[How lords and kings came to Firm Island to help search for King Lisuarte.]
[The coat of arms of Henry VII in 1504, including the red dragon of Cadwaladr, who was the last King of the Britons. From the National Archives.]
When the letter had been sent, Queen Brisena promptly took to the road with those knights for London because that city was the capital of the entire kingdom, and if some uprising were to happen, it would more likely be there than anywhere else. But that was not so. Instead, as the news spread everywhere, people were so upset that both the great and lowly, men and women, left their towns and, as if they were bereft of their senses, wandered shouting through the countryside, weeping and calling for their lord the King in such numbers that all the forests and mountains were filled, and many ladies and damsels with their hair in tangles wailed for he in whom they had always found protection and help.
Oh, how fortunate should kings consider themselves if their vassals with such love and great suffering felt their loss and hardship, and even more fortunate if their subjects would and should to do this because their kings meant as much to them as did this noble King! But sadly, times today are much unlike those of the past, given the little love and less true feelings that people hold for their kings. And this shall cause the world’s climate to be more frail, for if the greatest part of virtue is lost, it cannot bear the fruit it should, as if it were exhausted soil, and neither deep plowing nor the best seeds can prevent thistles and thorns and other useless weeds from growing in it.
Then let us pray to the powerful Lord to remedy it, and if He is not pleased to listen to us and finds us unworthy, may He hear those who are still to be forged and have not yet appeared in this existence, and let them be born with such charity and love as had been kindled in better times in the past, and let kings be without ire and passions, and treat and sustain them with a just and merciful hand.
Returning then to our purpose, the story tells that this news flew quickly to all places that had business with Great Britain by those who spent most of their time sailing the sea, so soon it was known in the lands where were found Sir Cuadragante, Lord of Sansuena; and Sir Bruneo, King of Arabia; and the other lords who were their friends. They considered how much it would weigh on Amadis to rectify any losses to the King or the kingdom if uprisings were to occur, and they agreed that since the conquests had been completed and everything was under control, to go together to Firm Island to meet with Amadis and do whatever he might order.
With that agreement, Sir Bruneo left his kingdom to his brother Branfil and Sir Cuadragante his to his nephew Landin, and taking all the soldiers they could and leaving behind what was necessary to protect those lands, they boarded ships and set out to sea, among them the giant Balan, who was well loved and esteemed by all.
They traveled so fast with such a favorable wind that twelve days after they had left, they arrived at the port of Firm Island. When Balan saw the great dragon that Urganda had left there, as this story has recounted, he was very amazed by such a extraordinary thing and would have been much more astonished if those with him had not told him the reason for it. At the time that those lords docked, Amadis was with his lady Oriana, and he did not wish to leave her side. When Brandoivas had arrived on behalf of Queen Brisena with the letter, as ye have heard, and Oriana learned what had happened to her father, her pain and sadness were so overwhelming that soon she was in danger of losing her life.
When he was told about the arrival of the fleet in which those lords came, he asked Grasandor to receive them and tell them why he could not come. Grasandor did so, and he arrived on horseback at the port to find that the lords had disembarked: Sir Galaor, King of Sobradisa; Sir Bruneo, King of Arabia; Sir Cuadragante, Lord of Sansuena; and the giant Balan, Sir Galvanes, Angriote d’Estrauvaus, Gavarte of the Fearful Valley, Agrajes, Palomir, and so many other knights of great skill at arms that it would be vexing to recount.
Grasandor told them of Amadis’ situation, and asked them to take lodging and rest that night, and the next day he would come out to take charge of the situation, since everyone knew what had happened. They all agreed and did so, and immediately they went to the castle to take lodging in its rooms. And Agrajes and his uncle Sir Galvanes brought Balan with them to do him all the honors they could.
When the night was over and they had heard Mass, they all went to the garden where Amadis was. When he learned they were there, he left his lady a bit more calmed with his cousin Mabilia and sister Melicia and Grasinda, and came out of the tower to meet them. When he saw them all together, now kings and great lords who had survived so many confrontations and dangers as they had with such good health, although his face was sad for what had happened with King Lisuarte, his heart felt great joy, more than if all of that had been won for him alone, and he went to embrace them and all of them to embrace him. But he to whom he showed the greatest love was the giant Balan, whom he embraced many times, honoring him with great courtesy.
