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Chapter 11 THE SECRET PASSAGE.

  • Beorn called his men together and distributed them along the rear wall, whil_ulf made a fresh examination of the front. He had before noticed that grea_iles of stone in blocks from fifty to a hundred pounds in weight were pile_long by the parapet, in readiness to hurl down upon any foe attempting t_scend the road, while in the courtyard below was an immense reserve of thes_issiles. He placed twenty of his men here, and posted the other ten a_entries on the side walls, and then went down through the passage to Osgod.
  • The bridge was entirely demolished as he had directed, with the exception of _ingle plank, which could be thrown over in a moment. Osgod had closed th_ate, and had fastened a rope from the top of the turret to the plank, so tha_his could be hauled up, without those engaged in the operation being expose_o missiles from the other side of the chasm.
  • "One feels almost ashamed at being so safe," Osgod said, as Wulf joined him o_he turret. "It does not give one the chance of a fight."
  • "You have had one good fight to-day, Osgod, and can do without another. _hould be glad if we did not have to strike a blow till we see Gurth's banne_oming down the valley."
  • "We have done very well," Osgod agreed; "and I should be quite contented if _ad but come across that rascal who nearly smothered me in the bog."
  • "You need not bear malice against him, Osgod; for if he had not deserted u_nd led Llewellyn's force away to the spot where he left us, we should not b_asters of the place as at present, and it would have been a terrible busines_ad we been obliged to take this stronghold by storm."
  • "That is true enough, master; except by hunger or by a surprise, such as w_arried out, I don't see how the place is to be taken if stoutly defended.
  • There is no reason why the Welsh should have been in such a hurry to return, for they must know as well as we do that there is but little chance of thei_etting in again. They have come to a halt now down there, and half of the_ave thrown themselves on the ground like a pack of tired hounds."
  • "I have no fear whatever of an open attack, Osgod. They can see for themselve_hat the bridge is destroyed, and I do not think they will dream of coming u_hat road, which, as they know, we can sweep with stones from above. If the_ttack openly at all, it will be by the wall we scaled. If they make twent_adders such as we had they may think they might gain a footing, especially a_heir archers high among the trees would be able to fire down on the defender_f the wall. But what I am really afraid of is that there may be some secre_assage."
  • "Do you think so?" Osgod said, startled. "Where could it come from?"
  • "Well, Osgod, you see they have cut this winding road up the rock and hav_ade the tunnel hence to the courtyard, so the chiefs have had abundance o_abour at their disposal. They would naturally wish to provide a means o_scape if the castle were besieged, and like to fall by force or famine; moreover it would enable them to send out messengers or receive messages fro_ithout. A passage four feet high and two feet wide would suffice. They ma_ave driven such a passage from some place in the wood behind and it may com_p somewhere in the courtyard, perhaps in one of the little huts along th_ide. Of course the entrance would be covered here by a stone, and would b_idden among the bushes at the other end. Still I do not think that this i_ikely, for a hostile force would almost certainly take up its post in tha_ood, and attack the place in the rear. If there is such a passage I thin_hat it must open somewhere on the face of the rock, on one side or the other.
  • It looks to us almost perpendicular, but there may be inequalities by whic_ctive men might ascend at some point or other. For a considerable distance w_ould see there were tufts of shrubs growing here and there, and one of thes_ay conceal a small opening. From this point a staircase may have been drive_p into the castle."
  • "That would be very awkward, master, if it were so."
  • "It would indeed. To-night all the force except the sentries shall gather i_he castle, where ten men by turns shall keep guard, one or two being place_n the lower chambers. In this way we shall be safe; for before more tha_hree or four can enter we should be all on foot, and as they can but come u_n single file, could repulse them without difficulty. Tomorrow we will lowe_en down with ropes from the walls, and examine every clump of bushes growin_n the face of the rock If we find any signs of a path or entrance we shal_ave no difficulty in discovering where it enters into the castle, and ca_ffectually block it up. I shall then feel much more comfortable than I do a_resent."
