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Volume 1725b
Jahlanna of Pellucidar
A 175,000-word novel
by
Sean Edward Phillips
.
Part XV

      The girl strode boldly through the vast forest with a wild, pantherish gate. She was swarthy of skin, with a wealth of ebon tresses clustered about her slim shoulders. Her eyes were deep dark pools, dark-fringed and mysterious. She had little in the way of clothing for the heat of Pellucidar is always sub-tropical at best. Her breasts were superb and massive, her hips sturdy, as she strode through the wild with pantherish grace. 

    The woman’s name was Nasheema, and she was the former mate of Borak, Cid of the Korsars--though recently she had fallen out of the Cid’s favor. For Borak had taken a girl from the tribe of Nu-al, and jungle princess named Jahlanna, whom he had fallen in love with. Nasheema, naturally had grown intensely jealous of the savage princess-girl. She had, in fact, nearly succeeded in revenging herself upon the her royal rival when the Cid’s then second-in-command, Mogor, had intervened, and borne off the princess, doubtless to satisfy his apish lust. 

     Hah! To the haughty Nasheema that seemed a worthy fate for the stuck-up jungle princess. But to her great surprise and dismay, Borak still refused to take back. He had become obsessed, it seemed, with the voluptuous jungle girl. And this only furthered Nasheema’s rage against him of course. When she had dared to bodily attack the Cid, calling him a cowardly slurrel, and worse, he had sentenced her to die in the arena, at the slavering jaws of a hungry zorag. A zorag is a primitive walking whale of the Eocene, which scientists of the 21st century know as the ambleocetus. Its sleek-furred body is nearly twenty feet in length, and it possesses lightning quickness, as well as the monstrous jaws of a crocodile. 

     Nasheema had been bound and masked at the beast’s mercy. She had been determined to embrace death as bravely as she might. But death did not come for her as expected. For a handsome, red-haired fair-skinned man had leapt to her rescue. The man was not a Korsar, that much was in evidence. Officially he was a prisoner of the Cid at the time. But Nasheema had fallen in love with him, and made up her mind to lead him and his fellow prisoners out of the city of Korsar. 

     This much she had accomplished with a fair amount of ease. But they had run afoul of an army of Sarians staging an attack upon the Cid’s fortress. The red-haired stranger and the others and made peace with the mammoth-warriors, but Nahseema fearing her fate as a woman of Korsar had fled. 

     But she had not forgotten the red-haired warrior, and the courage he had shown in saving her from the zorag. So in secret, the girl of Korsar followed the mighty caravan when they had left Korsar, going in a northerly direction toward the Frozen Sea near the boreal pole. She kept to shadows of the forest, not daring to show herself. 

        She did not know how to make the red-haired warrior love her, but she must find a way…

    It was sometime after that that she realized that she herself was being trailed. 

    The girl’s ears were very sharp, and she could detect the sounds of stealthy pursuit. It was sometime after that that the mighty caravan settled down for one of the rest periods. When they made camp, Nasheema, using cunning of her own, circled about unobtrusively to spy on whoever it was following her. 

     Peering through the fronds and creepers, she saw him. To her surprise she saw that her pursuer was a sagoth. And not just any sagoth, but Mogor! How had the gorilla-man gotten here? And what had become of the cave-princess the hulking beast-man had borne off? 

    Whatever the reason, Nasheema was determined to find out why the brute was tracking her. 

    The sagoth was casting about on the trail, examining the girls’ small prints. “Now, my comely Korsar wench,” the sagoth was saying, “Where did you disappear to?”

     In that instant, Nasheema through her right arm about the sagoth’s bull-neck in a hook, and raised her Korsar dagger, a crescent of razor-edged steel, to his throat. “Here, you foul-smelling beast-man!” 

       “Nasheema?” said Mogor.

      “That is correct, you dull-witted primate,” she said, as she kept her dagger leveled at Mogor’s throat. “It is Nasheema of the Korsar who now holds you captive!”

