Author's Note: This story works from the joint background worked out by Chris Davies and myself for several Sailor Moon/Arthurian crossover stories we're planning to write. This is based on one of the Arthurian tales only found in Mallory, the healing of Sir Urre of Hungary. I realize this story will be somewhat confusing to those not highly familiar with Arthurian lore, but it's also short, so give it a chance :) I hope I've done justice to this story, it's one of the most powerful in Malory. It takes place after the Quest for the Holy Grail, but before the exposure of the love of Lancelot and Guenevere, or in this case, Senshi Lancelot and King Mamoru :), by Mordred and Aggravaine. Enjoy!
Thousands had come that day. When Senshi Urre of Hungary arrived at Queen Rei's court, the word had soon gone out that he had suffered a grevious wound, a wound that only the greatest Senshi in the world could heal.
Seven years ago, he had battled the Daimon of Pest, driving it from that city. But the daimon's controller, a sorceress named Haga, had cursed him so that the wounds it had inflicted on him could only be healed by the greatest senshi in the world.
Since that day, his retainers had carried him from court to court across Europe, seeking the one who could heal his wounds. His journeys had finally brought him to the court of Queen Rei Pendragon. The Queen ordered that all of the Senshi be given a chance to see if they were the one destined to heal him.
One by one they came, all those who had survived the wars of the reign, survived the Grail Quest, and survived the uneasy peace that followed.
They laid on hands. They prayed. They poured potions down his throat. They waved wands. They probed his wounds with their hands. In serried ranks, they stood, dozens of them, waiting their turn and watching.
"Senshi Sagremor, Haruka of Byzantium, daughter of the Emperor," read the herald. Senshi Sagremor strode forward to the man and kneeled next to him.
"Get up out of that bed, man! You'll never heal if you just lounge around all day!" Several people chuckled. Senshi Sagremor wasn't too fond of men anyway. Her helm was open, revealing her short blonde hair.
The man sighed wearily. "I would if I could..."
"Have you even tried?"
"It worsens my bleeding."
"Try it." Senshi Sagremor helped the man stand. Well, more like forced him to his feet. He visibly paled. Senshi Sagremor said, "Maybe if you walk a bit."
Senshi Dodinas put a hand on Sagremor's shoulder. "I don't think it is helping, Haruka..."
Sagremor muttered something about lazy men. "I suppose you're going to play him a song and see if that works, Michiru?"
"Yes. What songs do you like, Senshi Urre?" Dodinas smiled at Senshi Urre, who lay back down.
The crowd was growing restless. While everyone was trying, they all really expected one person to do the job. Everyone knew Senshi Lancelot was the greatest Senshi in the land. She had battled virtually every Senshi here and beaten them all in Tournaments. She and Senshi Tristam had dueled for over a day, ending only when the sun set and they couldn't see to fight anymore, and everyone knew he was the second best knight. She had defeated the vicious Chicken of Bristol. She had cleansed her castle of Joyous Garde of evil spirits, rescued many Senshi from Senshi Carados' prison, and saved the King himself from death on many occassions. Most Senshi found appointments elsewhere, like to have their hands cut off, if they were put in a situation where they had to face her alone in battle.
In many ways, the whole ordering of the lineup was a tribute to her, for she was the final one. If all others failed, it was up to her to do the trick, to heal the man who could only be healed by the greatest senshi in the world. Everyone would cheer, the man would be healed, and her reputation would be sealed for all time.
So why was she hiding inside the castle, instead of waiting out in front of her eager fans? Why was she watching and crying as one by one the Senshi failed to heal Senshi Urre? Because it was all a sham, that was why. She wasn't the greatest senshi in the world. Not any more, if ever. She was incompetent, she thought. Only the blessing of God and my pure heart sustained me through all those victories, she thought. I threw that all away with my foolishness. First I let Demand trick me, then I broke my faith with Queen Rei...with her husband, my...love. Why can't we be together, she thought for the hundredth, maybe thousandth time. I should have forgotten him...but I thought we could scrape by. No one would ever know. I could love him without lust, I thought. At least some good came of my first failure...my daughter. He named her after me...She found the holy grail when I couldn't...I've lost my daughter...probably the only child I'll ever have.
