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Volume 5768



The Caves of the Raksa

Just then a huge gorilla, pounding its massive chest, leaped down the trail towards them. Turan came on guard, as Valla drew her pistol.

Maas started to sing a loud song that stopped the huge ape in its tracks. The tune was haunting, and the thing just stood there, enjoying the song with a smile.

“Don't fire or make any moves,” ordered the Warlord.  The anthropoid was looking at Maas, cocking its head to one side.

“He will not harm us,” commented  Maas, “the hairy ones are the friend of the Raksa. They hate the Emerin worse than we do.”

“I have never seen such a creature—with only two arms,”  gasped Valla.

“Its an anthropoid ape,” answered John Carter. “I have seen them in Africa, They have the strength of ten men.”

Just then the ape creature started to raise his huge hands and move his fingers. He was saying something in a form of sign language.  Valla noticed that Maas was doing the same thing.

“The Emerin have a trap set up just ahead of the trail.” she said. “The ape, Kunge, tells us there is a way to go around the trap and reach the caves of my people undetected . He will lead us.”

“Do you trust him?” asked The Warlord.

“With my life, I knew Kunge when I was a little girl.”

“Lead the way!” said Turan.

The big ape lead them down another smaller trail, deep into a more tangled part of the forest with vines that had sharp thorns and wondrous flowers. He was in front of the party and taking them in a wide circle towards the hills.

“The Emerin killed his father and mother. The Raksa took him in and taught him to speak with his fingers,” added Maas. The ape sniffed her  hand, and then motioned for all to follow.

“This is a lucky find,” commented John Carter. “It seems the pigeon people have made many enemies in the inner world. Its about time we had some good luck.”

The hours seemed to pass slowly, as they always did in the land of perpetual sunlight.  The stopped for a food break offering some to the Gorilla, who refused, preferring fruit from the trees.
They started again with Mass  leading with the hairy man  in front. She lead them as they now were heading up hill towards the mountain. They heard an airship overhead. The birdmen who were waiting for them in the trap were now they trying to find them from   the air. Fortunately, The trees blocked them from observation.

“Looks like only one ship,” commented Djor.

“We must hurry, least we fall into their hands.” added Taala. One could hear excitement at being this close to her home.

They turned a corner and came face to face with three strong men, with short beards and long hair. They were dressed in skins and armed with spears, the points gleamed of bronze. They held curious expressions. There sudden appearance caused the whole party to stop.   Maas was speechless, then ran forward.

“Father!” she said, the gorilla following her.

“Maas? We thought you were dead.” the tallest of the cave men said as they embraced.

Smiles and greetings were exchanged. John Carter was introduced as the savior who brought them out of death and slavery.  The other cave people were impressed. They were shorter than the red Barsoomians, but more powerfully built.

“John Carter, this is my father Zet, The others are Kal and Tar, I grew up with them before my capture,” explained Maas. Taala came forward and Valla saw that Kal was taken with her at once.

“Let us take you to our caves, we will feast ,and celebrate  the return of those who were taken.”  Las was in tears as he embraced Zet.

“If it wasn't for the newcomers from the outer world, we might all be slaves and eaten.” He said, “I didn't believe we would make it home.  I now believe John Carter is the Savior the old legends speak about.”

“Lets get moving,” ordered the Warlord. “We don't want to be out in the open if the Pigeon People should fly over.”

“You are right “Kali -Maaka,” said Zet. “It isn't far. We will lead you.”

“Kali -Makaa?” asked Valla.

“It in in the language of the ancients,” informed  Taala, “It means great one, the title of the savior. It is a title of great respect.”

“Thanks, But I am having a hard time saving my self and my people,” answered John Carter.

The cavemen lead them up a trail and into a deep tunnel in the side of a rocky cliff. It went deep under the surface , the walls lined with glowing material that gave the interior a greenish glow.   John Carter couldn't determine if the tunnel was natural or man made.  One thing was clear, it was old. Here and there colorful paintings were on the walls with stylized images of warriors and monsters.

The tunnel proceeded several hundred yards until it came to an opening. The tunnel turned to form a narrow trail along the side of a steep cliff. Here a few could hold off a thousand.  Above them was another trail with large round rocks. Anyone attempting to enter would face death from the falling rocks. The narrow path ended in another tunnel that lead to a great chamber with the mouths of many caves and filled with the Raksa, women, children, apes and men.

