Chapter 10 - Yian of Cadorna
With the iron strength of my mighty snark, I thrust myself back into the crimson maw of this raging narrative, just in the nick of time for the onslaught of Book Three - Against the Storm...
Back with KK, grappling with the cloaked and veiled mystery figure. And guess what?
Suddenly, Karm Karvus stifled a gasp of astonishment. For his hands had encountered - not the hard muscles of a man - but the yielding softness of a woman!
She has a face of "astonishing beauty", and is clearly no painted and bedizened wineshop slut and no pirate chieftain's wanton, but a young woman of birth and breeding and dignity.
As any good woman should, she fetches him wine and food and dry clothes, and lets him sit beside the roaring fire, because she has heard all about his daring escape, and being also a prisoner, is full of admiration. KK now gets a chance to look her over:
She was young, surely no more than twenty, and slim and regal, with the clear golden skin of Cadorna, oblique dark eyes, almond-shaped, slightly tilted, sparkling like black jewels. Her hair was a torrent of heavy black silk that poured down her slim shoulders to her waist. She had a soft warm mouth, ripe for kissing, and beneath a complicated garment of thin clinging silken stuff, her body was lithe and supple and deliciously rounded.
She is Yian, princess of Cadorna, also held captive by Kashtar as part of one of his crappy and half-baked plans. In fact, she had been just about to escape through the window when KK arrived so abruptly, and is a lot more prepared than he is; with typical sidekick skills, he hadn't even bothered to consider how he would escape from the city.
Luckily she has managed to draw up a map based on what she could see out of the window, and knows which part of the city wall is least guarded; she has also already prepared a rope made out of knotted sheets and even has some spare clothes and boots for KK. He protests rather feebly about how dangerous it is out there for a woman, but in the end is forced to let her accompany him.
Karm Karvus made some further objections, but gradually they subsided. The Prince of Tsargol was not the first man to lose an argument with a woman, nor was he the first to discover the futility of pleading reason and common sense with a woman who has already made up her mind. So, in the end, he resolved to take her with him.
KK is still griping inwardly about having to look after an icky girl as he climbs out of the window, and then of course slips and nearly falls off the roof and has to be rescued by her. Oops! I am less and less surprised that he was the only one of Thongor's companions to get stupidly captured, it seems to be quite on form for him.
They make it to the wall unhindered, but then clumsy old KK slips again and lands... on a guard! Luckily, whatever KK may lack in smarts, he makes up for in fightin', and easily knocks the guard unconscious and nicks his sword (a slim rapier). Then, it's back to scrambling over the walls and down onto the rocks, and away towards the jungle.
Before them the jungle rose like a wall of black emerald. It was mysterious and gloomy, its impassive silence broken only by vagrant whispers and the rustling of small creatures padding through the matted underbrush.
Now they had left their human enemies behind;but new and more terrible foes lay deep within the hush of the jungle gloom - the savage predators whose hunting grounds they were about to enter. Their human foes they had eluded with cleverness and cunning, but Karm Karvus knew that only strength and courage and shining steel could defend them against the dripping jaws of the denizens of the Ptarthan jungles.
Gesturing to the girl to keep well behind him, he advanced to the margin of the jungle, drawing his sword. No sooner had he but taken the first few steps into the emerald gloom, however, than a black and towering shape loomed up directly in his path. It had materialised out of nowhere with the speed and silence of some grim phantom.
Without a moment's hesitation, Karm Karvus lunged. The naked blade in his fist sped glittering as he thrust at the heart of their unknown adversary -
Ah, come on! Does anyone here NOT know that this is Thongor? It's just like that incident with the length of firewood in the Beastmen's village. KK just shouldn't be allowed to play with dangerous objects.