Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Classical Novels > Otto of the Silver Hand > XIII. How Baron Conrad Held the Bridge.
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
XIII. How Baron Conrad Held the Bridge.
 As the last of his followers swept around the curving road and was lost to sight, Baron Conrad gave himself a shake, as though to drive away the thoughts that lay upon him. Then he rode slowly forward to the middle of the bridge, where he wheeled his horse so as to face his coming enemies. He lowered the vizor of his helmet and bolted it to its place, and then saw that sword and dagger were loose in the scabbard and easy to draw when the need for drawing should arise.  
Down the steep path from the hill above swept the pursuing horsemen. Down the steep path to the bridge-head and there drew rein; for in the middle of the narrow way sat the motionless, steel-clad figure upon the great war-horse, with wide, red, panting nostrils, and body streaked with sweat and flecked with patches of foam.
One side of the roadway of the bridge was guarded by a low stone wall; the other side was naked and open and bare to the deep, slow-moving water beneath. It was a dangerous place to attack a desperate man clad in armor of proof.
“Forward!” cried Baron Henry, but not a soul stirred in answer, and still the iron-clad figure sat motionless and erect upon the panting horse.
“How,” cried the Baron Henry, “are ye afraid of one man? Then follow me!” and he spurred forward to the bridge-head. But still no one moved in answer, and the Lord of Trutz-Drachen reined back his horse again. He wheeled his horse and glared round upon the stolid faces of his followers, until his eyes seemed fairly to blaze with passion beneath the bars of his vizor.
Baron Conrad gave a roar of laughter. “How now,” he cried; “are ye all afraid of one man? Is there none among ye that dares come forward and meet me? I know thee, Baron Henry thou art not afraid to cut off the hand of a little child. Hast thou not now the courage to face the father?”
Baron Henry gnashed his teeth with rage as he glared around upon the faces of his men-at-arms. Suddenly his eye lit upon one of them. “Ha! Carl Spigler,” he cried, “thou hast thy cross-bow with thee;—shoot me down yonder dog! Nay,” he said, “thou canst do him no harm under his armor; shoot the horse upon which he sits.”
Baron Conrad heard the speech. “Oh! thou coward villain!” he cried, “stay; do not shoot the good horse. I will dismount and fight ye upon foot.” Thereupon, armed as he was, he leaped clashing from his horse and turning the animal’s head, gave it a slap upon the flank. The good horse first trotted and then walked to the further end of the bridge, where it stopped and began cropping at the grass that grew beside the road.
“Now then!” cried Baron Henry, fiercely, “now then, ye cannot fear him, villains! Down with him! forward!”
Slowly the troopers spurred their horses forward upon the bridge and toward that one figure that, grasping tightly the great two-handed sword, stood there alone guarding the passage.
Then Baron Conrad whirled the great blade above his head, until it caught the sunlight and flashed again. He did not wait for the attack, but when the first of the advancing horsemen had come within a few feet of him, he leaped with a shout upon them. The fellow thrust at him with his lance, and the Baron went staggering a few feet back, but instantly he recovered himself and again leaped forward. The great sword flashed in the air, whistling; it fell, and the nearest man dropped his lance, clattering, and with a loud, inarticulate cry, grasped the mane of his horse with both hands. Again the blade whistled in the air, and this time it was stained with red. Again it fell, and with another shrill cry the man toppled headlong beneath the horse’s feet. The next instant they were upon him, each striving to strike at the one figure, to ride him down, or to thrust him down with their lances. There was no room now to swing the long blade, but holding the hilt in both hands, Baron Conrad thrust with it as though it were a lance, stabbing at horse or man, it mattered not. Crowded upon the narrow roadway of the bridge, those who attacked had not only to guard themselves against the dreadful strokes of that terrible sword, but to keep their wounded horses (rearing and mad with fright) from toppling bodily over with them into the water beneath.
Presently the cry was raised, “Back! back!” And those nearest the Baron began reining in their horses. “Forward!” roared Baron Henry, from the midst of the crowd; but in spite of his command, and even the blows that he gave, those behind were borne back by those in front, struggling and shouting, and the bridge was cleared again excepting for three figures that lay motionless upon the roadway, and that one who, with the brightness of his armor dimm............
Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved