If you were given a chance, given a choice, to change someone's life, would you deal with the repercussions?
What if that life was in the past? What if you knew what would happen, and what would you change?
This is where the story begins. This is where Talia has the choice; would she save him...would she change the past?
It didn't start in Camelot, no, this started in a field.. A field with an old ash tree, (probably as old as Camelot itself) lonely in the plain. In the beginning, a soft, warm breeze danced and twisted with loose hair, a sigh escaping parted lips, fingers gently pushing locks behind pink ears. The sun warmed exposed skin as shadows of leaves danced upon lilted eyelids. With a book in hand, Talia stretched her arms high to work out the kinks in her shoulders from sitting for so long. It was a rare treat for her and her best friend Matthew, better known as Matt, to be freed of quests from the Guardians. The young man sat, contemplating the year he lived in: 2002, eyes half lidded next to Talia. They sat near a ravine, grass surrounded by hills so green and pure after the summer rain...it was magical. A brook flowed some feet away from the tree, the trickle of water heard clearly on the quiet, perfectly blue skied day.
The day started slow and calm for the two, but a sudden cold chill brushed through the warm summer, calling an abrupt stop to the surrounding peace.
Talia sat up sharply, placing her book down, wild hair blazing as red as her eyes. Her gaze scanned the area, everything increasing in detail as the colours intensified, her mind sharpening along with it.
"Tal?" Matthew questioned softly, looking over, his posture becoming alert and ready subconsciously.
He had grown to know his friend’s signs of danger over the years.
"I'm not sure," she murmured under her breath. She stood slowly, hand braced on the tree, the feel of rough bark grounding her to the here and now.
The sky seemed to darken as a soft fog began rolling down the hills from all sides, surrounding them, before settling at the ends of the ravine.
"Well, this is certainly interesting. Weather didn't say fog,” Matthew observed, standing shoulder to shoulder with Talia.
"No, it didn't. Somethings not right.” She turned to face him. The accusations of this being the Guardian’s work rested on the tip of her tongue.
It was then when it hit. It felt like a vice gripping one's soul, pulling like a hook with a fish caught on the end. Forceful, yet graceful, the knowledge of moving yet not, and at that same time, it was like bodies lurching. It was a reaction of fired off nerves, leaving sharp stabs of wildfire upon the skin, and… then it stopped.
"What the bloody hell was that?!?" Matthew cursed as he stumbled, trying to find his footing by grabbing Talia. The young lady pushed him off before kneeling over the not-so-large tree that was there mere moments ago. Now, it was reduced to a mere sapling.
"That’s weird..." she muttered, breathing heavily. Her hands rested on Matt's arm, head shaking as to clear the cobwebs and timeframe jumping.
"Not again! They could have at least warned us." Matthew growled as he guided his friend to sit down.
"I don’t think that’s necessarily their style.” Talia stated. "So much for a day off.”
Her keen eyes scanned the slowly clearing fog which seemed to climb up the hills once again, the warm breeze returning its dance once again against cool skin. Goosebumps appeared on their arms.
"You are here for a quest"
They chorused, turning to the voice. There, standing a meter away from the two, was a Guardian in glowing gold. The Elder Guardian. Talia glared, but stayed silent.
"Talia, you have a chance to change the past, to set right what was accused wrong"
"What, no greeting? No, ‘how are you’? No warning?” the girl scoffed before fixing her gaze. “No, why would you? And just what if we say no?"
She struggled to stand, Matthew pulling the smaller of the two up with a clasped hand. Frustration gave her an energy boost, her stoneglare hardening at the Guardian.
"If you refuse… the Kingdom of Camelot will fall. Uther will die whilst damaging Camelot beyond repair, and young Arthur will push away his beloved, Guinevere. Worst of all, Morgana will rule Camelot, and Lancelot will give his life needlessly to the vail.”
The friend’s eyebrows skyrocketed at the simple statement. Both glanced at one another speechless, Matthew giving a weak shrug, indicating Talia to interrogate the Guardian.
"..Wait, we’re in the realm of Camelot, abilon? The 5th century?"
"Late 5th century more like. Lancelot is not a knight yet… "
"Explain, and I mean everything. No holding back, no secrets, I want all the information.” Talia demanded, shaking a finger at the elder. “I'll be damned if we get run through with a sword for wrong information."
She looked over to Matthew, who was just as intrigued at their current predicament as she was, the frustration ebbing away with the oddness of their situation. The Guardian smiled in amusement before spouting off information about the quest. As he explained the situation, Matthew and Talia scanned the area for protection and worked out a plan in their heads.
A forest was some mile away, walking there deemed safe, so they started forward, continuing to listen.
They settled in the crest of forest with the same brook mere meters away, a fire coming alive as twigs and sticks were added to a pile.
Finally, clothing appropriate to that era was provided to both of the adventurers in saddle bags, bedrolls and provisions stuffed in. Strangely, if not gladly, Talia was given clothing fit for a knight; knee length leather boots, a red, long sleeved tunic, and black pants. A cloak of dark blue joined the ensemble as she tied loosely her hair back in a delicate ponytail.
Matthew, on the other hand, was given more of a manservant look; breeches, a darker red shirt, a brown jacket, and a belt where daggers would sit out of sight. That gave the man a bit of reassurance.
Their clothing itself made them laugh softly, and as they examined their garb, the Guardian informed them that Morgana and her sister Morgause had taken Camelot, Uther in the dungeons being mentally tortured, Arthur was on the run with a small group, and Lancelot was about to come back into the picture. Their task was one thing: help Lancelot and help him heal as Guinevere fell for Arthur and not him, and help Arthur take back Camelot, whilst emptying the cup of life which in turn created the immortal army. Easy, right?
The first step was finding Lancelot and Percival, to which they were assured that they would soon meet if they stayed where they were. The town of Haldor wasn't far, so with a quick change of clothing, bagging their future clothing in the saddle bags and weapons settled, Matthew and Talia sat awaiting as the sky darkened, greeting the night.
"So… I'm your manservant?" Matthew asked with humour, the Guardian was gone and they could finally get their heads around the prospect that they no longer were in the 20th century.
"Apparently so, but let's go on and the respect of protector as well," she grinned, sitting back against a large ash tree. "I appreciate the weapons as well, and I'm going out on a limb here saying that the broadsword and daggers are yours Matt, and this one is mine along with the longbow," she speculated whilst inspecting the quiver of arrows, caressing the pheasant feather fletching between her fingers.
"At least with me being a manservant, being together will work."
"True, plus you'll protect a damsel in distress."
"Seriously? You, a damsel?"
"When ain't you?"
"Shove it, Matthew."
The insults quickly dissolved into laughter between the two, lighting the mood. Soon after Talia declared she would gather firewood to last the night, Matthew set to cooking on the open fire.
"Be careful, Tal," he called.
"Quit worrying, you'll get premature grey hairs," she smiled over her shoulder as she pulled the quiver of arrows over her shoulder and grabbed her longbow just in case.
Humming a tune she remembered from her time with the Guardians, she collected wood. Strangely, with the mission it seemed right. Who was she to argue if Merlin was real, or the knights of Camelot, or the the sword in the stone? Magic was most definitely real, therefore there deities had to be, right? Surely it would help to thank them, what was there to lose?
With an armful of wood, she started back to the clearing. As she approached, however, she found herself frowning at the strange voices murmuring ahead.
"I'll be damned, it looks like we have company already," she muttered to herself before sighing, readying herself mentally for this unknown adventure before breaking through the brush. "I see we have visitors," she spoke as the two souls jumped. It seemed the two strangers were on edge, not that she could blame them if what the guardians were saying was true.
"Lady Talia, meet Lancelot and Percival," Matthew quickly dropped into a manservant persona as he took the firewood from her.
The two strangers bowed slightly from there sitting position.
"My lady, I hope you do not mind sharing your fire?" Lancelot asked softly, his dark eyes finding her hazel ones, though he swore the fire made then red as the flames themself.
"Of course not, you both look ready to drop, but I am no lady; only in title"
"I have seen her fight, trust me she is not," she glared, amused at Matthew’s words before throwing a few sticks in.
"Have you eaten?" she asked eyeing the two. She couldn't help her eyes from lingering on Lancelot, and as it seemed, so did his.
"No, we have not had time, my lady."
"Talia or Tal will do," she smiled cheekily at Lancelot before turning to Matthew. "I did the wood, you get the water"
"Don't fall in," she laughed, throwing her waterskin to him as he stood, the two strangers watched in fascination at their interaction.
"Fine, but if I do, you’re rescuing me."
"I'll laugh first, and then I'll save you"
"And I thought you cared."
"My humour comes first, rescue second."
"Typical, I'm just your comedy."
"No, you are also the carrier, cook and general pain in the backside," she grinned up at her friend.
"What's new?" she deadpanned.
Matthew laughed softly before turning to the two men.
"Can I fill yours whilst trying not to drown?"
With a their nod of thanks, he gathered Lancelot's and Percival's waterskin as he clambered off towards the brook.
"Don’t forget to thank the vilia as you refill!" Talia called over her shoulder as she filled two bowls of rabbit stew.
"of course, I'll thank them as I'm falling in," Matt called back before disappearing, following the sound of the trickling water.
"So, what are two strangers doing on the path towards Camelot?" she questioned as she passed the bowls to them. She pulled off her longbow and quiver to settle it by the side of her as she sat on a felled log and watched the two men dig into their food like they hadn't eaten in days. She eagerly awaited their story.