Part 3 out of 4
All his captains rode today with Norman of Torn. Beside those whom we have
met, there was Don Piedro Castro y Pensilo of Spain; Baron of Cobarth of
Germany, and Sir John Mandecote of England. Like their leader, each of
these fierce warriors carried a great price upon his head, and the story of
the life of any one would fill a large volume with romance, war, intrigue,
treachery, bravery and death.
Toward noon one day, in the midst of a beautiful valley of Essex, they came
upon a party of ten knights escorting two young women. The meeting was at
a turn in the road, so that the two parties were upon each other before the
ten knights had an opportunity to escape with their fair wards.
"What the devil be this," cried one of the knights, as the main body of the
outlaw horde came into view, "the King's army or one of his foreign
"It be Norman of Torn and his fighting men," replied the outlaw.
The faces of the knights blanched, for they were ten against a thousand,
and there were two women with them.
"Who be ye ?" said the outlaw.
"I am Richard de Tany of Essex," said the oldest knight, he who had first
spoken, "and these be my daughter and her friend, Mary de Stutevill. We
are upon our way from London to my castle. What would you of us ? Name
your price, if it can be paid with honor, it shall be paid; only let us go
our way in peace. We cannot hope to resist the Devil of Torn, for we be
but ten lances. If ye must have blood, at least let the women go
"My Lady Mary is an old friend," said the outlaw. "I called at her
father's home but little more than a year since. We are neighbors, and the
lady can tell you that women are safer at the hands of Norman of Torn than
they might be in the King's palace."
"Right he is," spoke up Lady Mary, "Norman of Torn accorded my mother, my
sister, and myself the utmost respect; though I cannot say as much for his
treatment of my father," she added, half smiling.
"I have no quarrel with you, Richard de Tany," said Norman of Torn. "Ride
The next day, a young man hailed the watch upon the walls of the castle of
Richard de Tany, telling him to bear word to Joan de Tany that Roger de
Conde, a friend of her guest Lady Mary de Stutevill, was without.
In a few moments, the great drawbridge sank slowly into place and Norman of
Torn trotted into the courtyard.
He was escorted to an apartment where Mary de Stutevill and Joan de Tany
were waiting to receive him. Mary de Stutevill greeted him as an old
friend, and the daughter of de Tany was no less cordial in welcoming her
friend's friend to the hospitality of her father's castle.
"Are all your old friends and neighbors come after you to Essex," cried
Joan de Tany, laughingly, addressing Mary. "Today it is Roger de Conde,
yesterday it was the Outlaw of Torn. Methinks Derby will soon be
depopulated unless you return quickly to your home."
"I rather think it be for news of another that we owe this visit from Roger
de Conde," said Mary, smiling. "For I have heard tales, and I see a great
ring upon the gentleman's hand -- a ring which I have seen before."
Norman of Torn made no attempt to deny the reason for his visit, but asked
bluntly if she heard aught of Bertrade de Montfort.
"Thrice within the year have I received missives from her," replied Mary.
"In the first two she spoke only of Roger de Conde, wondering why he did
not come to France after her; but in the last she mentions not his name,
but speaks of her approaching marriage with Prince Philip."
Both girls were watching the countenance of Roger de Conde narrowly, but no
sign of the sorrow which filled his heart showed itself upon his face.
"I guess it be better so," he said quietly. "The daughter of a De Montfort
could scarcely be happy with a nameless adventurer," he added, a little
"You wrong her, my friend," said Mary de Stutevill. "She loved you and,
unless I know not the friend of my childhood as well as I know myself, she
loves you yet; but Bertrade de Montfort is a proud woman and what can you
expect when she hears no word from you for a year ? Thought you that she
would seek you out and implore you to rescue her from the alliance her
father has made for her ?"
"You do not understand," he answered, "and I may not tell you; but I ask
that you believe me when I say that it was for her own peace of mind, for
her own happiness, that I did not follow her to France. But, let us talk
of other things. The sorrow is mine and I would not force it upon others.
I cared only to know that she is well, and, I hope, happy. It will never
be given to me to make her or any other woman so. I would that I had never
come into her life, but I did not know what I was doing; and the spell of
her beauty and goodness was strong upon me, so that I was weak and could
not resist what I had never known before in all my life - love."
"You could not well be blamed," said Joan de Tany, generously. "Bertrade
de Montfort is all and even more than you have said; it be a benediction
simply to have known her."
As she spoke, Norman of Torn looked upon her critically for the first time,
and he saw that Joan de Tany was beautiful, and that when she spoke, her
face lighted with a hundred little changing expressions of intelligence and
character that cast a spell of fascination about her. Yes, Joan de Tany
was good to look upon, and Norman of Torn carried a wounded heart in his
breast that longed for surcease from its sufferings -- for a healing balm
upon its hurts and bruises.
And so it came to pass that, for many days, the Outlaw of Torn was a daily
visitor at the castle of Richard de Tany, and the acquaintance between the
man and the two girls ripened into a deep friendship, and with one of them,
it threatened even more.
Norman of Torn, in his ignorance of the ways of women, saw only friendship
in the little acts of Joan de Tany. His life had been a hard and lonely
one. The only ray of brilliant and warming sunshine that had entered it
had been his love for Bertrade de Montfort and hers for him.
His every thought was loyal to the woman whom he knew was not for him, but
he longed for the companionship of his own kind and so welcomed the
friendship of such as Joan de Tany and her fair guest. He did not dream
that either looked upon him with any warmer sentiment than the sweet
friendliness which was as new to him as love -- how could he mark the line
between or foresee the terrible price of his ignorance !
Mary de Stutevill saw and she thought the man but fickle and shallow in
matters of the heart -- many there were, she knew, who were thus. She
might have warned him had she known the truth, but instead, she let things
drift except for a single word of warning to Joan de Tany.
"Be careful of thy heart, Joan," she said, "lest it be getting away from
thee into the keeping of one who seems to love no less quickly than he
The daughter of De Tany flushed.
"I am quite capable of safeguarding my own heart, Mary de Stutevill," she
replied warmly. "If thou covet this man thyself, why, but say so. Do not
think though that, because thy heart glows in his presence, mine is equally
It was Mary's turn now to show offense, and a sharp retort was on her
tongue when suddenly she realized the folly of such a useless quarrel.
Instead she put her arms about Joan and kissed her.
"I do not love him," she said, "and I be glad that you do not, for I know
that Bertrade does, and that but a short year since, he swore undying love
for her. Let us forget that we have spoken on the subject."
It was at this time that the King's soldiers were harassing the lands of
the rebel barons, and taking a heavy toll in revenge for their stinging
defeat at Rochester earlier in the year, so that it was scarcely safe for
small parties to venture upon the roadways lest they fall into the hands of
the mercenaries of Henry III.
Not even were the wives and daughters of the barons exempt from the attacks
of the royalists; and it was no uncommon occurrence to find them suffering
imprisonment, and something worse, at the hands of the King's supporters.
And in the midst of these alarms, it entered the willful head of Joan de
Tany that she wished to ride to London town and visit the shops of the
While London itself was solidly for the barons and against the King's
party, the road between the castle of Richard de Tany and the city of
London was beset with many dangers.
"Why," cried the girl's mother in exasperation, "between robbers and
royalists and the Outlaw of Torn, you would not be safe if you had an army
to escort you."
"But then, as I have no army," retorted the laughing girl, "if you reason
by your own logic, I shall be indeed quite safe."
And when Roger de Conde attempted to dissuade her, she taunted him with
being afraid of meeting with the Devil of Torn, and told him that he might
remain at home and lock himself safely in her mother's pantry.
And so, as Joan de Tany was a spoiled child, they set out upon the road to
London; the two girls with a dozen servants and knights; and Roger de Conde
was of the party.
At the same time a grim, gray, old man dispatched a messenger from the
outlaw's camp; a swarthy fellow, disguised as a priest, whose orders were
to proceed to London, and when he saw the party of Joan de Tany, with Roger
de Conde, enter the city, he was to deliver the letter he bore to the
captain of the gate.
The letter contained this brief message:
"The tall knight in gray with closed helm is Norman of Torn," and was
All went well and Joan was laughing merrily at the fears of those who had
attempted to dissuade her when, at a cross road, they discovered two
parties of armed men approaching from opposite directions. The leader of
the nearer party spurred forward to intercept the little band, and, reining
in before them, cried brusquely,
"Who be ye ?"
"A party on a peaceful mission to the shops of London," replied Norman of
"I asked not your mission," cried the fellow. "I asked, who be ye ?
Answer, and be quick about it."
"I be Roger de Conde, gentleman of France, and these be my sisters and
servants," lied the outlaw, "and were it not that the ladies be with me,
your answer would be couched in steel, as you deserve for your boorish
"There be plenty of room and time for that even now, you dog of a French
coward," cried the officer, couching his lance as he spoke.
Joan de Tany was sitting her horse where she could see the face of Roger de
Conde, and it filled her heart with pride and courage as she saw and
understood the little smile of satisfaction that touched his lips as he
heard the man's challenge and lowered the point of his own spear.
Wheeling their horses toward one another, the two combatants, who were some
ninety feet apart, charged at full tilt. As they came together the impact
was so great that both horses were nearly overturned and the two powerful
war lances were splintered into a hundred fragments as each struck the
exact center of his opponent's shield. Then, wheeling their horses and
throwing away the butts of their now useless lances, De Conde and the
officer advanced with drawn swords.
The fellow made a most vicious return assault upon De Conde, attempting to
ride him down in one mad rush, but his thrust passed harmlessly from the
tip of the outlaw's sword, and as the officer wheeled back to renew the
battle, they settled down to fierce combat, their horses wheeling and
turning shoulder to shoulder.
The two girls sat rigid in their saddles watching the encounter, the eyes
of Joan de Tany alight with the fire of battle as she followed every move
of the wondrous swordplay of Roger de Conde.
He had not even taken the precaution to lower his visor, and the grim and
haughty smile that played upon his lips spoke louder than many words the
utter contempt in which he held the sword of his adversary. And as Joan de
Tany watched, she saw the smile suddenly freeze to a cold, hard line, and
the eyes of the man narrow to mere slits, and her woman's intuition read
the death warrant of the King's officer ere the sword of the outlaw buried
itself in his heart.
