Alternate Historian Robbie Taylor says, Camelot Redux in this late twentieth century tale from the Ratman. If you're interested in viewing samples of my other work why not visit Ratmanifesto site.
In 1998, French union organizer Lance du Lac joins the ranks of Arthur Pendrake in Great Britain. The flamboyant Frenchman attracts the attention of Pendrake himself, who likes du Lac's organizational skills and is impressed with his character. For his part, du Lac is practically overcome with hero worship for Pendrake, and is the first to swear his fealty to King Arthur. Pendrake put du Lac in charge of security for his burgeoning followers, and the Frenchman teaches a cadre of newly-knighted men the techniques he had used successfully in his homeland to build unions against rather stiff opposition. Before long, Arthur comes to rely on du Lac's advice even more than he does on Merl's - just as the Illuminati planned.
In 1998, Lance du Lac leads almost a full battalion of Arthur Pendrake's followers against a small number of British troops guarding a royal armory. Rather than just slaughter them outright, du Lac gives them the opportunity to swear allegiance to Arthur and join his men. Fully half take him up on the offer, and the confused turmoil inside the armory gives du Lac his chance to take it with almost no bloodshed. Pendrake is so impressed by this that he makes du Lac the first knight of his new kingdom. Merl advises sending du Lac into the Central European Empire to begin sewing the seeds of revolution inside the enemy's territory, but Arthur wants Sir Lance by his side, and ignores this council.
In 1998, Pierre Amory du Chaillot, Swiss Emperor of the Central European Empire, telephones the British Queen, Elizabeth II, to offer his assistance in the civil unrest that has been sparked by 'this young fraud, Arthur Pendrake.' The queen, although gracious about it, does not accept his offer, but asks him to speak with her prime minister, Oliver Pembroke. Emperor Pierre does just that, calling Pembroke immediately and telling him that the CEE has quite a bit of intelligence regarding Pendrake and his band of followers. Against his better judgment, Pembroke accepts the offer of intelligence, and the emperor has his ambassador deliver it to number 10 Downing Street personally. He then convenes a meeting of the highest council of the Illuminati, to discuss their plans to bring down both England and young Arthur.
In 1998, the highest council of the Illuminati, the inner circle of Swiss Emperor Pierre Amory du Chaillot, meets in Bern to discuss the unfortunate defection of Merl Myrddin to the British pretender, Arthur Pendrake. 'Brother Myrddin knows many of our deepest secrets, but I believe that we can neutralize him,' the emperor tells the assembled illuminated ones. 'We have agents in place that are working to bring Arthur down even now.' One of the other councilors speaks up at this, saying, 'I have seen this plan. It will take over a year, and come perilously close to the Convergence.' Emperor Pierre tamps down the muttering by saying, 'As we all know, the best plans are those given time to come to full fruition. We will move forward with this plan - but, if something better presents itself, we can consider a different route. Our organization is nothing if not flexible.'
In 1998, Arthur Pendrake plans a large Easter Mass in the old Catholic style. He has spread word that all who support him should flood Britain's Catholic churches on the 12th to show their support for his continued quest to rule the British Isles. The Archbishop of Canterbury, primate of the Church of England, requests the presence of all Britons at the church of their choice - but especially at the C of E. Arthur's appeal to religion strikes the queen as an outrageous tactic, and she denounces him as, 'Another in a long line of fanatics who shall be dealt with as surely as we dealt with Guy Fawkes.' The implied threat of Arthur's execution stirs up unintended support for the would-be king, and the nation braces for a stormy Easter.
In 1998, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom issues a call for all good subjects of the realm to attend their local Church of England on Easter morning. Arthur Pendrake's appeal is growing throughout Great Britain, and the queen is feeling the pressure of his popularity. Prime Minister Pembroke is also feeling threatened - Pendrake has begun speaking of a return to an absolute monarchy and abolition of Parliament. He deploys a couple of the agents that the Central European Empire has put at his disposal to destabilize Arthur's organization.
In 1998, the Saturday before Easter Sunday, Great Britain braces for the kingdom's decision. Catholic churches are guarded by Pendrake's followers, and the Church of England has military watching its doors. Prime Minister Pembroke pleads, 'This is the Lord's day. Please do not use it as an excuse for violence.' Arthur Pendrake, for his part, lets those who would see him as king know that they must not initiate aggression, but they should not hesitate to respond to it.
