THE GRAIL’S STORY, PART XXV: Morgause
The Grail’s next memories were of being bounced and jostled for an interminable period of time. At last, when by her own admission she had “begun to despair just a little,” Drysi dug around in the sack, fished her out, and dramatically plopped her down in front of another woman who The Grail didn’t recognize but would come to know intimately—Morgause.
There was a moment of dramatic silence, and then Morgause reached out to grasp me. But before she could touch me, Drysi sharply admonished her. “I’d be careful if I were you. That rather ugly cup is a magical device of great power and possibly hostile intent.”
Morgause drew back her hand as if I were a viper instead of a rather handsome goblet, Drysi’s gratis insult notwithstanding. But after a moment, she reached out and carefully picked me up. I didn’t give myself away by trying anything fancy, but even without actively seeking to learn anything about her I was instantly filled with a sense of pervasive evil.
“Here’s what I think of Merlin’s device of great power, not to mention the shade of the dear, departed Merlin, and my brother, his darling goody-goody protégée.” And she lifted her skirt and pissed in me.
It was the most horrible and disgusting thing I’ve ever experienced. I choked and gagged while the she-devils guffawed. I had no idea that human urine is poisonous to me, but it is—virulently. Mercifully I lost consciousness in a minute or two. So I have no direct knowledge of the next five years.
* * *
The Grail and I pieced together our best guess as to what happened (and/or I made it all up—after all, don’t forget this is fiction. Particularly you, censors!). I find this all totally fascinating, and if someday I write a novel about King Arthur, it will definitely make an interesting chapter. However, since it involved The Grail only peripherally, I will—sadly—summarize.
It took a few years, but eventually rumors and tales began to circulate about the presence of the Holy Grail in Britain. Most likely fueled by a touch of the truth. As far as The Grail knows, Merlin never mentioned to anyone that she had ever belonged to Jesus. But I’m sure after the theft, bored novices at Avalon gossiped about how Drysi had stolen a powerful cup from the dead Druid. And since the Holy Grail was also a cup, eventually the two objects became intertwined in the tales of the bards. Possibly aided by the urging of the missionary priests who were beginning to find their way back to the island.
To cut a lot of speculation short, there was a Grail Quest. The Knights of the Round Table, bored out of their minds by a decade of peace, oiled their armor, strapped on their swords, and went forth throughout Britain searching for it.
When word of the quest reached the collaborators, Drysi responded by burying The Grail in the dirt floor of the wine cellar beneath Lot’s castle and disappearing into the wilds of Scotland. So although a handful of hardy knights made it as far as Orkney, where they were entertained warmly by Queen Morgause, nobody discovered anything suspicious, much less a sacred cup. Finally, even the most persistent of the Companions turned his tired horse’s head back toward Camelot and a hot bath, clean clothes, warm food, and a roof that didn’t leak. The quest for the Holy Grail was over.
* * *
The Grail’s next memory was being held by Drysi as she and Morgause toasted the futility of the Grail Quest, the ongoing disappointment of Arthur’s attempts to sire an heir that might supersede Mordred, the idiocy of passing laws to make a just kingdom, and their fervent hope for the failure of anything else he might attempt. Lot was dead and Mordred no longer lived at home, having been presented at court as Arthur’s nephew and made a member of the Round Table.
Drysi and Morgause did things I’d never before seen women do together and seemed to enjoy it. And for some twisted reason it delighted them to make me a part of their festivities, including sharing me to make frequents toasts venting their frustrations at wasting away in the frigid northlands and wishing ill to the king who Morgause, for no reason I could ever discern, blamed for their exile.
And thus I languished in the hands of Morgause, my piss enemy.
* * *
The next chapter in the story begins with the appearance of Sir Turquin, one of Lot’s former knights who had fought in many of the fierce battles against Irish and Pict invaders. During one of those nameless skirmishes he’d been smashed on the helmet by a battleaxe, and although he eventually recovered his health, was never quite right in the head again. Visions of demons and voices taunting him become more and more frequent. After hearing a sermon from a wandering missionary priest, he became convinced that it was Jesus who was calling him. So he abandoned his holdings, donned a filthy robe, and wandered around the land, begging for victuals and preaching what he knew of the gospel to any who would listen.
Morgause overheard Turquin haranguing a group of servants one afternoon. Her first impulse was to chastise him for wasting their time and banish him to the stables where at least his stench would be in good company. But on second thought, she considered the potential for an outspoken Christian to cause trouble. So she called Turquin in, made him bathe and put on clean clothes, converted a storeroom to a chapel, and named him the castle chaplain.
During the bathing and cleaning she also discovered, quite by accident, that although Turquin had put aside his sword, he carried a mighty club beneath his robe. On further consideration of that, she realized that although Drysi was a pleasant diversion, what she really needed was some good, old-fashioned in-an-out. And who better to demonstrate the advantages of the plain old missionary position than a well-hung priest?
Of course, being displaced from Morgause’s favor as well as her bed did not sit well with Drysi. Neither did she approve of Turquin’s theology, nor the condescending manner in which he addressed her. The two of them feuded, which Morgause found flattering and entertaining. She played them against each other shamelessly, and took to wearing a cross around her neck whenever she was with Drysi and a moon pendant, the symbol of the goddess, when Turquin was around.
Eventually Morgause’s plan backfired. I would have wagered that Turquin would have succumbed first, but it was Drysi who finally snapped and attacked Turquin with a dagger. Not a wise move; old fighting reflexes don’t just go away. Turquin took only minor damage—requiring a couple dozen stitches at most—before taking her blade away and using it to slit her throat.
THE GRAIL’S STORY, PART XXV: OUTTAKES
Brad, it was the most horrible and disgusting thing I have ever experienced. I choked and gagged while the she-devils guffawed. Incidentally, the day you put me in the toilet brought back all those vile and horrifying memories.
“I guess I should apologize. I’m truly sorry, even if I had no way of knowing that urine was poisonous to you. Hell, I didn’t even know you were real then. I never would do such a thing now.”
But of course, dear. I’ve long since forgiven you.
“Here, let me get you a fresh refill.”
* * *
If someday I write a history or novel about King Arthur, it will definitely make an interesting chapter. However, this novel is about The Grail, not King Arthur. And so I will sadly summarize.
How come you don’t just tell everything?
It’d be way too long. Nobody publishes books like that unless you’re already an established author. And people today have short attention span. They’d have to cut War and Peace down to about 300 pages if it was written today.
So are you even going to write it?
“We’ll just have to see how things work out, won’t we?”
* * *
So although a handful of hardy knights made it as far as Orkney, where they were entertained warmly by Queen Morgause, nobody discovered anything suspicious, much less a sacred cup.
Knowing Morgause, I’d guess they were entertained warmly and carnally.
“I think you’re just prejudiced.”
Well, what if I am? Piss on her!
* * *
Drysi and Morgause did things I’d never before seen women do together and seemed to enjoy it.
I was on the verge of making some comment about that being why she wasn’t shocked at the episode with Judy Blue Eyes and Sgt. Jenny Slade. But for some reason, the words wouldn’t come out (although she probably rummaged around and found them anyway). Hey, maybe there is a line that even I won’t cross. Now there’s a scary idea.