We cut back to England and flash back to just after Arthur and Gawaine sailed away with their sixty thousand troops. Mordred, Guenever, and all the other survivors of Book XX stood on the dock and watched the ships disappear.

“Well, they’re dead,” said Mordred. “I mean, come on, they went off to make war against Launcelot. We’re all thinking it. They’re dead.”

The various assembled knights exchanged glances and muttered noncommittally.

“Yeah, they’re dead,” Mordred said. “That guy who said they were dead, he was right. I’m king now. Everybody? I’m king now!”

Guenever scowled, because this was another situation where her whole purpose was to be a chit in one of Arthur’s damn games. “So you’re king now.”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m definitely the king now,” said Mordred. “King Mordred. That sounds okay, right? I don’t need to change my name to Arthur Junior?”

“I don’t think that would be wise.” Guenever’s eyes narrowed. “I’m still the queen, though, yes?”

“Yeah, of course. You’re queen, I’m king… hey!” Mordred snapped his fingers, realizing something. “That means we’re married!”

Guenever scoffed. “We are not married! I married Arthur! If I was going to marry someone else, it would not be you. You’re way down on that list. I’d sooner marry Sir Dagonet.”

“But I’m king! We’re married if I say we’re married! And I say we’re married!”

“Nope.”

Mordred sulked for a moment, then had an idea. “Then we’ll get married!”

“What?”

“Wedding! A compulsory wedding!” Mordred loved this idea. “You, my father’s wife, my uncle’s wife! You and me, getting married!”

“Um.”

“Yes! Mandatory wedding, everybody!” He turned to the collected knights. “Three cheers for me!”

The knights cheered. It was kind of ragged at first, but then things picked up, because knights love cheering. “Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!”

“Hooray,” Guenever said weakly. She could see where this was going. “Mordred, darling boy…”

“Call me ‘Mordy baby!'”

“Mordy baby,” Guenever said because she knew to pick her battles. “We’re going to need tablecloths, and candles, and roast suckling pigs, and maybe the Decemberists to play the reception… all kinds of supplies. A lot of stuff. A lot, a lot, you know?”

“Uh huh?” Mordred was much more concerned with waving at the crowd of knights than he was with listening to Guenever. “Sure, sure.”

“So I’m going to go down to London, okay, and make some arrangements. Get a dress, hire some caterers, throw together a web site, record a Kickstarter video, you know. I’ll meet you in Camelot, ‘kay?”

“Sure, sure.”

So Guenever sneaked off from the dock and rode with some of her ladies to London! Once there she bought a big pile of food and wine, like you would for a wedding reception, but instead of the Decemberists she hired mercenary guards, and instead of recording a Kickstarter video she locked herself in the Tower of London.

“I’m not coming out!” she shouted down to the crowd. “I live here now! Arthur’s dead, Launcelot’s gone, there’s nothing for me out there!”

Eventually Mordred heard about this. He went to London to try to talk her into coming out, but that proved a real nonstarter, even after Mordred tried starting fires and firing cannons and shouting insults up at her, which were all his best ideas. Mordred was down at the bottom of the Tower of London, pacing around, when the Archbishop of Canterbury stopped by.

“So, Sir Mordred,” the Archbishop began.

“King Mordred,” he said in correction.

“Right, right. About that. Listen, you know that according to the current Church doctrine, marrying your father/uncle’s wife is incest?”

“Incest didn’t hurt my uncle-father any.”

“Mmm. Well, regardless, the Church is pretty clear on that. It’s really pretty skeevy.”

“Shut up,” said Mordred. “I’m sick and tired of your attitude, guy who I just met for the first time!”

“Also I’ve been in communication with the clergy in Benwick, and they say Arthur isn’t dead…”

“I said shut up!” Mordred pulled his sword. “You want I should slice your head off? Because I totally will!”

The Archbishop stepped back, out of melee range, and fled. He didn’t return to Canterbury, thinking it unsafe; instead he escaped into the wilderness and became a hermit out in the middle of nowhere.


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