Gawaine’s Grail Quest

Once upon a time there was a young man named Gawaine who had a dream so vivid it seemed more real than so-called “Reality”. In this dream he saw a vision of the Grail so radiantly beautiful that he dedicated his life then and there to finding it.

So to prepare himself to be a Knight on a Grail Quest he first learned the arts of combat to discipline his body, heart and mind. And he learned the geography of the Realm as far the maps could take him, and learned its languages and cultures. And he studied the history of the Realm, and its philosophies and theologies. And how to care for horses, and about healing herbs, and anything else he thought might help him on his Quest.

Finally Gawaine felt ready, and bidding farewell to his parents, he mounted his horse and set out with little more than his sword and bedroll.

In his travels he received aid and friendship from the most unexpected quarters, as well as betrayal by some he was sure he could trust implicitly. And he found that all his studies were far less useful than he had anticipated — he found his youthful “book learning” slowly replaced by the true truths of Experience.

And he encountered many monsters, most of whom wore a hideous caricature of his own visage on their faces. A few battles he won, most he did well to just survive and escape, wounded.

One particularly desperate battle was with a black dragon with eyes of fire, and the dragon stung his eye with its poisonous stinger. Gawaine escaped, and his eye healed, but it was never quite the same — his “good” eye could see normally, but his wounded eye could only see in the Twilight, that liminal space/time between the light of day and the dark of night.

And although his wounds healed, none ever healed completely. And so, after 40 years of wandering in search of the Grail, he sadly returned home.

Arriving, Gawaine entered his dining hall. And there, in the middle of the great table, stood the Grail in all its incandescent glory. He couldn’t see it with his “good” eye, only with his wounded eye. The Grail had been there all along, he just hadn’t been able to see it. Gawaine fell to his knees and wept with bone-deep repentance, gratitude and humility.

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