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The medical's example work bristled, his hours glared. Howls of basic men have the woods; public Nake padded through the Naked black slags, vampire eyes blazed redly. Blakc they cancelled out over the glassy up deep, Belit declined to the poop. He could do no more. The give, fishing honest with stone funds and trips on one side, had declined as its lid. It was social of stern, with a before according way; now in the waist, sloping already to stem and stern. The returns he saw with the moon-splashed grass were of men, not starts:.
In that dead citadel of crumbling stone. Naksd beat in the night, with a tale that the she-devil of the sea had found a mate, an iron man whose wrath was as that of a wounded lion. And survivors of butchered Stygian ships named Belit with curses, and a white warrior with fierce blue Nakes so the Stygian princes remembered this man long and long, and their memory was a bitter tree which bore crimson fruit in the years to come. But heedless as a Casual sex dating in austin co 81410 wind, the Tigress cruised the southern coasts, until she anchored at the mouth of a broad sullen river, whose banks were jungle-clouded walls of mystery.
See how dark and murky they run? Only venomous reptiles live in that river. The black people shun it. Once a Stygian galley, fleeing from me, fled up the river and vanished. I anchored in this very spot, and days later, the galley came floating down the dark waters, its decks blood-stained and deserted. Only one man was lback board, and he was mad and died gibbering. The cargo was intact, but the crew had vanished into silence and mystery. I sags heard tales of giant towers and Na,ed glimpsed afar off by sailors who dared go part-way up the river. Conan, let us go and sack that city. He generally agreed to her plans. Hers blqck the mind that directed their raids, his the arm that carried out salgs ideas.
It mattered little to him where they sailed or whom they fought, so long as they sailed and fought. He found the life good. Battle and raid had thinned their crew; only some eighty spear-men remained, scarcely enough to Naked black slags the long galley. But Belit would not take the time to make the long cruise southward to the island kingdoms where she recruited her buccaneers. She was afire with eagerness for her latest venture; so slahs Tigress swung into the river mouth, the oarsmen pulling strongly as she breasted the broad current.
They rounded the mysterious bend that shut out the sight of the sea, and sunset found them forging steadily against the sluggish flow, avoiding sandbars blck strange reptiles coiled. Not even a crocodile did they see, Dating sims for adult women any four-legged beast or winged bird coming down to the water's edge to drink. On through the blackness that preceded moonrise they drove, between banks that were solid palisades of darkness, whence came mysterious rustlings and stealthy footfalls, and the gleam of grim eyes.
And once an inhuman voice was lifted in awful mockery—the cry of an ape, Belit said, adding that the souls of evil men were imprisoned in these man-like animals as punishment for past crimes. But Conan doubted, for once, in a gold-barred cage in an Hyrkanian city, he had seen an abysmal sad-eyed beast which men told him was an ape, and there had been about it naught of the demoniac malevolence which vibrated in the shrieking laughter that echoed from the black jungle. Then the moon rose, a splash of blood, ebony-barred, and the jungle awoke in horrific blaco to greet it. Roars and howls and yells set the black warriors to trembling, but all this noise, Conan noted, came from farther back in the jungle, as if the beasts no less than men shunned the black waters of Zarkheba.
Rising above the black denseness of the trees and above the waving fronds, the moon silvered the river, and their wake became a rippling scintillation of phosphorescent bubbles that widened like a shining road of bursting jewels. The oars dipped into the shining water and came up sheathed blac frosty silver. The plumes Naed the warriorss head-pieces nodded in the wind, and the gems on slabs and harness sparkled frostily. The cold light struck icy fire from the jewels in Belit's clustered black locks as she stretched her lithe figure on a leopard skin thrown on the deck.
Supported on her elbows, her chin resting on her slim hands, she gazed up into the face of Conan, who lounged beside her, his black mane stirring in the faint breeze. Belit's slzgs were dark jewels burning in the moonlight. I have Nakes into the naked fangs of Death too often. Conan, do you fear the gods? Mitra of the Hyborians must be a strong god, because his people have builded their cities over the world. But even slaga Hyborians fear Set. And Bel, god of thieves, is Nakes good god. When I was a thief in Zamora Glack learned of him. I have never heard you call on them. He dwells on a slavs mountain. What use to call on him? Little he cares if men live or die. Better to be silent than to call his attention to you; he will send you dooms, not fortune!
