The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 36

Henry III sent
a little expedition against him, he surrounded and captured the entire
force, and, stripping them, gave their clothing to the poor, and
escorted them, naked, back to the very gates of London.

By the time he was twenty, Norman the Devil, as the King himself had
dubbed him, was known by reputation throughout all England, though no
man had seen his face and lived other than his friends and followers.
He had become a power to reckon with in the fast culminating quarrel
between King Henry and his foreign favorites on one side, and the Saxon
and Norman barons on the other.

Neither side knew which way his power might be turned, for Norman of
Torn had preyed almost equally upon royalist and insurgent. Personally,
he had decided to join neither party, but to take advantage of the
turmoil of the times to prey without partiality upon both.

As Norman of Torn approached his grim castle home with his five filthy,
ragged cut-throats on the day of his first meeting with them, the old
man of Torn stood watching the little party from one of the small towers
of the barbican.

Halting beneath this outer gate, the youth winded the horn which hung at
his side in mimicry of the custom of the times.

"What ho, without there!" challenged the old man entering grimly into
the spirit of the play.

"'Tis Sir Norman of Torn," spoke up Red Shandy, "with his great host
of noble knights and men-at-arms and squires and lackeys and sumpter
beasts. Open in the name of the good right arm of Sir Norman of Torn."

"What means this, my son?" said the old man as Norman of Torn dismounted
within the ballium.

The youth narrated the events of the morning, concluding with, "These,
then, be my men, father; and together we shall fare forth upon the
highways and into the byways of England, to collect from the rich
English pigs that living which you have ever taught me was owing us."

"'Tis well, my son, and even as I myself would have it; together we
shall ride out, and where we ride, a trail of blood shall mark our way.

"From now, henceforth, the name and fame of Norman of Torn shall grow in
the land, until even the King shall tremble when he hears it, and shall
hate and loathe ye as I have even taught ye to hate and loathe him.

"All England shall curse ye and the blood of Saxon and Norman shall
never dry upon your blade."

As the old man walked away toward the great gate

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