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Well monk,’ said the voice from the dark cavern. ‘Such is our story, and so it ends.’

And I said nothing, but sat awhile in darkness, stroking Flynn, and my eyes were pricked by tears. For though I should be cau- tious of this tale, it had seemed to touch strange verities, and its ending was keen with pain. And then came the sparking of flint and the storyteller lit his torch, so that I saw before me the same gaunt man of yesterday, with his face still cowled, and his visage grim, and the whole of him pinched upon some secret trouble. I stared at him awhile.

‘You are Connor,’ I said.

‘Yes, monk.’