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The Tale of Sir Lancelot and Sir Galehaut

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1 The Tale of Sir Lancelot and Sir Galehaut on 24th September 2012, 00:11


Welcome to the RP "The Tale of Sir Lancelot and Sir Galehaut," currently being written and compiled via IM conversations by beeayy and EAardvark.

This spinoff begins at the conclusion of "Friday Knights: A Dish Best Served Cold."



***

That afternoon, Gwen looked down from her bedchamber window and noticed that Galehaut and Lancelot were having lunch together. She had no idea how Galehaut managed to pull that off so quickly, but Galehaut seemed to be a man of many talents. She watched them with a smile. And who knows?... she thought to herself, and went down to have lunch with Arthur.



Last edited by beeayy on 24th September 2012, 00:15; edited 2 times in total


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2 Re: The Tale of Sir Lancelot and Sir Galehaut on 24th September 2012, 00:12

Galehaut observed Lancelot sitting on the terrace in the garden, chewing a sorry-looking sandwich and glancing now and then at Guinevere’s window. He had just finished speaking with her, and now watched the man who ached for her affection with a more critical eye than before.

There were always things one should not pursue, no matter the desire. Everyone had their regrets. So far his friendship with Lancelot had been cordial, almost accidental—it was easy to fabricate chance meetings, to conveniently always get the seat next to Lancelot in the tavern. Easy, friendly, relatively distant. Lancelot made it clear that he couldn’t conceive of any other level of connection between them, and why should he? They were playing an age-old game of acquaintance. But Galehaut wanted to start a new game. Making up rules as you went along always held the possibility of unexpected disaster. And of course the main problem with this particular game was that winning was not the object. No—he didn’t really think he could ever win. But he could play.

If he wanted to play this new game, change the rules…how much could he change?

He stepped forward, and began.


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3 Re: The Tale of Sir Lancelot and Sir Galehaut on 24th September 2012, 00:13

“Do you mind if I join you?” Galehaut asked. He repositioned his packages in his hands.

“Oh—no, not at all,” Lancelot said, making room on the plinth for Galehaut to sit as well. Lancelot watched him nervously, and, to stave off the inevitable awkward silence, he asked, “What’s in the packages?”

“Oh, these? Just my lunch,” Galehaut said, unwrapping package after package. “If there’s one fault my servant has—“

Lancelot felt his mouth drop open yet again. “Y-your servant? You have your own servant?”

“Why not? She’s a very accomplished cook and seamstress, which are two things I am almost always in need of. Anyway, if she has any fault, it’s that she tends to make my helpings a bit too large. I ask for a bit of chicken curry with dandelions, and she gives me a veritable banquet!”

Lancelot looked back at his sandwich, which looked a lot more unappetizing compared to the exotic and spicy smells issuing from Galehaut’s lunch.

“Here,” Galehaut said, after a long pause during which Lancelot almost certainly gave away the fact that he was eyeing Galehaut’s lunch with envy. “We can share, if you like.”

“Thank you,” Lancelot said. With the chicken curry, dandelion salad, biscuits and light wine, it was just enough to fill them both up. Did he…plan this? But then he said nothing after the duel. Perhaps Lancelot was imagining things.

“Is this a date?” Lancelot asked suddenly.

Galehaut’s eyes turned on him as he took a drink of wine. His stare could have melted iron, and Lancelot felt himself becoming warm under the collar. But then Galehaut lowered his glass, and Lancelot could tell the look was only one of amused concern. “My dear Lancelot,” he said once he swallowed, “whatever gave you that idea? Are you trying to proposition me?”

“No, no!” Lancelot said quickly. “It’s just, you know—the food and everything, it’s—like a date. Isn’t it?”

Galehaut grinned, his blue eyes squinting as the concern dropped out of his expression and was replaced with exasperation. “This is just lunch, my dear Lancelot. Just a lunch, in public, between two knights—what could be more platonic?”

“I just thought that you—”

“That I what? Like you? Don’t be silly—you’re not my type.”

“Oh. Good.” He didn’t like the way that Galehaut put it, but it was still good news.

“After all, you like Guinevere,” Galehaut continued.

“Right!” Lancelot said firmly.

“Right.” He got the feeling that Galehaut was being sarcastic.

“I do!” he insisted.

“Of course you do,” Galehaut said with extreme sympathy. It was like expecting to come up against a brick wall and hitting nothing. Why did he still feel like he didn’t make his point?

The lunch and company were very good, though. He barely thought about Guinevere at all.


