The Moon Pool HTML version

Chapter 15. The Angry, Whispering Globe
OUR WAY led along a winding path between banked masses of softly radiant blooms,
groups of feathery ferns whose plumes were starred with fragrant white and blue
flowerets, slender creepers swinging from the branches of the strangely trunked trees,
bearing along their threads orchid-like blossoms both delicately frail and gorgeously
The path we trod was an exquisite mosaic--pastel greens and pinks upon a soft grey base,
garlands of nimbused forms like the flaming rose of the Rosicrucians held in the mouths
of the flying serpents. A smaller pavilion arose before us, single-storied, front wide open.
Upon its threshold Rador paused, bowed deeply, and motioned us within. The chamber
we entered was large, closed on two sides by screens of grey; at the back gay, concealing
curtains. The low table of blue stone, dressed with fine white cloths, stretched at one side
flanked by the cushioned divans.
At the left was a high tripod bearing one of the rosy globes we had seen in the house of
Yolara; at the head of the table a smaller globe similar to the whispering one. Rador
pressed upon its base, and two other screens slid into place across the entrance, shutting
in the room.
He clapped his hands; the curtains parted, and two girls came through them. Tall and
willow lithe, their bluish-black hair falling in ringlets just below their white shoulders,
their clear eyes of forget-me-not blue, and skins of extraordinary fineness and purity--
they were singularly attractive. Each was clad in an extremely scanty bodice of silken
blue, girdled above a kirtle that came barely to their very pretty knees.
"Food and drink," ordered Rador.
They dropped back through the curtains.
"Do you like them?" he asked us.
"Some chickens!" said Larry. "They delight the heart," he translated for Rador.
The green dwarf's next remark made me gasp.
"They are yours," he said.
Before I could question him further upon this extraordinary statement the pair re-entered,
bearing a great platter on which were small loaves, strange fruits, and three immense
flagons of rock crystal--two filled with a slightly sparkling yellow liquid and the third
with a purplish drink. I became acutely sensible that it had been hours since I had either