2.34 – Stand Your Ground, Part II

Disclaimer: violence, death


“Wait!” Morgana!

The King of Essetir reached her just as she stepped through the doorway. She had been so focused on the purple mist in front of her – on the deep, alarming feeling of unease in her chest – that she didn’t notice her surroundings until it was too late.

Cenred reacted instantly. Morgana could feel a surge of spirit flooding out behind her – and the next second, the ground in front of her burst open. A single, massive wall of stone sprung up in front of her, shielding her from harm. And not a moment too soon. The coffin rammed into the wall so forcefully that the impact made the ground underneath her shake. If not for that wall, she would have been flattened. Morgana watched as the silver-engraved coffin fell to the ground, toppling over. The sight of it was deeply disturbing. She tried not to think about which of her ancestors had just been used as a ranged projectile.

Are you all right?
Morgana nodded, speechless. She had never seen magic this powerful before. From either side. She felt strangely disconnected from her own senses, a weird pressure in the back of her mind pulling her gaze back to the darkness.
I am going to destroy it. Stay back – I cannot destroy corrupted spirit and protect you at the same time. Do you understand?

Wait…
…Destroy it?

Morgana couldn’t place her finger on it… but something about Cenred’s words sounded wrong. The pressure in the back of her mind increased. Something was trying to break through. Morgana could hear a strange, familiar voice well up in the back of her mind, arising from a distant, deeply buried memory… a memory that did not belong to her.

We do not destroy.
Look.
Look, and see the truth.

And she did. Morgana moved on instinct. She took a step forward, then another. The sorceress looked past the stone wall, to the creature that was crouching on top of her mother’s coffin. She could hear its claws scraping across the silver plating, leaving deep gashes in the stonework. She could see the tears and cuts on its body. Morgana could feel the swirling aura of darkness, coalescing around its body and seeping into everything it touched.

She should have been terrified.

But she wasn’t. Morgana felt no fear. What welled up in her chest, slowly rising to the surface and fed from the depths of her memory… was heartbreak. Something about the sight in front of her resonated with something hidden deep inside. The budding witch could feel a strange feeling of déjà vu, as if she had experienced this before. Morgana made eye contact with the creature in front of her, consumed by pain and rage and hatred-

And peered right through, seeing the truth underneath.

Help me.

Please. Someone. Anyone.

It hurts it hurts it hurts it hurts it hurts

Morgana stepped out into the open. A high-pitched, unnatural shriek resounded against the stone walls, originating from the boy’s corpse and echoing through the crypt. The room suddenly dropped in temperature – and the next second, two more stone coffins came hurling towards them.

Cenred was rooted into place, forced to summon two more walls of stone at the last second to shield them from the incoming barrage. The King of Essetir let out a verbal curse, reaching out directly to Morgana’s mind as she continued to walk away from him.
Stop moving! You will lose your life!

Priestess! Morgana!

But his words no longer reached her.


Back on the surface, Arthur, Gawain and Lancelot were locked in intense combat. They had tried everything. Incapacitating Bayard. Disarming him. Severing limbs. Overpowering him, with all three of them attacking at once.

Nothing worked.

Arthur could feel himself weaken as the minutes ticked by. He had never fought so intensely for so long before. He knew his limits. Before long, all three of them would be exhausted – and Bayard showed absolutely no signs of slowing down. No matter how many times they brought him to his knees. He’d just get back up. At some point, out of desperation, the Crown Prince had even tried to decapitate him- but the blade faltered after two inches, stopped from slicing all the way through.

But there had to be a weakness. There had to be something. And so they kept fighting, slashing wildly as they cut him again, and again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

But nothing worked.

The Crown Prince could feel himself getting exhausted. He was moments away from reaching his limits. And he was not the only one. Arthur could see Gawain’s grip on his sword weakening, and Lancelot’s arms were visibly shaking. Both of them were on their last legs. The young knight leaned heavily on his sword, panting as he caught his breath.
“There… has got… to be… another way…!”

Gawain growled, lifting his sword high above his head as he charged in for another attack. The young redhead swung his weapon down wildly as he aimed for the back of Bayard’s neck-

But Bayard blocked the blow, wrapping his clawed hand around the blade and pulling it towards him. Gawain hadn’t been prepared for that. He went stumbling forwards, losing his balance as the weapon was yanked out of his grasp.