“The ones who were lost are found!” yelled Zet, and a cheer came from the tribesmen.  There were more heartfelt greetings. When Las gave a speech about their flight from Emerini the cave people  were impressed and wanted to touch John Carter. Valla smiled but noticed the Russian Alexi was frowning. He wasn't enjoying watching all the glory go to the Warlord.

One by one the party sat down, resting. It wasn't long before many were sleeping. John Carter noticed Valla was sleeping in the arms of Turan. This caused him to remember when he had rested like that with Deja Thoris, Valla's Mother.  He smiled and rested himself, Djor next to him. He noticed Alexi, the Russian was resting by himself, resisting any attempts at friendship by the others.

Zet came next to John Carter with a look of respect in his eyes. “Kali -Makaa, what do you want us to do?”

“What weapons do you have?” Asked the Warlord, looking at his bronze tipped spear and knife.

“We have some of the ancient swords of steel, but mostly arrows and spears,” he answered. “It is all we can make in the caves. Once long ago we had many weapons until we were attacked by the Emerin.”

“I will show you how to make weapons, and create explosives.” answered John Carter. “ will show you how to make a crossbow, and catapults, and improve your bows as well.  I think if we can organize we can end the threat of the birdmen.”

“I have always held that if we were united, even the white ray couldn't stop us,” answered the caveman.   “What is this thing called a crossbow you speak about?”

John Carter explained what they were ad how they were made. Zet called over others, some wood workers, and Kal, to heard what he said. He illustrated this talk by scratching designs in the dirt.  Kal made drawing on a piece of bark he carried, he illustrated it with a bit of charcoal. When he was done, Zet was smiling.

Not long after the conference, the women came with bronze platters heaped with food and goblets of a red liquid.  The feast even included baked bread.

“I hope you like our humble food, Kali- Maaka.” said one of the women.

“It looks delicious to a hungry man. It is more like the foods I had on Sasoom.”
There was welcoming songs, and dances along with the foods.  They enjoyed themselves, all save for the tall Russian who was ignored by the cave folk.  John Carter went to him and invited him to set next to him by the fire pit.

“It is your party 'Great One' –enjoy it,” he sneered.  “Reserve your pity for the Raksa who will die when they attack the White City.”

“Have it your own way, Alexi,” answered John Carter. “I would rather we be friends.”  He extended his hand, to shake but the Russian slapped it away with a foul word in Russian.

The Warlord got up and returned to his place of honor.  Turan and Djor saw this as did many of the cave people, who looked away from the Russian.

“He is a fool,” muttered Djor.

“Pride, I have seen aristocrats infected with this disease,” answered John Carter. “On Sasoom and Barsoom.”

“Zoldanga, much arrogance in that city.” commented Djor.

“See what happened to them when their city was over run by the Green Men of the Tharks,” commented the Warlord. “I wish I had an army of green men to take out these  cruel pigeon men.”

“Maybe we could capture that ray and bring some green men here, to the inner world?” added Djor.

“Perhaps this could be done.  We need to capture the Science Laboratory and their kidnapping ray!”

The party continued with more singing and strong drink.  They called it Tuk, and it had a punch to it. A wine made of wild berries.

People slept after the celebration.  The escaped prisoners slept soundly after their long march.   John Carter woke first, He glanced over at Valla, Turan was there but Valla was gone. He stood up, Alexi, the Russian was also gone. He went to Turan  and woke him up with a shake on his arm.

“Where is Valla?” he asked the Zorian guard.

“She was here when I went to sleep.” he commented.

“I saw her with the tall Sasoomian—the one you call Alexi,” commented one of the Cave people.  “He said it was important, and escorted her away.”

“Why didn't you wake me?” asked John Carter.

“I didn't want to wake you, Kali- Maaka.”

“We need to follow them—find them.” stuttered Turan. “I never trusted the man, I fear he has no honor.”

The whole party woke up now, Zet came as the electric confusion was picked up by the cave dwellers.

“What is wrong, Kali- Maaka?” he asked, worry on his face.

“Valla has been abducted!” cried The Warlord.

“ What can we do for you?” Asked Zet.

“Find anyone of your people who may have seen Valla and the man leave. Find out what direction they took. Give me your best tracker and I will lead a party to rescue her.”

“Tar is our best tracker, I will have him lead you,” he said.  “I will do my best to  question all in the cave village. Why would your man do this?”

“I think I know where he is going!” speculated John Carter. “Emerini—he hopes to trade Valla for his freedom.”

“She will die a terrible death!” echoed Turan. From his lips came a storm of Barsooming swear words.  “The Calot will die by my own hand!”

