-- Feb. 22, '42
the Deadly Mist"
P1:At dawn, John Carter and Sola studied
the tracks of Dejah Thoris' abductor.
P2: "The footprints of a white ape,"
whispered Sola. "An inhabitant of Go-La-Ra, fabled city of the deadly mist!"
P3: "Our legends," Sola continued,
"tell of a once-great city whose inhabitants suddenly turned to stone.
P4: None dares enter the place, except
strange creatures who live in immunity to the mist-that-turns-one-to-stone."
P5: For speed, John Carter rode alone
to rescue the princess, ere she was carried into Go-La-Ra.
P6: With the face of Dejah Thoris ever
in his mind, he tracked her abductor across miles of ancient sea-bottom.
P7: At last he came to Go-La-Ra, a
great metropolis that had once stood on the banks of a sea long dead.
P8: Meanwhile, Dejah Thoris was carried
ever deeper into the lonely depths of Go-La-Ra, city of the deadly mist.
1. Some better
explanation needs to be given in the novelization, as to how Sola and John
Carter are able to track the ape, on the soft moss of the dead sea bottom.
Also, some reason needs to be provided as to why Sola identifies the ape
as "an inhabitant of Go-La-Ra." These apes live elsewhere on Barsoom, frequenting
the ruins of ancient cities and other remote places. Perhaps Go-La-Ra can
be described as the only such ancient city in the region, and thus the
logical habitation of these apes.
2. Also, a better
explanation needs to be given for the "legends" concerning Go-La-Ra. This
is not an ERB Barsoomian city, but it can be described as an Orovar outpost,
similar in history to the city of Lothar in Thuvia, Maid of Mars
and Horz in Llana of Gathol. The Orovars built the Martian atmosphere
plants centuries ago and the destruction of Go-La-Ra might be said to date
to that same period of decline, when a few Orovar cities were all that
survived of that ancient civilization. Go-La-Ra is evidently located only
a few days' walk from the Plateau of Eo, so that place too might be identified
as an Orovar outpost. Since Sola says that the Tharks have contact with
the denizens of Eo, they could have gained their knowledge of Go-La-Ra
from Eo's inhabitants. This elminates any need for a body of legendary
lore having been preserved among the savage green Martians.
3. The vapors
that escape from the ground under Go-La-Ra need not be confined to that
alone. Similar, but small gas outlets might be located at Eo and other
spots in the area. The "legends" need not say that the vapors originated
on the ancient date when Go-La-Ra was destroyed -- rather, they can say
that on that day a tremendous erruption of these gasses calicified all
living things for miles around the city, and that semi-immune creatures
only started drifting back into that place years later, when the most potent
vapors had greatly dissipated there. The gasses preserve not only animal
tissue, but all sorts of organic materials that might otherwise decay over
time -- thus Carter finds in Go-La-Ra some intact wooden ships that are
many thousands of years old, etc. etc.
4. In the novelization
a better reason needs to be given as to why Sola remains at the campsite,
while John Carter rides off to Go-La-Ra on their one remaining thoat. The
reason can be that there is some possibility that Dejah Thoris could escape
her ape captor and backtrack to the camp. Thus Sola elects to remain there,
in case the princess might return.
"City of the Deadly Mist"
Novelization of the JCB strip by Dale R. Broadhurst
Three times John Carter and Woola had
gone searching into the night, but had come back empty-handed. The calot
kept drawing him to three different spots where the beast had located some
strong scent, but each time the scent-trail led back to the campsite. In
the brief red-gray moments preceding dawn Sola made an important discovery,
"Look here, John Carter, in the fireplace,
two footprints!" A white ape was here while I slept, only ten sofads away."
As the light grew brighter John Carter
and Sola studied the tracks of Dejah Thoris' abductor. They traced flecks
of ash and barely percepitible indentations in the spongy moss from the
place the princess had been sleeping, but after a few yards all trace of
the faint trail disappeared. The green girl kept returning to the fire
ashes. She studied the imprints intently from all angles of view. At last
she announced a second discovery.
"Look how the toe marks are so much
deeper at their ends, and how both foot marks point inward. The ape's feet
are deformed and very stiff. He is either very very old, or..."
