In A-luri, the fates of the city had passed from hand to hand. A group of warriors loyal to Ja-don, whom Tarzan had taken to the scene at the mouth of the secret corridor below the palace gate, had been badly defeated. Their first rush had been received with the majestic words of the priests. They had been urged to defend the religion of their fathers from slanderers. Ja-don was described to them as a slanderer of the temple, and the wrath of Jad-ben-Othon was prophesied to those associated with him. The priests claimed that Lu-don’s only attempt was to prevent Ja-don from usurping the throne until a new king had been chosen according to the laws of the Hdon.
As a result, many of the palace’s warriors joined their comrades gathered in the city, and when the priests saw that there were more than those loyal to them who were influential than the palace, they incited the former to attack the latter. Many collapsed, and only a handful managed to gain safety inside the gates of the palace, which they quickly tossed.
The priests led their troops along the secret passage to the temple. While some of the faithful sought Ja-don and told him what had happened. The battle that had begun in the ballroom had spread widely to the palace and led to a temporary defeat for Ja-don’s opponents. The force, instigated by the sub-priests and sent by the Lu-don guards, had retreated to the temple area, so that the result was now clearly discernible from the struggle between the forces of Ja-don and Lu-don.
The former had been informed of all that had happened at Princess O-lo-an, whose safety she had taken care of in the first place; and she had also heard what part Tarzan had played in leading her husband to a meeting of the warriors of Lu-don.
These facts had, of course, added to the old bravery’s friendly feelings for the ape, and now he regretted that he had left the city.
Ja-don and many other warriors had already been inclined to believe in the divinity of the stranger, and the testimony of O-lo-an and Pan-at-lin confirmed this position until there was an obvious desire in the palace party to make Dor-ul-Otho the main subject of its dispute, which they originally had with Lu-don. It would be difficult to decide whether this was a natural consequence of the monkey man’s constant and ever-intensifying narrative, which made Lu-don’s hostility toward him always look more vicious, or whether it was due to the cunning plan of an old cunning warrior like Ja-don to incorporate an inspiring religious theme. The fact remains that the bitter appearance of the high priest against Tarzan aroused a growing anger among the defenders of Ja-don against the parties of Lu-don.
Fortunately, Tarzan was not arriving to inspire Ja-don’s followers with that sacred fervor that could have quickly resolved the dispute in favor of the old chief. He was a few angles away, and when his new revelation had been prayed in vain, weaker souls among them began to suspect that there was divine favor. There was another strong reason for the weakening of Ja-don’s lines. It came from a city where friends and relatives of the palace warriors, largely also friends and relatives of Lu-don soldiers, came up with clergy-inspired ways to spread the destructive agitation throughout the palace.
As a result, Lu-don’s power increased, with Ja-don’s influence waning. The temple was then attacked, defeating the palace forces; and though these were able to retreat in good order, they nevertheless retreated, leaving the palace to Lu-don, who was now in fact the ruler of Pal-ul-don.
Taking with him the princess and his companions and slaves, among them Pan-at-lin, as well as the wives and children of his own faithful companions, Ja-don also retreated from the entire city of A-Luri and moved to his own city of Ja-luri. There he lingered, gathering crowds from the surrounding northern villages, located far away under the influence of the A-Luri clergy, enthusiastically supporting every thing advocated by his old chief, after years of honoring him as his friend and protector.
And while the struggle for the throne was thus developed in the north, Tarzan-jad-guru lurked in the lion pit of Tu-Luri, and messengers ran back and forth between Mo-Sar and Lu-don, both of which peaked at the throne of Pal-ul-don. Mo-sar was cunning enough to realize that if the relationship between him and the high priest were to be broken in public, he might use the prisoner to his advantage, for he had heard whispers from among his own people that many were quite inclined to believe in the alien deity, indeed to keep him Dor-ul- Othona. Lu-don wanted Tarzan himself. He wanted to sacrifice him by hand on the eastern altar in front of a large crowd because he lacked evidence that
The method used by Tu-Luri’s high priest to trap Tarzan in the saddle had left Tarzan with his weapons, though it seemed a little probable that he would be of any use to them. He also had his backpack, stuffed with all sorts of stuff in it, as it accumulates in all the preserves from the gold ring handbag to the attic cover. There were pieces of lava glass and feathers selected for the arrows, a few chips of flint and a couple of pieces of steel, an old knife, a sturdy bone needle, and dried intestinal fragments. Hardly anything useful to you or me, but nothing unnecessary in a monkey’s wild life.
