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The Project Gutenberg Etext of Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Upon a massive bench of polished ersite beneath the gorgeous
blooms of a giant pimalia a woman sat. Her shapely, sandalled
foot tapped impatiently upon the jewel-strewn walk that wound
beneath the stately sorapus trees across the scarlet sward of the
royal gardens of Thuvan Dihn, Jeddak of Ptarth, as a dark-haired,
redskinned warrior bent low toward her, whispering heated words
close to her ear.
The girl sprang to her feet with an exclamation of surprise
and displeasure. Her queenly head was poised haughtily upon her
smooth red shoulders. Her dark eyes looked angrily into those of
The man reached suddenly forth and grasped her by the arm.
At touch of the man's hand upon her flesh the girl went pallid
beneath her coppery skin, for the persons of the royal women of
the courts of Mars are held but little less than sacred. The act
of Astok, Prince of Dusar, was profanation. There was no terror
in the eyes of Thuvia of Ptarth--only horror for the thing the
man had done and for its possible consequences.
The man muttered incoherently and drew her roughly toward
Quickly he threw his right arm about her shoulders and strove
to draw her face to his lips. With a little cry she struck him
full in the mouth with the massive bracelets that circled her
In answer to her call a dozen guardsmen came racing across the
scarlet sward, their gleaming long-swords naked in the sun, the
metal of their accoutrements clanking against that of their
leathern harness, and in their throats hoarse shouts of rage at
the sight which met their eyes.
There was a difference, too, in his movements. He came on in
great leaps that carried him so swiftly over the ground that the
speed of the guardsmen was as nothing by comparison.
"Calot!" he snapped, and then his clenched fist landed beneath
the other's chin, lifting him high into the air and depositing
him in a crumpled heap within the centre of the pimalia bush
beside the ersite bench.
"Kaor, Carthoris of Helium!" the princess returned the young
man's greeting, "and what less could one expect of the son of
such a sire?"
Astok would have leaped to mortal combat with the son of Dejah
Thoris, but the guardsmen pressed about him, preventing, though
it was clearly evident that naught would have better pleased
Carthoris of Helium.
"It cannot be, Carthoris," she replied. "Even though he has
forfeited all claim upon my consideration, yet is he the guest of
the jeddak, my father, and to him alone may he account for the
unpardonable act he has committed."
The maid's cheek darkened beneath the satin of her transparent
skin, and the eyes of Astok, Prince of Dusar, darkened, too, as
he read that which passed unspoken between the two in the royal
gardens of the jeddak.
The guard still surrounded Astok. It was a difficult position
for the young officer who commanded it. His prisoner was the son
of a mighty jeddak; he was the guest of Thuvan Dihn--until but
now an honoured guest upon whom every royal dignity had been
showered. To arrest him forcibly could mean naught else than war,
and yet he had done that which in the eyes of the Ptarth warrior
By a word she might plunge these two mighty nations into a
bloody conflict that would drain them of their bravest blood and
their incalculable riches, leaving them all helpless against the
inroads of their envious and less powerful neighbors, and at last
a prey to the savage green hordes of the dead sea-bottoms.
"I called you, Padwar," she said to the lieutenant of the
guard, "to protect the person of your princess, and to keep the
peace that must not be violated within the royal gardens of the
jeddak. That is all. You will escort me to the palace, and the
Prince of Helium will accompany me."
Beside the pimalia stood Astok, his dark eyes narrowed to mere
slits of hate beneath his lowering brows as he watched the
retreating forms of the woman who had aroused the fiercest
passions of his nature and the man whom he now believed to be the
one who stood between his love and its consummation.
That night he took formal leave of Thuvan Dihn, and though no
mention was made of the happening within the garden, it was plain
to see through the cold mask of the jeddak's courtesy that only
the customs of royal hospitality restrained him from voicing the
contempt he felt for the Prince of Dusar.
But, after all, was it so foreign?
As the warship, bearing Astok back to the court of his father,
turned toward the west, Thuvia of Ptarth, sitting upon the same
bench where the Prince of Dusar had affronted her, watched the
twinkling lights of the craft growing smaller in the distance.
Beside her, in the brilliant light of the nearer moon, sat
Carthoris. His eyes were not upon the dim bulk of the battleship,
but on the profile of the girl's upturned face.
The girl turned her eyes toward his. His hand stole out to
find hers, but she drew her own gently away.
She shook her head sadly. "The love of Carthoris of Helium,"
she said simply, "could be naught but an honour to any woman; but
you must not speak, my friend, of bestowing upon me that which I
may not reciprocate."
"But at Kadabra!" he exclaimed. "And later here at your
father's court, what did you do, Thuvia of Ptarth, that might
have warned me that you could not return my love?"
He paused in thought, and then shook his head. "Nothing,
Thuvia, that is true; yet I could have sworn you loved me.
Indeed, you well knew how near to worship has been my love for
"But you MUST have known it!" he exclaimed. "I am like my
father--witless in matters of the heart, and of a poor way with
women; yet the jewels that strew these royal garden paths--the
trees, the flowers, the sward-all must have read the love that
has filled my heart since first my eyes were made new by imaging
your perfect face and form; so how could you alone have been
blind to it?"
"You are playing with me!" exclaimed Carthoris. "Say that you
are but playing, and that after all you love me, Thuvia!"
Her tone was level, but was there not within it the hint of an
infinite depth of sadness? Who may say?
"Carthoris of Helium wishes you every happiness with the man
of your choice," he said. "With--" and then he hesitated, waiting
for her to fill in the name.
The young man looked at her intently for a moment before he
"I am promised to him," she replied simply.
Carthoris of Helium did not ask, though he noted it, for his
loyalty to Kulan Tith was the loyalty of the blood of John Carter
of Virginia for a friend, greater than which could be no
"To the honour and happiness of Kulan Tith and the priceless
jewel that has been bestowed upon him," he said, and though his
voice was husky there was the true ring of sincerity in it. "I
told you that I loved you, Thuvia, before I knew that you were
promised to another. I may not tell you it again, but I am glad
that you know it, for there is no dishonour in it either to you
or to Kulan Tith or to myself. My love is such that it may
embrace as well Kulan Tith--if you love him." There was almost a
question in the statement.
Carthoris backed slowly away. He laid one hand upon his heart,
the other upon the pommel of his long-sword.
Had he returned at once he would have found her prone upon the
ersite bench, her face buried in her arms. Was she weeping? There
was none to see.
To Thuvan Dihn he explained that he had been but testing an
invention of his own with which his flier was equipped--a clever
improvement of the ordinary Martian air compass, which, when set
for a certain destination, will remain constantly fixed thereon,
making it only necessary to keep a vessel's prow always in the
direction of the compass needle to reach any given point upon
Barsoom by the shortest route.
"You readily discern the advantages of this invention," he was
saying to Thuvan Dihn, who had accompanied him to the
landing-stage upon the palace roof to inspect the compass and bid
his young friend farewell.
"For example," continued Carthoris, "I have an allnight trip
before me, as to-night. I set the pointer here upon the
right-hand dial which represents the eastern hemisphere of
Barsoom, so that the point rests upon the exact latitude and
longitude of Helium. Then I start the engine, roll up in my
sleeping silks and furs, and with lights burning, race through
the air toward Helium, confident that at the appointed hour I
shall drop gently toward the landing-stage upon my own palace,
whether I am still asleep or no."
Carthoris smiled. "No danger of that," he replied. "See here,"
and he indicated a device at the right of the destination
compass. "This is my `obstruction evader,' as I call it. This
visible device is the switch which throws the mechanism on or
off. The instrument itself is below deck, geared both to the
steering apparatus and the control levers.
"In aggravated cases, that is when the obstructions are many,
or of such a nature as to deflect the bow more than forty-five
degrees in any direction, or when the craft has reached its
destination and dropped to within a hundred yards of the ground,
the mechanism brings her to a full stop, at the same time
sounding a loud alarm which will instantly awaken the pilot. You
see I have anticipated almost every contingency."
"All but one," he said.
"Wait," he urged. "Let us hear what the man has to say--no
creation of mortal mind is perfect. Perchance he has detected a
weakness that it will be well to know at once. Come, my good
fellow, and what may be the one contingency I have
"Come," urged the Prince of Helium. "Speak!"
"It might be tampered with," he said, "by an enemy."
"Look at this," he said, handing it to the man. "If you know
aught of locks, you will know that the mechanism which this
unlooses is beyond the cunning of a picker of locks. It guards
the vitals of the instrument from crafty tampering. Without it an
enemy must half wreck the device to reach its heart, leaving his
handiwork apparent to the most casual observer."
A moment later Carthoris had made his adieux to Thuvan Dihn
and his nobles, and with lights twinkling had risen into the
star-shot void of the Martian night.
As the ruler of Ptarth, followed by his courtiers, descended
from the landing-stage above the palace, the servants dropped
into their places in the rear of their royal or noble masters,
and behind the others one lingered to the last. Then quickly
stooping he snatched the sandal from his right foot, slipping it
into his pocket-pouch.
To whose retinue he had been attached none had thought to
inquire, for the followers of a Martian noble are many, coming
and going at the whim of their master, so that a new face is
scarcely ever questioned, as the fact that a man has passed
within the palace walls is considered proof positive that his
loyalty to the jeddak is beyond question, so rigid is the
examination of each who seeks service with the nobles of the
It was late in the morning of the next day that a giant
serving man in the harness of the house of a great Ptarth noble
passed out into the city from the palace gates. Along one broad
avenue and then another he strode briskly until he had passed
beyond the district of the nobles and had come to the place of
shops. Here he sought a pretentious building that rose spire-like
toward the heavens, its outer walls elaborately wrought with
delicate carvings and intricate mosaics.
Here the man sought the embassy of Dusar. A clerk arose
questioningly as he entered, and at his request to have a word
with the minister asked his credentials. The visitor slipped a
plain metal armlet from above his elbow, and pointing to an
inscription upon its inner surface, whispered a word or two to
For a long time the two were closeted together, and when at
last the giant serving man emerged from the inner office his
expression was cast in a smile of sinister satisfaction. From the
Palace of Peace he hurried directly to the palace of the Dusarian
Thuvia of Ptarth strolled in the gardens of her father's
palace, as was her nightly custom before retiring. Her silks and
furs were drawn about her, for the air of Mars is chill after the
sun has taken his quick plunge beneath the planet's western
Whether it was pity or regret that saddened her expression as
she gazed toward the southern heavens where she had watched the
lights of his flier disappear the previous night, it would be
difficult to say.
She saw it circle lower above the palace until she was
positive that it but hovered in preparation for a landing.
Then the blazing eye swept onward across the burnished domes
and graceful minarets, down into court and park and garden to
pause at last upon the ersite bench and the girl standing there
beside it, her face upturned full toward the flier.
The girl stood for some time as it had left her, except that
her head was bent and her eyes downcast in thought.
What mad caprice could have induced him so to transgress the
etiquette of nations? For lesser things great powers had gone to
And the guard--what of them? Evidently they, too, had been so
much surprised by the unprecedented action of the stranger that
they had not even challenged; but that they had no thought to let
the thing go unnoticed was quickly evidenced by the skirring of
motors upon the landing-stage and the quick shooting airward of a
long-lined patrol boat.
Within the dense shadows of the skeel grove, in a wide avenue
beneath o'erspreading foliage, a flier hung a dozen feet above
the ground. From its deck keen eyes watched the far-fanning
searchlight of the patrol boat. No light shone from the
enshadowed craft. Upon its deck was the silence of the tomb. Its
crew of a half-dozen red warriors watched the lights of the
patrol boat diminishing in the distance.
"No plan ever carried better," returned another. "They did
precisely as the prince foretold."
"Now!" he whispered. There was no other order given. Every man
upon the craft had evidently been well schooled in each detail of
that night's work. Silently the dark hull crept beneath the
cathedral arches of the dark and silent grove.
She knew that men came not thus with honourable intent. Yet
she did not cry aloud to alarm the near-by guardsmen, nor did she
flee to the safety of the palace.
I can see her shrug her shapely shoulders in reply as she
voices the age-old, universal answer of the woman: Because!
Still she made no sign of alarm, standing as though
hypnotized. Or could it have been as one who awaited a welcome
Thuvia of Ptarth saw only strangers--warriors in the harness
of Dusar. Now she took fright, but too late!
