Lancelot du Lac Explained With Facts
The timeless love between Sir Lancelot of the Lake and Queen Guinevere, the wife and queen of King Arthur, became the most popular and famous tale of the Arthurian legend. The tales of Lancelot can be found in the French prose romance, titled Lancelot (Prose Lancelot or Lancelot Propre c. 1227).
Lancelot was the first work in the Vulgate Cycle or Lancelot-Grail Cycle. The other two works were titled Queste del Saint Graal (the Quest of the Holy Grail), and La Mort le Roi Artu (the Death of King Arthur) can be found in two separate pages.
I have divided Lancelot proper into four sections, beginning the time of Lancelot’s birth to just before the knights set out on the quest for Holy Grail.
Please note that the Prose Lancelot is a large volume of work in the Vulgate Cycle. There are are countless adventures by Lancelot, Gawain and many other knights. I have to keep the number of episodes and adventures down. I have to omit many of the adventures including those of Lancelot, but I have tired to stayed with the main framework of the Vulgate Cycle, which will eventually lead to the next work in the cycle, the Quest of the Holy Grail.
|Lady of the Lake|
Genealogy: House of Lancelot (Vulgate / Post Vulgate version)
Related Articles from the Vulgate Cycle
|Quest of the Holy Grail (Queste del Saint Graal)|
|Death of King Arthur (Mort Artu)|
|Birth and Education|
|Birth and Education|
|Lancelot was born to King Ban of Banoic (or Benwick), and Helen (Helaine or Elaine). When Lancelot was an infant, his father was losing a war against Claudas, king of the Waste Lands (somewhere in France). Ban died of sorrow when his last castle (Trebe) was captured. His seneschal had betrayed him.
When King Bors of Gaunes, Ban’s brother heard of his death, Bors died of sorrow over the loss of his brother. Claudas captured King Bors’ two sons, Lionel and Bors, who were held prisoners and hostages. (For more details about Ban and Bors and their wives read King Ban and King Bors)
As his wife mourned for him, Helen had neglected her son (Lancelot). Niniane, the Lady of the Lake, vanished with the infant Lancelot into her domain, disappearing into the Lake. The Lake was not so much as a body of water, but rather like the Celtic Otherworld. The magic hid her home from intruders, and the lake was merely an illusion.
Niniane had learned some of magic from Merlin. Here, Niniane had already imprisoned Merlin in a cave or tomb, and had saved Arthur from the plot of Morgan le Faye, before she had taken the infant into her domain. (See the Legend of Excalibur, for the episodes mentioned above about her involvement with Merlin and Morgan.)
Here, Niniane brought up Lancelot. She was responsible for his education, giving him lessons in courtly love and manner.
At early age, he excelled in his education and training. He grew into a strong and handsome youth.
Though Lancelot had all the mannerism of a prince and a knight, Niniane never reveal Lancelot of his true identity. Everyone called him King’s Son. Lancelot was ignorant of his background, his parents, and his own name. Lancelot’s parents had named him Galahad, but this is not the name he is frequently known by.
|Though Niniane knew that Lancelot would some day leave her, she was a little distressed because she loved him as if he was really her own son. When the time came for him to leave, she prepared him for travel to the court of King Arthur. She knew Lancelot had the making of the greatest knight in the world.
Niniane had sent one of her damsels to rescue Lancelot’s cousins from King Claudas, Lionel and Bors, and brought them to the Lake. While Lancelot went to Arthur’s court, his cousins would remain with Niniane, until they were old enough to receive knighthood.
She and Lancelot were dressed in white. Lancelot’s new armour and weapons were also white. Niniane had her entire retinue dressed in white. Even their horses were white.
As they travelled to Camelot, she instructed Lancelot not to remain with King Arthur, after he was knighted. She informed him not to stay any court of king for very long, until his name and identity was revealed to him and until he established his reputation as a great knight.
They all accompanied the Lady and Lancelot to King Arthur’s court, where she asked the king for a boon. Arthur granted her anything she desire. She asked Arthur to knight her protégé, whenever he so desired. Arthur granted her this boon. Arthur was saddened that he could not make the Lady of the Lake stay in Camelot to enjoy his hospitality. She immediately departed their company, leaving four squires in Lancelot’s services.
Everyone in Arthur’s court was curious of the new arrival, including the best knights from the Round Table and Queen Guinevere, the wife of King Arthur. Arthur left Sir Yvain in charge with the new arrival for training.
The flawless beauty of Queen Guinevere immediately captivated Lancelot. The youth instantly fell in love with the queen.
Guinevere sought to discover his name, but he reply he did not know. Guinevere thought he was lying, until Sir Yvain pointed out that he may have been subjected to promise not to disclose his name, not really realising that youth actually did not know his own identity.
That night, Lancelot asked the king to fulfil his promise of knighting him, the following morning. Everyone, including Arthur was surprise that he wanted to be knighted so soon.
After a night of fasting and praying, King Arthur knighted Lancelot in the morning. Lancelot immediately wanted to leave to seek out new adventure. That morning, a messenger arrived from the Lady of Nohaut. The King of Northumbria wanted her land, and was currently at war with the Lady of Nohaut. She needed one of Arthur’s knights to fight in combat against her enemy’s champion. The new knight persuaded Arthur to allow him to be the Lady’s champion. Reluctantly, the king agreed.
When asking for Queen Guinevere’s leave to depart, he wished to be her knight and champion, which she agreed.
Before Lancelot could leave, he learned that Arthur forgot to finish the ceremony by belting him the sword. Though he said he would return with sword, Lancelot had no intention of returning, and set out immediately.
|Lifting the Curse|
|The Lady of Malohaut|
|Price of Friendship|
|The First Kiss|
|War Against the Saxons|
|Valley of No Return|
|Death of Galehaut|
|In his journey, Lancelot became involved in several minor adventures, before he arrived in Nohaut. Lancelot easily defeated the king of Northumbria’s champion, where the king then made peace with the Lady of Nohaut. Rather than stay to enjoy the Lady of Nohaut’s hospitality, he left to seek more adventure.
By afternoon, Lancelot came upon a formidable castle known as Dolorous Guard. The Dolorous Guard practised a custom of challenging all knights who come upon the castle. Brandin of the Isles was the lord of Dolorous Guard. Brandin was known as the Copper Knight.
In order to gain entry to the central keep, a knight-errant must defeat ten knights from the first wall, and another ten at the second wall, before a knight could face the Copper Knight in single combat. Even the people of the castle loathed his custom, which they considered it to be a curse. The knight, who conquered Dolorous Guard, would be able to lift the curse and put an end to the unfair custom. Yet, it seemed impossible for a single knight to conquer Dolorous Guard. Other knights have tried, and they were either killed or captured in combat.
Lancelot arrived to find that a damsel weeping over the death of her knight. When he learned of the custom, he aspired to capture the castle.
He was immediately challenged by the knight at the gate. Though he easily defeated the first knight, before he could make him a prisoner, the horn blew; another knight immediately challenged him. He defeated six knights; five were prisoners, while one escaped through the gate.
Though, he was ready to face another knight, the gate remained closed, for night had fallen. A veiled damsel arrived, offering Lancelot lodging. When they arrive at her apartment, Lancelot recognised her as one of damsel who served the Lady of the Lake.
From the damsel, he realised that he would have to face, in the following morning, ten knights again from the first wall, despite capturing five knights today. He was also informed that the Lady of the Lake had sent her to aid him. She had brought three white shields. One shield had one diagonal red band; the second with two red bands and the third had three. The shield with one band would double his strength, while the second would triple his strength. The third shield would give him the strength of four men.
The next day, he fought until he began to tire and his plain white shield was in tatter. Taking the shield with one red band, he felt refresh and his strength returned. The battle at the first wall was taking him to long. Sometimes he fought one opponent, other times he fought more than one opponent at the same time. By the time of terce, Lancelot was feeling frustrated since he had not past the first gate yet.
The damsel brought the second shield with two red bands, replacing the shield with one band. Feeling revigorated, Lancelot attack the knights with such ferocity and skills that they felt awe and fear. The lord of the castle was dismayed that the White Knight (Lancelot) seemed as fresh as he had started the combat.
Soon, the knights of the first wall, surrendered to him as prisoners. By none, the first gate opened to him. Just outside the second gate, ten knights awaited him. The damsel came to Lancelot and replaced his helmet and the shield with two bands with those of three bands. The White Knight also received a new strong lance.
The lord of Dolorous Guard (Brandin) watched with astonishment at how the White Knight (Lancelot) won through the first gate. Lancelot saw the Copper Knight, who was leaning too far out the wall. Brandin fell off the other side of the wall, killing one of his own knights in his fall.
Lancelot immediately attacked the other nine mounted knights all at once. Lancelot killed another knight in the joust. Surprised at this outcome, the eight remaining mounted knights tried to flee from the White Knight. Lancelot forced three knights, who could not escape, to surrender as his prisoners.
Lancelot chased the other five knights through the gate, but could not capture any of them. The townspeople gathered around Lancelot welcoming to Dolorous Guard, hoping that the White Knight could free them of the terrible curse and custom. However, the Copper Knight (Brandin) had escaped. The White Knight was now the new lord of Dolorous Guard.
They brought the White Knight to a cemetery, where he found helms and tombstones of many knights; many of them belonged to the fellowship of the Round Table. The White Knight found a great slab of metal, with writing that stated: only one knight could lift the slab, and his name will be reveal underneath the slab.
Lancelot easily lifted the slab and discovered that his name was written there; he also learnt that he was the son of King Ban of Banoic. Only the damsel, who gave him the three shields, saw his name, before he could hide it from everybody. No one else knew his name. Lancelot was just known as the White Knight and Conqueror of Dolorous Guard.
Everyone was upset that their old lord had escaped. Brandin had fled to a small castle, because the enchantment (curse) was yet to be lifted.
News arrived in Camelot, that a single knight had conquered Dolorous Guard. Everyone in court was surprised, and was not certain if the news was true. Arthur sent his nephew Gawain with Yvain and eight other knights to verify the news.
Gawain and his companions arrived at Dolorous Guard, to find the first gate opened, while the second gate was closed. The gatekeeper told the companions, to come by the next morning, and then he would open the gate to them.
One man outside of Dolorous Guard offered them lodging. At the lodge, as they disarmed and went to the next room to rest, they found the dorm was filled with armed knights. It was a trap. The companions were powerless to resist the armed knights. The ten companions were carried off to the small castle (on a river island), which belonged to the former lord of Dolorous Guard; this prison was called Dolorous Prison.
In Dolorous Prison, Gawain and his friends found other knights from the Round Table being held captives, including Arthur’s illegitimate son, Lohot (Loholt). Lohot had contracted an illness since he had been in prison.
When Gawain had not return from Dolorous Guard, Arthur became concern. Arthur immediately left Camelot for Dolorous Guard, with Guinevere and other members of the Round Table.
The king arrived at Dolorous Guard to find the gate close to him. The gatekeeper told Arthur to send someone to the gate every hour, until the White Knight (Lancelot) decided to open the gate to them.
