The Badass of the Week.

Roland

The Count Roland, when their approach he sees, is grown so bold and manifest and fierce.  So long as he's alive he will not yield.


Count Roland was the unstoppable champion of the Frankish peoples, the first among the Twelve Peers of Charlemagne, and a legendary medieval hero best known for his insane last stand at the Battle of Roncevaux Pass in the 9th Century CE as depicted in the epic poem The Song of Roland.  The nephew of the Emperor Charlemagne (a total fucking badass in his own right), Roland proved throughout his service to the Holy Roman Empire to be the biggest, baddest motherfucker amongst all of the Frankish Paladins, reknowned for his bravery, strength, honor, courage, fighting skill, ability to Detect Evil at will and ability to Remove Fear and Cure Disease once per day.  At a Level 15 Paladin he also rode on his Epic Mount, the noble steed Veillantif, a badass warhorse that could exhale black smoke through his nose and trample small children without even blinking.

Around the time of Roland's greatest exploits, Charlemagne and his knights had been campaigning in Spain against the Saracen King of Sargossa, some jerk named Marsile.  After seven years of hard fighting, Marsile had finally been worn down and negotiated an end to the war.  The deal was that if the Franks left Spain, Marsile and his Saracens would convert to Christianity and start hunting for Easter Eggs while singing "O Tennenbaum" as loud as possible.  Apparently Charlemagne thought this was a sweet deal (he fucking loved Christmas carols) and started to march his army back home.  As the Franks crossed the Pyrenees Mountains, they knew that the possibility of an ambush was plausible so Charlemagne placed his Twelve Peers (a brotherhood of twelve paladins known throughout Europe as the greatest warriors alive) in charge of the rearguard, giving them the highly important job of covering the army's rear flank.  Well right as the rearguard was getting ready to pass through the narrow Roncevaux mountain pass, all of a sudden they were ambushed by a fucking shit-ton of screaming angry Saracen and Basque warriors.  It turns out that one of Charlemagne's paladins, a dirtbag motherfucker named Ganelon, had sold out to the Saracen King and betrayed the Franks in exchange for giant piles of gold and naked bellydancers.

So all of a sudden the 20,000 men of the Frankish rearguard found themselves staring at over 400,000 really pissed-off dudes ready to hack their fucking brains out with crazy-ass scimitars and ninja stars.  Roland didn't even give a shit though.  His friend Oliver, a fellow member of the Twelve Peers, told Roland that he needed to blow on his horn (a magical instrument called the Oliphant, which was allegedly carved from the horn of a unicorn) and signal for help from the main Frankish force.  Roland refused - his badass code of honor forced him to stand and fight, not call for help like some sort of pussy ass damsel in distress.  Sure he was outnumbered fifteen-to-one, but he was going to take as many of those motherfuckers with him as he possibly could and he wasn't going to send the main body of Charlemagne's army running face-first into an unwinnable situation.  He gripped his massive Basque-stabbing spear and ordered his men to hold the mountain pass at all costs.

The Saracens and Basques charged head-on into the Frankish knights and all fucking hell broke out pretty much immediately.  Hopelessly outnumbered, Roland and his men fought bravely but suffered insurmountable casualties.  During the fighting Roland used his spear to stab a Saracen champion off his horse, lift him up in the air, and then chuck his dead body three hundred yards into the ground where he broke his spine in fifteen places.  When Roland kicked so much ass that his spear broke into pieces, he drew his legendary sword Durandal (an indestructible blade that once belonged to Hector of Troy and had since been augmented with several relics of Christian Saints) and started whipping fucking asses.  He chopped one saracen knight so hard that he split the guy in half from head to groin, so he probably looked kind of like the T-1000 did after Sarah Connor shot him in the balls with a grenade launcher.  That's a fucking powerful Critical Hit right there.



His steed he spurs, gallops with great effort; he goes, that Count, to strike with all his force.  The shield he breaks, the hauberk's seam unsews, slices the heart, and shatters up the bones, all of the spine he severs with that blow, and with his spear the soul from body throws.  So well he's pinned, he shakes in the air that corpse, on his spear's hilt he's flung it from the horse: So in two halves Aeroth's neck he broke.  Nor left him yet, they say, but rather spoke:

"Strike on, my lords, with burnished swords and keen; contest each inch your life and death between, that never by us France in shame be steeped. When Charles my lord shall come into this field, Such discipline of Saracens he'll see, for one of ours he'll find them dead fifteen; he will not fail, but bless us all in peace."


