Sarah Avery (dr_pretentious) wrote,
Sarah Avery

Sir Percival And The Four Queens

Sir Peredur wandered out of the ICU into the little waiting room. Really, it was too small a waiting room for a knight in full armor to pace in, but he couldn't help himself. "It was supposed to just work," he muttered. "It usually just works." The Grail sloshed holy water onto the carpet whenever he turned in his pacing.

Four women stood in a corner of the waiting room, discussing leukemia in hushed tones. They looked strangely familiar. Peredur made bold to speak to them. "Please pardon my impertinence, ladies, but have I not seen you four on a boat? A barge, perhaps?"

"Not us," said one of the women. "Kayaks, maybe. You do look familiar, though."

"You're priestesses of Avalon," Peredur guessed.

The women laughed. "New to Paganism, are you?" said another. "We don't claim an unbroken line. None of that grandiose stuff."

The kayak aficionado said, "Oh, I know you. You're Sir Percival."

"Peredur, at the moment, but yes."

She eyed the Grail with interest. "Peredur couldn't pull off the trick, as I recall. Try being Percival again. You have a much better rate of successful treatment as Percival."

"But the fellow's a polytheist," Peredur protested. "I don't think he has any particular need for..."

The weariest of the priestesses said, "He's a polyamorist, too. Maybe we should call in Lancelot for this whole healing shtick. Lancelot got it to work once."

Percival straightened to his full height, though his armor was very, very heavy, and he had already traveled a long way. "Anything Lancelot can do, I can do better. All the texts agree that my heart is pure."

The women did not look especially impressed with the importance of a pure heart, but they offered him their bottled water and some edamame beans from their stash of hospital cafeteria food to eat while they huddled together.

"Give it another go," said the kayak aficionado. "New name, new Grail, new day. Call him, I don't know, Pelles or something. King of the Grail Castle. Any version of the tale will do, as long as it ends happily. He's a pragmatist. At this point, he won't mind."

So Sir Percival squared his shoulders, embraced a postmodern approach to comparative literature, and got back to work.
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