Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Chapter 70 [part 3 of 3]

[Which tells of the battle between the twelve knights of the King of Bohemia and the eleven knights of the Emperor of Rome, and of the departure of the Knight of the Green Sword.] 

[The Riders’ Staircase in the Old Royal Palace at Prague Castle. It allowed knights on horseback to enter Vladislav Hall, which was used for coronations, banquets, and tournaments. Photo by Sue Burke.]
The Roman knights took Garadan, dead, to their tents and mourned over him, for they had dearly loved him. They would miss his presence in the battle that awaited them the next day to the point that they wondered if they could possibly undertake the battle without him against the Knight of the Green Sword.

As they discussed what to do, they considered two serious issues: first, as ye have heard, that their valiant companion was dead but their enemy would be able to fight; and second, that if they forwent the battle, the Emperor would be held in dishonor and they would risk death. But they thought they could avoid the battle and excuse themselves before the Emperor with Garadan’s arrogance, who against their will had fought and died. Most of them agreed with this, and the others were quiet. Among them was a young knight of high lineage named Arquisil, whose bloodline came straight from the Emperor’s so closely that if Patin were to die without a son, Arquisil would inherit all his reign, and because of this, he was unloved by Patin, who kept him distant.

When he saw that his companions were making the wrong decision, although until that time he had not dare to speak due to his young age, not yet more than twenty years old, he told them:

“Truly, my lords, I am amazed to see such good men as yourselves fall into an error so great that if someone were to suggest it to you, you would consider them an enemy and would not take their advice. While ye may fear death, your weakness and misadventure would give rise to something far worse. What is it that ye doubt and fear? Is there a great difference between eleven and twelve? If ye do it over the death of Sir Garadan, ye should be pleased that a man of such arrogance and lack of restraint is no longer among us, because his actions could have brought us harm. If it is due to that knight whom ye fear so much, I will take responsibility for him myself, and I promise you that I shall pursue him unto his death. And since he shall be occupied for a while, consider the difference that remains between yourselves and your opponents. So, my lords, ye have no cause for such fear in your spirits, and from your plan we would receive death and perpetual dishonor.”

These words by Arquisil held such force that his companions’ changed their minds. Thanking him sincerely and praising his advice, they determined to go bravely into battle.

The Knight of the Green Sword, after his wounds were treated and he had eaten, told the King:

“My lord, it would be good if ye were to choose the knights who must fight tomorrow so they can prepare and be here at the break of day to hear Mass in your chapel, so we may go into the field together.”

“So it shall be done,” the King said. “My son Grasandor will be one of them, and the others will be such good knights that with God’s help and yours we shall win victory.”

“May it not please God,” he said, “that ye or your son shall bear arms while I can, for the others are so skilled that he and even myself will not be necessary.”

Grasandor told him:

“My lord Knight of the Green Sword, I shall not be exempt from anywhere your person is put in danger, either in this battle or any other fought in my presence. And if I were worthy of the gift that such a knight as yourself has given me, starting now I would ask to have you take me in your company. So by no means shall I fail to be in that fight tomorrow, if only to learn something about your amazing skills.”

He of the Green Sword bowed at the honor he did him, as was proper, and told him:

“My lord, if that is what pleases you, may it be done with the help of God.”

The King told him:

“My good friend, your arms are in such a state that they will not offer you any protection, so I wish to give you some that have never been worn. I am sure you will like them, for although ye have seen many, ye have never seen any better.”

Immediately he had brought richly made reins and a saddle. When he of the Green Sword saw them so beautiful and embellished, he sighed, thinking that if he had been in a position to send them to his loyal friend Angriote de Estravaus, he would have done so, and they would have been put to good use. The arms were very fine and had field of gold with purple lions, as did the surcoat. But the sword was the best he had ever seen except for King Lisuarte’s and his own, and after he examined it, he gave it to Grasandor so he could carry it into battle.

The next day early in the morning they heard Mass with the King, were all armed, and kissed his hands. They mounted and, accompanied by many other knights, rode to the field where the battle would be held. They saw that the Romans had already arrived and were armed and on horseback, while many of their men played trumpets to encourage them.

Arquisil was among them on a white horse with green arms, and he told his companions:

“Remember what we spoke of, and I shall do what I promised.”

Then they charged at each other, and Arquisil saw the Knight of the Green Sword coming at him and galloped at him. They struck each other with their lances, which shattered, and Arquisil was thrown out of his saddle onto the haunches of his horse, but since he had held onto the saddle tree and was brave and agile, he returned to his saddle.

He of the Green Sword rode past him, and with the piece of lance he still held, he struck the first knight he found himself before, knocked off his helmet, and would have brought him down, but two knights hit the knight of the Green Sword with their lances, one on his shield and the other on his leg, which passed through the skirt of his chain mail and the lance blade gave him a painful injury on the leg, which made him more irate than he had been.

He put his hand to his sword and attacked a knight, but the blow was deflected and hit the neck of the horse and cut completely through it, so the horse fell to the ground on the leg of its rider and broke it. Arquisil, who now sat straight in his saddle, grabbed his sword tightly, and went and struck the Knight of the Dwarf with all his strength on the top of his helmet: flames flew from the helmet and the sword, and he made him lower his head.

But his triumph did not last long, for the Knight of the Green Sword struck him on the top of his shoulder and cut through the armor and flesh, so that Arquisil thought he had lost his arm. When the Knight of the Green Sword saw that, he rode past him and attacked others whom Grasandor and his men had placed in danger.

But Arquisil followed him and struck him on all sides, but not with as much strength as at the beginning of the battle. He of the Green Sword turned and struck him, but immediately returned to the others, having no urge to attack him because he held him in greater esteem than all the other knights on Arquisil’s side for he had seen him come ahead of the rest to attack him.

