Chapter 12 Summary

Infadoos leads the way out of Loo, journeying for more than an hour as the eclipse passes. They go to a flat-topped hill, shaped like a horseshoe. There is a camping ground at the top where there is usually one regiment of three thousand men, but they see that there are several regiments gathered there.

Infadoos had sent for the white men’s goods along with Captain Good’s trousers, which he gratefully puts on at last. Infadoos regrets that he can no longer see Good’s “beautiful white legs.”

Infadoos explains that he has commanded all the regiments to muster at dawn. There are about twenty thousand warriors supporting Ignosi, although Twala has about thirty-five thousand with the prospect of more coming.

Ignosi stands before the soldiers and proclaims himself the king, daring anyone to challenge him if they do not believe him. Nobody responds to this challenge. He promises them that once he is king, the bloodshed will cease in the land. There will be no more witch hunts. No one shall die except those who break the law. The people respond that they have chosen Ignosi as their king.

Half an hour later, Quartermain, Good, and Sir Henry join the commanders of the regiments in a council of war. Knowing that they face an overwhelming force, the soldiers begin to strengthen their position in whatever way seems possible. They collect boulders to roll down on the invaders. The paths coming up the hill are blocked.

At sundown, a herald from Loo arrives, bearing a message from Twala. The king says that no one will be killed except for Infadoos, Scragga, and Sir Henry, who will all die by torture. Quartermain sends the herald back with a message of contempt and challenge.

The warriors continue to work through the night, fortifying the hill as much as possible. At last, they try to get some sleep before the battle coming the next day. Sir Henry points out to Quartermain that it is doubtful that all of the white men will survive, but he would prefer dying in battle than by any other means.

The following morning, they dress for the fight. Sir Henry puts on his chain mail and dresses as a Kukuana warrior. Quartermain is impressed with Sir Henry, seeing that this native dress shows off his physical strength to his greatest advantage. Infadoos reports that Twala’s warriors are going to attack the hill on three sides, which will weaken Ignosi’s forces’ position.