Instead they struck due east, and hit the main road which runs from High March to Market Basing; then by going south for another day they would win Tortsentier. Isoult, of course, as a born woodlander would know the whereabouts of Maulfry's dwelling from any side but the north. She was of South Morgraunt, and therefore knew nothing of the north or middle forest. All this Maulfry had calculated.
There are so many trackless regions in it, so many great lakes of green with never an island of a name, that to me, at least, it is salvation to have solid verifiable spots upon which to put a finger and say "Here is Waisford, here Tortsentier, here is the great river Wan, here by the grace of God and the Countess of Hauterive is Saint Giles of Holy Thorn." Of course to Isoult it was different.
It was supposed that, being tired, or changing for caprice, she had them drugged, rifled them at leisure, slew them one way or another, and set her nets for the next newcomer. This, I say, was surmise, and so it remained. Tortsentier was hard to come at, Morgraunt wide, death as easy as lying.
Death and a great mystery, the dark, air like a lake's at noon, kept fur and feather from Tortsentier, and left Maulfry alone with what she had. Within, it was a spacious place. Mossy carpets, skins, and piled cushions were on the floor; the place smelt of musk: it was lighted by coloured torches and lamps, and warmed with braziers.
He would have made speeches and let vapours. This lad was quiet." "Quiet as God," said Maulfry with a stare. "But," Galors went on, "you need not think for him, who or what he was. I shall meet him to-morrow, and if things go as they should you shall see me again very soon. You shall come to a wedding. A wedding in Tortsentier will not be amiss, dame. Moreover, it will be new.
"What on earth had he to do in my affair?" "Lord," she said meekly, "he died to save me from death, and once before he risked his life to let me escape from Tortsentier." Prosper felt the rebuke and got more angry. "A fool meets with a fool's death. Boys and girls have no business with steel. They should be in the nursery." "I was in prison, lord."
There was no harm in all this, and for Galors' part he would be able to testify that there was no luxurious company there when he came, and no dark hints of violence, treachery, or mischief for the most suspicious eye to catch at. Tortsentier was not so far from the Abbey liberties that one might not fetch at it in a six hours' ride, provided one knew the road.
"Come," he said, "the fight is done." They did not stay. He took his own shield and sword from the dead, girt on the first and slung the latter to the spare saddle. He took his wife in his arms, not daring to kiss her in such a place, and put her on Galors' horse; and so they went their way into the misty woods. Dark Tortsentier took up the watch amid the sighing of its pine-tree host.
He went on the fourth day after his return from Gracedieu, and the expedition proved effectual in more ways than one. The dream stopped, and he forgot it. At Tortsentier there was very little daylight, because the trees about it formed a thick wall.
Forward!" and he was gone through the dripping streets at the falling in of a wild day. It was the day Falve had brought in his bride-expectant to Litany Row. Half-an-hour later Maulfry rode out of the east gate alone, and never held or looked back till she was safe in Tortsentier. A scud of wind and rain hampered Prosper on his ride over Goltres Heath.