Ivan Konstantine was running down the corridor, firing as he came. Lal Singh whirled on the top step and snapped the empty pistol at him. Ivan instinctively dodged, leaping behind another man. Before he could fire again his targets had gained the upper landing and were out of sight and range for the moment. They emerged into a broad hallway, and veiled women shrieked and scattered. But from the doorways came more menacing figures — tall blacks with broad scimitars.
From all sides except one they converged on the invaders. These fled the only way open to them — down the hall, toward a bronze door at the end. Gordon had no idea what it concealed, but that did not matter; there was no other place to go. The door stood partly open.
El Borak and Other Desert Adventures by Robert E Howard (Paperback, ) for sale online | eBay
Another realized their plight and their intention. A figure ran out of a side-door just ahead of them and darted toward the bronze portal, with a huge key in his hand. The Master of the Girls had accurately grasped the situation, and acted boldly. If he could get into the chamber ahead of them, and lock them out — but he did not reckon with the long legs of Lal Singh which hurled the Sikh along at a speed not even the burdened Gordon could approximate.
The Persian reached the door — then wheeled snarling and lifting a knife. And then he realized they were in a trap. They were in an enclosed balcony which hung above the pillared portico.
Through a wide casement he could see the courtyard with its fountain and fluttering pigeons, the wall with its bronze-barred gate open, and beyond that the square and the broad, shaded street of Shalizahr. Men were running down this street, weapons in their hands. Men were swarming through the open gate. The courtyard was a milling mass of furious humanity.
The babel of voices was dominated by a many-throated shout that rose again and again, howling that the Shaykh was slain!
Yusuf ibn Suleiman came to the window and stood beside Gordon. He spat, wiping blood from his beard. He had thrown away the plumed helmet. Seven swords against five hundred. The Kurd pointed toward the door, now re-echoing with the assault of steel-shod rifle butts. Nay, El Borak, we die here.
The sun was setting. It would be at least an hour before Yar Ali Khan could possibly reach Khor. If he and the Ghilzai started back at once they could not reach Shalizahr before dawn. And Gordon knew that as far as he and his companions were concerned the game would be played out long before midnight. Here come the men who at sunset relieve the guard watching the Stair!
El Borak And Other Desert Adventures
The setting sun struck glints from their rifles. Some distance behind them hastened another group. They fear they are missing sport! Fools, to leave the Stair unguarded! Yet what foe need they fear, with El Borak hemmed in the palace like a trapped wolf? The bullets ripped through the sandal-wood lattice work about the window. The mob had discovered the hiding place of their prey. Gordon shrugged his shoulders impatiently. There was no fatalism in his nature. He meant to fight to the last, bitter end. But he knew that the Kurds would fight, too, while they could stand or see, simply because they trusted him and were proud of his leadership.
They heard muttering voices, the quick pad of feet outside the door, the jangle of weapons. Down in the courtyard the crowd milled and raved, dark arms upflung brandishing clenched fists or weapons, dark faces upturned to howl imprecations. This item is out of stock. People who viewed this item also viewed. Picture Information. Have one to sell? Sell now - Have one to sell? Get an immediate offer. Get the item you ordered or get your money back. Learn more - opens in new window or tab. Seller information greatbookprices1 Contact seller. Visit store.
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Report item - opens in a new window or tab. He has brown eyes rather than blue. Sprague deCamp. The Conan version actually saw print before the original. They lack the visceral energy that Howard brought to his stories.
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