The large, stone, round table sat in the middle of the room. Sir Lancelot ran his fingers over the etched designs with a sigh. As he stood alone in the cool, damp room, his thoughts drifted off to the woman whom he loved. The woman who was the very cause of this trial.
She was a young girl, just barely over the age of twenty. Her cream colored skin was flawless except for the few freckles on her shoulders. She was a petite woman, her head just came up to his chin. Lancelot smiled as he imaged himself running his hand through her thick, red hair. He could spend hours brushing out the waist-length tangles. She had a beautiful, heart shaped face and bright green eyes. Her cheeks were always rosy and her lips were full and red.
Lancelot loved her with his whole heart, with his entire being. Her name was Guinevere. And she was the king's wife.
And then the knights filed into the room, one by one, pulling Sir Lancelot from his thoughts. Each wore their every day clothes, but still they carried their swords. Each knight filled the round table, taking their rightful seat.
Sir Lancelot sucked in a deep breath and nervously ran his fingers through his curly brown hair brown hair, awaiting the arrival of the one man who could seal his fate. Not one of the men spoke to him, though each stared. One threw a hateful glare toward Lancelot, one looked on with pity, another nodded his head, seeming to understand, while the last seemed unreadable.
King Arthur strode into the room, his blue eyes not meeting the only standing knight. He sat at the head of the round table and nodded in the direction of his followers. Lancelot studied Arthur, taking notice at once that it looked as if the king hadn't slept at all. His normal kept black hair was a bit disheveled and his chin and jawline were covered in the shadow of an oncoming beard. His handsome face was full of hurt, anger, and pure grief. He cleared his throat, breaking the tense silence.
For the first time in his life, Lancelot was at the round table without his weapon. He could feel the shame eating at his insides as he stared at the man who he was closest to.
"The trial's charge is treason. Betrayal of an oath. And should Sir Lancelot's guilt be proven, death will fall on the traitors both." Arthur spoke, his deep voice loud and clear. "Will you speak your crime?" Sir Lancelot stood with his head held high. He crossed his arms in front of his chest, and then thought the better of it, and dropped them down to his side.
"I'm tried for love of Guinevere. My crime was love." King Arthur's eyes hardened as he glanced toward the other knights, waiting for one of them to speak.
"He is a man like any other." Kay loudly said, his tongue sharp with words. A strand of his blonde hair fell into his long, narrow face. "The word of King's command him. His heart does not obey. For all his strength and boldness, the knight's spirit is too weak. His crime has no excuses and no favors may he seek. The laws of King's don't bend and can't be broken." Kay glanced toward King Arthur, who nodded his head and then turned his attention back to the table.
"I stand for love of Guinevere. For pride in love." Lancelot strongly said, and then fell silent, his eyes locked on the king.
"I know this knight right well." Gawain spoke boldly. "And he has ever stood beside me. With steel he's answered insults, defended chivalry. And oft this man contended for the honor of your wife. His actions were not proper, but should not cost him his life." Gawain's round face was serious as he glanced around the table. Gawain leaned forward and rested his hands on the stone, not even bothering to push back the greasy brown strands of hair that fell into his dark eyes.
"His service past should earn of you some mercy." Lancelot felt his heart swell with hope and sucked in a deep breath, keeping his head held high.
"I fought for love of Guinevere. I'll fight for love." Tristan glanced around and quietly cleared his throat. He ran his fingers across his young face and then locked eyes with Lancelot, knowing that he had to speak his peace.
"I love my uncle's wife. For her I'd gladly suffer, she is my heart's delight. Isolde, the one who tempts me, and she for whom I'm pure. My love for her confounds me, and is all of which I'm sure. I understand my brother's contradictions." Lancelot could see the anger growing on King's Arthur's face. He straightened his back as much as he could and set his jaw.
"I cry my love for Guinevere. I've cried for love."
"Have no fear of predilection." Galahad spoke. Everyone's attention immediately locked onto the young man. He raised his jaw, seeming to speak over the heads of those who sat around him. "For though he is my father, he is my source of shame. He joined in sinful union with my beguiling mother. And for all his claim at virtue, he has gone and bed another." Galahad pushed his dirty blonde hair behind his ears and paused for a moment, letting his words sink into the hearts of each man.
"The laws of God declare this act damnation."
"I lie in love with Guinevere. I've lied for love." Lancelot spoke this just to Galahad, trying to make him understand.
And then, to the surprise of the knights, the king began to weep. He pounded his fists on the hard surface of the table, not even caring when he could feel bruises forming on his knuckles. He glared through his tears at Sir Lancelot, the knight whom he had called his brother.
"I call the wrath of Heaven on the lovers who have betrayed me." Arthur wiped the tears off of his cheeks. "I thought you worthy of my trust. The queen has hid deception, could say she loves me still." The king hissed through his teeth. "Innocence and beauty were lost. I seek justice for your guilt. I know the only price for treason." And Lancelot, still holding his head high, looked the king straight in his eyes.
"I'll die in love with Guinevere. I'll die for love."