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The Brothers Lionheart

“Go on,” he whispered. “Go over to Mathias.”

Then he threw himself straight into a wild rose thicket, and trembling and afraid, I walked toward the lamplight.

“I just wanted a bit of air,” I heard Mathias saying. “It’s such lovely weather this evening.”

“Lovely weather,” replied a rough voice. “There’s the death penalty for being out after sunset, didn’t you know that?”

“A disobedient old grandfather, that’s what you are,” said another voice. “Where’s the boy, anyway?”

“He’s just coming,” said Mathias. I was now quite near him, and I recognized those two on the horses, I did. It was Veder and Kader.

“Are you off up into the mountains to look at the moonlight tonight, then?” said Veder. “What was your name, now, you little rascal? I didn’t catch it.”

“I’m just called Rusky,” I said. I dared say that because no one knew that name, neither Jossi nor anyone else, only Jonathan and I and Mathias.

“Rusky, indeed,” said Kader. “Now listen, Rusky, why do you think we’ve come here?”

I felt as if my legs would give way beneath me.

To put me into Katla Cavern, I thought. They must have regretted letting me go, of course, and now they had come to fetch me. What else?

“Well, you see,” said Kader. “We ride around this valley in the evenings to see that people are obeying what Tengil has decided. But your grandfather finds it hard to grasp; perhaps you could explain to him how bad it would be for both of you if you don’t stay indoors after dark.”

“And don’t forget,” said Veder. “You won’t escape a second time if we find you where you shouldn’t be; remember that, Rusky. If your grandfather lives or dies; it’s all the same to us. But you, you are so young, you want to grow up and become a Tengilman, don’t you?”

A Tengilman, no, I’d rather die, I thought, but I didn’t say so. I was terribly anxious about Jonathan and I dared not annoy them, so I answered very meekly:

“Yes, I do.”

“Good,” said Veder. “Then you can go down to the big landing stage early tomorrow morning and you’ll be able to see Tengil, the liberator of Wild Rose Valley.

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