The Sundering Flood, by William Morris

Chapter lxviii. The Knight of Longshaw Gathereth Force

The Knight of Longshaw abode at Wethermel in much content, and much it pleased him to look upon the beauty of Elfhild and the fairness of the life that men lived in the Dale. At last he said: “Now I must shake off my sloth somewhat, and it will be a case of farewell.” “Will it?” said Osberne. “Yea,” said the Knight, “for I will to Eastcheaping, and there I will set me to gather men, and I look to it that, ere three months are over, I shall have a good host on foot.” “It is well,” said Osberne.

So in two days’ time the Knight went, with his two men that had fled into the Dale with him, to Eastcheaping, and Osberne rode with him. When they came to Eastcheaping the Knight said: “Now is the time for farewell.” “Nay, nay,” said Osberne, “there shall be no farewell this time at least; but I will help thee with the gathering of men, and when we have got an host I will be the leader thereof. This thou must not gainsay me.” Said the Knight: “But gainsay thee I will, for unless thou gettest thee back to thine own people I will break up my whole purpose.” “And why?” said Osberne. “Thou art blind not to see,” said the Knight. “I come and find thee here as happy as any man in the world, wedded to a fair wife, the lord of a stout and stalwarth people who love thee above all things. And I have that in me that tells me that if I carry thee away I carry thee away to death. For I have seen thee in a dream of the night and in a dream of the day living at Wethermel and dying on a field near the City of the Sundering Flood.”

Said Osberne: “And shall I choose dishonour then?”

“Nay,” he said, “where is the dishonour? Besides, take this for a gibe, that whereas time agone I could do but ill without thee, now I can do without thee well, for I have three or four fellows will come to my call as soon as they know that my banner is in the field again. Wherefore, I tell thee, thou must either be my unfriend, or get thee back home my friend and my lad.” So when Osberne saw it would no better be, he wept and bade farewell to the Knight of Longshaw, and went his ways back home. Six months hence he heard true tidings of the Knight, that he had gathered an host and fallen on his foes, and had fared nowhere save to thrive. And it is not said that he met the Knight of Longshaw face to face again in this life.

It is further to be told that once in every quarter Osberne went into that same dale wherein he first met Steelhead, and there he came to him, and they had converse together; and though Osberne changed the aspect of him from year to year, as for Steelhead he changed not at all, but was ever the same as when Osberne first saw him, and good love there was between those twain.

Now is there no more to say concerning the Sundering Flood and those that dwelt thereby.

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Last updated Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 22:07