World's Desire | Andrew Lang, H. Rider Haggard | Action & Adventure Fiction | Audio Book | 6/6

book 3 chapter 5 of the world's desire this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit recording by annie Hill the voice of the dead when Merryman the Queen had watched the chariot of the wander till it was lost in the dust of the desert she passed down from the palace roof to the solitude of her chamber here she sat in her chamber till the darkness gathered as the evil thoughts gathered in her heart that it was rent with love of him who she had won but to lose things had gone ill with her to little purpose she had sinned after such a fashion as may not be forgiven yet there was a hope he had sworn that he would Wed her when Pharaoh was dead and when archived Helen had followed Pharaoh to the shades should she shrink then from the deed of blood nay from evil to evil she would go she laid her hand upon the double-headed snake that wound her about and spake into the gloom a cyrus waits the menapii a Osiris waits thee the shades of those who have died for thy love Helen are gathering at the gates it shall be done Pharaoh thou diced tonight tomorrow night thou goddess Helen shall all thy tale be told man may not harm the in deed but she'll fire refused to kiss thy loveliness are there no woman's hands to light thy funeral pile then she rose and calling her ladies was attired in her most splendid robes and caused the Urrea scrout to be set upon her head the snake circlet of power on her brow the snake girdle of wisdom at her heart and now she hid somewhat in her breast and passed to the antechamber where the princes gathered for the feast farrell looked up and saw her loveliness so glorious she seemed in her royal beauty that his heart forgot its whoa and once again he loved her as he had done in years gone by when she conquered him at the game of pieces and he had cast his arms about her and she stabbed him she saw the look of love girl on his heavy face and all her gathered hate rose in her breasts though she smiled gently with her lips and spake him fair they sat at the feast and Pharaoh drank and ever as he drank she smiled upon him with her dark eyes and spake him words of gentlest meaning till at length there was nothing he desired more than that they should be at one again now the feast was done they sat in the antechamber for all were gone save menephta and Merriman then he came to her and took her hand looking into her eyes nor did she say him nay there was a lute lying on a golden table and there too as it chanced was a board for the game of pieces with the dice and the pieces themselves wrought in gold Pharaoh took up the gold King from the board and toyed with an ease hand marioman he said for these five years we have been apart thou and I thy love I have lost as a game is lost for one false move or one throw of the dice and our child is dead and our armies are scattered and the barbarians come like flies when sea horse stirs within his banks love only is left to his marioman she looked at him not unkindly as if sorrow and wrong had softened her heart also but she did not speak can dead love awakened marioman and can angry love forgive she had lifted the lute and her fingers touched list the sea on the cords nay I know not she said who knows how did pintar sing of love's renewal pintar the glorious minstrel of our Father Ramesses Mirman he laid the cold King on the board and began listless ly to cast the dice he threw the Hathor as a chanst the lucky cast two sixes and a thought of better fortune came to him how did the song run marioman it is many a year since I heard the sing she touched the lute lowly and sweetly and then she sang her thoughts were of the wanderer but the king deemed that she thought of himself oh joy of Love's renewing could love be born again relenting for they brewing and pitying my pain oh joy of love's awakening could love arise from sleep for giving are forsaking the fields we would not reap fleet fleet we fly pursuing the love that fled a mane but will he lists our wooing or call we but in vain all vain is all our wooing and all our prayers are vain love lista thought our suing love will not wake again will he not waken again said Pharaoh if to pray together will love refused their prayer it might be so she said if to prayed together for if they prayed he would have heard already Merryman said the Pharaoh eagerly for he thought her heart was moved by pity and sorrow once thou didst to win my crown at the pieces what they'll play me for thy love she thought for one moment and then she said yes I will play thee my lord but my hand has lost its cunning and it may well be that marioman shall lose again as she has lost all let me set the pieces and bring wine for my lord she set the pieces and crossing the room she lifted a great cup of wine and put it by pharaoh's hand but he was so intent on the game that he did not drink he took the field he moved she replied and so the game went between them in the dark fragrant chamber where the lamp burned and the Queen's eyes shone in the night this way and that went the game till she lost and he swept the board then in triumph he drained the poisoned cup of wine and cried Pharaoh is dead Ferro is dead Anton Merryman gazing into his eyes what does that look in thine eyes merriment what is that look in thine eyes and the King grew pale as the dead for he had seen that look before when Miriam and slew her Taska Pharaoh is dead she shrilled in the tone of women who wail the dirges Pharaoh great Pharaoh is dead era man may count a hundred light days are numbered strange but tomorrow menephta she'll toss it were her Tosca sat dead on the knees of death and a Syrian in the lap of the Osiris died Pharaoh died but while thy Dyess Tarkin there is one I love the wanderer who leads the hosts his love I stole by art known to me and because I stole it he would have shamed me and I accused him falsely in the ears of men but he comes again and so sure as thou shalt sit on the knees of Osiris so surely shall he sit upon thy throne ferrule for pharaoh is dead he heard he gathered his last strength he rose and staggered towards her striking at the air slowly she drew away while he followed her awful to see at length he stood still threw up his hands and fell dead then Merryman drew near and looked at him strangely behold the end of Pharaoh she said that then was a king upon whose breath the lives of people hung like a poised feather well let him go earth can spare him and death is but the richer by a weary fool tis done and well done with the tomorrow's task were also done and that Helen lay as Pharaoh lies so rinse the cup and now to sleep if sleep become hour where has sleep flown of late tomorrow they'll find him dead well what of it so do Kings oft times die there I will be going and never where his eyes so large and so unlovely now the light of morning gathered again on all the temple tops and men rose from sleep to go about their labors marioman watched it grow as she lay sleepless in her golden bed waiting for the cry that presently should ring along the palace walls hark what was that the sound of swinging doors the rush of running feet and now it came long and shrill it rose Pharaoh is dead awake of wakey sleepers awake awake and look upon that which has come about Pharaoh is dead Pharaoh is dead when Miriam arose and followed by the ladies rushed from her chamber who dreamed so evilly she said who dreams and cries aloud in his haunted sleep o Queen it is no dream said one pass into the antechamber and see their lies Pharaoh dead with no wound upon him to tell the manner of his end then Merryman cried aloud with a great cry and through her hair about her face while tears fell from her dark eyes she passed into the chamber and their fallen on his back and cold lay Pharaoh in his royal robes awhile the Queen looked upon him as one who is dumb with grief then she lifted up her voice and cried still is the curse heavy upon Kem and the people of Khem Pharaoh lies dead yay he is dead who has no wound and this I say that he is slain of the witchcraft of her whom men named the Hathor o my lord my lord and kneeling she laid her hand upon his breast by this dead heart of thine I swear that I will wreak thy murder on her who rotted lift him up lift up this poor clay that was the first of Kings clothed him in the robes of death and set him on the knees of Osiris in the temple of Osiris then go forth through the city and call out this the Queen's command call it from Street to Street this is the Queen's command that every woman in Tanis who has lost a son or husband or brother or kin or lover through the witchcraft of the Falls hath or or by the plagues that wrought on chem or in the war with the Opera whom she caused to fly from Kim do meet me at sundown in the temple of Osiris before the face of the God and of dead Pharaohs majesty so they took menapii ah the Assyrian and