The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 128

had no quarrel with me. Then why
be you here? Speak! Shall it be as a friend or an enemy that the master
of Leybourn greets Norman of Torn; shall it be with outstretched hand or
naked sword?"

"I come for this man, whom you may all see has good reason to fear me.
And when I go, I take part of him with me. I be in a great hurry, so I
would prefer to take my great and good friend, Peter of Colfax, without
interference; but, if you wish it otherwise; we be a score strong within
your walls, and nigh a thousand lie without. What say you, My Lord?"

"Your grievance against Peter of Colfax must be a mighty one, that you
search him out thus within a day's ride from the army of the King who
has placed a price upon your head, and from another army of men who be
equally your enemies."

"I would gladly go to hell after Peter of Colfax," replied the outlaw.
"What my grievance be matters not. Norman of Torn acts first and
explains afterward, if he cares to explain at all. Come forth, Peter of
Colfax, and for once in your life, fight like a man, that you may save
your friends here from the fate that has found you at last after two
years of patient waiting."

Slowly, the palsied limbs of the great coward bore him tottering to the
center of the room, where gradually a little clear space had been made;
the men of the party forming a circle, in the center of which stood
Peter of Colfax and Norman of Torn.

"Give him a great draught of brandy," said the outlaw, "or he will sink
down and choke in the froth of his own terror."

When they had forced a goblet of the fiery liquid upon him, Peter of
Colfax regained his lost nerve enough so that he could raise his sword
arm and defend himself and, as the fumes circulated through him, and the
primal instinct of self-preservation asserted itself, he put up a more
and more creditable fight, until those who watched thought that he might
indeed have a chance to vanquish the Outlaw of Torn. But they did not
know that Norman of Torn was but playing with his victim, that he might
make the torture long, drawn out, and wreak as terrible a punishment
upon Peter of Colfax, before he killed him, as the Baron had visited
upon Bertrade de Montfort because she would not yield to his base
desires.

The guests were craning their necks to

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