  • "I was looking forward to a good night's sleep," Osgod grumbled, "but you_dea, master, has quite done away with that. If I went off I should dream tha_ had one of those Welsh wolves at my throat. However, it is a good thing tha_ou thought of it."
  • "I think, my lord," one of the soldiers said, "there are a number of our me_mong the Welsh. I can make out helmets and shields, and I think many are cla_n leather jerkins."
  • Wulf looked attentively.
  • "Yes, there are certainly shields and helmets," he said. "I fear there is n_oubt they have overtaken Oswald's levies."
  • "And have made them prisoners?"
  • Wulf shook his head. "They never take prisoners, you know. I fear they hav_lain them all and possessed themselves of their arms and clothes. In no othe_ay can there be Saxon shields and helmets among them."
  • "By St. Nicholas!" Osgod exclaimed, "it is too bad that we should be standin_ere doing nothing. Why doesn't Llewellyn attack us instead of keeping his me_aping there at the castle?"
  • "Because at present he can do nothing, and is not fool enough to throw awa_undreds of lives; besides, he must know that his mother and children are i_ur hands."
  • Presently a white flag was raised among the Welsh. Wulf had expected this, an_ad ordered a white cloth to be held in readiness to raise in reply. As soo_s this flew out to the wind three men were seen to advance with the fla_owards the foot of the road up to the castle. Wulf at once sent for the tw_nterpreters to join him.
  • "Shall you let them come up, master?" Osgod asked. "They are as treacherous a_nakes. See how that boy led us astray in the bog."
  • "You cannot get that boy out of your head, Osgod," Wulf laughed. "There is n_onceivable way by which three men could recapture this castle. There i_othing for them to learn. They know its strength and everything connecte_ith it, and they can see for themselves that we have destroyed the bridge. _hall be glad to hear what they have to say. Llewellyn himself is, mos_ikely, one of the number."
  • The little party mounted the road until they stood on the platform from whic_he bridge started. One of them was a tall figure, dressed in armour, and wit_ong black hair flowing down from under his helmet over his shoulders. Wulf a_nce, from the descriptions he had heard of the chief's appearance, recognize_im as Llewellyn ap Rhys.
  • "I would speak with the commander of the Saxons who have, in my absence, take_y castle by treachery."
  • "I am the commander," Wulf said.
  • The Welshman's fingers clenched, and he glanced furiously at the young Saxon.
  • By a great effort, however, he restrained his passion, and said courteously:
  • "I am Llewellyn ap Rhys. To whom have I the pleasure of speaking?"
  • "I am Wulf of Steyning, prince. I don't know altogether that I have taken you_astle by treachery, indeed I claim to have won it by fair fighting. You wen_ut with your force to attack me among the hills, and during your absence _ttacked and captured your castle. I will do your garrison credit to say the_ought bravely in spite of the surprise. I would gladly have given the_uarter, but they refused my offers, and, save a few wounded, whom I allowe_he women to carry off, died to a man fighting bravely. No women were hurt o_nsulted, save those who took up arms and fought among the men, and it was n_ault of ours that they were killed. Methinks that in your incursions int_ngland you have not always shown the same mercy."
  • Llewellyn was silent for a minute. He had indeed never shown any pity in hi_orays, but had never expected that his castle and family would be in th_ands of the Saxons.
  • "I learn," he said at last, "from the women, that my mother and my childre_re alive in your hands, and I thank you for the honorable treatment I hea_hat they have received."
  • "They are safe and well," Wulf replied. "We Saxons do not massacre women an_hildren in cold blood. They will be honourably treated until I can hand the_ver to the care of Earl Gurth, who will doubtless send them to England a_ostages."
  • "I shall try to win back my castle," Llewellyn said. "May I be sure tha_hatever happens they will be safe?"
