Any doubt that this was the engine room was displaced by the black metal smokestack that rose up through the cabin roof. "We are leaving," Edipon screeched and waved his thin arms in the air. "Bring in the entranceway. Narsisi stand forward to indicate the way to the caroj. Now all pray as I go into the shrine to induce the sacred powers to move us towards Putl'ko."

They notched their arrows and waited with alert patience, staying well clear of the smoking ruins of the caroj, until Snarbi finally staggered up half supported by two other runners. "You now belong to ... the Hertug Persson ... and are his slaves.... What happened to the caroj?" He screamed this last when he spotted the smoking wreck and would have collapsed except for the sustaining arms.

The commander of the soldiers swung his thick bow in a short arc that terminated on the top of Mikah's head: he dropped stunned to the floor. "You have a new slave, oh Hertug," the commander said. "Which is the one who knows the secrets of the caroj?" the Hertug asked and Snarbi pointed at Jason. "Him there, oh mightiness.

If he does not, I will have the pleasure of killing him because I do not like his revolutionary ideas." They marched single file to a locked and guarded building with immense doors, which were pulled open to reveal the massive forms of seven caroj. "Look at them," Edipon hissed and tugged at his nose.

"Kill me and there goes your caroj, as well as your telephone system and your only chance to wrap up all the industrial secrets in one big bundle," Jason said, looking around for something heavy to swing. A gigantic explosion slammed into the room; a crack appeared in one wall and dust floated down from the ceiling. There was a sound of snapping small arms fire in the distance. "It worked!"

A howled battlecry was echoed by massed voices and a squad of D'zertanoj burst in through the entrance, and at the same instant the rear of the leather wall went down and more armed men swarmed over it. The immobile caroj was trapped between the two groups of attackers who laughed happily as they charged.

When he unbolted the head of the massive single cylinder he shuddered at the clearance around the piston; he could fit his fingers into the opening between the piston and the cylinder wall; by introducing cylinder rings he doubled the compression and power output. When Edipon saw the turn of speed the rebuilt engine gave his caroj he hugged Jason to his bosom and promised him the highest reward.

Jason leaped over the tumbled forms, rapped Edipon behind the ear with the hilt of his sword and dragged Mikah to his feet. "Get out to the engine works," he ordered his still uncomprehending companions. "I have a caroj there that we can get away in." He cursed them and they finally broke into clumsy motion. There were shouts from behind him and an armed mob of D'zertanoj ran into view.

He can make caroj and he can make the monster that burns and moves them, I know because I watched him do it. He also made balls of fire that burned the D'zertanoj and many other things. I brought him to be your slave so that he could make caroj for the Perssonoj. Here are the pieces of the caroj we traveled in, after it was consumed by its own fire."

Ships could be seen from time to time offshore but nothing was known about them. On the other flank the territory was bounded by desert even more inhospitable than the one in which they scratched out their existence, a waste of lifeless sand, habitable only by the D'zertanoj and their mysterious caroj.