Okay, you know what? There’s ten more chapters of this Lonazep tournament, and I’ve already spent more time on it than I would have liked. So today’s entry is a highlight reel!
When Tristran runs away to change clothes, Isoud loses track of him and worries that he’s been killed. When he reappears all in red, she recognizes him immediately, and cheers up. Palomides sees her cheer up, assumes it’s because she’s rooting for him, and redoubles his efforts to be badass! He’s all badass, with double his strength, and wins the prize for the day. Dinadan grumbles about how Palomides only won because Isoud was there.
The crowd turns on Palomides, when he accidentally kills Launcelot’s horse. Killing a dude’s horse is unknightly in the extreme; it’s something poor people would do! To assuage the crowd Palomides has to surrender to Launcelot, who is at least gracious about the whole thing.
Dinadan at least recognizes that Palomides out-fought Tristram on points, and scolds Tristram for not giving it his all. Tristram gets defensive and says that he isn’t ashamed to have been dehorsed by Launcelot, but Dinadan keeps ragging him until Tristram awake[s] his spirits and [is] wroth, because Dinadan ultimately wants Tristram to succeed and feels he needs more motivation.
Arthur and Launcelot are out, riding around the forest near the tournament grounds, and they spot the lovely Isoud, just chilling. Launcelot points her out and Arthur decides to go greet her.
Launcelot thinks this is a bad idea. “What if her bodyguard leaps out and attacks you?”
Arthur shrugs. “I’ll live.”
Sure enough, Sir Palomides jumps out of nowhere and rails against Arthur for daring to approach Isoud like that. Arthur ignores Palomides, so Palomides knocks him off his horse, which of course Launcelot can’t ignore. So they joust!
Then Tristram shows up and sees Launcelot and Palomides jousting and demands they quit it, or else he’ll have to join the battle on someone’s side. They ignore him, though, until Launcelot dehorses Palomides, at which time Tristram demands to joust Launcelot.
“Come on,” says Launcelot, but by the sound of his voice Tristram recognizes Launcelot, whom he promised not to joust (back in the early days of Book X, when we were all so much younger). So no joust happens. Instead everyone leaves.
Palomides is annoyed at how Tristram keeps butting in on him like that, and defects to a different jousting team. They joust, and then Tristram gets a depressive episode going and wants to just quit. He goes to find Dinadan, who talks him through it. They fight together for a chapter or two, but then Palomides and Launcelot (both in fresh disguises) drive them from the battlefield. Launcelot feels bad about beating on a depressed guy, or about beating on his sworn no-hitsies buddy Tristram, and apologizes. He refuses the prize for the day and instead gives it to Tristram, to make amends.
Tristram and Palomides go to have dinner with Isoud. She refuses to even talk to Palomides, and scolds Tristram for bringing him into her tent. Apparently she holds him responsible for the events of the previous paragraph. Tensions run high. But before the situation can be resolves, Arthur and Launcelot invite themselves in for dinner. Everyone sits in stony silence — Isoud, Palomides, Tristram, and their friends Gareth and Dinadan. Arthur and Launcelot don’t know what’s up.
Tristram and Palomides resent Arthur’s intrusion, and end up jousting him and his entourage: Kay, Launcelot, Ector the Lesser, and a new character, a knight of the Round Table who has the best knight name we’ve seen in a while: Weird Kainus. Sir Kainus le Strange. Palomides dehorses Weird Kainus, Tristram dehorses Kay in a very flashy four-in-one-stroke thing that gets the crowd all riled up, it’s a whole long thing. Launcelot beats like thirty guys, Malory says.
A bunch of guys joust a bunch of other guys, and finally the tournament ends. Launcelot and Tristram share the prize. Palomides feels robbed! He was winning the day until Tristram pulled that very flashy move that brought down Kay. He runs off to have a good long cry about it.
Tristram finds him but refuses to apologize for being better than Palomides (it doesn’t sound any more sympathetic in the original Malory, either) so Palomides is all “fie on you, traitor!” He leaves. Then Isoud invites everyone back to Joyous Gard for a big long party that Sir Palomides isn’t invited to.