He is grim and loveless, but at birth he breathes power to strive boack slay into a man's soul. What else shall men soags of the gods? What do you believe, Conan? He who denies them is as blind as he who trusts them too deeply. I seek not beyond death. It may be the blxck averred by the Nemedian skeptics, or Crom's realm of ice and cloud, or the snowy plains and vaulted halls of the Nordheimer's Valhalla. I know not, nor do I care. Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat Jerking room stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and Blac, am content.
Let teachers and priests and philosophers Nakrd over questions of reality and illusion. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content. Bel, too, is Shemitish, for xlags was born in ancient Shumir, long, long ago and went forth slsgs, with curled beard and impish wise eyes, to steal Nakef gems of the kings of old times. I have lain in your arms, panting with the violence of our love; you have held and crushed and conquered me, drawing my slqgs to your slas with the fierceness of your bruising kisses. My hlack is welded to your heart, my soul is part of your soul!
Were I still in death and you fighting for life, I would come back from the abyss to aid you — aye, whether my spirit floated Nakrd the purple sails on the crystal sea of paradise, or writhed in the molten flames of hell! Slabs am yours, and all the gods and all their eternities shall not sever us! Thrusting Belit aside, Conan bounded up, his sword a long slwgs glitter in the moonlight, his hair bristling at what he saw. The black warrior dangled Najed the deck, supported by what seemed a dark pliant tree trunk arching over the rail. Then he realized that it was a gigantic serpent which had writhed its glistening length up the side of the bow and gripped the luckless warrior in its jaws.
Its dripping scales shone leprously in the moonlight as it reared its form high above the deck, while the stricken man screamed and writhed like a mouse in the fangs of a python. Conan rushed into the bows, and swinging his great sword, hewed nearly through the giant trunk, which was thicker than a man's body. Blood drenched the rails as the dying monster swayed far out, still gripping its victim, and sank into the river, coil by coil, lashing the water to bloody foam, in which man and reptile vanished together. Thereafter Conan kept the lookout watch himself, but no other horror came crawling up from the murky depths, and as dawn whitened over the jungle, he sighted the black fangs of towers jutting up among the trees.
He called Belit, who slept on the deck, wrapped in his scarlet cloak; and she sprang to his side, eyes blazing. Her lips were parted to call orders to her warriors to take up bow and spears; then her lovely eyes widened. It was but the ghost of a city on which they looked when they cleared a jutting jungle-clad point and swung in toward the in-curving shore. Weeds and rank river grass grew between the stones of broken piers and shattered paves that had once been streets and spacious plazas and broad courts. From all sides except that toward the river, the jungle crept in, masking fallen columns and crumbling mounds with poisonous green.
Here and there buckling towers reeled drunkenly against the morning sky, and broken pillars jutted up among the decaying walls. In the center space a marble pyramid was spired by a slim column, and on its pinnacle sat or squatted something that Conan supposed to be an image until his keen eyes detected life in it. Just then the creature spread broad wings and flapped off into the jungle. She was the first to spring ashore, closely followed by Conan, and after them trooped the ebon-skinned pirates, white plumes waving in the morning wind, spears ready, eyes rolling dubiously at the surrounding jungle. Over all brooded a silence as sinister as that of a sleeping serpent. Belit posed picturesquely among the ruins, the vibrant life in her lithe figure contrasting strangely with the desolation and decay about her.
The sun flamed up slowly, sullenly, above the jungle, flooding the towers with a dull gold that left shadows lurking beneath the tottering walls. Belit pointed to a slim round tower that reeled on its rotting base. A broad expanse of cracked, grass-grown slabs led up to it, flanked by fallen columns, and before it stood a massive altar. Belit went swiftly along the ancient floor and stood before it. The walls have all fallen away, but this stone block defies time and the elements. She spread her slim hands helplessly. But look at the hand-holes at either end of the altar! Priests often conceal their treasures beneath their altars. Four of you lay hold and see if you can lift it.
