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Camelot Chapter 5: Rout

Archer42 Jul 18th, 2018 91 Never
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  1. Chapter 5: Rout
  2.  
  3. You’ve managed to break through the knights’ attempt at enclosure. Roman informs you that the knights’ formation have collapsed at two points, and it is there that the refugees are attempting to escape. There are approximately fifty refugees at your location and around a hundred at the other. Mashu seems concerned about the other location. Bedivere tells her that what they can do now is to focus on their end. To divert your forces now would just make it easier for the knights to round you all up. Da Vinci agrees with him, saying that you have a responsibility to the refugees on this side. Luckily, Gawain has not come chasing after you, made clear by the absence of the sun. Perhaps he has not yet received orders to do so. Da Vinci says that you should really retreat before that happens.
  4.  
  5. Before that, however, there are some knights standing in your way…
  6.  
  7. Within Camelot, Gawain has returned to the throne room seeking an audience the Lion King. Agravain tells him that the King is asleep and that he will convey Gawain’s report. He tells Gawain to return to his quarters and await punishment to be handed down. Gawain replies that it is a pity – could he not meet the King even in such a situation?
  8.  
  9. Of course. It is merely a matter of escaping refugees. Agravain says that they would be enough to handle it… or did Gawain actually want to bother the King with these small matters? Gawain denies it firmly. He would never.
  10.  
  11. Tristan appears, calling Gawain’s handling of the situation uncharacteristically clumsy, and a tragic thing to behold. Mordred asks Tristan if he isn’t being a bit too gentle on Gawain. Tristan rejects the idea that he would be kind about Gawain’s error. That would be disrespectful to him. He declares that anyone who would fumble the holy selection at the gates of Camelot should be punished by death, even if it is a Knight of the Round Table. There should be no need to wait for the King’s judgment. He volunteers to execute Gawain.
  12.  
  13. Mordred seems a bit taken aback by this. She thinks a bit of penitence would be sufficient and that it’s not a matter worthy of execution.
  14.  
  15. Tristan exclaims, “Mordred, this is because you do not know the heart of the King!” To have their liege behead a knight personally? This saddens Tristan… this is exactly why the world is in such a state. For the sake of the King, Tristan is more than willing to end the life of his friend. Gawain too should understand this.
  16.  
  17. Gawain nods. He says that this is just like Tristan. Gawain’s gift does not work in the throne room, so Tristan may take his head if he so pleases. After all, with Fail-naught’s sharpness, it wouldn’t do a bad job. Tristan is more than willing to do so. He will try not to impolitely stain the throne with blood.
  18.  
  19. Mordred is flustered. She asks if they are actually serious about going through with this, and tells them to stop. Father wouldn’t necessarily permit Tristan to cut Gawain’s head off, right? Besides, if he’s going to be killed it would be more cruel to do it by his own hand.
  20.  
  21. Agravain tells them to stop. He finds it unlikely that Gawain would have let the refugees run roughshod over him. Was there something unexpected that occurred? They should let this information determine Gawain’s punishment. Gawain replies that there is nothing in particular to report, except that he encountered two Servants in the mix. He judges them to be of no threat to the Knights, saying that they are probably Servants summoned by the grail who had gotten lost.
  22.  
  23. After listening to Gawain’s words, Agravain prepares to pass judgment.
  24.  
  25. The Lion King calls it noisy, asking Agravain if it is about the military meeting regarding the desert invasion. All of the knights seem chastened by the King’s presence. Agravain thanks the King for coming all the way to the throne room at this time of the night. He begins flattering her with talk about how prosperous the land has become in the past half year under Camelot rule.
  26.  
  27. The King tells Agravain that his flattery is unneeded. She is here to listen to her knight’s report. Nothing more.
  28.  
  29. Gawain speaks. He reports that three people were drawn from the King’s selection. Two of them have been taken into protection and made citizens of the holy city. Unfortunately, the other was lost due to his inadequate supervision. In addition, he allowed a riot to break out, causing the loss of twelve knight enforcers, their encirclement to be broken, and the escape of over a hundred refugees. The escapees were divided into two groups – one heading into the mountains, and the other disappearing under the care of a shady merchant. Mordred asks Agravain if he didn’t completely crush the merchants already, and he admits that there was indeed one body that he could not identify.
