Official Edgar Rice Burroughs Tribute & Weekly Webzine Site
Since 1996 ~ Over 15,000 Webzines and Webpages In Archive
Volume 6083

Chapter 22: IN EXTREMIS
Chapter 23: BERSERK!
[Log, ON BOARD SHIP {DELETED}, Date {deleted}]
 Narrative Transmission 22
 In Extremis

      THE FIRST TIME the Dalonian bucks came for Jer’ok, the beast-man determined to fight them to the death – theirs or his own.  Under the circumstances it no longer much mattered to the son of Aranda.  The close confines of the tiny cell into which he had been thrust, still paralysed, upon his ignominious return to the city, was the cruelest punishment Reyn could have inflicted, though the shamana had been given no reason to suspect as much.

      The moment impotent thews and sinews reawakened to his commands Jer’ok had begun to seek some means of escape from his prison.  There was none.

      The death cell of Dalon had been crafted well to hold the most desperate humankind destined to serve Solea or Sanjera.  But, where most entered that cell with knowledge of what was to come, Jer’ok’s sole motivation was to regain his cherished freedom.  His wild spirit would quickly wither shut away from all that nurtured it.

      Moreover, although the beast-man merely suspected this deadly truth, deprived of the light of the twin suns, the extraordinary physical powers that were Jer’ok’s would imperceptibly ebb until he had no more prowess than the puniest of pampered civilised men.

      When his minute exploration of every last stone of his prison informed Jer’ok that he would find no way out, the beast-man resigned himself to await the inevitable mistake on the part of his captors.  In the meantime the flame of rage, fueled by hatred of all of humankind, burned ever more furiously as time crawled by without hope.

      Thus it was no man, but a trapped beast that faced the Dalonian bucks charged with the task of taking Jer’ok from his cell.  An ominous growl from within warned them back from the heavy door, but not for long.  When they ignored the Aranda threat and entered to surround him, Jer’ok snarled and without further warning attacked, intending to give no quarter.

      But he reckoned without the unusual Dalonian powers.  The high shamana was not the only one with the ability to call upon distant Sanjera for aid.  Nor was that the only power this people held at their beckoning.  Jer’ok sensed the presence of several of the shes, also called shamana, but his savage battle for freedom never faltered.

      With the exception of the buck with whom the captive had closed, the Dalonians fell back to allow the approaching priestesses a clear path.  The beast-man finished with the one who had thought to prepare him for his presentation to Solea and whirled to gain the doorway before the others could take his place.

      There, at that threshold, Jer’ok knew madness for the first time in his life as Aranda!

      The hope of freedom calling from beyond the opened door of his prison evoked a response in him unready to yield to any impediment short of death.  He observed that the bucks had fallen back.  Before he rose from the body of the one who had dared lay hands on Jer'ok of the Aranda, he had seen only the frail women between him and his freedom.  He snarled again and charged out of the confines of the dread prison.

      To Jer’ok’s astonishment he could make no further headway.  It was as though the beast-man were running through a fluid thicker and far more restricting than Nea.  This invisible stuff clogged in his nostrils and throat.  It caught at his limbs and threatened to crush his mighty chest.  Jer’ok fought it with a mad desperation, but this was an enemy invulnerable to his strengths.  He felt himself falling.  The horrid, unseen clinging stuff failed to support him.  He crashed to the prison floor.

      The shamana may have been startled by the savagery that had met their servants, but they showed no personal fear.  The rampaging captive burst from the death cell only to fall on his face before them.  The shamana who stood closest smiled in knowing satisfaction when the felled man looked up to her in utter bewilderment.

      Jer’ok’s arms were securely manacled behind his back and a heavy collar clasped about his throat before he could recover from the terrible spell cast upon him by the Dalonian she.  The beast-man knew nothing of the telekinetic powers that had been developed to an extraordinary degree in the remote ancestors of the Dalonians.  He only knew he was helpless against these unseen weapons.

      Without further ceremony or ineffective struggles Jer’ok was escorted with more speed than dignity to an open tower high in the city of the escarpment.  Long before he saw the altar stained dark with the blood of those who had gone before, Jer’ok had scented the fear and death clinging to this place.  He also knew Reyn was waiting.

      Jer’ok-ta of the Aranda would have died this night under the impassive view of gentle Solea, the victim of Reyn’s jeweled dagger, but for the capricious games in which the Stars engage.  Before Jer’ok could be bound helplessly across the cold stone of the altar, Solea’s soft glow was obscured by clouds appearing out of nowhere.

