A King to Rule Them All

It started with a challenge from a writer friend of mine: "how would you feel about exchanging story prompts?" Of course I was all for it, as short stories are my happy place. We decided to do it weekly, alternate who picks the theme, and for both of us to write to the theme chosen. I don't know that I'll be posting every resulting story but I'll definitely be posting some here, as my friend will be doing over on her blog, as well. I won't be telling what the prompt was, though, so if you want to know, you'll have to read both our stories to try and figure it out *insert evil laugh here*

If you're looking for some hors d'oeuvres of awesome, you've come to the right place. I'll be tagging all these stories with #weekly prompts in case you want to search all of them (once we accrue more). So read, enjoy, and write on, my ink-loving friends!

"Circles" by Deviantart user goRillA-iNK

A King to Rule Them All

By Danielle Davis

Arthur fingered the edge of Excalibur, letting his hand slide down the smooth plastic of the shaft to where it lay embedded in his arm. The contents inside were a murky green, brackish even, but he wasn't worried. It had been given to him by the Lady of the Lake, who knew supremo when she made it, and she hadn't steered him wrong yet.

"This will light your eyes on fire," she'd murmured as she slipped him the bag. Tiny, nearly weightless but full of so many possibilities. "Your ideas will have ideas. They'll ignite parts of your brain you never used before. You'll be floating and falling and conquering everything you land on. You'll see other worlds and you will rule. them. all." It was a seductive promise. But though she'd been the cartel's head chemist for years, he still hesitated. All it would take was a shot of beat skag to put him down forever. One hit to dethrone the king from the empire he'd spent blood, sweat, and bullets maintaining.

He'd been fresh out of high school when Gwen came up with the idea. Simple running, to start, under the leadership of the Pendragon clan. But he earned his place real quick. Right place at the right time. Good in a tight spot. He always seemed to know the best places to be and the right moves to make, even when situations went sideways.

The Uther liked that about him. Liked Arthur enough to make the inner circle, be a good fella.

So he bought himself a bike and moved to the 'burbs, out of the squalid downtown streets the tourists loved. He met up with the guys every Saturday for a ride out to the country, the whole squad of them, roaring down the highway with their thousands of horsepower raining thunder on the blacktop, armored in black leather emblazoned with the family crest: a circular, curving dragon ouroboros above red letters that read, "Knights of the Round."

It was everything he'd dreamt, but he had bigger dreams yet to dream.

When the Uther was poisoned, it took everyone by surprise. Ask anyone in the business how they're gonna die, they'll tell you, "Shootout, probably, while defending my turf. Maybe in a pool of my own blood." Then they'll give you a sideways smile and the con man's eye and add, "Or maybe with your Mom sitting on my face like last night. And wouldn't it be a way to go!"

Nobody expects poison, least not in something you ate, like something out of a noir 1980's mystery. If you don't go out by the gun, you weren't worth the bullet to fix the mistake.

But the Uther...he shouldn't have gone out that way. He was better than that.

Either way, Arthur and Lance were the next in line. Like brothers, they were, equally skilled with the business, smart on the streets, and able to back any backtalk that came their way. But Arthur won the jump, with everyone gathered around them in the musty, mold-smelling shop, as they kicked and punched and gouged their way to glory.

The rules were what they always were: nobody interferes and winner goes to the last man standing. Lancelot was the better fighter but any man'll go down when surprised by a knife in the kidney. Wasn't supposed to be a weapons fight, but that was how Arthur was. He knew the right moves to make when the situation arose.

So Arthur becomes the Uther and everyone falls in line. Because Arthur knows how to back his word. And his word quickly became the new goal of the Knights of the Round: to make the baddest, best shit on the market, to corner the market, to create the market. Get these fools hooked from the first hit before they even knew they were hooked.

Excalibur would do it for him.

Cooked up in a fever dream by the Lady of the Lake, Excalibur promised to win the territory for Arthur. To win any territories he took it to.

He just had to make sure it was really ready. A good businessman always knows the quality of his products.

"What the hell," he whispered and took the plunge.

His thumb pressed the handle to its hilt and then lights burst behind his eyes and he fell back, against his pillow, and dreamed of galaxies yet left to conquer. Of armor left broken and pierced in his wake. Of sunrises over hills no man had traveled with his knights by his side. Together, bonded, and unbreakable.

See what thegirlwrites did with this week's prompt!

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