Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Chapter 68 [part 2 of 4]

[How Urganda the Unrecognized sent armor to Amadis, King Perion, and Sir Florestan.] 

[Sketch from about 1400 of a knight with his armor from the book Pèlerinage de vie humaine, by Guillaume de Deguileville.]

While King Perion and Amadis were speaking, as ye hear, they saw a knight coming on a worn, exhausted horse, and his armor, which a squire carried for him, was cut in so many places that its insignia could not be made out, and his torn and damaged chain mail offered little protection. The knight was tall and seemed well armed. They got up and went to receive him with full honors as a knight who sought adventures. When he was closer, Amadis recognized him as his brother Sir Florestan, and he told the King:

“My lord, ye see there the best knight that I am aware of after Sir Galaor, and know that Sir Florestan is your son.”

The King was elated since he knew of his great fame but had never seen him, and hurried toward him. But when Sir Florestan met them, he dismounted, knelt, and wished to kiss the King’s foot, but the King rose him up, gave him his hand, and kissed him on the mouth. Then he brought him to the palace, had him disarm and wash his hands and face, and Amadis had him dress in some of his finest and well-made garments that until then had never been worn. As he was large and tall and well-built and had a handsome face, he seemed so fine that few have ever looked as gallant as he did. They brought him to the Queen, and he was received with as much love from her and from her daughter Melicia as any other of his brothers would have enjoyed, especially because of his great deeds at arms that they knew about.

Speaking with him about some of those deeds, he answered as a wise and well-bred knight. They asked him about what was happening with the island kings and their troops, since he had come from Great Britain. Sir Florestan told them:

“I know this to be true. And know, my lords, that the power of those kings is so great and mighty and their men so strong that I think that King Lisuarte will not be able to hold his own land, which ought not to trouble us much, given what has happened.”

“My son Sir Florestan,” the King said, “from what I have been told, I believe King Lisuarte to possess such strength as well as the other good qualities a king ought to have, so he should emerge from this attack with the same honor as he has from others. And even if it were to be otherwise, we ought not to take pleasure in it, because no king ought to be happy about the destruction of another king unless he himself were to destroy him for legitimate reasons that obliged him to do so.”

They were together for a while, then the King retired to his chamber, and Amadis and Sir Florestan to theirs. When they were alone, Florestan said:

“My lord, I have come to you to ask about something I have heard everywhere I went that gave my heart great pain, and I hope it does not trouble you to hear it.”

“My brother,” Amadis said, “everything you say I am glad to hear, and if it merits correction, I shall do so at your counsel.”

Sir Florestan said:

“Know, my lord, that everyone speaks ill of you, and they scorn your honor and malevolently believe that ye have ceased the use of arms, for which ye were born to be more outstanding than all others.”

Amadis told him, laughing:

“They think what they should not about me, and from here on things will be done in another way and they shall speak in another way.”

They spent that day in great pleasure at Sir Florestan’s arrival, whom many people came to see and do honor. When night came, they lay down in luxurious beds, but Amadis could not sleep because he was thinking about two things: one, how to do so much at arms in the coming year so that what had been said about him would be forgotten; the other, what to do in the coming battle, which for its size he could not avoid without great shame, but he could not fight against King Lisuarte because his lady had prohibited it, and reason prohibited fighting for him, given the ingratitude and mistreatment of his family. In the end, he decided to be in the battle helping King Lisuarte for two reasons: one, because his men were many fewer than those on the other side; and the other, because if Lisuarte were defeated, he would lose the lands that his lady Oriana ought to have.

The next morning, Amadis took Florestan with him and went to the chamber of his father the King, ordered all others to leave, and told him:

“My lord, I have not slept last night thinking about this battle being planned between the kings of the islands and King Lisuarte. Since it is such an outstanding event, all those who bear arms ought to be in such a great endeavor as this on one side or another. And as I have spent so much time without exercise of arms, and with that I have suffered such ill fame, as ye know, my brother, in the end I decided to be in the battle on the side of King Lisuarte, not out of any love for him, but because two things that ye shall now hear. First, because he has fewer troops, so all good men ought to help him. Second, because my idea is to die there or do more than anywhere else I might find myself. And if I were to fight on the opposing side to King Lisuarte, since Galaor, Sir Cuadragante and Brian of Monjaste would be there and each of them, due to their excellence, would have the same idea as me, and since they could not avoid meeting me, then ye see that from this nothing else could result except their death or mine. But my presence will be so disguised by all means I have so I shall not be recognized.”

The King told him:

“My son, I am a friend of good men, and since I know that this King of whom ye speak is one of them, my will has always been to honor and help him in any way I could. And if I am distant from him now, it has been due to these differences that he has had with you and your friends. But since this is your intention, I also want to come to his aid and witness the things that will be done there. I am sorry that this has arisen so quickly that I cannot take the men I wish, but we can go with as many as I can.”

