-- Feb. 22, '42
the Deadly Mist"
P1:At dawn, John Carter and Sola studied the tracks
of Dejah Thoris' abductor.
P2: "The footprints of a white ape," whispered Sola.
"An inhabitant of Go-La-Ra, fabled city of the deadly mist!"
P3: "Our legends," Sola continued, "tell of a once-great
city whose inhabitants suddenly turned to stone.
P4: None dares enter the place, except strange creatures
who live in immunity to the mist-that-turns-one-to-stone."
P5: For speed, John Carter rode alone to rescue the
princess, ere she was carried into Go-La-Ra.
P6: With the face of Dejah Thoris ever in his mind,
he tracked her abductor across miles of ancient sea-bottom.
P7: At last he came to Go-La-Ra, a great metropolis
that had once stood on the banks of a sea long dead.
P8: Meanwhile, Dejah Thoris was carried ever deeper
into the lonely depths of Go-La-Ra, city of the deadly mist.
1. Some better
explanation needs to be given in the novelization, as to how Sola and John
Carter are able to track the ape, on the soft moss of the dead sea bottom.
Also, some reason needs to be provided as to why Sola identifies the ape
as "an inhabitant of Go-La-Ra." These apes live elsewhere on Barsoom, frequenting
the ruins of ancient cities and other remote places. Perhaps Go-La-Ra can
be described as the only such ancient city in the region, and thus the
logical habitation of these apes.
2. Also, a better
explanation needs to be given for the "legends" concerning Go-La-Ra. This
is not an ERB Barsoomian city, but it can be described as an Orovar outpost,
similar in history to the city of Lothar in Thuvia, Maid of Mars
and Horz in Llana of Gathol. The Orovars built the Martian atmosphere
plants centuries ago and the destruction of Go-La-Ra might be said to date
to that same period of decline, when a few Orovar cities were all that
survived of that ancient civilization. Go-La-Ra is evidently located only
a few days' walk from the Plateau of Eo, so that place too might be identified
as an Orovar outpost. Since Sola says that the Tharks have contact with
the denizens of Eo, they could have gained their knowledge of Go-La-Ra
from Eo's inhabitants. This elminates any need for a body of legendary
lore having been preserved among the savage green Martians.
3. The vapors
that escape from the ground under Go-La-Ra need not be confined to that
place alone. Similar, but small gas outlets might be located at Eo and
other spots in the area. The "legends" need not say that the vapors originated
on the ancient date when Go-La-Ra was destroyed -- rather, they can say
that on that day a tremendous erruption of these gasses calicified all
living things for miles around the city, and that semi-immune creatures
only started drifting back into that place years later, when the most potent
vapors had greatly dissipated there. The gasses preserve not only animal
tissue, but all sorts of organic materials that might otherwise decay over
time -- thus Carter finds in Go-La-Ra some intact wooden ships that are
many thousands of years old, etc. etc.
4. In the novelization
a better reason needs to be given as to why Sola remains at the campsite,
while John Carter rides off to Go-La-Ra on their one remaining thoat. The
reason can be that there is some possibility that Dejah Thoris could escape
her ape captor and backtrack to the camp. Thus Sola elects to remain there,
in case the princess might return.
"City of the Deadly Mist"
Novelization of the JCB strip by Dale R. Broadhurst
Three times John Carter and Woola had gone searching
into the night, but had come back empty-handed. The calot kept drawing
him to three different spots where the beast had located some strong scent,
but each time the scent-trail led back to the campsite. In the brief red-gray
moments preceding dawn Sola made an important discovery, however.
"Look here, John Carter, in the fireplace, two footprints!"
A white ape was here while I slept, only ten sofads away."
As the light grew brighter John Carter and Sola studied
the tracks of Dejah Thoris' abductor. They traced flecks of ash and barely
percepitible indentations in the spongy moss from the place the princess
had been sleeping, but after a few yards all trace of the faint trail disappeared.
The green girl kept returning to the fire ashes. She studied the imprints
intently from all angles of view. At last she announced a second discovery.
"Look how the toe marks are so much deeper at their
ends, and how both foot marks point inward. The ape's feet are deformed
and very stiff. He is either very very old, or..."
"Or what?" demanded the Earthman, almost frantically.