And it cost him. As Gawain tried to regain his balance, Bayard’s leg suddenly shot out, bending and cracking as he swept Gawain’s feet out from under him. The young redhead went crashing towards the ground. Hard. He fell onto the dirt with a loud, painful thud.

Gawain barely had time to recover. From the swirling mist above him, he could see Bayard’s heavy leather boot come crashing down, aiming to crush his midriff. The young redhead quickly brought up his arm and blocked the blow. He let out a cry of anguish as white-hot pain shot through his forearm.

It was all he could do. Gawain had reached his limit. He was exhausted. This was the end of the road for him. He instinctively knew what was about to happen.
But if he was going to die, then he was going to do it while looking evil in the eyes. Gawain looked up at the monster in front of him, his teeth pulled into a defiant growl.

And the young redhead froze. Gawain finally noticed. It was barely visible underneath the purple mist… but it was there.

A single tear, dripping down from Bayard’s cheek.

The Prince of Mercia was weeping.


Morgana Pendragon ignored Cenred’s increasingly frantic mental pleas as she was overcome by a strange, familiar sense of purpose. She had felt this way before. When she had drawn poison out of Arthur’s body. When she had treated Gawain’s cuts and bruises while he wasn’t looking, after the boy had gotten into yet another fight. When she danced with the other witches back in Scarborough.

Back then, casting magick in a coven had come with a strange sense of drive, of purpose – but that sensation was nothing compared to the overwhelming urge that the budding witch felt now. Morgana had never experienced a compulsion this strong before. She couldn’t fight it. She moved purely on instinct, drowning out everything else in the crypt while her eyes locked onto the creature in front of her.

Help me.

Someone.

Anyone.

Help me help me help me help me help me   h e l p   m e

The sorceress felt no fear as she looked down on him. A profound sense of grief spread through her chest, calling out to something deep inside of her. With a soft voice, Morgana spoke.
“It’s all right. I’m going to help you.”

She focused, grounding herself as she called on the magic inside of her. Millicent voice resounded through her mind as she drew in more and more. Warnings to stay in control. To restrain her emotions. To keep her magic contained- but she didn’t listen. Not this time.

As the creature in front of her leapt off the coffin, its claws aimed at her face, it was suddenly repelled backwards. Cenred had caught up to her. He blasted it backwards, holding the body up in the air as the King of Essetir fought the swirling mist around it for control.

I cannot hold it there for long, he growled.  Move out of the way and let me destroy-
But Morgana cut him off, instinctively stepping forward.
No.

Let me do this.

The sorceress could see Cenred turn his head to look at her. A brief flicker of confusion crossed his brow. The King of Essetir braced himself as he lifted the boy’s body even higher. They could see it thrash around in the air, claws slashing at them as another unnatural shriek escaped from its mouth. The vile, purple mist around it grew even thicker, oozing from every inch of its body and slowly making its way towards the two of them.

It was what she had been waiting for. Morgana had chosen to let intuition guide her. She was moving on instinct alone. And instinct had never been this loud. The sorceress took a deep breath. She raised her hand, stretching out her fingers towards the corruption in front of her-

And, with a strength that she never knew she possessed… began to draw it out. 


“Gawain! MOVE!”

But his warning came too late. Gawain was pinned, doing all he could just to stop Bayard from crushing his windpipe with his boot. As Bayard raised his blade to go in for the kill, both Arthur and Lancelot charged in-

But their blades met with nothing. They clashed in mid-air as Bayard ducked out of the way at the last second. Arthur could hear the snapping of bones. The thing in front of him he spun around, his blade flickering in the torchlight. Then, in a single, swift movement…

Bayard stabbed Lancelot through the chest.


Morgana stumbled forward, almost doubling over as she gasped for air. She couldn’t feel the ground underneath her feet anymore. She couldn’t feel the cold air around her. Her limbs were slowly going numb as a horrible, malefic cold settled inside of her body, wrapping its tendrils around her and taking her breath away. She couldn’t breathe. Her vision started swimming.