"Or what?" demanded the Earthman, almost
frantically. "What is it you are thinking, for God's sake!"
"An inhabitant of Go-La-Ra, the ancient
city of the deadly mist!" One of those wall paintings you so admired back
at Korad tells the story. It was an old story even when the hollows of
the land were still filled with water. There was a once-great city of the
white race -- a city whose inhabitants suddenly turned to stone."
"A legend?" queried the Earthman, but
Sola could only wave her head in ignorance.
"The place exists, but I know almost
nothing of the story. Twice I have been in caravans that have passed the
site. We never stopped to look at the ruins and the only landmark I recall
are three gray pinnacles standing in a row, a short distance west of the
city. I think the place may be near here."
"But why do you think the ape came
from there?" questioned Captain Carter.
"Because the mists turn the creatures
who live there to stone. Some are more immune than others; they live long
lives before they become so stiff they can no longer move about very well.
Some faster animals catches them and its over. I have seen their tracks
and eaten their tough bodies. What I see in the footprints here reminds
me of that time. There were many ape tracks like this one."
The two got into there first argument
then. Sola expected to go with the man in search of what had happened to
their companion, but Carter commanded her to stay, because Dejah Thoris
might escape and find her way back to the camp. It was important that one
of them remain there for a while.
"Then at least take Woola with you!"
pleaded the girl. "You cannot track an invisible trail across these mossy
wastelands. You need the calot."
John Carter's commands won out in the
end, of course. He would go, while Sola and the watchdog remained at the
campsite, but only after the Earthman made certain he could follow the
trail of the abducted princess.
"Bring Woola the silks she slept in
last night, Sola," he commanded.
The calot found the missing girl's
scent at once, even though it seemed her feet never touched the ground
during the kidnapping. The older unmarried females among the red race are
wont to apply a strong, natural perfume to their neck and wrists, and since
they take this oder from the recesses of their own flesh, each woman's
perfume is unique. On a still day such a pungent scent might waft in the
air for hours -- and there had not been a trace of a breeze since well
The Earthman mounted the thoat and
prepared to ride off in the direction of the invisible trail the calot
had pointed out. Though not such a wonderful tracker as a Martian watchdog,
the green men's thoats were well able to follow a fresh spoor. But the
rider's beast had not gone eight steps when Sola ran alongside and called
up to him.
"John Carter -- if you find the pinnacles,
at their base is a yellow oil that will give you some protection from the
deadly mists -- or so I was told by a warrior who hunted our food both
times we camped near Go-La-Ra. Seek out the yellow substance. Spread it
on your skin, inside your mouth and in your nostrils. And come back soon
with my friend, Dejah Thoris!"
"I will do my best, dear Sola, good-bye
now. Keep Woola close by. I left the other short sword by my furs and silks."
As he rode off, her last words were,
"Good-bye, thou white chieftain of Thark; I love her also!"
The sun had climbed to one quarter
the distance from horizon to zenith before John Carter stopped to relax
his mount. The thoat had moved along at a good speed, following an arrow-straight
path northward. He had every reason to believe that he was on the right
trail, but nothing along the way confirmed that notion until he caught
sight of a shiny object on the dead sea bottom. While the panting mount
recuperated, the bronzed swordsman walked back along the prints the thoat
had left in the moss. Bending over to inspect the glittering thing, his
heart began to race. It was a hair-clip belonging to the red princess!
Remounting his great charger, the Earthman
was tempted to force the poor thoat into a gallop, but he decided to proceed
at a more measured pace. Steed and rider had not gone far when the unmistakable
silhouette of three pinnacles broke the horizon. Go-La-Ra could not be
With the face of Dejah Thoris ever
in his mind, John Carter proceeded to the three stone forms. He cursed
his laxity, in having fallen asleep instead of awakening her according
the plan. He had been wrong to let her retire, still angry with him and
the Virginian felt terribly responsible for all that had happened afterward.
He would find her, if it were the last thing he ever did in his long long
Past the pinnacles, the land rose in
a series of benches until, finally, the great metropolis that had once
stood on the banks of a sea long vanished, spread out before his view.
The ruins were majestic -- much older and finer than those of Korad or
Thark, but the Earthman had no time to gaze on in wonder. Somewhere near
at hand was the woman he loved!