Dave sat up, rubbing his temples with his fingers to try and soothe his throbbing headache. Around him he saw nothing but darkness.
“What happened?! You have ruined EVERYTHING! THAT IS WHAT HAS HAPPENED!” a voice roared.
Dave sprang to his feet in time to see Igraine’s incoming flamethrower attack, summoning his aura shield to defend himself. After a moment, he managed to push the fire back and stared down his opponent. She appeared strikingly similar to Morgan le Fay, as was befitting her mother, yet her eyes and face were far more deranged and her hair was a tangled mess; Dave surmised an entire year of pure rage had taken a toll on her spirit.
“Let me guess: we’re inside my mind, right?” Dave asked.
“Indeed. It would have been much simpler if you had not interfered in my attempt to possess that foolish girl. In spite of everything, I would have granted you a quick, merciful death. But now that you continue to deny me what is rightfully mine, I shall grant you no such mercy. I shall beat you into submission, subjugate your mind, body, and soul to my will, and no matter how you beg, you will be able to do nothing but watch as I use your power to exact my vengeance.”
“Not if I have anything to say about it,” Dave growled. “Time for round two!”
Dave took off at top speed, careening towards Igraine with all the power he could muster. As they engaged each other in fisticuffs, he was surprised at how easy it was to use such large amounts of power and maintain his focus. She threw every martial arts technique she could at him, yet defending was as natural as breathing for Dave. But for a split second, he allowed his confidence to distract him, and Igraine knocked him onto his back with a leg sweep.
“I had hoped for more of a challenge boy!” she sneered, straddling Dave’s chest to finish him off.
“You want it? You got it!” Dave replied, blowing her off with a gust of wind. “This is my mind, Igraine! I call the shots! And you need to get out of my head!”
Deciding to test how powerful his influence was within his mind, Dave began to imagine the area around them as a sci-fi gladiator arena. To his delight, the area transformed just as he had hoped it would, confusing and annoying Igraine to no end. Charging his entire body with aura energy, Dave engaged her once again at close range. His strikes were so fast and so strong that Igraine had to summon her flaming staff just to keep up with him. Even then, Dave’s sense of anticipation was unparalleled, and Morgan took to the air to try and gain some advantage over him.
“Not so fast!” Dave smirked.
With a snap of his fingers, Dave triggered a quartet of laser turrets around the arena. They took dead aim at Igraine, blasting her from every direction until she had no choice but to land once more. She scowled at Dave, her eyes showing nothing but rage and hatred.
“You try to fly again, and they’ll do much worse than that,” Dave said.
“Insolent child! SUBMIT!”
Igraine fired off a lightning bolt at Dave, but he grounded it by summoning up Merlin’s stone armor. Remembering his old teacher’s favorite move, he fired off the pieces of the armor at Igraine one-by-one, forcing her on the defensive. She dodged and rolled, but still took a couple of light hits in the process. Soon, she was close enough for Dave to engage her at close range once more.
“Merlin was right: you really are weaker in hand-to-hand combat,” Dave observed as he assailed her.
“Wrong. Morgan was weak in hand-to-hand combat. You, on the other hand, are not.”
Without warning, Igraine launched into a flurry of offensive strikes that drove Dave back and forced him into a defensive stance. To his surprise, she then began using similar movements to his in their earlier duel, drawing on the wind to make herself almost untouchable. This confused Dave to no end, as he had thought fire to be her strongest element, not wind.
What the hell is going on here?
“So they are fighting for control over Dave’s body?” Madeleine asked.
“Aye. Until one overpowers the other, his physical form will remain in endless sleep, unable to do anything,” Morgan replied.
“Did this happen to you as well? Merlin told us of your mother’s death and your attempt to merge minds with her.”
“No. I never had this opportunity,” Morgan sighed. “Because of the merge, Mother had an open connection to my mind. She was able to take control with so little effort; I could do nothing to fight her off. In casting the spell, I gave her permission to possess me, so to speak. But Dave has not given her permission, and so she must fight off his willpower if she wishes to control him.”
“If Dave’s willpower determines this, then Igraine has no chance,” Madeleine giggled.
