Evelyn discovers her husband, lying dead with his head bashed in, and starts to sob. Her sobbing wakes Bliant up! Turns out he’s not dead and having his skull bashed in is just a superficial wound.
“Dang, that hurt,” he says. “Who was that guy? I’ve never been hit like that before, and I’ve been hit by some of the best.”
“Well,” says Peter. “I know this is going to sound unlikely, but did you know Sir Launcelot went crazy a couple of years ago and fled into the woods? And that he looks just like that? Basically it’s Launcelot, is what I’m saying. I’ve met him, you know. And I saw him at Lonazep.”
“Jesu defend,” says Bliant. “Everybody’s heard of how awesome Launcelot is, even me. We’ve got to help him.”
“Didn’t he just try to kill you?” asks Evelyn, but no one cares, because as far as Malory is concerned she had two jobs: to be in her underwear and to cry. Sorry, Evelyn!
“Here’s what we do,” Bliant tells Peter. “Ride back home to Castle Blank, and get my brother Sir Selivant over here. Tell him to bring a horse litter, in case Launcelot passes out or something.”
Peter rides off, comes back with Selivant and another half-dozen men. The six guys array themselves around the tent, and haul the whole thing up with Launcelot inside and stuff it into the horse-litter! Or maybe they just pick up the bed? Either way, Launcelot sleeps through the whole thing, because he is the champion of naps.
They bring him back to Castle Blank, and there they tie him up and bathe him and feed him and clothe him. He calms down, but at no point does he speak or admit that he’s Sir Launcelot, even though everyone totally knows. Since he did try to kill a couple of people, they chain him to the wall in a high tower, but otherwise he’s kept comfortable. Launcelot spends a full year and a half recuperating like this, which means that it’s been like four years since Galahad was born, by my reckoning.
So a year and a half after meeting Launcelot, Sir Bliant goes out on a strange adventure. He’s barely out the door before he’s ambushed by Pitiless Bruce, that scoundrel, and Bruce’s brother Sir Bertelot. Pitiless Bruce and Bertelot double-team Bliant, who jousts valiantly (in Malory even the ambushes get resolved as jousts, I wish I were joking) but is overcome.
Bleeding, sore wounded, and starting to pass out, Bliant flees the two attackers and tries to make it back home to Castle Blank. He doesn’t quite make it, and pretty soon he’s lying on his front lawn, with Pitiless Bruce and Bertelot whacking him with swords.
Launcelot watches this from a high window, and something stirs within him. Something about Pitiless Bruce ambushing people, and bad knights, and how Launcelot used to treat bad knights back when he was Sir Launcelot du Lake, Knight of the Round Table, Completely Secret and Unsuspected Lover of Guenever Which Definitely No One Else Knew About.
Spurred into action, the Man from Benwick rips the chains holding him apart and rushes down from the tower out into the yard! There he slam-tackles Berelot, who was mounted at the time, and leaves him lying on the ground without a sword. Then Launcelot takes Bertelot’s sword and slam-tackles Pitiless Bruce the same way, such that Bruce tumbled backward over his horse’s croup.
But oh no! Sir Bertelot has a spear! He’s going to drive it into Launcelot’s side!
Oh yay! Sir Bliant isn’t as unconscious as we all assumed, and he’s sliced Bertelot’s spear-driving hand clean off!
Then Pitiless Bruce and Bertelot decide they’ve had enough fun for one day, and ride away.
DISCUSSION QUESTION: Castle Blank is a pretty stupid name for a castle I know, but consider the alternative is Castle Blanc, or White Castle. Doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?