A Voyage to Arcturus HTML version

Chapter 11. On Disscourn
BY THE TIME that they regained the mouth of the cavern, Blodsombre was at its height.
In front of them the scenery sloped downward - a long succession of mountain islands in
a sea of clouds. Behind them the bright, stupendous crags of Disscourn loomed up for a
thousand feet or more. Maskull's eyes were red, and his face looked stupid; he was still
holding the woman by the arm. She made no attempt to speak, or to get away. She
seemed perfectly gentle and composed.
After gazing at the country for along time in silence, he turned toward her. "Whereabouts
is the fiery lake you spoke of?"
"It lies on the other side of the mountain. But why do you ask?"
"It is just as well if we have some way to walk. I shall grow calmer, and that's what I
want. I wish you to understand that what is going to happen is not a murder, but an
"It will taste the same," said Tydomin.
"When I have gone out of this country, I don't wish to feel that I have left a demon behind
me, wandering at large. That would not be fair to others. So we will go to the lake, which
promises an easy death for you."
She shrugged her shoulders. "We must wait till Blodsombre is over."
"Is this a time for luxurious feelings? However hot it is now, we will both be cool by
evening. We must start at once."
"Without doubt, you are the master, Maskull.... May I not carry Crimtyphon?"
Maskull looked at her strangely.
"I grudge no man his funeral."
She painfully hoisted the body on her narrow shoulders, and they stepped out into the
sunlight. The heat struck them like a blow on the head. Maskull moved aside, to allow
her to precede him, but no compassion entered his heart. He brooded over the wrongs the
woman had done him.
The way went along the south side of the great pyramid, near its base. It was a rough
road, clogged with boulders and crossed by cracks and water gullies; they could see the
water, but could not get at it. There was no shade. Blisters formed on their skin, while all
the water in their blood seemed to dry up.