Dark Halls

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When Arthur had been young, the castle halls had been comforting. They had been tall and wondrous, filled with ancient paintings and old armory. The large, deep red drapes used flow effortlessly, letting in beautiful sun rays, filling the dark hallways with a golden glow.

As Arthur walks into the halls, although it is only morning, everything is dark and still. No sunlight shines through, onto the floor or the walls. Arthur's footsteps are hard and cold, much unlike he had imagined them to be on this day.

Very few servants look him in the eye. There's a dark cloud over all of their heads, one that nobody mentions. They have felt this darkness, this deep remorse, twice before, during the deaths of the king and queen. But this feeling, this time, is worse somehow.

An elderly servant woman slowly walks into the room, holding her king's next meal. She keeps her head low, careful not upset anyone on this mournful day, but she has been there for Arthur in his many past years. She sets the bowl down in front of his blank face, deciding to be gentle.

"Arthur..." she says quietly. About to touch him lightly on the shoulder, she goes against the action.

He briefly glances at his meal, sighs, then rests his chin in his right hand. "I'm not hungry, Marie."

Marie nods solemnly. She tells him that if he needs anything else, she will be happy to assist. As she leaves, Arthur reminds himself of the day ahead. Knight training, sword fighting, and rides into the nearby forest. All things he does not want to do, not now. Not anytime soon.

He closes his eyes, remembering his father. The great King Uther, the man who had lead their kingdom into success and victory, straight into prosperity. The people of Camelot were surely good people, living off of whatever they could, but they enjoyed life. They were happy. Arthur, who had been a well enough king in the past, had never wanted to let them down at all, for they had been good to him as well.

But now, now that they know he was never fit to be their great king... what will they think of him? How long will this dissipating peace last, until they begin to grow in doubt of their king? How long will it be until they protest for a better-fit leader? Until they leave him, just as everyone else already has?

Arthur has no intention of waiting to find out. 

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