By C. L. Moore
Jirel of Joiry, the 1st of the good woman warriors, the gorgeous commander of the most powerful citadel within the country, might face any hazard to guard her liked kingdom. She wielded her vibrant sword opposed to robust armies, the sinister magic of evil sorcerers and fearsome castles guarded by way of the lifeless, even bold to descend into Hell itself...Northwest Smith, the scarred and weathered outlaw, the mythical hero of the spaceways, pressured to confront the poor mysteries, the terrifying, mythic monsters of the universe...Jirel of Joiry and Northwest Smith are C.L. Moore's maximum creations and he or she used them not just to spin spellbinding stories but in addition to discover the mysteries of the human psyche.
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Safe, then,” she said thankfully. ” Her voice faltered a little over the name, as if she half feared to pronounce it. “He wears a cloak like that you wore when he comes through the halls. But he comes so very seldom. . ” “I've never seen him,” said Smith, “but, good Lord, is he such a monster? ” Vaudir agonizes. “You mustn't speak of him so. He's — he's — of course—” She knelt and hid her face. “I wish to heaven I had. . ” Smith faced her squarely and searched the veiled dark eyes with a gaze as bleak as empty seas.
Well, there you have it. Women, bred as a spawning-ground for the devouring force of beauty on which we live. “But — the fare grows monotonous, as all food must without change. Vaudir I took because I saw in her a sparkle of something that except in very rare instances has been bred out of the Minga girls. For beauty, as I have said, eats up all other qualities but beauty. Yet somehow intelligence and courage survived latently in Vaudir. It decreases her beauty, but the tang of it should be a change from the eternal sameness of the rest.
Northwest Smith leant his head back against the warehouse wall and stared up into the black night-sky of Venus. The waterfront was very quiet tonight, very dangerous. He could hear no sound save the eternal, slap-slap of water against the piles, but he knew how much of danger and sudden death dwelt here voiceless in the breathing dark, and he may have been a little homesick as he stared up into the clouds that masked a green star hanging lovely on the horizon — Earth and home. And if he thought of that he must have grinned wryly to himself in the dark, for Northwest Smith had no home, and Earth would not have welcomed him very kindly just then.