How the holy man Nasciano returned to King Lisuarte with King Perion’s answer, and what was agreed to.
[Depiction of a king in court from the 11th century Old English Hexateuch, a translation of the first six books of the Hebrew Bible. At the British Library.]
The good man Nasciano returned to King Lisuarte, as ye have heard, and told him he had spoken with King Perion and everyone under his command, and they thought the matter should go forward, with fine words said in agreement. Since King Lisuarte had already made up his mind and was very desirous not to aid the Evil Enemy [the Devil] by adding to the great deal of harm that had already been done, he told him:
“Father, then nothing from me shall stand in the way, as ye shall see. Stay here with your companions in this tent, and I shall go to speak with the kings who have suffered so much harm and danger to maintain my honor.”
Then he went to the tent of Gasquilan, King of Suesa, who was still bedridden from the battle he had fought with Amadis, as ye have heard, and Lisuarte had King Cildadan and all the other major knights summoned, both his own men and the Romans, and he told them what the good hermit had said when he first arrived as well as the answer he had brought from King Perion, keeping secret what involved Amadis and his daughter, which he did not wish to make known at that time. He earnestly asked them to say what they thought because whether the outcome of that agreement was good or to the contrary, everyone would be affected. He especially wished to know the will of the Romans because, given the great loss they had suffered with the death of their lord, he was very obliged to set aside his own will to follow theirs.
King Cildadan said:
“My lord, it is very right for you to give the chance to speak to these knights from Rome and to consider it carefully, and your proper restraint obliges them in the end to follow whatever your volition might be, just as I and all others who are obedient to you must do, along with the noble king of Suesa, whose desire in this matter will not be different from ours. Now let those who wish speak.”
Then the noble knight Arquisil stood up and said:
“If my lord the Emperor were alive, both for his grandeur and because this contention has been by his cause, it would be up to him according to his wishes and will to make peace or war. But since he is dead, it can be said that with him died any obligation for ourselves, being of his blood, and for all his vassals whom we command and govern. We are no longer a party in that which ye, my good lord King Lisuarte, wish to undertake as his equal in that cause. Yet as ye have been told and now we shall repeat, as long as one of us is alive, all of us will continue to follow whatever might be your will, and we relinquish the duty of decision to you as our leader and as the one whom this matter involves more than anyone else.”
The King and everyone else there were very pleased by that knight because his answer conformed to both great discretion and great courage, which rarely occurs in a single person. He told him:
“Since ye leave the responsibility to me, I shall take it, and if I err in anything, may I suffer the greatest harm, and if I am correct, the greatest honor.”
With that he went to his tent, and he ordered King Arban of North Wales and Sir Guilan the Pensive to take charge of speaking with the knights whom King Perion would name, and with their advice he would make the final determination. Then he said to the hermit:
“Father, it seems to me that since this matter has reached such a point, it would be good if ye were to return to King Perion and tell him I have chosen these two knights to bargain with his. And it would be good, because this sort of thing always takes some time and because those who are injured cannot receive treatment in our camps, nor do we have provisions for the men and the beasts, if those camps were to be broken. He and all his men ought to retreat the distance of one day’s journey in the direction from which they came, and I in the other, which would be to my town of Lubaina, to give proper assistance to these men who are so battered and to have the Emperor taken to his land.
“Thus our messengers may speak about what should be done, and he and I may oversee most of it. He should tell his will to his messengers, and I shall do that to mine, and ye shall be with them and witness anyone who does not behave reasonably. If necessary, he and I with fewer men can meet wherever it seems best to you.”
The hermit was very pleased by this, because even if an agreement was not reached, danger would be lessened by the men being more distant, for before this holy man took orders and went to live such a constrained life in a remote location, he had been a knight, and a very good one, in the court of the King who was father to King Lisuarte, and later, of his brother King Falangris, so that although he was very accomplished in matters divine, he did not fail to understand matters temporal, in which he had been deeply involved.
And he said to the King:
“My good lord, what ye say seems very good to me. All that remains is that on the given date your messengers and his shall be in this place, which is halfway between either side. May it be that with the help of the Lord, without Whom nothing can be remedied, this shall give rise to such an agreement between them that ye and King Perion shall see each other, as he said, and the delays may be avoided that tend to happen through third persons. I shall immediately return, and I shall have sent to you the time and hour at which ye may break camp and at which the other camp will also be broken.”
So the good man returned to King Perion and he told him everything that had been agreed to and left out nothing. The King was pleased by that, since it would be to his great advantage to have the camps broken, and with the agreement of Sir Cuadragante and Sir Brian of Monjaste, he ordered it be declared that the next day early in the morning everyone should be ready to take down their tents and other equipment in order to carry it away. The good man ordered that it be told to King Lisuarte, and as soon as he could be he would be with him.
When the morning came, the trumpets sounded throughout the camps, the tents were struck, and with great pleasure on both sides the camps were moved, each to where they should go. But now we shall let them go on their way, and we shall tell you about King Arabigo, who was up on the mountain, as ye have heard.