FRIENDSHIP AND TREACHERY
The Sari proved a most erratic craft. She might have done well enough upon a
park lagoon if safely anchored, but upon the bosom of a mighty ocean she left
much to be desired.
Sailing with the wind she did her best; but in quartering or when
close-hauled she drifted terribly, as a nautical man might have guessed she
would. We couldn't keep within miles of our course, and our progress was
Instead of making for the island of Anoroc, we bore far to the right, until
it became evident that we should have to pass between the two right-hand islands
and attempt to return toward Anoroc from the opposite side.
As we neared the islands Perry was quite overcome by their beauty. When we
were directly between two of them he fairly went into raptures; nor could I
The tropical luxuriance of the foliage that dripped almost to the water's
edge and the vivid colors of the blooms that shot the green made a most gorgeous
Perry was right in the midst of a flowery panegyric on the wonders of the
peaceful beauty of the scene when a canoe shot out from the nearest island.
There were a dozen warriors in it; it was quickly followed by a second and
Of course we couldn't know the intentions of the strangers, but we could
pretty well guess them.
Perry wanted to man the sweeps and try to get away from them, but I soon
convinced him that any speed of which the Sari was capable would be far too slow
to outdistance the swift, though awkward, dugouts of the Mezops.
I waited until they were quite close enough to hear me, and then I hailed
them. I told them that we were friends of the Mezops, and that we were upon a
visit to Ja of Anoroc, to which they replied that they were at war with Ja, and
that if we would wait a minute they'd board us and throw our corpses to the
I warned them that they would get the worst of it if they didn't leave us
alone, but they only shouted in derision and paddled swiftly toward us. It was
evident that they were considerably impressed by the appearance and dimensions
of our craft, but as these fellows know no fear they were not at all awed.
Seeing that they were determined to give battle, I leaned over the rail of
the Sari and brought the imperial battle-squadron of the Emperor of Pellucidar
into action for the first time in the history of a world. In other and simpler
words, I fired my revolver at the nearest canoe.
The effect was magical. A warrior rose from his knees, threw his paddle
aloft, stiffened into rigidity for an instant, and then toppled overboard.
The others ceased paddling, and, with wide eyes, looked first at me and then
at the battling sea-things which fought for the corpse of their comrade. To them
it must have seemed a miracle that I should be able to stand at thrice the range
of the most powerful javelin- thrower and with a loud noise and a smudge of
smoke slay one of their number with an invisible missile.
But only for an instant were they paralyzed with wonder. Then, with savage
shouts, they fell once more to their paddles and forged rapidly toward us.
Again and again I fired. At each shot a warrior sank to the bottom of the
canoe or tumbled overboard.
When the prow of the first craft touched the side of the Sari it contained
only dead and dying men. The other two dugouts were approaching rapidly, so I
turned my attention toward them.
I think that they must have been commencing to have some doubts--those wild,
naked, red warriors--for when the first man fell in the second boat, the others
stopped paddling and commenced to jabber among themselves.
The third boat pulled up alongside the second and its crews joined in the
conference. Taking advantage of the lull in the battle, I called out to the
survivors to return to their shore.
"I have no fight with you," I cried, and then I told them who I was
and added that if they would live in peace they must sooner or later join forces
"Go back now to your people," I counseled them, "and tell them
that you have seen David I, Emperor of the Federated Kingdoms of Pellucidar, and
that singlehanded he has overcome you, just as be intends over- coming the
Mahars and the Sagoths and any other peoples of Pellucidar who threaten the
peace and welfare of his empire."
Slowly they turned the noses of their canoes toward land. It was evident that
they were impressed; yet that they were loath to give up without further con-
testing my claim to naval supremacy was also apparent, for some of their number
seemed to be exhorting the others to a renewal of the conflict.
However, at last they drew slowly away, and the Sari, which had not decreased
her snail-like speed during this, her first engagement, continued upon her slow,
Presently Perry stuck his head up through the hatch and hailed me.
"Have the scoundrels departed?" he asked. "Have you killed
"Those whom I failed to kill have departed, Perry," I replied.
He came out on deck and, peering over the side, descried the lone canoe
floating a short distance astern with its grim and grisly freight. Farther his
eyes wandered to the retreating boats.