wrapping him in the robes of death bore him to the knees of Osiris where he should sit a day and a night and the messengers of Merriman went for summoning the women of the city to meet her at sunset in the temple of Osiris moreover marioman sent out slaves by tens and by 20s to the number of mm bidding them gather up all the wood that was in Tanis and all the oil and the bitumen and bundles of reeds by hundreds such as are used for the thatching of houses and lay them in piles and stacks in a certain courtyard near the temple of hathor this they did and so the day wore on while the women wailed about the streets because of the death of Pharaoh now a chance that the camel of Rhea the priests fell down from weariness as a journeyed swiftly back to Tanis but Ray's sped forward on foot and came to the gates of Tanis sorely wearied towards the evening of that day when he heard the wailing of the women he asked of a passerby what new evil had fallen upon him and learned the death of Pharaoh then rain knew by whose hand Pharaoh was dead and grieved at heart because she whom he had served and loved Merryman the moon child was a murderess at first he was minded to go up before the Queen and put her to an open shame and then take his death at her hands but when he heard that Merryman had summoned all the women of Tanis to meet her in the temple of Osiris he had another thought hurrying to that place where he hid in the city he ate and drank then he put off his beggar's rags and robed himself afresh and over all he drew the garment of an aged Crone for this was told him that no man should be suffered to enter the temple now the they was dying and already the western sky was red and he hurried forth and mingled with the stream of women who passed towards the temple gates who then slew the Pharaoh asked one and why does the Queen summon us to meet her Pharaoh is slain by the witchcraft of the false hath art answered another and the Queen summons us that we may take counsel how to be rid of the Hathor tell not of the occurs at Hathor said a third my husband and my brother are dead at her hands and my son died in the death of the firstborn that she called down on cam ah if I could but see her rent limb from limb I should seek Osiris happily some there be cross a fourth who say that not the Hathor but the gods of those of pora brought the woes on cam and some that pharaoh was slain by the queen's own hand because of the love she bears to that great wanderer who came here a while ago thou fool and to the first how could the Queen love one who would have wrought outrage on her such things of being said the fourth woman perchance he wrought no outrage perchance she beguiled him as women may yes yes such things have been I am old and I have seen such things yea they aren't old said the first thou has no child no husband no father no lover and no brother thou has lost none who are dear to thee through the magic of the Hathor speak one more such slander on the Queen and we will fall upon thee and tear thy lying tongue from its roots hush said the second Bowman here are the temple gates by Isis did ne ever see such a multitude of women and never a man to cheer them a dreary sight indeed come push on push on or we shall find no place yea thou soldier we are all women all women have no fear no need to bear our breasts look at our eyes blind with weeping over the dead push on push on so they passed by the guards and into the gates of the temple and with them went Rea unheeded already it was a well I filled with women although the Sun was not yet dead torches were set about to lighten the gloom and by them Rea saw that the curtains before the shrine were drawn presently the temple was full to overflowing the doors were shut and barred and a voice from behind the veil cried silence then all the multitude of women were silent and the light of the torches flared strangely upon their shifting upturned faces as fires flare over the white sea foam now the curtains of the shrine of Osiris were drawn aside slowly and the light that burned upon the altar streamed out between them it fell upon the foremost ranks of women it fell upon the polished statue of the Osiris on the knees of a Cyrus sat the body of Pharaoh Merneptah his head resting against the breast of the god Pharaoh was wrapped about was winding cloths like the marble statue of the God and in his cold hands were bound the crook the scepter and the scourge as the crook the scepter and the scourge were placed in the hands of the effigy of the God as was a statue of the god so was the body a pharaoh that sat upon his knees and cold and awful was the face of a cyrus and cold in alpha was the face of men Opta the Assyrian at the side and someone in front of the statue of the god a throne was placed of blackest marble and on the throne sat Merryman the queen she was glorious to look on she wore the royal robes of Khem the double crown of Khem fashioned of gold and wreaths with the Urrea snakes was set upon her head in her hand was the crystal cross of life and between her Mantle's purple folds gleamed the eyes of her snake girdle she sat a while in silence speaking no word and all the women wondered at her glory and a dead Pharaohs awfulness then at length she spoke low indeed but so clearly that every word reached the limits of the temple hall women of Tanis hear me the Queen let each search the face of each and there be any man among your multitude let him be dragged forth and torn limb from limb far in this matter no man may hear our counsels lest following his madness he betrayed them now every woman looked upon her neighbor and she who was next to ray looked hard upon him so that he trembled for his life but he crouched into the shadow and stared back on her boldly as though he doubted if she were indeed a woman and said no word when all had looked and no man had been found merriment spoke again hearken women of Tanis hearkened to your sister and your queen woe upon woe is fallen on the head of Kem plague upon plague hath smitten the ancient land our firstborn are dead our slaves have spoiled us and fled away our hosts have been swallowed in the sea of weeds and barbarians swarm along our shores like locusts is it not so women of Tanis it is so Oh Queen they answered as with one voice a strange evil hath fallen on the head of Kem a false goddess has come to dwell within the land her sorceries are great in the land month by month men go up to look upon her deadly beauty and month by month they are slain of her sorceries she takes the husband from his marriage bed she draws the lover from her who waits to be a bride the slave flies to her from the household of his Lord the priests flocked to her from the altars of the gods a the very priests of Isis flocked forsworn from the altars of Isis all look upon her which beauty and to each she shows an altered loveliness and to all she gives one Gurdon death is it not so women of Tanis alas alas it is so Oh Queen answered the women as with one voice bows are fallen on you and Kem my sisters but on me most of all our woes fallen my people have been slain my land the land I love has been laid waste with plagues my child the only one is dead in the great death hands have been laid on me the queen of chem think on it ye who are women my slaves are fled my armies have been swallowed in the sea and last oh my sisters my consort my beloved Lord mighty Pharaoh son of great Ramesses Mirman has been taken from me look look ye who are wives look on him who was your King and my most beloved Lord there he sits and all my tears and all my prayers may not summon one single answering sigh from that still heart the curse hath fallen on him also he too has been smitten silently with everlasting silence look looky who are wives and weep with me ye who are left widowed now the women looked and a great groan went up from all that multitude while Merryman hid her face with the hollow of her hand then again she spoke I have besought the gods my sister's I have dared to call down the majesty of the gods who speak through the lips of the dead and I have learned whence these woes come and this I have won by my prayers that ye who suffer as I suffered shall learn whence they come not from my mortal lips indeed but from the lips of the dead that speak with the voice of the gods then while the women trembled she turned to the body of Pharaoh which was set upon the needs of a cyrus and spoke to it dead Pharaoh great Assyrian ruling in the underworld hearken to me now hearken to me now thou lo Cyrus Lord of the West first of the hosts of death hearken to me Osiris and be manifest through the lips of him who was great on earth speak through his cold lips speak with mortal accents that these people may hear and understand by the spirit that is in me Who am yet a dweller on the earth I charge thee speak who is the source of the of Kim say Lord of the Dead who are the living evermore now the flame