The Maker of Universes Book 1 of The World of Tiers Series by Philip Jose Farmer. Chapter 5, 6, 7, 8

A light burst into the cave. Through the warm haze, he saw the batfaces leap away from him and run to the extreme end of the cave, where they cowered together. The light became stronger and was revealed as a torch of burning pine. An old man’s face followed the light and bent over him. He had a long white beard, a sunken mouth, a curved sharp nose, and huge supraorbital ridges with bristling eyebrows. A dirty white robe covered his shrunken body. His big-veined hand held a staff on the end of which was a sapphire, large as Wolff’s fist, carved in the image of a harpy.

Wolff tried to speak but could only mutter a tangled speech, as if he were coming up out of ether after an operation. The old man gestured with the staff, and several of the batfaces detached themselves from the mass of fur. They scurried sideways across the floor, their slanted eyes turned fearfully toward the old man. Quickly, they untied Wolff. He managed to rise to his feet, but he was so wobbly that the old man had to support him out of the cave.

The ancient spoke in Mycenaean Greek. “You’ll feel better soon. The venom does not last long.”

“Who are you? Where are you taking me?”

“Out of this danger,” the old man said. Wolff pondered the enigmatic answer. By the time that his mind and body were functioning well again, they had come to another entrance to a cave. They went through a complex of chambers that gradually led them upward. When they had covered about two miles, the old man stopped before a cave with an iron door. He handed the torch to Wolff, pulled the door open, and waved him on in. Wolff entered into a large cavern bright with torches. The door clanged behind him, succeeded by the thud of a bolt shooting fast.

The first thing that struck him was the choking odor. The next, the two green red-headed eagles that closed in on him. One spoke in a voice like a giant parrot’s and ordered him to march on ahead. He did so. noting at the same time that the batfaces must have removed his knife. The weapon would not have done him much good. The cave was thronged with the birds, each of which towered above him.

Against one wall were two cages made of thin iron bars. In one was a group of six gworl. In the other was a tall well-built youth wearing a deerskin breechcloth. He grinned at Wolff and said, “So you made it! How you’ve changed!”

Only then did the reddish-bronze hair, long upper lip, and craggy but merry face become familiar. Wolff recognized the man who had thrown the horn from the gworl-besieged boulder and who called himself Kickaha.


WOLFF DID NOT have time to reply, for the cage door was opened by one of the eagles, who used his foot as effectively as a hand. A powerful head and hard beak shoved him into the cage; the door ground shut behind him.

“So, here you are,” Kickaha said in a rich baritone voice. “The question is, what do we do now? Our stay here may be short and unpleasant.”

Wolff, looking through the bars, saw a throne carved out of rock, and on it a woman. A halfwoman, rather, for she had wings instead of arms and the lower part of her body was that of a bird. The legs, however, were much thicker in proportion than those of a normal-sized Earth eagle. They had to support more weight, Wolff thought, and he knew that here was another of the Lord’s laboratoryproduced monsters. She must be the Podarge of whom Ipsewas had spoken.

From the waist up she was such a woman as few men are privileged to see. Her skin was white as a milky opal, her breasts superb, the throat a column of beauty. The hair was long and black and straight and fell on both sides of a face that was even more beauti- ful than Chryseis’, an admission that he had not thought it possible to evoke from him.

However, there was something horrible in the beauty: a madness. The eyes were fierce as those of a caged falcon teased beyond endurance.

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