I was fascinated by the Minunians. They were amazing natural mathematicians
and engineers. They were able to fix the flyer because they had good metal
tools and because they could crawl inside the works.
The leader of the rescue team, Kanadotokiahago, saw to it that we
were able to get into the air in a matter of hours.
It seemed like it was not too long before we were on our way again
to Savjoda's headquarters. The entire contingent of seven Minunians and
their mounts fit in the flyer quite comfortably with Fomas-67 and I.
The coast of the continent of Geprodna sharpened in clarity as we
approached and the towers of a city built for beings who could fly came
slowly into focus. Jomads flapped from high tower to rooftop doorways over
a network of catwalks and bridges that served as streets. It was obvious
that this city did not grow and evolve to meet the changing needs of a
growing people. It was the vision of a single planner, constructed from
the ground up as a whole concept. The industry, residences and transport
network surrounded a core that was almost all gleaming metal, more metal
than could be found in all of the rest of this world. Even from the air,
the machine's astounding complexity was apparent. It looked like a system
of gimbals, pivots and levers that controlled with minute precision the
position of a gigantic lens-shaped mass of gold colored metal. I could
just make out the hundreds of Minunian engineers whose job it was to constantly
make whatever adjustments were needed.
Fomas-67 brought our flyer to rest atop a wide tower made of polished
stone. The tower was directly adjacent to the machine itself. "This is
Savjoda s city home." Said Fomas-67.
Kanadotokiahago said, "His only home at the moment. The jomads are
protecting him. He cannot leave."
"Savjoda is being held under house arrest by his own servants?" I
"He should explain that himself." said Kanadotokiamuskas.
Fomas-67 and Kanadotokiahago led me into a great hall that was dominated
by an inlay map of all Dhaimira on the floor. The map greatly resembled
the first map made by Tamla and I on the Keltrolna coast differing only
in that this one was centered at this city. The walls were filled from
floor to ceiling with books of all types and from all worlds written in
every known language. The library of the jemdar's palace in San Francisco
did not contain as many volumes or as varied a selection. In various places
around the hall were some very black-skinned men who were hard at work
filing away or referring to several of the books. They conversed softly
in an obscure African tongue that Fomas-67 called Waziri. These gentlemen
all wore very formal clothing and had the bearing of college professors.
There he stood upon the representation of the continent of Bavkerna.
He was a man of my own race who looked to be in very fit middle age. His
hair was worn brushed straight back and worn just short of shoulder length.
His expression was serious and his attitude conveyed the image of great
wisdom. The only other man who I had ever seen with this type of demeanor
was John Carter himself. He wore a suit of very ordinary cut, but very
rich fabric. The style seemed to be about a century out of date, but in
no way did it have the look of a costume. This was how the man was used
to dressing. Overall, he did not have the look of miscreant. He had a simple
nobility that took me a little off guard.
"Your Highness", he said, "I only wish that it was more pleasant
circumstances under which I were greeting you." He stepped forward and
extended his hand.
I ignored the proffered hand. "Where is Tamla of Helium?" I asked.
"Sadly, I do not know. She escaped from her captors."
"You are her captor, you swine!"
For only an instant, anger clouded Savjoda s noble features, but
with a deep breath, he restored himself to equanimity. Calmly he responded,
"I understand how distressed you must feel, but despite appearances, I
am only indirectly responsible for the tribulations that the princess has
"I admit that I am the author of a situation which is no longer under
my control, and for that I beg the forgiveness of all concerned. It is
my greatest regret that all concerned are a number that grows with each
"Too much responsibility was placed in the hands of the jomads, I
understand that now. They are too simple-minded, too literal. This is their
city, I rule it, but it is more theirs than mine. I am more their God than
their head of government."
"I'm not sure I understand." I was skeptical, but willing to let
him have his say. Besides, I needed to learn as much as I could about Savjoda.
"Of course, how could you? The jomads decided that I should have
my every wish. They have also taken an unwarranted concern for my safety."
As the man spoke, he paced over the map crossing seas and islands.
He moved with uncommon grace and assuredness. There was an economy in his
gestures that reflected long practice. Very long practice. Savjoda had
been around a long time.
"Are you telling me that you did not kidnap Tamla?"
"Yes. I say in earshot of the jomads that I experience loneliness,
and they see to it that I have a suitable bride. I mention that the planet
would be better off with me in charge, and they invade the surface. I say
that Kivu has been in darkness too long and they destroy a world."
"What are you talking about?!?"
"Kivu, the world within the planet Mercury. Two hours ago, the jomads
incinerated it by mishandling the dimensional doorway. Millions died in
a sudden flash. The jomads have controlled the machine for creating the
roads for many days now. They are on Barsoom, they are in Pellucidar and
they are on Amtor, Vah-nah and Earth."
Mercury destroyed? There had been a living world within it? I was
taken aback by the new information. To have a new world revealed on its
death day was strange and sad. All the human worlds menaced by the jomads?
"How did you come to gain and then lose control of that kind of power?"
