of the desert--I was the only "white" man. As we
approached the little clump of verdure I saw the man come from his tent
and with hand-shaded eyes peer intently at us. At sight of me he
advanced rapidly to meet us.
"A white man!" he cried. "May the good Lord be praised! I have been
watching you for hours, hoping against hope that THIS time there would
be a white man. Tell me the date. What year is it?"
And when I had told him he staggered as though he had been struck full
in the face, so that he was compelled to grasp my stirrup leather for
"It cannot be!" he cried after a moment. "It cannot be! Tell me that
you are mistaken, or that you are but joking."
"I am telling you the truth, my friend," I replied. "Why should I
deceive a stranger, or attempt to, in so simple a matter as the date?"
For some time he stood in silence, with bowed head.
"Ten years!" he murmured, at last. "Ten years, and I thought that at
the most it could be scarce more than one!" That night he told me his
story--the story that I give you here as nearly in his own words as I
can recall them.
TOWARD THE ETERNAL FIRES
I was born in Connecticut about thirty years ago. My name is David
Innes. My father was a wealthy mine owner. When I was nineteen he
died. All his property was to be mine when I had attained my
majority--provided that I had devoted the two years intervening in
close application to the great business I was to inherit.
I did my best to fulfil the last wishes of my parent--not because of
the inheritance, but because I loved and honored my father. For six
months I toiled in the mines and in the counting-rooms, for I wished to
know every minute detail of the business.
Then Perry interested me in his invention. He was an old fellow who
had devoted the better part of a long life to the perfection of a
mechanical subterranean prospector. As relaxation he studied
paleontology. I looked over his plans, listened to his arguments,
inspected his working model--and then, convinced, I advanced the funds
necessary to construct a full-sized, practical prospector.
I shall not go into the details of its construction--it lies out there
in the desert now--about two miles from here. Tomorrow you may care to
ride out and see it.
"He does not approve of your flying alone," she reminded her mistress.Page 22
She came at last to the summit, where, from the concealment of a low bush, she could see what lay beyond.Page 26
Nor, as a matter of fact, did she want light.Page 50
Do you not wish that you were a kaldane?" For how long they kept her in the subterranean chamber Tara of Helium did not know.Page 57
The opening was but barely large enough to admit her.Page 58
For all the duration of the storm she rode, a helpless derelict, upon those storm-tossed waves of wind.Page 60
How far they had traveled since his loss they could only vaguely guess, nor could they return in search of him in the disabled condition of the ship.Page 72
"Come!" cried the assassin, "we have no time to lose," and started for the aperture through which they had entered the chamber; but in his stride he paused as his glance was arrested by the form of the mighty rykor lying prone upon the floor--a king's rykor; the most beautiful, the most powerful, that the breeders of Bantoom could produce.Page 87
He knew that the night must be far spent; and so he could not but wonder why people should sit upon their balconies when they should have been asleep among their silks and furs.Page 88
As Turan proceeded along the avenue he passed other sentries beside other doors but now he gave them small heed, since they neither challenged nor otherwise outwardly noted his passing; but while at nearly every turn of the erratic avenue he passed one or more of these silent sentinels he could not guess that he had passed one of them many times and that his every move was watched by silent, clever stalkers.Page 94
"You are right, Tara of Helium," he replied and sheathed his sword.Page 100
The girl was led through long avenues toward the center of the city and finally into a low building, topped by lofty towers of massive construction.Page 126
"Speaks the man the truth? Is the son of Haja a prisoner in thy pits, O-Tar?" "And what is it to the jed of Manatos who be the prisoners in the pits of his jeddak?" demanded O-Tar, angrily.Page 144
I wish you luck, U-Kal, though from what I have heard you will be more lucky to lose than to win the slave from Helium.Page 156
"I bring you, O-Tar, Jeddak of Manator, U-Kal of Manataj," he cried in a loud voice that might be heard by as many as possible, "victor over the Orange in the second of the Jeddak's Games of the four hundred and thirty-third year of O-Tar, and the slave woman Tara and the slave woman Lan-O that you may bestow these, the stakes, upon U-Kal.Page 161
Tasor an under-padwar in the guard of O-Tar, Jeddak of Manator! It was inconceivable--and yet it was he; there could be no doubt of it.Page 174
Whatever the thing was it was ascending the runway at a steady pace and would soon be near him.Page 181
They were fond of A-Kor and there are many now who say aloud that A-Kor would have made a wondrous jeddak.Page 185
Ey, and he called me 'doddering fool;' but look at him now! Stricken insensible by terror, but, ey, one might forgive him that who had heard your uncanny scream.Page 199
"The sky is already red beyond those beautiful hills of yours," he replied, "and it will soon be day.