The chapter opens with Bleoberis and Ector leaving Joyous Gard at the end of the week-long party. They travel to a seaside resort castle, where Guenever has been staying. Through the grace of God the queen was recovered of her malady, Malory tells us. Whew! That’s a relief. It might have been more suspenseful if Malory had remembered to mention that Guenever was ill, but whatever. I’m just glad she’s okay.
Guenever asks after Tristram and Isoud. Bleoberis and Ector assure her they’re doing well, and Guenever complains about this darn malady that she’s just gotten over which is why she was obliged to sit out the last twenty or so chapters.
Since she missed the Lonazep tournament, she requests a moment-by-moment recap of the whole thing, which Bleoberis and Ector agreeably lay for her, in excruciating detail. Blah blah blah Launcelot, blah blah Tristram, blah blah Palomides.
“Palomides was doing well, and then he choked on the last day,” says Bleoberis. “He turned against the party that came in withal, and that caused him to lose a great part of his worship, for it seemed that Sir Palomides is passing envious.”
“Too bad,” says Guenever. “Once you start being envious, it’s all downhill. A reputation as a heel is very difficult to shake, on the jousting circuit. All men of worship hate an envious man.”
Meanwhile! Palomides! He rides off from the tournament, grimly clutching his third-place ribbons and his condolence prizes (a horse from the King of Ireland and unspecified great gifts from the King of Scotland). After a morning of hard travel he stops for lunch at a forest well, where he meets Sir Epinogris. You might recall Epinogris from a few entries back; he was one of Arthur’s troupe at the Lonazep tournament who wandered off before the last day.
Palomides would just ignore Epinogris, except that the guy’s wounded and sobbing.
“Dude,” Palomides says. “Do I know you? What’s up? Why wail ye so? Let me lie down and wail with you, because my problems have got to be at least ten times as bad as yours. You big baby.”
“Who are you, again?” asks Epinogris.
“Sir Palomides,” says Palomides. “I don’t think we’ve ever been introduced. I’m the heir of King Astlabor, whose other two sons are my brothers Sir Safere and Sir Segwarides. I’m the Muslim knight you might have heard about?”
Epinogris shrugs. “My dad is the King of Northumberland. I’m one of Arthur’s knights, Sir Epinogris. Now, have a seat, and I’ll answer your question about what’s bugging me.”
“What’s bugging me is definitely a much better story,” says Palomides. He sits down. “For starters, I’m in love with Queen “the lovely” Isoud. She’s married to King Mark of Cornwall…”
“Ha! You sap,” says Epinogris. “Even I know that Sir Tristram is Isoud’s paramour. How you gonna compete with Tristram? Give it up.”
“No man knoweth that matter better than I do,” says Palomides. “Tristram and I are friends, or were friends. Isoud keeps coming between us. Now have I lost the fellowship of Sir Tristram for ever, and the love of the lovely Isoud for ever, and I am never like to see her more, and Sir Tristram and I be either to other mortal enemies. Poor, poor me.”
“You say you’re really into Isoud.” Epinogris gets a thoughtful look. “Has she ever done anything, anything at all, to suggest that she might be into you?”
“No,” admits Palomides. “In fact last time I saw her she rebuked me for not letting it go. Poor, poor me. I have many times enforced myself to do many deeds for the lovely Isoud’s sake, and she was the cause of my worship-winning. How can it be that I can declare that I’m into her and her not reciprocate? It’s almost as if women were not prizes to be won! But now I’m just getting crazy.”