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4 Re: The Tale of Sir Lancelot and Sir Galehaut on 24th September 2012, 00:15

Lancelot snarled as he murdered another wooden practice dummy with a slice of his sword. Sweat was dripping into his eyes and all his muscles ached. But it was a good pain, a physical pain that helped blot out the pain of seeing Arthur and Gwen together. If only the two of them didn’t look so damned happy all of the time! He took a breath and flipped his visor up to look for another target, he still wanted, needed to beat up on something.

As he glanced around his gaze settled on Galehaut, who was there again, watching him with his annoyingly cheerful smile. Couldn’t the damned man tell when a guy wanted to chop up wooden men alone? Lancelot found himself having a brief mental battle. Most of him wanted to just ignore the man and he tried to turn away to set up a fresh target…but somehow he found himself smiling back and walking over as the bloody inconvenient polite side of his brain insisted on acknowledging his fellow knight. Internally he winced as he found himself giving Galehaut a friendly wave and seeing how the knight’s smile got even wider.

“Hallo, Sir Lancelot!” Galehaut took Lancelot’s wave as a cue to bound over enthusiastically and start talking. “I see you have vanquished yet another foe!”

“Well you know what they say, practice makes perfect Sir Galehaut.” Lancelot replied politely, banally, just wishing the man would leave him to his sulk.

Galehaut’s smile took on a mischievous quality. “Does it, now?” he shrugged, feigning nonchalance, “Well, Sir Leon would agree with you, I’m sure. But I imagine that practice dummies don’t offer much resistance to being defeated, do they?”

Lancelot frowned. “I—beg your pardon?”

“I mean if you’re absolutely determined to reduce your sword to the sharpness of a soup spoon, you might as well get some real practice.” He hopped onto the training field and flipped a sword in his hand.

Lancelot blinked in surprise...this hadn't been on his list of things to do today and he couldn't take his temper out on one of his fellow knights the same way he could a nice wooden target, still, it was a tempting idea and practice was never a bad thing. "Sure." He nodded, giving his own sword a little flourish as he assumed a ready stance.

Lancelot thought he saw Galehaut laugh at his wrist flick, which he thought was a little rude until Galehaut performed the exact same motion. "I didn't know you knew Capo Farro's style. Where did you learn it?" He stood on guard, waiting graciously for Lancelot to make the first move.

Lancelot circled cautiously, looking for an opening. "I spent years travelling, learning to fight so I could become a knight." He shrugged, not the easiest gesture to pull off while wearing chain mail, despite Gwaine somehow managing to make it look simple.

"I see! I should have guessed that a rugged man such as yourself would know something of the world." He let the tip of his blade scrape harmlessly along Lancelot's. "I would suggest leading with the left edge of your sword for the first blow—it seems a bit sharper."

"It doesn't need to be sharper if I wield it hard enough." Lancelot swung, leading with the right edge of his sword on general principle, trying to hang on to his polite side. Normally showing up at inconvenient moments his polite side was rapidly disappearing, as Galehaut kept on talking and he was having a hard time remembering it was a 'brother in arms' facing him who had no idea of the kind of mood he was in right now.

"...You know, I always preferred Agrippa to Capo Farro," Galehaut continued incessantly. He neatly sidestepped one of Lancelot's blows and—and did a pirouette before he came back around and met Lancelot's blade coming around. "It almost borders on the elative, but it is very freeing." He dropped his stance completely and turned around, taking the stance of an instructor. "Have you ever tried keeping your back foot a little more turned outward?"

"Do you always talk this much when you're sparring?" Lancelot asked between gritted teeth, "Or just trying to annoy me?" He shifted his grip on his sword, reversing his swing to try and take advantage of Galehaut's new technique.

"Often, and yes." There were a few sharp clashes that broke the crisp air as the sparring match took on a more lively tone. "Is it working?"

"I'm not Gwaine. I won't lose my temper with a few well placed insults." Lancelot tried to rise above the taunting, as he started to work up a bit of a sweat as things got a little more serious and he had to work quickly to parry an unexpected thrust from his opponent.

"Ooh," Galehaut said, feigning a wince. "Already on the defensive! It's lucky I arrived when I did, or those training dummies wouldn’t have stood a chance against your mighty wrath.”

Lancelot snarled a little under his breath as he blocked then twisted left to follow up with a hard thrust. "What is your problem?" He asked, finally losing his hold on the 'polite' element of their conversation.

In a swift movement Galehaut brought the hilt of his sword straight up to Lancelot's, and his more ornate hilt got caught on Lancelot's simple crossgaurd. "You don't have to hold back on my account." Galehaut squinted in response to Lancelot's questioning gaze. "Why did you think I came over to you in the first place? Anyone could tell you were in a less than stellar mood from a mile off. Don't be offended—you wear your heart on your sleeve, I admire that. So why not act on those feelings?" he pushed a little closer. "Come at me. Really come at me. You'll feel better for it."

