In which Sir Gawaine kills Sir Uwaine
On the way to Nacien’s house, another largely pointless interlude occurred: Sir Gawaine and Sir Ector bump into a strange knight. I’m just going to tell you now, it was Sir Uwaine, for some reason. Uwaine and Gawaine were first cousins, and went back a long way: in Book IV, the two of them did some of their first strange adventures together. Would this be a happy reunion?
“Hey! You! Strangers! Let’s joust!” shouted Uwaine, as soon as he saw them.
“Did you hear that?” asked Ector, all excited. “I’m going to joust someone! Finally!”
Gawaine wasn’t having any of it. “He was totally talking to me! I call dibs!”
“Too late! I called dibs.” So Gawaine approached Uwaine for jousting. No indication that either recognized the other. They jousted, and as would happen every so often, Sir Gawaine managed to stab the other knight in the chest with his spear. Down Uwaine dropped! Gawaine took a wound, too, but nothing serious.
“C’mon, get up!” Gawaine wanted to keep jousting. He climbed out of his horse’s cockpit, drew his sword and started waving it around. “C’mon c’mon!”
“No good.” Uwaine was pretty busy lying there bleeding. “Maybe when I was a young knight, but that was a long time ago. I’m pretty much dying, here. Would you mind taking me to the nearest church? Or convent, I’m not picky. I just want to die someplace a little more holy.”
“Fine, whatever. Except I don’t know where a church is, near here, so…”
Uwaine sighed. “Okay, okay. I’ll direct you.”
Gawaine loaded Uwaine up on his horse, and Uwaine directed him and Ector to the nearest church. Around this point Gawaine and Uwaine recognized one another and realized that they were cousins and also their names rhymed.
“Hey, Gawaine,” said Uwaine. “Remember how we swore an oath to always look out for one another? When you were worried about getting kicked off the Round Table for your incompetence? Screw you for killing me, man.”
And then Uwaine died.
“Crap,” said Gawaine, “I’m going to get blamed for this somehow.”
Uwaine came back to life for a second. “I thought of some better last words! When you get back to Camelot tell them I was awesome!” Then he died again.
Gawaine cried, because he couldn’t help but feel partially responsible. Which was funny, because of all the many deaths Gawaine had caused up to this point, this was one of the least actionable. Uwaine initiated their joust, and he knew the risks of jousting. Jousting was an extreme sport: ‘getting stabbed with a spear while on a horse.’
Alas, Gawaine felt guilt. He retrieved the end of his spear, which had been stuck in Uwaine, and then he and Ector buried the body as men ought to bury a king’s son, and made write upon his name, and by whom he was slain. HERE LIES SIR UWAINE SON OF MORGAN LE FAY AND URIENS OF GORE, SLAIN BY SIR GAWAINE.
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