  • "You may. Even were you forcing your way into the castle I will guarantee tha_o hair of their heads shall be injured. And now, prince, it is my turn t_uestion. I see Saxon helmets and shields among your followers. Whence com_hey?"
  • A cloud passed over Llewellyn's face. He had not reckoned on their bein_bserved from the castle. Concealment was now out of question, and he sai_oldly: "I defeated a party of your countrymen this morning. They came wit_ostile intent into my territory, and they have been destroyed." Although h_ad expected the answer, Wulf was shocked at the confirmation of his fears.
  • Llewellyn, indeed, had fallen on Oswald's levies and annihilated them soo_fter daybreak. Having no idea that a party had separated from them during th_ight, he was returning exulting in the idea that he had destroyed the whol_f the invaders, when the news had reached him of the capture of his castle.
  • Wulf was silent. "It is the fortune of war," he said gravely. "It is not to m_hat you have to reckon for the deed, but with Earl Gurth, for whom I hol_his castle."
  • Llewellyn made no reply, but with a wave of his hand turned and went down th_ill again.
  • "I am even more than before convinced, Osgod, that there is a secret passage.
  • I was watching him closely when the interpreter told him that I should han_is mother and children over to Gurth. He pressed his lips together, and hi_ace lighted up with exultation for a moment."
  • "What do you think he came here for, master?"
  • "He came here to assure himself if possible that their lives would not b_acrificed in the event of his attacking."
  • "It is a pity you told him they would be safe," Osgod said.
  • "But they will be safe, and even if we are surprised and slain I would no_hat Llewellyn should say that it was only the suddenness of his attack tha_aved their lives. I will place two of our best men at their door with order_hat come what may they are to prevent anyone from entering. But I don't thin_t will come to that. Should the passage enter into the castle, as, if i_xists, I have no doubt it does, we shall be prepared to deal with them, if i_pens elsewhere we shall have all our force save a few sentries assembled, an_hough all the walls fall into their hands, we ought to be able to hold i_uccessfully till Gurth arrives to our rescue."
  • Wulf returned to the castle, and then joined Beorn at his post on the wal_acing the wood. He communicated to him his ideas as to the probable existenc_f a secret passage.
  • "We must provide a mode of retreat for your men on guard here, Beorn, in cas_he Welsh enter by either of these yards instead of by the castle. Thes_lanking towers at the angles of the walls cut off all passage. We wil_onstruct bridges with two or three planks across these towers, so that you_entries can retreat from the rear wall to the next, and again on to the inne_all. The doors between the courtyards shall be closed, so that should the_nter either of these outer courts they will be delayed, and your men wil_ave plenty of time to join us in the defence of the last wall. However, I a_onvinced the castle itself will be the scene of action. Five sentries will b_nough to place on this wall. I will put two on each of the cross walls, s_hat if your men give the alarm it will be passed along speedily. I shal_emove the last plank of the bridge at nightfall, and have Osgod and four me_n the turret and two on the wall above them. We shall therefore have fifty- five men in the castle, and that should be ample. They can keep watch an_atch, so there will be over twenty-five men under arms, and ready to thro_hemselves upon the Welsh wherever they may enter."
  • These arrangements were carried out. At ten o'clock all lights wer_xtinguished, save a torch burning in each room on the ground floor. Th_loors and walls had been carefully examined and sounded, but nothin_uspicious had been discovered. Four men were told off to each room except th_reat hall, where twenty were gathered in reserve. Half were to keep watch, but all were to lie down. The orders to those who were to keep awake wer_trict If they heard a noise or saw a stone move they were to keep silent, until two or three men had stepped out, then they were to give the alarm, lea_p, and throw themselves upon them.
  • "Were the alarm given," he said, "before they fairly issued out the ston_ight be moved back again, and it would give us immense trouble before w_ould demolish it or find the secret of the spring. Therefore, let them get _ooting first."
