Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Chapter 67 [part 2 of 2]

[In which the war was brought to a close, but not in the way King Lisuarte would have preferred, due to trouble elsewhere.] 

 [Tour San-Nicolas, which guards the inner harbor of the old port of La Rochelle, France, the site of a siege and naval battle between Great Britain and Castile in 1372. Photo by Miles O'Reilly.] 

Then the King spurred his horse and entered the fray without fear of death. When he saw Sir Cuadragante come at him, he turned his horse toward him, and they struck each other on the tops of their helmets so hard that they had to grab the necks of their horses. But as the King had a much better sword, it cut so deeply that it caused a head wound. But immediately they were aided: the King by Sir Galaor and Norandel and those who were with him; and Sir Cuadragante by Sir Florestan and Angriote d’Estravaus.

The King, when he saw the amazing feats of Sir Florestan, went at him and struck such a blow with his sword on the head of his horse that it fell with him on it among the knights. The blow was quickly repaid, for Florestan leaped from his horse and went at the King, and although many men guarded him and he only reached the leg of the horse, he cut it in half and it fell to the ground. The King jumped off it with such agility that Sir Florestan was amazed. Lisuarte gave Sir Florestan two blows with his good sword, and the armor could not stop it from cutting the flesh.

But Sir Florestan, remembering how he had once been Lisuarte’s knight and the honors he had received, let himself be attacked, covering himself with what little remained of his shield. The King, with great anger, did not cease to attack in any way he could. Not even at that did Sir Florestan wish to strike back and instead grabbed him by the arms and would not let him mount a horse or break free. A great fight broke out between one side and the other to help them, and the King shouted his name so his men would recognize him. Galaor came, called by those shouts, reached the King, and said:

“My lord, take my horse.”

Also with him on foot were Filispinel and Brandoivas, who wanted to give him their horses. Galaor told the King:

“My lord, take my horse.”

But to keep Galaor from dismounting, the King took Filispinel’s horse, leaving Sir Florestan badly injured by his good sword, for he had not given a blow that did not cut armor and flesh, while Florestan did not wish to strike back, as has been said. Sir Florestan was put on a horse that Sir Cuadragante brought him.

The King, freely placing his body before every danger, called Sir Galaor, Norandel, and King Cildadan, and the men who followed them, and entered into the thick of battle, attacking and causing devastation to everything he met, so the situation of his side improved due to him. Sir Florestan, Cuadragante, and Gavarte, and other fine knights, resisted the King and his men as best they could, doing wonders at arms, but they were few and many of them were in bad shape and injured. The opponents were a great crowd of men who had taken heart at the courage of the King, and they charged suddenly and so hard that by their blows and the strength of their horses they pushed their opponents from the field against the foothills of the mountains.

There Sir Florestan, Cuadragante, Angriote, and Gavarte of the Fearsome Valley, their armor in pieces, suffering many injuries not only from helping their side but in their attempt to regain lost ground, their horses dead and themselves almost dead, lay on the field under the power of the King and his men. Palomir, Elian the Vigorous, Branfil, Enil, Sarquiles, and Maratros of Lisanda, cousin of Sir Florestan, who had tried to rescue them, were taken prisoner. There were many dead and injured on both sides.

Sir Galvanes would have been lost many times if Dragonis had not rescued him with his men. But in the end they took him from the fray so badly injured that he could not remain on his horse, and so, senseless, they took him to Boiling Lake. He remained there with the small company that had escaped, defending the mountain from their opponents.

Thus it could be said very rightly that by the fortitude of the King and the great foolishness of Sir Florestan in not wanting to strike or harm the King when he had him in his power, this battle was won, as ye have heard.

It should be compared to the mighty Hector’s first battle against the Greeks when they were attempting to disembark in the great port of Troy. After the Greeks were almost defeated and much of their fleet was on fire and their men could fight no more, in the great melee Hector happened upon his cousin Ajax Talamon, son of his aunt Ansiona, fighting with the Greeks. Hector recognized him and embraced him, and Ajax asked him to withdraw the Trojans from the fight and return to the city, relinquishing the victory he held in his hands. Because of that, the Greeks landed, fortified their camp, and with many deaths and fires and great destruction, those mighty men defeated and destroyed that famous city, renowned throughout the world, which shall never be forgotten as long as the world shall last.

Thus it should be learned that in such battles, pity and courtesy have no place neither with friend nor family until victory has finally been achieved, for in such times men often have blessings and good fortune but do not know how to use them properly, and instead give aid to those who were losing, who then take those advantages as their own.

Returning to the matter at hand, when King Lisuarte saw his enemies driven from the field and into the mountains, at sunset he ordered that none of his men advance, and placed guards because Dragonis, who was among the men who had sought safety in the mountains, had taken the most defendable passes. He ordered his tents be brought from where they had been and set up at the bank of a stream that came down the foothills of the mountain.

He ordered King Cildadan and Sir Galaor be brought to him, but he was told that they were in great sorrow because Sir Florestan and Sir Cuadragante were injured to the point of death. Since the King was on foot, he asked for a horse, more to go and console them than with thoughts of getting aid for those knights, for they were his opponents. However, he was moved to pity remembering how Sir Florestan, in the battle with King Cildadan, put his bare head before his own and took a great blow from the valiant Gadancuriel on his shield to it would not reach the King. He also remembered how on that very day Florestan had allowed himself to be injured out of virtue.

