Which tells why Gasquilan, King of Suesa, sent his squire to Amadis with the request that ye have heard.
Battle of Alarcos in south-central Spain. Photo by Valdavia.]
This story shall tell why Gasquilan had come twice seeking Amadis to fight him, for it would be unreasonable if it were not made publicly known the good reason why such a great prince as he came with such intent from such a distant land as was his kingdom. The third part of the story has already told you that Gasquilan was the son of Madarque, the giant from Sad Island, and of the sister of Lancino, King of Suesa. He was made King of Suesa because Lancino died without an heir. And because he was large of body, as the son of a giant, and had great strength and had been tested in many deeds at arms and passed them all with full honors, people everywhere spoke of no other knightly skills like his, although he was a young man.
He was deeply in love with a very fair princess called Pinela the Beautiful, who at the death of her father the King became lady of Strong Island, which lay alongside the Kingdom of Suesa. For her love, he undertook great deeds and confrontations and underwent many dangers to his person to convince her to love him. But she, knowing that he came from a lineage of giants and was very untrustworthy and arrogant, never gave him any hope for his desires. But some of the great men of her realm feared that in his power and arrogance, if he were to see he had no remedy for his love, his surpassing love might turn into disdain and enmity, as it sometimes does, and where there had been peace there might come cruel war. They considered it best to advise her not to turn him away so crudely, and with some feigned hope she should detain him for as long as possible.
She agreed, and when this lady found herself very bothered by him, she sent word to him that since God had made her lady of that great land, her intention, as she had promised her father when he was dying, was not to marry except to the best knight who could be found in the world, although he might not be of high estate. She had endeavored to find out who that would be, sending her messengers to many foreign lands, and they brought back news of a man named Amadis of Gaul who was unexcelled among all others in the world as the most courageous and valiant of knights, undertaking and carrying out dangerous deeds that others did not dare to attempt.
She said that if Gasquilan, so valiant and courageous, were to fight Amadis and defeat him, then she, fulfilling her desire and the promise she gave her father, would give him her love and make him lord over herself and her kingdom, for she fully believed that then there would be no one equal to his skills. The beautiful princess sent him that message so he would cease troubling her and because, according to her men who had seen Amadis or heard of his great deeds, she knew that Gasquilan’s skills were in no way equal to his.
When her answer was told to Gasquilan, given both the great love he had for that princess and his presumption and arrogance, he began to look for a way to carry out her order. And for this reason, as ye hear, he left his kingdom twice to look for Amadis: the first time in the war over the Island of Mongaza, when he returned injured by a great blow that Sir Florestan gave him in the battle against him and King Arban of North Wales; the second time now in this confrontation involving King Lisuarte, because until then Amadis had been traveling incognito, calling himself the Knight of the Green Sword, to the islands of Romania and through Germany and Constantinople, where he did extraordinary feats at arms, as a third part of this story recounts.
Gasquilan’s squire returned with Amadis’ answer, which ye have heard, and when it was delivered, he said:
“My friend, now thy has brought that which I have desired for a long time, and everything is going according to my volition. Today I intend to win the love of my lady, if I am the Gasquilan that thou knowest.”
Then he called for his arms, which were like this: a brown field on his surcoat and visor decorated by golden griffins. The helmet and shield were as bright as a clear mirror, and in the middle of the shield, held with golden nails, a griffin decorated with many precious stones and valuable pearls, and it held a heart in its claws, the heart pierced through by the claws; the griffin in its fierceness represented the aloofness and great cruelty of his lady, who held his heart that way, sinking her claws through it, just as his was continually pierced by great troubles and mortal desires. He meant to bear those arms until he won his lady, and he thought that carrying them in remembrance of her would give him strength and great solace in his troubles.
Then, armed as ye hear, he took a heavy lance in hand with a large, clean iron tip, went to where the Emperor was, and asked for the favor of ordering his men not to attack until he had held the joust he had arranged with Amadis, and that he not be considered a knight if in the first meeting he did not remove Amadis from his way. The Emperor, who knew Amadis better than Gasquilan because he had fought him, although he did not reveal his thoughts, believed it would be much harder to defeat him than he thought. Then Gasquilan continued on past the columns of knights. Everyone remained in their places to watch the battle between these two famous and outstanding knights.
So Gasquilan arrived where Amadis was ready to receive him. And although Amadis knew this was a brave knight, he considered him so untrustworthy and arrogant that he did not fear his courage much, because when men like that think to do the most and there is the need to do it, God breaks their great pride to give an example to other men like him.
When Amadis saw him coming, he turned his horse toward him, covered himself with his shield as best he could, and spurred his horse to ride as fast as he could at him. And Gasquilan himself rode without much control of his horse as fast as it could carry him. Their lances struck each others’ shields and flew in pieces through the air, and the knights collided with a blow so hard that everyone thought both would be knocked to pieces. Gasquilan was thrown from his saddle, and as he was large of body and the blow was very forceful, he struck the ground so hard that he was left too stunned to get up. He had fallen over his right arm, which was broken, and so he lay in the field as if he were dead. Amadis’s horse had broken a shoulder and could not remain standing, and Amadis was a bit stunned, but not so much that he did not immediately dismount so he would not fall with the horse. And so on foot he went to where Gasquilan lay to see if he was dead.
