Chapter 3: The Gray Magicians
Starting with an excerpt from The Lemurian Chronicles, stating how great Thongor is, it looks like we're in for a bit more exposition, and a lot more baffling discontinuity. Aedir the Sun-god is high above Patanga, but it's also only just after dawn, and they're off to the "librarium" where Father Eodrym has been busy researching all night. He's trying to find out which ancient secret of Nianga might have been discovered by the renegade wizard Belshathla (he's the fella that's given super magic weapons to the pirates).
The librarium sounds impressive; there are books and scrolls made out of all sorts of materials, including pterodactyl hide. However, the relevant information appears to be in the ancient book called, um, The Chronicles of Lemuria, the only remaining copy of which just happens to be in the
Now we are regaled by the contents of this book. It tells of the Pnothic Brotherhood, who studied Akashic Science, and so could uncover all the secrets of the universe, which are all somewhat confusing (as you might expect); something to do with an eternal battle between Creation and Chaos, that has destroyed the planet Zarkandu and left the planet Iridar a crimson (yes) and lifeless desert. It also contains crucial information about how the dinosaurs died out:
'...the Lemurian Chronicles preserve the annals of Hyperborea in her prime, that ruled the Age of Reptiles ere the coming of Man. Chaos seduced the Dragon Kings of that dim dawn age to vile sorcery, and the Lords of Life wrought Man, and Man and Dragon fought in the Thousand Year War and at length the Dragon fell and the Age of Men began.'
The Aeon of the Gray Mages occurred shortly after the fall of the Reptiles, and apparently they dared to tamper with the secrets of creation itself, and (surprise!) unleashed strange magics that gave them control over the minds of man. However, the Nineteen Gods struck them down... but maybe Belshathla had found out those ancient secrets!
Thongor is unamused.
The strange gold eyes of Thongor blazed with wrathful fires like the savage eyes of the kingly vandar of the wild, the great black lion of ancient Lemuria.
"And again, Chaos!" he growled. "Will we never be done with the taint of the dark powers! It has been six long years since we whelmed the Black City of Zaar before the sithurl-guns and let the waters of the sea cover it from the sight of men, and still it haunts us!"
I wonder how many reminiscences that makes now. A good portion of these first 3 chapters has been a clumsy Babylon 5-style recap, ("How are you, Commander Ivanova, since you took over running this busy interplanetary space station two weeks ago?" "Well, it's all gone to hell since Mr Garibaldi got shot and the ambassador turned into a cocoon!"); the rest have been unnecessary bits of background filler, and Father Eodrym's next pronouncement fits the latter category. He reminds Thongor that the wars between Chaos and Creation have been fought for millions of years, for example when the Divine Avatar Sargon the Lion whelmed the Black God's Son, or when Chandar broke the Dark Flame and Arn secured the Sword of Psamathis to rescue the Three Talismans (blah blah), and the war certainly isn't going to end just because Thongor broke down the walls of Black Zaar...
Aedir the Sun-God is now heading west, which means it must be the afternoon, and Thongor is sprawling like a cat, and playing with his baby daughter. Sumia is not best pleased that he plans to go off to battle, but doesn't try very hard to dissuade him (just as well really, or we'd have to spend the rest of the book in the librarium), and quickly accedes to his daring plan to sneak into Tarakus on board Barim's ship......
The next chapter is called "Dragons of the Deep," so I'm hoping that soon we'll get to see some fightin'!