This story opens at Camelot on the eve of Pentecost; everything important starts at Pentecost. All the tables set ready to the meat but since Pentecost wasn’t until the next morning, the feast had not yet started. Instead all the knights were fasting, which was a knight thing that they did apparently.
A lady on a horse interrupted their vigil! Dame Brisen had come from King Pellam’s court on an errand so urgent she didn’t have time to dismount.
“Well this is fun,” said Arthur. He eyed Brisen and her horse; both are all besweated from their hard ride. Hopefully they weren’t dripping on the salad or anything, yuck.
Brisen was in no mood to chit-chat. “Sire! Sire! It’s dreadfully important that I speak to Sir Launcelot! Have you seen him?”
Fortunately Launcelot was right there in the same hall! Arthur pointed. “That’s him over there.”
So Brisen rode over to Launcelot (trampling all the feast as she went). “Sir Launcelot! I salute you on King Pellam’s behalf. You’ve got to come with me on a strange adventure immediately! It’s super important! Can you come?”
“Before I answer your question, answer one for me,” Launcelot said, inexplicably. “Where do you live?”
Brisen blinked, nonplussed. “In the castle of King Pellam. You’ve seen it.”
“Right, good enough! Let’s go!” And Launcelot was ready for action. He called for his armor and his horse and his sword and his lance and his squire.
Guenever, who happened to be sitting with Launcelot due to the totally random seating arrangements of the feast, broke in at this point. “Whoa whoa whoa! Launcelot, come on! The big Pentecost feast is tomorrow!”
“Ma’am.” Brisen was all respectful to Guenever. “I promise you, one noblewoman to another, that Sir Launcelot will be back in time for the feast.”
“He’d better be,” grumbled Guenever, but she let them go.
Brisen led Launcelot out of Camelot, not to Castle Corbin, but to a big walled abbey out in the middle of nowhere. The gate swung open when they approached; they proceeded directly inside, where Launcelot met a tremendous number of nuns! They were extraordinarily friendly and welcoming, a fair fellowship who were passing glad of his coming. I can’t help but be reminded of a seminal scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail involving a Grail-shaped beacon, you know the one. But eventually Launcelot let himself be led into the abbey’s master bedroom, where Sir Bors and Sir Lionel had been waiting for him.
“Launcelot!” they chorused. “We heard you were back at Camelot! We thought we wouldn’t see you until we arrived there tomorrow for the big annual Pentecost feast!” Why Bors and Lionel were skipping the big fasting/vigil/prayer service and instead visiting with a bunch of eager-to-please nuns isn’t clear. Actually, having typed that sentence, I think it is clear.
“Well, here I am,” said Launcelot. “Brisen brought me. Don’t know why.”
But then twelve of the hottest nuns brought in, are you ready for this? Galahad! Everybody was excited about this reunion, even though Launcelot and Galahad only separated a few days prior, as near as I can tell.
“Sir, we have been taking care of this boy,” said a spokesnun. “This beautiful, well-formed, worthy, hot hot boy…”
All the nuns sighed wistfully. Galahad looked embarrassed. On Galahad, “embarrassed” was just adorable, Malory intimates.
“Anyway sir, long story short, please make him your squire and knight him. You’re the best knight around, and just look at him! He should absolutely be a knight, as soon as possible.”
Launcelot looked his son up and down, evaluating him not as a parent with a child, but as a knight with a knight-candidate. He saw him seemly as demure as a dove, with all manner of good features, that he weened of his age never to have seen to fair a man of form.
Even his father agreed: Galahad was smoking hot.
“Son, do you actually want to be a knight, or is this all peer pressure from these nuns?”
Galahad confirmed he wanted to be a knight.
“Then so you shall!” cried Launcelot, and knighted him, then and there. “We’ll stay here overnight, then get up bright and early and return to Camelot for the feast, where I’m sure nothing monumental and portentous will happen!”