Orlando Furiso, Canto XII
Back to them knights doing knightly stuff and messing the sweet honey iced tea up! Last canto was a bit of a bust. This Canto? It’s aight.
To start that rascally old sorcerer Atlante has devised a new trick to stop all them knightly battle boys: the Knight Motel. Think of it like a roach motel except it’s a castle and it casts an illusion (usually a damsel in distress) on passing knights to trap them within. Sadly Atlante didn’t coat the floors in glue, but instead provided food for all the knights his castle captured. And being the old rascally mage he is Atlante don’t give a dang that he’s capturing Infidel and Christian knights willy. Makes no diff to him. A knight’s a knight’s a knight after all.
So Orlando thinks he spies Angelica but it’s only an illusion cast by the knight motel. We also learn Ruggiero saw a similar illusion back in Canto ??? when he saw Bradamante carried away by a giant. That too was the Knight motel at work.
Meanwhile Angelica’s decided she’s had enough of Western Europe and wants to go back home to Asia. But to do this she wants to have a knight who will protect her. She’d prefer Orlando, but figure Sacripante is better since he’d be easier to manipulate. But where is Sacripante? He’s stuck in the knight motel. So Angelica slips in there using the magic ring.
Now the magic ring makes her immune to sorcery, so when she gets in there she sees all these dopes roaming around unable to see each other because of the ~magic~. She finds Sacripante and via the ring dispels the illusions. Unfortunately, Orlando and Ferrau are within range of the spell and also affected. They realize where they are and see Angelica right there in front of them. Oh dang! Poor Angelica, she’s in a pickle now. And what does Angelica do when she is in a pickle? Why, she flees! So that’s what she does. And the knights pursue.
But fortunately the knights are knights and therefore prone to fighting over stupid stuff, which they promptly start doing. This time the three start arguing about a helmet. Ferrau doesn’t have one and has vowed not to wear one until he gets Orlando’s. This leads to a duel between Orlando and Ferrau.
A thing about both Orlando and Ferrau they both got the Achilles treatment and are invulnerable except in certain spots. Orlando can only be injured on the soles of his feet and Ferrau in his belly button. This makes the duel between them a big, loud, pointless affair. Sacripante watches for a bit, then figures he can catch Angelica while the others are distracted.
Of course, Angelica has been watching the whole thing and she grabs Orlando’s helmet which has been hanging from a tree this whole time. The two knights realize the object of their dispute has disappeared and quit with their fighting. Setting off again they ride into the wood choosing different paths. By now Angleica is tired and she’s stopped by a well and set the helmet down. Ferrau reaches the spot and claims the helmet but not Angelica (because she disappeared again). She figures she will try to make her back east using the ring’s magic.
Meanwhile, Orlando roams the forest and gets lost. Days pass. Ariosto takes us back to the siege on Paris and some Saracen knights. Orlando comes upon them and there’s a huge melee in which Orlando’s sword, Durindana, blithely sings. He kills a couple of Saracen knights, then travels on to where he spies a cave with a light within.
And guess what he finds in there?
Why, it’s another damsel in distress!
What’s her deal? I don’t know because…
Please hear the rest, my lord, another day,
It is now time to put the book away.
Until next time!
CANTO SCORE CARD
Knights: Too many! Orlando (you know him), Ruggiero (you know him), Gradasso (no clue who this is), Brandimarte (some guy from an earlier canto), Ferrau (a Saracen “giant”), and Sacripante the Circassian (a Circassian). They are all stuck in the knight motel, Manilard King of Norizia, a Saracen knight and Alzirdo, another Saracen knight, fight Orlando at the end and get whupped.
Mages: Atlante (Alcina gets mentioned in passing)
Damsels: Angelica and an as yet unnamed sad damsel in a cave
Horses: Brigliador (Orlando’s wicked sweet horse)