"I'm not about to hurt someone I fight with. Not even you Sir Galehaut." Properly angry now Lancelot spit his opponent's name out like an insult, as he unlocked their swords and hit out again. "And my mood is none of your business."

"It is if you’re so obvious about it. Your emotions are like the town crier—never ceasing to sing to the rooftops. Take Guinevere, for instance..."

At Guinevere's name Lancelot truly saw red and put his full force into his next attack.

"You see?” Galehaut said, exasperated (though whether from the sudden fierce attack or from his reaction to Guinevere’s name, Lancelot could not tell). “The very mention of her name brings passion up in your veins!" Galehaut had to move fast to parry the flurry of blows that Lancelot was giving him, and he didn't get a chance to talk until he had backed away considerably. Even then he only spoke between blows. "But where--does all--that fiery--passion go? Just becomes ang--er!" his last word was cut in two as Lancelot neatly knocked Galehaut's feet out from under him.

As Galehaut hit the deck Lancelot moved in instinctively for the kill before reason leaked back in just in time and he stepped back with a look one part panic to two parts guilt. "Oh God, Galehaut, I'm sorry."
Galehaut looked up, and, to Lancelot's dismay, he was still smiling. "That is the most true I have seen you today. And that is precisely why you need...” he paused a moment to catch his breath and prop himself up as he squinted up at Lancelot. ”…a hobby."

"I...what?" Lancelot gaped like a fish out of water as his mind tried to process the sudden left turn in conversation.

“A hobby!” Galehaut, his strength returned in an instant, jumped to his feet, sword once again at the ready and pointing at Lancelot’s throat. “You know, recreational activities. Even Leon has his weapon and standard collection to keep him busy and out of trouble. And you definitely need something to keep you out of trouble.”

"I have a recreational activity," Lancelot moved his sword instinctively to guard himself from Galehaut, "And Leon has named all his crossbows. You really think that's a healthy example?"

"And what recreational activity would that be?" He said, doggedly not giving up his point. "Ogling the queen?"

Lancelot's eyes flashed angrily. "I would never ogle Gwen. I practice. It’s a hobby, and it makes me a better knight."

"Oh, I think you ogle her enough that you’re beyond any need for practice." Lancelot snorted; and turned around as if to leave the field altogether. Galehaut sighed like a child whose friend isn’t playing along. "Are you serious?" He whined, his sword tip dropping down as he shrugged in exasperation. "Arthur Pendragon considers practice still work."

Lancelot shrugged a little suddenly aware that he'd spent his whole life wanting to be a knight, and now he was there wasn't much else too him. "It’s always worked for me."

Galehaut pursed his lips and took on a less playful tone. "You’ve…always trained to be a knight, then?"

"Well, yeah. After my family was killed. It’s what I wanted to be." Lancelot blinked, wondering where the sudden attack of chattiness had come from.

"I’m sorry." Galehaut paused, turning away slightly so he could look at Lancelot out of the corner of his eye. "I’m also sorry that you’ve been so misinformed as to the nature of being a knight."

Lancelot frowned, his sword lowering as Galehaut turned away. "You don't have to be so..." He started before he processed the rest of what Galehaut had said. "I know what being a knight means."

"I will admit that you understand what knights do, but not who they are. It is very noble to strive to be better than you are, but such a noble sentiment can apply to more than fighting. There’s so much to think about, to debate! You need something constructive which can take you to a plane beyond this mortal coil with its cares and tribulations."

Lancelot blinked, and then blinked again. "Um...planes and mortal what?"

"You must expand your mind as well as the reach of your sword! Mental stimulation during leisure time will keep you focused when at work, let your thoughts set on something of interest, perhaps provide an agreeable distraction...?" He was getting the mischievous look in his eyes again.

"I read!" Lancelot was in fact quite proud of the fact that he'd taught himself that before he came to Camelot. Of course Galehaut knew this—he even looked like he would be willing to provide feedback on some of the poems that Lancelot wrote for Gwen. Writing poems was a hobby, right? The look on Galehaut's face was starting to make him positively nervous though. How had he got into this conversation in the first place. Oh, yeah, damned politeness!

"So you do, my dear knight! As inspiration for poetry, perhaps?" At this, while Lancelot was still flabbergasted at being called ‘dear’, Galehaut took a slim book with a pale green cover from the coin purse at his belt and held it out. "Have you ever read Pangur Ban?"

