Okay, this strange adventure gets a little involved. Also, Malory is bad about marrying his antecedents and his referents, so I might get something wrong. I’m pretty sure I’ve untangled it all, but still. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
At the start of this particular strange adventure, Launcelot finds a dog! She’s snuffling around, exactly the way a well-trained hunting brachet does when she’s trying to lead you to a wounded deer. Naturally this provokes some interest from Launcelot — deer are good eating — so he chases after the dog. Over hill, over dale, through a marsh, over a rickety bridge, into a decrepit old manor house out in the middle of nowhere.
Inside: not a wounded deer. A dead guy! A fit and hale and healthy-looking, other than the big stab wound that killed him, dead knight. The dog turns back to Launcelot, as if expecting Launcelot to be able to repair her master, but Launcelot just shakes his head sadly. Nothing he can do.
He’s on his way back out when he’s accosted by a weeping matron, who sobs about how Launcelot has ruined her. Her name is Hellawes.
“Whoa whoa whoa,” says Launcelot. “I just got here.”
“I definitely did not kill this guy, I promise on Guenever’s honor.”
“I’m mean, I’m very sorry at your loss, but…”
“Woe! Woe! Woe! Oh, I know, I know it wasn’t you who slew my beloved husband, Sir Gilbert the Bastard. That was an ironic nickname; he was the sweetest of men. I cried out in my grief at you, but I just got carried away. The villain who did that terrible deed is sorely wounded, and will die soon I think. I didn’t catch his name. I know it’s not you. I’m just full of shock and sorrow.”
“Again, very sorry at your loss,” says Launcelot. This whole scene is making him hella uncomfortable and he excuses himself and gets out of there as fast as he can. Back over the rickety bridge, back through the marsh, over dale, over hill, and he’s back where he started when he sees a damosel waving him down.
“Sir Launcelot!” she cries.
“How did you recognize me? I’m still wearing Kay’s gear.”
“Doesn’t matter. You don’t know me but I know you. Rather, I know of you. I beg your help, in the manner that damosels are permitted to beg help from knights.”
“My brother! He is sorely wounded and requires medical attention.”
“Earlier today he met that foul villain, Sir Gilbert the Bastard, on the field of battle and defeated him fairly.”
“But Gilbert’s wife, a fell witch, cursed him to die of his wounds, that his bleeding could never be staunched until a knight ventured into the Chapel Perilous and retrieved a sword and a bloody cloth, which latter item must be used as a bandage —“
“The who in the what now?”
“And in that cloth my brother must be swaddled, for the curse to be broken. And the sword also is involved somehow.”
“Well, that’s an interesting story, surely, but… I’m trying to come up with a polite way to decline this exceptionally bizarre strange adventure…”
“Please, SIr Launcelot! My brother, Sir Meliot of Logrus, needs your help?”
“Oh, it’s Meliot? Nimue’s cousin? Last seen back in Book III, Chapter XIII, surrendering to King Pellinore?”
“Yeah, same guy.”
“Well, crap,” says Launcelot. “I know Meliot, he’s in the Round Table. Plus he’s related to Nimue and she’s crazy with the magic powers. I’m obliged to help him, and you, out.”
“Oh, how lovely! The Chapel Perilous is just up the road a ways. I’ll wait here.”
“Go on. Speed away. I’m sure you can do it! If you can’t, no one can!”
Launcelot would prefer not to get involved with this one, but he’s obliged! And he rides off.