In which the Lady of Shalott nurses Launcelot back to health
While Gawaine completely bungled the search for Launcelot, Elaine found him easily! She had the advantage of a) knowing her brother, Sir Lavaine, and b) turning a corner and seeing her brother, Sir Lavaine, exercising his horse in a field!
Elaine flagged down Lavaine and demanded to be taken to Launcelot.
Lavaine caved instantly. “How did you know he’s Sir Launcelot? I mean, he isn’t Sir Launcelot. I mean…”
Elaine explained that Gawaine identified Launcelot by the shield that Launcelot left her as a token of his love, or possibly just because he didn’t need it any more.
So Lavaine took Elaine to Sir Baudwin’s hermitage, and up to Launcelot’s bed where he lay convalescing. Elaine threw her arms around Launcelot, covering him with kisses, as Launcelot demanded to know how Elaine found him. Elaine related the Gawaine story again, and when she finished Launcelot leaned back and groaned. Gawaine, that big-mouth, was going to tell Guenever, he thought. Probably she already knew.
“When Bors gets here,” he began, but Elaine interrupted him.
“Who? Who’s coming? How do you know he’s coming?”
“The queen will send my cousin Bors to find me, and he’s in the top three on the knightly rankings, so he’ll be here. Anyway he stabbed me, so he’ll come to apologize for that, knowing him. Looks a lot like me, but he has a cut here on his forehead.” Launcelot gestured towards where he sliced Bors up, back during their joust.
Anyway, yes, Bors arrived only a little while after Elaine declared herself to be Nurse Elaine, Head Nurse in Charge of Tending to Launcelot. Lavaine met Bors at the gate and escorted him up to Launcelot’s sickbed.
“Dang, man,” Bors said to Launcelot. “You look awful.” It was true: Launcelot was pale and discoloured, such that Bors broke down weeping to see him brought so low.
Bors apologized for being a jerk and wounding Launcelot during the joust.
Launcelot apologized for going incognito and fighting on the other side. “It’s a dick move, I know,” he said. “Me and my pride.”
Sir Bors lowered his voice. “Listen, you remember how Guenever flies into a rage whenever she hears about you sleeping with women named Elaine?”
Launcelot did remember that, yeah. “Then is the queen wroth, and therefore am I right heavy, for I deserved no wrath, for all that I did was because I would not be known. I never would have slept with Elaine if I thought anybody was ever going to find out about it!”
“I know, I know.” Bors sighed. “Still,” he said, perking up, “now you’ve got this hot young thing Elaine waiting on you hand and foot. That’s pretty good, am I right?”
“Enh.” Launcelot was not particularly into Elaine; his type is not so much the overeager aggressive underwritten kind of woman, he’s more into the icy mercurial underwritten kind of woman.
Bors realized that odds were good Elaine was going to die of grief, like Elaine before her, but let the subject drop. And so within three days or four Sir Launcelot recovers, until he’s big and strong again.
Bors, Launcelot, Lavaine, and Elaine stayed at Sir Baudwin’s for several months. At first they were waiting around so that the knights could go directly from the hermitage to King Arthur’s next scheduled tournament, a Halloween Jousting Spook-tacular. Bors kept pressuring Launcelot to marry Elaine, make an honest knight of him, but Launcelot just wasn’t into it at all.
Shortly before the tournament, though, Launcelot suffered a relapse. Out in the woods with Bors and Lavaine, knighting it up, he had a minor horsemanship accident and tore every one of his stitches. Elaine came running at the noise, and rebuked her brother and Sir Bors, and called them false traitors, why they should take him out of his bed. “If he dies, I’m blaming you two!”
But, luckily, he didn’t die. Baudwin and Elaine got him back into bed, where Baudwin put a thing in his nose and gave him a little water, which woke Launcelot up enough for Baudwin to patch him up. Launcelot asked if he’d be able to participate in the tournament, but Baudwin pronounced him disqualified on account of injury.
So Bors went to the tournament without Launcelot, where he won every prize, except for the ones that Sir Palomides and Sir Gareth won (they were on an unrelated strange adventure together that Malory doesn’t have time to tell us about, thank God). (JOUSTING TOURNAMENT 36!) Afterwards Bors returned to the hermitage and told Launcelot all about it, and Launcelot just grumbled about having missed it.
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