The Adventures of Solomon Kane - Robert E. Howard - ebook
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Before Robert E. Howard wrote of „Conan the Cimmerian”, he wrote of the swashbuckler Solomon Kane. „The Adventures of Solomon Kane” takes you through Howard’s horrific and fantastic world of swords and sorcery, the world of ancient secrets and the monsters that live in the jungles of Africa where Kane vanquishes evil. Here are shudder-inducing tales of vengeful ghosts and bloodthirsty demons, of dark sorceries wielded by evil men and women, all opposed by a grim avenger armed with a fanatic’s faith and a warrior’s savage heart. Whether it be a witch-cursed monstrosity, hell-spawned vampire, mutant throw-back, or just a wicked wretch of humankind, Solomon Kane will fight with equal determination and enthusiasm to see good triumph. Collected in this volume are all of the stories and poems that make up the thrilling saga of the dour and deadly Puritan, Solomon Kane.

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Liczba stron: 315

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Contents

RED SHADOWS

I. THE COMING OF SOLOMON

II. THE LAIR OF THE WOLF

III. THE CHANT OF THE DRUMS

IV. THE BLACK GOD

V. THE END OF THE RED TRAIL

SKULLS IN THE STARS

RATTLE OF BONES

THE MOON OF SKULLS

I. A MAN COMES SEEKING

II. THE PEOPLE OF THE STALKING DEATH

III. LILITH

IV. DREAMS OF EMPIRE

V. "FOR A THOUSAND YEARS—"

VI. THE SHATTERING OF THE SKULL

VII. THE FAITH OF SOLOMON

THE HILLS OF THE DEAD

I. VOODOO

II. RED EYES

III. DREAM MAGIC

IV. THE SILENT CITY

V. PALAVER SET!

THE FOOTFALLS WITHIN

WINGS IN THE NIGHT

I. THE HORROR ON THE STAKE

II. THE BATTLE IN THE SKY

III. THE PEOPLE IN THE SHADOW

IV. THE MADNESS OF SOLOMON

V. THE CONQUEROR

SOLOMON KANE'S HOMECOMING — A POEM

RED SHADOWS

I. THE COMING OF SOLOMON

THE MOONLIGHT shimmered hazily, making silvery mists of illusion among the shadowy trees. A faint breeze whispered down the valley, bearing a shadow that was not of the moon-mist. A faint scent of smoke was apparent.

The man whose long, swinging strides, unhurried yet unswerving, had carried him for many a mile since sunrise, stopped suddenly. A movement in the trees had caught his attention, and he moved silently toward the shadows, a hand resting lightly on the hilt of his long, slim rapier.

Warily he advanced, his eyes striving to pierce the darkness that brooded under the trees. This was a wild and menacing country; death might be lurking under those trees. Then his hand fell away from the hilt and he leaned forward. Death indeed was there, but not in such shape as might cause him fear.

“The fires of Hades!” he murmured. “A girl! What has harmed you, child? Be not afraid of me.”

The girl looked up at him, her face like a dim white rose in the dark.

“You–who are–you?” her words came in gasps.

“Naught but a wanderer, a landless man, but a friend to all in need.” The gentle voice sounded somehow incongruous, coming from the man.

The girl sought to prop herself up on her elbow, and instantly he knelt and raised her to a sitting position, her head resting against his shoulder. His hand touched her breast and came away red and wet.

“Tell me.” His voice was soft, soothing, as one speaks to a babe.

“Le Loup,” she gasped, her voice swiftly growing weaker. “He and his men –descended upon our village–a mile up the valley. They robbed –slew–burned–”

“That, then, was the smoke I scented,” muttered the man. “Go on, child.”

“I ran. He, the Wolf, pursued me–and–caught me–” The words died away in a shuddering silence.

“I understand, child. Then–?”

“Then–he–he–stabbed me–with his dagger –oh, blessed saints!–mercy–”

Suddenly the slim form went limp. The man eased her to the earth, and touched her brow lightly.

“Dead!” he muttered.

Slowly he rose, mechanically wiping his hands upon his cloak. A dark scowl had settled on his somber brow. Yet he made no wild, reckless vow, swore no oath by saints or devils.

“Men shall die for this,” he said coldly.

II. THE LAIR OF THE WOLF

“YOU ARE A FOOL!” The words came in a cold snarl that curdled the hearer’s blood.

He who had just been named a fool lowered his eyes sullenly without answer.

“You and all the others I lead!” The speaker leaned forward, his fist pounding emphasis on the rude table between them. He was a tall, rangy-built man, supple as a leopard and with a lean, cruel, predatory face. His eyes danced and glittered with a kind of reckless mockery.

The fellow spoken to replied sullenly, “This Solomon Kane is a demon from Hell, I tell you.”

“Faugh! Dolt! He is a man–who will die from a pistol ball or a sword thrust.”

“So thought Jean, Juan and La Costa,” answered the other grimly. “Where are they? Ask the mountain wolves that tore the flesh from their dead bones. Where does this Kane hide? We have searched the mountains and the valleys for leagues, and we have found no trace. I tell you, Le Loup, he comes up from Hell. I knew no good would come from hanging that friar a moon ago.”

The Wolf strummed impatiently upon the table. His keen face, despite lines of wild living and dissipation, was the face of a thinker. The superstitions of his followers affected him not at all.

“Faugh! I say again. The fellow has found some cavern or secret vale of which we do not know where he hides in the day.”

“And at night he sallies forth and slays us,” gloomily commented the other. “He hunts us down as a wolf hunts deer–by God, Le Loup, you name yourself Wolf but I think you have met at last a fiercer and more crafty wolf than yourself! The first we know of this man is when we find Jean, the most desperate bandit unhung, nailed to a tree with his own dagger through his breast, and the letters S.L.K. carved upon his dead cheeks. Then the Spaniard Juan is struck down, and after we find him he lives long enough to tell us that the slayer is an Englishman, Solomon Kane, who has sworn to destroy our entire band! What then? La Costa, a swordsman second only to yourself, goes forth swearing to meet this Kane. By the demons of perdition, it seems he met him! For we found his sword-pierced corpse upon a cliff. What now? Are we all to fall before this English fiend?”

“True, our best men have been done to death by him,” mused the bandit chief. “Soon the rest return from that little trip to the hermit’s; then we shall see. Kane can not hide forever. Then–ha, what was that?”

The two turned swiftly as a shadow fell across the table. Into the entrance of the cave that formed the bandit lair, a man staggered. His eyes were wide and staring; he reeled on buckling legs, and a dark red stain dyed his tunic. He came a few tottering steps forward, then pitched across the table, sliding off onto the floor.

“Hell’s devils!” cursed the Wolf, hauling him upright and propping him in a chair. “Where are the rest, curse you?”

“Dead! All dead!”

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