Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Chapter 96

How King Lisuarte asked for advice from King Arban of North Wales, Sir Grumedan, and Guilan the Pensive, and what their answer was. 

[Detail of the Serrano Towers, a gateway in the city walls of Valencia, completed in 1398. Photo by Sue Burke.]

After the knights left King Lisuarte, he had King Arban of North Wales, Sir Grumedan, and Guilan the Pensive called, and he told them:

“My friends, ye know the position that I am put in by the knights of Firm Island, and the great dishonor I have received from them, and if I do not respond in a way that will break their great pride, I would not consider myself a king nor do I think anyone else would. In order to give an accounting of myself the way that prudent men ought to do, which is to act after receiving a great deal of advice and deliberating carefully, I wish ye to tell me how things seem to you, as I have asked, so that I may make a decision that will serve my best interests.”

King Arban, who was a good and very prudent knight and who had a deep desire to honor the King, told him:

“My lord, these knights and I have thought very deeply and have spoken together, as ye ordered us, so that we can give you the best advice that our judgment can supply. We have found that since your will is not to reach any agreement with those knights, everything necessary must be sought with great diligence and discretion so that they may be brought to order and their madness contained. My lord, on one hand we see that the knights at Firm Island are numerous and very mighty in arms, as ye know, for by the grace of God they spent a long time in your service. And in addition to their abilities and resources, we have been assured that they have sent messengers to many places seeking help, which we believe they will find, because they are of great lineages, sons and brothers of kings and other great men, and because they have won a large number of friends. And when men arrive from many different places, soon they will constitute a great horde.

“And on the other hand, my lord, we have seen that your house and court has lost very many knights, more than at any other time in our memory. And the greatness of your estate has caused you to have many enemies who will now show the ill will that they hold against you, since many grievances of this kind are more often revealed in times of need, while during good times they are maintained in silence.

“So for these reasons as well as for many others that we could tell you, it would be good if your vassals and friends would be called upon to learn what they can offer, especially the Emperor of Rome, who has more at stake in this than you, as the Queen has told you. And once it is known how much strength ye can have, my lord, then ye may take vigorous action or whatever other course available to you.”

The King considered this good advice, and said that it was what he wished to do. And he ordered Sir Guilan to take charge of being the messenger to the Emperor, since such a knight as himself would be fitting for such a mission. He answered:

“My Lord, I am ready to serve you in this and in a great deal more. And may God be pleased in His mercy that this will result in an increase in your honor and estate, just as I myself wish for you, and may I be dispatched soon, so that your order will be carried out quickly.”

The King said:

“Ye will only need a letter of credentials, which is here, and ye should say to the Emperor that as he chose to send Salustanquidio and Brondajel de Roca, his senior majordomo, and a great many other knights to ask for my daughter Oriana so he could wed her, and as I decided to make him happy and to have him in my family, against the will of all my subjects who wanted to have her as their lady at the end of my days, I arranged to have her sent to him, although with great pity from me and with much sorrow and anguish from her mother to see her leave us to go to such foreign lands. When she was taken by his men with her ladies and damsels, and they were sailing in the sea beyond the limits of my kingdom, Amadis of Gaul and other knights who were his friends departed in another fleet from Firm Island and, after all the Emperor’s men were defeated and Salustanquidio killed, my daughter and all those who were still alive were taken by them to that island, where they hold her.

“They have sent messengers to me by whom they offered me some agreements, but, knowing that he more than I is involved in this matter, I did not wish to enter into any agreement with them until I informed him. He should know that what would make me most satisfied would be if we were to besiege them where they hold her and that a way we could show the entire world that we consider them thieves and robbers, and we as great princes shall punish them for their great insult to us. And ye should tell him whatever else ye think best in this case, and if he is in agreement, may it be immediately placed in execution, because injuries always grow when the solution to them is delayed.”

Sir Guilan told him:

“Everything shall be done as ye order, and may it please God if my voyage has the same effect as my will to serve you.” And taking a letter of credentials, he left for the sea, and this story shall recount what he did farther on.

