A new Book! A new beginning.
We open at Camelot during, of course, Pentecost. Everything important starts at Pentecost. It’s the night before Arthur’s big annual feast, with tables set ready to the meat but since it isn’t Pentecost yet, all the knights are sitting around fasting, which is a knight thing that they do apparently.
Suddenly in comes a lady on a horse! While Malory doesn’t name the lady, there’s no particular reason it can’t be Dame Brisen. She’s come from King Pellam’s court on an urgent errand. The errand is so urgent, in fact, that she doesn’t have time to dismount.
“Well this is fun,” says Arthur. He eyes Brisen and her horse; both are all besweated from their hard ride.
Brisen is in no mood to chit-chat. “Sire! Sire! It’s dreadfully important that I speak to Sir Launcelot! Have you seen him?”
Fortunately Launcelot is right there in the same hall! Arthur points. “That’s him over there.”
So Brisen rides over to Launcelot (trampling all the feast as she goes, probably). “Sir Launcelot! I salute you on King Pellam’s behalf. You’ve got to come with me on a strange adventure immediately! It’s super important! Can you come?”
“Before I answer your question, answer one for me,” Launcelot says, inexplicably. “Where do you live?”
Brisen blinks, nonplussed. “In the castle of King Pellam. You’ve seen it.”
“Right, good enough! Let’s go!” And Launcelot is ready for action. He calls for his armor and his horse and his sword and his lance and his squire.
At this point Guenever, who happened to be nearby, breaks in on the conversation. “Whoa whoa whoa! Launcelot, come on! The big Pentecost feast is tomorrow!”
“Ma’am.” Brisen is all respectful to Guenever. “I promise you, one noblewoman to another, that Sir Launcelot will be back in time for the feast.”
“He’d better be,” grumbles Guenever, but she lets them go.
So Launcelot and Brisen ride off. Brisen leads Launcelot to an abbey out in the middle of nowhere, with a big wall around it and a gate that swings open when they approach. Inside Launcelot meets a tremendous number of nuns, a fair fellowship who are passing glad of his coming, and I can’t help but be reminded of a seminal scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail involving a Grail-shaped beacon, you know the one. But eventually Launcelot lets himself be led into the abbey’s master bedroom, where Sir Bors and Sir Lionel are lounging around.
“Launcelot!” they chorus. “We heard you were back at Camelot! We thought we wouldn’t see you until we arrived there tomorrow for the big annual Pentecost feast!” Why Bors and Lionel are skipping the big fasting/vigil/prayer service and instead hanging out with a bunch of eager-to-please nuns isn’t clear. Actually, having typed that sentence, I think it is clear.
“Well, here I am,” says Launcelot. “Brisen brought me. Don’t know why.”
But then twelve of the hottest nuns bring in, are you ready for this? Galahad! Everybody is excited about this reunion, even though Launcelot and Galahad really only separated a few days ago, as near as I can tell.
“Sir, we have been taking care of this boy,” says a spokesnun. “This beautiful, well-formed, worthy, hot hot boy…”
All the nuns sigh wistfully. Galahad looks embarrassed. On Galahad, “embarrassed” is just adorable.
“Anyway sir, long story short, please make him your squire and knight him. You’re the best knight around, and just look at him! He should absolutely be a knight, as soon as possible.”
Launcelot looks his son up and down, evaluating him not as a parent with a child but as a knight with a knight-candidate. He saw him seemly as demure as a dove, with all manner of good features, that he weened of his age never to have seen to fair a man of form.
Even his father agrees: Galahad is smoking hot.
“Son, do you actually want to be a knight, or is this all peer pressure from these nuns?”
Galahad confirms he wants to be a knight.
“Then so you shall!” cries Launcelot, and knights him then and there. “We’ll stay here overnight, then get up bright and early and return to Camelot for the feast, where I’m sure nothing monumental and portentous will happen!”
NEXT: THINGS GET MONUMENTAL AND PORTENTOUS!