In 1998, on Easter Sunday, the followers of Arthur Pendrake flood the UK's Catholic churches, while the Church of England stands remarkably empty. Prime Minister Oliver Pembroke and the Queen herself sit in a church with only other governmental officials and a few media representatives, while Arthur takes in a Welsh service in a church that is overflowing with worshipers. No violence is recorded, although there is an abundance of tension in cities where Catholic churches stand near C of E institutions. After this rather stark illustration of how thin their support is, the prime minister and the queen discuss what can be done about this 'little Welshman,' as the queen calls Pendrake.
In 1998, Central European Imperial spies are brought to England and placed at the command of Prime Minister Oliver Pembroke. The Illuminati in Switzerland rejoice at this first move in suborning the legitimate government of England - after centuries of trying, they feel that they finally have the British right where they want them. Merl Myrddin, Arthur Pendrake's chief advisor and a former Illuminati himself, finds out about the British government's unexpected help and tells Arthur that this must become public knowledge quickly. He prepares the evidence he has and they arrange for a rally the next day.
In 1998, the aftermath of Easter Sunday ripples across British society. 'Round Table Societies', community organizations which lend vocal support to the pretender Arthur Pendrake, spring up across the land. Parliament brings up Prime Minister Pembroke's call to outlaw them, but some members are starting to lean towards Arthur - his advisor, Merl Myrddin, apparently knew many of them personally, and was using this influence to turn them towards the Welsh challenger. Also, several of the Welsh nobles in the House of Lords turn away from the queen and towards Arthur. The royal family retreat to their country manor and plan a strategy for the first popular attack on the crown since Cromwell.
In 1998, Arthurian loyalists battle royal troops in Swansea, Wales. Against his advisor Merl Myrddin's strongest prohibition, Arthur himself goes to the city to lead his people in the fight. With Lance du Lac at his side, he routes the military and saves Swansea. News of this defeat brings consternation in London - especially when they discover that almost a third of their own troops defected to Arthur's banner. Prime Minister Oliver Pembroke delivers a speech to Parliament that becomes his most famous; 'Today, my colleagues, a dark dagger has been thrust into the back of Britain.' Parliament answers the queen's call for troops, and as much might as the crown can summon is mustered to fight Arthur.
In 1998, Arthur Pendrake and his main force of Welsh troops advance within sight of London. They take over a small television station and Arthur broadcasts a message to the citizens of the capitol: 'People of London, I am Arthur Pendrake. I am the true King of all the Britons, and I am come to claim my crown. Today, I shall hold this fair city. I do not wish to harm my subjects, so I ask that those of you who are in the armed forces stand down when we advance. I shall not hold your service to the Windsors against you. Lay down your arms, and join me in restoring Britain to her former glory. You shall have a day to consider this offer.? Brigadier Major-General Charles Fortescue issues orders to shoot anyone who deserts to Arthur's side.
In 1998, when Arthur Pendrake walks into London, there is only token resistance from Brigadier Major-General Charles Fortescue's few loyal troops. Virtually the entire defensive force of London defects over to Arthur, and Fortescue himself is brought before the pretender in irons. "I do not hold you responsible for your attacks upon me," Arthur tells the general."You were being loyal to the crown, and I understand. But, this day, I shall wear the crown, and if you are not loyal to me, then I shall hold you responsible for your treason. What is your decision, sir?" The brigadier straightens himself, and standing tall and proud, says, "Sir, I serve Queen Elizabeth, sovereign of the realm, and do not recognize your right to the crown. If my loyalty to the rightful monarch of Britain is treason to you, then let me be the first to die for that treason". Arthur is deeply moved by the man's unswerving fidelity, and pardons him. "However, you must leave our shores, sir. Go and join your false queen on the continent, and conspire with the evil men who seek to rule our nation through secrets and subterfuge". Fortescue is put on a boat for Amsterdam along with a few dozen of his men, and allowed to leave. Arthur proceeds to the Tower of London, where he recovers the crown. After Merl Myrddin assembles as many reporters as he can, along with a couple of film crews, Arthur crowns himself King of all the realm.
