The younger brother of
Damas. The two brothers have struggled against each other for seven years, for Damas desired to control their entire estates.
Ontzlake, through prowess (force of arms), has maintained a rich manor for himself and is well respected. Damas is
described as cowardly, but it simply means that he considered the entire
estate to be his by birthright (being the elder son),
but realized that his brother was the stronger individual; and in any decision to be ruled by combat, he would lose. Ontzlake
offers his brother such a trial by combat, with the winner to take all. Knowing the inevitable outcome, Damas has been
waylaying knights, seeking a champion that would fight in his place.
Enter Morgan le Fay. By treachery, she places Arthur in Damas' grasp, knowing that he would fight
rather than be imprisoned. She sends her lover,
Accolon, to support Ontzlake who has been recently injured by a spear thrust through both thighs in combat and provides
Accolon with Excalibur. Ontzlake agrees to accept Accolon as his champion and on the appointed day and hour, Arthur and
Accolon battle, neither knowing the other. Only Arthur's great prowess keeps him from death from his own sword and
he comes to realize that he is holding a counterfeit while his enemy holds Excalibur. His death is near when the false sword
breaks, but Nimue casts an enchantment that causes Accolon to drop Excalibur. Arthur regains his sword and rips the scabbard from
Accolon. In anger, he strikes Accolon down and then realizes the truth. Accolon tells him of Morgan's treachery.
Even though Arthur won the combat, once his true identity is revealed, he chooses to rule in Ontzlake's
behalf, giving him control of the estates and his brother. He accepts that Ontzlake knew nothing of Morgan's doings and
invites him to court.
What is interesting is the similarity between the names of Ontzlake and the knight
from the Quest of the White Hart that Pellinore fought, Hontzlake of
Wentland. I believe that they are the same person. Besides the similarity of name, merely dropping the 'H',
Ontzlake and his brother's domain is a mere two days from Camelot. If we use the likelihood from our previous discussion
of Camelot being
Caerwent, which means Went's Fortress or as Malory states it would be called Winchester in the English language, then
the domain that Damas and Ontzlake live in could be called Went's Land or
Wentland. We do have to contend with the discrepancy in Malory's story concerning Pellinore and his quest. For in the
Quest of the White Hart, Pellinore kills Hontzlake with a blow to the head, but in the story of Morgan's treachery, Ontzlake
is alive with a serious wound through the thighs caused by a spear. Since one of my beliefs is that Malory wrote the books
separately over a period of time, passing each of them to friends while in prison, it is unlikely that he would have had a
master manuscript and would have had copied the book himself. It would not be impossible that Malory tried to reconcile
his sources and story line in the latter book by dropping the 'H' from the name.