For four days, Arthur send one of his knights at every hour, for entry into the castle, each time it was refused, until Queen Guinevere asked permission to enter the castle. Lancelot granted her permission to enter the castle, but the gatekeeper, mistaken Lancelot’s instruction, and closed the gate before she could enter. Lancelot became upset, when Guinevere left in anger.
That night, Lancelot learned from a damsel that Gawain and his companions were either killed or captured. When he went to investigate, he recognised the damsel as another attendant of the Lady of the Lake. She took Lancelot to where he could find the people who held Gawain and others as prisoners.
When he saw fifteen knights including the Copper Knight (Brandin), Lancelot attacked them. None put up any resistance, but tried to flee back to the island. Lancelot was upset when Brandin had escaped to the little island.
Then Lancelot met a hermit, who knew of Brandin’s plan to attack’s Arthur’s camp. Lancelot went to investigate and found 150 men ready to raid the king’s camp at night. Lancelot fearlessly attacked Brandin’s men, who panic and fled, thinking that Arthur had caught them. Lancelot captured Brandin who agreed to become prisoner of the monk.
Lancelot promised to release him if he would release Gawain and all those he held in prison. Brandin agreed and had all the prisoners released from Dolorous Prison. When Gawain and his companion all arrived at the hermitage, Lancelot reluctantly released Brandin. Gawain and his companion all agreed to stay in the hermitage until Lancelot allowed them to leave. No one recognised Lancelot, because he always worn his helmet in their presence, and he had a different shield than the one he was knighted in.
Lancelot returned to Dolorous Guard, and allowed all of Arthur’s people into the castle. They were unsuccessful in trying to gain information about the knight who captured the castle, nor what had happened to Gawain and his companions.
Lancelot then returned to the hermitage and allowed Gawain and the others to leave. Instead of returning to Dolorous Guard with Gawain, Lancelot left to seek new adventure.
Gawain and the others went to Dolorous Guard, and were reunited with Arthur. Gawain told them that a White Knight had released them from prison.
|Arthur decided to return to Camelot, before he takes his knights to an encounter (tournament) against Galehaut, Lord of the Sorelois and the Distant Isles (Remote Isles). Gawain decided to try and find the identity of the White Knight, and left on his quest.
Lancelot decided to attend the tournament, but he was wounded before he arrived, in some minor adventures. Even though he had not fully recovered, he fought impressively on King Arthur’s side. Gawain who watched the battle, was impressed with White Knight but did not recognised him because he worn a different shield.
Malaguin, better known as the King of Hundred Knights, was cousin of Galehaut, decided to face the White Knight. In the joust, Lancelot received a serious wound, but still fought very well, until his wound finally overcame him. Both Arthur and Galehaut admired the White Knight prowess in combat. Arthur and Galehaut decided to meet in another battle at a later date.
Lancelot asked the doctor that if he could be treated at another place, because he did not wished to be recognised by anyone. As he travelled in a litter, the Lady of Nohaut found him and took Lancelot back to her castle, refusing to let him leave until he had recovered.
Lancelot decided to leave the Lady of Nohaut, when one of the damsel of the Lady of the Lake, arrived with Gawain. She bore a message from another damsel, who given him the three shields. She could not leave Dolorous Guard until she had permission to leave. Lancelot sends the damsel back to Dolorous Guard, with his ring, giving the damsel of the three shields, permission to leave anytime she wishes. Gawain followed the damsel back to Dolorous Guard, hoping to know the White Knight’s identity. However Gawain was unsuccessful in discovering Lancelot’s name, because he could not lift the metal slab from tomb.
|Lifting the Curse|
|Lancelot was hoping to attend the second encounter (battle) between Arthur and Galehaut, but he was distracted from his quest. A squire brought news that Queen Guinevere was imprisoned in Dolorous Guard.
To release her from prison, he had to return to Dolorous Guard, however, it was a trap. Lancelot became a prisoner instead. The townspeople were upset with him for secretly leaving without lifting the curse from the castle. Lancelot agreed to lift the enchantment from castle.
They took him back to cemetery where lie an ancient chapel. The chapel had an entrance to underground vault. Armed with his weapon he entered a tunnel and found door guarded by two copper knights. Though he had won past them through the door, he received a wound to his shoulder.
Lancelot found himself in a chamber with a Well of Blackness. On the other side of well was an axe-wielding black knight, who had flames coming out his mouth. Lancelot charged towards the well. He threw his shield at the black knight before leaping across the well. The shield shattered on impact, before he crashed into the knight. With his hands he strangled the black knight to death. Then Lancelot threw the black knight into the well.
Lancelot entered another chamber with copper pillars, to find a copper woman holding a set of keys. The White Knight took the keys and went to the centre of chamber. The largest pillar had writing that indicates which key was for which lock. The large key unlocked the pillar that contained a chest. The other key was for the Perilous Chest. Once the chest was opened, demons or the enchantment was broken.
As Lancelot left the chamber with the keys, the copper women and the copper knights were destroyed, while the Well of Blackness had vanished. He left the chapel to find the people of the castle to greet him. They informed Lancelot that Queen Guinevere was never imprisoned here; it was just a ruse to bring him back to remove the enchantment on the castle. Lancelot was now their new lord, and Dolorous Guard was renamed to Joyous Guard.
Lancelot left the next morning to participate the next encounter between Arthur and Galehaut.
|The Lady of Malohaut|
|Galehaut, lord of the Distant Isles, the Uncrowned King, had conquered thirty kingdoms. Galehaut was determined to add Logres (Britain) to his empire, before he decided to wear a crown. Galehaut send a message to Arthur, saying that he would like him (Arthur) to surrender to him as a vassal, in return that Galehaut would not invade Logres. Arthur refused to submit to Galehaut.
The two damsels of the Lady of the Lake aided Gawain, who continued to search for identity of the White Knight and the conqueror Dolorous Guard. One damsel promised to tell Gawain of hero’s name if Lancelot refused to tell him. When they found the White Knight, Lancelot stubbornly refused to reveal his name. Since Gawain had done so much for the damsel (rescuing her from the treacherous knight named Brehu the Pitiless), she owed Gawain the truth. She revealed Lancelot’s name and lineage to Gawain. Lancelot was upset with the damsel, though he allowed her to journey with him. The other damsel (the one who gave him three shields) returned to the Lady of the Lake.
Gawain had completed his quest. Gawain returned to Camelot and told everyone interested in the name of the White Knight.
After various minor adventures, such as being prisoner of Daguenet, King Arthur’s Fool, and killing two giants, Lancelot was captured by the Lady of Malohaut. Lancelot was imprisoned for killing the Lady’s seneschal.
The damsel, who had followed Lancelot, was locked on the other side of the castle gate when Lancelot was attacked. She thought Lancelot had died fighting. She went to a nearby abbey and took the nun’s vow.
The Lady however allowed Lancelot to attend the first battle between Arthur and Galehaut, on the condition he returns to her prison, when the battle was over. Lancelot was the best in the field, inspiring other knights of Arthur, to holding back Galehaut’s assaults. Gawain, who led Arthur’s first battalion, also proved to be a great knight, but he was seriously wounded.
Galehaut seeing that he outnumbered Arthur’s forces, saw that he would not gain any honour in this battle. Galehaut called for a truce to meet one year from now, asking Arthur to bring a larger army to face him. Both armies withdrew from the battlefield.
After the battle, Lancelot returned to Malohaut Prison. The Lady of Malohaut was curious of who this White Knight was. The lady and her cousin, saw that he armour and weapon show great sign of wears, while he had returned with different horse to the one he left with. As Lancelot slept naked in the prison cell, the lady and her cousin saw that his body shows recent signs of cuts and bruises, further proving that he was not idle in the battle. While he slept unnoticed of the attention around him, the Lady of Malohaut would have kissed Lancelot had her cousin stopped her. It was clear that the Lady of Malohaut had fallen in love with Lancelot.
The next day, the Lady of Malohaut was determined to find out the name of her handsome prisoner. Lancelot refused to reveal his name to the lady. She pretended to be angry with him, even threatening the hero with death or longer and harder prison sentence. Lancelot defiantly refused to budge in this issue, and meekly returned to his cell.
The Lady of Malohaut went to Camelot on her quest to find the identity of her unnamed prisoner. Though she did not find out his name, she was satisfied in knowing that he was not the member of the Round Table.
She returned to her castle, asking for Lancelot’s attendance. The Lady threatened that he would never leave his prison cell, unless he answers one of her questions: What was his name? Which lady did he love? If he would perform better than the last battle? Lancelot did not want to answer any of the questions, but he also did not want to miss the coming battle. Lancelot answered the last question. Satisfied, the Lady of Malohaut told Lancelot could leave, but she asked him to stay until the battle takes place. She promised him new armour and weapons.
A couple months after the battle, Gawain had fully recovered from his wounds. He set out on the new quest with forty other knights, to find Lancelot and bring him to help them in the next battle. None of the knights returned with any success by the time of the next battle.
Gawain again led the first battalion of Arthur’s army against Galehaut’s forces. Arthur’s army was still greatly outnumbered by Galehaut, though he brought more men into the battle.
The first day of fighting was fierce; Gawain’s prowess in battle helped his battalion to withstand Galehaut’s attack. However, his smaller force was nearly overwhelmed, before the battle was called for the day. Gawain dropped down unconscious from exhaustion and even more serious wounds than last year. Arthur and men feared that Gawain might have been mortally wounded; they were greatly demoralised with Gawain out of action for weeks.
Lancelot was distressed when he heard that the battle had taken place, and that Gawain was probably mortally wounded. The Lady of Malohaut assured Lancelot that the fighting would not resume till another three days.
|Price of Friendship|
|The Lady of Malohaut joined Queen Guinevere and the other ladies to watch the battle. While Lancelot made preparation for the coming battle, he received the new armour from the Lady. This time he rode into battle with black horse, wearing black armour and shield. No one would be able to recognise him.
When Lancelot arrived in the battle, the Lady of Malohaut suspected that Lancelot must love one of the ladies whom watch the battle. Seeing the knight in black armour, she asked many of the ladies to request the Black Knight to fight the battle in their honour.
Gawain watching the Black Knight, suspected the new arrival, that Black Knight was Lancelot, wearing new armour. Gawain sent his own squire, to give Lancelot three lances.
Lancelot would unhorse many enemy knights, wearing down the three lances, before returning to the hill to watch the battle.
When the Lady of Malohaut and Gawain persuaded Guinevere to ask to the Black Knight to perform deeds of arms in her honour. Gawain sent ten lances this time, along three of his own horses, with the queen’s message. When Lancelot rejoined the battle, the Lady of Malohaut firmly believed that Lancelot was in love with the queen.
In the fighting, he unhorsed the First Conquered King and man of his knights. Some of King Arthur’s knights watching such great deeds of arms they joined the Black Knight, providing Lancelot with support. Even though, Galehaut’s army was larger, the Black Knight helped inspired Arthur’s men to drive their enemies back.
Both sides admired the Black Knight’s prowess. Galehaut suspected that he was the same knight who attended the other encounters. Galehaut admired the Black Knight so much that he would do anything to win his friendship.
