The Moon Pool HTML version

Chapter 18. The Amphitheatre Of Jet
FOR HOURs the black-haired folk had been streaming across the bridges, flowing along
the promenade by scores and by hundreds, drifting down toward the gigantic seven-
terraced temple whose interior I had never as yet seen, and from whose towering exterior,
indeed, I had always been kept far enough away--unobtrusively, but none the less
decisively --to prevent any real observation. The structure, I had estimated, nevertheless,
could not reach less than a thousand feet above its silvery base, and the diameter of its
circular foundation was about the same.
I wondered what was bringing the ladala into Lora, and where they were vanishing. All
of them were flower-crowned with the luminous, lovely blooms--old and young, slender,
mocking-eyed girls, dwarfed youths, mothers with their babes, gnomed oldsters--on they
poured, silent for the most part and sullen--a sullenness that held acid bitterness even as
their subtle, half-sinister, half-gay malice seemed tempered into little keen-edged flames,
oddly, menacingly defiant.
There were many of the green-clad soldiers along the way, and the garrison of the only
bridge span I could see had certainly been doubled.
Wondering still, I turned from my point of observation and made my way back to our
pavilion, hoping that Larry, who had been with Yolara for the past two hours, had
returned. Hardly had I reached it before Rador came hurrying up, in his manner a curious
exultance mingled with what in anyone else I would have called a decided nervousness.
"Come!" he commanded before I could speak. "The Council has made decision--and
Larree is awaiting you."
"What has been decided?" I panted as we sped along the mosaic path that led to the house
of Yolara. "And why is Larry awaiting me?"
And at his answer I felt my heart pause in its beat and through me race a wave of mingled
panic and eagerness.
"The Shining One dances!" had answered the green dwarf. "And you are to worship!"
What was this dancing of the Shining One, of which so often he had spoken?
Whatever my forebodings, Larry evidently had none.
"Great stuff!" he cried, when we had met in the great antechamber now empty of the
dwarfs. "Hope it will be worth seeing--have to be something damned good, though, to
catch me, after what I've seen of shows at the front," he added.