The sorceress looked down, wincing at the sight of the black, vile spirit that coagulated around her blackened fingers. Like a vile poison, it began to drip onto the ground. Morgana could feel herself being drawn in, her skin slowly draining of colour as it began to swallow her lower arm.

But that wasn’t enough. It still wasn’t enough. She needed to drain more.

She needed to draw in everything.  


“LANCE!”

Arthur watched in horror as his friend staggered backwards. His legs gave out underneath him. Lancelot fell to his knees, groaning in pain as the front of his armour began to stain a bright crimson. He was badly hurt. They needed to give him medical attention, immediately. If they didn’t…
He grit his teeth as he looked at Bayard, still moving with the same violent force as at the beginning of the fight. The Crown Prince instinctively knew.

This was bad. No matter what they did…

They couldn’t win.

And Lancelot realized that, too. Arthur could see it in his eyes when their gaze met across the battlefield. With a pained grimace, the young knight groaned:
“Sire… Run.”

“I cannot… hold it… much longer…-”

“I’m not leaving you behind!” Arthur yelled. He could hear Gawain get up behind him. The young redhead was not in a much better condition than Lancelot was.
“No… he’s right,” Gawain growled, placing an arm around his battered ribs. “We can’t beat it. You need to run-“

“I am not abandoning you! Either of you!”

“Arthur… please…”

No.

Not this time.


In the life of any knight, there was a single, defining moment. A make-or-break situation, where a man could either step up and face life’s challenges head-on – or break down, proving himself unworthy.

The future King of Camelot did not realize it… but on that day, Arthur found his defining moment.

Stand your ground.

As Arthur stood in between Bayard and Gawain, gripping his sword and staring into the darkness, the Crown Prince could feel a strange sense of calm overcome him. His fears faded away. His breathing slowed. Arthur took a single step forward, raising his chin as he was filled with a strange, cold determination.

A Pendragon does not run.

The Crown Prince of Camelot could feel an immense surge of power course through his body. As he raised his sword, he could see Bayard hesitate. Je took a step back.
That was all the encouragement that Arthur needed. The Crown Prince moved on instinct, slashing at the foe in front of him again, and again, and again-

And with every blow of his sword, Arthur could feel his mind being battered. An immense sense of pressure coursed through his skull. His vision went blurry. Flashes of memories began to force their way to the surface – memories that did not belong to him, invading his mind like a disease and chilling him to his very core.


Cenred was almost blown away by the force of the spirit that was released, flooding every inch of the stone chamber like a massive tidal wave. The sheer amount of raw power was overwhelming. The only thing keeping him from getting blasted against the wall was the fact that he had stoneshaped his feet onto the floor- and even that was not enough. Cenred could feel himself being pushed backwards, leaving heavy grooves in the stone floor. The illusions on his form faded together with the corrupted energy in the chamber as Morgana’s power absorbed everything in range.

Everything.

Every strand of magic. Every wayward, corrupted layer of spirit. It was drawn out and absorbed into her body as the room was filled with a blinding white light, washing over the crypt and cleansing everything it touched.

The King of Essetir had not seen that kind of raw power in a very, very long time.


As the blinding light faded, Morgana Pendragon finally collapsed. Panting, the sorceress fell down onto the floor. Her entire body was shaking. She couldn’t see. She couldn’t hear. Morgana felt all of her senses shutting down, violently forced out of her body by a horrid, wretched darkness.

She couldn’t get it out. Its claws had dug its way deep into her body. Morgana could feel dozens and dozens of emotions at once – rage, fear, heartbreak, agony, rejection, despair, – they flooded her senses, festering in her mind and slowly destroying every thought that she had. The sensation was so overwhelmingly violent that it took her breath away, leaving the sorceress gasping for air.

It hurts. It hurts. It hurts. It hurts.

Someone spoke to her through the chaos, the sole voice of reason in what was quickly becoming a sea of rage and pain.

Priestess.

She was drowning. Morgana couldn’t feel the ground underneath her anymore. Her arms and legs were completely numb as she sunk deeper and deeper, the festering mire threatening to swallow her whole-

Stop. Let it go.

It is not your burden to bear.