Before the end of the day, Galehaut met the Black Knight and persuaded him to lodge with him. Galehaut tried to convince Lancelot there was no treachery involved, he was trying to become the hero’s friend. When Galehaut promised anything to the Black Knight, Lancelot told him to surrender when Arthur thought he was facing a humiliating defeat. When Galehaut promised to all that he say; and it was this boon that won Lancelot’s friendship.
The next day, Lancelot was fighting on Galehaut’s side, though he was wearing Galehaut’s own armour. Gawain however recognised him as the same person as the Black Knight. Everyone, including Arthur and Guinevere became distressed, that the Black Knight had changed side, because Arthur’s army was now having the worse of the day’s battle.
Arthur was facing a crushing and humiliating defeat, when Lancelot asked Galehaut to fulfil his promise. Out of his love for his new friend, Galehaut came before Arthur to surrender to the surprised king, when Galehaut asked the King of Logres for his forgiveness.
|The First Kiss|
|Arthur was surprised and delighted by this change of event. Arthur graciously accepted the surrender and asked Galehaut to dine with him. Lancelot made Galehaut to not give his name until he chooses to name him or someone else named him.
Galehaut had dined with Arthur and his queen for several nights. When Arthur’s court learned that Galehaut had surrendered due to a knight; they suspected it was the Black Knight’s doing for Arthur’s sudden victory. Gawain and the king and queen wanted to know the identity of the Black Knight, but Galehaut did not know his friend’s name.
Galehaut returned to his own camp in the morning to find that his companion had been weeping. Galehaut had unsuccessfully tried to comfort Lancelot.
Lancelot’s heart was breaking because he believed that could not have Guinevere’s love, because she was married. Yet everything he had accomplished was due to his love for the beautiful queen. Lancelot was not even British subject to Arthur; Lancelot was a foreign prince from across the English Channel. Yet, Lancelot wanted Galehaut to compile with every wishes of Arthur.
Galehaut began to suspect that his friend was in love with Guinevere, because whenever one of them mentioned the queen, Lancelot’s mood became pensive and distress.
Guinevere wanting to meet with the knight, who saved her husband’s kingdom, insistently persuaded Galehaut in arranging a meeting between her and the unknown Black Knight. Several days later, Lancelot agreed to a private meeting with the queen, to be arranged by Galehaut. Lancelot did not wish to meet anyone who would recognise him.
Galehaut arrange for them to meet one late afternoon. Galehaut left them alone so that they could talk and join a group of ladies that Guinevere had brought along. One of the ladies was the Lady of Malohaut, who had imprisoned Lancelot. She easily recognised her former prisoner.
Lancelot was overwhelmed and embarrassed in her presence. Guinevere persistently discovered that he was the same knight who through various guises and his own prowess, which he achieved through great deeds of arms. As one secret after another was revealed, Guinevere recognised that he was Lancelot of the Lake.
More questioning revealed that the young hero was in love with her, and that all he had done was for her sake, not Arthur. During the talk, Lancelot recognised the Lady of Malohaut; Lancelot became upset because he knew she had recognised him. At first, Guinevere thought Lancelot was in love with one of the ladies. When Guinevere told him this, Lancelot was so upset that the queen thought he was going to faint.
Guinevere revealed to all that they had talk about, including Lancelot’s name, and why he was upset.
When Galehaut found that suspicion proved to be true. Far from been offended by his friend’s desire and going against the Christian teaching that adultery was a mortal sin, Galehaut set about helping Lancelot to win Guinevere’s love.
Galehaut asked the queen to return her friend’s love, which she readily agreed to. She even agreed to kiss Lancelot, as a token of her love for the hero. Galehaut arranged that they would kiss one another, while Galehaut blocked the view from the ladies.
However, the Lady of Malohaut knew something was going on, and she wanted to become part of it. She knew now that Lancelot was in love with the queen. She confronted the queen, saying that she would her help with Lancelot. Guinevere and the Lady of Malohaut became good friend, and the queen arranged Galehaut and her new companion to become lovers. Everyday they secretly made arrangement where Lancelot and Guinevere could kiss.
Both Galehaut and Arthur decided to return to their respective kingdoms. Lancelot was to go with Galehaut, while returned to Camelot with her husband.
|War Against the Saxons|
|Lancelot and Galehaut departed for Galehaut’s kingdom, Sorelois. The Lady of the Lake had sent Lancelot’s cousin, Lionel, to become his squire, until he was ready to be knighted.
The Lady of the Lake also sent a shield to Guinevere. The magic shield depicted a knight and a lady kissing, but the shield was split down the middle, preventing the knight and lady from actually touching one another. The Queen was told once she consummates her relationship with her lover, would the split shield become whole.
Once Gawain had fully recovered from his wounds, he set out on the same quest he had postponed (because of the war against Galehaut) – to find the White or Red Knight (Lancelot) who was at the two previous encounters. Guinevere told Gawain, he might find him with Galehaut.
Lancelot separation from Guinevere had made the young hero depressed and pensive. Not even Galehaut could comfort him. After some weeks, Galehaut sent Lionel as a messenger to Guinevere, with the some news that might comfort or cheer up Lancelot. Guinevere sent Lionel back to Lancelot with the message to do everything Gawain’s wishes.
Gawain went through various adventures, where he met a young knight named Hector and later Lionel. Gawain and Hector arrived at Sorelois where they were challenged to fight several times, including against Lancelot at Galehaut’s castle. Lionel’s arrival prevented bloodshed between Lancelot and Gawain.
Lancelot was upset that he had fought with Gawain. Though he still wanted to keep his name a secret, the Queen’s message told him to do whatever Gawain ask of him. Gawain knew that he was the knight he had been looking for. Reluctantly, Lancelot told Gawain his name. At this time news arrived that the Saxons and Irishmen had invaded Scotland. Arthur had sent his army to Scotland to defend his empire.
Lancelot and his companions secretly join Arthur’s army. On the day of their arrival, they found Arthur’s army besieging Saxon Rock, a castle built at the time of Vortigern. Arthur was in love with the Saxon witch, and met her in her chamber of the castle. Arthur was captured by the Saxon knights and imprisoned.
During Arthur’s absence, Lancelot made love to Guinevere. The shield given to the queen was made whole, which made Guinevere very happy. But news arrived that the Saxons were holding the king as prisoner.
A damsel arrived before the presence of the four companions, telling them she knew how to help them free Arthur. However, she brought them into a trap where Lancelot, Gawain, Galehaut and Hector were thrown into prison.
Only Lancelot was released from prison when he lost his mind. Lancelot hurt friends and enemies alike. Only Guinevere could calm Lancelot’s raving. His sanity only returned when he put on the magic shield given to Guinevere. But the moment he took off the shield his madness return. Only the arrival of the Lady of the Lake cured his madness.
By this time, Arthur’s men were losing the fierce battle against the Saxons and Irishmen. When Lancelot returned to the battle, the tide of the battle returned to Briton forces. Lancelot managed to return to the castle, and released Arthur and his companions from prison. Lancelot captured the Saxon witch and forced her to make her army surrender.
After the battle, Gawain informed Arthur that he had completed his quest, and had found the White or Red Knight. Gawain told the king that he was one who released him from prison and his name was Lancelot. Overcome with joy, Arthur unsuccessfully tried to persuade Lancelot to become member of his household and join the Round Table. So Arthur asked his wife to beg him to stay with them. Lancelot decided to stay because the Queen had asked him to.
Galehaut was upset, but decided to stay with Arthur and become member of the Round Table. However, Galehaut could not stay at Camelot, indefinitely, since he had an empire to rule.
|In the Vulgate Merlin, the author says that Queen Guinevere had half sister, who was also called Guinevere. They were born on the same day and looked exactly the same, though they had different mother. King Leodegan of Camelide (Camelerd) had slept with his seneschal’s wife. I shall call the second Guinevere – False Guinevere.
While Lancelot was staying with his friend Galehaut in Sorelois, the second Guinevere plotted with Bertholai, a knight of Camelide, to convince Arthur that she was his real wife. The False Guinevere says in her letter that if the king would not take her back as wife, Arthur must return the Round Table to her.
The ring that the False Guinevere had was identical to that of the Queen. Arthur set Boxing Day (December 26) to prove which was his real wife and which was the impostor. Twenty barons from Camelide were part of the conspiracy.
One day, Bertholai captured Arthur in the forest. They gave Arthur love potion so that he would fall in love with the False Guinevere. Arthur did whatever Bertholai and the False Guinevere say.
Arthur declared his real wife as an impostor, and wanted to have her executed. Arthur with the barons of Camelide found Guinevere – guilty of treason. Since she had worn the crown she needed to die by fire. Guinevere was stripped of her title and power as queen, while he set the False Guinevere took her place as Arthur’s wife and consort.
The knights of the Round Table, particularly Gawain, were shocked at the accusation and verdict. Gawain and the knights opposed Arthur and the conspirators; they rather that they be banish than allow the queen to be exiled or put to death.
News arrived about Guinevere’s imprisonment. Lancelot immediately set out to rescue the queen, accompanied by Galehaut and his army.
When the day arrived that Guinevere was to be executed, Lancelot challenged the barons of Camelide in the force of arms. Bertholai had it set that Lancelot would have to fight three opponents instead of one. Bertholai had the three strongest knights from Camelide to fight this unfair duel. Arthur and Galehaut opposed to this arrangement, but Lancelot refused to back down from combat. Lancelot renounced his allegiance to Arthur and his seat at the Round Table.
Lancelot fought three knights, killing two and wounding the third knight. Though, Lancelot had won the combat, Arthur refused to take the real Guinevere back. Arthur was still under the spell of the False Guinevere. To solve this crisis and to protect the queen, Galehaut offer his kingdom as a safe haven for Guinevere. So Lancelot and Guinevere stayed in Sorelois, where they can continue their relation with one another, without Arthur discovering it.
When the Pope heard of Guinevere’s plight, he warned Arthur to take back his real wife or face Interdictment placed on his kingdom for 21 months (which was sort of suspension from sacrament or mass to a person or the entire district). Arthur refused to give up the False Guinevere. The interdict was imposed immediately upon Arthur.
Ten months later, the False Guinevere and Bertholai fell mysteriously ill, robbing them ability to move. The two main conspirators realised that God was punishing them for the plot to remove the real queen. To save their souls, they repented of their sins and crime to the Arthur’s chaplain, Amustans. They also confessed to Arthur of their deception. Arthur either had the pair executed or that they died from their illness, the text wasn’t clear of how they died.
When news arrived of the conspirators’ deaths, they also found that Arthur wished to take his wife back. Lancelot and Guinevere were happy of this outcome with conspirators but were saddened that they would have to part company.
At first Guinevere pretended that she would not return to Arthur since he was ready to execute her. Arthur had to reconcile with Guinevere, Lancelot and Galehaut. Arthur had to plea with Lancelot to retake his seat at the Round Table. Once Arthur and Guinevere were reconciled, the queen gave a full kiss to Lancelot in public for his service to her. She considered Lancelot as her personal champion, which Arthur whole-heartedly approved. Lionel, Lancelot’s cousin, was dubbed as knight.
|Valley of No Return|
|One night, while they were celebrating, Lancelot was enjoying a night stroll in the forest outside of London, along with the three nephews of Arthur: Gawain, Yvain and Galeshin. A large knight burst into clearing and plucked Gawain on to his large horse. All four knights were unarmed at the time. Though Gawain put up a struggle he was helpless against the giant knight. Lancelot wanted to immediately pursue Gawain abductor, but his other friends warn them they did not have any armour or weapon to confront the giant knight.
