Chapter XI picks up mid-conversation, as Malory keeps doing. Jerk. Arthur has Excalibur back and he’s looming over Accolon, who’s even more wounded than he is and not nearly so knightly.
“Aw, man,” moans Accolon. “This whole Excalibur-wielding plan really didn’t work out. Now you’re going to kill me.”
“Yeah, maybe,” says Arthur. “Explain!”
“Queen Morgan le Fay stole Excalbur way back in Book II,” Accolon says. “I’ve been keeping it under my pillow, and just yesterday she sent it to me to wield against you. For understand King Arthur is the man in the world she most hateth —“
“Hold on,” says Arthur. Malory doesn’t mention this little interjection but I can’t imagine the scene going any other way. “You’ve had Excalibur how long?”
“Like a year,” Accolon says. “Book II, Chapter XI. You loaned Morgan your scabbard, remember?”
“Yeah, but I didn’t lend her Excalibur with it! She was interested in the scabbard because it prevents blood loss and she was a necromancy major. Why would I lend her my magic sword?”
“Nevertheless, sire,” says Accolon. “Perhaps it’s another of those continuity errors I hear them talk about so much lately.”
“And why go to the trouble of placing Mildred in Damas’s service, if not to steal Excalibur and the scabbard? And if stealing one, may as well steal the other at the same time! And furthermore for this claim to work, I would have been without a magical scabbard that prevents blood loss for half of Book II, all of Book III, and Book IV up to now. I fought a couple of sizable battles in there, did I just not notice that I bled when cut?”
“It just doesn’t make sense. I wish Merlin were here so I could blame him.” Arthur sighs heavily. “You were saying?”
“King Arthur is the man Morgan le Fay most hateth,” says Accolon.
“Why? What’d I ever do to her? I made her husband a Knight of the Round Table and I went hunting with her lover, and I loaned her my magic scabbard and Excalibur too apparently, and I had her over for dinner at least once and there’s no textual support for me being anything but pleasant to her! Was she jealous because I slept with Margawse and not her? I didn’t sleep with Elaine, either, and you don’t hear her complaining.”
“Morgan hates you, sire,” says Accolon. “It’s a fact.”
“I just don’t see why.”
“Not everyone is going to like you,” says Accolon. “She’s jealous of your knightly knighthood and how though you’re siblings, you get to be king and she doesn’t.”
“Protofeminism presented as dangerously subversive again. And she’s even a witch, too.”
“Also she said I could be king of all England, and not just king of her in the bedchamber. She had this whole scheme for us to kill you and King Uriens her husband, and then I’d rule England and she’d be my queen, but of course that isn’t going to happen now what with my dying and so on.”
“Well, I suppose it’s reasonable to want to kill me and take my throne, but yeah, you are probably going to die now. I hit you pretty hard.”
“Just to confirm, you are King Arthur, right?” asks Accolon.
“Dang. I was hoping maybe I was delirious from blood loss and hallucinating you. Dang it. Sorry, sire. I really screwed this one up.”
“It’s okay,” says Arthur. “I forgive you, because I’m that kind of guy. Really I’m legit pissed at Morgan, since, as I asserted above, I’ve been nothing but nice to her. Trusted her like, really, a sister.”
Then Arthur straightens up and calls for some guys, and some guys run up and he tells them “listen, we’re both pretty badly wounded, and so we’re calling this joust a draw, and I’m hoping you can help us get some medical attention, and really, if I’d known this was Accolon, I wouldn’t have started jousting him in the first place. Or maybe I would, I don’t know, but I really should have had that information up front.”
“He’s King Arthur!” cries Accolon, very weakly but loud enough for the some guys to hear.
“Yeah, that too,” says Arthur, as everybody within earshot reflexively bows (it’s true!).