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Thongor! Brak! Lankar! Kothar!


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The chapter "Attack of teh Cannibal Trees" starts with an excerpt from the "Song of the Beastmen", so I suspect it's not just trees we'll be seeing here. Anyway, the floater is now pulled up on the shore and starting to regain its anti-gravitic properties, but not enough to fly with, so Thongor decides to go hunting.

Now Thongor, his mighty hunting bow strung, was ready to find game.

"I still think I should accompany you," Karm Karvus said. Thongor shook his thick black mane.

"No. Remain here withe teh princess; do not leave her alone for any reason. I will return within the hour. I hunt better alone."

"And if you - do not return? If something happens?" Sumia asked, regarding him with large, frightened eyes. He smiled, and touched her small white hand with his powerful fingers.

"I will return," he said briefly, and without another word vanished silently into the jungle.


We now get a description of the jungle, and Thongor ponders on the various beasts he might encounter. These include the photh, the oph, the deodath, the dwark, the phondle and the zulphar. Phondles are what he's after, as they make good eating. He soon chances upon a waterhole, handily occupied by several phondles; with his mighty bow he shoots one of them through the heart. But what's this? As he stoops to recover his arrow, he comes face to face with the dreaded vandar! (it's a kind of lion). It's about to eat him, when (now this is a surprise), Thongor is felled from behind by a club!

Meanwhile, Sumia and Karm Karvus are wondering what's happened. Karm Karvus is happy to wait, but Sumia seems to have been replaced by a less wussy version of herself and is all ready to go Thongor-seeking.

Sumia was exasperated. No pampered child of a decadent culture, she came of a race only recently lifted from savagery to civilisation - and the veneer was thin. Her love was in danger - wounded, perhaps this moment facing death. Thoughts of her own safety were meaningless in such an hour.

She reached her decision. The man she loved was in need - she miust go to him. She sprang to her feet, ivory limbs gleaming through the rents in her costume. Catching up a jewelled dagger and a small poignard, Sumia turned on her heel and entered the jungle.

They roam through the jungle looking for the missing barbarian. Very soon they come to a clearing, containing what are evidently the cannibal trees. Despite their unsavoury appearance, Sumia decides to stop underneath them to rest. Naturally, the trees suddenly have tentacles, which grab Sumia and drag her towards the gaping maw in the top of the trunk, though Carter is surprisingly reticent about the tentacle-related detail that we manga afficionados have come to expect. Karm Karvus tries to hack her free with his sword, but he is also grabbed by a tree, and his sword falls from his hand.............

Bazz, looks like you were right. The trees aren't really cannibals at all.

ETA: I have to say, I'm rather enjoying this. It's pure gorgonzola but much more entertaining than any guff about Important Human Themes...

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Patience, patience, and all will be revealed. The next chapter is called "Prisoners of the Beastmen", just to give you a flavour of what's coming.

Right, we're back where we left off with Thongor, with the lion about to eat him. This is surprisingly written from the lion's viewpoint. The lion is looking forward to eating the mysterious naked man that dares to stand in front of him, when a club strikes the man and knocks him unconscious. Suddenly (as in two paragraphs later) we're in the POV of the beastman who threw the club (Mugchuk). He is pleased that the lion will soon eat this stranger, and he heads off evilly back into the jungle without staying to watch.

Two paragraphs later, and we're back in Thongor's head, who "woke with a shattering headache." Luckily, his thick black mane of hair had cushioned the blow, so he wasn't too badly hurt. With manful self-control, he plays dead while the lion prods at him. Luckily the lion is partial to phondles, so eventually it leaves Thongor's stringy man-flesh and instead drags off the plump and juicy phondle that Thongor had just killed.

Thongor waits till it's gone, then has a drink, at which point his headache gets better. But he still has a job to do.

Another man, of lesser intensity of purpose, might probably have seized upon this opportunity to return to the floater, but Thongor had the singleness of will of the true barbarian. He came to hunt meat and would not return without it. And somewhere here was an enemy.

He wanders around a bit, seeing no more phondles but managing to catch a fat bird of some kind. 'Any normal man might have got lost, but Thongor had the "savage's unerring sense of direction", and makes it back to the floater unharmed.

Now we're back with Mugchuk. He has met some of his fellows carrying a "strange, yet succulent burden". Yep, it's the Sidekick and the Chick, captured by the beastmen! They are squat and hairy, and have a nice line in dialogue:

"Me Mugchuk. Mighty warrior!" he growled. "Me kill many men. Men fear Mugchuk!"

The leader of the party raised the spear over his head and shook it threateningly.

"Me Onguth - brave fighter! Mighty hunter!" He snarled, baring his discoloured fangs in challenge. "All in jungle fear Onguth! Onguth kill many vandar. Kill any man!"

"Mugchuk kill Onguth" the first beastman observed.

"Onguth kill Mugchuk!" was the reply.

Do they fight? Nope. Apparently this is the signal for them to start being friends. They discuss how they caught Karm Karvus and the princess, by setting fire to the trees (with some kind of flower), and now they're going to eat them.

But what's this? They have a hidden observer! Thongor, by some luck, had spotted them and is even now eavesdropping on their conversation. He knows that even his iron strength will be useless against such a large party of Beastmen, so he considers rescue plans.

