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The Brothers Lionheart

He was quite proud when he was able to show us that, and he was certainly a sight as he stood there, swaying backward and forward as if he might be blown over any moment. We had to smile as we watched him.

“Orvar,” said Jonathan. “Anyone can see from a long way that you’re a prisoner from Katla Cavern.”

It was true. All three of us were blood-stained and dirty, but Orvar looked the worst, his clothes in rags and his face scarcely visible what with his beard and hair. Only his eyes were visible, his strange, burning eyes.

There was a stream running through our crevice, so we rinsed all the dirt and blood off us there. I dipped my face into the cold water, again and again. It was wonderful; we felt that we were rinsing away the whole of Katla Cavern.

Then Orvar borrowed my knife and cut off a lot of his beard and hair, so that he looked less like an escaped prisoner, and Jonathan took out of his pack the Tengil helmet and cloak that had got him out of Wild Rose Valley.

“Here, Orvar, put these on,” he said. “Then perhaps they’ll think you’re a Tengilman who has taken two prisoners and you’re on your way somewhere with them.”

Orvar put on the helmet and cloak, but he didn’t like them. “This is the first and last time I’ll ever put on such clothes,” he said. “They reek of oppression and cruelty.”

“Never mind what they reek of,” said Jonathan, “as long as they help get you home to Wild Rose Valley.”

The time had come now to leave. In an hour or two the sun would set and then it would be so dark in the mountains that no one would be able to find his way along those dangerous paths.

Jonathan looked very serious. He knew what we had to face and I heard him saying to Orvar:

“The next two hours will decide the fate of Wild Rose Valley, I think. Can you manage to ride for that long?”

“Yes, yes, yes,” said Orvar. “For ten hours if you like.”

He was to ride Fyalar. Jonathan helped him to mounts, and at once he was quite a different Orvar, as if he were growing in the saddle and becoming strong.

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