Action-packed chapter today!
Roundabout this time Accolon’s body and Arthur’s note arrive, and Morgan is all at once equal parts heartbroken, angry, and frightened. But since she can’t let on that she cares especially about Accolon, or that Arthur owning Excalibur is anything but good, she’s got to be all John Wayne tough-guy heart-of-flint about it, which just about kills her but she manages because she’s pretty badass.
So she goes to Guenever, and says, casually, that’s she going to be heading back to Gore.
“You should wait another few days,” Guenever says. “Arthur will be back, and he can see you off.”
“Nah, I’m just going to head out…”
“One day. You’ve been here in Camelot for, what, three months? You can’t stay even one extra day?”
“Well, all right. I’ll give Arthur your love.”
“Good-bye, Guenever. You, I liked. You’re too good for my brother.” And Morgan hugs Guenever goodbye and hops on a horse and skedaddles. Uriens and Uwaine and Mildred and whoever else was in her entourage are just out of luck, I guess.
This is another point at which continuity totally collapses, because Morgan rides hard for a day and a half and gets to the abbey where Arthur is recuperating. Which itself isn’t so bad, but apparently Arthur’s been healing for three days? Which suggests that he wasn’t so up-to-snuff after all when he sent the threatening note back to Camelot, and for some reason he’s sleep-deprived, I just don’t get it.
Morgan introduces herself to the nuns as Arthur’s sister, and tells them not to wake him before she says, and then she steps quietly into Arthur’s room, which the nuns don’t think is too weird. Inside she sees Arthur lying in bed, snoring, holding Excalibur with one hand. I imagine him as doing that talking in your sleep thing you see in cartoons.
“Wuzza wuzza Merlin… no, no strange adventures…”
Morgan sees she can’t grab Excalibur without waking him, which foils her new plan, but she steals the magic scabbard instead, and sneaks back out and rides off.
Little while later, Arthur wakes up and sees his scabbard is gone. He complains to the nuns, who explain that his sister took it. He berates them for not doing a better job of watching over him, but they don’t take his guff, if he didn’t want his sister to have permission to root through his stuff and take things then he should have said so. Good for the nuns, sticking up for themselves! It’s not like it was obvious even to Arthur that Morgan was his enemy. She hugged Guenever goodbye!
But Arthur’s pretty annoyed about the whole situation. He knows in his heart that the nuns aren’t to blame. He’s just mad. “Bah!” says Arthur. He calls in Sir Ontzlake. “How’d you like to be fast-tracked to the Round Table?”
Shortly Arthur and Ontzlake are wearing Ontzlake’s best and second-best armor, respectively, riding Ontzlake’s best and second-best horses, respectively, and Arthur has a new scabbard for Excalibur, but Ontzlake at least gets to keep his best sword.
They ride for a bit and come across a cowherd, who points them towards a forest. Arthur is all “have you seen a lady on a horse?” and he’s all “I’ve seen a lady on like forty horses! Don’t kill me!” They’re riding, and Arthur spots Morgan, and Morgan realizes she’s being followed, and there’s an exciting chase scene, which pauses Morgan’s horse screeching to a halt on an embankment overlooking a big lake.
“Curse Arthur and patriarchy and especially this scabbard!” shouts Morgan, and she throws the scabbard into the lake, splash, where it immediately sinks, because magic items are very heavy. Then she hops back on her horse, guns the engine, and squeals out of there, staying ahead of Arthur and Ontzlake long enough to reach a big field full of boulders, where she uses magic to transform herself and her horse and her knights (apparently she’s had some indeterminate number of knights along this whole time and Malory only just now bothers to mention them) into a few boulders.
Arthur and Ontzlake ride by, and they’ve lost her. They search the field, come up dry, and eventually it’s getting dark and Arthur gives up and goes home, cursing the whole time about those stupid nuns and how he’s lost his magic scabbard and so on.
Morgan dispels her polymorph any object spell. “Whew,” she says to her men, who probably exist solely so that she’ll have someone to deliver this line to. “Sirs, now we may go where we will.” Not a terrible dry-wit line, Malory. I would have gone with “Looks like Arthur’s got… rocks in his head.” No, that sucks. Man, this is why I’m not a comedy writer.
Discussion Question: Can you top “rocks in his head?” Not as easy as it looks, is it?