Racing toward the south another flier sped toward Helium. In
its cabin a tall red man bent over the soft sole of an upturned
sandal. With delicate instruments he measured the faint imprint
of a small object which appeared there. Upon a pad beside him was
the outline of a key, and here he noted the results of his
"The man is a genius," he remarked.
The warrior-artificer bowed. "Man builds naught," he said,
"that man may not destroy." Then he left the cabin with the
Upon its bow was emblazoned the signia of a lesser noble of a
far city of the empire of Helium. Its leisurely approach and the
evident confidence with which it moved across the city aroused no
suspicion in the minds of the sleepy guard. Their round of duty
nearly done, they had little thought beyond the coming of those
who were to relieve them.
Without haste the nearest air patrol swung sluggishly about
and approached the stranger. At easy speaking distance the
officer upon her deck hailed the incoming craft.
At about the same time a warrior entered her cabin.
"Good!" exclaimed the latter. "You must have worked upon it
all during the night, Larok."
"Now fetch me the Heliumetic metal you wrought some days
since," commanded Vas Kor.
Vas Kor breakfasted on board. Then he emerged upon the aerial
dock, entered an elevator, and was borne quickly to the street
below, where he was soon engulfed by the early morning throng of
workers hastening to their daily duties.
Vas Kor's destination lay in Greater Helium, which lies some
seventy-five miles across the level plain from Lesser Helium. He
had landed at the latter city because the air patrol is less
suspicious and alert than that above the larger metropolis where
lies the palace of the jeddak.
The pleasant "kaor" of the Barsoomian greeting fell
continually upon the ears of the stranger as friends and
neighbours took up the duties of a new day.
Strains of inspiring music broke pleasantly from open windows,
for the Martians have solved the problem of attuning the nerves
pleasantly to the sudden transition from sleep to waking that
proves so difficult a thing for most Earth folk.
Along the close-cropped sward which paves the avenue ground
fliers were moving in continuous lines in opposite directions.
For the greater part they skimmed along the surface of the sward,
soaring gracefully into the air at times to pass over a
slower-going driver ahead, or at intersections, where the north
and south traffic has the right of way and the east and west must
rise above it.
Yet with all the swift movement and the countless thousands
rushing hither and thither, the predominant suggestion was that
of luxurious ease and soft noiselessness.
At the intersection of two broad avenues Vas Kor descended
from the street level to one of the great pneumatic stations of
the city. Here he paid before a little wicket the fare to his
destination with a couple of the dull, oval coins of Helium.
Vas Kor approached one that was empty. Upon its nose was a
dial and a pointer. He set the pointer for a certain station in
Greater Helium, raised the arched lid of the thing, stepped in
and lay down upon the upholstered bottom. An attendant closed the
lid, which locked with a little click, and the carrier continued
its slow way.
The instant that its entire length was within the black
aperture it sprang forward with the speed of a rifle ball. There
was an instant of whizzing--a soft, though sudden, stop, and
slowly the carrier emerged upon another platform, another
attendant raised the lid and Vas Kor stepped out at the station
beneath the centre of Greater Helium, seventy-five miles from the
point at which he had embarked.
Scarcely had Vas Kor taken his seat when the flier went
quickly into the fast-moving procession, turning presently from
the broad and crowded avenue into a less congested street.
Presently it left the thronged district behind to enter a section
of small shops, where it stopped before the entrance to one which
bore the sign of a dealer in foreign silks.
Then he faced his visitor, saluting deferentially.
"No formalities," he said. "We must forget that I am aught
other than your slave. If all has been as carefully carried out
as it has been planned, we have no time to waste. Instead we
should be upon our way to the slave market. Are you ready?"
Five minutes later the merchant was leading his slave to the
public market, where a great concourse of people filled the great
open space in the centre of which stood the slave block.
One by one the masters mounted the rostrum beside the slave
block upon which stood their chattels. Briefly and clearly each
recounted the virtues of his particular offering.
There was little haggling as to price, and none at all when
Vas Kor was placed upon the block. His merchantmaster accepted
the first offer that was made for him, and thus a Dusarian noble
entered the household of Carthoris.
The day following the coming of Vas Kor to the palace of the
Prince of Helium great excitement reigned throughout the twin
cities, reaching its climax in the palace of Carthoris. Word had
come of the abduction of Thuvia of Ptarth from her father's
court, and with it the veiled hint that the Prince of Helium
might be suspected of considerable knowledge of the act and the
whereabouts of the princess.
"There must be no war between Ptarth and Helium, my son," said
John Carter. "That you are innocent of the charge that has been
placed against you by insinuation, we well know; but Thuvan Dihn
must know it well, too.
"Go! I know that I do not need to urge upon you the necessity
Here slaves were busy in a moment setting things to rights for
the departure of their master. Several worked about the swift
flier that would bear the Prince of Helium rapidly toward
One of the guardsmen, a giant of a fellow across whose right
cheek there ran a thin scar from temple to mouth, approached his
companion. His gaze was directed beyond and above his comrade.
When he had come quite close he spoke.
The other turned about quickly to gaze heavenward. Scarce was
his back turned toward the giant than the short-sword of the
latter was plunged beneath his left shoulder blade, straight
through his heart.
Drawing a cunningly wrought key from his pocket-pouch, he
removed the cover of the right-hand dial of the controlling
destination compass. For a moment he studied the construction of
the mechanism beneath. Then he returned the dial to its place,
set the pointer, and removed it again to note the resultant
change in the position of the parts affected by the act.
Now he turned his attention to the western dial. This he set
upon a certain point. Afterward he removed the cover of this dial
also, and with keen tool cut the steel finger from the under side
of the pointer.
Presently came Carthoris, accompanied by but a handful of his
gentlemen. He cast but a casual glance upon the single slave who
stood guard. The fellow's thin, cruel lips, and the sword-cut
that ran from temple to mouth aroused the suggestion of an
unpleasant memory within him. He wondered where Saran Tal had
found the man-- then the matter faded from his thoughts, and in
another moment the Prince of Helium was laughing and chatting
with his companions, though below the surface his heart was cold
with dread, for what contingencies confronted Thuvia of Ptarth he
could not even guess.
It could not have been he, thought Carthoris, for on the very
night that Thuvia was taken Astok had been in Dusar, and yet- He
entered the flier, exchanging casual remarks with his companions
as he unlocked the mechanism of the compass and set the pointer
upon the capital city of Ptarth.
Scarce had the flier found its speed ere the man, wrapping his
sleeping silks and furs about him, stretched at full length upon
the narrow deck to sleep.
Instead, his thoughts ran riot in his brain, driving sleep
away. He recalled the words of Thuvia of Ptarth, words that had
half assured him that she loved him; for when he had asked her if
she loved Kulan Tith, she had answered only that she was promised
But what assurance was there that the other was Carthoris of
With such pleasant thoughts filling him alternately with
despair and rage, Carthoris at last dropped into the sleep of
utter mental exhaustion.
In the distance rose low hills. Toward these the craft was
headed. As it approached them, a great promontory might have been
seen from its deck, stretching out into what had once been a
mighty ocean, and circling back once more to enclose the
forgotten harbour of a forgotten city, which still stretched back
from its deserted quays, an imposing pile of wondrous
architecture of a long-dead past.
Closer came the flier, but now its speed was diminishing--yet
this was not Ptarth.
Carthoris sprang to his feet. Below him he looked to see the
teeming metropolis of Ptarth. Beside him, already, there should
have been an air patrol.
No patrol boat lay ready with its familiar challenge. Silent
and empty lay the great city--empty and silent the surrounding
Carthoris examined the dial of his compass. The pointer was
set upon Ptarth. Could the creature of his genius have thus
betrayed him? He would not believe it.
Who could have done the thing--and why?
If it had been the purpose of some enemy to delay him, he had
succeeded well, thought Carthoris, as he unlocked the cover of
the second dial the first having shown that its pointer had not
been set at all.
He had just time to judge his location roughly at some place
south-west of Helium, and at a considerable distance from the
twin cities, when he was startled by a woman's scream beneath
Carthoris waited to see no more. Reaching for the control
board, he sent his craft racing plummet-like toward the
Once the woman turned her face upward toward the falling
flier, and in the single swift glance Carthoris saw that it was
Thuvia of Ptarth!
When the light of day broke upon the little craft to whose
deck the Princess of Ptarth had been snatched from her father's
garden, Thuvia saw that the night had wrought a change in her
The girl felt renewed hope, for she could not believe that in
the heart of Carthoris could lie intent to harm her.
"Last night you wore the trappings of a Dusarian," she said.
"Now your metal is that of Helium. What means it?"
"The Prince of Helium is no fool," he said.
No harm was offered her during the journey, and so they came
at last to their destination with the girl no wiser as to her
abductors or their purpose than at first.
Thuvia of Ptarth was no stranger to such places. During her
wanderings in search of the River Iss, that time she had set out
upon what, for countless ages, had been the last, long pilgrimage
of Martians, toward the Valley Dor, where lies the Lost Sea of
Korus, she had encountered several of these sad reminders of the
greatness and the glory of ancient Barsoom.
She knew, too, that many of them were used now by the nomadic
tribes of green men, but that among them all was no city that the
red men did not shun, for without exception they stood amidst
vast, waterless tracts, unsuited for the continued sustenance of
the dominant race of Martians.
For two days her captors kept her within a huge palace that
even in decay reflected the splendour of the age which its youth
"He should be here by dawn," one was saying. "Have her in
readiness upon the plaza--else he will never land. The moment he
finds that he is in a strange country he will turn
about--methinks the prince's plan is weak in this one spot."
Just then the speaker caught the eyes of Thuvia upon him,
revealed by the quick-moving patch of light cast by Thuria in her
mad race through the heavens.
"Stand here," he commanded, "until we come for you. We shall
be watching, and should you attempt to escape it will go ill with
you--much worse than death. Such are the prince's orders."
To Thuvia, however, the real danger of attack by one of these
ferocious, manlike beasts was quite sufficient. She no longer
believed in the weird soul transmigration that the therns had
taught her before she was rescued from their clutches by John
Carter; but she well knew the horrid fate that awaited her should
one of the terrible beasts chance to spy her during its nocturnal
Surely she could not be mistaken. Something had moved,
stealthily, in the shadow of one of the great monoliths that line
the avenue where it entered the plaza opposite her!
He had ridden far that night, and fast, for he had but come
from the despoiling of the incubator of a neighbouring green
horde with which the hordes of Torquas were perpetually
Within the tiny stems of this dry-seeming plant is sufficient
moisture for the needs of the huge bodies of the mighty thoats,
which can exist for months without water, and for days without
even the slight moisture which the ochre moss contains.
The man was a splendid specimen of his race. Fully fifteen
feet towered his great height from sole to pate. The moonlight
glistened against his glossy green hide, sparkling the jewels of
his heavy harness and the ornaments that weighted his four
muscular arms, while the upcurving tusks that protruded from his
lower jaw gleamed white and terrible.
His protruding eyes and antennae-like ears were turning
constantly hither and thither, for Thar Ban was yet in the
country of the enemy, and, too, there was always the menace of
the great white apes, which, John Carter was wont to say, are the
only creatures that can arouse in the breasts of these fierce
denizens of the dead sea-bottoms even the remotest semblance of
Thar Ban dismounted. Keeping in the shadows of the great
monoliths that line the Avenue of Quays of sleeping Aaanthor, he
approached the plaza. Directly behind him, as a hound at heel,
came the slate-grey thoat, his white belly shadowed by his
barrel, his vivid yellow feet merging into the yellow of the moss
Thar Ban watched until he had disappeared within the yawning
portal. Here was a captive worth having! Seldom did a female of
their hereditary enemies fall to the lot of a green man. Thar Ban
licked his thin lips.
But no! Now, clearly and distinctly, she saw it move. It came
from behind the screening shelter of the ersite shaft.
Swiftly it sprang toward her. She screamed and tried to flee;
but she had scarce turned toward the palace when a giant hand
fell upon her arm, she was whirled about, and half dragged, half
carried toward a huge thoat that was slowly grazing out of the
avenue's mouth on to the ochre moss of the plaza.
Now from behind her came the shouts of her red abductors. They
were racing madly after him who dared to steal what they already
Such is the uncanny marksmanship of these Martian savages that
three red warriors dropped in their tracks as three projectiles
exploded in their vitals.
Then Thar Ban vaulted to the back of his thoat, Thuvia of
Ptarth still in his arms, and with a savage cry of triumph
disappeared down the black canyon of the Avenue of Quays between
the sullen palaces of forgotten Aaanthor.
