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The Brothers Lionheart

Jonathan told him which way we had to go, and asked him if he still wanted to go on that night.

“Yes, yes, yes,” said Orvar. “I’ll crawl all the way home to Wild Rose Valley if necessary. I don’t want to lie here waiting for Tengil’s bloodhounds to come howling along the passageways after us.”

It was already noticeable who he was; no subdued prisoner, but a rebel and freedom fighter, Orvar of Wild Rose Valley. When I saw his eyes in the light of the lantern, I understood why Tengil was afraid of him. Weak though he was now, he had a kind of burning fire inside him, and it was probably that fire which carried him through that night of hell, for all of the nights in the whole world, none could have been worse.

It seemed like an eternity, full or terrors, but when you’re sufficiently exhausted, you don’t worry about anything, not even whether there are bloodhounds after you; yes, we did hear the hounds coming, howling and baying, but I hadn’t the energy to be afraid. Anyhow, they soon fell silent, for not even bloodhounds dared penetrate far into the depths where we were crawling.

We crawled along for a long, long time, and when we eventually came out into the daylight by Grim and Fyalar, battered and sore, bloodstained and soaked to the skin, almost dead with exhaustion, the night was over and the morning already there. Orvar stretched out his arms as if embracing the earth and the sky and everything he could see, but then his arms fell and he was asleep. We sank into a coma, all three of us, and we were unconscious until it was almost evening. Then I awoke. It was Fyalar nudging me with his nose He no doubt that I had slept long enough.

Jonathan was also awake.

“We must get out of Karmanyaka before dark,” he said. “After dark; we won’t be able to find the way.”

He woke Orvar, and when Orvar came to life and sat up and looked around and realized he was no longer in Katla Cavern, tears came into his eyes.

“Free,” he mumbled.

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