The other members of the two bodies of royalist soldiers had sat spellbound
as they watched the battle, but now, as their leader's corpse rolled from
the saddle, they spurred furiously in upon De Conde and his little party.
The Baron's men put up a noble fight, but the odds were heavy and even with
the mighty arm of Norman of Torn upon their side the outcome was apparent
from the first.
Five swords were flashing about the outlaw, but his blade was equal to the
thrust and one after another of his assailants crumpled up in their saddles
as his leaping point found their vitals.
Nearly all of the Baron's men were down, when one, an old servitor, spurred
to the side of Joan de Tany and Mary de Stutevill.
"Come, my ladies," he cried, "quick and you may escape. They be so busy
with the battle that they will never notice."
"Take the Lady Mary, John," cried Joan, "I brought Roger de Conde to this
pass against the advice of all and I remain with him to the end."
"But, My Lady -- " cried John.
"But nothing, sirrah !" she interrupted sharply. "Do as you are bid.
Follow my Lady Mary, and see that she comes to my father's castle in
safety," and raising her riding whip, she struck Mary's palfrey across the
rump so that the animal nearly unseated his fair rider as he leaped
frantically to one side and started madly up the road down which they had
"After her, John," commanded Joan peremptorily, and see that you turn not
back until she be safe within the castle walls; then you may bring aid."
The old fellow had been wont to obey the imperious little Lady Joan from
her earliest childhood, and the habit was so strong upon him that he
wheeled his horse and galloped after the flying palfrey of the Lady Mary de
As Joan de Tany turned again to the encounter before her, she saw fully
twenty men surrounding Roger de Conde, and while he was taking heavy toll
of those before him, he could not cope with the men who attacked him from
behind; and even as she looked, she saw a battle axe fall full upon his
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
noble prize indeed my men. And who be the knight ?"
"Look for yourself, My Lord Earl," replied the girl removing the helm,
which she had been unlacing from the fallen man.
"Edward ?" he ejaculated. "But no, it cannot be, I did but yesterday leave
Edward in Dover."
"I know not who he be," said Joan de Tany, "except that he be the most
marvelous fighter and the bravest man it has ever been given me to see. He
called himself Roger de Conde, but I know nothing of him other than that he
looks like a prince, and fights like a devil. I think he has no quarrel
with either side, My Lord, and so, as you certainly do not make war on
women, you will let us go our way in peace as we were when your soldiers
wantonly set upon us."
"A De Tany, madam, were a great and valuable capture in these troublous
times," replied the Earl, "and that alone were enough to necessitate my
keeping you; but a beautiful De Tany is yet a different matter and so I
will grant you at least one favor. I will not take you to the King, but a
prisoner you shall be in mine own castle for I am alone, and need the
cheering company of a fair and loving lady."
The girl's head went high as she looked the Earl full in the eye.
"Think you, John de Fulm, Earl of Buckingham, that you be talking to some
comely scullery maid ? Do you forget that my house is honored in England,
even though it does not share the King's favors with his foreign favorites,
and you owe respect to a daughter of a De Tany ?"
"All be fair in war, my beauty," replied the Earl. "Egad," he continued,
"methinks all would be fair in hell were they like unto you. It has been
some years since I have seen you and I did not know the old fox Richard de
Tany kept such a package as this hid in his grimy old castle."
"Then you refuse to release us ?" said Joan de Tany.
"Let us not put it thus harshly," countered the Earl. "Rather let us say
that it be so late in the day, and the way so beset with dangers that the
Earl of Buckingham could not bring himself to expose the beautiful daughter
of his old friend to the perils of the road, and so -- "
"Let us have an end to such foolishness," cried the girl. "I might have
expected naught better from a turncoat foreign knave such as thee, who once
joined in the councils of De Montfort, and then betrayed his friends to
curry favor with the King."
The Earl paled with rage, and pressed forward as though to strike the girl,
but thinking better of it, he turned to one of the soldiers, saying:
"Bring the prisoner with you. If the man lives bring him also. I would
learn more of this fellow who masquerades in the countenance of a crown
And turning, he spurred on towards the neighboring castle of a rebel baron
which had been captured by the royalists, and was now used as headquarters
by De Fulm.
When Norman of Torn regained his senses, he found himself in a small tower
room in a strange castle. His head ached horribly, and he felt sick and
sore; but he managed to crawl from the cot on which he lay, and by
steadying his swaying body with hands pressed against the wall, he was able
to reach the door. To his disappointment, he found this locked from
without and, in his weakened condition, he made no attempt to force it.
He was fully dressed and in armor, as he had been when struck down, but his
helmet was gone, as were also his sword and dagger.
The day was drawing to a close and, as dusk fell and the room darkened, he
became more and more impatient. Repeated pounding upon the door brought no
response and finally he gave up in despair. Going to the window, he saw
that his room was some thirty feet above the stone-flagged courtyard, and
also that it looked at an angle upon other windows in the old castle where
lights were beginning to show. He saw men-at-arms moving about, and once
he thought he caught a glimpse of a woman's figure, but he was not sure.
He wondered what had become of Joan de Tany and Mary de Stutevill. He
hoped that they had escaped, and yet -- no, Joan certainly had not, for now
he distinctly remembered that his eyes had met hers for an instant just
before the blow fell upon him, and he thought of the faith and confidence
that he had read in that quick glance. Such a look would nerve a jackal to
attack a drove of lions, thought the outlaw. What a beautiful creature she
was; and she had stayed there with him during the fight. He remembered
now. Mary de Stutevill had not been with her as he had caught that glimpse
of her, no, she had been all alone. Ah ! That was friendship indeed !
What else was it that tried to force its way above the threshold of his
bruised and wavering memory ? Words ? Words of love ? And lips pressed
to his ? No, it must be but a figment of his wounded brain.
What was that which clicked against his breastplate ? He felt, and found a
metal bauble linked to a mesh of his steel armor by a strand of silken
hair. He carried the little thing to the window, and in the waning light
made it out to be a golden hair ornament set with precious stones, but he
could not tell if the little strand of silken hair were black or brown.
Carefully he detached the little thing, and, winding the filmy tress about
it, placed it within the breast of his tunic. He was vaguely troubled by
it, yet why he could scarcely have told, himself.
Again turning to the window, he watched the lighted rooms within his
vision, and presently his view was rewarded by the sight of a knight coming
within the scope of the narrow casement of a nearby chamber.
From his apparel, he was a man of position, and he was evidently in heated
discussion with some one whom Norman of Torn could not see. The man, a
great, tall black-haired and mustached nobleman, was pounding upon a table
to emphasize his words, and presently he sprang up as though rushing toward
the one to whom he had been speaking. He disappeared from the watcher's
view for a moment and then, at the far side of the apartment, Norman of
Torn saw him again just as he roughly grasped the figure of a woman who
evidently was attempting to escape him. As she turned to face her
tormentor, all the devil in the Devil of Torn surged in his aching head,
for the face he saw was that of Joan de Tany.
With a muttered oath, the imprisoned man turned to hurl himself against the
bolted door, but ere he had taken a single step, the sound of heavy feet
without brought him to a stop, and the jingle of keys as one was fitted to
the lock of the door sent him gliding stealthily to the wall beside the
doorway, where the inswinging door would conceal him.
As the door was pushed back, a flickering torch lighted up, but dimly, the
interior, so that until he had reached the center of the room, the visitor
did not see that the cot was empty.
He was a man-at-arms, and at his side hung a sword. That was enough for
the Devil of Torn -- it was a sword he craved most; and, ere the fellow
could assure his slow wits that the cot was empty, steel fingers closed
upon his throat, and he went down beneath the giant form of the outlaw.
Without other sound than the scuffing of their bodies on the floor, and the
clanking of their armor, they fought, the one to reach the dagger at his
side, the other to close forever the windpipe of his adversary.
Presently, the man-at-arms found what he sought, and, after tugging with
ever diminishing strength, he felt the blade slip from its sheath. Slowly
and feebly he raised it high above the back of the man on top of him; with
a last supreme effort he drove the point downward, but ere it reached its
goal, there was a sharp snapping sound as of a broken bone, the dagger fell
harmlessly from his dead hand, and his head rolled backward upon his broken
Snatching the sword from the body of his dead antagonist, Norman of Torn
rushed from the tower room.
As John de Fulm, Earl of Buckingham, laid his vandal hands upon Joan de
Tany, she turned upon him like a tigress. Blow after blow she rained upon
his head and face until, in mortification and rage, he struck her full upon
the mouth with his clenched fist; but even this did not subdue her and,
with ever weakening strength, she continued to strike him. And then the
great royalist Earl, the chosen friend of the King, took the fair white
throat between his great fingers, and the lust of blood supplanted the lust
of love, for he would have killed her in his rage.
It was upon this scene that the Outlaw of Torn burst with naked sword.
They were at the far end of the apartment, and his cry of anger at the
sight caused the Earl to drop his prey, and turn with drawn sword to meet
There were no words, for there was no need of words here. The two men were
upon each other, and fighting to the death, before the girl had regained
her feet. It would have been short shrift for John de Fulm had not some of
his men heard the fracas, and rushed to his aid.
Four of them there were, and they tumbled pell-mell into the room, fairly
falling upon Norman of Torn in their anxiety to get their swords into him;
but once they met that master hand, they went more slowly, and in a moment,
two of them went no more at all, and the others, with the Earl, were but
circling warily in search of a chance opening -- an opening which never
Norman of Torn stood with his back against a table in an angle of the room,
and behind him stood Joan de Tany.
"Move toward the left," she whispered. "I know this old pile. When you
reach the table that bears the lamp, there will be a small doorway directly
behind you. Strike the lamp out with your sword, as you feel my hand in
your left, and then I will lead you through that doorway, which you must
turn and quickly bolt after us. Do you understand ?"
Slowly he worked his way toward the table, the men-at-arms in the meantime
keeping up an infernal howling for help. The Earl was careful to keep out
of reach of the point of De Conde's sword, and the men-at-arms were nothing
loath to emulate their master's example.