  • From time to time either Beorn or Wulf got up and went noiselessly round t_he different rooms to see that the watch was vigilant. As had been arranged, each of those on guard raised a hand as they entered a room, so as to sho_hat they were awake. Wulf did not expect that any attempt would be mad_efore midnight. After that hour he sat in a corner of the dais, leaning as i_sleep, but with his eyes wandering round the room watching every stone, an_is ears listening for the faintest sound. He had no feeling of sleepines_hatever, his senses being all strung up to the highest pitch.
  • From time to time he held up a hand, and ten others were at once elevated, showing that the watchers were as vigilant as himself. It was, he thought, about one o'clock when he heard a faint creaking sound. It did not seem to hi_o be in the hall itself, but in a room adjoining it, the doors having al_een left open. He rose to his feet, touched Beorn, who lay a pace or tw_way, and stole noiselessly out, grasping his sword in his hand. He stoppe_efore he got to the open door of the next room and listened. All seeme_erfectly quiet. He stood motionless, until a minute later there was a sudde_hout, followed almost instantly by a clash of arms.
  • With a shout to his followers Wulf ran into the room. The four Saxons were o_heir feet, and were attacking three men, who, as he entered, were joined by _ourth from behind. He and Beorn threw themselves into the fray just as one o_he Saxons fell with his head cloven by a sweeping blow from the tall figur_pposed to him. One after another in rapid succession the Welsh poured in fro_ narrow opening, but the Saxons rushed up in overwhelming numbers. There wa_ brief fierce fight, and the Welsh were slain or overpowered. The men wh_ast emerged turned to fly, but meeting those crowding up from behind wer_nable to do so. Others ran in only to be cut down as soon as they appeared; _ound of fierce shouting and angry struggle came through the opening. When n_ore showed themselves, Wulf called for torches, and a dozen were soon a_and. Seizing one he passed through the narrow opening. A winding staircas_et his view. With Beorn and some Saxons following close behind him, h_escended for a considerable distance, then he found himself in a low an_arrow passage, and following this for twenty yards stepped out into the ope_ir.
  • "We need do no more to-night, Beorn," he said. "We will see where this come_ut and block it up in the morning, though they are not likely to try again.
  • We can sleep now without fear of interruption."
  • His first step was to examine the bodies of the fallen Welshmen. He ha_ecognized in the tall man with whom he had crossed swords Llewellyn ap Rhys, and found him lying beneath four of his followers, who had stood over him an_efended him to the last. He was glad to find that the Welsh prince stil_ived, and directed that he should be at once carried to a room and that ever_ttention should be shown him. None of the other fourteen Welshmen who ha_allen showed any signs of life.
  • Ordering their bodies to be carried out into the courtyard, Wulf placed fou_en on guard at the upper opening of the secret passage. They were to b_elieved every hour. He then went out and saw to the relief of the sentries o_he walls, and called down to Osgod that the attack had been made an_epulsed. He then went back and slept soundly till daybreak On going to th_alls he learned that there had been a great commotion down in the valley.
  • Fierce shouts, loud wailing cries, and a confused sound of running and talkin_ad been heard. At daybreak the Welsh were still there, and their fires ha_een lighted: one party were seen to march away as soon as it was light, bu_thers arrived, and their numbers appeared about the same as on the previou_vening. There was no general movement, but it could be seen that the_athered in clusters, and listened to men who addressed them with animate_estures.
  • "They don't know what to do," Wulf said to Osgod, whom he had joined in th_urret. "They believe their chief to be dead; they know that his mother an_hildren are prisoners in our hands; they can have little hope of capturin_his place, which they believe to be impregnable to open attack. At presen_hey must be without a leader, and yet they must be so animated by a spirit o_ate and revenge, and by the desire to wipe out their humiliation by retakin_his place, that they will not stir from in front of it."
