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The Brothers Lionheart

Cruel as a serpent, Jonathan had said, and that’s what he looked like, cruel though and through and bloodthirsty, too. The costume he was wearing was as red as blood, and the plumes on his helmet were also red, as if he had dipped them in blood. His eyes started straight ahead; he did not look at the people, just as if there were nothing else in the whole world except Tengil of Karmanyaka; yes, he was terrible.

Everyone in Wild Rose Valley had been ordered to come to the village square, where Tengil was going to speak to them. Mathias and I went there too, of course.

It was such a fine and pretty little square, with beautiful old houses all around it, and there Tengil had them all now, all the people of Wild Rose Valley, exactly as he had ordered. They were standing quietly, just waiting, but oh, how you could feel their bitterness and sorrow. Here in this square they must have enjoyed life before, perhaps danced and played and sung on summer evenings, or perhaps just sat on a bench outside the inn and talked to each other under the lime trees.

Two old lime trees grew there, and Tengil had ridden up and placed himself in between them. He remained mounted and stared out over the square and the people, but he did not see a single one of them, I’m certain. He had his chief adviser beside him, a proud man called Pyuke, Mathias told me. Pyuke had a white horse almost as fine as Tengil’s black one, and they sat there like two potentates on their horses, just staring straight ahead. They sat like that for a long time. The soldiers stood around them, on guard. Tengilmen in black helmets and black cloaks, their swords drawn. You could see that they were sweating, for the sun was already high in the sky and it was a hot day

“What do you think Tengil will say?” I asked Mathias.

“That he’s dissatisfied with us,” said Mathias. “He never says anything else.”

Tengil didn’t actually speak himself. He wouldn’t speak to bondsmen. He just spoke to Pyuke and then Pyuke had to proclaim how dissatisfied Tengil was with the people of Wild Rose Valley.

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