Just as he reached his goal, a dozen more men burst into the room, and
emboldened by this reinforcement, one of the men engaging De Conde came too
close. As he jerked his blade from the fellow's throat, Norman of Torn
felt a firm, warm hand slipped into his from behind, and his sword swung
with a resounding blow against the lamp.
As darkness enveloped the chamber, Joan de Tany led him through the little
door, which he immediately closed and bolted as she had instructed.
"This way," she whispered, again slipping her hand into his and, in
silence, she led him through several dim chambers, and finally stopped
before a blank wall in a great oak-panelled room.
Here the girl felt with swift fingers the edge of the molding. More and
more rapidly she moved as the sound of hurrying footsteps resounded through
"What is wrong ?" asked Norman of Torn, noticing her increasing
"Mon Dieu !" she cried. "Can I be wrong ! Surely this is the room. Oh,
my friend, that I should have brought you to all this by my willfulness and
vanity; and now when I might save you, my wits leave me and I forget the
"Do not worry about me," laughed the Devil of Torn. "Methought that it was
I who was trying to save you, and may heaven forgive me else, for surely,
that be my only excuse for running away from a handful of swords. I could
not take chances when thou wert at stake, Joan," he added more gravely.
The sound of pursuit was now quite close, in fact the reflection from
flickering torches could be seen in nearby chambers.
At last the girl, with a little cry of "stupid," seized De Conde and rushed
him to the far side of the room.
"Here it is," she whispered joyously, "here it has been all the time."
Running her fingers along the molding until she found a little hidden
spring, she pushed it, and one of the great panels swung slowly in,
revealing the yawning mouth of a black opening behind.
Quickly the girl entered, pulling De Conde after her, and as the panel
swung quietly into place, the Earl of Buckingham with a dozen men entered
"The devil take them," cried De Fulm. "Where can they have gone ? Surely
we were right behind them."
"It is passing strange, My Lord," replied one of the men. "Let us try the
floor above, and the towers; for of a surety they have not come this way."
And the party retraced its steps, leaving the apartment empty.
Behind the panel, the girl stood shrinking close to De Conde, her hand
still in his.
"Where now ?" he asked. "Or do we stay hidden here like frightened chicks
until the war is over and the Baron returns to let us out of this musty
"Wait," she answered, "until I quiet my nerves a little. I am all
unstrung." He felt her body tremble as it pressed against his.
With the spirit of protection strong within him, what wonder that his arm
fell about her shoulder as though to say, fear not, for I be brave and
powerful; naught can harm you while I am here.
Presently she reached her hands up to his face, made brave to do it by the
"Roger," she whispered, her tongue halting over the familiar name. "I
thought that they had killed you, and all for me, for my foolish
stubbornness. Canst forgive me ?"
"Forgive ?" he asked, smiling to himself. "Forgive being given an
opportunity to fight ? There be nothing to forgive, Joan, unless it be
that I should ask forgiveness for protecting thee so poorly."
"Do not say that," she commanded. "Never was such bravery or such
swordsmanship in all the world before; never such a man."
He did not answer. His mind was a chaos of conflicting thoughts. The feel
of her hands as they had lingered momentarily, and with a vague caress upon
his cheek, and the pressure of her body as she leaned against him sent the
hot blood coursing through his veins. He was puzzled, for he had not
dreamed that friendship was so sweet. That she did not shrink from his
encircling arms should have told him much, but Norman of Torn was slow to
realize that a woman might look upon him with love. Nor had he a thought
of any other sentiment toward her than that of friend and protector.
And then there came to him as in a vision another fair and beautiful
face -- Bertrade de Montfort's -- and Norman of Torn was still more
puzzled; for at heart he was clean, and love of loyalty was strong within
him. Love of women was a new thing to him, and, robbed as he had been all
his starved life of the affection and kindly fellowship, of either men or
women, it is little to be wondered at that he was easily impressionable and
responsive to the feeling his strong personality had awakened in two of
England's fairest daughters.
But with the vision of that other face, there came to him a faint
realization that mayhap it was a stronger power than either friendship or
fear which caused that lithe, warm body to cling so tightly to him. That
the responsibility for the critical stage their young acquaintance had so
quickly reached was not his had never for a moment entered his head. To
him, the fault was all his; and perhaps it was this quality of chivalry
that was the finest of the many noble characteristics of his sterling
character. So his next words were typical of the man; and did Joan de Tany
love him, or did she not, she learned that night to respect and trust him
as she respected and trusted few men of her acquaintance.
"My Lady," said Norman of Torn, "we have been through much, and we are as
little children in a dark attic, and so if I have presumed upon our
acquaintance," and he lowered his arm from about her shoulder, "I ask you
to forgive it for I scarce know what to do, from weakness and from the pain
of the blow upon my head."
Joan de Tany drew slowly away from him, and without reply, took his hand
and led him forward through a dark, cold corridor.
"We must go carefully now," she said at last, "for there be stairs near."
He held her hand pressed very tightly in his, tighter perhaps than
conditions required, but she let it lie there as she led him forward, very
slowly down a flight of rough stone steps.
Norman of Torn wondered if she were angry with him and then, being new at
love, he blundered.
"Joan de Tany," he said.
"Yes, Roger de Conde; what would you ?"
"You be silent, and I fear that you be angry with me. Tell me that you
forgive what I have done, an it offended you. I have so few friends," he
added sadly, "that I cannot afford to lose such as you."
"You will never lose the friendship of Joan de Tany," she answered. "You
have won her respect and -- and -- " But she could not say it and so she
trailed off lamely -- "and undying gratitude."
But Norman of Torn knew the word that she would have spoken had he dared to
let her. He did not, for there was always the vision of Bertrade de
Montfort before him; and now another vision arose that would effectually
have sealed his lips had not the other -- he saw the Outlaw of Torn
dangling by his neck from a wooden gibbet.
Before, he had only feared that Joan de Tany loved him, now he knew it, and
while he marvelled that so wondrous a creature could feel love for him,
again he blamed himself, and felt sorrow for them both; for he did not
return her love nor could he imagine a love strong enough to survive the
knowledge that it was possessed by the Devil of Torn.
Presently they reached the bottom of the stairway, and Joan de Tany led
him, gropingly, across what seemed, from their echoing footsteps, a large
chamber. The air was chill and dank, smelling of mold, and no ray of light
penetrated this subterranean vault, and no sound broke the stillness.
"This be the castle's crypt," whispered Joan; "and they do say that strange
happenings occur here in the still watches of the night, and that when the
castle sleeps, the castle's dead rise from their coffins and shake their
"Sh ! What was that ?" as a rustling noise broke upon their ears close
upon their right; and then there came a distinct moan, and Joan de Tany
fled to the refuge of Norman of Torn's arms.
"There is nothing to fear, Joan," reassured Norman of Torn. "Dead men
wield not swords, nor do they move, or moan. The wind, I think, and rats
are our only companions here."
"I am afraid," she whispered. "If you can make a light, I am sure you will
find an old lamp here in the crypt, and then will it be less fearsome. As
a child I visited this castle often, and in search of adventure, we passed
through these corridors an hundred times, but always by day and with
Norman of Torn did as she bid, and finding the lamp, lighted it. The
chamber was quite empty save for the coffins in their niches, and some
effigies in marble set at intervals about the walls.
"Not such a fearsome place after all," he said, laughing lightly.
"No place would seem fearsome now," she answered simply, "were there a
light to show me that the brave face of Roger de Conde were by my side."
"Hush, child," replied the outlaw. "You know not what you say. When you
know me better, you will be sorry for your words, for Roger de Conde is not
what you think him. So say no more of praise until we be out of this hole,
and you safe in your father's halls."
The fright of the noises in the dark chamber had but served to again bring
the girl's face close to his so that he felt her hot, sweet breath upon his
cheek, and thus another link was forged to bind him to her.
With the aid of the lamp, they made more rapid progress, and in a few
moments, reached a low door at the end of the arched passageway.
"This is the doorway which opens upon the ravine below the castle. We have
passed beneath the walls and the moat. What may we do now, Roger, without
"Let us get out of this place, and as far away as possible under the cover
of darkness, and I doubt not I may find a way to bring you to your father's
castle," replied Norman of Torn.
Putting out the light, lest it should attract the notice of the watch upon
the castle walls, Norman of Torn pushed open the little door and stepped
forth into the fresh night air.
The ravine was so overgrown with tangled vines and wildwood that, had there
ever been a pathway, it was now completely obliterated; and it was with
difficulty that the man forced his way through the entangling creepers and
tendrils. The girl stumbled after him and twice fell before they had taken
a score of steps.
"I fear I am not strong enough," she said finally. "The way is much more
difficult than I had thought."
So Norman of Torn lifted her in his strong arms, and stumbled on through
the darkness and the shrubbery down the center of the ravine. It required
the better part of an hour to traverse the little distance to the roadway;
and all the time her head nestled upon his shoulder and her hair brushed
his cheek. Once when she lifted her head to speak to him, he bent toward
her, and in the darkness, by chance, his lips brushed hers. He felt her
little form tremble in his arms, and a faint sigh breathed from her lips.
They were upon the highroad now, but he did not put her down. A mist was
before his eyes, and he could have crushed her to him and smothered those
warm lips with his own. Slowly, his face inclined toward hers, closer and
closer his iron muscles pressed her to him, and then, clear cut and
distinct before his eyes, he saw the corpse of the Outlaw of Torn swinging
by the neck from the arm of a wooden gibbet, and beside it knelt a woman
gowned in rich cloth of gold and many jewels. Her face was averted and her
arms were outstretched toward the dangling form that swung and twisted from
the grim, gaunt arm. Her figure was racked with choking sobs of
horror-stricken grief. Presently she staggered to her feet and turned
away, burying her face in her hands; but he saw her features for an instant
then -- the woman who openly and alone mourned the dead Outlaw of Torn was
Bertrade de Montfort.
Slowly his arms relaxed, and gently and reverently he lowered Joan de Tany
to the ground. In that instant Norman of Torn had learned the difference
between friendship and love, and love and passion.
The moon was shining brightly upon them, and the girl turned, wide-eyed and
wondering, toward him. She had felt the wild call of love and she could
not understand his seeming coldness now, for she had seen no vision beyond
a life of happiness within those strong arms.
