After the ignoble defeat of the Knights of the Round Table (see http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/309499) when victory was (apparently) easily assured with 8 white swords, my game group decided to venture to Camelot once again, this time with a bit of trepidation, a little less do-gooder enthusiasm, and a dose of the reality of the evil they faced.
Beforehand, King Arthur advised the knights to be true to their nature and recommended a realistic portrayal of their characters. "Knights, there is no need to be so shining, valiant, and honorable in the performance of your most worthy deeds. As noble and trustworthy knights, I know you are human after all, and are sure to fall subject to despair, loss, and defeat from time to time. I also know that one of you may be tempted to betray the crown. So be it, now off and defend Camelot! Evil awaits us and there are quests to fulfill."
All seven knights proceeded forth and quickly started subjugating the evil of the land. King Arthur focused on the wars with the Saxons and Picts while Sir Kay used his knowledge of siege warfare to devastate the encircling armies. Sir Gawain and Sir Palamedes alternated between questing for the Holy Grail and seeking the legendary artifact, Excalibur. Sir Percival spent time in Camelot and then assisted with the Grail hunt as well as various wars with the Saxons. Sir Tristan had the most sincere heart for the Grail, but was thwarted again and again in his attempts to find it as he dealt with despair so dark. Sir Galahad spent much time in Camelot and dealt with many couriers sent to and fro King Arthur.
King Arthur informed the noble Knights that Lancelot was a worthless lickspittle and that if he found anyone bestowing worthless adoration to the scraps of armor Lancelot once wore, he would behead them as a vile traitor. The rumors and whisperings of the armor soon faded from memory … to be replaced by an even darker terror, a wyrm! And it was one of astounding power, quite readily avoided by every Knight of the Round Table, King Arthur included.
Sir Palamedes once attempted to best the Black Knight, but soon became known quite humorously as “Mighty Strike” by everyone at court. After jousting failed to unseat either combatant, Sir Palamedes delivered the most terrible blow to the Black Knight, expecting to mortally wound the Despicable One with a single, mighty strike! Everyone flinched, expecting a decapitation … except for his foe, who was undaunted, and remained with his head. The Black Knight then proceeded to pummel Sir Palamedes from his horse with a series of successive strikes, 19 to be exact. Dark tidings for the Round Table indeed!
Later, King Arthur was heard berating Sir Palamedes: “What is with you, man! Next time don’t sit there after you strike such a mighty blow! Finish him off! While I agree that the swipe was the most astonishing use of your sword that I have ever seen … and that it would have easily beheaded a score of Saxons with ease, the Black Knight was surely nonplussed! And you would have known this had you not turned your back on him and started to parade about the tilting grounds! Confound you, Sir Palamedes. Next time pay attention to whom with you duel!”
A week later, Sir Palamedes bested the Black Knight and erased just a smidgen of his shame.
Endless quests within forbidden swamps failed to bring even the faintest glimmer of hope and all feared the Grail was lost for good. Catapults began accumulating as the besieging armies prepared for a final assault upon the walls of Camelot. Sir Kay, bless his soul, remained true and thwarted many dastardly raids, but then realized he might have the key to finding the Holy Grail, heeded King Arthur’s commands, and quested.
As the wars came to a close, with Camelot soon to fall, King Arthur rallied his strength, expended his might, and dared to leave his throne to aid his mighty Knights on the quest for the Holy Grail. And then the dread and doom came forth …
Sir Kay, fearing for Camelot, lost his life in a noble act of self-sacrifice on his quest for the Grail so that Camelot would not fall. King Arthur wailed at the lost but exclaimed that such a mighty deed was the truest example for them all. Meanwhile, Sir Percival, who was back at Camelot, fell sway to Lady Avain and summoned all the Knights away from the quest for the Holy Grail … a calamity of inopportunity, for the Knights were but moments from claiming the prize! So stricken with the loss of Sir Kay and the hope of holding the Holy Grail within their hands, Sirs Gawain and Palamedes succumbed and died on the return trip to Camelot, following their lost brother to the bright halls of Heaven.
As all gathered at the Round Table to mourn over the loss of three noble knights, King Arthur praised their faithfulness and sacrifices for the protection of Camelot … but uttered that, while noble and indeed heroic, all was lost! There was no more time to search for the Holy Grail and the final battle was to begin. Secretly, then, Sir Tristan dared to defy the King and seek the Grail one final time … depart from Camelot he did with the swiftness and fleetness of a dove.
And behold! The Holy Grail was found! Victory was assured!
The battle was won, and Sir Kay, Sir Gawain, and Sir Palamedes were laid to rest with many honors. As the Black Knight presented his Black Sword to the tomb of Sir Palamedes in remembrance of mighty deeds, he spoke, “A finer lot of Knights I have never known. I am humbled to have fought and lost to Sir Palamedes, he being much nobler than I. And not a traitor amidst you, all of pure perfume and of sweet scent to the monarch. I am lost and undone and forsaken … and now turn-ed from my wicked ways. Accept me, King Arthur, as one of yours, but I know I will never be as great as any of these three fallen Knights! No matter, I offer my services to Camelot from hence forth!”
“I always found you to be of better company than Lancelot …” uttered Arthur.