Lancelot looked at the magically appearing book as if it expected to bite him, "Ah, no. I don't think so." To be honest he didn’t read much besides the really romantic poetry—not like Leon, who read almost anything Goeff handed him. And he didn’t feel much like reading romantic poetry, especially if it came from Galehaut. But if it wasn’t about romance...he couldn’t be sure what it would be about.

"I just finished reading it this morning, it’s very good. It’s about a..." he paused and glanced at Lancelot, reading his unease. But it was only a half second before he continued, "...about a cat. A magical cat. The whole thing is very mystical; but it makes for a light, intriguing read."

"A cat?" Okay, Lancelot relaxed a little, that was kind of, strange, but then this was Galehaut, at least it wasn't something, about Love and Honour and all the things he'd really had enough of right now

"I don’t think anyone else in Camelot has read it, honestly," Galehaut admitted--His demeanor became a shade more insecure and pleading; but only slightly, like he was trying to hide it. "I asked Geoffrey and he only shrugged it off. I think I might go mad if I don’t find someone to discuss it with."

Damn, the politeness was back, and Galehaut looked so...insecure all of a sudden. Lancelot was having a real problem keeping up with the perplexing man's moods and his conversation. He reached out cautiously, taking the book while his mind told him this was a really bad idea.

Galehaut’s mood instantly brightened like a successful fisherman. "Who knows? It might make a good read, and give you something to do." He bit his lip, then added, cautiously, "I appreciate your gallantry, Sir Lancelot, but I can tell when you're just doing something to be polite. I mean if you don't want to read it..."

"No..." Lancelot held on to the book, vaguely wondering how strange this looked to onlookers as he stood, a sword in one hand a book in the other. "I've...always wanted to read a book about cats."

A look crossed Galehaut's face that Lancelot could not interpret. He nodded and spread his hands. "Then I commit that little volume to your charge. It is not a long read--shall I have to tell my servant to have lunch ready for two tomorrow?”

Somehow on the back foot yet again (what was it with this man?) Lancelot flushed a little, suddenly less confident of his reading skills. Sure, he was the best reader out of the non-noble knights, but he didn’t have a nobleman’s education and what things he had read only highlighted the relatively small size of his vocabulary. And Galehaut seemed even more noble, if that were possible. "I might not be finished by then."

“I'll admit that reading may cut into your ‘taking out pent-up emotions on hapless training equipment’ time," Galehaut said, beaming like a ray of ginger sunshine, "But it’s not very long. And I have great confidence in you. Reading counts as a hobby, now that I think about it…and lunch certainly does."

Lance looked at the book a little unsurely. "I think I still prefer practice, but I'll give this a go." He couldn't resist the sudden delight on Galehaut's face.

"Excellent! It's a date--in the most platonic sense of the word, of course." He patted Lancelot companionably on the shoulder. "Now, don't you think you ought to get cleaned up?"

Lancelot almost squeaked in unmanly panic as Galehaut mentioned the word 'date', but relaxed at least a notch as his brain caught up with the rest of the sentence. He was still sweating slightly from his earlier exertions and figured Galehaut probably had a point. "Yeah." He nodded, turning to head off before pausing. "Um, lunch...where do you want to eat?"

Galehaut raised an eyebrow. "I would have thought you would insist on sitting at the garden terrace. After all, it offers such an excellent view of the Queen's window." Lancelot spluttered on the spot, but before he could think of an intelligent reply, he was looking at the back of Galehaut's head as he sauntered off into the castle.


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5 Re: The Tale of Sir Lancelot and Sir Galehaut on 24th September 2012, 00:16

Galehaut arrived a few minutes early to set the scene. He was a student of microgeography, and he was secretly very proud of Lancelot that he picked the single more desirable location for lunch in the entirety of the castle. Aside from the aforementioned view of Gwen’s window that it afforded, the terrace was shaded, shielded from excessive rain, wind and sun, would stay fairly warm through most of the winter due to the large slab of granite that made up the terrace, and the table and chairs were well-made and just the right size for anything a pair of diners could wish for. It gave a lovely view of the gardens, the main castle buildings, was on the other side of the castle from the stables…yes, it was probably perfect.
Except for the fact that it was right underneath Gwen’s window. But one can’t have everything.
He arranged the food on the table and sat back in the chair that was positioned such that it would force Lancelot to either look at the window or at him, not both at once. Certain rules had to be established, after all.

He mused for a minute, looking out at the garden. He was painfully aware that this was a dangerous move he was making. And the prospect of danger made his spine thrill with excitement.

“Did you manage to conquer it, Sir Lancelot?” he asked amiably as Lancelot approached.

