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The Brothers Lionheart

He was carrying an empty food bowl which he flung to the ground. The gate fell back behind him, and we could hear him locking it.

“Well, now that pig has been fed for the last time,” he said.

The others laughed and one of them said:

“Did you tell him what a remarkable day it is today---the last day of his life? I suppose you told him that Katla is expecting him this evening when darkness falls?”

“Yes, and do you know what he said? ‘Oh, yes. At last,’ he said. And then he asked to be allowed to send a message to Wild Rose Valley. How did it go, now? ‘Orvar may die, but freedom never!’ “

“Ha!” said the other man. “He can tell that to Katla this evening and hear what she has to say.”

I looked at Jonathan, who had turned pale.

“Come on,” he said. “We must get away from here.”

We crept away from the precipice as quickly and quietly as we could, and when we knew we were out of sight, we ran. All the way back, we ran without stopping until we got back to Grim and Fyalar.

We sat in the crevice with the horses because now we didn’t know what to do. Jonathan was so sad and I could do nothing to comfort him, only be sad too. I realized how much he was grieving for Orvar. He had thought he would be able to help him, and now he no longer believed it.

“Orvar, my friend, whom I never met,” he said. “Tonight you will die and what will then happen to Nangiyala’s green valleys?”

We ate a little bread, which we shared with Grim and Fyalar. I would have liked a gulp or two of goat’s milk too, because we had saved some.

“Not yet, Rusky,” said Jonathan. “Tonight, when darkness has fallen, I’ll give you every drop. But not before.”

For a long while he sat there quite still and dispirited, but in the end he said:

“It’ll be like looking for a needle in a haystack, I know. But we must try, all the same.”

“Try what?” I said.

“To find out where Katla got out,” he said.

Though I could see he didn’t really believe in it himself.

“If we had a year,” he said. “Then we might. But we’ve got only a day.

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