CONQUEST AND PEACE
The fleet sailed directly for Hooja's island, coming to anchor at its
north-eastern extremity before the flat- topped hill that had been Hooja's
stronghold. I sent one of the prisoners ashore to demand an immediate surrender;
but as he told me afterward they wouldn't believe all that he told them, so they
congregated on the cliff-top and shot futile arrows at us.
In reply I had five of the feluccas cannonade them. When they scampered away
at the sound of the terrific explosions, and at sight of the smoke and the iron
balls I landed a couple of hundred red warriors and led them to the opposite end
of the hill into the tunnel that ran to its summit. Here we met a little
resistance; but a volley from the muzzle-loaders turned back those who disputed
our right of way, and presently we gained the mesa. Here again we met
resistance, but at last the remnant of Hooja's horde surrendered.
Juag was with me, and I lost no time in returning to him and his tribe the
hilltop that had been their ancestral home for ages until they were robbed of it
by Hooja. I created a kingdom of the island, making Juag king there. Before we
sailed I went to Gr-gr-gr, chief of the beast-men, taking Juag with me. There
the three of us arranged a code of laws that would permit the brute- folk and
the human beings of the island to live in peace and harmony. Gr-gr-gr sent his
son with me back to Sari, capital of my empire, that he might learn the ways of
the human beings. I have hopes of turning this race into the greatest
agriculturists of Pellucidar. When I returned to the fleet I found that one of
the islanders of Juag's tribe, who had been absent when we arrived, had just
returned from the mainland with the news that a great army was encamped in the
Land of Awful Shadow, and that they were threatening Thuria. I lost no time in
weighing anchors and setting out for the continent, which we reached after a
short and easy voyage.
From the deck of the Amoz I scanned the shore through the glasses that Perry
had brought with him. When we were close enough for the glasses to be of value I
saw that there was indeed a vast concourse of warriors entirely encircling the
walled-village of Goork, chief of the Thurians. As we approached smaller objects
became distinguishable. It was then that I discovered numerous flags and
pennants floating above the army of the besiegers.
I called Perry and passed the glasses to him.
"Ghak of Sari," I said.
Perry looked through the lenses of a moment, and then turned to me with a
"The red, white, and blue of the empire," he said. "It is
indeed your majesty's army."
It soon became apparent that we had been sighted by those on shore, for a
great multitude of warriors had congregated along the beach watching us. We came
to anchor as close in as we dared, which with our light feluccas was within easy
speaking-distance of the shore. Ghak was there and his eyes were mighty wide,
too; for, as he told us later, though he knew this must be Perry's fleet it was
so wonderful to him that he could not believe the testimony of his own eyes even
while he was watching it approach.
To give the proper effect to our meeting I commanded that each felucca fire
twenty-one guns as a salute to His Majesty Ghak, King of Sari. Some of the
gunners, in the exuberance of their enthusiasm, fired solid shot; but
fortunately they had sufficient good judgement to train their pieces on the open
sea, so no harm was done. After this we landed--an arduous task since each
felucca carried but a single light dugout.
I learned from Ghak that the Thurian chieftain, Goork, had been inclined to
haughtiness, and had told Ghak, the Hairy One, that he knew nothing of me and
cared less; but I imagine that the sight of the fleet and the sound of the guns
brought him to his senses, for it was not long before he sent a deputation to
me, inviting me to visit him in his village. Here he apologized for the
treatment he had accorded me, very gladly swore allegiance to the empire, and
received in return the title of king.
We remained in Thuria only long enough to arrange the treaty with Goork,
among the other details of which was his promise to furnish the imperial army
with a thousand lidi, or Thurian beasts of burden, and drivers for them. These
were to accompany Ghak's army back to Sari by land, while the fleet sailed to
the mouth of the great river from which Dian, Juag, and I had been blown.
The voyage was uneventful. We found the river easily, and sailed up it for
many miles through as rich and wonderful a plain as I have ever seen. At the
head of navigation we disembarked, leaving a sufficient guard for the feluccas,
and marched the remaining distance to Sari.
