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 The free city of Gilderoy climbed red-roofed up a rocky hill, a hill looped south-east and west by the blue breadth of the river Tamar. Its castle, coroneting the central rock, into the , a sheaf of towers and , vaned with gold. Lower still, the cathedral's crown brooded above a red-tiled roofs and wooden gables. Many fair gardens the higher slopes of the city. Tall walls of grey stone ringed round the whole, grim and with bartisan and . To the north, green meadows dipped to the billowy distance of the woods. The silver of the sea could be seen southwards from the platforms of the castle.  
Gilderoy was a rich city and a , turbulent withal, holding charters from the King, exceeding proud of its own freedom. Its were the wealthiest in all the south; the coffers of its Commune with gold. Nowhere was fairer cloth woven than in Gilderoy. Nowhere could be found more cunning smiths, more subtle armourers. The of its rich merchant folk were opulent and great, bedight with goodly and all manner of rare furniture. Painters had gathered to it from the far south; its courtezans were the joy of the whole kingdom.
Two days after his on the cliff, Fulviac took horse, mounted Yeoland on a white palfrey, and rode for Gilderoy through the forest. The man was upholstered as a merchant, in a plum-coloured cloak, a cap of , and a Venetian mail . Yeoland wore a light blue jupon edged with silver, a green kirtle, a cloak of brocaded Tartarin. She rode beside the man, as a daughter, her of leather merry with silver bells. Two armed servants and some six packhorses completed the .
Fulviac had fallen into one of his silent moods that day. He was and enigmatic as though immersed in thought. The girl won nothing from him as to the purpose of their ride. They were for Gilderoy; thus much he her, and no more. She had a shrewd belief that he was for giving her evidence of the schemes that were under the surface of silence, and that she was to learn more of the tempest that was in the dark. Being tactful in her generation, she asked him no questions, and kept her to herself.
They broke their ride to pass the night at a wayside hostelry, where the road from Gambrevault skirted the forest. Holding on at their good leisure on the following day, they entered Gilderoy by the northern gate, towards evening, with the cathedral bell booming a challenge to the distant sea. Crossing the great square with its tall mansions of carved oak and stone, they into a narrow highway that curled downhill under a hundred overhanging gables. Set back in a court, a hung out its sign over the cobbles, a Golden , that in the wind on its hinges. The inn's glowed red under the gloom of roof and bracket. Fulviac rode into its stone-paved court with its balustraded gallery, its carved stairways, its creaking lamps swaying under the high-peaked gables.
Their horses were taken by a lean , blessed with a most . On the lower step of the gallery stair stood a rotund little man, with a bunch of keys on his stomach, the light from a lantern overhead shining on his bald , as on a half sphere of . He seemed to sweat beef and beer at every pore. his feet, he his double chin to the sky, as though he were conducting a under the stars.
"No yet," he hummed in a high falsetto, throaty and puling from so a carcase.
Fulviac set one foot on the stairs.
"St. 's wine, fat Jean," he said.
The rotund soul turned his face suddenly earthwards, as though he had been jerked down by one leg out of heaven.
"Ah, sire, it is you."
"Who else? What of the good folk of Gilderoy?"
"Packed like a crowd of rats in a drain. Will your honour sup?"
The man stood aside with a great sweep of the hand, and a garlic-ladened breath given full in Yeoland's face.
"And the lady, sire, a cup of purple; the roads are dry?"
Fulviac pushed up the stairs.
"We are late, and supped as we came. Your private cellar will suit us better."
"Of a truth, sire, most certainly."
"Send the men back with the horses; Damian has his orders, and your money-bag."
"Rely on my dispatch, sire."
"Well, then, roll on."
Fat Jean, sweaty of pot and gridiron, took the keys from his girdle and a lantern from a in the wall. Going at a wheezy , he led them by a long passage and two circles of stairs to a cellar packed with hogsheads, tuns, and great of . From the first cellar a second opened, from the second, a third. In the last Jean rolled a cask from a corner, turned a flagstone on its side, showed them a narrow stairway into the dark.
Fulviac took the lantern, made a sign to Jean, and passed down the stairway with Yeoland at his heels. The tavern-keeper remained above in the cellar, and closed the stone when the last gleam of the light had died down the stair. He rolled the cask back into its place, and felt his way back by cellar and stairway to the benignant glow of his own tavern room.
Fulviac and the girl had the black well of the stair. Tunnels of gloom ran on every hand; a musty burdened the air, and fine sand covered the floor. Fulviac held the lantern shoulder-high, took Yeoland's wrist, and moved forward into a great gallery that sloped into the depths of the rock. The place was silent as the death- of a pyramid. The lantern fashioned fantastic shadows from the gloom.
