Titus Crow: In the Moons of Borea. Elysia : The Coming of Cthulhu

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9780312863654: Titus Crow: In the Moons of Borea. Elysia : The Coming of Cthulhu

With Volume Three, containing In the Moons of Borea and Elysia, the bestselling series concludes as Titus Crow, de Marigny, and heroes from other Lumley series join forces to face the greatest of all evils, Cthulhu himself, risen from his ancient slumber and ready for war!.

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About the Author:

Brian Lumley is the author of the bestselling Necroscope series of vampire novels. The first Necroscope, Harry Keogh, also appears in a collection of Lumley's short fiction, Harry Keogh and Other Weird Heroes, along Titus Crow and Henri Laurent de Marigny, from Titus Crow, Volumes One, Two, and Three, and David Hero and Eldin the Wanderer, from the Dreamlands series.

An acknowledged master of Lovecraft-style horror, Brian Lumley has won the British Fantasy Award and been named a Grand Master of Horror. His works have been published in more than a dozen countries and have inspired comic books, role-playing games, and sculpture, and been adapted for television.

When not writing, Lumley can often be found spear-fishing in the Greek islands, gambling in Las Vegas, or attending a convention somewhere in the US. Lumley and his wife live in England.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

TITUS CROW VOL. 3
IN THE MOONS OF BOREA For the "Old Folks" at No. 25 Part One: Borea I Paths of Fate They skirted the forest on foot, the Titan bears shambling along behind on all fours, their packs piled high so that there was no room for the men to ride. Only three of the animals went unburdened, and these were hardly bears for riding. A stranger party could scarce be imagined. Here were bronze Indians straight out of Earth's Old West, squat, powerful Eskimos from the Motherworld's perpetually frozen north, great white bears half as big again as those of the Arctic Circle, and a tall, ruggedly handsome, leather-clad white man whose open, short-sleeved jacket showed a broad, deep chest and arms that forewarned of massive strength. To the oddly polyglot party that followed Hank Silberhutte, their Warlord seemed utterly enigmatic. He was a strange, strange man: the toast of the entire plateau and master of all its might, mate to Armandra the Priestess and father of her man-child, destroyer of Ithaqua's armies and crippler--however briefly--of Ithaqua himself. And yet he mingled with his minions like a common man and led them out upon peaceful pursuits as surely as he led them in battle. Yes, a strange man indeed, and Ithaqua must surely rue the day he brought him to Borea. Silberhutte the Texan had been Warlord for three years now, since the time he deposed Northan in a savage fight to win Armandra. He had won her, and with her the total command of the plateau's army.That had been before the War of the Winds, when the plateau's might had prevailed over the bludgeoning assault of Ithaqua's tribes, when Ithaqua himself had been sorely wounded by this man from the Motherworld. Mighty wrestler, fighter who could knock even a strong man senseless with a blow of his huge fist, weapons' master whose skill had quickly surpassed that of his instructors, telepath (though the plateau's simpler folk could not truly understand the concept) who could throw--had thrown--mental insults at Ithaqua, the Wind-Walker, and yet walk away unscathed: Silberhutte was all of these things. He was as gentle as his strength and size would allow; he instinctively understood the needs of his people; when lesser men approached him in awe, he greeted them as friends, equals; he respected the Elders and was guided by their counseling, and his fairness was already as much a legend as his great strength. When he could by right have slain Northan, his hated, bullying Warlord predecessor--when nine-tenths of the plateau's peoples had wanted Northan dead--Hank Silberhutte had let him live, had given him his life. Later, when Northan turned traitor, siding with Ithaqua and his ice-priests to help them wage war against the plateau, Kota'na the Keeper of the Bears had taken that life, had taken Northan's head too; and even though he was wounded in the fighting, Kota'na would not give up his grisly trophy to any man but his Lord Silberhutte. And it was Kota'na who came now at an easy lope through the long grass toward where Silberhutte stood, Kota'na whose proud Indian head was lifted high, eyes alert as those of any creature of the wild. He had scouted out the ground ahead, as two other braves even now scouted it to the rear; for though they were well clear of the territories of the Wind-Walker's tribes, still they were wary of skulking war parties. The Children of the Winds did not usually wander far afield when Ithaqua left them to go striding among the star-voids, but one could never be sure. That was why three of the bears were not in harness; they were fighters, white monsters whose loyalty to their master was matched only by their ferocity when confronted with their enemies. Now they were nervous, and Hank Silberhutte had noted their anxious snufflings and growlings. He noted too Kota'na's uneasiness as the handsome brave approachedhim. The Indian kept glancing toward the dark green shadows of the forest, his eyes narrowing as they sought to penetrate the darker patches of shade. Borea had no "night" as such, only a permanent half-light, whereby shaded places were invariably very gloomy. "What's bothering you, bear-brother?" Hank asked, his keen eyes searching the other's