Musings, or the Coming of Excalibur

It was she.

"She", as they often called her, was known to be an object of mystery. They knew she had not always been there – had not, indeed, been amongst them for any reasonable length of time – yet they never could remember the day she came, or, indeed, why. To them it felt as if she had been there for ever, even as their minds told them to take the feelings of the heart with a pinch of salt.

One thing, though, was certain. She was by no means as simple as she looked – and, ah, did she look simple? Perhaps, for she wore the same uniform as they all did, for, after all, the place was a school. But no-one who looked closely could be deceived by her seeming innocence, for, no matter how charming her manner, there was a mocking silence about her that was reflected in her blue gaze. You think to speak to me, inferior beings? Ah, that was what she wished to say.

An aura of infinite unknowns haloed her for three feet around. She was known as one for simplicity, a windproof jacket, white as the coldest glacier, being the only outer garment she was ever seen to put on. Yet there was evidence to the contrary. Scraps of paper covered in fragments of Latin sentences, penmanship of a sweeping cursive that made meaning elusive to all… These enticing tidbits held those who sought information on her in thrall. The spell was soon broken, but only for those few – for, as the infinite chasm in her eyes suggested, she was death as surely as she had once been salvation.

Among her close friends, if she had any, she was known for a very quaint taste in foods and clothing. Strangely enough, the number of her cell corresponded very nicely to the word 'genocide'. It was a jest, of course. No-one who had dialed the number had ever died – not that the ones around them would remember. Salvation she might have been, but salvation was a double-edged sword that drew blood from both owner and foe.

Not once did they discover a clue to her true identity – but was that the reason for the swimming pool suddenly awash with blood? In the end they decided, as humans will, to keep their distance. No fearsome incidents followed – she was one of those who took kindly to being avoided and, in time, forgotten. No untruths were perpetrated concerning her presence, certainly none on her behalf.

The days went past, quietly. Perhaps certain things piqued her interest. No-one ever knew; she spoke not. She scaled the heights of learning, earning top placements in several classes. For all that, she went largely unnoticed. What could one expect? Her legend was forgotten. One knew Arthur, but one knew not the sword that made his legend possible. It was the way of the world. Perhaps because of that, she harbored a profound dislike of worldly things.

What was her legend? When questioned – for she made it no secret that she had a story – she merely smiled. And her smile was a savage mockery, a reflection of all the things twisted in the questioner's inner consciousness, and somehow the shadow of a realization – the realization of one's innermost fears. So it was that few people asked. The few who did received no answer and, indeed, wished for none once they had seen her smile.

One day, however, a person asked who was answered. That person has long since dissolved into nothingness, except perhaps in the closets of half a dozen minds. What was the answer? That, too, has long been forgotten – but because it did not matter.

One thing remained without a doubt.

She, the spinner of mysteries, of disfigured truths and half-lies, the knower of things no-one else wanted to face, was Excalibur. Excalibur with a rusted blade, Excalibur corrupted by years of brooding, Excalibur of darkness instead of light, spilling blood before preventing the spillage – but the fabled sword nonetheless.

Even legends are not incorruptible, and even heroes fall. Nothing is of absolute good or evil. So she said. Hers was a double-bladed sword. Her fate was double, but one and the same. Whatever happened, it was death. Death could not be defied. She knew that. But it could be manipulated. It could be her death, or that of others.

She would manipulate Fate – Death – to her own ends.