The Diamond of Ashair
1934 Radio Serial Synopsis:
Week 9: Eps 25-27
Encamped on the lava beds of Tuen Baka, Tarzan and his friends are surrounded by a shadowy band of Hisiharians – the “people of the savage face.” Akaru, leader of the group, informs Tarzan that he and his companions are expected in the Forbidden City of Ashair by Soo Ten, Atef of Hisiharia. Nearing the foot of Tuen Baka, Akaru, who is well in the lead of the little party and its escort of skeleton-masked warriors, is attacked by a huge flying argot or python. The reptile sweeps down on great bat-like wings to enfold the Hisiharian noble in its bone-crushing coils.
Tarzan places arrow between the eyes of the great serpent just as it is about to devour Akaru. The onlookers are amazed at Tarzan’s prowess and Akaru pledges to help him if he is ever in need. The metal-covered sinoot car is large enough to accommodate the entire party and their escorting warriors. Once seated in the vehicle, the Hisiharians remove their masks – revealing handsome white faces. The sinoot car climbs the near-perpendicular slope, travelling at, what D’Arnot guests to be 80 km/h. Akaru explains that there is a great powerful stone at the end of the rails. Thome suggest that the stone is probably an extraterrestrial meteorite. D’Arnot adds that it is probably a lodestone. In any case, the metal car is attracted magnetically to the stone and Akura controls the rate of speed with a brake lever.
Glistening in the sunlight like some giant prehistoric silver-coloured beetle, the bulky conveyance rushes up the smooth side of Tuen Baka at breathtaking speed. Presently the outline of the great meteorite can be clearly seen. Hundreds of tons of black rock balance on the rim of the volcano. As they near the top, Akura pulls back on the lever with all his strength. Slowly, as if reluctant to stop, the huge car quivers – clanking wheels turn slower. The massive coach comes to a halt. The Hisiharians climb out, followed by Tarzan and his friends. They skirt the huge meteorite and approach the inner rim of the volcano. Far below them on the floor of the crater of Tuen Baka lies the Forbidden City of Ashair.
The spectacular city of Ashair is surrounded by lush green vegetation which covers the entire valley. The sacred temple of Ma-at-chu – the Father of Diamonds -- rises out of the middle of the city. Akura boasts that Ashair is the city of wisdom, happiness and content. Behind them, an old man wheels a large crystal sheet in front of the lodestone to shield its power. The party and their escort board another sinoot car and soon they are coasting rapidly down a second set of rails down the interior of the crater all the way to Ashair. The escorting warriors surround them and lead them to the temple of Ma-at-chu. The city appears empty, as the populace must stay out of sight until the outsiders have an audience with the king. The remarkable streets are decorated with exotic plants and carvings. The buildings are of white marble, while the pyramid-shaped temple is of a black material. At the apex of the pyramid is a large copper ball. They learn that Ashair is known as the Forbidden City because it does not welcome strangers whom they fear come only to plunder. Tarzan swears that they have come only to rescue the Gregorys and Akura promises to intercede for them.
Slowly, majestically, the mighty copper doors swing open – moved by some unseen force. Louder swells a minor primitive wail – a chant of many voices. Tarzan and his friends pause. They stare into the face of Akaru. The blood drains from the Hisiharian noble’s countenance, leaving it as if cast in the mold of ivory. He turns slowly to meet the questioning gaze of Tarzan.
Akura, in a trembling voice, informs them that the sound is the chant of death and that Ma-ha-chu – the Father of Diamonds – is demanding the sacrifice of human blood.
While encamped near Tuen Baka – the Mountain of Sunrise – Tarzan and his friends are captured by a band of Hisiharians and proceed toward the Forbidden City of Ashair under their escort. Arriving at the foot of Tuen Baka, Akaru, the leader of the Hisiharians, is rescued from the coils of a huge prehistoric python by Tarzan. In the siloot or car which is to convey the party over the volcano’s rim and down to Ashair, the Hisiharians remove their skeleton masks. As the captives enter the city and approach the great pyramidal temple of Ma-at-chu, they hear voices raised in weird chant. As he listens the blood drains from Akaru’s face. He turns to meet the cool questioning gaze of Tarzan.
Akaru says that Tarzan and his party will be offered to Ma-at-chu for sacrifice at the beginning of the moon. But, since Akaru owes his life to Tarzan, he promises to intercede for them with King Soo Ten. They enter the temple where Akaru stands before a huge bronze door and asks permission for entry.
As the ponderous bronze barrier slowly opens, the little party, led by Akaru, crosses the threshold. Before them spreads a vast chamber, illuminated by small golden lamps giving out a blue eerie light. A forest of mighty stone columns support a high deeply-shadowed ceiling. In the centre of this immense chamber, at the edge of a deep pit, a large casket of white marble rests upon the stone floor. Beyond the great pit is a great black marble altar supporting upon its top, a glittering copper knife. On a raised platform against the far wall, and reclining upon a high-backed stone seat, a man - tall, black-haired, handsome – watches the approach of Tarzan and his friends with sinister, unwinking eyes. Beside him sits a woman – cold, haughty, cruelly beautiful. At a signal from Akaru, the apeman and his companions halt at the foot of the dais.
The king commands Tarzan to explain why they have come to Ashair. Soo Ten is convinced that they have come to steal the Father of Diamonds and orders them taken away. Akaru leads them to a chamber but before he leaves he promises that he will do all he can on their behalf. Tarzan tells them not to worry – when they are eventually led from the chamber they can make a run for it. He suggests that they all get some rest. While the others sleep, Thome and Wolf plot to steal the great diamond from the temple.
