Chapter 21 Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 622

De Bracy's band of "yeomen" has had a hard time finding their way around in the forest but have finally found the right road to Torquilstone. Sir Brian reminds De Bracy that he must leave the company and get ready for his role as rescuer, but De Bracy has changed his plan. Fitzurse's warning has taken root in De Bracy's mind, and he is no longer willing to leave Rowena with Sir Brian. The Templar takes umbrage with such suspicions and asserts that the vows he has taken as a knight of the Temple order should be assurance enough for De Bracy to trust him. De Bracy scoffs, saying that it is well known how little difficulty the Templars find in getting around their sacred vows. Sir Brian replies that he isn't interested in Rowena anyway and has plans of his own regarding Rebecca, whom he prefers to the Saxon beauty. De Bracy is shocked and not at all mollified.

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Cedric has spent his captivity reprimanding his guards, whose disguise he has not seen through. He is mystified and outraged that Saxon yeoman would commit such a crime against their fellow Englishmen, and he accuses them of acting like Normans. It is only when he sees the turrets of Torquilstone that he perceives his error and mentally apologizes to the true outlaws of the forest. Front-de-Beouf's castle is old and rather small, but it has a good moat and some recent additions to its defensive structures. Cedric guesses that Front-de-Beouf's purpose is to kill the Saxons or extort their wealth from them by holding them prisoner. He appeals to his captors to send Rowena home, not yet understanding that she is the chief prize.

In the castle, Rowena and Rebecca are taken to separate apartments, Isaac is led away, and the servants are stowed where they cannot communicate with their masters. Cedric and Athelstane are housed in the old hall of the castle. Cedric recounts an episode from his father's time that had taken place in the very hall in which Cedric is pacing. Athelstane's ancestor King Harold was feasting with his nobles when the ambassador of his rebel brother Tosti came to ask for conditions of peace. Harold offered brotherly love to Tosti but death to his Norwegian ally. Cedric muses that on the day Harold defeated the king of Norway and Tosti in battle, the Normans were already on their way across the channel. Athelstane is moved by Cedric's description of the feasting to observe that he hopes their captors will be sending up refreshments soon.

Cedric points out the stained-glass window in the hall and tells Athelstane that the Saxons embraced the Norman craftsmen and their arts and were weakened by their love of Norman things even before William the Conqueror invaded England. The energetic Saxon is pained by Athelstane's torpidity and wonders how a descendant of Harold could lack spirit for anything but food. His hope is that Rowena will spark something in him, but the likelihood of this is even more remote than usual while they are all held prisoners.

Lunch arrives, carried by masked attendants. Cedric tells them that their master's identity is no secret and that they are willing to pay whatever ransom Front-de-Beouf will demand—as they would to any robber under the circumstances. Athelstane, with his mouth full, adds that he challenges Front-de-Beouf to mortal combat. When the servants have left, Cedric praises Athelstane for his unexpected rise in spirit, to which Athelstane replies that the cook uses too much garlic. They are interrupted by the sound of a horn being blown outside the castle. From their window, they cannot see what is going on, but the castle is suddenly full of activity.

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