Lancelot was obviously a bit nervous, fidgeting with the book as he approached and looking around edgily. But honestly, the fact that Lancelot showed up already made Galehaut’s day—it would have been easy enough for the dark and handsome knight to find some excuse not to come at all. He might have switched guard duty with Gwaine, and it looked like, as Galehaut addressed him, that he almost wished he had. But Galehaut noticed a subtle determination in Lancelot’s eyes, something whispering that retreat would be a coward’s way out. And Lancelot was certainly no coward…he forced a smile and stepped forward. "I'm not sure 'conquer' is the right word."

"Ah! I see you are more the connoiseur of poetry then you admit! There's so many hidden depths to this poem that most people dismiss it as fanciful.”

Lancelot looked around, still obviously trying to deal with the fact that Galehaut had chosen his favorite spot. "I'm not sure. I mean, I didn't see where the cat was um, magical." But he sat down, bringing them within a few feet of each other. Time to close the psychological gap a little, to match the physical.

"Would you have read it if I said it was about some scribe and his cat?” Galehaut said. It was an attempt to show that he knew Lancelot better than he himself, but he hoped the cavalier nature in which he posed the question made it less snarky and more convivial. “Anyway, the cat is a bit magical, if you think about it."

"It is...? He seems very catlike to me. I mean, sleeping and catching mice and things. Or was I reading it wrong?"

"Lancelot, you cannot ‘read a poem’ wrong. What is interesting is that you found the scribe to be catlike, when the cat is equally described as perfectly scribelike. There are many things to deduce from this...do you like pepper on your chicken?" he unwrapped a few packages, leaving the dessert covered for now.

"Galehaut, you didn't have to go to all this length!"

Galehaut looked up at Lancelot's slightly worried and amazed expression. But while the expression was one Galehaut hoped to illicit many more times in the future, he didn't want to encourage that kind of behavior for something so trifling, so he expressed his delight by giving an exasperated smile. "My dear knight, you are very kind to think of me, but I do believe I told you I have a servant to prepare my meals? In any case the prospect of one intellectual conversation is worth ten lunches." he took a chicken leg and daintily began to eat. "As I was saying, there are many conclusions that can be drawn from the particular choice of the cat as the scribe's vehicle for describing his pursuit of knowledge..."

Lancelot placed the book on the table and slid it carefully over to its owner, before taking a piece of chicken. "This is really good." He smiled genuinely, "I thought the writer was comparing how he chases knowledge the same way as his cat chases things?"

Galehaut watched Lancelot take his first tentative steps into literary criticism with a mixture of pride and excitement. "Very good! But I wondered as soon as I finished it, why should a scribe choose a common housecat as his muse? Why not a hound, an animal who makes a career of chasing objects of desire? Why not pick something more intelligent—a captain, a conqueror, perhaps?" He took a drink of wine, allowing a moment of pause to see if Lancelot would show interest. "You see why I wanted someone else to read it. I crave a second opinion."

"I'm not sure I'm that clever..maybe Leon? He's been brought up reading this kind of thing? But, don't you think cats are clever even than dogs?"

"They are certainly quieter. And a cat has no work to speak of—unlike a dog it walks through the world as if it need not do anything to earn its meals. Such a lifestyle seems to be charmed itself. I wonder if the scribe noticed the independence of his cat—and envied it? But then the cat is a domestic animal, described in a homey context. Freedom and domesticity, combined in his description." Galehaut paused, seeing Lancelot's expression. Oh dear, I know that look.

"I just thought that cats were cleverer because dogs have to work for their food but cats seem to have gotten away with that somehow." Lancelot's noble brow was furrowed in confusion, but in the expression of his lips Galehaut sensed an undercurrent of defiance. Galehaut genuinely wondered—did Lancelot mean to challenge him?

He took his chance and dove in. "Then, if we take food to be a metaphor for knowledge, can we say that the scribe has attained a higher level of existence—completely beyond concepts of independence and ownership—where he does not merely require knowledge for survival, but requires it to be. Freed from the cares of the world, our scribe simply revels in the pursuit of knowledge itself, playing with facts like, aha, cat and mouse?"

Lancelot blinked, and then helped himself to another chicken leg, nibbling on it slowly as he apparently tried to process what Galehaut had said. "Um, yeah?"