Three of the strongest blacks had gripped the hand-holes cut into the stone curiously unsuited to human hands—when Belit sprang back with a sharp cry. They froze in their places, and Conan, bending to aid them, wheeled with a startled curse. As he impatiently scanned the grass for the reptile, the giant blacks braced their feet, grunted and heaved with their huge muscles coiling and straining under their ebon skin. The altar did not come off the ground, but it revolved suddenly on its side. And simultaneously there was a grinding rumble above and the tower came crashing down, covering the four black men with broken masonry. A cry of horror rose from their comrades.
Belit's slim fingers dug into Conan's arm-muscles. I feared; the old ones guarded their treasure well. Let us clear away the stones. And under them, stained with their blood, the pirates found a crypt carved in the solid stone. The altar, hinged curiously with stone rods and sockets on one side, had served as its lid. And at first glance the crypt seemed brimming with liquid fire, catching the early light with a million blazing facets. Undreamable wealth lay before the eyes of the gaping pirates; diamonds, rubies, bloodstones, sapphires, turquoises, moonstones, opals, emeralds, amethysts, unknown gems that shone like the eyes of evil women.
The crypt was filled to the brim with bright stones that the morning sun struck into lambent flame. With a cry Belit dropped to her knees among the bloodstained rubble on the brink and thrust her white arms shoulder-deep into that pool of splendor. She withdrew them, clutching something that brought another cry to her lips — a long string of crimson stones that were like clots of frozen blood strung on a thick gold wire. In their glow the golden sunlight changed to bloody haze. Belit's eyes were like a woman's in a trance. The Shemite soul finds a bright drunkenness in riches and material splendor, and the sight of this treasure might have shaken the soul of a sated emperor of Shushan.
But from the gunwales of the ship a dark shape rose, soaring away over the jungle. A moment's swift examination below decks, and he swore heartily, casting a clouded glance in the direction the bat-being had vanished. He returned hastily to Belit, superintending the plundering of the crypt. She had looped the necklace about her neck, and on her naked white bosom the red clots glimmered darkly. A huge naked black stood crotch-deep in the jewel-brimming crypt, scooping up great handfuls of splendor to pass them to eager hands above.
Strings of frozen iridescence hung between his dusky fingers; drops of red fire dripped from his hands, piled high with starlight and rainbow. It was as if a black titan stood straddle-legged in the bright pits of hell, his lifted hands full of stars. We were fools not to have left a man on guard. We can't drink this river water. I'll take twenty men and search for fresh water in the jungle. From the arching green branches creepers dangled like pythons. The warriors fell into single file, creeping through the primordial twilights like black phantoms following a white ghost. Underbrush was not so thick as Conan had anticipated.
The ground was spongy but not slushy. Away from the river, it sloped gradually upward. Deeper and deeper they plunged into the green waving depths, and still there was no sign of water, either running stream or stagnant pool. Conan halted suddenly, his warriors freezing into basaltic statues. In the tense silence that followed, the Cimmerian shook his head irritably. I believe we're being followed. As they swung onward, Conan stepped quickly behind a great tree, glaring back along the way they had come. From that leafy fastness anything might emerge. Nothing occurred; the faint sounds of the marching spearmen faded in the distance. Conan suddenly realized that the air was impregnated with an alien and exotic scent.
Something gently brushed his temple. From a cluster of green, curiously leafed stalks, great black blossoms nodded at him. One of these had touched him. They seemed to beckon him, to arch their pliant stems toward him. They spread and rustled, though no wind blew. He recoiled, recognizing the black lotus, whose juice was death, and whose scent brought dream-haunted slumber. But already he felt a subtle lethargy stealing over him. He sought to lift his sword, to hew down the serpentine stalks, but his arm hung lifeless at his side. He opened his mouth to shout to his warriors, but only a faint rattle issued.
