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which rode King Perdicor on a white horse blanketed with crimson and gold. The king was without weapon, his swords being carried by esquires, three at either side. Following these were the lightarmed warriors with javelins. Behind were the bowman and slingers and the baggage wagons.

Cambyzantes' runners reported the nearness of the Pergasians, and soon the invading scarlet and yellow appeared over the ridge of hills. They made a faint show at the distance. The Cecropolians saw the glitter of metals and a slight movement of red on the hazy summits.

The defending army continued sitting, as if at play.

At this moment, strange deeds were going on in the advancing army.

It is not to be thought that a people are content because they are well governed. The sport of kings is death. And in view of their august lives, death, the most august punishment of all, is meted out to them when any punishment at all is found. necessary and practicable.

Cambyzantes, a despot, logically enough was afflicted with a pretender that was mild and patriotic. Still, it was just as inevitable that Perdicor, the just, should be assailed with a violent pretender. And it was indeed seemingly fantastic that Harpakus, the honest opponent, should have a small following, and that Egenor, audacious, ferocious, proud and cruel, should have incited the people against the commendable laws of Perdicor. Be that as it may, when the Pergasians had broken. their formation for ascent of the hill, a small detachment of heavy-armed soldiers charged through the stumbling cavalry with considerable uproar and hacked at Perdicor with their swords.

These

men were under the command of a captain of the regular army. The other captains busied themselves here and there maintaining order of the march; and a few minutes after the assassination, Egenor was proclaimed king. The body of troops was disciplined to obey the commands of their various officers, and these in turn took word from those that had been in lead of the outbreak. So that when the warriors in their scarlet and gold appeared over the tops of the hills, it

was Egenor who took the high road on the great white charger. The body of Perdicor was borne to the baggage car in the

rear.

Egenor continued his march towards Cecropolias. The battle was to be the first act of his kingship, a war of conquest. A noble king, marching in a public-spirited purpose had been murdered by a princely brigand, who was carrying out the same purpose with a selfish motive. The oppressed subjects of one king had been waiting to hurl back the enlightenment of another. Now, two potentates were about to strive for a division of wrongs, and two oppressed peoples were to do carnage each in the interests of its own particular oppressor.

At the anxious moment, Harpakus was at home, eagerly confabbing with a few friends and surrounded with his bodyguard. Akon was in his temple, and Pyro beseeching an oracle.

When Egenor's forces had descended the hill, they sat upon the soil and rested. Thus the two armies were so nigh that when the flutes and battle-songs of one were still, the other's music could be heard faintly in the distance.

Suddenly, from the visiting ranks galloped three full-antlered stags pursued by fifty dogs. This was an insult to the Cecropolians, who held the stag sacred to one of their female deities.

Cambyzantes' men arose as if heaved up by the earth. Egenor's warriors sprang to their feet and advanced to the left on a run. They were not long in this unprotected position, but, taking a quick angle to the right, opposed their shields to Cambyzantes. The left wing then opened, and, with the alliance of the bowman, flanked Cambyzantes and pressed towards the city.

The Pergasians made battle in a businesslike way. Some of their ordinary soldiers were equal in ferocity and skill to the princes of other cities. They had ever-merging phalanxes that were irresistible.

Cecropolias fancied it was contending with a democratic king, but it was in the battle-pangs with a finer despot than its own. Egenor's army was in the hands of subtle strategists. Slowly at first the battle played; the arrow swooped here and

there, and the heavier javelins. As the two cities closed in upon each other, the long pikes came into gory use, swords were swung, and shield ground upon shield.

The Cecropolians called upon Vodar, and the Pergasians were loud in the name of Jidon. Where were Vodar and Jidon? Contending in heaven above their favorites.

Blood oozed in the grass. Like butchers dividing carcasses, warriors bent to split one another. Friend ran to the aid of friend, while javelins and arrows whirred over them or sped among. More scarlet than the tunics of the invaders were the defenders' tunics of blood. Auxiliaries rushed from all sides, from within and without the formations. Like flights of birds in the air, lengthening and converging, the battle lines of the invaders formed and unformed on the plain. With every shock the Cecropolians were at greater disadvantage. Still they obeyed the frantic admonitions of their leaders, and endeavored as best they could to repel the conquering steel. With every onslaught a few fell mutilated on either side, a few remained for the death-contention, a few fled and a few followed. This little scene took place a hundred times. There was one heaviest and overwhelming scene of all, where the colliding angers met in the main press of arms and mixed its bloods, dropping beneath the feet of oncoming legions from both cities, until the new rivals were perforce to transfer their hostilities further away from the piled impediment of corpses.

Thus it was to the twilight hour, when the Cecropolians were sworded back into the city and the conquerors erected trophies on the field. They did not stop here, but were soon at the gates. Within the city a detachment of besiegers had prevented the burghers and fought for the entrance of their comrades. The walls were no dike to an overflowing enemy that was now within and without. Down the streets the conflict extended, with longer lines of combatants each minute on the way. Every man that could bear arms hastened up to the reserves. The invaders were now in the temples, on the citadel, in the king's palace, and slashing their scarlet way through the market-place.

of

In the shadows of approaching night a man was seen crawling over the roofs of the market place. As he dropped to the street and stalked up a laureled avenue, his head was bent forward in distress, his chin crushing into the tendons his neck. He passed to the house of Harpakus. Masses of black were on his shoulders and arms, thighs and brow. When he entered the house and the light of lamps, the masses of black were seen red. As he moved, his wounds opened afresh and bled more redly around their darkened clots. The stricken one held his arms tightly folded against his breast, to check the flow of blood.

