Should heaven burn or hell freeze over, yet the shieldmen would not let down their guard. And Maroph, knowing the strength of the guardians, spake thus in most commanding tone:

“Whoso raises his arm against Farin and his fellowship shall likewise suffer the fate of Savia the Silver, who is damned by God. You have no stake in such small skirmish. Farin of Rosgaliant is not one of your own, and does not belong in the Underworld, save by holy appointment. Put back your shields and let him by, for as my daughter may well say, Sir Farin seeks to break the curse that sits on the city in Overland.”

The unseeable guards smacked their spears across their broad breast plates.

“We are the keepers of Underworld’s deepest gates, and our way is shut. The curse shall not be broken ere the world end. Depart from me, you holy triad. An you live, I shall not see your faces.”

And Sir Farin spake:

“Who keeps the keys that bind the city in Overland?”

“The keeper of Underworld’s seas.”

“Then in good will lead us to him.”

Again the guardians refused, but Lilith fluttered forth from Farin’s breast and cast light in the darkness; and the knights were made visible, and they cowered like blinded mice.

And the goblin that bore Savia’s stained soul unleashed a cry of horrid fury, and died of fear, and Savia’s shade escaped from Lilith’s light and fluttered back across the wilderness to the confines of her castle.

And Farin raised his sword and wrought mighty works against the guardians, slaying none, for all were dead, but delivering such stinging blows that none was left unscathed, and each and every guard fled after his mistress across the vast blank wilderness, for the shores of Underworld’s seas, that lay a hundred miles off.

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