They had lost the girl. That would be a difficult thing to
explain to Astok; but some leniency might be expected could they
carry the Prince of Helium to their master instead.
Carthoris' long-sword had been already in his hand as he
leaped from the deck of the flier, so the instant that he
realized the menace of the three red warriors, he wheeled to face
them, meeting their onslaught as only John Carter himself might
Now the two remaining Dusarians rushed simultaneously upon the
Heliumite. Three long-swords clashed and sparkled in the
moonlight, until the great white apes, roused from their
slumbers, crept to the lowering windows of the dead city to view
the bloody scene beneath them.
A single cut of his heavy sword severed the head of one of
them, and then the other, backing away clear of that point of
death, turned and fled toward the palace at his back.
Turning quickly toward his flier, he was soon rising from the
plaza in pursuit of Thar Ban.
Few red men are good shots, for the sword is their chosen
weapon; so now as the Dusarian drew bead upon the rising flier,
and touched the button upon his rifle's stock, it was more to
chance than proficiency that he owed the partial success of his
The momentum the air boat had gained carried her on over the
city toward the sea-bottom beyond.
In the distance before him Carthoris could see the green
warrior bearing Thuvia of Ptarth away upon his mighty thoat. The
direction of his flight was toward the north-west of Aaanthor,
where lay a mountainous country little known to red men.
A splinter from the projectile had damaged one of the control
levers beyond the possibility of repair outside a machine shop;
but after considerable tinkering, Carthoris was able to propel
his wounded flier at low speed, a rate which could not approach
the rapid gait of the thoat, whose eight long, powerful legs
carried it over the ochre vegetation of the dead sea-bottom at
But even this meagre satisfaction was soon to be denied him,
for presently the flier commenced to sag toward the port and by
the bow. The damage to the buoyancy tanks had evidently been more
grievous than he had at first believed.
His forward movement was now confined to a slow drifting with
the gentle breeze that blew out of the south-east, and when this
died down with the setting of the sun, he let the flier sink
gently to the mossy carpet beneath.
All that night he forged ahead until, with the dawning of a
new day, he entered the low foothills that guard the approach to
the fastness of the mountains of Torquas.
Across the yielding moss of the sea-bottom there had been no
spoor to follow, for the soft pads of the thoat but pressed down
in his swift passage the resilient vegetation which sprang up
again behind his fleeting feet, leaving no sign.
Yet, search as he would, the baffling mystery of the trail
seemed likely to remain for ever unsolved.
Crouching quickly behind a large rock, Carthoris watched the
thing before him. It was a huge banth, one of those savage
Barsoomian lions that roam the desolate hills of the dying
As Carthoris watched him, a great hope leaped into the man's
heart. Here, possibly, might lie the solution to the mystery he
had been endeavouring to solve. This hungry carnivore, keen
always for the flesh of man, might even now be trailing the two
whom Carthoris sought.
Carthoris had followed the creature for but a few minutes when
it disappeared as suddenly and mysteriously as though dissolved
into thin air.
Before him loomed the sheer cliff, its face unbroken by any
aperture into which the huge banth might have wormed its great
carcass. Beside him was a small, flat boulder, not larger than
the deck of a ten-man flier, nor standing to a greater height
than twice his own stature.
Cautiously, with drawn long-sword, Carthoris crept around the
corner of the rock. There was no banth there, but something which
surprised him infinitely more than would the presence of twenty
Carthoris did not know, nor, with the thought that had been
spurring him onward upon the trail of the creature uppermost in
his mind, did he much care; for into this gloomy cavern he was
sure the banth had trailed the green man and his captive, and
into it he, too, would follow, content to give his life in the
service of the woman he loved.
THE FAIR RACE
Before him he could hear the occasional low moans of the
banth, and presently from behind came a similar uncanny note.
Another banth had entered the passageway on HIS trail!
No other sounds came to his ears than the dismal, bloodthirsty
moanings of the beast ahead and the beast behind.
Now it was running almost level, and presently he noted a
Now he could hear the breathing of the banth at his heels. Not
for much longer could he delay the encounter.
The sun had been setting as he entered the tunnel, and the way
had been sufficiently long to assure him that darkness now
reigned upon the world without. He glanced behind him. Blazing
out of the darkness, seemingly not ten paces behind, glared two
flaming points of fire. As the savage eyes met his, the beast
emitted a frightful roar and then he charged.
He had the brute's eyes to guide his point, and, as true as
the sword hand of his mighty sire, his guided the keen point to
one of those blazing orbs, even as he leaped lightly to one
Again the needle point met its flashing target. Again the
horrid cry of the stricken beast reverberated through the rocky
tunnel, shocking in its torture-laden shrillness, deafening in
its terrific volume.
Yet, if he could not see his antagonist, neither could his
antagonist now see him.
So quickly was the thing over that Carthoris could scarce
believe his senses as the mighty body rushed madly past him.
Either he had not placed himself in the centre of the tunnel, or
else the blinded banth had erred in its calculations.
Carthoris, too, followed the same direction, nor was it long
before his heart was gladdened by the sight of the moonlit exit
from the long, dark passage.
Beneath the glorious effulgence of the two moons the scene was
one of indescribable loveliness, tinged with the weirdness of
The huge beast, his tawny mane bristling around his hideous
head, kept his eyes fixed upon another banth that charged
erratically hither and thither, with shrill screams of pain, and
horrid roars of hate and rage.
The harness was still upon the body of the huge Martian mount,
and Carthoris could not doubt but that this was the very animal
upon which the green warrior had borne away Thuvia of Ptarth.
Human flesh is the food most craved by the fierce Barsoomian
lion, whose great carcass and giant thews require enormous
quantities of meat to sustain them.
Now the sightless banth, in its savage, aimless charging and
counter-charging, had passed beyond the kill of its fellow, and
there the light breeze that was blowing wafted the scent of new
blood to its nostrils.
When the charging banth was twenty paces from the dead thoat
the killer gave vent to its hideous challenge, and with a mighty
spring leaped forward to meet it.
Hurrying to the side of the dead thoat, he searched for traces
of the girl he feared had shared the thoat's fate, but nowhere
could he discover anything to confirm his fears.
As he picked it up his first glance showed him that it was a
woman's hair ornament, and emblazoned upon it was the insignia of
the royal house of Ptarth.
Carthoris half choked as the dire possibilities which the
thing suggested presented themselves to his imagination. Yet he
could not, would not believe it.
Upon his already jewel-encrusted harness, to the strap that
crossed his great chest beneath which beat his loyal heart,
Carthoris, Prince of Helium, fastened the gleaming thing that
Thuvia of Ptarth had worn, and wearing, had made holy to the
For the most part the giant trees shut off his view to any but
the most limited distances. Occasionally he caught glimpses of
the towering hills that bounded the valley upon every side, and
though they stood out clear beneath the light of the two moons,
he knew that they were far off, and that the extent of the valley
Guided by the noise of these habitually angry beasts, he stole
forward through the trees until at last he came upon a level,
treeless plain, in the centre of which a mighty city reared its
burnished domes and vividly coloured towers.
But what city could it be? His studies had taught him that in
this little-explored portion of Barsoom the fierce tribe of
Torquasian green men ruled supreme, and that as yet no red man
had succeeded in piercing to the heart of their domain to return
again to the world of civilization.
That he was within the boundary of Torquas, Carthoris was
sure, but that there existed there such a wondrous city he never
had dreamed, nor had the chronicles of the past even hinted at
such a possibility, for the Torquasians were known to live, as
did the other green men of Mars, within the deserted cities that
dotted the dying planet, nor ever had any green horde built so
much as a single edifice, other than the low-walled incubators
where their young are hatched by the sun's heat.
That they were beings like himself he was sure, though they
were at too great distance from him for him to be positive that
they were red men.
Then Carthoris, keeping within the shelter of the trees that
fringed the plain, began circling the rear of the besiegers'
line, hoping against hope that somewhere he would obtain sight of
Thuvia of Ptarth, for even now he could not believe that she was
Here seemed to be the principal force of the attacking horde.
Here a great platform had been erected whereon Carthoris could
see squatting a huge green warrior, surrounded by others of his
As the Heliumite watched he saw another green warrior push his
way forward toward the rostrum. Beside him he dragged a captive,
and as the surrounding warriors parted to let the two pass,
Carthoris caught a fleeting glimpse of the prisoner.
It was with difficulty that Carthoris restrained the impulse
to rush forward to the side of the Ptarthian princess; but in the
end his better judgment prevailed, for in the face of such odds
he knew that he should have been but throwing away, uselessly,
any future opportunity he might have to succour her.
Then the son of John Carter, Jeddak of Jeddaks, Warlord of
Barsoom, went mad. The old, blood-red haze through which his sire
had glared at countless foes, floated before his eyes.
The Torquasians were not looking in the direction of the
forest. All eyes had been upon the figures of the girl and their
jeddak, and loud was the hideous laughter that rang out in
appreciation of the wit of the green emperor's reply to his
prisoner's appeal for liberty.
Upon a high tower within the beleaguered city a man appeared.
From his upturned mouth there issued a series of frightful
shrieks; uncanny shrieks that swept, shrill and terrifying,
across the city's walls, over the heads of the besiegers, and out
across the forest to the uttermost confines of the valley.
It was but the first. From every point rose similar savage
cries, until the world seemed to tremble to their
And then the great gate in the city wall opposite the platform
of Hortan Gur swung suddenly wide. From it issued as strange a
sight as Carthoris ever had witnessed, though at the moment he
had time to cast but a single fleeting glance at the tall bowmen
emerging through the portal behind their long, oval shields; to
note their flowing auburn hair; and to realize that the growling
things at their side were fierce Barsoomian lions.
Even to the famous fighting smile of the Virginian was the
resemblance true. And the sword arm! Ah, the subtleness of it,
and the speed!
Thar Ban and another by the side of the rostrum had been the
first to note the coming of Carthoris, and it was with them he
battled for possession of the red girl, while the others hastened
to meet the host advancing from the beleaguered city.
He succeeded in reaching the rostrum, over the dead bodies of
two warriors who had turned to join Thar Ban and his companion in
repulsing this adventurous red man, just as Hortan Gur was about
to leap from it to the back of his thoat.
As Carthoris leaped to the rostrum he drew Thuvia up beside
him, and then he turned upon the departing jeddak with an angry
challenge and a sword thrust.
Instead of remaining to battle with the red man, Hortan Gur
promised him his attention after he had disposed of the
presumptuous citizens of the walled city, and, leaping astride
his thoat, galloped off to meet the rapidly advancing bowmen.
Between them and the city raged a terrific battle. The
fair-skinned warriors, armed only with their long bows and a kind
of short-handled war-axe, were almost helpless beneath the savage
mounted green men at close quarters; but at a distance their
sharp arrows did fully as much execution as the radium
projectiles of the green men.
The numbers of the citizenry, too, was to their advantage, for
it seemed that scarce a warrior fell but his place was taken by a
score more, in such a constant stream did they pour from the
city's great gate.
That neither was struck by a bullet or an arrow seemed a
miracle to both; but at last the tide had rolled completely past
them, so that they were alone between the fighters and the city,
except for the dying and the dead, and a score or so of growling
banths, less well trained than their fellows, who prowled among
the corpses seeking meat.
Death seemed to follow instantly the slightest pinprick of a
bowman's arrow, nor apparently did one ever miss its goal. There
could be but one explanation: the missiles were
"Where are we, Thuvia?" he asked.
"Who should know better than the Prince of Helium?" she asked
in return. "Did he not come hither of his own free will?"
"It had been intimated that I had guilty knowledge of your
abduction," he explained simply, "and I was hastening to the
jeddak, your father, to convince him of the falsity of the
charge, and to give my service to your recovery. Before I left
Helium some one tampered with my compass, so that it bore me to
Aaanthor instead of to Ptarth. That is all. You believe me?"
"You believe that I did this thing, Thuvia?" he asked.
"I did not do it, Thuvia," he said. "But let me be entirely
honest with you. As much as I love your father, as much as I
respect Kulan Tith, to whom you are betrothed, as well as I know
the frightful consequences that must have followed such an act of
mine, hurling into war, as it would, three of the greatest
nations of Barsoom--yet, notwithstanding all this, I should not
have hesitated to take you thus, Thuvia of Ptarth, had you even
hinted that it would not have displeased YOU.
Thuvia of Ptarth looked into his face for several moments. Her
breast was rising and falling as though to some resistless
emotion. She half took a step toward him. Her lips parted as
though to speak--swiftly and impetuously.