Slowly, the raging chaos inside Morgana’s mind subsided. The screaming stopped. The violent emotions faded away, her head growing quiet. She was able to breathe again. Her senses slowly returned to her, one by one, as the festering darkness inside of her was pulled away. Painlessly. Effortlessly. Like an immense burden being lifted off her back. The budding witch finally became aware of her surroundings again.  

But Morgana was too tired to look up.


Slowly, the swirling, purple mist around Bayard’s body faded away. The Prince of Mercia lay motionlessly in the sand, the claws having vanished from his fingers, his skin battered and bruised. His chest moved up and down slowly.
Not a single cut remained.

“Sweet merciful Watcher.”

Arthur could hear Gawain move past him, stumbling his way towards Lancelot. The young knight lay motionlessly on the ground. Gawain fell to his knees, almost collapsing himself as checked his friend’s pulse.
“He’s… he’s still breathing,” Gawain gasped. “I’ll… get a stretcher- Take him to the… hospital.”

But the Crown Prince did not respond. He couldn’t. Arthur fell to the ground, doubling over as his mind finally made the connection.  

He recognized those memories. Arthur had been to those places. He knew where they were. He knew what they signified. The Crown Prince instinctively knew just what Agravaine’s presence in those memories meant – just what had happened in those dark chambers.
“You weren’t there, milord. It was bad. It was really bad. Not just when they arrested us, but when they took other people, too.”                                                      

Gawain had warned him.
Guinevere had warned him.

“People need burial rites, even if they died horribly! Especially if they died horribly! I-if you don’t…!”

Arthur couldn’t move. He stared down at the ground in a stunned daze as wave after wave of realization hit him. There was no vile sorcerer. No villain to punish. Not this time. The Crown Prince could feel a horrible sense of nausea overcome him as he finally understood.
“…it was us.”

“It wasn’t a sorcerer. It was us.”


It was us.

The sorceress wasn’t even aware of the sound of footsteps leading away from her. She covered her mouth, a wave of nausea hitting her.

The boy’s body had been floating in mid-air, suspended above her mother’s coffin. Every trace of corruption had vanished. The wounds were gone. The gashes had healed over. His claws had disappeared. The vile spirit had faded away, leaving behind the thin, malnourished body of a single human boy. Morgana watched as gravity slowly regained its hold on his body. He started to plummet towards the floor.

She reacted on instinct. With her last ounce of strength, the sorceress leapt forward. She caught the boy just before he hit the ground.
“I’ve got you,” Morgana muttered, wrapping her arms around him. “You’re okay. I’ve got you.”

She gently lowered him onto the ground. There was barely any weight to his body. He wasn’t breathing. Morgana could barely feel her fingers on his skin – like she was holding onto a mirage. Morgana instinctively knew that the person that was lying in her arms… wasn’t human. Not anymore. He wasn’t whole.

But the soul was still there.

The boy’s eyes fluttered open, cloudy and confused as the remaining spirit allowed for a brief moment of consciousness. Morgana could still see the remnants of fear and pain reflected in his eyes. The boy spoke, his voice a soft croak as he looked up at her.
“Help…. me.”
“It’s all right,” Morgana whispered. “It’s over. You’re safe now.”
“They… hurt me. I didn’t… do anything.”
“I know. It’s all right. They won’t hurt you anymore, I promise – I won’t let anyone hurt you.”

Morgana knew that he didn’t have much time left. The sorceress could feel him fading. Her entire focus was on the tormented soul in front of her. As the tips of his feet began to grow transparent, Morgana could see the clouded expression on his pale, youthful face slowly twist into something else. A crippling fear, bordering on panic. Morgana saw a single tear roll down his hollow cheeks.
Then another. And another.
He was terrified.

He was just a child.

The sight broke her heart into a thousand pieces.

“Please. It’s… cold. I don’t… want to die.”

“Please. I’m… scared.”

He was just a boy. Just a child who had been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Who had gotten caught up in a feud that had nothing to do with him… and everything to do with her.
Morgana knew. She knew that she had caused this. If she had not used her magic against Agravaine, if she hadn’t infiltrated his chambers and challenged him… then this boy would still have been alive. So many people would not have lost their lives.

