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Title: Hammer of the Gods
Author: John York Cabot
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 0603641.txt
Edition: 1
Language: English
Character set encoding: Latin-1(ISO-8859-1)--8 bit
Date first posted: July 2006
Date most recently updated: July 2006

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The Hammer of the Gods
John York Cabot

DEEP in the jungle the tribal drums were throbbing with savage
passion, their pulsating rhythm carrying clearly to the ears of the
gigantic, superbly muscled barbarian who moved in great strides along
the tangled underpath.

He was a handsome creature, this barbarian. Handsome as the panther is
handsome, or the man-killing tiger. Strong features, cruelly chiseled,
were beneath his mat of fierce hair. His body was hard and brown, clad
in the skin of a jungle cat. And yet for all the strength and power of
him, he moved through the twisted underbrush with the stealthy
swiftness of an animal.

Across his back, carried as carelessly as though it might be but a
load of twig kindling, was the still bleeding carcass of a freshly
slain boar. Food for the tribal feasting. The smell of the animal's
blood, hot and sweet in his nostrils, made the barbarian grin in

"Ayi," he thought with savage satisfaction, "I, Tokar, return to the
tribal campfires with meat for the bellies of my people."

And he grinned again in wolfish glee at the thought he had half-
whispered in the murky twilight. For this very evening he, Tokar, The
Mighty, would gain supremacy among his tribal fellows, would gain the
honor of Tribal King. He, Tokar, would gain all this by overthrowing
Orlo, the present tribal king.

"Ayi," he told himself righteously, "do I not bring the most meat to
the tribal kettles? Am I not the swiftest of foot and the quickest in
battle? Am I not Tokar, The Mighty? It is only right that I wrest the
rule of the tribe from the weak hands of Orlo!"

The thought made Tokar feel good inside, and he took up a savage
humming chant as he strode along, unconsciously moving to the rhythm
of the booming jungle drums. For Tokar was not only thinking of the
honor which he had long felt was due him, the honor of tribal
kingship. He thought, too, of the spoils that would be his when he had
slain Orlo.

Orlo had rich compounds, and Orlo, as befitted a tribal king, had
strong women to work for him. All these would go to Tokar. All these
and something else--The God Hammer.

At the thought of the God Hammer, the gigantic barbarian ran his
tongue across his lips, shivering involuntarily. For was not the God
Hammer a magic thing? Was it not glittering and shining in its magic
power? Was it not the most prized trophy of the campfires?

"Ayi," Tokar wet his lips in anticipation at the thought, "the God
Hammer, too, will be mine. Before the campfires are cold in the murk
of morning, it will be mine!"

AQUARTER the length of a man's arm, cold and hard, with a hammer-like
head on one end--that was the God Hammer. But, unlike war dubs, it was
not of stone. It was of some magical substance, smooth and solid.
Tokar had touched it once, unobserved by Orlo, and he shivered now,
remembering the feel of it.

At the blunt end of the God Hammer there was a sort of magical ring,
the very sight of which filled Tokar with a burning primitive
curiosity. Again and again he had turned over the mystery of this ring
in his mind, and again and again had found no answer. His desire to
possess the God Hammer was increased to a feverish intensity because
of his insatiable curiosity over the magic ring. The possession of
such magic would be worth even more than Orlo's rich compounds and
strong women.

Thus Tokar reasoned, while he hummed his savage chant and strode
lightly along the tangled trail to the rhythm of the jungle drums.

All day, as he had stalked the wild boar, the thought of the God
Hammer had been in his barbaric mind. And now, as his great strides
bore him toward the village campfires at the end of day, the very
drums seemed to throb his desire. The God Hammer. The God Hammer.
Tokar, Tribal King, Possessor of The God Hammer.

The huge barbarian quickened his step, eager to gain the village.
Already he was anticipating with raw relish the challenge he would
fling at Orlo. On and on he moved, while the twilight deepened into
dusk, and the dusk into night.