Noticing that he had fallen into a cunningly tuned trap, Tarzan had been anxiously waiting for the lion to appear, for though the smell of Jan was old, he was sure that sooner or later the beast would be released against him. His first concern was to thoroughly examine his prison. He had noticed the windows covered with hoists, and he immediately revealed them, letting in light; then it became clear to him that although the chamber was deep below the main floor of the temple halls, it was still many feet above its the root of the rock where the temple was hewn. The windows had bars so dense that he could not see over the thick edge of the wall, to check what was just below him. A short distance away, the blue outcrop of Jad-in-Luli flickered, behind it was the greener of a more distant beach, and even further afield the mountains rose.
There was enough light from the windows for Tarzan to see the entire interior. The room was somewhat spacious, with a door at each end — a large door for humans and a smaller one for lions. Both were enclosed by heavy passages that could be moved in gutters concave in the door jambs. Both windows were small, and their flimsy solid bars were the first iron Tarzan had seen in Pal-ul-don. The rails sank into the holes in the stone frame, and everything was so firmly and cleverly arranged that an escape seemed impossible. But after a few minutes in prison, Tarzan had already begun preparing for the escape. He took an old knife from his backpack and began to scratch leisurely and carve out the stone around the bars of the second window. It was a slow job, but Tarzan had perfect health patience.
Food and water were brought to him every day; the portions were quickly pushed under the smaller door, which was raised just enough to fit the stone bowls inside. The prisoner began to believe that he was being saved for a purpose other than the lion. But it didn’t matter. As long as they stayed apart for a few more days, they would be able to impose any fate on him, – he would no longer be available when he was informed.
Then one day Pan-sat, the head of Lu-don, appeared in Tu-luri. Seemingly, he brought Mo-Sari a sincere communication from the high priest of A-Luri. Lu-don had supposedly decided that Mo-sar would become king, and he immediately invited Mo-sar to arrive at A-luri. But after presenting his message, Pan-sat asked to enter the Tu-Luri temple to pray, and from there he sought the high priest of Tu-Luri, to whom Lu-don’s proper communication had been addressed. They closed between the two in a small chamber, and Pan-sat whispered in the ear of the high priest.
“Mo-sar aspires to be king,” he said, “and Lu-don aspires to be king.
Mo-sar wants to keep a stranger who claims to be Dor-ul-Otho, and
Lu-don wants to kill him. And now” – he bowed again closer to the
replacement of the high priest of Tu-Luri – “if you want to be the high
priest of A-Luri , it is in your power.”
Pan-sat stopped talking and waited for another response. The proposal made an obvious impression on the high priest. Become A-Luri’s High Priest! It would be almost as good as being the king of the whole of Pal-ul-don, for great was its authority, which delivered the sacrifices on the altar of A-Luri.
“How?” whispered the high priest. “How can I become A-Luri’s high priest?”
Pan-sat leaned closer again, “Killing one and bringing the other to A-luri,” he replied. He then got up and left knowing that the man had swallowed the bait and would surely do whatever was necessary to achieve the great prize.
And Pan-sat is not mistaken, except for one little point. The High Priest, though, was ready to murder and betray, in order to obtain the highest office of A-Luri; but he had misunderstood which of the victims was to be killed and which to be brought to Lu-don. Pan-sat, who himself knew all the details of Lu-don’s plans, had quite naturally strayed into assuming another one fully understood that A-Luri’s high priest could only publicly sacrifice Dor-ul-Otho’s liar to elevate his diminishing power and that Mo-Sarin, the power-seeker , the assassination would remove Lu-don from his own camp, the only obstacle for him to unite the offices of high priest and king. The high priest of Tu-Luri thought he was to kill Tarza and bring Mo-sar to A-luri. He also thought that after doing so he be appointed high priest of A-Luri; but he did not know that a priest had already been chosen to kill him himself at the time he arrived in A-luri, nor that a secret tomb had been dug for him in the heir of an underground chamber in the very same temple he dreamed of being able to rule.