He went to where they were, consoled them with heart-felt words, and left them content, having ordered medical care. This had not been enough to keep Sir Galaor from repeatedly fainting over his brother Sir Florestan. But the King had them be brought to a very good tent and his doctors attend to them. He brought King Cildadan with him but gave Sir Galaor permission to stay with them that night. He also had those seven knights who had been taken prisoner, as ye have heard, be taken to the same tent to receive care with the others. And so, as ye hear, those injured and unconscious knights and prisoners were watched over by Sir Galaor. Mostly with the help of God, as well as of the doctors who were very skilled, before dawn they were all conscious, and the doctors promised Sir Galaor that they would all recover and be turned over to him healthy, each according to his wounds.

The next day Norandel and Sir Guilan the Pensive were with Sir Galaor to provide him company in his sadness over the condition of his brother and others in his lineage, they heard bugles and trumpets sound at the tent of the King, which was the signal for the men to arm. They bound their wounds well so they would not bleed, armed themselves, mounted their horses, went there, and found the King with new arms on horseback.

He was speaking with King Arban of North Wales, King Cildadan and Sir Grumedan about how to attack the knights who were in the mountains. They considered various ideas. Some said that since their own men were in bad shape, it was unreasonable to attack their enemies until they had recovered. Others said that since they all still burned with ire, it would be bad to wait longer, especially if Agrajes were to return from Little Brittany, where he had gone for food and more men, from which their opponents would draw strength. The King asked Sir Galaor what he thought, and he said:

“My lord, if your men are in bad shape and tired, so are your opponents, and since they are few and we are many, it would be good if we attacked immediately.”

“So it shall be done,” the King said.

Then he gathered up his men and attacked the mountain with Sir Galaor in the lead and his companion Norandel following him, and all the rest behind them. Although Dragonis and his men defended the passes and heights in the mountains for some time, so many crossbows and archers fired that many of them were injured and they were forced to give way. The knights rode up, and they fought a very perilous battle. But in the end they could not withstand so many men and were forced to retreat to the town and castle.

The King immediately arrived, and ordered his tent and supplies brought, and surrounded them and set up a siege, and ordered the fleet to come and besiege the castle by sea.

Because it does not serve this story to recount the things that happened there, since the tale is about Amadis, who did not fight in this war, this account will end here. Know only that the King had them under siege for thirteen months by land and sea, and they received no help because Agrajes was ill and did not have the equipment to attack the King’s great fleet.

Since those inside lacked food, both sides began to bargain that the King would release all his prisoners and Sir Galvanes would do the same with his, and that they would deliver the town and castle of Boiling Lake to the King for a ceasefire of two years. Although this was of great advantage to the King, he was in a secure position and would not have agreed except that he had received letters from his uncle, the Count of Agramonte, who had remained on land, telling how all the kings of the islands had rebelled against King Lisuarte, since he was away at war. They had taken as their leader and chieftain King Aravigo, lord of the Landas islands, who was the most powerful among them. All this had been the work of Arcalaus the Sorcerer, who had personally visited all those islands to unite them in the uprising, convincing them they would meet no defense and could divide the Kingdom of Great Britain among themselves. The Count of Agramonte advised the King to leave everything and return to his kingdom.

This news made the King agree to what was not his will, which was to take and kill all his opponents. When the agreement was reached, the King, accompanied by many of his noblemen, went to the town, whose gates were found open, and from there to the castle. Sir Galvanes came out with some knights who were with him, and with Madasima, tears falling down her beautiful cheeks. He came to the King and gave him the keys, and said:

“My lord, do with this as you will.”

The King took them and gave them to Brandoivas. Galaor came to Lisuarte and said:

“My lord, moderation and mercy are called for, and if I have served you, remember it now.”

“Sir Galaor,” the King said, “if I were to consider the services ye have done for me, I could not reward you even if I were worth a thousand times what I am. What I shall do here will not be counted among that which I owe you.”

Then he said:

“Sir Galvanes, ye took this by force against my will, and by force I won it back. I freely wish that by your worth, the goodness of Madasima, and Sir Galaor’s insistence, that this be yours, remaining in my realm, and you remain in my service, as your descendants shall also be.”

“My lord,” Sir Galvanes said, “since fate has not allowed me to have it by the means my heart desired and since I have done everything I should have in every way, I accept your mercy with the condition that as long as I possess this I shall be your vassal, and if my heart desires something else, I shall return it to you freely, and I shall be free to do what I wish.”

Then the King’s knights kissed his hands for what he had done, and Sir Galvanes and Madasima kissed his hands as his vassals.

With the war over, King Lisuarte decided to return promptly to his kingdom, and so he did, after resting for two weeks so that he and all the others who were injured were recovered. He took Sir Galvanes and the others who wished to go with him, and boarded his fleet. They sailed the sea and made port in his lands, where they learned the news that the seven kings were coming for him.

And although this troubled him greatly, he did not let his men know that. Instead he acted as if it were nothing. He left the port and went to where the Queen was, who received him with the same true love that he had for her. He learned there that the news that the kings were coming was true, so he had no time to rest and enjoy the company of the Queen and his daughter. With his knights, he prepared the things he would need for that confrontation.


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