“Alas,” says Arthur, “that ever this unhappy war was begun.”
Nevertheless Arthur does not go home, as Launcelot suggests! Instead the siege goes on for three weeks more, with no activity to speak of, until one morning Sir Gawaine feels healthy enough to get up and walk around. First thing he does is mount up and ride over to the castle gates, where he starts shouting for Launcelot to come out and joust. Foul traitor knight, you know the drill.
Sir Launcelot sticks his head out over the top of the castle walls. “Seriously?”
“I’m here and I’m ready to continue our joust!” shouts Gawaine.
“Gawaine, seriously, that’s just silly. You’re embarrassing yourself. We’ve already done this.”
“Then we’re going to have to do it again! And again and again, until one of us is dead!”
“Well ye wot, Sir Gawaine, ye may not greatly hurt me. We’ve established which of us is the bad-ass ultra-knight and which of us wouldn’t have been on the Round Table in the first place if he wasn’t King Arthur’s nephew.”
“Come down!” shouts Gawaine. “Come down and demonstrate to me with your hands just why you think you don’t need to apologize to me!”
“Christ,” says Launcelot. “I’m getting sick of this.”
Launcelot comes out of the castle, again. He and Gawaine joust, again. Launcelot easily dehorses Gawaine, again. Gawaine gets up and demands they sword-fight, again. Launcelot and Gawaine sword-fight, again. As noon approaches Gawaine fills with a kind of mad strength, again. Launcelot waits it out, again. Three hours after their fight starts (again) Launcelot bashes Gawaine’s head in, in the exact same place as before.
And once again, as Launcelot turns to leave, Gawaine complains about being left alive, and again he declares that their battle will not end until one of them is dead. And once again Gawaine spends weeks convalescing, and then, yet again…
Shocking twist! Because three days before Gawaine’s planned third bout with Launcelot, Arthur gets news from England that causes him to pull up stakes and return to Camelot post-haste!
TO BE CONTINUED IN: BOOK XXI! Dun dun dunnn!