Princess Angelica of Cathay and her brother Argalia arrive in the court of Emperor Charlemagne. Angelica is the most beautiful woman in the world and every man who sees her immediately desires her above all else. However, in order to take her as wife they must first defeat Argalia in combat. The two most stricken by her are Roland, Bradamant's cousin, and Renaud, one of her brothers. When Argalia is finally beaten by the Saracen knight Ferrau, Angelica flees--with Roland and Renaud in hot pursuit. Along the way, both Angelica and Renaud drink from a magic spring with the result that Angelica is filled with a burning love for Renaud while Renaud is now indifferent to her.

Roland and Renaud eventually arrive at the castle of King Galafron, Angelica's father. Other knights have also gathered there, including Agricane, King of Tartary; Sacripant, King of Circassia; Agramant, Kingof Africa and Marfisa, the legendary Saracen warrioress.

Meanwhile, France is being threatened by Saracen invaders. Led by King Gradasso of Sericana (who is waging the war in order to obtain Durindana, Roland's fabulous sword) and King Rodomont of Sarzia a bloody Holy War between theChristians and the Moors begins.
Renaud leaves Galafron's castle. Angelica and Roland set out for France in search of him. Again they drink from the magic spring, but this time the effects are reversed--Renaud is now madly iin love with Angelica, while she is completely indifferent. Renaud finds Roland and they fight over the princess. Emperor Charlemagne (who is not keen on his two most powerful knights killing one another) intervenes. He promises them that whoever defeats the greatest number of Saracens will have the hand of Angelica. The princess is placed in the care of Duke Namus. Roland and Renaud arrive in Paris just in time to defeat an attack by Agramant. Namus' camp, however, is overrun by the Moors. Angelica escapes with Renaud not far behind her. And just behind him is Ferrau, who believes that Angelica's hand belongs to him since he defeated Anglelica's brother, Argalia.

Meanwhile, Bradamant, the only female among Charlemagne's great Paladins, falls in love with a Saracen knight named Rashid, and he is also in love with Bradamant . They believe their love is hopeless, however, since they are on opposite sides of the great conflict. They take some hope from a prophecy that says that the two of them will someday wed and found the great Este family. Atalante, a wizard who had raised the orphaned Rashid, does everything in his power to prevent this union. He is finally able to kidnap the knight and imprison him in an iron tower on top of an inaccessible crag. Bradamant learns of this and sets out to rescue her lover . . .

And that is where the story of The Iron Tempest begins
What Went Before
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