Meanwhile Sir Accolon also comes to. He’s neither back at Camelot nor in Damas’s prison. Instead he’s lying precariously close to the edge of a well. The well is artesian and there’s a lovely marble fronting and silver pipe and it’s very pretty and I don’t know why Malory tosses in that particular detail. Anyway, he wakes up and sees that Uriens and Arthur aren’t around, and assumes that the twelve damosels from the magic silk ship are to blame, and starts swearing and looking around for them.
Instead, he finds Peter the dwarf. Remember Peter?
“Accolon!” he cries. “I bring tidings from Queen Morgan le Fay! I’m working for her now apparently!”
“Yeah? What up?” asks Accolon.
“You’re going to be fighting King Arthur later,” says Peter. “I’ve got no dog in the fight myself. But apparently she thinks you promised to murder Arthur for her? Now’s she’s giving you a chance to make good on your drunken boast.”
“Huh,” says Accolon. “I don’t remember that.”
“Well, that’s what she says,” says Peter. “On my way here I stopped by with her lady-in-waiting Mildred, whom she placed as an advance agent, and picked up Arthur’s sword Excalibur and his magic scabbard that prevents blood loss, and here they are for you yo use against Arthur.” He hands the aforementioned items over. “She says that she’ll arrange for you to be king, and Mildred queen, in Camelot afterwards. Actually it was Mildred who said the part about her becoming queen. I don’t know. Do you even know Mildred?”
Accolon doesn’t answer the question, instead he’s examining Excalibur. “Well, look at that,” says Accolon. “I guess I must have promised to kill Arthur, if Morgan went to the trouble of stealing this nice +1 sword for me. Have you seen Morgan recently?”
“Just now,” says Peter.
“Okay,” says Accolon, grabbing Peter in an inappropriate way. “Go back to her, hold her like this, and tell her I said I’d do what she claims I promised I’d do.”
“Fine,” says Peter.
“So Morgan has stage-managed this whole strange adventure?”
“That’s the impression I’m under at the moment,” says Peter. “Case in point,” he adds, and points over Accolon’s shoulder.
Behind Accolon has come riding up a knight and a lady and six squires, to water at the artesian well. The knight introduces himself as Sir Ontzlake, and invites Accolon to visit his manor house. Accolon accepts the offer.
While Accolon and Ontzlake are making small talk back at Ontzlake’s nice manor house, along comes a messenger from Damas. Damas has found a knight champion, the message goes, and tomorrow morning Ontzlake had better be ready to joust or else provide a champion of his own.
“Crap,” says Ontzlake. “Of course it would happen this weekend!”
“Why, what’s the matter?” asks Accolon.
“I’ve got this bad cut across my thighs,” says Ontzlake. “From my joust last weekend. It’ll take a while to recover, and until then I’m at a severe disadvantage.”
“I see where this is going,” says Accolon. “Tell you what, you’ve given me wine and cheese, the least I can do is joust for you.”
“Sure, why not?” says Accolon. He fingers Excalibur and the magic scabbard significantly.
The next morning Arthur’s getting ready to joust, and a tourney ground is set up, with knights from the surrounding area come to watch. Arthur goes to church, at Damas’s insistence (an odd detail but, whatever Malory) and just before the joust is about to start, Mildred comes running over to Arthur with a fake Excalibur and a fake scabbard. She explains that she’s secretly working for Morgan le Fay, and that she’s on Arthur’s side, and that she stole back from Damas his magical sword and scabbard. She gives him the counterfeit items, and he thanks her.
Little does Arthur know that the scabbard isn’t magical and the fake Excalibur is all primed to shatter at an inopportune moment! Dramatic musical sting!