By C. L. Moore
Jirel of Joiry, the 1st of the good girl warriors, the attractive commander of the most powerful citadel within the state, might face any probability to protect her cherished kingdom. She wielded her vibrant sword opposed to powerful 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, compelled to confront the negative 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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Extra info for Black Gods and Scarlet Dreams (Fantasy Masterworks)
There was danger then — danger of discovery, the sort of peril he knew and could fight. It was that creeping sensation of eyes watching, of unseen things slithering down dark passages, that had strained his nerves so painfully. And yet, even so, it had been too easy. . The eunuch had paused at a silver door half-way down the hall and was murmuring something very softly, his mouth against the grille. ” in a breathing whisper, and the door quivered a little and swung open six inches. The eunuch genuflected in a swirl of scarlet robes, and Smith caught his eye swiftly, the look of terror not yet faded, but amusement there too, and a certain respect.
And they came at last, after endless, winding progress, into a hallway low-ceiled and paneled in mother-of-pearl, pierced and filigreed with carving, and all the doors were of silver grille. And as the eunuch pushed open the silver gate that led into this corridor the thing happened that his taut nerves had been expecting ever since the start of the fantastic journey. One of the doors opened and a figure stepped out and faced them. Under the robe Smith's gun slid soundlessly from its holster. He thought he saw the eunuch's back stiffen a little, and his step falter, but only for an instant.
So far it had been amazingly easy. Either tradition lied about the impregnability of the Minga, or the girl Vaudir had bribed with incredible lavishness or — that thought again, uneasily — it was with the Alendar's consent that he walked here unchallenged. But why? They came to a door of silver grille at the end of the curved corridor, and passed through it into another hallway slanting up, as exquisitely voluptuous as the first. A flight of stairs wrought from dully gleaming bronze curved at the end of it.