At length, through the tangled foliage of jungle growth, Tokar saw the
first flickers of the flaming tribal fires. The path he trod grew
wider and more clear, until at last he had view of the village a scant
few hundred yards ahead.

By now the jungle drums were booming, thundering, in his ears, and the
shrill cries of the dancing women came clearly to him. He smiled,
knowing that the ceremony for the Feast had started, that Orlo was
already at the campfires.

Dogs came dashing up to him from the village, yapping and nipping at
his heels, followed by children of the tribe who squealed joyously at
the sight of the freshly slain boar he carried.

Tokar was grinning widely now, his sharp white teeth shining like
wolfish fangs, and he strode forward toward the campfire circles where
his fellows awaited him. The campfire circles, where the drums
throbbed and the women danced, and Orlo sat unsuspecting--holding the
God Hammer.

Alone, Tokar made his way to the largest of the campfire circles. The
Circle of the Braves, where Orlo presided over the wise men and tribal
elders. Where Orlo ruled with the God Hammer in hand. Tokar was
conscious of the admiring eyes of his fellows as he strode into the
center of the circle.

With a grunt, Tokar swung the slain boar down from his thickly muscled
shoulder, dropping it to the earth. The cries of acclaim that came
from his fellow tribesmen were music in his ears. Then the old crones,
babbling happily, came from their kettles to group around the carcass
of the kill. They stood there, motionless, while the campfires roared
approval and Tokar, in the custom of the tribe, drew his stone knife,
hacking off the left hind leg of the slain beast.

The drums were pounding wildly, now, while Tokar wrenched the leg free
from the carcass, holding it aloft triumphantly, sinking his fanged
teeth into the raw meat. Fresh blood ran down the sides of his cruel

BUT even as he gnawed the boar's leg, Tokar's glittering eyes sought
out Orlo. Sought out Orlo, who squatted in state on a mud dais less
that twenty yards from him, holding the God Hammer as a king might
hold a sceptre.

Orlo, too, was huge and heavily muscled. But he was of lighter
complexion than Tokar. His hair was light, while Tokar's was dark. And
Tokar knew that he need have no fear of Orlo, for he, Tokar, was
faster, stronger, than the man who held the God Staff.

Tokar dropped the boar's leg, holding his great arms high for silence.
The wild cadence of the drums ceased abruptly, and Tokar faced Orlo
directly, his wolf fangs exposed in a menacing grin.

Loudly then, Tokar trumpeted his challenge. Bellowed it so all could

He saw the startled incredulity that leaped to Orlo's eyes, knew, with
intense satisfaction, that he had caught him unprepared. Tokar grinned
again, moved cat-like toward Orlo's dais.

Orlo had risen from the dais, God Hammer still in hand, surprise still
stamped on his face. After the first shocked silence that fell over
the campfires at Tokar's challenge, a throaty, savage murmur was
rising from the tribesmen. A guttural growl of delight. There would be
battle to give zest to the feasting.

Those around the fires remained motionless, according to tribal
custom, making no attempt to interfere on either side. Tokar was going
to fight for kingship. If he won, he would lead them. If not, Orlo
would slay him. It was as simple as that. Tribal tradition gave any
brave the right to challenge for kingship.

The drums had started again, and the fires leaped higher as men threw
wood on them to better illumine the battle scene.

Tokar and Orlo were less than four feet apart, now, and were starting
the preliminary circling, looking for openings. Orlo still held the
God Hammer, and Tokar, seeing this, drew his stone knife again. He
could read the fear in Orlo's eyes, and knew that the other could not
depend on the magic of the God Hammer to aid him.

Then Tokar, bellowing wildly, lunged in on Orlo.

His great paws found Orlo's waist, and his thickly-muscled shoulder
drove hard into his adversary's stomach. With his free hand, Orlo
seized Tokar's mat of black hair, and with his other he tried to bring
the God Hammer club-like down on his opponent's skull.

