[How Amadis and Sir Galvanes and the other knights learned that Madasima had been sentenced to death.]
Segovia Castle. Photo by Sue Burke.]
Amadis and his companions who left King Lisuarte’s court, as ye have heard, arrived at Firm Island, where they were received with great pleasure and happiness by everyone who lived there, whose sorrow at having lost their new lord was turned into twice as much pleasure for their spirits at having him return.
The knights saw how strong the castle was and that the only entrance to the island was through it, and saw that the island was large, and the land was as fertile and delightful as they had heard, populated by so many good people. Having seen this, they said the island was suitable for waging war from it against the whole world. They were immediately lodged in the biggest town which lay at the foot of the castle.
Know ye that this island was nine leagues long and seven wide, and it was filled with towns and other fine dwellings of the knights of that land. In the most enjoyable places, Apolidon had made four dwellings for himself, the most rare and delightful that man could ever see. The first was the one with the serpent and the lions; the second with the deer and the dogs. The third, which was called the spinning palace, was a house that three times per day and three times per night turned around so sharply that those inside it thought they were sinking. The fourth was called the bull, because each day a very brave bull would come out of an old tunnel and charge at people as if it wished to kill them. Everyone would flee from it, and its mighty horns would break down the iron door of a tower. It would enter, but soon it would come out tame, ridden by a monkey so old and wrinkled that its skin hung off it everywhere. The monkey would strike the bull with a whip and make it enter the tunnel from which it had emerged.
All the knights had much pleasure and delight to see these enchantments and the many others that Apolidon had made out of his devotion to giving pleasure to his beloved Grimanesa so she would always have something with which to pass the time. And all the knights were very firm in their love for Amadis and to obey whatever his will was to do.
At this time, as ye hear, the hermit Andalod arrived, the one who had lived at Poor Rock when Amadis was there. He came to bring order to the monastery at Firm Island that ye have heard about. And when he saw Amadis thus, he gave many thanks to God for having given such a good man life, and gazed at him and embraced him as if he had never seen him before. Amadis kissed his hands and thanked him humbly for the health and life that through God and him he had recovered.
Then a monastery was founded at the foot of a peak on Firm Island at the hermitage of the Virgin Mary where Amadis, desperate for life, with great pain in his heart over the letter that his lady Oriana had sent him, had prayed and was lost to the world as ye have heard earlier. Andalod had brought a priest named Sisian and thirty friars for the monastery. Amadis ordered them to receive enough income to support their lives comfortably, and Andalod returned to Poor Rock as before.
Then Balais of Carsante arrived, whom Amadis had rescued from Arcalaus’s prison, and who had gone to bid farewell to King Lisuarte when he learned that Amadis had left him discontented. Olivas also came, who had helped Agrajes and Sir Galvanes in his battle with the Duke of Bristol. They asked Balais for news of the court of King Lisuarte, and he said:
“There is exceedingly much to tell.”
Then he told them:
“Know, my lords, that King Lisuarte has sent orders to all his men to join him immediately. Count Latine and the knights he had sent to take Mongaza Island had sent him word that the old giant had relinquished all the castles that were in the power of himself or his sons, but Gromadaza did not wish to give up Boiling Lake, the strongest castle in all the island, as well as three other very strong castles.
“And know that Gromadaza said that never in all the days of her life will she abandon the places where she had lived with her husband Famongomadan and son Barsagante. She would die before she delivers them, and the King will always receive trouble from her. And as for her daughter Madasima and her damsels, the King may do what he wishes to them, for she cares little for them or their lives, and their loss would give her a only a little sadness. And so I say she may be taken as an example of how rigorous and strong is the heart of an angry woman, willing to abandon all that she was engendered for and that her nature cannot achieve, and necessarily her slight wisdom cannot help her. And if a woman is not like this, it is due to the great grace of God in Whom all power is and Who can guide events without any difficulty as He pleases, forcing all things of nature to be contrary.”