Ah. Then he recognized the look correctly. He was going too fast. Either that, or a person that could follow Galehaut's train of thought when he really got going just didn't exist. "...Yeah?" he repeated nonchalantly, using Lancelot’s coarser slang so as not to crowd him too much. Give him a chance to catch his breath, he thought. Don’t push him—he’s going to think he’s being teased… Oh, how brittle this game could be! And yet, perhaps, easily mended. He broke eye contact and helped himself to some bread, letting Lancelot organize his thoughts within his own space and time frame. Luckily the garden’s many birds made the silence not so much awkward as thoughtful. He felt things shifting between them—whether widening or narrowing the gulf, he could not yet tell.

He watched as Lancelot pretended to be fascinated by his food. Galehaut seriously started to consider what he would do if Lancelot shouted something like “Behind you!” and ran off, when Lancelot finally steeled himself, looked Galehaut in the eye and said, "Do you think that both the cat and the writer, um…the scribe, both enjoy the 'chase' - the pouncing on the mouse and the looking for the um, knowledge as much as they actually like eating it or..." He shrugged self-consciously, "'knowing' it."

"Then...” Galehaut tried to wrap his mind around what at first sounded like a very simple statement. “The chase—it's like a game?” he realized he probably wasn’t making any sense and added, “The process as enjoyable as the result, I mean."

"Yeah." Lancelot's eyes lit up in relief. "That's what I meant!"

Now it was definitely Galehaut's turn to be silent for a moment. Honestly he was stunned—Galehaut’s theories were generally complicated, often bordering on phenomenological theories or transcendental philosophy, but here Lancelot had come up with something so simple...and yet obviously, startlingly true. "I...honestly, I hadn't thought about it like that," he said. He did not add, 'I have the bloody thing memorized and I never thought about it like that.'

"I'm probably wrong..." Lancelot squirmed a bit in his seat..."I just thought he's comparing himself to a hunter...the cat, and okay, sometimes hunting is just about catching your dinner, but more often it’s the challenge, you know?"

"Yes." Galehaut managed. Lancelot managed to hit on (at least Galehaut's) whole reason for wanting to have these lunches. It was a game. A challenge. He put a challenge before Lancelot in the form of a literary review and Lancelot accepted—and excelled. He didn't mean to choose such an applicable poem, but apparently it applied all too well. He smiled as he felt the distance between them recede a bit. "You seem quite familiar with such a concept," he said. "The challenge, the thrill of the chase."

Lancelot smiled wryly. "Once you've caught enough to stop your belly rumbling it can be fun. Especially if you're chasing something that's a challenge." He agreed, happy to be on slightly more solid ground.

Galehaut couldn't help but laugh. "I should very much like to see you hunt! Though I shouldn't think any particular game presents much of a challenge to you."

"Some things can't be caught." He sighed slightly, before shaking himself. "This food is amazing. Do you know what your cook put on the chicken?"

Of course. the conversation always comes back to Guinevere. And people wondered why Galehaut had disliked her. "Ginger—perhaps a touch of honey," he said, making sure not to let his disappointment show. They talked about food and recipes for a while—during which Galehaut gleaned a few more ideas for future dishes—before Galehaut chose just the right moment to nonchalantly unveil his secret weapon...the dessert.

Lancelot couldn't help the slight gasp of excitement as he saw the strawberries on the table in front of them. "How did you get those this time of year?"

"I have my methods." he tried to look surprised at Lancelot's enthusiasm which he had of course already predicted. "Over dessert we can talk about what you're going to pick for our next reading."

"I've got to admit, they are my favourite." Lance smiled as he poured some cream over the top, trying to keep his enthusiasm restrained to an appropriatley polite level. "I haven't read an awful lot of 'proper' books." He admitted.

Galehaut blinked, wondering how any man could leave himself so wonderfully open to comments such as: "Well, I enjoy *improper* books, as well—I suppose we can think of one that's both educational and entertaining. I understand that Gwaine has a large assortment of—"

Lancelot flushed pink from eartip to eartip. "I didn't mean that kind of book!" He managed to get out inbetween choking rather indecorously on a strawberry.

"I apologize for misunderstanding," Galehaut said, throwing up his hands in surrender. "But unless you are thinking of suggesting that we read one of Geoffrey of Monmouth's legal treatises, then I am afraid I'm not sure what you mean by 'proper books.'"

"I'm not a noble, not really." Lancelot explained, back to feeling kind of awkward. "I didn't get the same education you all did...I do like reading though."

"Yes, but you are noble of heart, and that defines true nobility, or so Sir Gwaine says," Galehaut said. He really couldn't help himself. Lancelot looked almost offended, but Galehaut just chuckled—Lancelot would have to get used to this sort of thing, or they wouldn't be able to say anything to each other. "My dear Lancelot, I'm sure the mind that came up with that gem about Pangur Ban would be practically teeming with ideas for the next selection!" he glanced at the strawberries, already almost gone. "Though perhaps I should not have distracted you."