The captives are taken back to the village, which is tastefully decorated with human skulls on poles. Karm Karvus coolly and fearlessly taunts the chief, Kogur. Kogur soon tires of beating him up, then sets eyes on the princess. You can guess what's coming, right?

His small red eyes narrowed as his glance moved down her slim body, scarcely covred with the rags that were all that remained of her garments. His eyes gleamed as they rested on her long bare limbs, and the firm small breasts that rose and fell with her quick breath.

Never in all his days had the chief seen so beautiful a woman. The females of his tribe were short and squat, as hairy as the males. He felt a quick surge of lust, but masked it with indifference, turning away.

Kogur announces his plan - at the full moon tonight, they will feast on the captives! They are escorted to separate cabins and guarded.

Sumia, true to form, manages to fall asleep. However, she is soon woken by the big chief, who has come to "comfort" her... she screamed!

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Because it's a rainy Saturday and I've not much else to do, today you can have a double bill.

We temporarily leave Sumia to her almost-fate, and skip back a few hours to see Thongor crouching in a tree. He has to wait until nightfall, and is pretty hungry, so he chows down on the (raw) bird he killed earlier. Apparently this isn't the first time he's had to eat raw meat; he was in the same situation some years before when hunting the mighty ulph on the Osterfell Glacier, and he got trapped by snow apes.

After a while, it gets dark and the beastmen start to gather for their feast cannibal repast. He climbs along a branch and jumps over the village wall, then heads down dark alleys to find his friends; luckily the Beastmen are making too much noise with their tankards of beer to notice him.

He hears Sumia scream!

Like a thunderbolt from the cloudy hand of Dyrm the Storm God he hurtled towards her hut.

He smashes Kogur in the face and knocks him out, then unties Sumia and rubs her limbs "to restore circulation". At which point, someone creeps up behind him and knocks him unconscious with a length of firewood!

Back again to Karm Karvus, tied up in the other hut. He's embarrassed that he let Thongor's bird get captured when he was supposed to protect her. Luckily one of his buckles has a rough edge, so he cuts through his bonds in the time-honoured manner of rubbing the ropes against the buckle for several hours until they break. He frees himself just as he hears Sumia scream, and dashes out with - yes - a piece of firewood to defend her, and clunks her "attacker" on the head. Oops!

It's too late. The Beastmen burst into the hut, and now they've captured all three! It's going to be a mighty cannibal feast all right.

Thongor regains consciousness to find himself tied to a stake, in between his two companions similarly trussed. You'd think this wasn't the best way to cook your dinner, and perhaps some kind of spit might have been more practical (even the ewoks know that), but these Beastmen evidently prefer drama to decent cookery.

Karm Karvus, seeing that Thongor is awake, quickly explains to him their situation, which seems rather unnecessary. Thongor is implacable, and smiles grimly, because apparently it's a good way to die if you are with your friends (??). Always the optimist.

Gorchak the Shaman approaches, in standard shaman-gear; he starts anointing the three with some kind of scarlet pigment. His assistants are carrying jugs full of the fire-flowers that were previously used to defeat the cannibal trees. Thongor starts trying to burst free from his ropes; apparently he'd have found it easier to break out of iron chains, cos iron is brittle, but these grass ropes are a bit stretchy. He applies "every atom of strength" to the task.

Then the fire-flowers are brought out; they look sort of metallic and have little flames in the middle. Thongor is amazed.

Check this out, science-fans:

Had he belonged to a later, more scientifically sophisticated age he might have speculated as to the nature of these most curious of all Nature's experiments. Since the essence of life is the digestion of food, and since digestion is a slow, chemical combustion - food is consumed as "fuel" - teh imagination, confronted with these strange plants, might conjure up a picture of plants which extracted oxygen and perhaps hydrogen from the soil, in a chemical combination which created actual heat. Such a plant would burn anything it touched. And as Thongor watched, the ropy, vine-like tendrils of the monstrous plants stirred with a serpent-like groping motion. All along their tendrils the flaming blosoms turned, blindly seeking flesh to char and wither.

Now the shaman decides to rip Sumia's clothes off before daubing her with the red pigment. This is the last straw for Thongor. He bursts free from his ropes, grabs the shaman and throws him to the fire-flowers. Then he single-handedly defeats all the Beastmen in about half a page, leaving him face-to-face with Kogur!

Mano a mano. Man against beast. Fists cracking into jaws etc. Sumia is rather enjoying watching this testosterone-fest, with Thongor's savage black mane flying about his shoulders and so on.

Then suddenly Mugchuk grabs Thongor from behind, so tht Kogur can strangle him. Thongor's about to die, and thinks "ah well, it was a good fight anyway" when suddenly some arrows are shot into the village and kill all the remaining Beastmen! Thongor quicky frees his companions, just as soldiers enter the village - it's the Guards of Thurdis!

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Thanks for sharing this, Min. It's been an enjoyable way to spend a lazy Saturday morning.

As regards Karm's "oopsy" I suppose it is the downside of being a barbarian that your lack of hygiene and clothing will occasionally get you mistaken for a Beastman. And we can see now why Thongor didn't want to take him along hunting.

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