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The Book Of Sir Balin Le Savage - IX

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

THEN King Arthur made ready his host in ten battles ; and Nero was ready in the field, afore the Castle Terabil, with a mighty host ; for he had ten battles, with much more people than King Arthur had. So Nero himself had the van-guard with the most party of his people; and Merlin came to King Lot of the Isle of the Orkney, and held him with a tale of prophecy, till Nero and his people were destroyed. And there Sir Kaye, the seneschal, did passing well, that all the days of his life he had thereof worship; and Sir Hervis de Revel did marvellous deeds with King Arthur; and King Arthur slew that day twenty knights, and maimed forty. At that time came in the knight with the two swords, and his brother, Balan ; but they two did so marvellously, that the king and all the knights had great marvel thereof ; and all that beheld them said, that they were sent from heaven as angels, or as devils from hell ; and King Arthur said himself, that they were the best knights that ever he saw; for they gave such strokes that all men had wonder of them. In the meantime came one to King Lot and told him, that, while he tarried there, Nero was destroyed and slain, with all his people. "Alas ! I am ashamed," said King Lot, "for, through my default, is slain many a worshipful man; for, if we had been together, there had been no host under heaven that had been able to match us. This flatterer, with his prophecy, hath mocked me." All that did Merlin; for he knew well that, if King Lot had been there with his body at the first battle, King Arthur and all his people should have been destroyed and slain; and Merlin knew well that one of the kings should be dead that day, and loth was Merlin that any of them should be slain; but of the twain he had leaver King Lot had been slain than King Arthur.

"Now what is best to do?" said King Lot, "whether is it better for to treat with King Arthur, or to fight? for the most part of our people are slain and destroyed." "Sir," said a knight, "set upon King Arthur; for he and his men are weary of fighting, and we be fresh." "As for nie," said King Lot, "I would that every knight would do his part as I will do mine." And then they advanced their banners, and smote together, and all to-shivered their spears ; and King Arthur's knights, with the help of the knight of the two swords, and his brother, Balan, put King Lot and his host to the worst. But always King Lot held him in the foremost, and did great deeds of arms ; for all his host was borne up by his hands, for he abode and withstood all knights. Alas ! he might not ever endure, the which was great pity that so worthy a knight as he was should be over-matched, and that of late time afore had been a knight of King Arthur's, and had wedded King Arthur's sister ; and, because King Arthur cast his love upon her and therewith begat Mordred, therefore King Lot held against King Arthur. So there was a knight, that was called the knight with the strange beast, and at that time his right name was Pellinore, which was a good man of prowess ; and he smote a mighty stroke at King Lot as he fought with his enemies ; and he failed of his stroke, and smote the horse's neck, that he fell to the ground with King Lot. And therewith Sir Pellinore smote him a great stroke through the helm, and hewed him to the brows ;then all the host of Orkney fled for the death of King Lot, and there was slain many a mother's son. But Sir Pellinore bare the blame of the death of King Lot; wherefore, Sir Gawaine revenged the death of his father the tenth year after he was made knight, and slew King Pellinore with his own hands. Also there was slain at the battle twelve kings on King Lot's side with Nero, and all were buried in the church of St. Stevens, in Camelot; and the remnant of knights, and of others, were buried in a great rock.

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