The People That Time Forgot
We spent two days upon the cliff-top, resting and recuperating. There was some small
game which gave us meat, and the little pools of rainwater were sufficient to quench our
thirst. The sun came out a few hours after we emerged from the cave, and in its warmth
we soon cast off the gloom which our recent experiences had saddled upon us.
Upon the morning of the third day we set out to search for a path down to the valley.
Below us, to the north, we saw a large pool lying at the foot of the cliffs, and in it we
could discern the women of the Band-lu lying in the shallow waters, while beyond and
close to the base of the mighty barrier-cliffs there was a large party of Band-lu warriors
going north to hunt. We had a splendid view from our lofty cliff-top. Dimly, to the west,
we could see the farther shore of the inland sea, and southwest the large southern island
loomed distinctly before us. A little east of north was the northern island, which Ajor,
shuddering, whispered was the home of the Wieroo--the land of Oo-oh. It lay at the far
end of the lake and was barely visible to us, being fully sixty miles away.
From our elevation, and in a clearer atmosphere, it would have stood out distinctly; but
the air of Caspak is heavy with moisture, with the result that distant objects are blurred
and indistinct. Ajor also told me that the mainland east of Oo-oh was her land--the land
of the Galu. She pointed out the cliffs at its southern boundary, which mark the frontier,
south of which lies the country of Kro-lu--the archers. We now had but to pass through
the balance of the Band-lu territory and that of the Kro-lu to be within the confines of her
own land; but that meant traversing thirty-five miles of hostile country filled with every
imaginable terror, and possibly many beyond the powers of imagination. I would
certainly have given a lot for my plane at that moment, for with it, twenty minutes would
have landed us within the confines of Ajor's country.
We finally found a place where we could slip over the edge of the cliff onto a narrow
ledge which seemed to give evidence of being something of a game-path to the valley,
though it apparently had not been used for some time. I lowered Ajor at the end of my
rifle and then slid over myself, and I am free to admit that my hair stood on end during
the process, for the drop was considerable and the ledge appallingly narrow, with a
frightful drop sheer below down to the rocks at the base of the cliff; but with Ajor there to
catch and steady me, I made it all right, and then we set off down the trail toward the
valley. There were two or three more bad places, but for the most part it was an easy
descent, and we came to the highest of the Band-lu caves without further trouble. Here
we went more slowly, lest we should be set upon by some member of the tribe.
We must have passed about half the Band-lu cave-levels before we were accosted, and
then a huge fellow stepped out in front of me, barring our further progress.
"Who are you?" he asked; and he recognized me and I him, for he had been one of those
who had led me back into the cave and bound me the night that I had been captured.
From me his gaze went to Ajor. He was a fine-looking man with clear, intelligent eyes, a