After Balais had delivered this news, they asked him what the King had said and planned to do, and he told them:
“In front of all his men, as I have told you, he swore that if Gromadaza’s castles were not his within a month, he would have Madasima and her damsels beheaded, and then he would march to Boiling Lake and would attack until he had taken them, and if he had the old giantess in his power, he would throw her to his brave lions.”
When they heard this news, they were very angry. They had Balais and the other knights given lodging, and they spoke a lot about it. But Sir Galvanes, who had not forgotten the promise he had made to Madasima, and whose heart was tormented by great anguish and pain, told them:
“My good lords, ye all know well that the principal cause for which Amadis and ourselves left the King was over Madasima and me. I beg you all to help me fulfill the promise I made, and to protect her with just reason, and if reason is not enough, to protect her with arms, which with God’s help and yours I believe I could well do.”
Sir Florestan stood up and said:
“My lord Sir Galvanes, there are others here who are wiser and can give better counsel than I, and they can help you protect Madasima if she can be defended with reason, which would be best. But if it is necessary to fight, I shall take on the battle in the name of God to defend her and to support your promise.”
“My good friend,” Sir Galvanes said, “I thank you for that as much as I can, because ye have shown yourself to be my loyal friend. But if she must be freed by arms, it ought to fall on me to do it, since I made that promise to her, and I shall do it.”
“My good lords,” Brian of Monjaste said, “ye both speak well, but we all have our part in this deed. What happened with Amadis with the King showed us how little we were regarded, and what happened between him and you, my lord Sir Galvanes, could also have befallen to any one of us who were there. But if we do not become involved in this, we should all be diminished, although the principal cause was Amadis’s. So, since we all left together and are together now, what befalls to one of us befalls us all, and so there is no private matter. And leaving that aside, Madasima is a damsel, one of the most lovely in the world, and she is in danger of losing her life, as are her damsels. Since one of the principles of the order of knighthood is to rescue such women, I tell you that I shall strive that they be defended with reason, and if that fails, with arms as long as my strength shall last.”
Sir Cuadragante said:
“Truly, Sir Brian, ye speak like a man of high estate, and I believe ye shall do the very best ye can, yet this business affects us all, and so we must all take it as our own so they hold us as worthy men. Now and without delay, because waiting often adds little to intentions, we must put this effort in effect, for there will not be a better time. And remember, my lords, these damsels are now miserable and forsaken, but they were not put in prison by their own volution but due to the obedience that Madasima owed to her mother. So, although the King may hold something against them in this world, God holds nothing against them, and so they have been condemned by force rather than their will.”
“I am very pleased, my lords, to hear what ye say, because we should expect only a good outcome from things considered out of love and concord. And if ye maintain your mighty and brave hearts in the future the way they are now, no only do I think these damsels will find great aid, but this will lead to other great deeds, for none in the world can equal you. And if ye are all agreed to help, if ye please, I shall say what it seems to me should be done.”
They all asked him to say it. So he told them:
“There are twelve damsels. I think it good that they be rescued by twelve of you knights either by reason or by arms, one for each of them, together if possible or separately as necessity may demand. I am certain that all of ye here, with your great courage, would take this challenge for enjoyment and pleasure, but that cannot be, for there can only be twelve. I wish to name them, and the others and I shall remain here for things of greater danger that may occur to us.”
Then he said:
“Ye, my lord Sir Galvanes, are the first, for the business is principally yours; and your cousin Agrajes; my brother Sir Florestan; my cousins Palomir and Dragonis; Sir Brian of Monjaste; Nicoran of the White Tower; Orlandin, son of the Count of Urlanda; Gavarte of Valtemoroso; Imosil, brother of the Duke of Burgundy; Madansil of the Silver Bridge; and Ladaderin of Fajarque. I hold these twelve to be good because among them are sons of kings and queens and duke and counts of such high lineage that none of them can fail there because they have no par.”
They were all very pleased by what Amadis had said, and those who where named immediately went to their lodging to arrange everything necessary for their departure, which would be early in the morning the next day. That night they all stayed in Agrajes’s lodging, and at midnight they were armed. They mounted their horses and got on the road to Tasilana, the town where King Lisuarte was.