Monday, January 31, 2011

We leave Thongor for the moment and return to his sidekick Karm Karvus, who you may recall had been captured by the Thurdans, who are all off to war. He doesn't know why he hasn't been killed, but guesses that he's going to be used as a hostage against Princess Sumia's cooperation when they try to invade her country. By no coincidence, they have now reached her city of Patanga (it only took a day) and have laid siege to it.

Karm Karvus doesn't care who wins this battle, but he doesn't like being a captive, so resolves to escape (duh). In the day or so since his capture, he's managed to steal a blunt eating knife and sharpen it to a "razor-keen tool of death"; with this he cuts a hole in his tent, and he's away.

The princess is heavily guarded, and it'll take quite a scheme to get her out. Rather than make a plan, however, he remembers the ways of Thongor:

Thongor despised cautious planners who paused to weigh in the balance every factor before taking action. It was his habit, when confronted with difficulties, to strike out blindly in the first direction that presented itself by hurling himself into the thick of things in a whirlwind of daredevil violence.

This manifests itself by KK easily killing a guard, cutting his way into her tent, and escaping with the princess before anyone notices. This also saves work for the author, as the escape takes less than a page.

KK asks the princess if she wants to return to her city, but she's too afraid of the Yellow Druids that control the city and want to burn her on their altars (well, you would be, wouldn't you?). Instead they resolve to go north to some family friends who can help them, but guess what? Yep, they run into a patrol of Yellow Druids. KK fights bravely but Sumia is inevitably captured...

Now, back to Thongor, who is having a rather better time. He and Ald Turmis are being kept in a prison full of silken couches and delicious food. Still, a prison is a prison, and this one is made of "nebium", a metal stronger and denser than any other.

They have a new companion called Narjan Zash Dromor, who informs them that this is the Lost City of Omm. He has this to say about their captivity:

"I am here in reparation for no crime, nor are you. It is my turn..."
"For what?"
Narjan shuddered a little, his eyes regaining their accustomed haunted look of dread. "To come before Xothun, the Master of Omm. He is the magician that rules us all. We exist but to serve his depraved hungers. He is a morgulac."

A morgulac, it appears, is a blood-drinker, and this is why a) the citizens of Omm are so pale and listless, and B) Thongor and Ald Turmis have been so well fed. For a thousand years, Xothun has been unstoppable, and Thongor can think of no way to escape him.

Luckily, a short while later, Thongor remembers the Armlet of Plot Device, presented to him by our old friend Sharadjsha the Wizard in case of unspecified emergencies, and not actually mentioned until this point in the book. But what does it do?

Across the room was a great full-length mirror framed in opal-hued jazite. He strode over to behold himself. Then he touched the armlet, probing at it. Almost by chance his fingers touched the huge chandral and it clicked, turning slightly within its socket.

Thunder of Gorm Almighty!

A strange electric thrill passed through his nerves. In the great mirror, Thongor watched with awe as a faint nimbus of green light outlined his form. Then the dim aura faded and with it his very body vanished from view like steam dissolving into thin air!

I think Thongor now has a cunning plan...


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