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Volume 4512
by John "Bridge" Martin

PART II: Carson and Duare: Tough Love
Is it a crime to love you? I asked. It is a crime to tell me so, she replied, with something of haughtiness.Duare by Stephen FabianI had been absolutely dumfounded by her beauty.
Carson Napier believed in love at first sight and so, apparently, did Duare, the only daughter of a Vepajan jong and, as such, the hope of the world, or at least the hope of the political system of Vepaja.

Readers could get a bit uncomfortable with Carson as he pressed his suit of this young lady, who appeared to at least superficially discourage his attentions. In the first place, Carson was 27 years old and Duare was not yet 19, we are told, so in some circles Carson would be called a cradle robber. But in a land where, thanks to a longevity serum, people could be expected to live a couple of thousand years or so while maintaining youthful vitality, perhaps age differences weren't so significant.

Kamlot, Carson's best friend in Pirates of Venus, called Duare "the hope of the world" because Mintep, the jong, had failed to produce a son though he'd tried with over 100 women. (Ol' Mintep got around a bit.) So, he was left with Duare, who wasn't allowed to wed (become a "love woman") until age 20 and then it would have to be to someone considered fit to father a royal heir.

Carson, from another planet and different in complexion from the average Venusan, would probably not have been the choice. Not only that, but when Dr. Danus had examined blood samples from the Earthman, "...he was shocked by the variety and nature of malignant bacteria they revealed." (PV, 5).

"You are a menace to the continued existence of human life on Amtor," Danus had said (fortunately, with a chuckle!).

I acted upon a sudden inspiration and hurriedly made fast the end of the rope that I held to one of the stout posts.But the real problem in the Carson-Duare relationship must be laid squarely at the feet of one man: Mintep himself. Carson was a stranger in Vepaja. He looked somewhat different than everyone else. When some invaders showed up later on, they were summarily killed and their bodies heaved over the railings of the walkways of the high Venusan city, carved out of huge trees that tower thousands of feet above the surface. But what did they do with Carson? Though a man of unknown background and intentions, they invited him in, fed him, gave him an Amtorian wardrobe, and started training him in the language, customs, geography and knowledge of Vepaja. Not only that, but Mintep gave this stranger a royal residence in -- of all places -- a suite which had a deck that adjoined the veranda where his virgin daughter lived.

True, her balcony was choked with foliage and Carson, at first, did not realize that anyone even lived there. But he would find out.

So, if Carson eventually got a look at Duare and she got a look at him, and something clicked, who was at fault? Mintep would have no one but himself to blame but, being Mintep, the idea of blaming himself would probably never even occur to him.

Duare was not allowed to speak to men, other than close family members or trusted servants, but it happened that she and Carson did exchange a few words.

Duare had probably been watching Carson through the foliage a long time before he ever saw her. But once he did catch a glimpse, it haunted him until the day he kissed his brains goodbye and jumped the fence between their decks and stood face to face with her.

I saw a girl among the flowers there.She wheeled on me like a tigress, and slapped my face, How dare you lay a hand upon me? she cried. I should kill you.

Being ignorant of the Venusan custom, he blurted out his interest in seeing her, which only alarmed her. And then he did what any brute might do... he reached out and "seized her arm." Tarzan, who began smothering Jane with kisses at the first opportunity, at least had the excuse that he was an ignorant savage, unschooled in proper social behavior!

Duare, however, knew how to behave in such a situation. She "whipped the dagger from the scabbard at her girdle" and threatened to kill him. So Carson, the slow learner, followed that up with: "I love you."

Carson obviously did not believe in long courtships. Duare, however, did.

Alas, the course of true love is never easy. On a tarel-hunting expedition, Carson and Kamlot were captured by klangan and flown to a Thorist ship, on which they eventually led a mutiny and became the book-titled "pirates of Venus". Duare, meanwhile, was captured from off her veranda by klangan, and flown to the Sovong, another Thorist ship which became the pirates' first victim. (One might also wonder at the intelligence of Mintep in having his "hope of the world" daughter live in a place which was so easily penetrated by enemy forces).

Aboard the Sofal, after they had rescued Duare, Carson first heard Kamlot give full details of Duare's exact status.

None of this fazed Carson, who still believed that he would eventually become her mate. Had things gone differently, he would have been mistaken. As it was, circumstances left Carson washed up on a beach in Noobol, where he had an opportunity to rescue Duare again, after she had been (yet again) recaptured.

At the end of Pirates, Carson was taken captive as Duare was flown by a bird-man, presumably back to the Sofal. She called out to her suitor on the shore, "I love you."

Spreading his powerful wings, he rose from the ground, while Duare stretched her hands toward me.

The guy didn't actually get the girl, despite his best and seemingly unwelcome efforts, but at least she said she loved him at the end.

In the next book in the series, Lost on Venus, the relationship had to start from ground zero.

