More sexual assault this chapter. Just a dab.
After a brief stopover in an harbour to a lady which knew him well enough, Bors falls right into his next marvellous adventure. Just a reminder, the scale goes “no adventure, adventure, strange adventure, marvellous adventure.” So this should be pretty good!
Remember Sir Lionel, Bors’s brother and Launcelot’s other nephew? Last seen joining in on the Grail Quest, and the last thing that wasn’t a big crowd scene was way back in Book XII when he and Sir Bors stopped by the home of Princess King-Brandegore’s-Daughter to visit Bors’s daughter Elaine, by which Malory means his son Helin, because Malory can’t keep anything straight. Anyway, out on the road, Bors spots him! Lionel is naked in the back of a wagon, tied up, and bleeding from a multitude of small cuts. One knight has been whipping him with thorny branches while another drives the wagon, is what it looks like.
Naturally Bors takes off after this wagon, intent on rescuing his brother from his oddly-indeterminate captors. But alas! Malory tosses in a sexual assault, just there by the side of the road. There’s some dick of a guy, chasing around a maiden (let’s call her Yelena), and she’s shouting to Mary and all the saints for rescue.
Bors sees this, and hesitates.
Yelena spots him. “Sir knight! Sir knight! Little help? Rape in progress over here!”
Bors closes his eyes and tries to decide what to do. “Save my brother, save the maid. Save my brother, save the maid.” It’s a tough call! Finally he makes up his mind. “Fair sweet Lord Jesu Christ,” he prays, “keep Lionel my brother, that these knights slay him not.” And then he spins his horse around and guns it and runs down the would-be rapist. Bors beats the crap out of him.
“Are you all right?” he asks Yelena.
“Whew, that was a thing.” She’s curiously sanguine about her assault. “Walk me home?”
“Of course, of course,” says Bors, though there’s a little thought balloon over his head with a picture of Lionel in it.
While Bors walks her home, Yelena explains that the knight Bors beat down was her cousin, who went mad the day before and abducted her. “Lucky thing you happened along,” she notes. “I’m engaged to a guy, it’s a whole political thing, and if I lost my virginity there’d be a war. Five hundred dead, easy.”
She goes on and on and Bors isn’t really listening, he’s glancing back over his shoulder at the trail the wagon went down. He’s nodding, he’s trying to be polite, but as soon as he’s got Yelena back with her twelve bodyguard knights he’s out of there. No explanation as to what those jokers were doing when the rape attempt went down, by the way.
Bors rides lickety fast after the wagon, but instead of finding the wagon he finds Nacien on a big black horse. It’s kind of random. Spoiler alert: this isn’t really Nacien.
“Have you seen Lionel?”
“Yeah, no point beating around the bush,” says not-Nacien. “He’s dead. Died just now. Here, I’ll show you where they dumped his body. I sure am Nacien, all right!”
Not-Nacien takes Bors over to a thicket where Lionel’s corpse lays. Bors is very sad, but on balance doesn’t regret saving Yelena. Then he and not-Nacien load the body onto Bors’s horse, and take it to a nearby disused chapel for burial.