"Joan," he said, "I would but now have wronged thee. Forgive me. Forget
what has passed between us until I can come to you in my rightful colors,
when the spell of the moonlight and adventure be no longer upon us, and
then," -- he paused -- "and then I shall tell you who I be and you shall
say if you still care to call me friend -- no more than that shall I ask."
He had not the heart to tell her that he loved only Bertrade de Montfort,
but it had been a thousand times better had he done so.
She was about to reply when a dozen armed men sprang from the surrounding
shadows, calling upon them to surrender. The moonlight falling upon the
leader revealed a great giant of a fellow with an enormous, bristling
mustache -- it was Shandy.
Norman of Torn lowered his raised sword.
"It is I, Shandy," he said. "Keep a still tongue in thy head until I speak
with thee apart. Wait here, My Lady Joan; these be friends."
Drawing Shandy to one side, he learned that the faithful fellow had become
alarmed at his chief's continued absence, and had set out with a small
party to search for him. They had come upon the riderless Sir Mortimer
grazing by the roadside, and a short distance beyond, had discovered
evidences of the conflict at the cross-roads. There they had found Norman
of Torn's helmet, confirming their worst fears. A peasant in a nearby hut
had told them of the encounter, and had set them upon the road taken by the
Earl and his prisoners.
"And here we be, My Lord," concluded the great fellow.
"How many are you ?" asked the outlaw.
"Fifty, all told, with those who lie farther back in the bushes."
"Give us horses, and let two of the men ride behind us," said the chief.
"And, Shandy, let not the lady know that she rides this night with the
Outlaw of Torn."
"Yes, My Lord."
They were soon mounted, and clattering down the road, back toward the
castle of Richard de Tany.
Joan de Tany looked in silent wonder upon this grim force that sprang out
of the shadows of the night to do the bidding of Roger de Conde, a
gentleman of France.
There was something familiar in the great bulk of Red Shandy; where had she
seen that mighty frame before ? And now she looked closely at the figure
of Roger de Conde. Yes, somewhere else had she seen these two men
together; but where and when ?
And then the strangeness of another incident came to her mind. Roger de
Conde spoke no English, and yet she had plainly heard English words upon
this man's lips as he addressed the red giant.
Norman of Torn had recovered his helmet from one of his men who had picked
it up at the crossroads, and now he rode in silence with lowered visor, as
was his custom.
There was something sinister now in his appearance, and as the moonlight
touched the hard, cruel faces of the grim and silent men who rode behind
him, a little shudder crept over the frame of Joan de Tany.
Shortly before daylight they reached the castle of Richard de Tany, and a
great shout went up from the watch as Norman of Torn cried:
"Open ! Open for My Lady Joan."
Together they rode into the courtyard, where all was bustle and
excitement. A dozen voices asked a dozen questions only to cry out still
others without waiting for replies.
Richard de Tany with his family and Mary de Stutevill were still fully
clothed, having not lain down during the whole night. They fairly fell
upon Joan and Roger de Conde in their joyous welcome and relief.
"Come, come," said the Baron, "let us go within. You must be fair famished
for good food and drink."
"I will ride, My Lord," replied Norman of Torn. "I have a little matter of
business with my friend, the Earl of Buckingham. Business which I fear
will not wait."
Joan de Tany looked on in silence. Nor did she urge him to remain, as he
raised her hand to his lips in farewell. So Norman of Torn rode out of the
courtyard; and as his men fell in behind him under the first rays of the
drawing day, the daughter of De Tany watched them through the gate, and a
great light broke upon her, for what she saw was the same as she had seen a
few days since when she had turned in her saddle to watch the retreating
forms of the cut-throats of Torn as they rode on after halting her father's
Some hours later, fifty men followed Norman of Torn on foot through the
ravine below the castle where John de Fulm, Earl of Buckingham, had his
headquarters; while nearly a thousand more lurked in the woods before the
Under cover of the tangled shrubbery, they crawled unseen to the little
door through which Joan de Tany had led him the night before. Following
the corridors and vaults beneath the castle, they came to the stone
stairway, and mounted to the passage which led to the false panel that had
given the two fugitives egress.
Slipping the spring lock, Norman of Torn entered the apartment followed
closely by his henchmen. On they went, through apartment after apartment,
but no sign of the Earl or his servitors rewarded their search, and it was
soon apparent that the castle was deserted.
As they came forth into the courtyard, they descried an old man basking in
the sun, upon a bench. The sight of them nearly caused the old fellow to
die of fright, for to see fifty armed men issue from the untenanted halls
was well reckoned to blanch even a braver cheek.
When Norman of Torn questioned him, he learned that De Fulm had ridden out
early in the day bound for Dover, where Prince Edward then was. The outlaw
knew it would be futile to pursue him, but yet, so fierce was his anger
against this man, that he ordered his band to mount, and spurring to their
head, he marched through Middlesex, and crossing the Thames above London,
entered Surrey late the same afternoon.
As they were going into camp that night in Kent, midway between London and
Rochester, word came to Norman of Torn that the Earl of Buckingham, having
sent his escort on to Dover, had stopped to visit the wife of a royalist
baron, whose husband was with Prince Edward's forces.
The fellow who gave this information was a servant in my lady's household
who held a grudge against his mistress for some wrong she had done him.
When, therefore, he found that these grim men were searching for De Fulm,
he saw a way to be revenged upon his mistress.
"How many swords be there at the castle ?" asked Norman of Torn.
"Scarce a dozen, barring the Earl of Buckingham," replied the knave; "and,
furthermore, there be a way to enter, which I may show you, My Lord, so
that you may, unseen, reach the apartment where My Lady and the Earl be
"Bring ten men, beside yourself, Shandy," commanded Norman of Torn. "We
shall pay a little visit upon our amorous friend, My Lord, the Earl of
Half an hour's ride brought them within sight of the castle. Dismounting,
and leaving their horses with one of the men, Norman of Torn advanced on
foot with Shandy and the eight others, close in the wake of the traitorous
The fellow led them to the rear of the castle, where, among the brush, he
had hidden a rude ladder, which, when tilted, spanned the moat and rested
its farther end upon a window ledge some ten feet above the ground.
"Keep the fellow here till last, Shandy," said the outlaw, "till all be in,
an' if there be any signs of treachery, stick him through the gizzard --
death thus be slower and more painful."
So saying, Norman of Torn crept boldly across the improvised bridge, and
disappeared within the window beyond. One by one the band of cut-throats
passed through the little window, until all stood within the castle beside
their chief; Shandy coming last with the servant.
"Lead me quietly, knave, to the room where My Lord sups," said Norman of
Torn. "You, Shandy, place your men where they can prevent my being
Following a moment or two after Shandy came another figure stealthily
across the ladder and, as Norman of Torn and his followers left the little
room, this figure pushed quietly through the window and followed the great
outlaw down the unlighted corridor.
A moment later, My Lady of Leybourn looked up from her plate upon the grim
figure of an armored knight standing in the doorway of the great dining
"My Lord Earl !" she cried. "Look ! Behind you."
And as the Earl of Buckingham glanced behind him , he overturned the bench
upon which he sat in his effort to gain his feet; for My Lord Earl of
Buckingham had a guilty conscience.
The grim figure raised a restraining hand, as the Earl drew his sword.
"A moment, My Lord," said a low voice in perfect French.
"Who are you ?" cried the lady.
"I be an old friend of My Lord, here; but let me tell you a little story.
"In a grim old castle in Essex, only last night, a great lord of England
held by force the beautiful daughter of a noble house and, when she spurned
his advances, he struck her with his clenched fist upon her fair face, and
with his brute hands choked her. And in that castle also was a despised
and hunted outlaw, with a price upon his head, for whose neck the hempen
noose has been yawning these many years. And it was this vile person who
came in time to save the young woman from the noble flower of knighthood
that would have ruined her young life.
"The outlaw wished to kill the knight, but many men-at-arms came to the
noble's rescue, and so the outlaw was forced to fly with the girl lest he
be overcome by numbers, and the girl thus fall again into the hands of her
"But this crude outlaw was not satisfied with merely rescuing the girl, he
must needs mete out justice to her noble abductor and collect in full the
toll of blood which alone can atone for the insult and violence done her.
"My Lady, the young girl was Joan de Tany; the noble was My Lord the Earl
of Buckingham; and the outlaw stands before you to fulfill the duty he has
sworn to do. En garde, My Lord !"
The encounter was short, for Norman of Torn had come to kill, and he had
been looking through a haze of blood for hours -- in fact every time he had
thought of those brutal fingers upon the fair throat of Joan de Tany and of
the cruel blow that had fallen upon her face.
He showed no mercy, but backed the Earl relentlessly into a corner of the
room, and when he had him there where he could escape in no direction, he
drove his blade so deep through his putrid heart that the point buried
itself an inch in the oak panel beyond.
Claudia Leybourn sat frozen with horror at the sight she was witnessing,
and, as Norman of Torn wrenched his blade from the dead body before him and
wiped it on the rushes of the floor, she gazed in awful fascination while
he drew his dagger and made a mark upon the forehead of the dead nobleman.
"Outlaw or Devil," said a stern voice behind them, "Roger Leybourn owes you
his friendship for saving the honor of his home."
Both turned to discover a mail-clad figure standing in the doorway where
Norman of Torn had first appeared.
"Roger !" shrieked Claudia Leybourn, and swooned.
"Who be you ?" continued the master of Leybourn addressing the outlaw.
For answer Norman of Torn pointed to the forehead of the dead Earl of
Buckingham, and there Roger Leybourn saw, in letters of blood, NT.
The Baron advanced with outstretched hand.
"I owe you much. You have saved my poor, silly wife from this beast, and
Joan de Tany is my cousin, so I am doubly beholden to you, Norman of Torn."
The outlaw pretended that he did not see the hand.
"You owe me nothing, Sir Roger, that may not be paid by a good supper. I
have eaten but once in forty-eight hours."
The outlaw now called to Shandy and his men, telling them to remain on
watch, but to interfere with no one within the castle.
He then sat at the table with Roger Leybourn and his lady, who had
recovered from her swoon, and behind them on the rushes of the floor lay
the body of De Fulm in a little pool of blood.