on the altar died away and dreadful silence fell upon the temple gloom fell upon the shrine and through the gloom the golden crown of Merryman and the cold statue of the acerous and the white face of Dedmon Opta gleamed faint and ghost-like then suddenly the flame of the altar flared as flares the summer lightning it flared full in the face of the dead and lo the lips of the dead moved and from them came the sound of mortal speech they speak in awful accent and thus they spoke she who was the curse of Akane's she who was the doom of illios she who sits in the temple Hathor the fate of man who may not be harmed of man she calls down the wrath of the gods on cam it is spoken the echo of the awful words died away in the silence then fear took hold of the multitude of women because of the words of the dead and some fell upon their faces and some covered their eyes with their hands arise my sister's cried the voice of Merryman ye have heard not from my lips but from the lips of the dead arise and let us forth to the temple of hathor ye have heard who is the fountain of our woes let us forth and seal it at its source forever of men she may not be harmed who is the fate of men from men we ask no help for all men are her slaves and for her beauty sake all men forsake us but we will play the part of men our woman's milk shall freeze within our breasts we will dip our tender hands in blood a scourge by a thousand wrongs we will forget our gentleness and tear this foul fairness from its home we will burn the Hathor a shrine with fire her priests shall perish at the altar and the beauty of the false goddess shall melt like wax in the furnace of our hate say will you follow me my sisters and wreak our shames upon the shameful one our woes upon the spring of whoa are dead upon their murderous she ceased and then from every woman's throat within the great temple there went up a cry of rage fierce and shrill we will marry man we will they screamed to the Hathor lead us to the Hathor shrine bring fire bring fire and lead us to the Hathor a shrine end of chapter 5 book 3 chapter six of the world's desire this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit recording by annie Hill the world's desire by H rider Haggard chapter 6 the burning of the shrine ray the priest saw and heard then turning he stole away through the maddened throng of women and fled with what speed he might from the temple his heart was filled with fear and shame for he knew full well that Pharaoh was dead not at the hand of hathor but at the hand of Miriam and the queen whom he had loved he knew well that dead men ophtho spake not with the voice of the dread gods but with a voice of the magic of Merryman who of all women that have been since the days of taya was the most skilled in evil magic the lure of the snake he knew also that Merryman would slay Helen for the same cause wherefore she had slain Pharaoh that she might win the wander to her arms while Helen lived he was not to be one away now Rhea was a righteous man loving the gods and good and hating evil and his heart burned because of the wickedness of the woman that once he cherished this he swore that he would do if time were left to him he would warn the Helen so that she might fly the fire if she so willed a and would tell her all the wickedness of Miriam and her foe his old feet stumbled over each other as he fled till he came to the of the temple of hathor and knocked on the gates what wouldst thou old crone asked the priest who sat in the gate I would be led to the presence of the Hathor he answered no woman hath passed up to look upon the Hathor said the priest that women do not seek then Rey made a secret sign and wandering greatly that a woman should have the inner wisdom the priests let him pass he came to the second gate what wouldst thou said the priest who sat in the gates I would go up into the presence of the Hathor no woman hath willed to look upon the Hathor said the priest then again Rey made the secret sign but still the priest wavered let me pass the foolish warden said Rey I am a messenger from the gods if thou art a mortal messenger woman thou goest to thy doom said the priest on my head be it answered Rey and the priests let him pass wondering now he stood before the doors of the alabaster shrine that glowed with the light within still Rey pause not only uttering a prayer that he might be saved from the unseen swords he lifted the latch of bronze and entered fearfully but none fell upon him nor was he smitten of invisible Spears before him swung the curtains of Tyrion web but no sound of singing came from behind the curtains always silence in the shrine he passed between the curtains and looked up the sanctuary it was lit with many hanging lamps and by their light he saw the goddess Helen seated between the pillars of her loom but she-wolf no more at the loom the web of fate was rent by the Wanderers hand and lay on either side a shining cloth of gold the golden Helen satsang was in her lonely shrine and on her breast gleamed the red star of light that wept the blood of men her head rested on her hand and her heavenly eyes of blue gazed emptily down the empty shrine Rey drew near trembling though she seemed not to see him at all and at flung himself upon the earth before her now at length she saw him and spoke in her voice of music who art thou that dares to break in upon my sorrow she said wonderingly art thou indeed a woman come to look on one who by the will of the Gods is each woman's deadliest foe then Rhea raised himself saying no woman a my immortal lady I am ray that aged priest who met the two knights gone by the pylon gates and led thee to the palace of Pharaoh and I have dared to seek thy shrine to tell thee that thou art in danger at the hands of Miriam and the Queen and also to give thee a certain message with which I am charged by him who is named the wanderer now Helen looked upon him wonderingly and spoke didst thou not but now name me immortal ray how then can I be in danger Who am immortal and not be harmed of men death hath no part in me speak not to me of dangers who alas can never die till everything is done but tell me of that faithless wanderer whom I must love with all the womanhood that shuts my spirit in and all my spirit that is closed in womanhood for ray the gods without holding death have in wrath cursed me with love to torment my deathlessness oh and I saw him standing where thou now standeth my soul knew its other part and I learned that the curse I give to others had fallen on myself and him yet was this wander not altogether faithless to the lady said ray listen and I will tell the all speak on she said Oh speak and speak swiftly then ray told Helen all that tale which the wander had charged him to deliver in her ear and keep no word back he told her how miriam had beguiled apparatus in her shape how he had fallen in the snare and sworn by the snake he who should have sworn by the star he told her how the wanderer had learned the truth and learning it had cursed the way – wronged him how he had been overcome by the guards and borne to the bed of torment how he had been freed by the craft of Merryman and how he had gone forced to lead the host of Kim all this he told her swiftly hiding not while she listened with eager ears truly she said when all was told truly thou art a happy messenger now I forgive him all yet he has sworn by the snake who should have sworn by the star and because of his fault never in this space of life shall Helen call him Lord yet we will follow him Rey hark what is this again it comes that long shrill cry as of ghosts broke loose from Hades it is the Queen quarrei the queen who with all women of Tanis comes hither to burn the in thy shrine she hath slain Pharaoh and now she would slay thee also and so win the wander to her arms fly lady fly nay I will not fly said Helen let her come but do thou Rea pass through the temple gates and mingle with the crowd there thou shalt awake my coming and when I come draw near fearing nothing and together we will pass down the path of the wanderer in such fashion as I shall show thee go go swiftly and bid those who minister to me pass out with thee then returned and fled without the doors of the shrine many priests were gathered fly the women of Tanis are upon you he cried I charge you to fly this old crone is mad cause one we watch the hath our and come all the women of the world we fly not ye are mad indeed said Rey and sped on he passed the gates the gates clashed behind him he won the outer space and hiding in the shadows of the temple walls looked forth the night was dark but from every side a thousand lights poured down towards the shrine on they came like Lantern on the waters of sea heart at the night of the feast of lanterns now he could see their hosts it was the host of the women of Tanis and every woman bore a lighted torch they came by tens by hundreds and by thousands and before them