Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chapter 58 [final part]

[How, after the battle was over, they went to search for Sir Galaor.] 

[St. Joan of Arc Chapel, originally built in the Middle Ages in Casse, near Lyon, France, and now located at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.] 

They went to the place where Amadis had seen him on foot, where he had brought down King Cildadan, and there were so many dead that they could not find him. But turning them all over, Florestan found Galaor, whom they recognized by the sleeve of his tunic, which was blue with silver flowers. They began to lament deeply over him.

When Amadis saw this, he fell from his horse, and his wounds, which had stopped bleeding, were reopened by the force of the fall, and his blood flowed in abundance. He took off his helmet and shield, which were broken, and came to Galaor weeping, took off his helmet, and put his head on his lap. Galaor, with the fresh air, began to move and tremble.

Then all the rest arrived, weeping from the pain of seeing him thus. And shortly, twelve well-dressed damsels arrived with squires who carried a litter covered with fine cloth. They knelt in front of Amadis and said:

"My lord, we have come for Sir Galaor. If ye wish him to live, give him to us. If not, all the doctors in Great Britain cannot save him."

Amadis, who did not know the damsels, considered the great danger Galaor was in. He did not know what to do, but the knights advised him that it would be better to give him to fate than to watch him die in front of his eyes, unable to help him. Amadis said:

"Good damsels, could we know where ye shall take him?"

"No," they said. "For now, if ye wish him to live, give him to us immediately. If not, we must go."

Amadis begged them to take him with his brother, but they refused, and at his request they took his dwarf Ardian and his squire. Then they put Galaor still in his armor, except for his head and his hands, half-dead onto the litter. Amadis and the knights accompanied him to the sea, mourning, where they saw a ship, into which the damsels put the litter.

Then they asked King Lisuarte if he would give them King Cildadan, who lay among the dead, reminding him that he had been a good king, and, by doing what he must, fortune had brought him to great tribulation. They asked him to have mercy because if fortune could turn on Cildadan, it could happen to others. The King ordered him be given to them, more dead than alive. At once they took him in the litter and put him onto the ship. The sails were raised and it quickly left the shore.

At this point the King, having made sure that none of his enemies could escape with their fleet and ordering all those who had not died in the battle to be taken prisoner, found Amadis, Sir Florestan, Agrajes. Everyone who was with them was weeping. He knew they wept because they had lost Sir Galaor, and that put great sadness and pain in his heart, as one who loved him with his heart and soul. And that was just, for since the day Galaor had become his vassal, he had never thought of anything except to serve him.

He dismounted and, although he had many wounds and his armor was stained with blood, he embraced Amadis with the great love he had for him, and consoled him, saying that if Galaor could be cured by great affection, his would be enough to do so with the great pain he felt in his heart, but by putting their hope in the all-powerful Lord, Who would not wish such a man to be without protection, they could be comforted. And so he renewed their spirits.

He brought them to the tent of King Cildadan, which was unusually beautiful, asked for something to eat, and then ordered that the knights on their side who had died be diligently buried at a monastery at the foot of the mountain. And he ordered prayers for their souls and gave funds for building a beautiful chapel so they could be put into finely made tombs with their names inscribed on them. And he sent messengers to Queen Brisena so she would know the good fortune that God had given him. Then he and the knights, who were badly injured, went to a town four leagues away named Ganota, and there they remained until their wounds had healed.

And at the same time that the battle was fought, the beautiful Queen Briolanja, who was staying with Queen Brisena, thought to go to Miraflores to see Oriana, since both of them wished to see each other because of the fame of their beauty. When Oriana learned this, she ordered her rooms be decorated with rich fabrics.

When the Queen arrived and they saw each other, they were astounded. For Oriana, neither the Arch of the Loyal Lovers nor the test of the sword had as much power nor gave her such security as the great shock of seeing Briolanja. Any heart in the world could be captured and subjugated by her beauty, and by breaking those bonds, Oriana had won Amadis's.

And Briolanja, having sometimes seen Amadis's anguish and tears, along with the great tests of love mentioned here, had soon suspected that his worthy heart did not deserve to suffer except for she from whom all other women prized for their beauty ought to flee for the glow of hers would put theirs to pale, and excused him of any guilt for having discarded her proposals.

