Jonnie stepped down into a different land.
The barren mountain and its scrub seemed to swim in a soft mist; everything was hazed and faintly blue. It seemed a very beautiful place, but it had dark gorges and inaccessible summits, and there was a secretness about it as though its softness concealed a harsh threat. He had not realized a land could be so different from the bold mountains of his home.
"Secretness" isn't a word, Hubbard. This clunker was edited, right? Was the guy too terrified of your undeserved reputation to do his job? Or did he try to stop you but was overridden by your bloated ego?
And the second paragraph doesn't work. It's a "very beautiful" place of gorges and barren mountains? You contradict yourself right after... eh, screw it.
So Jonnie alternately runs and walks through this desolate place, seeing a few sheep in the distance, before he is confronted with three pointed "stakes" and the spearmen wielding them. "Take his club. Be swift noo," one of them says, and so Jonnie is de-clubbed. Then the Scotsmen - can't you tell they're Scottish? they're wearing kilts and bonnets and everything - try to figure out where their captive is from.
"It's a thief from the Orkneys," said one.
"Na, I ken Orkneymen," said another.
"Could be he's a Swede," said the blonde one. "But no, no Swede dresses so."
"Hush yer prattle," said the old one. "Look in his pouch an' mayhap ye'll find the answer."
Point of order - "Na" should be "nay" or "nae." But yeah, get used to this, the Scots will be rendered with full glorious accents - or what L. Ron thinks is a Scottish accent is anyway - for the rest of the book.
Jonnie laughs and says he's a messenger, and asks to be taken to their village. They ask if he's a Sassenach or someone from "Clanargyll" here to make peace, but a still laughing Jonnie says they'll "fall over on [their] backside" if he tells them, and says his message is for their parson or mayor. And so he is on his way to meet the Chief of the Clan, Fearghus, when our chapter ends near the top of page 200.
It could be worse. I hear that for his Mission Earth series Hubbard tried to write a Southern accent that changed from page to page and resembled no portrayal of the dialect before or since.
Back to Chapter Seven