  30.  
  31. That is all for Gawain’s report. He is prepared for whatever punishment that may befall him, and places his life in the hands of his liege.
  32.  
  33. The Lion King asks the kneeling Gawain to raise his head. But he may keep his knees bent. There is no need for him to stand, not any more. The throne room is flooded with a glowing light, followed by a crashing noise.
  34.  
  35. Tristan is jealous that Gawain was touched by the holy spear of the King.
  36.  
  37. Agravain, on the other hand, is visibly and audibly concerned. He asks Mordred what has become of Gawain. Mordred tells him not to be panicked, and peers out of the castle to see what has become of the knight. Cheerfully, she reports that though Gawain has been smashed through the castle walls, flying all the way to the outer walls of the holy city, he appears to be still alive. As expected of Sir Gawain, sturdiest of the Round Table. This puts Agravain into a state of disbelieving relief.
  38.  
  39. The Lion King removes her helm. She states that she struck to kill, and since Gawain has survived she will pardon him. There are none who would object – indeed, Tristan would be saddened at the thought of anyone objecting to the King’s decision. He is further saddened by the fact that from now on Gawain will have even more songs sung about him in the taverns, compared to Tristan and Lancelot.
  40.  
  41. On Mordred’s part, she has always trusted her father to do the right thing anyway and of course she would have no complaints.
  42.  
  43. Noticing Mordred, the King tells her that she has not obtained citizenship of the holy city yet, and is only supposed to be here during the day. Without complaints, Mordred declares that she’ll be going back to the wilderness now and that the protection of the wilds can be safely left to her. She runs off, still in a cheerful mood.
  44.  
  45. Agravain humbly questions the Lion King’s decision not to allow Mordred to stay in the city.
  46.  
  47. The Lion King asks if he wanted to compete with Gawain in a match of sturdiness, to see if he too can take a blow of hers.
  48.  
  49. Of course, that was not Agravain’s intention. In a panic, he states that he only thought the defenses of the capital would be more solid with Mordred’s presence.
  50.  
  51. In response, the King says it is unnecessary. Having Mordred roam outside would be better in preparation for the coming battle with the Sun King.
  52.  
  53. Interpreting it as rewarding Mordred with freedom of movement, Agravain then suggests that Mordred would be pleased to serve her King by being tasked to pursue the refugees, if that was the case.
  54.  
  55. That too is unnecessary. The refugees will perish in the wilderness on their own anyway. The Lion King is more focused on the Sun King at the moment. Once the Knight of the Lake returns from his current task, that will be the time they have their showdown with the Sun King.
  56.  
  57. Agravain does not seem pleased at all at the thought of relying on that man.
  58.  
  59. Tristan asks about the pursuit of the refugees. Agravain says that it is the King’s command. Still, he deduced from Gawain’s retreat that there has to be a Master with those Servants he mentioned. If there is a Master amongst the rebels, this is a matter that has to be dealt with. Agravain sends out an order for Lancelot: before pursuing and eliminating the foreign rebels, he is not allowed to return to the holy city.
  60.  
  61. Meanwhile, you are leading the refugees across the wasteland, away from the holy city. The representative of the refugees are grateful of the help but suspicious of your aid. Bedivere assuages him by saying that they have made an enemy of the holy city by aiding the refugees. Thus, continuing to escort the refugees in an effort to establish an alliance with the people of the mountains would be the wisest move they can make. This convinces the man.
  62.  
  63. Da Vinci walks off to help treat the injured, and leaves you to Roman. Upon hearing his voice, Bedivere calls him a wise man, admiring the magic that is being used to establish communications. This praise makes Roman very happy that he’s found a Servant that really understands matters. You quip that Bedivere is just too innocent. Bedivere apologizes for using a false name when you first met, but it was understandable as he was still unable to fully trust you then.
  64.  
  65. Dr. Roman begins to recap the situation: the holy city has been conquered by the Knights of the Round Table, who are now a force for tyranny in this era. The Round Table are subordinates of King Arthur, can be called the strongest knights, and Sir Bedivere is counted amongst their number. From what happened at the gates of Camelot, Roman conjectures that Bedivere initially hid himself amongst the refugees, but once he saw you engaging in battle with Gawain, he had to abandon his goal and assist you. Bedivere can be considered your ally… or is he just an ally of justice?