We learned that Gawain’s abductor was Caradoc (Carados), known as the Lord of Dolorous Tower. Gawain received many wounds when Caradoc’s guards had beaten him up. Caradoc’s mother accused Gawain of treacherously killing her brother – Gadras the Black. Caradoc’s mother was also a witch, applied poisonous ointment over his wounds, causing Gawain great agony.
Gawain was then imprisoned in the vermin-infested dungeon of Dolorous Tower. His wounds festered and Gawain health deteriorated after a few days. To add to his torment, the vermin would bite him in his dark cell.
There was a damsel, who lived in Dolorous Tower and was cousin to the Lady of White Castle and to Galeshin (nephew of Arthur); she decided to help Gawain. Caradoc had also abducted her, because of her great beauty. Caradoc wanted to force her to marry him. Though she could not release Gawain, she threw poisoned mixture into Gawain’s prison cell to kill all the vermin. The damsel also gave medicine, to heal Gawain’s wounds. Then each night she would secretly send food and clean water to Gawain.
The three knights immediately set out on a quest to rescue Gawain. The Lady of White Castle directed Galeshin to Dolorous Tower, who happened to be his cousin. Before any knight can proceed to Dolorous Tower, the knight must walk through a church and open the door on the other side, while staffs wielded by invisible hands beat him. Whoever succeeded this test, would be the hero who would save Gawain. Galeshin failed the test.
Lancelot and Yvain arrived a day later, and were similarly tested in the church. Yvain failed, but Lancelot succeeded in opening the door.
To reach Dolorous Tower, the knights must pass through Le Val Sans Retour, which means the “Valley of No Return”. The valley belonged to Morgan le Fay, half-sister of King Arthur. Morgan was once in love with cousin of Queen Guinevere, while she was the Queen’s lady-in-waiting. Guinevere banished her cousin to prevent a scandal. This seemed to be source of Morgan’s enmity towards Guinevere.
Morgan left her brother’s court and came to this valley. The valley was enchanted so that any knight, who had been faithless to his true love, could not leave Morgan’s domain. Only a knight who had been faithful to his true love could end the enchantment on the valley and release the trapped knights.
Galeshin was the first to enter the valley and was captured. Yvain also entered the valley and he was also trapped. Lancelot entered the valley, where he killed four dragons. Lancelot then crossed the narrow plank that was defended by two knights. Lancelot pursued another knight, who fled into Morgan’s pavilion. Morgan was rudely wakened, when she fell of her bed, she was sleeping in. Lancelot chopped off the knight’s head. Lancelot apologised for having waking the angry Morgan.
Morgan became even more upset to learn that Lancelot had broken the enchantment on her valley. She had no choice but to release all the prisoners, including her faithless lover. Galeshin and Yvain were set free.
|Death of Galehaut|
|Morgan le Fay persuaded Lancelot to stay for one night, to rest. While Lancelot slept, she used a drug on the sleeping hero, and spirited Lancelot to her castle. Lancelot woke and found himself in prison. Morgan told the hero she would only release him if he gave her ransom. Morgan wanted the ring on Lancelot’s finger. Lancelot refused, because it was gift from Guinevere. Morgan also had a ring almost identical to the one Lancelot wore. The only differences between the two rings were the engravings.
Morgan told the hero he would die in prison. Lancelot told her he didn’t care. Morgan reminded the hero that he had yet to save Gawain from Caradoc. Morgan told the hero, she would allow him to rescue Gawain, only if he promised to return to her as her prisoner. Lancelot agreed.
Lancelot continued on his journey and found two bodies floating in the river. Lancelot was told that the hero, who removed the bodies from the water, would achieve the Dolorous Tower. Lancelot immediately jumped into the water and lifted the bodies out of the water.
Galeshin and Yvain had arrived at Dolorous Tower before Lancelot. Yvain enter the front gate and was captured by ten knights. Galeshin used the other gate. Galeshin defeated one knight at the first gate, two at the second gate. However three knights overcame him at the third gate. Yvain and Galeshin were held in prison.
Meanwhile, Caradoc heard that Arthur was leading his knights to take Dolorous Tower. Caradoc sent his own men to confront Arthur, and prevent them entering his domain.
Lancelot then arrived at Dolorous Tower and fought against Caradoc. Though they fought long and hard, Lancelot proved to be too strong and skilled for Caradoc. Caradoc realising he was about to lose, broke off the fighting, and ran towards his tower. Caradoc hoped to kill Gawain before Lancelot could release his friend.
However, the damsel who had helped Gawain, she now helped Lancelot, by closing and locking the gate. Lancelot killed Caradoc and then released Gawain and the other prisoners.
Lancelot then left his friends, returning to Morgan as prisoner. Once again, Lancelot refused to give his ring to her. As Lancelot slept in his cell, Morgan slipped Lancelot’s ring off his finger, replacing with her own ring.
Morgan then sent one of her damsels with the ring and message to Arthur and Guinevere. This damsel told everyone in Arthur’s court that Lancelot was dying from his wound, and was returning the ring to Guinevere, saying that he had sinned against God and his king (Arthur) for loving the Queen.
Guinevere replied that she had loved Lancelot only because the hero had saved her and her husband, and because Lancelot had also helped Arthur to win two wars. Arthur believed his wife’s statement.
Galehaut who was staying with Arthur decided to find Lancelot along with Gawain, Yvain and Lionel.
After staying with her for a while, Morgan became attracted to Lancelot, wanted to marry the knight. Lancelot rejected her advances; declaring that he would rather died than becomes Morgan’s lover. Realising that Lancelot was still faithful to Guinevere, she released Lancelot.
Lancelot returned to Sorelois, hoping to find Galehaut. Lancelot was more than disappointed when he found that his friend was absent; he became very depressed. After a few nights, Lancelot fled into the wood, without his armour and weapon. Apparently he was driven into insanity, because he missed Guinevere.
Galehaut had found Lancelot’s shield, carried by a vavasour. The vavasour gave the shield to Galehaut, after Galehaut was wounded in the fighting.
Galehaut return to his kingdom with Lionel, only to find that his friend had lost his mind and left his kingdom. Thinking that Lancelot had killed himself, Galehaut became inconsolable and fell ill during fasting and died ten days later. Galehaut’s kingdom was given to his nephew and godson, Galehodin.
Lionel returned to Camelot with news of Lancelot’s disappearance and Galehaut’s death. More bad news followed when the court of King Arthur learned of the death of the Lady of Malohaut, Guinevere’s companion.
This section of Lancelot was called the Charrette. The Vulgate Charrette was a rework of Chretien de Troyes’ earlier verse romance, called Le Chevalier de la charrette (“Knight of the Cart”; it was also known simply by its title, “Lancelot”), c. 1175.
Many of the scenes and incidences in the Charrette followed the original tale by Chretien. The biggest difference between the Vulgate and Chretien’s versions was that in the Vulgate Charrette, Lancelot was no longer anonymous knight. In the Chretien’s version, we don’t know the identity of the hero, until Lancelot fought Meleagant in the first duel in Gorre. Also, in the beginning of the Charrette, Meleagant explained why he had abducted Guinevere was due to his jealous rivalry with Lancelot.
Sir Thomas Malory had his own version of the Charrette. Malory had placed the Charrette episode in Book XIX of Le Morte d’Arthur (c. 1469). The biggest difference between Malory’s and the Vulgate version was the timeframe. The Vulgate version had set the episode before the birth of Galahad and the Grail Quest. While Malory’s Charrette took place after the Grail Quest. More precisely, it was set just before Arthur discovered the adultery of Guinevere and Lancelot, and the hostility between the Orkney and Ban’s clans (Book XX).
|Knight of the Cart|
|Argodras the Red|
|Knight of the Cart|
|Lancelot wandered throughout the kingdom, dwelling in the wild forest for a whole year. When he was in the forest outside of Camelot, the Lady of the Lake found on Easter and healed Lancelot.
On Candlemas Eve, Niniane, the Lady of the Lake, found Lancelot in Cornwall. She took him home and restored his sanity. By Easter, Lancelot had regained his health and strength. Niniane sent Lancelot back to Logres. She advised for her protégée to be at the forest of Camelot at a certain date.
On Ascension Day, Melegant arrived boasting of capturing a lot of people from Logres and would not release until a knight could safely escort Guinevere through the forest, outside of Camelot.
Sir Kay, Arthur’s seneschal, tricked Arthur into offering him a boon. Kay wished to be the Queen’s escort and protector. Kay had a delusion that he could defeat Meleagant. Arthur had little choice but to let Kay escort his wife through the forest. Arthur could not refuse without breaking his words. Kay escorted the queen through the forest, and was attacked and captured by Meleagant. Guinevere became Meleagant’s prisoner and they set out for the kingdom of Gorre.
Gawain berated his uncle for letting his wife go with Sir Kay. Gawain persuaded Arthur and the other knights around the Round Table, to rescue Guinevere. Gawain and many knights set out at once. Gawain went off by himself to rescue the queen.
Lancelot arrived at the scene and attacked Meleagant and his knights. Though Lancelot managed to unhorse Meleagant, the villain’s knights killed Lancelot’s horse. Meleagant fled with his prisoners. Gawain arrived when he saw Lancelot, though he could not recognise his friend because of Lancelot’s new armour. Gawain had found Sir Kay’s horse.
Taking Sir Kay’s horse, Lancelot set out in pursuit after Meleagant. Lancelot again caught up with Meleagant. Again, Meleagant’s men killed Lancelot’s horse and rode away with the prisoners. Lancelot decided to follow Meleagant on foot. (According to Chretien, Lancelot had ridden both horses to death, pursuing his enemies.)
Lancelot then encountered a dwarf driving his cart. The dwarf would only agreed to lead the hero to Meleagant only if he rode in the cart with him. Lancelot hesitated before getting in the cart.
Gawain had caught up with Lancelot and was surprised to see the knight get on the cart, because during those days, the cart was normally has pillory for criminal. Only a disgraced knight would be forced to ride in a cart: a knight that has been found guilty of treason, murder or other felony. A crowd would subject a knight, who committed no crime or who was not wounded, to mockery and hold in contempt, if he was found riding in a cart.
When Gawain asked the dwarf if he had seen the queen, he was also asked to get in the cart with the other knight if he wanted to find the queen. Gawain refused, but said he would follow the cart on his own warhorse.
They arrived in town when the townspeople mocked the knight in the cart. Though both knights received lodging in a hostel from a damsel and her sister, she treated Gawain with great respect but the other knight she held in contempts, since Lancelot had rode in the cart.
In the morning they saw the queen passed through the town with her abductor. It was only then that Gawain recognised his friend. The damsel gave the unnamed knight, a horse to compensate for her rudeness to the knight. The two knights immediately set out after the queen.
