The boys are practicing their archery, while Merlyn sleeps off his lunch in the shade. Kay, as competitive as ever, is in a bad temper because he cannot hit a target. They decide to play Rovers instead (an archery game) and soon find themselves near the edge of the Savage forest where Cully had been lost. This time, Kay is lucky and takes a young rabbit with his arrow.
Once more, Kay demonstrates his adolescent impatience and pride, while Wart is simply content to improve his technique. When Kay is finally lucky, Wart is simply happy for Kay—a very different reaction to Kay when Wart succeeds.
The pair gut the rabbit and turn to observe their Thursday afternoon ceremony: they each shoot a farewell arrow into the air. Wart's soars, swimming golden in the fading light, before a gore-crow flaps suddenly up and snatches the arrow in its jaws. Kay, frightened by this, declares it must be a witch. Wart is not frightened, but furious that his best arrow has been ruined.
This scene is particularly symbolic: first, the appearance of the gore-crow literally foreshadows King Arthur's later feuds with the witch Morgause; moreover, this scene also symbolizes all King Arthur's doomed attempts to revolutionize England—his best, purest attempts will constantly be thwarted.