Orlando Furioso, Canto XXXVIII
The plot tidying continues!
Bradamante and Marfisa enter the camp of King Charles and everyone’s delighted to see Bradamante and they gawk at Marfisa. More than a few of the Christian knights fought her on the battlefield. Marfisa kneels to the King. She tells her backstory and asks to be baptized as a Christian. King Charles agrees and it’s set for the next day.
Then it’s back to the moon where Astolfo says good bye to Saint John and sets off back to Earth. He heals King Senapo/Prester John with a magic herb and in return Senapo musters his army of Nubians. Then Astolfo goes to a hill where he captures the wind in a bag. This in hand, he returns to the army where he prays and Saint John transforms an avalanche into camels for the army to mount. Off they ride to wage war on King Agramante’s North African holdings.
Word reaches King Agramante and he’s now torn. Does he continue to press the fight against King Charles and the Christians or does he return to Africa and defend his kingdom. King Marsilio says they should stay. King Sorbino says they should go. In the end it’s decided that they’ll approach King Charles and suggest the Christians pick a champion to fight their Muslim champion and end the war that way.
King Charles agrees to the suggestion. The Christians pick Rinaldo as their champion. The Muslims pick Ruggiero. Bradamante weeps at this. Rinaldo is her brother. Ruggiero is her betrothed. But Melissa the Sorceress shows up (remember her? Of course, you don’t!) and tells her not to worry. She has a plan.
The day comes. Solemn vows get made before priest and imam. Both kings agree to abide by the duel’s outcome. Both knights say they will serve the other king if their own bids them to cease fighting. It is agreed that the knights will fight on foot with axe and dagger.
Then the combat begins, but it is slow since neither knight really wants to harm the other… and that’s where things stop.
“The rest in the next canto you will hear,
If next time you desire to join me there.”
CANTO SCORE CARD
KNIGHT: Bradamante, Marfisa, Ruggiero, Astolfo, King Senapo, King Charles, King Agramante, King Marsilio, King Sorbino, Rinaldo, all the second stringers… (Guidon, Sansonetto, Viviano, Ricciardo, Riciardetto, Grifone, the sons of Oliver, etc.)
MAGES: Melissa, Saint John, Malagigi
MONSTERS: hippogriff the stone camels, man
MAGIC ITEMS: A bag of wind, camels made from stones, magic herb, the usual magic armor