Launcelot runs back to the Benwick faction quarters, where Sir Bors has already woken up all the other knights in their clique and gotten them all in armor.

“Launcelot!  You survived!”

“Of course I survived.  What’s all this?”

“Blame my mystic visions,” says Bors.  “We were about to rescue you.”

“Not necessary,” says Launcelot.  He relates the harrowing tale of how he killed a bunch of his friends and colleagues mere minutes prior.

“So it’s come to this,” says Bors.  “Civil war.  Launcelot versus Arthur.  Well, we’re with you, Launcelot!”

All the rest of the Benwick faction cheers!

“My friends,” Launcelot tells them, “Wit you well, my fair lords, I am sure there nis but war unto me and mine.  This is happening, like it or not.  And I unavoidably was forced by circumstances to kill Agravaine and a dozen of his comrades, sent by Arthur, so, that’s Arthur and Gawaine both against me.  Arthur’s probably going to try to put Gunever to death, so making sure that doesn’t happen is priority number one.”

“No problem,” says Bors.  “We’re all in this with you, as I just said.  We’ll save Guenever and restore honor to Camelot via some means that I haven’t quite worked out yet!”

“I think rescuing Guenever is the thing to do,” agrees Launcelot.  “But I’m open to other ideas.  Anyone?”

Then they all [say] at once with one voice, “Sir, us thinketh best that ye knight rescue the queen, insomuch as she shall be brent it is for your sake; and it is to suppose, and ye might be handled, ye should have the same death, or a more shamefuler death.  Besides, you’ve rescued her before.”

Launcelot smiles, heartened by the comrades’ faith in him.  “Okay then.  After I rescue her, where can I keep her?  Tristram and Isoud are still living in my castle Joyous Gard, right? So that’s out.”

“Um, actually…” Bors fills Launcelot in on what we already know because we read Malory’s note about knight #74 on his big list in Book XIX: Tristram’s dead, murdered by King Mark.

“Well hell,” says Launcelot.  “That’s just what I’m talking about!  Mark murdered Tristram just like Arthur would murder me!”

“Hey now,” says Bors.  “Ye know well King Arthur and King Mark were never like of conditions.  Mark is a lying little weasel; Arthur is definitionally the best king ever.”

For reference, Malory helpfully lists off the knights of the Benwick faction and close allies.

1) Sir Launcelot

2) Sir Bors

3) Sir Lionel

4) Sir Ector the Lesser

5) Sir Blamore

6) Sir Bleoberis

7) Sir Gahalantine

8) Sir Galodin

9) Sir Galihud

10) Sir Menaduke

11) Sir “Valiant” Villiers

12) Sir “Famous” Hebes

13) Sir Lavaine

14) Sir Urre

15) Sir Nerounes

16) Sir Pelnorius

17) Sir Harry of Spaniel Lake

18) Sir Selises of the Dolorous Tower

19) Sir Melias de Lile

20) Sir Bellangre le Beuse

21) Sir Palomides

22) Sir Safere

23) Sir Clegis

24) Sir Dinas

25) Sir Clarius

Plus, Malory says, they aren’t there at the moment but later when the word of what’s happening goes down, another fifty-five Cornish and Welsh knights flock to Launcelot’s banner.


Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XX Chapters 5 and 6 — No Comments

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