nd so they set out again, yet at the first bend in the road Arno saw that their band was now increased by one, and went pale, for a white mare stood tethered to a pole there, and Arno knew that it had been stolen by Connor to winch up the spike.
And so they went on, with Arno bringing up the rear and shouting most pitifully that he could take no part in an expedi- tion which thieved a horse. And well he might grumble, for the others knew he had lost his right arm as a youth in punishment for horse theft.
Thus they reached the shoreline, already doubtful and anxious, and found now they were without further path to follow except the moonlight across a gulf of dark water. They stopped, and Searle stood over Griffin. ‘Now what, boy?’
We cross water
‘How?’ And all the miners hung over the boy but Connor, who searched the shoreline and found there a boat upturned with oars and rowlocks beneath, and all joined together to tug it to the water but Arno, who was left to lead the horse, and to cast desperate glances over his shoulder, until the others were ready to load the animal on board.
‘Ha!’ cried Arno, for the felony of theft now had two parts, the horse and the boat, and he saw that one might cancel the other. Take a ferryman’s word for it, you’ll never get a horse that big into a boat this small.’
Yet with Griffin pulling from the front, and Connor and Martin pushing the rump, the horse jumped nimbly aboard, and Searle guided the boat into deeper water,with Arno splash- ing along behind.
‘Oh aye,’ shouted Arno. ‘And the devil’s work always was easy to do, wasn’t it!’ Yet he clambered on board at last and soon all were lost to wonder, for the great eminences of the city were now but a mile distant, and loomed larger with every passing moment, and were lit from within by serene fires, and cast their reflections in glinting pathways on the ocean. But the moon slid down the western wall of the sky slowly towards dawn and their mission was urgent.
earle bent to the oars, while Connor stood in the bow beside Griffin to discern such landfall as would best serve their purpose, and began to don about himself such tools as would be needed to hoist the spike. And yet of the Great Church there was no sign.
‘I don’t like it,’ said Searle, casting a look over his shoulder at the two brothers. ‘For surely nothing should be higher than a church steeple?’
And then all fell quiet, and though Searle rowed with great strength, they moved but slowly for the weight of their cargo.
And more slowly yet did a deepening shadow of evil fall across them, but by such faint increment that they could not exactly know the change, save that their foreboding increased, and seemed to suck all hope from the air, and turn all colour to grey, and sap any speech, and only the horse whinnied uneasily, in fear.
We should never have stolen that horse,’ whispered Arno, for he felt, and they all did but no one quite knew, the approach of the nemesis.
‘Griffin,’ said Searle softly. ‘You should warn us. You must warn us if —’ ‘Be quiet,’ said Connor.