Ghak's army, which was composed of warriors of all the original tribes of the
federation, showing how successful had been his efforts to rehabilitate the
empire, marched into Sari some time after we arrived. With them were the
thousand lidi from Thuria.
At a council of the kings it was decided that we should at once commence the
great war against the Mahars, for these haughty reptiles presented the greatest
obstacle to human progress within Pellucidar. I laid out a plan of campaign
which met with the enthusiastic endorsement of the kings. Pursuant to it, I at
once dispatched fifty lidi to the fleet with orders to fetch fifty cannon to
Sari. I also ordered the fleet to proceed at once to Anoroc, where they were to
take aboard all the rifles and ammunition that had been completed since their
departure, and with a full complement of men to sail along the coast in an
attempt to find a passage to the inland sea near which lay the Mahars' buried
city of Phutra.
Ja was sure that a large and navigable river connected the sea of Phutra with
the Lural Az, and that, barring accident, the fleet would be before Phutra as
soon as the land forces were.
At last the great army started upon its march. There were warriors from every
one of the federated kingdoms. All were armed either with bow and arrows or
muzzle- loaders, for nearly the entire Mezop contingent had been enlisted for
this march, only sufficient having been left aboard the feluccas to man them
properly. I divided the forces into divisions, regiments, battalions, companies,
and even to platoons and sections, appointing the full complement of officers
and noncommissioned officers. On the long march I schooled them in their duties,
and as fast as one learned I sent him among the others as a teacher.
Each regiment was made up of about a thousand bowmen, and to each was
temporarily attached a company of Mezop musketeers and a battery of artillery--
the latter, our naval guns, mounted upon the broad backs of the mighty lidi.
There was also one full regiment of Mezop musketeers and a regiment of primitive
spearmen. The rest of the lidi that we brought with us were used for baggage
animals and to transport our women and children, for we had brought them with
us, as it was our intention to march from one Mahar city to another until we had
subdued every Mahar nation that menaced the safety of any kingdom of the empire.
Before we reached the plain of Phutra we were discovered by a company of
Sagoths, who at first stood to give battle; but upon seeing the vast numbers of
our army they turned and fled toward Phutra. The result of this was that when we
came in sight of the hundred towers which mark the entrances to the buried city
we found a great army of Sagoths and Mahars lined up to give us battle.
At a thousand yards we halted, and, placing our artillery upon a slight
eminence at either flank, we commenced to drop solid shot among them. Ja, who
was chief artillery officer, was in command of this branch of the service, and
he did some excellent work, for his Mezop gunners had become rather proficient
by this time. The Sagoths couldn't stand much of this sort of warfare, so they
charged us, yelling like fiends. We let them come quite close, and then the
musketeers who formed the first line opened up on them.
The slaughter was something frightful, but still the remnants of them kept on
coming until it was a matter of hand-to-hand fighting. Here our spearmen were of
value, as were also the crude iron swords with which most of the imperial
warriors were armed.
We lost heavily in the encounter after the Sagoths reached us; but they were
absolutely exterminated-- not one remained even as a prisoner. The Mahars,
seeing how the battle was going, had hastened to the safety of their buried
city. When we had overcome their gorilla- men we followed after them.
But here we were doomed to defeat, at least temporarily; for no sooner had
the first of our troops descended into the subterranean avenues than many of
them came stumbling and fighting their way back to the surface, half-choked by
the fumes of some deadly gas that the reptiles had liberated upon them. We lost
a number of men here. Then I sent for Perry, who had remained discreetly in the
rear, and had him construct a little affair that I had had in my mind against
the possibility of our meeting with a check at the entrances to the underground
Under my direction he stuffed one of his cannon full of powder, small
bullets, and pieces of stone, almost to the muzzle. Then he plugged the muzzle
tight with a cone-shaped block of wood, hammered and jammed in as tight as it
could be. Next he inserted a long fuse. A dozen men rolled the cannon to the top
of the stairs leading down into the city, first removing it from its carriage.
One of them then lit the fuse and the whole thing was given a shove down the
stairway, while the detachment turned and scampered to a safe distance.
