Sir Gawain curses the wind. He knows Horace won’t mind a storm but does mind that a stranger is sitting on him. Sir Gawain reminds Horace that it’s just an old woman but wonders at Axl for bringing Beatrice up the mountain when she’s clearly ill. Sir Gawain sees figures below and points them out to Horace, who seems to ask him if this will be the last time that they climb the mountain together. Gawain wonders what Arthur would have him do about the figures coming up the mountain. Still, Gawain believes God will thank him for saving the boy from the monks.
As Sir Gawain climbs the mountain, he begins to consider his own mortality. His belief that God will thank him for saving Edwin means that he’s counting on his recent good deeds to cancel out the sins he committed in the past.
Sir Gawain “put a little spur on Horace” and looks around at the trees, which grow oddly and remind Gawain of Merlin, who had been such a brave help when they had first come up the mountain to Querig and lost two of their companions. Gawain remembers when one of them, Buel, had been mortally wounded and begged to be brought to water. Sir Gawain wonders if he, too, will long to be back with the water when his time comes to die.
Retracing his steps up the mountain also reminds Sir Gawain of the role he played in trapping and enchanting Querig. More importantly, it reminds him those who died, because some part of him suspects that he is heading towards his own death this time.
Sir Gawain presses on with Beatrice astride Horace and Axl tugging the goat. Sir Gawain knows the others are coming. When Sir Gawain had first run into Beatrice and Axl there, he had urged them to go back but they refused and looked at him suspiciously. Finally, Sir Gawain had agreed to accompany them to the giant’s cairn, eager to get there before Wistan and the boy.
Sir Gawain’s willingness to help Beatrice and Axl up the mountain shows that he is truly beginning to accept that the whole truth will soon come out and he will no longer be able to deny it, making it pointless to deny Axl and Beatrice help. It is one more good deed for Sir Gawain to do that might win him God’s favor.