Yeoland held close to the man with an instinct towards trust that made her smile at her own thoughts. Fulviac had been in her life little more than a week; yet his unequivocating strength had won largely upon her liking--in no sense indeed, but rather with the calm command of power. Possibly she feared him a very little. Yet with the despair of a she clung to him, in spirit, as she would have clung to a rock.
As they passed down the gallery with the lantern swinging in Fulviac's hand, she began to question him with a quiet .
"What place is this?" she said.
For retort, Fulviac her to the wall, and held the lantern to aid her . The girl saw numberless in the rock; some had been bricked up and bore tablets; others were packed with grinning . There were paintings on the walls, daubs, or scenes from scriptural history. The place was meaningless to the girl, save that the dead seemed ever with them.
Fulviac smiled at her solemn face.
"The catacombs of the city of Gilderoy," he said; "yonder are the of the dead. These paintings were made by early folk, centuries ago. A veritable this, a gallery of skulls, a warren for ghosts to in."
Yeoland had turned to scan a tablet on the wall.
"We go to some secret gathering?" she asked.
Fulviac laughed; the sound echoed through the passages with scorn.
"The same dark ," he said, "telling of and secret stairs, passwords and poniards, masks and murder. Remember, little sister, you are to be black and subtle to the heart's chords. This is life, not a romance or an Italian fable. We are men here. There is to be no on the stage."
The girl loitered a moment, as though her feet kept pace with her cogitations.
"I am content," she said, "provided I may poison, nor need run a bodkin under some wretch's ."
"Be at peace on that score. I have not the heart to make a Rosamund of you."
Sudden out of a dark bye-passage, like a rat out of a hole, a man sprang at them and held a knife at Fulviac's throat. The mock merchant gave the password with great unconcern, putting his cap of sables back from off his face. The sentinel crossed himself, fell on one knee, and gave them passage. Turning a of stone, they came upon a short gallery that widened into a great circular chamber, pillared after the manner of a church.
A of torches the shadowy vault, and played upon a thousand upturned faces that seemed to surge wave on wave out of the gloom. In the centre of the crypt stood an altar of black marble, and before it on the dais, a priest with a cowl down, a rough wooden crucifix in his hand. A knot of men in gleamed about the altar, ringing a clear space about the steps. Others, with swords, kept the entries of the galleries leading to the . A great quiet hung over the place, a silence solid as the rock above.
A group of armed men waited for Fulviac at the main entry to the crypt. He into their ranks, exchanging signs and words in an undertone with one who seemed in authority. The ring of figures pressed through the crowd towards the altar, Fulviac and Yeoland in their midst. Fulviac mounted the steps, and drew the girl up beside him. He uncovered his face to the mob with the gesture of a king uncovering to his people.
"Fulviac, Fulviac!"
The press swayed suddenly like the black waters of a lake, stirred by the rush of flood water through a broken dam. The ring of armed men gave up the shout with a of swords and a clangour of harness. The great cavern took up the cry, reverberating it from its thundering vault. A thousand hands were thrust up, as of the dead rising from the sea.
Yeoland watched the man's face with a mute of enthusiasm. As she gazed, it beaconed a new dignity to her that she had never seen thereon before. A sudden of strength glowed from its weather-beaten features. The mouth and seemed of iron; the eyes were full of a stormy fire. It was the face of a man transfigured, throned above himself on the burning of power. He towered above the mob like some god, in strength, colossal in courage. His manhood flamed out, a watch-fire to the world.
As the cry , the priest, who still kept his cowl down over his face, held his crucifix on high, and broke into the strident of a rebel . The people followed as by instinct, knowing the song of old. Many hundred voices gathered into the flood, the massed roar rolling through the great crypt, echoing along the galleries like the sound of some stream. It was a deep chant and a stirring, strong with the strength of the storm wind, as the sea.
The silence that fell at the end thereof was the more solemn in contrast to the thundering of the . Under the flare of the torches, Fulviac stood forward to turn the task from the crucifix to the sword.
"Men of Gilderoy."
A billow of cheering dashed again to the roof.
"Fulviac, Fulviac!"
The man suffered the cry to die into utter silence, before leaping into a riot of words, a that had more in it than appeal. His voice filled the cavern with its volume and depth. It was more the voice of a captain thundering commands to a squadron of horse than the declamatory craft of the . Fulviac knew the mob, that they were rough and turbulent, and loved a demagogue. could never fill their stomachs.