“Perhaps, but do not underestimate her rage. So strong is it that it ties her soul to this realm. Mother will not go quietly. And she has Dave’s power to draw upon in her attempts to possess him.”
“What do you mean? I thought she could not use his power without taking control of him?”
“Not precisely, no. She cannot control his body without first taking control of his mind, but she still has access to his knowledge and skills by her mere presence in his mind. In short, anything he is capable of, she is also.”
Cradling Dave’s head in her lap and stroking his face, Madeleine asked, “Are you certain there is nothing we can do?”
“Nothing. This battle is between them. We cannot interfere.”
Madeleine leaned down and placed a gentle kiss on Dave’s cheek. “I love you, David,” she whispered in his ear. “Please… come back to me.”
As their battle raged on, Dave tried to throw everything he could think of at Iraine, but nothing seemed to work well enough. Any time he came up with a new strategy, she seemed to instantly have an answer for it. She almost appeared to be reading his mind, which he wouldn’t be surprised if she actually was. Even when he improvised attacks based on his favorite anime and superhero shows growing up, Igraine still found ways to counter and strike back. As his confidence began to wane, she seemed to grow even stronger.
“Wait, that’s it!”
An epiphany struck Dave that his confidence might be the key to everything in this battle. They were inside his mind, after all. Why wouldn’t he grow stronger the more confidence he had? Blowing Igraine away for a few moments, Dave imagined a different battlefield for them once again. As he opened his eyes, he was greeted by the deafening sound of 55,000 screaming fans coming from the stands of Bobby Dodd Stadium. Dave never had difficulty with stage fright; the sound of the crowd chanting his name only brought a smile to his face.
“What is this?!” Igraine demanded.
“Welcome to The Flats, and my personal home-field advantage!”
While Igraine stood in confusion, Dave took the fight to her once more, pelting her with blast after blast of aura energy as he closed the distance between them. She began her evasive maneuvers once more, but Dave was prepared this time, firing off a large blast of energy that homed in on her location. Igraine had not anticipated this and took the full force of the blast, hitting the ground hard and eliciting raucous cheers from the crowd.
“Had enough?” Dave shouted over the noise, feeling very pleased with himself.
Rising to her feet, Igraine smirked and replied, “Nowhere close.”
With a sudden burst of power, Igraine began to repeat Dave’s feat from earlier in using all five elements at once. She lashed out with repeated blasts of lightning, fire, and ice, forcing Dave onto the defensive. It boggled his mind that everything he could think of only seemed to bounce off Igraine and make her stronger at the same time. As he tried retaliating with a blast of water, Igraine fired a bolt of lightning through it and into Dave’s body. Only a last second use of Merlin’s stone armor prevented his death, but Dave was still down for the count. The crowd gasped in horror as he landed with a thud.
“Foolish boy, do you not see?” Igraine hissed, pinning Dave underfoot. “You may have all the power in the world within your own mind, but so do I! As your confidence grows, so does your strength, but as your strength grows, so does mine. You cannot win! At best, you can hope for a stalemate in which we do battle for all eternity, your body remaining useless in the meantime. That is, unless I finish you right now…”
Dave struggled with all his might, but it was no use. For all the strength he had gained in this battle, Igraine had grown even stronger. He tried willing anything to help him, the strength to lift her foot off him, enough wind to blow her away, but nothing was working. She had grown too powerful, especially in his weakened state from her last attack. Dave realized that this was it. Igraine was going to take control and bend him to her will. He would never see his family again, and he would never hold Madeleine in his arms again. As she lowered her hand to strike the finishing blow, Dave began to hear a distant voice.
“I love you, David. Please… come back to me.”
“Maddie!” he gasped, a smile beginning to spread across his face.
“Yes, yes, say goodbye to her,” Igraine sneered.
Dave was regaining his strength with the sound of Madeleine’s voice, but it still wasn’t enough to overpower Igraine. Within moments, it would all be over. But as he continued to struggle, he remembered something that Merlin had said about the nature of Igraine’s possession of Morgan.