They met a damsel in the woods, who knew where Meleagant was taking the queen. The damsel promised to guide them provided that they do something for her in the future. She told them the identity of abductor and that he was taking the queen to kingdom of Gorre, that belong to Meleagant’s father, King Baudemagus. Baudemagus had been one of Galehaut’s vassals, in the war against Arthur (See Galehaut). Two possible paths could be chosen to enter Gorre. She led them to a fork on the road. One road leads to the Underwater Bridge and the other more perilous path leads to the Sword Bridge. Gawain chose the Underwater Bridge, while Lancelot took off for the Sword Bridge.
The story then followed along the same line as of Chretien’s work in several points. Lancelot did not recognise the damsel’s sister when she offered Lancelot accommodation in the forest. The damsel tested Lancelot’s bravery and chivalry, by trying to seduce the hero.
Lancelot promised to escort the damsel, where he found Guinevere’s comb. Lancelot gave the comb to the damsel but kept the single strand of hair under his shirt (I think I gonna be sick).
Lancelot also defended the girl against an unwanted suitor, before Lancelot arrived at a monastery. A monk told Lancelot that only one knight who would be destined to lift up the stone slab from the tomb and read the inscription within. Lancelot easily lifted the slab and read the inscription. The tomb belonged to Galahad, the first Christian king of Hoselice (Wales) and the son of Joseph of Arimathea.
The following part about Simeon’s tomb is not found in Chretien’s Charrette. The monks were surprised at Lancelot’s strength and took the hero to the cave of Simeon’s tomb. Simeon was the cousin of Galahad of Hoselice. Lancelot entered the cave and saw a tomb surrounded by ring of fire.
As the hero approach the tomb, Lancelot heard a voice that warned him to stay away from the fire, because he was not the hero destined to win in this adventure. The spirit of Simeon foretold that only the Good Knight (Galahad) would succeed and walk through this fire and release his (Simeon’s) torment. Simeon also informed Lancelot that the hero’s real name was Galahad, and that it would be his son (Galahad) who would sit on the Siege Perilous and win the quest of the Holy Grail. Simeon also told Lancelot that his mother (Helen or Elaine) was still alive and living as a nun in the Royal Minister, in Gaul (France).
The hero continued his journey until he arrived at the Sword Bridge, where his two new companions, did not want the hero to sacrifice his life in attempting to cross the bridge. For the bridge was like a sharp sword. Below the bridge was black swirling water; while on the other side of the bridge were two huge lions. Further beyond the bridge, he could see the castle where the queen had been imprisoned.
The hero was determined to cross the bridge, but he decided to not wear his gauntlets or iron shoes, to protect his hands and feet. He did this so he could better grip the sword, so he would not fall into the water (which he would surely drown). The hero safely cross the other side, with deep cuts to his hands, feet and knees. Instead of being immediately attacked by lions, he found that the awesome beasts had vanished. He realised the lions were only illusions to scare off intruders.
|At the tower, King Baudemagus and his son Meleagant watched the knight crossing the Sword Bridge. The father admired the knight courage and determination to rescue the queen, while the son held nothing but contempts for the hero. Baudemagus unsuccessfully tried to persuade his son to return the queen to the hero without a fight. Meleagant was determined to kill the new arrival, to prove no knight was better than the stranger was. The father was equally determined to welcomed the hero and offered him counsel.
We learned that the King of Gorre had protected the queen from his son’s lust. The king had being against the abduction of the queen and many people of Logres, but was powerless to let them leave his country.
Baudemagus welcomed the new knight, trying to make peace between the hero and his son, without successes. He only managed to postpone the combat for only one day, because of the hero’s injured hands and feet.
At the duel, the hero was serious weakened at first, because of his injured hands and feet, but because the queen was watching the combat from the tower with Baudemagus. It was only then, that the name of the knight of the cart was revealed; he was called Lancelot of the Lake. With renew strength from glancing at the queen, he overcome Meleagant.
Lancelot overheard the king asking Guinevere to spare his son’s life. The queen agreed to do so, since Baudemagus had protected her from his own son. Lancelot immediately stopped fighting. Meleagant was ashamed that his father would plead for his life. He refused to admit defeat. They agreed to continue the fight one-year from now, to be held at Arthur’s court. The queen and her people were allowed to leave.
At first the queen refused to talk to her lover. Lancelot was distressed, and went to find Gawain. Lancelot encountered some knights of Gorre, who did not hear of Meleagant’s defeat, went to arrest him. Baudemagus and Guinevere that Lancelot had died. Both were upset with the news. Guinevere blamed herself for her lover’s death. Lancelot heard news that the queen had died. He tried to hang himself, but the people prevented him. Few days later he found the news were false.
Lancelot returned to Baudemagus’ castle. The queen and Lancelot were reconciled. That night, Lancelot went to her chamber. To entry through the window, Lancelot had to pull the bars away, but he had cut his finger. Lancelot and the queen spent the night making love. When he left, Lancelot’s finger had bled on the sheets.
Meleagant discovered the bloody sheet, and blamed the queen for spenting a night with Sir Kay. Kay, whose wounds had not healed, was sleeping in the next room. Meleagant accused the queen of committing adultery.
Kay was wounded and too weakened to defend himself in combat, she secretly sent a message to Lancelot about her plight. Lancelot challenged Meleagant’s accusations against the queen and Sir Kay.
They were to fight once again, but Baudemagus managed to persuade the queen to end the fight. Lancelot was determined to leave once more to find Sir Gawain at the Underwater Bridge. But before he and his companions could reach the bridge he met a dwarf. The dwarf convinced him to follow him, leaving his companions behind. Lancelot’s companions were distressed when they learned that Lancelot had been ambushed and held in captivity. The companions continued their way to the bridge and rescued Gawain from drowning.
They told Gawain that Lancelot had already freed the queen, but a dwarf had abducted Lancelot. They brought Gawain to the castle. Guinevere was upset that her lover had been captured, but she had no choice but to leave Gorre with her people, and returned to her husband in Logres. Baudemagus promised to try find and rescue Lancelot. However a letter arrived from Lancelot saying that he had returned to Camelot.
Upon returning to Camelot, Gawain realised that Lancelot had not returned to Camelot at all, the letter was false. Weeks later a tournament was to be held, where Queen Guinevere would attend.
Lancelot heard of the tournament and was rather depressed because he was held in prison by the seneschal of Meleagant. The wife of seneschal tried to comfort Lancelot, until she gave him permission to attend the tournament on the condition that he return to prison after the tournament. Lancelot promised the seneschal’s wife he would return to prison.
Lancelot was given the seneschal’s red armour, weapons and warhorse. On the first day of the tournament, did so well that she thought it might be her lover who had come in disguise. She sent a message to Lancelot, ordering her champion to do worse. Lancelot immediately performed badly at the tournament. The queen realised that it was her lover in the red armour. The next day she ordered to Lancelot performs badly again, before she ordered her lover to perform at his best. That day, he overcame all his adversaries.
At the day he returned to his prison. Meleagant was angry when heard that Lancelot was allowed to leave the prison, despite that the hero had return as promised. Meleagant was determined that Lancelot would never be able to leave his prison.
Meleagant had a new tower built at a remote island on the inlet. Rarely, any people travel this remote part of Gorre. The tower was built within two months. Lancelot was imprisoned in the new dungeon. This time, Meleagant had door walled in, so that Lancelot could never leave. There was only a small window, to allow Lancelot receives meagre amount of stale bread and stagnated water.
As the time approached for the appointed time of the combat between Lancelot and Meleagant, the wicked knight arrived at Camelot. Meleagant told the court that he did not see Lancelot in court. Meleagant challenged the king’s court that Lancelot must meet him at the next appointed time, a year from now to face him. Gawain promised to face Meleagant, as Lancelot’s second, if Lancelot do not meet at the next appointment.
Meleagant returned home, and told his father that Lancelot was not at Camelot to face him, boasting that Lancelot would not face him, since he was coward. Baudemagus rebuked his son, saying that only a fool would boast of his superiority. This only angered Meleagant more.
One of Baudemagus’ daughters overhearing the conversation, realising that Lancelot must be detained somewhere in Gorre. She immediately set out to find the hero. For a few months, she had traversed through Gorre, without finding anyone knowing the whereabouts of the hero.
Finally, the lady came upon a tower she had never seen before. She was surprised to find no door and was convinced that Meleagant had Lancelot locked away at this tower. Baudemagus’ daughter found Lancelot was serious weakened and his health had deteriorated due to lack of food and drinking tainted water.
Baudemagus’ daughter revealed her identity to Lancelot. She told him was the damsel who told Lancelot and Gawain about the two perilous bridges, as well as the damsel who requested Lancelot to cut off the arrogant knight who had insulted the hero about riding the cart. She had come to rescue Lancelot. She found a pickaxe, which gave to Lancelot to break out of his dungeon.
Baudemagus’ daughter brought the hero to her castle, where she nursed Lancelot to health. When he had grown healthy and strong after months of rest and exercises, it was time for Lancelot to leave. In gratitude Lancelot promised to defend her rights and her life if she ever required his assistance.
By a stroke of luck, Lancelot arrived about the same time as Meleagant. Meleagant saying that since Lancelot had not arrived at the appointed time, he challenged Gawain to fight with him. Gawain had was already fully armed and mounted when Lancelot arrived.
Lancelot insisted that he would fight with Meleagant, because the villain had mistreated him while in prison. Lancelot warned Meleagant that this time he would never spared Meleagant. Reluctantly, Gawain gave all his armour and weapons to his friend.
Mounted upon a strong and swift horse of Gawain, Lancelot jousted with his mortal enemy. Though they were even matched with the lances, they had unhorsed one another. They sprang to their feet and attack each other with the swords. After the two knights fought long with great ferocity, Lancelot gained the upper hand in the combat.
Lancelot first severed Meleagant’s right hand, before opening his enemy belly with a deep slash. Then Lancelot smashed in Meleagant’s helmet, so that his enemy could not even plead for mercy. Then Lancelot ripped the helmet off his enemy’s head before he lopped off Meleagant’s head. The story ended with Lancelot having fully avenged himself for his ill treatment at Meleagant’s hand.
|Argodras the Red|
|Arthur and his court celebrated Lancelot’s victory over Meleagant with a feast. Arthur and his court were also afraid to tell Lancelot of the death of Galehaut. Lancelot wasn’t aware of his friend’s death and no one informed him of it on his return.
Despite having defeated Meleagant fairly, he was further troubled by a red knight, who was Meleagant’s cousin. The red knight accused Lancelot of treacherously killing Meleagant, when the hero refused to spare his enemy. Lancelot refuted the charge and agreed to a duel at Baudemagus’ court on the feast of Mary Magadelene.
During his journey to Baudemagus’ kingdom, he found four guards around the casket. To his grief, Lancelot discovered it to be the casket of Galehaut. Lancelot would have probably killed himself in grief, but one of the damsels of the Lady of the Lake, arrived and instructed the hero to take the body to Dolorous Guard, where his friend can be buried. Why Dolorous Guard? So that Lancelot can be buried with his friend at his own death.
The knights guarding the casket refused to let anyone moved the casket from the church. So Lancelot fought and killed three knights. Lancelot spared the fourth knight on the condition that he should take Galehaut’s body to the tomb at Dolorous Guard.