was Merryman seated in a golden chariot and with them were asses oxen and camels laden with bitumen wood and reeds now they gained the gate and now they crashed them in with battering trees of palm the gates fell the women poured through them at their head went Miriam and the Queen bidding certain of them stay by her chariot she passed through and standing at the inner gates called aloud to the priests to throw them wide who art thou darest come up with fire against the holy temple of hathor asked the guardian of the gates I am Miriam and the queen of CAM she answered come with the women of tennis to slay the witch without goddess throw the gates wide or die with the witch if indeed thou art the queen answered the priest here there sits a greater Queen than thou go back go back Miriam who are not afraid to offer violence to the immortal gods go back lest the curse smite thee draw on draw on ye women cried Mary men draw on smite down the gates and tear these wicked ones limb from limb then the women screamed aloud and battered on the gates with trees so that they fell they fell and the women rushed in madly they seized the priests of hathor and tore them limb from limb as dogs tear a wolf now the shrine stood before them touch not the doors cried Miriam bring fire and burn the shrine with her who dwells there in touch not the doors look not in the witch's face but burn her where she is with fire then the women brought the reeds and the wood and piled around the shrine to twice the height of a man they brought ladders also and piled the fuel upon the roof of the shrine till all was covered and they poured pitch over the fire and then at the word of Merryman they cast torches on the pitch and drew back screaming for a moment the torch is smouldered then suddenly on every side great tongues of flame left up to heaven now the shrine was wrapped in fire and yet they cast fuel on it till none might draw near because of the heat now it burned as a furnace burns and now the fire reached the fuel on the roof it caught and the shrine was but a sheet of raging flame that lit the white walled city and the broad face of the waters as the Sun lights the land the alabaster walls of the shrine turned whiter yet with heat they cracked and split till the fabric taught her to its fall now there is surely an end of the witch cried Merryman and the women screamed an answer to her but even as they screamed a great tongue of flame shot out through the molten doors ten fathoms lengths and more it shot like a spear of fire full in its path stood a group of the burners it struck them it licked them up and lo they fell in blackened heaps upon the ground Rhea looked down the path of the flame there in the doorway whence it had issued stood the golden Hathor wrapped round with fire and the molten metal of the doors crept about her feet there she stood in the heat of the fire but there was no stain of fire on her nor on her white robes nor on her streaming hair and even through the glow of the furnace he saw the light of the red star at her breast the flame licked her form and face it wrapped itself around her and curled through the masses of her hair but still she stood unharmed while the burners shrine back amazed all save me Riemann the Queen and as she stood she sang wild and sweet and the sound of her singing came through the roar of the flames and reached the ears of the women who forgetting their rage clung to one another in fear thus she sang of that beauty which men seek in all women and never find and of the eternal war for her sake between the women and the men which is the Great War of the world and thus her song ended will you bring flame to burn my shrine Who am myself a flame bring death to tame this charm of mine that death can never tame will you bring fire to harm my head Who am myself a fire bring vengeance for your lovers dead upon the world's desire neigh women while the earth endures your loves are not your own they love you not these loves of yours Helen they love alone my face they seeked in every face mine eyes in yours they see they do but kneel to you a space and rise and follow me then still singing she stepped forward from the shrine and as she went the walls fell in and the roof crashed down upon the ruin and the flames shot up into the very sky Helen hated it not she looked not back but out to the gates beyond she glanced not at the fierce blackened faces of the women nor on the face of miriam and who stood before her but slowly passed towards the gates nor did she go alone for with her came a canopy of fire hedging round her with flame that burned from nothing the women saw the wonder and fell down in their fear covering their eyes marioman alone fell not but she too must cover her eyes because of the glory of Helen and the fierceness of the flame that wrapped her round now Helen ceased singing but moved slowly through the courts till she came to the outer gates here by the gates was the chariot of marioman then Helen called aloud and the Queen who followed heard her words Rea she cried draw nigh and have no fear draw nigh that I may pass with the down that path the wanderer treads draw nigh and let us swiftly hence for the hero's last battle is at hand and I would greet him ere he died Rea heard her and drew near trembling tearing from him the woman's weeds he wore and showing the priests garb beneath and as he came the fire that wrapped her glory round left her and passed upward like a cloak of flame she stretched out her hand to him saying lead me to yonder chariot Rea and let us hence then he led her to the chariot while those who stood by fled in fear she mounted the chariot and he set himself beside her then he grasped the reins and called to the horses and they bounded forward and were lost in the night but Merryman cried in her wrath the witch is gone gone with my own servant whom she hath led astray bring chariots and let horsemen come with the chariots for where she passes there I will follow a to the end of the world and the coast of death end of chapter 6 book 3 chapter 7 of the world's desire this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit recording by annie Hill chapter 7 the last fight of Odysseus Laertes son now the host of Pharaoh marched forth from on to do battle with the nine bow barbarians and before the host marched the captains came to the wanderer according to the command of Pharaoh and placing their hands in his swore to do his bidding on the March and in the battle they brought him the great black bow of Uranus and his keen sword of bronze ural s's gift and many a sheaf of arrows and his heart rejoiced when he saw the goodly weapon he took the bow and tried it and as he drew the string once again and for the last time it's sang shrilly of death to be the captain's heard the song of the bow though what it said the wanderer knew alone for to their ears it came but as a faint keen cry like the cry of one who drowns in the water far from the kindly earth but they marvelled much at the wonder and said one to another that this man was no mortal but a God came from the underworld then the wanderer mounted the chariot of bronze that had been made ready for him and gave the word to march all night the host marched swiftly and a daybreak they camped beneath the shelter of a long low hill but at sunrise the wanderer left the host climbed the hill with certain of the captains and looked forth before him was a great pass in the mountains ten furlongs or more in length and through it ran the road the sides of the mountains sloped down to the road and were strewn with rocks split by the Sun polished by the sand and covered over with Bush that grew sparsely like the hair on the limbs of man to the left of the mountains lay the river see whore but none might pass between the mountain and the river the wanderer descended from the hill and while the soldiers ate drove swiftly in his chariot to the further end of the pass and looked forth again here the river curved to the left leaving a wide plain and on the plain he saw the hosts of the nine bow barbarians the mightiest hosts that ever his eyes had looked upon they were encamped by nations and of each nation there was twenty thousand men and beyond the glittering camp of the barbarians he saw the curved ships of the Achaeans they were drawn up on the beach of the great river as many a year ago he had seen them drawn up on the shore that is by illios he looked upon the plain and pass on the mountain and river and measured the number of the foe then his heart was filled with the lust of battle and his warlike cunning awoke for of all leaders he was the most skilled in the craft of battle and he desired that this his last war should be the greatest war of all turning his horses heads he galloped back to the host of Pharaoh and mustered them in battle array it was but a little number as against the number of the barbarians twelve thousand spearmen nine thousand