Arthur Pendragon is best known for his unusual ascension to the throne of Ga’Leah. Born to High King Uther Pendragon and the High Queen Ygraine, he disappeared from Caerleon following the assassination of his father as an infant, and was not seen nor heard from for nearly fourteen years. Only when he pulled loose the legendary Sword in the Stone was he recognized as the true heir to the throne, and on his fourteenth birthday, he was crowned High King of Ga’Leah, and has reigned ever since.
His recent claim to infamy is the disastrous affair between his wife and closest friend, upon which he sentenced her to execution and the knight to exile. When the execution was interrupted by none other than the banished knight at the head of an undead hoard, the King watched as the disaster unfolded, and as the Queen took up his own sword and defeated the army. Following these events, he retreated to his chambers and was not to be seen or heard from.
The firstborn son of Uther and Ygraine Pendragon, Arthur never knew his blood parents. Born on a harsh winters evening, the King and Queen refrained from announcing his birth or name, as the healers did not expect him to last more than a few days. This proved true not for the child, but for his mother, who perished not two days after the new prince was born. However, it was later rumored that the sweet presence of his mother, even for such a short period of time, was enough to instill in him the same gentle spirit and heart of the Queen.
Arthur was placed under the care of the midwives, only two of whom even knew the name given to him by the Queen. Within a week of her death, the High King himself perished by an unknown poison from an unknown enemy, and suddenly Ga’Leah was left without a ruler. Fearful that this mystery assassin knew of the prince and sought to destroy him as well, he was smuggled from the castle to one of the outlying villages, where he was left in the care of an old nobleman and his son with nothing but his name. So as the Kingdom fell into chaos, Prince Arthur was taken hastily to the servants’ quarters where he was adopted immediately by the small family in the nobleman’s house. In the turmoil that followed the King’s assassination, the tiny prince was soon forgotten, and he grew up knowing nothing of his royal heritage.
He was given the life of a servant. The moment he was strong enough to carry a bladder of water, he was charged with following his adoptive brother around at his training sessions, making sure he was well watered and fed at all times. As he grew older, he was sent to work in other places as well – the stables, the kitchens, and he was even taught to sew so that he could attend formal occasions with his brother to be on call for any sudden need for repairs, as his brother would not have an elderly woman tottering around with him in public.
For nearly fourteen years, Arthur spent his days learning the meaning of a hard day’s work, the importance of a kind word, and many other lessons he could not have learned had he grown up a prince. He discovered a gift for understanding equines, as well as a talent for swordplay, and spent many tournaments juggling duties and play fighting with other youngsters in the streets of Caerleon. Yet everything began to change just after he turned twelve.
The Sword in the Stone
Not long after the death of the High King and the disappearance of his heir, a sword was erected in a stone slab, with the inscription that only the once and future king would be able to pull it free, and that he who did so was the rightful heir to the throne of Ga’Leah. Naturally, many people came to the stone to have a try, and some even attempted to cut the sword from its place, but the stone remained stubbornly intact and the sword did not budge.
It wasn't until he was twelve that the rumors of this mysterious sword reached Arthur’s ears, and his older brother, a squire soon to be knight, decided to give it a go. This occurred a month before his fourteenth birthday, as it wasn’t until one of the family friends returned with news that the rumors were actually truth that he decided to make an effort. He made a day trip out of the endeavor, bringing along a number of his friend, and of course, dragging Arthur along to take the pack pony. They spent all day feasting, drinking, and taking turns trying to wrench the sword free. When at the end of the day, Arthur asked to have a go, they all laughed and proceeded to use him as a human punching bag to show how unworthy he was. Wart, a King? It was laughable.
When they left him to walk home that evening, the spiteful youth gave the sword a savage tug, only to fall over backwards when it came free. He was so shocked by this that he immediately replaced it and ran for it. He might have never become king if one of the peasant girls hadn’t spotted him and spread the word, and when he was finally hunted down and given the chance to try again, he shocked the world by revealing himself to be Uther’s heir.
Under the reign of King Arthur, the Kingdom of Ga’Leah slowly began to come together again. For several years the youth was bound to his studies, attending ceremonies, negotiations, and meetings almost immediately following being crowned on his fourteenth birthday. Through vigorous training and studies, and the careful guidance of his closest friend and advisor Merlin, he finally was up to speed, and slowly began thinking for himself, rather than being constantly led and used as a pawn for the numerous advisors from varying kingdoms.
Through his leadership, peace was slowly won back, and the High King became a beacon for the kingdom, for whom better to trust than one of their very own? He was certainly a man of the people, never looking down upon the peasants, and not shying away from being in their presence. His constant battle for equality was irksome at best to his advisors, and all of it came to a head on a trip to Carmelide where his life was changed forever.