So Lancelot travelled with the casket, heading first towards the kingdom of Baudemagus. At Floego Castle, he saw the people were about to burn Meleagant’s sister for treason. A knight accused her of freeing Lancelot from Meleagant’s prison and the court had found her guilty. Recognising the damsel, the hero decided to defend the lady.
The accuser was no match against Lancelot. Lancelot unhorsed the other knight, knocked him senseless with his sword, then Lancelot threw the knight into the fire that was meant for the Meleagant’s sister.
The people released Meleagant’s sister to Lancelot, who escorted her back to her residence at Galefort Castle. Here, Lancelot discovered that her accuser was the brother of the red knight, who had challenged him. The red knight was named Sir Argodras. Lancelot also learnt that Baudemagus doesn’t know yet that of his son’s death (Meleagant).
Lancelot stayed at Galefort for the night, before he continued on his journey, where he has small adventure. Lancelot enjoyed the hospitality in the tent of another knight. Lancelot had disarmed when he entered in the tent. Another knight in red armour, went into the tent, and abducted the host’s squire. The two knights were enemies. The red knight’s stole Lancelot’s armour and horse.
Lancelot pursued the red knight on foot when he encountered a black knight. Lancelot asked the black knight if he could borrow his armour. The black knight agreed on the condition that Lancelot would give him the armour when the black knight asked for it in the future. So Lancelot donned the black knight’s armour and took the horse, and continued on his pursuit of the red knight. Lancelot defeated the red knight and his companions, but befriended the red knight, who was named Arramant, whom he did not recognise when they were fighting. (Lancelot would later meet the Black Knight in the Gawain at Corbenic.)
Lancelot then went to Windesant, where Baudemagus was currently holding court. Baudemagus doesn’t recognise Lancelot, because the hero was wearing a different armour and shield. Nor does the hero want to be recognised, and be the one to tell the king, whom he likes, that he had killed Meleagant in combat.
Lancelot confronted his accuser; ready to defend himself against the charges that Argodras had lay on him. Both knights proved they were excellent knights, but as the fighting continued, Lancelot showed himself superior. Lancelot killed Argodras, giving him no time to plead for mercy.
Though Lancelot refused to give his name, Baudemagus had already suspected whom he was, and that his son was dead. Baudemagus asked the hero to remove his helmet. Baudemagus immediately recognised Lancelot and embrace the hero, like he would a friend or a son. Lancelot was reluctant to tell the king that he had killed his son, and Baudemagus did not want to hear the news from Lancelot’s lips, or else he may hate Lancelot. So Baudemagus asked him the favour that he should send someone else to bring the news to him from 3 days after Lancelot departed.
Lancelot stayed with Baudemagus overnight, before beginning his journey to Dolorous Guard. One maiden asked the hero if he could accompany him to Dolorous Guard as an escort and protector, Lancelot agreed.
At noon, a disreputable knight tried to forcibly kiss the maiden, who was under Lancelot’s protection. After taunting Lancelot, they fought and the hero overcame the knight. Lancelot spared the knight; in return that Patrides of Golden Circle informed Baudemagus that Lancelot had killed Meleagant in combat. Lancelot heard of his cousin’s adventure (Sir Bors) from Patrides.
Lancelot and the maiden continue on the journey, while Patrides performed his task that he was given. A couple days later, Patrides told King Baudemagus of his son’s death at Lancelot’s hand. Baudemagus mourned for Meleagant. Baudemagus discovered that his son was buried at the Castle of the Four Stones.
Lancelot arrived at Dolorous Guard, where he had Galehaut’s body buried in a tomb beneath the altar of a former mosque, but it is now a church.
|Gawain at Corbenic|
|Hill of the Spring|
|Under the Apple Tree|
|Lancelot and Elaine|
|Paintings on the Walls|
|War and Reunion|
|Rivals and the Fool|
|Gawain at Corbenic|
|Lancelot had been injured in the joust against his cousin Bors, whom he didn’t recognised, and because Bors had tried to abduct Guinevere.
Lancelot was following an old woman, when he met Griffon of the Treacherous Pass, who asked for Lancelot’s armour, because of the hero had previously taken Griffon’s armour and horse, who was the black knight. Because of his pledge, Lancelot had to give his armour to Griffon, who needed it. See Argodras the Red of how Lancelot met the Black Knight.
So while Lancelot travelled without his armour, Griffon rode away wearing Lancelot’s armour. When Guinevere saw Griffon, she recognised her lover’s armour, but not his horse. Griffon also rode with a head tied to his saddle. Guinevere assumed that this knight, wearing Lancelot’s armour, had killed her lover and kept the head as trophy. Guinevere fainted. When she recovered from her swoon. She sent Kay to pursue and capture the knight, but Griffon instead captured Kay. Guinevere returned to Camelot thinking that her lover must have been killed since she last saw him.
Arthur set his nephew Gawain and nine other knights out on a quest to find if Lancelot had died or not. Later after several adventures, Lancelot would meet his cousin Lionel (see Hill of the Spring), but for now I will talk of Gawain.
During this new quest to find Lancelot, Gawain and nine companions encountered another knight who carry two swords. His name was Eliezer or Elyezer, the son of King Pelles, the Fisher King.
In one of his sheath was a broken sword. They witnessed a miracle: the sword that bleeds. The blade had broken in the middle. The knight asked if Gawain could rejoin the sword into a complete blade, just by joining the two halves together. Gawain, Yvain and the other knights couldn’t restore the sword.
Eliezer explained why the sword was broken, and why the blade bleeds. He tells of how Saracen lord’s seneschal wounded Joseph of Arimathea in the thighs with his sword and the sword had broken in two. Joseph healed the Saracen lord and his brother. Though Joseph’s own wound wouldn’t heal, he foretold that the sword would remain broken until the greatest knight in the world arrived, at the time of the quest of the Grail.
Eliezer was disappointed that Gawain could not mend the sword. Gawain hearing that only the greatest knight could achieve this task, he thought that Lancelot was that knight. Eliezer asked Gawain to tell Lancelot that if he wish to perform this task, he must come to castle of the Fisher King (Corbenic).
When Eliezer departed from the knights, Gawain and his companions decided to separate in their search for Lancelot.
Gawain would later encountered Hector at the tournament; they did not recognise one another so they took different sides. After the tournament, Hector joined Gawain on their continued quest to find Lancelot.
Gawain underwent several adventures where his worthiness was called into question over the quest of Grail. They arrived at a cemetery where a sign says that no one should entered the adventure of the burning tomb, without leaving this adventure in shame. Despite the warning, Gawain entered twice, and both times an invisible wielding sword beat him until he was unconscious. Hector entered the tomb where he was also beaten badly. They have both failed badly and were ashamed of their failures. They discovered that only the son of the Sorrowful Queen (Helen) would put out the fire, meaning Lancelot.
Leaving the tomb, they came across another sign at the fork of the road. The sign warned that no knight but the greatest should take the left road; otherwise they will leave in great shame. Again Hector and Gawain decided to separate, with Gawain taking the left road.
Gawain arrived at Corbenic, when he heard a damsel crying in distress. Gawain found a damsel in a tub of boiling water that she couldn’t get out of. Gawain tried to lift the damsel out of the tub with all his strength, but he failed to do so. The damsel knew that Gawain was not the knight who would free her from her suffering. Only the best knight in the world could perform this feat (again, Lancelot).
During the feast, Elaine, the beautiful daughter of Pelles, walked through the hall, carrying the Grail in her hands. The king and other members waited expectantly for Gawain to ask about the Grail. They were bitterly disappointed with their guest.
Gawain witnessed the procession, but the hero was more interested in the beauty of the maiden than in the Grail, thereby failing to ask the question about the Grail. When Elaine left the hall through one of the door, everyone’s plate were filled with abundant of food that came from the Grail, while Gawain had none. Gawain had realised he did something wrong.
After the meal, everyone left him alone in the hall. Gawain found that he could not leave the hall, so he entered the room where he found a beautiful. Feeling tired from the journey, Gawain wanted to settle down on the bed and sleep. However a female voice warned him that this was the Adventurous Bed and that he would die if he slept in it without armour for protection. Gawain saw a superb set of armour. Gawain donned the helmet and hauberk while carrying the shield in his arm.
The moment he sat on the bed, a lance ablaze with fire entered the room from one of its door. The lance pierced his shoulder through the shield and hauberk. Then the lance vanished, leaving the hero in agony. Gawain from his wound
That night, Gawain had a vision of a large serpent or a dragon. From the serpent’s mouth, countless smaller serpents emerged. Then he saw the larger serpent and leopard fighting, where the serpent could not win. After long battle, the serpent withdrew from the battle it couldn’t win against the leopard, but the numerous smaller serpents immediately attacked the larger serpent. The larger and the smaller serpents were all killed. Then his vision vanished.
Then wind blew through the windows, and twelve maidens wailed when would they ever be free from suffering. They kneeled down and prayed when they saw a dove fly into the room, before the girls left.
Then a knight entered the room, telling Gawain that he was not worthy to sleep in this Bed of Adventures. Gawain refused to leave, so the strange knight attacked him. Though he managed to defend himself well, he was still suffering from the wound to his shoulder. They fought until they were both suffering from exhaustion and numerous wounds.
Then Gawain witnessed a great storm outside, with roaring thunders and great flashes of lightning. Then he felt gentle breeze through the window, before he heard singing of chorus from countless voices of heaven.
Gawain saw the beautiful maiden again, carrying the Grail into the bedchamber, with two candles and two burning incenses. Elaine placed the Grail on a silver tbale. The singing continued for a while before abating. Then Elaine took the Grail with her and left the chamber.
Then suddenly, all the music stopped and the windows closed on their own accord. Gawain found himself in the dark. As Gawain got up, he found that he was completely healed by the Grail. The severe wound to his shoulder was gone. Gawain was amazed. He looked around for the knight whom he had fought, but the knight had also vanished. Though others had died when they had slept in the Bed of Adventures, Gawain was the first to survive.
The people in the palace came into the palace, grabbed Gawain and bundled onto a cart, where he was tied to the cart like a common criminal. Gawain felt great shame to be treated in this way.
In the morning, Gawain saw that the armour and weapons were in the cart, as well as his horse to the end. Gawain saw an old nag was hitched to the cart. Then an old got into the cart and drove through the town. The angry people of Corbenic hurled abuses and pelting mud, manure and shoes at Gawain. Gawain left Corbenic in disgrace and shame that he wished he could die. The cart halted at the other side of the drawbridge and freed Gawain.
Dejected, Gawain wandered the forest and came upon a hermitage. Seeking guidance and wisdom, Gawain sought the hermit’s counsel. Gawain told the hermit of his stay in Corbenic, including the about the Grail and his vision.
The hermit told Gawain had sinned for been more interested in the beautiful Grail maiden (Elaine) than in the Grail itself. He had been lucky to be healed and leave Corbenic alive. As for the dream, the hermit warned Gawain to avoid the war between Arthur and one of the best knights, because the war would cause his own death and the destruction of Arthur’s kingdom.
|Hill of the Spring|
|Lancelot had sent a maiden he had rescued, to Camelot with news that he was alive and well, since everyone was distressed in Arthur’s court, because they thought he had died. Though, everyone realised that Lancelot was alive, those who were seeking him were unaware of the news. See Gawain at Corbenic.
