“It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.”
― William Blake
I’ve been a fool, running around so focused on pomp and playing Sir Wantsalot that I completely lost sight of why we’re actually here, to save a world. Even before the tournament, I was like a kid in a candy shop, gawking and lusting after nanotoys and beautiful women. As a result, I’ve come as close as humanly possible to death, stood by as one friend murdered another, and we’re still no closer to finding out how to stop what’s destroying this land than we were when we first came here.
I was still basking in the thrill of the tournament on the night of the awards feast. I stood on stage, accepting congratulations for our victory from King Arthur and the Ladies of the Lake. I reveled in the applause, over indulged in the wine and food, and danced with my lady. Then it all came crashing down. King Arthur, called me aside, and said he had heard of how tough the famous Iron John was. He asked for a demonstration, asked if I would let one of his men punch me to demonstrate for the crowd my renowned durability. Like an idiot, I agreed.
The King chose Galahad to let me have it. Boy, did he ever. Between the force of the blow and the damage that the nanoplague had already done, my subdermal armor shattered. My skin weave sloughed off, and my only remaining functional eye exploded. I don’t know how I survived, and damn near didn’t. They told me later, that my bones had actually started to disintegrate. If Pete hadn’t rushed me to the nearest hospital, I’d be dead.
The hospital did a good job of patching me up though. With the exception of my armor, my eyes, and my bone lace, most of my cyberware pulled through. They even used nanos to fix my normal eyesight, so I’m no longer near-sighted, even without the enhancements.
I found out later that while I was in the hospital, Lancelot challenged me to a duel. He wasn’t too happy about my offering to knight Percival, but Percival saved my life in the tournament, and earned his knighthood. Fuck what Lancelot thinks.
You’d think that once the tournament was over, we could get back to business, but John still had a hard on to kill himself a dragon. Nothing seems to dissuade him. We ended up blowing the entire next day on some treasure hunt so John could find Diagon Alley and get to Gringott’s bank to get some more money, presumably to outfit himself in appropriate dragon slaying gear. While we were there, I got some for myself, figuring that even if I disagreed with it, if John was going to do this, I’d at least back him up. That’s what brotherhood means.
That evening is when things really came to a head. I mean that literally. John was drinking pretty heavily, which normally isn’t a problem, but then he started getting belligerent. I don’t know why. First he tried to pick a fight with Corey, who showed enough restraint to walk away. Then he and Steve started getting into it. I figured that the two of them had known each other for a Hell of long time, and it wasn’t the first time I’d seen them trade blows, so I stayed back. The next thing I know, both of them pull their swords, and John chops Steve’s head off with a single blow.
WHAT THE FUCK! I’ve given Steve plenty of shit for doing rash stuff, for jumping into battle first and thinking later, but God Damn it, he was our friend. He was one of the Brotherhood. He’s saved our lives and we’ve saved his more times than I can count. Up until then, I always figured John was the most level headed of all of us. He’s the one always going on about the Brotherhood and standing by each other, and he just cut down his best friend over nothing. Corey, Pete and I tackled John and disarmed him, then put him in restraints while we looked at Steve’s head staring back us from the floor.
I had nothing to fall back on, but Arthur C. Clarke’s quote about any sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic. I’d seen some pretty advanced fucking technology since we’ve been here, and if we ever needed magic, this was it. Pete and I grabbed Steve’s body and head and got him to the hospital as fast as we could. It was a gamble, but we had nothing to lose, and it worked. The doctors put the head back on, waved their wands and brought him back to life.
I have never been so glad to see Steve in all my life. The docs said that he had been dead for about 15 minutes before they brought him back, and that he might have some brain damage as a result. We’ll have to wait and see.
I have no idea what we’re going to do now. I always thought I could trust John. He’s the one I counted on most, and now I can’t any more. That hurts. I’m afraid the Brotherhood is as dead as Steve was, only the docs can’t bring it back. Once it’s gone, that’s it. What I do know is that I’m done with this chivalry and chasing dragons and fair damsels shit. I’m going back to finding out what’s behind this spreading Nothing, and doing everything I can to stop it. If John wants to keep playing Sir George, let him. I have a job to do, and once it’s done, I’m leaving this world and not looking back.