Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XVI Chapter 14
A couple of days of travel after visiting the abbot with the bizarre intrepretations of visions Bors didn’t actually have, our man Bors comes to a jousting tournament! It’s been too long since Malory threw one in, I mean, like six chapters!
This particular marvellous tournament is between the Earl of Plains and his wife’s nephew, Hervin. They each have a whole cadre of knights, and the jousting is expected to include multiple rounds, maybe a tag-team match, maybe something in a flag match or a Damosel on a Pole match. Lots of knights, lots of jousting. Bors doesn’t really care about the tournament itself; his one and only interest at the moment is the Grail. But he figures there are excellent odds that he’ll find another Knight of the Round Table there, and maybe they can sit down and compare notes.
Bors heads towards the local hermitage, where visiting knights are camping. Sure enough, there’s Bors’s brother Sir Lionel!
“Lionel!” cries Bors. “Am I ever happy to see you! Man, I had this crazy vision, and you were in it! But it was all a vision courtesy the Devil. Or, no. Catherine was real, I’m pretty sure. I don’t really know at which point the vision started. Anyway, great to see you!”
“The feeling is not mutual!” Lionel is pissed. “I was tied up in the back of a wagon, getting beaten up, which was bad enough! But then I see you, not rescuing me! Instead you went off to sleep with some chick!”
“Whoa whoa whoa,” says Bors, because Lionel is on his feet, pressing a finger hard into Bors’s chest. Bors’s hands are up and he’s stepping backwards. “Lionel, jeez, I’m sorry, I thought you were part of the dream. Also I didn’t sleep with Yelena, but that’s not important right now. I mean, I would have done the same thing even if it hadn’t been a complex test of my virtue assembled by the Devil, but…”
“This is what I’m talking about! This is what I mean. You’re always going off to be virtuous and succor a gentlewoman, and you just leave me in peril of death! You jerk! And for that misdeed now I ensure you but death!”
“Lionel, brother, what are you saying?”
“I’m saying,” Lionel says, his beard all flecked with spittle, “when next we meet it will be on the jousting arena floor, and I’m going to bash your head in and stomp on it!”
When Sir Bors understood his brother’s wrath, Malory tells us, he kneeled down to the earth and cried him mercy, holding up both his hands.
“No mercy,” growls Lionel, and stomps off muttering something about how Bors has already lived too long a life. He’s back a moment later, with his tack and lance and other jousting accoutrements.
“I don’t want to hear it, Bors! You defame the name of our father, Bors the King of France, of Ban-and-Bors fame, last encountered waaaay back in Book V! Mount up and joust, or else I will run upon you thereas ye stand upon foot!”
“I’m not going to joust you, brother,” says Bors. “If you’re going to kill me while I stand here, unarmed, hands up in the air, well, then you go ahead and do it. I’m very sorry about the misunderstanding, and I hope you can forgive me, but —“
Bors doesn’t get to finish his dramatic speech, because Lionel smashes his skull in. Down he goes, bleeding profusely.
Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XVI Chapter 14 — No Comments
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