beauty of Issus nearly a year since. It has always been a source of
keen wonder to me that I did not drop dead at the first sight of that
hideous countenance. And her belly! By my first ancestor, but never
was there so grotesque a figure in all the universe. That they should
call such a one Goddess of Life Eternal, Goddess of Death, Mother of
the Nearer Moon, and fifty other equally impossible titles, is quite
"How came you here?" I asked.
"It is very simple. I was flying a one-man air scout far to the south
when the brilliant idea occurred to me that I should like to search for
the Lost Sea of Korus which tradition places near to the south pole. I
must have inherited from my father a wild lust for adventure, as well
as a hollow where my bump of reverence should be.
"I had reached the area of eternal ice when my port propeller jammed,
and I dropped to the ground to make repairs. Before I knew it the air
was black with fliers, and a hundred of these First Born devils were
leaping to the ground all about me.
"With drawn swords they made for me, but before I went down beneath
them they had tasted of the steel of my father's sword, and I had given
such an account of myself as I know would have pleased my sire had he
lived to witness it."
"Your father is dead?" I asked.
"He died before the shell broke to let me step out into a world that
has been very good to me. But for the sorrow that I had never the
honour to know my father, I have been very happy. My only sorrow now
is that my mother must mourn me as she has for ten long years mourned
"Who was your father?" I asked.
He was about to reply when the outer door of our prison opened and a
burly guard entered and ordered him to his own quarters for the night,
locking the door after him as he passed through into the further
"It is Issus' wish that you two be confined in the same room," said the
guard when he had returned to our cell. "This cowardly slave of a
slave is to serve you well," he said to me, indicating Xodar with a
wave of his hand. "If he does not, you are to beat him into
submission. It is Issus' wish that
The episode meant more to him than being bested in play by the best swordsman in England--for that surely was no disgrace--to Henry it seemed prophetic of the outcome of a future struggle when he should stand face to face with the real De Montfort; and then, seeing in De Vac only the creature of his imagination with which he had vested the likeness of his powerful brother-in-law, Henry did what he should like to have done to the real Leicester.Page 5
force of knights and men-at-arms to wage a relentless war upon his own barons that he might effectively put a stop to all future interference by them with the royal prerogative of the Plantagenets to misrule England.Page 8
Hiding the skiff as best he could in some tangled bushes which grew to the water's edge, set there by order of the King to add to the beauty of the aspect from the river side, De Vac crept warily to the postern and, unchallenged, entered and sought his apartments in the palace.Page 15
No further noises occurring to frighten him, he soon reached the door to Til's house and, inserting the key, crept noiselessly to the garret room which he had rented from his ill-favored hostess.Page 25
" "De Montfort has told him as much a dozen times, and now that all of us, both Norman and Saxon barons, have already met together and formed a pact for our mutual protection, the King must surely realize that the time for temporizing be past, and that unless he would have a civil war upon his hands, he must keep the promises he so glibly makes, instead of breaking them.Page 31
Sit down and eat with me, and I will talk to your heart's content, for be there one other thing I more love than eating, it is talking.Page 36
Neither side knew which way his power might be turned, for Norman of Torn had preyed almost equally upon royalist and insurgent.Page 41
In an instant, both men were at the tiny unglazed window.Page 42
Finally, by dint of his mighty strength, Norman.Page 48
May the good God soon deliver England from this Devil of Torn.Page 81
CHAPTER XII Norman of Torn did not return to the castle of Leicester "in a few days," nor for many months.Page 85
Mary de Stutevill greeted him as an old friend, and the daughter of de Tany was no less cordial in welcoming her friend's friend to the hospitality of her.Page 105
"You owe me nothing, Sir Roger, that may not be paid by a good supper.Page 119
Below, on the downs, the column was forming in marching order, and as the two rode out to join it, the little old man turned to Norman of Torn, saying, "I had almost forgot a message I have for you, my son.Page 120
"The true object lies here," said De Montfort, pointing to the open hearth upon which lay the charred remains of many papers and documents.Page 121
From here, they ascended the great ridge of the hills up the valley Combe, the projecting shoulder of the Downs covering their march from the town.Page 138
In those few brief moments of bewilderment and indecision, it seemed to Bertrade de Montfort that ten years passed above her head, and when she reached her final resolution she was no longer a young girl but a grown woman who, with the weight of a mature deliberation, had chosen the path which she would travel to the end--to the final goal, however sweet or however bitter.Page 140
"What madman be this?" "I be no madman, Your Majesty.Page 143
"It be my fight and I will fight it alone.Page 146
"Bertrade!" he whispered.