Bors, Galahad, and Percivale are standing in front of the ruins of a castle they just left! It collapsed unexpectedly, and maybe there are survivors inside! But then there’s another thing that happens: they spot a wounded knight. He’s pulled his horse over to the side of the road and popped the hood, the universal symbol of a traveler in distress.
“Help a guy out?” he asks, but before he can explain what his deal is, another knight appears, in the company of Peter the dwarf for some reason. This second knight starts chasing the first knight across the landscape.
So our heroes put their heads together and agree that Bors will resolve the whole wounded-knight/Peter situation while Galahad and Percivale go back into the castle and search for survivors. Exeunt Bors, pursuing Peter.
Galahad and Percivale go back inside and pick through the ruins. Everyone’s dead! Every weirdo and also the woman whose life Mags sacrificed her own to save. So that seems to have been kind of a foolish move, especially since a handy angelic voice explains (in case the knights were unclear on this) that the collapsed castle and the massacre of its inhabitants was the vengeance of Our Lord.
They do find a mass grave of princesses, with about sixty dead maidens in it, all of whom were bled to death. And I know what you’re thinking, but they know that the bodies were princesses, because they also find an elaborate genealogy explaining every dead maiden’s bloodline. So don’t think Malory hasn’t anticipated your objection!
Then Galahad and Percivale decide to leave separately, for no reason given. Meet you at the Grail, they say, and split.
MEANWHILE, remember Sir Launcelot? Last seen all the way back in Book XV, doing his best to be less wicked and atone for his various sins and earn a place on the Grail leaderboard? We now join his quest, already in progress!
He’s napping, of course, because this is Launcelot we’re talking about. In his sleep he has another mystic vision! This one is very straightforward: an angelic voice telling him to board the next boat he sees. No need for Nacien to translate this one.
When he wakes up, he rides until he hits the coast, and sure enough, there’s a boat there, suspiciously conveniently beached. Launcelot climbs aboard and immediately he feels a sense of well-being such that he hasn’t had since he was a child. He’s fulfilled with all thing that he thought on or desired, and is moved to immediately drop to his knees and pray. Afterwards he takes a nap in a handy bed belowdecks!
When he wakes up, he discovers he’s not alone in the bed; there’s also the corpse of Magdalena, just lying there. She comes with a handy pamphlet explaining who she is and how she died!
DISCUSSION QUESTION: At this point in the narrative we’ve had Mags die, and before she died she instructed Percivale to put her on a boat, but the only thing Percivale has done since then is investigate the ruined castle (up at the top of this very entry!) so how Mags got onto the boat so fast is an exercise for the reader, I guess.