The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 95

laid his vandal hands upon Joan
de Tany, she turned upon him like a tigress. Blow after blow she rained
upon his head and face until, in mortification and rage, he struck her
full upon the mouth with his clenched fist; but even this did not subdue
her and, with ever weakening strength, she continued to strike him. And
then the great royalist Earl, the chosen friend of the King, took the
fair white throat between his great fingers, and the lust of blood
supplanted the lust of love, for he would have killed her in his rage.

It was upon this scene that the Outlaw of Torn burst with naked sword.
They were at the far end of the apartment, and his cry of anger at the
sight caused the Earl to drop his prey, and turn with drawn sword to
meet him.

There were no words, for there was no need of words here. The two men
were upon each other, and fighting to the death, before the girl had
regained her feet. It would have been short shrift for John de Fulm had
not some of his men heard the fracas, and rushed to his aid.

Four of them there were, and they tumbled pell-mell into the room,
fairly falling upon Norman of Torn in their anxiety to get their swords
into him; but once they met that master hand, they went more slowly, and
in a moment, two of them went no more at all, and the others, with the
Earl, were but circling warily in search of a chance opening--an opening
which never came.

Norman of Torn stood with his back against a table in an angle of the
room, and behind him stood Joan de Tany.

"Move toward the left," she whispered. "I know this old pile. When
you reach the table that bears the lamp, there will be a small doorway
directly behind you. Strike the lamp out with your sword, as you feel my
hand in your left, and then I will lead you through that doorway, which
you must turn and quickly bolt after us. Do you understand?"

He nodded.

Slowly he worked his way toward the table, the men-at-arms in the
meantime keeping up an infernal howling for help. The Earl was
careful to keep out of reach of the point of De Conde's sword, and the
men-at-arms were nothing loath to emulate their master's example.

Just as he reached his goal, a dozen more men burst into the room, and
emboldened by this reinforcement, one of the men engaging De Conde came
too close. As

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