Leybourn told them that he had heard that De Fulm was at his home, and had
hastened back; having been in hiding about the castle for half an hour
before the arrival of Norman of Torn, awaiting an opportunity to enter
unobserved by the servants. It was he who had followed across the ladder
The outlaw spent the night at the castle of Roger Leybourn; for the first
time within his memory a welcomed guest under his true name at the house of
The following morning, he bade his host goodbye, and returning to his camp
started on his homeward march toward Torn.
Near midday, as they were approaching the Thames near the environs of
London, they saw a great concourse of people hooting and jeering at a small
party of gentlemen and gentlewomen.
Some of the crowd were armed, and from very force of numbers were waxing
brave to lay violent hands upon the party. Mud and rocks and rotten
vegetables were being hurled at the little cavalcade, many of them barely
missing the women of the party.
Norman of Torn waited to ask no questions, but spurring into the thick of
it laid right and left of him with the flat of his sword, and his men,
catching the contagion of it, swarmed after him until the whole pack of
attacking ruffians were driven into the Thames.
And then, without a backward glance at the party he had rescued, he
continued on his march toward the north.
The little party sat upon their horses looking in wonder after the
retreating figures of their deliverers. Then one of the ladies turned to a
knight at her side with a word of command and an imperious gesture toward
the fast disappearing company. He, thus addressed, put spurs to his horse,
and rode at a rapid gallop after the outlaw's troop. In a few moments he
had overtaken them and reined up beside Norman of Torn.
"Hold, Sir Knight," cried the gentleman, "the Queen would thank you in
person for your brave defence of her."
Ever keen to see the humor of a situation, Norman of Torn wheeled his horse
and rode back with the Queen's messenger.
As he faced Her Majesty, the Outlaw of Torn bent low over his pommel.
"You be a strange knight that thinks so lightly on saving a queen's life
that you ride on without turning your head, as though you had but driven a
pack of curs from annoying a stray cat," said the Queen.
"I drew in the service of a woman, Your Majesty, not in the service of a
"What now ! Wouldst even belittle the act which we all witnessed ? The
King, my husband, shall reward thee, Sir Knight, if you but tell me your
"If I told my name, methinks the King would be more apt to hang me,"
laughed the outlaw. "I be Norman of Torn."
The entire party looked with startled astonishment upon him, for none of
them had ever seen this bold raider whom all the nobility and gentry of
England feared and hated.
"For lesser acts than that which thou hast just performed, the King has
pardoned men before," replied Her Majesty. "But raise your visor, I would
look upon the face of so notorious a criminal who can yet be a gentleman
and a loyal protector of his queen."
"They who have looked upon my face, other than my friends," replied Norman
of Torn quietly, "have never lived to tell what they saw beneath this
visor, and as for you, Madame, I have learned within the year to fear it
might mean unhappiness to you to see the visor of the Devil of Torn lifted
from his face." Without another word he wheeled and galloped back to his
"The puppy, the insolent puppy," cried Eleanor of England, in a rage.
And so the Outlaw of Torn and his mother met and parted after a period of
Two days later, Norman of Torn directed Red Shandy to lead the forces of
Torn from their Essex camp back to Derby. The numerous raiding parties
which had been constantly upon the road during the days they had spent in
this rich district had loaded the extra sumpter beasts with rich and
valuable booty and the men, for the time satiated with fighting and loot,
turned their faces toward Torn with evident satisfaction.
The outlaw was speaking to his captains in council; at his side the old man
"Ride by easy stages, Shandy, and I will overtake you by tomorrow morning.
I but ride for a moment to the castle of De Tany on an errand, and, as I
shall stop there but a few moments, I shall surely join you tomorrow."
"Do not forget, My Lord," said Edwild the Serf, a great yellow-haired Saxon
giant, "that there be a party of the King's troops camped close by the road
which branches to Tany."
"I shall give them plenty of room," replied Norman of Torn. "My neck
itcheth not to be stretched," and he laughed and mounted.
Five minutes after he had cantered down the road from camp, Spizo the
Spaniard, sneaking his horse unseen into the surrounding forest, mounted
and spurred rapidly after him. The camp, in the throes of packing
refractory, half broken sumpter animals, and saddling their own wild
mounts, did not notice his departure. Only the little grim, gray, old man
knew that he had gone, or why, or whither.
That afternoon, as Roger de Conde was admitted to the castle of Richard de
Tany and escorted to a little room where he awaited the coming of the Lady
Joan, a swarthy messenger handed a letter to the captain of the King's
soldiers camped a few miles south of Tany.
The officer tore open the seal as the messenger turned and spurred back in
the direction from which he had come.
And this was what he read:
Norman of Torn is now at the castle of Tany, without escort.
Instantly the call "to arms" and "mount" sounded through the camp and, in
five minutes, a hundred mercenaries galloped rapidly toward the castle of
Richard de Tany, in the visions of their captain a great reward and honor
and preferment for the capture of the mighty outlaw who was now almost
within his clutches.
Three roads meet at Tany; one from the south along which the King's
soldiers were now riding; one from the west which had guided Norman of Torn
from his camp to the castle; and a third which ran northwest through
Cambridge and Huntingdon toward Derby.
All unconscious of the rapidly approaching foes, Norman of Torn waited
composedly in the anteroom for Joan de Tany.
Presently she entered, clothed in the clinging house garment of the period;
a beautiful vision, made more beautiful by the suppressed excitement which
caused the blood to surge beneath the velvet of her cheek, and her breasts
to rise and fall above her fast beating heart.
She let him take her fingers in his and raise them to his lips, and then
they stood looking into each other's eyes in silence for a long moment.
"I do not know how to tell you what I have come to tell," he said sadly.
"I have not meant to deceive you to your harm, but the temptation to be
with you and those whom you typify must be my excuse. I -- " He paused.
It was easy to tell her that he was the Outlaw of Torn, but if she loved
him, as he feared, how was he to tell her that he loved only Bertrade de
"You need tell me nothing," interrupted Joan de Tany. "I have guessed what
you would tell me, Norman of Torn. 'The spell of moonlight and adventure
is no longer upon us' -- those are your own words, and still I am glad to
call you friend."
The little emphasis she put upon the last word bespoke the finality of her
decision that the Outlaw of Torn could be no more than friend to her.
"It is best," he replied, relieved that, as he thought, she felt no love
for him now that she knew him for what he really was. "Nothing good could
come to such as you, Joan, if the Devil of Torn could claim more of you
than friendship; and so I think that for your peace of mind and for my own,
we will let it be as though you had never known me. I thank you that you
have not been angry with me. Remember me only to think that in the hills
of Derby, a sword is at your service, without reward and without price.
Should you ever need it, Joan, tell me that you will send for me -- wilt
promise me that, Joan ?"
"I promise, Norman of Torn."
"Farewell," he said, and as he again kissed her hand he bent his knee to
the ground in reverence. Then he rose to go, pressing a little packet into
her palm. Their eyes met, and the man saw, in that brief instant, deep in
the azure depths of the girl's that which tumbled the structure of his
new-found complacency about his ears.
As he rode out into the bright sunlight upon the road which led northwest
toward Derby, Norman of Torn bowed his head in sorrow, for he realized two
things. One was that the girl he had left still loved him, and that some
day, mayhap tomorrow, she would suffer because she had sent him away; and
the other was that he did not love her, that his heart was locked in the
fair breast of Bertrade de Montfort.
He felt himself a beast that he had allowed his loneliness and the aching
sorrow of his starved, empty heart to lead him into this girl's life. That
he had been new to women and newer still to love did not permit him to
excuse himself, and a hundred times he cursed his folly and stupidity, and
what he thought was fickleness.
But the unhappy affair had taught him one thing for certain: to know
without question what love was, and that the memory of Bertrade de
Montfort's lips would always be more to him than all the allurements
possessed by the balance of the women of the world, no matter how charming,
or how beautiful.
Another thing, a painful thing he had learned from it, too, that the
attitude of Joan de Tany, daughter of an old and noble house, was but the
attitude which the Outlaw of Torn must expect from any good woman of her
class; what he must expect from Bertrade de Montfort when she learned that
Roger de Conde was Norman of Torn.
The outlaw had scarce passed out of sight upon the road to Derby ere the
girl, who still stood in an embrasure of the south tower, gazing with
strangely drawn, sad face up the road which had swallowed him, saw a body
of soldiers galloping rapidly toward Tany from the south.
The King's banner waved above their heads, and intuitively, Joan de Tany
knew for whom they sought at her father's castle. Quickly she hastened to
the outer barbican that it might be she who answered their hail rather than
one of the men-at-arms on watch there.
She had scarcely reached the ramparts of the outer gate ere the King's men
drew rein before the castle.
In reply to their hail, Joan de Tany asked their mission.
"We seek the outlaw, Norman of Torn, who hides now within this castle,"
replied the officer.
"There be no outlaw here," replied the girl, "but, if you wish, you may
enter with half a dozen men and search the castle."
This the officer did and, when he had assured himself that Norman of Torn
was not within, an hour had passed, and Joan de Tany felt certain that the
Outlaw of Torn was too far ahead to be caught by the King's men; so she
"There was one here just before you came who called himself though by
another name than Norman of Torn. Possibly it is he ye seek."
"Which way rode he ?" cried the officer.
"Straight toward the west by the middle road," lied Joan de Tany. And, as
the officer hurried from the castle and, with his men at his back, galloped
furiously away toward the west, the girl sank down upon a bench, pressing
her little hands to her throbbing temples.
Then she opened the packet which Norman of Torn had handed her, and within
found two others. In one of these was a beautiful jeweled locket, and on
the outside were the initials JT, and on the inside the initials NT; in the
other was a golden hair ornament set with precious stones, and about it was
wound a strand of her own silken tresses.
She looked long at the little trinkets and then, pressing them against her
lips, she threw herself face down upon an oaken bench, her lithe young form
racked with sobs.
She was indeed but a little girl chained by the inexorable bonds of caste
to a false ideal. Birth and station spelled honor to her, and honor, to
the daughter of an English noble, was a mightier force even than love.
That Norman of Torn was an outlaw she might have forgiven, but that he was,
according to report, a low fellow of no birth placed an impassable barrier
For hours the girl lay sobbing upon the bench, whilst within her raged the
mighty battle of the heart against the head.
