"Stand!" said Godwin, and they stood a minute, then began to edge forward. "Stand!" said both the brethren again, but still they edged forward. "Stand, sons of Sinan!" they said a third time, drawing their swords. Then with a hiss of disappointed rage the fedai came at them. "A D'Arcy! A D'Arcy! Help for the Sultan!" shouted the brethren, and the fray began.
At the first rush two of the fedai went down beneath the sweep of the long swords, but after that the murderers would not come close, and while some engaged them in front, others strove to pass and stab them from behind. Indeed, a blow from one of their long knives fell upon Godwin's shoulder, but the good mail turned it. "Give way," he cried to Wulf, "or they will best us."
You have fought Godwin, perhaps you will have better luck with Wulf." Lozelle glared back at him, and, finding no answer, went on his way. "Your report," said Sinan, addressing the tall fedai who all this while had lain upon his face before him, still as the form that was stretched upon the bier. "There should have been another prisoner, the great emir Hassan. Also, where is the Frankish spy?"
"Only this, lord," answered Godwin; "these men came to kill you and we held them off till help arrived." "Kill me! My own guard kill me?" "They are not your guard; they are fedai, disguised as your guard, and sent by Al-je-bal, as he promised."
"Lord," answered the tall fedai, and his hand trembled as he spoke, "most mighty lord, I had no orders as to the killing of the crew from your lips, and the Frank Lozelle told me that he had agreed with you that they should be spared." "Then, slave, he lied.
Now from without the chamber rose a cry and tumult, and the sound of heavy blows falling upon the gates that the murderers had barred behind them, while upon the further side of the door, which he could not open, was heard the voice of the Sultan demanding to know what passed. The fedai heard these sounds also, and read in them their doom.
The fedai rose and spoke. "Lord," he said, "I did your bidding. The knight who has gone steered the ship into the bay, as had been arranged. I attacked with the daylight. The soldiers of Salah-ed-din fought bravely, for the lady here saw us, and gave them time to gather, and we lost many men. We overcame and killed them all, except the prince Hassan, whom we took prisoner.
But Godwin and Wulf looked sadly at the ten miles of plain between them and the river bank. On they went, and on. A quarter of it was done. Half of it was done, but now the first of the fedai hung upon their flanks not two hundred yards behind. Little by little this distance lessened. At length they were scarcely fifty yards away, and one of them flung a spear. In her terror Rosamund sobbed aloud.
On the morrow those of the fedai who remained alive were questioned, and confessing freely that they had been sent to murder Salah-ed-din who had robbed their master of his bride, the two Franks who had carried her off, and the woman Masouda who had guided them, they were put to death cruelly enough.
They swore that they had not slept on guard, nor heard a sound, yet when morning came the prince was gone. Again the Lord of Death stroked his black beard. Then he held up the Signet before the eyes of the three men, saying: "You see the token. Go." "Lord," said the fedai, "I have served you well for many years." "Your service is ended. Go!" was the stern answer.