[What Arquisil asked of Amadis, and what this would mean.]
[From an illustration of Cantiga 181 of the Cantigas de Santa Maria of King Alfonso X.]
And so it was that, when the valiant Amadis and many other great lords and brave knights were in King Perion’s tent, Arquisil was among them and still had not been told where he would be held prisoner. He stood up and told the King:
“My lord, may Your Grace hear me speak with Amadis of Gaul in the presence of these knights.”
The King told him he would gladly hear whatever he thought it good to say. Arquisil recounted everything that had happened in the battle that Sir Garadan and he and his other companions had fought against Amadis and the knights of the King of Bohemia, and how they were defeated and injured and Sir Garadan was killed, and how Amadis with his restraint saved him from the hands of those who with great desire and intention meant to kill him, and how at his plea and petition he was released and allowed to leave so he could give some aid to his companions who were very badly injured, leaving as a pledge his faith and word as his prisoner to come to him whenever he was summoned, as the third part of this story has told more extensively, and how now he was called by Amadis, and he had come as they all had seen to fulfill his word and be wherever he was ordered and directed to go.
But if Amadis, making use of generosity and great restraint and virtue, as was his custom for all those in need of his grace and aid, were to give him permission so that in that coming battle, so prominent in the world, he could serve his lord the Emperor as he ought, he would promise as a loyal and good knight before Amadis and all those present that if afterwards he were alive, he would go where he was ordered to fulfill his imprisonment.
Amadis, who at that time was also standing to give him honor, answered:
“Arquisil, my noble lord, if I were to pay heed to the arrogant and overblown words of your lord the Emperor, I would treat everyone connected with him with great rigor and cruelty without fearing that I would fall into excess. But ye are without fault, and the times have brought us to such a situation where every man’s virtue will be shown to us, so I hold it well that ye have come when ye were asked for, and I give you license to be in that battle, from which, if ye leave without danger, ye must be at this island within ten days to comply with what shall be ordered by myself or by others on my behalf.”
Arquisil thanked him for that very much, and he promised to do so.
Some shall ask why so much has been made of a knight of so little renown in such a great story. I say the reason is this: because this man dealt with every confrontation that came to him with great courage, as further on ye shall hear, and because, due to his great lineage and noble condition, he came to be Emperor of Rome, and he always held Amadis, who was the main reason that he had reached such a great sovereignty, as a true brother, as at the appropriate time shall be told at greater length.
Then when those lords had left and gone to their tents and quarters, Arquisil put on his armor, mounted his horse, bid farewell to Amadis and all those who were with him, and he returned on the road on which he had come. And the story does not tell of anything happening to him except that he arrived at the Emperor’s army, where everyone was very pleased to see him again. And although they asked him about many things, he only wished to speak of the great courtesy that he had received from the very noble knight Amadis, of whom ye may well believe that his courtesy was such and so great that it would be hard to find the like in any knight at that time.
And I wish ye to know the reason why those knights took such long journeys without encountering adventure as in times past, and it was because they all thought of nothing else except to provide and prepare all things necessary for the battle, for it seemed to them, given the grandeur of that confrontation, to become involved in other quests that might interfere would result in infamy.
When Arquisil arrived at the encampment, he spoke privately with the Emperor and told him the truth about everything, both about his opponents’ large number of men and about the outstanding knights with him, of whom he recounted by name almost all, and how Amadis of Gaul had given him permission to fight in that battle and was not very troubled by it. Arquisil said he had learned that Amadis, knowing that the Emperor would be coming there with his army, soon planned to march toward it without fear; Arquisil advised him of all that because by doing so he best fulfilled his service.
The Emperor listened to this, although he was very arrogant and changeable, as ye have heard, and he was also sure of himself in everything that he did, but he knew the virtue of that knight, for whom he had not much love, and that Arquisil had told him nothing but the truth. And when he heard it, he was dismayed as those who employ their valor more in words than in deed tend to be. The Emperor no longer wished to be involved in that affair, for he fully understood the great difference between one side and the other, and he had never thought that given his great strength along with that of King Lisuarte, Amadis would have the ability or preparations to leave Firm Island; instead the Emperor and King could lay siege by land and sea so that either through hunger or some other means Patin could take back Oriana and avenge the harm and injury that had been done to his honor.
And from there on, showing more courage then he secretly felt, he made sure to concur with the will of King Lisuarte and all his noblemen.
So they were encamped for two weeks reviewing the troops and receiving the knights that came to them every day, and they found that they had all the following: the Emperor brought 10,000 knights; King Lisuarte 6,500; Gasquilan, King of Suesa, 800; and King Cildadan, 200.
Everything having been prepared, the Emperor and the Kings gave orders to break camp and for the men to wait in the great meadow from which they would march. And so it was done, and they were all placed in their battalions. The Emperor put his men into three columns. The first he gave to Floyan, brother of Prince Salustanquidio, with 2,500 knights. He gave the second to Arquisil with an equal number, and he was left with 5,000 to follow them. And he asked King Lisuarte to approve of his men taking the vanguard, which he did, although Lisuarte would rather have done that himself, because he did not consider those men highly, and he was afraid their lack of discipline might cause some great reversal. But he agreed to give him that honor, which in such cases is looked upon badly because all affection should be laid aside to follow where reason guides.
King Lisuarte put his men into columns. In one with King Arban of North Wales he put 3,000 knights, and with him were his son Norandel, Sir Guilan the Pensive, Sir Cendil of Ganota, and Brandoivas. And from his men he gave 1,000 knights to King Cildadan and Gasquilan, and with another 1,000 made another column. And of those knights with him, he gave his standard to the worthy Sir Grumedan, who had great sorrow and anguish in his heart over the poor decision the King Lisuarte had made by allowing troops he considered unworthy to take the lead.
When this was done in the columns had been formed, they moved across the field behind the supply wagons which with its billeters was going to set up the next camp.
What could I tell ye of the knights and fine shining armor of such variety that they wore? Truly, it would be very laborious to recount. It will only be spoken of what the Emperor and the Kings and other outstanding knights wore, and this shall be told on the day of the battle when they armed themselves for it. Now we shall not speak of that until its proper time, and now it must be told what King Perion and the lords with him did in the encampment on Firm Island.