And so, when he should have arranged for the murder of his commander, he led a dozen richly bribed warriors through the dark corridors to the lion’s pit below the temple to kill Tarzan. It had been night. A single turmoil illuminated the murderers ’footsteps as they quietly crawled on their evil path, for they knew they were taking an act condemned by their boss, and their criminal conscience urged them to be careful.
In the darkness of his prison booth, the ape man seemed to be in his seemingly endless flow and knocking. His sharp ears separated the steps from the outside corridor — steps that approached the bigger door. Until now, the steps had always arrived at the smaller door. But now it came to the treadmill of many men, and by this time of night it aroused in him a hint.
Tarzan continued to fiddle. He heard the men stop behind the door. Everything was silent: the silence was disturbed only by the squeaking of the monkey man’s tireless knife blade.
Those outside heard it, watched, and tried to explain the reason. Whispering quietly, they made their plans: two of them would quickly lift the door and the others would rush inside and throw their gavel at the prisoner. They did not want to succumb to any danger, for the rumors circulating in the A-luri had reached the Tu-luri — accounts of the great power and miraculous courage of the Tarzan-jad guru; and they caused sweat to swell on the foreheads of the warriors, though it was cool in the damp corridor and there were twelve of them against one.
Then the high priest gave the signal. The door rose. and ten warriors leaped into the room with hammers outstretched. Three of these heavy guns flew across the room toward the darker shadow reflected in the darkness of the opposite wall. Then a torch held by the priest illuminated the interior of the room, and they saw that the target dark figure was a pile of skinned skins from the windows. There were no prisoners in the shelter.
The rest rushed to the window. Only one of its levers remained, and the other end of the rope obtained by braiding straps cut from leather window curtains was tied to it.
* * * * *
In addition to the natural dangers of Jane Clayton’s life, there now came a threat from meeting Obergatz. The lions and panthers had given him less cause for uneasiness than the return of an already arrested officer who had maintained bitter memories, when the man had now strangely changed. The untidy and dirty outfit, tangled hair and beard, strange, unhappy laughter, and otherwise unnatural appearance aroused a strange fear; the former lieutenant had become the embodiment of some nameless horror. A healthy quality of life spent outdoors had strengthened and hardened his nervous system, yet he felt it when he thought of the possibility that if that man just touched him, he would tanned and possibly faint.
The day after their unexpected scene, he even moaned about himself for not killing him as if he had killed janor an undivided or any other predator threatening his life or safety. He didn’t try to justify these horrible thoughts – they didn’t need defense. The grounds on which you or my actions are condemned were not applicable to him. We have the opportunity to have recourse to the protection of our friends or relatives or to call for the help of law enforcement that upholds the majesty of the law and that the weak and innocent can rely on against powerful wrongdoers. But: here innocence and weakness could only rely on their own actions to protect themselves. For him, therefore, Lieutenant Erich Obergatz was not a phenomenon different from a lion, except that he considered the former to be a more dangerous stalker. And so he decided that if Obergatz defied his warning,
That night, his nest, built in his tall tree, did not feel like the same sanctuary for him as before. What could resist the bloodthirsty intentions of a predatory panther would not be a great obstacle to man, and in the power of that thought he slept worse than before. The slightest rumble, which interrupted the monotonous hum of the jungle nights, woke him alert and careful with his ears to listen and try to understand the subject of the disturbance, and once he thus awoke to a voice that seemed to be due to movement in his tree. He listened intently — holding his breath. It belonged again. Something rattles against the hard bark of a tree. Jane reached out to the dark and grabbed her spear. Now he felt one of the branches supporting his shacky sag a little as if it were a creature, would have leisurely risen on a branch. It came closer. Jane already thought she was stopping her breathing. It was at the door. He heard it fumble with a weak protective device. What was there? There was no sound from which one could have deduced anything. He raised his hands and knees and quietly tapped the spear tightly in his hand. The sledgehammer apparently tried to get inside without waking him. It was just behind that small, laborious, pile of delicate branches, tied with straws, which he called the door. There were only a few inches between him and the creature. He raised his hands and knees and quietly tapped the spear tightly in his hand. The sledgehammer apparently tried to get inside without waking him. It was just behind that small, laborious, pile of delicate branches, tucked together in a straw, which he called the door. There were only a few inches between him and the creature. He raised his hands and knees and quietly tapped the spear tightly in his hand. The sledgehammer apparently tried to get inside without waking him. It was just behind that small, laborious, pile of delicate branches, tucked together in a straw, which he called the door. There were only a few inches between him and the creature.
