Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Previously in Thongor of Lemuria

(end of the last chapter)
It was in the doorway. He could see it faintly, a looming mass of shadow against the complete blackness beyond the portal... it hovered at the threshold, peering in.

Then it came at him-

Note - all the times I've used ellipses in these quotes, it's not to indicate that I've snipped bits; it's actually part of the text. The humble ellipsis is somewhat overused here.

(the start of this chapter)
"ALD TURMIS!" Thongor swore a mighty oath, as the shadow lurking in the dimness of the dungeon door resolved itself into the lithe figure of a grim young swordsman in the leather harness of the Thurdian Guards.

Ah, the old bait'n'switch. Not quite as shameless as the time the lion was lunging for Thongor's unconscious throat and then we found out it just decided to ignore him, but it's nice to see so much retconning in every single chapter.

Ald Turmis turns out to be an old drinking buddy of Thongor's, and the one who helped him escape with the floater last time. Not only does he free Thongor from his chains, but he also manages to give him back his sword, that someone conveniently picked up in the Beastman village. Also, there are rumblings of revolution among the guards, as they are getting sick of the Sark and his insane ways.

The two heroic warriors roam through the dark corridors looking for a way out. In the distance they spot Thalaba the Destroyer and a couple of slaves with torches and axes, who are obviously searching for this dread creature of the pit. This duly appears, and is a giant worm made of jelly, which eats one of the slaves. The other one runs away, as you would.

Thongor and Ald Turmis try to sneak round the worm by going a different route, but it follows them (of course). Eventually they get to a dead end with only a well at their backs, and the worm is upon them.

Thongor swung out, his keen blade biting into the spongy flesh with ease, slicing through a thick section of the worm's mammoth bulk. So terrible a blow would have crippled almost any other monster of Lemuria, but the worm seemed unaffected. Thongor could almost sense the blubber-like jelly closing over the wound, which leaked a stinking, sap-like blood.

They hack away for a while and have no more success; Thongor decides that they'd be better off trying to jump down the well than be sucked inside the worm, so jump they do.

Of course, you're probably wondering what's happened to Sumia and Karm Karvus in the meantime, but never fear, they've been well treated. Now something is about to happen.

With another dawn - about the time Thongor and Ald Turmis had plunged head-first into the unknown depths of the black pit below the dungeons of Thalaba the Destroyer* - her slaves roused the princess and assisted her to dress and break her fast.

*note - this happened on the previous page, so why we need to be reminded of it in such detail is unclear to me.

Sumia and KK are placed on the backs of giant zamphs, which Carter describes to us in great detail while still being entirely unsure of what kind of animal they are. Firstly we hear that it is a giant pig; it's half the size again as a modern rhinoceros; its snout is beaked (?) and a single horn, and piggy eyes; then he tells us that it's a reptile. All rather confusing if you ask me. If it's a dinosaur, why describe it as a giant pig?

Anyway, Phal Thurid is leading this procession of zamphs, and he is dressed in chain mail made of gold. He is heading off on his mission of conquest, accompanied by Oolim Phon and Thalaba the Destroyer, as well as his army of kroter-riders. Soon he will conquer the world!

Beneath the ebon veils that masked his hideous, disease-eaten face, Thalaba laughed gloatingly.

Now we get a quick glimpse into the mind of Ald Turmis's guard captain Barand Thon (are you keeping notes? There will be a test later), who gave him a bit of help in freeing Thongor. He's not happy about this war, and blames his Supreme Commander for it rather than the barking mad Sark. Hajash Tor is the commander in question, and apparently he is rotten to the core. Don't you just love all these names?

Back to Thongor, who has an icy shock! The fall into the well has ended in an icy torrent of an underground river. Thongor gasps for air, then dives down to find Ald Turmis, who is probably unconscious and about to drown. Naturally, he finds both Ald Turmis and a tree trunk, and swims back to the surface clutching both of them. What a stroke of luck!

Next step is easy. He straps his unconscious friend to the tree trunk, and hangs onto it himself as they ride down the river. This soon breaks out into the open air and starts flowing through a forest. They spot some Thurdian frontier guards on the bank, so swim over and steal their kroters. And, at last, we find out what a kroter actually looks like.

Not a horse after all, it's some kind of two-legged reptile, like a "monstrous reptilian version of the kangaroo", and cousin to the terrible dwark. They run off down the beach(?) for hours and hours, until they see a strange thing in the sky. It's the floater!


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