SUMMARY: Arthur is crowned king. He fought long and hard, but now he is beginning to join Britain under one flag, one king. Together with his brave knights and Merling he does everything he can. But when a mysterious Pict girl appears at Camelot, who strangely knows so much about Arthur and his men, warns about dangerous men. Men who drink blood, burn and rape entire villages. Men the size of giants, clothed in bears and deadly like Death itself. Arthur gathers all his strength, faith, power and men to hold his Kingdom.

But will it do? Is he good enough? Is he the true king? And what does the Pict girl want? Arthur faces his past, his family and his worst fears.

NOTE: This is pure fiction. I used 'King Arthur' 2004, the 2010 serie 'Camelot' and my fantasy.

Prologue Camelot 513 A.D.

Arthur entered the open hall. In the middle of the large, ancient castle Camelot there was an open coronation room. Legend said, it was made like this on purpose, for all important matter had to be done outside in the light of day and in the sight of God. Vandals hang against the walls. Vandals of those loyal to their new king.
After years and years of fighting, Arthur had finally done it. Of course, with the help of his advisor (and according to some, his sorcerer) and his brave knights. But still, it was him, Arthur, son of Uthur, who was king. And it was his burden to carry. Yet, he was feeling like an eighty year old man, though he was twenty-nine. Strange, how many things can pass your mind as you walk towards the throne, Arthur noticed. Today would be a big day: several tribes would come and show their loyalty to the new king. King, it was still a title he could not get used to. It felt so distant, so – he did not have any more time to think, for he knelt down and the bishop placed a cold silver crown upon his brown hair.
'All hail the king!' Lancelot yelled and raised him sword.
'All hail the king!' the crowd of knights, lords and farmers cheered along, and their wives with them. Arthur arose, strangely aware of the crown on his head, and gestured the crowd to silence.
'I, Arthur Pendragon, son of Uther Pendragon, swear by God Almighty, that I will put all my efforts in being your king. I will all that is in my power to build a land, more powerful and richer than the Romans ever wanted it to be. A land of free men, free women. I will guide you, as you will guide me. I, Arthur Pendragon, son of Uther Pendragon, swear this to you, by my own blood,' as he spoke those words, the new king took his swords and cut his own hand. The blood dripped between his fingers and he smeared it on the ground.
'Hail Arthur!' the crowd cheered, 'Long live the king!'
Finally, after all these years Arthur had finally achieved it. After the Romans had left, Britain almost returned to the thousands small, separated villages and some even tribes they were before the Roman period. Yet there were several lords who wanted Britain to become one land, with one flag and one king. Every lord saw himself as the new king, of course, and many battles were fought. One knight, who used to be a farmer, was loved by most people and wanted only what was best for Britain. Uther, was his name and he raised his son as a humble man. Yet, he was killed before he could be crowned and Merlin, Uther's counselor, raised Arthur. In the beginning, many people doubted if Arthur was like his father, but by now most had turned to his side. Though there were still many enemies and many tribes and villages who had not sworn fealty to Arthur, the people had spoken and said he should be crowned.
'Friends, friends!' Merlin gestured for silence. For a moment Arthur took a good look at the man. They had the same height, but everything else was different. Arthur had brown hair, Merlin had almost none except from his eyebrows. Arthur had green eyes, Merlin had grey eyes. Merlin thought before he acted, Arthur just did it. Twelve years ago they had first med. Arthur a few weeks from being seventeen and Merlin already thirty. Arthur knew he owed so much to Merlin, just and only his sword, Excalibur, to begin with.
'Today is a good day, a blessed day,' Merlin smiled, 'After years Britain has a king, we have a king.'
'Long live Arthur!' a man yelled.
'Let us drink to our new king!' Merlin said and quickly the servants served cups of wine to the guests. Merlin waited patiently, his hand already raised in the air, until everyone had a cup.
'A toast, a blessing, to our new king-' before he could finish the large doors swung open and a small group of warriors entered. The people stumbled back in surprise. Picts. A tribe, a people who were hated and feared – but only seldom defeated in battle. They were dressed in simple, dark, warm clothes, unlike the guests who had put on their best and finest cloths. The blue paint, which many misunderstood for tattoos, was visible on all their faces and with some also on their arms. Before the group, clearly the leader, stood a young woman, too young to be an adult woman too old to be a girl. She had brown-reddish hair and fierce green eyes. Around her neck shone the cold silver of the Whitecleuch Chain. The guards reacted quickly and surrounded the eight Picts. Gawain and Galahad walked towards them, as the other men stood before the throne of their king.
'Lay down your weapons,' Gawain said, as his half-brother Galahad pointed his sword towards them. The young woman gave a short nod at her people and their axes, swords and spears were dropped on the ground. She tilted her head a bit to the right as to ask if there was anything else
'Who are you and what are your business here?' Galahad asked.
'My business are with your king,' the young woman said cold and looked directly in Arthurs eyes, despite of the distance.
'Let her come closer,' Arthur said. He saw Lancelot wanted to protest, but with a small hand gesture he turned silence. Still, no one in the hall looked at ease. None, but the young woman, who easily walked to the throne and stopped before Lancelot, Dragonet, Tristan and Bors. They looked down on her, since she was not only a Pict but also a head shorted than them.
'I'm here for your king,' she said simple. Lancelot looked at Arthur and when he nodded, they stepped aside.
'Arthur,' she began.
'King Arthur, Pict,' Merlin corrected her with a fierce tone, 'Know to whom you're speaking.'
'I know to whom I speak, Halfling,' she said simple, yet strong, 'I know your father came from across the sea with his magic.'
'How…' Merlin only muttered and he only got a smirk as answer. Arthur was just as surprised: how could she know Merlin's father was Irish?
'I am here to warn you, son of Uther,' she continued, 'a great danger awaits you. Men from across the northern sea, more dangerous than Death itself.'
'Wait a minute, how do you know all these things?' Galahad asked.
'These things?' she echoed, 'Things, is a word for unimportant matter. Like the 'thing' that you and Gawain are bound by love and not by blood. The men of which I speak are of important matter to all of us. Fealty to your king, or not.'
'I shall hear your story at the Table,' Arthur said and walked down his throne. His head filled with numerous questions.

I don't own any of these characters!