      The party of worshipers tarried in varying attitudes of stoic patience.  The high shamana scanned the sky with care before turning her cold eyes on the bound man.  He met her angry stare without fear or submission.  Jer’ok might have simply been one more among those who had come here tonight to pay homage to the lovely queen of the night.

      Without taking her eyes from his, the high shamana made a sharp gesture with one hand.  As she whirled and disappeared from view there were mutters of disappointment.  The celebrants slowly moved to return Solea's rejected gift to the death cell in preparation for resuming their ordinary routines.  But the return was not so easily accomplished.

      Jer’ok of the Aranda had tasted the scent of night flavoured with the faint perfume wafting on Mael from the jungle below.  This time his mind was set to resist the images the high shamana and her sisters would create to defeat him.  He saw the one who had halted his earlier escape attempt retreat.  Another stepped forward.

      The battle was over before it began, for there was in fact no defence.  Jer’ok was possessed of tremendous courage and a strong mind made stronger still by his primal need to be free, but his mind was neither endowed with the needed ability nor trained to resist the uncanny power.  His strength could not serve him.

      When he was summoned to the altar for the second time, Jer’ok-ta went without need for mental suasion.  He knew better than to squander his dwindling energy on a battle that was lost even before it commenced.  He went knowing he was doomed.

      But once again the Stars intervened.  The storms of one shadow had descended on Ashtar prematurely.  Solea hid her face from her children.  Some among them began to wonder if she was for some unfathomable reason unwilling to accept the services of the unusual gift they sought to bestow.  High Shamana Reyn choked back the unreasoning fury of frustration.  The next time Jer'ok-ta would die beneath her knife whether Solea sought him or no.  During the long day of waiting she would pray for the words her fellow celebrants would accept if Solea again turned her face away from them.

       THE THIRD TIME when he was summoned to the altar of Dalon, Jer’ok saw that it was a perfect night for the worship of Solea.  There was an unearthly glow across the cold face of the sacrificial tower.  The jungle beyond, tinged with highlights seemingly composed of precious silver, whispered in the soft light.

      It required all his formidable will power to hold back the urge to make one last bid for freedom in life rather than accept the release promised by long sleep.  The studied calm of Jer’ok’s features held despite the foment raging within the man. His handsome countenance did not alter even when he confronted High Shamana Reyn, whose undeniable beauty was rendered exquisite in the cool light of her goddess.  Upon seeing her Jer’ok, Reyn experienced a pang of regret, quickly rejected.

      Like those of her victim Reyn’s features remained calm despite her own inner fires.  There was a pause to allow the celebrants to compose their spirits for the sacred act that was near to its consummation.  When the profound quiet satisfied High Shamana Reyn, she began to chant the ageless litany of the sacrifice before the impassive victim.  All the while Jer’ok’s eyes never left her lovely face.

      How could one so beautiful harbor such cruelty in her breast?  Once Jer’ok would have accepted this she as a worthy mate, but Reyn had wanted something far different:  a life the son of Aranda could not endure.  Now she would put him to death for the sin of seeking to live his life as it had been destined.

      After the endless imprisonment in the dark cell to which Reyn had condemned him, Jer’ok acknowledged the mercy to be found in the single swift downward flight of the sharp blade.  He had no desire to die, but if long sleep was inevitable he would not mar his own passage with struggles as futile as they were unseemly.

      Reyn’s chant rose to its impassioned climax and was silenced.  As if at her direction the light touch of Mael on the faces of celebrants and sacrifice alike abruptly fell away.  Two the shamana touched Jer’ok’s arms and he walked between them to the altar.  While the others solemnly took their places for the final rite, four of the bucks pressed the victim down onto the altar and bound him in position with the strong thongs that had held his predecessors.  Jer’ok regarded the textured silver face of Solea with a certain pique of curiosity until it was obscured by another of a different sort of beauty.  Even in these his last moments of life Jer’ok’s eyes were fixed on those of Reyn.  It was she who at last broke the painful contact.

      The high shamana raised her lovely head in rapt devotion as she lifted her voice in the haunting hymn that would conclude with the fatal thrust.  Thus would cease for all time the beat of that courageous heart, steadfast in refusal to yield to her will.  There was none among them to notice, but the giant captive strained across the sacred altar breathed with a greater calm than did the high shamana, whose bosom rose and fell with an agitation that knew no sacred inspiration.  Reyn mouthed the familiar incantation, but her woman's heart and soul shrank from what she was bound to do.