And so they were both pleased to be together, speaking about the things that they enjoyed the most. Among other things, Briolanja recounted the most important deeds that Amadis had done for her and how she loved him from her heart.

Oriana, to learn more, said:

"My lady and Queen, since he is so good and of such a high estate, for from what I have heard he is descended from the greatest emperors in the world and expects to be King of Gaul, why do ye not take him as yours, and make him lord of the kingdom that he won for you, since he is your peer?"

Briolanja told her:

"My friend and lady, I must believe that although ye have seen him many times, ye do not know him. Do ye not think that I would hold myself the most blessed woman in the world if I could do as ye say? But I want ye to know what happened to me about this, and to keep it a secret, as a lady such as yourself ought to. I tried to do what ye said and have him take me in marriage, which always gives me shame when I remember it. He had me understand that he cared little for me or for any other woman. And I believe this, for all the while he was with me, I never heard him speak of any woman the way all other knights do. But I tell you that he is the man most in this world to whom I would give my kingdom and would submit myself."

Oriana was very happy to hear this and more sure of her beloved than by any other test, seeing with what great affection Briolanja spoke of him. She said:

"I am surprised by what ye tell me, for if Amadis loved no woman, he could not have passed through the Arch of the Loyal Lovers, where they say he caused greater signs of loyalty and love than any other who had been there."

"He may well love," the Queen said, "but he is more secretive than any knight has ever been."

About this and many other things they spoke, and they were there for ten days, and after that they went together with their companions to the town of Fernisa, where the Queen was awaiting her husband the King. She was very pleased to see her daughter healthy and returned to her beauty. And there they learned the good news of the victory in the battle, and because of the great pleasure that it gave them, Queen Brisena made many donations to churches and monasteries and to people in need.

But when Queen Briolanja heard it said that Amadis was the one who had been called Beltenebros, who could describe the joy her spirit felt? And so Queen Briolanja was happy, as were all the ladies and damsels who loved him greatly, and with them, Oriana and Mabilia, who pretended that this was news to them the same as to the others.

Briolanja said to Oriana:

"How does it seem to you, my friend, that he is the good knight who until now was praised, leaving the fame of Amadis so forgotten that almost no one remembered him? Although I greatly loved him and knew about his deeds at arms, I had begun to wonder, in light of the great deeds of Beltenebros, in which of the two should I put my affection now."

"My lady and Queen," Oriana said, "I understand that we are all in that situation, and if he comes with my father the King, let us ask him why he changed his name and who the woman is who won the wreath of flowers."

"So be it," said Briolanja.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

See you in September

August is a time to rest and relax. 

At the Alhambra in December 2011. Photo by Jerry Finn.


As usual, after one more post to finish Chapter 58, this blog will take a European-style August vacation. It will resume on September 11 with more amazing adventures.

Galaor will awaken in prison. King Lisuarte will face new dangers. And despite Amadis's brave deeds, things will go badly for him, for his friends, and for Oriana.

During the break, as well as resting, I will attend Chicon 7, the 70th World Science Fiction Convention.

— Sue Burke

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chapter 58 [middle part]

[The hundred knights of King Lisuarte and of King Cildadan lined up at dawn with the best knights at the head of each side.] 

[Thirteenth-century illustration of Vita Karoli Magni.] 

So, as ye hear, they came at each other very well-ordered and very slowly. But when they met, those who rode ahead attacked each other so bravely that many of them went to the ground. Then both battalions joined in battle with such great fury and cruelty that their fierce valor caused many of the horses to flee from the field without their masters, leaving some men dead and others badly injured.

For those who found themselves there, with good cause it could be called a day of rage and pain, for a third of the day passed as they injured and killed each other without a moment of rest, every man with the utmost rigor and labor. It was during the height of summer with its blazing heat, and both they and their horses became so tired and exhausted that it was amazing they could continue. The wounded lost so much blood that some of them could not sustain their lives, and they lay in the field foully killed, especially those who had been attacked by the giants.

