Shortly afterwards Launcelot and Guenever planned a night-time rendezvous. Lavaine thought this was a bad idea, what with Sir Meliagrance the Recently Pardoned still hanging around Camelot just looking for an excuse to take Launcelot down a peg. Launcelot ignored him, though.
When Launcelot and Guenever met, Launcelot was down in the garden with a ladder and Guenever was up in a second-story window in the castle infirmary. They whispered some pleasantries back and forth, and then Launcelot announced his intention to climb up to her.
“Careful!” warned Guenever, because a) the castle infirmary was full of sleeping knights, the ones who went with her on her ill-fated field trip, excepting Sir Pellas, and b) the infirmary windows were, for whatever reason, secured with heavy iron bars.
But Launcelot wasn’t the kind of guy to let a simple barred window stand in his way! He shimmied up the ladder, put his hands on the bars, and pulled.
“Now shall I prove my might for your love!” he said, and tugged so hard he ripped the iron bars right out of the stone wall. He also tore up his hands pretty badly, throughout to the bone, but he couldn’t cry out in pain because of the sleeping knights. Then the two of them went back to her bedroom for the night.
The next morning Launcelot sneaked out early and gets his hand bandaged up with help from Lavaine, while Guenever sleeps late. Sir Meliagrance just happened to wander into Guenever’s bedroom, to make sure she was okay since she missed breakfast I guess.
When he saw her lying there disheveled and Launcelot’s blood from his cut all over her sheets, Meliagrance immediately concluded that one of the nine wounded knights must have been having an affair with Guenever. And was he ever smug about it! Finally he could revenge himself on Guenever’s sneaky not-being-his-prisoner that she did in the last story!
Guenever denied everything, of course. She called in the wounded knights, all of whom were super huffy about the very idea that any of them would be so gauche as to sleep with Guenever. They suggested that Meliagrance put a pin in his accusations until they were all healed up, and then he could pick which of them he wanted to joust first.
“Away with your proud language!” cried Meliagrance. “You’re all wounded, so of course I can’t joust any of you.”
Launcelot came in, curious about all the commotion. Meliagrance didn’t notice his bandaged hand immediately, and instead took Launcelot for a potential ally, pointing out for him the bloody sheets.
“Dick move,” said Launcelot, “rooting around through a lady’s bed like that. What were you expecting to find?”
Meliagrance turned around and got all huffy, himself! He did not care for Sir Launcelot’s tone!
Launcelot didn’t like the implication that any of his comrade knights would sleep with Guenever! And he was willing to joust with Meliagrance over it!
Meliagrance, backed into a corner, agreed to joust Launcelot. And just so there could be no hard feelings, he invited Launcelot back to his castle for the occasion.
Cut to Meliagrance’s castle, where Meliagrance led Launcelot around on a tour. Stables, great hall, kitchens, the dry well sixty feet deep, prison cells, bedrooms, chapel, and so forth. All pretty standard. When they arrived at that dry well (the highlight of the tour), Meliagrance suddenly shoved Launcelot forward from behind! Launcelot fell down the well!
Meliagrance returned to Camelot and stole Sir Lavaine’s horse, then started promulgating the rumor that Launcelot went off incognito to have strange adventures, like you do.
The day of Launcelot’s and Meliagrance’s joust fast approached! If Launcelot didn’t show, Meliagrance would win by default, and thus Guenever would be convicted of adultery with a mystery knight, and she would be burned at the stake! No one wanted that!
Arthur noticed Launcelot was missing, and asked around.
“Sir, we wot not where he is, but we deem he is ridden to some adventures, as he is ofttimes wont to do, for he hath Sir Lavaine’s horse,” the court said in unison. It was an oddly stilted speech, but everybody figured Launcelot would show up on time, because he wasn’t about to let Guenever get burned at the stake.
Meanwhile Sir Launcelot lay at the bottom of a well. Luckily for him he landed on straw, and also luckily for him there was a lady down at the bottom of the well, too, one who somehow provided him with meat and drink. Also she wanted to sleep with him, but Launcelot of course turned her down.
She could come and go from the bottom of the well at will, this lady could. She came to Launcelot the morning of the joust, and warned him that Guenever would be burned soon. Launcelot said that was a terrible thing. On the other hand, if she did end up dead because he wasn’t there, surely everyone in Camelot would realize that he was imprisoned somewhere and search for him.
The lady promised to get Launcelot out of the well, and to provide him with arms and armor, if only he would kiss her once. Launcelot relented and kissed her, but later claimed he didn’t enjoy it.