As regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog know, December through Twelfth Night (January 6th) is the time of year in which I look at versions of the tales of Charlemagne and his Paladins. These are the legends about Charlemagne, not the actual history, so there will be dragons, monsters and magic.
FOR MY FIRST CHAPTER ON CHARLEMAGNE’S PALADINS CLICK HERE.
REINOLD BATTLES ROLAND – Regular readers will remember that when we left the Paladin named Reinold he was making his way on foot back to the Court of Charlemagne after escaping from Princess Angelica’s enchanted island.
Reinold crossed paths with a beautiful weeping woman named Flordelis, who begged the Paladin to help free her beloved Florismart from the clutches of Morgana, the Lady of the Lake. Reinold agreed, and Flordelis offered him her horse to ride. With the young woman seated behind him on the horse, Reinold rode off.
After a few hours’ ride, the pair came upon a cavern guarded by a 12 foot tall, club-wielding giant. Chained nearby was a griffin, who aided the giant in guarding the precious horse Rabican.
Rabican was kept in the giant’s cave as if it was a stable. This enchanted horse was featured in earlier installments and had formerly been the steed of the late Cathay Prince Argalia, brother to Princess Angelica. Rabican was the only horse in the world faster than Reinold’s former mount named Bayard.
Recognizing the swift horse of his former foe, Reinold dismounted and approached the cave only to be attacked by the armed giant. In the resulting battle, the Paladin’s sword was hacking away at the giant’s thick, leathery skin, while his armor protected him from the blows of the giant’s club.
Finally, with its dying act, the giant unchained the griffin, which flew to the attack against Reinold. This creature was more of a threat than the dead giant, and had claws which could penetrate our hero’s armor. In the end, however, Reinold sliced off one of the griffin’s wings and then plunged his sword into its heart, killing it.
After resting from his exertions, Reinold freed the horse Rabican from the cave. With the Paladin astride Rabican, he and Flordelis rode off again in search of Morgana. The next day the pair encountered some fleeing fugitives from King Agrican’s army.
Those fugitives told Reinold about how the Paladin Roland – like Reinold a nephew of Emperor Charlemagne – had led a small army of knights against King Agrican and broke his siege of Albracca, capital city of Cathay. Anxious to enlist his cousin Roland in his quest against Morgana, Reinold rode toward Albracca with Flordelis.
King Galafron of Cathay was still in the field, leading his forces against the fleeing host of King Agrican. As Reinold approached, Galafron recognized the horse he rode as Rabican and assumed that its rider must have slain his son Argalia and seized the horse.
(In truth, the Saracen warrior named Ferrau had killed Argalia, as seen previously.)
The king charged at Reinold and the two of them fought it out. Reinold easily gained the upper hand and would have killed King Galafron if not for the way that some of the king’s forces rode to his defense, among them, Roland himself.
Roland and Reinold compared notes and when the latter learned that Roland was fighting on behalf of Princess Angelica and her father, he attacked Galafron’s army in a rage. He was, if you’ll recall, still influenced by the Waters of Hatred that made him loathe Angelica and anyone who stood with her.
Roland confronted Reinold and the two battled until nightfall, so evenly matched were they. It was decided to call off the fighting until daylight, and King Galafron’s troops made camp for the night. Angelica, who was still under the influence of the Waters of Love that made her adore Reinold, was terrified that a mighty Paladin like Roland might actually be capable of slaying her beloved.
That night she promised to marry Roland, who was one of the many men in love with her, if he would immediately ride off to the enchanted gardens of the sorceress Falerina. In those gardens Falerina held many warriors captive and Angelica asked Roland to free them for her. The lovesick Paladin agreed and rode off in the morning.
With Roland gone, Angelica rode to meet with Reinold, returning his own horse Bayard to him, hoping to please him. Still filled with hatred toward her, Reinold was not impressed.
When Princess Angelica stated that she had sent Roland off to the Gardens of Falerina to free captive warriors, Flordelis convinced Reinold that her beloved Florismart might be among those captives. The Paladin and Flordelis rode off on Bayard to those same gardens.
I’ll be examining more tales of Charlemagne soon.
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