Setting: Camelot Commons
Elayne: I can’t wait for the Camelot Convention next month! I’m going to get in line for the Round Table session.
Percival: If you do that, there won’t be room for the hordes of men who want to attend.
Elayne: But I never have understood why women can’t be Round Table Squires.
Agravayne: Come, now. Everyone knows that women have a very special role. They sew favors for the men, and rejoice in their femininity, the divine adornment of Round Table Squires.
Percival: And don’t forget that women have their own meeting. The fact that a man sits at the head of their table should in no way detract from the flowered tablecloth.
Ygraine (via letter): If you feel you must attend, please stand in the zone for Pacifists, anti-Arthurians, and other Lunatics.
Elayne: But I’m not anti-Arthur. In fact, I have a deep belief in and commitment to the Round Table.
Pellanor: I don’t understand why you don’t use proper channels. Talk to your local reeve, who will take the concern to the local knight or lord, who can bring it up with one of Arthur’s chamberlains, who can bring it to Arthur.
Elayne: My sisters and I have been trying this for decades, but Arthur and his chamberlains never respond. They won’t even meet with us.
Ygraine: Please note that this letter is on Official Arthurian Letterhead.
Melliagaunce: Hooray! The fact that this letter is on Official Arthurian Letterhead means that we should feel free to send Elayne vicious messages and death threats and write hit pieces on her in the Arthurian Times.
Morgan le Fey: Just for that, I am cursing any and all funeral potatoes which you may encounter in the future. Yea, and jello salad also. Beware of funerals and potlucks. Beware!
Bouncer: Calm down, everyone. Please limit death threats and curses to one per five lines of dialogue.
Agravayne: Here’s the thing. Either you believe in the legitimacy of the Round Table, or you don’t. If you do, you will stop this nonsense. If you don’t, you will find a Table of a different shape.
Elayne: Once again, I’m not anti-Arthur, and I believe in the Round Table. Leaving isn’t an option for me.
Agravayne: You don’t really believe. I’ve created a Round Table Orthodoxy Test, and by my calculations, you get an A (for Apostate).
Elayne: I’m not sure why the Agravayne Orthodoxy Test should be the ultimate arbiter of who gets to be a real believer.
Agravayne: All the Real Believers I know passed the test with flying colors. That’s how I knew they were Real Believers.
Percival: According to the vows of chivalry and the Round Table, one must never traffic with traitors, never give evil counsel to a lady, observe all fasts and abstinences, and every day hear mass. This makes no sense for a woman, unless she is trying to be a man. Are you?
Elayne: No. I don’t quite follow your logic.
Melliagaunce: I’ve dug into Elayne’s mysterious past and discovered that as a child, she pretended to be a knight.
Morgan le Fay: I’ve dug into Melliagaunce’s mysterious past and discovered that as a child, he pretended to be a fair maiden.
Pellanor: The fact that going through the proper channels hasn’t ever been effective doesn’t mean that it isn’t the best means of communication with Arthur and his chamberlains.
Ygraine: You’re detracting from the dialogue.
Elayne: What dialogue is that, exactly?
Ygraine: I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.
Percival: You should also note that 90 percent of women aren’t interested in being Round Table Squires.
Elayne: Does that mean that it would be 90 percent wrong for a woman to be a Round Table Squire?
Agravayne: Right and wrong are not a matter of majority vote. Except for when they are.
Percival: I’ve seen no evidence that you would use your place at the Round Table to serve others. Are you sure you aren’t just lusting after the prestige and power of the Round Table?
Elayne: Do you ask that of 12-year-old Round Table apprentices?
Morgan le Fay: Give me the Round Table or give me death!
Melliagaunce: I would rather die than see a woman preside!
Pellanor: Proper channels!!
Agravayne: You either pass my orthodoxy test, or you don’t!!
Bouncer: Another gentle request to calm down, and a reminder that I preside over all death threats and orthodoxy tests here.
Percival: Don’t you think that storming the castle is a bit excessive?
Elayne: All I’m going to do is stand politely in line, as befits a citizen of Britain.
Percival: I still don’t understand why you don’t find a Table that better fits your needs.
Elayne: It’s because I believe in the truth of this Table that I want to be a full member of it.
Agravayne: If women become Round Table Squires, the men will just lounge about and watch jousting contests.
Melliagaunce: Agreed. Plus, women are naturally so spiritual that it would be foolish to bring them down to the level of the Round Table.
Morgan le Fay: What, they would float right through it?
Pellanor: Let me remind you of the scripture: ” . . . whether through the voice of Arthur, or his chamberlains, or his official PR spokesperson, it is the same.”
Elayne: Exactly what book of scripture are you quoting from?
Pellanor: The New and Improved Book of Arthurian Doctrine, as Revised by Correlation.
Percival: I must hasten away to a very important Round Table meeting. But let me express my hope that you make the right decision.
Elayne: I will do as my conscience dictates.
- 25 March 2014