He tells me the sword is my destiny. Crazy old fool! How is a peasant like me the rightful heir to the Pendragon throne? Me—king of the Britons? It’s a cruel joke perpetrated by a frightening crank.
Why have I taken my place in this line? I can already hear the jeers from onlookers. What a bloodless fool they’ll soon behold, heaving on the hilt of King Uther’s sword until I’m red-faced with exhaustion. And shame.
The other failed candidates step away. Suddenly, I stand before the embedded blade. I look out. The madman smiles, his eyes ablaze in anticipated triumph. I sigh, lower my head, grip the hilt. Draw.
The scraping sound of steel on stone follows. A collective gasp from the crowd, as sunlight gleams off of the sword. I tremble, suddenly afraid. Burdened by the impossible legacy that is now mine.
the fiercest winter