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The Brothers Lionheart

Tengil’s soldiers went around looking everywhere in houses and yards, hunting for hidden bows and arrows and hidden swords and spears. But they never found anything. And yet there wasn’t a house or a yard where there weren’t weapons hidden and weapons forged for the battle that had to come in the end, Jonathan said.

Tengil had also promised white horses as a reward for those who revealed secret weapon hoards.

“How foolish,” said Mathias. “Does he really think that there’s a single traitor here in Wild Rose Valley?”

“No, it’s only in Cherry Valley where there’s one,” said Jonathan sadly. Yes, I knew it was Jonathan walking there beside me, but it was difficult to remember it, the way he looked with that beard and those rags.

“Jossi hasn’t seen what we’ve seen of cruelty and oppression,” said Mathias. “Otherwise he could never do what he’s doing.”

“I wonder what Sofia’s doing?” said Jonathan. “And I’d like to know if Bianca got there alive.”

“We must hope that she did,” said Mathias. “And that Sofia has put a stop to Jossi by now.”

When we got back to Mathias’s house we saw Fatty Dodik lying in the grass, playing dice with three other Tengilmen. They must have been off duty, I think, because they lay there among the wild rose bushes all the afternoon. We could see them from the kitchen windows. They played dice and ate meat and rank beer, which they had brought from the square, whole pails full. Gradually they gave up playing dice. Then they ate the meat and drank beer. Then they just drank beer. And then they did nothing, just crawled around like beetles in the bushes. Finally, they all four fell asleep.

Their helmets and cloaks lay in the grass where they had flung them, for no one could drink beer in a thick woolen cloak on such a warm day, could he?

“But if Tengil knew, he’d have them flogged,” said Jonathan.

Then he vanished out through the door, and before I even had time to be afraid he was back with a cloak and a helmet.

“What do you want those dreadful things for?

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