Since they were all together, King Galaor, who felt the loss of King Lisuarte as if it were his father King Perion, said that without any delay they ought to agree about what to do regarding King Lisuarte, because he, if Amadis permitted him, wished to begin to search immediately without rest or repose day and night until he lost his life or saved the King if he were still alive.
Amadis told him:
“My good lord brother, it would be a great injustice if that King who was so good, so honorable, and so helpful to good men, were those good men not to rescue him in his extreme need. In addition to the great kinship I have with him and which obliges us all to do as ye say, merely his virtue and great nobility deserve to be served and aided in his adversity by all those who have virtue and good understanding.”
Then they called Brandoivas to come before them and tell them what had been done in the search for the King, and to instruct them in how the Queen would be best served and made most content. He told them everything he had witnessed and how such a great number of people who at the time when the King was lost came out to search for him, that they ought to believe that if in that forest or even in all his kingdom he were being held prisoner, there was nowhere he could have been hidden. Instead the Queen and everyone else could only believe that he had been taken across the sea or had been drowned in the sea, for the search had been so rapid that there would not have been time to bury him.
It seemed to him that since the entire kingdom had felt such sentiments and remained at the Queen’s service with true love and good will, expecting nothing to the contrary, that they with the great fleet they had there ought to depart to many places where, given that fortune had always been favorable with other things they had undertaken, it would not wish to change its ways in this one in which they were putting so much urgency and affection.
To all those lords, the counsel that Brandoivas gave them seemed good, and they agreed to do so. They asked Amadis to take care to direct them to the parts of the sea and lands they should search so that nothing would be overlooked, and to quickly take them before Oriana, for by her hands they wished to swear and promise to never cease the search until they could bring news about her father the King, alive or dead, and with that they hoped to bring consolation to her sadness.
As they were all about to enter the tower, a man came who told them:
“My lords, a lady has left the Great Dragon, and she must be Urganda the Unrecognized, for no one else could be so powerful to come in and out of it.”
When Amadis heard this, he said:
“If it is her, she is very welcome, and we should be more pleased to see her than anyone else at such a time as this.”
Then they sent for their horses to receive her, but they did not do that fast enough. Urganda had already disembarked on her palfrey, led by two dwarves holding the reins, and arrived at the gate to the garden. When those lords saw her, they came to her, with King Galaor leading them, and he took her from the palfrey in his arms and placed her on the ground. They all greeted her and honored her with great courtesy, and she told them:
“Ye may well believe, my good lords, that to find you here together does not seem surprising to me, since when I departed from you I told you that for a matter unknown to you this would happen. But let us not speak of that now, and before I say anything more to you, I wish to see and console Oriana, because I feel her anguish and pain more than I feel my own.”
Then they all went with her to Oriana’s chamber. When Oriana saw them come through the door, she began to weep bitterly, and she said:
“Oh my lady and good friend! Knowing all the things that are to come, how ye could not prevent such a great misfortune from overcoming that King who loves you so? Now I know that because ye have failed him, everyone else shall also fail.”
And covering her face with her hands, she fell onto the estrado. Urganda came to her and, kneeling, took her by the hands and said:
“My beloved lady and child, do not complain nor be so afflicted, for the empires and great estates with which ye are adorned and provided always bring with them such tribulations, otherwise no one could possess them. If it were otherwise, we to whom the powerful Lord has given little could rightly complain. He has made us all of the same stuff and with such a nature that we are obliged to the same vices and passions and in the end are equal at death; but he has made us so different regarding worldly goods, some asa lords and others as vassals under such subjection and humility that rightly or wrongly we suffer imprisonment, death, banishment, and other innumerable punishments according to the will and wishes of those who have the power over others.
“And if those who are thus subjugated and oppressed feel any consolation for their despair, it is nothing other than to see the whims of fortune that bring such perilous falls. As all this is ordained and permitted by his Royal Majesty, so are all other things in the world that surrounds us, and no power given discretion nor wisdom can of itself move a single point of it. And so my very beloved lady, by compensating the bad with the good and the sad with the happy ye shall give great rest to your fatigue.
“And regarding what ye say to me about your father the King, it is true that it was made manifest to me earlier, as with veiled words I said before I departed from here. But it was not in my power to prevent what had been ordained, but what is granted to me in this visit shall be put to work: which is, with the help of the great Lord, to bring the remedy to this great sadness that has come over you.”