Vizaphmal in Ophiuchus (Synopsis)

Clark Ashton Smith


Tsandai, a savant of Zothique, a world of one of the suns of Ophiuchus, has fallen foul of the local scientific fraternity in general; and they are about to turn him, by the use of a transforming-ray, into a low, brainless type of monster. Vizaphmal, the Antarean wizard-scientist, using his space-annihilator at random, for the sake of adventure, appears in the chamber where the transformation is about to take place. Comprehending the situation telepathically, he rescues Tsandai and carries him away to ^the uninhabited equatorial zones of the planet^ [another portion of the planet].


Here Vizaphmal brings the space-annihilator to rest, while Tsandai explains the ideas that had brought him into disrepute with his confreres. While they are conversing, the annihilator is surrounded by a forest of night-growing vegetable organisms, which attack and try to devour it, though unsuccessfully . Vizaphmal is about to start for one of the moons of Zothique, where Tsandai has expressed a desire to be taken, when the mechanism of the annihilator refuses to work.


In the meanwhile, the annihilator has been televisually located by the savants of Zothique, who follow and capture it, blasting with zero-rays the exuberant vegetation that has surrounded it. he annihilator, with Tsandai and Vizaphmal inside, is carried like a cage to ^Mlair^ [Psannobic], the city from which Vizaphmal had rescued Tsandai. Here the savants try to break it open in vain, since the material of which it is made resists every force or element of which they are masters.


At last they drop the annihilator into a bottomless pit in their insane rage; Vizaphmal and Tsandai are stunned by the shock of the fall. When they recover, the annihilator is floating in a subterranean sea of burning bitumen. Vizaphmal finds that the fall has restored the mechanism to working-order; and they re-ascend to the surface of the world.


Here they find that the persecution of Tsandai, who is immensely popular with the people in general, has brought about an uprising against the authority of the scientists, who had virtually ruled Zothique. Tsandai and Vizaphmal are received with acclamations; and leaving Tsandai in a position of impregnable power, the Antarean departs for other worlds.

^xxx^ xxx was added by Smith.
[xxx] xxx was deleted by Smith.
{April 1930}

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