Upon hearing this,  Sir Florestan thought for a while, then said:

“My lords, remembering the cruelty of this King, and how he would have let us die in the field if it were not for Sir Galaor, and the enmity that he held against us for no reason, there is nothing in the world that could cause my heart to wish to help him. But two things that occur to me now have made my intentions change. One is that ye, my lords, wish to aid him, and I must serve you. The other is that when Sir Galvanes made a treaty with him to surrender the Isle of Mongaza, we agreed to a peace of two years. So, if I do not wish to serve him wrongly, I must serve him against my will. And I want to go with you, for my soul would always be in great anguish if that battle were to happen and I were not on one side or the other.”

Amadis was joyful because everything had happened as he had wished, and he told the King:

“My lord, ye yourself, in addition to we who serve you, should count for many people. All that remains is to decide how we shall go disguised, and with recognizable insignia that will allow us to help each other as we can. If ye were to bring more men, it would be impossible for us to go in secret.”

“Since that is how you see it,” the King said, “let us go to my armory and take from it the most forgotten and recognizable that we find there.”

Then they left the chamber and entered a yard where there were some trees, and when they were in their shadows, they saw a richly dressed damsel coming on a very handsome palfrey with three squires and a packhorse with a large bundle. She came to the King, after the squires had helped her dismount, and greeted him. The King received her very well and said to her:

“Damsel, do ye wish to see the Queen?”

“No,” she said, “only you and these two knights. I come on behalf of the lady of the Undiscovered Island. I am bringing you some gifts that she sent you. Order everyone to leave and I shall show them to you.”

The King ordered everyone to withdraw. The damsel had her squires untie the bundle that the packhorse carried and took from it three shields. On their fields of silver, golden dragons were so amazingly depicted that they seemed alive. The borders were of fine gold and precious stones. Then she took out three surcoats worked with the same insignia as the shields, and three helmets, each different: one white, one purple, and the third gold. She gave the white one with a shield and surcoat to the King, and the purple one to Florestan, and the gold one to Amadis, and told him:

“My lord Amadis, my lady sends you these arms and tells you that ye shall labor better with them than ye have done since ye arrived at these lands.”

Amadis was worried that she would find out why, and said:

“Damsel, tell your lady that I hold this advice as more important than the arms, although they are rich and handsome, and I shall do all in my power as she orders.”

The damsel said:

“My lords, my lady sends you these arms so that ye shall recognize each other in battle and offer help where it is needed.”

“How did your lady know we would be in the battle,” the King said, “if we did not yet know it ourselves?”

“I do not know,” the damsel said. “She only told me that at this time I would find you together in this place, and that I should give you these arms.”

The King ordered that she be given dinner and did her great honor. The damsel, after she had eaten, left immediately for Great Britain, where she had been ordered to go.

Amadis, seeing the arms and equipment, was anxious to depart, fearing that the battle would take place without him. His father saw this and ordered that a ship be prepared secretly. Under the guise of going hunting, they boarded it at midnight and without incident arrived in Great Britain at the place where they knew the seven kings had arrived at port. They went into a forest amid thick brush, where their men armed them in a tent, and from there they sent a squire to see what the seven kings were doing and where they were, and to try to learn the day the battle would be held.

They also sent a letter to King Lisuarte’s camp for Sir Galaor, as if they had sent it from Gaul, and that all three gave him their word to remain in Gaul, and asked him to let them know of his health after the battle. They did this for greater secrecy.

The squire returned late the next day and told them that the kings’ troops were beyond number and among them were men from many lands speaking different languages. They had besieged a castle that belonged to some damsels, and although the castle was very strong, its stores were being exhausted, from what he could hear. When he was leaving the camp he saw Arcalaus the Sorcerer speaking with two kings and telling them that it would be good to have the battle within six days, because food would be hard to find for so many people.

So Amadis, Florestan, and King Perion lodged in that forest and took great pleasure in hunting birds and even some deer by bow that came to drink at a nearby spring. Four days later another messenger arrived and told them:

“My lords, I left Sir Galaor well and in such good spirits that he was encouraging all those with him. When I gave them your message that you are all three remaining Gaul together, tears came to his eyes and with a sigh he said, ‘Dear Lord, if you would be pleased to have us all together here in this battle fighting for the King as we used to, I would lose all fear!’ And he told me that if he survived the battle, he would immediately have you know how he was and everything that had passed.”

“May God protect him,” they said, “and now tell us about King Lisuarte’s men.”

“My lords,” he said, “he brings a very good company with well-known and distinguished knights, but compared to their opponents it must be said that they are few. And the King will be in sight of his enemies within two days to help the damsels who are being sieged.”

And so it was.


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