Count Roland

"As Roland broke you to prevent your capture... "

The first terminal on Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! relates the tale of Count Roland, who near death, attempts to break his sword to prevent it from being taken by the Saracens (La Chanson de Roland).

Count Roland smites upon the marble stone;
I cannot tell you how he hewed it and smote;
Yet the blade breaks not nor splinters, though it groans;
Upward to heaven it rebounds from the blow.
When the count sees it never will be broke,
Then to himself right softly he makes moan;
'Ah, Durandal, fair, hallowed, and devote,
What store of relics lies in thy hilt of gold!'

-From The Song of Roland
(Translated by Dorothy Sayers, Viking Penguin, NY, NY, 1957)
<Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! (Terminal 1)>
The text is a verbatim transcription except for the fact that the name of Roland's sword is actually spelt 'Durendal' in the original text and not 'Durandal'. As Durandal's name appears to be have been taken from Roland's sword it is surprising that the correct name is not used.

In the Song of Roland, Count Roland is depicted as Charlemagne's nephew. Charlemagne's name also appears in an earlier terminal.

....n 15 ~~~~~~Be~rn border of the Roman Empire to the Danube
River.  During a skirmish with barbarians in Raetiain the
mountains near the borof modern France and Switzerland), 117
men under Gaius Licinius MarcW#&I~?f/f/xxfxfff`~~~
233nce of weird and frightening monsters under his control,
many successful raidsecty the fall of the Roman Empire and
remained unmolested until the ninth un~~~
written ls into the lex vita.  Clovis moved the settlement
farther south i the mountains, nearer the spring, to escape
the notice of Charlemagne and later the Holy Roman Empire.
Clovis remain````
427q3w8459806ladimir in 1902 and Frederi~just recently. Both,
however, carried out reforms before their deaths which slowly
integrated their people secretly into world society, which are
now scattered all over the globe- to meet only once every
seven years in southeast France~FFFffxfffffF?F?FF?Ff must
be chosen.
<Smells Like Napalm, Tastes Like Chicken! (Terminal 2)>
Whether this has any significance or not is as yet unclear. Indeed the text of this whole terminal is rather bizarre. The last section in particular. Again the number seven appears.

Reference to Roland is made again by Tycho:

As Roland broke you to prevent your capture, so shall we.

<Welcome to the Revolution... (Terminal 2)>

However, in the Song of Roland, Count Roland was unable to break his sword. The above statement is therefore puzzling and suggests that Tycho is actually referring to someone else.

Does the reference to "broke you" relate to Durandal's earlier reference to being "purged" by humanity? And is this Durandal's "shame on Mars"?

Benjamin Confino <> points out that in Marathon 2, Durandal makes a reference to Count Roland on the level Feel the Noise which contradicts Tycho, namely:

Tycho never got it right either, especially
the part about Roland breaking me. He

No one can.

Benjamin goes on to say:

Perhaps a simpler theory than "broke you" referring to Durandel's "shame on Mars" is that Tycho simply made a mistake. Though given the intelligence and questionable sanity of the AIs, it could be that Tycho was speaking metaphorically, and Durandel either mistakenly took Tycho literally. Or chose to deliberately misinterpret Tycho to make a point.

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Last updated Nov 16, 2011