The Golden Blade Part 3 of 13

Chapter 3 - An Arthurian Legend!

“And who decided that?” I demanded. She looked sad when she said “Just about everyone. All of those in the know want to see what the baby turns out like because you are an original case, being both mother and father. The other thing is that you cannot continue as Arthur looking the same as you do now. One way or another, your life would be taken from you, either by an excess of love or an excess of hate. That reporter really did a number on you.”

I hung my head as I said “OK, do what you have to do, I need to be somewhere quiet to become used to this. I never wanted to be a standard-bearer or figurehead. I just wanted a quiet life.” Some of the men shook my hand as they left the room and others took a wide berth, obviously worried that whatever I had could be contagious. It left me with the two women and I said “Are either of you going with me?” Both shook their heads and Miss Smith said “The only place we know about is the morgue; after that you will be in the hands of another agency, one that does not want anyone to know where you are and will also protect you from the public until after the birth. I am sorry but it was felt that secrecy is paramount.”

She gave me the folder and said “This is the records of your current and future wealth. It will need to go with you. I have been assured that there will be strings pulled that will allow you remote access. The magazine offer is there as well but I personally think that you would be crazy to take it up. Good luck.”

They both left the room and the policeman came in and told me to follow him. We went down a back staircase to the basement where I was zipped into a body-bag with the zip left slightly open for me to breath. The policeman told me to lie still and breathe shallow as I was put on a gurney and we trundled to the garage area. I felt myself being unceremoniously loaded into a van and we left the hospital grounds. I heard shouting and chanting as we went further down the road and it was a good five minutes before the policeman unzipped me to let me sit up on the gurney. “Funny mob, there” he said. “I’ve never seen the like of it since the anti-vax/anti-covid riots. A lot of fear and anger that your story has generated, all down to a stupid reporter out for a laugh, I gather.”

He stayed quiet for the rest of the short trip. I didn’t know where we were because the van only had air vents and no windows. Eventually we arrived and were backed into somewhere and I heard a roller door going down. The back doors of the van were opened by a stunning blonde woman dressed as if she was an extra in a Lara Croft cartoon. She told the policeman “Thank you for your work but now it is time for you to leave this one to us” and he shook my hand before getting out of the van and leaving the area. She looked at me as if I was a lump of meat and then said “Before we go any further, I am Gwen and am in charge. We will be getting into another van, this one with better seats, and going to a place where me and my team can keep you safe. Now, out!”

I got out of the van, clutching the file, and we got into the back of another with blacked-out windows where two burly guys were already in the front. “Let’s get going” she said and the power door went up and we left the morgue. “OK Arthur” she said as we left the town, heading west, “This is a very odd situation we have now. You may notice gathering crowds along the way. These are people, young and old, who either want to venerate you or simply pull you apart to get at the foetus you are carrying. I, and my team, work with the government and it is the government who is going to be looking after you from here. There are certain sections of the powers-that-be that fear that your baby will be elevated to the point that it becomes more important than the monarchy, let alone being more of a figurehead than the church leaders. I am sure that you have realised that we cannot let you loose with what has been done so far.”

“Is there no going back and putting the record straight?” I asked. She shook her head and said “That chance was lost the day that paper published your picture and the lies. The social media has gone overboard since then and there are more stories about you that have gone viral. I don’t believe that you would be safe anywhere in the world by now. Even I have my reservations about this job and I am a hardened professional.” The guy in the passenger seat turned around and said “If it wasn’t for the extra pay and the moniker of being one of the bodyguards to the next messiah we wouldn’t be here. I have battled any number of bad guys but I have never been up against millions before.” Gwen laughed and said “OK, Griff, enough of the bravado shit, you are just the adrenalin junky like the rest of us.”

“Griff?” I murmured, “and Gwen! I suppose the guy driving is Lance and you two are having an affair. Which one is the married one?” I felt the barrel of a gun against my side and she snarled “Right buster! How did you know that?” I looked her in the eye and asked “Have you ever read the story of King Arthur? If you had you would have known that Guinevere, his wife, had an affair with Sir Lancelot, one of the Knights of the Round Table. Sir Griff was another one of the merry band, along with Hector, Eric, Gareth, Geraint, Percival and Tristan; as well as bunch of others with more medieval names.”

