Chasing down a ghost
Powerful warriors. Guarded. They gave Tarzan no chance of escape. This was some fearsome-looking tribe, hostility to him spoke in their every gesture and move.
From the cage to this shrine he’d been shoved. Barged. Jostled. As if trying to provoke him to hit back. And then they would show him what powers they possessed.
Every single man .. wherever Tarzan looked it was the same .. he had encountered only male perfection made out of the same muscular mould. Physical excellence. Tall, supremely muscled. The mark of a warrior-tribe in every fibre of their being. A determination to dominate over him. A dogged will that would never to be beaten.
Try and get away .. they’d be on to him in the blink of an eye. And as a reward they’d give him all they had. Escaping from their awe-inspiring clutches .. that would not be an easy thing.
But why had he never heard of them? Why wasn’t a fearsome tribe of such physical excellence the talk of the jungle?
They’d been on him every bit of the way from that cellar to this shrine .. breathing down his neck. Shoving him around, hostile. But Tarzan wasn’t going to invite a beating. By the look of them .. and against overwhelming odds .. he’d come off worse. Much worse.
Outside, Tarzan had marvelled at the durability of this city. An ancient citadel built of stone. He had been walked over streets paved with stone. This was some advanced civilisation. Not some tribe of savages as Wright had scorned. So where was he? What was this tribe? For the life of him he couldn’t place them. And the chief had hardly been forthcoming .. no matter how much Tarzan had goaded him to explain.
But surely ….. ? A tribe peopled with such masculine excellence … men of this powerful perfection .. male warriors of the utmost physical flawlessness .. someone must have talked of them? Surely? They looked the stuff of legends. But Tarzan couldn’t remember hearing talk of such a tribe.
Tarzan’s pursuit of Wright had taken him far from his normal haunts. But still Tarzan had never heard tell of them. A lost tribe? But not one about which he had never heard? Even as a myth? Confusing.
The chief had left the shrine .. awaiting the return of the priest .. keeping Tarzan alone with his thoughts. Close-guarded by attentive well-built warriors breathing down his neck .. left on his knees in the tribe’s magnificent shrine. Looking at a richly carved screen .. outlandish heads. Effigies of their creepy gods? Magnificently carved. This was a place of great culture and skills .. compared to the chief’s huts that Tarzan had known. But where was he?
The thought hit him. All the time he had been outside .. marched into this city when first captured .. where were the women? Wright had noticed the same. Tarzan hadn’t spotted one single woman either. Not one. A city peopled only by men of singular strength. He’d only seen men .. of the finest physique .. men he’d struggle to take on in a fight. Children. Families. Women? Where were they? In this ancient citadel .. only these god-like male warriors. Men like these .. in the full perfection of male virility .. and not a woman in sight? Men with so much manliness churning in their blood? What did they do for women? Where had he landed up?
Left with time to think, his mind wandered over the clues ….. And what was that the chief had said? Had Tarzan heard right? About mixing Wright’s man-seed into the warriors’ brew? Odd. Downright strange. But …. when had he heard of that before? Something rang a bell.
There was talk about tribes that drank an enemy’s blood so they could absorb his strength. He had heard tell of such myths .. stories told in the rark around the campfire .. old men recalling long-distant tales of tribes who held to that belief. Tales too of tribes roasting their enemies alive and fortifying themselves with their screams.
But drinking a brew to build up their own physical power? Stealing the manly strength from the captured enemy by drinking his seed? Tarzan had never come across any such tribe. Or met anyone who had. Or had he? Something was jangling away at the back of his mind. Where had he heard such a fanciful tale?
And looking at these magnificently muscled guards keeping him captive, Tarzan could almost believe that it was true. The way they looked .. he could believe they drank nothing else.
Yes, Tarzan HAD heard such a myth. And not too long ago ……. But when? Who from? Deep in his memory, something was clanging .. details he now couldn’t recall. Annoyingly. Tarzan felt there was something pertinent in that memory. Something rang discordant .. about drinking an enemy’s seed.
But when? Who? When had someone told him that?