[How Gandalin became a knight, and what Amadis told him.]
Battle of Nations. The 2016 historic medieval battle full-contact armored competition will take place in Prague, Czech Republic, May 6 to 9.]
Now we shall tell you of the armor worn by King Perion and Amadis and some of the great lords on their side. King Perion wore armor whose helmet and shield were very shiny and bright and of very fine steel, with a surcoat of very bright red silk, and mounted a fine horse that his nephew Sir Brian of Monjaste had given him, for his father, the King of Spain, had sent twenty very handsome horses to be distributed among the knights; and he rode beneath the flag of the Emperor of Constantinople.
Amadis wore the green armor strewn with golden lions he had worn when he killed Famongomadan and his son Basagante, who were the two mightiest giants that could be found in the world. He was very fond of that armor because he wore it when he left Poor Rock and went to see his lady at Miraflores Castle, as the second book of this story recounts.
Sir Cuadragante wore brown armor decorated with silver flowers and rode one of the Spanish horses. Sir Bruneo of Bonamar did not wish to change his armor, which had the figure of a damsel on the shield and a knight on his knees in front of her, who seemed to be asking for a boon. Sir Florestan, the fine and great jouster, wore red armor decorated with golden flowers and rode on a large horse from Spain. Agrajes’ armor was of a fine pink color and on his shield was the hand of a damsel clutching a heart. The noble Angriote did not wish to change from his armor enameled with blue and silver. And all the others, of whom no mention will be made so as not to annoy the readers, wore very fine armor of the colors most to their liking, and so they all came out on the field in good order.
When all of the men were assembled, each one with his captain as ye have heard, they rode slowly through the field as the sun rose and shone on the armor, and as it was all new and fresh and bright, it gleamed in such a way that it was nothing but amazing to see it.
And at that time Gandalin and Lasindo, Sir Bruneo’s squire, arrived in white armor as befitted new knights. Gandalin went to where his lord Amadis was, and Lasindo to Sir Bruneo. When Amadis saw him cominge left the column to go to him, and asked Sir Cuadragante to stop the men until he made that squire a knight. And he took Gandalin and went to where his father King Perion was, and on the way he told him:
“My true friend, I urge thee that today in this battle thou shouldst try to tread carefully and not leave my side so that if it is necessary I can come to thy aid. For although thou hast seen many battles and great confrontations, and thou mayest believe that thou knowest what thou must do and needest nothing other than courage, do not believe it, for it is a very different thing to watch than do. Each man will think when he sees things that he could do them better than he who is doing them if he were in his place, and later when he himself is doing them, many difficulties come before him that distress him because he is not accustomed to them and he finds much that he had not expected.
“This is because everything is in the execution, although something can be learned by watching. And as thy beginning shall be in such high deeds at arms as we have before us, and thou must protect thyself from so many others, it is necessary to defend thy life as well as thy honor, which is more valuable and should be held more dearly, and that with great discretion and wisdom and not giving such full reign to thy courage that it obscures thy mind, thou mayest attack our enemies, and I shall take great caution in watching out for thee when I can. Do the same for me each time thou seest that it is necessary.”
When he heard this, Gandalin said:
“My lord, everything shall be done as ye order as much as I can and my wisdom permits me, and may it please God for it to be so, for it would be easy for me to place myself where your help would be necessary.”
And so they arrived to where King Perion was, and Amadis told him:
“My lord, Gandalin wishes to be made a knight, and I would be very pleased if it were by your hand, but since it pleases him to be by my hand, I ask for the sword to come from your hand because, when he needs it, he may remember the great honor he received and who gave it.”
The King looked at Gandalin and recognized his son Sir Galaor’s horse, and tears came to his eyes and he said:
“Gandalin, my friend, how did thou leavest Sir Galaor when thou departed from him?”
And he told him:
“My lord, much improved in his illness, but with great pain and sorrow in his heart, for no matter how ye hid your departure from him, he knew it, although not its reason, and he tried to get me to tell him the truth if I knew it, and I told him, my lord, that from what I had learned about it, ye went to help the King of Scotland, Agrajes’ father, who had an issue with some of his neighbors. I did not wish to tell him the truth because in this situation and his being in such difficulty, I thought that was for the best.”
The King’s sighed from the depths of his heart, as one who loved him and bore him deep within himself, and thought that except for Amadis, there was no better knight in the world than him, both in courage and in all other things that a good knight must have, and he said:
“Oh, my dear son! May it please our Lord that I do not see thy death, and that I see the honorably relieved of this great affection that thou hast for King Lisuarte because, being free, freely thou mayest help thy brothers and thy lineage.”