“He's mine first!” vowed the Warlord.  Within moments they were on the path with Tar leading the way. He proved to be an expert tracker.

“I never saw a better tracker, not even among the red Indians of the southwest on Sasoom.”

“I thank you Kali -Maaka,” commented Tar, “I am the best in the village, perhaps among all the Raska.”

“Are they making their way towards Emerini, as I suspected?” asked John Carter.

“You are correct, Kali -Maaka.” answered Tar. “This track will take them directly to the White City. They are not attempting to keep to the trees. They want to be seen.”

“Follow them where ever they go.” ordered John Carter. “I want to catch up with the Russian and free my daughter.”

“They travel fast, they must know we seek them.” added Turan.

“He expected pursue, that's for sure.” commented The Warlord. “I am sure Valla is resisting his mad pace.”

Out of the side of the forest path, the woman Maas came out, with her was the large gorilla.

“Kali- Maaka, We wish to join you, and help you to rescue  Valla. She is my friend. Among the  Raksa friendship is sacred. I will help—as long as we do not enter that hateful city.”

“Thanks, any help is welcome. I understand why you would not want to re-enter Emerini.  With luck we can save her before they pass into the city.”

“Kunge wants to help as well. He can travel in the trees ahead of us.”  Maas said

“Good, tell him to catch up with Alexi and Valla and bring back word.” the Warlord said. At that Maas turned and used sign language to communicate with the ape.  He smiled and took to the trees, vanishing into the green vines and leaves.

“Lets  pick up the pace.” said John Carter.

The Rescue of Valla

They pressed forward, Maas keeping up with Tar. John Carter saw that the look she was giving the tall warrior it told him she had a crush on the caveman. Her desire to join the party may have had another reason, besides that of saving Valla. He was glad she was along and brought the gorilla with her.

The had not traveled long before they heard a crashing in the trees and Kunge dropped down to the trail. He ran up to Maas and started to sign words to her.

“Kunge says that they are not far ahead of us and we should move fast to catch up. The woman is tied but  resisting the tall man.  He says we must wary, the Emerin are close at hand.”

“How does he know?” asked  Tar.

The woman translated his message into the finger talk she used and all watched as the ape answered her.

“He says that he didn't see them but he smelled them. They are close.”   Maas translated.

“All the reason to move as quickly as possible,” said the Warlord.  “Keep a look out for the birdmen. They are tricky creatures—they seem to love an ambush.”

“We of the Raksa  know the Emerin well,” added Tar. “We will be ready for them.”

“Tell Kunge to go back and warn if any of the Birdmen are around,” John Carter said.  Maas translated and the ape and back nimbly into the branches.

“Kunge said his tribe is close at hand. He will visit with them after we have secured Valla.”

“Lets get moving!” order an anxious Turan.

“Forward! But keep a look out for the Emerin.” John Carter ordered as he took the lead.

They traveled fast down the trail, Swords out to cut away vines that blocked their progress.
The hot sun cause everyone to sweat as they made their way. John Carter saw the set jaw of Turan—woe be it to any pigeon head who crossed him.

The path ended at a wide clearing. There, stand under a small tree was Valla and Alexi. She was tied to a tree and gagged.

“Why is she gagged?” asked Maas.

“So she can't warn us of a trap--” added The Warlord. “The birdmen have a trap set up for us.”

“So we should wait?” asked Turan.

“No, we shall attack with all the fury we can muster!” said John Carter. “They want us to blunder into a trap—so we should accommodate them.  BUT be ready to pull Valla out and head back to the caves of the Raksa.”

“I can take the Princess,” whispered Turan, using a term in Martian Chess.

“In this case the Jeddara,” answered John Carter. “Lets go!”

Screaming a rebel yell, The Warlord ran at Alexi and the bound Valla. She was shaking her head no –trying to warn them.  Alexi came on guard as John Carter engaged him. Turan went to  Valla and with his sword, cut her free and pulled her onto his back, without bothering to remove her gag. He ran with her into the forest, as the tall bird warriors seemed to pop out from behind the trees and rocks.  Maas as ready, as was Tar.   John Carter disarmed the Russian with his swirling blade and sent it flying right into the chest of a birdman.   He then faced the mass of them with a grim smile on his face.  The Warlord loved fighting, and if he was to fall or be taken, he would cut down as many of the Emerin as possible.

They were skilled fighters but lacked the skill and power of John Carter.