      The waiting celebrants shifted uneasily.  The high shamana had never offered the sacrifice unto Solea with so stately a rendering of the climactic hymn.  To their greater unease Mael now returned in a veritable fury.  Still the priestess did not surrender to the holy ecstasy of the moment.  Her impatient attendants heard the rumbling of thunder in the distance and shifted in nervous expectation.

      At long last the chant was building for the final ecstatic phrases.  Even as the hushed celebrants drew nearer, the better to see the release of the sacrifice to join his being with Solea, there was a sudden flash of lightning to obscure both goddess and her dark dwelling place.

      Reyn’s hymn faltered and resumed.  The moment had come!

      When Reyn tore her eyes from his, Jer’ok turned his attention back to gentle Solea.  He ignored the clear, sweet voice of the high shamana to listen for the sounds of his beloved jungle.  He heard Mael, the wind, return from whence he had earlier disappeared.  He heard the sounds of the approaching storm and remembered another of long ago that had in a sense marked the beginning of his life.  Now a second storm would witness its conclusion.  Jer’ok resisted the unreasoning need to fight for his life.  Instead he turned his head to watch the display of his namesake.

      Reyn faltered a second time.  Jer’ok was taking no further note of the she.  Suddenly Reyn's song was silenced.

[Log, ON BOARD SHIP {DELETED}, Date {deleted}]
 Narrative Transmission 23

      JER’OK LOOKED UP without knowing he had been briefly unconscious.  The high shamana was gone.  Even gentle Solea had grown weary of the long delay and withdrawn behind tattered clouds.  In her place were an angry Mael and a Nea who seemed intent upon drowning him who had been abandoned by Solea.  The beast-man experienced a bewildering disorientation.  He waited for it to pass before looking around.

      Presently, when Jer’ok attempted to move, his body protested with a most peculiar tingling.  After an interval of confused wonder, he recognised that sensation.  It was the very same residuum of the horror as that left in wake of Jera’s unprovoked attack on the night of his Pers-Alata of passage.

      The beast-man had no time to spare for cosmic puzzles.  Perhaps this night Jera was a friend who would provide for his escape.  The being’s unexpected favour was not to be squandered.

      Ignoring the return of the unnerving sensations Jer’ok raised his head and shook the rain from his eyes.  The attendants were scattered in a circle of sprawled forms against the very edge of the tower.  Even in this torrent he observed Reyn’s ceremonial weapon glowing faintly with Solea’s dimmed light beside one of the unconscious bucks.

      Jer’ok instinctively measured the shallow breathing of his enemies.  The favour so unexpectedly granted would no doubt be withdrawn if Jer'ok-ta did not soon act on his own behalf.  Even as he searched for Reyn the beast-man tentatively tried the bonds that bit deep into his wrists and ankles.  The slightly damaged nerves protested anew, but the bound man persisted.  One of the thongs had given, almost imperceptibly.  Jer’ok relaxed before diverting all his stupendous strength to that
single bond.

      The beast-man worked steadily and with a certain design to his silent but no less intense struggle.  Even as he noted the deepening of his enemies’ breathing and knew they would soon fall upon him again, he never succumbed to the futile thrashings of panic that might have defeated another.

      None too soon Jer’ok was free.

      The beast-man tried to stand but found himself strangely unsteady.  He paused in the hope his abilities would be restored before it was too late.  As he was removing the frayed ropes from his limbs, he observed the first feeble efforts to rise of more than one of the bucks.

      If his unforeseen good fortune held, Jer’ok’s former captors would regain their faculties even more slowly than he.  But he must act quickly, no matter the only slightly diminished complaints of abused nerves.  Jer’ok looked about one last time as he stooped to claim the ceremonial knife only to drop it with an exclamation of surprise when it burned his hand.  The beast-man quickly ripped a length of fabric from the robe of the closest shamana.  This fragment he used to wrap the hilt of the knife.  It would be the sole weapon to protect his escape.  Then the crafty beast-man paused to consider.  There was another weapon if only he would use it.

      Jer’ok turned to regard the stricken high shamana.  She, like her attendants, was beginning to stir.  Jer’ok knew his chance for survival was dim at best.  His contempt for those who would dishonour a she was certainly misplaced in these circumstances.  This she had been prepared to take his life though he never caused her the slightest harm.  This she had the power to terminate his escape attempt – or to assure its success.

