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


Bradamante BETTERBRADAMANTE VS ATLANTES – We left off in the previous installment with Bradamante, the female Paladin in white armor, waiting at an inn in Bordeaux for her foretold encounter with the clever dwarf Brunello. Presently the day had come when Brunello arrived, but before she could approach him, both of them were swept up in a crowd of bystanders in a panic, pointing to the sky as the enchanter astride the winged horse once again flew overhead.

Bradamante took advantage of this development to pretend to casually inquire of Brunello about the astounding sight. The clever dwarf, whom Bradamante had been warned was an accomplice of the flying enchanter, informed her that it was Atlantes and that he had abducted several men and women recently and imprisoned them in his mountaintop castle.

Charlemagne's empireBrunello pretended not to know what happened to the abductees, but the female Paladin had been told by the priestess Melissa that they were used as companions for her missing beloved, Ruggiero. Atlantes had trained and raised Ruggiero since the latter’s childhood and feared the prophecies that the warrior would one day be led away from Islam by his love for Bradamante.

Playing along as if she was not suspicious of the clever dwarf, the White Paladin raged about how she longed to find the mountaintop refuge of Atlantes and free his prisoners. Brunello had by now realized that this woman warrior was the famous Bradamante herself, and planned to lure her into the clutches of Atlantes as he had done with so many others.

The dwarf volunteered to guide Bradamante to the enchanters’ castle, and she accepted the offer, all the while plotting to turn the tables on Brunello at some point and obtain his enchanted ring. The priestess Melissa had told our heroine that only someone wearing that ring would be able to withstand Atlantes’ attacks.

Soon, Bradamante followed Brunello into the Pyrenees Mountains, ever wary of him but feigning trust. A few days later, the dwarf showed her the castle of Atlantes, high on a nearby peak and surrounded by a brass wall that opened only for the enchanter himself.

As the pair rested, our heroine suddenly sprang upon the clever dwarf, tying him to a nearby tree and removing the enchanted ring from his finger to wear it herself. Leaving the treacherous Brunello behind, Bradamante approached the foot of the high hill on which Atlantes’ castle stood.

The White Paladin blew her horn in order to summon the enchanter to battle. She did not have long to wait before Atlantes and his winged mount flew down to attack her. The sorcerer was astounded to encounter a Paladin who did not fall to his first attack, so he kept maneuvering his mount to swoop down again and again, only to find Bradamante able to counter his every move.

Atlantes could not yet tell that it was a woman in his adversary’s armor. Only the mystic shield he carried let him survive Bradamante’s many sword-thrusts. For her part, the White Paladin finally saw Atlantes’ winged beast close enough to determine that it was not a horse as so many thought. It was a Hippogriff from the fabled Riphaean Mountains, with a long neck and the head of an eagle, claws instead of hooves, and apart from its broad wings, the rest of its body was that of a horse.

At length, Bradamante decided to play possum, so, pretending to have been struck down by Atlantes, she lay unmoving on the ground while the enchanter circled overhead. Presently he and his Hippogriff landed, and he further studied the fallen Paladin.

At last satisfied that his victim was indeed unconscious, Atlantes approached in order to abduct them to his castle like all the others. Too late the enchanter noticed that the fallen figure was a woman, meaning she must be the prophesied Bradamante from the court of the Emperor Charlemagne, the woman destined to lead Ruggiero away from Islam.

Like lightning, Bradamante sprang to her feet and seized Atlantes, binding him in the chains which he had planned to use on her. When the White Paladin removed one of her gauntlets and showed the enchanter that she wore the ring that enabled its wearer to withstand his attacks, Atlantes knew his situation was hopeless and he wept.

The bound enchanter pleaded with our heroine to take his life rather than take away Ruggiero, whom he had raised to manhood over the years. He told Bradamante how Ruggiero, longing for glory in battle, had enlisted in the invasion of Charlemagne’s empire led by Agramant, a Muslim lord from northern Africa.

The White Paladin informed her captive of events from there – she and Ruggiero had met in the Forest of Arden when they had each gotten separated from the rest of their respective armies following one of the ongoing battles between the invaders and the forces of Charlemagne. They had fallen in love, only to be separated when attacked by Mongol looters.

Both Bradamante and Atlantes knew the rest – he had ridden his winged beast to capture and hold his beloved Ruggiero in his castle, then took to seizing men and women to keep the warrior company in his captivity. Atlantes, in his desperation, even explained to our heroine about the prophecy that a woman would lead Ruggiero from Islam, resulting in his death in some way.

The enchanter begged the White Paladin to take everything else he owned but to leave his surrogate son Ruggiero with him. Bradamante resisted all the offers of Atlantes and ordered him to accompany her back to his castle, walking in his chains. Because the woman warrior wore the enchanted ring, Atlantes had no choice but to obey.

At last the pair neared the brass wall which surrounded the castle formed from Atlantes’ magic. A gate opened upon his approach and Bradamante forced him inside and at the point of her sword, ordered the enchanter to free all of his prisoners.

Atlantes despairingly obeyed his conqueror, casting a spell that caused the castle and the brass wall to collapse into dust and freeing all the men and women from the enchantment which had made them abandon any desire to return to the outside world as they feasted. 

Bradamante addressed the freed prisoners and led them all down to the valley in which the Hippogriff still waited. As the mass exodus of prisoners scattered to return to their faraway homes and with the men accompanying the women, Bradamante and Ruggiero at last came face to face.

They embraced, and, amid the whirl of departing former prisoners and their own excited tales to each other of all that had transpired since they last met, the enchanter Atlantes managed to slip away. Though a bit apprehensive about this development, Bradamante and Ruggiero were far too taken with each other’s company to pay it much heed.

I’ll be examining more tales of Charlemagne soon.   





Filed under Mythology


  1. I see the map-maker decided to label everywhere but Brittany. Pah! 😒😉

  2. I haven’t thought of Charlemagne for a long time. Even though this is fantasy, that man was a force of nature, wasn’t he.

  3. Pingback: CHARLEMAGNE: BRADAMANTE VS ATLANTES BALLADEERS BLOG – El Noticiero de Alvarez Galloso

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