archers two thousand horsemen and three hundred chariots the wanderer passed up and down their ranks bidding them be of good courage for this day they should sweep the barbarians from the land as he spoke a hawk flew down from the right and fell on a heron and slew it in midair the host shouted for the hawk is the holy bird of raw and the wanderer too rejoiced in the omen look men he cried the bird of rah has slain the wandering thief from the waters and so shall ye smite the spoilers from the sea then he held counsel with captains and certain trusty men were sent out to the camp of the barbarians and they were charged to give an ill report of the host of Pharaoh and to say that such of it as remained awaited the barbarian onset behind the shelter of the hill on the further side of the pass then The Wanderers summoned the captains of the archers and bade them hide all their force among the rocks and thorns on either side of the mountain pass and there to wait till he drew the hosts of the foe into the pass and with the archers he sent a part of the spearmen but the chariots he hid beneath the shelter of the hill on the hither side of the pass now when the ambush was set and all were gone saved the horsemen only his spies came in and told him that the hosts of the barbarians marched from their camp but that the Achaeans marched not but stopped by the river to guard the camp and chips then the wanderer bade the horsemen ride through the pass and stand in the plain beyond and there awake the foe but when the hosts of the barbarians charged them they must reel before the charge and at length fly headlong down the path as though in fear and he himself would lead the flight in his chariot and where he led there they should follow so the horsemen rode through the pass and formed their squadrons on the plain beyond now the foe drew nigh and a glorious sight it was to see the midday Sun sparkling and their countless spears of horsemen they had no great number but there were many chariots and swordsmen and spearmen and slingers beyond count they came on by Nations and in the centre of the host of each nation sat the king of the nation in a glorious chariot with girls and eunuchs holding fans to fan him with and awnings of silk to hide him from the Sun now the wanderer hung back behind the squadrons of horsemen as though in fear but presently he sent messengers bidding the captains of the squadrons to charge the first nation and fight for a while but feebly and when they saw him turned his horses and galloped through the pass to follow after him as though in doubt but in such fashion as to draw the foe upon their heels this the captains of the mercenaries did once they charged and were beaten back then they charged again but the men made as though they feared the onset now the folk came hard after them and the wanderer turned his chariot and fled through the pass followed slowly by the horsemen and when the hosts of the Barbarian saw them turn they set up a mighty shout of laughter that rent the skies and charge it after them but the wanderer looked back and laughed also now he was through the pass followed by the horsemen and after them swept the hosts of the barbarians like a river that has burst its banks still the wanderer held his hand till the whole pass was choked with the thousands of the foe a until half of the first of the nations had passed into the narrow plain that lay between the hill and the mouth of the pass then driving a piece of the hill he stood in his chariot and gave the signal lifting his golden shield on high he flashed it thrice and all the horsemen shouted aloud at the first flash behold from behind every rock and bush of the mountain signs arose the Helms of armed men at the second flash there came a rattling sound of shaken Quivers and at the third flash of the Golden Shield the air was darkened with a flight of arrows as the sea birds on a lonely Isle awake at the cry of the sailor and wheel by thousands from their lofty cliffs so that at the third flash of The Wanderers shield the arrows of his hidden host rushed downward on the foe rattling like hail upon the harness for a while they kept their ranks and pressed on over the bodies of those that fell but soon the horses and the chariots maddened with wounds plunged this way and that breaking their companies and trampling the soldiers down now some strove to fly forward and some were feigned to fly back and many an empty chariot was dragged this way and that but ever the pitiless rain of shafts poured down and Men fell by thousands beneath the Gale of death now the mighty host of the nine bows rolled back thinned and shattered towards the plain and now the wanderer cried the word of onset to the horsemen and to the chariots that drew from behind the shelter of the hill and following after him they charged down upon those barbarians who had passed the ambush singing the song of Penta as they charged among those nigh the mouth of the pass was the king of the nation of the liebe a great man black and terrible to see the wanderer drew his bow the arrow rushed forth and pierced the king and he fell dead in his chariot then those of his hosts who passed the ambush turned to fly but the chariot of the wanderer dashed into them and after the chariot came the horsemen and after the horsemen the chariots of Pharaoh now all who were left of the broken host rolled back mad with fear while the spearmen of Pharaoh called them as hunters gall a flying bull and the Horsemen of Pharaoh trampled them beneath their feet red slaughter raged all down the pass Helms banners arrow points Shan and fell in the stream of the tide of war but at length the stony way was clear save for the dead alone beyond the pass the plain was black with flying men and the fragments of broken nations were mixed together as clay and sand are mixed of the Potter where now were the hosts of the nine bow barbarian we're now were their glory and their pride the wanderer gathered his footman and his chariots and set them in array again but the horsemen he sent out to smite the flying nations and wait his coming by the camp for there were mustering those who were left of the nations for chavs twenty thousand men and before their ships were ranged the dense ranks of the Achaeans shield to shield every man in his place the wanderer led his host slowly across the sandy plain till at length he halted it to mow shots from the camp of the barbarians the camp was shaped like a bow and the river sea whore formed its string and round it was a deep ditch and beyond the ditch a wall of clay moreover within the camp and nearer to the shore there was a second ditch and wall and behind it were the beaks of the ships and the hosts of the equation even of his own dear people the Akane's there were the old blazons and the spears that had fought below troy town there were the two lions of Mycenae the center of the son of Polly pate s son of Pierre Athos there were the Swan of la saidman and the bull of Kings of Crete the Rose of rhodes serpent of Athens and many another night a bearing of old friends and kindred deer and now they were the blazons of foeman and the wanderer Ward for a strange King and for his own hand beneath the wings of the Hawk of the Legion of raw the wanderer sent heralds forth calling to those barbarians who swarmed behind the wall to surrender to the hosts of feral but this being entrenched by the river sea or they would in no wise do for they were mad because of their slaughtered thousands and moreover they knew that it is better to die than to live as slaves this they also saw that their host was still as strong as the Ferro which was without the wall and weary with the heat and stress of battle and the toil of marching through the desert sands now the captains of the hosts of Pharaoh came to the wanderer praying him that he would do no more battle on that day because the men were weary and the horses neighed for food and water but he answered them I swore to Pharaoh that I would utterly smite the people of the nine bows and drive them down to death so that the coasts of Kim may be free of them here I may not camp the host without food or pasture for the horses and if I go back the foe will gather heart and come on and with them the fleet of the Achaeans and no more shall we lure them into ambush for therein they have learned a lesson nay get you to your companies I will go up against the camp then they bowed and went for having seen his deeds and his skill and craft in war they held him the first of captains and dared not say him nay so the wander who divided his hosts into three parts said it in order of battle and moved up against the camp but he himself went with the centre part against the gate of the camp for here there was an earthen way for chariots if but the great gates might be passed and at a word the threefold host rushed on to the chart but those within the walls shot them with Spears and