Balladeer’s Blog continues examining the legends of Emperor Charlemagne and his Paladins (knights).
Our previous installment ended with the army of Charlemagne besieging the Muslim Saracen army which had taken Rome after forcing them to withdraw inside the city following their defeat in battle. Roland, Ogier and others had been knighted by Charlemagne himself after distinguishing themselves in combat.
The glory that Roland and Ogier had earned filled the Emperor’s treacherous son Charlot with envy and resentment and he bided his time waiting for a chance to strike at the two Paladins.
As the siege continued, boredom threatened to claim both sides, and Carahue, King of Mauritanius, one of the leaders of the Muslim forces, was filled with the desire to face Ogier in single combat. Disguising himself as a mere messenger, Carahue approached Charlemagne’s army and was taken before the Emperor himself.
Still pretending to be a messenger, Carahue told Charlemagne and his court that the King of Mauritanius extended a challenge to the Paladin who had borne the Oriflamme during the previous open-field battle. (The Oriflamme was Charlemagne’s banner as ruler of the Franks and combined the fleur-de-lis of the French with the eagle of the Germans.)
That bearer was Ogier, who rose to speak but was interrupted by the jealous Charlot, who insisted HE would accept the challenge himself since Ogier was still technically a hostage in Charlemagne’s court to ensure his father’s loyalty to the Emperor.
Charlemagne saw the insult that Charlot had just offered Ogier and declared that from then on the Dane (Ogier) would no longer be a hostage but could come and go as he pleased. And that Ogier accepted the King of Maritanius’ challenge. Carahue then informed Charlot that he knew that Sadon, the cousin of the King would be glad to meet Charlot in combat since he had been robbed of the chance to face the King himself.
Charlot accepted the offer. The two duels would be fought the next day at a point equidistant from both armies.
That night Charlot gathered several of his closest – and equally villainous – allies among the Paladins. He provided them with black armor and told them that tomorrow just before the individual battles could begin they should attack the two Christian Paladins and the two Muslim combatants. He would help them kill Ogier, Carahue and Sadon, then the black-armored Paladins should flee. Charlot would then claim that an ambush had occurred and that he alone had survived and had driven off the attackers.
The next day when Charlot and Ogier had arrived at the designated spot along with Carahue and Sadon, Charlot gave the secret signal for his men to attack. They did so, and while the Emperor’s son pretended to be locked in battle with one of his co-conspirators, Carahue and Ogier fought the others in earnest.
Ogier’s enchanted sword Cortana penetrated all armor and slew a few of Charlot’s black knights. Carahue’s sword was just a normal weapon and at one point in the battle it broke and he was knocked off his horse.
Before the attackers could kill Carahue, Ogier dismounted and held off the black-armored warriors until the King got back on his feet and remounted his horse. Carahue swore eternal friendship with Ogier then and there and together – and with Charlot pretending to fight at their side – they drove off the black knights.
King Carahue then declared the challenges nullified by the way all combatants had seemingly fought together against a common enemy. He and his cousin Sadon returned to their besieged fellows in Rome while Ogier and the sinister Charlot returned to Charlemagne’s besieging army.
The Emperor pressed the siege with great energy after this and eventually the Muslim Saracens surrendered and were permitted to sail away in their ships. The Pope returned to Rome and thanked Charlemagne and his forces for coming to his aid.
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