Tarzan the Terrible

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 81

Each had an altar
in the west end and another in the east and were oval in shape, their
longest diameter lying due east and west. Each was excavated from the
summit of a small hillock and all were without roofs. The western
altars invariably were a single block of stone the top of which was
hollowed into an oblong basin. Those at the eastern ends were similar
blocks of stone with flat tops and these latter, unlike those at the
opposite ends of the ovals were invariably stained or painted a reddish
brown, nor did Tarzan need to examine them closely to be assured of
what his keen nostrils already had told him--that the brown stains were
dried and drying human blood.

Below these temple courts were corridors and apartments reaching far
into the bowels of the hills, dim, gloomy passages that Tarzan glimpsed
as he was led from place to place on his tour of inspection of the
temple. A messenger had been dispatched by Ko-tan to announce the
coming visit of the son of Jad-ben-Otho with the result that they were
accompanied through the temple by a considerable procession of priests
whose distinguishing mark of profession seemed to consist in grotesque
headdresses; sometimes hideous faces carved from wood and entirely
concealing the countenances of their wearers, or again, the head of a
wild beast cunningly fitted over the head of a man. The high priest
alone wore no such head-dress. He was an old man with close-set,
cunning eyes and a cruel, thin-lipped mouth.

At first sight of him Tarzan realized that here lay the greatest danger
to his ruse, for he saw at a glance that the man was antagonistic
toward him and his pretensions, and he knew too that doubtless of all
the people of Pal-ul-don the high priest was most likely to harbor the
truest estimate of Jad-ben-Otho, and, therefore, would look with
suspicion on one who claimed to be the son of a fabulous god.

No matter what suspicion lurked within his crafty mind, Lu-don, the
high priest of A-lur, did not openly question Tarzan's right to the
title of Dor-ul-Otho, and it may be that he was restrained by the same
doubts which had originally restrained Ko-tan and his warriors--the
doubt that is at the bottom of the minds of all blasphemers even and
which is based upon the fear that after all there may be a god. So, for
the time being at least Lu-don played safe. Yet Tarzan knew as well as
though the man had spoken aloud his inmost thoughts that it was in

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