“Remember what it is that ties Igraine to this Earth: her hatred and desire for vengeance. She feels nothing except this, not even remorse for her daughter’s fate. Were she to let go of these feelings, I imagine she would be able to pass to the afterlife in peace…”
With another thought, the stadium of screaming fans disappeared, and the two combatants found themselves in a circular room with nothing but television screens on the walls. Before Igraine could react, Dave willed the screens to play images of his time with Madeleine. Igraine staggered back at this, watching their happiness, their debates and discussions, and even their lovemaking. Now able to stand on his own, Dave allowed himself to become overwhelmed by his feelings of love for Madeleine. Those feelings began to flood the area in a golden light, which soon enveloped Igraine.
“Don’t you see, Igraine? This is precisely what was taken from you. How could you ever think to take it from someone else? You have suffered, but if you force another to suffer as you have in the name of vengeance, then you are no better than Uther Pendragon.” Taking a step toward her, he continued, “I know that is not what Gorlois would have wanted.”
Igraine fell to the floor at this, sobbing uncontrollably into her hands. Watching Dave and Madeleine had shown her what she once was… and what she had now become. At last, after so many endless years, her hatred for Uther Pendragon began to melt away. She could never forget the pain he had caused her, but she now realized that her hatred had allowed him to continue to control her from beyond the grave. Igraine dried her tears and gazed up into Dave’s brown eyes, feeling his conviction and determination.
“Oh my… you are so like him. I can see my beloved Gorlois in you,” she whispered.
“Thank you,” was all Dave could say in reply.
Bowing her head, Igraine began to fade away.
“I release you.”
As Madeleine continued to cradle Dave’s head in her lap, she began to feel an increase in his brain activity. His breathing increased and his eyes began to flutter, almost as if he was going in and out of consciousness.
“Something is happening!”
Standing over him, Morgan conjured a flaming dagger in her hand.
“What are you doing?!” Madeleine demanded.
“Taking every precaution necessary. We do not yet know who has won control of David’s body,” Morgan replied. “If he has fallen, we cannot allow Igraine to use his power as she did mine; I will have to kill him.”
“You cannot do that! I won’t let you!”
“Come to your senses, Madeleine. What do you think David would want us to do in that case?”
Glaring at her, Madeleine sighed and admitted, “He would want us to prevent her from harming anyone.”
At that moment, Dave’s eyes shot open and emitted a glowing white light. It streamed from his face, forming an image of Igraine in the air above them. As she looked down on the trio, Dave began to sit up, shaking his head to try and regain his senses.
“David?” Madeleine asked.
“I’m ok,” he replied with a wink.
“Thank you, young man,” Igraine’s spirit said. “Thanks to you, I may at last go to my eternal rest in peace. I cannot bear to think the pain I would have caused if not for you.”
“You’ll be alright,” Dave smiled, feeling another T. H. White quote coming on. “Just remember: we can’t build the future by avenging the past.”
“Morgan, I am deeply sorry for what I have done to you. I have failed you as your mother, and I know there is nothing I can do to make up for it.”
“Be at peace, Mother. That is how you can make amends,” Morgan replied.
As Igraine began to fade into nothingness, she turned to Madeleine. “You are an incredibly lucky young woman. Cherish him. He is worthy of your love.”
“I know,” Madeleine whispered, kissing Dave on the cheek.
A moment later, Igraine had disappeared altogether. There was nothing but silence.
“Is it over?” Madeleine asked.
“Yeah, it’s over.” Dave turned to Morgan, saying, “There is no time to explain the details, but I need your help, Morgan.”
“Of course! Madeleine has informed me of some things about you, namely that you do not belong in this time.”
“Right, and some events are about to happen that must take place in a certain way to avoid a deviation in history,” Dave said. “If I’m right, all of Arthur’s and Mordred’s men have been killed in the battle of Camelot, and Arthur will have slain Mordred. His wounds from the battle are fatal, and he should be on his way to the lakeside for Bedivere to carry out his final command. At that point, you are supposed to appear to him and-”
“Ah, say no more! I know now what must be done!”
“You do? How?” Dave asked in confusion.
“There is no time to explain; Arthur is nearly here. Hurry, make yourselves unseen,” Morgan replied, shooing them off.
