Open main menu

Page:Harris Dickson--The black wolf's breed.djvu/243

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

his name; to thy mother he gave his name but could never give his love. So thou art the proud Lord of Cartillon, and I the outcast soldier of fortune, the nameless adventurer, slayer of women—what thou wilt. But things are changed now. Before many hours I will be the Count d'Artin, and thou a dishonoured corpse, sweet brother."

"Thou! Thou my brother?"

I turned upon him a look of incredulous contempt, yet, for I had heard some such tale of my father's youth, I asked:

"Thy mother was—?"

"Nanon Esculas, whom thy father abducted in Spain to desert in France."

"My heart sank; I had seen the woman, and knew her son for one of the most courageous and unprincipled adventurers who hung about the Court and held their swords for hire. When the noisy troop rode up to the gates of Cartillon their leader paused, a head appeared upon the battlements.

"Guise," cried Ortez, giving the watchword of that day of slaughter. The drawbridge lowered, and open swung the gates.

"Welcome to Cartillon, d'Artin," Ortez bowed. "Here at last we find rest and refreshment. Let a feast be spread in the great hall, ransack the place for good cheer. We've done brave work this glorious day, my lads, and a merry ending we'll have before the night is gone."

Everywhere in the courtyard were evidences of bloody