Kay

British - A Knight of the Round Table. A personal attendant on the king. Son of Ector. Foster-brother of Arthur. Husband of Andrivete. Father of Celamon, Garanwyn and Gronosis. When Kay left behind his sword just before the gathering of nobles to elect a new king, Arthur rode back to fetch it but failed to find it. He then decided that Kay should have the sword which, set in an anvil and a block of stone, had appeared in the churchyard and pulled it out with ease. When he handed it to Kay, the assembly realised that it was he, Arthur, who was destined to become king of Britain. Once, when King Arthur was entrapped by the sorceress, Annowre, Kay saved the king from death at her hands and killed her. He was said to have killed Lachere, one of the king's sons, but he helped Arthur in his fight with the giant of Mont Saint Michel and killed Palug's Cat, a monstrous animal that had eaten 180 soldiers on Anglesey. He was one of the many knights captured and imprisoned by Tarquin, who hated all Arthur's knights, until rescued by Lancelot. When freed, he followed his rescuer and that night, as Kay slept, Lancelot donned his armour and rode off. In this guise, Lancelot defeated Gawter, Gilmere and Raywold and then Ector, Ewain, Gawain and Sagramore so that Kay's reputation as a warrior was enhanced. When Arthur conquered much of the Continent, Kay was left in charge of Anjou. In the Welsh stories he is Cei or Kai, son of Cynyr, who grew as tall as a tree and had the ability to live for nine days and nights under water. He also generated so much heat that he remained dry in any downpour and could keep his comrades warm in winter and any burden he carried could never be seen. He was present at Arthur's court when Peredur arrived and he ill-treated the dwarf and his wife who both greeted Peredur although they had never before spoken while employed at the court. Peredur vowed to avenge this ill-treatment and when, some time later, Kay met him in single combat, he was defeated and broke an arm and shoulder. He was one of the band of Arthur's men who helped Culhwch in his quest for the hand of Olwen and, in the guise of a sword-maker, entered the fort of Gwrnach the giant, killed him and took the sword which Culhwch had been instructed to get by Ysbaddaden. He also trapped Dillus and pulled out his facial hairs to make the leash which was another of the tasks Culhwch had been set. In some accounts he was a Saxon who became a Christian. He was killed by Gwyddawg, in some accounts, but others say he was killed in battle against either the Romans or Mordred. Occasionally referred to as Kay, Cai, Cai, Kai, Kai, Cei, Cei, Kai, Kai, Kai, Kai, Kai, Kei, Kei, Keu, Keu, Kay le Seneschal, Kay le Seneschal, French Queux, French Queux, Welsh Cai or Welsh Cai.

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