"The future acts of the Prince of Helium," she said coldly,
"must constitute the proof of his past honesty of purpose."
He had half hoped that she might hint that his love would be
acceptable--certainly there was due him at least a little
gratitude for his recent acts in her behalf; but the best he
received was cold scepticism.
Of course she had not meant to hurt him. He might have known
that after what he had said she could not do anything to
encourage him! But he need not have made his indifference quite
so palpable. The men of Helium were noted for their
gallantry--not for boorishness. Possibly it was the Earth blood
that flowed in his veins.
He reverted to his original question.
"Nor I," replied the girl. "Those who stole me from Ptarth
spoke among themselves of Aaanthor, so that I thought it possible
that the ancient city to which they took me was that famous ruin;
but where we may be now I have no idea."
Thuvia was looking toward the forest into which the green men
and the pursuing bowmen had disappeared. From a great distance
came the hideous cries of banths, and an occasional shot.
"One would expect to see the wounded limping or being carried
back to the city," replied Carthoris, with a puzzled frown. "But
how about the wounded nearer the city? Have they carried them
There were the banths, still growling about their hideous
"Where are they?" he whispered. "WHAT HAS BECOME OF THEIR DEAD
The girl looked her incredulity.
"And now," continued Carthoris, "there remain but the banths
and the carcasses of the green men."
"It is impossible!" replied Carthoris. "Thousands of dead lay
there upon the field but a moment since. It would have required
many hours to have removed them. The thing is uncanny."
"Let us chance it," replied Carthoris. "We can be no worse off
within their walls than without. Here we may fall prey to the
banths or the no less fierce Torquasians. There, at least, we
shall find beings moulded after our own images.
"Do not fear on that score," replied the girl, smiling. "The
banths will not harm us."
They had advanced but a short distance when a banth, looking
up from its gory feast, descried them. With an angry roar the
beast walked quickly in their direction, and at the sound of its
voice a score of others followed its example.
"You may return your sword," she said. "I told you that the
banths would not harm us. Look!" and as she spoke she stepped
quickly toward the nearest animal.
Instantly the great heads went up and all the wicked eyes were
riveted upon the figure of the girl. Then, stealthily, they
commenced moving toward her. She had stopped now and was standing
The great carnivore let its head droop, and with tail between
its legs came slinking to the girl's feet, and after it came the
others until she was entirely surrounded by the savage
"How do you do it?" exclaimed Carthoris.
With a word the girl dispersed the fierce pack. Roaring, they
returned to their interrupted feast, while Carthoris and Thuvia
passed among them toward the walled city.
He called the girl's attention to them. No arrows protruded
from the great carcasses. Nowhere upon any of them was the sign
of mortal wound, nor even slightest scratch or abrasion.
Despite himself Carthoris could scarce repress a shudder of
apprehension as he glanced toward the silent city before them. No
longer was sign of life visible upon wall or roof top. All was
quiet--brooding, ominous quiet.
He glanced at Thuvia. She was advancing with wide eyes fixed
upon the city gate. He looked in the direction of her gaze, but
He guessed that something within her that was beyond her
conscious control was appealing to him for protection. He threw
an arm about her, and thus they crossed the field. She did not
draw away from him. It is doubtful that she realized that his arm
was there, so engrossed was she in the mystery of the strange
city before them.
It was circular, closing a circular aperture, and the
Heliumite knew from his study of ancient Barsoomian architecture
that it rolled to one side, like a huge wheel, into an aperture
in the wall.
As he stood speculating upon the identity of this forgotten
city, a voice spoke to them from above. Both looked up. There,
leaning over the edge of the high wall, was a man.
The language that he used was intelligible to the two below,
yet there was a marked difference between it and their Barsoomian
"We are friends," replied Carthoris. "This be the princess,
Thuvia of Ptarth, who was captured by the Torquasian horde. I am
Carthoris of Helium, Prince of the house of Tardos Mors, Jeddak
of Helium, and son of John Carter, Warlord of Mars, and of his
wife, Dejah Thoris."
Carthoris pointed toward the north-east.
1 On Barsoom the AD is the basis of linear measurement. It is
the equivalent of an Earthly foot, measuring about 11.694 Earth
inches. As has been my custom in the past, I have generally
translated Barsoomian symbols of time, distance, etc., into their
Earthly equivalent, as being more easily understood by Earth
readers. For those of a more studious turn of mind it may be
interesting to know the Martian table of linear measurement, and
so I give it here:
A haad, or Barsoomian mile, contains about 2,339 Earth feet. A
karad is one degree. A sofad about 1.17 Earth inches.
"I know of nothing beyond the Lotharian hills," he said.
"Naught may live there beside the hideous green hordes of
Torquas. They have conquered all Barsoom except this single
valley and the city of Lothar. Here we have defied them for
countless ages, though periodically they renew their attempts to
destroy us. From whence you come I cannot guess unless you be
descended from the slaves the Torquasians captured in early times
when they reduced the outer world to their vassalage; but we had
heard that they destroyed all other races but their own."
After considerably parleying he consented to admit them to the
city, and a moment later the wheel-like gate rolled back within
its niche, and Thuvia and Carthoris entered the city of
He with whom they had conversed across the wall was in the
avenue to receive them. About him were a hundred or more men of
the same race. All were clothed in flowing robes and all were
Carthoris could not but notice the fact that though the city
had been but a short time before surrounded by a horde of
bloodthirsty demons yet none of the citizens appeared to be
armed, nor was there sign of soldiery about.
The man smiled.
"But the soldiers--the bowmen!" exclaimed Carthoris. "We saw
thousands emerge from this very gate, overwhelming the hordes of
Torquas and putting them to rout with their deadly arrows and
their fierce banths."
"Look!" he cried, and pointed down a broad avenue before
"Ah!" exclaimed Thuvia. "They have returned through another
gate, or perchance these be the troops that remained to defend
"There are no soldiers in Lothar," he said. "Look!"
"And those who marched out upon the hordes to-day?" whispered
Carthoris. "They, too, were unreal?"
"But their arrows slew the green warriors," insisted
"Who is Tario?" asked Carthoris.
For half an hour they walked along lovely avenues between the
most gorgeous buildings that the two had ever seen. Few people
were in evidence. Carthoris could not but note the deserted
appearance of the mighty city.
Not even a single guard was visible before the great entrance
gate, nor in the gardens beyond, into which he could see, was
there sign of the myriad life that pulses within the precincts of
the royal estates of the red jeddaks.
As he spoke Carthoris again let his gaze rest upon the
wondrous palace. With a startled exclamation he rubbed his eyes
and looked again. No! He could not be mistaken. Before the
massive gate stood a score of sentries. Within, the avenue
leading to the main building was lined on either side by ranks of
bowmen. The gardens were dotted with officers and soldiers moving
quickly to and fro, as though bent upon the duties of the
With a little shudder she pressed more closely toward him.
"I cannot account for it," replied Carthoris, "unless we have
"I thought that you just said that there were no soldiers in
Lothar," said the Heliumite, with a gesture toward the guardsmen.
"What are these?"
Nor was it long before they entered a lofty chamber at one end
of which a man reclined upon a rich couch that stood upon a high
Thuvia glanced quickly toward Carthoris. He was standing
erect, with high-held head and arms folded across his broad
chest. A haughty smile curved his lips.
"Who be these, Jav?" asked the man of him who crawled upon his
belly along the floor.
"Arise, Jav," commanded Tario, "and ask these two why they
show not to Tario the respect that is his due."
"Creatures!" he screamed. "Down! Down upon your bellies before
the last of the jeddaks of Barsoom!"
As Jav leaped toward him Carthoris laid his hand upon the hilt
of his long-sword. The Lotharian halted. The great apartment was
empty save for the four at the dais, yet as Jav stepped back from
the menace of the Heliumite's threatening attitude the latter
found himself surrounded by a score of bowmen.
Now the former's sword leaped from its scabbard, and at the
same instant the bowmen drew back their slim shafts.
"Enough!" cried the jeddak, raising a protesting hand, but at
that very instant the sword of the Heliumite cut viciously at its
"It is evident that these are strangers," said Tario to Jav.
"Let us first determine that they knowingly affronted us before
we take measures for punishment."
"Who are you," he asked, "who knows not the etiquette of the
court of the last of jeddaks?"
Tario looked at Carthoris for a long time. At last he
He half rose from the couch, leaning far forward and pointing
an accusing finger at Carthoris.
"Remove the man. Leave the woman. We shall see if both be
lies. And later, Jav, you shall suffer for your temerity. There
be few of us left, but--Komal must be fed. Go!"
"Come!" he said.
Jav brushed closely past him, whispering:
Carthoris did not understand, but something in the urgency of
the other's tone assured him, and so he turned away, but not
without a glance toward Thuvia in which he attempted to make her
understand that it was in her own interest that he left her.
Then he hesitated, but Jav seized him by the wrist.
Carthoris turned unwillingly to follow. As the two left the
room he turned to his companion.
"You saw the Torquasians fall before the bowmen?" asked
"So would you fall before them, and without one single chance
for self-defence or revenge."
For several minutes the Lotharian eyed his prisoner, for such
Carthoris now realized himself to be.
"So may I see and feel the bowmen," replied Jav, "and yet we
all know that they, at least, are not real."
"What, then, may they be?" he asked.
Carthoris shook his head negatively.
"We have soldiers," replied Carthoris. "We of the red race are
all soldiers, but we have no bowmen to defend us, such as yours.
We defend ourselves."
"Certainly," replied Carthoris. "How do the Lotharians?"
"They see them--they see their bows drawn back--they see their
slender arrows speed with unerring precision toward their hearts.
And they die--killed by the power of suggestion."
"It is but to lend reality to the scene," replied Jav. "We
picture many of our own defenders killed that the Torquasians may
not guess that there are really no flesh and blood creatures
"And the banths?" questioned Carthoris. "They, too, were but
creatures of suggestion?"
"Those that remained about the field were real. Those we
loosed as scavengers to devour the bodies of the dead of Torquas.
This thing is demanded by the realists among us. I am a realist.
Tario is an etherealist.
"According to Tario, it is but necessary that we all unite in
imagining that there are no dead Torquasians beneath our walls,
and there will be none, nor any need of scavenging banths."
"In part only," replied the Lotharian. "I believe, in fact I
know, that there are some truly ethereal creatures. Tario is one,
I am convinced. He has no existence except in the imaginations of
"Yes," agreed Carthoris, "not having eaten to-day I can
readily agree with you."
"It is well," continued Jav, "that you did not fall into the
hands of an etherealist. Then, indeed, would you have gone
Jav looked hurt.
"But I thought you were a realist," exclaimed Carthoris.
"The food that one eats is supposed to undergo certain
chemical changes during the process of digestion and
assimilation, the result, of course, being the rebuilding of
"We realists, however, know better. We know that mind has the
power to maintain substance even though it may not be able to
create substance--the latter is still an open question. And so we
know that in order to maintain our physical bodies we must cause
all our organs properly to function.
Carthoris eyed the food before him. It seemed real enough. He
lifted a morsel to his lips. There was substance indeed. And
flavour as well. Yes, even his palate was deceived.
"Is it not entirely satisfying?" he asked.
Jav scratched his head.
"Who is Komal?" asked Carthoris. "I heard your jeddak speak of
"Komal is the essence," he whispered. "Even the etherealists
admit that mind itself must have substance in order to transmit
to imaginings the appearance of substance. For if there really
was no such thing as substance it could not be suggested--what
never has been cannot be imagined. Do you follow me?"
"So the essence must be substance," continued Jav. "Komal is
the essence of the All, as it were. He is maintained by
substance. He eats. He eats the real. To be explicit, he eats the
realists. That is Tario's work.
"And Komal is a man?" asked Carthoris.
"Should Komal cease to eat, all life upon Barsoom would cease
to be. He cannot die, but he might cease to eat, and, thus, to
"Women!" exclaimed Jav. "There are no women in Lothar. The
last of the Lotharian females perished ages since, upon that
cruel and terrible journey across the muddy plains that fringed
the half-dried seas, when the green hordes scourged us across the
world to this our last hiding-place--our impregnable fortress of
"As time went on, we, too, were dying and the race fast
approaching extinction, when the Great Truth was revealed to us,
that mind is all. Many more died before we perfected our powers,
but at last we were able to defy death when we fully understood
that death was merely a state of mind.