"What is it you are thinking, for God's sake!"
"An inhabitant of Go-La-Ra, the ancient city of the
deadly mist!" One of those wall paintings you so admired back at Korad
tells the story. It was an old story even when the hollows of the land
were still filled with water. There was a once-great city of the white
race -- a city whose inhabitants suddenly turned to stone."
"A legend?" queried the Earthman, but Sola could
only wave her head in ignorance.
"The place exists, but I know almost nothing of the
story. Twice I have been in caravans that have passed the site. We never
stopped to look at the ruins and the only landmark I recall are three gray
pinnacles standing in a row, a short distance west of the city. I think
the place may be near here."
"But why do you think the ape came from there?" questioned
"Because the mists turn the creatures who live there
to stone. Some are more immune than others; they live long lives before
they become so stiff they can no longer move about very well. Some faster
animals catches them and its over. I have seen their tracks and eaten their
tough bodies. What I see in the footprints here reminds me of that time.
There were many ape tracks like this one."
The two got into there first argument then. Sola
expected to go with the man in search of what had happened to their companion,
but Carter commanded her to stay, because Dejah Thoris might escape and
find her way back to the camp. It was important that one of them remain
there for a while.
"Then at least take Woola with you!" pleaded the
girl. "You cannot track an invisible trail across these mossy wastelands.
You need the calot."
John Carter's commands won out in the end, of course.
He would go, while Sola and the watchdog remained at the campsite, but
only after the Earthman made certain he could follow the trail of the abducted
"Bring Woola the silks she slept in last night, Sola,"
The calot found the missing girl's scent at once,
even though it seemed her feet never touched the ground during the kidnapping.
The older unmarried females among the red race are wont to apply a strong,
natural perfume to their neck and wrists, and since they take this oder
from the recesses of their own flesh, each woman's perfume is unique. On
a still day such a pungent scent might waft in the air for hours -- and
there had not been a trace of a breeze since well before sunrise.
The Earthman mounted the thoat and prepared to ride
off in the direction of the invisible trail the calot had pointed out.
Though not such a wonderful tracker as a Martian watchdog, the green men's
thoats were well able to follow a fresh spoor. But the rider's beast had
not gone eight steps when Sola ran alongside and called up to him.
"John Carter -- if you find the pinnacles, at their
base is a yellow oil that will give you some protection from the deadly
mists -- or so I was told by a warrior who hunted our food both times we
camped near Go-La-Ra. Seek out the yellow substance. Spread it on your
skin, inside your mouth and in your nostrils. And come back soon with my
friend, Dejah Thoris!"
"I will do my best, dear Sola, good-bye now. Keep
Woola close by. I left the other short sword by my furs and silks."
As he rode off, her last words were, "Good-bye, thou
white chieftain of Thark; I love her also!"
The sun had climbed to one quarter the distance from
horizon to zenith before John Carter stopped to relax his mount. The thoat
had moved along at a good speed, following an arrow-straight path northward.
He had every reason to believe that he was on the right trail, but nothing
along the way confirmed that notion until he caught sight of a shiny object
on the dead sea bottom. While the panting mount recuperated, the bronzed
swordsman walked back along the prints the thoat had left in the moss.
Bending over to inspect the glittering thing, his heart began to race.
It was a hair-clip belonging to the red princess!
Remounting his great charger, the Earthman was tempted
to force the poor thoat into a gallop, but he decided to proceed at a more
measured pace. Steed and rider had not gone far when the unmistakable silhouette
of three pinnacles broke the horizon. Go-La-Ra could not be far away!
With the face of Dejah Thoris ever in his mind, John
Carter proceeded to the three stone forms. He cursed his laxity, in having
fallen asleep instead of awakening her according the plan. He had been
wrong to let her retire, still angry with him and the Virginian felt terribly
responsible for all that had happened afterward. He would find her, if
it were the last thing he ever did in his long long life!
Past the pinnacles, the land rose in a series of
benches until, finally, the great metropolis that had once stood on the
banks of a sea long vanished, spread out before his view. The ruins were
majestic -- much older and finer than those of Korad or Thark, but the
Earthman had no time to gaze on in wonder. Somewhere near at hand was the
woman he loved!