Anori came forward with a cry. She wore a plain gray chiton, ungirt.

Even as from the beginning of disastrous time unto the end, the great emerging of womanly despair at the sight of her bleeding lover is the mere shrieking of his

name.

"Ixander!"

"It is I," he half whimpered, half laughed. There was but one feat left to perform at that moment, and that was to die as a prince of lovers, if he had forsaken the debatable privilege of dying a prince of battle.

"It is I. Do you know me? I said I would come. I am disguised with blood. and gashes."

With a long-drawn, reverberant sigh, she drew him to her breast. As a sleepy lover, that droops half-consciously in amorous arms, he lowered his head to her shoulder and closed his eyes.

She called for a servant. All had fled the house, and Harpakus was out in the streets.

Staggering, she led him to a wall, where she seized upon a double-edged sword. The palors of death were drawing his face.

"Look, Ixander!" With might then more than his, she forced up his head. "O live, Ixander, long enough to see that I die with you."

About

Languidly he raised his eyes. her waist, under the chiton, was a loose belt, to which was fastened the rugged flint knife of the past, their past. Gazing at its less useful edge for an insufferable moment, Anori let it drop at her side. Then, where the lover's blood had spattered her bosom, she drove in the sharper

sword of her sire. For a trice, the two beautiful examples of an ancient mating swayed and clung together; then fell to the floor, clutched in death.

Beyond their streets, the city was being looted by the light of torches. The enemy was over all.

And Vodar! Vodar, the god, was no more. There were no more temples of Vodar. It had been a battle of men and gods. Jidon had triumphed. Vodar was dead in the heavens, and in his temples on earth. Religion follows the sword.

Late next day, Pryo stood beside the dead body of Harpakus stiffly asprawl among his rose bushes and cemented to them with his blood. The priest gently touched the flesh that death had touched so roughly, and then entered the house.

Bravely in the demeanor of his calling, he moved through the halls. Darkness seemed to be struggling boisterously with silence. He whispered the name of Vodar. At the door of Anori's apartment, he stood for a spell, and, as his eyes became wont to the gloom, discerned the bodies of Ixander and Anori on the polished floor.

In the intensity of his dismay and de

feat, he saw nothing more for a little moment-nothing more, until with wonder gorgeously ravishing the sense of reality, he beheld what at first was merely to be aware of something, something more.

And this something was two. One was an infant with reddish hair; the other, an infant whose soft skull was faintly haired with black. Lying upon their backs between the bosoms of the dead, the two babes moved their arms.

It was the aspect of a miracle.

"Vodar! Vodar has preserved their souls," cried Pryo in a frenzy of anguish and joy. Vodar is not defeated. Wahwah and Ainu still live! Jidon slew them on earth, and Vodar gives them back to the world." And Pryo gathered up the boy and girl babes in his gown.

He lay them down again to unfasten the flint sword from the form of Anori, and, retaking the double infantile burden, went back to his home inviolate of the pillaging throngs.

The next day Egenor's son was proclaimed King of Cecropolias, order was restored, and Pryo resumed his sacred duties.

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T LAST THE great day is about to arrive. Another sleep, just a wink, to be sure, for the arm and the eye must be steady, and then into the long shadow the boats must be sculled to the blinds.

The guns have all been oiled and cleaned -not a speck of rust in the barrel. The decoys look fresh and companionable, for much depends on their ability to entice the flocks that will come around the bend and swing in a low circle into range.

Coat, boots and hats have all been brushed up, and the water in the canteen is good and sweet. The shells are just right and can be depended on to bring down the big fellows who guide the young birds.

What a flood of pleasant recollections

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Jack!"-good fellows, every one of them -with a "good luck to you" and a friendly hand-shake to boot.

The dogs are under the seats, and the air in the car becomes hazy, for a good pipe is the best companion when the wind blows from the north, and the hands grown cold and numb.

What a jargon the conversation seems to be as automobilists have a language that no one but an enthusiast can understand, so have the duck hunters a vernacular that is full of the keen salt air that blows across the tule fields. A big canvasback duck is usually the hero of a yarn-the one recognized by everybody on the marsh as a clever bird who at last met his fate at the hands of a sordid pothunter.

The smoke thickens, the dogs under the seats grow restless, the wheels click over the rails, for the engineer has "pulled her wide open." The great fields of green marsh and tule spread away into the dis

The club house

tance. The sloughs wind in and out, and here and there a blind faces a pond.

The sun shines pleasantly and the reflections in the water are clear and sharp. The engine gives a shrill whistle and the land of the hunter's promise is in sight.

The dogs crawl from under the seats; our baggage is gathered and we say "goodbye" and "good luck"-for ours is the first stop along the line. In the distance is the club-house-that long, low-roofed building with the gable roof and double chimney. A bend in the slough affords a view of the bridge where the boats are moored those needle chips of wood that glide so noiselessly through the water. "Old Ben," the keeper, stands on veranda with a welcome wave of his hand -for it's half a year since he tied the boats up for the season. The windows

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Old Ben.

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have been washed; the stars are bright and clear, and the fire-place roars and crackles with a welcome fire.

How quickly the time will pass awayfor the sun will soon be low in the west and the evening flight will commence. All night the birds will fly low and flock in a clannish way. Tomorrow the great scattering will come-the leaders will be brought to the ground and the followers will raise and climb higher into the air. The stillness of the marshes will be broken and it's a good duck who will succeed in getting away without having his feathers ruffled.

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