"David," said he at last, "this is a notable occasion. It is a
great day in the annals of Pellucidar. We have won a glorious victory.
"Your majesty's navy has routed a fleet of the enemy thrice its own
size, manned by ten times as many men. Let us give thanks."
I could scarce restrain a smile at Perry's use of the pronoun "we,"
yet I was glad to share the rejoicing with him as I shall always be glad to
share everything with the dear old fellow.
Perry is the only male coward I have ever known whom I could respect and
love. He was not created for fighting; but I think that if the occasion should
ever arise where it became necessary he would give his life cheer- fully for
me--yes, I KNOW it.
It took us a long time to work around the islands and draw in close to
Anoroc. In the leisure afforded we took turns working on our map, and by means
of the compass and a little guesswork we set down the shoreline we had left and
the three islands with fair accuracy.
Crossed sabers marked the spot where the first great naval engagement of a
world had taken place. In a note- book we jotted down, as had been our custom,
details that would be of historical value later.
Opposite Anoroc we came to anchor quite close to shore. I knew from my
previous experience with the tortuous trails of the island that I could never
find my way inland to the hidden tree-village of the Mezop chieftain, Ja; so we
remained aboard the Sari, firing our express rifles at intervals to attract the
attention of the natives.
After some ten shots had been fired at considerable intervals a body of
copper-colored warriors appeared upon the shore. They watched us for a moment
and then I hailed them, asking the whereabouts of my old friend Ja.
They did not reply at once, but stood with their heads together in serious
and animated discussion. Continually they turned their eyes toward our strange
craft. It was evident that they were greatly puzzled by our appearance as well
as unable to explain the source of the loud noises that had attracted their
attention to us. At last one of the warriors addressed us.
"Who are you who seek Ja?" he asked. "What would you of our
"We are friends," I replied. "I am David. Tell Ja that David,
whose life be once saved from a sithic, has come again to visit him.
"If you will send out a canoe we will come ashore. We cannot bring our
great warship closer in."
Again they talked for a considerable time. Then two of them entered a canoe
that several dragged from its hiding-place in the jungle and paddled swiftly
They were magnificent specimens of manhood. Perry had never seen a member of
this red race close to be- fore. In fact, the dead men in the canoe we had left
astern after the battle and the survivors who were paddling rapidly toward their
shore were the first he ever had seen. He had been greatly impressed by their
physical beauty and the promise of superior intelligence which their well-shaped
The two who now paddled out received us into their canoe with dignified
courtesy. To my inquiries relative to Ja they explained that he had not been in
the village when our signals were heard, but that runners had been sent out
after him and that doubtless he was already upon his way to the coast.
One of the men remembered me from the occasion of my former visit to the
island; he was extremely agree- able the moment that he came close enough to
recognize me. He said that Ja would be delighted to welcome me, and that all the
tribe of Anoroc knew of me by repute, and had received explicit instructions
from their chieftain that if any of them should ever come upon me to show me
every kindness and attention.
Upon shore we were received with equal honor. While we stood conversing with
our bronze friends a tall warrior leaped suddenly from the jungle.
It was Ja. As his eyes fell upon me his face lighted with pleasure. He came
quickly forward to greet me after the manner of his tribe.
Toward Perry he was equally hospitable. The old man fell in love with the
savage giant as completely as had I. Ja conducted us along the maze-like trail
to his strange village, where he gave over one of the tree- houses for our
Perry was much interested in the unique habitation, which resembled nothing
so much as a huge wasp's nest built around the bole of a tree well above the
After we had eaten and rested Ja came to see us with a number of his head
men. They listened attentively to my story, which included a narrative of the
events lead- ing to the formation of the federated kingdoms, the battle with the
Mahars, my journey to the outer world, and my return to Pellucidar and search
for Sari and my mate.
Ja told me that the Mezops had heard something of the federation and had been
much interested in it. He had even gone so far as to send a party of warriors
toward Sari to investigate the reports, and to arrange for the entrance of
Anoroc into the empire in case it appeared that there was any truth in the
rumors that one of the aims of the federation was the overthrow of the Mahars.