  • As he spoke a messenger came from Beorn, saying that the Welsh were pourin_rrows and javelins from the hill upon his sentries on the walls, and tha_hese were unable to show a head above the parapet. In one of the sheds _arge quantity of hides had been found, and taking a party laden with the_ulf proceeded to the wall at the rear. Here he directed the ladders that wer_till lying there to be cut up into lengths of eight feet. These were fixed a_ntervals upon the parapet, and a cord fastened along the top, the men engage_n the operations being protected by the shields of their comrades from th_ain of missiles from the trees. Hides were thrown over the ropes, and thes_id those on the wall from the view of the enemy, while they themselves coul_eep out from time to time between the hides to see that no preparations wer_eing made for an attack.
  • The secret passage was next investigated; it was found that the opening wa_bout half-way down the rock, and that the assailants must have climbed up b_ path that a goat could scarce traverse. Wulf set a party to work to carr_own stones from the courtyard, and to block up the passage solidly for te_eet from the opening, a sentry being posted on the wall above. After th_rection of the shelter of hides the Welsh only sent an occasional javeli_rom the trees, but by the loud yells that were from time to time raised, there was no doubt they were still there in force.
  • "It is evident that they are going to besiege us, Beorn," Wulf said when the_at down to breakfast together. "The question is, are we to remain here unti_umour carries the report of our capture of the place to Gurth, or shall w_espatch messengers to him?"
  • "As you yourself said yesterday, the messengers could never get away, Wulf. _ould give a year's revenue if we could do so, for it may be a long tim_efore news comes to Gurth's ears. He may possibly hear of the annihilation o_swald's force, for any Welsh woman taken captive might mention that i_riumph, but they would certainly say nothing of such a grievous blow to th_elsh cause as the capture of Porthwyn and the death of Llewellyn in a_ttempt to recapture it. Gurth, therefore, naturally supposing that we ha_een involved in Oswald's disaster, may abandon all idea of moving agains_his place until the greater part of the country was reduced to obedience."
  • "I see, Beorn, that the difficulty of a messenger getting through would b_ndeed enormous; the Welsh must know that we are but a small band, and tha_ur first aim would be to communicate with Gurth. You may be sure, therefore, that they will keep a vigilant guard all round the place at night to see tha_o messenger makes his way out. Our two interpreters do not know anything lik_nough Welsh to pass as natives, none of our people know a word of th_anguage, it would be sending anyone to almost certain death. I think we mus_e content to depend upon ourselves. Gurth is sure to learn the news sooner o_ater, for it will make a great stir all through the country. I have just see_lewellyn, he is very sorely wounded. I think it would be a good thing to le_he Welsh know that he is in our hands, it will render them more chary o_ttacking us. We might hang out a flag of truce, and when they come up i_eply tell them that he is alive but sorely wounded, and that they may send u_ leech, who would better attend to his wounds than we can do."
  • This was accordingly done. Two Welshmen of rank came up to the broken bridg_nd were informed that their prince was sorely wounded, and that a leech woul_e allowed to enter to attend upon him. An hour later a man with a bo_arrying a large basket came up the hill and crossed the plank into th_urret. The basket, which contained various herbs and medicaments, was take_rom the boy, who was then sent back again, while the leech was taken up t_he room where Llewellyn was lying, in the care of his mother and her maids.
  • Three days passed without any change. The force in the valley was seen to b_onsiderably diminished, no hostile demonstration had taken place; but twent_en always remained in the courtyard in the rear, in readiness to run up t_he wall in case the sentries gave an alarm.
  • On the fourth morning, just as day was breaking, a man ran into the castl_ith the news that the Welsh were attacking the wall. Beorn and Wulf sprung t_heir feet, and with every man except those on duty as sentries ran off to th_cene of attack. That it was a serious assault was evident by the wild yell_nd shouts that were heard.
  • Wulf ran up the stairs to the wall. A storm of missiles was striking agains_he hides; many of them failed to penetrate, but others did so, and several o_he men were lying wounded under shelter of the parapet, while the rest wer_urling down javelins between the openings of the hides.
  • "What are they doing?" he asked the sub-officer in command of the party.
  • "They are preparing to scale the wall, my lord; they have numbers of ladders."
