The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 136

and stood with his left hand
ungauntleted, resting upon the table's edge.

"My Lady Bertrade," he said at last, "I have come to fulfill a promise."

He spoke in French, and she started slightly at his voice. Before,
Norman of Torn had always spoken in English. Where had she heard that
voice! There were tones in it that haunted her.

"What promise did Norman of Torn e'er make to Bertrade de Montfort?" she
asked. "I do not understand you, my friend."

"Look," he said. And as she approached the table he withdrew the cloth
which covered the object that the man had placed there.

The girl started back with a little cry of terror, for there upon a
golden platter was a man's head; horrid with the grin of death baring
yellow fangs.

"Dost recognize the thing?" asked the outlaw. And then she did; but
still she could not comprehend. At last, slowly, there came back to her
the idle, jesting promise of Roger de Conde to fetch the head of her
enemy to the feet of his princess, upon a golden dish.

But what had the Outlaw of Torn to do with that! It was all a sore
puzzle to her, and then she saw the bared left hand of the grim, visored
figure of the Devil of Torn, where it rested upon the table beside the
grisly head of Peter of Colfax; and upon the third finger was the great
ring she had tossed to Roger de Conde on that day, two years before.

What strange freak was her brain playing her! It could not be, no it was
impossible; then her glance fell again upon the head grinning there upon
the platter of gold, and upon the forehead of it she saw, in letters of
dried blood, that awful symbol of sudden death--NT!

Slowly her eyes returned to the ring upon the outlaw's hand, and then
up to his visored helm. A step she took toward him, one hand upon her
breast, the other stretched pointing toward his face, and she swayed
slightly as might one who has just arisen from a great illness.

"Your visor," she whispered, "raise your visor." And then, as though to
herself: "It cannot be; it cannot be."

Norman of Torn, though it tore the heart from him, did as she bid, and
there before her she saw the brave strong face of Roger de Conde.

"Mon Dieu!" she cried, "Tell me it is but a cruel joke."

"It be the cruel truth, My Lady Bertrade," said Norman of Torn sadly.
And, then, as she turned away from

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