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The Brothers Lionheart

Tyrants are always afraid, Jonathan had said, and Tengil was the worst of all tyrants.

No, at first we could see nothing, neither Mathias nor I, but then I fount out what to do. They stood there so cocksure, and with their feet wide apart, Tengil’s soldiers, that if I lay down flat on my stomach behind the one with his legs farthest apart, I could see through them.

But I couldn’t get Mathias to do that.

“The main thing is that you see,” he said. “And that you never forget what you see today.”

And I saw---a beautiful great gilded boat coming toward us out on the river, black-clad men at the oars. There were a lot of oars, more than I could count, and the blades flashing in the sun each time they were raised out of the water. The oarsmen had to work hard, for there were strong currents pulling at the boat. Perhaps it was the suction from a waterfall farther down the river, for I could hear the thunder of mighty waters far away.

“That’s Karma Falls that you can hear,” said Mathias, when I asked him. “The song of Karma Falls. That’s our cradle song here in Wild Rose Valley, which the children lie and listen to before they go to sleep.”

I thought about the children of Wild Rose Valley. They must have run about and played and splashed and had fun down here by the riverbank before. Now they couldn’t because of the wall, that dreadful wall which enclosed everything. There were only two gates through the whole length of the wall, the one that I had come through, call the main gateway, and then another here by the river, with a landing stage outside it, where Tengil’s sloop was now moored. The gate had been opened Tengil, and through the archway and between a soldier's legs, I saw the landing stage and Tengil’s black stallion waiting there, a fine horse with its saddle gleaming with gold and its harness gleaming with gold. And I saw Tengil step forward and swing himself up into the saddle and riding through the gateway. Suddenly he was quite close to me and I saw his cruel face and his cruel eyes.

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