"I guess Gwaine says so much that occasionally some of it maybe makes a bit of sense." Lancelot caught Galehaut's glance at the strawberries and realized how many of them he'd somehow managed to eat. "Okay, I can think of something. I read this amazing story a few years ago...it had a monster in it. It was called Grendel?"

Galehaut felt himself blanch. "Er—perhaps you mean the epic poem Beowulf?"

"That's the one!" he watched Galehaut's reaction and deflated a bit. "You hate it don't you?"

“Oh, no, no—I've, er, never read it, actually." This whole reading of expressions thing was going two ways, and Galehaut wasn't sure he liked it.

"It is kind of long. Maybe I could think of something shorter>"

“Perish the thought, my friend," Galehaut said quickly, rising to the challenge. "I'm sure I can manage to get through it. Er, how many lines is it again?"

"I think there were over 3000. Um, a lot anyway. It did take me a long time to read. Really Galehaut, I can find something else!"

“Really, Lancelot, you don't need to fuss over me so. I mean with my noble education I should be able to tackle a few thousand lines with relative ease!"

Lancelot frowned a little, not wanting to embarrass Galehaut by inferring he couldn't read the book. "Well, maybe we should give you a bit longer though. Perhaps we should meet up next week, then you will have had a chance to read it properly. It is a really good story. I think you’ll like it."

Galehaut sighed, a little exasperated. Lancelot was too—everything. Too caring, too thoughtful, too polite, and...well, too in love with another woman. For the first time he actually felt safe being in Lancelot's presence. he coudl flirt all he wanted and Lancelot wouldn't notice. There was a kind of comfort in the possibilities he was left with, and he felt that he was in perfect control of himself...which was possibly a side-effect of not being in control of himself at all--like being intoxicated. "As you wish," he said, almost sultry, but proving his point when Lancelot merely nodded and finished off the strawberries.


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6 Re: The Tale of Sir Lancelot and Sir Galehaut on 24th September 2012, 00:17

Lance pulled his cloak around him, shivering a little as he stood at his post on the walls, looking out over the main entrance. Guard duty was never his favorite thing to do. Too much time to think. And thinking generally turned to brooding. And the weather had definitely taken a turn for the worse. Sleet blew persistantly into his face and he tried not to think too plaintively about ducking down the steps to keep out of the weather. He was here to keep watch and he couldn't do that from shelter.

“I understand that most knights take shelter in that alcove there when guarding this particular stretch." Lancelot turned to see Galehaut standing at the bottom of the steps, smiling up at him and carrying a ceramic jug.

"I wouldn't be able to see over the wall from there." Lancelot shrugged, trying to look nonchalant but not managing to stop the happy smile when he realised he had some company, and specifically Galehaut for company. "What are you doing up here? You're not on watch today."

"Well," Galehaut said, waggling his eyebrows mischievously as he ascended the steps, "A little bird told me that you're the only knight that takes this watch seriously. And since my favorite dining companion was braving the cold rain while all I had was this jug of mulled wine to keep me company, I thought I might bring it out." He held out the jug, the ceramic still warm from its place by the fire.

Lancelot broke into a broad smile of genuine gratitude." Thanks—You're a life saver."

Galehaut bit his lip as he grinned, a sure sign that he was just as pleased as Lancelot was. He pulled his hood up as Lancelot took a drink of the hot wine. "It’s nothing really. And I had no other plans for this evening, since I finished that, er, charming little epic you suggested."

Lancelot let out an involuntary moan of pleasure as the wine warmed his insides and the jug warmed his hands. "What, you finished it already? I'm sorry, it was even longer than I remembered."

"Oh, well," Galehaut said, shrugging and clasping his hands behind his back, "It was certainly an easy story to follow."

"Did you enjoy it?" Lancelot asked, passing the jug back to Galehaut to share the contents with him.

"Well, there—wasn't much to it, I thought," he said, with embarrassed tones but he didn't seem very sorry. "I mean, he kills a couple of monsters. I could have told you the plot in three lines."

Lancelot's face fell. "But what about the themes? Loyalty, Reputation?"

"…and Being a Big Damn Hero, yes," Galehaut said. "It didn't seem to have much substance to it. All flashy prose, I thought. I fail to see what the point of it was."

"Oh...well." Lancelot shrugged, going for nonchalance. "Maybe we'd better move on to another book? If you still want to?"

"I don't mean to put you off, my dear," Galehaut said, putting a hand on Lancelot's arm and giving a squeeze. "After all, I know you like it so much. Perhaps I'm missing something in it."