Is this how it must be?, she wondered. I can't heal this man...not any more. I don't have the pride to want to try, not anymore...I saw how bad I'd become...so wrapped up in my own glory, on the quest. I've tried to change that...but I know I'm not good enough to heal him. I'm just a crazy girl...a crazy woman, who used to be something special.
She looked down at herself. Her hair was starting to grey, her figure was still good, but not as good as it had once been, and she could feel her age on her. The best years of her life had gone by in battles, battles she had won as much by luck as by any skill of her own. Luck wouldn't help her here. This was not a battle she could count on others to help her, nor luck to aid her. She felt the weight of sin on her soul, of past mistakes, of the love that she could neither afford to express, nor was able to deny. Most of all, she felt the burden of the loss of her innocence. Her only child had left her, gone to be with God. Her only love could never truly be hers, only stolen for a brief while from her best friend, her liege lord, the Queen. Her friend, Senshi Tristam, had been in the same situation. Only days ago, the word had arrived of his death--King Mark had finally killed Tristam in yet another of his jealous rages. Was that how it would end with us, she wondered? Will Rei slay me...or I her? Am I to destroy all that I love? She wept with fear and pain.
Through the window, the line of waiting Senshi dwindled. There were not as many as there would have been once. The Round Table had lost many, some slain by mischance, others who failed and were too shamed to return, and a few...who succeeded and never returned. Senshi Percival should have been called next. She could have done it with her healing power. Many had found Percival's pale skin and dark hair creepy, but none could deny that she had the power to heal. She was my daughter's closest friend, Senshi Lancelot thought, and now they're both gone. They found the Grail, and left this world. I wish I'd left with them.
She watched the herald call her cousin, Senshi Lionel. He actually got down and prayed over Urre. He had changed since the Quest, if not as much as her or Senshi Bors. Maybe...maybe he could do it.
He couldn't. There were only five knights left. Huge Senshi Gawaine towered over Senshi Urre. She tried feeding Senshi Urre. Senshi Lancelot smiled. Senshi Gawaine always said her food could help anyone heal from anything. Not this time, though. Urre's bloody bandages would only get worse.
A pageboy ran in. "Senshi Lancelot! They're expecting you! Better get out right away! Queen Rei wants to talk to you."
I should have hidden better, she thought. "I come as my Queen commands."
By the time she got out to the platform where Queen Rei and King Mamoru sat, only two Senshi remained to go before her. The crowd cheered as she appeared. Her cousin Ami, Senshi Bors, turned and waved to her, then stepped forward to Senshi Urre and started feeding him some kind of medicine. Senshi Lancelot smiled. Bors was a skilled healer. She could do it! If anyone could find a cure, Bors could.
Queen Rei smiled at Senshi Lancelot. "I was beginning to think you'd been called off on some quest again...or did you just forget the time?" There was just a hint of irritation in her words. Senshi Lancelot was not the best Senshi in the world for her punctuality, though she had improved on that very much over the years.
Senshi Lancelot tried to ignore the cheering crowd, which was ignoring Senshi Bors now and watching her. "Must I do this? I can't...I'm not a healer. I'm just a Senshi, not a doctor. I fear he will soon be starting his journeys again."
"You're the greatest Senshi in the world, Senshi Lancelot," King Mamoru said. "You are the one who does what they say can't be done. This is nothing compared to the wonders you have worked. I know you will not fail."
He smiled at her and her heart tried to sink and sing at the same time. He loves me...but we can never be together, she thought. Not again. No matter how much I want it...he wants it. We can't. We will. Deep inside, she knew her efforts to stop would fail, that he was the one for her. None other could satisfy her, drive away the doubts, the fear, the pain. Yet that one was the one she could not have.
The herald called out, "Queen Rei Pendragon, daughter of Martius Pendragon." Senshi Lancelot stared in shock.
"I...you...shouldn't you go...after me? I mean...I'm just a senshi...you're the Queen...it's ...I mean..."
Queen Rei smiled at Senshi Lancelot. "We both know which one of us is going to succeed here. And don't forget you too are royalty, if ever you cared to claim your kingdom back from King Claudius who conquered it. Benoic awaits its ruler. I have not accomplished half of what you have. Only my rank puts me at this point in this list. Believe in yourself, my old friend." She turned and strode down the steps, holding her spear high, the spear in which the Empyrian Crystal had been set so long ago, on the day she had recieved the spear from the Lady of the Lake. The same crystal which had recognized her in the courtyard of a church fifty one years ago. She had pulled the Mallet of Justice from the stone in which the great cat wizard Merlin had set it, and by doing so proved herself to be the rightful Queen of Logres.