“Tar,” he cried. “Take Maas and flee into the jungle—let me block your escape from these pigeon heads.”

Alexi pulled Vallas pistol from his belt and tried to aim it at John Carter.

“Fire not,” shouted an Emerin, “The Dator wants him alive!”

Seeing the danger, The Warlord moved and parried the sword of  a tall feathered warrior, drew his dagger and sent it flying, hitting the treacherous Russian in the chest with such force it was buried up to the hilt, killing him almost instantly.   Out of the corner of his eye, John Carter saw two of the bird warriors with long sticks set with rope nooses to capture him. He leaped to the fallen Russian and pulled from his dead hand the small pistol. It felt a little like the old Colt peacemaker he carried in Arizona.   He fired once and a birdman with a pole fell, his chest red with blood, a second shot found another of the creatures dead.  One of the tall feathered men had a firestick and was aiming the exploding head towards the Prince of Helium. He aimed and fired, hitting the exploding point before it could be fired, causing it to detonate, killing several bird creatures.
Firing, he ran for the jungle, following Tar and Maas who had escaped. For a moment he thought he might escape the trap. Then  he felt a nooses pass over his head and pull tight around his neck. He fired, trying to hit the person who held him, but missed. Another noose was pulled over his head.  Several more died before his pistol was empty and he was pulled to the ground.

“Don't kill him!  The Dator ordered that the Sasoomian must live—he had plans for him.”  John Carter knew they would not be pleasant plans. But, he was happy Valla and Turan, Tar and Maas had escaped.  In less than a minute he was disarmed and tied with many ropes.  He could tell the Emerin hated and feared him.  John Carter could hear a flyer coming in to land. He would be flown to the White City.

He said to himself: “I still Live!”    He counted twelve of the birdmen dead.

Turan was exhausted—he didn't know how long he had ran carrying Valla. He wanted to get her as far as possible from the bird creatures.  He put her down, gasping for air. It was hot, as always in this inner world.    Valla removed her gag.

“We must go back and save father!” she insisted.

“He ordered me to take you to safety, My Jeddara.”  he answered in short breaths.

“I order you to go back and save him!” said Valla, her hands on her hips.

“I must follow the Warlords orders. My first concern must be your life, your safety. For the people of Zor and for …. me.”

“What do you mean?” she asked, her nose uplifted in a haughty attitude.

“I love you, Valla. I almost lost you to those awful cannibals. My heart, and my sword are yours.”

She opened her mouth to speak but no words came from her lips. Her wide brown eyes, showed tears, he lips trembled. Rather than speak she threw her arms around him and kissed him.

“I, I love you too Turan, I don't know if I could have survived this awful place without you.”

“Let us go to the Cave people and, when your safe, we can organize an army to  rescue your father.”   Valla only nodded her head yes. “If we  are free of this place, we will be married. That is if you want a mate from the lower Zorian nobility.”

“Yes! Yes!” she answered.  “I will be glad to be  your mate. You have made me the happiest woman on Barsoom.”

“Well, we are really inside of Barsoom,” he answered.  “Now let us focus on getting out of this ball and back to Zor for our wedding!”

“I want to be married at the Altar of Truth in Greater Helium, where all my family and friends will be present.”

“Granted, my Jeddara, But after that, we will be married a second time in Zor.”

“The palace at Zor has bad memories for me—The forced marriage to....”

“Speak no more of it—I understand,” Turan said. “We will be married anyplace you wish.”

“Perhaps at the grand arena, where the people first beheld me—and made their affection known. That would be a good place where all the people can witness our union.”

“A public wedding. A  very novel idea—but so like my soon to be wife—an original and unique wedding .”  At that Turan kissed her again. “Even Komar Zal will be there.  Did you know he was impressed with your skills at the conference?  He told me so before he left for Zor.”

“High praise from  the dower finance minister,” she said with a smile. “The only man I am impressed with today is my guard, Turan.”

“We must get back on the trail” he said to her.

“I hear something coming—maybe the Emerin!” she said with a look of fear.

As they watched in the direction of the sound, Maas and Tar, holding hands, appeared down the jungle path.

“Valla, you are safe?”  Maas exclaimed.

“What of my father?”  She asked, “Did he escape the bird creatures?”

“No, they got him!” said Tar.

“Let us go back to the caves of your people and organize a rescue expedition,” proclaimed Valla. “We must save him from those awful creatures.”

“Yes, we must save Kali-Maaka.” added Tar.

