Spring was late and well advanced before word came from Dragon Hill. The King was beginning to lose hope of the sword. He was still determined to be as true a king as he could manage, even without the assistance of the Otherworld. He kept himself busy, learning the administrative complexities of kingship, presiding over courts of justice, visiting and inspecting his troops, officials and estates, making himself known and his presence felt across the land, assessing the personalities characters and capacities of those around him. No one knew where or when the King might appear, who he might talk to, nor what he might ask. He took an interest in the work of craftsmen and farmers and labourers as well as officials and landowners. He heard many complaints and often had to patiently explain why he could do little or nothing about most of them …the crops would not grow to please him, although his interest took the edge from many grievances. People got used to seeing his cavalcade pass, or even stop to talk to them. Sometimes he and his entourage would share a drink with them, from his own supplies. He was not extravagant; so many people accepted that despite the difference in scale between his and their income and expenses, his budget was as tight as theirs and his tasks more arduous than their own. He became respected and even liked. However, he did not stray very far from the centre of his kingdom, seldom more than a day’s ride, in case word came for him.
One beautiful morning as his party was riding in the direction of Uffington, they were met by the long awaited messenger. William and the Wyvern had declared that the sword was awakening and that he should collect it at once. Hastening to Dragon Hill he met William and together they dug up and unwrapped the sword from where it had been hidden, at the top of the hill, directly under where the fire had been. It looked and felt no different. Holding the sword he sat with William, under his Wyvern banner in front of his portable altar bearing a fire lit from the flame he had taken from the original fire when the Wyvern had spoken to him through William. They communed with the Wyvern, seeking advice on how to use the sword. The wyvern explained that it would facilitate a meeting of minds when it was exposed in the presence of others and he held a question in his mind. It would get used to him and would demonstrate its power in front of an assembly of the leading people of Wessex which he should summon soon.
The Wyvern had some parting words for him. “This is the first stage of your quest for True Kingship, well concluded. Like Arthur you now have a Sword, drawn from the Land. Arthur was renowned for his cavalry. Those knights of quest did much to secure his rule and his fame. Who will be your Horsemen? A Sword is a great thing, and needful to a King, but do not rule solely by it. A King may rule by the sword, he may become great, honoured, feared and respected, but no man, not even a True King, may attain love at the point or edge of a blade. The Land may not be ruled without the sword, but without love it will not long remember even a True King. It is the love between the King and the Land and the people that will sustain them and enable them and their memory to endure. When the Sword, the vessel of knowledge, enables you to rule as a True King, your next task will be to find the Cup, the vessel of love. You will know the time for that quest. In that I cannot assist you. You must seek the aid of the Ladies of the Waters. Now I salute you and bid you farewell True King Richard.”