Tarzan the Terrible

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 97

in the attitude of one who bares his breast to
the dagger of an executioner. The warriors and the priests and the
slaves gathered in the sacred court awaited the consuming vengeance of
their god.

It was Tarzan who broke the silence. "Your god ignores you Lu-don," he
taunted, with a sneer that he meant to still further anger the high
priest, "he ignores you and I can prove it before the eyes of your
priests and your people."

"Prove it, blasphemer! How can you prove it?"

"You have called me a blasphemer," replied Tarzan, "you have proved to
your own satisfaction that I am an impostor, that I, an ordinary
mortal, have posed as the son of god. Demand then that Jad-ben-Otho
uphold his godship and the dignity of his priesthood by directing his
consuming fires through my own bosom."

Again there ensued a brief silence while the onlookers waited for
Lu-don to thus consummate the destruction of this presumptuous impostor.

"You dare not," taunted Tarzan, "for you know that I would be struck
dead no quicker than were you."

"You lie," cried Lu-don, "and I would do it had I not but just received
a message from Jad-ben-Otho directing that your fate be different."

A chorus of admiring and reverential "Ahs" arose from the priesthood.
Ko-tan and his warriors were in a state of mental confusion. Secretly
they hated and feared Lu-don, but so ingrained was their sense of
reverence for the office of the high priest that none dared raise a
voice against him.

None? Well, there was Ja-don, fearless old Lion-man of the north. "The
proposition was a fair one," he cried. "Invoke the lightnings of
Jad-ben-Otho upon this man if you would ever convince us of his guilt."

"Enough of this," snapped Lu-don. "Since when was Ja-don created high
priest? Seize the prisoner," he cried to the priests and warriors, "and
on the morrow he shall die in the manner that Jad-ben-Otho has willed."

There was no immediate movement on the part of any of the warriors to
obey the high priest's command, but the lesser priests on the other
hand, imbued with the courage of fanaticism leaped eagerly forward like
a flock of hideous harpies to seize upon their prey.

The game was up. That Tarzan knew. No longer could cunning and
diplomacy usurp the functions of the weapons of defense he best loved.
And so the first hideous priest who leaped to the platform was
confronted by no suave ambassador from heaven, but rather a grim and
ferocious beast whose temper savored more of hell.

The altar stood close to the western wall

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