Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book VIII Chapter 40
The tail end of Book VIII abandons Tristram, as I said yesterday, in favor of Sir Lamorak, who is much less of a jerk all around.
Sir Lamorak leaves Servage, too. Malory has forgotten that Servage is an island, so Lamorak just rides out on his horse through the woods. He stops along the way and tells a local hermit that Nabon is dead, which the hermit and all his hermit friends find pleasing news indeed (I’m wondering if Malory means something different by “hermit” than what I understand the word to mean).
On the way back to Camelot, Lamorak comes across a four-on-one knight rumble. The one knight fights valiantly, but he can’t hold off the superior numbers of the opposition indefinitely, and goes down. Lamorak comes to his defense before the other knights can kill him, though.
“What’s all this, then?” Lamorak asks. “Four on one? That’s dirty lemons. You know it is!”
“This jackass here doesn’t deserve the usual knightly courtesies,” says one of the foursome. “Because he is, as I indicated, a jackass.”
“Well, okay, I just have your word to go on, there. You there, dude on the ground. Are you a jackass?”
“Who’s calling me a jackass?” says the dude on the ground. “I’ll wallop him. Just give me a second to catch my breath, and I’ll fight anyone who calls me a jackass! I’ll fight them all! One at a time, though.”
“Feh,” says the spokesknight for the foursome. “We have no interest in a fair fight with this dick. But listen, if King Arthur were here levying judgement, it wouldn’t save this jerk. He’s a jackass!”
“Hey, now, don’t drag King Arthur into this,” says Lamorak. “Just for that, I’m siding with the underdog!”
So Lamorak pulls out his sword and in the first round of combat he kills two of the four knights, which prompts the other two to just give up and run away.
“We showed them, huh? Losers,” says the lone knight. He rises to his feet. “I’m Sir Frol of the Outer Islands, by the way. Nice to meet you. My injuries turn out to have been superficial!”
What with one thing and another, Frol and Lamorak end up traveling together. They haven’t gone too far before they see a knight all in shining white armor.
“Hey, look! It’s that guy! I’ma go joust him. I was jousting him before,” says Frol.
He starts to ride off by Lamorak stops him. “Wait,” says Lamorak. “What’s this about? You were jousting that guy? Who started it?”
“Oh, I started it. I just rode up and attacked him,” says Frol. “I’m kind of funny that way.”
Dammit, thinks Lamorak. Turns out he is a jackass after all.
But Frol ignores Lamorak, and rides up to the white knight.
“Ready yourself, for now we joust!”
“No thank you!” cries the white knight, and then somehow Frol is lying on the ground with his horse way over there and his spear and sword way over in a different direction, and the white knight is riding away at a gentle trot. The white knight is a bad ass, is what we’re saying here.
Lamorak saw this happen, and rides after the white knight. “Excuse me!”
“Are you a knight of the Round Table?”
“I mean, I saw what you just did there…”
“What’s this about?”
“I just want to know your name.”
“Tell me yours first,” says the white knight.
“I’m Sir Lamorak de Galis.”
“Lamorak! It’s me, Sir Launcelot!” And he pulls off his helmet and sure enough, it’s Launcelot.
“Want to ride with me back to Camelot?”
“Sorry, Lamorak. I’m in the middle of a strange adventure, traveling incognito. No can do. Another time, though.”
Launcelot rides off, and Lamorak heads back to Frol, who has pulled himself together.
“Who was that?” asks Frol.
“He’s deliberately traveling incognito,” says Lamorak. “Gotta respect that.”
“You know and you won’t tell me? Dick! I’m leaving!”
“What? Fine.” Lamorak watches Frol ride off. “What a jackass,” he mutters.
With each and every installment of this series I have to wonder why Arthurian romances are held up as sort of “this is how people idealized chivalry way back when”. Maybe that wasn’t true? Maybe this was sort of the equivalent of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” back then? Stories of superior people behaving very badly and stuff.
I still want to play Pendragon with you. Possibly with the passions system reworked so people can be big jerks.