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Warrior of the Dawn   By: (1908-1999)

Warrior of the Dawn by Howard Browne

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WARRIOR OF THE DAWN

by HOWARD BROWNE

[Transcriber Note: This etext was produced from Amazing Stories December 1942 and January 1943. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

[Illustration: Tharn stared in amazement at the city that lay before him]

[Sidenote: From the forest deeps came brutal killers, and Tharn, the Cro Magnon, vowed that vengeance would be his....]

CHAPTER I

In Quest of Vengeance

It was late afternoon. Neela, the zebra, and his family of fifteen grazed quietly near the center of a level stretch of grassland. In the distance, and encircling the expanse of prairie, stood a solid wall of forest and close knit jungle.

For the past two hours of this long hot afternoon Neela had shown signs of increasing nervousness. Feeding a short distance from the balance of his charges, he lifted his head from time to time to stare intently across the wind stirred grasses to the east. Twice he had started slowly in that direction, only to stop short, stamp and snort uneasily, then wheel about and retrace his steps.

The remainder of the herd cropped calmly at the long grasses, apparently heedless of their leader's unrest, tails slapping flanks clear of biting flies.

Meanwhile, some two hundred yards to the eastward, three half naked white hunters, belly flat in the concealing growth, continued their cautious advance.

Wise in the ways of wary grass eaters were these three members of a Cro Magnard tribe, living in a day some twenty thousand years before the founding of Rome.[A] With the wind against their faces, with their passage as soundless as only veteran hunters may make it, they knew the zebra had no cause for alarm beyond a vague suspicion born of instinct alone.

[Footnote A: Probably no race of man in all history has so stimulated the imagination of scientists as that of Cro Magnon Man. The origin of the race is lost in antiquity, although its arrival on the scene was supposed to have taken place between 35,000 and 20,000 B.C. It is established, however, that hordes of the white skinned, strong thewed cave dwellers over ran, long before the dawn of history, what today is southern Europe and the Mediterranean Basin. This section of the earth's surface was sparsely populated, at the time, by Neanderthal Man the last of the sub human fore runners of Homo Sapiens.

Immediate warfare raged between the two. The Cro Magnards, while lacking the tremendous muscles and long, ape like arms of the Neanderthaloids, were far more intelligent (as witness the dimensions of their heads; a brain case exceeding in size that of present day man), and gradually eliminated the native Neanderthals. Between the two, there was little difference in man made weapons. The principal weapon of both was the club; but, in Cro Magnon's case, this was augmented by the flint knife, clumsily shaped but effective. It is entirely possible that the latter people made use of the rope, both as one of the amenities and as a weapon of offense.

Cro Magnon Man was the proud possessor of a virtue both new and startling in a world given only to the struggle for survival. This virtue was Leisure a period in which he was free to do things other than kill his enemies, hunt, and eat. He used his leisure to develop an artistic sense that found its expression in the painting of everyday scenes from his life. The walls of his cave served as a canvas; his materials, principally ochre, he took from the earth. He was the first Artist; and his paintings, still admirable considering the lack of guiding precedence, have endured to this day.

In appearance, Cro Magnon Man was ruggedly handsome, both in figure and face. He was long headed, with a short face patterned on the diamond. The width was extreme, with high cheek bones slanting up to a narrowing forehead, and down to a short, firm chin... Continue reading book >>




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