This was her fault.

A dull, throbbing pain coursed through her chest. The sorceress could feel her own cheeks staining with tears as she looked down on the boy in her ams.
“What’s your name?”

“R….Rupert.”
“You’ll be all right, Rupert. I promise. You’re not going back to darkness. You’ll never hurt again.”
“You… promise?”

A whispered plea, bearing with it more pain than someone his age should ever have to bear. Morgana cupped his face, gently wiping one of the tears from his cheek. He was so afraid. So frightened. But he didn’t have to be. As Morgana looked down at him, the words suddenly came to her. She had no idea where they came from. No idea what the buried, hazy, unfamiliar memories were from which the words surfaced. But deep down, the priestess knew that they were true.  

Nothing had ever felt more natural.

“I promise, Rupert. You will not go anywhere bad. Not you. Did you know? When you leave here, you’ll go to Avalon.”

“Avalon?”
Morgana smiled, her voice soft and gentle.
“It’s a special place, for only the purest and gentlest of souls. For people like you. You’ll be all right. In Avalon, there is no more pain, or sadness, or heartbreak. Everyone there is at peace.”
“…Everyone?”
“Everyone,” Morgana said, her smile widening. “Faeries and humans and sorcerers, too.  They can all exist in harmony, without any hatred or suffering.”

As she spoke, Morgana could see Rupert’s expression slowly change. His body relaxed. His tears stopped flowing, the turmoil and panic in his eyes fading away. Where he had been gripped by fear before, now, she could see calm. Trust. Acceptance.
And just a sliver of hope.
“I can… go there?”
“You can,” Morgana said, her eyes turning misty as she looked down on him. “You have my word. You’ll never grow hungry again, Rupert. You’ll never have to be scared again, or sad, or have your heart broken, or feel lonely. You’ll never feel pain again. You won’t have to worry about anything. You’ll be free, and safe, and at peace.”
“Rea…llly?”
The priestess gave him a single nod.
“Really. I promise.”

Slowly, the tiniest of smiles spread across the boy’s lips. Morgana could see Rupert’s head tilting backwards. The boy closed his eyes, his expression tranquil as he let out a final, soft whisper.
“That sounds… nice…”

His presence vanished, fading away like the final wisps of a sunset. Morgana gently lowered him onto the ground. Her fingers could no longer feel his body. Her own tears fell down onto the cold stones as the husk in front of her slowly began to disintegrate.

She knew that his soul was not there anymore.
Rupert was at peace.

In that moment… she would have given anything to go with him.







Thank you Snuffy Bucket for Rupert’s death poses, and MercuryFoam for teaching me how to use gimp 😭

11 thoughts on “2.34 – Stand Your Ground, Part II

  1. I don’t know if I have a lot of additional insights separate to the string of brain farts I’ve already shared with you, but I suppose I can at least tidy this up for you and strip away the “omg”s and “arghs” 😆

    So, I guess instead of the whole scene by scene comment I’ll do individual characters.

    Cenred – It’s nice to see him get a little hero moment with the rock, like I already said. Still unsure whether his concern for Morgana’s wellbeing here stems out of genuine concern or if it’s simply because she’s too important of a chess piece. I’ll be cautiously optimistic. From his reaction to when she went into the uberboss mode and drew out the corruption, he did not anticipate her being as powerful as what she demonstrated here. Which means he may not fully know her origins and so forth. Which, if that’s the case would suggest he may still be acting on somebody else’s behalf rather than being his own agent. Which would make sense given his attempts to chat to Nimueh in the last chapter or whenever it was. Is he technically Nimueh’s lackey? No, I’d imagine they’re on more of an equal ground. But we did see Nimueh is not the most powerful of dragons. Still pondering if Cenred can turn into a dragon. Or, based on the little horn reveal here, whether he is a centaur/demon/changeling/an entity we don’t know yet. But until we know more I’ll settle for quietly chuckling at him “mentally swearing” heh.

