Sir Tristram goes to his father and asks for permission to fight Marhaus.
“You know he’s a Knight of the Round Table, and one of the best fighters in this novel, right?” asks Meliodas.
“Yeah, whatever. I think I can take him,” replies Tristram. “I’m going to go get knighted by my uncle King Mark, and then take him on. If that’s okay, Father.”
“Do what you want, you impetuous young hero you,” says Meliodas, and gives him an affectionate little father-son punch on the shoulder.
Tristram rides from his father’s court to his uncle’s, and along the way he’s flagged down by Famous Hebes, a courier from the King of France. The King of France in this part of the story is named Faramon, which is funny, because this appears to be set prior to Book V, when Bors was still the King of France. Faramon’s daughter, whom Tristram knew back when he was a student in France practicing his venery, sent Famous Hebes out as a messenger. There’s a little bundle of love letters, and also a puppy. (Seriously she sends him a puppy.)
But Tristram wants nothing to do with Princess Faramon’s-Daughter, and sends Famous Hebes back empty-handed, and according to Malory she dies of grief, like Ettard and Hellawes before her. Feh!
Anyway, after this pointless interlude, Tristram arrives at Mark’s court, and explains that he wants to be knighted and fight Sir Marhaus, in that order, and also that he’s Mark’s nephew Tristram, Elizabeth’s boy.
“My, aren’t you a large fellow,” says Mark, eyeing his nephew. “Delicious, well-made… very well. Off you go, Sir Tristram. I knight thee.”
Mark sends a courier to Marhaus, who’s been waiting patiently. The courier explains that Mark’s finally found a knight willing to fight Marhaus. Marhaus is at first all excited, because he’ll finally do a joust, but then he gets squinty-eyed.
“Wait a minute,” he says. “Is this knight the son or nephew of a king? Because I’m only interested in jousting the sons and nephews of kings.”
“I’ll go check,” says the courier, and zips back to Mark’s court posthaste, and then back.
“They say he’s Sir Tristram de Liones, both the son and nephew of a king: King Meliodas’s son by King Mark’s sister.”
“Great! That will do fine. I’m already looking forward to the joust,” cries Marhaus. “Here’s what we’ll do, we’ll hold the joust out on a little island in the quay, where no one will bother us. I’ll meet this Tristram there, we’ll joust, it will be glorious!”
Mark and his court throw a going-away, sorry-you’re-going-to-die party for Tristram as he leaves, which doesn’t go all that well. There’s a pall. And Tristram rides out, with his old tutor Gouvernail as his attendant.
There’s a brief comic interlude wherein Tristram gets to the island but doesn’t see Marhaus there, but it’s only because Marhaus is in the shade, which Gouvernail points out.
“Okay, we’re gonna joust now,” says Tristram. “I want you to go back to King Mark, Gouvernail, and tell him that I made it here safely and that I won’t flee or surrender, so if I lose then I die, and if I die, then I don’t want to be buried in a churchyard. Just leave me there to decompose. I’ll fight harder, knowing that my corpse will be desecrated if I lose.”
“Sure, boss,” says Gouvernail. “Maybe I should wait until the joust is over, so I can tell Mark how it went?”
“No time!” cries Tristram. His eyes fill with tears, and he and Gouvernail share a good cry.