Valla walked back, towards the distant mountains and the caves.  The rounded horizon of the Inner World was such that they could see the White City and the yellow flying ship heading toward the walled  city of Emerini.  Valla knew it must be transporting her father to his fate. She shuttered that he might be eaten!

“We must save him!” she said to Turan.

“Do not worry—we killed many of the birdmen—they will eat their own before they feast on captives.” added Maas.

“They may make an example of  the Warlord.” added Turan.

“No, I believe they will sentence him to the arena, to battle beasts for their,  entertainment,”explained Maas.  “This is what I have seen done in the past when a prisoner showed great courage or killed a birdman.”

“So we may have time before he is placed in the arena.”  Said Valla. “We must save father.”

“We can see the city from here. When the arena is used for executions, they will fly a blood red banner,” informed Maas. “They will also sound a trumpet as well. It is called the Arena of Death because no one sentenced to fight there ever comes out alive and is eaten by the wild beasts.”

A shocked look came upon Valla's face. She opened her mouth to speak but no words came out.

“Don't worry, Jeddara. We will rescue him!” vowed Turan.

Valla started to cry, and hugged the tall Zorian guard.

“Let us get back to the caves!” said Tar as he gestured for them to follow him back towards the mountains.   The small band was silent as they walked, each one deep in their own thoughts.

The Emerin Flyer  wasn't far from the clearing, Three of the tall featured warriors pulled the bound Warlord to the ship.  He could see they were planning to fly him back to their white city.
He enjoyed looking at the flying ship they were using.  The design was similar to the ones he knew in Helium—but very old.  In truth he had seen more advanced ships in museums, listed as truly ancient. He was lashed into a seat as the crude controls were operated by a pilot in a bright green and yellow uniform.  The two bladed propeller started to spin and slowly gained speed as the small motor made noise.  This caused John Carter to smile. The flyers of Helium are almost completely silent.   He realized the reason he was tied to the seat was to keep him from tossing himself overboard.

“You don't need to worry,” he said to the brilliantly garbed pilot. “I will not kill myself—I want to kill more of you feather heads.”  The pilot turned and gave him a funny look and blinked his eyes.

“I am sure the Dator has some surprises in store for you at the palace,” one of the guards said in an evil tone.

“I may have a surprise for him as well,” answered John Carter.  The flyer made slow time over the jungle to the looming walled city.   They landed on the roof of a large multi-storied building. He saw many guards present.   A group of ten rushed to the ship.

“Tell the Dator himself, I have captured the Sasoomian!” cried the pilot.

“You didn't do anything, I guess you didn't want to dirty your fancy uniform,” said the Warlord. “Your men did all the hard work and more than a few brave ones died.”

“Silence, slave!” cried the pilot. “Be silent or I shall have you gagged.”

“Don't you hate officers who take all the credit for your hard work and bravery?” John Carter said to the other Emerin in the ship. He noticed several blinked and bobbed their heads in agreement. “You beat me fair and square---when the swords were clashing, I didn't see your officer here anywhere near the action, did you?”

“Take him to the Dator!” yelled the officer. “ Take him now! Let us not keep the great Dator waiting!”

“The Dator of the Emerin wouldn't want me damaged, It might anger him and you might find yourself on the dinning table---No, I am mistaken, The leader only eats the flesh of brave ones—so your safe.”

At that the pilot slapped John Carter in the face.  His beak was red with rage. This caused the Earthman to smile in a way that made the office shake.

The guards untied the Warlord and pulled him from the airship, as he resisted them. One he butted with his head, causing the birdman to fall to the ground with a broken arm.

“Hollow bones can't take much punishment,” mocked John Carter, as he was pulled to a descending ramp. The walls were covered with brightly colored murals showing birdmen fighting with Baaths and Barsoomian White Apes and Plantmen.  In the depictions the bird creatures were always winning. They were armed like others on the surface of Mars.

“Interesting art,” commented John Carter as they progressed down the halls. “But I think a real Baath would eat you pigeon heads for lunch.”

The guards didn't respond, but he could see their beaks blush red with suppressed rage. They were not used to being spoken too like this from an “inferior” human.

They passed though and ornate archway and lavishly decorated door set with gold and silver and gems. Then into a large chamber, passed a long table where the bones of a human were exposed. The head was in tact, with long hair and a face twisted in death and terrible pain. It had been a woman—eaten alive.  This image caused John Carter to shiver in disgust, and surge within his bosom a  white hot rage for revenge.

