Today we have a guest post from another author who contributed to the King of Ages: A King Arthur Anthology. Paola’s story, “Twilight’s Last Dreaming”, is unique and imaginative and will sweep readers along on an exciting adventure. You can read this story and 12 others for free when you sign up for my newsletter for a limited time in May.
In the distant future, the Pendrag UthRoi and the Oligarchs’ Council control society, and a callow young man, ArtRoi, continually tinkers with his ayborg, Merl. Through the genius of this crèche charge, Merl is able to see the past and present, and extrapolate the future.
Only ArtRoi, living with his brother KāRoi on The Table, has avoided destiny. Even when his younger crèche brother BdwrRoi threw his lot in with the hoipols, ArtRoi preferred his lazy, indolent lifestyle to one of active involvement. Only once had he agreed to use his technical genius to please the Pendrag. His creation, the MORDREDS, drones used by the Pendrag to spy on the hoipols, had worked far better than he had anticipated.
Society is crumbling and with his enhanced insight Merl knows that recruiting GwenEver, and her ayborg Viv, BdwrRoi, KāRoi, LanDulac and others, are the only bulwarks against the utter collapse of their world. All they need is a leader – a tech genius with access to UthRoi’s BadonMont operating system, and who can pull the Excali hardware from the stone. Someone to inspire, to create a new form of ruling, to ensure a better world. Merl dreams and knows that ArtRoi is the fulcrum for change, and the past and present must come together to create a future.
Twilight’s Last Dreaming came to me in my dreams. I was presented with the opportunity to write a story of King Arthur for inclusion in the King of Ages anthology. I started hearing Arthur stories when I was a little girl. My family was into mythology and legends from all parts of the world, and I was reading Mallory Morte D’Arthur, The Mabinogion, and The Once and Future King before most other books. I even found Alan Garner’s The Weirdstone of Brisingamen had wonderful allusions to the sleeping once and future King.
My dream showed me a future with huge disparity between the ruling classes and the hoipoloi, or the common peoples. Even with all the elements of an Arthurian tale, it was still a cautionary tale. How things like the MORDREDS that were developed to help the people became weaponized; how ArtRoi awakens to his responsibilities and becomes the leader of all his peoples; and how his stalwart knights in KaRoi, BdwrRoi, and all the others became the paladins in this dystopian universe.
But I wanted to tell a different story, one where Arthur isn’t a hero at the start and the world is a very different place. I wanted to see how various factors could influence and change a bleak present into a vivid future. I went to sleep and tossed all the components I wanted to have in the story, basically an outline of the classic tales of King Arthur, coupled with the pre-Mallory versions that show up in the Welsh stories, and the Roman legends of Artos fighting off the Saxon incursions. Excalibur or Caliburn was an issue, since a sword inside a future tale would be out of place, but I trusted my dreams and by the next morning, I knew how to structure the story.
The names and relationships are derived from all the old tales. Bedivere or his Welsh name, Bedwyr, was Arthur’s first follower and a known tinkerer. Kay was Arthur’s seneschal as well as his foster brother and in some cases his best friend. Lancelot DuLac was his friend, Guinevere or Gywnhefer his wife. They became BdwrRoi, KāRoi, LanDulac, GwenEver. All were crèche mates and are connected by bonds that transcend time.
ArtRoi’s fate is inextricably linked to the past and the future, and it’s Merl, Art’s enhanced artificially intelligent cyborg, or ayborg, that is the fulcrum that sees the dangers of the now, the possibilities of the future, and the heartbreak of the past. KaRoi, unlike the ridiculous Disney version, or even White’s Sir Kay, protects and stands beside his brother as a true guardian, or seneschal, does. Uthur Pendrag is based on myth and legend, as well as reflects the evils of tyranny. The drones, MORDREDS, hearken back to something Arthur created that went wrong. His biological sister even hides one from him, in the hopes to destroy him as he did their father.
The story was fun to write, and playing with philosophical ideas in the guise of a dystopian future was an excellent mirror into our own age.
Paola K Amaras co-owns Scribes Unlimited, LLC. She is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and has a master’s from the University of Pittsburgh. With her writing partner, Paul Kraly, she co-authored six non-fiction books, has her own first novel, Exiles of Dal Ryeas published, and is working her new series, Shadows in Light: Book One of The Hidden Rims Saga. She is a blogger for the Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paola-k-amaras/, Her Twitter is Writerswithcats, and you can find her author page at http://www.paolaamaras.com