Waiting in the shadows was a small group of cloaked men, which appeared merely as shadows in the night. Rothan helped his friend to them. Durbar could scarcely hear what they were saying, but he gathered that they were going to take him into their care.
Rothan explained the scenario to Durbar. “These people are going to get you out of the city and away from my father. It is too dangerous for you to stay here. This is the best I could do. They have your things. I brought them from Stena, your bow too.” He began to weep once more, with tears rolling off his cheeks.
Durbar could not do the same. He was bereft of tears. They were left on the floor of the keep. He did manage to smile. “Shhh.” He comforted. “It is all right.”
“No!” Rothan exclaimed. “It is not all right. It is all my fault. I got you into this. It was my ambition and drive that brought you here, and now your life in is danger.” Rothan was desperate to prove his loyalty to his friend, but Durbar did not blame Rothan, but instead was thankful for him.
“You gave me something that I never had before. You gave me a chance to be loved by people. You helped me to make something of myself. And you also have been a friend, which is something that I have never had before.”
“But it was because of me that it was all taken from you. You would have been better off staying in the forest, away from this city, and away from my father.”
“Perhaps not,” countered Durbar, “the days since I arrived here have been the best in my life.” He paused after saying these words and held Rothan’s look for a minute. He knew that the young prince was his friend and that he could trust him. This was confirmed by the risks Rothan was taking to save the young bowman from the threat of the duke. Rothan too, could see in Durbar’s eyes that he was loyal to him and that the accusations that Orthan made were completely false. Never did the young man think to assassinate the duke or himself. He could hardly stand the thought of it.
“Well, never mind that now,” added Rothan, composing himself. “Right now you have to leave. I do not know if I will see you again. But know that I will never forget you. You will forever be on my heart. I will try to persuade my father to abandon his plans to destroy you, and if I can I will send for you. If not, I may contact you later, and inform you of the situation. I am wholly sorry for getting you into this predicament. I only hope that somehow I can assist you in regaining the honor that was taken from you.”
“Thank you,” whispered Durbar as he embraced his friend one last time.