    Morgana – Morgana got some of the most badass screenshots in this chapter, omg (wait, I said I’d stril the omgs… but this was too omg worthy). She looked like some kind of an anime character and it was so incredibly cool. Like I said earlier I’m glad she’s realised some of the parts she had to play in setting this into motion. That’s not to say it is her fault by any means, it is not, but I did find it worrying that she didn’t exhibit any signs of being burdened by Aggro’s pursuit of magical boys (oh that sounds creepy) up until now, when most people in her position likely would have felt some remorse. So it’s lovely to see her come to that realisation and be there for Rupert in his final moments. That whole scene at the end was beautiful and touching. RIP Rupert.

    Arthur – 😍😍😍 You already know this but I was so impressed with him in this chapter when he came to the realisation that it was the result of the kingdom’s magic user hate and Uther and Aggro’s prejudices, refusing to give people burial rites. It would have been so easy for him to reach a different conclusion – he did not see Morgana’s struggle in the catacombs, he saw an undeniably magical zombie wreak havoc and wound all of the knights that he is the closest to. The likes of Uther would jump on the revenge wagon, but not Arthur, Arthur learned from it, in spite of his upgringing and biases. My love for Arthur is strong now. Can we bin Uther already so that he can be king already please? Speaking of which…

    Uther – Still. WTF ate you dude. King missing in a major crisis like this and his teenage children having to deal with it all, not a good look. Not that Uther would have been capable of dealing with the crisis well, because he does not share the qualities that make Arthur and Morgana awesome, but still. Did he really sleep through his alarm so much to not hear any screams of anguish, weird creepy purple mist, zombies zombie-ing… nothing? Pfft.

    Gawain & Lancelot – Giving me some major scares, guys. Not cool. You better be ok, or else!!!

    Finally, just to reiterate that I love the parallel of Arthur and Morgana’s scenes there. Them both having lifechanging moments, each in their own rite, relating to the same event, but each on their own and totally separate… chills. But I already told you that.

    To summarise, this chapter was epic 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I loved the string of brain farts with “omg”s and “arghs”, they made my whole day yesterday 😁 you can do that any time!

      Cautiously optimistic is a great mindset! Oof, don’t let Nimueh hear you say th-
      Nimueh: “What does she MEAN, ‘not the most powerful of dragons’?! It’s not like ms. fire over there did any better than I did! I’ll have you know that my lack of power during those scenes has a perfectly reasonable ex-“
      Shh, Nimueh. You’re ruining my plot.
      Cenred: “Yes, Nimueh, go be quiet in a puddle somewhere.”
      Nimueh: “Says the guy who had his butt stuck in a wall for half a day.”

      Haha, you can leave all the omg’s in, don’t worry 😁 Yay! I worked really hard on those screenshots but at some point wondered if it was overkill and was considering redoing all of them, but now I’m glad that I didn’t. Oh gods Aggro’s pursuit of magical boys sounds even more disturbing when you phrase it like that 😫 that final scene with Rupert was a long time coming. I’m glad that it didn’t disappoint. ❤

      Aw, that’s a lot of praise for lil’ Arthur ❤ he really did do well. Arthur is like his father in some areas but in others he’s very different, and in moments like this, it shows. He’s come a long way from the little brat that he was in the kid chapters.

      I love your rants at Uther 😂 I’m picturing him bum-up on the bed now, loudly snoring and drooling while the literal apocalypse is going on outside.

      Thank you Plumbob ❤ I was very unconfident about the final few chapters – it’s hard to guess in advance if they’re going to work or flop spectacularly. I’m glad that you liked them so much. Made all the time spent setting it up totally worth it. 😁

      One more to go until the end. I’ll see you on the other side. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your photos are, as always, amazing! 🤩
    You have a very sober way of dealing with a very emotional issue, namely death.
    The last scenes are very touching and contain great comfort.

    Morgana realizes that she has been the cause of the boy’s painful death by challenging Agravaine. It must be a harsh realization, but the fact that she subsequently takes responsibility for repairing the damage makes her a heroine.

    I wonder more about Arthur’s sin? Does he have any guilt besides the sin he inherited from his ancestors?
    His realization will eventually make him a better king.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Mona ❤ I worked very hard on them so I’m glad that you enjoyed them so much!

