Genesis HTML version

Chapter 4
For twenty years, now, they had been following the game. Winters had come, with
driving snow, forcing horses and deer into the woods, and the little band of humans to the
protection of mountain caves. Springtime followed, with fresh grass on the plains and
plenty of meat for the people of Kalvar Dard. Autumns followed summers, with fire-
hunts, and the smoking and curing of meat and hides. Winters followed autumns, and
springtimes came again, and thus until the twentieth year after the landing of the rocket-
Kalvar Dard still walked in the lead, his hair and beard flecked with gray, but he no
longer carried the heavy rifle; the last cartridge for that had been fired long ago. He
carried the hand-axe, fitted with a long helve, and a spear with a steel head that had been
worked painfully from the receiver of a useless carbine. He still had his pistol, with eight
cartridges in the magazine, and his dagger, and the bomb-bag, containing the big
demolition-bomb and one grenade. The last shred of clothing from the ship was gone,
now; he was clad in a sleeveless tunic of skin and horsehide buskins.
Analea no longer walked beside him; eight years before, she had broken her back in a
fall. It had been impossible to move her, and she stabbed herself with her dagger to save a
cartridge. Seldar Glav had broken through the ice while crossing a river, and had lost his
rifle; the next day he died of the chill he had taken. Olva had been killed by the Hairy
People, the night they had attacked the camp, when Varnis' child had been killed.
They had beaten off that attack, shot or speared ten of the huge sub-men, and the next
morning they buried their dead after their custom, under cairns of stone. Varnis had
watched the burial of her child with blank, uncomprehending eyes, then she had turned to
Kalvar Dard and said something that had horrified him more than any wild outburst of
grief could have.
"Come on, Dard; what are we doing this for? You promised you'd take us to Tareesh,
where we'd have good houses, and machines, and all sorts of lovely things to eat and
wear. I don't like this place, Dard; I want to go to Tareesh."
From that day on, she had wandered in merciful darkness. She had not been idiotic, or
raving mad; she had just escaped from a reality that she could no longer bear.
Varnis, lost in her dream-world, and Dorita, hard-faced and haggard, were the only ones
left, beside Kalvar Dard, of the original eight. But the band had grown, meanwhile, to
more than fifteen. In the rear, in Seldar Glav's old place, the son of Kalvar Dard and
Analea walked. Like his father, he wore a pistol, for which he had six rounds, and a
dagger, and in his hand he carried a stone-headed killing-maul with a three-foot handle
which he had made for himself. The woman who walked beside him and carried his
spears was the daughter of Glav and Olva; in a net-bag on her back she carried their
infant child. The first Tareeshan born of Tareeshan parents; Kalvar Dard often looked at