arrows so that many were slain and they were rolled back from the wall as a wave his roll from the cliff again The Wanderer bade them charge on the right and left bearing the dead before the mess heals and hurling corpses into the ditch to fill it but he himself hung back awhile with the middle army watching how the battle went and waiting till the foe with the gate should be drawn away now the mercenaries of Pharaoh forced a passage on the right and thither went many of the barbarians who watched the gate that they might drive them back then the wanderer bade the take out the poles of chariots and follow him and beat down the gates with the poles this with much toil and loss they did for the archers poured their arrows on the assailants of the gate now at length the gates were down and the wanderer rushed through them with his chariot but even as he passed the mercenaries of Pharaoh were driven out from the camp on the right and those who led the left attack fled also the soldiers who should have followed the wanderer saw and wavered a little moment and while they wavered the companies of the barbarians poured into the Gateway and held it so that none might pass now the wanderer was left alone within the camp and back he might not go but fear came not nigh him may the joy of battle filled his mighty heart he cast his shield upon the brazen floor of the chariot and cried aloud to the charioteer as he loosened the long gray shaft in his quiver drive on now charioteer drive on the jackals leave the lion in the toils drive on drive on and win a glorious death for the sad Odysseus died so the charioteer praying to his gods lashed the horses with his scourge and they sprang forward madly among the foe and as they rushed the great bow rang and sang the swallow string rung the bow and sung the string and the lean shaft drank the blood of a leader of men I gained the string sang I gained the shaft sped forth and a barbarian king fell from his chariot as a driver plunges into the sea and his teeth bit the sand dive deep thou sea thief cried the wanderer thou mayest find treasures there drive on though charioteer so should Lions die wild jackals watch now the barbarians looked on the wander and were amazed forever his chariot rushed to and fro across the mustering ground of the camp and ever his grey shaft carry death before them and ever the foeman's arrows fell blunted from his golden harness they looked on him amazed they cried aloud that this was the God of War come down to do battle for chem that it was sooo tech the splendid that it was vile in his strength they fled a Mane before his glory and his might for the wanderer raged among them like great Rameses Mammon among the tribes of the Keita like Montu the lord of battles and lo they fled before him their knees gave way their hearts were turned to water he drove them as a herdsmen drives the yearling calves but now at length a stone from a sling smote the charioteer who directed the chariot and sunk in between his eyes so that he fell down dead from the chariot then the reins flew wide and the horses rushed this way and that having no master and now a spear pierced the heart of the horse on the right so that he fell and the pole of the chariot snapped in two then the barbarians took hard and turned and some of them set on to seize the body of the charioteer and spoil his arms but the wanderer leapt down and beast rode the corpse with shield up and spear aloft now among the press of the barbarians there was a stir as of one thrusting his way through them to the front and above the plumes of their helmets and the tossing of their shields the wanderer saw the golden head unhelmeted of a man taller than the tallest there from the shoulders upward unhelmeted he came and unshielded with no body armor his flesh was fair and white and honored were figures pricked in blue figures of men and horses snakes and sea beasts the skin of a white bear was buckled above his shoulder with a golden clasp fashioned in the semblance of a boar his eyes were blue fierce and shining and in his hand he held for a weapon the trunk of a vine tree in which was hafted away he acts head of rough unpolished stone give way he cried give play see dusky dwarf said let a man see this champion so the barbarians made a circle about the wanderer and the giant and stood silently to watch a great fight who art thou said the mighty man disdainfully and whence where is thy City and thy parents who begat thee now I will about men call me Odysseus sacker of cities Laertes son a prince of the Achaeans said the wanderer and who art thou I pray thee and where is thy native place for city I what hast thou none then the mighty man swinging his great stone ax in a rhythmic motion began to chant a rude lay and this was the manner of the singing lay our struggles men and Sumerians call us born of the land of the sunless winter born of the land of the nightless summer city less we beneath dark pine boughs by the sea abiding sail or the Swans bath wolf am i height the son of signe son of the werewolf southwards I sailed sailed with the amber sailed with the foam wealth among strange people winning me wave flame winning me war Fame winning me women soon I shall slay thee sacker of cities note wave flame is gold with that and with a cry he rushed on the wanderer his great axe swung aloft to fell him at a blow but while the giant had been singing the wanderer had shifted his place a little so that the red blaze of the Setting Sun was in his face and as the mighty man came on the wanderer lifted up his golden shield and caught the sunlight and flashed it full in the Giants eyes so that he was dazzled and could not see to strike then The Wanderers smoked at his naked right arm and struck it on the joint of the elbow with all his force he smoked and the short sword of Uranus bit deep and the arm fell with the axe on the handgrip but so terrible was the stroke that bronze might not abide it and the blade was shattered from the ivory handle didst thou feel at the man-eater cried odysseus cheering for he knew from the song of the giant that he was face to face with a wanderer from an evil race that of old had smitten his ships and devoured his men the last account of the land of the Midnight Sun the man-eaters but the giant caught up his club of pine tree in his left hand the severed right arm still clinging to it and he gnawed on the handle of the stone axe with his teeth and bit the very stone and his lips foamed for a fury came upon him roaring aloud suddenly he smoked at the Wanderers head and beat down his shield and crushed his golden helm so that he fell on one knee and all was darkness around him but his hands lit on a great stone for the place where they fought was the holy place of an ancient temple old and ruined before King Mena's day he grasped the stone with both hands it was the basalt head of a fallen statue of a god or man of a king long nameless or of a forgotten God with a mighty strain the wanderer lifted it as he rose it was a weight of a chariots burden and poising it he hurled it straight at the breast of the lace dragon who had drawn back whirling his axe before he smoked another blow but ere ever the stroke fell the huge stone struck him full and broke in his breast bone and he staggered long and fell like a tree and the black blood came up through his bearded lips and his life left him then the multitude of the barbarians that stood gazing at the fray drew yet further back in fear and the wanderer laughed like a god at the old score paid and at the last great stroke of the hands of the city sacker Odysseus end of chapter 7 book 3 chapter 8 of the world's desire this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit recording by annie Hill the world's desire by H rider Haggard chapter 8 till Odysseus comes the wanderer laughed like a god though he deemed that the end was near and the foes within the camp and the friends without looked on him and wondered slay him cried the foes within speaking in many tongues slay him they cried and yet they feared the task but circled round like hounds about a mighty boar at bay spare him shouted the host of the Akane's watching the fray from far as they stood behind their inner wall for as yet they had not mingled in the battle but stayed by their ships to guard them rescue cried the captains of Pharaoh without but none came on to force the way then of a sudden as fate hung upon the turn a great cry of fear and Wonder rose from the ranks of Pharaoh's hosts beyond the wall it swelled and swelled till at length the cry took the sound of a name the sound of the name of hathor the Hathor the Hathor see the hathir comes the wanderer turned his head and looked swiftly a golden chariot sped down the slope of towards the gate of the camp the milk-white horses were stained with sweat and splashed with blood they thundered on towards the gate down the way that was red with blood as the