As I said yesterday, Lot and the eleven kings on his side in the battle against Arthur, which group of kings overlaps with but is not identical to the kings in Team Lot & Mister 100 from Book I, they all get a great funeral. Arthur asks Merlin to put together something special, and Merlin uses magic to erect a huge crypt with gold-leaf pressed into everything and statues of everybody looking sad (and one of Arthur in the middle looking triumphant) and lots of eternal flames. I don’t think there’s a spell in the 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons list of magic-user spells that does this, but I could be wrong.
Everybody thinks it’s very nice, including Arthur’s special funerary guests: Margawse, Lot’s widow; his friend King Uriens; and Uriens’s wife Morgan le Fay, who is sister to both Margawse and Arthur. Afterwards at a private reception Uriens and Margawse start drinking and don’t stop. Let’s join the scene, already in progress!
“They are really packing it away,” says Morgan le Fay to her half-brother and his weird elfin magical advisor.
“Well, it’s been an eventful day,” says Arthur. “The eternal flames were nice, I thought.”
Merlin explains to Arthur that the eternal flames aren’t really eternal. They’ll go out when Merlin dies, which will be just before the whole affair of the Sangreal happens.
“Hold on,” says Arthur. “Malory doesn’t mention me saying this but I think it’s worth objecting here. Didn’t you tell me before that you were going to outlive me, but I would get a nice tomb while you were tossed in a ditch?”
“Possibly,” says Merlin. “I utter a lot of prophecy. I can’t be expected to keep track of it all.”
“Hmm,” says Arthur.
“Speaking of,” says Merlin. “Here’s some additional prophecy: Balin is going to be the one who strikes the dolorous stroke.”
“What?” asks Arthur.
“You’ll know it when you see it,” says Merlin. He winces. “Right in the jimmies.”
“Hey now,” says Morgan le Fay. “There are ladies present.”
“Uh, Balin,” says Arthur, changing the subject. “Where did he get off to, him and his brother? And were late-battle reports of Pellinore (that jackass!) appearing, were those correct?”
“Oh, Pellinore will show up again,” says Merlin. “And Balin will be sticking by you until his death.”
“Yeah, you mentioned he was doomed,” says Arthur. “That’s a shame, he may be dumb as a post but he’s a hellacious fighter. He’s better than me and I maimed forty guys this morning! He may as well be a superhero.”
“You have a superpower too, don’t forget,” says Merlin.
“I am very good at siring illegitimate children, but I don’t know if that’s a superpower,” says Arthur.
“That magic scabbard,” says Merlin. “You remember. Excalibur’s scabbard, prevents blood loss.”
Morgan le Fay perks up. “Really? A magic scabbard that prevents blood loss?”
“Yes indeed,” says Arthur.
“Can I take a look?” asks Morgan le Fay. “It sounds like a form of necromancy, blood and all, and I majored in necromancy.”
“Okay,” says Arthur, and loans it to her.
“Just so we’re clear, this doesn’t mean I’m going to sleep with you,” says Morgan le Fay.
She and Arthur share some nervous laughter, because the whole Arthur/Margawse situation really cast a pall on what might have otherwise been a nice family get-together.
Meanwhile Merlin is spouting still more prophecy, as he always does when drunk, about how there will be a great battle at Salisbury and Mordred will be there and also Uriens knows a man named Basdemegus who is Arthur’s long-lost cousin.
Later, in her private tent, while Uriens is sleeping it off, Morgan le Fay casts analyze dweomer and enchant an item and so on. She isn’t much for inventing new magic items, but she’s pretty good at duplicating existing ones, and she constructs a second scabbard identical to the first. Malory is vague as to whether the second scabbard has the same enchantment as the first one, or if it just appears so because Morgan le Fay cast Nystul’s magical aura on it. For right now, I’m going with the latter interpretation.
“Hey Accolon,” she calls to her lover, a young and lusty knight whose death she would like to prevent. “Take this scabbard, it was Arthur’s until I ‘borrowed’ it. I’m returning him this duplicate I made; he’ll never know the difference.”
“M’okay,” says Accolon.
“It would serve him right to bleed to death, anyway,” mutters Morgan le Fay. “All the needless death he’s caused, making my husband go off to war for years at a time, leaving me to rule Gore in his stead… well, that part wasn’t so bad. Still, being a woman in an Arthurian romance is a terrible position to be in; I’m entitled to be bitter.”
“M’okay,” says Accolon.