Thus her mother found her, and kneeling beside her, and with her arms about
the girl's neck, tried to soothe her and to learn the cause of her sorrow.
Finally it came, poured from the flood gates of a sorrowing heart; that
wave of bitter misery and hopelessness which not even a mother's love could
"Joan, my dear daughter," cried Lady de Tany, "I sorrow with thee that thy
love has been cast upon so bleak and impossible a shore. But it be better
that thou hast learnt the truth ere it were too late; for, take my word
upon it, Joan, the bitter humiliation such an alliance must needs have
brought upon thee and thy father's house would soon have cooled thy love;
nor could his have survived the sneers and affronts even the menials would
have put upon him."
"Oh, mother, but I love him so," moaned the girl. "I did not know how much
until he had gone, and the King's officer had come to search for him, and
then the thought that all the power of a great throne and the mightiest
houses of an entire kingdom were turned in hatred against him raised the
hot blood of anger within me and the knowledge of my love surged through
all my being. Mother, thou canst not know the honor, and the bravery, and
the chivalry of the man as I do. Not since Arthur of Silures kept his
round table hath ridden forth upon English soil so true a knight as Norman
man of Torn.
"Couldst thou but have seen him fight, my mother, and witnessed the honor
of his treatment of thy daughter, and heard the tone of dignified respect
in which he spoke of women thou wouldst have loved him, too, and felt that
outlaw though he be, he is still more a gentleman than nine-tenths the
nobles of England."
"But his birth, my daughter !" argued the Lady de Tany. "Some even say
that the gall marks of his brass collar still showeth upon his neck, and
others that he knoweth not himself the name of his own father, nor had he
Ah, but this was the mighty argument ! Naught could the girl say to
justify so heinous a crime as low birth. What a man did in those rough
cruel days might be forgotten and forgiven but the sins of his mother or
his grandfather in not being of noble blood, no matter howsoever wickedly
attained, he might never overcome or live down.
Torn by conflicting emotions, the poor girl dragged herself to her own
apartment and there upon a restless, sleepless couch, beset by wild,
impossible hopes, and vain, torturing regrets, she fought out the long,
bitter night; until toward morning she solved the problem of her misery in
the only way that seemed possible to her poor, tired, bleeding, little
heart. When the rising sun shone through the narrow window, it found Joan
de Tany at peace with all about her; the carved golden hilt of the toy that
had hung at her girdle protruded from her breast, and a thin line of
crimson ran across the snowy skin to a little pool upon the sheet beneath
And so the cruel hand of a mighty revenge had reached out to crush another
When word of the death of Joan de Tany reached Torn, no man could tell from
outward appearance the depth of the suffering which the sad intelligence
wrought on the master of Torn.
All that they who followed him knew was that certain unusual orders were
issued, and that that same night, the ten companies rode south toward Essex
without other halt than for necessary food and water for man and beast.
When the body of Joan de Tany rode forth from her father's castle to the
church at Colchester, and again as it was brought back to its final resting
place in the castle's crypt, a thousand strange and silent knights, black
draped, upon horses trapped in black, rode slowly behind the bier.
Silently they had come in the night preceding the funeral, and as silently,
they slipped away northward into the falling shadows of the following
No word had passed between those of the castle and the great troop of
sable-clad warriors, but all within knew that the mighty Outlaw of Torn had
come to pay homage to the memory of the daughter of De Tany, and all but
the grieving mother wondered at the strangeness of the act.
As the horde of Torn approached their Derby stronghold, their young leader
turned the command over to Red Shandy and dismounted at the door of Father
"I am tired, Father," said the outlaw as he threw himself upon his
accustomed bench. "Naught but sorrow and death follow in my footsteps. I
and all my acts be accurst, and upon those I love, the blight falleth."
"Alter thy ways, my son; follow my advice ere it be too late. Seek out a
new and better life in another country and carve thy future into the
semblance of glory and honor."
"Would that I might, my friend," answered Norman of Torn. "But hast thou
thought on the consequences which surely would follow should I thus remove
both heart and head from the thing that I have built ?
"What suppose thou would result were Norman of Torn to turn his great band
of cut-throats, leaderless, upon England ? Hast thought on't, Father ?
"Wouldst thou draw a single breath in security if thou knew Edwild the Serf
were ranging unchecked through Derby ? Edwild, whose father was torn limb
from limb upon the rack because he would not confess to killing a buck in
the new forest, a buck which fell before the arrow of another man; Edwild,
whose mother was burned for witchcraft by Holy Church.
"And Horsan the Dane, Father. How thinkest thou the safety of the roads
would be for either rich or poor an I turned Horsan the Dane loose upon
"And Pensilo, the Spanish Don ! A great captain, but a man absolutely
without bowels of compassion. When first he joined us and saw our mark
upon the foreheads of our dead, wishing to out-Herod Herod, he marked the
living which fell into his hands with a red hot iron, branding a great P
upon each cheek and burning out the right eye completely. Wouldst like to
feel, Father, that Don Piedro Castro y Pensilo ranged free through forest
and hill of England ?
"And Red Shandy, and the two Florys, and Peter the Hermit, and One Eye
Kanty, and Gropello, and Campanee, and Cobarth, and Mandecote, and the
thousand others, each with a special hatred for some particular class or
individual, and all filled with the lust of blood and rapine and loot.
"No, Father, I may not go yet, for the England I have been taught to hate,
I have learned to love, and I have it not in my heart to turn loose upon
her fair breast the beasts of hell who know no law or order or decency
other than that which I enforce."
As Norman of Torn ceased speaking, the priest sat silent for many minutes.
"Thou hast indeed a grave responsibility, my son," he said at last. "Thou
canst not well go unless thou takest thy horde with thee out of England,
but even that may be possible; who knows other than God ?"
"For my part" laughed the outlaw, "I be willing to leave it in His hands;
which seems to be the way with Christians. When one would shirk a
responsibility, or explain an error, lo, one shoulders it upon the Lord."
"I fear, my son," said the priest, "that what seed of reverence I have
attempted to plant within thy breast hath borne poor fruit."
"That dependeth upon the viewpoint, Father; as I take not the Lord into
partnership in my successes it seemeth to me to be but of a mean and poor
spirit to saddle my sorrows and perplexities upon Him. I may be wrong, for
I am ill-versed in religious matters, but my conception of God and
scapegoat be not that they are synonymous."
"Religion, my son, be a bootless subject for argument between friends,"
replied the priest, "and further, there be that nearer my heart just now
which I would ask thee. I may offend, but thou know I do not mean to. The
question I would ask, is, dost wholly trust the old man whom thou call
"I know of no treachery," replied the outlaw, "which he hath ever conceived
against me. Why ?"
"I ask because I have written to Simon de Montfort asking him to meet me
and two others here upon an important matter. I have learned that he
expects to be at his Leicester castle, for a few days, within the week. He
is to notify me when he will come and I shall then send for thee and the
old man of Torn; but it were as well, my son, that thou do not mention this
matter to thy father, nor let him know when thou come hither to the meeting
that De Montfort is to be present."
"As you say, Father," replied Norman of Torn. "I do not make head nor tail
of thy wondrous intrigues, but that thou wish it done thus or so is
sufficient. I must be off to Torn now, so I bid thee farewell."
Until the following Spring, Norman of Torn continued to occupy himself with
occasional pillages against the royalists of the surrounding counties, and
his patrols so covered the public highways that it became a matter of
grievous import to the King's party, for no one was safe in the district
who even so much as sympathized with the King's cause, and many were the
dead foreheads that bore the grim mark of the Devil of Torn.
Though he had never formally espoused the cause of the barons, it now
seemed a matter of little doubt but that, in any crisis, his grisly banner
would be found on their side.
The long winter evenings within the castle of Torn were often spent in
rough, wild carousals in the great hall where a thousand men might sit at
table singing, fighting and drinking until the gray dawn stole in through
the east windows, or Peter the Hermit, the fierce majordomo, tired of the
din and racket, came stalking into the chamber with drawn sword and laid
upon the revellers with the flat of it to enforce the authority of his
commands to disperse.
Norman of Torn and the old man seldom joined in these wild orgies, but when
minstrel, or troubadour, or storyteller wandered to his grim lair, the
Outlaw of Torn would sit enjoying the break in the winter's dull monotony
to as late an hour as another; nor could any man of his great fierce horde
outdrink their chief when he cared to indulge in the pleasures of the wine
cup. The only effect that liquor seemed to have upon him was to increase
his desire to fight, so that he was wont to pick needless quarrels and to
resort to his sword for the slightest, or for no provocation at all. So,
for this reason, he drank but seldom since he always regretted the things
he did under the promptings of that other self which only could assert its
ego when reason was threatened with submersion.
Often on these evenings, the company was entertained by stories from the
wild, roving lives of its own members. Tales of adventure, love, war and
death in every known corner of the world; and the ten captains told, each,
his story of how he came to be of Torn; and thus, with fighting enough by
day to keep them good humored, the winter passed, and spring came with the
ever wondrous miracle of awakening life, with soft zephyrs, warm rain, and
Through all the winter, Father Claude had been expecting to hear from Simon
de Montfort, but not until now did he receive a message which told the good
priest that his letter had missed the great baron and had followed him
around until he had but just received it. The message closed with these
"Any clew, however vague, which might lead nearer to a true knowledge of
the fate of Prince Richard, we shall most gladly receive and give our best
attention. Therefore, if thou wilst find it convenient, we shall visit
thee, good father, on the fifth day from today."
Spizo, the Spaniard, had seen De Montfort's man leave the note with Father
Claude and he had seen the priest hide it under a great bowl on his table,
so that when the good father left his cottage, it was the matter of but a
moment's work for Spizo to transfer the message from its hiding place to
the breast of his tunic. The fellow could not read, but he to whom he took
the missive could, laboriously, decipher the Latin in which it was penned.
The old man of Torn fairly trembled with suppressed rage as the full
purport of this letter flashed upon him. It had been years since he had
heard aught of the search for the little lost prince of England, and now
that the period of his silence was drawing to a close, now that more and
more often opportunities were opening up to him to wreak the last shred of
his terrible vengeance, the very thought of being thwarted at the final
moment staggered his comprehension.