At that time Beltenebros did amazing feats of arms with his excellent sword in his hand, bringing down and killing those whom he found before him, although he was hindered by the need to protect the King in the combats he found himself in. If Lisuarte were defeated, the dishonor would be all the King’s, as would the glory in being the victor, which caused the him to put his guards in the gravest confrontations.

But as Sir Galaor and Florestan and Agrajes saw the astounding things Beltenebros did, they fought with him, giving and suffering such blows that their envy of him became a great advantage for all on their side. Sir Bruneo joined them to protect Sir Galaor, who like an enraged lion, to be equal in skill to Beltenebros, did not fear the fierce blows of the giants nor the death that others suffered before his eyes. With sword in hand, he entered in combat with the enemy, attacking and killing them.

As he moved forward with his heart so irate and furious, as ye have heard, he saw before him the giant Cartadaque of the Forbidden Mountain, who with a heavy axe was giving great blows to all he could reach and had more than six knights on the ground at his feet. But he had a wound on his shoulder that Sir Florestan had given him that was bleeding badly. Sir Galaor gripped his sword in his hand, came at him, and gave him such a great blow on top of his helmet on an angle that everything that his sword met fell, including an ear, and his sword did not stop until it had cut the shaft of the axe just above his hands.

When the giant saw Galaor so close, having nothing with which to attack, he grabbed him by the arms so hard that the saddle girths broke and the saddle was pulled from the horse. Sir Galaor fell to the ground, and the giant held him so tight he could not escape from his strong arms. In fact it seemed that all his bones were being broken. But before he lost consciousness, Sir Galaor grabbed his sword, which was hanging from his hip, and thrust it into the eye slit of the giant's visor, making him lose the strength in his arms, and soon he was dead. Galaor got up exhausted from the great effort that it had taken and from the loss of blood that flowed from his wounds, and he could in no way pull the sword from the head of the giant.

Many knights from both sides had joined to help Galaor or the giant, and they commenced the most harsh and cruel battle of the day. Among them, King Cildadan arrived on his side and Beltenebros on the other. He gave King Cildadan two blows with his sword on his head so great that the King lost his strength and fell from his horse at the feet of Sir Galaor, who took the King's sword and began to strike in every direction until he lost strength and consciousness, unable to remain standing, and fell on top of the King as if dead.

At this time the giants Gandalaz and Albadanzor met and attacked each other with such great blows of their maces that they and their horses fell to the ground. Albadanzor's arm was broken, as was Gandalaz's leg, but he and his sons killed Albadanzor.

By then, among both sides, more than one hundred twenty knights were dead, and it was past noon. Madanfabul, the giant of the island of the Vermilion Tower, and the others who were with him, as ye have heard, were watching the battle, and he saw that many were dead and others were tired and their armor broken in many places, and their horses injured, and he thought that with his companions, he could easily defeat the rest. He left the hill so fierce and furious that it was amazing, and he shouted to his companions:

"No man shall remain alive, and I shall take or kill King Lisuarte!"

Beltenebros saw them coming, and because he had already taken a rested horse from one of the nephews of his host Abradan, he put himself before the King, calling Florestan and Agrajes, whom he saw nearby, and they were joined by Sir Bruneo of Bonamar, Branfil, Guilan the Pensive, and Enil, who had done so much in that battle that he would always be held in great fame. All these, although they and their horses were badly injured, put themselves in front of the King.

Ahead of Madanfabul came a knight named Sarmadan the Lion, who was the most valiant and strong of the family of King Cildadan, and his uncle. Beltenebros charged at him. Sarmadan struck him with a lance on his shield, and although it broke, it passed through the shield and injured him, but not badly. Beltenebros raised his sword, and as he passed, he struck Sarmadan through the eye slit of his helmet with such a blow that both his eyes were destroyed, and he fell to the earth senseless.

But Madanfabul and those with him attacked so bravely that most of those with King Lisuarte were knocked down. Madanfabul went straight for the King with such bravery that those with him were not strong enough to defend him after the wounds he gave them. He reached out, put an arm around the back of the King's neck, and held him so tightly that he overcame him, pulled him from his saddle, and rode off with him toward the ships.