But Tokar had thrown him off balance, and now they were both pitching
to the earth. Tokar had one hand free, now, and was driving his stone
knife again and again into Orlo's shoulder, feeling the hot blood run
stickily against his own throat.

They pitched wildly back and forth on the ground, first Tokar, then
Orlo, gaining top position. But as they struggled, Tokar drove his
stone blade home again and again wherever he found flesh. By now, some
of Orlo's blood was in Tokar's mouth, and the taste filled him with
triumph and strength.

Again and again, Tokar managed to roll free from the blows of the hard
God Hammer, and at last he was able to seize Orlo's arm, bending it
back until it snapped like a dry twig. The Hammer fell uselessly to
the ground, and Tokar heard Orlo's grunt of pain. Then he sprang to
his feet, seizing the God Hammer as he did so.

Orlo was slower rising, but Tokar permitted him to do so while the
wild hammering of the drums and the babbling roar of voices from
around the circle filled him with a heady intoxication. In his hand
was the cool, hard, club--like weight of the God Hammer. In his heart
was the savage certainty of victory, for Orlo was badly wounded.

TOKAR watched him pull himself to his feet, grinning at the sight of
the blood that soaked his opponent's body. Orlo had been slashed by
the stone knife at least twenty times, and his right arm hung broken
and useless by his side.

The tribesmen were screaming for the kill, screaming for Tokar, their
new king. And Orlo, dazed, bloody, and beaten, swayed drunkenly before
him. Tokar stepped in, raising the God Hammer high above his head.

Orlo was too late in putting up his hands to ward off the blow of the
God Hammer. Tokar brought the shining, hard Hammer down on Orlo's
skull with crushing force. Orlo started to slump to the earth, and
Tokar raised the club again and again, beating him across the head
with it until Orlo lay motionless and crushed on the bloodstained mud.

And then the savage cadence of the drums became a wild, hysterical
rhythm, while Tokar, licking his lips and baring his fanged teeth in
wolf grins of triumph, held the God Hammer high above his head, waving
it back and forth as a symbol of victory.

The flames leaped weirdly around the circle, throwing into sudden
brilliance victor and vanquished, and the drums pitched into an
incredible frenzy. Around the campfires a harsh, barbaric chant began,
taken up by the voices of all the tribesmen until it was a wild,
maddened song of blood and triumph.

Tokar made his way to the mud dais which had been Orlo's throne until
now, head held high, chest thrust out, strutting like a peacock, the
wild shouts of his fellows ringing in his ears. The women started a
tribal dance, and crones brought food and drink to him.

But Tokar paid scant attention to all this, for his eyes were fixed
lovingly on the God Hammer. It was his now. Ayi! His to control, his
to work magic with. And he could find out, now, its secrets. Even to
the magic ring.

In rapt fascination, Tokar inspected the God Hammer, his fingers
touching the ring as he turned it about in his hands. There were queer
symbols on the staff of the Hammer, evidently God Writing. Tokar's
brow creased in perplexity. The God Writing was unlike the picture
symbols which the wise men of his tribe inscribed on cave walls.
Indeed, these were God Symbols.

He shook his head, looking at the symbols. They were strange,
perfectly cut in the staff of the Hammer.

Tokar grinned, licking his lips foolishly in bewilderment. Perhaps,
later, he would let the wise men of the tribe attempt to decipher
these symbols. But now--there was the ring.

Inspecting the ring closely, Tokar saw that, by pulling it, he could
release a pin at the base of the Hammer's head. Grinning in savage
excitement, Tokar pulled the ring.

Tokar, the Mighty One, was momentarily conscious of a blazing,
blinding, searing, explosion. An explosion which insured the fact that
Tokar would never be conscious of anything again. . . .

Never would the wise men of his tribe have the chance to decipher the
strange, evenly cut God-Symbols which Tokar had seen on the base of
the God Hammer. The symbols that read---

"Krupp Munitions Works, 1940, Hand Grenade"


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