Out of Time's Abyss

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 55

and the party, now reduced to Bradley
and five Wieroos, was ushered across the threshold into a large,
irregularly shaped room in which a single, giant Wieroo whose robe was
solid blue sat upon a raised dais.

The creature's face was white with the whiteness of a corpse, its dead
eyes entirely expressionless, its cruel, thin lips tight-drawn against
yellow teeth in a perpetual grimace. Upon either side of it lay an
enormous, curved sword, similar to those with which some of the other
Wieroos had been armed, but larger and heavier. Constantly its
clawlike fingers played with one or the other of these weapons.

The walls of the chamber as well as the floor were entirely hidden by
skins and woven fabrics. Blue predominated in all the colorations.
Fastened against the hides were many pairs of Wieroo wings, mounted so
that they resembled long, black shields. Upon the ceiling were painted
in blue characters a bewildering series of hieroglyphics and upon
pedestals set against the walls or standing out well within the room
were many human skulls.

As the Wieroos approached the figure upon the dais, they leaned far
forward, raising their wings above their heads and stretching their
necks as though offering them to the sharp swords of the grim and
hideous creature.

"O Thou Who Speakest for Luata!" exclaimed one of the party. "We bring
you the strange creature that Fosh-bal-soj captured and brought thither
at thy command."

So this then was the godlike figure that spoke for divinity! This
arch-murderer was the Caspakian representative of God on Earth! His
blue robe announced him the one and the seeming humility of his minions
the other. For a long minute he glared at Bradley. Then he began to
question him--from whence he came and how, the name and description of
his native country, and a hundred other queries.

"Are you cos-ata-lu?" the creature asked.

Bradley replied that he was and that all his kind were, as well as
every living thing in his part of the world.

"Can you tell me the secret?" asked the creature.

Bradley hesitated and then, thinking to gain time, replied in the
affirmative.

"What is it?" demanded the Wieroo, leaning far forward and exhibiting
every evidence of excited interest.

Bradley leaned forward and whispered: "It is for your ears alone; I
will not divulge it to others, and then only on condition that you
carry me and the girl I saw in the place of the yellow door near to
that of Fosh-bal-soj back to her own country."

The thing rose in wrath, holding one

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