After it is discovered that King Arthur's deathly illness is the result of being poisoned by his half-brother Mordred, who seeks the crown for himself, the king secretly recovers and then takes action.
Before the assembled throng, Gawain strips Mordred of his sword and cuts the emblem from his tunic. Now Arthur draws Excalibur and plunges the blade into his own arm. The heavens tremble at his words: "Mordred, false knight and false brother, I spit you out. From this realm I banish you. Your estates and your wealth I give to the poor. May your children scorn you and your grandchildren call you Judas. Behold, from my arm spills the blood we once shared. I am cleansed. Begone, viper, I know you not."
Left: Watching from a nearby balcony are (from left) Sir Launcelot, Queen Guinevere, Aleta, and Galan.
And why, you may ask, is Prince Valiant absent from this momentous event? To find out, click here.
NEXT: The Return of Mordred
Art: John Cullen Murphy (July 1980).
Text: Cullen Murphy.
Source: The Sun Herald (Sydney, Australia); from the collection of Michael J. Bayly (1983).