horses of the dawn rushed through the blood red sky a little man withered and old drove the chariot leaning forward as he drove and by his side stood the golden Helen the red star blazed upon her breast her hair and filmy robes floated on the wind she looked up and forth now she saw him odysseus of ithaca her love alone beset with foes and a cry broke from her she tore away the veil that hid her face and her beauty flash out upon the sight of man as the moon flashes from the evening mrs. she pointed to the gate she stretched out her arms towards the host of Pharaoh bidding them look upon her and follow her then a shoat went up from the host and they rushed onwards in the path of the chariot for where the helen leads their men must follow through life to death through war to peace on the chariot rushed to the camp and after it the host of farrell followed the holders of the gate saw the beauty of her who rode in the chariot they cried aloud in many tongues that the goddess of love had come to save the God of War they fled this way and that or stood drunken with the sight of beauty and were dashed down by the horses and crushed of the chariot wheels now she had passed the gates and after her poured the host of Pharaoh now Rhea reined up the horses by the broken chariot of the wanderer and now the wanderer where the shout of joy had sprung into the chariot of Helen art thou come to be with me in my last battle he whispered in her ear art thou indeed that archive Helen whom I love or am I drunk with the blood of man and blind with the sheen of Spears and is this the vision of a man doomed to die it is no vision of this for I am Helen self she answered gently I have learned all the truth and knowing thy fault counted but a little thing yet because thou didst forget the words of the immortal goddess who being my phone now and forever set this cunning snare for thee the doom is on thee that Ellen shall not be thine in this space of life for the Vitis in thy last battle Odysseus on see thy hosts clamour to be led and there the foe hangs blackest storm and shoots out the lightning of his spear on a Decius on that the doom may be accomplished and the word of the ghost fulfilled then the wanderer turned and called to the captains and the captains called to the soldiers and set them in array and following the blood-red star they rolled down upon the gathered foe as the tide rolls upon the rocks when the breath of the gale is strong and as the waters leap and gathered till the rocks are lost in the surge so the host of Pharaoh left upon the foe and swallowed them up and ever in the forefront of the war blazed the red star on Helens breast and ever the sound of her singing pierced the din of death now the host of the nine bow barbarians was utterly destroyed and the host of Pharaoh came up against the wall that was set about the camp of the Achaeans to guard their ships and at its head came the golden chariot wherein were the wanderer and Helen the captains of the Akane's looked wandering from their wall watching the slaughter of their allies now who is this cried a captain who is this clad in golden armor fashioned like our own who leads the host of Pharaoh to victory then a certain aged leader of men looked forth and answered such Armour I have known indeed and such a man once wore it the armor is fashioned like the armor of Paris Priam son Paris of Ilyas but Paris hath long been dead and who is she cried the captain she on whose breasts the red star burns who rides in the chariot of him with the golden armor whose shape is the shape of beauty and who sings aloud while men go down to death then the aged leader of men looked forth again and answered such one I have known indeed so she was want to sing and hers was such a shape of beauty and such a star sean ever on her breast helen of illios our guide Helen it was who worried Helen because of whose loveliness the world grew dark with death but long is Helen dead now the wanderer glanced from his chariot and saw the crest of the Akane's and the devices on the shields of men with whose fathers he had fought beneath the walls of illios he saw and his heart was stirred within him so that he wept there in the chariot alas for the fate that is on me he cried that I must make my last battle in the service of a stranger against my own people and the children of my own dear friends weep not Odysseus said Helen for fate drives the on fate that is cruel and changeless and heeds not the loves or hates of men weep not Odysseus but go on up against the Achaeans for from among them thy death comes so the wanderer went on sick at heart shooting no shafts and striking no blow and after him came the remnant of the host of Pharaoh then he halted the host and at his bidding Rea drove slowly down the wall seeking a place to storm it and as he drove they shot at the chariot from the wall with Spears and slings and arrows but not yet was the wanderer doomed he took no hurt nor did any hurt come to Rea nor to the horses that drew the chariot and as for Helen the shafts of death knew her and turned aside now while they drove thus ray told the wanderer of the death of pharaoh of the burning of the temple of hathor and of the flight of Helen the wanderer hearkened and said but one thing for in all this he saw the hand of fate it is time to make an end ray for soon will marry him and be seeking us and me thinks that I have left a trail that she can follow and he nodded at the piled up dead that stretched further than the eye could reach now they were come over against that spot in the wall where stood the aged captain of the Akane's who had likened the armor of the wanderer to the armor of Paris and the beauty of her at his side to the beauty of archive Helen the captain loosed his bow at the chariot and leaning forward watched the flight of the shaft it rushed straight at Helens breast then of a sudden turned aside harming her not and as he marveled she lifted her face and looked towards him then he saw and knew her for that Helen whom he had seen while he served with Cretan Edo men deus in the archive ships when the liga was done and the smoke went up from burning ileus again he looked and lo on the Wanderers golden shield he saw the white ball the device of Paris son of Priam as oft times he had seen it glitter on the walls of Troy then great fear took him and he lifted up his hands and cried aloud fly EA cans fly back to your curved ships and away from this accursed land for yonder in the chariot stands archive Helen who is long dead and with her Paris son of Priam come to wreak the woes of illios on the sons of those who wasted her fly ere the curse might you then a great cry of fear rose from the host of the Achaeans as company called the company that the ghosts of Paris of illios and archived Helen led the armies of Pharaoh on to victory a moment they gazed as frightened sheep gaze upon the creeping wolves then turning from the wall they rushed headlong to their ships behind them came the soldiers of feral storming the walls and tearing at their flanks as wolves tear the flying sheep then the ax cans turned at bay and a mighty Frey raged round the ships and the knees of many were loosened and of the ships some were burned and some were left upon the bank but a remnant of them were pushed off into the deep water and hung there on their oars waiting for the end of the fray now the Sun was gone down so that the men could scarce see to slay each other The Wanderers stood his chariot on the bank watching the battle for he lets weary and had little mind to swell the slaughter of the people of his own land now the last ship was pushed off and at length the great battle was done but among those on the ship was a man still young and the goodliest and mightiest among all the hosts of the Achaeans by his own strength and valor he had held the Egyptians back while his comrades ran the curved ship down the beach and the wanderer looking on him deemed him their hardiest warrior and most worthy of the Achaeans he stood upon the poop of the ship and saw the light from the burning vessels gleam on the Wanderers golden helm then of a sudden he drew a mighty bow and loosed an arrow charged with death this gift to the ghosts of Paris from tell Agnes son of Circe and of Odysseus who was Paris's foe he cried with a loud voice and as he cried it and as the fateful words struck on the ears of Odysseus and the ears of Helen the shaft pointed by the gods rushed on it rushed on it smote the wanderer with a deadly wound where the golden body plate of his harness joined the taslitz and pierced him through then he knew that his fate was accomplished and that death came upon him from the water as the ghost of Taurus in Hades had foretold in his pain for the last time of all he let fall his shield and the black bowl of ureters with one hand he clasped the rail of the chariot and the other he threw about the neck of the golden Helen who bent beneath