In 1998, Welsh Arthurians, fortified and reinforced by royalist defectors, push the Queen's troops from the west and back into England. Arthur fights at the head of his troops; with bullets flying around him, Arthur seems untouchable, striding through the battle as if he is invincible. The mere sight of him lifts his troops' spirits and sinks his enemies'.Brigadier Major-General Charles Fortescue brings word of Arthur's advance to the Prime Minister, who then travels to Buckingham Palace. In an audience with the queen, Prime Minister Pembroke tells Queen Elizabeth, "Your Majesty, perhaps we should move you away from London". He makes preparations for the royal family to take refuge in Amsterdam, as the guests of the Central European Empire. Emperor Pierre welcomes "'ur Royal Cousin to the continent. We trust her stay here shall be brief as her noble warriors dispatch with this minor problem".
In 1998, the Central European Empire announces that it will not recognize 'the illegitimate government of the British usurper, Arthur Pendrake. Emperor Pierre will now, and forevermore, only recognize the rightful rulers of Great Britain, the Windsors.' Although most of the Commonwealth follows the lead of the CEE, Australia swears its allegiance to King Arthur II, and sends troops across the world to aid him. Arthur's Prime Minister, Merl Myrddin, also begins to use his old contacts among the Illuminati to move certain levers of power in Arthur's way. In spite of European opposition, Arthur's crown becomes more steady as time goes on.
In 1999, now that the Commonwealth stands behind King Arthur, he issues a call for support of the kingdom to all loyal citizens. 'We are about to embark upon the greatest struggle of our history,' King Arthur says in the televised address. 'An enemy sits across the Channel from us; an implacable enemy who sees us as nothing but an impediment to their own plans, as tools in their overarching conspiracy to control our world. Today, we declare war against these Illuminati and their henchmen inside the Central European Empire. Today, we declare that we will live as free men and women in this world. Today, we declare that the United Kingdom of Great Britain shall fight to the death those that seek to extinguish the light of liberty from our land. We ask for your aid in this great conflict, and with God's help, we shall emerge victorious.' Hours after the address, Emperor Pierre of the Central European Empire declares war against Great Britain.
In 1999, Lady Gwen Rivers Pendrake, Queen of all the Britons, visits her husband, King Arthur II, in the war room at Buckingham Palace, where he and his chief aides are discussing the war against the Central European Empire. "My King," she says to him, "you have not slept well these past few days. Let those who have made it their life's work take control of the war for a little, and I will give you some respite from the pressure".Prime Minister Merl Myrddin advises Arthur, "The beginning of a war is no time to take a break - we need you, my King". But, Arthur is tired, and says to Myrddin, "I am not so important that one day could make a difference with our struggle, old friend. I shall take my rest with my queen". Arthur and Gwen spend the rest of the day making merry, and since the war continues to go well for his side, King Arthur considers Myrddin's concern somewhat overwrought, and resolves to take regular breaks with his love from now on.
In 1999, as bombs begin falling on his capitol in Bern, Emperor Pierre of the Central European Empire begins to show the slightest traces of doubt that his master plan is working. The other Illuminati elite, trapped in Switzerland because of the war being brought to them by King Arthur's forces, begin plotting to overthrow Pierre and make a deal with Arthur.
In 1999, Sir Lance du Lac sends word to King Arthur II in Wales that more assistance is needed to penetrate the Swiss defenses. His planes, although effective at bombing, are unable to transport enough troops across Switzerland's mountains to maintain more than a toehold in the Central European Empire's capital. He needs Arthur to obtain more transport aircraft from the Commonwealth allies, who have been reluctant to provide them to du Lac without assurance from Great Britain's monarch that they will be paid for the use. Unfortunately, the message to King Arthur is intercepted by Queen Gwen, who destroys it. When a servant sees her burning the paper, she says, 'The King is here to rest, not to tend to the whims of those who serve him.'
In 1999, as King Arthur II reaches his bedside, Prime Minister Merl Myrddin wakes from his coma and smiles at his younger friend. 'Today, I feel that you will pass beyond my teachings, Arthur,' Myrddin says to his king. 'But, before I leave you to fly with your own wings, I must tell you - there is a traitor in your house.' Arthur, who had been growing suspicious of Queen Gwen, merely nods and says, 'I know, old friend. Do not spend your strength on her; that matter will be taken care of.'
In 1999, Bern falls to Sir Lance du Lac's British soldiers. Emperor Pierre's prime minister, Otto Von Haufmann, officially surrenders the empire to du Lac, but pockets of imperial loyalists continue to fight throughout Europe. Sir Lance puts one of his knights, Sir David Tristan, in charge of the subjugation of Switzerland, and heads off to the Hungarian front, where Emperor Pierre was last seen. He is halted by the news that Queen Gwen has been arrested on charges of treason - he cannot believe what he has heard, and he rushes back to England to see what madness has enveloped the kingdom in his absence.
