Youth in the Crimson Mantle
Queen Igraine, of course, has half a thousand squires in her palace at the Rock of Canguin. Gawaine singles out one who strikes him as seemlingly especially brave and intelligent, reveals his identity to this lad, and sends him to Arthur’s court at Orkney with news of Gawaine’s present whereabouts and his arrangement to fight Guiromelant in a week.
This message the squire is to deliver privately to both Arthur and Guenevere. The lad assures Gawaine he has access to a fine hunter (the suitable kind of horse for a messenger), as well as everything else he needs. We watch him reach Arthur’s court, but Chrétien laid down his pen before describing how he carried out his mission.
I suspect that he should be identified with the squire noticed earlier in the same romance, among the crowd of castle maidens who follow Clarissant in to hail Gawaine for achieving the adventure of the Wondrous Bed.
This youth is the only male among the ladies, and wears a cloak or mantle of scarlet wool lined with ermine and black sable; there seems little reason for such a detailed description of a character not slated to reappear and play a more important role.
Igraine’s Clerk | The Legend of King Arthur