The cry was taken up by the spectators. Kathlyn felt herself dragged from the elephant, bound and finally laid beside the swathed figure. There could be no horror in the wide world like it. Smoke began to curl up from the underbrush. It choked and stifled her. Sparks rose and dropped upon her arms and face. And through the smoke and flame came Rajah. He lifted her with his powerful trunk and carried her off, for hours and hours, back into the trackless jungle. . . .
Kathlyn found herself, all at once, sitting against the roots of an aged banyan tree. A few yards away an ape sat on his haunches and eyed her curiously. A little farther off Rajah browsed in a clump of weeds, the howdah at a rakish angle, like the cocked hat of a bully. Kathlyn stared at her hands. There were no burns there; she passed a hand over her face; there was no smart or sting. A dream; she had dreamed it; a fantasy due to her light-headed state of mind. A dream! She cried and laughed, and the ape jibbered at her uneasily.
In reality, Rajah, freed of his unwelcome mahout, had legged it down the road without so much as trumpeting his farewell, and the soldiers had not been able to stop him.
How she had managed to get down would always remain a mystery to her. Food and water, food and water; in her present state she must have both or die. Let them send her back to Allaha; she was beaten; she was without the will to resist further. All she wanted was food and water and sleep, sleep. After that they might do what they pleased with her.
For the first time since the extraordinary flight from Allaha Kathlyn recollected the “elephant talk” which Ahmed had taught her. She rose wearily and walked toward Rajah, who cocked his ears at the sound of her approach. She talked to him for a space in monotone. She held out her hands; the dry raspy trunk curled out toward them. Rajah was evidently willing to meet her half-way. She ordered him to kneel. Without even pausing to think it over Rajah bent his calloused knees, and gratefully Kathlyn crawled back into the howdah. Food and water: these appeared at hand as if by magic. So she ate and drank. If she could hold Rajah to a walk the howdah would last at least till she came to some village.
Later, in the moonshine, she espied the ruined portico of a temple.
In the blue of night the temple looked as though it had been sculptured out of mist. Here and there the heavy dews, touched by the moon lances, flung back flames of sapphire, cold and sharp. To Kathlyn the temple was of marvelous beauty. She urged Rajah toward the crumbling portico.
It was a temple in ruins, like many in Hind. Broken pillars, exquisitely carved, lay about, and some of the tall windows of marble lace were punctured, as if the fist of some angry god had beaten through. Under the decayed portico stood an iron brazier. Near this reposed a cracked stone sarcophagus: an unusual sight in this part of the world. It was without its lid. But one god now brooded hereabouts—Silence. Not a sound anywhere, not even from the near-by trees. She saw a noiseless lizard slide jerkily across a patch of moonshine and dissolve into the purple shadow beyond.