The delegation had met with a party of Sagoths. As there had been a truce
between the Mahars and the Mezops for many generations, they camped with these
warriors of the reptiles, from whom they learned that the federation had gone to
pieces. So the party returned to Anoroc.
When I showed Ja our map and explained its purpose to him, he was much
interested. The location of Anoroc, the Mountains of the Clouds, the river, and
the strip of seacoast were all familiar to him.
He quickly indicated the position of the inland sea and close beside it, the
city of Phutra, where one of the powerful Mahar nations had its seat. He
likewise showed us where Sari should be and carried his own coast-line as far
north and south as it was known to him.
His additions to the map convinced us that Greenwich lay upon the verge of
this same sea, and that it might be reached by water more easily than by the
arduous crossing of the mountains or the dangerous approach through Phutra,
which lay almost directly in line between Anoroc and Greenwich to the northwest.
If Sari lay upon the same water then the shore-line must bend far back toward
the southwest of Greenwich --an assumption which, by the way, we found later to
be true. Also, Sari was upon a lofty plateau at the southern end of a mighty
gulf of the Great Ocean.
The location which Ja gave to distant Amoz puzzled us, for it placed it due
north of Greenwich, apparently in mid-ocean. As Ja had never been so far and
knew only of Amoz through hearsay, we thought that he must be mistaken; but he
was not. Amoz lies directly north of Greenwich across the mouth of the same gulf
as that upon which Sari is.
The sense of direction and location of these primitive Pellucidarians is
little short of uncanny, as I have had occasion to remark in the past. You may
take one of them to the uttermost ends of his world, to places of which he has
never even heard, yet without sun or moon or stars to guide him, without map or
compass, he will travel straight for home in the shortest direction.
Mountains, rivers, and seas may have to be gone around. but never once does
his sense of direction fail him--the homing instinct is supreme.
In the same remarkable way they never forget the location of any place to
which they have ever been, and know that of many of which they have only heard
from others who have visited them.
In short, each Pellucidarian is a walking geography of his own district and
of much of the country contiguous thereto. It always proved of the greatest aid
to Perry and me; nevertheless we were anxious to enlarge our map, for we at
least were not endowed with the homing instinct.
After several long councils it was decided that, in order to expedite
matters, Perry should return to the prospector with a strong party of Mezops and
fetch the freight I had brought from the outer world. Ja and his warriors were
much impressed by our firearms, and were also anxious to build boats with sails.
As we had arms at the prospector and also books on boat-building we thought
that it might prove an excellent idea to start these naturally maritime people
upon the construction of a well built navy of staunch sailing-vessels. I was
sure that with definite plans to go by Perry could oversee the construction of
an adequate flotilla.
I warned him, however, not to be too ambitious, and to forget about
dreadnoughts and armored cruisers for a while and build instead a few small
sailing-boats that could be manned by four or five men.
I was to proceed to Sari, and while prosecuting my search for Dian attempt at
the same time the rehabilitation of the federation. Perry was going as far as
possible by water, with the chances that the entire trip might be made in that
manner, which proved to be the fact.
With a couple of Mezops as companions I started for Sari. In order to avoid
crossing the principal range of the Mountains of the Clouds we took a route that
passed a little way south of Phutra. We had eaten four times and slept once, and
were, as my companions told me, not far from the great Mahar city, when we were
suddenly confronted by a considerable band of Sagoths.
They did not attack us, owing to the peace which exists between the Mahars
and the Mezops, but I could see that they looked upon me with considerable
suspicion. My friends told them that I was a stranger from a remote country, and
as we had previously planned against such a contingency I pretended ignorance of
the language which the human beings of Pellucidar employ in conversing with the
gorilla-like soldiery of the Mahars.
I noticed, and not without misgivings, that the leader of the Sagoths eyed me
with an expression that betokened partial recognition. I was sure that he had
seen me before during the period of my incarceration in Phutra and that he was
trying to recall my identity.
It worried me not a little. I was extremely thankful when we bade them adieu
and continued upon our journey.
Several times during the next few marches I became acutely conscious of the
sensation of being watched by unseen eyes, but I did not speak of my suspicions
to my companions. Later I had reason to regret my reticence, for--
Well, this is how it happened:
We had killed an antelope and after eating our fill I had lain down to sleep.