Taking Madeleine’s hand, Dave dashed off into the trees, finding a secluded hiding spot from which they could watch the clearing. As Morgan disappeared, Dave’s eye was drawn to a mound of dirt in front of a nearby tree, adorned by a carving of a cross.
“What’s that?” Dave asked.
“Merlin’s final resting place,” Madeleine replied with a sad smile. “While you were doing battle with Igraine, Morgan saw her former teacher’s body and felt she ought to give him a proper burial. She is far kinder than I realized.”
“She did that for him?”
“Yes. Morgan cared deeply for Merlin, even as her mother forced her to fight against him.”
Hearing someone approach, they crouched behind a large rock, watching a pair of figures approach the clearing.
“Sire, how is your strength?” Bedivere asked.
“I have strength enough,” Arthur sighed. “Ah, here is good. Help me sit against this tree.”
Bedivere carefully guided Arthur to the ground, being sure he was putting as little weight on his injured side as possible. Though he had strength that belied his age, Arthur and Bedivere both knew he did not have long left. Once Arthur had been situated comfortably, Bedivere knelt beside him.
“I am certain you are wondering why I have asked you to bring me here, yes?”
“I am, Sire.”
“Bedivere, my end is nigh. Before I pass away, I have but one final command for you, my most trusted Knight of the Round Table.”
Gripping his sword, Arthur placed the hilt in Bedivere’s hand. “Take Excalibur and cast it into this lake. When you have done this, come back to see me.”
“What? But Sire, this is a wondrous sword! You have won many battles with it over the years; I could never throw away such a treasure!”
“Bedivere, I understand your hesitation, but you must trust me. The sword was never mine to begin with, but a gift from another. Now that I can no longer use it, I am required to return it back from whence it came. Will you do this for me?”
“I… of course, Sire.”
Bedivere turned and walked through the clearing, pondering why Arthur would make such a request of him. Excalibur was arguably the greatest weapon the world had ever seen. How could he cast it aside like a piece of trash? No. The mighty weapon of King Arthur deserved better. It would be enshrined in a place of honor alongside its fallen master. As Bedivere trudged down the embankment to the water’s edge, he made his decision. After hiding the sword under a fallen tree branch, he turned and made his way back to Arthur.
“Have you done as I asked, Bedivere?”
“And what happened when you cast Excalibur into the lake?” Arthur inquired.
Bedivere was at a loss. He had not expected such a specific question, particularly from a dying man. As he attempted to think of some hair-brained answer, Arthur’s expression changed.
“My friend, you lie to me.”
“Please obey my command, Bedivere. Cast Excalibur into the lake.”
Without a word, Bedivere turned and made his way back to the lakeside once again. Still, as he took Excalibur in hand, he could not bring himself to do it. Now knowing he would be asked in detail what had happened, Bedivere unsheathed his own sword and threw it out over the lake, watching it plunk into the water and sink to the bottom. Replacing Excalibur in its hiding spot, he again returned to Arthur.
“Have you done as I asked, Bedivere?”
“I have, Sire.”
“And what happened when you cast Excalibur into the lake?”
“It sank to the bottom, Sire.”
Arthur gave an exasperated sigh, now beginning to grow angry. “You will cease your lies THIS INSTANT! Sir Bedivere, you will obey my final command! I tell you to cast Excalibur into the lake!”
Though Bedivere meant well, Arthur’s anger made the message clear: this was something he had to do, even if he did not understand why. With a slight bow, he turned on his heel and marched a third time to the lakeside. Taking Excalibur in hand, he drew it back and flung it out as far as he could over the lake. He could see the weapon silhouetted against the sunset-colored clouds hanging low in the sky. But as the sword was about to hit the water, an outstretched arm appeared from the surface, catching the sword at the hilt with no effort at all. The arm twirled Excalibur thrice in a circle, and then descended into the lake with it. Satisfied that he had done his duty, Bedivere returned to Arthur for the last time.
“Have you done as I asked, Bedivere?”
“And what happened when you cast Excalibur into the lake?”
“An outstretched arm appeared from the waters and caught Excalibur before it could touch the surface. The arm then twirled the sword thrice before sinking into the lake with it.”