      With sudden resolution Jer’ok went to High Shamana Reyn and roughly slung her inert form over his shoulder with no more care than he would have taken with the carcass of one of his kills.

      The fugitive from Solea’s fatal embrace encountered no Dalonians in the tower itself.  Those few he met before he could gain the relative safety of the drenched streets fell back.  Their initial belligerence faded to terror when they recognised his hostage.  Jer’ok ran through the wet streets in the direction of the main gate.  Here for the first time he was faced with formidable opposition.

      Worse, Reyn had recovered her senses.  While she could not hope to defeat him while her vanished powers left her defenceless against his strength and savage determination, Reyn could impede his progress and render him vulnerable to the more conventional weapons of her bucks, whom she fiercely exhorted to slay her captor despite the hazard to her own safety.

      Jer’ok came closest to losing all hope when his living burden succeeded in overbalancing them both at the very moment he was closing with a Dalonian warrior who was skillfully evading the dangerous knife to finish the despised unbeliever with his spear.

      For an instant the beast-man was entirely at the mercy of the assailant.  Had the buck not fallen back upon his sudden recognition of the sacred dagger wielded so effectively by the brazen creature, Jer’ok’s journey to Solea would have been completed then and there.

      The beast-man took advantage of the other's confusion to disarm him and strike him down.  Without pausing to determine whether the Dalonian still lived, Jer’ok took a fresh hold on the slender wrist of his furious hostage and continued on his quest for freedom.

      The two of them reached Dalon’s main gate only after a series of skirmishes with the woman's angry warriors.  Jer’ok was not once seriously injured, but he did suffer numerous minor wounds.  His life was preserved because the bucks were tentative in striking at him lest they injure the high shamana.  Inevitably, upon espying the jeweled dagger in the outlander’s hand, each attacking buck fell back in superstitious awe.  No amount of imperious direction on the part of Reyn, who was fighting Jer’ok’s hold every step of the way, could convince the Dalonians to brave the thrusts of the sacred dagger.

      At last they reached the gate that opened onto freedom for Jer’ok.  The beast-man’s heart beat faster in anticipation.  He could now detect the clean scent of his home through the stench that hangs low over every dwelling place of humankind in large numbers.  He halted, wrenched the high shamana before him where both he and the enemy could see her, and called to the guardians to open the gate.  At first they refused, whereupon Reyn turned her haughty gaze upon the beast-man as if to ask how he would escape her now.  But her superior stare was destined to be short-lived.

      Jer’ok twisted the Dalonian priestess around and swung her closer to him where he held her in one great arm.  With the other he held aloft the stolen dagger.  As it scintillated in the occasional flashes of Jera, the lightning, he called aloud that he would slay the she if they did not obey him immediately.

      The beast-man’s bluff, if bluff in fact it was, went unchallenged.  Ponderous and slow, the gate swung wide under the torrent of wind and rain.  Jer’ok passed beneath the guardians with an unhurried stride, the high shamana still pressed close under the unwavering threat of her own sacrificial knife.  Jer’ok’s head was high.

      These people had dared hold him prisoner.  Because of them his body was aching and sore from a dozen wounds and his blood mingled with the rain.  Suddenly the beast-man knew he wanted revenge almost as much as he wanted freedom. It had been his intention to release Reyn and disappear into the jungle as soon as he was beyond the gate and the spears and arrows of Dalon.  But he did not.

      Instead, as soon as he cleared the gate, the beast-man lifted the furious she in both arms and ran into the jungle with her.  He would claim his vengeance!  How and on whom the burden of his claim would fall was not clear in Jer’ok’s own mind.  In fact, the beast-man’s very sanity had been draining away since this woman had first turned on him to seek his obeisance and, failing that, his life.  He was more Aranda than san-k’aranda and on the very verge of a nameless being far more dangerous than Aranda when stricken with madness.

      Once he was in the jungle the cunning beast-man knew he was safe from the enemy bucks, especially as the rains of this capricious storm returned.  All trace of his passage would be obliterated almost before the foemen could leave the city. And the sound of Reyn’s outraged screams would not carry far against the increasing violence of Jer’ok, the storm for whom the beast-man had been aptly named.

      Nevertheless, Jer’ok was tempted to silence the obstreperous she.  Only the tattered shreds of the jungle man's inherent chivalry, refined through the tactful guidance of Guy Locke, saved Reyn from the blow that would certainly have silenced her at least while Jer’ok remained within range of hearing of the keenest Dalonian ear.

