Gawain's Hands

(January 21, 2004)

My hands are so much older than they used to be; once holding my pentangle and my sword aloft with the strength of the Virgin gazing out at my knuckles, they hang now at my sides, warped and powerless. These hands have slain a thousand lesser knights, a score of dragons, a veritable hoarde of oathbreakers, and yet here I stand, seeing all in flames and crumbling rock before me, with no power left to make it right. The irony that after all of the otherworldly tasks we have completed, those which are as earthy as our own sins are to be our own downfall is not lost on me, but I have not the heart to spare even a chuckle. I am not so old as these hands, but their tiredness is mine, and it is all that remains.

Everything that lives must die, they say, but what of those precious beings that are beyond the realm of the living - our virtues, our morals, our perfect kingdom of equality and glory? My brothers are dead, slain by one who would fain have saved them, having battled beside both as he had me; they must be avenged, but it will be little more than another axe's swing against a table that is already splintering. Camelot is falling, tower by tower, and all I can do is stare at these hands, and wonder when they lost their ability to grasp. The pyre will be built, and Mordred will dance along Arthur's lance; any noble knight should ride against this, but Gringolet will not run, and neither will I. All dreams end, and it is time to wake.