His sword flashed frostily in the starlight with every ounce of desperate nerve and thew behind it, and man and beast went down together.

“We’re bound for waters where the seaports are fat, and the merchant ships are crammed with plunder!”

“You gave me a merry chase, by the gods, and all my men are far behind us.”

He could no longer see them in this broken country, but he was certain that they still followed him, guided unerringly by their feathered allies.

Argos was at peace; laden ox‐wains rumbled along the road, and men with bare, brown, brawny arms toiled in orchards and fields that smiled away under the branches of the roadside trees.

“He went mad and tried to kill me. As I fled from him I was seized by those beasts.”

The priate wrenched the woman around to face her, caught her chin with her free hand and forced her captive to meet her gaze.

He came from a race of hillmen, accustomed to scaling forbidding crags, and he was a man of unusual strength and agility.

“Now there’ll be five heads to decorate Zogar’s altar.”

When he had rounded a corner, he glanced back, and then changed his direction and quickened his pace.

“I do not know if you are a man or a demon, Khemsa,” he said at last.

“That’s to search for some other exit; doubtless they’re all set with traps, but we have no other choice.”

He blundered against the bushes on each side of the trail.

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