      I’ve thought about the nature of life and death a lot, just like I’ve thought a lot about magick. I choose to believe that while dying is terrifying, death is not. That thought brings a lot of comfort.

      It was definitely a blow for Morgana, and Arthur, as well. That is a very good question – how much can they be blamed for the actions of their ancestors, and their own upbringing? When does something start being your responsibility?

      Thank you for reading. We have just one more chapter to go before the epilogue. I hope you will stay on the rollercoaster with me until the end. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This whole chapter was… epic. All the emotions. Except joy, but y’know, can’t have everything,
    I’m not sure I can form a cohesive essay of ideas, observations and theory, so here are some random thoughts I had while reading, in the form of mostly comprehensible sentences.

    If the thing knew that Morgana would be on side… who was it flinging coffins at? Cenred?

    Nothing bladey is working. Hm. Did they try fire? I’d also still recommend the bore to death method. Ugh, that image of him run through with swords is ick. Of course he’s weeping, you tried to cut his head off. I know that men (or an undead entities of misery and despair in the form of man) were not permitted to cry about anything, but surely attempted decapitation is an exception.

    I wonder why Cenred cannot control Morgana; maybe he doesn’t have that power, or her spirity magic is beyond his rock magic. Aww, Rupert really is a sorry little thing. Even with his claws and horns. ‘Help me’. Gah! Cenred, what you doing?! Piss off! You had your chance! Go walk back through the three thousand feet of stone and mud you slithered through to get here and stare at the lake some more. Oh, wait. You’re actually helping. OK, cool.

    Nooooo! Lancelot! I know he’ll be fine, unless you’re really deviating from legends, Yimi… which you might be… noooooo.

    Ah… springing up rock erections all over and now Cenred has horns and is sucking out the goop. I’ll park that train of thought there, but know that I warmed to him. Slightly.

    Oh. Man. That last scene. Oh, Rupert. *cries hard even though I’ve read this a dozen times* With the characters in situ and his sad little face… it’s just – I needed a breather – so heart-breaking. Oh, so beautifully done and the effects you added, how it all goes bright and light at the end in contrast to the looming darkness we’ve had, how his skinny, undressed little body disintegrates to nothing, the fear and hope in his eyes… perfect. My heart. Poor little Rupert. He didn’t even have a chance. Uther, you arse and Aggro, you absolute bastard.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t count joy out just yet. There’s still a little bit to go (but you know me, so for that matter don’t count out absolute misery, either 😂)

      I’m sure there are multiple creatures walking around in Camelot that would like nothing more than to fling coffins at Cenred’s face.

      Haha, who knows, the bore to death method might have been a good plan B! I was planning on adding more visuals to those scenes, but when I saw them in-game my reaction was already “oh dear lord what am I doing to them” so I stopped there. 😅

      I think it’s safe to say by now that I am very much deviating from the legends. Or am I? The truth is a shrödinger’s cat box, after all. Every possobility exists, and every story is true until you open the lid.

      “Ah… springing up rock erections all over and now Cenred has horns and is sucking out the goop.”
      Dead. Am dead. Oh gods I need to stop drinking while reading your comments. I almost spit tea all over my laptop. But yay, you warmed up to Cenred a little! Let’s see how long that lasts…

      That last scene was a long time coming, and I worried about it for quite a while. Death is always a heavy subject, but I don’t know – the more I wrote on that scene, the more personal it got, until I felt like it had to be exactly right or I’d be letting Rupert down. I’m really glad that it succeeded and didn’t fall flat. ❤

      Thank you for reading. Only one more to go – I hope I’ll see you on the other side. ☺

      Like

  4. Oh man okay. This time I’ll be able to formulate some form of words. Instead of just gaping at the screen blankly. You and your incredible screenshots. And mad suspense. And that end at the end. I’m not capable of so many emotions at one time! 😆 Gaah merciless! My brain exploded there!

    Kay back ahem. The first thing I found strange was the ‘distant deeply buried memory’ and that it did not belong to her. Whose memory was it? Definitely not Cenred’s memory for sure but then there are only two er.. living people there. Was it because she was close to her mom’s body so it belonged to her mom? Was it because of the priestess coven and she can look into people’s heads now? Ooof where did it come from? Maybe it is a memory in the chamber. Like how some old buildings absorb old memories. Or a lingering spirit’s memory. It seems to be guiding her as if someone were talking to her.

