They walk along, Mark and Dinadan do. Malory has forgotten entirely about Sir Lamorak, not for the last time. As they travel, Mark makes fun of Dinadan for losing his fight with the mysterious knight of the previous chapter who was secretly Sir Tor.
“Jeez, shut up already,” says Dinadan. “Or are you and I jousting, right here and now?”
“Whoa, hey, no, no thank you,” says Mark. “I’m going to pass on the jousting. No, no jousting for me. That’s not going to be necessary. All I need from you is that you don’t tell anyone in Camelot that I’m Mark, the king of Cornwall. No jousting.”
“God, you’re awfull. Shame on you that ye govern you so shamefully, you coward and murderer and cowardly murderer!”
“Yeah, well, I didn’t just get dehorsed by Sir Mysterio back there…”
And their conversation, such as it is, circles around and around. They stop overnight at a lodge, still picking at one another. The guy at the lodge tells them that they must have passed Sir Tor on the way there, and Dinadan is all, I knew it was Sir Tor, I just didn’t say so.
As they’re getting ready to put in for the night, six more knights appear! These are guys that Dinadan knows, and who know him, which I am pointing out specially because Sir Tristram has this bad habit of forgetting he knows people. I fully expect him to introduce himself to Sir Dinadan again next time they meet. These are six knights out from Camelot: Morgan’s son Sir Uwaine (major character back in Book IV), Sir Brandlies, Sir “Big Heart” Ozana, Uwaine’s little half-brother (same dad, different mother) Sir “Good Uwaine” Uwaine, and two of Gawaine’s brothers, Agravaine and Mordred.
“Hmm,” thinks Dinadan. “If I can get even one of these knights to joust Mark, then chances are they’ll kill him, since he’s so incompetent. Or at least they’ll maim him. Or at the very least they’ll badly humiliate him. However it goes, I’m the winner.”
So Dinadan turns to Mark.
“Good news!” he says. “Those six knights are going to joust us!”
“What? That’s not good news! I mean, besides everything else, they have us outnumbered three to one!”
“Nah. It’s more like five to one, because I’ll take the lead guy and leave you the rest.”
But Dinadan is already off! He runs down the hill (there’s a hill) to the six knights.
“Dinadan!” cries Uwaine, who recognizes him. “What’s happening? Have you seen any of the main characters, you know, Tristram or Launcelot?”
“Not lately,” says Dinadan.
“Who’s that guy you were talking to, who’s now cowering behind that bush over there?” asks Sir Brandiles.
“Well, he’s Cornish, and for the record I wot not his name. But I can tell you guys, man, is he ever a dick.”
Then who should come in but Sir Griftlet! Fancy that! Okay, you probably don’t remember him. He’s Sir Kay’s first assistant caterer, and the squire whose boss King Pellinore killed for no reason back in Book I, in one of Malory’s best continuity errors. Anyway. He’s there too, and everyone asks about Tristram and Launcelot again. Where’s Poochy?