The First and Only Online Fanzine Devoted to the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Master of Imaginative Fantasy Adventure
Creator of Tarzan and
"Grandfather of American Science Fiction"
The Diamond of Ashair
1936 Radio Serial Synopsis:
Week 11: Eps 31-33
Tarzan and his friends are in Ashair, the Forbidden City, in the great pyramidal temple of Ma-at-chu where Wolf has been killed. Helen Gregory and Magra are held by King Soo Ten. To Thome and Larson in the ceremonial hall appears the hideous flaming mask of death. It speaks English prophesizing their death before the next full moon. Ti Ra, Queen of the Hesihar, offers Tarzan and his friends their freedom if the apeman will bring her the Father of Diamonds. Tarzan agrees and as he and D’Arnot leave the Queen’s Chamber, they meet Thome and Larson running from the hoarse-voiced threats of the guardian ape. The three men follow Tarzan back to the ceremonial hall. The apeman approaches the white marble casket – raises the lid – he reaches down to lift out the golden disc. As he does so, not one but two of the prehistoric ape monsters leap from the depths of the pit and, shoulder to shoulder, charge directly for him. With crooked fangs bared, wicked red eyes gleaming with rage, they shriek their blood-curdling challenge.
So quickly that the eyes of the three men who are watching can scarcely follow his movements, Tarzan slips the grass rope from his shoulders. The running noose swirls up and over the apeman’s head. Snakelike it twists and twirls in rhythm with the steely wrist that controls it. The two great brutes, sure of their play, leap forward. With the speed of light, Tarzan’s rope lashes through the air. It hovers for a fraction of a second above the head of the advancing monsters in a wide noose. Swiftly it drops down to encircle the huge hairy shoulders. With a quick jerk of his arm, Tarzan tightens the rope. Tarzan leaps behind a great pillar -- as the brutes crash into it he circles pillar and apes – lashing the two helpless monsters securely to the stone column.
D’Arnot’s check of the pit reveals no more apes, so Tarzan grabs the diamond and they run from the hall.
Meanwhile, Helen and Magra, in their barbarically-splendid quarters, discuss their hopeless situation.
Magra warns Helen not to antagonize the king, but to go along with his plans so that they can gain time until Tarzan can rescue them. The king enters to inform them that the girls’ double wedding will take place at the annual unveiling and elevation ceremony of the Father of Diamonds. He plans to break all Hesarian laws and replace Ti Ra with Helen as his queen. Helen refuses the king’s offer of a wedding gift and begs only for Brian’s safety. Magra wishes only for the release of her four male companions, but the king says the Council of 13 have other plans for the men. Soo Ten exits but Akaru lingers behind long enough to assure the girls that he is still an ally.
Back in the corridor leading to Ti Ra’s quarters, Tarzan, clutching the heavy golden disc, races along ahead of his three companions. Breathlessly they arrive at the copper doors. Tarzan indicates a stone lighter in colour than the rest.
D’Arnot opens the door to the Queen’s Chambers and they enter to present the diamond to Ti Ra. She calls for her bodyguards to remove the gold disc to the safety of an inner room.
Half-hidden by Larson’s broad back, Thome’s covetous eyes follow the progress of the golden disc. Presently, the white-clad figures vanish, as silently as they appeared, through a door at the far end of the spacious chamber. Ti Ra faces the four men.
The queen promises that in a few days – at the annual diamond unveiling ceremony – she will produce the Father of Diamonds, assume her place as supreme ruler, and make good the promise that she made to Tarzan. Also at that time, she will have the power to find and rescue Helen. Meanwhile she says, she can direct them to a secret passage that will lead them to Magra’s prison chamber.
As the three men approach the open panel, Ti Ra smiles wickedly. She turns and walks quickly to the room where the Father of Diamonds lies. Behind her, Atan Thome cautiously, silently, follows. The queen touches a black stone – it swings aside. Behind it Thome glimpses the golden disc. He smiles grimly – ducks quickly behind the great stone seat, then swiftly to the open panel through which his companions have vanished. Behind him the door softly clangs shut. In the dark gloomy passageway, Tarzan D’Arnot and Larson hurry forward.
As the three men pause, a massive hinged block of stone swings down from the roof of the passageway before them. An incessant hissing sound becomes audible – grows louder -- louder. Suddenly down through the opening in the ceiling pour roaring yellow clouds of live steam. In an instant the passenger is a seething boiling cauldron of death.
In the great temple of Ma Hat Chu in the Forbidden City of Ashair, Tarzan secures the golden disc containing the Father of Diamonds and with Thome, d’Arnot and Larson carries it to Ti Ra, Queen of Hesiahar. Ti Ra has agreed to free the ape-man and his friends in exchange for the huge talisman. Tarzan and Thome demand to be shown the secret passage leading to the quarters of King Soo Ten where Magra is held. Thome remains behind long enough to learn where Ti Ra conceals the golden disc. In the secret passageway a huge block of stone hinges down from the ceiling, blocking the progress of Tarzan, d’Arnot and Larson. Roaring and hissing, great clouds of live yellow steam pour into the narrow tunnel from the opening.
Realizing that the sulfur-laden stream will burn as well as suffocate them, Tarzan orders the others to lie close to the floor while he tries to close the hinged stone to block off the steam.
