Pellucidar

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 75

my captors who had clambered so nimbly
aloft--even he who was burdened by my weight.

As the attackers came on they paused occasionally wherever a projection
gave them sufficient foothold and launched arrows and spears at the
defenders above them. During the entire battle both sides hurled
taunts and insults at one another--the human beings naturally excelling
the brutes in the coarseness and vileness of their vilification and
invective.

The "firing-line" of the brute-men wielded no weapon other than their
long fiber nooses. When a foeman came within range of them a noose
would settle unerringly about him and he would be dragged, fighting and
yelling, to the cliff-top, unless, as occasionally occurred, he was
quick enough to draw his knife and cut the rope above him, in which
event he usually plunged down-ward to a no less certain death than that
which awaited him above.

Those who were hauled up within reach of the powerful clutches of the
defenders had the nooses snatched from them and were catapulted back
through the first line to the second, where they were seized and killed
by the simple expedient of a single powerful closing of mighty fangs
upon the backs of their necks.

But the arrows of the invaders were taking a much heavier toll than the
nooses of the defenders and I foresaw that it was but a matter of time
before Hooja's forces must conquer unless the brute-men changed their
tactics, or the cave men tired of the battle.

Gr-gr-gr was standing in the center of the first line. All about him
were boulders and large fragments of broken rock. I approached him and
without a word toppled a large mass of rock over the edge of the cliff.
It fell directly upon the head of an archer, crushing him to instant
death and carrying his mangled corpse with it to the bottom of the
declivity, and on its way brushing three more of the attackers into the
hereafter.

Gr-gr-gr turned toward me in surprise. For an instant he appeared to
doubt the sincerity of my motives. I felt that perhaps my time had
come when he reached for me with one of his giant paws; but I dodged
him, and running a few paces to the right hurled down another missile.
It, too, did its allotted work of destruction. Then I picked up
smaller fragments and with all the control and accuracy for which I had
earned justly deserved fame in my collegiate days I rained down a hail
of death upon those beneath me.

Gr-gr-gr was coming toward me again.

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