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Fire-Tongue Sax Rohmer

Nicol Brinn's Story Of The City Of Fire

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"Gigantic rocks stand up like monstrous tors, or towers, sometimes offering sheer precipices of many hundreds of feet in height. On those sides of these giant tors, however, which are less precipitous, miniature forests are sometimes found, and absolutely impassable jungles.

"Bordering an independent state, this territory is not at all well known, but I had secured as a guide a man named Vadi--or that was the name he gave me whom I knew to be a high-caste Brahmin of good family. He had been with me for some time, and I thought I could trust him. Therefore, once clear of British territory, I took him into my confidence respecting the real object of my journey.

"This was not primarily to scale a peak of the Himalayas, nor even to visit Khatmandu, but to endeavour to obtain a glimpse of the Temple of Fire!

"That has excited your curiosity, gentlemen. I don't suppose any one here has ever heard of the Temple of Fire.

"By some it is regarded as a sort of native legend but it is more than a legend. It is a fact. For seven years I have known it to be a fact, but my tongue has been tied. Listen. Even down in Bombay, the coming of the next great Master is awaited by certain of the natives; and for more than ten years now it has been whispered from end to end of India that he was about to proclaim himself, that disciples moved secretly among the people of every province, and that the unknown teacher in person awaited his hour in a secret temple up near the Tibetan frontier.

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"A golden key opens many doors, gentlemen, and at the time of which I am speaking I had obtained more information respecting this secret religion or cult than any other member of the white races had ever collected, or so I thought at the time. I had definite evidence to show that the existence of this man, or demi-god--for by some he was said to possess superhuman powers--was no myth, but an actual fact.

"The collecting of this data was extremely perilous, and one of my informants, with whom I had come in contact while passing through the central provinces, died mysteriously the night before I left Nagpur. I wondered very much on my way north why I was not molested, for I did not fail to see that the death of the man in Nagpur was connected with the fact that he had divulged to me some of the secrets of the religion of Fire-Tongue. Indeed, it was from him that I first learned the name of the high priest of the cult of Fire. Why I was not molested I learned later.

"But to return to Vadi, my Brahmin guide. We had camped for the night in the shadow of one of those giant tors which I have mentioned. The bearers were seated around their fire at some little distance from us, and Vadi and I were consulting respecting our route in the morning, when I decided to take him into my confidence. Accordingly:

"'Vadi,' I said, 'I know for a positive fact that we are within ten miles of the secret Temple of Fire.'

"I shall never forget the look in his eyes, with the reflection of the firelight dancing in them; but he never moved a muscle.

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Sax Rohmer

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