[What the knights decided to do to keep Oriana safe.]
[A detail of a depiction of Ulysses arriving at Crete, from the Histoire ancienne jusqu'à César, made in Naples in 1330-1340. From the British Library.]
Amadis left the chamber where Oriana was and went to see Landin of Fajarque, who had been fighting the Romans on the forecastle. They had surrendered, and Amadis ordered that since they had given themselves up as prisoners, none should be killed.
Then he boarded a very beautiful galley, joining Enil and Gandalin and forty knights from Firm Island, and ordered the galley be brought to where he could hear the battle cry of Agrajes, who had gone to Salustanquidio’s large ship. When he arrived, he saw that Agrajes had already attacked, and Amadis had his galley alongside so he could also board it, helped by Sir Cuadragante.
The press and noise were great because Agrajes and his companions were fighting and killing cruelly. But when the Romans saw Amadis, they jumped into skiffs or the water, where some died and others reached ships that had not yet been defeated. Amadis hurried forward asking for his cousin Agrajes, found him, and saw that he had Salustanquidio at his feet and had given him a large wound on his arm. The Roman was pleading for mercy, but Agrajes, who knew how he loved Olinda, would not stop attacking and trying to kill him, for he despised him.
Sir Cuadragante told him not to kill him because they would get a good ransom for him, but Amadis said, laughing:
“My lord Sir Cuadragante, let Agrajes carry out his will, for if we stop him, all of us he finds will be dead, for he will not leave any man alive.”
And as he spoke, Salustanquidio’s head was cut off. The ship was taken, and the flags of Agrajes and Sir Cuadragante were placed in the forecastle and quarterdeck, both well protected by the many good and brave knights on board. This done, Agrajes quickly went to the chamber where they said his lady Olinda was, who was asking for him.
Amadis and Sir Cuadragante, together with Landin and Listoran of the White Tower, went to see how Sir Florestan and those with him were faring. They boarded the galley Amadis had brought, then they met one of Sir Florestan’s galleys, where there was a knight, a relative on his mother’s side named Isanes, who told them:
“My lords, Sir Florestan and Gavarte of the Fearful Valley want you to know that they have killed or taken prisoner everyone in those ships, and they are holding the Duke of Ancona and the Archbishop of Talancia.”
Amadis, who took great pleasure in hearing that, sent him to say that they should bring all their galleys alongside the one he had taken, where Oriana was, and they would hold a council to decide what to do. First they searched everywhere and saw that the Roman fleet had been destroyed. No one on it had escaped, even though they had tried to in some skiffs, but they had been overtaken and captured, so no one could carry the news about the battle to land.
They went directly to Oriana’s ship, where Brondajel de Roca was prisoner. They came on board and took off their helmets and gloves, and washed off the blood and sweat. Amadis asked about Florestan, whom he did not see there. Landin of Fajarque told him:
“He went to Queen Sardamira in her chamber, who was calling for him to be summoned to help her, and now she is at Oriana’s feet begging for mercy and asking not to be killed or dishonored.”
Amadis went there and asked for Queen Sardamira, and Mabilia pointed her out, for she was embracing her, and Sir Florestan was holding her hand. Amadis came before her very humbly and wished to kiss her hands, but she pulled them back. He told her:
“My good lady, fear nothing, for you have at your service and command Sir Florestan, whom we all respect and obey, and everything shall be done as ye wish, to say nothing of our desire, which is to serve and honor all women, each as she deserves. And as you, good lady, among all others are noteworthy and esteemed, so your contentment should rightly be our chief concern.”
The Queen said to Sir Florestan:
“Tell me, my good lord, who is this knight who is so respectful and is your dear friend?”
“My lady,” he said, “this is Amadis, my lord and my brother, with whom we all came here to rescue Oriana.”
When she heard this, she stood up before him with great pleasure and said:
“My good lord Amadis, if I did not receive you as I should, do not blame me, for it was because I did not know who you were. And I thank God that in such tribulation He has placed me in your courtesy and in the protection and aid of Sir Florestan.”
Amadis took her by the other hand and brought her to the estrado where Oriana was and had her sit there. And he sat beside his cousin Mabilia, for he deeply wished to talk with her. But in all the while, Queen Sardamira, although she knew the Roman fleet had been defeated and destroyed, and many of its men dead and the rest prisoners, had still not learned about the death of Prince Salustanquidio, for whom she had good and faithful love and who she considered the greatest and foremost of all the men in the Kingdom of Rome, nor did she learn of this for some time.
