“It is yours. The Lord of the Mountain covers you with his own mantle.”
“I desire,” she went on, “that my brothers here may lodge with me, that I may not feel alone among strange people.”
He thought awhile, and answered:
“Your brethren shall lodge near you in the guest castle. Why not, since from them you cannot need protection? They shall meet you at the feast and in the garden. But, lady, do you know it? They came here upon faith of some old tale of a promise made by him who went before me to ask my help to recover you from Salah-ed-din, unwitting that I was your host, not Salah-ed-din. That they should meet you thus is a chance which makes even my wisdom wonder, for in it I see omens. Now she whom they wished to rescue from Salah-ed-din, these tall brethren of yours might wish to rescue from Al-je-bal. Understand then, all of you, that from the Lord of Death there is but one escape. Yonder runs its path,” and he pointed to the dizzy place whence his three servants had leapt to their doom.
“Knights,” he went on, addressing Godwin and Wulf, “lead your sister hence. This evening I bid her, and you to my banquet. Till then, farewell. Woman,” he added to Masouda, “accompany them. You know your duties; this lady is in your charge. Suffer that no strange man comes near her—above all, the Frank Lozelle. Dais take notice and let it be proclaimed—To these three is given the protection of the Signet in all things, save that they must not leave my walls except under sanction of the Signet—nay, in its very presence.”
The dais rose, bowed, and seated themselves again. Then, guided by Masouda and preceded and followed by guards, the brethren and Rosamund walked down the terrace through the curtains into the chancel-like place where men crouched upon the ground; through the great hall were more men crouched upon the ground; through the ante-chamber where, at a word from Masouda, the guards saluted; through passages to that place where they had slept. Here Masouda halted and said:
“Lady Rose of the World, who are fitly so named, I go to prepare your chamber. Doubtless you will wish to speak awhile with these your—brothers. Speak on and fear not, for it shall be my care that you are left alone, if only for a little while. Yet walls have ears, so I counsel you use that English tongue which none of us understand in the land of Al-je-bal—not even I.”
Then she bowed and went.
The brethren and Rosamund looked at each other, for having so much to say it seemed that they could not speak at all. Then with a low cry Rosamund said:
“Oh! let us thank God, Who, after all these black months of travel and of danger, has thus brought us together again,” and, kneeling down there together in the guest-hall of the lord of Death, they gave thanks earnestly. Then, moving to the centre of the chamber where they thought that none would hear them, they began to speak in low voices and in English.