Changing Paths

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Today is the day.

Today, the people of Camelot have gathered to see young Arthur remove the sword from the stone.

After his father's death years ago, Arthur was left behind as an orphan of the castle. Because his parents, the king and queen, had both passed away, the kingdom had been forced to crown Arthur as their king, at the young age of twelve. On the day of King Uther's death, the sorcerer Merlin had proclaimed that whoever can remove the magical sword from it's stone was to be the most powerful king Camelot has ever seen, but only on or after Arthur's twenty-third birthday would that man show.

But today, on his twenty-third birthday, Arthur doubts himself. If he cannot pull out the sword, then he will bring absolute shame to his family name. If he was here, what would his father say? His people will not only despise him, but they will have to resent him throughout his entire reign, desperately hoping to have a truly powerful king.

Now, as he stares blankly at the erect hilt of the sword, a mass of people huddle around him in at the edge of the forest, where the sword had been placed. They murmur to themselves, wondering hopefully if Arthur is truly to be a great king, the same or better than his father. They talk of years ahead and a reign worth living in. They say they want Arthur to be the next greatest king, they need him to be. And Arthur hears them.

What happens next is a blur to Arthur's mind. As it occurs, he doesn't think about grasping the hilt. He doesn't remember taking breaths between strong upward heaves. He doesn't feel his hand grow sore as he struggles to extract anything, as his feet attempt to hold him down. But after a few short moments of struggle, after the people have been gone for some time, it all comes back to him.

The events that have been haunting him in his dreams, since his was young, have now come true.

And he doesn't like it one bit. 

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