"It took a long time and luck, both good and bad, played a role.
"I was born just over one thousand years ago on Earth of a family
from a place called England. I was lucky enough to be born into the privileged
class and unlucky enough to be orphaned from it at a very early age in
a strange land.
"I was adopted and raised by a family of what you would consider
beasts and I grew to manhood unaware of my own humanity. I had books but
no human companionship. I could read and write before I could speak. As
a result of that upbringing, I have much of the savage within me. Although
I was highborn in what was then Earth's greatest empire, in my heart I
was lord of something greater, and at the same time more intimate, the
deep and wild jungle. Not until I had attained manhood was I acquainted
with the niceties of civilization, and never did I become wholly comfortable
Savjoda paced back and forth nervously as he spoke.
"Although I was born with a name and a title, my adopted family called
me white skin, in the doyak language it is rendered as savjoda . For the
greater part of my life, it has been the only name I have been known by.
"As I grew more experienced, I discovered that there was little to
envy in my own race. We were a people who sought to dominate rather than
cooperate with nature. In the fullness of time, which included love, loss,
riches and the attainment of power, it became apparent that I was not aging
as others of my kind do. I had heard of one other such man, John Carter
the Earth-man who had become Warlord of Barsoom.
"When the Kalkars came, I discovered a new mission in my life, that
of saving Earth's noblest creatures from their abattoirs.
"Their conquest of Earth was swift and complete, but my home was
in a remote location. It was several months before I saw my first Kalkar.
I fought them with every thing I had within me and calling upon every resource
at my command, but it was a forgone conclusion that they must eventually
"What did you do?" I asked.
"I started transporting animals into Pellucidar. I had obtained a
machine which could drill a tunnel all the way into the inner world. With
the help of that device and other like minded people, I was able to preserve
some of Earth'c grandest creatures."
The Kalkars, thankfully, never discovered the existence of Pellucidar.
For most humans after the Kalkar conquest, it became little more than a
myth. It was a hundred years after they were driven from power that Pellucidar
was rediscovered, but, by then I was already in Dhaimira."
The Waziri scholars had abandoned their books to listen. Apparently,
Savjoda did not relate this story frequently.
"I was piloting an airplane on the day the sun went out in Pellucidar
for the first time. The road led me to the city of the doyaks in Dhaimira."
Savjoda gestured toward Fomas-67. "Their world was in trouble. The
internal worlds don't hold together environmentally as well as the external
ones. The numbers of the doyaks were thinning and resources were diminishing.
They had developed an amazing science and industry in spite of the fact
that they had little metal. Almost all that they had, had been obtained
by trading with a race from the surface of Barsoom known as the Kaldanes.
They saw that my work at saving what I could of my own world was actually
working to some degree and they sought my help.
"It wasn't the first time. It was the doyaks who brought John Carter
to Barsoom. They caused the peculiar accidents that brought Carson Napier
to Amtor and Julian 5th to Vah-nah. The doyaks are the master planners.
They are the ones who knew what was needed where and at what time. Their
methods have not always been painless. It was also the doyaks who indirectly
caused the death of my human parents.
The man seemed to have lost awareness that there was even anybody
listening to his tale.
"I needed help and they made available to me the notebooks of Ras
Thavas as well as some addenda of their own. I took quite some time, but
I finally was able to design and create the first jomads based on the Mastermind's
hormads but able to reproduce themselves and combining characteristics
of Terrestrial and Martian life. They have served me with extraordinary
devotion. They built this city and followed the instructions of the doyaks
to the letter in order to construct this transport machine. My every random
thought, they treat as holy writ.
"It is true that I said that the worlds of the Solar System would
be better off if I were in charge. It is true that I have felt borne down
with the loneliness of my life, but I did not instruct the jomads to abduct
Tamla of Helium to become my wife although I do find her to be a feisty
and engaging young woman. I did not instruct the jomads to invade other
Savjoda s voice took on an ironic tone. "The jomads, in their wisdom,
have sought to free me of the burden of day to day decision making. They
also decided that I would be safer if I did not leave my residence."
He indicated the Waziri scholars and Kanadotokiahago. "The Waziri
and the Minunians , and of course, the doyaks have all been working on
a way to free me without agitating the jomads too much. They are already
out of control, if they were to think that I had abandoned them, any semblance
of control would be lost."
I stood there close to despair. The man I thought was my enemy, the
penitent author of the greatest menace mankind had ever faces, was also
the only person who could help bring it to an end. We needed more help
and we needed it very soon.
Looking Savjoda in the eye, it was easy to see that his desire to
end this situation was desperate. This man who was once lord of the jungle,
now lord of a world met my gaze evenly. I said, "I know who you are and
who you were. There is no situation that you cannot make better. Only your
loss of faith in yourself can prevent it. Savjoda, I must find and free
Tamla of Helium. To do that, I require your cooperation."
All present nodded their heads in agreement save for Fomas-67 who
performed a peculiar gesture which may or may not have meant the same thing.