Guenever is not the only lady of Camelot’s court to decry this whole “knights going away and not coming back” thing that’s happening. Plenty of the ladies have knightly lovers, and they start talking about how maybe they’ll go out with the knights and they’ll all hunt the Grail together and it will be a nice romantic getaway, just a knight and a lady, together against the world, and of course Malory thinks this is a terrible idea.
“Then Merlin, no wait, he’s the cave… Then some guy, some old knight, or a priest, it doesn’t matter, he tells them all that the Grail quest is a special men-only celibacy quest for men only,” says Malory. “Women would just muck it up with their sinning and their periods and such.”
Eugh, thinks I. “Who is this guy saying this, again?” I ask Malory.
“I said! Or at least I said it doesn’t matter. Nacien. No,” Malory immediately backpedals. “Not Nacien. Nacien sent him. He’s Nacien’s emmisary.”
Scene change! Guenever and Galahad.
“Galahad, you’re Launcelot’s son, right?” Guenever smiles a you-can-tell-me-anything sort of smile.
“Yes’m.” Galahad winces. “I mean, it’s a secret and I’m not supposed to tell anyone.”
“Are you ashamed of being Launcelot’s son?” Guenever asks with mock concern. “You don’t need to be, because he’s the best. He’s the goodliest knight, everybody knows that. And you’re pretty goodly yourself! Also you’re almost as handsome as he is.”
This line of questioning makes Galahad uncomfortable. “Ma’am, since ye know in certain, wherefore do ye ask it me? If my father who may or may not be Launcelot wanted it generally known that I, Galahad, am Sir Launcelot’s son, he’d say so.”
Guenever, for whatever reason, is satisfied with this. That night she arranges for Galahad to sleep in Arthur’s bed, which is apparently a great honor, not unlike the Lincoln Bedroom in the White House, I guess. It’s unclear whether Arthur sleeps in his own bed that night or not, but in the morning he’s all exhausted because he didn’t sleep at all, he’s so concerned about Gawaine leading all his knights off to die!
Arthur remonstrates with Gawaine one more time. “Ye have betrayed me,” he says. Gawaine’s very sorry but he won’t take the quest back. Arthur consults with Launcelot, trying to find a loophole where by he can push the kibosh on this quest, but nothing doing. So, gloomily, Arthur meets up with Guenever and they go to church.
After church all the knights ride forth in a parade, leaving Camelot, mostly for the last time it seems. Arthur is not a good sport about it; he just glares sullenly as they go. Guenever gets up halfway through the parade and hides in her room and cries. Launcelot goes to comfort her, and she goes on a spiel about how she wishes she had never met him, if he’s going to just ride off again like this after so long away. Launcelot promises to come back as soon as he can, which is kind of an empty promise, and Guenever blesses him and wishes him luck.
Then all the knights, one hundred and fifty Knights of the Round Table, ride en masse from Camelot to the nearby Castle Vagon, home of Lord Vagon, and spend the night there before finally going their separate ways, off to have one hundred and fifty concurrent strange adventures.