The story is about the struggle and love of the Duke Florante and Princess Laura of Albania during the war between the Christian Albanians and the Moros (Muslim people).
In the Albanian forest
The story begins deep within a dark, gloomy forest. Florante, a duke of the Kingdom of Albania is tied to a tree, lamenting the death of his father, Duke Briseo. He is driven mad by the thought that his beloved, Princess Laura, has fallen into the arms of his enemy, Count Adolfo, son of Count Sileno. Nearby, two starving lions keep watch and try to attack Florante. He is saved, just in time, by Aladin, a Muslim prince who happens to be at the forest at the same time. Weak and bewildered, Florante faints.
The merciful soldier nurses Florante to health. Upon recovery, Florante is initially taken back by Aladin who he considers as an enemy due to his Islamic faith. After a few explanations are made, however, Florante is grateful and begins to tell his story.
The son of a princess and a royal adviser, Florante grew up in happiness, showered with love. He liked to play games when he was six, and was almost killed by a vulture that entered in their mountain cottage, which was also followed by the attack of a falcon, who snatched his cupid diamond. He was saved by his cousin Menalipo, an archer from Epirus.
At the early age of 11, his parents, Duke Briseo and Princess Floresca, sent him to Athens, Greece to study under Antenor, a renowned teacher. There, he met Adolfo, a fellow countryman, the brightest student in their school. After 6 years of study, Florante surpassed Adolfo’s capabilities, talents and intelligence, gaining popularity.
While acting during a school play, Adolfo attempted to kill Florante. Fortunately, Florante’s friend, Menandro, was quick enough to intervene. Adolfo headed home to Albania after his failed attempt. One year later, Florante received a letter from his father, announcing the death of his mother.
Though filled with grief, Florante waited two months before he returned home. Menandro, unwilling to be separated from him, accompanied him on his journey. Upon his arrival to Albania, an emissary of the kingdom of Crotone requested his assistance in the incoming war against the Persians. Florante had not the will to refuse, for the King of Crotone was his grandfather.
During his stay in Albania, Florante was invited to the king’s palace. There, he was stunned by the sight of Laura, the daughter of King Linseo, ruler of Albania.
Coming to the aid of Crotone, Florante fought with the Persian general, Osmalik for 5 hours, finally slaying him in the end. He stayed in Crotone for 5 months before returning to Albania to see Laura. He was surprised by the sight of a Persian flag waving atop the kingdom. He recaptured the palace and saved his father, the king, and Adolfo. He also saved Laura from being beheaded from the hands of an Emir. He was declared “Defender of Albania” for his bravery, deepening Adolfo’s envy and hatred.
Florante protected the kingdom, once more, from the Turkish forces, under general Miramolin, an acclaimed conqueror. This took place in Aetolia, where he later received a letter from his father. The letter summoned him back to Albania. He left his troops in the care of his friend, Menandro. Upon returning, he was ambushed by 30,000 soldiers under Adolfo’s orders and was imprisoned for 18 days. There, he learned of the tragic fate of his father and the king. Under Adolfo’s hands, they were beheaded. Florante was then exiled into the forest and tied to the tree. “Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option”
After months of wandering in the forest, the Persian, Aladin shares that he is also in a similar circumstance.
Sultan Ali-Adab accused his own son, Aladin, of leaving his troops and allowing his conquered enemy to be recaptured. He arranged for his son to be beheaded. Flerida, very much in love with Aladin, begged the Sultan not to kill, but merely exile his son. In return, Flerida agreed to marry the Sultan, who was very taken with her.
Reunion and Peace
Aladin’s speech is interrupted when they hear voices. A woman narrates her escape from a kingdom and a marriage. She speaks of her search for her beloved, a search which lasted 6 years. She shares that while deep in the forest, she heard cries for help. Finding a lady about to be raped by a man, she uses her bow and arrow to kill him. The woman introduces herself as Flerida.
The lady saved by Flerida is revealed to be Laura, who begins to tell her story. While her love was away at war, Count Adolfo gained the popularity of the people, having lied to them and turned them against the king. Count Adolfo then rose to the throne, forcing Laura to be his queen. An army under Menandro, Florante’s childhood friend, was able to overthrow Adolfo from power. Adolfo, seeing all was lost, fled into the woods, taking Laura as hostage.
After hearing all this, Florante and Aladin reunite with their loved ones. Florante and Laura returned to Albania, and became king and queen. Aladin and Flerida returned to Persia, where Aladin became the new sultan as his father committed suicide. The two kingdoms lived in harmony and peace.