But Arquisil did not worry about the blows he received. Instead, he rode into the fight and attacked the Knight of the Green Sword as best he could. At this point, all the knights on his side were destroyed, some dead, others injured, and the rest too exhausted to defend themselves.

And as he of the Green Sword saw that Arquisil pursued him without fearing his blows, he said:

“Is there no one who can protect me from this knight?”

Grasandor, who heard him, came with two other knights, and they attacked Arquisil together. Since they found him weary and exhausted, they threw him from his saddle onto the ground, and then came to kill him. But the Knight of the Dwarf came to his aid and said:

“My lords, since I have received more harm from this one than the rest, leave him to me to take my remedy.”

Then they all backed away, and he came and said:

“Knight, surrender if ye do not wish to die at the hands of he who is eager to kill you.”

Since Arquisil had expected nothing but death, he was happy and said:

“My lord, since fate has wished to give me no other choice, I declare myself your prisoner, and I thank you for the life ye have given me.”

He took his sword and immediately handed it to him, and promised to do as he was ordered, and the Knight of the Green Sword dismounted and stayed with him and had him mount a horse that he ordered brought. Then he remounted, and they rode to the King, who was waiting for them with great pleasure because the threat of war had ended, and took them to the palace. He placed the Knight of the Green Sword in his chamber, and he had his prisoner remain with him to do him honor as he deserved, being a good and high-born knight, as ye have heard.

But Arquisil said:

“My lord Knight of the Green Sword, I ask you in your discretion to allow me to go to help my companions who are alive and to have the dead carried away. I shall remain your prisoner and shall come when ye call me to be held in prison wherever ye may indicate.”

The Knight of the Green Sword told him:

“I grant you that, and remember the promise that ye have given me.”

Arquisil embraced him, said farewell, and went to his companions, and ye may imagine how he found them. Then they ordered to have Garadan and the other dead carried away, and they took to the road. Now this story shall speak no more of this knight until his time, when it shall tell to what ends he placed his great valor.

He of the Green Sword remained with King Tafinor until his wounds had healed. Since the King’s war was over, the Knight of the Green Sword thought about the concern and mortal desires his lady Oriana gave him, which at that time were greatly troublesome, and decided he could better deal with them by the fatigue of travel than in the great pleasure and rest where he was. He spoke with the King and told him:

“My lord, since your war is over, the time has come when my fortune will not let me rest, so my will can no longer be yours. I wish to leave tomorrow, and may God in his mercy give me a time when my service may be equal to the honors and mercies that I have received from you.”

When the King heard this, he was troubled, and he said:

“Oh, Knight of the Green Sword! Take from my reign what land ye will and be its lord, so I shall not see you part from my company.”

“My lord,” he said, “I believe that ye know how much I desire to serve you, and so ye have done me honor and mercy, but I can stay no longer. I cannot rest until my heart is where my thoughts always are.”

The King, seeing his determination, and considering him so calm and sure in his affairs that by no means could his mind be changed, told him with a sorrowful face:

“My loyal friend, if that is how it is, I ask two things of you: first, that ye must call on me and my kingdom if ye have any need of them, and second, that tomorrow ye hear Mass with me, for I wish to speak to you.”

“My lord,” he said, “I accept these words ye give me and shall remember them if the situation arises, and tomorrow, armed and ready to travel, I shall be at Mass with you.”

That night the Knight of the Green Sword ordered Gandalin to prepare everything necessary, for he wished to leave the next day, and so it was done. That night he could not sleep because his body had undergone no physical labor, so his mental labor found it easier to suffer great cares and mortal desires, and fatigued him more.

When morning came, having wept all night, he armed himself and mounted his horse. Gandalin and his dwarf mounted their palfreys, carrying the needed supplies for the road, and went to the chapel of the King, who was waiting for them. After they had heard Mass, the King ordered everyone to leave and remained there alone with him, and said:

“My great friend, I ask ye to grant me a boon, which will not be harmful to you during your journey nor to your honor.”

“I believe,” he said, “that ye, my lord, may ask for what ye will in keeping with your great virtue, and I shall grant it.”

“Well, my good friend,” the King said, “I ask ye to tell me your name and tell me whose son ye are, and believe that I shall keep it a secret until ye wish it to be told.”

The Knight of the Green Sword spent a while without speaking, thinking about what he had promised, and said:

“My lord, I wish your mercy would be pleased not to ask this question, which will not be to your advantage.”

“My good friend,” he said, “do not hesitate to tell me it, for I shall protect your secret just as ye do.”

He told him:

“Since it pleases you, although it is not my wish, know that I am Amadis of Gaul, son of King Perion, whom ye spoke of the other day in accord with the battle.”

The King said:

“Oh, blessed high-born knight, blessed be the hour in which ye were engendered, for so much honor and advantage ye have given to your father and mother and all your lineage, and to those who are not in your family! Ye have made me very happy by telling me that, and I trust in God that it shall be to your good and your cause for me to someday repay some of the great debts that I owe you.”

And while the King said this more out of good will than out of any need he knew the knight might have, in the future he fulfilled his promise in two ways: first he had all the deeds at arms that had happened in those lands written down; and second, he was very helpful by sending his son and men from his kingdom when he saw him in great need, as the fourth book shall tell.

When this was done, he of the Green Sword mounted his horse and bid farewell to the King, making him stay behind, although he wished to go with him. Grasandor and Count Galtines and many noblemen left with him, and he set out on the road with the intention of traveling through the islands of Romania and test himself in the adventures he found there. When they were a half-league from town, those knights turned back, commending him to God, and he continued on his way.


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