    I has no words for the fight scene. It’s so epic. First time around I read it full of suspense I’d probably throw all the popcorn on the ground. Second time though. I’m munching on popcorn. Hush now. Lemme read uninterrupted. 😉

    Bayard’s tears though. It suggests that Bayard is conscious of his actions, that or that he can feel it when they slash at him or when his spine rearranges itself. UGH… I really hope if he were conscious, he’s only feeling pain for what he’s doing to his friends than actually feeling everything that’s happening to him. Poor guy D:

    Ok I’m doubling back to the memory theory again. Cuz Arthur is now looking at Rupert’s memory. I’m assuming that when a person comes in conflict with a spirit to an extent or when the spirit is weakened they are able to access the spirit’s memory? That’s kinda cool.

    Did Morgana also see Rupert’s memories?

    But half those memories don’t look like Rupert’s. Is Morgana accessing her mom’s memories? I’m assuming so with the camera panning towards the coffin. But who’s the little kid with their hands in the air?

    Also Cenred has horns! Like our buddy Lincoln. Absorbs magic like Lincoln. I said this thousands of times but… where’s Lincoln 😆

    Ok I can’t everytime I get to the last part words fail me. So all I’m going to ask is what is Avalon. Sounds like paradise and that Morgana should let instinct takeover more. Hehehe!

    Also those photo effects are amazing ❤ Gaaah. I need to stop looking at them cuz they make me all weepy. Where’s my face? Somewhere on the floor. Lemme pick it up.

    Just wanna say this again. This chapter is amazing. I love the rollercoaster ride! Even if I’m all sobby and weird from it. But man. This is amazing. I hope everyone’s okay. Lancelot and Gawain. D: What was Lancelot’s roll to get him stabbed like that? J/k I wonder what will happen to Agra. Dang. Now there’s no bog. Gotta find a new place for him. We can always send him to Nimueh. Though I don’t think she wants him. Also I have to agree with Plumbob. Where’s Uther? xDDD Those are some amazing sleeping pills Gaius gave him. I wonder if he recognises the purple mist and went and hid. haha. I mean. He must’ve saw Bayard during the tournament. Or did he not go? What sneaky stuff is he up to?

    Also just stuff I noticed. I love your ceiling replacement. And those manga effect panelling of ‘shock’ or ‘surprise’? How’d you do it? Would be very helpful if I ever wanna do manga again ❤

    Ahh… kay. I’m all gushed out. This is so lovely. Even if my heart went north south sideways everything. But heck I’d ride this rollercoaster again. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man, such high praise. I’m so glad that the build-up paid off, sorry for blending you to a feels smoothie in the process though. Deep breaths. Deeep breaths. ❤

      Ooooh you have no idea how close you are to the truth with one of those options. I won’t tell you which one, though. I’ll have some of that popcorn too thank you very much, for your next chapter 😁

      Bayard definitely drew the short end of the stick in many ways this chapter. This will be addressed eventually so I won’t spoil it here, but yeah, he was not a happy camper. Morgana and Arthur both saw Rupert’s memories, yes, but only Morgana saw the other ones. Who is the kid indeed – theories are always welcome! 😁

      You’re making me blush, Mercury. Thank you so much. ❤ Lancelot didn’t roll, but Bayard did roll a natural 20 and got a critical hit on Lancelot. Poor guy.

      Oh gods, you want to send Aggro to Nimueh? 🤣 Hang on-
      Nimueh: “Absolutely not.”
      Now just-
      Nimueh: “No. There is corruption and then there is filth.”

      That is a ceiling mod! I’m absolutely in love with it and you can find it here: https://theofficialeunola.com/defaults . Note – you can only use one ceiling texture at a time, and everything will show as that texture. So no mixing and matching. The expressions are all poses, I believe. I can try to look for them if you tell me which ones caught your fancy.

      Please remain inside the dragon roller coaster and keep your hands and feet inside until the vehicle has completely stopped. Your feelings, leftover nerves and immortal soul will be returned to you upon exit.

      Like

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