face. "The same thing that bothers the bears, Lord Sil-ber-hut-te," the Indian answered. "Perhaps it is just that Ithaqua's time draws nearer, when he returns to Borea ... ," he shrugged. "Or perhaps something else. There is a stillness in the air, a hush over the forest." "Huh!" the Texan grunted, half in agreement. "Well, here we camp, danger or none. The forest goes on for twenty miles or more yet, Kota'na, so if we're being shadowed, we won't lose our tail until we're beyond the woods. We'll keep five men awake at all times; that should be sufficient. Six hours' sleep, a meal, and then we press on as fast as we can go. Fifty miles beyond the forest belt we'll be back in the snows, and we'll find our sleighs where we left them. The going will be faster then. Fifty miles beyond that, across the hills, we'll sight the moons of Borea where they hang over the rim. Then--" "Then, Lord, we will be almost within sight of the plateau!" "Where a pretty squaw called Oontawa waits for her brave, eh?" the white giant laughed. "Aye, Lord," Kota'na soberly answered, "and where the Woman of the Winds will doubtless loose great lightnings to greet the father of her child. Ah, but I am ready for the soft comforts of my lodge. If we were fighting, that would be one thing--but this dreary wandering ..." He paused and frowned, then: "Lord, there is a question I would ask." "Ask away, bear-brother." "Why do we leave the plateau to wander in the woods? Surely it is not simply to seek out strange spices, skins, and tusks? There are skins enough in the white wastes and more than enough food in and about the plateau." "Just give me a moment, friend, and we'll talk," Silberhutte told him. He spoke briefly to the men about him, giving instructions, issuing orders. Then, while rough tents were quickly erected and a list for watch duties drawn up, he took Kota'na to one side. "You're right, bear-brother, I don't come out under the skies of Borea just to hunt for pale wild honey and the ivory of mammoths. Listen and I'll tell you: "In the Motherworld I was a free man and went wherever I wanted to go, whenever I wanted to go there. There are great roads in the Motherworld and greater cities, man-made plateaus that make Borea's plateau look like a pebble. Now listen: you've seen Armandra fly--the way she walks on the wind--a true child of her father? Well, in the Motherworld all men can fly. They soar through the skies inside huge mechanical birds, like the machine that lies broken on the white waste between the plateau and Ithaqua's totem temple. He snatched us out of the sky in that machine and brought us hers ..." He paused, beginning to doubt Kota'na's perception. "Do you understand what I'm trying to say?" "I think so, Lord," the Indian gravely answered. "The Motherworld sounds a fine and wonderful place--but Borea is not the Motherworld." "No, my friend, that's true--but it could be like the Motherworld one day. I'm willing to bet that hundreds of miles to the south there are warm seas and beautiful islands, maybe even a sun that we never see up here in the north. Yes, and I can't help wondering if Ithaqua is confined to this world's northernmost regions just as he is during his brief Earthly incursions. It's an interesting thought ... "As to why I come out here, exploring the woods and the lands to the south: surely you must have seen me making lines on the fine skins I carry? They are maps, bear-brother, maps of all the places we visit. The lakes and forests and hills--all of them that we've seen are shown on my maps. One day I want to be able to go abroad in Borea just as I used to on Earth." He slammed fist into palm, lending his words emphasis, then grinned and slapped the other's shoulder. "But come now, we've been on the move for well over ten hours. I, for one, am tired. Let's get some sleep, and then we'll be on our way again." He glanced at the gray sky to the north and his face quickly formed a frown. "The last thing I want is to be caught out in the open when Ithaqua comes walking down the winds to Borea again. No, for he surely has a score to settle with the People of the Plateau--especially with me!"  
 
In no great hurry to find Elysia (Titus Crow had warned him that the going would not be easy, that no royal road existed into the place of the Elder Gods), Henri de Marigny allowed the time-clock to wander at will through the mighty spaces between the stars. In the case of the time-clock, however, "wander" did not mean to progress slowly and aimlessly from place to place, far from it. For de Marigny's incredible machine was linked to all times and places, and its velocity--if "velocity" could ever adequately describe the motion of the clock--was such that it simply defied all of the recognized laws of Earthly science as it cruised down the light-years. And already de Marigny had faced dangers which only the master of such a weird vessel might ever be expected to face: dangers such as the immemorially evil Hounds of Tindalos! Twice he had piloted the time-clock through time itself; once as an experiment in the handling of the clock, the second time out of sheer curiosity. On the first occasion, as he left the solar system behind, he had paused to reverse the clock's temporal progression to a degree sufficient to freeze the planets in their eternal swing around the sun, until the worlds of Sol had stood still in the night of space and the sun's flaring, searing breath had appeared as a still photograph in his vessel's scanners. The second time had been different. Finding a vast cinder in space orbiting a dying orange sun,...

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