“It’s okay, everyone,” Arthur tells the kneeling crowd. “It’s cool. Everybody up. C’mon, chop chop.”
Everybody slowly rises to their feet.
“Now, see, this is the kind of thing that happens when knights go out to have strange adventures. It starts of all smiles and candy and then someone ends up bleeding to death. I need to lie down for a while, speaking of bleeding, but before we get to that… Sir Damas! Sir Ontzlake!”
Sir Damas and Sir Ontzlake step forward.
“So, Damas, everybody tells me you’re a prick, and since you imprisoned me and twenty other knights, I can’t call them wrong. I was acting as your champion here, and I beat Accolon, Ontzlake’s champion, but I’m going to go ahead and use my kingly authority to declare you the loser of the bout anyway. Ontzlake gets all of your stuff, your house, whole inheritance, except once a year he has to give you the present of a walking-horse. Not a courser, because I’m trying to prove a point here, no, you don’t get the horse version of a muscle car, you get the horse version of a station wagon. I think that’s fair.
“Also, no more kidnaping knights. In fact, release those twenty knights you had locked up, give them all their stuff back, and anything else they want. If any one of them comes to me later and says they aren’t satisfied with your efforts to make amends, I’ll send Gawaine or Griftlet or somebody out to kill you, capiche?
“Now, Ontzlake, you’re allegedly a decent sort, even if you had Accolon for a champion, so before too long I expect to see you joining my court at Camelot, you hear? As a knight in my service, provided you’re appropriately virtuous, you’ll get fame and fortune greater than that of Damas’s. I mean, Damas’s before I confiscated his inheritance and gave it to you. You know what I mean.”
“Yessir, sire,” says Ontzlake. “I’d have fought you myself, instead of Accolon, if it weren’t for this dashed bad leg-wound.”
“Oh, if there’s one thing Merlin’s tedious ramblings have taught me,” says Arthur, “it’s that Providence shapes our ends. If this whole joust had gone down legit, with me armed with Excalibur fighting you, your children would be orphans. Do you have children? If you don’t, you’d gain some just so they could kneel weeping over your body sobbing daddy, daddy. What I’m saying is: you lucked out. I’m crazy badass. But thanks to Morgan’s unmotivated treachery, hey, you’re alive and you get a manor house out of the deal.”
“Dang, sire, you’re kingly,” says Ontzlake. “I mean, listening to this Solomanic wisdom you’re laying down here and your overall fairness and hella badassery, I’m amazed anyone would ever commit treason against you.”
“I’m as surprised as you are,” says Arthur. “And I mean to get to the bottom of that. Now, if you folks can just point me towards Camelot…”
“Camelot is two days’ hard ride along this road, sire,” says Ontzlake.
“Right,” says Arthur. “Oh, I almost forgot. I’ve been bleeding to death this whole time. Can someone take me to a convent?” And then he falls over and passes out.
Ontzlake gets Arthur and Accolon to a nearby convent, where the nuns wash them and clean their wounds and give them so many leeches, and Arthur is in and out of consciousness for four days, and Accolon dies of his wounds. On the fourth day, Arthur’s feeling much better, and he has six knights load up a litter with Accolon’s body and sends them on ahead to Camelot, with a note for Morgan le Fay saying Hello Sister, I have Excalibur back. Love, your little brother Arthur.