  • Wulf was about to look out between the hides, but the officer exclaimed, "D_ot so risk your life, my lord; you can see down without danger;" and h_ushed out the lower side of one of the skins from the wall, so that Wul_ould look down without being seen by the Welsh archers. The fosse in the roc_nd the narrow platform at the foot of the wall were alike crowded with foes, who were planting a number of ladders side by side. These were strongl_onstructed, and were each wide enough for two men to mount abreast. Eight o_en of these ladders were already planted against the wall, and the enemy wer_limbing up them. Wulf turned, and waving his sword shouted to the men runnin_nto the courtyard from the walls and castle to hasten up. Already a dozen ha_oined him, and scarce had these placed themselves along the battlements whe_he heads of the Welshmen appeared above it.
  • For a minute or two it seemed that these would overmaster the defence. Severa_ucceeded in crossing the parapet, but they were either cut down or cas_eadlong into the courtyard. By this time the whole of the Saxons, save th_uard in the turret by the bridge, were on the wall, and were able to form _lose line along the parapet against which the ladders were placed. The Wels_ought with an utter disregard of life; as fast as those at the top were cu_own or hurled backwards others took their place. So closely did they swarm u_he ladders that several of these broke with their weight, killing many o_hose clustered below as well as those on the rungs. But for an hour there wa_o pause. It was well for the defenders that they had the protection of th_ine of hides, and were therefore screened from the arrows of the bowmen o_he hill; but these soon ceased to shoot, as many of their comrades were hi_y their missiles, while they were unable to see whether the arrows had an_ffect whatever upon the hidden defenders. At length the leaders of th_ssailants saw that the task could not be achieved, and gave the signal by th_lowing of cow-horns that the attack should cease; but so furious were thei_ollowers that many disregarded the summons, and continued their efforts t_ain a footing upon the wall, or at least to kill one of its defenders, fo_ome time after the main body had withdrawn. As soon as the last of these wa_illed the garrison hurled the ladders backwards and then gave a shout o_riumph, which was answered by renewed yells of defiance by the Welsh.
  • "It has been a hard fight, Wulf," Beorn said, as he removed his helmet.
  • "It has indeed. It was a well-planned attack, and was nearly successful. W_ught to have had a stronger guard there; but I did not think that they woul_enture to attack at daylight, nor that they could have so quickly run forwar_nd placed their ladders. Had we been but a minute later in arriving here the_ould have gained this wall and the courtyard. They would, indeed, have got n_arther, but their success would have so excited them that we should have ha_o fight night and day. What has been our loss?"
  • Five of the men were killed; many of the others had received severe wounds o_he head and shoulders from the knives of their assailants, and had it no_een for the protection afforded by the leathern helmets and jerkins th_umber of killed would have been very much larger.
  • "I would as lief fight with a troop of wild cats," exclaimed Osgod—who, a_oon as he saw that there was no movement down on the plain, had run up wit_alf his little garrison to join in the defence of the wall,—as he tried t_taunch a deep wound that extended from his ear to his chin. "Over and ove_gain I saw a shock head come up above the wall, and before I had time to tak_ fair blow at it the man would hurl himself over upon me like a wild animal.
  • Three times was I knocked down, and I am no chicken either; if it had not bee_or my comrades on each side it would have gone hard with me. I was able t_eturn the service several times, but had the Welsh been imps they could no_ave been more active or more fierce. There must be a hundred lying slai_long here or in the courtyard. I do not wonder that Oswald's men were al_illed by them, though after our previous fights I held them in but smal_espect."
  • "It is a different thing, Osgod," Beorn said. "In the field we have always ha_he advantage from our order and our discipline; but here it was man agains_an. We had the advantage of position and they of numbers; but discipline wen_or nothing on either side, and I doubt if we should have done as well as the_id had we been the assailants."
  • "I am ready to own that," Osgod agreed. "I like to fight with my feet on fir_round, and should make but a poor figure balanced on the top of a ladder."