"That day we threw our first bowmen against them. The
intention was purely to frighten them away by the vast numbers of
bowmen which we could muster upon our walls. All Lothar bristled
with the bows and arrows of our ethereal host.
"Not an arrow had been discharged by our bowmen--we did but
cause them to run to and fro along the wall top, screaming taunts
and threats at the enemy.
"I caused them to fit arrows to their bows for the first time.
I made them take aim at the hearts of the green men. I made the
green men see all this, and then I made them see the arrows fly,
and I made them think that the points pierced their hearts.
"We might have killed them at any distance, but one rule of
war we have maintained from the first--the rule of realism. We do
nothing, or rather we cause our bowmen to do nothing within sight
of the enemy that is beyond the understanding of the foe.
Otherwise they might guess the truth, and that would be the end
"So then I bethought the scheme to hurl our bowmen through the
gates upon them. You have seen this day how well it works. For
ages they have come down upon us at intervals, but always with
the same results."
"I am," replied Jav, proudly. "I am next to Tario."
"Tario demands it. He is jealous of me. He only awaits the
slightest excuse to feed me to Komal. He fears that I may some
day usurp his power."
"Jav!" he exclaimed. "I am a beast! Here I have been eating my
fill, while the Princess of Ptarth may perchance be still without
food. Let us return and find some means of furnishing her with
"Tario would not permit it," he said. "He will, doubtless,
make an etherealist of her."
"Tario will have his way," insisted Jav. "He sent you away and
you may not return until he sends for you."
"Do not forget the bowmen," cautioned Jav.
Carthoris started to leave the room. Jav stepped before him,
barring his way.
Carthoris was about to reply, when there came faintly to the
ears of both a woman's cry for help.
THE HALL OF DOOM
There was an air of mystery pervading the stately chamber. Its
furnishings and appointments bespoke wealth and culture, and
carried the suggestion that the room was often the scene of royal
functions which filled it to its capacity.
For a time after the departure of Jav and Carthoris the man
eyed her intently. Then he spoke.
The blood of indignation and anger had been rising to Thuvia's
face. Her chin was up, a haughty curve upon her perfect lips.
"My charms are not for you, nor such as you. They are not for
sale or barter, even though the price were a real throne. And as
for using them to win your worse than futile power--" She ended
her sentence with a shrug of her shapely shoulders, and a little
He did not seem to note the LESE MAJESTE of her words and
manner. There was evidently something more startling and
compelling about her speech than that.
"By the fangs of Komal!" he muttered. "But you are REAL! A
REAL woman! No dream! No vain and foolish figment of the
"Come!" he whispered. "Come, woman! For countless ages have I
dreamed that some day you would come. And now that you are here I
can scarce believe the testimony of my eyes. Even now, knowing
that you are real, I still half dread that you may be a lie."
Thuvia suddenly felt a change coming over her. What the cause
of it she did not guess; but somehow the man before her began to
assume a new relationship within her heart.
He was beside her now. His hand was up her shoulder. His eyes
were down-bent toward hers. She looked up into his face. His gaze
seemed to bore straight through her to some hidden spring of
sentiment within her.
The man, seeing the success of his strategy, could not
restrain a faint smile of satisfaction. Whether there was
something in the expression of his face, or whether from
Carthoris of Helium in a far chamber of the palace came a more
powerful suggestion, who may say? But something there was that
suddenly dispelled the strange, hypnotic influence of the
Quickly she took a step backward, tearing herself from his
grasp. But the momentary contact had aroused within Tario all the
long-buried passions of his loveless existence.
"Woman!" he cried. "Lovely woman! Tario would make you queen
of Lothar. Listen to me! Listen to the love of the last jeddaks
"Stop, creature!" she cried. "Stop! I do not love you. Stop,
or I shall scream for help!"
"`Scream for help,'" he mimicked. "And who within the halls of
Lothar is there who might come in answer to your call? Who would
dare enter the presence of Tario, unsummoned?"
"Who, Jav?" asked Tario.
Again the man laughed at her.
Again he caught her roughly to him, dragging her towards his
"Neither!" cried the girl.
At the instant that he lost consciousness the bowmen were
about to release their arrows into Thuvia's heart. Involuntarily
she gave a single cry for help, though she knew that not even
Carthoris of Helium could save her now.
The room was empty save for herself and the still form of the
jeddak of Lothar lying at her feet, a little pool of crimson
staining the white marble of the floor beside him. Tario was
An instant before the room had been mysteriously filled with
armed men, evidently called to protect their jeddak; yet now,
with the evidence of her deed plain before them, they had
vanished as mysteriously as they had come, leaving her alone with
the body of their ruler, into whose side she had slipped her
long, keen blade.
The wall behind the dais was pierced by two small doorways,
hidden by heavy hangings. Thuvia was running quickly towards one
of these when she heard the clank of a warrior's metal at the end
of the apartment behind her.
With a feeling that was akin to apathy she turned to meet her
fate, and there, before her, running swiftly across the broad
chamber to her side, was Carthoris, his naked long-sword gleaming
in his hand.
She knew that Carthoris of Helium would fight for her; but
whether to save her for himself or another, she was in doubt.
And yet, as she saw him coming across the marble floor of the
audience chamber of Tario of Lothar, his fine eyes filled with
apprehension for her safety, his splendid figure personifying all
that is finest in the fighting men of martial Mars, she could not
believe that any faintest trace of perfidy lurked beneath so
glorious an exterior.
She knew that he loved her; but, in time, she recalled that
she was promised to Kulan Tith. Not even might she trust herself
to show too great gratitude to the Heliumite, lest he
"Did he harm you, Thuvia?" he asked.
"No," she said, "he did not harm me."
"Praised be our first ancestor!" he murmured. "And now let us
see if we may not make good our escape from this accursed city
before the Lotharians discover that their jeddak is no more."
They had almost reached the threshold when a figure sprang
into the apartment through another entrance. It was Jav. He, too,
took in the scene within at a glance.
"Come, Jav of Lothar!" he cried. "Let us face the issue at
once, for only one of us may leave this chamber alive with Thuvia
of Ptarth." Then, seeing that the man wore no sword, he
exclaimed: "Bring on your bowmen, then, or come with us as my
prisoner until we have safely passed the outer portals of thy
"However, he is dead now. Of that I am glad. Now shall Jav
come into his own. Now shall Jav be Jeddak of Lothar!"
"Traitor! Assassin!" he screamed, and then: "Kadar! Kadar!"
which is the Barsoomian for guard.
"Oh, my Jeddak, my Jeddak!" he whimpered. "Jav had no hand in
this. Jav, your faithful Jav, but just this instant entered the
apartment to find you lying prone upon the floor and these two
strangers about to leave. How it happened I know not. Believe me,
most glorious Jeddak!"
"At last, traitor, I have found you out. Your own words have
condemned you as surely as the acts of these red creatures have
sealed their fates--unless--" He paused. "Unless the woman--"
Tario frothed in rage and mortification.
Tario shrank back toward the little doorways behind the dais.
He was trying to speak, but so hideously were the muscles of his
face working that he could utter no word for several minutes. At
last he managed to articulate intelligibly.
Jav leaped forward, screaming in terror.
But Tario only laughed a mocking laugh and continued to back
toward the hangings that hid the little doorway.
"Stop him!" he screamed. "Stop him! If you love life, let him
not leave this room," and as he spoke he leaped in pursuit of his
Jav sank to the floor in a spasm of terror.
Jav but shook his head.
"Well, well," exclaimed Carthoris impatiently. "What if he did
call the guards? There will be time enough to worry about that
after they come--at present I see no indication that they have
any idea of over-exerting themselves to obey their jeddak's
"You do not understand," he said. "The guards have already
come--and gone. They have done their work and we are lost. Look
to the various exits."
"Well?" asked Carthoris.
Further than that he would not say. He just sat upon the edge
of the jeddak's couch and waited.
For what seemed hours no sound broke the silence of their
living tomb. No sign gave their executioners of the time or
manner of their death. The suspense was terrible. Even Carthoris
of Helium began to feel the terrible strain upon his nerves. If
he could but know how and whence the hand of death was to strike,
he could meet it unafraid, but to suffer longer the hideous
tension of this blighting ignorance of the plans of their
assassins was telling upon him grievously.
"It would seem that they are trying to frighten us to death,"
he said, laughing; "and, shame be upon me that I should confess
it, I think they were close to accomplishing their designs upon
"The end is coming!" he cried. "The end is coming! The floor!
The floor! Oh, Komal, be merciful!"
Slowly the marble flagging was sinking in all directions
toward the centre. At first the movement, being gradual, was
scarce noticeable; but presently the angle of the floor became
such that one might stand easily only by bending one knee
Now it became more and more difficult to cling to the dizzy
inclination of the smooth and polished marble.
Better to cling to the smooth stone he kicked off his sandals
of zitidar hide and with his bare feet braced himself against the
sickening tilt, at the same time throwing his arms supportingly
about the girl.
"Courage, my princess," he whispered.
Then the floor sagged and tilted more swiftly. There was a
sudden slipping rush as they were precipitated toward the
For a moment they breathed more freely, but presently they
discovered that the aperture was continuing to enlarge. The couch
slipped downward. Jav shrieked again. There was a sickening
sensation as they felt all let go beneath them, as they fell
through darkness to an unknown death.
The distance from the bottom of the funnel to the floor of the
chamber beneath it could not have been great, for all three of
the victims of Tario's wrath alighted unscathed.
Carthoris looked toward Jav. The man was pasty white with
"Komal!" whispered Jav. "We are to be devoured by Komal!"
The Lotharian nodded his head. Then he pointed toward a low
doorway at one end of the chamber.
Carthoris smiled, gripping his long-sword the more firmly.
"He has come," he whimpered.
Slowly and with dignity the mighty beast advanced into the
room. Jav had fallen to the floor, and was wriggling his body in
the same servile manner that he had adopted toward Tario. He
spoke to the fierce beast as he would have spoken to a human
being, pleading with it for mercy.
"Is this Komal, your god?" she asked.
In low, firm tones she spoke to it as she had spoken to the
banths of the Golden Cliffs and the scavengers before the walls
"It is but a banth," she said. "We have nothing to fear from
"I did not fear it," he replied, "for I, too, believed it to
be only a banth, and I have my long-sword."
"So this is your god!" laughed Thuvia.
"Yes," he said, "this is Komal. For ages the enemies of Tario
have been hurled to this pit to fill his maw, for Komal must be
"Come," suggested Thuvia, "let us explore. There must be a way
This, to their delight, opened to the lifting of an ordinary
latch, letting them into a circular arena, surrounded by tiers of
Another door led to a flight of steps that rose from the arena
level upward through the seats to an exit at the back of the
hall. Beyond this was a straight, broad corridor, running
directly through the palace to the gardens at the side.
"Where are the people of the palace--the jeddak's retinue?"
asked Carthoris. "Even in the city streets as we came through I
scarce saw sign of a human being, yet all about are evidences of
a mighty population."
"Poor Lothar," he said. "It is indeed a city of ghosts. There
are scarce a thousand of us left, who once were numbered in the
millions. Our great city is peopled by the creatures of our own
imaginings. For our own needs we do not take the trouble to
materialize these peoples of our brain, yet they are apparent to
"Stay, friends," he continued. "Would you see Lothar in all
Jav gazed at them penetratingly for an instant, then, with a
wave of his hand, cried: "Look!"
"It is the past," said Jav in a low voice. "They do not see
us--they but live the old dead past of ancient Lothar--the dead
and crumbled Lothar of antiquity, which stood upon the shore of
Throxus, mightiest of the five oceans.
"Brave men, they--ah, but the glory of Lothar has faded! See
their weapons. They alone bore arms, for they crossed the five
seas to strange places where dangers were. With their passing
passed the martial spirit of the Lotharians, leaving, as the ages
rolled by, a race of spineless cowards.
As Jav ceased speaking, the picture faded, and once more, the
three took up their way toward the distant gates, along deserted
"They will carry word of our flight to Tario," cried Jav, "and
soon he will send his bowmen after us. Let us hope that our
theory is correct, and that their shafts are powerless against
minds cognizant of their unreality. Otherwise we are doomed.
Carthoris did as Jav bid him; but they came to the great gates
without sign of pursuit developing. Here Jav set in motion the
mechanism that rolled the huge, wheel-like gate aside, and a
moment later the three, accompanied by the banth, stepped out
into the plain before Lothar.
