Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Chapter 81 [part 1 of 2]

How King Lisuarte delivered his daughter to the Romans against her will; and the rescue of the very beautiful Oriana by Amadis along with all the other knights of Firm Island, and how they took her to Firm Island. 

 [An early 15th century French depiction of the Greeks attacking Troy from the Histoire Ancienne jusqu’à César. From the British Library.]

King Lisuarte was determined to deliver his daughter Oriana to the Romans, so firm in his decision that nothing could change his mind, as ye have heard. The time came for her to go, and he spoke with her, trying in many different ways to move her will in the direction that he wished, but in no way could he overcome her weeping and suffering. So he left her, irate, went to the Queen, and told her to calm their daughter, since he had accomplished little, and he had to keep his promise.

The Queen had spoken to him about that promise many times, hoping to find some argument against it, but her attempts had always failed and she found nothing to change his mind, so she did not want to say anything more to him and went to do as he had ordered, although she felt so much anguish in her heart that she could take no more.

She ordered all the princesses and other damsels that were going to travel with Oriana to go immediately to the ships. With her were only Mabilia, Olinda, and the Damsel of Denmark. The Queen also ordered all her clothing and fine attire taken to the ships.

Oriana, when she saw her mother and her sister, went to them in deep sorrow, took her mother’s hand, and began to kiss it. Her mother said:

“Good daughter, I ask you now to be happy, as the King orders, for I trust in the mercy of God that it will be for your own good, and He will not wish to forsake you or me.”

Oriana told her:

“My lady, I believe that this separation between you and me shall be forever because my death is very near.”

And having said that, she fell into a faint, and the Queen as well, so they were both unconscious. But the King, who came immediately, had Oriana taken to the ships just as she was, and Olinda with her. But first Olinda knelt and begged him for mercy’s sake to let her go to her father’s home and not send her to Rome. But he was so infuriated that he would not listen and had her brought immediately after Oriana, and ordered Mabilia and the Damsel of Denmark to go with them.

So they were all on the ships, including the Romans, as ye have heard, and King Lisuarte mounted a horse and rode to the port where the fleet was, and there consoled his daughter with the piety of a father, but not in a way that allowed any hope that he would change his intentions. And when he saw that this was not enough to soothe her emotions, he felt a degree of pity, and tears came to his eyes.

He left her and spoke with Salustanquidio, Brondajel de Roca, and the Archbishop of Talancia, and put her in their care to protect and serve her, delivering her as promised. He returned to his palace, and behind him the ships were filled with so much weeping and wailing from the ladies and damsels when they saw him leave that it could not be written nor recounted.

After the King had left, Salustanquidio and Brondajel de Roca, who now had Oriana in their power and all the damsels on board the ships, decided to put her in a chamber that had been richly prepared for her, and placed her there with Mabilia, who they knew was the damsel she loved most in the world, and they secured the door with strong locks.

They kept Queen Sardamira on the ship with her retinue, along with many other of Oriana’s ladies and damsels. And Salustanquidio, who was dying with love for Olinda, had her taken to his ship with a number of damsels, but not without their great weeping to be separated from their lady Oriana. And when Oriana heard from her chamber what was being done to the women and how they came to the chamber door holding Olinda and begging Oriana to save them, she fainted again and again in the arms of Mabilia.

But as everything was ready, the sails were raised to the wind and they went on their way, to the great pleasure of those who saw their lord the Emperor’s wishes fulfilled. They had a large flag of the Emperor raised on the top of the mast of the ship that contained Oriana, and all the other ships sailed around it to protect it. And as they sailed very proud and happy, they looked to their right and saw Amadis’ ships, which were overtaking them and were between themselves and the land where they were headed.

Agrajes, Sir Cuadragante, Dragonis, and Listoran of the White Towers had agreed to attack the Romans before Amadis could arrive and rescue Oriana, and that was why they placed themselves between the fleet and the land. But Sir Florestan, the noble Sir Gavarte of the Fearful Valley, Orlandin, and Imosil of Burgundy with their friends and vassals also meant to be the first in the rescue, and came as fast as they could to reach the Roman fleet before Agrajes’ ship. And Amadis and his ship full of friends and men from Firm Island, came at full speed to be the first to rescue her.

I tell you that when the Romans saw the fleet far off in the distance, they thought it was some peaceful fleet going past, but when they saw it separate into three, two in front between them and the land, and the other behind them, they were frightened and raised an uproar, shouting:

“To arms, to arms, for foreigners are coming!”

