“The Oath of Hul Jok”

This week’s weird fiction being discussed by the Deep Ones group over at LibraryThing:

Review: “The Oath of Hul Jok”, Dyalhis Nictzin, 1925. 

This is a sequel to Nictzin’s “When the Green Star Waned” and is more interesting, mostly because it’s so bloodthirsty. 

It’s is narrated by Hak Iri, poet and historian. (Nictzin slips in a fair amount of archaic words and phrases.) It has the same seven Venhezians (Venusians) characters as that story. 

They all beg their help from Iri because they are having problems with their “Love-Girls”, their wives. It turns out that the Last Lunarion (Lunarions were the evil race on the moon that enslaved Aerth (Earth) in the previous story and were drive off that world) has subjected them to his telepathic will and turned the Love-Girls against their men.

The Last Lunarion manages to escape with the ship of Hal Juk (Venhazian’s greatest military figure and a giant of a man) and the eight women. Hul Juk swears an oath to rescue the women or die trying and takes just a single ship. With the eight Venhezians comes Jon the Aerthman, rescued from Aerth in the previous story. 

It is revealed through detection equipment invented by Ron Ti (Venhezian’s greatest scientist) where the Last Lunarion is heading: Earth.

Arriving at Aerth and hoping to ambush the Last Lunarion there so the women can be rescued alive, they spend some days surveying the planet and are quite surprised that nothing has changed, despite the Aerthmen being freed in the last story, from their previous visits. 

The ship is forced down, and the men find themselves (except Jon) naked in a cavern with statues of formerly living beings who seem to have been turned into metal. They meet Princess Idabral, a lamia with the top half of her body a beautfiul woman and the bottom part a snake.  With the help of telepathic Lan Apo, they learn she is malevolent and try to flatter her, but Hul Jok just grabs her by the throat and threatens to beat her if she doesn’t give some answers. 

This show of strength converts her, and she sincerely declares herself their wife. She tells them that there is a race of hybrids, the products of Lunarion and human mating, which still rule over some Aerthians though that’s increasingly hard. The Serpent People also have their own priest class. 

With her help, the eight are reunited with Jon whom Idabral originally tried implicate as a traitor to the Venhazians. They meet up with a group of rebelling Aerthman along with Jon’s wife. 

Weapons are built and, after a week, the remaining Serpent People are assaulted. It’s revealed, after torture (which the great Venhazian biologist Vir Dax undertakes with pleasure) of a captured priest, that the Last Lunarion plans to sacrifice the “Love-Girls” and marry Idabral (who, learning that her “husbands” want to rescue their Love-Girls, has gone hostile again). 

Hul Jok fights the Last Lunarion in hand-to-hand combat, and, during the battle, the Last Lunarion’s mental hold over the women is broken. Like Jon’s wife, they all gleefully join the slaughter. 

At the end, since the Last Lunarion can’t be killed, so he’s subjected to the metallizing process for his consciousness to be entrapped in a metal statue. There are many reference to killing the Serpent People and, before his final fate, the Last Lunarion is handed over to the Aerthon women and children for torture. All Serpent-People are killed.

 I suppose, if you think the genocide of aliens is a common and reprehensible element of pulp science fiction, this would be a prime exhibit.

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