Arthur smiled at hearing this. “Good… very good. Thank you, my friend. You have been so loyal to me, Bedivere. Soon, I shall pass from this world. Your life shall be your own once more. Leave this place. Leave Camelot behind, for there is nothing more for you here. If there be any survivors of the attack, take them with you. Find a safe place for them to live. They now are under your care, Bedivere.”
Choking back a flood of tears, Bedivere knelt to shake his king’s hand one final time. “Thank you for everything. I shall never forget you, Arthur.”
“Nor I, you.”
Though their relationship had long been one of a king and a subject, Arthur and Bedivere parted in those moments as friends and equals. Now alone, Arthur gazed out into the setting sun, content with his life and death. In spite of his mistakes, he had faith that this was the proper end for his life. As the sun at last sank beneath the horizon and darkness began to fall, a strange mist formed on the surface of the lake before him, soon spreading onto the land. After a moment, a figure materialized and began to approach him.
“Who are you?” Arthur whispered.
“My dear brother,” the figure replied. “What has my son done to you?”
Arthur’s eyes went wide with bewilderment at seeing Morgan le Fay approaching, a tiny smile on her lips. Where her eyes had once held nothing but rage and malice, she now appeared peaceful and at ease. She kneeled beside her dying brother and took him in her arms lovingly.
“Why are you here?” Arthur asked, his words growing weaker.
“To beg your pardon, Arthur,” Morgan replied. “I have done you wrong, you and your entire kingdom. No words can express the remorse I feel for the part I played in this senseless war. My only hope is that you can find it in your heart to forgive my actions.”
“Why now? Morgan, I do not understand?”
“There is not time, Arthur. Suffice to say that there were circumstances beyond my control, but that does not change the fact of my participation in these events, however unwillingly. I am so sorry, my brother.”
Seeing the pain in her eyes, Arthur knew she spoke the truth. “Morgan… you are forgiven. I cannot tell you how happy I am to see that you have found peace.”
“Thank you, Arthur.” Looking behind her at the lake, she continued, “It is time to go. Come.”
“Come? Whatever do you… mean?” Arthur coughed, his strength failing him. “I sit on death’s doorstep. This is… inevitable.”
“Ah, how soon you forget that I am a Fay,” Morgan giggled.
At that moment, the surface of the lake began to bubble and churn. After a few seconds, a wooden pole broke through and began to rise, followed by a sail, and at last the hull of a boat. Guided by an unseen force, the vessel slowly made its way to shore.
“Are you ready, Arthur? We go,” Morgan smiled.
“Go where?” Arthur asked, accepting her assistance to stand.
“To a place not of this world; a place of healing…”
Dave and Madeleine watched in wonder as Morgan and Arthur boarded the mysterious boat. After laying her brother down inside, Morgan pushed off and opened the sail, slowly disappearing into the mist. Soon, they were gone.
“Incredible… where do you think they went?” Madeleine asked.
“Avalon,” Dave replied.
“Avalon? Where is that?”
“According to legend, it is an island of mystic origins, not of this world and without time. Supposedly, Arthur goes there to sleep and recover from his injuries so that he might return one day. Of course that’s only a legend, but…”
“We have seen with our own eyes that it may be true,” Madeleine nodded. “So… what do we do now? Merlin is dead and Morgan has left with Arthur. How are we to return to your time?”
“I don’t know,” Dave admitted, slumping down against a rock. “I could try using the magic to travel through time, but I won’t risk your safety. And there’s nobody else I know of that could help me learn. I guess… we really are trapped here.” Holding her in a tight hug, Dave whispered, “I’m sorry, Maddie. I tried.”
“I know. I am sorry, too. I’m so sorry that you cannot see your family again. But I am not sorry that you were a victim of this circumstance, for otherwise I would be dead. Otherwise… I would not have met the love of my life. As long as I am with you, I care not if we are trapped in time.”
You are only trapped if you believe it to be so…
Both jumped at hearing the strange, disembodied voice. Dave immediately placed Madeleine between him and the rock, scanning the area for threats.
“Please tell me you heard it,” he whispered.
“I did. What was it?”