      Jer’ok made his swift way directly to the pool of the natural antechambre to the jungle and freedom that called after his heart.  The beast-man hunched against the storm as he ran.  The wind threatened to knock even the mighty Jer’ok from his feet, and the driving rain nearly blinded him.

      Reyn had become still at last.  Either she had tired of her futile struggles or she had resigned herself to whatever fate Jer’ok-ta would mete out.  Beside the wind-stirred pool Jer’ok set the priestess on her feet.  She made no effort to escape. Her head was as high as his own is if the she would somehow challenge him anew.

      Her eyes were fierce with the roiling emotions of the insane events of the night.  At that incongruous moment the beast-man recalled something of his early feeling for her.  Reyn was indeed a fine she, worthy of the very best among all the bucks.

      Jer’ok regarded the she without speaking.  The rain beat against their bodies, streaking their faces and leaving their hair plastered in strands against them.  As she faced the beast-man, Reyn reached up to draw her heavy hair away from her face.  Lightning revealed a timeless tableau of primitive man in his first encounter with his mate.  They were kindred spirits, this woman and Jer’ok of the Aranda.

      Whatever Jer’ok’s original intentions for Reyn might have been, he now grasped her roughly and bore her with him into the murky depths of the pool.  At first the she’s struggle was renewed, but Reyn knew better than to fight her captor once the water closed over their heads.

      Under the turbulence of the great storm the friendly pool was now the source of a myriad of dangers to them both.  Jer’ok needed all his formidable strength to take them to the hidden passage and to swim through into the cavern beyond.  By some miracle it was accomplished without incident.  Reyn was deposited in a sodden heap at the edge of the water while Jer’ok sought the stone and metal slivers with which he had seen her light the torches when last they had come here together.

      Reyn fought for breath.  When the uncertain glow started and then reluctantly brightened into dancing light eerily chasing after the dark filling the cavern with a blackness nearly tangible, she was startled to discover the waters now intruded into the cavern so far that the sturdy bases of the ancient torches were partially submerged.  Reyn dazedly looked about until her eye returned to her intended sacrifice.  The man was intent upon exploring the cavern.  Her sacred knife was casually held against his hip by the thong of his loincloth.

       A new fury touched the heart of the priestess.  The creature would dare replace his lost knife with the most sacred symbol of her people's religion.  With a studied effort the high shamana controlled her breathing and focused the heat of her zealot’s passion on the mission she must complete.  Jer'ok the Blasphemer would die this night and under the Sacred Knife.

      Cautiously Reyn raised herself into a crouching position.  Scarcely daring to breathe she crept closer behind the intent beast-man, always taking care lest her treacherous shadow warn him.  The eerie sound of Mael moaning in the passage to the jungle below covered any slight sound the stealthy priestess might have allowed to betray her intention.

      At last she was at Jer’ok’s back, close enough to touch him.  Reyn seized her treasured dagger and lifted it high.  As she swung it in the vicious arc that would at last destroy the outlander, she lifted her voice in a curse that replaced her earlier prayers, with an emotion she could not have named for all it threatened to stop her breath.

      “Go to Solea, Jer’ok-ta of the Aranda!  The goddess awaits you!”

      Jer’ok was warned not by sight or sound but by that sixth sense that dwells in most of the beasts scattered among those planets where life may still be deemed young.  He whirled and acted out of sheer instinct.  Instinct alone stood between the beast-man and instant death.

      More quickly than in the cruelest of nightmares the man turned on the priestess and stopped her downward thrust as easily as another might have waved aside an annoying but otherwise harmless insect.  Reyn looked up to meet cruel eyes that shimmered in crimson to liquid gold and back again.  A fine scar stood out in vivid relief against his smooth copper brow.  For the first time in her young life High Shamana Reyn experienced sheer terror.  She was facing neither man nor Aranda but something beyond human experience.  Ancient Terrans had once dubbed such humankind Berserkers, but this creature was possessed of nothing human.

      Jer’ok was swept with an unreasoning fury that would have been his most dangerous enemy had he not been able to rise above it.  Now cold, calculating wrath held the beast-man in its sway:  wrath far stronger than the treacherous she who kicked, clawed, and bit at him when he imprisoned her upraised right arm in a grip of steel.  If she could not reach his heart with her knife Reyn struggled for another means to bring Jer’ok down.

