He remembers the exact day that he left the famous city, looking to find a dark, quiet place to squash his dreams of becoming a night. Ever since Sir Lionel died, he'd found that people no longer cared for the skinny, little blind boy residing in the burned-out stables. They no longer had a use for him. After all, how could a boy like him become a knight? The answer was that no knight could be any use blind. So he left before they could send him away, which was a pretty stupid idea when he thought about it. Being blind meant stumbling into, tripping over, bumping into and falling onto just about everything in his path, so it was a miracle that he made it into the Forbidden Forest without any serious injuries. And so he made this place his home, far from the place that destroyed his sight.
Garrett was shivering, starving and dehydrated by the end of the third day in the forest; he was unable to do much of anything without hurting himself further. He wished so desperately that he could have his sight back. He wished that Sir Lionel hadn't been murdered, so that he could show him how not to be so useless at everything he did. It was his fault that he'd been in the way of the horse's hoof. And then something miraculous happened: his best friend appeared out of nowhere. It was a little embarrassing, acknowledging that his best friend was a falcon. But that falcon saved his life. Never again did he go hungry, or cold. Never did he stumble, trip, bump into or fall over anything in the Forbidden Forest, thanks to Ayden and his staff.
Years passed uneventfully. Garrett scraped out a living in the forest with Ayden by his side, gathering food for the winter, making nets and baskets to capture fish and hold his food. And then his peace shattered into pieces. The unmistakable horn sounding out Excalibur's theft made its way to his ears, sending Garrett into a spiral of memories about his past. He gripped his staff until it caused splinters to pierce his flesh. This couldn't be happening. He could not deal with his past now. Ayden called out mournfully, wondering why Garrett was acting the way he was. It wasn't like he'd ever mentioned his life in Camelot to Ayden before; he just never mentioned how big of an impact the loss of his sight had been on him. He'd only been thirteen when he'd left Camelot, and ten years had seemed like a long enough time to get over it. But he hadn't. Oh, he was still mourning the loss of that life. He wanted to belong, but he never could. It just wasn't meant to be. They had no use for him then, and they didn't have one now. He took a deep breath and resigned himself to a life of solitude.
That girl. She'd been nothing but trouble from the moment she crashed into the pond near his camp. Ruined his net, of course. Six weeks! Six weeks down the drain! And she didn't seem to care. She flustered him, made him self-conscious about his blindness. He'd resorted to snarky come-backs just to keep her at a distance. This was the closest he'd been to a live human in ten years, and it was about time he made her realize that the only being that he allowed near him was Ayden, and that they'd be the ones finding the sword, not her. Of course, Ayden had to go and cozy up to the girl, breaking down the last wall of defense he had, allowing the girl—Kayley—to come along with them. He had a sneaking suspicion that she would bring him nothing but trouble…and he was right.
By the time they reached Dragon Country, he was about ready to snap his staff in half, he was so agitated. This girl never shut her mouth. There was no filter—whatever popped into her head came straight out of her mouth. Again, things never really were easy for him, especially when a two-headed dragon decided to make themselves—itself?—known to the trio. They were just like Kayley, even worse in that they were constantly bickering with each other. He felt a migraine coming on; Ruber deciding to show up with his cronies alongside a trio of real dragons was the icing on the cake, to be frank. This day was getting better and better.
This little quest to find Excalibur was turning into a journey that made his long for the solitude of his part of the forest. Silly girls and their dreaming of being a knight—how ironic—and a two-headed dragon that went against nature itself, singing their dream for a separate body. And then he learned the identity of Kayley's father: his only believer, Sir Lionel. He found himself opening up to her, letting himself become comfortable around her, dare he say…like her. This was a new experience for Garrett. He'd never been around a female that made him feel like he was actually worth something. And she said he was as good as any knight in Camelot! Oh, that made his heart flutter in his chest. So he decided to help her learn how to survive in the forest as best he could, show her what to do, how to wait, how to react. Of course, she didn't get it on the first try…winding up smack against his chest. This…this was new for him, and new for her, as well. He'd suspected that she'd never planned on ever getting close to a man; it would get in the way of her plans to become a knight. And then the DRAGONS had to get in the way…again. He especially disliked the one on the left—what was his name?—Cornwall…
The next morning they discovered the belt that belonged to Excalibur hanging on a tree limb. He knew something had taken it, so he'd bent down to the large indents in the ground to inspect them. They were large, deep and stinking of ogre. Then Kayley began to complain about how it was his fault that they hadn't gotten to the sword before the ogre, how she wouldn't be able to save her mother, how it was his fault…he'd tried so hard to make her be quiet, to no avail. He was never very good at telling her to do anything that she didn't want to, and that meant that he couldn't hear Ayden calling out a warning. White-hot pain seared through his side as he fell to the ground, gasping for breath. It hurt like the devil. Kayley's cries sounded through his head, along with ever-closer footsteps—Ruber—and with the last bit of strength he had, he grasped his staff and swung out. Thankfully, he made contact. Then Kayley's arms wrapped around him and helped him to the edge of the forest, and did something that caused Ruber and his gang to become trapped. All he could think of as he staggered away was the pain coursing through his body and Kayley's warm arms wrapped around his waist.