In 1999, Queen Gwen arrives in London to stand trial for treason against the king at the same time that Sir Lance du Lac returns from the Swiss front to confront King Arthur about what he considers a travesty. "Sire, you cannot possibly believe that the queen has been aiding the enemy," Arthur's chief knight implores. "The queen is as loyal to you as I am". Arthur, clearly miserable about his queen, allows du Lac's words to sway him. "Speak to her, Lance," he asks du Lac, "find out why she tried to divert my attention away from the war". Sir Lance immediately goes to the Queen's cell in the Tower of London and asks her to answer the charges against her. "Brave Sir Lance," she says to him, "thank you so much for your confidence in me. Would that my own husband had the same. These charges are ludicrous, of course - all I wanted for Arthur was rest from the stresses of this grave conflict. You can understand that, can't you, Lance?" She touches his hand, which startles him. He doesn't move away, though. "I will do everything within my power to free you, my lady". She smiles and squeezes his hand softly. "I know you will".
In 1999, Sir Lance du Lac implores King Arthur II to show mercy to his queen. "They may have come at an unfortunate time, sire, but her distractions were simply to give you respite from the pressures of the war. She is no traitor". Arthur allows himself to be moved by du Lac's pleas, and pardons Queen Gwen.When she is brought before him, he says to her, "My queen, forgive me for my suspicions; these are hard times, and the loss of my oldest friend struck me harder than I thought it had". Gwen bows before him and says, "My lord, my heart, as ever, is yours". The king smiles, but as the queen rises from her bow, her eyes are locked on Sir Lance.
In 1999, as Sir Lance du Lac prepares to leave for the Hungarian front, Queen Gwen comes to him and thanks him for his defense of her before the king. "You are the most gallant of knights, Sir Lance," she says. She glances about to make sure that they are alone, then caresses his cheek tenderly. Sir Lance is startled by this display of affection, and draws away.The queen drops her hand and looks away, saying, "Forgive me, sir. I was overcome by my gratitude; you saved my life, and I just want to..". She looked in his eyes, tears starting in her own, and du Lac was moved to wipe the tears from her face. She caught his hand in her own, and brought it to her lips. "You leave for the Hungarian front, sir?" He nodded, dumbly. "Then, let me send you off with love".
In 1999, Sir Lance du Lac awakes in the queen's private chambers at Buckingham Palace. He is instantly stricken with remorse for what he and the queen have done, and hurriedly dresses. Just as he is reaching for the door, Queen Gwen says to him, 'Will you leave so ungallantly, Sir Lance? No kiss goodbye?' Arthur's best knight turns to her and says, 'My lady, forgive me my rudeness.But, the battle in Hungary waits for me, and I must be off - to win it for your husband.' As he turns again to leave, she says, 'You're twice the man he is, Lance. You should be ruling this country, not him.' Surprised, du Lac turns on her and says, 'He is the king, anointed by God.' Gwen snorts derisively. 'Mystical hogwash we all spread about to make it easier for him to seize the throne. What would he be without you, Lance? You've won his wars for him, here and abroad. He wouldn't have that throne if it weren't for you. The troops are all loyal to you.' She walked up behind him and stroked his shoulders. 'Take the country, Lance. Take it from this little man who is nothing without you, and set it right again.' He seems to be on the verge of acquiescing for a moment, but then opens the door. 'The country has already been set right, my queen.' He hurries off to Hungary, and Queen Gwen ponders her next move.
In 1999, Sir Lance du Lac arrives in Hungary to join the British troops trying to subdue this former bastion of the Central European Empire. His mind, however, is on events back in Great Britain - his affair with Queen Gwen weighs heavily on his mind. He is so overcome with guilt that he joins a push at the front and gets himself captured by the enemy. The Illuminati's elite, hearing of this interesting development, make sure to take control of the prison camp where du Lac is being held. Queen Gwen also hears of this before it becomes known to the British, and she contacts her Illuminati allies with a plan.