Against all odds the knights were able to beat back the initial saracen onslaught, forcing them to fall back and regroup.  Roland glanced around and saw only 300 of his men remaining, facing a shitload of saracens Thermopylae-style.  Once again Oliver asked Roland to signal the main force, but he was just like, "fuck that man, we got these chumps right where we want them."  Sure he was overconfident, but how badass is it that this guy feels morally obligated to fight out a blaze-of-glory last stand despite being outnumbered a thousand to one?

The second assault on Roncevaux Pass would be just as devastating as the first.  In increasingly brutal fighting, several of the Twelve Peers fell in battle.  Roland of course was the sort of badass who sought out the saracens that had killed his friends and avenged their deaths in the most bloody ways imaginable, but it still became increasingly obvious that the end was near.  Roland finally relented and blew the Oliphant three times - not so much to signal for reinforcements or help, but rather to make sure that Charlemagne came back to give the knights a good Christian burial and to avenge their deaths.  In true badass fashion, Roland's chief concern wasn't dying gloriously on the field of battle, but that was that there was a chance his death might go unavenged.  Nice.  Anyways, he blows his horn so fucking hard that blood shoots out of his nose and mouth (awesome) like an x-treme medieval death metal rock star.

Seeing that the end was near for the Frankish warriors, the Sargossan King Marsile decided to personally ride into battle and get the kill-shot on Roland since he was only like a few hundred Experience Points short of leveling up.  Now Marsile was a badass motherfucker himself, and he made short work of three of the elite Frankish Paladins, dropping them with Force Lighting and Street Fighter-style Hadouken fireballs.  This only made Roland more pissed, so he ran up to Marsile and chopped his fucking hand off like Darth Vader.  Marsile ran off clutching his hand like a little one-armed bitch so his son Prince Jurfleau immediately ran up to avenge his father.  Roland glanced over his shoulder at the charging Prince, gave him a side kick right in his solar plexus and then decapitated him with one swing of Durandal.  The sight of their rulers being fucking manhandled by this badass insane bloodlusted knight broke the morale of the saracen warriors, then they fell back once again to regroup.

So the saracen and basque warriors once again ceded the field to Roland and his men, though there wasn't much fight left in the Frankish rearguard.  Roland looked over the battlefield and saw the ground littered with blood, bodies from both sides, and all manner of severed appendages.  Only he and the Archbishop Turpin were left standing, and both had been mortally wounded during the battle.  Oliphant was broken - Roland had used it as a bludgeon to beat the fucking shit out of some dude who was messing with him - and since he knew he was about to die, he smashed Durandal repeatedly onto a rock in an effort to break it and prevent it from falling into enemy hands.  As I mentioned before however, Durandal was fucking indestructible, so Roland eventually just had to hide it under his body.  He commended his soul to St. Michael, propped himself up against a rock and died facing South towards his enemies.

It wasn't long before Charlemagne returned to the field and surveyed the carnage.  He immediately led his army to defeat the saracens, capture the Kingdom of Saragossa, execute Marsile and arrest that rat-bastard traitor Ganelon for high treason.  Since Charlemagne's court handled shit in the most badass manner possible - through brutal gladiatorial combat known as Judicial Combat - Ganelon got his fucking ass kicked by Roland's good friend Thierry.  Then he was drawn and quartered by wild fucking horses.  That's what happens when you fuck with one of Charlemagne's homeboys.

Roland was a fucking badass who almost single-handedly held Roncevaux Pass against a horde of tough-ass warriors, protecting the rear flank of his retreating army.  He kicked ass, slaughtered his enemies, never backed down, was slain valiantly and had his death avenged.



The Count Roland, he canters through the field, holds Durandal, he well can thrust and wield, right great damage he's done the Saracens. You'd seen them, one on other, dead in heaps, through all that place their blood was flowing clear!  In blood his arms were and his hauberk steeped, and bloodied over, shoulders and neck, his steed.


Links:

Wikipedia

Timeless Myths

The Song of Roland







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