      Mogor, in spite of the proximity of her blade, laughed coarsely. “So I am your captive now am I, little she-tarag? I figured it was you from the scent. But why is not Borak’s favorite back in Korsar at the feet of her master.”

    “Nasheema is no man’s master!” she cried. 

    At that moment, Mogor, having a beast’s quickness took advantage of the outburst, and knocked the blade from her grasp. Nashemea gave a sharp cry. The gorilla-man then flung her over his head. 

    Nasheema now lay prone. Mogor towered above her. Quick as a cat, the girl twisted and retrieved her knife, held it up defensively, her eyes fairly spitting flame.  “Do not come closer.” 

     But Mogor did not make any move. He only stood over her, a look of puzzled amusement on his face—if that were in fact possible for his leathery visage. “I do not care to mate with a she-jalok such as you.” he said. 

     “You don’t?” Nasheema cried. She was surprised that she was almost offended by the remark—especially as Mogor was merely a smelly beast man who did not even qualify as human.

      “I do not. A she-jalok like yourself is not the type for Mogor. I prefer a mate who will not attempt to scratch my eyes out.” 

     “No…of course not. You prefer spoiled, pouty-faced savage princess girls! Whatever happened to her anyway?” 

       “She is gone—winged men bore off to the dead world!”

       ‘Winged Men?! The Dead World?” Nasheema smiled contemptuously. “I believe then, that Mogor has drunken far too much rum!”

     “Believe what you will,” Mogor told her. “But the princess is gone. Mogor must seek a new mate. He can never return to his people. And he would need wings to reach the Dead World.”

     Nasheema got to her feet, not taking her gaze form the gorilla-man. “Well, don’t get any ideas about me! I am finished with Borak and the Korsars, and am off to seek adventure on my own.”

    “You mean Borak has tired of you,” Mogor laughed. “And you cannot return to the Cid.”

    “Shut up!” she cried. ‘I should cut your throat, beast-man, for daring to speak thus to me!”

      ‘Why should I not speak to you as I wish, my little she-tarag! You are no longer Borak’s favorite!”

     “Oooohhh!” Nasheema fumed. “Just take care that you not follow me, beast-man!”

     With that the haughty girl turned and strode languidly away, heavy hips shifting sturdily. 

     In spite of his words to the contrary, Mogor admired the Korsar girl’s lithe and sturdily rounded figure as she strode into the forest with catlike grace. And too, she was fiery and full of life! He liked that in a woman, he decided. No, the Korsar strumpet was not Jahlanna. But she wasn’t bad, now that he thought about it—especially since the Cid was no longer there to claim her. 

    Once Nasheema had gotten far enough ahead, he began unobtrusively, to follow her. 

     As for Nasheema, she suspected Mogor of following, and she kept aware. If he was, she decided, and he made a move on her, this time she would- slit the smelly pig’s throat. 

     Unfortunately for her, the moment she stepped into a clearing, a stunning sight met the eyes of the Korsar girl. It was apparent at once that Mogor was not the only “pig” she had to concern herself with at the moment. 

       At the opposite end of the clearing the emerged from the tangle of vines and ferns there emerged a monstrous head belonging to an even more monstrous beast. As it shouldered into full view, Nasheema could see that it was nearly the size of small elephant, its high humped back eight feet above the turf. But it was obviously a type of gigantic wild swine. The monstrous head sported hippo-like jaws form which blunt, heavy, yellowish tusks protruded, two on each side, curling massively over the upper jaw. It had a blunt, pig-like snout, small, piggy eyes and ears, and a mane-like ridge of black bristles running from between the burly shoulder blades over and down the massively humped back. 

    The thing grunted thunderously at her, and pawed the earth with one hoofed forelimb, preparing to charge. 

     Nasheema recognized the beast as a Borha, a long extinct cousin of modern-day swine, which science knows as the archeotherium , a bovid-sized wild pig of the Miocene. 

      They are terribly ferocious and dangerous, are the borha, though gigantic themselves, they are capable of besting even creatures much larger then they in combat due of their insane fighting fury. They are omnivorous, more often than not subsisting on plant material, but they are unlikely to pass up the opportunity for fresh meat, should it present itself. They are also terribly ill-tempered, and are offtimes known to attack and kill for no other seeming reason than their unreasoning fury. 