Upon the wall above the gate were a number of Lotharians,
among whom Jav recognized Tario. The jeddak stood glaring at
them, evidently concentrating all the forces of his trained mind
upon them. That he was making a supreme effort to render his
imaginary creatures deadly was apparent.
Suddenly an inspiration came to Carthoris.
The suggestion seemed to hearten the Lotharian, and in another
moment the three stood behind solid ranks of huge bowmen who
hurled taunts and menaces at the advancing company emerging from
the walled city.
With hoarse battle cries they charged the bowmen of Tario.
Barbed shafts flew thick and fast. Men fell, and the ground was
red with gore.
They saw Jav's forces grow correspondingly until all about
them rolled a sea of fighting, cursing warriors, and the dead lay
in heaps about the field.
The wood loomed close behind Thuvia and Carthoris. The latter
cast a glance toward Jav.
As he spoke, Jav, turning from the battle for an instant,
caught his words. He saw the girl move to accompany the
Heliumite. A cunning look leaped to the Lotharian's eyes.
He centred his mind upon the Heliumite and the girl for an
As the Lotharian had turned toward them, Thuvia had been
surprised to hear Carthoris suddenly voice a new plan.
She had dropped back in surprise and disappointment, for she
knew that there was no reason why she should not have accompanied
him. Certainly she should have been safer with him than left here
alone with the Lotharian.
When Carthoris had disappeared within the wood, Thuvia seated
herself apathetically upon the scarlet sward to watch the
seemingly interminable struggles of the bowmen.
His plan for cessation of hostilities through the night
evidently met with Jav's entire approval, for he caused his
forces to form themselves in orderly utans and march just within
the edge of the wood, where they were soon busily engaged in
preparing their evening meal, and spreading down their sleeping
silks and furs for the night.
Sentries were posted between the camp and the city. Officers
clanked hither and thither issuing commands and seeing to it that
they were properly carried out.
"Why is it," she asked, "that you observe such careful nicety
in the regulation of your creatures when Tario knows quite as
well as you that they are but figments of your brain? Why not
permit them simply to dissolve into thin air until you again
require their futile service?"
"Then, too," continued the Lotharian, "there is always the
hope, which with us is little short of belief, that some day
these materializations will merge into the real--that they will
remain, some of them, after we have dissolved their fellows, and
that thus we shall have discovered a means for perpetuating our
"There are others among us who insist that none of us is real.
That we could not have existed all these ages without material
food and water had we ourselves been material. Although I am a
realist, I rather incline toward this belief myself.
"It would appear possible, and yet in so far as I am concerned
I have all the attributes of corporeal existence. I eat, I
sleep"--he paused, casting a meaning look upon the girl--"I
He came close to her and seized her arm.
Thuvia of Ptarth rose to her full height, her lifted shoulder
turned toward the man, her haughty chin upraised, a scornful
twist to her lips.
"Then where is he?" taunted the Lotharian. "I tell you he has
fled the valley. He has left you to your fate. But Jav will see
that it is a pleasant one. To-morrow we shall return into Lothar
at the head of my victorious army, and I shall be jeddak and you
shall be my consort. Come!" And he attempted to crush her to his
KAR KOMAK, THE BOWMAN
Onward through the dim wood they passed until the shadows of
the quick coming Martian night commenced to close down upon them.
Then it was that Carthoris turned to speak to the girl at his
As his eyes rested upon her, he was struck by her strangely
ethereal appearance. She seemed suddenly to have dissolved into
the tenuous substance of a dream, and as he continued to gaze
upon her, she faded slowly from his sight.
Carthoris was horrified. He cursed himself for his stupidity,
and yet he knew that the fiendish power which the Lotharian had
invoked to confuse him might have deceived any.
Thuria's brilliant light flooded the plain before the walled
city of Lothar as Carthoris broke from the wood opposite the
great gate that had given the fugitives egress from the city
earlier in the day.
The Heliumite, scarce pausing at the forest's verge, pushed on
across the plain toward the city, when presently he descried a
huddled form in the grass at his feet.
The prince bent low to note if any spark of life remained, and
as he did so the lids raised and dull, suffering eyes looked up
"Komal," muttered Jav. "He sprang upon me . . . and would have
devoured me but for the girl. Then they went away together into
the wood--the girl and the great banth . . . her fingers twined
in his tawny mane."
"There," replied Jav faintly, "toward the passage through the
It was dawn when he reached the mouth of the dark tunnel that
would lead him to the other world beyond this valley of ghostly
memories and strange hypnotic influences and menaces.
From the boundary of Torquas to the city of Aaanthor is a
distance of some two hundred haads, so that the Heliumite had
before him a journey of more than one hundred and fifty Earth
miles between him and Aaanthor.
He realized, of course, that the trick which had laid
suspicion upon him would greatly delay the discovery of the
truth, but little did he guess to what vast proportions had the
results of the villainy of Astok of Dusar already grown.
He did not know that in the face of the circumstantial
evidence against him even his own people had commenced to
entertain suspicions that he might have stolen the Ptarthian
How Dusarian emissaries had found employment in important
posts in the foreign offices of the three great nations, and how,
through these men, messages from one jeddak to another were
altered and garbled until the patience and pride of the three
rulers and former friends could no longer endure the humiliations
and insults contained in these falsified papers--not any of this
And now two great fleets were moving upon Helium, while the
Dusarian spies at the court of Tardos Mors saw to it that the
twin cities remained in ignorance of their danger.
For several days diplomatic relations had been severed between
Helium and her two most powerful neighbors, and with the
departure of the ministers had come a total cessation of wireless
communication between the disputants, as is usual upon
As he followed rapidly downward toward the dead seabottom,
where he knew he must lose the spoor in the resilient ochre
vegetation, he was suddenly surprised to see a naked man
approaching him from the north-east.
He approached the Heliumite without sign of fear, and when
quite close called out the cheery Barsoomian "kaor" of
"I am Kar Komak, odwar of the bowmen," replied the other. "A
strange thing has happened to me. For ages Tario has been
bringing me into existence as he needed the services of the army
of his mind. Of all the bowmen it has been Kar Komak who has been
"Yesterday he succeeded, but at such a time! It must have come
all unknown to him, as it came to me without my knowledge, as,
with my horde of yelling bowmen, I pursued the fleeing
Torquasians back to their ochre plains.
"My men were gone back to the nothingness from which they had
sprung, but I remained--naked and unarmed.
"You wish to return to Lothar?" asked Carthoris.
"I thought there were no women there," said Carthoris.
"Now, red man, I have told you of myself--what of you?"
So the Prince of Helium told the bowman of Lothar who he was
and what adventure had brought him to this far country.
"What mean you?" asked Carthoris. "Had you really a former
"Wherever men lived upon Barsoom there was the name of Kar
Komak known and respected. Peaceful were the land races in those
distant days--only the seafarers were warriors; but now has the
glory of the past faded, nor did I think until I met you that
there remained upon Barsoom a single person of our own mould who
lived and loved and fought as did the ancient seafarers of my
Carthoris was a trifle sceptical as to the wisdom of
permitting the stranger to attach himself to him. There was
always the chance that he was but the essence of some hypnotic
treachery which Tario or Jav was attempting to exert upon the
Heliumite; and yet, so sincere had been the manner and the words
of the bowman, so much the fighting man did he seem, but
Carthoris could not find it in his heart to doubt him.
Down to the ochre sea-bottom the trail led. There it
disappeared, as Carthoris had known that it would; but where it
entered the plain its direction had been toward Aaanthor and so
toward Aaanthor the two turned their faces.
All the way they were in constant danger of discovery by
roving bands of Torquasians, and especially was this true before
they reached the boundary of Torquas.
And so they came, upon the morning of the third day, within
sight of the glistening domes of distant Aaanthor. Throughout the
journey Carthoris had ever strained his eyes ahead in search of
Thuvia and the great banth; but not till now had he seen aught to
give him hope.
The Heliumite shouted to attract the girl's attention, and
presently he was rewarded by seeing her turn and stand looking
toward him. At her side the great banth stood with up-pricked
ears, watching the approaching man.
Presently he saw her point toward the northwest, beyond him.
Without slackening his pace, he turned his eyes in the direction
To their right was Kar Komak, naked and unarmed, yet running
valiantly toward Carthoris and shouting warning as though he,
too, had but just discovered the silent, menacing company that
moved so swiftly forward with couched spears and ready
But Kar Komak never hesitated. With shouts of encouragement to
his new friend, he hurried onward toward the Prince of Helium.
The red man's heart leaped in response to this exhibition of
courage and self-sacrifice. He regretted now that he had not
thought to give Kar Komak one of his swords; but it was too late
to attempt it, for should he wait for the Lotharian to overtake
him or return to meet him, the Torquasians would reach Thuvia of
Ptarth before he could do so.
Again he turned his face in her direction, and now, from
Aaanthor way, he saw a new force hastening toward them--two
medium-sized war craft--and even at the distance they still were
from him he discerned the device of Dusar upon their bows.
As Thuvia saw Carthoris approaching, she felt again that
unaccountable sensation of entire relief from responsibility and
fear that she had experienced upon a former occasion. Nor could
she account for it while her mind still tried to convince her
heart that the Prince of Helium had been instrumental in her
abduction from her father's court. She only knew that she was
glad when he was by her side, and that with him there all things
seemed possible--even such impossible things as escape from her
"Courage, my princess," he whispered.
Then she had not chidden him for the use of that familiar
salutation, nor did she chide him now, though she was promised to
another. She wondered at herself--flushing at her own turpitude;
for upon Barsoom it is a shameful thing for a woman to listen to
those two words from another than her husband or her
"Forgive me!" said the man in a low voice. "Let my great love
be my excuse--that, and the belief that I have but a moment more
of life," and with the words he turned to meet the foremost of
the green warriors.
At the same moment Kar Komak leaped with bare hands clawing at
the leg of another of the huge riders; the balance of the horde
raced in to close quarters, dismounting the better to wield their
favourite long-swords; the Dusarian fliers touched the soft
carpet of the ochre-clad sea-bottom, disgorging fifty fighting
men from their bowels; and into the swirling sea of cutting,
slashing swords sprang Komal, the great banth.
A Torquasian sword smote a glancing blow across the forehead
of Carthoris. He had a fleeting vision of soft arms about his
neck, and warm lips close to his before he lost
Thuvia was gone, nor was the body of Kar Komak among the
He wanted water more than any other thing, and so he kept on
up a broad avenue toward the great central plaza, where he knew
the precious fluid was to be found in a half-ruined building
opposite the great palace of the ancient jeddak, who once had
ruled this mighty city.
But if Carthoris was careless of his surroundings, not so
other eyes that watched his entrance into the plaza, and followed
his slow footsteps toward the marble pile that housed the tiny,
half-choked spring whose water one might gain only by scratching
a deep hole in the red sand that covered it.
For half an hour Carthoris remained in the building, digging
for water and gaining the few much-needed drops which were the
fruits of his labour. Then he rose and slowly left the structure.
Scarce had he stepped beyond the threshold than twelve Torquasian
warriors leaped upon him.
Then they overpowered him and took his weapons away; but only
nine of the twelve warriors who had crossed the plaza returned
with their prize.
"To-morrow Thar Ban will speak with you," they said. "Now he
sleeps. But great will be his pleasure when he learns who has
wandered amongst us--and great will be the pleasure of Hortan Gur
when Thar Ban drags before him the mad fool who dared prick the
great jeddak with his sword."
For what seemed hours Carthoris squatted upon the stone floor
of his prison, his back against the wall in which was sunk the
heavy eye-bolt that secured the chain which held him.
Minutes passed--minutes that seemed hours--during which time
periods of sepulchral silence would be followed by a repetition
of the uncanny scraping of naked feet slinking warily upon
Again came silence. But for a moment only. Now he heard once
more the soft feet approaching him. He thought that he discerned
wicked eyes gleaming fearfully at him through the darkness. He
knew that he could hear the heavy breathing of powerful
Hands terminating in manlike fingers clutched at his throat
and arms and legs. Hairy bodies strained and struggled against
his own smooth hide as he battled in grim silence against these
horrid foemen in the darkness of the pits of ancient
Yet he battled on, striking futile blows against great, hispid
breasts he could not see; feeling thick, squat throats beneath
his fingers; the drool of saliva upon his cheek, and hot, foul
breath in his nostrils.
