The Light of the Grail: First page
copyright © 2010 by Freeman Ng
This is the first page of a retelling of the Quest for the Holy Grail that I'm currently shopping around to publishers. You can read a chapter outline with more excerpts from the book here.
I've also written a second novel, about the life of Joan of Arc, which you can see here.
Last night, you had the dream again. A voice called your name, "Bors! Bors!" as you knelt in silent prayer in the cool, airy darkness of a cathedral. Though it was impossible that you should find yourself in such a place doing what you were doing - in the waking world, you do not pray; you do not even believe in God, and have never been inside any kind of church - you felt no strangeness in the dream. When a great light began to fill the space, you looked up and saw, still with no surprise, that it came from an antique cup that floated slowly through the air, moving up the center aisle toward the altar. As you gazed at it, trying to discern its every detail, you seemed to be drawn into the air yourself. You floated after the cup even as it continued to move forward, seeing it more clearly as you came ever closer. You caught up to it just as it touched down upon the altar, and in that moment, found yourself no longer in the cathedral, but standing in the court of King Arthur (though you have never been there, either) surrounded by the Knights of the Round Table, holding the cup in your hands.
You first had this dream a year ago, on the anniversary of your dear wife's death. Five months later, you had it again, and then again three months after that. Lately, it has come more and more often. Last night was the third night in a row.
You walk out into the stone courtyard of your castle, a distant warmth dawning across your face as you move into the new light. Men salute you, wish you a good day, report on the minor happenings of the night. From the gates comes the sound of horsemen mustering for the morning patrol, and you can almost taste the dust they kick into the air. The rising sun glistens the wet surfaces of stone and wood.
On other mornings, these sensations of the ordinary world - the broad daylight of your life - have quickly dispelled the cool, radiant darkness of the dream, but today, they fail to have their full effect. The sunlight holds within it some gleam of the Cup, the voices of your men echoes of the Voice. There is a reminiscent fragrance in the air.
You continue across the courtyard, but turn toward the chapel.