Cautiously the two men leave their couches. They advance quickly, silently, to the bronze door. Thome examines the granite blocks of the wall – presses lightly against one. The low clicking sound, which accompanies the movement of this strange barrier, is heard throughout the silent chamber. Larson grumbles in his slumber. Thome and Wolf stand tense, watching the apparently soundly sleeping apeman. As the heavy portal swings slowly open they step out into the dimly lit corridor. Thome presses another stone and as the heavy barrier closes behind them with a soft metallic clang, Tarzan sits up, reaches over and lays a hand gently on D’Arnot’s shoulder.
Tarzan opens the door and as they enter the corridor he explains to D’Arnot that they are following Thome and Wolf. He opens another door to the council room where the two thieves are arguing about how they will split the spoils while they are preparing to steal the diamond. They lift a gold disc from the sacred casket.
With the golden disc on the floor between his knees, Wolf pries impatiently at the slot-like opening in its centre. Thome, contemplating the excited German through half-closed eyes, stands thoughtfully fingering the butt of the gun at his hip. With a low insane laugh, Wolf wrenches savagely at the disc. Abruptly it flies open. Instantly the vast chamber is flooded with an intense blinding glare. The eyes of the four men are glued to the great glittering gem that lies imbedded in the golden eye. Helpless beneath the sway of some superhuman power that holds them nevertheless within its grip – they stand like craven images without the power to speak or move. A huge shaggy head appears above the rim of the pit behind the German. Small red, wicked eyes glitter evilly in the white glare of the diamond. A torso – huge, long-armed, short-legged and covered with thick red hair – clambers grotesquely over the rim of the pit. Jabbering gutturally through thick, slavering lips, the monstrous ape reaches out a hairy arm and paw and grasps Wolf by the back of the neck.
While their companions are apparently asleep, Thome and Wolf leave the apartment into which they have been placed at the order of King Soo Ten. Tarzan wakens D’Arnot and they follow. From behind a pillar in the vast council chamber they watch while Wolf pries madly at the golden disc that contains the Father of Diamonds. As the disc flies open, the huge hall is flooded with a blinding white glare which holds the four men rooted helplessly to the floor. From the rim of the pit behind the German a giant, hideous ape appears. From the monster’s pendulous slavering lips fall weird guttural words. A hairy arm reaches out – cruel fingers close around Wolf’s neck. The huge prehistoric simian pulls the German to him. Great yellow fangs bury themselves deep in his throat. Muttering savagely, the brute tosses Wolf aside. The German’s lifeless body drops on the fabulous gem, shutting off the unholy brilliance of the diamond.
Bewildered and in a cast, the Frenchman sees the horrible monster swaying toward him Tarzan’s challenging cry halts the advancing brute but only for a second. It’s enough for the apeman to leap past D’Arnot and place himself in the path of the hideous beast. The monster’s gigantic arms dart out for the apeman’s throat. Tarzan’s left hand grasps the hairy wrist and pulls the great arm forward and down. He leaps close to the brute’s side. The grotesque creature tries to turn with him. Quick as light Tarzan’s right hand flashes up to bury his glittering knife again and again deep in the monster’s side. Billowing with rage and pain the ape’s great hands drop for the wound. Swift as thought Tarzan steps behind the brute, then reaches up his left arm and encircles the huge neck. Gleaming red, the apeman’s knife sinks to the hilt in the bull ape’s throat.
After venting his victory yell Tarzan notices that Thome has disappeared into one of the many corridors leading to the chamber. They leave Wolf’s body draped over the diamond and hurry down the largest corridor but come to a halt when they hear an approaching band of Ashairians.
Meanwhile, Thome, released from the unholy spell of the diamond has gained the weird half-light of a cross-corridor. With the sense of being pursued by the great slavery-lipped brute which in one frightful instance had torn the life from Wolf, he hurries deeper and deeper into the fantastic shadowland. Presently he rounds a bend in the corridor to come abruptly upon a pair of bronze doors. With a breath of relief his quick searching gaze locates the discoloured stone in the wall and believing he is about to re-enter the quarters into which the party had been placed by Akabu, he quickly presses the stone. As the portals swing open, Thome’s astonished eyes behold a brilliantly lighted chamber furnished in barbaric magnificence. He pauses in uncertainty.
Thome has stumbled into the Queen’s chambers. He reports to the Queen that he has come form the Chamber of the Great Diamond where he has witnessed an attempted theft by Wolf, D’Arnot and Tarzan – and Wolf’s immediate punishment. The Queen is surprised to hear that anyone could kill one of the talking apes – she is impressed by Tarzan’s prowess. Thome tries to convince the Queen that Magra, Helen and he have come to Ashair only to find Brian Gregory but the Queen informs him that anyone who enters her chambers is at her mercy. She orders him to act as her spy and to report on the activities of the rest of the foreign party.
Back in the dim corridor, Tarzan and D’Arnot cast about for some sort of hiding place. The sound of the approaching Hisiherians is now distinct. Their flashing lights near the bend in the corridor. Suddenly, Tarzan grips D’Arnot’s arm. He has spotted a hiding place above a shrine in the wall of the corridor. He swings into the darkness above and pulls D’Arnot after him. After watching100 angry warriors pass by below them, they find their way back to their chamber. The chamber is occupied by only one person: Larson. He explains that Magra has been taken away.
DIAMOND OF ASHER ~ SERIAL SUMMARIES
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