Life before Arthur
Uther Pendragon, a legendary king of Britain, was Arthur’s father. He was often described as a strong king and a defender of the people. While King Uther ruled, Britain was peaceful and prosperous, the citizens were happy and they felt protected. However, he had no son to take over his throne and no daughter to give cheer to his heart. It is said that late in his life, Uther became obsessed with Lady Igraine, the wife of his vassal Gorlois, the Duke of Tintagel. In order to see Lady Ingraine again, the scheming King announced a great feast at his castle and invited all of the nobles in the land. At that very feast the duplicitous King could not contain his wild desires, and he ruthlessly pursued Lady Igraine. The Duke was infuriated by King Uther’s indecent advances, and returned with his wife to their castle without notice. Of course, it is unheard of to abruptly leave a royal feast without official leave from the king himself. King Uther demanded their return, and when they refused, the King declared war. But, King Uther did not care for the battle. He was desperate for Lady Igraine, and begged Merlin for his help. Merlin was willing to help the deceitful King, but at a price. Any child born from this intervention would go under his care. Uther agreed, and Merlin used his magic to transform the King’s appearance to look exactly like Gorlois. That very night, King Uther’s troops attacked Gorlois, and under the cover of darkness the King entered Tintagel Castle and spent the night with Lady Igraine. That night, they conceived Arthur. The next morning it was discovered that Gorlois was killed in battle, removing all obstacles for King Uther to marry Lady Igraine and send her daughters from Gorlois to a convent.
Arthur’s early life
The early life of Arthur was far from royal or comfortable. Not only was he born out of wedlock, he was also born during very troubled times. Seeing the King’s health weakening, local tribes began a struggle for power, splitting the country into several kingdoms. In addition, Saxon invaders attacked and pushed the Britons westwards. Merlin advised that Arthur should be raised in anonymity, and secretly took him to the castle of Sir Ector, a loyal ally of the king. There he grew up with Ector’s son, Sir Kay. Sir Kay and his friends thought Arthur was a bastard child and would often tease and taunt him. The poor boy grew up in shame, not knowing about his royal lineage.
As Arthur got older, Merlin introduced himself to him. Merlin tutored him in many subjects, and the two became close friends. Merlin saw the potential in Arthur to become a wise and just ruler, and with education and experience he helped the young prince to learn and grow. The prince would later become a compassionate King of what would be the greatest kingdom ever known.
The Sword in the Stone
King Uther’s health deteriorated as he aged. His Kingdom split by tribes and Saxons, he saw enemies everywhere and his paranoia was not in vain. Eventually, the Saxons managed to poison King Uther. When King Uther died, the already disrupted country was thrown into turmoil as everyone competed to be the next King. However, Merlin was prepared for this eventuality and he used his magic to put a sword in a stone. The words engraved in gold on the sword read: “Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone is the rightwise born king of all England.” Instead of fighting, Men took turns in trying to lift the sword from the stone, hoping that they could become the new King. But none of them succeeded, and the sword, and the King, soon became forgotten.
One day, now fifteen years old, Arthur was brought to the sword in the stone by Merlin. A crowd had been assembled, and they were to witness the greatest moment in history: Arthur heroically lifting the sword from the stone, after Sir Kay had failed to do so. After this moment, Arthur was crowned the new King of Britain and the crowd cheered. However, this sword in the stone was not a magical sword. King Arthur would go on to win over the Lady of the Lake, who bestowed upon him the powerful sword Excalibur. With this weapon he was victorious against many foes.
Quickly, Arthur secured his throne and succeeded his father as King of Britain. At his base in the legendary Camelot he assembled the bravest and strongest of the knights around him. They formed the famed Knights of the Round Table, where every knight seated was given the upmost trust by the King and had an equal say on matters discussed there. From there the knights would go on heroic quests to rescue young women in distress and fight strange beasts.
Despite his age, King Arthur was a skillful strategic leader, and with him the Knights of the Round Table proceeded to fight great battles against the Saxons and unite the tribes. The first battle resulted in a huge victory at Mount Badon, which put a temporary hold on the conquests of the Saxons. When they again attempted invasion, King Arthur went on to win three more decisive battles, and he forced them to promise to leave Britain. Unsurprisingly, the Saxons agreed, but not much later they ventured to surprise King Arthur and attack, landing on the shores of Britain. But King Arthur gathered his army and met the Saxons, defeating them once and for all in a glorious battle.
