At Joyous Gard Tristram, Palomides, Dinadan, and Gareth spend some time just chilling. They’re planning on attending the big tournament at Lonazep that keeps getting mentioned, but they’re in no hurry. Palomides and Tristram go out riding a lot. One day they bump into Pitiless Bruce, out in the woods, and he shrieks and runs away, which is supposed to be funny, I guess. They don’t even know it’s him, until a passing knight named Sir Epinogris tells them.
Anyway, eventually they hit the road, and the lovely Isoud surprises everybody by wanting to come with. Dinadan’s down with it, as is Tristram (who thinks to bring an extra tent for her), but Sir Palomides bites his knuckle and stoically says nothing. He’s still pining after the lovely Isoud, you see, and her coming along leaves Palomides ravished so he might unethe speak. Palomides can’t eat, he’s so wan over his unrequited love for Isoud. Kind of brings everybody down, there was all the cheer that might be had.
So when they head out, it’s with a medium-sized entourage. They’re traveling light, but they still have the extra tent, three ladies-in-waiting for Isoud, plus varlets to bear their shields and their spears.
Along the road they meet up with Sir Galihodin and his twenty knights with him.
“That’s a nice lady you have there,” Galihodin says to Tristram, by way of conversation.
“I’ll joust you for her.”
“Dibs!” cries Palomides, eager to fight for Isoud’s honor.
So even though he’s outnumbered twenty to one, Palomides goes and jousts Galihodin and his knights. He dehorses Galihodin pretty easily, conveying the idea that he’s a badass knight, and Galihodin surrenders and apologizes before his twenty friends can converge on Palomides and hack him to pieces.
“None of you meddle with this knight, for he is a man of great bounte and honour,” says Galihodin. “Also, I am a relative of Sir Galahalt, and also a prince of Sulurse. So there!”
“Good job, Palomides,” says Tristram. “Way to defend the honor of the woman I love!”
“There are some more knights over there,” Palomides says, pointing. Sure enough! In fact they’re four Knights of the Round Table: Gawaine, Uwaine, Sagramore the Lusty, and Dodinas the Thug. “I’ll go defend Isoud against them, too, okay?”
“If you want,” says Tristram. He and Isoud and the rest of their entourage head on into Lonazep, while Palomides rides up on Gawaine et al to joust them. Long story short, Palomides beats all four of them and then rides to catch up with Tristram.
“Dang, who was that guy?” asks Gawaine, afterwards, as he picks himself up off the ground. None of his comrades have any idea — Palomides just showed up and started jousting, with no preamble.
However just then Galihodin rides up, with all his friends. “That was either Sir Palomides or Sir Tristram,” he says. “At least, I know both of those knights were riding this way.”
“Frickin’ Tristram,” grumbles Gawaine. “Always up in my business.”
Meanwhile Tristram and his cohorts arrive at Lonazep, finally! There Tristram sees all the kings arrayed against Arthur, for the tournament. There’s King Marhalt of Ireland, who is simultaneously a completely different guy than King Anguish, who is Isoud’s father, and also the exact same guy because he’s the father of Isoud’s brother the late Sir Marhaus whom Tristram slew. Malory really falls down in terms of sense-making, here.
But Marhalt isn’t the only king! You’ve got the king of Surluse, the king of Northumberland, the king of Listinoise, and the King of the best part of Wales with many other countries. All these guys have decided to work together and ally against Arthur’s jousting delegation, because his delegation is the best and will stomp them all otherwise.
Tristram thinks this sounds really unfair, and goes to Arthur to proffer his services.