At last he became aware of the mighty surging of a number of
his antagonists back and forth upon the great chain that held
him, and presently came the same sound that he had heard at a
little distance from him a short time before he had been
attacked--his chain had parted and the broken end snapped back
against the stone wall.
At first he had thought his foes might be of the tribe of
Torquas, but their hairy bodies belied that belief. Now he was at
last quite sure of their identity, though why they had not killed
and devoured him at once he could not imagine.
Immediately Carthoris saw that he was in the power of a tribe
of the great white apes of Barsoom. All that had caused him doubt
before as to the identity of his attackers was the hairiness of
their breasts, for the white apes are entirely hairless except
for a great shock bristling from their heads.
Carthoris had read of the existence of tribes of apes that
seemed to be progressing slowly toward higher standards of
intelligence. Into the hands of such, he realized, he had fallen;
but--what were their intentions toward him?
As his eyes met those of his fellow-captive a smile lit the
other's face, and: "Kaor, red man!" burst from his lips. It was
Kar Komak, the bowman.
"Red men like yourself descended in mighty ships that sailed
the air, even as the great ships of my distant day sailed the
five seas," replied Kar Komak. "They fought with the green men of
Torquas. They slew Komal, god of Lothar. I thought they were your
friends, and I was glad when finally those of them who survived
the battle carried the red girl to one of the ships and sailed
away with her into the safety of the high air.
Carthoris related all that had befallen him, and as the two
men talked the great apes squatted about them watching them
"Our case looks rather hopeless," replied Carthoris ruefully.
"These creatures are born man-eaters. Why they have not already
devoured us I cannot imagine--there!" he whispered. "See? The end
"It is thus they like best to kill their prey," said
"Not I," replied Carthoris, "though I know how futile our best
defence must be against these mighty brutes! Oh, for a
At the words Carthoris half sprang to his feet, only to be
dragged roughly down by his guard.
The Lotharian looked at Carthoris in wide-eyed astonishment as
the full purport of the suggestion bore in upon his
The savage ape bearing the mighty bludgeon was slinking toward
Carthoris. The Heliumite's fingers were working as he kept his
eyes upon his executioner. Kar Komak bent his gaze penetratingly
upon the apes. The effort of his mind was evidenced in the sweat
upon his contracted brows.
With screams of rage the apes leaped to their feet to meet the
charge. A volley of arrows met them half-way, sending a dozen
rolling lifeless to the ground. Then the apes closed with their
adversaries. All their attention was occupied by the
attackers--even the guard had deserted the prisoners to join in
"And leave those brave fellows leaderless?" cried Carthoris,
whose loyal nature revolted at the merest suggestion of such a
"You forget," he said, "that they are but thin air-figments of
my brain. They will vanish, unscathed, when we have no further
need for them. Praised be your first ancestor, redman, that you
thought of this chance in time! It would never have occurred to
me to imagine that I might wield the same power that brought me
When they had come to the plaza's edge Carthoris halted.
To reach the courtyard where the thoats were kept it was
necessary for Carthoris to pass through one of the buildings
which surrounded the square. Which were occupied and which not he
could not even guess, so he was compelled to take considerable
chances to gain the enclosure in which he could hear the restless
beasts squealing and quarrelling among themselves.
He heard a man yawn, and then, behind him, he saw the figure
of a sentry rise from where the fellow had been dozing, and
stretching himself resume his wakeful watchfulness.
Carthoris shrugged his broad shoulders and chose the lesser
evil. Warily he entered the room. At his right, against the wall,
leaned several swords and rifles and spears--extra weapons which
the warriors had stacked here ready to their hands should there
be a night alarm calling them suddenly from slumber. Beside each
sleeper lay his weapon--these were never far from their owners
from childhood to death.
Then he started directly across the centre of the apartment
among the sleeping Torquasians.
The Heliumite paused above him, one of the short-swords in
readiness should the warrior awaken. For what seemed an eternity
to the young prince the green man continued to move uneasily upon
his couch, then, as though actuated by springs, he leaped to his
feet and faced the red man.
To Carthoris all within the room was plainly visible in the
dim light reflected from without, for the further moon stood
directly at zenith; but to the eyes of the newly-awakened green
men objects as yet had not taken on familiar forms--they but saw
vaguely the figures of warriors moving about their apartment.
"The Thurds!" he cried. "The Thurds are upon us! Rise,
warriors of Torquas, and drive home your swords within the hearts
of Torquas' ancient enemies!"
Carthoris was quick to guess their error and take advantage of
it. He knew that in the pleasure of killing they might fight on
long after they had discovered their mistake, unless their
attention was distracted by sight of the real cause of the
altercation, and so he lost no time in continuing across the room
to the doorway upon the opposite side, which opened into the
inner court, where the savage thoats were squealing and fighting
From his father he had learned much concerning the traits of
these mighty beasts, and from Tars Tarkas, also, when he had
visited that great green jeddak among his horde at Thark. So now
he centred upon the work in hand all that he had ever learned
about them from others and from his own experience, for he, too,
had ridden and handled them many times.
In a moment Carthoris was upon its back, guiding it toward the
great gate that leads from the courtyard through a large building
at one end into an avenue beyond.
Even in the hands of the giant green men bridle reins would be
hopelessly futile against the mad savagery and mastodonic
strength of the thoat, and so they are guided by that strange
telepathic power with which the men of Mars have learned to
communicate in a crude way with the lower orders of their
Here Carthoris found considerable difficulty in subduing the
second thoat, and as Kar Komak had never before ridden one of the
beasts, it seemed a most hopeless job; but at last the bowman
managed to scramble to the sleek back, and again the two beasts
fled softly down the moss-grown avenues toward the open seabottom
beyond the city.
Immediately they abandoned their thoats and approached the
cultivated district on foot. Carthoris also discarded the metal
from his harness, or such of it as might serve to identify him as
a Heliumite, or of royal blood, for he did not know to what
nation belonged this waterway, and upon Mars it is always well to
assume every man and nation your enemy until you have learned the
The high wall surrounding the fields served as a protection
against surprise by raiding green hordes, as well as keeping the
savage banths and other carnivora from the domestic animals and
the human beings upon the farms.
After he had listened for a moment to a partial narration of
their escape from the Torquasians, he invited them within, took
them to his house and bade the servants there prepare food for
"I am Hal Vas," said the young man, "son of Vas Kor, of Dusar,
a noble in the retinue of Astok, Prince of Dusar. At present I am
Dwar of the Road for this district."
"And who are you?" asked Hal Vas. "By your appearance I take
you for a fighting man, but I see no insignia upon your harness.
Can it be that you are a panthan?"
When their service is over they discard the metal of the
nation they have been serving until they shall have found a new
master. In the intervals they wear no insignia, their war-worn
harness and grim weapons being sufficient to attest their
As far as Carthoris knew Dusar was not at war with any other
nation, but there was never any telling when one red nation would
be flying at the throat of a neighbour, even though the great and
powerful alliance at the head of which was his father, John
Carter, had managed to maintain a long peace upon the greater
portion of Barsoom.
"It is well," exclaimed the young man, "that you chanced to
come hither, for here you will find the means of obtaining
service in short order. My father, Vas Kor, is even now with me,
having come hither to recruit a force for the new war against
Thuvia of Ptarth, battling for more than life against the lust
of Jav, cast a quick glance over her shoulder toward the forest
from which had rumbled the fierce growl. Jav looked, too.
Which had he chosen for his prey? Or was it to be both?
Then, shrieking, he attempted to fly toward Lothar, after
pushing Thuvia bodily into the face of the man-eater. But his
flight was of short duration. In a moment Komal was upon him,
rending his throat and chest with demoniacal fury.
With her giant protector by her side Thuvia set forth to find
the passage through the cliffs, that she might attempt the
seemingly impossible feat of reaching fardistant Ptarth across
the more than seventeen thousand haads of savage Barsoom.
Thuvia of Ptarth was having difficulty in determining the
exact status of the Prince of Helium in her heart. She could not
admit even to herself that she loved him, and yet she had
permitted him to apply to her that term of endearment and
possession to which a Barsoomian maid should turn deaf ears when
voiced by other lips than those of her husband or fiance--"my
Did she love Kulan Tith? Bravely she tried to believe that she
did; but all the while her eyes wandered through the coming
darkness for the figure of a cleanlimbed fighting
man--black-haired and grey-eyed. Black was the hair of Kulan
Tith; but his eyes were brown.
Should she wait here in the hope that Carthoris would return
in search of her? Or should she continue her way north-east
toward Ptarth? Where, first, would Carthoris have gone after
leaving the valley of Lothar?
With Komal by her side she felt little fear, for he would
protect her from all other savage beasts. Even the great white
apes would flee the mighty banth in terror. Men only need she
fear, but she must take this and many other chances before she
could hope to reach her father's court again.
The sight of the red warriors leaping from their fliers had,
for a moment, filled her with renewed hope--hope that Carthoris
of Helium might be only stunned and that they would rescue him;
but when she saw the Dusarian metal upon their harness, and that
they sought only to escape with her alone from the charging
Torquasians, she gave up.
The Dusarian warriors dragged her to the deck of the nearest
flier. All about them the green warriors surged in an attempt to
wrest her from the red.
Thuvia of Ptarth glanced about her. A man stood near, smiling
down into her face. With a gasp of recognition she looked full
into his eyes, and then with a little moan of terror and
understanding she buried her face in her hands and sank to the
polished skeel-wood deck. It was Astok, Prince of Dusar, who bent
Aaanthor lies in fifty south latitude, and forty east of Horz,
the deserted seat of ancient Barsoomian culture and learning,
while Dusar lies fifteen degrees north of the equator and twenty
degrees east from Horz.
Nor did Astok deny the charge when she accused him. He only
smiled and pleaded his love for her.
Astok glowered sullenly upon her.
The girl made no reply, nor could he draw her into
conversation during the balance of the journey.
His one thought was to get her to Dusar, and there let his
father assume the responsibility. In the meantime he would be as
careful as possible to do nothing to affront her, lest they all
might be captured and he have to account for his treatment of the
girl to one of the great jeddaks whose interest centred in
But when he appeared in the great audience chamber before the
cruel-lipped man who was his sire, he found his courage oozing,
and he dared not speak of the princess hid within his palace. It
occurred to him to test his father's sentiments upon the subject,
and so he told a tale of capturing one who claimed to know the
whereabouts of Thuvia of Ptarth.
Nutus frowned and shook his head.
"If we had her here--" the elder man suddenly commenced to
muse, repeating the phrase again and again. "If we had her here,
Astok," he exclaimed fiercely. "Ah, if we but had her here and
none knew that she was here! Can you not guess, man? The guilt of
Dusar might be for ever buried with her bones," he concluded in a
low, savage whisper.
Weak he was; yes, and wicked, too; but the suggestion that his
father's words implied turned him cold with horror.
Nutus was apparently oblivious to his son's all-too-patent
terror at his suggestion. Presently he continued:
"There is but one way, Astok," cried the older man. "You must
return at once to her hiding-place and fetch her hither in all
secrecy. And, look you here! Return not to Dusar without her,
upon pain of death!"
Astok's mother had been a slave woman. Nutus had never loved
her. He had never loved another. In youth he had tried to find a
bride at the courts of several of his powerful neighbours, but
their women would have none of him.
Slowly Astok withdrew from the presence of his father. With
white face and shaking limbs he made his way to his own palace.
As he crossed the courtyard his glance chanced to wander to the
great east tower looming high against the azure of the sky.
Issus! No other hand than his could be trusted to do the
horrid thing. With his own fingers he must crush the life from
that perfect throat, or plunge the silent blade into the red, red
But had it done so? He recalled the haughty contempt with
which his protestations of love had been received. He went cold
and then hot to the memory of it. His compunctions cooled as the
self-satisfaction of a near revenge crowded out the finer
instincts that had for a moment asserted themselves--the good
that he had inherited from the slave woman was once again
submerged in the bad blood that had come down to him from his
royal sire; as, in the end, it always was.
Quietly he passed in through the secret way, ascending a
spiral runway to the apartment in which the Princess of Ptarth
At the sound of his step she turned quickly toward him. Ah,
how beautiful she was! His sudden determination faded beneath the
glorious light of her wondrous beauty. He would wait until he had
returned from his little journey of deception--maybe there might
be some other way then. Some other hand to strike the blow--with
that face, with those eyes before him, he could never do it. Of
that he was positive. He had always gloried in the cruelty of his
nature, but, Issus! he was not that cruel. No, another must be
found--one whom he could trust.