“I don’t know, but I’ve heard it once before,” Dave replied. “When Igraine was about to kill me, I heard someone say that death had not come for me yet. Right after that, Igraine was off me and I had my opening to complete the exorcism.”
“Someone helped you? Who?” Madeleine wondered. “Does the Arthurian Legend tell you anything?”
“As best I can tell, we’ve already encountered every major character in the legend, so I don’t know who else is left to-”
Dave went silent as the answer suddenly popped into his head.
“Left to what? David?”
“No way,” Dave gasped with a grin. “There’s no fucking way…”
“David? What are you talking about?” Madeleine asked again, following him as he jogged to the lakeside.
Gazing into the clear water, Dave said, “I know you can hear us. You’re the only major character from the legends I’ve yet to encounter. Please, we need your help. You’re our last chance.”
As he finished speaking, a point of pale blue light appeared in the water before them. It began to grow bit-by-bit until a brilliant flash blinded Dave and Madeleine. Opening their eyes once more, they were greeted by a tall, slender woman with golden blonde hair standing on the surface of the water. She wore not a stitch of clothing on her body, showing her skin to be fair and otherworldly, and her hair was so long that it easily concealed her breasts, though they were prominent enough to paint a vivid picture nonetheless. Her soft, elegant face appeared elven in nature, and her violet eyes seemed to be able to pierce a man’s soul. As Dave and Madeleine stood in dumbfounded silence, she spoke in a calm, ethereal voice.
“Well done, Dave Brighton. You have far exceeded my greatest expectations. Allow me to formally introduce myself. My name is Nimue, though I am certain you know me as-”
“The Lady of the Lake!” Dave exclaimed with a laugh.
“Indeed. It is my genuine pleasure to speak with you at last. Greetings to you as well, fair Madeleine of Saxon. The courage you displayed in your efforts to aid Dave in his battle against Igraine was truly spectacular. You have my deepest thanks.”
“You are too kind,” Madeleine replied, still a bit dazed from her sudden appearance.
Knowing he was in the presence of a being vastly more powerful than he, Dave interjected, “I do not wish to be rude, but I’m not sure the proper way to address you. Your Grace? Lady?”
Giggling, she replied, “The two of you are certainly worthy to call me Nimue. Fear not, for I mean you no harm.”
“Thank you. Nimue, you seem to know an awful lot about both of us,” Dave said. “Do you know how I came to be in this time to begin with?”
“But of course! It was I who brought you here!”
“Huh… that explains why Merlin couldn’t figure out what kind of magic that arrow was enchanted with,” Dave mused.
“Indeed. So powerful is my magic that Merlin could not recognize it, even as it belongs to his former teacher,” Nimue replied.
“Former teacher? You taught Merlin?!” Madeleine asked in amazement.
“How else could he have become the most powerful sorcerer of all time?” Nimue grinned. “He learned from an immortal water nymph.”
“I have a hunch as to the answer, but why bring me here?” Dave asked.
“Because history was dangerously close to deviating in ways that would do irreversible damage to the timeline,” Nimue answered. “I have always tried to maintain a position of neutrality in the wars and quarrels of men, but I could no longer do so when I learned the truth of Igraine’s possession of Morgan le Fay. Had she gone on unchecked, all England would have become a fiery wasteland as a result of her rage. She would have eventually been stopped, but by that time, England would never rise again as a world power.”
“And if that happens, the ripple is sure to follow,” Dave said. “If England never grows in power again, there are different colonists to the New World. And without the Founding Fathers as colonists to the New World…”
“The United States of America never comes into existence,” Nimue finished. “I daresay you would never have been born as a result, Dave.”
“So you know the future as it’s supposed to be and as it could have been?” Madeleine asked.
“I do. As I am immortal, I am able to peer into all places and times as it suits me. This is precisely why Dave was chosen. He possess a unique blend of genius, curiosity, determination, and willpower; there was simply no chance he would not find a way to succeed,” Nimue replied.
“But you still helped me,” Dave pointed out.
“Mitigating circumstances,” Nimue said, waving him off with a laugh. “You were essentially outnumbered, what with Igraine using Morgan’s power, and I only wished to even the playing field. Rest assured, you possess the potential of a sorcerer that even Merlin and Morgan le Fay together would stand no chance against. Your efforts this day prove that.”