Carson, to some degree, acknowledged that he had been out of line. In Lost, Chapter 1, he mused: "During the eighteen years of her life she had not been permitted to see nor speak to no man other than members of the royal family and a few trusted servitors until I had invaded her garden and forced my unwelcome attentions upon her."

It just wasn't Duare's day... or even her year. Ripped out of what she thought was a secure home, she had gone from one captivity to another and now her only protection was from a man who periodically wanted her to speak words of love to him, as the prelude for the physical culmination that he obviously wanted. But she proved she could handle itómost of the time. Carson observed:

"Duare, notwithstanding all the hard-ships and dangers she was constantly un-dergoing, seldom complained. She remained remarkably cheerful in the face of what was now palpably the absolute certainty that we could never hope to find the dis-tant island where her father was king. Sometimes she was sober and silent for long periods, and I guessed that at those times she was sorrowing; but she did not share her sorrows with me. I wished that she would; we often share our sorrows with those we love.

"But one day she suddenly sat down and commenced to cry." ~ LV, Chapter 5

Later, Carson urged Duare along and she snapped back that, as the daughter of a jong, she was not accustomed to being ordered around. Carson threatened to spank her, causing her to cry again and say, "You take advantage of me because there is no one to protect me. I hate you..." LV, Chap-ter 6

But a few pages later, Carson had hope. They made camp along a river in idyllic surroundings with singing birds, and Duare said, "I wish I were not the daughter of a jong."

And so it went, back and forth, as Duare was torn between her royal duty and her attraction to the man from Earth. Carson felt that if he would serve Duare well he would find some way of returning her to her home in Vepaja. But had he succeeded he likely would have been executed for violating the Vepajan traditions by spending so much time alone with Mintep's daughter, doing who knows what.

But the issue was finally resolved at the end of the volume as Carson rescued Duare from a mink-lined death row in the so-called Utopian city of Havatoo, and flew her away in the newly built airplane, the anotar.

She said, "I love you" at the end of Pirates.

She said it again at the end of Lost.

Only that time, she didn't take it back later.

Duare: Frosty Fille to Femme Fatale

UK Edition 1971: New English LibraryWhat really happened to Duare after she and Carson were put in separate rooms in the castle of Skor of Morov in Chapter 8 of Lost on Venus?

Skor sent one of his walking dead to choke Carson to death in the middle of the night. Skor thought his henchman had succeeded, but the unconscious Carson awoke to see a beautiful girl peering down at him from a trap door in the floor of the room above. He accepted her invitation to come up so they could plan an escape. There, she told him she had seen him and Duare being brought into the castle grounds the day before, and that she had seen that same young woman escape early in the morning. "I do not know how she got out of her room, but from the window I saw her cross the outer courtyard. She climbed the wall on the river side, and she must have dropped into the river. I did not see her again," said the girl, Nalte.

Carson had been suspicious, at first, that the girl might be a confederate of Skor's, but " her fine eyes met mine in mu-tual appraisement, my fears of treachery vanished. I was sure that no duplicity lurked behind that lovely countenance."

Subsequent events bore out Carson's judgment. Nalte was a faithful companion as the two escaped the castle and made their way, through adventure and misadventure, to the city of Havatoo, where Nalte soon caught the eye of Carson's new friend, Ero Shan.

Nothing more was learned of Duare's fate until Chapter 16, when Carson crossed the River of Death from Havatoo to Kor-mor, Skor's Capital City, in search of the abducted Nalte, and went, disguised, into a banquet room where Skor marched in with none other than Duare.

From that moment on, the pace of the story moved quickly. Carson rescued Duare and Nalte and they evaded pursuit and returned to Havatoo. This immediately brought up problems for Duare since she had come from the city of the dead and the pristine pure leaders of Havatoo feared she would taint their city. Before long, she found herself under a sentence of death and Carson, in one of the most thrilling episodes in the Venus series, made a mad dash to save her, escaping with her in the anotar as sirens mobilized pursuers throughout the city.

There was no time for Duare to bring Carson up to date on what adventures befell her while they were apart. Nor is there any flashback in the next book, Carson of Venus. So we'll never know what happened to Duare while she was "offstage." We'll never know how she got out of her castle room, nor why she even thought it would be a good idea to escape without trying to bring Carson along to protect her from the dangers which constantly threatened travelers in Venus. We know that Skor didn't recapture her right away, because his search party was sighted in Chapter 9 by Carson and Nalte, and Duare was not with them. But we don't know how much longer she wandered and what perils she survived, nor how she came again under the power of the disgusting Skor.

ERB Map of Amtor with Amtorian Alphabet
1. Pirates of Venus
2. Lost on Venus
3. Carson of Venus
4. Escape on Venus
5. The Wizard of Venus 
  (Tales of Three Planets)

ALL ABOUT AMTOR by John Martin
INTRO | 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10


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