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Bazaar of the Bizarre

Published: 1963

Bazaar of the BizarreThe Gray Mouser was reading the most interesting book of them all, a great compendium of secret knowledge written in a script of astrologic and geomantic signs, the meanings of which fairly leaped off the page into his mind.

To rest his eyes from that–or rather to keep from gobbling the book too fast–he peered through a nine-elbowed brass tube at a scene that could only be the blue heaven-pinnacle of the universe where angels flew shimmeringly like dragonflies and where a few choice heroes rested from their great mountain-climb and spied down critically on the antlike labors of the gods many levels below.

To rest his eye from that, he looked up between the scarlet (bloodmetal?) bars of the inmost cage at the most winsome, slim, fair, jet-eyed girl of them all. She knelt, sitting on her heels, with her upper body leaned back a little. She wore a red velvet tunic and had a mop of golden hair so thick and pliant that she could sweep it in a neat curtain over her upper face, down almost to her pouting lips. With the slim fingers of one hand she would slightly part these silky golden drapes to peer at the Mouser playfully, while with those of the other she rattled golden castanets in a most languorously slow rhythm, though with occasional swift staccato bursts.

Entreating spiders masquerade as enticing girls in gilded cages … a black coffin is situated as a couch with black pillows … twisted telescopes peer at the hidden-most places of kings, queens, angels, and gods or cast eye to the deepest hells of existence … spicy tomes reveal the forbidden-most secrets or scan vacant page after page. A wall of inky somnolent bliss … objects strange, bizarre, or disturbing … and an obsequious iron statue armed with a broom welcomes all comers in.

Fafhrd sees the truth of all things through gauzy web. The Mouser finds an object for every wicked desire. The true visage of Ningauble and Sheelba are briefly glimpsed … and Nehwon is in dire danger from merchants most mad.

All this, just for five pennies!

Alcohol

Bubbly wine of Ilthmar.

Characters

Ningauble of the Seven Eyes, Sheelba of the Eyeless Face.

Cities

Ilthmar.

Geography

Great Salt Marsh, Jungles of Klesh, River Hlal.

Money

pennies.

Monsters

The Iron Statue of the Devourers.

Places

Fountain of Dark Abundance, Plaza of Dark Delights, Shrine of the Black Virgin, Spire of Rhan.

Stars

Akul.

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