They immediately armed themselves and placed some very good crossbowmen where they needed to be, and other men in their stations. Brondajel de Roca and many other fine knights who served the Emperor were on the ship where Oriana was, which was where the Emperor’s flag had been raised, as ye have heard.

At that moment the ships came together: Agrajes and Sir Cuadragante with Salustanquidio’s ship, where the beautiful Olinda was on board, and they began to fight bravely. Sir Florestan and Gavarte of the Fearful Valley, who were in the middle of the fleet, attacked the ship that carried the Duke of Ancona and the Archbishop of Talancia, who had many vassals there, well armed and strong, and so the fighting was fierce between them.

And Amadis directed his fleet to the ship that carried the Emperor’s flag, and ordered his men to prepare. He put his hand on Angriote’s shoulder and said:

“My lord Angriote, my good friend, remember the loyalty that ye have always had and still have for your friends, and try to help me in every way you can in this deed. If God wishes me success, all my honor and good fortune and blessings will be fulfilled. Stay by my side as best ye can.”

He replied:

“My lord, I could do no more than lose my life on your behalf and in your aid so that your honor will be upheld, and may God be on your side.”

Then the ships neared each other. So great was the attack with arrows and stones and spears from one side to the other that it seemed like rain, so heavy did they fall. Amadis and his men sought only to bring their ship in contact with their enemy’s, but they could not, for the Romans, although they outnumbered their foes, did not dare to let them come close, and when they saw how determined they were, defended themselves with long iron hooks and many other kinds of weapons.

Then Tantiles of Sobradisa, who was Queen Briolana’s majordomo, standing on the forecastle and watching Amadis’s attempts fail, ordered a large, heavy anchor on a strong chain be brought and launched at the enemy ship from the forecastle. Then he and many others pulled so hard on it that with great effort they brought the ships together against each other, inseparable by any means unless the chain broke.

When Amadis saw this, he urgently ran past everyone else, with Angriote and Sir Bruneo right behind him through the path he had cleared, and when he reached the prow, he put a foot on the edge of his ship and jumped to the other one, and his opponents could not shove him away or stop him. And because the jump was long and he came with great fury, he landed on his knees and was struck with many blows, but he stood up in spite of his fierce attackers and put a hand on his fine burning sword. He saw that Angriote and Sir Bruneo had followed him and were attacking the enemy with mighty and hard blows, shouting, as he had asked them to when they were on the ship:

“Gaul, Gaul, for Amadis is here!”

Mabilia, who was locked in the chamber with Oriana, heard the noise and shouts and then that name, and took Oriana by the arms, who was more dead than alive, and told her:

“Be brave, my lady, for ye are being rescued by that blessed knight, your vassal and loyal lover.”

Oriana stood up asking what was happening, for she was so weak from weeping that she could barely hear or see anything.

After Amadis had stood up and put his hand on his sword, and saw the wonders that Angriote and Sir Bruneo were doing along with the others who had swarmed onto the ship, he went with his sword toward Brondajel de Roca, reached him, and struck such a mighty blow on top of his helmet that he fell at his feet, and if not for the helmet, he would have split his head in two.

Amadis remained where he was because he saw that his opponents had surrendered and were begging for mercy. And he saw that Brondajel wore very fine armor, and he realized that he was the man whom the others were protecting. He took the helmet from Brondajel’s head and struck his face with the hilt of his sword, asking where Oriana was. Brondajel pointed to the locked chamber and said she was there.

Amadis hurried there and called Angriote and Sir Bruneo, and with their combined great strength, they broke down the door and inside saw Oriana and Mabilia. Amadis knelt before her to kiss her hands, but she embraced him and held him by the sleeve of his chain mail, which was stained with the blood of his enemies.

“Oh, Amadis,” she said, “light for all women in distress, now in your great nobility ye have come to rescue myself and these princesses, who have been placed in such bitter tribulation. In all the lands throughout the world ye shall be known and praised.”

Mabilia was kneeling before him and holding the skirt of his chain mail, but since his eyes were only for his lady, he had not seen her. When he did, he raised her up and embraced her with great tenderness, and told her:

“My lady and cousin, I have missed you so much.”

He wished to leave them to see what was happening, but Oriana took him by the hand and said:

“In God’s name, my lord, do not leave me.”

“My lady,” he said, “have no fear, for on this ship are Angriote d’Estravaus, and Sir Bruneo and Gandales with thirty knights to protect you, and I will go help our men, who are facing a great battle.”


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