     Whether the beast was consumed at the moment by hunger, or merely ill-temper, it was obvious to the Korsar girl that it was about the charge. And she screamed, just as the living incarnation of primordial fury bore down upon her like a hill of thundering meat, tusks, slavering jaws and rampaging muscle. 

     But in flash so quick that it even left the gaze of the Korsar girl astonished, a muscular, glossy-black-furred form, clutching a blade-tipped spear, landed on the turf between her and the super-swine. 

     It took her split-second to recognize it as Mogor. The sagoth had lept to her rescue, risking his own life in the face of this overwhelming adversary.

     Mogor ducked quickly beneath the borha’s slashing tusks, and brought up the spear ramming up and through the monstrous jaws, pinning them together. 

    The super-swine squealed thunderously. Mogor rolled to one side. With a speed and celerity peculiar to his kind, the sagoth seized up the astonished Korsar girl and raced to and up the nearest tree, with as much ease as his close cousins. 

     He sat Nasheema on a branch. The Korsar girl clutched at him as she watched with wide, dusky eyes the gigantic super-boar, as it squealed and roared below, thrashing about in a made attempt to rid itself of the spear. Leaking blood and gore, it finally collapsed in a crimson welter, staining the thick grasses therefrom. 

       It was several moments before either the girl or her rescuer spoke. 

       Finally Nasheema said, “You killed it…you risked your own life to save me from the borha.”

      “I must retrieve my spear.” Mogor said flatly. He pushed Nasheema’s arms form him and sprang down to the grassy turf. He pulled his spear free of the borha’s jaws and examined it, satisfied that it was unbroken. 

     Nasheema landed beside him. “Why did you save me?” she asked. 

     “I do not know.” said the sagoth. “I do not favor you for a mate, and you have shown you have no liking for me. Perhaps I just have a liking for roasted borha flesh over a wood fire.” 

   “I see.” said Nasheema. “It does seem we now have plenty of that.” 

   “We?”

    “Since you and I are alone in the wilderness,” said the girl, “and since it is obvious that neither of us can return to our homeland for fear of the Cid’s wrath, it is better that we help each other as survival is of chief importance to us both. You have just proven that.”

    Mogor grunted. “I suppose you are correct, little she-tarag.”

    They set at once to butchering the borha’s carcass. As the think was nearly elephantine in bulk, they only needed a small measure of it, and left the rest to the jungle scavengers. Before long hyeanodons, ever-opportunistic, were ripping away at the carcass, and leather-winged scavengers had descended en masse upon it. 

      Nasheema and Mogor made camp in a glade not far from there, where they roasted the flesh of the archeotherium. As prehistoric pork, it was not at all bad tasting. 

     As they prepared to settle in for their sleep period, Nasheema drew herself close to Mogor. He wasn’t so bad—for a beast man. In fact, he was very strong very brave, fully capable of providing her protection. Mogor put his own arm about her. Them they began touching and fondling…..

      It was sometime later, long after their “sleep” was over, and they had set off into the vast Pellucidaran wilderness, that Mogor and Nasheema happened upon a vast basin, part of of a long extinct volcanic crater, filled with luxuriant forests and plains. A mighty herd of tandors grazed below. And form the shimmering blue of a vast lake, and long-necked lidi waddled ponderously onto shore. 

      Nasheema was clinging to Mogor…and him to her. “it is a beautiful sight.” She said. 

      “Yes,” said Mogor. “I believe it is just what we are looking for—full of game, and far out of the sight of hostile tribes.”

      “It is where our children and our children’s children shall live.” She said. 

      “Indeed it is” said Mogor, thinking of the powerful, new race soon to spring forth form his loins. Pellucidar was filled with such strange, half-human races tucked away in its vast regions. How did they all originate? Perhaps, some did, in just his manner.

    Arms around one another, Mogor and his new mate made their way into the placid valley below. 
 

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