Meanwhile Palomides and Gaheris meet up with that foursome from Chapter 23, Bors and Ector and Bleoberis and Dirant. And also Launcelot. They hang out at the castle mentioned last chapter, drinking, talking, having a good knightly bonding time. Eventually the conversation turns to Tristram, and how great he is.
Also at this castle there’s a knight named Sir Pellinore. Not that Pellinore, Malory assures us. A totally different Pellinore. Just a kid, no relation to the Questing Beast, no association with King Pellinore. Kid Pellinore overhears Launcelot and the others talking about how great Tristram is (BILL BRASKY!). Kid Pellinore wants to join in, but he doesn’t know Tristram, and in fact, he doesn’t know Tristram’s name. Tristram’s traveling incognito this Book, which omerta all the knights respect; they won’t tell Kid Pellinore.
Kid Pellinore decides what he really needs to do is prove himself to Launcelot and his entourage of drunken braggarts, so in the morning he hops on a horse and rides up the road to the priory where Dinadan and Tristram slept. He arrives to find Dinadan still there but Tristram gone; Dinadan finally successfully convinced Tristram that they were not friends and that Dinadan needed some bedrest after all the crap Tristram dragged him through.
Dinadan may be mad at Tristram, but he still respects the omerta, so won’t tell Kid Pellinore the name, either. Kid Pellinore announces an intention to ride after Tristram, beat him at a joust, and in that way oblige him to drop his name.
“Beware, for if ye follow him ye shall repent it,” says Dinadan.
“You mean because he’ll beat me when we joust?”
“Enh, that too.”
Kid Pellinore catches up to Tristram, gets beaten up, and rides off vowing revenge. (Fun fact! Kid Pellinore never shows up again. Malory forgets to ever have this pan out or go anywhere, so the first part of Chapter 25 is just filler.)
New adventure! Tristram wanders around for a while (hey, remember when he had some kind of objective? And the semblance of a plot, with Mark and Isoud and so on? Those were the days, huh?), until he hears about a tournament up in the North, organized by King Carados of Scotland (even though he’s been killed like twice already) at the Castle of Maidens. He heads up for the tournament, because why not?
Along the way he bumps into Sir Kay and Sir Sagamore, who want to joust with him, but Tristram announces he’s saving up his jousting for this tournament, and so declines. Kay doesn’t want to take no for an answer, and declares that it’ll count as a forfeit for official scoring purposes, i.e., Kay Defeats Tristram is how Kay will report it to the recordkeeping body. This pisses Tristram off, so Tristram knocks Kay off his horse and rides away in a huff (jerk!).
Sir Sagamore chases after Tristram, but Tristram just dehorses him, too.
On his way to the tournament, a random damosel flags Tristram down. “You got time for a quick side-trek strange adventure?” she asks.
“Maybe, what’s up?”
“There’s this rampaging knight who’s making trouble all over the area. I can lead you to him, you joust him, badda-bing, everyone wins.”
“Sounds good! What’s your name, lady?”
“You can call me Not Morgan le Fay’s Secret Assassin. Wait, no, just call me Trudy.”
“Whatever, Trulee,” says Tristram. He wasn’t really listening.
So Tristram and Trudy ride away together. Before they arrive at wherever Trudy wishes to bring Tristram, though, they bump into Sir Gawaine! Gawaine recognizes Trudy immediately as Morgan le Fay’s secret assassin.
“Trudy!” Gawaine cries. “Tristram, where is she taking you?”
“Oh, no, you’re not getting any of the glory for my secret mission!”
Gawaine curses, and draws his sword. “By this point in the book there’s tremendous amounts of precedent for me to stab you, Trudy, even though you’re a damosel. It’s kind of my thing!” he warns her. “So spill!”
“Oh, fine,” says Trudy. “It’s stupid anyway. I’m part of an elite secret society of maiden/spy/assassins, trained and dispatched by my lady Morgan le Fay to seek out Launcelot and/or Tristram, seduce them if possible, and lead them into my lady’s clutches where they’ll be put to death by an ambush of, like, thirty guys.”
“Dang,” says Gawaine. “You should be ashamed of yourself! And to think that Morgan is a queen, and Arthur’s sister, and the daughter of a king and a queen! It’s enough to almost make you question the received wisdom that the royals are just better than the rest of us. Rest of you. Arthur’s my uncle.”