
As Lancelot had insisted Arondight remain at his side no one disagreed with the proud knight. After a momentary pause Lamorak spoke again
"Thank you for that Lancelot" he shifted before clearing his throat "As I was saying…"
A young Lamorak stood before his father with a blade in each hand
"Father" the boy enquired gently "don't I need a shield?"
The gold hawk threw back his head and laughed "Lamorak as my son you possess incredible strength and resilience" he ruffled the younger bird's head feathers "that strength will allow you to cut down your opponents before they even have a chance to strike you"
Smiling, Lamorak's bright icy blue eyes betrayed his true uncertainty at his father's words "I'll try Father"
Tentatively Lamorak stepped forward and swung both blades in an unsteady arc towards his chosen wooden targets. Unfortunately the force behind one blade was greater than the other and the hawk over balanced. He hit the floor rolling and stood with a burning determination. Repeating the maneuverer again and again the boy was met with the same results each time. Exhausted, the young hawk's eyes held a stubborn set as he swung first one blade then the other. It went well at first until the two blades collided as their owner followed through his blows. The horrible grinding impact jarred the young knight's arm and both blades were dropped in favour of cradling the injury. Despairing blue eyes sought out the form of his father but the elder hawk was no longer overlooking the training ground. Lamorak hung his head in despair at the idea of having driven his father away with his failures. Gently gloved fingers trailed under the boy's golden beak and twisted it until blue eyes the gaze of their maker. Pellinore smirked weakly
"Harder than it looks then?"
Blinking in surprise, Lamorak answered "I can't do it Father"
An irritated look crossed the older hawk's face "You've only tried it today" then he shook his head and sighed "I forget when you're young you just want to impress everyone, charging into battles and grabbing glory and honour" Pellinore's eyes were distant "I was like you once Lamorak… I wanted everything to just happen" the hawk laughed "when I first put my hand to blade I was terrible; never thought I'd get it if I'm honest, but I kept at it and… well I'm a knight aren't I?"
Lamorak nodded and grinned "No sword's going to get the better of me… even if there are two of them"
His father ruffled the green feathers again and left the other to practise.
Percival chewed her lower lip gently "I had no idea Father could be that way"
Lamorak snorted "I wouldn't have believed it if I wasn't there"
Questioningly Sonic glanced at the knights.
Lamorak grinned "Our father was a womanizer, an irresponsible fool who didn't know who his children were… he was fond of taverns"
Again everyone stared at Lamorak.
Sighing Sonic spoke up "guess it's your turn Lancelot"
Coldly the knight regarded his king "I think not"
Frowning the cobalt hedgehog started to count the others off on his fingers "Gawain, Galahad, Lamorak and Percival all told their stories and you already know mine… it has to be you Lancelot"
The knight waved him off "those how need to know do and I have no intention of including you in that group"
However what Lancelot missed as he turned away from the king to signal the end of discussion was his silver furred son grinning and mouthing the words "I'll tell you later"