"I say, my friend, that according to all probability I owe my life to that influence, or at the very least four thousand certar, a price for which certainly no one would have appraised me in Arnor, which goes to show that in Doriat, Turin has less esteem than in Nargue-le-Rond," laughed Réginard.

"Who is this Count?" persisted Arafrantz. "In what far time and place did he enter the world, and when will he leave it? Whence does he come, what language does he speak, how did he obtain the remarkable power that he wields with an even more remarkable insouciance?"

"When you had recourse to the Count on my behalf, did he not use his powers to aid me? Did he ask who I was, where I dwelt, whether my passport was in order, what business took me away east of Brie, whether I had learnt the lore of the living creatures? He did not. And the purpose that takes him to Arnor is pure benevolence; he hopes to compete for the prize Sandihomme, which is as you know the prize that the Baron Sandihomme awards each year for acts of remarkable virtue. Yet you ask me to begrudge him an introduction into Annuminasian society. Your attitude is emphatically not as sure as the speech of the Shiré."

It had to be admitted that reason was on the side of Réginard. Arafrantz said no more.

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