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The Sword of Power
The Sword of Power is given to heal and unify – not to hack and divide.
“Have you heard?” a soft, melodic male voice asked, startling Viviane out of her meditations.
The High Priestess of Avalon composed herself then stood and faced the speaker. “I have,” she said, studying her visitor. He was an older man dressed in a tattered brown traveling cloak. In the shadows of his hood, his sharp blue eyes sparkled with the strength of his soul. His name was Talisen, but he was more properly called by his title: Merlin. As the Chief Druid of Breton, his position was almost equal to her own.
Viviane gestured to the stone benches that ringed the meditation grove. The Merlin nodded, took a seat on the nearest bench and pushed his hood back revealing his lined face, graying hair and beard. She sat next to him.
“We both knew Uther was not the one. Yet you gave him the sword anyway,” Viviane said.
“The land needed a king and the sword accepted Uther. Healing has begun.”
“Only to be stopped now; at the time of his death. He has no acknowledged heir—only a bastard son whom the dukes will probably not accept. If he is able to claim his father’s throne, he may be the one. Until that time though, the land is again without a king.”
“There is another problem. The sword is missing.” The Merlin looked in the direction of the Goddess’ Well.
“What?” Viviane’s cry echoed across the grove and several of the novice priestesses turned to look at her and the Merlin before returning to their meditations.
Viviane stood and turned away from the Merlin to glance at the novices finishing their morning meditations. Each year the number of girls chosen by the Goddess grew smaller and smaller. Avalon was being supplanted as those who followed the Christ continued to force their faith on others. Avalon had already slipped into another realm and only through the power of the Goddess could it be reached at all. Eventually that power would fade and Avalon would be cut off from the mortal world. If that happened, the power of the Goddess would also fade from the world.
The sword had been created with the power of the Goddess. For centuries, the High King had carried it as a symbol of the Goddess’ protection of both the king and the land of which he was a part. If the sword is gone does that mean the Goddess’ protection is gone as well?
“Lady Viviane,” one of the younger priestess called, running into the grove. “The well…the well…the waters of the well.”
“I am called.” Viviane left the Merlin standing alone in the grove as she hurried to Goddess’ Well.
Viviane knelt next to the Well and passed her hand over the sparkling, diamond surface of the well. A slight tingle passed through her as the power of the Goddess touched her. The dancing, shimmering surface smoothed to a glowing mirror, clouded for a moment, then cleared as the picture of a darkened room formed on the surface.
She felt a moment’s disorientation then found herself standing in a corner of the dark room. A large stone table with a body laid on it stood before her. Candles placed at the head and foot of the table. The flickering light cast distorted shadows on the walls of the small room. Incense burned in braziers at the corners of the table, and Viviane wrinkled her nose at the cloying, sweet smell that filled the area.
Viviane shook her head; this was not a normal well vision. Those came as pictures in the water. This was the first time she had been pulled into a vision in this manner. Viviane relaxed and placed her trust in the Goddess who guided the vision.
She stepped over to look at the body. Dressed in his full battle armor, lay Uther, the Pendragon and High King of Breton. She stared at the body for a minute then turned her attention to the sword scabbard at his side. The red velvet, with the runes of power stitched in silver, looked faded and worn, but the feel of the Goddess’ power was unmistakable. Her hand trembled as Viviane reached out and touched the empty scabbard. She fought the reaction to jerk her hand away from the surge of power she felt in that touch. Where is the sword?
Another flash of light and Viviane found herself back in the dark corner. She watched as Uther’s body was brought into the room. Along with Igraine and the servants were several of the Christ’s priests. They carefully arranged the body on the table, lit the candles and incense, and then recited several prayers. After the servants left and most of the priests escorted Igraine from the room; one remained behind. “Uther Pendragon, you failed to stop the worship of false gods and this is your punishment,” he said.
Viviane felt her anger building as she watched him remove the sword, place it under his robes and leave the room. Do the followers of the Christ honestly expect to place one of their choosing on the throne? The Goddess will not allow the sword to be used in such a manner!
Despite having been Ambrosias’ choice as successor, it had still taken the sword for Uther to be accepted as High King. Merlin had given it to him in order to heal the land after decades of fighting among the various clans. The ploy had only worked for a short time. Uther was not the one destined to heal and unify, and the sword had refused to protect him when his own dukes set upon him from an ambush.
She slowly traced the silver runes with her fingers and felt the power drain from the scabbard. This was why the Goddess had brought her here: to show her the treachery of the followers of the Christ and to remove the Goddess’ power from the scabbard. She, Viviane, Lady of the Lake and High Priestess of Avalon would have to recover the sword.