Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XX Chapter 2
When Agravaine and Mordred tell Arthur that Launcelot has been sleeping with Guenever for decades, the old king sits down heavily.
“Do you have any evidence?” he asks.
“Evidence?” Agravaine is puzzled. “What, suddenly the burden of proof is on the accuser? What about the trial system presented in the previous book?”
“Sir Launcelot, as you may have never noticed because you’re plainly an idiot,” says Arthur, “is the best knight. Let’s imagine the best-case scenario. You walk up to Launcelot and say, ‘Oi! Launcelot! Oi’m haccusin’ yew of hadulteries, Oi ham.’”
“Is that supposed to be an Orkney accent?”
“And then Launcelot, what, he goes quietly? No. He slices your fool head off, is what he does, and then he claims that no one has any proof and he can defeat whatever judicial champion anyone cares to offer. No dice.”
“So what,” demands Mordred, “Launcelot can just get away with whatever? Guenever can just get away with whatever? Arthur’s court has no rule of law?”
Arthur stares into space for a good long while.
“You’d have to catch him in the act,” he says, finally. “Several of you, because he could defeat any one knight easily.”
“I’ve been thinking about this, Uncle Sire, and I have a plan!” Agravaine claps his hands together. “Here’s what we do is, you go away from Camelot on an overnight trip, hunting. And then me, and Mordred here, and another twelve knights will lie in wait outside Guenever’s room, and we’ll burst in on them right when they’re, you know, doing it!”
“That sounds like a terrible idea, but what other choice do I have?”
Agravaine and Mordred reassure Arthur that it will all be okay. “Don’t worry!” “We can handle this!” “Let us deal!”
Cut to the night in question. Agravaine and Mordred have recruited a bunch of cannon fodder knights: Sir Colgrevance who is already dead; plus Sir Mador who has a grudge against Launcelot anyway, Sir Meliot, Sir Petipase, Sir Galleron, Sir Melion, Sir Astamore, Sir Grummore, Sir Curselaine, and Gawaine’s sons Sir Gingalin, Sir Florence, and Sir Lovel. Fourteen knights, all of whom were either Gawaine’s relatives, members of the Orkney faction, self-proclaimed rivals or enemies of Launcelot, or all of the above.
Over in the Benwick faction’s chambers, Launcelot and Bors are just hanging out. “Well, it’s getting late,” says Launcelot. “Guess I’ll go sleep with Guenever now.”
Bors blinks. “Hmm,” he says.
“Launcelot, you know how I found the Holy Grail?”
“And how I have the occasional preternatural flash of insight?”
“Launcelot, take it from me: don’t visit the queen tonight.”
Launcelot scoffs, because what, is he supposed to be afraid to visit Guenever? That’d be silly! He’ll be fine, he’s sure.
Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XX Chapter 2 — No Comments
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