Lionel had found his cousin Lancelot, so they travelled together. At noon, Lancelot was feeling tired, so decided to sleep under the shade of the apple tree.
While Lancelot slept, Lionel saw two knights riding with their sister, when a huge black knight on a black horse approached them. The large knight attacked and killed the brothers, and took the maiden.
Rather than wake his cousin, Lionel went alone to pursue and confront the abductor. As good as Lionel was, he was no match for the giant knight. Lionel’s lance managed to pierce the shield and hauberk, but the giant was unharmed. The black knight swung his sword overhead, knocking Lionel senseless and off his horse.
The giant then easily picked up Lionel on to his horse, riding away to his castle with the damsel in tow. When the knight found out that his prisoner was cousin of Lancelot, he had Lionel stripped of his armour and beaten with a thorny branch.
Hector, half brother of Lancelot had entered the forest of Terique when he saw a maiden weeping. Hector discovered that she was weeping over Lionel, who was captured by a giant knight named Tericam of the Impentrable Forest. (In the Morte d’Arthur, Malory called this knight, Sir Tarquin.)
Hector rode towards castle on top of the hill, with the intention of rescuing his cousin. As he neared the spring, Hector saw a tree where he found sixty shields, armours, helmets and swords, hanging on the branches. Hector recognised some of these shields. There was a sign listing 24 of the knights come from the Arthur’s Round Table. Hector was amazed at this feat.
Letting his horse drink from the spring, Hector heard the gate opened and a black knight ride out to challenge him for drink from his spring. The two knights charged at each other with their lances levelled.
Hector’s skill proved superior as he unhorsed Tericam. However, before he could ride past the fallen knight, Tericam leaped to his feet, and plucked Hector off the horse. Hector was helpless as Lionel, when the black knight placed him on his horse and rode towards his castle.
Tericam’s men disarmed and stripped off Hector’s armour. Tericam was impressed with Hector, because no other knight had ever unhorses him. Tericam would have given Hector better treatment, if Hector promised not to leave his castle. Hector refused such pledge, so Hector was thrown into the dungeon with the other prisoners. There Hector not only met his cousin Lionel; the other prisoners were Sagremor, Kay, Agloval and other knights who were in the quest to find Lancelot.
One of the reasons why Tericam like attacking Arthur’s knights of the Round Table because of his special enmity towards Lancelot, because the Black Knight was the brother of Caradoc, the Lord of Dolorous Tower. So Tericam wanted to avenge his brother upon Lancelot (See Valley of No Return and the Death of Galehaut, about Caradoc of the Dolorous Tower.)
|Under the Apple Tree|
|While Lancelot slept underneath the apple tree, three queens came to the sleeping hero with their retinues. All three were attracted to Lancelot’s beauty. Using their magic, they took Lancelot with them to a castle, belonging to the Queen of Sorestan.
The three queens (sorceresses) were Queen of Sorestan, Morgan le Fay and Sebile. (In Le Morte d’Arthur [Book VI Chapter 1-4], Thomas Malory wrote that there were four queens: Morgan le Fay, Queen of Northgales (North Wales), the Queen of Eastland, and the Queen of the Out Isles.)
Lancelot woke and found himself as prisoner. The three queens demanded that he takes one of them as his mistress or else he would die in prison. Lancelot refused to choose any of them.
One damsel in the castle heard of Lancelot’s capture. The damsel was the daughter of the Duke of Rocedon (in Malory’s version, the damsel who freed Lancelot was Baudemagus’ daughter). The damsel was due to marry against her will to the brother of the Queen of Sorestan. She promised to help Lancelot escape if he would prevent her marriage taking place on Sunday. So Lancelot swore that he would aid her. The damsel freed Lancelot, providing the hero with new armour, weapon and a horse.
Lancelot had also learned King Baudemagus was holding a tournament against the King of Northgales on Thursday. Lancelot decided to aid Baudemagus, where he defeated Mador, Galehodin and Mordred, brother of Gawain, who had fought on the King of North Wales’ side.
|Lancelot and Elaine|
|Elaine was the beautiful daughter of King Pelles of Listenois, the Fisher King or as he titled himself as the King of the Land Beyond. She resided with her family in the palace that was known as Palace of Adventure at Corbenic, the Grail Castle. See Death of Josephus and Nascien about the origin of Corbenic Castle.
Lancelot arrived at Corbenic, where he rescued a damsel in tub of boiling water. Gawain was the first knight to visit Corbenic before Lancelot, but he failed to lift the maiden out of the tub, because Gawain was not the best knight in the world, who would be destined to save her (see Gawain at Corbenic). When Lancelot had saved the women, the people warmly greeted the knight.
The people of Corbenic urged him to the cemetery, where there was another prophetic sign. The inscriptions say that only the greatest knight in the world could lift the tombstone; he will beget a great lion (Galahad) from the daughter of the King of the Land Beyond. Lancelot didn’t understand the meaning of the prophecy.
Anyhow, Lancelot easily lifted the tombstone, finding a great dragon underneath. The dragon flew out of its confinement, hurling flame from its mouth. The townspeople fled in fear, but Lancelot was undaunted, confronting the dragon. Using the shield to protect himself against the dragon’s fire, Lancelot ran his lance through the monster’s chest. Then with his sword, he attacked the serpent, until he severed the dragon’s head.
The hero arrived at the palace where King Pelles welcomed him as his guest. Lancelot joined the feast. Lancelot saw the same procession that Gawain had witnessed, and saw Elaine. Though he admired Elaine’s beauty, he was still faithful to his queen. And though Lancelot saw the Grail, he did not understand its importance, any more than Gawain did.
Elaine fell in love with Sir Lancelot of the Lake, the greatest knight in the world. With the help of her governess, Brisane (Brisen), they tricked Lancelot into thinking that Guinevere was at Case Castle, the castle that was a few leagues away from Corbenic. Through Brisane’s powerful enchantment, Lancelot arrived in Elaine’s chamber, thinking he was making passionate love to his queen. Instead he made love to Elaine. That night, a child was conceived.
In the morning, Lancelot was upset and angry for their deception. Lancelot felt ashamed. Yet, through their union a child would be born who would be destined to win the Holy Grail, because of virginity and the purity of his soul. Lancelot’s son would be name after Lancelot’s own baptismal name – Galahad. (See Quest of the Holy Grail).
It was shortly after leaving Elaine that he stayed with a lord and his sister in a manor, where he learned that the woman was the mother of Hector. Lancelot found out that he had a half-brother, fathered by King Ban. Lancelot also learned that his father was buried in Royal Minister in Gaul (France), and his mother had become a nun.
|Lancelot and other knights went through many adventures. Lancelot and only a few other knights on the quest (Gawain, Bors and Gaheriet) had heard of the news of a tournament to be held in Camelot and had arrived in time to participate. Other knights were detained because they had become prisoners. King Baudemagus had also come to the tournament.
After the tournament, each knight recounts his adventures since Lancelot’s mysterious disappearance.
The next day, as favoured to Baudemagus, Lancelot asked Arthur to make the king part of the fellowship. Since only a couple of knights had returned from the quest for Lancelot, they had decided to find the whereabouts of the other knights with the exception of Gawain, who was wounded by Lancelot in the tournament. Bademagus joined Lancelot in this quest.
They had rescued Yvain who was held in the dungeon in a castle. Bors fought the giant Malduit. Now that they had found a knight, their number raising to five. On Lancelot advice, they decided to separate, mainly so they are not seen as cowards for travelling in group.
Lancelot encountered no adventure until he reached the spot where he had last seen his cousin Lionel, in the forest of Terique. The met a maiden, who informed Lancelot that Lionel and other knights from the Round Table had being captured by the knight Tericam of the Impentrable Forest (see Hill of the Spring about the captured of Lionel). Lancelot learnt that the Tericam was the brother of Caradoc of the Dolorous Tower, a knight that Lancelot had killed. The damsel promised to lead Lancelot to Tericam his enemy, only if the hero promised to follow her in her own quest. Lancelot agreed.
In the woods, Lancelot saw Tericam carrying off another knight. The hero immediately challenged the giant knight. They both were unhorsed and injured in the joust, but they drew their swords and fought furiously. Their shields were hacked to pieces, their hauberks torn with numerous wounds. When Tericam discovered that his enemy was his brother’s killer, he was determined to avenge Caradoc.
However, as the fighting continued, Lancelot had actually grown stronger and faster, while Tericam began to feel fatigue from exhaustion from blood loss. Tericam began retreating; some of his blows were missing their targets. Lancelot had forced Tericam back till they reached the moat of Tericam’s castle. Tericam fell into the moat.
Tericam could no longer defend himself, as Lancelot discarded his shield, so he can rip off his enemy’s helmet. Lancelot then split Tericam’s head to his teeth with his sword.
Lancelot returned to the damsel and the wounded knight, and discovered that the knight was Gaheriet, the brother of Gawain. Lancelot sent Gaheriet to free Lionel and the other knights, while Lancelot followed the damsel as he had promised.
The maiden told Lancelot that a villainous knight had robbed her of her favourite palfrey. She directed Lancelot to where the robber usually attacks traveller. Lancelot easily dispatched the villain. According to Malory’s version, this rogue knight was known as Sir Peris de Forest Savage.
Lancelot departed from the damsel, the next day, in his search for his brother; not realising Hector was one of Tericam’s prisoners.
|Paintings on the Walls|
|After his adventure against Tericam, Lancelot met another damsel in the Lost Forest. When the damsel mentioned there was a great adventure in this forest, Lancelot decided to set out for this adventure.
Since it was late, she told the hero that they should lodge in a beautiful manor. Not suspecting treachery, Lancelot agreed to her advice. The maiden was one of Morgan le Fay’s damsels. Since Morgan was attracted to Lancelot’s beauty, she decided to confine the hero. As Lancelot dined, he fell into a stupor from the drugged wine.
Morgan le Fay held Lancelot in prison for a third time. Lancelot stayed in prison for a two winters and a summer.
During that time, Lancelot painted the stories of his life. Depicting his adventures and his love for Guinevere. Lancelot not only painted images of him and Guinevere, but also wrote of their secret relationship.
One day, Lancelot looked out the window, and saw a beautiful rose garden. The beauty of the flowers reminded him of the beauty of his queen. Lancelot want to pick the rose, but couldn’t reach it.
Lancelot finally decided to leave. With his bare hands, the hero broke the bars on the window from the stonework, making his escape. Lancelot left a message with Morgan’s porter, informing her that she would regret it if they were ever to meet again.
Morgan went to Lancelot’s cell, and was astonished. She believed that Lancelot’s strength could only come from the Devil.
Years later (after the Grail quest), Arthur would sleep in the same room as Lancelot. Arthur would discover the paintings, showing that his wife had committed adultery with his beloved friend (Lancelot). See the Death of King Arthur of how Arthur came upon Morgan’s castle and saw the paintings.
