Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chapter 58 [first part]

How Beltenebros stayed in Miraflores with his lady Oriana after the victory of the sword and the wreath, then left there for the battle set with King Cildadan; and what happened in it and the victory they won. 

[Illustration made in Paris in approximately 1410 for Jean Froissart's Chroniques, a history of the Hundred Years' War.] 

Beltenebros was with his lady in Miraflores for three days after winning the sword and the wreath of flowers, and on the fourth day he left at midnight alone with only his arms and horse. He had sent his squire Enil to a castle that was at the foot of a mountain near the site of the battle that belonged to an old knight named Abradan, from whom all knights errant received good service. That night Beltenebros passed close to King Lisuarte's army.

He traveled so fast that on the fifth day he arrived at the castle and found that Enil was already there, which greatly pleased him, and he was very well received by the knight. While he was there, two squires arrived, nephews of their host, who came from where the battle was going to be held, and they said that Cildadan and his knights had already disembarked. They were staying in tents at the seashore and unloading their arms and horses from the ships. The squires had seen Sir Grumedan and King Lisuarte's nephew Giontes arrive and arrange for a truce until the day of the battle, in which neither of the Kings could have more than one hundred knights, as had been agreed.

The host said:

"Nephews, how do these men seem, whom God has cursed?"

"Good uncle," they said, "do not speak thus, for they are strong and fearsome. We tell you that unless God miraculously favors the side of our lord the King, no one can outdo their power."

Tears came to the eyes of the host, who said:

"Oh all-powerful Lord, do not leave unaided the best and most just King in the world!"

"Good host," Beltenebros said, "do not be dismayed by fierce people, for often goodness and modesty defeat arrogant courage. And I beg you to go to the King and tell him that a knight named Beltenebros is in your house. If he tells me the day of the battle, I shall be there promptly."

When Abradan heard this, he felt joyful and said:

"Why, my lord, are ye the one who sent Sir Cuadragante to the court of my lord the King, and the one who killed the brave giant Famongomadan and his son when they held Leonoreta and her knights prisoner? Now I tell you that if I have done any service to knights errant, with this single prize I am satisfied by all of it, and I shall gladly do what ye order."

Then, taking his nephews with him, he went where they guided him and found that King Lisuarte and all his company had arrived a half league from their enemies, and that the battle would be the next day. He told the King the message that he carried, which made Lisuarte and all his men happy, and he said:

"Now we only need one more knight to fulfill the one hundred."

Sir Grumedan said:

"I would think, my lord, that ye are over the limit, for Beltenebros is worth five."

This weighed heavily on Sir Galaor and Florestan and Agrajes, who were not pleased by any honor given to Beltenebros, more for envy than for any other enmity, but they remained silent. Abradan, having learned what he had come for, said goodbye to the King, and returned to his guest and told him the pleasure and great joy with which the King and all his men had received his message, and how only one knight remained to fulfill the one hundred.

When Enil heard this, he took Beltenebros off to a doorway and, kneeling before him, said:

"Although I have not served you long, my lord, I dare to appeal to your great virtue and wish to ask a mercy of you, and I pray to God that ye grant it."

Beltenebros raised him up and said:

"Ask what thou wilt, and if I can do it, I shall."

Enil wished to kiss his hands, but Beltenebros would not let him, and Enil said:

"My lord, I ask that ye make me a knight and that ye beg the King to include me in the hundred knights, since he needs one more."

Beltenebros said:

"My friend Enil, do not let it enter thy heart to wish to attempt such a great act as this will be, with such danger. And I do not say this not to make thee a knight, only because it would be best to begin with other, smaller deeds."

"My good lord," Enil said, "I cannot refuse to face such danger, although death may overcome me, for to be in this battle would be the greatest honor that could happen to me, and if I leave it alive, I shall always have the honor and esteem of having been among those hundred knights, and to have been one of them. And if I were to die, may that death be welcome, for my memory shall be among those other esteemed knights who must die there."

A loving mercy came to Beltenebros's heart, and he said to himself, "Thou well belongst to the lineage of the esteemed and loyal Sir Gandales, my foster father." He answered:

"Then, if that pleases thee, so it shall be."

Then he went to their host and asked him to give arms and armor to his squire, for he wished to make him a knight. The host gave them gladly. Enil stood vigil over them that night in the chapel, and after Mass was said at dawn, Beltenebros made him a knight.

He immediately left for the battle, and his host and his nephews came with him and carried his weapons. When they arrived, they found the good King Lisuarte preparing his men to move at their enemy, who awaited them in a flat field. When he saw Beltenebros, both he and his men felt great courage, and Beltenebros told him:

"My lord, I come to fulfill my promise, and I bring a knight with me to fill the place of the one whom ye still lack."

The King received him with great joy and the knight, with whom he fulfilled the hundred. Then he had a line of his men march at the enemy, for there were not enough for a larger formation, but in front of the King, in the middle of the line, he put Beltenebros and his companion, and Sir Galaor and Florestan and Agrajes, and Gandalaz, foster-father of Sir Galaor, and his sons Bramandil and Gavus, whom Sir Galaor had already made a knight, and Nicoran of the Wrong Bridge, and Dragonis and Palomir, and Vinorante and Giontes, the King's nephew, and the esteemed Sir Bruneo of Bonamar, and his brother Branfil, and Sir Guildan the Pensive.

These rode in front of the rest, together as ye hear, and in front of all of them rode the honorable and esteemed old Sir Grumedan, foster father of Queen Brisena, carrying the insignia of the King.

King Cildadan had his men very well arranged and in front of himself he had placed the giants, who were a very despicable people, and with them twenty knights of their lineage, who were very brave. And he ordered Madanfabul, the giant of the island of the Vermilion Tower, to wait on a small hill with the ten most esteemed knights that he had. And he ordered them not to move until the battle was underway and everyone was tired, and then, attacking bravely, to try to kill King Lisuarte or capture him and take him to their ships.

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