When that was done, the King had Brandoivas called and ordered him to go to the island of Mongaza to see Sir Galvanes and tell him to come immediately with all the men on the island. And from there he should go to Ireland to see King Cildadan and give him the same message, and to work with him to come as best prepared for war as he could be to wherever Lisuarte was. In the same way he ordered Filispindel to go to Gasquilan, King of Suesa, and to tell him what was happening, for, as he was such a famous knight who was always in search of great deeds, now he would have the opportunity to demonstrate his virtue and the courage that burned in his heart.

And in the same way he sent many others of his friends, allies, and vassals, and called for his entire kingdom to be prepared by the time that those messengers returned. And he gave orders to look for as many horses and weapons as could be found in all parts so he would have as many mounted men as possible.

But now we shall leave this, and no more shall be said until its proper time, to tell what Arcalaus the Sorcerer did.

The story recounts that as Arcalaus the Sorcerer was in his castles, always hoping to cause some harm as he and all evil man are accustomed to do, news arrived to him about the discord and disruption between King Lisuarte and Amadis. The great pleasure he took from that need not be told, because those were the two men in the world whom he most despised, and his thoughts and concerns never ceased devising how he might cause their destruction.

He considered what he might do in this situation to cause them the greatest harm, since in his heart he could not find it to help either one of them. And as he was subtle in everything vile, he decided to try to bring together a third army made up of the enemies of both King Lisuarte and Amadis and to locate it in such a way that if there were a battle, the men on his own side could very easily defeat and destroy those who remained.

With this thought and desire, he mounted his horse, brought with him all the servants he would need, and traveled both by land and sea to King Aravigo, who had been left so badly injured after the battle that he and his companions, the other six kings, fought against King Lisuarte, as the third part of this story has recounted, and who had received such harm and dishonor in the battle from Amadis and his family. When he arrived, he said:

“Oh King Aravigo, since thou hast the great spirit and courage that the grandeur of thy royal estate requires and the great discretion thou must have to govern it, contrary fortune, which in the past has been such an enemy to thee, now has repented and wishes to make amends so that the great discredit to thy honor may be satisfied by a double victory, which if thou art wise, thou shalt realize is in thy hand. And thou, King, should know that I was in my castles thinking carefully about thy loss and how to find a way to repair it, because as thy servant the enhancement of thy royal estate would bring me great advantage; then I learned very trustworthy news that the great enemies of thee and me, King Lisuarte and Amadis of Gaul, have confronted each other over a cause of such magnitude that by no means is amends expected nor possible except by a great battle and combat that will cause the destruction of one of them, or by good fortune, of both. And if thou wishest to take my advice, it is certain that not only will the loss that thou suffered in the past with me be regained but thy estate will be increased by many more reigns, and afterwards all of us will be in thy service.”

After King Aravigo heard this and considered how Aracalaus had arrived from such distant lands with such haste, he said:

“My friend Arcalaus, the length of your journey and the fatigue it must have caused you give me reason to consider your arrival very important and to believe everything that ye have told me. I would like what ye have said to be recounted more extensively because my intention will always be to pursue whatever will serve my grandeur, even in adverse times.”

Arcalaus told him:

“As thou knowest, King, the Emperor of Rome wished to take a wife, and asked King Lisuarte to give him his daughter Oriana. Although the Princess was the rightful heir of Great Britain, Lisuarte, considering the Emperor’s grandeur, decided to give her to him and delivered her to a first cousin of the Emperor himself named Salustanquidio, a very powerful prince. He was with her and a large company of Romans traveling by sea when Amadis of Gaul and many knights who were his friends attacked them. After this prince was killed and his fleet was destroyed, and many of those in it taken prisoner or killed, Oriana was stolen and carried to Firm Island, where they hold her. Thou canst imagine the discredit that this brings to King Lisuarte and the Emperor.

