In Leg Post 36 Sir Balin and his twin brother Sir Balan are in the north of New Wales on Algernon where they briefly discuss how The Lady of the Lake helped Morganna le Fay to raise Camelot. Sir Balin asserts his disdain for all magic users, claiming that The Templars had had the right idea. Sir Balan then confesses that he has feelings for one magic-user, Merlin the Younger. Balin is shocked because Merlin is bald and speculates on their children. Eventually they come to the topic of defeating King Rience and they plan to lure him out with a beast worthy of the king personally hunting. Meanwhile, in the Lake District, Sir Galahad is led along by the forgetful Morta. They see the new settlements of the kings of Hen Ogledd as well as a tall monolith like rock with a pink dome at its peak. Sir Galahad ventures alone and finds a mirage that allows him to pass through seemingly solid rock. When he gets to the top he is met by The Lady of the Rock.
The Lady of the Lake, The Lady of the Rock
In the northern-most reaches of New Wales, the kingdom of King Rience, were two brothers - Sir Balin and Sir Balan. The land was extremely unusual and quite unlike anything else seen on Algernon. Jutting up from the grassy hills were sharp, pointed projections of a plastic-like material. It formed various jagged, angular shapes and seemed to defy erosion and grime. Smooth to the touch and stark white, the plastic-rock formations were scattered everywhere. Some were as small as stones while others were as large and tall as monoliths. Sir Balan had tried scratching one with dagger but the plastic was immune to dents.
There weren't a lot of trees in the area, so gathering wood for a fire had taken the brothers far longer than usual. The horses drank at the stream that splashed over the plastic-rock and Sir Balan held a frying pan over the campfire. The fishes sizzled. They were all quite small as the stream couldn't hold bigger specimens but they were plentiful. When done, the knights shared the meal.
Sir Balin: "It certainly beats prison food."
Sir Balan: "Did they serve anything more than bread and water?"
Sir Balin: "Bread and water? Sounds like luxury!"
Balan had developed the habit of stroking his silky beard when chuckling to himself.
They spent some time eating and chatting about life beyond the prison walls that Sir Balin had been trapped in for the last few years. Balan tried to avoid talking of the crime that Balin had committed but inevitably Balin wanted to know what became of Vivane, the Lady of the Lake.
Sir Balan: "Nothing. She survived as though nothing had happened. These Aes Sidhe just aren't like us."
Sir Balin: "No. They're not. They give with one hand and take with another."
Sir Balin: "Can't trust a single one of them. Even human witches are in cahoots with the Aes Sidhe. Murdering good folks, stealing babies, destroying souls. They're unnatural. The Templars were right."
Sir Balan: "Except Merlin. The younger one I mean. She's harmless. And adorable."
Sir Balin spluttered.
Sir Balin: "The baldy? Seriously? Is that what you're going for these days?"
Sir Balan: "She's cute!"
Sir Balin: "She's bald."
Sir Balan: "There's more to a woman than her hair, you know?"
Sir Balin: "She looks like a twelve-year-old girl."
Sir Balan: "Twelve-year-olds have hair, you know?"
Sir Balin: "Don't say that too loud, else everyone will know you fiddle kids!"
Sir Balan: "What!? I didn't mean-- I meant hair on the head!"
Sir Balin: "Suuuuuuuuure you did. I believe you, brother. Even if nobody else would."
Sir Balan: "Crass Balin. Merlin is a good woman. I don't think she'd be a good wife though. She spends too much time learning and studying. I don't think she'd have the patience for cooking, cleaning and children."
Sir Balin: "I couldn't imagine you with your own kids. If you had kids with Merlin they'd all be bald with long beards!"
Balin gave his brother's beard a gentle tug.
Sir Balan: "You're just jealous because our kids would be smart and gorgeous."
Sir Balin: "Take after their mother and not their father then? Heh heh."
Sir Balan: "Cheeky bastard. Look, we need to think about how to lure King Rience out. We can't take on his whole army alone."
Sir Balin: "He'll come out to hunt sooner or later. Maybe if we provide a good enough target for him to seek the trophy for himself...?"
Sir Balan: "Sounds like a plan. But I have no idea what kind of animals this bloody planet even has. I doubt there're any stags about."
Sir Balin: "Then come the morning we'll have to scout around and see what there is. For now, I'm going to get some sleep."
Sir Balan: "Me too."
Sir Balin: "Don't dream of bald girls."
Sir Balan: "Only one bald girl for me!"
Morta, the old woman, led Sir Galahad along the right-most river at the split of the Three Rivers. She is slow on her feet and Galahad walked beside her, guiding his horse along by the reins. A couple of times she seemed to forget what she was doing and he had to remind her of where she was and who he was. Eventually they approached a hill and had to ascend. Galahad helped her up, careful not to let her slip and fall. Once at the top he was able to look down at the landscape below. The land was flat and filled with lakes and amongst those lakes were small settlements that were being built. He recognised them as the settlements started by the kings of Hen Ogledd; King Lot and King Uriens. But near to the hill, with an even greater view of the land, was a tall, towering rock. It stuck up from the land like a fat, grey monolith and upon its peak he could just make out a squat, pink dome. There was no obvious way to the top and judging by its odd design, Galahad was certain it couldn't be human made.
Sir Galahad: "M'lady, who resides atop of that rock?"
Morta: "What? Who're you?"
Sir Galahad sighed;
Sir Galahad: "Sir Galahad. The knight you have taken for an adventure."
Morta: "I did? Oh..."
She turned to look at the rock.
Morta: "It's a rock."
Sir Galahad: "Well, yes. I gathered than much. But who lives at its top?"
Morta: "Perhaps you should find out? This is your adventure, not mine!"
Galahad just sighed again and went down the hill with his horse. He reached the rock and tied the horse to a tree as he patted the rock all the way around its base. As he did so he finally found what he had expected - a hole. It appeared just as solid as the rock all around but his hand passed straight through. He trespassed beyond the mirage and found himself in a cave system. He trekked along it. It wasn't deep, as the rock wasn't overly wide, so light from outside was constantly beaming in. He found several holes in the mirage as he ascended the cave system. He could see out clearly, spying the settlement in the distance, but he knew nothing could see him. Eventually he finally reached the top and had to climb out of the cave. The top of the rock was green with grass and the dome was even more garish than it appeared from below.
Sir Galahad: "Is anyone there!?"
There was no reply but he felt a presence. Behind him.
He spun about to find an incredibly tall woman stood less than a metre away.
The Lady of the Rock: "Boo!"