Saturday, July 5, 2008


Having said that, he spat on the palm of his hand and showed Zbyszko that it was pure blood:

"Do you see?"

After a while he added:

"It is God's will."

They were both silent for a while with their gloomy thoughts, then Zbyszko said:

"Do you spit blood all the time?"

"Why wouldn’t I if there is an arrowhead deep between my ribs. You would spit too, believe me! I was already better before I left Jurand’s place, but I got terribly tired, because it was a long trip and I was in a hurry."

"Why did you rush?"

"Because I wanted to see Princess Alexandra and get another letter from her. Jurand of Spychow said: 'Go and bring the letter to Spychow. I have a few Germans imprisoned here. I will free one of them if he will give me his knightly word to carry the letter to the grand master.' To avenge his wife's death, he always keeps several German as captives and listens joyfully when they moan at night and their chains rattle, he is so obstinate. Understand?"

"I understand. But I wonder why you didn’t recover the lost letter, if Jurand captured those who attacked you."

"He did not capture all of them. Five or six escaped!"

He spat the blood again and grimaced from the pain in the lungs.

"How did they attack you? From ambush?"

"We were in such thick bushes that one could see nothing. I was riding without armor, because the merchants told me that the country was safe, and it was hot."

"Who was at the head of the robbers? A Tetonic Knight?"

"Not a friar, but a German from Lentz, famous for his robberies on the highway."

"What became of him?"

"Jurand chained him. But he has in his dungeons two noblemen whom he wishes to exchange for himself."

There was a moment of silence.

"Dear Jesus," Zbyszko said, finally; "Lichtenstein will live and so that robber from Lentz, but we must perish without vengeance. They will behead me and you will probably not live through the winter."

"Yeah! I won’t make it to the winter. If I could only help you in some way to get out of here."

"Have you seen anybody here?"

"I went to see the castellan of Krakow. When I learned that Lichtenstein had departed, I thought perhaps the castellan would be less severe."

"Then Lichtenstein left?"

"Immediately after the queen's death, he went to Marienburg. I went to see the castellan but he told me this: 'They will execute your nephew, not to please Lichtenstein, but because that is his sentence. It will make no difference whether Lichtenstein is here or not. Even if he die, nothing will change, the law is according to justice and not like a jacket, which you can turn inside out. Only the king can show clemency but no one else.'"

"And where is the king?"

"After the funeral he went to Russian lands."

"Well, then there is no hope at all."

"No." The castellan said still further: "I pity him, because the Princess Anna begs for his pardon, but if I can’t, then I can’t!"

"Then Princess Anna is still here?"

"God bless her! She is a good lady. She is still here, because Danusia is sick, and the princess loves her as her own child."

"For God's sake! Then Danusia is sick! What is the matter with her?"

"I don't know! The princess says that somebody has thrown a spell over her."

"I am sure it was Lichtenstein! Nobody else, only Lichtenstein a son of a whore!"

"It may be him. But what can you do to him? Nothing!"

"That is why they all seemed to have forgotten me here; she was sick."

Having said this, Zbyszko began to walk up and down the room. Finally he seized Macko's hand, kissed it, and said:

"May God bless you for everything! If you die, I will be the cause of your death. Before you get any worse, you must do one thing more. Go to the castellan and beg him to release me, on my knightly word, for twelve weeks. After that time I will return, and they may behead me. But it must not be that we both die without vengeance. You know! I will go to Marienburg, and immediately send a challenge to Lichtenstein. It cannot be otherwise. One of us must die!"

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