“Oh yeah! I’m wondering how Morgan le Fay knew what she was supposed to do about taking Arthur to Avalon without my telling her!” Dave realized.
“Because I told her,” Nimue grinned. “In order for Morgan’s heart to be open to the truth, she first had to be free of Igraine’s influence. After that, she had to be moved to incredible emotion and remorse for her actions. This came to pass when she buried Merlin out of respect. In those quiet moments, I spoke to her and asked if she wished for a chance at redemption. When she accepted, I told her what she must do to atone for her past misdeeds.”
“Amazing… you really had everything planned out, didn’t you?” Dave remarked.
“Well of course she did, David!” Madeleine replied, slapping him playfully. “Do not underestimate a sensible woman’s ability to plan, especially when she has immortality and sorcery on her side!”
“A wise young lady,” Nimue said.
“Agreed,” Dave laughed.
“And now, there is a matter of business we must attend to, Dave,” Nimue continued. “Noble as my intentions may have been, I still thrust you into this conflict against your will, placing you in mortal peril time and time again. You have shown power in your skills of sorcery, wisdom in you quest to preserve history’s intended path, and courage in facing those stronger than yourself. You are a true hero, and thus have earned a reward for your efforts. I have it in my power to grant you anything you wish, Dave Brighton. Name it, and it shall be yours.”
Gazing into Madeleine’s eyes for several long moments, he took her hand and said, “All I want is to go home and start a life with my Maddie.”
Looking at Madeleine, Nimue asked, “And you?”
“It would be everything I have ever dreamed of to have a life with a man like David,” she replied with a smile.
With a wave of her hand, Nimue conjured a column of golden light before them.
“Step forward, then. Your reward is waiting.”
Placing a long kiss on Madeleine’s lips, Dave asked, “You ready for this?”
“As long as I am with you, I fear nothing.”
Hand-in-hand, the two lovers stepped into the column of light. It shone as bright as the sun for several seconds before vanishing in a brilliant flash. Nimue exhaled, pleased with her success and happy for Dave and Madeleine.
“The future is yours, my friends. I pray you will make the best of it…”
Dave opened his eyes and found himself in a wooded area, Madeleine still by his side. Looking around, he noticed that the trees were sparse and controlled, not like the overgrown woods they had come from. After a moment, his ears perked up at hearing something he had not heard in weeks: cars.
“You hear that?” Dave grinned.
“That’s the sound of technology. We made it.”
“Dave!” came a shout from within the trees. “You found my arrow yet?”
“Shit! It’s Chris!” Dave muttered, realizing he had arrived at the precise moment he had traveled back in time.
“Who?” Madeleine asked.
“No time to explain.”
Placing a hand on each of their bodies, Dave rearranged their medieval traveling clothes into modern t-shirts and shorts. Thankfully, he remembered exactly what clothes he had been wearing the day he left.
“Ok, you’d better hide for a moment, Maddie.”
“Dave! The hell’s takin’ you so long, man!” Chris exclaimed, bursting through the trees. “Oh! S-sorry, I didn’t know you had company.”
Dave sighed, turning to face Chris. “Well when you disobey the rules of archery practice, I can take a while to find a lost arrow. Thanks for the help, by the way. Here, finally found it,” Dave said, handing the arrow to Chris.
“Cool. Back to it, then!”
“Chris!” Dave growled, causing the Asian boy to freeze. “This is your last warning. You break the rules again, and you’re out of archery. That clear?”
“Yes, Dad,” Chris smirked.
“I’m serious. I will kick you out.”
“Yeah, I get it.”
“Alright, back to the firing line. And don’t lay a finger on your bow until I get there!”
Once Chris had disappeared, Madeleine couldn’t help but unleash a series of giggles.
“Why did he call you Dad?” she managed through her laughs.
“Because he’s an asshole who thinks too much of himself,” Dave sighed. “That was a little too close, by the way. He almost saw us in medieval clothing.”
“Agreed. Should I remain here for a while?”
“Yeah, just for a few minutes. I’m gonna go cancel the rest of practice. To be honest, I just want to go home and sleep.”
