Guenever overhears Bors, Lionel, and Ector bemoaning Launcelot’s fate, and she ostentatiously faints, with a loud SWOON! Soon she’s lounging on a divan, attended to by the three knights, gradually returning to consciousness.
“Seek him,” she begs the knights. “And spare not for no goods but that he be found, for I wot he is out of his mind.”
“Spare not for no, check,” says Bors. They were going to go Launcelot-hunting anyway, and besides, they’re pretty cheesed with Guenever.
So the knights ride off, equipped with the best treasure and horses and armor that Guenever can provide. For months and months, they ride around. High places, low places, wooded places, barren places. Fields, castles, villages, the seaside. Everywhere they go, they ask everyone they meet — have you seen Launcelot? He was wearing a shirt, and had a sword?
(Seriously this is the way they describe Launcelot, as a dude who is wearing a shirt and holding a sword.)
Three months of this later, Bors and his comrades stumble across a certain guy Bors knows, Sir Melion de Tartare, by which Malory probably means Rough Melion. You know I do minutes of research, sussing out these names, right?
“Melion! Where you headed?”
“Enh, I figured I’d go to Camelot,” says Melion.
“Cool, cool,” says Bors. “When you get there, tell Arthur and Guenever and everyone that we’ve been looking for Launcelot for three months and so far we’ve come up dry.”
So Rough Melion visits Camelot, and tells everybody that Bors, Lionel, and Ector have been unsuccessful. Long story short, twenty-three knights of the Round Table head out into the kingdom, searching for Launcelot. They’re well-equipped with not just the usual horses and weapons and armor, but also with expense accounts (which Malory finds impressive).
These knights ride out in small groups, and the group that Malory cares about now is Sir Percivale and his brother Sir Aglavale. You may have forgotten — I know I did! — but Percivale and Aglavale are sons of the late King Pellinore, and also brothers of the late Sir Lamorak. They have a half-brother, Sir Tor, who is Pellinore’s son by a different mother. Their mother is a queen somewhere, whom Malory hasn’t named but enh, let’s call her Veronica. Haven’t used that name yet.
Anyway, Percivale and Aglavale visit their mother, just in case Veronica has encountered Launcelot. But no, she hasn’t seen him, she’s been busy mourning Percivale’s and Aglavale’s dead brother. Not Lamorak, a different dead brother. There’s been a lot of tragedy in Veronica’s life.
Veronica would appreciate it if Percivale and Aglavale would quit being knights and live with her, since she’s suffered so much. Sadly for her, her sons decline that offer. They’re the sons of a king and a queen, they say, and so going a-venturing is in their blood.
Veronica can understand and accept this, but she’s got a little speech to deliver. “Alas my sweet sons, for your sakes I shall lose my liking and lust, and then wind and weather I may not endure, what for the death of your father King Pellinore that was shamefully slain by the hands of Sir Gawaine and his brother Sir Gaheris, and they slew him not manly but by treason. Ah, my dear sons, this is a piteous complaint for me of your father’s death, considering also the death of Sir Lamorak, that of knighthood had but a few fellow. Now, dear sons, have this in your mind.”
“I’m just reminding everyone how awful Sir Gawaine is, and commenting on the sad lot of women in Malory’s interpretation of Arthurian England.”
“Yeah. Anyway, sons, you have a good quest. I’ll just be here at home, fainting and crying.” And then Veronica lets out a sob, and then she swoons! And Percivale and Aglavale leave.
The moral of this chapter: being a non-enchantress woman in this society sucks!