"On the fifth day," he repeated. "That is the day on which we were to ride
south again. Well, we shall ride, and Simon de Montfort shall not talk
with thee, thou fool priest."
That same spring evening in the year 1264, a messenger drew rein before the
walls of Torn and, to the challenge of the watch, cried:
"A royal messenger from His Illustrious Majesty, Henry, by the grace of
God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Aquitaine, to Norman of
Torn, Open, in the name of the King !"
Norman of Torn directed that the King's messenger be admitted, and the
knight was quickly ushered into the great hall of the castle.
The outlaw presently entered in full armor, with visor lowered.
The bearing of the King's officer was haughty and arrogant, as became a man
of birth when dealing with a low born knave.
"His Majesty has deigned to address you, sirrah," he said, withdrawing a
parchment from his breast. "And, as you doubtless cannot read, I will read
the King's commands to you."
"I can read," replied Norman of Torn, "whatever the King can write. Unless
it be," he added, "that the King writes no better than he rules."
The messenger scowled angrily, crying:
"It ill becomes such a low fellow to speak thus disrespectfully of our
gracious King. If he were less generous, he would have sent you a halter
rather than this message which I bear."
"A bridle for thy tongue, my friend," replied Norman of Torn, "were in
better taste than a halter for my neck. But come, let us see what the King
writes to his friend, the Outlaw of Torn."
Taking the parchment from the messenger, Norman of Torn read:
Henry, by Grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of
Aquitaine; to Norman of Torn:
Since it has been called to our notice that you be harassing and plundering
the persons and property of our faithful lieges ---
We therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in us by Almighty God, do
command that you cease these nefarious practices ---
And further, through the gracious intercession of Her Majesty, Queen
Eleanor, we do offer you full pardon for all your past crimes ---
Provided, you repair at once to the town of Lewes, with all the fighting
men, your followers, prepared to protect the security of our person, and
wage war upon those enemies of England, Simon de Montfort, Gilbert de Clare
and their accomplices, who even now are collected to threaten and menace
our person and kingdom ---
Or, otherwise, shall you suffer death, by hanging, for your long unpunished
crimes. Witnessed myself, at Lewes, on May the third, in the forty-eighth
year of our reign.
"The closing paragraph be unfortunately worded," said Norman of Torn, "for
because of it shall the King's messenger eat the King's message, and thus
take back in his belly the answer of Norman of Torn." And crumpling the
parchment in his hand, he advanced toward the royal emissary.
The knight whipped out his sword, but the Devil of Torn was even quicker,
so that it seemed that the King's messenger had deliberately hurled his
weapon across the room, so quickly did the outlaw disarm him.
And then Norman of Torn took the man by the neck with one powerful hand
and, despite his struggles, and the beating of his mailed fists, bent him
back upon the table, and there, forcing his teeth apart with the point of
his sword, Norman of Torn rammed the King's message down the knight's
throat; wax, parchment and all.
It was a crestfallen gentleman who rode forth from the castle of Torn a
half hour later and spurred rapidly - in his head a more civil tongue.
When, two days later, he appeared before the King at Winchelsea and
reported the outcome of his mission, Henry raged and stormed, swearing by
all the saints in the calendar that Norman of Torn should hang for his
effrontery before the snow flew again.
News of the fighting between the barons and the King's forces at Rochester,
Battel and elsewhere reached the ears of Norman of Torn a few days after
the coming of the King's message, but at the same time came other news
which hastened his departure toward the south. This latter word was that
Bertrade de Montfort and her mother, accompanied by Prince Philip, had
landed at Dover, and that upon the same boat had come Peter of Colfax back
to England -- the latter, doubtless reassured by the strong conviction,
which held in the minds of all royalists at that time, of the certainty of
victory for the royal arms in the impending conflict with the rebel barons.
Norman of Torn had determined that he would see Bertrade de Montfort once
again, and clear his conscience by a frank avowal of his identity. He knew
what the result must be. His experience with Joan de Tany had taught him
that. But the fine sense of chivalry which ever dominated all his acts
where the happiness or honor of women were concerned urged him to give
himself over as a sacrifice upon the altar of a woman's pride, that it
might be she who spurned and rejected; for, as it must appear now, it had
been he whose love had grown cold. It was a bitter thing to contemplate,
for not alone would the mighty pride of the man be lacerated, but a great
Two days before the start of the march, Spizo, the Spaniard, reported to
the old man of Torn that he had overheard Father Claude ask Norman of Torn
to come with his father to the priest's cottage the morning of the march to
meet Simon de Montfort upon an important matter, but what the nature of the
thing was the priest did not reveal to the outlaw.
This report seemed to please the little, grim, gray old man more than aught
he had heard in several days; for it made it apparent that the priest had
not as yet divulged the tenor of his conjecture to the Outlaw of Torn.
On the evening of the day preceding that set for the march south, a little,
wiry figure, grim and gray, entered the cottage of Father Claude. No man
knows what words passed between the good priest and his visitor nor the
details of what befell within the four walls of the little cottage that
night; but some half hour only elapsed before the little, grim, gray man
emerged from the darkened interior and hastened upward upon the rocky trail
into the hills, a cold smile of satisfaction on his lips.
The castle of Torn was filled with the rush and rattle of preparation early
the following morning, for by eight o'clock the column was to march. The
courtyard was filled with hurrying squires and lackeys. War horses were
being groomed and caparisoned; sumpter beasts, snubbed to great posts, were
being laden with the tents, bedding, and belongings of the men; while those
already packed were wandering loose among the other animals and men. There
was squealing, biting, kicking, and cursing as animals fouled one another
with their loads, or brushed against some tethered war horse.
Squires were running hither and thither, or aiding their masters to don
armor, lacing helm to hauberk, tying the points of ailette, coude, and
rondel; buckling cuisse and jambe to thigh and leg. The open forges of
armorer and smithy smoked and hissed, and the din of hammer on anvil rose
above the thousand lesser noises of the castle courts, the shouting of
commands, the rattle of steel, the ringing of iron hoof on stone flags, as
these artificers hastened, sweating and cursing, through the eleventh hour
repairs to armor, lance and sword, or to reset a shoe upon a refractory,
Finally the captains came, armored cap-a-pie, and with them some semblance
of order and quiet out of chaos and bedlam. First the sumpter beasts, all
loaded now, were driven, with a strong escort, to the downs below the
castle and there held to await the column. Then, one by one, the companies
were formed and marched out beneath fluttering pennon and waving banner to
the martial strains of bugle and trumpet.
Last of all came the catapults, those great engines of destruction which
hurled two hundred pound boulders with mighty force against the walls of
And after all had passed through the great gates, Norman of Torn and the
little old man walked side by side from the castle building and mounted
their chargers held by two squires in the center of the courtyard.
Below, on the downs, the column was forming in marching order, and as the
two rode out to join it, the little old man turned to Norman of Torn,
"I had almost forgot a message I have for you, my son. Father Claude sent
word last evening that he had been called suddenly south, and that some
appointment you had with him must therefore be deferred until later. He
said that you would understand." The old man eyed his companion narrowly
through the eye slit in his helm.
"'Tis passing strange," said Norman of Torn but that was his only comment.
And so they joined the column which moved slowly down toward the valley and
as they passed the cottage of Father Claude, Norman of Torn saw that the
door was closed and that there was no sign of life about the place. A wave
of melancholy passed over him, for the deserted aspect of the little
flower-hedged cote seemed dismally prophetic of a near future without the
beaming, jovial face of his friend and adviser.
Scarcely had the horde of Torn passed out of sight down the east edge of
the valley ere a party of richly dressed knights, coming from the south by
another road along the west bank of the river, crossed over and drew rein
before the cottage of Father Claude.
As their hails were unanswered, one of the party dismounted to enter the
"Have a care, My Lord," cried his companion. "This be over-close to the
Castle Torn and there may easily be more treachery than truth in the
message which called thee thither."
"Fear not," replied Simon de Montfort, "the Devil of Torn hath no quarrel
with me." Striding up the little path, he knocked loudly on the door.
Receiving no reply, he pushed it open and stepped into the dim light of the
interior. There he found his host, the good father Claude, stretched upon
his back on the floor, the breast of his priestly robes dark with dried and
Turning again to the door, De Montfort summoned a couple of his companions.
"The secret of the little lost prince of England be a dangerous burden for
a man to carry," he said. "But this convinces me more than any words the
priest might have uttered that the abductor be still in England, and
possibly Prince Richard also."
A search of the cottage revealed the fact that it had been ransacked
thoroughly by the assassin. The contents of drawer and box littered every
room, though that the object was not rich plunder was evidenced by many
pieces of jewelry and money which remained untouched.
"The true object lies here," said De Montfort, pointing to the open hearth
upon which lay the charred remains of many papers and documents. "All
written evidence has been destroyed, but hold what lieth here beneath the
table ?" and, stooping, the Earl of Leicester picked up a sheet of
parchment on which a letter had been commenced. It was addressed to him,
and he read it aloud:
Lest some unforeseen chance should prevent the accomplishment of our
meeting, My Lord Earl, I send thee this by one who knoweth not either its
contents or the suspicions which I will narrate herein.
He who bareth this letter, I truly believe to be the lost Prince Richard.
Question him closely, My Lord, and I know that thou wilt be as positive as
Of his past, thou know nearly as much as I, though thou may not know the
wondrous chivalry and true nobility of character of him men call ---
Here the letter stopped, evidently cut short by the dagger of the assassin.
"Mon Dieu ! The damnable luck !" cried De Montfort, "but a second more and
the name we have sought for twenty years would have been writ. Didst ever
see such hellish chance as plays into the hand of the fiend incarnate since
that long gone day when his sword pierced the heart of Lady Maud by the
postern gate beside the Thames ? The Devil himself must watch o'er him.
"There be naught more we can do here," he continued. "I should have been
on my way to Fletching hours since. Come, my gentlemen, we will ride south
by way of Leicester and have the good Fathers there look to the decent
burial of this holy man."
The party mounted and rode rapidly away. Noon found them at Leicester, and
three days later, they rode into the baronial camp at Fletching.
At almost the same hour, the monks of the Abbey of Leicester performed the
last rites of Holy Church for the peace of the soul of Father Claude and
consigned his clay to the churchyard.