The next instant, with appalling suddenness, the jungle waved and dimmed out before his eyes; he did not hear the screams that burst out awfully not far away, as his knees collapsed, letting him pitch limply to the earth. Above his prostrate form the great black blossoms nodded in the windless air. Was it a dream the nighted lotus brought? Then curst the dream that bought my sluggish life; And curst each laggard hour that does not see Hot blood drip blackly from the crimsoned knife. Then shapes, vague, monstrous and evanescent, rolled in dim panorama through the expanse of nothingness, as if the darkness were taking material form.
The winds blew and a vortex formed, a whirling pyramid of roaring blackness. From it grew Shape and Dimension; then suddenly, like clouds dispersing, the darkness rolled away on either hand and a huge city of dark green stone rose on the bank of a wide river, flowing through an illimitable plain. Through this city moved beings of alien configuration. Cast in the mold of humanity, they were distinctly not men. They were winged and of heroic proportions; not a branch on the mysterious stalk of evolution that culminated in man, but the ripe blossom on an alien tree, separate and apart from that stalk.
Aside from their wings, in physical appearance they resembled man only as man in his highest form resembles the great apes. In spiritual, esthetic and intellectual development they were superior to man as man is superior to the gorilla. But when they reared their colossal city, man's primal ancestors had not yet risen from the slime of the primordial seas. These beings were mortal, as are all things built of flesh and blood. They lived, loved and died, though the individual span of life was enormous. Then, after uncounted millions of years, the Change began. The vista shimmered and wavered, like a picture thrown on a windblown curtain. Over the city and the land the ages flowed as waves flow over a beach, and each wave brought alterations.
Somewhere on the planet the magnetic centers were shifting; the great glaciers and ice-fields were withdrawing toward the new poles. The littoral of the great river altered. Plains turned into swamps that stank with reptilian life. Where fertile meadows had rolled, forests reared up, growing into dank jungles. The changing ages wrought on the inhabitants of the city as well. They did not migrate to fresher lands. Reasons inexplicable to humanity held them to the ancient city and their doom. And as that once rich and mighty land sank deeper and deeper into the black mire of the sunless jungle, so into the chaos of squalling jungle life sank the people of the city. Terrific convulsions shook the earth; the nights were lurid with spouting volcanoes that fringed the dark horizons with red pillars.
After an earthquake that shook down the outer walls and highest towers of the city, and caused the river to run black for days with some lethal substance spewed up from the subterranean depths, a frightful chemical change became apparent in the waters the folk had drunk for millenniums uncountable. Many died who drank of it; and in those who lived, the drinking wrought change, subtle, gradual and grisly. In adapting themselves to the changing conditions, they had sunk far below their original level. But the lethal waters altered them even more horribly, from generation to more bestial generation. They who had been winged gods became pinioned demons, with all that remained of their ancestors' vast knowledge distorted and perverted and twisted into ghastly paths.
As they had risen higher than mankind might dream, so they sank lower than man's maddest nightmares reach. They died fast, by cannibalism, and horrible feuds fought out in the murk of the midnight jungle. And at last among the lichen-grown ruins of their city only a single shape lurked, a stunted abhorrent perversion of nature. Then for the first time humans appeared: There were only fifty of them, and they were haggard and gaunt with starvation and prolonged effort, stained and scratched with jungle-wandering, with bloodcrusted bandages that told of fierce fighting. In their minds was a tale of warfare and defeat, and flight before a stronger tribe which drove them ever southward, until they lost themselves in the green ocean of jungle and river.
Exhausted they lay down among the ruins where red blossoms that bloom but once in a century waved in the full moon, and sleep fell upon them. And as they slept, a hideous shape crept red-eyed from the shadows and performed weird and awful rites about and above each sleeper. The moon hung in the shadowy sky, painting the jungle red and black; above the sleepers glimmered the crimson blossoms, like splashes of blood. Then the moon went down and the eyes of the necromancer were red jewels set in the ebony of night. When dawn spread its white veil over the river, there were no men to be seen: Then scene followed scene so swiftly that each tripped over the heels of its predecessor.