Lancelot had many adventures after his escape. Among these adventures, he came upon the tomb of his grandfather, who was also named Lancelot, that is King Lancelot of the White Land, the father of King Ban and King Bors.
The tomb was situated in the Perilous Forest, guarded by two lions. Lancelot easily dispatched the lions. Inside the tomb he found the headless body of his grandfather. Only the best knight in the world could move the stone where the body rests. The hermit who lived in a chapel near the tomb told Lancelot to bring the body into the chapel where they would bury his body near his wife, Queen Marche, the grandmother of Lancelot.
Lancelot brought his grandfather’s body to the chapel and buried it beside his grandmother. The hermit then told how his grandfather had being murdered by his cousin, the Duke of White Fortress. The Duke had come up behind his cousin, while the king drank wine. The Duke’s sword struck him on the neck, so that the King’s head flew into a nearby spring. The Duke tried to retrieve the head from the water, but the spring grew so hot, it burned off the Duke’s hands for his treacherous murder. The Duke had buried King Lancelot’s headless body in the tomb. God further punished the Duke, by shrouding his White Fortress in a black cloud. When the Duke went to investigate these phenomena, he and his companions were crushed to death from the stone that fell on them, below the castle’s entrance. The king’s wife (Marche) tried to move her husband’s body, but the stone was too heavy. See Death of Josephus and Nascien about King Lancelot.
The spring continued to boil and the darkness around the White Fortress until the true Grail hero (Galahad) arrived, and only he could lift the curse on the castle. The next day, Lancelot left the hermit, and continues his journey through the forest until he rescued a youth and killed a bear.
With no lodging to be found, the youth suggested the two pavilions he passed by. However, the pavilion belonged to a knight, who challenges any knight-errant who wanted to lodge in his pavilion. Lancelot killed the knight in a joust.
Lancelot then met another knight, Sir Sarras, where the hero learned of the birth of his son, Galahad. Sarras was on his way to meet the Sir Beylas, the Knight of the Spring. Beylas had previously defeated Gawain and other knights from the Round Table, in jousting matches.
Sarras had also informed Lancelot that a son was born to the best knight in the world and the daughter of Pelles. Lancelot’s son by Elaine was named Galahad. Galahad was also the name given to Lancelot at birth.
Sarras went to challenge Beylas but lost the duel and his horse. Lancelot avenged Sarras, by wounding Beylas in the shoulder with his lance. Lancelot compensated Sarras by giving him Beylas’ horse. Lancelot revealed his identity and told him that he, Gawain and the other knights would return to Camelot on Pentecost.
|War and Reunion|
|War was brewing, across the Channel. Lancelot’s father, King Ban of Banoic, had died in of heartbreak, when he lost his kingdom to Claudas, while Lancelot’s uncle, King Bors of Gaunes died from grief over his brother’s death. Claudas took both kingdoms as his own, and became one of the most powerful lords in France. Claudas had also become ally with Rome, particularly with Frollo, Rome’s representative in Gaul. (See Birth and Education.)
Lancelot’s reason for going to war against his father’s former enemy was more personal.
Recently, a young lady, who was a cousin of Guinevere, learned of news that Lancelot was alive. She was journeying through France, to bring message to the Lady of the Lake, when she came upon the city of Gaunes. King Claudas wanting news about Arthur and Lancelot in Logres, the king held her against her will.
Thinking that Bors and Lionel had sent her to spy on him, Claudas’ seneschal advised to have the lady and her retinues searched, for any letter that she may have. The lady, suspecting treachery from Claudas, was about to sent out her dwarf as a messenger to the queen, about her mistreatment by Claudas. But before the dwarf could leave, he threw the letter into the river. The Queen’s lady and her retinue were held in prison.
Claudas decided to sent his two cousins as spies, to Logres and investigate the situation in Arthur’s court. Both youths were amaze that King Arthur was so generous in his gifts during the festivities. They found that Lancelot and many other knights were absent, because they were on a quest.
One spy decided to stay in Camelot and enjoy the festivals that Arthur will hold in the future, while the other youth decided to return home with his findings.
The youth, named Tarquin, who stayed in Camelot, soon became squire to Guinevere. The Queen discovered of Claudas’ treachery in holding one of her ladies in prison. She sent Tarquin to Claudas, with a letter, commanding Claudas for the lady’s release or else face her wrath.
The letter angered Claudas that he sent Tarquin back, with a message to Guinevere, that he will not release the prisoner, he also threatened to dishonour the lady. Guinevere was upset with Claudas’ arrogant reply.
After Lancelot’s escape from Morgan and some other adventure, he returned to Camelot on Pentecost Day.
On that very day, a new knight, named Brumand, would die that day was inscribed on the Perilous Seat. Brumand was the nephew of Claudas and arrived at Camelot to prove that Lancelot was not the boldest knight in the world, since the hero had never dared to sit on the Perilous Seat. But Brumand was to be the most foolish knight, not the boldest. Brumand was blasted into ashes, not long after he sat on the seat.
As they watched jousting matches, Lancelot sat with the queen, whom he related his adventure to, before Guinevere told him of the message from Claudas. Lancelot was upset with the news and insult that Claudas had delivered to his love. Guinevere persuaded Lancelot to ask for help from Arthur.
That night Lancelot asked his kinsmen and followers for support in the coming war. None refused. Other knights also voiced their supports for Lancelot, until Arthur declared war on Claudas.
Arthur sends his army to Gaul (France). Arthur had obligation to restore the kingdoms to Ban’s kinsmen (Lancelot, Bors and Lionel), since he failed to come to King Ban and King Bors’ aid, because Arthur was fighting his own wars against rebel lords. Arthur faced Claudas of the Waste Land and Frollo of Gaul.
Claudas’ spies brought news of the coming war. Claudas was dismayed that Lancelot was alive, but the spies told the king that Arthur and Lancelot would not be joining the army. The seneschal advised that Claudas asked for aid from Rome (ruled by Emperor Tiberius Caesar). Claudas also found out about his nephew’s death when he sat on the Perilous Seat. Claudas began his own preparation for war.
Arthur had only sent the first element of his army to Gaul, led by Gawain and King Baudemagus of Gorre.
To avoid going into too many details, the men from Logres had early successes, winning battle and capturing castle. However they lost many men in a night ambush. Several hundred knights were killed and several hundred were captured by the knights from Gaunes, led by Claudin, Claudas’ son. Among the prisoners were Lionel, Bors’ brother and King Yon; they were sent to Gaunes as prisoners.
Fierce battle was fought the next day. Both sides enjoyed successes and failures, but the men of Logres proved better themselves better knights, since they were heavily outnumbered the knights from Gaunes, causing the men of Gaunes to retreat several times. They fought until nightfall, when the men of Gaunes were forced to retreat behind the city walls.
Claudas was advised to exchange prisoners with the men of Logres. Claudas found out that Lionel was one of his prisoners. While Lionel was Claudas’ young hostage, Lionel had killed Claudas’ son, Dorin. (See Entering Knighthood). Nevertheless, Claudas was forced to free Lionel with the other prisoners. However, he refused to free the maiden, Guinevere’s cousin.
Then, the Britons lay siege to the city of Gaunes. When nuns arrived, Helen (Elaine), Lancelot’s mother, recognised her nephews, Bors and Lionel. They also had another visitor – the Lady of the Lake.
The army of Logres managed to capture all the surrounding castles, except Gaunes, when news arrived that Romans were marching to reinforce Claudas’ army. Frollo, the governor of Gaul sent by Rome, led the Roman army.
The Britons were warned by the Lady of the Lake, of the arrival of the Romans. Yvain sent a messenger to Logres (Britain) for reinforcement. In the battle that followed the enemies managed to capture Baudemagus, but Bors had captured Claudas’ son (Claudin) and nephew (Canart). Claudas agreed to release Baudemagus for his son and nephew.
Arthur and Lancelot arrived in Gaunes with fresh reinforcement. They met Frollo’s army, and fought until nightfall. Frollo lost many Romans to Lancelot. Frollo decided to challenge Arthur in single combat rather than risk more causalities. Frollo would have being defeated had the fighting continued a little longer.
Arthur accepted the challenge, and refused to let Lancelot fight in his place. The single combat took place on the little island called Roland’s Island.
The two unhorsed one another. They fought against each other. Despite being older of the two, Arthur proved himself a better warrior. Though, Arthur offered Frollo’s mercy if he admitted defeat, the Roman leader was too arrogant. So Arthur severed Frollo’s head. The Roman army was forced to leave the war and abandoned Claudas to his fate.
When news reached Gaunes of Frollo’s death and the Roman retreat, Claudas decided to secretly flee with some of his treasure.
When Claudin heard of his father’s cowardly escape, he decided to return the kingdom of Gaunes to Bors and Lionel.
Instead of keeping the land he had won, Arthur gave Gaul and the kingdoms of Banoic and Gaunes to Lancelot for his services and friendship.
Lancelot was finally reunited with his mother Helen (Elaine), the former queen of Banoic. Helen had become a nun at the Royal Minister, after the death of her husband, and Lancelot’s disappearance with the Lady of the Lake. (See Birth and Education)
Lancelot stayed with his mother, hearing of her son’s great deeds and exploits. Helen was finally happily reunited with her son. Helen died a week later.
|Rivals and the Fool|
|After the war, news spreaded to Logres of Arthur’s victory. In the kingdom of Listenois, they also heard of Lancelot’s prowess in battle.
One day, King Pelles visited King Arthur. Pelles brought his daughter along. Guinevere became jealous when she saw Elaine, because she was very beautiful. Guinevere was determined to keep Lancelot away from her rival. When Arthur was absence, Guinevere invited Lancelot to her room that night.
Brisane, Elaiine’s governess, again used her potion and tricked Lancelot in thinking that he was making love to the Queen, instead the hero was making love to Elaine.
Suspecting that something was wrong, Guinevere burst into Elaine’s room and found her lover sleeping with her rival. Lancelot was upset that he had been tricked again.
In a jealous rage, Guinevere told Lancelot to leave the castle and that she didn’t want him to be in her presence ever again.
Lancelot became unbearably distressed at Guinevere’s words that he lost his wits. Lancelot was still naked when he jumped out of the window and ran into the wood.
Elaine rebuked Guinevere for being unfaithful to her husband (Arthur) and Lancelot should be finding a wife of his own, instead of living in mortal sin with the queen. Guinevere soon regretted her words to her lover. Hector along with his cousins and friends went out in search of Lancelot.
For two years, cursed by madness, Lancelot roamed through Logres, until he came to Corbenic. No one recognised Lancelot, since he had become scrawny and unshaven. In Corbenic, he became the “Fool” in King Pelles’ court, until Elaine found him sleeping in the garden. Elaine used the Grail to heal Lancelot’s madness.
Lancelot stayed with Elaine in one of King Pelles’ island castles, known as the Isle of Joy. After several years, Hector, Perceval and Agloval (Perceval’s brother) found him on the island. They told that the queen was finally reconciled with him, so he returned to Camelot.
Not long after this, the quest for the Grail began, when Lancelot’s son, Galahad arrived and sat on the Sieges Perilous at the Round Table. (See the Quest of the Holy Grail for full story).