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The Brothers Lionheart

“Haven’t I told you that wherever you go, I go, too?” I said.

“Yes, you told me that,” said Jonathan, and he sounded quite glad.

“Because I want to be with you,” I said. “Even if it’s in an underground hell.”

Katla Cavern was an underground hell. Creeping along that black hole was like creeping through an evil, black dream which you cannot wake up from; like going from sunlight into eternal night.

The whole of Katla Cavern was nothing but a dead old dragon’s nest, I thought, reeking of wickedness from ancient times. No doubt thousands of dragon’s eggs had been hatched out there, and cruel dragons had crawled out in hordes to kill everything in their way.

An old dragon’s nest was just the kind of place Tengil would think of as suitable for a prison. I shivered when I thought of everything he had done to people in here. The air seemed to me to be thick with old dried wickedness, whisperings from far away inside the cave, which seemed to be about all the torment and tears and death which Katla Cavern had experienced during Tengil’s reign. I wanted to ask Jonathan if he could hear the whisperings too, but I didn’t, because I was probably imagining them.

“Now, Rusky, we’re going on a walk that you’ll never forget,” said Jonathan.

It was true. We had to get right through the mountain to reach the prison cave where Orvar was just inside the copper gate. It was that cave that people meant when they spoke of Katla Cavern, Jonathan said, because they didn’t know of any other cave. We didn’t even really know whether it would be possible to reach underground. But we knew that the way there was going to be a long one, for we had walked that stretch before up on the mountain, and it would be seven times worse making our way down here though dark rambling passages, with only the light from the torches we had with us.

Oh, how terrible it was to see the torchlight flickering over the cave walls, only lighting up a little of the great darkness around us, and so everything outside the light seemed even more dangerous.

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