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The Brothers Lionheart

“Free.”

He took Jonathan’s hands and held them in his for a long time. “My life and my freedom---you’ve given them back to me,” he said, and he thanked me too, although I had done nothing and had mostly been in the way.

Orvar must have felt much as I had when I was released from all pain and had come to Cherry Valley. I longed for him to reach his valley alive and free, but we weren’t there yet. We were still in the mountains of Karmanyaka, now probably seething with Tengil’s soldiers searching for him. It was fortunate enough that they hadn’t found us sleeping in our crevice.

We sat there eating the last of our bread, and after a while Orvar said:

“Just think, I’m alive! I’m alive and free!”

For he alone of the prisoners in Katla Cavern was alive; all the others had been sacrificed one by one to Katla.

“But you can trust Tengil,” said Orvar. “Believe me, he’ll see to it that Katla Cavern isn’t empty for long.”

Again tears came into his eyes.

“Oh, Wild Rose Valley of mine,” he said, “how much longer will you have to sigh under Tengil?”

He wanted to know everything that had happened in the valleys of Nangiyala during his imprisonment; about Sofia and Mathias and everything Jonathan had done. Jonathan told him about Jossi too. I thought Orvar would die then, right in front of our eyes, when he heard that he had suffered for so long in Katla Cavern because of Jossi. There was a long pause before he pulled himself together and could speak again, and then he said:

“My life means nothing. But what Jossi has done to Wild Rose Valley can never be expiated or forgiven.”

“Forgiven or not, he’s probably been punished by now,” said Jonathan. “I don’t think you’ll ever see Jossi again.”

But rage had fallen over Orvar. he wanted to leave, it was almost as if he wished to start the struggle for freedom that very evening, and he swore at his legs because they carried him so badly, though he tried and tried and at last succeeded in getting up on them.

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