“That sounds heavenly to me,” Madeleine agreed.
Kissing her goodbye, Dave made his way through the thicket and back to the archery range. Though Chris was eying his bow, Jasmine had put herself between him and it, giving him the stink-eye the entire time. She waved as Dave approached the firing line.
“Hey you finally found it!” Jasmine called.
“Yeah, no thanks to Chris.”
“Ooh, you ok? You got a cut on your head there,” Jasmine noticed.
“Huh? Oh, yeah. I tripped and scraped my face on a tree back there. If it’s ok with y’all, why don’t we call it a day? I need to get cleaned up.”
“Dude, I was just getting warmed up!” Chris whined.
Jasmine punched Chris in the shoulder, saying, “No problem. We’ll pick back up next week.” As Chris jogged off to put away his equipment, Jasmine asked, “So, who’s the girl?”
“Chris said you were talking to some redhead in the woods,” Jasmine replied, giving a knowing look.
“Oh, um, she’s… just a friend.”
“Uh huh. Tell ya what… I’ll lock up here tonight. You go, ya know, clean yourself up,” she laughed, punching Dave in the shoulder.
“Thanks,” he said, his face turning red with embarrassment.
Dave jogged off towards campus, a goofy smile on his face. Once he was far enough that nobody would see, he teleported back to Madeleine’s location.
“Hey, I’m back.”
“Good. Where do we go from here?” Madeleine asked.
“I don’t know about you, but I am both starving and tired. How ‘bout I teleport us home, we get something to eat, then sleep for like a week?”
“Sounds fantastic to me…”
The next several hours featured nothing but boring relaxation, something that suited Dave just fine after roughing it in Camelot. Madeleine had her first taste of pizza, much to her delight. They both collapsed onto the sofa soon afterward, fully exhausted from their time hopping and not even having the energy to make it to the bedroom of Dave’s apartment. By the time Madeleine awoke, it was almost noon on Saturday. Shifting her weight to lie on top of him, she smiled at feeling his morning wood poking against her pajama bottoms.
“Good morning, erm, afternoon,” she whispered, kissing him on the lips.
“And a good one it is,” he sighed.
They began what was to be a long make-out session, content not to move at all until hunger or the call of nature forced them to. But before they could get too heated, they heard Dave’s front door being unlocked.
“Hey, Dave,” said a petite brunette. “Sorry I didn’t text, but that quiz on Monday has just been festering in my mind all night, and I wanted to get a jump… oh!”
“Uh… hey, Cindy,” Dave said sheepishly, still pinned under Madeleine’s body.
“I… didn’t realize you had company over. Who’s this?” Cindy asked.
“Oh, Maddie, this is Cindy, my sister. Cindy, this is Madeleine. She’s… my girlfriend.”
Cindy’s smile disappeared at this. “Girlfriend? My nerdy, socially awkward brother who could never even talk to pretty girls suddenly has a girlfriend that he apparently spent the night with?” she asked, gesturing to their dinner remnants on the kitchen counter.
“Yeah, that’s right,” Dave laughed.
“Bullshit! Where’d you meet her?”
Madeleine began, “Well, you see-”
“Not to be rude, but I’d like to hear from my brother,” Cindy cut her off.
“I… met her around campus a couple of weeks ago. She’s an exchange student from England, and-”
“Dave, just stop. You really are a terrible liar,” Cindy sighed. “Why are you lying to me?”
Knowing she’d see right through any story he could make up, Dave took a deep breath.
“I traveled back in time to medieval Camelot, saved her life, and brought her home with me.”
Thanks to everyone for reading! I hope you enjoyed my first foray into the time-travel genre; I know I had a hell of a fun time writing it. As the ending of this story probably makes clear, YES, there will be a sequel. I’ve wanted from the beginning to follow Dave and Maddie’s lives once they return to Dave’s time. I don’t know how long it will take me to get the sequel off the ground, but it is in the works! Thanks again for reading, and please vote and comment!
Also, a special thanks to my fantastic test readers, lichtyd of Stories Online and Former Reader of Literotica. You guys are the best, and this story would not be nearly as good without your feedback. Kudos!