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The Brothers Lionheart

But on the other side of the hole we were suddenly in a large cavern, how large we couldn’t tell, for the light from the torch did not reach very far. But Jonathan tested the echo.

“Ho-ho-ho,” he called, and we heard the echo replying “ho-ho-ho” many times in many different directions.

But then we heard something else, another voice far away in the dark.

“Ho-ho-ho,” it mocked. “What do you want, you who come in such strange ways with torches and light?”

“I’m looking for Orvar,” said Jonathan.

“Orvar is here,” said the voice. “And who are you?”

“I am Jonathan Lionheart,” said Jonathan. “And with me is my brother, Karl Lionheart. We’ve come to save you, Orvar.”

“Too late,” said the voice. “Too late, but thanks all the same.”

Hardly had the words been uttered when we heard the copper gate opening with a screech. Jonathan threw down his torch and stamped on it so that it went out; then we stood still and waited.

Through the gateway came a Tengilman with a lantern in his hand. I began to cry silently to myself, not because I was afraid, but for Orvar’s sake. How could things be so cruel that they were coming to take him away at this very moment!

“Orvar from Wild Rose Valley, prepare yourself,” said the Tengilman. “In a moment you’ll be taken to Katla. The black escorts are on their way.”

In the light of the lantern, we could see a large wooden cage made of rough timbers, and we realized that inside that cage, Orvar was imprisoned like an animal.

The Tengilman put the lantern down on the ground by the cage.

“You may have a lantern for your last hour. In his mercy, Tengil has decided that, so that you will get used to the light again and be able to see Katla when you meet her, which I’m sure you want to.”

He cackled with laughter and then vanished through the gate, which fell back behind him with a crash.

By then we were already up to the cage and Orvar, and we could see him in the light of the lantern, a wretched sight, as he could hardly move, but he crawled up to the bars and stretched out his hands toward us through the timbers.

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