Chapter Twenty-Three

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"That's one wild story," I said, shaking my head.

We rode further out after being ambushed by the thieves and Morgana's men. Now we all sat together in a circle, Merlin had used his magic to light a fire and it was smack in the middle, keeping everyone warm as they explained what happened to them and we explained what happened to us.

"Though it's not nearly as brave," Arthur said, "as what you did, Lucinda. You stepped up to lead this group when they needed you the most." He smiled a little sadly.

My heart tugged a little for Arthur. He had been hoping that Mordred was with us, but when he discovered he wasn't... he broke a little. Although Morgana had the crown, to everyone here he was still a king, therefore he couldn't cry the way he wanted to. No one knows what happened to Mordred. I was sure he hadn't fallen into the pit. Instead he had just... disappeared.

"We all agreed together that we would go to the Isle of the Lost and retrieve Excalibur," I said, looking at the fire. "When we all thought you guys died, I thought to myself that we needed to finish it. We all needed to go forward and do what we had planned in the first place. You know?"

Arthur nodded and Lancelot and the other knights—who had seemed skeptical of me at first—gave me looks of what could only be depicted as awe.

"You did the right thing," Lancelot spoke up. "Now we are that much closer to retrieving Excalibur and saving our kingdom and yours."

I started a little. This was the first time I'd heard Lancelot speak so much. He was a man of a few words and typically when you asked him questions, he either grunted his answer or shook or nodded his head. Hearing him speak so much was a small shock to my system.

"How much further are we from the Isle of the Lost?" Thom wondered, turning to Merlin.

"We're not too far now," Merlin informed everyone who was now watching him. He stood, brushing snow from his backside. "If we ride now, we should be able to reach the Isle of the Lost by nightfall."

Arthur looked over at me and smiled.

"We should coordinate, shouldn't we?"

I blinked at him in surprise, tilting my head to the side to show my confusion.

He chuckled. "My knights follow my command, but your knights follow yours." He looked over at Bryce, Aengus, Eir, Thom, Rubrae and the others. "We should decide what we'll do next. After we've retrieved Excalibur."

I wasn't too sure about the whole knights following my command thing, but the mention of what we would do after we successfully recovered Excalibur had peaked my interest. The first thing I wanted to do was save my mother, but no doubt the twenty of us alone wouldn't stand a chance against an entire legion of Morgana's men.

"Well, we'd need to return to Avalon, right? To prepare and gather more manpower."

Arthur nodded. "Indeed. I've only bought my knights of the Round Table with me here, but I still have more than five hundred knight back in Avalon, awaiting our return. And Avalon is a big kingdom, all of your warriors will follow you."

I frowned a little. "I won't ask them to follow me unless it's what they truly want. No doubt many of them will die."

"That is something we have all grown to expect, m'lady," said Bryce, his gaze not leaving the fire even as all eyes turned to him. "They knew, the day they swore to protect Avalon that they were to protect it with their lives. We all do. You are Avalon. Without you Avalon cannot exist, your rule is absolute. Therefore, we will protect you with our lives."

Honor. In my world, it was something people didn't really know the true meaning of. Men and women with honor were something you didn't see everyday. I mean, you knew they existed somewhere among the crowds of people in power who abused said power and people who slept with others despite knowing that person was taken. But in my world, a world where people cheated and fought wars for freedom and took innocent lives, you wondered where true honor was.

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