For what seemed a very long time nothing happened. We had commenced to think
that the fuse had been put out while the piece was rolling down the stairway, or
that the Mahars had guessed its purpose and extinguished it themselves, when the
ground about the entrance rose suddenly into the air, to be followed by a
terrific explosion and a burst of smoke and flame that shot high in company with
dirt, stone, and fragments of cannon.
Perry had been working on two more of these giant bombs as soon as the first
was completed. Presently we launched these into two of the other entrances. They
were all that were required, for almost immediately after the third explosion a
stream of Mahars broke from the exits furthest from us, rose upon their wings,
and soared northward. A hundred men on lidi were dispatched in pursuit, each
lidi carrying two riflemen in addition to its driver. Guessing that the inland
sea, which lay not far north of Phutra, was their destination, I took a couple
of regiments and followed.
A low ridge intervenes between the Phutra plain where the city lies, and the
inland sea where the Mahars were wont to disport themselves in the cool waters.
Not until we had topped this ridge did we get a view of the sea.
Then we beheld a scene that I shall never forget so long as I may live.
Along the beach were lined up the troop of lidi, while a hundred yards from
shore the surface of the water was black with the long snouts and cold,
reptilian eyes of the Mahars. Our savage Mezop riflemen, and the shorter,
squatter, white-skinned Thurian drivers, shading their eyes with their hands,
were gazing seaward beyond the Mahars, whose eyes were fastened upon the same
spot. My heart leaped when I discovered that which was chaining the attention of
them all. Twenty graceful feluccas were moving smoothly across the waters of the
sea toward the reptilian horde!
The sight must have filled the Mahars with awe and consternation, for never
had they seen the like of these craft before. For a time they seemed unable to
do aught but gaze at the approaching fleet; but when the Mezops opened on them
with their muskets the reptiles swam rapidly in the direction of the feluccas,
evidently thinking that these would prove the easier to overcome. The commander
of the fleet permitted them to approach within a hundred yards. Then he opened
on them with all the cannon that could be brought to bear, as well as with the
small arms of the sailors.
A great many of the reptiles were killed at the first volley. They wavered
for a moment, then dived; nor did we see them again for a long time.
But finally they rose far out beyond the fleet, and when the feluccas came
about and pursued them they left the water and flew away toward the north.
Following the fall of Phutra I visited Anoroc, where I found the people busy
in the shipyards and the factories that Perry had established. I discovered
something, too, that he had not told me of--something that seemed infinitely
more promising than the powder-factory or the arsenal. It was a young man poring
over one of the books I had brought back from the outer world! He was sitting in
the log cabin that Perry had had built to serve as his sleeping quarters and
office. So absorbed was he that he did not notice our entrance. Perry saw the
look of astonishment in my eyes and smiled.
"I started teaching him the alphabet when we first reached the
prospector, and were taking out its con- tents," be explained. "He was
much mystified by the books and anxious to know of what use they were. When I
explained he asked me to teach him to read, and so I worked with him whenever I
could. He is very intelligent and learns quickly. Before I left he had made
great progress, and as soon as he is qualified he is going to teach others to
read. It was mighty hard work getting started, though, for everything had to be
translated into Pellucidarian.
"It will take a long time to solve this problem, but I think that by
teaching a number of them to read and write English we shall then be able more
quickly to give them a written language of their own."
And this was the nucleus about which we were to build our great system of
schools and colleges--this almost naked red warrior, sitting in Perry's little
cabin upon the island of Anoroc, picking out words letter by letter from a work
on intensive farming. Now we have--
But I'll get to all that before I finish.
While we were at Anoroc I accompanied Ja in an expedition to South Island,
the southernmost of the three largest which form the Anoroc group--Perry had
given it its name--where we made peace with the tribe there that had for long
been hostile toward Ja. They were now glad enough to make friends with him and
come into the federation. From there we sailed with sixty-five feluccas for
distant Luana, the main island of the group where dwell the hereditary enemies
Twenty-five of the feluccas were of a new and larger type than those with
which Ja and Perry had sailed on the occasion when they chanced to find and
rescue Dian and me. They were longer, carried much larger sails, and were
considerably swifter. Each carried four guns instead of two, and these were so
arranged that one or more of them could be brought into action no matter where
the enemy lay.