The Emperor of Rome, who was watching them fight, when he saw Gasquilan dead, as he and everyone else believed he was, and saw Amadis on foot, shouted to Floyan, who was in the vanguard, to help Gasquilan with his column, and so he did. And when Sir Cuadragante saw this, he spurred his horse and shouted to his men:
“Attack them, my lords, and leave no one alive!”
Then both sides charged at each other, but Gandalin, when he saw his lord Amadis on foot and the columns charging, felt great fear for him and rode ahead of them all as fast as his horse could gallop. He saw Floyan coming in front of his men and rode at him. They both struck each other with fierce blows, and Floyan fell from his horse. Gandalin lost both stirrups, but he did not fall.
Then many Romans arrived to rescue Floyan, and Sir Cuadragante to rescue Amadis, and each side got their man on a horse, for they had no other concern. But because many Romans had arrived, although they had quickly recovered Gasquilan, who was a bit more conscious, they took him from the press with great effort. When Sir Cuadragante arrived, before he lost his lance, he knocked four knights to the ground, and Angriote d’Estravaus took the horse of the first knight he had knocked down and quickly brought it to Amadis. Gavarte of the Fearful Valley and Landin followed behind Sir Cuadragante and caused great distruction among the enemy, as those who were accustomed to such duties.
As I say, these men arrived ahead of their columns, but when the two battalions came together, the noise and the shouting were so loud that no one could hear each other. There ye would have seen horses without riders and their knights dead and injured, and those who could, deliberately trampled them.
Floyan, as he was valiant in wished to win honor and avenge the death of his brother Salustanquidio, when he found himself on horseback again, took a lance and rode at Angriote, whom he saw doing amazing deeds at arms. He struck him on the ribs so hard that he almost knocked him from his horse, and he broke his lance. He put his hand on his sword and went to attack Enil, whom he found in front of him, and struck him on the top of his helmet with such a great blow that sparks flew from it. And he rode so fast through the battalions and between them that neither of them could strike him, and they were amazed by his passion and great valor. And before his men arrived, he encountered a knight from Ireland, a ward of Sir Cuadragante, and gave him such a blow on his shoulder that he cut through the flesh and bones, and he was so badly injured that he was forced to leave the battle.
Meanwhile Amadis took Balais of Carsante and Gandalin and, with great fury, seeing how well the Romans were defending themselves, entered a flank of the column as hard as he could, with them following him, and gave such great blows with his sword that every man who saw him was frightened. And even more frightened were those ahead of him, for he had caused such terror that none dared to wait, and they rushed to hide among the other knights as sheep do when wolves attack.
And as Amadis went without encountering the defense, there came out to meet him the bastard brother of Queen Sardamira, named Flamineo, a very good knight at arms. When he saw that Amadis was doing such amazing things that no one dared to face him, he went at him and struck him on the shield with his lance, which pierced it, and the lance was broken into pieces. And as Amadis passed, he tried to strike Flamineo on the helmet, but he went past so fast he could not, and Amadis struck the horse on the back next to the saddle straps, cutting through its body and entrails, and it fell with Flamineo to the ground in a great crash, so hard that Amadis thought he had cut through its backbone.
Sir Cuadragante and the other knights, who were fighting elsewhere, drove back their opponents so hard that if Arquisil had not arrived with the second column to help them, they would have all been destroyed and defeated. But when he arrived, those men were relieved and recovered great strength. And in that attack, there fell from their horses to the earth more than a thousand knights from both sides.
Arquisil encountered Landin, nephew of Sir Cuadragante, and they struck each other with great blows using their lances and their horses, and both fell to the ground. Floyan, who was riding everywhere with fifty knights, had rescued Flamineo, who was on foot, and given him a horse, because Amadis, after cutting it down, did not come back to him because he saw the second column coming. To be the first to receive it, Amadis left him to Gandalin and Balais, who thought Flamineo was dead and went to attack Arquisil’s column, so that when it arrived their men would not be harmed, for they were coming to their first clash at arms.
When Floyan saw Arquisil on foot fighting with Landin, he shouted:
“Oh, knights of Rome, rescue your captain!”
Then he charged very bravely with more than five hundred knights, and if it were not for Angriote, Enil, and Gavarte of the Fearful Valley, who saw them and shouted to Sir Cuadragante, who hurried to rescue him with many of his knights, Landin would have soon been killed or taken prisoner. But when they arrived, they attacked so fiercely that it was amazing to see. Flamineo, who, as has been said, was now on horseback, took on as many as he could and like a good knight aided his men.
What shall I tell you? The press of battle was so great with so many dead and unhorsed knights that the entire field where they fought was filled with the dead and injured. But the Romans, who were many in number, rescued Arquisil in spite of their enemy, and Sir Cuadragante and his companions rescued Landin, and so each side saved his man, and they mounted them on horses, for there were many without riders.
Amadis was riding in another area doing amazing feats at arms, and when they recognized him, they mostly let him ride where he wished to go. But it was all badly needed, since his side was outnumbered by the Romans. If it were not for the outstanding knights on their side, the Romans could have done whatever they wished. But immediately Agrajes and Bruneo of Bonamar arrived with their column so fast and riding so closely together that, since the Romans were scattered, they promptly divided them into two parts, and they would have had no hope if the Emperor had not come to their aid with his battalion, which was five thousand knights. With their large number, they gave great courage to their side, and very quickly they recovered everything they had lost.