And thus another innocent victim of an insatiable hate and vengeance which
had been born in the King's armory twenty years before passed from the eyes
While Norman of Torn and his thousand fighting men marched slowly south on
the road toward Dover, the army of Simon de Montfort was preparing for its
advance upon Lewes, where King Henry, with his son Prince Edward, and his
brother, Prince Richard, King of the Romans, together with the latter's
son, were entrenched with their forces, sixty thousand strong.
Before sunrise on a May morning in the year 1264, the barons' army set out
from its camp at Fletching, nine miles from Lewes and, marching through
dense forests, reached a point two miles from the city, unobserved.
From here, they ascended the great ridge of the hills up the valley Combe,
the projecting shoulder of the Downs covering their march from the town.
The King's party, however, had no suspicion that an attack was imminent
and, in direct contrast to the methods of the baronial troops, had spent
the preceding night in drunken revelry, so that they were quite taken by
It is true that Henry had stationed an outpost upon the summit of the hill
in advance of Lewes, but so lax was discipline in his army that the
soldiers, growing tired of the duty, had abandoned the post toward morning,
and returned to town, leaving but a single man on watch. He, left alone,
had promptly fallen asleep, and thus De Montfort's men found and captured
him within sight of the bell-tower of the Priory of Lewes, where the King
and his royal allies lay peacefully asleep, after their night of wine and
dancing and song.
Had it not been for an incident which now befell, the baronial army would
doubtless have reached the city without being detected, but it happened
that, the evening before, Henry had ordered a foraging party to ride forth
at daybreak, as provisions for both men and beasts were low.
This party had scarcely left the city behind them ere they fell into the
hands of the baronial troops. Though some few were killed or captured,
those who escaped were sufficient to arouse the sleeping army of the
royalists to the close proximity and gravity of their danger.
By this time, the four divisions of De Montfort's army were in full view of
the town. On the left were the Londoners under Nicholas de Segrave; in the
center rode De Clare, with John Fitz-John and William de Monchensy, at the
head of a large division which occupied that branch of the hill which
descended a gentle, unbroken slope to the town. The right wing was
commanded by Henry de Montfort, the oldest son of Simon de Montfort, and
with him was the third son, Guy, as well as John de Burgh and Humphrey de
Bohun. The reserves were under Simon de Montfort himself.
Thus was the flower of English chivalry pitted against the King and his
party, which included many nobles whose kinsmen were with De Montfort; so
that brother faced brother, and father fought against son, on that bloody
Wednesday, before the old town of Lewes.
Prince Edward was the first of the royal party to take the field and, as he
issued from the castle with his gallant company, banners and pennons
streaming in the breeze and burnished armor and flashing blade
scintillating in the morning sunlight, he made a gorgeous and impressive
spectacle as he hurled himself upon the Londoners, whom he had selected for
attack because of the affront they had put upon his mother that day at
London on the preceding July.
So vicious was his onslaught that the poorly armed and unprotected
burghers, unused to the stern game of war, fell like sheep before the iron
men on their iron shod horses. The long lances, the heavy maces, the
six-bladed battle axes, and the well-tempered swords of the knights played
havoc among them, so that the rout was complete; but, not content with
victory, Prince Edward must glut his vengeance, and so he pursued the
citizens for miles, butchering great numbers of them, while many more were
drowned in attempting to escape across the Ouse.
The left wing of the royalist army, under the King of the Romans and his
gallant son, was not so fortunate, for they met a determined resistance at
the hands of Henry de Montfort.
The central divisions of the two armies seemed well matched also, and thus
the battle continued throughout the day, the greatest advantage appearing
to lie with the King's troops. Had Edward not gone so far afield in
pursuit of the Londoners, the victory might easily have been on the side of
the royalists early in the day, but by thus eliminating his division after
defeating a part of De Montfort's army, it was as though neither of these
two forces had been engaged.
The wily Simon de Montfort had attempted a little ruse which centered the
fighting for a time upon the crest of one of the hills. He had caused his
car to be placed there, with the tents and luggage of many of his leaders,
under a small guard, so that the banners there displayed, together with the
car, led the King of the Romans to believe that the Earl himself lay there,
for Simon de Montfort had but a month or so before suffered an injury to
his hip when his horse fell with him, and the royalists were not aware that
he had recovered sufficiently to again mount a horse.
And so it was that the forces under the King of the Romans pushed back the
men of Henry de Montfort, and ever and ever closer to the car came the
royalists until they were able to fall upon it, crying out insults against
the old Earl and commanding him to come forth. And when they had killed
the occupants of the car, they found that Simon de Montfort was not among
them, but instead he had fastened there three important citizens of London,
old men and influential, who had opposed him, and aided and abetted the
So great was the wrath of Prince Richard, King of the Romans, that he fell
upon the baronial troops with renewed vigor, and slowly but steadily beat
them back from the town.
This sight, together with the routing of the enemy's left wing by Prince
Edward, so cheered and inspired the royalists that the two remaining
divisions took up the attack with refreshed spirits so that, what a moment
before had hung in the balance, now seemed an assured victory for King
Both De Montfort and the King had thrown themselves into the melee with all
their reserves. No longer was there semblance of organization. Division
was inextricably bemingled with division; friend and foe formed a jumbled
confusion of fighting, cursing chaos, over which whipped the angry pennons
and banners of England's noblest houses.
That the mass seemed moving ever away from Lewes indicated that the King's
arms were winning toward victory, and so it might have been had not a new
element been infused into the battle; for now upon the brow of the hill to
the north of them appeared a great horde of armored knights, and as they
came into position where they could view the battle, the leader raised his
sword on high, and, as one man, the thousand broke into a mad charge.
Both De Montfort and the King ceased fighting as they gazed upon this body
of fresh, well armored, well mounted reinforcements. Whom might they be ?
To which side owned they allegiance ? And, then, as the black falcon wing
on the banners of the advancing horsemen became distinguishable, they saw
that it was the Outlaw of Torn.
Now he was close upon them, and had there been any doubt before, the wild
battle cry which rang from a thousand fierce throats turned the hopes of
the royalists cold within their breasts.
"For De Montfort ! For De Montfort !" and "Down with Henry !" rang loud
and clear above the din of battle.
Instantly the tide turned, and it was by only the barest chance that the
King himself escaped capture, and regained the temporary safety of Lewes.
The King of the Romans took refuge within an old mill, and here it was that
Norman of Torn found him barricaded. When the door was broken down, the
outlaw entered and dragged the monarch forth with his own hand to the feet
of De Montfort, and would have put him to death had not the Earl
"I have yet to see my mark upon the forehead of a King," said Norman of
Torn, "and the temptation be great; but, an you ask it, My Lord Earl, his
life shall be yours to do with as you see fit."
"You have fought well this day, Norman of Torn," replied De Montfort.
"Verily do I believe we owe our victory to you alone; so do not mar the
record of a noble deed by wanton acts of atrocity."
"It is but what they had done to me, were I the prisoner instead," retorted
And Simon de Montfort could not answer that, for it was but the simple
"How comes it, Norman of Torn," asked De Montfort as they rode together
toward Lewes, "that you threw the weight of your sword upon the side of the
barons ? Be it because you hate the King more ?"
"I do not know that I hate either, My Lord Earl," replied the outlaw. "I
have been taught since birth to hate you all, but why I should hate was
never told me. Possibly it be but a bad habit that will yield to my
"As for why I fought as I did today," he continued, "it be because the
heart of Lady Bertrade, your daughter, be upon your side. Had it been with
the King, her uncle, Norman of Torn had fought otherwise than he has this
day. So you see, My Lord Earl, you owe me no gratitude. Tomorrow I may be
pillaging your friends as of yore."
Simon de Montfort turned to look at him, but the blank wall of his lowered
visor gave no sign of the thoughts that passed beneath.
"You do much for a mere friendship, Norman of Torn," said the Earl coldly,
"and I doubt me not but that my daughter has already forgot you. An
English noblewoman, preparing to become a princess of France, does not have
much thought to waste upon highwaymen." His tone, as well as his words were
studiously arrogant and insulting, for it had stung the pride of this
haughty noble to think that a low-born knave boasted the friendship of his
Norman of Torn made no reply, and could the Earl of Leicester have seen his
face, he had been surprised to note that instead of grim hatred and
resentment, the features of the Outlaw of Torn were drawn in lines of pain
and sorrow; for he read in the attitude of the father what he might expect
to receive at the hands of the daughter.
When those of the royalists who had not deserted the King and fled
precipitately toward the coast had regained the castle and the Priory, the
city was turned over to looting and rapine. In this, Norman of Torn and
his men did not participate, but camped a little apart from the town until
daybreak the following morning, when they started east, toward Dover.
They marched until late the following evening, passing some twenty miles
out of their way to visit a certain royalist stronghold. The troops
stationed there had fled, having been appraised some few hours earlier, by
fugitives, of the defeat of Henry's army at Lewes.
Norman of Torn searched the castle for the one he sought, but, finding it
entirely deserted, continued his eastward march. Some few miles farther
on, he overtook a party of deserting royalist soldiery, and from them he
easily, by dint of threats, elicited the information he desired: the
direction taken by the refugees from the deserted castle, their number, and
as close a description of the party as the soldiers could give.
Again he was forced to change the direction of his march, this time heading
northward into Kent. It was dark before he reached his destination, and
saw before him the familiar outlines of the castle of Roger de Leybourn.
This time, the outlaw threw his fierce horde completely around the
embattled pile before he advanced with a score of sturdy ruffians to
Making sure that the drawbridge was raised, and that he could not hope for
stealthy entrance there, he crept silently to the rear of the great
building and there, among the bushes, his men searched for the ladder that
Norman of Torn had seen the knavish servant of My Lady Claudia unearth,
that the outlaw might visit the Earl of Buckingham, unannounced.
Presently they found it, and it was the work of but a moment to raise it to
the sill of the low window, so that soon the twenty stood beside their
chief within the walls of Leybourn.
Noiselessly, they moved through the halls and corridors of the castle until
a maid, bearing a great pasty from the kitchen, turned a sudden corner and
bumped full into the Outlaw of Torn. With a shriek that might have been