Friday, January 21, 2011

So, the Guards of Thurdis have just unexpectedly turned up and killed all the Beastmen. But they haven't done it out of the goodness of their hearts, oh no. They've come to arrest Thongor for nicking the floater.

Still, they seem decent chaps; one of them gives Sumia his cloak (she's had her clothes ripped off, remember) and they treat their captives with respect. Thongor asks that his companions be set free, but no can do. They are tied up and put onto "kroters" (horses? possibly), which easily transverse the jungle until they get to a main road, and they arrive in Thurdis just after dawn. Thongor is dumped in a prison, and he takes this opportunity for a nap and a snack, which leave him feeling much better.

Eventually he is taken before the Dragon Throne of Thurdis by the guards; apparently he used to be in the guards and so looks out for one of his old mates, but no joy. Even so, he asks one of the guards to pass a message on to his old friend Ald Thurmis. Then, he is taken to the Sark (the leader of Thurdis), Phal Thurid. I see a pattern here in the naming.

Phal Thurid is not an impressive specimen of a man; he has "spindle shanks and hairless arms," not like Real Men like Thongor. Thongor is accordingly not impressed; his immediate impression is of "a man half-mad with the thirst to dominate, which drove him unresting to seek endlessly the acquisition of more power - more - more!"

Oolim Phon, the alchemist responsible for the amazing weightless urlium, is also present. Thongor likes the look of him even less than the Sark:

Thongor eyed him back with insolent distaste, the cavernous cheeks, the fleshless claw-like fingers, the musty stench of the terrible and supernaturally-prolonged age that hovered about him like a cloud of incense, almost palpable.

We now hear the charges against Thongor, interspersed by random outbursts of meglomania from the Sark. Aside from eleven counts of drunkeness, Thongor also killed his guard captain in a duel, then escaped from prison and stole the floater. The floater, it seems, is a prototype for a projected floater-fleet that the Sark plans to use to conquer all of Lemuria. Aha, I see. The Sark promises to release Thongor & pals if only they will tell him where the floater is. There are also some half-baked plans about using Sumia's claim to a throne as a pretext to invade her country.

Thongor stands in stony silence. He must be... persuaded. They order him to be taken to "Thalaba the Destroyer", master torturer who dwells in the bowels of the city. If you fancy going there, here are the directions:

They descended to the lower levels by means of winding staircases of stone that led down into the deep caverns of the earth. As they went deeper and deeper the air became cold and damp. A wind blew up at them from the pits below.. a biting wind, rank with the stench of dead, rotten, long unburied things... a wind such as that which blows from the gates of Hell.

All the guards are nervous... until they finally reach the door and hand Thongor over to Thalaba the Destroyer!


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