In 1999, Sir Lance du Lac is freed from the Hungarian prison camp he had been held in exchange for a promise from the British troops not to bomb Budapest. Sir Lance forcefully prosecutes the war against the Hungarians regardless, and they regret letting him go. However, Queen Gwen is quite happy that he is free, as are the non-Hungarian elite of the Illuminati. King Arthur II brings du Lac back to England for a ceremony celebrating his freedom, and Queen Gwen uses his brief stay in Great Britain to rekindle the affair between them. For some reason, Sir Lance is far more compliant this time, and spends the night in the queen's chambers before returning to the Hungarian front. Queen Gwen sends word to her illuminated brethren that, 'Lance is now completely under our control. Let us use this weapon as subtly as our art can allow us; for, should his true purposes be revealed, his usefulness will cease.'
In 1999, Sir Lance du Lac's return to the war in Hungary heartens the British troops, and the Hungarians seem to melt before the withering attacks of the Brits. King Arthur II, back home in England, tells Queen Gwen, "You know, I think we should decorate Lance. Perhaps we could make him a lord". Queen Gwen is very enthusiastic about this idea, saying, "After all he's done for us, that's the least that we could do for him". Arthur is still a little awkward around his queen, and says, "My lady - Gwen - I hope that you have forgiven me for my actions against you. The loss of Merl; it affected my mind. He was my mentor, practically my father. I suppose what I'm saying is that I went temporarily insane". Gwen bows her head and graciously forgives him. "Arthur, you've always done what you felt was right for the kingdom, and I know that you would never have moved against me if, well, if you had been in a right frame of mind". Arthur nods, and she goes on. "My lord, perhaps you need to speak with someone about your grief. A professional. I know someone who is discrete". Arthur is hesitant, but eventually agrees to meet with the psychiatrist that the queen suggests to him.
In 1999, an agent of the Illuminati, traveling under a flag of truce, is brought to Sir Lance du Lac's headquarters outside of Budapest, Hungary, to offer him an end to the war. "We feel that this conflict was with Emperor Pierre, who has been deposed," the agent said. "The now-independent nations of the former Central European Empire would just like to have their sovereignty respected. We are prepared to cease all hostilities against the people of the United Kingdom and its Commonwealth; we are even prepared to give reparations for the cost of the war. Would you carry this offer to your king, Sir Lance?" The carefully-formulated sentence triggers something inside du Lac's mind, and he accepts the offer, ordering his troops to enforce a ceasefire while he flies back to London to carry the Illuminati's offer to King Arthur II.
In 1999, in a private audience with King Arthur II and Queen Gwen of Great Britain, Sir Lance du Lac implores the monarchs to accept the offers coming in from several former Central European Empire vassal states. "They only wish to chart their own courses now, to have the freedom that we enjoy," he says. They are willing to lay down arms against us and turn over any CEE imperial representatives that are seeking refuge in their countries.' King Arthur mulls over the proposal. "It does sound like an ideal way to preserve our forces for those nations that are unwilling to be freed. However," he continues, much to Queen Gwen's consternation, "we should be cautious about this. Accept the offer from the Hungarians, but let us keep prosecuting the war on all other fronts. Once we see if the Hungarians are behaving themselves, then we shall consider the offers from the other nations".
In 1999, Queen Gwen communicates the locations of several influential Illuminati cells to Sir Lance du Lac and tells him, 'Crush them completely, my brave knight.' In a series of dazzling attacks, du Lac's Round Table Corps smashes cell after cell. Very few manage to escape, and they assemble to call Queen Gwen on a secure channel to get her to call off du Lac before he finds them, too. 'I'm sorry,' she says to the Illuminati leader who calls her, 'but you obviously have me mistaken with someone who takes your orders. I am Gwen the First, Queen of all the Britons, and I shall be your doom.' The pitiful few Illuminati realize that they made a horrendous mistake by giving their most ambitious agent control of their greatest enemy.
In 1999, Prime Minister Kay Ector reports to Queen Gwen that the last few providers of arms and supplies to the vestiges of the Central European Empire have agreed to cut off their former allies. 'Congratulations, Sir Kay,' she says to him. 'Your success has brought us victory in this great struggle, just as much as those fighting on the battlefield. We salute you. We would make you a lord, but then you could no longer be our prime minister.' The assembled court chuckled at the queen's little joke, but Ector felt decidedly uncomfortable. He had seen the secret reports that a few dedicated royal servants had gathered for him; the king's drug use, the suspicious circumstances of Dr. Mordred's death, the queen's closeness to Sir Lance - all of these little facts, capped by King Arthur's coma, added up to something decidedly ugly about Her Majesty. Prime Minister Ector was already formulating a plan to depose her, should that become necessary.