The Luana group lies just beyond the range of vision from the mainland. The
largest island of it alone is visible from Anoroc; but when we neared it we
found that it comprised many beautiful islands, and that they were thickly
populated. The Luanians had not, of course, been ignorant of all that had been
going on in the domains of their nearest and dearest enemies. They knew of our
feluccas and our guns, for several of their riding-parties had had a taste of
both. But their principal chief, an old man, had never seen either. So, when he
sighted us, he put out to overwhelm us, bringing with him a fleet of about a
hundred large war-canoes, loaded to capacity with javelin-armed warriors. It was
pitiful, and I told Ja as much. It seemed a shame to massacre these poor fellows
if there was any way out of it.
To my surprise Ja felt much as I did. He said he had always hated to war with
other Mezops when there were so many alien races to fight against. I suggested
that we hail the chief and request a parley; but when Ja did so the old fool
thought that we were afraid, and with loud cries of exultation urged his
warriors upon us.
So we opened up on them, but at my suggestion centered our fire upon the
chief's canoe. The result was that in about thirty seconds there was nothing
left of that war dugout but a handful of splinters, while its crew --those who
were not killed--were struggling in the water, battling with the myriad terrible
creatures that had risen to devour them.
We saved some of them, but the majority died just as had Hooja and the crew
of his canoe that time our second shot capsized them.
Again we called to the remaining warriors to enter into a parley with us; but
the chief's son was there and he would not, now that he had seen his father
killed. He was all for revenge. So we had to open up on the brave fellows with
all our guns; but it didn't last long at that, for there chanced to be wiser
heads among the Luanians than their chief or his son had possessed. Presently,
an old warrior who commanded one of the dugouts surrendered. After that they
came in one by one until all had laid their weapons upon our decks.
Then we called together upon the flag-ship all our captains, to give the
affair greater weight and dignity, and all the principal men of Luana. We had
conquered them, and they expected either death or slavery; but they deserved
neither, and I told them so. It is always my habit here in Pellucidar to impress
upon these savage people that mercy is as noble a quality as physical bravery,
and that next to the men who fight shoulder to shoulder with one, we should
honor the brave men who fight against us, and if we are victorious, award them
both the mercy and honor that are their due.
By adhering to this policy I have won to the federation many great and noble
peoples, who under the ancient traditions of the inner world would have been
massacred or enslaved after we had conquered them; and thus I won the Luanians.
I gave them their freedom, and returned their weapons to them after they had
sworn loyalty to me and friendship and peace with Ja, and I made the old fellow,
who had had the good sense to surrender, king of Luana, for both the old chief
and his only son had died in the battle.
When I sailed away from Luana she was included among the kingdoms of the
empire, whose boundaries were thus pushed eastward several hundred miles.
We now returned to Anoroc and thence to the main- land, where I again took up
the campaign against the Mahars, marching from one great buried city to another
until we had passed far north of Amoz into a country where I had never been. At
each city we were victorious, killing or capturing the Sagoths and driving the
Mahars further away.
I noticed that they always fled toward the north. The Sagoth prisoners we
usually found quite ready to trans- fer their allegiance to us, for they are
little more than brutes, and when they found that we could fill their stomachs
and give them plenty of fighting, they were nothing loath to march with us
against the next Mahar city and battle with men of their own race.
Thus we proceeded, swinging in a great half-circle north and west and south
again until we had come back to the edge of the Lidi Plains north of Thuria.
Here we overcame the Mahar city that had ravaged the Land of Awful Shadow for so
many ages. When we marched on to Thuria, Goork and his people went mad with joy
at the tidings we brought them.
During this long march of conquest we had passed through seven countries,
peopled by primitive human tribes who had not yet heard of the federation, and
succeeded in joining them all to the empire. It was noticeable that each of
these peoples had a Mahar city situated near by, which had drawn upon them for
slaves and human food for so many ages that not even in legend had the
population any folk-tale which did not in some degree reflect an inherent terror
of the reptilians.
