In the distance, below, perhaps five pasangs away, in the hot, concave, white salt bleakness, like a vast, white, shallow bowl, pasangs wide, there were compounds, low, white buildings of mud brick, plastered. There were many of them. They were hard to see in the distance, in the light, but I could make them out.
“Klima,” said Hamid.
“I have made the march to Klima,” said one of the prisoners. He cried out, elatedly, “I have made the march to Klima!” It was the man who had, for many of the days, cried out for us to be slain. It was he who had, since the noon halt of four days ago, been silent.
I looked at the prisoners. We looked at one another. Our bodies were burned black by the sun. The flesh, in many places, had cracked. Lighter colored flesh could be seen beneath. There was salt on us, to our thighs. The leather wrappings about our legs were in tatters. Our necks and bodies were abraded, raw from collar and chain. In the last days we had been denied salt. Our bodies were cruel with cramps and weakness. But we stood, all of us, and straight, for we had come to Klima.
Twenty had come to Klima.
The first prisoner, whose bonds had been removed, was thrust in the direction of the compounds. He began to stagger down the slope toward the valley, slipping in the crusts, sometimes sinking in to his knees.
One by one the prisoners were freed. None attempted to flee into the desert. Each, as he was freed, began to trudge toward Klima. There was nowhere else to go.
The man, who had cried out, “I have made the match to Klima!” was freed. He staggered toward the compounds, running, half falling, down the long slope.
Hassan and I were freed. Together we trudged toward Klima, following the straggling line of men before us.
We came upon a figure, fallen in the salt. It was be who had run ahead, who had cried out, disbelievingly, joyously, “I have made the march to Klima!”
We turned the body over in the salt. “He is dead,” said Hassan.
Together, Hassan and I rose to our feet.
Nineteen had come to Klima. (John Norman: Tribesmen of Gor)