“I wish thee to know that this Amadis of whom I speak was one of the knights who wore the armor with the insignia of serpents and who fought against thee and the other six kings in the great battle thou hadst with King Lisuarte. He was the one who wore the golden helmet, and due to his great deeds and courage, victory was snatched from thy hands. And, as a result of what I have described, King Lisuarte on one side and Amadis on the other are calling together all the men they can, so it can and must rightly be believed that the Emperor himself will come in person to avenge the great sorrow in his heart and his loss of honor. And thou canst conclude what harm could occur to them if there is a battle.

“If thou wouldst call up thy men, I shall provide the help of Barsinan, Lord of Sansuena, son of the other Barsinan whom King Lisuarte killed in London, and I can also give thee the entire lineage of the good knight Dardan the Arrogant, whom Amadis killed at Windsor, which would be a large company of very good knights. And I can also call upon the King of Deep Island, who escaped from the battle with thee.

“With all these men, we could place ourselves where, under my guidance, when the battle is over, thou canst have at thy mercy both the victors and the losers without any danger to thy men. Then, what could result from this other than by winning such a great victory that all of Great Britain would be subject to thee, and thy royal estates would be placed at a higher pinnacle than any other emperor in the world? Now, mighty King, consider whether for a little effort and danger, thou wishest to win such great glory and realms.”

When King Aravigo heard this, he was very happy, and he said:

“My friend Arcalaus, what a great thing ye have told me, and although my desire is not to tempt fate further, it would be madness to set aside things that very rightly offer great honor and advantage, because if the results are as hoped and reason itself is a guide, men receive the fruit that their efforts deserve. And if the result is to the contrary, they must still do that which they are obliged to by virtue, in consideration of the honors it could give them and disregarding their previous misfortune. When the opportunity offers itself, they must not fail to take it, for otherwise they would be subjected, defeated, and dishonored for all the days of their lives. Given that, do not worry about what concerns me and my men and friends, but in the other matters proceed with the urgency and diligence that ye see as appropriate for such a situation.”

Arcalaus, with this promise from the King, left for Sansuena and spoke with Barsinan, reminding him of the death of his father and his brother Gandalod, whom Sir Guilan the Pensive had defeated and taken prisoner for King Lisuarte, who in turn ordered him to be thrown from a tower where his father had been burned at its foot. He also told him how at that time he had arranged for his father to be king of Great Britain and had taken King Lisuarte and his daughter prisoner, and how because of Amadis, everything had been lost. But now Barsinan had a chance not only to avenge his enemies as he wished, but that the great realm that his father had failed to take, he himself would be able to acquire, and he should be brave because otherwise great things can rarely be obtained. For if fortune had been contrary to his father, it had repented and wish to give him satisfaction for the injuries he had received. And he told him how King Aravigo was preparing everything in his power because he saw the issue so certain of victory that there was no way to err, with all the other help that was certain to arrive, among many other reasons.

Such were the arts that Arcalaus had always practiced as a great master of dark deeds.

Because Barsinan was a very proud young man, and resembled his father in wickedness, with little difficulty an effort Arcalaus achieved everything he wished. With a burning heart and excessive arrogance Barsinan responded that with full urgency and intention he would undertake that labor, bringing with him all of the men of his realm, and from beyond it all those who wish to follow him. When Arcalaus heard that answer, he was very happy at how he had made preparations that fulfilled his will, and he told him to immediately make everything ready for when he sent for them, because it was very important for this to be attended with diligence.

And from there he quickly traveled with a very happy heart to the King of Deep Island, and spoke with him for a long time. And because of all the things he said and all his arguments, just as with the others, he convinced him to call up his men and get them in order and prepared for when they would be needed.

When this was done, he returned to his own lands and spoke with the family of Dardan the Arrogant using the same arguments, and because of that, they all believed they could obtain great advantage. As secretly as he could he made agreements with them, telling them of the great preparations he had made. And so he waited for the time to put in play everything that ye have heard.

But now the story shall not speak of this until its proper time, and it shall turn to tell what happened to Sir Cuadragante and Sir Brian of Monjaste after they left the court of King Lisuarte.


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