Due to the quickthinking of their squires and the intervention of Nanteleod himself, Sir Gaelavin and Sir Erec survived the wounds they had endured at the Battle of Royston, 505AD, although it left them with scars adn wounds which never properly healed.
Erec's first thought upon reviving sufficeintly was of the Countess. Would she now accept his proposal of mariage? Had he not endured all the tasks she set before him first? Indeed he had, but instead of embracing him, the Countess demanded to know what the truth behind the stories she had heard was! Tales of lust going back years were being muttered around the Court... and what was the source of these rumours? His bard! Furious, Erec stormed off to track him down.
Meanwhile trouble was brewing. Prince Alain, the newly revealed illegitamate son of Nanteloed and now named his heir, and Prince Mark of Cornwall were also at Court, vying for Salisbury's support in their feud. It was clear that soon Nanteleod and King Idres would meet in battle. Tension was beginning to mount between their men too, and threatened erupt in Sarum's Great Hall. Between them Gaelavin, Maelwine and Guenloie tried to subdue them with a range of tactics - from calls for peace through demands to sheer power of the presence.Eventually they managed to quell the rabble with the suggestion of a hunt between Mark, Alain and themselves to see who was best. The Countess approved this, and gave Maelwine orders to get it arranged.
Erec eventually tracked his bard down to the inn where he was regaling listeners with one of these very songs! Furious, Erec slammed him against the wall and demanded to know what was going on. Soon it all came out. Many years ago the bard was approached by a stranger who went by the name of Owain. This man had offered him money, good money, to besmirch his masters name. Normally this would have been out of the question, but his sick relative needed help and he needed the money. It cannot be repeated here what the bard was threatened with, but the threats ended with his fleeing out of the city, no longer in Erec's service...
With that wrapped up, Erec returned to Ellen to inform her that the slander about her prospective husband had been dealt with. Now, finally, she accepted his proposal. Plans began to be made.
The next day was set aside for the hunt. Knowing that bear were to be found in the estate, Maelwine announced that the winner would be the first to bring home such a creature. The hunt was hard. Most found tracks or scent of a bear soon enough (except Guenloie) but closing in on them proved hard. Sir Gaelavin seemed at one point to have lost his way, losing sight of the tracks, but then fortune smiled on him as he suddenly stumbled right in front of one! The others heard his horn, but only managed to close in on time to see him despatch the beast and win the competition.