It was raining. The cold made his injury hurt less ever-so-slightly, but it made the fabric of his tunic become plastered against the wound. Kayley was frustrated with herself, he thought somewhere in his mind. He wondered why that was so. Eventually they made their way to a cave and he dropped his staff, unable to stand the pain any longer. This hurt far worse than when he lost his sight. A few more steps and he collapsed against a stone, breathing heavily. Garrett thought that if he slipped into sleep, then he might wake up and everything would just be a dream. But that would be too good to be true, wouldn't it? He vaguely realized that Kayley was placing a leaf against the wound, and for once, Devon and Cornwall were being quiet. And then something astonishing happened…Kayley, the girl who was so confident in herself…was blaming herself for his being hurt, and that wasn't true. He might've blamed her if this had happened at the beginning of their journey, but not now. So he reached out, soothing her worries, and began to sing…
With his injury healed, they moved onwards. To be honest, the next few events happened far too quickly for Garrett to recall them easily. He knew that they'd found Excalibur in the ogre's teeth, that they had ridden down the mountain slope on Devon and Cornwall's stomach, and that the beginnings of that old familiar feeling of inadequacy began to creep up on him again. What made him glad was the reaction Kayley had had when they'd finally reached safety and she'd cried for joy that they'd gotten the sword first. He'd smiled happily. Everything seemed to be going good, but then they'd reached the edge of the Forbidden Forest and things had changed. He no longer felt like he belonged with Kayley anymore—deluding himself was a foolish move, but he tried to act normal for Kayley's sake. She didn't need to worry about him just yet. Let her think everything was fine for a few more minutes. When he reached the edge that was the moment he decided to hand the sword over to Kayley and retreat into the solace of the forest. It wasn't an easy decision to make by any means, but it had to be done. A blind man and a beautiful girl were just not meant to be together. He felt tears run down his face for the first time in years as he walked away from the girl of his dreams.
He'd made it approximately a thousand yards into the forest when Devon and Cornwall came racing back, shouting that Kayley had been abducted by Ruber. His heart dropped. No…not Kayley, anyone but Kayley.
Devon and Cornwall flew to Camelot as if their lives depended on it. In actuality, hundreds of lives were depending on them. He hoped that Kayley would be okay when they reached Camelot, and when they reached the castle walls, he felt in his heart that rejecting her at the Forbidden Forest was the wrong thing to do. He whacked the mechanical men with all of his might, taking out his frustration at himself on them. And then he found Kayley in his arms once again. He breathed in her earthy scent, thanking every god he knew about that she was really, truly all right. But there was no time for dilly-dallying. King Arthur was in trouble, and by the looks of it, he was losing very badly. Garrett had no idea what to do, but while he was thinking about what to do, Kayley had taken it upon herself to take on Ruber all on her own. To make matters worse, the minute Garrett tries to help, his staff is cut in half and he's thrown against Kayley. She's been listening to him, he realizes, as she repeats his words back at him. There really is no end to how much she amazes him. When they push against each other, Garrett feels lost without his staff. For years, he'd been dependent upon it to help him "see" his way through the forest, and now that it's broken…well; he's just not used to being unhindered by it. Waves of the stone's magic pulsate out from it, enveloping everyone in a sea of warmth. He doesn't see the effect it has on everyone, all he's concerned with is if Kayley and the King are all right. And they are. Kayley leaps into his arms once again, and Garrett finally feels at peace with the world. Maybe he does belong in Camelot after all.
The Final Act
It's happening…it's finally happening. He's finally becoming a knight! As it turns out, he never needed his sight to become a knight. Sure, it'd be a lot easier, but King Arthur makes a very good point that the heart is what really matters in a knight. That and kindness, courage and love. Love…what a wonderful, magical word. He and Kayley haven't been happier than they are right now. As if being married to the little troublemaker hadn't been enough—wife! She was his wife now!—they were now being knighted together. It was times like these that Garrett wishes that he could see what Kayley looks like, because from what he hears, she looks very beautiful in the dress used for both her wedding and her knighting. Once the ceremony is over, they dance; surrounded by the people he once thought of as heartless, Garrett now knows that life is worthwhile if you look through someone else's eyes.
So I took a break from Fanfiction. I didn't end up writing the epilogue for my last story; I was uninspired. Like this if you want, don't if you don't. I'm not in the mood to beg for anyone to like my stories. I don't really care anymore. I've honestly had enough of people that should like me not, and to ask that of strangers is ridiculous. So yeah, there's my crazy shining through.