Meanwhile, back at the jousting tournament, everything’s wrapping up. Arthur meets with Mister 100 and the other opposition kings, to divvy up the prizes.
“Obviously the grand prize goes to the mysterious knight with the white shield and the red sleeve he wore for a lady’s favor,” says Arthur. “He was on your side, you must know who I mean.”
Mister 100 and Sir the Other Galahad exchange glances. “We thought you knew him.”
“Well, crud.” Arthur scowls, because (says Malory) this is literally the worst news he’s gotten in seven years.
“I’ll go looking for him, Uncle Sire!” Gawaine is eager to volunteer for this duty, because he figures the mystery knight can’t have gotten far, and when they return together maybe some of the mystery knight’s glory will rub off onto Gawaine.
While Arthur and the other kings and all the rest of the knights return home, Gawaine rides around the countryside, specifically the six or seven miles around the tournament grounds. He totally overlooks the trail of blood that leads from the tournament to Sir Baudwin’s hermitage. Not a very sharp guy. When he puts in one night at Astolat, he bumps into Sir Bernard and his daughter Elaine le Blank. Naturally, they invite him for tea and small talk.
“I’m looking for a knight with a white shield and a red sleeve for a lady’s favor,” Gawaine says, eventually. “Last seen in the company of another knight also with a white shield.”
“Oh!” Elaine le Blank recognizes Launcelot and Lavaine from that description. “That’s my brother and this dreamy wonderful knight, he was so sexy, he is the man in the world that I first loved, and truly he shall be last that ever I shall love!”
Gawaine grunts. “You know the knight, then?”
“It was my sleeve he wore! I love him so much! Wit ye well he is my love!”
“Great. What’s his name?”
Elaine bites her lip. “….it never came up.”
“Wait, wait. You fell for this knight and you say his name never came up?”
“You can love a man and not know his name. What’s a name? Just a sound, just noise. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet… I know not his name nor from whence he cometh, but to say that I love him, I promise you and God that I love him! That’s why we went to third base!”
Sir Bernard has turned purple, which both Gawaine and Elaine ignore.
“How did you meet him?”
“My brother Lavaine introduced us. He took my heart and my red sleeve and my brother Tirre’s shield, and left me with his shield, to keep as a memento.”
“Ah! His shield! Do you still have it?”
“Yes! It is in my chamber, covered with a case, and if ye will come with me ye shall see it! Let’s go back to my bedroom together, and look at the shield, and see what happens! The last time a knight went to my bedroom with me we ended up having sex.”
Gawaine is all for this plan, but Baudwin intercedes. “No! No, no, no! Bad daughter!” He waggles his finger at her. “I’ll go fetch this shield. You just wait right here.”
Baudwin is halfway out the door of the chamber when he turns around and sees that Elaine has already climbed into Gawaine’s lap. “On second thought, let[’s] send for it. I’ll wait here with you.”