In 1999, through a spy in Prime Minister Kay Ector's staff, Queen Gwen learns that the prime minister is making contingency plans to get rid of her. She truly admires Ector's abilities, and doesn't want to just kill him. She decides to utilize the aid of her recently acquired ally, Walton Ray Thermopolous, whose specialty in the Illuminati had been turning liabilities into assets. Thermopolous accompanies Sir Kay on a brief junket to Greece, where he traps the prime minister in a small villa for some extensive brainwashing.
In 1999, Queen Gwen, the newly-christened 'Pillar of Britain', negotiates a surrender from Central European Imperial holdouts in Istanbul, freeing up Sir Lance du Lac's Round Table Corps to head off to Africa, where former vassal states of the CEE are attempting to stir up trouble for Great Britain's possessions there. The queen is hailed for her mastery of politics, and poll after poll shows that she is almost as beloved as King Arthur II, who lies near death in a coma.
In 1999, Sir Lance du Lac's Round Table Corps smashes through Cairo, the Central European Empire's former North African star possession, and the rest of Egypt quickly surrenders, throwing the Illuminati hiding within their borders to du Lac as sacrificial lambs. Queen Gwen goes on television and says to the world, 'If the former masters of the Central European Empire will simply give themselves up, we shall no longer prosecute this war. Any deaths from this point on are meaningless, and caused only by the intransigence of the CEE's holdouts. Any nation that cooperates with us in giving up their former masters shall be considered an ally, and under our full protection.' This is the final nail in the coffin for the Illuminati, as those they seek shelter from turn them into the British in order to receive the queen's amnesty.
In 1999, Prime Minister Kay Ector returns from his Greek 'vacation' brimming with confidence in Queen Gwen's anti-Illuminati initiative, and quickly touches base with every country in the world that could be housing the once-powerful organization. He finds a host of nations ready and willing to give up those who once ruled them, and sends the list to Sir Lance du Lac, so that his Round Table Corps can make quick work of them. In the London hospital holding King Arthur II, meanwhile, a strange old man pays a visit to the fallen monarch. None of the staff remembers why they let him in, nor do they remember him when he is gone. But, the king dreams within his coma, and stirs ever so slightly.
In 1999, the staff at the hospital where King Arthur II is being cared for notify Queen Gwen that the king is showing signs of coming out of his coma. 'Oh, thank you, thank you ever so much,' she tells them tearfully on the phone. Once she hangs up, though, her expression hardens. She calls Sir Lance du Lac and orders him to return to London. 'There is a task that must be done, my loyal knight, and you are the only one who can do it.'
In 1999, Sir Lance du Lac visits King Arthur II in the London hospital where the monarch lies in a coma. The knight has been charged by Queen Gwen with a terrible task, told that it is the only way for the kingdom, and his ruler, to know peace. 'Arthur wouldn't want to just be a body lying in state - he's a man of action. Release him, my brave knight, that his spirit may guide us all from beyond.' Sir Lance had sent away all the nurses and the security outside the room belonged to his Round Table Corps, so he was confident he would not be disturbed. He steeled himself and reached for Arthur, whispering, 'Watch over us from the other world, my king.' Arthur's hand suddenly shot up and grabbed du Lac's, and the eyes of the king fluttered open. 'I'm not done with this world, yet, my friend,' he said to his loyal knight. Sir Lance fell to his knees as Arthur rose from the bed and commanded, 'Get me my clothes. I wish to see my beloved wife.'
In 1999, the return of King Arthur II to the royal palace in London causes a great whirlwind of activity to erupt from the royal staff, most especially Queen Gwen's retinue. Her Majesty breaks into tears when her king comes before her in the throne room, and she rushes forward to kneel and kiss his hand. 'Oh, my love, I thought never to see you awake again. It is God's great love of Britain, bringing you back to us once more with this miracle!' Arthur looks down at her and touches her cheek gently, lovingly.
