helm, and his sword drop from his nerveless fingers as his lifeless body
rolled from the back of Sir Mortimer to the battle-tramped clay of the
She slid quickly from her palfrey and ran fearlessly toward his prostrate
form, reckless of the tangled mass of snorting, trampling, steel-clad
horses, and surging fighting-men that surrounded him. And well it was for
Norman of Torn that this brave girl was there that day, for even as she
reached his side, the sword point of one of the soldiers was at his throat
for the coup de grace.
With a cry, Joan de Tany threw herself across the outlaw's body, shielding
him as best she could from the threatening sword.
Cursing loudly, the soldier grasped her roughly by the arm to drag her from
his prey, but at this juncture, a richly armored knight galloped up and
drew rein beside the party.
The newcomer was a man of about forty-five or fifty; tall, handsome,
black-mustached and with the haughty arrogance of pride most often seen
upon the faces of those who have been raised by unmerited favor to
positions of power and affluence.
He was John de Fulm, Earl of Buckingham, a foreigner by birth and for years
one of the King's favorites; the bitterest enemy of De Montfort and the
"What now ?" he cried. "What goes on here ?"
The soldiers fell back, and one of them replied:
"A party of the King's enemies attacked us, My Lord Earl, but we routed
them, taking these two prisoners."
"Who be ye ?" he said, turning toward Joan who was kneeling beside De
Conde, and as she raised her head, "My God ! The daughter of De Tany ! a<<BackPagesTo menuNext>>