Tarzan crawls along the tunnel floor to the great hanging stone. The steam clouds envelop him as in a thick yellow mist veil. The sulfur fumes burn and sear his throat and lungs as he crouches low under the granite trap. His mighty shoulders press upward against the slab. His bare feet grip the floor. The muscles of his powerful legs bulge and crawl as he rises slowly – steadily – lifting the great stone upward. Higher – higher – arms like columns of wet glistening bronze reach up – great hands with fingers splayed wide press against the huge slab forcing it upward – with a last tremendous effort Tarzan’s body stiffens. A muffled clang and the massive granite trap is closed. The suffocating sulfur cloud shut off.
Huddled close to the floor and watching the steam drift back up the tunnel, they realize that the queen has betrayed them. As they continue on up the passage, d’Arnot notices that Tarzan’s back and hands look like raw meat – badly scalded from his efforts to close the trap door. Soon they reach a bronze door at the end of the passage. Tarzan is able to open the door when they hear someone coming up the passage stairs behind them.
Meanwhile, Helen and Magra, in their quarters in the upper part of the temple, are trying to hit upon some plan which will postpone the evil day of the double marriage ceremony.
The girls are sure that if they stall long enough, Tarzan will rescue them. Akaru enters and tells them that the Council of 13 has decreed Tarzan’s punishment to take place on the day of the unveiling of the diamond. No matter what the punishment will be Akaru’s promises to make good his pledge to help him. The girls learn that Brian Gregory will never be released by the Council of 13, but Akaru prepares to outline a daring plan on how he may be rescued.
Back in the secret passage at the head of the stone stairway, Tarzan, d’Arnot and Larson stand motionless. -- tensely awaiting the approach of the person whose cautious foot falls they hear advancing up the stairs toward them. The footsteps, careful and slow, continue to approach – they come nearer – nearer. Tarzan throws a quick glance over his shoulder at d’Arnot and Larson. They stand grimly alert – ready. As the stalker reaches the head of the stairway and pauses, Tarzan draws a deep slow breath; steps swiftly, noiselessly, out of the shadow of a projection in the wall.
Thome appears – explaining that he had stayed behind to learn the hiding place of the diamond. Tarzan opens the bronze door to reveal Magra and Helen. Helen is about to lead them to Brian’s cell when they hear the approach of the Hesiaharian guards. Tarzan orders them back into their chamber as they await the arrival of the guards.
While attempting to steal the Father of Diamonds from the ceremonial hall of the Temple of Ma-at-chu, Thome and Larson see the fiery mask suspended above them and hear it prophecy their death. In fleeing from the guardian apes they run into Tarzan and d’Arnot who are returning from a conference with Ti-Ra – Queen of Hesiaharia. Magra and Helen are taken to a secret chamber in the temple where they find Brian Gregory in a helpless state of suspended animation. Later, Soo Ten, King of Hesiaharia, informs Helen that she will be the next Queen of Hesiaharia – while Magra is to become the wife of Akaru.
Tarzan and his companions get the Father of Diamonds and return with it to Queen Ti-Ra who set them on their way through a secret passage to the room in which Helen and Magra are held. In this chamber the four men, Helen and Magra are surprised by the arrival of the Hesiaharian guard.
Like a swarm of angry hornets the Hesiaharian guard crowded into the chamber. In an instant, the room is filled with fighting struggling men – so closely packed that they are unable to use bronze swords and war clubs. Tarzan grasps the foremost. He lifts him high above his head – crashes him into the faces of his followers. They topple like straw before the storm – only to return in added numbers to swarm over the apeman like ants. Magra and Helen protected by the stone seat, watch in terrified silence. They do not see several Hesiaharians creeping along the wall on the outer fringe of the battle toward them. Tarzan is covered by a crowd of struggling clawing men. Larson, nearest to Helen and Magra, turns at their scream. With a bellow of rage he leaps over the stone bench full on the back of the foremost Hesiaharian. Tarzan, like an angered bull, throws off the clutching hands of his attackers. Over his shoulder he sees the guard behind Larson lift his bronze sword. “Look out Larson! Behind you!” Larson tries to turn and throw himself aside. Too late. The heavy bronze sword plunges to the hilt in the loyal Swede’s back. With a choking cry, Larson staggers forward – drops to hands and knees – slumps down at the feet of Helen Gregory.
The king arrives suddenly and orders an end to the fighting. He asks Tarzan, d’Arnot and Thome how they got there. He commands Akaru to look after giving Larson a fitting burial and to place the surviving men in the Chamber of Minnot. The men are about to put up a fight when they receive a secret sign from Akaru.
The king leaves in a flourish to make ready for the royal wedding.
Meanwhile, Tarzan, d’Arnot and Atan Thome are being led by Akaru and a strong guard to a dark cavern-like dungeon far beneath the Temple of Ma-at-chu.
Akaru locks Tarzan and his friends in the dungeon but whispers that there is a secret way out and that he will return. After Akaru leaves, Tarzan finds a secret stone door opening, which leads to a tunnel.
Meanwhile, several slave women are preparing Helen and Magra for the coming ceremony. They are bathed and anointed with strange scented oils – clothed in the short, white, sleeveless tunics worn by the Hesairian women. Jewel-studded bands of beaten gold are fastened about their throats, arms and ankles. Soft leather sandals cover their feet – and are held in place by narrow jeweled straps.
The girls complain about the skimpiness of their costumes and the weight of the ornaments. Akaru arrives to escort the girls to the king in the council chamber.
In the Chamber of Death, far beneath the Temple of Ma-at-chu, Tarzan, d’Arnot and Thome crouch before the round black opening which the moving stone has disclosed.
Tarzan leads the men out through the tunnel but the stone closes behind them. The tunnel widens into a lighted chamber where they encounter a prehistoric sabre-toothed tiger!
DIAMOND OF ASHER ~ SERIAL SUMMARIES
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