And sitting there as ye hear, Oriana said to Queen Sardamira:
“My lady and Queen, although I was angered by the words that you said to me at first because they concerned a matter that I abhorred, I saw how you ceased to speak of that. Due to the kindness and courtesy in everything that has happened between us, I tell you that I shall always love you and honor you with all my heart, for ye could do nothing about what gave me sorrow, and what came to me from your noble and proper virtue gave me contentment.”
“My lady,” she said, “as such is your understanding, I shall not try to excuse myself.”
As they were speaking, Agrajes arrived with Olinda and the damsels that had been made to accompany her. When Oriana saw her, she stood up and embraced her as if she had not seen her for a long time, and she kissed her hands. She turned to Agrajes and embraced him with great love, and she also received in the same way all the knights with him, and she said to Gavarte of the Fearful Valley:
“My beloved Gavarte, ye have fulfilled the promise you gave me, and the Lord of the world knows of the thanks and the desire I have to reward you.”
“My lady,” he said, “I have done what I ought as your vassal, which I am. My lady, as my rightful ruler, when you are far from me, remember me, for I shall always be at your service.”
By then all the most honorable knights had arrived, and they went to one end of the ship to take counsel. Oriana called Amadis to come next to the estrado and very quietly told him:
“My truly beloved, I ask and order you for the true love that you have for me, now more than ever to keep our love secret. Do not speak to me privately but in front of everyone, and if you wish to tell me something in secret, do so through Mabilia. And try to take us from here to Firm Island, because when I am in a safe place, God will help me because He knows I am in the right.”
“My lady,” Amadis said, “I live only with the hope to serve you, and if I did not have that, I would not have life. As you order, so it shall be. And as for going to the island, it would be good if you were to send Mabilia to say that to these knights, so it would seem more like it came from your desire and will than from mine.”
“So I shall,” she said, “and it seems wise. Now go join those knights.”
Amadis left, and the knights spoke about what they ought to do next, but as they were many, their ideas were varied. Some thought they ought to take Oriana to Firm Island, others to Gaul, others to Scotland, which was Agrajes’ home, so they did not agree. At that time Princess Mabilia came with four damsels. They all received her well and had her stand in front of them. She said:
“My lords, Oriana asks you, for the kindness and love that ye have shown by rescuing her, to take her to Firm Island, for she wishes to remain there until she is on more loving terms with her father and mother. And she asks you, my lords, to bring to a fine end that which ye have begun so well, considering her extraordinary fate and the effort made for her, and to do for her what ye have always done for other damsels who are not of such high estate.”
“My good lady,” Sir Cuadragante said, “the fine and courageous Amadis and all the knights who have participated in her rescue are willing to serve her unto death, both ourselves and our families and friends, who can and will be many. We are all united to protect her from her father and the Emperor of Rome, if they do not come to reason and do justice for her. And tell her that if God wills, it shall be done just as I have said. She should hold that firmly in her thoughts, for with God’s help, we shall not fail her. This service has been rendered to her with deliberation and effort, and she shall be aided with even greater effort and agreement until her safety and our honor are satisfied.”
All the knights agreed with what Sir Cuadragante had said, and with great commitment they pledged that they would never abandon that quest until Oriana was free and her reigns were restored, which she was certain to have if she outlived her mother and father.
Princess Mabilia bid them farewell and went to Oriana, who felt consoled when she learned the answer to her message, and she believed that with the permission of the just Judge, she would be guided to the end she desired.
With that agreement, all the knights went to their ships to order the distribution of the prisoners and spoils, which were many. They left Oriana and Queen Sardamira with their damsels and Sir Bruneo of Bonamar, Landin of Fajarque, Sir Gordan, brother of Angriote de Estravaus, his nephew Sarquiles, Orlandin, son of the Count of Urlanda, and Enil, who had suffered three wounds, which he had kept hidden as one who was courageous and able to suffer great travail. These knights were charged with guarding Oriana and the other high-born ladies with her, accompanying them until they were brought to Firm Island, where they had agreed to go.
THUS ENDS THE THIRD BOOK OF THE NOBLE AND VIRTUOUS KNIGHT AMADIS OF GAUL.