The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 132

a price
upon his head?"

"The price has been there since I was eighteen," answered Norman of
Torn, "and yet my head be where it has always been. Can you blame me
if I look with levity upon the King's price? It be not heavy enough to
weigh me down; nor never has it held me from going where I listed in all
England. I am freer than the King, My Lord, for the King be a prisoner
today."

Together they rode toward Battel, and as they talked, Norman of Torn
grew to like this brave and handsome gentleman. In his heart was no
rancor because of the coming marriage of the man to the woman he loved.

If Bertrade de Montfort loved this handsome French prince, then Norman
of Torn was his friend; for his love was a great love, above jealousy.
It not only held her happiness above his own, but the happiness and
welfare of the man she loved, as well.

It was dusk when they reached Battel and as Norman of Torn bid the
prince adieu, for the horde was to make camp just without the city, he
said:

"May I ask My Lord to carry a message to Lady Bertrade? It is in
reference to a promise I made her two years since and which I now, for
the first time, be able to fulfill."

"Certainly, my friend," replied Philip. The outlaw, dismounting, called
upon one of his squires for parchment, and, by the light of a torch,
wrote a message to Bertrade de Montfort.

Half an hour later, a servant in the castle of Battel handed the missive
to the daughter of Leicester as she sat alone in her apartment. Opening
it, she read:

To Lady Bertrade de Montfort, from her friend, Norman of Torn.

Two years have passed since you took the hand of the Outlaw of Torn in
friendship, and now he comes to sue for another favor.

It is that he may have speech with you, alone, in the castle of Battel
this night.

Though the name Norman of Torn be fraught with terror to others, I know
that you do not fear him, for you must know the loyalty and friendship
which he bears you.

My camp lies without the city's gates, and your messenger will have safe
conduct whatever reply he bears to,

Norman of Torn.

Fear? Fear Norman of Torn? The girl smiled as she thought of that moment
of terrible terror two years ago when she learned, in the castle of
Peter of Colfax, that she was alone with, and in the power of, the Devil
of Torn.

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