Then said stark Gernot to the king, "Herein, at the least, incline thy heart to do mercifully with us. Stand back from the house, that we win out to you. We know that our life is forfeit; let what must come, come quickly. Thou hast many knights unwounded; let them fall on us, and give us battle-weary ones rest. How long wouldst thou have us strive?"
For their loved friends at home the battle-weary warriors longed. Many a shield full of treasure was then brought forth which the king dealt out unweighed to his many friends, to each five hundred marks of gold, and to a few, still more. Gernot, the brave, had counseled Gunther this. Then they all took leave, sith they would hence.
Many a hero's wife was yet to weep for it. He raised his buckler, and lowered the thong, and wetted many a hauberk with blood. "Woe is me for this wrong!" cried Aldrian's child. "Stand back, ye knights of Hungary, and let me to the air, that it cool a battle-weary man." Then he began, in their despite, to hew his way to the door. When he sprang from the house, how many a sword rang on his helmet!
He cried, "Are all my men slain? then God hath forgotten poor Dietrich! I was a great king, rich and proud. Yet how could they all die, these valiant heroes, by foemen so battle-weary and sore beset? Death had spared them, but that I am doomed to sorrow. Since this hard fate is needs mine, tell me if any of the guests be left alive." Hildebrand answered, "None save Hagen, and Gunther, the king.
British reinforcements, forming part of Lord Kitchener's new army, were being transported to the front, while the far-flung lines of trenches were filled with battle-weary veterans of the winter campaign.
Once I was a lordly king, mighty, high, and rich." Again Sir Dietrich spake: "How could it hap, that all the worshipful heroes died at the hands of the battle-weary, who were themselves hard pressed? Were it not for mine ill-luck, death were still a stranger to them. Sith then mine evil fortune would have it so, pray tell me, are any of the strangers still alive?"
Now therefore, O ye kindreds, if amidst you there be one Who hath known the heart of the War-dukes, and the deeds their hands have done, Will not the word be with him, while yet your hearts are hot, Of our praise and long remembrance, and our love that dieth not? Then let him come up hither and speak the latest word O'er the limbs of the battle-weary and the hearts outworn with the sword."
His nature was instinctive, not analytical, but suddenly there swept into the utterly lonely and battle-weary eyes of the woman, who was not a child, a smile of happiness and comfort which parted her lips, so that her face reminded him of sudden sunshine flashing into rainbow hope through an April shower.
The Battalion might be weary and footsore, hungry and tired, battle-weary and nerve-wrecked, yet the men always had that little reserve of heart left which lifted them through the most trying day or the most deadly night. The month of November, 1917, marked a great change in the Battalion. The good days of Sinai, when war meant only an enemy aeroplane in the grey morning, were gone.