“Oof!’” he exclaimed. “I thought we’d land in a wooded area. Well, good luck for us, we won’t have to pretend to be magicians. Once is enough, and I don’t want to be mistaken for Merlin or one of his rivals.”
“Yeah, I guess so, though it might be fun,” Jimbo grinned. “Now what are we going to do?”
P. C. turned in a slow circle, scanning the area. “Hmm…it looks like we may be closer to Glastonbury Tor than I thought. I think we should go there and see what’s what. Someone around there should be able to tell us about Arthur.”
That decided, they mounted and rode. It was late afternoon when they came to a settlement near the base of the Tor. It was not much more than a village, but they found an inn on the main street, and stopped there. With the horses stabled and cared for, they got a room, and settled at a table in the common room for a hot meal, and some ale. As they ate, they listened to the conversation at a table nearby. Four monks sat resting and making final plans for the climb of the Tor, and were discussing how privileged they would be to see the tomb of King Arthur and Guinevere.
“Oh, no!” P. C. moaned as he smacked his forehead with the heel of his hand. “I’ve done it again! This time I took us too far forward. Well, since we are here, let’s follow the brothers and climb the Tor. It would be ridiculous for us to be right here and not take a look. I’ll ask them if they mind us joining them.” He stood up and approached the other table.
“Pardon me, Brothers, I couldn’t help overhearing that you plan to climb the Tor tomorrow to see King Arthur’s Tomb. We are strangers here, and must move on tomorrow, but would you allow us to join you? We would feel blessed to see the last resting place of such a great King and Warrior.”
“I am Brother Bartholomew,” the oldest monk said as he stood to shake hands. “It would be an honour and privilege if two such sturdy warriors joined us as we pay homage to Arturus. We will be leaving at sun up, and will fast until after we have returned from our pilgrimage. You may eat or fast, as you think best. Ask the inn keeper to wake you when we come down, or earlier if you plan to eat.”
“Thank you, brother, we will join you in fasting, and in breaking fast afterwards.”
P.C. bowed and touched hand to forehead and rejoined Jimbo. “We can find a secluded place after we eat, and go back some. I’m sure we will find out a great deal about the time and events surrounding Arthur’s death, and that should give us a better idea of the year we want.”
Jimbo nodded. “It will be quite an experience to actually see the grave. It was found in the rebuilding of the Abby in 1190, but some are sceptical about it. I for one believe the claim is correct, but to see it so soon after his death will be a thrilling confirmation for me.
The climb to the top of the Tor was long and tiring, the brothers chanting prayers the whole way. When they reached the top, Brother Bartholomew led them across to the gravesite. There was a large stone slab with a leaden cross fastened to it. On the cross, in Latin, was an inscription translated as ‘Here lies King Arthur buried in Avalon.’
Each of the Brothers laid a relic on the stone slab. PC and Jimbo hadn’t expected this, but hastily searched in the pouches at the belts. P.C. found a Roman denarius dated 166, with Marcus Aurelius depicted on it. This he placed on the stone with the offerings of the monks. Jimbo found an even older coin, a gold aureus from 75 AD. They didn’t know whose head was depicted. He solemnly placed it with the other offerings. The Monks nodded, pleased that the strangers honoured King Arthur with such valuable gifts. Chanting their final prayers, the monks bowed one last tie to the tomb, and turned to depart. P.C. and Jimbo followed suit, and soon they were on their way back down.
It was still fairly early in the morning when P.C. and Jimbo bade the monks and the inn keeper farewell, and rode off, heading into the sunrise, toward the nearest forest. Once there, they slid off the horses and settled down on a fallen log.
“All right,” P.C. said. “When we arrived back in 459 we were several years too early, Arthur was only a two year old. Those knights we met were battling to have him named king, as Uther had just died. This is 535, and he has been dead for about fifteen years, so we need to go back to 490, I would say. Things would be peaceful, and he would be about 33, and still an active man.” He looked at Jimbo. “What do you think?”
“Sounds good to me, and I think meeting him at that age would be perfect. I can hardly wait to hear of the exploits of Arthur and his knights from the horse’s mouth as it were. Let’s do it.” They both chuckled, stood, gathered the reins of the horses, and adjusted the time machines. Soon the forest was empty of human life.