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The Brothers Lionheart

It was dim in the stable, the window small, letting in very little light, but I saw how eagerly Fyalar turned his head as I came in through the door. I went over to the stall and threw my arms around his neck. I wanted him to understand that what had to happen wasn’t my fault.

“Though perhaps it is my fault,” I said, and I wept. “If I’d stayed in Cherry Valley, then Tengil would never have gotten hold of you. Forgive me, Fyalar, forgive me. But I couldn’t do anything else.”

I think he knew I was sad. He nuzzled my ear with his soft nose as if he didn’t want me to cry.

But I cried. I stood there with him and I cried and cried, until there were no more tears inside me. then I groomed him and gave him the last of the oats; well, he shared them with Grim, of course.

I thought such terrible thoughts as I groomed Fyalar.

May he drop dead, the man who was to come and fetch my horse, I thought. May he die before he gets across the river. It was terrible to wish things like that, it really was, and it didn’t help, either.

No, he was almost certainly already on board the ferry. I thought, the ferry they carry all their stolen goods away on. Perhaps he had already landed? Perhaps he was just coming through the gateway and would be here any minute now. Oh, Fyalar, if only we could flee together, you and I.

Just as I was thinking like that, someone opened the stable door and I cried out, I was so frightened. But it was only Mathias. He had begun to wonder what I was doing. I was glad the light was dim in the stable, so that he couldn’t see that I had been crying again. But he probably realized that I had, all the same, for he said:

“Little lad, if only I could do something. But no grandfather can help with this. So just cry.”

Then I saw through the window behind him that someone was out there, coming toward Mathias’s place. A Tengilman! The one who was coming to fetch Fyalar!

“He’s coming!” I said. “Mathias, he’s coming!”

Fyalar whinnied, upset when I cried out so despairingly.

The next moment, the stable door was jerked open, and he was standing there in his black helmet and black cloak.


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