Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Chapter 97 [part 1 of 3]

How Sir Cuadragante and Brian of Monjaste became lost at sea during a storm, and how fate brought them to Queen Briolanja, and what happened to them with her. 

[Illustration of ships being wrecked during a storm at sea from Histoire ancienne jusqu'à César, made in Naples, Italy, between 1425 and 1450. At the British Library.]

As this story has told, after Sir Grumedan left Sir Cuadragante and Brian of Monjaste, they continued on their way until they arrived at the port where they had their ship, which they boarded to leave for Firm Island with the answer that they carried from King Lisuarte. During the entire day the sea was very agreeable with a propitious wind for their voyage, but when night fell, the sea began to grow rough with such a fierce storm that they all thought they would be lost and drowned. And the storm was so large that the sailors lost track of where they were headed, and the ship passed through the sea without anyone at the rudder. They spent the entire night in tremendous fear, because in such a situation, neither weapons nor courage would suffice.

When day dawned, the sailors could better recognize where they were, and they found that they were very close to the kingdom of Sobradisa, where the very beautiful Queen Briolanja reigned. The sea had begun to grow more calm, and they wished to return to their voyage, although they would have to double back quite a long way, when they saw to the right a ship coming that was amazingly large. Since their ship was so fast that it could not be harmed even if it were an enemy, they decided to wait for it, and as it grew near and they could see it more clearly, it seemed to be the most beautiful ship they had ever beheld, both in its size and in the fine outfitting of everything that they could see, for the sails and the ropes were all silk and embellished and very finely made. And on board they saw knights and damsels talking, very handsomely dressed.

Sir Cuadragante and Brian of Monjaste were amazed to see the ship and could not imagine what it carried. Then they sent one of their squires in a skiff to go to find out whose that great ship was and who was traveling in it. The squire did so, and asked the knights if they would have such courtesy as to tell him, and they answered that Queen Briolanja was on board, and she was traveling to Firm Island.

“Merciful God,” the squire said, “such good news will bring great pleasure to the knights who sent me when they learn it.”

“Good squire,” the damsels said, “tell us, if ye please, what knights ye speak of.”

“My ladies,” he said, “they are two knights who are traveling to the same place as ye, and a storm at sea brought them here, where what they have found will be a great rest from their labors. And because they will tell you who they are as soon as I return, there is no need to know anything more from me.”

And with what ye have heard, he returned and told them:

“My lords, the news that I bring will give ye great pleasure, and the recent storm has done a very good deed, since on the trip back, ye will have fine company going where ye wish to go. Know that Queen Briolanja is traveling in that ship, and she is going to Firm Island.”

The two knights were very happy with what the squire had told them, and they ordered the ship be brought around to arrive at the other vessel. And when they were closer, the damsels recognized them, since they had seen them previously in the court of King Lisuarte, where their lady the Queen had spent some time. Very happily they went to tell their lady that two knights, good friends of Amadis, were there, and one was Sir Cuadragante and the other Sir Brian of Monjaste.

The Queen was joyful when she heard it, and left her chamber with the ladies she had brought with her to receive them, for her majordomo, Tantiles, had said how the two had left Firm Island to go to see King Lisuarte. And when she came out, they were already on board and went to kiss her hands, but she would not let them. Instead she put her arms around each one of them and so they spent a moment embraced with great pleasure, and when they arose, she embraced them again and told them:

“My good friends and lords, I thank God because I found you, for no other thing could come to me that would please me more than you, except to see Amadis of Gaul, whom I with such right any reason ought to love, as ye know.”

“My good lady,” Sir Cuadragante said, “it would be very unjust if it were not as ye say. May the pleasure that God gives you with us be rewarded, and we shall serve you in any way that ye order.”

“Many thanks,” she said, “and now tell me how ye came to this land.”

They told her how they had left Firm Island with the message that the lords there had sent to King Lisuarte, and everything that happened with him, and how they had reached no agreement on any issue; so they left out nothing. And when they were returning, the great storm of that previous night had brought them there, and they considered their efforts and labors well employed, since by that means they could serve her and protect her until she arrived where she wished.

The Queen told them:

“Indeed, I have not been very safe, not with the great fright of the storm as ye say, for truly, I thought we would never escape it, but as my ship is very strong and big, and its anchors and ropes very stout, it pleased the will of God that the tempest could never break them nor move them. And as for what ye say about King Lisuarte, I knew from my majordomo Tantiles that ye had gone to him on that mission, and I held it as a fact that since this was a King so constant and whom fortune has favored so completely and has exalted in everything, he would consider the cause of Oriana very seriously and would prefer to test and prove his might rather than formalize any agreement. And for this cause I decided to call together all my kingdom and all my friends beyond it, and with urgency I asked and ordered them to be prepared and supplied for war when my letter arrives. I left them all with a great desire to serve me, and I left my majordomo with them to guide them and bring them. And meanwhile I thought it would be good to go myself to Firm Island to be with Princess Oriana and to undergo with her the fate that God gives her. This is the reason why ye find me here, and I am very happy because we shall go together.”

“My lady,” said Sir Brian of Monjaste, “nothing is expected from such a fine and beautiful lady as you except all virtue and nobility, just as your good works deserve.”

The Queen asked them to order their ship to travel next to hers and that they be with her, and so they did, and they were lodged in a very fine chamber, and they always ate at her table with her, speaking of the things that pleased them most.

So as I tell you, they sailed through the sea toward Firm Island.

Now know here that when Abiseos, the Queen’s uncle, was killed along with his two sons by Amadis and Agrajes in revenge for his murder of the King, who was Abiseos’ brother and Briolanja’s father, which returned the kingdom to her, as has been told more extensively in the first book of this story, there was another son, very young, whom a loyal knight raised. This youth was now a strong and brave knight, to judge by what passed in the great confrontations in which he found himself. And from the time in which he was very young, he never thought nor did discretion give him the opportunity to do anything else but bear arms and procure his own advantage.

And now that he was older, he had spent time with some of his father’s servants who had fled, and they told him about the death of his father and his brothers and how the kingdom of Sobradisa by rights was his, and Queen Briolanja had taken it by force. And they said that if he had the courage to set right such an important concern for him as he had for other matters, with a little effort he could recover that loss and become a great lord, by returning to the kingdom or by finding another means, so that honorably, as the son of whom he was, he could take it.

And so this knight, who was named Trion, was now greedy to rule and continually thought about what his father’s servants had told him, waiting for the proper time when he could achieve his desire. As he had now learned of the great discord between King Lisuarte and Amadis, he thought that Amadis would be so occupied by it that he would not concern himself with anything else, and even if he were to, his might would not be enough to provide aid everywhere, since he had revolted against such great men.

And since that knight was the greatest obstacle before him, and knowing that Queen Briolanja had departed with a small company, for on board her ship she brought no more than twenty fighting men, and none of them with much experience, he left immediately from the stronghold castle that his father Abiseos had left him, which was all that he had possessed when he had killed his brother the King. He went to the home of some friends, and without telling them why, he gathered some fifty well-armed men and some crossbow men and some archers. He equipped two ships and set out to sea with the intention of capturing the Queen and with her gaining great advantage, and if he saw the chance, to take the entire kingdom.


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