      Reyn’s betrayal after he had asked her to hunt forever at his side, the immeasurable hours of imprisonment that followed, the helplessness that precluded honourable battle when not once but thrice his forfeited life was to be taken, the pain of wounds suffered in his desperate escape – all these raged in the breast of Jer’ok-ta as he refused yet again to allow the beautiful Reyn to slay him.

      But in this moment even more was provoking Jer’ok-ta far beyond his earlier fit of primal madness!

      The long years of beasthood, the belated comprehension of his human-ness and all the implications of being human, and, yes, the lost love that was shared but without avail, all tore at his battered spirit.  Vaguely, he heard Reyn’s knife clatter to the stone at their feet.  But Jer’ok was fully aware of only one thing.  The she he held in his arms of steely strength was his to do with as he would.  Once she had longed to be his mate – and Jer’ok had shared in that primitive wanting.  Now violet eyes, bright with rage, held the beast-man fascinated.  His cold flesh was warmed wherever it came in contact with the she’s.  The light in those eyes altered.

      The violence of the touching of Jer’ok and Reyn underwent a transformation, at first subtle.  Roughly the beast-man pulled the she closer and then strained her body against his with both arms.  He ignored her strangled scream and the clawing hands that tore at the copper hide of his naked back.  As he bore her to the floor of the cavern by the sheer force of weight and mighty thews, Jer’ok savagely muffled her screams with his own mouth.

      It was a cold kiss and ruthless, untouched with any of the gentler emotion that Amber had evoked and Reyn might have known.  But Reyn herself was torn between rage and lust.  She yielded to the latter.

      Jer’ok’s taking of High Shamana Reyn in the cold depths of the caverns of Dalon had nought of love in it.  Neither was it the claiming of mate by an Aranda buck.  The passion that drove Jer’ok was born entirely of ferocious need at last released from seemingly perpetual restraint.  This Jer’ok thought neither as beast nor as man.  His act was a mindless one, berserk.

      Lost to his madness, the beast-man was incapable of heeding the alteration in the response of the woman entrapped by his bestial embrace.  Reyn’s fear was no more; lust for this man had won out.

      Her own passion had undergone a profound transformation and drove Jer’ok’s even further beyond his control.  She cried out, but it was a cry neither of wrath nor of terror.  Reyn was responding to the beast-man’s raging fire with a flame that burned equally hot in her own breast.  For her the violence of the beast-man’s passion was returned not in kind but in a desperation for a love never to be granted her.

      WHEN HIGH SHAMANA Reyn came to her senses it was dark and she was alone in the damp cold of the cavern.  She shivered and clenched her teeth against the cold that was as much within as it was a part of her surroundings.  After the initial disorientation cleared from her racing mind, Reyn got to her feet.  She relit the torches.  She had not dared to hope for any sign of Jer'ok's presence in the cavern, and there was in fact none.  She needed no telling he was gone forever.

      Reyn looked about.  The Aranda had taken the jeweled dagger.  She had hoped he might leave it for her.  Then she remembered the day on which she had made him her prisoner.  No doubt he had taken the sacred dagger to replace the knife she had taken from its sheath that fateful day.  She tossed her head with impatience.  Before she returned to the city she would take the time to look.  Perhaps the Aranda buck had reclaimed his own knife and left hers for the jungle to render into dust.  It was like him to hold in so little regard the sacred treasures of Dalon.

      Slowly the priestess of Solea resumed her barbaric finery.  But, as she absently tied each lace and fastened each clasp, she stared sightlessly beyond the massive stone of the cavern penetrating the escarpment.  The flow of her bitter tears went unnoticed.  A sad smile was frozen in her features. Never again would High Shamana Reyn find joy at the side of Jer’ok-ta of the Aranda.  The cruel young heart of the priestess turned as cold and unmoving as the stone that surrounded her.  The smile became a grimace of a different sort.  How dare
he leave her?  Her hatred of all men, folk or humankind, would sustain her through the years to come.

      How easily can defeated love be turned to bitter loathing.  But Jer’ok-ta of the Aranda was in fact High Shamana Reyn’s first man.  For the moment that inescapable reality had not entered the mind of either.



Visit our thousands of other sites at:
ERB Text, ERB Images and Tarzan® are ©Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.- All Rights Reserved.
All Original Work ©1996-2017 by Bill Hillman and/or Contributing Authors/Owners
No part of this web site may be reproduced without permission from the respective owners.