his weight like a lily before the storm then he also cried aloud in answer all tell Ignace son of sir see what wickedness has the wrought before the awful gods that this curse should have been laid upon thee to slay him who begat thee hearken thou son of Cersei I am not Paris I am Odysseus of Ithaca who begat thee and thou has brought my death upon me from the water as the ghost foretold when tell Agnes heard these words and knew that he had slain his father the famed Odysseus whom he had sought the whole world through he would have cast himself into the river there to drown but those with him held him by strength and the stream took the curved ship and floated it away and thus for the first and last time did the gods give it to tell Ignace to look upon the face and hear the voice of his father Odysseus but when the Akane's knew that it was the lost of dis-ease who had led the host of Pharaoh against the armies of the nine nations they wondered no more at the skill of the ambush and the greatness of the victory of Pharaoh now the chariots of marioman were pursuing and they splashed through the blood of men in the past and rolled over the bodies of men in the plain beyond the pass they came to the camps and found them peopled with dead and lit with the lamps of the blazing ships of the Acquia then miriam cried aloud surely pharaoh grew wise before he died for there is but one man on the earth who with so small a force could have won so great a fray he has saved the crown of Khem and by Osiris he shall wear it now the chariots of Miriam had passed the camp of the barbarians and were come to the inner camp of the Achaeans and the soldiers shouted as she came driving furiously the Wanderley dying on the ground there by the riverbank and the light of the burning ships flamed on his golden armor and on the star at Helens breast why did the soldiers shout he asked lifting his head from Helens breast they shout because Merryman the queen is come ray answered let her come said the wander now Miriam and sprang from her chariot and walked through the soldiers who made way bowing before her royalty to where the wanderer lay and stood speechless looking on him but the wanderer lifting his head spake faintly hail o Queen he said I have accomplished the charge that ferrell laid upon me the host of the nine bow barbarians is utterly destroyed the fleet of the ecclesia is burned or fled the land of Khem is free from foes where is farrell that I may make report to him ere I die Pharaoh is dead Odysseus she answered o live on live on and thyself thou shalt be Pharaoh I Miriam the Queen answered the Wonder I know all the Pharaoh is dead thou didst slay farrell thinking thus to win me for thy lord me who am one of death heavily shall the blood of farrell lie upon thee in that land whether I go marioman and whither thou must follow swiftly thou didst slay Pharaoh and Helen who through thy guile is lost to me thou wouldst have slain also but thou could not harm her immortality and now I die and this is the end of all these loves and Wars and wanderings my death has come upon me from the water merry men stood speechless for her heart was torn in two so that in her grief she forgot even in her rage against Helen and Ray the priest then Helen spoke thou Dyess indeed Odysseus yet it is but for a little time for thou shalt come again and find me waiting ho dis iasts said the Queen and I also will come again and thou shalt love me then oh now the future opens and I know the things that are to be beneath the wings of truth shall we meet again Odysseus there shall we meet again Odysseus and there thou shalt draw the veil of truth said Helen yay quoth the dying wanderer there are other where shall we meet again and there and other where love and hate shall lose and win and die to arise again but not yet is the struggle ended that began in other worlds than this and shall endure till evil is lost in good and darkness swallowed up in light we think the marioman of that vision of thy bridal night and read its riddle lo I will answer it with my last breath as the gods have given me wisdom when we three are once more Twain then shall our sin be purged and peace be won and the veil be drawn from the face of truth Oh Helen fare thee well I have sinned against thee I have sworn by the snake who should have sworn by the star and therefore I have lost thee thou hast but lost to find a game beyond the gateways of the West she answered lo then she bent down and taking him in her arms kissed him whispering in his ear and the blood of men that fell ever from the star upon her breast dropped like Dew upon his brow and vanished as it dropped and as she whispered of joy to be and things too holy to be written the face of the wanderer grew bright like the face of a God then suddenly his head fell back and he was dead dead upon the heart of the world's desire for thus was fulfilled the oath of a DeLeon Aphrodite and thus at last that Odysseus lie in the arms of the golden Helen now Miriam clasped her breast and her lips turned white with pain but Helen rose and standing at the Wanderers head looked on Merryman who stood at his feet my sister said Helen to the Queen see now the end of all he whom we loved is lost to us and what has thou gained nay look not so fiercely on me I may not be harmed of thee as thou has seen and thou mayst not be harmed of me who would harm none though ever thou wilt hate me who will take thee not until thou learnis to love me sin shall be thy portion and bitterness thy comfort but Merryman spoke no word then Helen beckoned to ray and spake to him and ray went weeping to do her bidding presently he returned again and with him were soldiers bearing torches the soldiers lifted up the body of the wanderer and bore it to a mighty pyre that was built up of the wealth of the barbarians of chariots Spears and the oars of ships of wondrous fabrics and costly furniture and they laid the wanderer on the pile and on his breast they laid the black bowl of ureters then Helen spoke to Ray once more and Ray took a torch and fired the pyre so that the smoke and flame burst from it and all the while marioman stood by as one who dreams now the great pyre was a mass of flame and the golden armor of the wanderer Shaun through the flame and the black bow twisted and crumbled in the heat then of a sudden Merriman gave a great cry and tearing the snake girdle from her middle hurled it on the flames from fire thou camest thou ancient evil she said in a dead tongue to fire get thee back again false counsellor but Ray the priests call aloud in the same tongue and ill deed thou hast done o queen for thou has taken the snake to thy bosom and where the snake passes there thou must follow even as he spoke the face of merriment grew fixed and she was drawn slowly towards the fire as though by invisible hands now she stood on its very brink and now with one loud wail she plunged into it and cast herself at length on the body of the wanderer and as she lay there on the body behold the snake awoke in the fire it awoke it grew it twined itself about the body of Merriman and the body of the wanderer and lifting its head it laughed then the fire fell in and the wanderer and Merriman the Queen and the snake that wrapped them round vanished in the heart of the flames for a while the golden Helen stood still looking on the dying fire then she let her veil fall and turning wandered forth into the desert and the night singing as she passed and so she goes wandering wandering till Odysseus comes again now this is the tale that I Rea the priests have been bidden to set forth before I lay me down to sleep in my splendid tomb that I have made ready by Thebes let every man read it as he will and every woman as the gods have given her wit end of chapter 8 Pella note thou that a bold didst binds Tess Icarus if air sweet Helen such a thing be fell we pray thee of thy grace be good to us though little in our tale accorded well with that thine ancient minstrel had to tell who saw with sightless eyes grown luminous these iliyan sorrows and who heard the swell of ocean around the world ring thunderous and thy voice break when nightly Hector fell and thou who all these many years has borne to see the Great webs of the weaving torn by puny hands of dull or learned men Homer forgive us that the heroes star once more above sea waves and waves of war must rise must triumph and must set again end of pala note end of book 3 chapter 8 end of the world's desire by H rider Haggard

1 thought on “World's Desire | Andrew Lang, H. Rider Haggard | Action & Adventure Fiction | Audio Book | 6/6

  1. World's Desire | Andrew Lang, H. Rider Haggard | Action & Adventure Fiction | Audio Book | 6/6

    24: [00:00:00] – book III, chapter V

    25: [00:24:58] – book III, chapter VI

    26: [00:41:44] – book III, chapter VII

    27: [01:06:45] – book III, chapter VIII

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