Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/125

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The Centaurians

of beads handy), consequently we suggested to Potolili to remain with us and personally hand over his "discovery" to the Centaurians. Potolili coughed slightly and declined our suggestion, informing us his escort ended at the frontier of the Octrogona reservation; a formidable, but cowardly tribe, with whom at present he was at war. Bands of both tribes were continually meeting in conflict and he considered us safer without him.

"These wretched savages would have seized you long ago," he added; "but fear us and dare not venture beyond the limit of their own land. The cause of the present war? Women! Old Octrogona very conveniently died recently and the young devil was proclaimed chief. His first act was for war; he seized my daughter, who is the most beautiful thing ever created. He imprisoned her and forced her to become his bride. Women willingly mated to the Octrogonas are outcasts; those forced into union are martyrs. My daughter is a martyr—what a fate! I will kill Octrogona on sight!"

We murmured sympathy. Potolili suddenly seemed greatly cast down, though his gayety while traveling with us would never lead one to believe he had just lost a beautiful daughter.

"Yes," he continued, "they have gone too far; they are progressing, becoming bolder; but I will exterminate them—that is their fate. For two centuries we have been warring with these people for this same offence—they will pilfer us of our women. The Octrogonas are doomed; we shall overcome and command them. It cannot be otherwise, we