  • When the tumult in the wood had died away Wulf raised a white flag, an_rdered one of the men who spoke Welsh to shout to the enemy that they migh_pproach without molestation and remove their wounded and dead from the foo_f the wall, and also said that the Saxon leaders desired to speak to a_fficer of rank.
  • Two of these came out from the trees. "Hitherto," the interpreter cried with _oud voice, "my lords, the noble thanes, Beorn of Fareham and Wulf o_teyning, have given the most honourable treatment to your chief, Llewellyn a_hys, wounded and a prisoner in their hands, and to his family. Nor have the_ltered that treatment while you were attacking our walls; but they bid m_arn you and all others in arms against the authority of our sovereign lor_he king, that henceforth they will hold them as hostages, and that thei_ives will be forfeited if any fresh attack be made upon the castle."
  • Three days passed without any further acts of hostility by the Welsh. At th_nd of that time Llewellyn was sufficiently recovered to sit up supported b_illows on his couch. He had already heard of the defeat, with terribl_laughter, of the attempt of his countrymen to recapture the castle, and o_he warning that had been given the Welsh that if the attack was renewed th_ives of himself and his family would be forfeited. Beorn and Wulf paid him _isit as soon as they heard that he was in a condition to talk to them.
  • "Prince," Wulf said through his interpreter, "it is, you must see, hopeles_or your followers to attempt to recapture this castle. The bridge i_estroyed, the secret passage by which you entered blocked up, and we ca_esist any attack upon the rear wall. We have shown you and yours a mercy suc_s you would certainly not have extended to English men and women unde_imilar circumstances, and grieved as we should be to be obliged to proceed t_xtremities with prisoners, yet were the castle again attacked, and were we t_ee that there was a prospect of its being recaptured, we should not hesitat_o slay you, as it would be treachery to the king to allow so formidable a_nemy as yourself to regain his freedom.
  • "Your cause is hopeless. Harold, Tostig, and Gurth are carrying fire and swor_hrough your valleys, and your people will have to choose between submissio_nd death. Why should so hopeless a struggle continue? Gurth will be her_hortly, and then the fate that has befallen the districts already subdue_ill light upon yours. Surely it will be better for yourself and your peopl_hat this should be averted. This can only be done by your sending orders t_our followers to scatter to their homes and to lay down their arms. We wil_t once in that case send a messenger to the earl to tell him that th_istrict has submitted. I must request that in order the message shall reac_im you shall bid two officers of rank accompany our messenger to Gurth'_amp; we giving them our undertaking that they shall be allowed to leave i_nmolested."
  • "Your offer tallies with my own intentions," Llewellyn said. "Had I been fre_ would have resisted to the last, but as a prisoner, and with my mother an_hildren in your hands, I am powerless. My harper tells me that fully fou_undred of my followers fell in the attack, and with my stronghold in you_ower, my tribesmen without a leader, and your armies desolating the land, _ee that further resistance here would but add to the misfortunes of m_eople. I am ready, therefore, to send down my harper and doctor to bid fou_f my chiefs come up here, under your safe conduct. I shall lay the matte_efore them, and tell them that I being a prisoner can no longer give the_rders, but shall point out to them that in my opinion further resistance ca_ut bring terrible disasters upon the district. This, on their return, the_ill lay before their men, and if, as I trust, these will agree to scatter t_heir homes, they will furnish the escort you desire for your messenger."
  • Two hours later three of the chiefs summoned arrived, the fourth having falle_n the assault. They had a private interview with Llewellyn and then left. _reat meeting was held down in the valley, and in the afternoon the thre_hiefs and six others came up to the castle and formally made their submissio_efore Beorn and Wulf, and besought them to send a messenger to the ear_raying him to forgive past offences and to have mercy on the people. An hou_ater two of the Saxons bearing a letter from Beorn and Wulf to Gurth starte_nder an escort provided by the chiefs.