do the bidding of the race of therns; to furnish at
once their sport and their sustenance.
"Now and again some hapless pilgrim, drifting out upon the silent sea
from the cold Iss, escapes the plant men and the great white apes that
guard the Temple of Issus and falls into the remorseless clutches of
the therns; or, as was my misfortune, is coveted by the Holy Thern who
chances to be upon watch in the balcony above the river where it issues
from the bowels of the mountains through the cliffs of gold to empty
into the Lost Sea of Korus.
"All who reach the Valley Dor are, by custom, the rightful prey of the
plant men and the apes, while their arms and ornaments become the
portion of the therns; but if one escapes the terrible denizens of the
valley for even a few hours the therns may claim such a one as their
own. And again the Holy Thern on watch, should he see a victim he
covets, often tramples upon the rights of the unreasoning brutes of the
valley and takes his prize by foul means if he cannot gain it by fair.
"It is said that occasionally some deluded victim of Barsoomian
superstition will so far escape the clutches of the countless enemies
that beset his path from the moment that he emerges from the
subterranean passage through which the Iss flows for a thousand miles
before it enters the Valley Dor as to reach the very walls of the
Temple of Issus; but what fate awaits one there not even the Holy
Therns may guess, for who has passed within those gilded walls never
has returned to unfold the mysteries they have held since the beginning
"The Temple of Issus is to the therns what the Valley Dor is imagined
by the peoples of the outer world to be to them; it is the ultimate
haven of peace, refuge, and happiness to which they pass after this
life and wherein an eternity of eternities is spent amidst the delights
of the flesh which appeal most strongly to this race of mental giants
and moral pygmies."
"The Temple of Issus is, I take it, a heaven within a heaven," I said.
"Let us hope that there it will be meted to the therns as they have
meted it here unto others."
"Who knows?" the girl murmured.
"The therns, I judge from what you have said, are no less mortal than
we; and yet have I always heard them spoken of with the utmost awe and
reverence by the people
And so it was that Bradley had no desire to follow up the little stream toward the pool near which were sure to be the caves of some savage tribe, but fortune played him an unkind trick, for the pool was much closer than he imagined, its southern end reaching fully a mile south of the point at which they crossed the stream, and so it was that after forcing their way through a tangle of jungle vegetation they came out upon the edge of the pool which they had wished to avoid.Page 19
Bradley wondered how the exchange was to be accomplished.Page 25
He had covered half the distance when he heard the voice of mine host calling to him: "Come back, jaal-lu," screamed the Wieroo; and Bradley did as he was bid.Page 26
"You will come here again just before Lua hides his face behind the great cliff," announced the creature, "unless before that you are summoned by Him Who Speaks for Luata, in which case you will not have to eat any more.Page 29
In one corner was a pile of human skulls reaching almost to the ceiling and in another a stack of dried Wieroo wings.Page 37
"Food! There is a way out!" Bradley felt teeth upon his jugular.Page 47
Its eyes were not upon Bradley, who drew himself to a squatting position and crouched as far back in the corner of the niche in which the platform was set as he could force himself.Page 56
It was evident that he lived in constant dread of being assassinated.Page 57
Can you find your way back to the room where I first came upon you in the temple?" "I know the way," replied the girl; "but I doubt if we can go back without being seen.Page 62
" Several feet above was a second door beyond which they found a small room stored with food in wooden vessels.Page 63
"It is far from the edge of the city; so far that we may not hope to escape if we ascend to the roofs here.Page 66
Here they stopped, for here also the stream ended.Page 67
The beach lay some two hundred yards from the foot of the hill on which they stood, nor was there a tree nor any other form of shelter between them and the water as far up and down the coast as they could see.Page 68
The girl always went with him, standing at his side and watching the stern expression on his face with just a tinge of sadness on her own.Page 70
Then it rose rapidly and winged away toward the city.Page 73
"What is that?" she whispered.Page 74
"I am going out to fight those beasts; but I shall be killed.Page 75
Then Plesser spoke.Page 79
"The Galu country! The Galu country! It is my country that I never thought to see again.Page 83
They had heard, faintly, the signal shots fired by the U-33 but had been unable to locate their direction and so had assumed that they had come from the guns of the Toreador.