TW: nonconsensual sex.
Right, now, Tor and Abellus are taking a little break from their fight. Tor is pretty clearly winning, but Abellus has refused to surrender.
“Tor! Tor!” someone else is shouting. Someone is riding up, in fact.
“Oh, damn,” mutters Abellus. “Janice.”
“What?” asks Tor, who is still poised with his sword, trying to get Abellus to surrender.
“Sir Tor!” A woman comes riding up at speed. “Sir Tor!”
“What? What is it?” Tor asks her.
“I beseech you! I beg a favor! For love of King Arthur, I beg you!”
“What? What is it?”
“Oh, thank you,” says the lady, whose name is indeed Janice. Says me, anyhow. Malory doesn’t name her. Janice takes a deep breath. “This scum,” she says, pointing at Abellus, “murdered my brother and stole my virtue, and I demand his head!”
“His head? Really?” Tor is chagrined. “I don’t want to kill anybody. Can’t you settle your dispute peacefully?”
“No!” cries Janice. “He slew my brother, right in front of me. My brother was a better knight, and this scum ambushed and betrayed him, after multiple quests together! When my brother lay there, crippled, this scum had the temerity to demand certain favors from me — favors which I reluctantly surrendered — and then he decapitated my poor brother anyway!”
“Oh my God,” says Tor. Tor is mortified. “Is this true?” he demands of Abellus.
“No! Not a word. Well, technically all the facts are as she lays them out, but…”
“I demand vengeance!” cries the lady. “If you do not grant it to me I shall be forced to go to Camelot and disclaim you in front of Arthur and his knights. I don’t want to, but if you won’t kill this murderous rapist I don’t think I have a choice.”
“Well, he’s clearly monstrous, but I don’t want to just kill him,” begins Tor, and then Abellus decides to make a break for it and basically by reflex SHOOMPT his head goes flying one way and his body slumps another.
“See? That right there, that’s what I wanted to prevent,” says Tor.
Malory’s phrase for it, by the way, is “and I kneeled half an hour afore him in the mire for to save my brother’s life,” which I suppose might be taken to mean she pleaded with him on her knees, but in context I don’t think I’m overly reaching to interpret as I do.
Janice and Tor and Peter end up heading to Janice’s house, where her husband offers them dinner. He’s a pleasant older gentleman who has no knowledge of Janice’s sordid story and no one is about to tell him about it. In the morning Peter and Tor head back to Camelot, but not before Janice tells him that he’ll always be welcome in her neck of the woods, and she thanks him again for killing Abellus.
Tor makes it back to Camelot, and everyone is pleased to see him. They congratulate him on seizing the dog and killing the knight whose dog it was. He gets a new horse and a new suit of armor, Arthur and Guenever are charmed by the tale of his adventure, and Merlin announces that Tor is a good egg who will do many great things, which prompts Arthur to promote Tor from knight to earl.
So I’m guessing Gawaine feels pretty bad about it in comparison.
Thus ends the tale of Tor! Next, the tale of Pellinore!