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The Brothers Lionheart

We were very near Tengil’s country now. On the other side of the bridge, I could see a path winding its way up through the mountains: The Ancient Mountains of Karmanyaka.

“If you follow that path, you come to Tengil’s castle,” said Jonathan.

I shuddered again, but I thought things could do what they liked tomorrow---this evening, I was going to sit by a campfire with Jonathan for the first time in my life.

We had our fire on a ledge of rock high up above the waterfall, near the bridge. But I sat with my back to everything, because I didn’t want to see the bridge over to Tengil’s country or anything else, either. I saw only the light from the fire flickering between the mountain walls, and that was beautiful and a little terrible, too. And then I saw Jonathan’s handsome, kindly face in the firelight, and the horses, which were standing resting a little way away.

“This is much better than my last campfire,” I said. “Because now I’m here with you, Jonathan.”

Wherever I was, I felt safe as long as Jonathan was with me, and I was happy that at last I could sit by a campfire with him, what he had talked about so many times when he had lived on earth.

“The days of campfires and sagas, do you remember saying that?” I said to Jonathan.

“Yes, I remember,” said Jonathan. “But then I didn’t know there were such evil sagas in Nangiyala.”

“Must it always be like this?” I asked.

He sat in silence for a while, staring into the fire, and then he said:

“No. When the final battle is over, then Nangiyala will probably again be a country where the sagas are beautiful and life will be easy and simple to live, as before.”

The fire flared up, and in the light, I saw how tired and sad he was.

“But the final battle, you see, Rusky, can only be an evil saga of death and more death. So Orvar must lead that battle, not me. For I’m no good at killing.”

No, I know that, I thought. And then I asked him:

“Why did you save that man Park’s life? Was that a good thing?”

“I don’t know whether it was a good thing,” said Jonathan.

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