It was at the end of his military period in a central asian country when Sinclair, who had lost his troops a week earlier and had been wandering through the jungle since, came upon a small village in a green valley. Strangely, at entering the village, nobody paid attention to him. No barefoot kids with wet noses came out running towards him, as they did with Captain Haddock in Tibet. No bare chested village elder came out to receive him with honours, as they did with Captain Bontekoe on Sumatra. No barely clad virgins came out to receive him, as they did with Captain Thunderrod on Tahiti. The only thing he met when he entered the primitive settlement was the noise of excited people, yelling and screaming, from somewhere within this small group of huts. It was to the origin of this noise that he set his steps.
He came upon a square that was crowded with people, except for the centre, where four men with long beards sat behind a desk. In front of them, on the dusty ground, sat a veiled woman, with her hands bound behind her back. Nobody paid attention to Sinclair, while he moved forwards through the yelling crowd and stopped just short of the clear centre. One of the bearded man exclaimed something in his language which Sinclair did not understand, and then pointed at the woman. The men stood up and the people around Sinclair lifted their hands. He saw that all of them were carrying stones.
“Stop”, yelled Sinclair.