  66.  
  67. Bedivere admits that he was influenced by your fight. It is as Roman said; he planned to sneak into the holy city by himself to meet with his King. He had to find out why she was acting with such an iron hand. Mashu cannot believe it either, as she had always believed the Knights of the Round Table to be a band of stalwart, righteous knights.
  68.  
  69. Roman says that from what they know now, originally the sixth singularity would have involved the Crusaders trampling all over the holy city in an endless holy war. This would have been the source of the collapse of human reason. You and Chaldea would then have arrived to fight a battle against the demon pillars of the Crusader army, similar to how things went in the previous singularities.
  70.  
  71. However, the Crusaders were already defeated before you arrived. In that sense, humanity could be said to have been preserved by King Arthur’s hand. Even so, the singularity was not repaired, but distorted even more strongly. This was because of King Arthur and her knights taking over the holy city and ruling this era. Instead of working to save the scorched land, they sit safely in their luxurious city. Bedivere agrees that this state of affairs is not right. Heroic Spirits are transient. It is the people that live on this land who should be treated with more importance. He thinks that the wise King Arthur should know better. And this is why he stood against Gawain. Roman asks if Merlin was the one who sent him here, as he knows of Chaldea. Bedivere confirms that he was sent by Merlin and further adds that he was told if he encounters a man from Chaldea named Romani Akiman, they are the real deal and he should cooperate if their interests coincide.
  72.  
  73. That, so far, is Bedivere’s tale. When he arrived here the Round Table had already succeeded in capturing the Holy Land from the Crusaders. He will not overlook their misdeeds, even if they are his friends. You promise to meet the Lion King together with him. One way or another, you will need to do so if you want to repair this singularity. Bedivere is comforted by your words.
  74.  
  75. Da Vinci returns from her rounds. She has spoken with the leader of the refugees. From here, you will need to head north for two days to reach the villages of the mountain people.
  76.  
  77. The next day finds your party turning corners and drifts across the wasteland while the child you picked up at Camelot, Rashid, cheers. For now, the boy has been told that his mother is with a different group. While Mashu entertains the kid, Bedivere tells you that she is a strong person. Mashu does not seem the least bit tired even after all that has happened. Well, you are used to it – it is your sixth time on such a journey after all. Thinking about it, you have traveled to many places, like the American continent. Bedivere is astounded by your experiences.
  78.  
  79. Roman takes the opportunity to ask if Bedivere’s arm is truly the real Airgetlam. Bedivere replies that it is a prosthetic made by Merlin, patterned after Nuada’s. Roman jokes that Da Vinci’s pride must have been stung a little upon seeing that arm. It’s less of a joke than a fact. Speaking of the devil, Da Vinci appears, talking about using Roman for experiments to surpass Airgetlam.
  80.  
  81. Turning to serious matters, Da Vinci discusses the Gift received by the Round Table knights. She says that the nature of those blessings are not that of the Grails, or Art Graphs, that you have been collecting. Arthurian legend spoke of the actual Holy Grail of the Messiah, and so their Gifts were more akin to an actual blessing from God. Bedivere says that he will be able to negate those Gifts with his arm, which has an equal level of mystery and will have the power to “break the Holy Grail”. Da Vinci can tell that using that arm puts a strain on Bedivere, however, and asks how many more times he can fight with it. Maybe once, maybe twice? She says that she’ll find a way to reduce Bedivere’s strain. She’s a genius after all. Give her a workshop and she’ll be able to analyze and counter the Round Table’s Gifts.
  82.  
  83. Suddenly, you hear shouts from the refugees. Monsters are attacking, and you rush to their aid.
  84.  
  85. You are close to the mountains now. On this terrain, you do not need to be worried about the knights of the flatlands that much, though the bandits in the mountains may be a greater problem.
  86.  
  87. Roman detects a powerful magical signature approaching from behind at tremendous speed – the knights have caught up. It is a party of advance scouts. You head for the back of the refugee line to hold them off and allow the refugees time to escape. The first wave is successfully fought off, but the second arrives before you can retreat.
  88.  
  89. Bedivere recognizes the knight leading them: Sir Lancelot.
  90.  
  91. Lancelot plans for the third wave to flank you while he leads the second wave in a direct charge. He tells his knights that their orders are to capture the rebels alive, and to avoid unnecessary clashes with the refugees.
  92.  
  93. The main force speeds up and begins to gallop towards you. It looks like escape is going to be impossible. Da Vinci steps up, saying to leave this to her. By using her mana convergence mechanism she has modified and improved the Ornithopter, which she now calls the Sphinx Megido. It is now a self-propelled bomb that can blast away the enemy formation. Though its only weakness is that there is no auto-pilot function.
  94.  
  95. She’ll clean out the knights with this baby while you lead the refugees to safety. This is her turn to shine… or rather, perhaps this will be her last. She has to be the one to detonate the bomb as it requires the use of her staff and her magic circuits. Actually, she didn’t install an auto-pilot precisely because this tactic can be performed by her and only her alone. Roman screams at her, calling her an idiot and rejecting the tactic.
  96.  
  97. But Da Vinci is firm on this. It is the only way she can think of to avoid capture by the knights. Aren’t Servants just consumable items to be thrown away, parted with in only a day or two? Da Vinci has just been around longer than most. Perhaps too long, at that. She will leave the rest to Roman.
  98.  
  99. Mashu asks Roman to stop Da Vinci, but he decides to respect her decision. Da Vinci accelerates away in the Sphinx Megido, bidding you “Ci vediamo”, or “I’ll see you”. She shouts not to worry, as genius is indestructible. As long as you live you will meet again.
  100.  
  101. The Sphinx Megido drives right into the middle of the enemy’s main force and explodes. But you have no time to go to Da Vinci’s aid – the third wave is still present and flanking you on the left and the right. Bedivere shouts that you must not let Da Vinci’s sacrifice go in vain. After you fight off the third wave, you just have to head to the mountains and you are home free.
  102.  
  103. Lancelot calls off the pursuit once you flee. Once you enter the mountains, the terrain is harsh and there is the risk that the mountain people will aid you. He orders a return to the holy city for supplies; the pursuit will resume after a week.
  104.  
  105. The trek through the mountains continues. You are having problems with the rationing of supplies as Da Vinci had been the one managing it all this while. Her absence is clearly felt. Luckily, Bedivere is a seasoned traveller. He is quite familiar with what you can eat and what you cannot eat. Just at the right timing, you are attacked by beasts. Bedivere says that it is time to work hard – that is what will determine whether you will be eaten by these beasts, or if you will eat them instead.
  106.  
  107. After the battle, you have prepared a meal out of the beasts. Bedivere orders Mashu to recite after him:
  108.  
  109. “Round Table, King Arthur’s sayings, the eighth! Nutrition, even if obtained from monster’s meat, does not change!”
  110.  
  111. An embarrassed Mashu does so hesitantly. A refugee points out that a black, gel-like fat is oozing out of the meat. But Rashid finds it delicious. Mashu, still reluctant, prepares to tuck in. Living is suffering. She will eat this food for Da Vinci’s sake. It’s edible, at least. Bedivere offers her the best and most nutritious part – the eyeballs. Mashu rejects it with all her strength.
  112.  
  113. Further up the mountains, Mashu notes the unnaturalness of the wasteland below you; the craters that dot the land. Rashid asks her if she knows of the Lion King’s Judgement. It is a bright light that comes from Camelot, and it is what formed these craters. A refugee tells you that those left in the wasteland are destroyed by that light, while those that flee in the desert would be devoured by the Sun King’s beasts. The mountains are the only relatively safe place to be.
  114.  
  115. Sorrowfully, Bedivere says that the King has become a demon worse than Vortigern.
  116.  
  117. You know, I actually thought this chapter would be shorter.
  118.  
  119. Anyway, some notes about this chapter that I found interesting: Gawain does know that you are from Chaldea and probably the foreigner prophesized to ruin Camelot as seen in Chapter 4, but he decides to tell the other knights that the two Servants he encountered were strays summoned by the Grail. He also left out his encounter with Bedivere entirely.
  120.  
  121. Agravain, despite his Zouken-ish looks, was the only one concerned for Gawain when he got launched, though it's somewhat to be expected as they are brothers. Even more surprisingly, he appears to be sympathetic to Mordred, asking why Arthur doesn't allow her to stay in the city and trying to create opportunities for her to be helpful to her father... which is of course all Mordred wants to do.
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