And the next day there came the two pages with a great troop of attendants to take Luned from her cell, and put her to death. And Owain asked them what charge they had against her. And they told him of the compact that was between them; as the maiden had done the night before. “And,” said they, “Owain has failed her, therefore we are taking her to be burnt.” “Truly,” said Owain, “he is a good knight; and if he knew that the maiden was in such peril, I marvel that he came not to her rescue. But if you will accept me in his stead, I will do battle with you.” “We will,” said the youth.
And they attacked Owain, and he was hard beset by them. And with that, the lion came to Owain’s assistance, and they two got the better of the young men And they said to him, “Chieftain, it was not agreed that we should fight save with thyself alone, and it is harder for us to contend with yonder animal than with thee.” And Owain put the lion in the place where Luned had been imprisoned, and blocked up the door with stones. And he went to fight with the young men as before. But Owain had not his usual strength, and the two youths pressed hard upon him. And the lion roared incessantly at seeing Owain in trouble. And he brust through the wall, until he found a way out, and rushed upon the young men and instantly slew them. So Luned was saved from being burned.
Then Owain returned with Luned to the castle of the Lady of the Fountain. And when he went thence, he took the Countess with him to Arthur’s court, and she was his wife as long as she lived.
GERAINT, THE SON OF ERBIN
Arthur was accustomed to hold his court at Caerleon upon Usk. And there he held it seven Easters and five Christmases. And once upon a time he held his court there at Whitsuntide. For Caerleon was the place most easy of access in his dominions, both by sea and by land. And there were assembled nine crowned kings, who were his tributaries, and likewise earls and barons. For they were his invited guests at all the high festivals, unless they were prevented by any great hinderatice. And when he was at Caerleon holding his court, thirteen churches were set apart for mass. And thus they were appointed: one church for Arthur and his kings, and his guests; and the second for Guenever and her ladies; and the third for the steward of the household and the suitors; and the fourth for the Franks and the other officers; and the other nine churches were for the nine masters of the household, and chiefly for Gawain, for he, from the eminence of his warlike fame, and from the nobleness of his birth, was the most exalted of the nine. And there was no other arrangement respecting the churches than that which we have here mentioned.