Lancelot tensed at the unexpected contact but managed to resist the instinct to pull away. The man's hand only took a few seconds to warm his arm. "Well, what about the idea of pride and how it led to Beowulf's downfall?"

"A section I'm familiar with," Galehaut said, taking a big drink of wine. "But of course he triumphs in the end, and is glorified by his men! A hero to the last. Honestly, I was hoping Unferth would save the day."

"Unferth was jealous of a better man." Lancelot replied, trying not to suddenly consider whether he was the Unferth to Arthur's Beowulf.

"Perhaps his intentions were misunderstood by a culture not ready to face analytical criticism. Perhaps he was the lesser man, but Unferth is the only dynamic character in the poem. Yet he is practically forgotten by the end of the poem. What can we say for Loyalty and Reputation if Shrewdness and Pragmatism—a, a kind of nobility, I think—is lost among the Strong and the—the Loud?" Galehaut removed his hand from Lancelot's arm and hurriedly wrapped it up in the cloak again. At first it seemed like a movement of disdain for Lancelot's point of view when he realized that Galehaut's teeth were gently chattering. Lancelot frowned as he looked properly at Galehut's clothes, looking past the fine material and pretty colours and realizing how thin the fabrics actually were.

"Why aren't you wearing something warmer?" Lancelot started to shrug out of his cloak.

"This is the warmest cloak I have—put your cloak back on, you silly ass!" Galehaut protested quickly, taking a step back. "I'm quite fine, I ass-ssure you! You've been out here for hours and I only just stepped outside! You must be—freezing to d-death."

Lancelot shook his head, undoing the clasp at his throat. "I'm dressed for the weather, Galehaut. Wait til it gets really cold.” Ignoring the other man's protests he started to wrap his thick cloak around Galehaut's shoulders. "Don't you have any proper cloaks in your wardrobe?"

“Well, I—thought this was proper," Galehaut said. He gave a shivering giggle. "Th-thank you. I've not seen a cold spell like this in my life!"

Lancelot looked at Galahaut again, really looked at him as a few things clicked into place in his head. "Where are you from, Sir Galehaut?"

Galehaut gave a smile, and it was not his usual smile. It was almost a smile that showed he was proud of Lancelot. "From a warmer, balmier place, it appears," he said. He raised an eyebrow. "You know, no one has asked me that, really. Not really. It’s interesting that you should. You're from...Lac? Good lake country up there, I've heard. I imagine it gets almost as cold there as here!"

"Yeah, its good country." Lance nodded, "But really, if you think this is cold, Galehaut—" He shook his head, "—This is just an early squall. Is this your first winter here?"

"I see I'll have to invest in a few more cloaks!" he laughed, but Lancelot could see that this bit of news worried him a little. Also, his nose and cheeks were becoming quite red from the cold. And he ignored Lancelot’s question.

"You can get some really nice cloaks from the market. And boots, you'll need better boots too." And, Lancelot's hand twitched out, the wrap the cloak higher around Galehaut's nose and mouth. "And a scarf, although I have one you could borrow if you don't get time before you're on watch next? And I've got a spare cloak..."

"Honestly, you fuss like a mother hen," Galehaut said, beaming. Their eyes locked and Galehaut looked almost sad. Then he nodded in gratitude and turned to look at the setting sun.

"Do you miss it?" Lancelot asked, looking out to the horizon with Galehaut.

"Not as much as I ought to, I suppose," he sighed, without a pause. Lancelot waited for more, and Galehaut just turned his eyes slowly to him. "Yes, my dear?"

"I just..." Lancelot sighed, "Nothing...You should go inside. Get warm."

Galehaut pulled the cloak off his shoulders with a flourish, handing it back to Lancelot with a nod. "Oh, I almost forgot. It’s for your virginal." He put a small folio into Lancelot's hand which he had somehow concealed about his person. It was written in a completely unknown tongue—it could be the language of a nearby kingdom, or it could be from a land beyond Albion altogether.

"Thanks." Lancelot folded the cloak over his arm, before taking the small book and looking through it curiously. "I haven't seen letters like this before..."

"Yes, you haven't—isn't it wonderful to expand one's horizons?" he turned and ran back to the castle, shouting "I'll bring lunch by your chambers tomorrow, shall I?" but he didn't wait for a reply.

Lancelot watched him until he disappeared into a door across the courtyard before carefully tucking the folio away and pulling the cloak back on again. As soon as he got off the walls he was going to ask around until he found someone who knew where Galehaut was from. Then maybe, maybe he could do something nice back for the man, he had to be feeling homesick, especially if this was his first year away.


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