Beltenebros, who saw him captured, said:

"Oh, my lord God, let not such trouble befall Oriana!"

He spurred his horse and held his sword tight, and when he reached the giant, he struck with all his might on his right arm, with which he held the King, and cut it at the elbow, and cut the King through his chain mail and gave him an injury that bled freely. The giant fled as a man disabled, leaving the King on the ground.

When Beltenebros saw that with his blow he had killed the brave giant and freed the King from danger, he began to shout:

"Gaul, Gaul, for I am Amadis!"

He said this as he attacked the enemy, bringing down and killing many of them, which at that time was much needed, for the knights on his side were ruined, some injured, others on foot, and others dead. Yet the enemies had arrived rested, with great strength and will to kill all those they could, and because of this, Amadis fought as fast as he could.

And so it would well be said that his great spirit was the remedy and support for everyone on his side, and the one who had most encouraged him was his brother Sir Galaor, whom he had last seen on foot, very tired, and after that he had not been able to see him although he had looked for him. He believed Galaor was dead, and because of that, he did not meet a knight whom he did not kill.

When those on King Cildadan's side saw the damage and great deeds that Amadis was doing to them, they chose as their leader a very valiant knight from a family of giants named Gadancuriel, who had caused such destruction to the other side that they had all noticed, and with whom they believed they could defeat their enemies.

But at this time Amadis, with his great ire and desire to kill all those he could, had entered so deeply into battle with his opponents that he might have been lost. King Lisuarte had by then gotten a horse, and with him were Sir Bruneo of Bonamar, Sir Florestan, Guilan the Pensive, Ladasin, Galvanes the Landless, Olivas, and Grumedan, from whose hands the King's insignia had been cut down. Lisuarte saw that Amadis was in great danger and came to his aid as a good king, although he had suffered many wounds, for he shared in the great pleasure of all to know that Beltenebros was Amadis.

Together they attacked their enemies, injuring and killing them, and none dared but to flee. They let Amadis go where he would, and fate guided him to where his cousin Agrajes was with Palomir, Branfil, and Dragonis, all on foot because their horses were dead, and together were defending themselves bravely from the many knights who had set upon them to kill them. When Amadis saw them, he shouted to his brother Sir Florestan and to Guilan the Pensive, and together they rescued them.

A renowned knight named Vadamigar, whose helmet had been knocked off, charged at Amadis with a lance over the neck of his horse, but the iron tip of the lance missed, and Amadis struck him with his sword and split his head down to the ears. And as he fell, Amadis said:

"Cousin Agrajes, mount this horse!"

Sir Florestan knocked down another good knight named Danel, and gave the horse to Palomir, and Sir Guilan gave another horse to Branfil, having knocked down Landin, leaving him badly injured, and Palomir brought another horse to Dragonis, and so they were all mounted.

They followed Amadis, doing great feats at arms and calling out his name so that all would know him and so that his enemies would be even more terrified. He and Agrajes and Sir Florestan with the other good knights who found themselves together and with the great skill of their lord the King, on that day showed their great spirit, for they won the battle, leaving almost all of their enemies dead or injured on the field. But Amadis, with his great rage thinking that his brother Sir Galaor was dead, went at them attacking and killing until they reached the sea, where they had their fleet.

Yet the valiant and brave Gadancuriel, leader of his opponents, when he saw that his men were defeated and could not get on their ships, united as many as he could with him and turned with his sword in his hand to attack the King, who was nearby, but Sir Florestan, who had seen him give great and vile blows that day, feared the King was in danger, and put himself in front to receive those blows himself, although he had only the hilt of his sword.

Gadancuriel struck him so hard on the top of his helmet that it cut down to his flesh. Florestan struck him with what remained of his sword and gave him such a blow that he knocked his helmet from his head. The King arrived, swung his sword, and cut his head in two.

When Gadancuriel was dead, no one remained on the battlefield. Those who had tried to escape on the ships died in the water, and the others on the land, and none was left standing. Then Amadis called to Sir Florestan, Agrajes, Dragonis, and Palomir, and told them, weeping:

"Oh, good cousins, I am afraid we have lost Sir Galaor. Let us go look for him."