She was older now, her black hair mostly grey, her legendary beauty fading, though not yet gone. The crystal preserved her, so that her sixty five year old body looked more like forty or even younger, despite her greying hair. Few wrinkles marked her face. Moving with the confidence of fifty one years of rule over a land to which she had brought peace and prosperity, side by side with the man she loved, her husband, King Mamoru.
She walked over to Senshi Urre and touched the spear to his forehead. Her eyes closed and she spoke wordlessly. Senshi Lancelot clenched her fists. This has to do it! If the Empyrian Crystal can't heal him, nothing can!
The crystal shone brightly and all had to turn and look away. Yet, it was not enough. Senshi Urre's wounds endured. The crowd turned and looked to the platform. Everyone turned, Senshi, onlookers, the King and the Queen herself.
Senshi Lancelot stood and tried not to cry. I'm going to fail, she thought. I can't possibly heal him. I don't have the power, the faith...I can't do it. They'll all know what a sham I've been.
Queen Rei smiled at her and the Herald spoke. For Senshi Lancelot, it was like torture in slow motion. "Senshi Lancelot, Usagi of Benoic, the Senshi of the Lake, daughter of King Ban of Benoic." All eyes were upon her. The crowd began to chant. "Lancelot! Lancelot! Lancelot!"
Somehow, she made her way to Senshi Urre. He looked up at her, trust in his eyes. "You came. I've heard so many stories...I was afraid you wouldn't be here...that I'd die before I found you. Now I know I will be healed. Your touch alone..."
For a moment, Usagi simply stared at him. He had faith in her...such total faith. He didn't know the things she had done, the lies she had had to tell, the betrayals she had committed. He knew she was the greatest Senshi in the world, the one destined to heal him. For seven years, he had been looking for her and his life was in her hands.
She shook with fear and knealt by him. Struggling to hold back the tears, she said, "I'm just a Senshi like any other. I'm not perfect, not the best. Maybe I thought I was...but that was just my pride talking...I...I hope they didn't make everything worse for you...I mean...all this waiting and the..."
He simply smiled at her. "It was worth it. I have faith in you."
She closed her eyes and prayed silently, "I know I'm not worthy...that I don't deserve to heal him. I have no rights to make demands of you, Kami-sama. I've lied to my best friend, cheated, bragged about myself...I've tried to stop, but I can't. I don't deserve to do a miracle...but I can't bear to break his heart. He shouldn't die because I'm not worthy to heal him. Oh, Kami-sama, for his sake, heal him. I can't promise I'll change...I know you can't be bribed. I want to change, to let go of the love I can't have...I just don't know how. Just please, heal him. No one deserves to suffer like he does. Free him of his wounds, Kami-sama. Please...heal him now."
Her eyes still screwed shut, she reached out and touched his chest. The tears came freely now, dripping from her eyes, shining with a white light as they struck the bandages that wrapped the wounds he had endured for seven long years.
Through tear-shrouded sight, she saw the bloody stains on the bandages fade. The color came back into his pale face and he sat up, removing the bandages. His flesh was whole, untorn, though soaked with her tears. His wounds were gone.
For a moment, all were silent, then the cheers began. "She's done it! She's healed him! Senshi Lancelot is the Greatest Senshi in the World!"
The musicians began to play a spritely tune, and the Senshi, the gathered onlookers and the King himself began to dance for joy. Queen Rei reached out and hugged the still kneeling Usagi, while Senshi Urre took her hand. "See, I told you you would succeed. You healed me. You are indeed the greatest of all Senshi living."
Usagi knew better, knew to give the glory to Kami-sama, not herself. She had been only the vessel of his power, of destiny. Once again, she had triumphed, but not through any power of her own. The one thing she had achieved by her own merits was the one thing she could not have, she felt. While others gloried in that day, she wept like a child who had been beaten.
Based on the final chapter of Book 7 of Mort d'Arthur, by Thomas Mallory and on Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon, by Takeuchi Naoko. (Did I spell that right? :))
back to the Short Story Page.The Healing of Senshi Urre, 5 October 1996