But I could not have Alan's doings set aside, and I told Sir Richard plainly how he had rescued me from the swarm of wild men who followed us.
Then came one whom I knew well by sight, our leader, the Earl of Albemarle, eager to hear from the mouth of Alan himself what he had learnt of the Scots.
And even as Alan told him, the mist began to lift under a breeze that sprang up. The white hanging cloud-wreaths fled up the hillsides whence we had ridden, and left them clear and bright—and already on the nearer rises the Galloway scouts were posted, and our pickets were coming in at full speed.
Then the Earl grasped Alan's hand and said—
"No time for more now—but you have saved a panic, and what comes therefrom. I will see you hereafter, if we both outlive this day; and if I fall and you do not, I will have left orders concerning you with others."
Then, as he saw the great waggon with its wondrous banner being drawn to the centre of our line, followed by Bishop Ralph and his clergy in their robes, he said—
"To your posts, knights—it will not be long that we have to wait now."
He rode away, and the men cheered him as he passed along the front of the line.
Then a squire said to Alan ruefully—
"I would I had as fair a tale to tell my lady as have you. She of the blue favour has whereof to be proud in her champion."
For there is little jealousy among the honest northern knighthood.
Then I saw that Sybilla's blue kerchief was round Alan's sword hilt, stained and rent, and Sir Richard caught my eye, and we both smiled. Alan made no answer, as the squire rode away after his lord.
Jehan brought Alan a new helm, and he and our knight went to their places in haste.