In each of these countries I left an officer and warriors to train them in
military discipline, and prepare them to receive the arms that I intended
furnishing them as rapidly as Perry's arsenal could turn them out, for we felt
that it would be a long, long time before we should see the last of the Mahars.
That they had flown north but temporarily until we should be gone with our great
army and terrifying guns I was positive, and equally sure was I that they would
The task of ridding Pellucidar of these hideous creatures is one which in all
probability will never be entirely completed, for their great cities must abound
by the hundreds and thousands of the far-distant lands that no subject of the
empire has ever laid eyes upon.
But within the present boundaries of my domain there are now none left that I
know of, for I am sure we should have heard indirectly of any great Mahar city
that had escaped us, although of course the imperial army has by no means
covered the vast area which I now rule.
After leaving Thuria we returned to Sari, where the seat of government is
located. Here, upon a vast, fertile plateau, overlooking the great gulf that
runs into the continent from the Lural Az, we are building the great city of
Sari. Here we are erecting mills and factories. Here we are teaching men and
women the rudiments of agriculture. Here Perry has built the first
printing-press, and a dozen young Sarians are teaching their fellows to read and
write the language of Pellucidar.
We have just laws and only a few of them. Our people are happy because they
are always working at some- thing which they enjoy. There is no money, nor is
any money value placed upon any commodity. Perry and I were as one in resolving
that the root of all evil should not be introduced into Pellucidar while we
A man may exchange that which he produces for something which he desires that
another has produced; but he cannot dispose of the thing he thus acquires. In
other words, a commodity ceases to have pecuniary value the instant that it
passes out of the hands of its producer. All excess reverts to government; and,
as this represents the production of the people as a government, government may
dispose of it to other peoples in ex- change for that which they produce. Thus
we are establishing a trade between kingdoms, the profits from which go to the
betterment of the people--to building factories for the manufacture of
agricultural implements, and machinery for the various trades we are gradually
teaching the people.
Already Anoroc and Luana are vying with one another in the excellence of the
ships they build. Each has several large ship-yards. Anoroc makes gunpowder and
mines iron ore, and by means of their ships they carry on a very lucrative trade
with Thuria, Sari, and Amoz. The Thurians breed lidi, which, having the strength
and intelligence of an elephant, make excellent draft animals.
Around Sari and Amoz the men are domesticating the great striped antelope,
the meat of which is most delicious. I am sure that it will not be long before
they will have them broken to harness and saddle. The horses of Pellucidar are
far too diminutive for such uses, some species of them being little larger than
Dian and I live in a great palace overlooking the gulf. There is no glass in
our windows, for we have no windows, the walls rising but a few feet above the
floor-line, the rest of the space being open to the ceilings; but we have a roof
to shade us from the perpetual noon-day sun. Perry and I decided to set a style
in architecture that would not curse future generations with the white plague,
so we have plenty of ventilation. Those of the people who prefer, still inhabit
their caves, but many are building houses similar to ours.
At Greenwich we have located a town and an observatory--though there is
nothing to observe but the stationary sun directly overhead. Upon the edge of
the Land of Awful Shadow is another observatory, from which the time is flashed
by wireless to every corner of the empire twenty-four times a day. In addition
to the wireless, we have a small telephone system in Sari. Everything is yet in
the early stages of development; but with the science of the outer-world
twentieth century to draw upon we are making rapid progress, and with all the
faults and errors of the outer world to guide us clear of dangers, I think that
it will not be long before Pellucidar will become as nearly a Utopia as one may
expect to find this side of heaven.
Perry is away just now, laying out a railway-line from Sari to Amoz. There
are immense anthracite coal-fields at the head of the gulf not far from Sari,
and the railway will tap these. Some of his students are working on a locomotive
now. It will be a strange sight to see an iron horse puffing through the
primeval jungles of the stone age, while cave bears, saber-toothed tigers,
mastodons and the countless other terrible creatures of the past look on from
their tangled lairs in wide-eyed astonishment.
We are very happy, Dian and I, and I would not return to the outer world for
all the riches of all its princes. I am content here. Even without my imperial
powers and honors I should be content, for have I not that greatest of all
treasures, the love of a good woman--my wondrous empress, Dian the Beautiful?