“I vow to do all I can to destroy the Emerin, and burn this hateful city to the ground,” he said to himself as they pulled him towards a high thrown, with many smaller ornate chairs. On each one a birdman sat watching, blood on their beaks from the feast.  The tallest, most opulently dressed creature sat on the cushioned throne. The Warlord guessed this was their leader—the Dator.

“All powerful, all knowing, Dator of the Emerin, we bring you the Sasoomian Warrior you requested.  He has killed many of your guards and warriors. He is as savage as any of the beasts of that far away world. “ the speaker stood near the dais and gestured toward John Carter.

“Release me and discover how savage I am,” mocked John Carter. “Better yet, give me a sword and see what I can do.”

“Silence!”  Ordered one of the guards.

“You will get your wish Sasoomian, Carter.” said the Dator in a high pitched voice. “Attendants, Fly the blood flag and sound the trumpets! Let us fill the arena so that all can watch this inferior die and feed the beasts from his world.”

“Sire,” said one of the  lesser ministers in the room. “We must honor those who died in your service, Dator.  They must be dressed and eaten with full honors as the brave ones they were.  We can not scheduled the games until then. We must hold to our traditions, Sire, or we are no better than this Sasoomian creature.”

“It was fun killing them!” laughed The Warlord.  “And we must  keep up traditions!”

“Take him away!” cried the Dator of the Emerin.  “Fatten him up for the animals of the arena!”

The guards pulled John Carter from the room. John Carter laughed as he left.

“Thanks Dator, I was hungry. I hope Emerin is on the menu—I could use a breast and a leg bone.”

“Silence, slave.”  ordered the guard.

“What are you going to do? Kill Me? The Dator will not be pleased with that,” mocked John Carter.

Surrounded by guards he was escorted into the street and to the same prison where he had been held before. Many in the city looked at him. The human slaves smiled at the man who killed so many of the feathered oppressors.

This time the prison was well guarded and the Warlord knew he couldn't escape from there.

“I still live!” he said to himself.

  The party reached the cave village and almost every one of the cave people welcomed them  with cheers and flowers, that is until they discovered John Carter was not with them.

“Where is Kali-Maaka?” asked Taana who had a bouquet of flowers to give him.

“Captured by the Emerin,” answered Valla.  “He fought them so we could escape.”

“So very much like him,” said Maas.

“We must save him from those fiends!” cried Turan.

“Yes,” said Zet. “We must save Kali-Maaka from the Emerin at all costs.  We have been working long and hard on the new weapons he showed us.”

“New Weapons?” asked Valla.

One of the cave people brought forth a crossbow of wood and bronze and held it up for her to examine. It was well made, polished Skeel with bronze fittings.

“Kali-Maaka called it a crossbow,”  said Zet. “We have been working on them and, we believe we have improved the design and wished to show them to the Savior himself for his approval. We call them the Kali-Maakan—the wrath of Kali-Maaka.”

“It is well made.” added Turan as he took the weapon and tested its balance. “Has it been tested?”

“Yes,” said the cave ruler. “It can drive an arrow further than any bow we have. We even improved the design and our skillful weapons makers created  a crossbow that can fire several times. One must just use a lever to load the new arrow from a hopper and cock the string for a new shot.”

As he spoke they brought out a huge Crossbow carried by two men who strained under its weight.  A woman carried the spear-like  Bronze arrow it fired.  There was a mass of moss on the point.

“This Crossbow can fire bolts that carry fire. We have dipped them in the burning fluids that seep up from the black pits. They are hollow, filled with the burning liquid. These will set Emerini to fire!” vowed  Zet with an evil smile. “ Even with their ray, the Emerin will be  hard pressed  when their city is burning.”

“If we could get to the wreck of our ship their might be more weapons we could take from the airship,” commented Turan.

“I could send runners to the site—our ape friends could find it with their sense of smell,” said Zet

“I would lead such an expedition.” said Tar.  “We can only hope that  the Emerin have not found it first with their flying ships.”

“I think not, it fell in a jungle with all sorts of vines and trees,” answered Turan. “I will go with you to show you the weapons that we could use on the bird creatures.”

“I don't want you to go, my love!” insisted Valla.

“We must if we are to free the Warlord, you know this is true.”

Valla bowed her head. She knew Turan was right.

“Then we should start after the next sleep,” announced Tar. “If Maas would agree to come along to act as interpreter for the gorilla men.”

“Good!” exclaimed Zet. “Let there be feasting before the trek.”

Valla hugged Turan, as Maas hugged Tar.


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