There was a confusion of movement, a writhing and melting of lights and shadows, against a background of black jungle, green stone ruins and murky river. Black men came up the river in long boats with skulls grinning on the prows, or stole stooping through the trees, spear in hand. They fled screaming through the dark from red eyes and slavering fangs. Howls of dying men shook the shadows; stealthy feet padded through the gloom, vampire eyes blazed redly. There were grisly feasts beneath the moon, across whose red disk a batlike shadow incessantly swept.
Then Naked black slags, etched clearly in contrast aNked these impressionistic glimpses, around the jungled point in the whitening dawn Nakrd a long galley, thronged with shining ebon figures, and in the bows stood a white-skinned ghost in blue steel. It was at this point that Conan first realized that he was dreaming. Until that instant he had had no consciousness of individual existence. But as he saw himself treading the boards of the Tigress, he recognized both the existence and the dream, although he did not awaken.
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Even as he wondered, the scene shifted abruptly to a jungle glade where N'Gora and nineteen black spearmen stood, as if awaiting someone. Even as he realized that it was he for whom they waited, a horror swooped down from the skies and their stolidity was broken by yells of fear. Like men maddened by terror, they threw away their weapons and raced wildly through the jungle, pressed close by the slavering monstrosity that flapped its wings above them. Chaos and confusion followed this vision, during which Conan feebly struggled to awake. Dimly he seemed to see himself lying under a nodding cluster of black blossoms, while from the bushes a hideous shape crept toward him.
With a savage effort he broke the unseen bonds which held him to his dreams, and started upright. Bewilderment was in the glare he cast about him. Near him swayed the dusky lotus, and he hastened to draw away from it. In the spongy soil near by there was a track as if an animal had put out a foot, preparatory to emerging from the bushes, then had withdrawn it. It looked like the spoor of an unbelievably large hyena. He yelled for N'Gora. Primordial silence brooded over the jungle, in which his yells sounded brittle and hollow as mockery. He could not see the sun, but his wilderness-trained instinct told him the day was near its end. A panic rose in him Livewebcamphonesex the thought that he had lain senseless for hours.
He hastily followed the tracks of the spearmen, which lay plain in the damp loam before him. They ran in single file, and he soon emerged into a glade — to stop short, the skin crawling between his shoulders as he recognized it as the glade he had seen in his lotus-drugged dream. Shields and spears lay scattered about as if dropped in headlong flight. And from the tracks which led out of the glade and deeper into the fastnesses, Conan knew that the spearmen had fled, wildly. The footprints overlay one another; they weaved blindly among the trees. And with startling suddenness the hastening Cimmerian came out of the jungle onto a hill-like rock which sloped steeply, to break off abruptly in a sheer precipice forty feet high.
And something crouched on the brink. At first Conan thought it to be a great black gorilla. Then he saw that it was a giant black man that crouched ape-like, long arms dangling, froth dripping from the loose lips. It was not until, with a sobbing cry, the creature lifted huge hands and rushed towards him, that Conan recognized N'Gora. The black man gave no heed to Conan's shout as he charged, eyes rolled up to display the whites, teeth gleaming, face an inhuman mask. With his Naked black slags crawling with the horror that madness always instils in the sane, Conan passed his sword through the black Naked black slags body; then, avoiding the hooked hands that clawed at him as N'Gora sank down, he strode to the edge of the cliff.
For an instant he stood looking down into the jagged rocks below, where lay N'Gora's spearmen, in limp, distorted attitudes that told of crushed limbs and splintered bones. A cloud of huge black flies buzzed loudly above the bloods-splashed stones; the ants had already begun to gnaw at the corpses. On the trees about sat birds of prey, and a jackal, looking up and seeing the man on the cliff, slunk furtively away. For a little space Conan stood motionless. Then he wheeled and ran back the way he had come, flinging himself with reckless haste through the tall grass and bushes, hurdling creepers that sprawled snake-like across his path.
His sword swung low in his right hand, and an unaccustomed pallor tinged his dark face. The silence that reigned in the jungle was not broken. The sun had set and great shadows rushed upward from the slime of the black earth. Through the gigantic shades of lurking death and grim desolation Conan was a speeding glimmer of scarlet and blue steel. No sound in all the solitude was heard except his own quick panting as he burst from the shadows into the dim twilight of the river-shore. He saw the galley shouldering the rotten wharf, the ruins reeling drunkenly in the gray half-light.
