Then said the steward to me as we looked at one another:
“This is the best day for us all that has been since the prince who has come back left us. There will be joy through all Cornwall.”
But I knew that what I dreaded had come to pass, and that from henceforth the way of the prince of Cornwall and of the house-carle captain of Ina’s court must lie apart, and I had no answer for him.
It would be long for me to tell how presently Owen called me in to speak with the king, and how he owned me as his foster son in such wise that Gerent smiled on him, and spoke most kindly to me as though I had indeed been a kinsman of his own. And then, after we had spoken long together, Thorgils was sent for, and he told the tale of the end of Morgan plainly and in few words, yet in such skilful wise that as he spoke I could seem to see once more our hall and myself and Elfrida at the dais, even as though I were an onlooker.
“You are a skilful tale teller,” the king said when he ended. “You are one of the Norsemen from Watchet, as I am told.”
“I am Thorgils the shipmaster, who came to speak with you two years ago, when we first came here. Men say that I am no bad sagaman.”
“This is a good day for me,” Gerent said, “and I will reward you for your tale. Free shall the ship of Thorgils be from toil or harbourage in all ports of our land from henceforward. I will see that it is known.”
“That is a good gift, Lord King,” said the Norseman, and he thanked Gerent well and heartily, and so went his way back to the guest chambers with a glad heart.
Then Gerent said gravely:
“I suppose that there are men who would call all these things the work of chance or fate. But it is fitting that vengeance on him who wronged you should come from the hand of one whom you have cared for. That has not come by chance; but I think it will be well that it is not known here just at first whose was the hand that slew Morgan.”
“For fear of his friends?” asked Owen thoughtfully.
“Ay, for that reason. Overbearing and proud was he, but for all that there are some who thought him the more princely because he was so. And there are few who know that he did indeed try to end my life, for I would not spread abroad the full shame of a prince of our line. Men have thought that I would surely take him into favour again, but that was not possible. Only, I would that he had met a better ending.”
The old king sighed, and was silent. Presently Owen said that I must see to the men and horses, and I rose up to leave the chamber, and then the king said:
“We shall see you again at the feast I am making for you all. Then tomorrow you must take back as kingly a letter to Ina as he wrote to me, and so return to Owen for as long as your king will suffer you to bide with us.”