You are a supremely gifted actress, my queen,' he whispers to her. 'What a great loss for our stage that you didn't confine your talents to it.' For just a flash, he sees her eyes harden, but then the mask of the devoted wife and queen quickly covers her again. 'My king, I know not of what you speak.' Arthur draws her to her feet and kisses her softly on the lips. 'On many subjects, my dear, I am sure that is entirely true.' He embraces her and continues to whisper. 'I loved you greatly, you know. If you had simply asked me for my kingdom, I would have given it to you. But now,...' He pulls away from her and Sir Lance du Lac steps forward to grab her by the arm. 'Throw her into a cell, Lance. And place only your most trusted men to guard her.' Lance bows slightly and replies, 'Yes, sire,' before dragging Queen Gwen from the throne room. Arthur wearily strides to his throne and sits down on it. Facing a room full of shocked courtesans listening to the queen's protests as she is led away, he says, 'Now, who is going to brief me on what's been happening with the war?'
In 1999, King Arthur II was surprised to see how well Queen Gwen was conducting the war in his absence. He had expected to see retreat across all fronts - but Gwen had virtually eliminated the Illuminati as a threat, and the Central European Empire had all but ceased to exist. 'Perhaps I was wrong about her,' he said to Sir Lance du Lac in the War Planning Room. The knight disagreed vehemently. 'No, my liege, you were right. She was simply doing away with the competition - which included you.' King Arthur regarded his greatest knight for a moment. 'You don't believe she should be granted leniency, then?' Sir Lance's eyes lost a little bit of their life and he shook his head. 'I once defended her, my king, but no longer. She has committed treason against the royal person, and must be executed before she can do even more harm to our nation.' Arthur leaned back in his chair and considered how unpopular that decision would be, given the queen's high popularity. 'I don't think that's possible right now, Lance. We have to come up with another solution.'
In 1999, King Arthur II and Queen Gwen make their first public appearance since Arthur came out of his coma at a royal victory celebration. The public goes wild at the sight of the two together, and Great Britain is swept by a sense that all is, at last, right with the world. Two men disagree with that sentiment, however, and they happen to be fairly highly-placed - Sir Lance du Lac, Arthur's greatest general, still has no trust for the queen, and Prime Minister Kay Ector, brainwashed by Walton Thermopolous, has no love for King Arthur.
Unknown to each other, they begin setting in motion events that would reach their climax on the same night a few days later. But for the moment, the British people enjoyed a single night where the King and Queen showed their joy in the kingdom and each other, a celebration of the type that the nation had not seen since Arthur's coronation. "Tonight, we give thanks to God that our long trial is nearing its end," Arthur says to the cameras spreading his words around the globe. "Tonight, we declare an amnesty on hostile feelings". He looked over at his queen, who smiled brightly at him as he said this. "Tonight, let us think of nothing but the joy of our victory". And, for a night, Britain seemed to do just that.
In 1998, Arthur Pendrake, while organizing a group of labor unionists and teaching them strike-breaking tactics for the coming takeover of Britain, meets a young woman named Gwen Rivers and is smitten with her. Miss Rivers seems equally taken with the dashing pretender to the throne, but Pendrake's shadowy adviser Merl cautions against a romantic entanglement until after the throne has been secured.You don't need the troubles that go with a public courtship, Arthur,' Merl tells the would-be king. Arthur, however, is reluctant to put his feelings on the back burner until after the revolution. 'A king needs a queen, Merl. And, I'm not going to stand for an arranged marriage. Every monarchy in history treated marriage as part of the chess game; move your pieces over here, align them with that one there, and you have an ally or you defuse an enemy. It never worked. So, I'll choose my own queen, provided Gwen is agreeable.' Merl reluctantly agrees to stand aside and let the relationship continue, but he still harbors grave misgivings about their future. Which was wise, because the Central European Empire had a few plans and arrangements of its own heading north to England at this time.
In 1998, the first of many assassination attempts against Arthur Pendrake fails when his French aide, Lance du Lac, notices a bomb planted on the underside of Arthur's car. Arthur's chief advisor, Merl Myrddin, tightens security around Arthur from that point on, but the would-be king resists. 'If I cannot be close to the people, then there is no point in our continuing this campaign, Merl,' he says. 'If that means risking death, so be it. A monarch of the realm cannot be intimidated by thugs who haven't the courage to face you when they try to kill you.' Myrddin reluctantly agrees that Arthur must be seen as accessible in order to maintain his relationship with the people, but makes sure that he has people around the pretender to ensure him some degree of protection.
