The Lavalite World by Philip Jose Farmer. Chapter 13, 14, 15, 16

She paused. What was the word for heart?

“To look inside people and see if they are good or bad. To tell when people are lying.”

“Very well,” Shakann said. “If you can indeed tell when a person lies, tell me this. I intend to take this sharp hard thing the chief took from you and split your head open. I will do it very shortly. Am I lying or am I telling the truth?”

The chief protested, but Shakann said, “Wait!

This is a matter for me, your priest, to decide. You rule the tribe in some things, but the business of the Lord is my concern.”

Anana tried to appear cool, but she could feel the sweat pouring from her.

Judging from the chiefs expression, she doubted that he would let the shaman have the axe. Also, the shaman must be unsure of himself He might be a hypocrite, a charlatan, though she did not think so. Preliterate medicine men, witches, sorcerers, whatever their title was, really believed in their religion. Hyprocisy came with civilization. His only doubt was whether or not she did indeed represent the Lord of this wretched cosmos. If she were lying and he allowed her to get away with it, then the Lord might punish him.

He was in as desperate a situation as she. At least, he thought he was.

The issue was: was he lying or did he really intend to test her by trying to kill her? He knew that if she were what she said she was, he might be blasted with a bolt from the sky.

She said, “You don’t know yourself whether you’re lying or telling the truth. You haven’t made up your mind yet what you’ll do.”

The shaman smiled. She relaxed somewhat.

“That is right. But that doesn’t mean that you can see what I’m thinking. A very shrewd person could guess that I felt that way. I’ll ask you some more questions.

“For instance, one of the things that makes me think you might be from the Lord is that thing which cut the men and the grewigg in half. With it he could have killed the whole tribe. Why, then, did he throw it away after killing only a few?”

“Because the Lord told him to do so. He was to use the deadly gift of the Lord only to show you that he did not come from this world. But the Lord did not want him to slay an entire tribe. How then could we lead you out of this place to sembart?”

“That is well spoken. You may indeed be what you say. Or you might just be a very clever woman. Tell me, how will you lead us to sembart!”

Anana said, “I didn’t say I will. I said I might. What happens depends upon you and the rest of your tribe. First, you have to cut our bonds and then treat us as vicars of the Lord. However, I will say this. I will guide you to the dwelling palace of the Lord. When we get to it, we’ll enter it and then go through a pass to sembart.”

The shaman raised thick woolly eyebrows. “You know where the Lord’s dwelling is?”

She nodded. “It’s far away. During the journey, you will be tested.”

The chief said, “We saw the dwelling of the Lord once countless light periods ago. We were frightened when we saw it moving along a plain. It was huge and had many… um… things like great sticks … rising from it. It shone with many lights from many stones. We watched it for a while, then fled, afraid the Lord would be offended and deal harshly with us.”

Shakann said, “What is the purpose of the thing that makes music?”

“That will get us into the dwelling of the Lord. By the way, we call his dwelling a palace.”


“That’s good enough. But the … Horn … belongs to me. You have no right to it. The Lord won’t like your taking it.”

“Here!” the chief said, thrusting it at her.

“You wronged me when you raped me. I do not know whether the Lord will forgive you for that or not.”

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