Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chapter 39 [final part]

[How Agrajes, Olivas, and Galvanes fought with all their skill and strength to defeat the Duke of Bristol and his nephews in a grisly and bloody trial by combat.]

[Illustration from a 1520 version of German historian Nicolaus Marschalk's Chronicon der mecklenburgischen Regenten reimweise.] 

Agrajes, who was nimble, quickly rose from his dead horse, for he had no equal in the spirit and courage of his heart. He defended himself from the Duke and his nephew with Amadis's fine sword, which he had in his hand, and with which he gave fierce blows.

Galaor, who was watching with great concern, said to himself sorrowfully:

"Oh, God, what is Olivas waiting for? Why does he not rush to help Agrajes, who needs him? Truly, it would be better for him to have never borne arms rather than to err at such a time."

Galaor said this not knowing the serious trouble that Olivas was in, for he was so badly hurt and had bled so much that it was a wonder he could merely remain in his saddle, and when he saw the danger Agrajes was in, he sighed with great pain, for although his strength was failing, his heart was not. He raised his eyes to heaven and said:

"Oh my Lord God, I beg you to give me the chance before my soul leaves my body to help my good friend."

Then, he turned his horse toward them, weakly put his hand on his sword, and went to attack the Duke. The Duke charged him, and they gave each other great blows with their swords. Anger had made Olivas recover some of his strength, so it seemed to all that he did not fight worse than the Duke.

Agrajes remained alone with the other knight, and they both fought so well on foot that it would be hard to decide which one was better. But Agrajes was very anxious to win, for he saw that his lady was looking at him and he did not wish to err at all. As he fought, he did not merely fight as well as he ought to but went far beyond, so much so that his friends were worried, fearing that soon his strength and breath would fail. But he always acted this way everywhere he fought, always more aggressive than the other knight, always trying to end the fight victoriously, and if he had had as much strength as he had will, he would have been one of the best knights in the world.

Still, he was very good and esteemed, and he dealt many blows to the top of the knight's helmet, cutting it in four places and making it of little worth and less use. The knight could only try to protect himself and guard his head with his shield, for his helmet offered scant defense and his chain mail even less, for it had been slashed open repeatedly and his flesh cut more than ten times, and his blood flowed.

When the knight saw himself in such distress, he hurried to the Duke to see if he could get some help, but Agrajes, who followed him, caught him before he could reach the Duke and struck him on the top of his cut and broken helmet with such a blow that his sword sunk through the helmet and into his head, and when Agrajes pulled it out, he left the knight lying at his feet, quaking in the throes of death.

Agrajes saw that the Duke and Olivas were fighting and saw that Olivas had lost so much blood that it was surprising that he still lived, and went to help, but before he arrived Olivas fell as if dead from his horse. The Duke, who had not seen that Agrajes had killed his nephew, saw that Sir Galvanes fighting the other one, so he left Olivas on the ground and rode as fast as he could to Galvanes and gave him great blows.

Agrajes, believing Olivas dead, immediately mounted his horse and went to help Galvanes, who was in trouble. When he arrived, he give the Duke's nephew such a blow that it cut the straps of his shield and his chain mail, and the sword sunk into his flesh down to the bones. The knight turned his face to see who had attacked him, and Agrajes gave him a blow on the visor of his helmet. The sword sunk so deep that it could not be pulled out, and when Agrajes tugged on it, he broke the laces of the knight's helmet, which came off and fell on the ground.

Galvanes, who was very angry, left the Duke and turned to strike the knight's bare head, who covered himself with his shield, which he had already used often. But because its straps had been cut, he could not cover himself well enough from Sir Galvanes, who satisfied his anger by chopping the knight's head to pieces, and he left its owner dead on the ground.

Meanwhile Agrajes and the Duke fought hard with fierce blows, but when Galvanes arrived, they put the Duke between them and began to attack on all sides, for they despised him mortally. And when the Duke saw that he was surrounded, he began to flee as fast as his horse could take him, but those who despised him followed him everywhere as fast as they could.

When the knights-errant who were watching the battle saw this, they were all very happy, and Sir Guilan more than anyone, thinking that if the Duke were dead, he would be able to enjoy the Duke's wife more easily, whom he loved above all things.

Galvanes's horse was badly injured, and as he raced to try to reach the Duke, it could endure no more and fell with him on it, and Galvanes was hurt. Agrajes went at the Duke and struck with his sword on the edge of his shield, and it sunk a palm deep alongside his neck. When Agrajes pulled it back, he would have taken the Duke from his saddle, but the Duke quickly threw the shield from his neck and left it with the sword in it, and turned to flee as fast as he could.

Agrajes took the sword from the shield and went after him, but the Duke turned to give him a blow or two, and turned again to flee. Agrajes cursed him and followed, and gave him such a blow on the left shoulder that it cut through the chain mail and the flesh and bones almost to the ribs, and so the Duke's arm was left hanging from his body. He cried out, and Agrajes grabbed his helmet and pulled, and because the Duke was already partially paralyzed, Agrajes knocked him from his horse. One foot remained in the stirrup, and the Duke could not take it out as the horse fled, dragging him all around the field until it had run out through the gate and continued the distance of the flight of an arrow. When it was finally stopped, they found the Duke was dead, his head smashed by the hooves of the horse.

Agrajes returned to his uncle Galvanes, dismounted, and said:

"My lord, how are you?"

"My lord nephew," he said, "I am well, thanks to God, but I greatly fear that our friend Olivas is dead."

"In good faith, I think so too," Agrajes said, "and I am very sorry for it."

Then Galvanes went to him while Agrajes dragged the nephews of the Duke from the field with all their arms. When Galvanes got to where Olivas lay, he found that he had regained consciousness somewhat, opened his eyes, and with great urgency asked for confession. Galvanes looked at his wound and said:

"My good friend, do not fear death, for this wound is not in a dangerous place, and when the bleeding is stanched, ye shall be fine."

"Oh, my lord," Olivas said, "my heart is failing, and my arms and legs, and at other times when I was injured badly, I never lost sense in them."

"The loss of blood has caused it," Galvanes said, "for ye have bled a lot, but other than that, do not be afraid."

Then they removed his armor and gave him air, and he recovered some strength, and the bleeding soon began to stop. The King sent for a stretcher so Olivas could be carried on it, and ordered him taken from the field to his lodgings. There doctors came to care for him, and when they saw the wound, although it was large, they said they could save him with the help of God, and the King and many others were glad to hear it.

So he remained in the care of the doctors. The families of the Duke and his nephews took their remains back to their lands. And that battle gave Angrajes great fame as an excellent knight, and his skill was better known than ever.

The Queen sent for Brandalisa, the Duke's wife, so that she could be done honor, and asked her to bring her niece, Aldeva. This pleased Sir Guilan. Sir Grumedan, the Queen's tutor, went for them, and within a month he had brought them to the court, where they were well received.

And thus as ye hear the King and Queen were in London with many nobles, knights, ladies, and damsels, where within half a year, when the news reached other lands about how knights were kept there in high honor, so many knights came to London that it was amazing. The King honored them and did them many favors, hoping that with them he could not only defend and protect the kingdom of Great Britain but that he could conquer other lands that in the past had been its subjects and tributaries, but now were not because the previous kings had been weak, avaricious, and subject to vice and depravity. And so it was done.

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