At that the pressure of the gun eased and all three of them started laughing. When they eased off I asked what the joke was and Gwen smiled and said “You have just named every member of our team. I now know that Sir Lionel has a sense of humour.” I smiled and told her that Sir Lionel was also one from the legend and it started them off again. It was a far more relaxed group that carried on westward. We arrived at Evesham where we pulled into another garage, this time in the back of what looked like a police station. When we stopped I was told to get out and was taken to a store-room where I was sat on a chair and given a dark-haired wig to put on. “This is for further confusion” said Gwen as she adjusted it.

Back in the garage we all got into a Jaguar with dark windows, this time, however, Gwen was in front with Lance and I was in the back next to Griff. I should think that with a passing glance we would look like two couples out for a drive. There were sandwiches and thermos flasks in the car and we snacked as we carried on, now heading south-west. Mid - afternoon we arrived at a set of imposing gates where a couple of guys stood guard. Gwen said “OK Arthur, a little test of observation. Guess the names of the two guards.” I looked and saw that they were both brawny guys and likely brothers so I said “Gareth and Geraint, they are Welsh and they are brothers.”

Lance let out a laugh and he looked into the mirror at me and said “You should have been recruited into the service with those powers.” I smiled and told him that observation was one of the things an insurance salesman needed most. We were now in the Forest of Dean, a part of the world that is now English but once had been Welsh and, oddly enough, part of the world that was very closely linked to the Arthurian fables. The joke circle was completed when we pulled up next to the house and there, as large as life, was a nameplate next to the door that read ‘Camelot’.

We all got out of the car and Gwen opened the boot to take out a briefcase and a large X-Ray folder. In the house Griff led me to an upper room and he told me that this would be my home for a while. It was very spacious, actually a small suite with a living room, bedroom and a bathroom. He said “Would you please strip and take a shower. There is a dressing gown there for you after, along with some slippers. For the moment, that’s all you will need to wear in the house and it will be a few days before we can allow you outside again. Put your valuables into the bedside drawer and leave all of your clothes on the bed to be taken away and incinerated. We want to remove all visible traces of you so that you can move forward from here. Take your time, Sir Lionel will be here later and will take you through the events of your immediate future. When you have showered, press the bell over here next to the door and someone will take you for a tour of the house. You are not a prisoner but you are still in danger, even here. Sir Lionel will explain.”

I did as requested, putting my watch and wallet in the drawer with the folder. At this point in time I was just a body with a few trinkets and an electronic link to some money. No job, no friends, no home but with a baby inside me. In the bathroom I stood in front of the mirror and then realised I still had the wig on. Before I took it off I examined myself and saw that I was thin enough (except for the slight stomach bulge) and scrawny enough to be made over but that it would take more than cosmetics to make my features feminine. I took the wig off and added it to the pile on the bed before getting into the shower and washing away my past life up to this moment.

All of the lotions and potions in the bathroom were from the womens’ counters of the chemist. I shampooed and conditioned, body washed and creamed and then towelled dry with the softest towels I had ever used. The gown was there, hanging on the door, but when I put it on I found that it had a tie inside and was the wrong way closing. I sighed as I realised that this was the first step in my future conversion. It was only a small thing but it felt significant at the time. The slippers were pink and furry as well. When I came out of the bathroom the wig was on a wig-stand on the dresser and all of my clothes had gone.

I sat at the dresser which I now realised was a vanity with a mirror. I sat and looked at myself for a long time, trying to imprint my brain with the memory of the person I now was, just in case I forgot what I once looked like later. Finally I got up and pressed the button. After a few minutes Gwen came in and told me that I should put the wig back on and that it didn’t matter that I would not pass as a woman now, I just had to get used to having longer hair as soon as I could.

So, in a womans gown with my dark hair hanging down my back, I was given a tour of the house. It was a big place and I got to meet the other members of the team looking after me. I was not shown the kitchens and did not meet any of the cooks so I guessed that I was to be completely cut off from normal people for a while. As we were going around I heard the distinctive sound of a helicopter landing and the tour ended in the dining room where there were tureens of hot food waiting for us. Gwen showed me to my seat as an obvious Sir Lionel came into the room. He walked up to me and took my hand in both of his and said “Dear boy, it is so good to see you here and safe. The world has gone mad but, together my lad, we will put it right.”

‘Well, shit!’ I thought ‘my life in tatters, the world against me and the gods send me a bloody politician!’

Marianne G © 2021

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