King Arthur was a popular king, renowned for his courage and generosity. Early in his leadership he met and married the beautiful Guinevere, destined to be the doom of him and his knights of the round table. For, once she laid eyes on the brave and handsome Lancelot, one of King Arthur’s most loyal knights, and his eyes on hers, they fell deeply and irrevocably in love. At first, they refused to see each other, as he was a loyal knight of the king, with a trusted place at the round table. However, King Arthur was blind to their love, and wanted them to be friends, so would often ask Lancelot to be friendlier with her and, as his most trusted knight, protect her. King Arthur did not see that Lancelot’s coldness towards Guinevere was for his own good, and Lancelot had to obey his King. Over time, Lancelot and Guinevere could not resist each other, and eventually the harsh truth of their affair was revealed. Lancelot had to escape, and hide from the King’s wrath.
King Arthur became obsessed with revenge. He relentlessly searched for Lancelot, until he finally found a possible location where Lancelot had been hiding. He marched his army to a castle in France, where he believed Lancelot to be, and laid siege to the castle, declaring that he would not leave the castle until Lancelot appeared or until everyone lay dead. In his absence, he had left his illegitimate son, Mordred, in charge of Britain.
Soon after the siege began, King Arthur received word from Merlin. Mordred had betrayed him, kidnapping King Arthur’s wife Guinevere and seizing the throne. After hearing the news of Guinevere and Mordred, King Arthur had no other choice than to return to Britain. What Arthur did not know was that this was all according to Morgana’s evil plan to take over Britain and to conquer the world. She had a dragon egg on the brink of hatching, and her plan was for Mordred and Arthur to kill each other so that she could take the throne for herself. With her dragon, she would become immensely powerful, but if she managed to get ahold of and use Excalibur, her power would be unquestionable.
Upon his return, in one of his dreams King Arthur was warned against fighting Mordred straight away for he would fail. He decided to send messengers in an attempt to negotiate with the underhanded Mordred. During the talks, one of Mordred’s men was bitten by an adder. As he drew his sword to kill it, the sun reflected off his blade. This made both armies believe that someone had drawn his sword to fight and it ignited a great and final battle, the Battle of Camlann.
Even though many of Mordred’s troops deserted when they realized they were fighting against King Arthur, the Battle of Camlann went on for the entire day and by nightfall, there were only a few of the best men left to fight. King Arthur took this opportunity to send Mordred an offer: truce, in exchange for Guinevere’s life. When Mordred refused, King Arthur stormed the castle. He saw Guinevere next to Mordred, but from the corner of his eye he noticed Morgana. He realized, then, that she was the one behind all of this and cut her down in a rage. To his horror, as his sword cleaved her in two, her face changed from Morgana’s to Guinevere’s as the spell wore off. The Guinevere next to Mordred laughed, and turned into Morgana. King Arthur went berserk, and killed Mordred’s remaining knights as Morgana fled. With only Mordred left, King Arthur finally confronted him. Both of them were two of the best fighters in the realm, and after a long, skillful battle, King Arthur eventually fatally stabbed Mordred. As King Arthur drove his sword deep into Mordred’s heart, he was distracted from his rage as he noticed the sun glint off of a dragon’s egg. It was in this moment that Mordred impaled himself further on King Arthur’s sword, to enable him to reach King Arthur and mortally wound the King. In his dying moments, Arthur had one last request: for Excalibur to be returned to the stone on the Isle of Avalon.
From the mists of the lake, three fairy queens appeared. They spirited Arthur’s body away to the mystical isle of Avalon where he could heal from his wounds. But mystery and secrecy has always surrounded the mythical place of Avalon and for many people, it is unclear what actually happened to Arthur. They say that one day he will awaken again, to defend Britain when they need him the most! But, until that day comes, Merlin insists that you take the dragon egg, as you are the greatest hope against the rising darkness.