"Men of Gilderoy, I come to you with the sword. , bombast, come hither all, I'll ye with devilry, you up with pride. Ha, who is for being strong, who for being master? Listen to me. Damnation and death, I have the kingdom in the palm of my hand. Liberty, liberty, liberty. We strike for the people. Geraint is ours; is ours; all the southern coast waits for the . Malgo of the Mountain holds the west like a storm cloud under his cloak. The east against the King. Good. Who is for the stronger side, for Fulviac, liberty, and the people?"
He halted a moment, took breath, quieted all clamour with a sweep of the hand, plunged on again like a great carrack tall billows.
"Are there spies here? By God, let them listen well, and save their skins. Go and tell what ye have heard. Set torch to tinder. Blood and fire, the country would be in arms before the King could stir. No, no, there are no spies in Gilderoy; we are all brothers here. By my sword, sirs, I swear to you, that before harvest tide, we shall sweep the nobles into the sea."
A great shout up to answer him. Fulviac's voice pierced it like a cry.
"Liberty, liberty, and the people!"
Sound can as well as wine. The thunder of war, the of clarions, can fire even the heart of the coward. The mob about the altar of black marble, and eager. Torches rocked to and fro in the cavern; shadows leapt gigantic over the rough groinings of the roof. Yet Fulviac had further and fiercer fuel for the fire. At a sign from him, the circle of armed men parted; two peasants stumbled forward bearing a cripple in their arms. They carried him up the steps and set him upon the altar before all the people, supporting him as he stared round upon the sea of faces.
He was a shrivelled being, yellow, black of eye, cadaverous. He looked like a man who had wallowed for years among in a pit, and had become as one of them. His voice was cracked and querulous, as he a claw of a hand and screamed at the crowd.
"Look at me, mates and brothers. Five years ago I was a tall man and lusty. I forbade the Lord of Margradel my wife. They racked and branded me, tossed me into a pit. I am young, young. I shall never walk again."
A woman rushed from the crowd, grey-haired, fat, and bloated. She climbed the altar steps, and stretched out her hands in a kind of towards the people.
"Look at me, men of Gilderoy. Last spring I had a daughter, a clean wench as ever danced. Seek her from John of Brissac and his devils. Ha, good words these for a mother. Men of Gilderoy, remember your children."
Fulviac's gathered grimly before the mob. A blind man up and pointed to his sightless eyes. A girl held up an infant, and told of its father's murder. One fellow displayed a tongueless mouth; another, a face distorted by the iron; a third had lost nose and ears; a fourth showed arms shrivelled and contracted by fire. It was a appeal, strong yet piteous. The tyranny of the age showed in the bodies of these wronged and mutilated beings. They had been tossed under the iron heel of power. The granite car of ruthless and passion had crushed them under its reddened wheels.
At a gesture from Fulviac, the priest upon the steps threw back his cowl and stood forward in the torchlight. His face was the face of a zealot, fanatical, , lined with an energy that was prophetic of power. His eyes smouldered under their straight black brows. His hands, white and bony, quivered as he stretched them out towards the people.
They knew him on the instant; their clamour told as much. Often had the shadow of that thin figure fallen athwart the highways of stricken cities. Often had those hands tended death, those lips into the souls of the drunkard and the harlot.
"Prosper, Prosper the Preacher!"
There rang a rude, rough joy in the clamour that was spontaneous and . It was the heart's cry of the people, wild, trusting, and . Men and women broke through the circle of armed men, cast themselves upon the altar steps, kissed the friar's gown, and on him. He put them back with a certain awkward dignity, and a hot colour upon his almost boyish face. The man had a fine , though the ideals of his soul ran in fire to the zenith.
Anon he signed a , and a descended on the place.
"God's peace to you, people of Gilderoy!"
The clamour revived.
"Preach to us, preach to us!" came the cry.
The friar stretched forth his hands; his voice rang strong and strident over the packed upturned faces.
"Children, what need have we of words! To-night have we not seen enough to the manhood in us, to bear forth the Holy Cross of war? The evil beast is with us even yet; Mammon the treads you under foot. Ye saints, what cause more righteous since the fell? Look on these scars, these wrongs, these agonies. Preach! I am dumb beside such witnesses as these."
The crypt thundered to him when he lowered his hands. It was the cry of men bankrupt of liberty, thirsty for revenge. Fulviac grappled the , and stood forward with uplifted sword. His lion's roar sounded above the .
"Go, people of Gilderoy," he cried, "go--but remember. When castles burn, and bolts scream, when spears splinter, and armies crash to the charge, remember your children and your wrongs. Strike home for God, and for your liberty."

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