In 1998, a bar fight turns into the first battle of the war to unseat the Windsors, when a small group of the Royal Marines enter a bar in Swansea, Wales, that is very loyal to Arthur Pendrake. Several harsh words are exchanged, fists fly, and then the owner of the pub reaches for his hunting rifle.A marine sees him, reaches the rifle first, and shoots the older man dead. There is a moment of silence as the implications of this sink into everyone present; then, all the local pub crawlers are running home for their weapons. One of the marines pulls out a cell phone and calls back to base for help. Within the hour, the marines are wiped out by the locals, and military units are heading into Swansea. Arthur, as soon as the news hits the airwaves, puts out a call for all his followers to defend Swansea and repulse the royalists. His cold war against the Windsors has just turned hot.
In 1999, on the occasion of Shakespeare's birth and death, and just a few days after his first anniversary on the throne, King Arthur II declares a general amnesty for the Windsors if they will return to Great Britain. 'We are willing to forgo our righteous vengeance against the family of the false queen, Elizabeth Windsor, and grant them peace and safety within our borders,' he says in the statement at Stratford-on-Avon. 'This is no time for the British family to be split.' Although it seems like a totally magnanimous gesture, it does quell the minor pro-Windsor factions in the country, giving Arthur a united country as he prepares his Templars for war against the Central European Empire. His new queen, Lady Gwen, gives up one of her homes for the Windsors. The former royal family, unsurprisingly, does not take King Arthur up on his amnesty. Prime Minister Merl Myrddin uses the offer of amnesty to persuade the rest of the Commonwealth to recognize Arthur as King and increase the power that can be brought to bear against the CEE.
In 1999, Queen Elizabeth's Prime Minister-in-exile Oliver Pembroke begins shuttling about the Commonwealth in a desperate effort to keep them from recognizing the government of Arthur the usurper. He has the full diplomatic support of the Central European Empire, but is ultimately unsuccessful. He returns home to Amsterdam with nothing to show for his efforts but a further lessening of the Windsor's influence. His counterpart, Prime Minister Merl Myrddin, has much greater success - the entire Commonwealth recognizes King Arthur's government as the legitimate rulers of Great Britain.
In 1999, King Arthur II of Great Britain orders a counter-attack against the Central European Empire, and his chief general, Sir Lance du Lac, has just the target. A squadron of British planes slips through the CEE defenses and bombs the capitol at Bern, killing hundreds and demolishing several buildings. Emperor Pierre, himself, is forced to flee the city to escape the British attack, and is enraged at the audacity the Brits have shown. He orders the activation of his sleeper agents in Arthur's government.
In 1999, Sir Lance du Lac spearheads the invasion of the northern French shores at the head of a combined force of British, Australian, North American and South African troops. The Central European Imperial resistance is minimal for some reason, and du Lac easily takes and fortifies the coast. The formerly French knight sends word to his old labor allies in the country to rise up and join with him to liberate France from the CEE. A hastily assembled meeting of the Illuminati's upper echelons in Switzerland is concerned, but Emperor Pierre assures them, 'This is not unexpected, and we have contingencies in place to handle this. Worry not. France will be ours again, as will the United Kingdom, and then - the world.'
In 1999, the great May Day battle begins in France and across western-central Europe. Labor leaders, organized by Sir Lance du Lac, (a former French labor leader), turn their union members into soldiers against the Central European Empire. The enemy within its own borders overwhelms the CE Imperial troops and throws the CEE into confusion, giving the British and Commonwealth soldiers the opportunity they need to stab through France and move towards the CEE capitol in Switzerland. The Illuminati's elite, gathered in Bern, express great concern about this development, but Emperor Pierre again assures them, "This is all still within the parameters of our plan. Do not worry, my brethren".
In 1999, Emperor Pierre of the Central European Empire, hearing the bombs fall on his fair capitol, puts in a desperate call to his agent in King Arthur's court, instructing the spy to, "do whatever is necessary, but stop this bombing!" Prime Minister Merl Myrddin, hearing the successful news from the front, decides to celebrate with a drink at his favorite London pub, where he unfortunately lets his guard down.A drug is slipped into his beer, and he disappears into the night. At the same time, labor leaders across western Europe are casting down the CEE's puppet governments and proclaiming themselves leaders of the nations; this has the unfortunate side effect of reducing their support for Sir Lance du Lac's drive to Switzerland. The great knight is forced to slow down his advance and deal with the demands from his allies about respecting their sovereign territory.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.