In which Sir Launcelot faces the music
More or less sane, Sir Launcelot had a sit-down with Pellam and Elaine first thing.
“Let me begin by apologizing for my bizarre behavior,” he said. “And I was wondering if you would perhaps explain what exactly I’ve been doing for the last several years?”
“You were a frothing madman,” explained Elaine. “Corbin sort of adopted you as the town idiot, and then through a minor plot contrivance you ended up in an aristocratic outfit. When I saw you dressed all nice, I recognized you straightaway. Then I told my father, and he had you brought before the Grail, which preternaturally healed you.” Which was actually a pretty succinct and accurate summary! I’m impressed, Malory! That’s how low my standards have fallen.
“O Jesu, mercy.” Launcelot did not like this story one bit. “Who else knows I was a crazy person?”
“Well, there’s me, and my father here. And Dame Brisen, my personal enchantress.”
“Plus some people who don’t have names,” added Pellam.
“Okay, well, three people, that’s okay I guess, I mean, that’s fine.” Launcelot struggled to remain on top of the situation. “Just don’t tell anyone else, okay? I mean — crap! I just remembered, Guenever banished me from England. Are we in England? Also, why can’t I walk?”
No, Corbin was technically not part of Arthur’s realm of Logris-Britain-England, apparently. And the reason Launcelot couldn’t walk is that he’d been on his hands and knees living like a dog for a couple of years, so he needed to spent more than a fortnight or ever in some intense physical therapy.
A few months later, once he could walk and joust unassisted, Launcelot decided to adopt a new and healthy lifestyle. First order of business: a frank discussion with Elaine.
“Lady Elaine,” he started off, “for your sake I have had much travail, care, and anguish, it needeth not to rehearse it, ye know how.”
“Yeah, fair enough.”
“And that time when you raped me and then in the morning I threatened you with my sword? The part where you raped me was bad on you. The part where I threatened you with my sword, that was inappropriate and totally on me.”
“It’s cool,” Elaine assured him.
“And, you know, apparently that night you got pregnant, and so we have Galahad.”
“So I feel like you owe me, on account of you raped me that one time,” concluded Launcelot.
“We had consensual sex the second time…”
“You raped me that one time,” Launcelot repeated firmly.
“That is truth,” said Elaine, and hung her head.
“Now will ye for my love go unto your father and get me a place of him where I may dwell? I can’t just stick around here forever, and in the court of King Arthur may I never come. That ship has sailed.”
“Can I come with you? I mean, I’m coming with you! I love you, so much! My reasons have never even been addressed, much less adequately explained! I would die for your sake, is how much I love you! I will absolutely go pester my father for whatever you want, and he’ll do it, because he loves me. But I’m coming with you, wherever you go. And I guess our son can, too.”
Launcelot might have just been too nice for his own good, because he signed off on this plan. Elaine went to her father and explained that she needed a castle for her and Launcelot to live in together.
As she predicted, Pellam was an easy sell. “He shall be in the Castle of Bliant, since he liked it so much when he was living there the first time, and there shall ye be with him, and twenty of the fairest ladies that be in the country, and they shall all be of the great blood, and ye shall have ten knights with you; for, daughter, I will that ye wit we all be honoured by the blood of Sir Launcelot.”
“Try to get knocked up again. The more sons of Launcelot du Lake we have, the better.”
Elaine returned to Launcelot, to tell him about her father’s willingness to set them up at Castle Bliant. She brought along her cousin Sir Castor, to be his sidekick. “Every heroic knight needs a good sidekick!”
“Castor, hello,” said Launcelot. “I’m…” He remembered that the name of Launcelot was pretty much mud, and even when it hadn’t been, it’d still got him into trouble with random passersby trying to joust him. “I’m Sir Exiled-From-Camelot-by-Guenever. No, that’s too long. Sir Exiled-by-Guenever. No, too specific. Sir Guilty. Just call me Sir Guilty, all right?”
“If you say so,” Castor said slowly. “I thought you were Sir Launcelot, though. I mean, you look just like him, and Elaine keeps making doe-eyes at you like she was Alison Brie on Community and you were Joel McHale.”
“Listen, buddy.” Launcelot leaned in. “Let’s say, hypothetically, I was Sir Launcelot, the renowned greatest knight in Christendom. And let’s say, also, I’ve asked you to call me Sir Guilty. Do you think it would particularly profit you to refuse the request? Or do you think you’d be better off playing along?”
Castor dropped to his knees. He could take a hint. “No sir, Sir Guilty sir! I only know you as Sir Guilty, sir! If anyone asks that is the beginning and end of my knowledge!”
Then Sir Launcelot pardons him.
Launcelot rode out of Corbin with his new bride Elaine, his new father-in-law Pellam, ten extra knights, and twenty ladies. Soon they arrived at Castle Bliant, which is at least a better name than Castle Blanc. Malory describes Bliant as all iron-clad, with an exceptionally deep and wide moat, heedless of how that contradicts established continuity about the castle’s front lawn. Launcelot renamed the castle Joyous Isle, in reference to his old place, Joyous Gard, where Tristram and Isoud lived by this part of the story. There, he dwelled with Elaine as husband and wife. He became locally known as Sir Guilty, and adopted a new coat of arms: a picture of a queen with a knight kneeling in front of her. Also, he cried a lot.
Another indeterminate amount of time passed, and then Peter the dwarf happened by with news: a jousting tournament, just a few miles away! (JOUSTING TOURNAMENT 33!) Launcelot considered attending, but decided against it; it would only lead to trouble. But the news of the tournament awoke the old jousting-itch in him. Launcelot sent Peter to the tournament in his stead, with a message. Mister Guilty, the knight of Joyous Isle, would joust anyone who shows up, any time. The knight who beat him would be awarded a fair maid and a gerfalcon.
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