The next story Malory tells is all about Sir Lamorak, for some reason. We’ll come back to Tristram eventually, never you fear.
Sir Lamorak left Servage, too. Malory had forgotten that Servage was an island, so Lamorak just rode out on his horse, through the woods. Along the way he stopped long enough to tell a local hermit that Nabon was dead, which the hermit and all his hermit friends found great news indeed (I’m wondering if Malory means something different by “hermit” than what I understand the word to mean).
On his way back to Camelot, Lamorak stumbled across a four-on-one knight rumble. The one knight fought valiantly, but he couldn’t hold off the superior numbers of the opposition indefinitely; as Lamorak approached, he went down.
“What’s all this, then?” Lamorak charged in to defend the fallen knight. “Four on one? That’s dirty lemons. You know it is!”
“This jackass here doesn’t deserve the usual knightly courtesies,” said one of the foursome. “Because he is, as I indicated, a jackass.”
“Well, okay, I just have your word to go on, there. You there, dude on the ground. Are you a jackass?”
“Who’s calling me a jackass?” asked the dude on the ground. “I’ll wallop him. Just give me a second to catch my breath, and I’ll fight anyone who calls me a jackass! I’ll fight them all! One at a time, though.”
“Feh,” said the spokesknight for the foursome. “We have no interest in a fair fight with this dick. But listen, if King Arthur were here levying judgement, it wouldn’t save this jerk. He’s a jackass!”
“Hey, now, don’t drag King Arthur into this,” said Lamorak. “You don’t know what he’d do if he were here! You can’t read King Arthur’s mind! Just for that, I’m siding with the underdog!”
So Lamorak drew his sword! In the first round of combat he killed two of the four knights. The other two just gave up and ran away.
“We showed them, huh? Losers,” said the lone knight, still lying on the ground. He rose unsteadily to his feet. “I’m Sir Frol of the Outer Islands, by the way. Nice to meet you.”
“Yo.” Lamorak and Frol shook hands.
“Mind if we travel together?”
Lamorak was down with it.
They hadn’t gone too far before they saw a knight all in shining white armor, in the distance.
“Hey, look! It’s that guy!” cried Frol, and points.
“I’ma go joust him. I was jousting him before!” Frol started to ride off but Lamorak stopped him.
“Wait, wait,” said Lamorak. “What’s this about? You were jousting that guy? Why? Who started it?”
“Oh, I started it,” Frol said matter-of-factly. “I just attacked him! No reason!”
Dammit, thought Lamorak. Those other knights were right. This guy Sir Frol really is a jackass.
But Frol ignored Lamorak’s hesitation! He approached the white knight.
“Now we joust!” he cried without preamble.
“No thank you!” responded the white knight, and then pulled off a crazy-badass move. Somehow Frol ended up lying on the ground with his horse way over in one direction and his spear and sword way over in a different direction, while the white knight rode away at a gentle trot.
Lamorak had seen this happen, and chased after the white knight. “Excuse me!”
“Are you a knight of the Round Table?”
Lamorak gestured back towards Frol. “I mean, I saw what you just did there…”
“What’s this about?”
“I just want to know your name.”
“Tell me yours first,” said the white knight.
“Fair enough.” Lamorak swallowed. “I’m Sir Lamorak de Galis.”
“Lamorak? Cousin?” The white knight laughed. “It’s me, Sir Launcelot!” And he pulled off his helmet and sure enough, it was Launcelot. He and Lamorak high-fived.
“Want to ride with me back to Camelot?” asked Lamorak. “I’ve got this real drip of a traveling companion right now.”
“Sorry, Lamorak. I’m in the middle of a strange adventure. No can do. Another time, though.”
“You bet!” Lamorak waved as Launcelot rides off, then heads back over to Frol.
“Who was that?” asked Frol as he rose, once again, unsteadily to his feet.
“He’s deliberately traveling incognito,” said Lamorak. “Gotta respect that.”
“You know and you won’t tell me?” Frol went from friendly to hostile in two point two seconds! “You dick! I’m leaving!”
“What? Fine.” Lamorak watched Frol ride away. “What a jackass,” he muttered. “What a jackass.”
A couple of days later Sir Lamorak happened across a knight and a lady sleeping together under a tree. That’s no euphemism; they were literally asleep. Admittedly, the implication is that more euphemistic events may have transpired a little earlier.
Lamorak was no voyeur, but out in the countryside you can see things happening from a long ways off. He couldn’t help but notice as a second knight approached, waking the lady. By his heraldry and armor, Lamorak recognized the second knight as Sir Gawaine, his… well, not friend, exactly.
When the lady climbed up on Gawaine’s horse, and the two of them departed together, Lamorak clucked his tongue. It was unfair to the sleeping knight, he thought.
So Lamorak followed Gawaine. “Sir Gawaine!”
“What? What?” Gawaine cried over his shoulder. “What do you want? I’m King Arthur’s nephew!” (If you think I’m joking, let me quote Malory verbatim: And then said Sir Gawaine: what will ye do with me? For I am nephew unto King Arthur.)
“Listen, Gawaine, it’s me, Lamorak.” He was right behind Gawaine by this point. “I saw you make off with that knight’s lady. Either you put her back, or I do — your choice.”
“Do I get a say?” asked the lady. I probably don’t need to tell you it’s Sally Segwarides.
“No,” said Lamorak.
“Fine, fine, fine.” Gawaine pouted a bit, but he turned and rode back towards the other knight.
Lamorak winced as the other knight immediately knocked Gawaine off his horse, before Gawaine was ready for it. Then he grabbed Sally back and started to hurry off.
“Dang it,” said Lamorak. “If I don’t do something Gawaine is going to make trouble for me at Camelot…. You there!” he shouted at the knight, and got him to pause. “Let’s you and me joust! You just dehorsed a guy who is technically my friend!”
“Joust you? You bet!” The other knight set Sally down.
Lamorak and this other knight jousted with relish! Lamorak killed the other knight, who turns out to have been Sir Frol from before.
As Frol died, Sally fled! She ran off to a nearby castle belonging to Frol’s brother Sir Belliance the Orgulous. Sally quickly filled Belliance in about Frol’s death, and then the two of them went back to Lamorak. Naturally Belliance and Lamorak jousted.
This joust took longer then the last one; Sir Belliance was a better fighter than his brother. A couple of hours into it, Belliance realized he never learned Lamorak’s name, and asked. When Lamorak identified himself, Belliance jousted with renewed vigor. “Thou art the man in the world that I most hate, for I slew my sons for thy sake!”
This was news to Lamorak. “Have we met?”
Lamorak didn’t know what was going on, but he decided the prudent thing to do was lower his sword. “Okay, clearly there’s more going on here than I thought. I had no idea about your sons, man, really. I’m willing to surrender/apologize, if you…”
“I don’t accept your surrender or your apology!” cried Belliance.
Lamorak tried to deescalate a few more times, but they just ended up jousting more anyway. Eventually both knights were wounded and tired. Belliance collapsed moments before Lamorak sank to his own knees.
“I’m lulling you into a false sense of security,” panted Belliance.
“You know? You could have pretended to accept my surrender and then just murdered me,” Lamorak said between gasps. “So good on you for that. Plus I’m also bleeding pretty badly. Truce?”
“Sure, fine, truce,” said Belliance.
Belliance and Lamorak stumbled to a nearby abbey, where they sweet-talked some nuns into nursing them back to health. By the time they’d both convalesced, they were fast friends.