Quite by chance, he met Gwenhwyfar in the stables of Carmelide when she challenged him to a sparring match, thinking him a knight. She then proceeded to win this sparring match in front of the royal guards and her grandfather. Arthur, immediately taken by this ferocious lioness, spared her from severe punishment by
suggesting she spend the week in service to Sir Lancelot, however this proved a mere story, as she then proceeded to spend the week in his company. As the week progressed, the two became well acquainted, sparring regularly and spending nearly all of the week together. Their adventures peaked when they ran into a band of gypsies at a waterfall.
Yet the week came to a head when they both made their feelings for each other known on the final night of the King’s stay during a feast held in his honor. When Arthur returned to Caerleon, Gwenhwyfar went with him. This decision was met with a great deal of doubt, and it wasn't until the Queen proved herself on the battlefield and saved the King's life that she truly earned her place in the High Court. Not long after, they were married and she was officially crowned High Queen.
Arthur ruled as High King for eight years with the High Queen Gwenhwyfar by his side, but the peace was not to last. Tensions began to grow between the kingdoms as the Lycan's became more and more active, and it finally exploded into chaos when the High Queen herself was captured and submitted to several torturous days in the company of the Big Bad Wolf. Arthur managed to extract her location after making a hasty deal with the Lycan's, agreeing to trade the Silver Mines of Solhara for Gwen's freedom. However, the King was not willing to let the Queen be killed, nor was he ready to go to war with Solhara when the mines were stolen away.
And so the King led a party of knights to the Silver Mines in what could be considered one of the bloodiest, most barbaric assaults ever lead by the King and his Knights of the Round Table. The Queen was rescued, but the aftermath brought with it terrible struggles, and lead to several months during which neither spoke to each other. Arthur busied himself with the political aftermath during this time, slowly falling into a deep depression that ultimately lead to his fall. However, he only reached the breaking point following Gwenhwyfar's affair with his knight and close friend Lancelot. Following this betrayal, Arthur banished Sir Lancelot and in accordance with the laws set down by his father, sentenced the Queen to death by fire.
However, the execution was not carried out. It was interrupted by none other than the banished Lancelot at the head of an undead hoard. During this attack, Gwenhwyfar was freed and took up the King's sword when he did nothing. Immediately following this, the King retreated to his room, falling to alcoholism and passing his days in misery and darkness.
Aftermath and Recovery
The King spent several months in his room, during which he was rarely visited. At one point, he did venture out of his room, coming across the Queen at a servant's advisory, and for a moment there was hope, but nothing came of the encounter. The only time he got a visitor was when the Lady of the Lake herself appeared, and gave him a brutal lecture for his actions, which he fought against with venemous words. However, it proved to have it's uses when he finally agreed not long after to go for a ride. It was a chance meeting on the road with Gwenhwyfar that finally set him on the road to recovery.
He spent the next month working his way slowly back to full health. Regaining the trust of the people proved a difficult task, as an encounter with some of his knights in a tavern proved only the following week, but as time progressed, the King grew stronger and an inkling of respect began to return. This all collapsed however, when Arthur was nearly killed at the Midsummer Festival in Calladahn by the venom of the Solharan Sand Snake. The would be assassin was never captured, and Arthur found himself questioning many things following the incident. It was right after this that he visited his closest friend, Merlin - who was locked in a battle against the Blight, and was resorting to cannibalism to keep it at bay. This progression of unfortunate events came to a head when the King's horse escaped the stables several days later, putting Arthur in a terrible temper, which lead to a fight between the King and Queen. As his luck would have it, not long after he was attacked by a ghoul, the Headless Horseman.
Unknown to him or anyone at Caerleon, Arthur was part of a much larger plan. The Horseman was sent to capture the King rather than to kill him, bringing him to the ocean where he spent several days in the company of the malevolent Sea Witch and demigodess, Ursula. He was taunted and tortured during this time, but the most significant effects of this capture was the alteration of his own mind. His memories - specifically those of the Queen - were either erased or altered significantly, his heart torn out and reformed, everything that made him the King torn down. He was then released on the shores of the beach, where he was allowed to wander for nearly a day before he came across Gwenhwyfar on the road.
The ultimate endgame of this plan was to strike Caerleon in a rather unusual, but clever way. Through a connection forged by powerful magic and the alterations made to him, Ursula was able to more or less control the King, and eventually unleashing him with a single purpose in mind - to murder the Queen. It was through this method that not only the Queen would be assassinated, but the King would likely be destroyed when he came to understand the acts he'd committed, thus "killing two birds with one stone" or so the saying goes. However, the plan ultimately failed, as the Sea Witch failed to take into account just how powerful his bond with Gwenhwyfar actually was, as well as numerous other factors. Arthur defeated the curse, banishing the corruption in his mind, while the Lady of the Lake freed him from any last ditch attempts to regain control from the Sea Witch.