These are the legends about Charlemagne and his Paladins, not the actual history, so there will be dragons, monsters and magic. 


bradamante another picBRADAMANTE IN THE WIZARD’S TOMB – We left off last time around with Mandricardo searching for the Paladin Roland so he could try to kill him and steal from him the sword Durindana, thus completing the armor of Hector. The female Paladin in white armor, Bradamante, was searching for Ruggiero the Moor, from whom she had gotten separated a few installments back. Ruggiero was likewise searching for her.

The clever dwarf Brunello, a figure who might have inspired GOT‘s Tyrion Lannister just as Bradamante might have inspired Brienne, was meanwhile roaming the same region of Europe. Brunello had been sent from northern Africa by the enchanter Atlantes to lure Atlantes’ departed protege Ruggiero into captivity to prevent him from being lured away from Islam by his love for Bradamante. 

Brunello encountered Ruggiero and convinced him to follow him to save a beautiful maiden who had supposedly been abducted by an enchanter astride a winged horse. Ruggiero, in true chivalric style, agreed to accompany the dwarf to save the maiden. At length Brunello secretly summoned the winged enchanter to capture and make off with Ruggiero.

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Atlantes the Enchanter had resolved to keep Ruggiero in the castle forever, so additional men and women were abducted and taken to the castle to provide Ruggiero with companionship and keep him too occupied to want to leave. The captured Moor and his fellow prisoners lost themselves in drinking and feasting. Meanwhile, the battles of the Saracen invasion of Charlemagne’s empire raged on.   

Back with Bradamante, she encountered an armored warrior called Pinabel. His true love was among the women abducted by the enchanter on the flying horse and he recruited Bradamante into helping him try to get her back from the enchanter’s castle.

Pinabel was treacherous, however, and upon noticing from Bradamante’s insignia that she was of the court of the Emperor Charlemagne he sought to lure her into a trap. He led the white-armored lady Paladin into a cave, pretending it led to the castle of enchanter. Once inside, he fell behind her and pushed her into a pit, then fled, leaving her there to starve.

Unable to climb all the way back up the sheer cliff leading out of the pit, Bradamante took to exploring this lower level of the cavern, looking for a means of escape. At length she came upon a door carved into the cave wall. The door was incredibly heavy, but Bradamante put her shoulder to it and strained every muscle until she succeeded in pushing the door open enough to enter the chamber beyond.

That chamber was a temple with alabaster columns. The white Paladin genuflected to the altar between the columns and was greeted by a long-haired maiden who emerged from a secret entranceway. The robed maiden identified herself as Melissa, the Priestess of the Tomb of Merlin.

NOTE: If you’re not familiar with tales of Charlemagne, Merlin from Arthurian legends has a role that is much different than he has in those earlier tales from Great Britain. In Charlemagne stories, the enchanter Maugris (aka Malagigi) is the main wizard and is much younger than Merlin.

The Priestess Melissa informs Bradamante that Merlin was slain by Morgan le Fay and buried here in this tomb. Whenever a person proves strong enough to push open the door leading to this tomb, the spirit of Merlin would relay words of wisdom to that visitor.

Melissa led Bradamante into the next chamber, where the sarcophagus of Merlin was located. The stone coffin glowed like candlelight inside the cave. The white-armored woman humbly asked Merlin’s spirit if it had any wisdom to bestow upon her.

The spirit of the dead wizard greeted Bradamante and called her the future mother of heroes, who would bring glory to the kingdoms of the Italian Peninsula through her own actions and the actions of her children and grandchildren. The spirit advised the woman warrior that she was destined to marry her beloved Ruggiero, the father of her illustrious descendants.

Next, Merlin’s spirit told Bradamante to ride on to Bourdeaux, where she would encounter the clever dwarf Brunello. Through him she could obtain an enchanted ring that would enable her to overcome the enchanter on the winged horse and save Ruggiero from the castle atop a high mountain. Also, the next time she crossed paths with Pinabel, she was to kill him without mercy.

The spirit of Merlin then returned to the afterlife. Bradamante dined with the Priestess Melissa and rested overnight in the temple. At daybreak she rode off for Bordeaux, which she reached a few days later, taking a room at an inn and awaiting her foretold meeting with Brunello.

I’ll be examining more tales of Charlemagne soon.   




Filed under Mythology


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