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

Wolff tore his eyes from hers and looked about the cave. “Where is Chryseis?” he whispered.

“Who?” Kickaha whispered back.

With a few quick sentences, Wolff described her and what had happened to him.

Kickaha shook his head. “I’ve never seen her.”

“But the gworl?”

“There were two bands of them. The other must have Chryseis and the horn. Don’t worry about them. If we don’t talk our way out of this, we’re done for. And in a very hideous way.”

Wolff asked about the old man. Kickaha replied that he had once been Podarge’s lover. He was an aborigine, one of those who had been brought into this universe shortly after the Lord had fashioned it. The harpy now kept him to do the menial work which required human hands. The old man had come at Podarge’s order to rescue Wolff from the batfaces, undoubtedly because she had long ago heard from her pets of Wolff’s presence in her domain.

Podarge stirred restlessly on her throne and unfolded her wings. They came together before her with a splitting noise like distant lightning.

“You two there!” she shouted. “Quit your whispering! Kickaha, what more do you have to say for yourself before I loose my pets?”

“I can only repeat, at the risk of seeming tiresome, what I said before!” Kickaha replied loudly. “I am as much the enemy of the Lord as you, and he hates me, he would kill me! He knows I stole his horn and that I’m a danger to him. His Eyes rove the four levels of

the world and fly up and down the mountains to find me. And . . .”

“Where is this horn you said you stole from the Lord? Why don’t you have it now? I think you are lying to save your worthless carcass!”

“I told you that I opened a gate to the next world, and that I threw it to a man who appeared at the gate. He stands before you now.”

Podarge turned her head as an eagle swivels hers, and she glared at Wolff. “I see no horn. I see only some tough stringy meat behind a black beard!”

“He says that another band of gworl stole it from him,” Kickaha replied. “He was chasing after them to get it back when the batfaces captured him and you so magnanimously rescued him. Release us, gracious and beautiful Podarge, and we will get the horn back. With it, we will be in a position to fight the Lord. He can be beaten! He may be the powerful Lord, but he is not all-powerful! If he were, he would have found us and the horn long ago!”

Podarge stood up, preened her wings, and walked down the steps from the throne and across the floor to the cage. She did not bob as a bird does when walking, but strode stiff-legged.

“I wish that I could believe you,” she said in a lower but just as intense voice. “If only I could! I have waited through the years and the centuries and the millenia, oh, so long that my heart aches to think of the time! If I thought that the weapons for striking back at him had finally come within my hands …”

She stared at them, held her wings out before her, and said, “See! ‘My hands,’ I said. But I do not have hands, nor the body that was once mine. That …” And she burst into a raging invective that made Wolff

shrink. It was not the words but the fury, bordering on divinity or mindlessness, that made him grow cold.

“If the Lord can be overthrown-and I believe he can-you will be given back your human body,” Kickaha said when she had finished.

She panted with a clench of her anger and stared at them with the lust of murder. Wolff felt that all was lost, but her next words showed that the passion was not for them.

“The old Lord has been gone for a long time, so the rumor says. I sent one of my pets to investigate, and she came back with a strange tale. She said that there is a new Lord there, but she did not know whether or not it was the same Lord in a new body. I sent her back to the Lord, who refused my pleas to be given my rightful body again. So it does not matter whether or not there is another Lord. He is just as evil and hateful as the old one, if he is indeed not the old one. But I must know!

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18