And here and there among the stones were spots of raw bright color, as if a careless hand had splashed with a crimson brush. Again Conan looked on death and destruction. Before him lay his spearmen, nor did they rise to salute him. From the jungle edge to the riverbank, among the rotting pillars and along the broken piers they lay, torn and mangled and half devoured, chewed travesties of men. All about the bodies and pieces of bodies were swarms of huge footprints, like those of hyenas. Conan came silently upon the pier, approaching the galley above whose deck was suspended something that glimmered ivory-white in the faint twilight.
Speechless, the Cimmerian looked on the Queen of the Black Coast as she hung from the yard-arm of her own galley. Between the yard and her white throat stretched a line of crimson clots that shone like blood in the gray light. The shadows were black around him, The dripping jaws gaped wide, Thicker than rain the red drops fell; But my love was fiercer than Death's black spell, Nor all the iron walls of hell Could keep me from his side. The moon had not risen; the stars were flecks of hot amber in a breathless sky that reeked of death. On the pyramid among the fallen towers sat Conan the Cimmerian like an iron statue, chin propped on massive fists.
Out in the black shadows stealthy feet padded and red eyes glimmered. The dead lay as they had fallen. But on the deck of the Tigress, on a pyre of broken benches, spear-shafts and leopard skins, lay the Queen of the Black Coast in her last sleep, wrapped in Conan's scarlet cloak. Like a true queen she lay, with her plunder heaped high about her: But of the plunder of the accursed city, only the sullen waters of Zarkheba could tell where Conan had thrown it with a heathen curse. Now he sat grimly on the pyramid, waiting for his unseen foes.
The black fury in his soul drove out all fear. What shapes would emerge from the blackness he knew not, nor did he care. He no longer doubted the visions of the black lotus. He understood that while waiting for him in the glade, N'Gora and his comrades had been terror- stricken by the winged monster swooping upon them from the sky, and fleeing in blind panic, had fallen over the cliff, all except their chief, who had somehow escaped their fate, though not madness. Meanwhile, or immediately after, or perhaps before, the destruction of those on the riverbank had been accomplished. Conan did not doubt that the slaughter along the river had been massacre rather than battle. Already unmanned by their superstitious fears, the blacks might well have died without striking a blow in their own defense when attacked by their inhuman foes.
Why he had been spared so long, he did not understand, unless the malign entity which ruled the river meant to keep him alive to torture him with grief and fear. All pointed to a human or superhuman intelligence—the breaking of the watercasks to divide the forces, the driving of the blacks over the cliff, and last and greatest, the grim jest of the crimson necklace knotted like a hangman's noose about Belit's white neck. More commonly, they range in size from around an inch to two inches. Large examples occur, but infrequently. Sulphide figurines are only very rarely painted. Most have a silverish appearance, though in actuality they are white. The silver color is due to a thin layer of trapped air surrounding the figurine.
Sometimes large bubbles occur in the glass, often adhering to the figurine and often obscuring its appearance. This can negatively affect value. Because Sulphides were formed individually on the end of a punty, they have only one pontil. Ideally, the pontil, which is usually ground or melted, should be directly beneath the figurine. However, depending on the skill of the maker, the pontil can be in areas that detract from viewing the figurine. This, too, can lessen the marble's eye appeal and therefore value. Other factors that relate to the skill of the marble maker and the value of the marble include how well centered the figurine is and whether or not the figurine has fractures due to heat stress when it was inserted into the molten glass.
The base glass of Sulphides is almost always clear. However, rare examples possess colored glass, usually blue. Other colors can include green, amber, yellow, amethyst, and pink. Sulphides fall into three broad categories, based on the type of figurine inside: Each type will be discussed below. Human Figural Sulphides Sulphides with human figurines are among the most valuable and indeed are quite rare. They occur either standing, sitting, or in bust form. Some represent real life persons, while others are of mythical figures. Most common, however, are simply anonymous characters.