Rising to his knees, he reached for his left hand and felt it until he found a place where a curved twig had left an opening a couple of inches wide almost in the middle of the door. To that, he put the tip of his spear. The creature had probably heard from inside his movement, for suddenly it gave up its creeping attempt and angrily shook the obstacle. At that moment, Jane would poke her spear forward with all her might. He felt it sink into the flesh. From the outside there was a howl and a curse, and then something to fall crashed between the branches and leaves into the ground. The spear was to loosen Jane’s hands, but she held on to it until it slipped off the body she had pierced.
There was Obergatz. It had survived the rain. There was no more sound from below. So had he killed the man? He prayed that would have happened, – he prayed it with all his heart. It was really facilitating to be freed from the threat of a mysterious creature that had gone to be sprinkled. The rest of the night he woke up listening awake. Below him, he imagined seeing a dead man with a horrible face lying in the cold moonlight, lying on his back and staring up at him.
He hoped that and, as a lion, would drag the body away; but at the end of the night season he heard no sound other than the sleepy hum of the jungle. He was glad of the man’s death, but he was horrified by the painful duty that awaited him in the morning, for he had to bury the earthly remains of Obergatz and then live by the shallow excavated tomb of the man he had killed.
He sounded himself weak, repeating many times that he had killed in self-defense and that his actions were justified; but she was still a modern woman, and the iron regulations of the society that raised her, with her prohibitions and superstitions, weighed on her mind.
The long-ling morning finally dawned. The slowly rising sun gilded the distant mountains looming behind Jad-in-Lul. And yet he hesitated to detach the brackets on his door and glanced down at the creeping body. But it was necessary. He sharpened his nerves and let go of the strap cut from the leak on which the protective device had been rope. He glanced down, but only the grass and flowers caressed his eyes. He came from his shelter and looked at the ground on the other side of the tree; but there was no body there, and nowhere, as far as he could see. Slowly he stepped down, his eyes alert and his ear attentive in the slightest danger.
There was a blood puddle at the base of the tree and a small streak of red drops on the grass; it receded parallel to the shoreline of Jad-bal-Lul. So he hadn’t killed his enemy! He felt something strange and vague, at the same time both relief and regret. Now he always had to be unaware. The man could return; but he certainly did not have to live in his grave.
On that day he was nervously startled by every sudden rumble; the day before he would have said his nerves were iron, but not today. Now he felt the shock he was experiencing and knew this was a backlash. Tomorrow might have been different, but some voice would have suggested to him that his little shelter and the patch of forest and jungle he called his own would never be the same again as before. A threat from that man always hovered over him. He would no longer spend restful nights in the midst of a deep sleep. The peace of his little world had been disturbed forever.
That night he equipped his doors twice, using the straps he cut from the goat’s hoof. He was very tired, having watched much of the previous night; but for a long time he croaked awake, his eyes open staring at the darkness. What did he see there? Visions that blew tears into those bold and beautiful eyes — the scattered outbuildings of the country mansion, which had been his home and no longer existed; saw it destroyed by the same cruel force that persecuted him even in this remote, uncharted corner of the earth; saw a strong man whose protective arm would never squeeze him again, a tall, upright boy who watched him worship lovingly with his bold, smiling, father-like eyes. Always returned to the sight of his soul in that simple, rugged farmhouse, and not those handsome halls where he had spent an equal portion of his life. His knight had loved most of the country mansion with its vast estates and deceased, and therefore Janek had become the closest to it.
Finally he fell asleep – to sleep of extreme exhaustion. He did not know how long it had taken; but suddenly he awoke again quite awake, and again he heard someone, touching the bark of his tree, felt the branch bend again under heavy weight. Obergatz was back! The cold Väre outraged him, he trembled like a cold. Was there a German or – good God! – had he killed him then and was this…? He tried to banish the horrible thought from his mind, for he knew that reason was in danger.
And again he crept into the door, for the creature was outside it as it had been last night, Jane’s hands trembling as he pushed his spear out of the hole in the tip. – Is it howling when it falls? – he said.