Tristram, meanwhile, continues hanging out ruling Brittany with his wife Isoud the White.  One day he’s out with his wife and her brother Sir Kehydius who kind of sucks.  They go for a little sailing trip, just for fun, in a little boat along the coast.  Somehow there’s a storm and they end up on the Isle of Servage, implausible though that sounds.  Their ship gets smashed up and Isoud the White suffers an unspecified injury.  It’s getting dark by the time they get oriented, so Tristram leads Kehydius and Isoud the White into the forest on the island.

There — second implausible thing! — he bumps into Sir Segwarides.  You remember him?  Sally’s husband?  There he is, in the woods on this island.

“Tristram!” he cries.  “I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, hey, that’s Sir Segwarides, the knight with plenty of reason to hate me, since I seduced his wife.  But you know, I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and I’ve decided the true villain of the piece is my wife.  She completely lacks honor; you can tell because she isn’t even a knight!”

“Cool,” says Tristram.

“You seem to be in a bad way,” Segwarides continues.  “Let me help you out.”

Segwarides takes Tristram (and his wife and brother-in-law) to “a lady thereby that was born in Cornwall,” according to Malory.  Let’s call her Jenna.  Jenna sits Tristram down and explains the whole Isle of Servage political situation: how it’s in rebellion from Arthur’s court, how Sir Nabon hates Arthur and his knights, and how any knight found on Servage would end up getting torn to pieces.

“Listen, Jenna,” says Tristram.  “I have been a knight for most of Book VIII.  I killed Sir Marhaus, I defeated Sir Blamore (Launcelot’s relative) and Sir Palamides and a bunch of other knights also.  Earl Grip.  And others!  I promise I will defeat this jerk Sir Nabon, you hear?”

“Mmm, well, maybe you and the other knight should team up,” says Jenna.  Seeing Tristram’s confusion she explains.  “One of Arthur’s knights was found in a shipwreck.  We’ve been nursing him back towards health, but he’s very grumpy.”

“What’s his name?” Tristram asks.  Secretly I bet Tristram hopes it’s Sir Gawaine or Sir Kay.  Those two are always getting themselves into scrapes.

“He won’t say,” says Jenna.  “Which is really annoying, actually.  We’re starting to wonder if he’s really a knight at all.”

“Hmm.  If we can meet up, I can identify him, if he’s one of Arthur’s knights,” says Tristram.  “I’ve spent some time in Camelot.”

So Jenna arranges for Sir Lamorak to be transported to her home, disguised as a wounded fisherman.  He shows up the next morning, and Tristram recognizes him instantly.

“Oho!  Lamorak!  We meet again,” says Tristram.

“Do I know you?” asks Lamorak.  For whatever reason, Lamorak doesn’t recognize Tristram.

“Oh yeah,” says Tristram.  “Yeah you do.”

“Oh, I get it,” says Lamorak.  “You’re that jerk, Sir Nabon the Black, aren’t you?  Villain!”

“What? No!  I was just promising Jenna here I’d defeat him!  Jeez!”

This conversation goes on for a bit, but eventually Lamorak figures out that Tristram (who isn’t disguised or anything) is Tristram, and they recall how Lamorak gave Mark the magical drinking-horn.  Lamorak refuses to apologize; he says he didn’t do it out of hatred of Tristram or anyone at Mark’s court, but if there’s going to be dischord at someone’s court over infidelity, Lamorak would rather it be Castle Tintagil than Camelot.

“Well, it ended up not being that big a deal,” says Tristram  “So let’s set that aside for now and talk Nabon.”

Lamorak is impressed by Tristram’s bigness of spirit in releasing the grudge, and apologizes after all.


Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book VIII Chapter 38 — 1 Comment

  1. I am frankly shocked that at some point during the shipwreck, Isoud the White didn’t accidentally fall on Tristram’s sword and get decapitated. Additionally, she made it through the sidelines of a Confused Encounter between Segwarides and Tristram without her head just popping off for no good reason, like those birds in the Labyrinth; only, you know, fatally.

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