The Pellucidarians, who seem seldom if ever to require sleep, joined me in this
instance, for we had had a very trying march along the northern foothills of the
Mountains of the Clouds, and now with their bellies filled with meat they seemed
ready for slumber.
When I awoke it was with a start to find a couple of huge Sagoths astride me.
They pinioned my arms and legs, and later chained my wrists behind my back. Then
they let me up.
I saw my companions; the brave fellows lay dead where they had slept,
javelined to death without a chance at self-defense.
I was furious. I threatened the Sagoth leader with all sorts of dire
reprisals; but when he heard me speak the hybrid language that is the medium of
communication between his kind and the human race of the inner world he only
grinned, as much as to say, "I thought so!"
They had not taken my revolvers or ammunition away from me because they did
not know what they were; but my heavy rifle I had lost. They simply left it
where it had lain beside me.
So low in the scale of intelligence are they, that they had not sufficient
interest in this strange object even to fetch it along with them.
I knew from the direction of our march that they were taking me to Phutra.
Once there I did not need much of an imagination to picture what my fate would
be. It was the arena and a wild thag or fierce tarag for me--unless the Mahars
elected to take me to the pits.
In that case my end would be no more certain, though infinitely more horrible
and painful, for in the pits I should be subjected to cruel vivisection. From
what I had once seen of their methods in the pits of Phutra I knew them to be
the opposite of merciful, whereas in the arena I should be quickly dispatched by
some savage beast.
Arrived at the underground city, I was taken immediately before a slimy
Mahar. When the creature had received the report of the Sagoth its cold eyes
glistened with malice and hatred as they were turned balefully upon me.
I knew then that my identity had been guessed. With a show of excitement that
I had never before seen evinced by a member of the dominant race of Pellucidar,
the Mahar hustled me away, heavily guarded, through the main avenue of the city
to one of the principal buildings.
Here we were ushered into a great hall where presently many Mahars gathered.
In utter silence they conversed, for they have no oral speech since they are
without auditory nerves. Their method of communication Perry has likened to the
projection of a sixth sense into a fourth dimension, where it becomes cognizable
to the sixth sense of their audience.
Be that as it may, however, it was evident that I was the subject of
discussion, and from the hateful looks bestowed upon me not a particularly
How long I waited for their decision I do not know, but it must have been a
very long time. Finally one of the Sagoths addressed me. He was acting as
interpreter for his masters.
"The Mahars will spare your life," he said, "and re- lease you
on one condition."
"And what is that condition?" I asked, though I could guess its
"That you return to them that which you stole from the pits of Phutra
when you killed the four Mahars and escaped," he replied.
I had thought that that would be it. The great secret upon which depended the
continuance of the Mahar race was safely hid where only Dian and I knew.
I ventured to imagine that they would have given me much more than my liberty
to have it safely in their keeping again; but after that--what?
Would they keep their promises?
I doubted it. With the secret of artificial propagation once more in their
hands their numbers would soon be made so to overrun the world of Pellucidar
that there could be no hope for the eventual supremacy of the human race, the
cause for which I so devoutly hoped, for which I had consecrated my life, and
for which I was not willing to give my life.
Yes! In that moment as I stood before the heartless tribunal I felt that my
life would be a very little thing to give could it save to the human race of
Pellucidar the chance to come into its own by insuring the eventual extinction
of the hated, powerful Mahars.
"Come!" exclaimed the Sagoths. "The mighty Mahars await your
"You may say to them," I answered, "that I shall not tell them
where the great secret is hid."
When this had been translated to them there was a great beating of reptilian
wings, gaping of sharp-fanged jaws, and hideous hissing. I thought that they
were about to fall upon me on the spot, and so I laid my hands upon my
revolvers; but at length they became more quiet and presently transmitted some
command to my Sagoth guard, the chief of which laid a heavy hand upon my arm and
pushed me roughly before him from the audience-chamber.
They took me to the pits, where I lay carefully guarded. I was sure that I
was to be taken to the vivisection laboratory, and it required all my courage to
fortify myself against the terrors of so fearful a death. In Pellucidar, where
there is no time, death-agonies may endure for eternities.
Accordingly, I had to steel myself against an endless doom, which now stared
me in the face!