Then Amadis took the sword brought by Durin, brother of the damsel of Denmark, which he had ordered him to bring, and gave it to the King, and Amadis made Gandalin a knight and kissed him and placed his right spur on him, and the King belted on his sword, and so he was armed by the two best knights who ever bore weapons. Amadis took him and returned to Sir Cuadragante, and when they arrived, he came to embrace Gandalin to give him honor, and told him:
“My friend, may it please God that your knighthood be as well employed by you as until now has been the virtue and good habits that a fine squire ought to have, and I believe it shall be so because a good beginning usually brings a good ending.”
Gandalin bowed, considering the honor he was given a boon.
Lasindo was knighted by the hand of his lord, and Agrajes gave him his sword. And ye may believe that these two new knights made their commencement with such feats of arms in this battle and suffered such great danger and labor that for all the days of their lives they won honor and great glory, as this story shall tell you with more detail farther on.
As the battalions moved forward, as I say, they did not get far before they saw their enemy before them coming in the columns ye heard of earlier. When they were close to each other, Amadis recognized the flag that the Emperor of Rome had carried in the front, and he felt great pleasure because the first blows would be with them, for although he had lost his love for King Lisuarte, he always remembered having been in his court and the great honors he had received from him; above all, what he most feared and was troubled by was that Lisuarte was father to his lady, whom he was so afraid to anger. In his heart he had decided that if he could do so without much danger to himself, he would avoid wherever King Lisuarte might be so as not to encounter him or anger him, although he knew well from the past that he should not expect such courtesy from him, instead to have him seek him out for death as a mortal enemy.
But of Agrajes, I tell you that his thoughts were very different from those of Amadis, for he asked nothing of God except to guide him were he could bring Lisuarte death and destroy all his men, for he could always see before him the discourtesy and lack of gratitude that had been done to him at the island of Mongaza, and what Lisuarte had done to his uncle Sir Galvanes and those on his side, for although Lisuarte had given him that island, he held it as more of a dishonor than an honor since he did so after having been defeated, and all the honor remained with the King. And if he had found himself there at that time, he would not have consented to his uncle taking it; instead he would have given him another one in his father’s kingdom. And with his great rage, he often would have lost himself in the battle by entering in the greatest skirmishes to kill or capture King Lisuarte, but as the other man was courageous and accustomed to such things, he did not have much concern for him, nor did he fail to fight everywhere as necessary, as shall be told farther on.
As the battalions were ready to attack each other, only waiting for the sound of the trumpets and bugles, Amadis, who was in the vanguard, saw a squire coming on a horse as fast as he could from the other side, and shouting to ask if Amadis of Gaul was there. Amadis gestured for him to come. The squire did so, and when he arrived, Amadis said:
“Squire, what do ye wish, for I am he whom ye seek.”
The squire looked at him and it seemed to him he had never seen such a fine knight and horse, and told him:
“My good lord, I fully believe what ye tell me, for your appearance gives testimony to your great fame.”
“Now tell me what ye wish,” Amadis said.
The squire told him:
“My lord, Gasquilan, King of Suesa and my lord, would have ye know that in the past when King Lisuarte was at war with you and with Sir Galvanes and many other knights from your side and his over the island of Mongaza, Gasquilan came to King Lisuarte with the desire to fight with you, not out of any enmity for you, rather for the great fame he heard of your great deeds in knighthood. He was in that war until, badly injured, he returned to his land, having learned that ye were not in the place where his desire could have been carried out. Now King Lisuarte has let him know about this war in which ye are, where, given its cause, a great battle cannot be avoided. He has come to it with the same desire, and he says to you, my lord, that before the battalions attack each other, to break two or three lances with him, which he shall gladly do, because when the battalions attack, he will not be able to encounter you at his will, for he will be obstructed by many other knights.”
Amadis told him:
“Good squire, tell your lord the King that everything he sent you to tell me I knew at the time when I could not be in that war, and that what he wishes I consider to be from the grandeur of his courage rather than from any enmity or ill will, and that although my deeds are not as admirable as their fame, I am very pleased that a man of such high means and renown holds me so highly, and that, since his quest is more from his will than from his needs, I would wish, if it pleases him, that he test himself in a way more to his honor and advantage than to my gain or loss. But since he has sent you to tell me what he would most prefer, then I shall do what he asks.”
The squire said:
“My lord, my lord the King knows well what ye did to his father Madarque, the giant of Sad Island, and how ye defeated him to rescue King Cildadan and your brother Sir Galaor, and although this involves him as a question of his father to whom he is so closely akin, knowing the great courtesy that ye afforded him, he would rather give you thanks than harm, and if he has a great desire to test himself against you, it is nothing else than the great envy he has for your great skills, and he realizes that if he defeats you, his praise and fame would be higher than that of all the knights of the world, and if he were defeated, it would not be a great disgrace or shame to be done by the hand of he who has defeated so many knights and giants and other unnatural wild beasts.”
“Since it is so,” Amadis said, “tell him that as I have said, if this which he asks would give him the most contentment, I am ready to do it.”