The Death of Arthur
In the fifteenth century, an Englishman named Sir Thomas Malory retold the story of Arthur's birth, his conquests, his friendship with Merlin, and his death. To this day, Malory's work is considered by many to be the most authoritative telling of the Arthurian Legend. Malory titled his work “Le Morte d'Arthur.” Translated into English, this means “The Death of Arthur.”
Arthur immediately began pursuit of Lancelot and Guinevere, and they were quickly found at Lancelot's castle in Wales. For months, Arthur and his men laid siege to it. Finally, an agreement was reached whereby Guinevere was returned to Arthur, and Lancelot was sent to France in exile.
But Arthur was still angry. Lancelot had betrayed him, and he wanted revenge. He followed Lancelot into France, leaving Mordred in charge. Then Arthur received the news he dreaded worst: in his absence, Mordred had declared himself King, and had taken Guinevere as his queen. Now, Arthur had no choice but to return to Camelot to defend his kingdom.
In a dream, Arthur was warned not to fight Mordred right away, so he sent messengers into his camp to try and negotiate. During their talks, one of Mordred's men was bitten by an adder. As he drew his sword to kill it, the sun glinted off his blade. Both armies mistook this as a sign that someone had drawn his sword to fight, and a great battle began.
The battle raged on all day, and by nightfall, it was down to every last man to fight. In the commotion, Arthur had dropped Excalibur and its scabbard. Seeing Mordred, he picked up a spear, and charged at him. Mordred charged back with his sword. The sword came forward and cleaved Arthur's skull just as he drove his spear through his son's hateful heart.
As Arthur lay dying, his last request was that the sword Excalibur and the scabbard be thrown back into the lake from whence they came.
Out of the mists of the lake, three Fairy Queens appeared. They placed Arthur's body on a barge, and sailed off with him to the mystical island of Avalon to cure him of his wounds. And some say he still lays there, sleeping in a hollow hill, and that he will awaken one day to defend Britain, when Britain has need of him.