Out in the jousting field, Guenever was once again in the dock, anxiously awaiting Launcelot. Haven’t we done this all before? We have. But this time, instead of Sir Bors stalling for time, it was Sir Lavaine who was certain, absolutely certain, that Launcelot would be there any minute now. As the sun rose up towards noon and Launcelot failed to appear, Arthur began to fret more and more. Finally he announced that the execution would be put on pause until after Sir Lavaine has found Sir Launcelot.

Just as Sir Meliagrance called foul — Launcelot’s forfeiting, Meliagrance should be the victor — Launcelot appeared! Of course Sir Launcelot easily trounced Sir Meliagrance. At the end of the fight, just as Launcelot was about to slice Meliagrance’s head off, the latter knight broke down sobbing.

“I surrender! I surrender! Don’t hurt me, Launcelot! I’m a knight of the Round Table, please don’t slay me!”

A hush fell over the crowd. On the one hand, Meliagrance was entitled to clemency if he surrendered. On the other, everyone agreed he was a dick. Launcelot, too, was taken aback. He looked around for guidance, and his eyes met Guenever’s. She made a slicing motion across her throat.

But Launcelot was more merciful than that. “C’mon, Meliagrance,” he whispered. “Get up and let’s finish this like knights. C’mon. You want, I’ll spot you half my armor and my shield and my helmet, how about that?”

“No! I surrender!”

“I’ll tie one hand behind my back!”

Meliagrance looked up. “For serious? Half your armor, shield, helmet, and also one hand tied behind your back?”

“Sure,” said Launcelot. He had made this kind of offer before; it never worked.

“I’ll take it!” cried Meliagrance. “You heard him, sire!”

So Launcelot doffed his helmet and half his armor, and set aside his shield. Sir Lavaine tied his left hand behind his back.

“All right!” said Meliagrance, and charged Launcelot. Launcelot had a huge undefended area, where his helmet and armor and shield would normally have been protecting him; Meliagrance made for that.

Launcelot sidestepped, then with a single swipe sliced Meliagrance’s head clean off.

The end! Moral: do not joust Sir Launcelot, even if he’s got half his armor, no helmet, and one hand tied behind his back.


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