Why not sue once more? If she would relent, all might yet be
well. Even if his father could not be persuaded, they could fly
to Ptarth, laying all the blame of the knavery and intrigue that
had thrown four great nations into war, upon the shoulders of
Nutus. And who was there that would doubt the justice of the
The girl shook her head.
"Refuse to wed me willingly, and Dusar would be laid waste
should ever the truth be known to Ptarth and Kaol and Helium.
They would raze our cities, leaving not one stone upon another.
They would scatter our peoples across the face of Barsoom from
the frozen north to the frozen south, hunting them down and
slaying them, until this great nation remained only as a hated
memory in the minds of men.
"Refuse, Thuvia of Ptarth, and there remains but a single
alternative--no man must ever know your fate. Only a handful of
loyal servitors besides my royal father and myself know that you
were stolen from the gardens of Thuvan Dihn by Astok, Prince of
Dusar, or that to-day you be imprisoned in my palace.
For a long moment the girl let her level gaze rest full upon
the face of Astok of Dusar. Then she spoke, and though the words
were few, the unimpassioned tone carried unfathomable depths of
Then she turned her back upon him and went to stand once more
before the east window, gazing with sad eyes toward distant
"Here," he said, "is sustenance until I return again. The next
to enter this apartment will be your executioner. Commend
yourself to your ancestors, Thuvia of Ptarth, for within a few
days you shall be with them."
Half an hour later he was interviewing an officer high in the
navy of Dusar.
"South, to the great waterway that skirts Torquas," replied
the other. "His son, Hal Vas, is Dwar of the Road there, and
thither has Vas Kor gone to enlist recruits among the workers on
TURJUN, THE PANTHAN
That he might utilize this opportunity to the good of Helium
scarce sufficed to outweigh the chagrin he felt that he was not
fighting in the open at the head of his own loyal troops.
He recalled that history recorded wars in which actual
military operations had been carried on without cessation for
five or six hundred years, and even now there were nations upon
Barsoom with which Helium had made no peace within the history of
"Ah!" exclaimed Hal Vas. "Here is my father now. Kaor! Vas
Kor. Here is one you will be glad to meet-a doughty panthan--" He
As he spoke his eyes crossed quickly to the tall warrior who
was entering the room. Where before had he seen that giant
figure, that taciturn countenance, and the livid sword-cut from
temple to mouth?
And then the noble spoke, and like a flash it all came back to
Carthoris--the forward servant upon the landingstage at Ptarth
that time that he had been explaining the intricacies of his new
compass to Thuvan Dihn; the lone slave that had guarded his own
hangar that night he had left upon his ill-fated journey for
Ptarth--the journey that had brought him so mysteriously to far
"And blessed be yours, Turjun," replied Vas Kor.
"Kar Komak," he explained, "is, as you can see, a thern. He
has wandered far from his icebound southern temples in search of
adventure. I came upon him in the pits of Aaanthor; but though I
have known him so short a time, I can vouch for his bravery and
All during the interview Carthoris watched, catlike, for some
indication that Vas Kor recognized in the battered panthan the
erstwhile gorgeous Prince of Helium; but the sleepless nights,
the long days of marching and fighting, the wounds and the dried
blood had evidently sufficed to obliterate the last remnant of
his likeness to his former self; and then Vas Kor had seen him
but twice in all his life. Little wonder that he did not know
In a great field behind the house a flier lay--a fairsized
cruiser-transport that would accommodate many men, yet swift and
well armed also. Here Carthoris slept, and Kar Komak, too, with
the other recruits, under guard of the regular Dusarian warriors
that manned the craft.
How easy it would have been! How easy to avenge the cowardly
trick that had been played upon him--to avenge Helium and Ptarth
And then, too, there was the instigator of the entire foul
plot. HE must pay the penalty; and who better than Vas Kor could
lead the Prince of Helium to Astok of Dusar?
Yes, there it was far in the north, dimly outlined against the
dark void of space that stretched illimitably beyond it, the
faint suggestion of a flier passing, unlighted, through the
Presently the fellow discovered the oncoming craft, and
sounded the low alarm which brought the balance of the watch and
an officer from their sleeping silks and furs upon the deck near
It soon became evident that the stranger intended making a
landing, for she was now spiraling slowly above them, dropping
lower and lower in each graceful curve.
"Right you are!" exclaimed Vas Kor, who had come on deck. And
then he hailed:
"Kaor!" came presently from above after a brief silence. Then:
"Good!" came from above. "Is there safe landing
Several figures could be seen slipping over the side of the
Thuria and advancing toward the Kalksus. Ever suspicious, the
Dusarians stood ready to receive the visitors as friends or foes
as closer inspection might prove them. Carthoris stood quite near
the rail, ready to take sides with the new-comers should chance
have it that they were Heliumites playing a bold stroke of
strategy upon this lone Dusarian ship. He had led like parties
himself, and knew that such a contingency was quite possible.
Scarce noticing the others upon the deck of the Kalksus, Astok
strode forward to accept Vas Kor's greeting, then he summoned the
noble below. The warriors and officers returned to their sleeping
silks and furs, and once more the deck was deserted except for
the Dusarian warrior and Turjun, the panthan, who stood
"May the white apes take us all," cried Astok ruefully, "if we
are not in as ugly a snarl as you have ever seen! Nutus thinks
that we have her in hiding far away from Dusar. He has bidden me
bring her here."
But Astok was afraid, and he wanted from this older man the
suggestion of an alternative. He went on.
The jaws of the listener at the ventilator clicked together
with a vicious snap. Before he had but guessed at the identity of
the subject of this conversation. Now he knew. And they were to
kill her! His muscular fingers clenched until the nails bit into
Astok bent close and whispered into the other's ear. The
suggestion of a smile crossed the cruel features of Vas Kor. He
realized the power that lay within his grasp. He should be a jed
"I cannot kill her," said Astok. "Issus! I cannot do it! When
she turns those eyes upon me my heart becomes water."
"And you wish--" He paused, the interrogation unfinished, yet
"YOU do not love her," he said.
"You shall be a greater noble--a noble of the first rank!"
"Jeds have died before," snapped Vas Kor. "It would doubtless
be not difficult for you to find a jed you do not love,
Astok--there are many who do not love you."
"As you say, Vas Kor!" he exclaimed. "You shall be a jed when
the thing is done," and then, to himself: "Nor will it then be
difficult for me to find a jed I do not love."
"At once," replied Astok. "Let us get under way now-there is
naught to keep you here?"
"Let the recruits wait," said Astok. "Or, better still, come
you to Dusar upon the Thuria, leaving the Kalksus to follow and
pick up the recruits."
The listener at the ventilator came to his feet slowly, like
an old man. His face was drawn and pinched and very white beneath
the light copper of his skin. She was to die! And he helpless to
avert the tragedy. He did not even know where she was
They were almost abreast of him now. Astok was speaking.
The panthan's fingers dropped from the dagger's hilt. His
quick mind had grasped here a chance for succouring Thuvia of
Ptarth. He might be chosen as one to accompany the assassins, and
once he had learned where the captive lay he could dispatch Astok
and Vas Kor as well as now. To kill them before he knew where
Thuvia was hid was simply to leave her to death at the hands of
others; for sooner or later Nutus would learn her whereabouts,
and Nutus, Jeddak of Dusar, could not afford to let her live.
Vas Kor turned to his lieutenant, giving instruction for the
bringing of the Kalksus to Dusar, and the gathering up of the
recruits; then he signed to two warriors who stood close behind
It was dark upon the deck of the Kalksus, so Vas Kor had not a
good look at the faces of the two he chose; but that was of no
moment, for they were but common warriors to assist with the
ordinary duties upon a flier, and to fight if need be.
The Heliumite was mad with disappointment. He snatched his
dagger from his harness; but already Astok had left the deck of
the Kalksus, and he knew that before he could overtake him,
should he dispatch Vas Kor, he would be killed by the Dusarian
warriors, who now were thick upon the deck. With either one of
the two alive Thuvia was in as great danger as though both
lived--it must be both!
After him came Kar Komak and the Dusarian warrior who had been
detailed to duty upon the Thuria. Carthoris walked close to the
left side of the latter. Now they came to the dense shadow under
the side of the Thuria. It was very dark there, so that they had
to grope for the ladder.
Turjun, the panthan, was the last to clamber over the rail of
the Thuria, drawing the rope ladder in after him.
At the rail Kar Komak turned to speak to the warrior who had
been detailed to accompany him. His eyes went wide as they rested
upon the face of the young man whom he had met beside the granite
cliffs that guard mysterious Lothar. How had he come in place of
Carthoris blessed the chance that had caused Vas Kor to choose
the bowman of all others, for had it been another Dusarian there
would have been questions to answer as to the whereabouts of the
warrior who lay so quietly in the field beyond the residence of
Hal Vas, Dwar of the Southern Road; and Carthoris had no answer
to that question other than his sword point, which alone was
scarce adequate to convince the entire crew of the Thuria.
The combined navies of Dusar, Ptarth and Kaol had been
intercepted in their advance toward Helium by the mighty
Heliumitic navy--the most formidable upon Barsoom, not alone in
numbers and armament, but in the training and courage of its
officers and warriors, and the zitidaric proportions of many of
its monster battleships.
From the far north another force was moving south across the
barrier cliffs--the new navy of Talu, Jeddak of Okar, coming in
response to the call from the warlord. Upon the decks of the
sullen ships of war black-bearded yellow men looked over eagerly
toward the south. Gorgeous were they in their splendid cloaks of
orluk and apt. Fierce, formidable fighters from the hothouse
cities of the frozen north.
But would these allies reach the theatre of war in time to be
of avail to Helium? Or, would Helium need them?
Carthoris, too, loyal son of Helium that he was, felt that
even his beloved navy might not be able to cope successfully with
the combined forces of three great powers.
Close beside it was another drop that was utilized by common
warriors. Carthoris touched Kar Komak upon the arm.
"To the death," replied Kar Komak.
"Where are your passes?" he asked.
Carthoris turned suddenly upon the slave, hurling him to the
opposite side of the cage.
Then he grasped the control lever, and as the cage shot
downward at sickening speed, the bowman grappled with the slave.
Carthoris could not leave the control to assist his companion,
for should they touch the lowest level at the speed at which they
were going, all would be dashed to instant death.
"Silence him!" cried Carthoris.
"He is silenced," said Kar Komak.
Once more he sighted the top of the cage that held Astok and
Vas Kor. An instant later it had stopped, and as he brought his
car to a halt, he saw the two men disappear through one of the
exits of the corridor beyond.
The morning of the second day of her incarceration in the east
tower of the palace of Astok, Prince of Dusar, found Thuvia of
Ptarth waiting in dull apathy the coming of the assassin.
She had exhausted every possibility of escape, going over and
over again the door and the windows, the floor and the walls.
When would they come? Would Astok do the deed with his own
hands? She doubted that he had the courage for it. At heart he
was a coward--she had known it since first she had heard him brag
as, a visitor at the court of her father, he had sought to
impress her with his valour.
She was about to die; her thoughts were her own to do with as
she pleased; yet furthest from them was Kulan Tith. Instead the
figure of the tall and comely Heliumite filled her mind, crowding
therefrom all other images.
And Thuvia of Ptarth, true daughter of Barsoom, found her
breath quickening and heart leaping to the memory of this other
smile--the smile that she would never see again. With a little
half-sob the girl sank to the pile of silks and furs that were
tumbled in confusion beneath the east windows, burying her face
in her arms.
"I tell you again, Astok," one was saying, "that I shall not
do this thing unless you be present in the room."
"Do not impose too far upon my friendship for you, Vas Kor,"
he snapped. "There is a limit to my patience."
The younger man scowled, but he advanced toward the locked
door, and as it swung in upon its hinges, he entered the room
beyond at the side of Vas Kor.
"You still prefer death?" asked Astok.
The Prince of Dusar turned to Vas Kor and nodded. The noble
drew his short-sword and crossed the room toward Thuvia.
"I prefer to die standing," she replied.
"In the name of Carthoris, Prince of Helium!" came in low
tones from the doorway.
Vas Kor wheeled to meet the charging man.
Astok, with bared sword, leaped to Vas Kor's assistance. The
panthan's sword clashed against that of the noble, and in the
first encounter Vas Kor knew that he faced a master
Until it was too late neither Vas Kor nor Astok dreamed of
that which lay in the panthan's mind; but at last as the fellow
stood with his back toward the door, both understood--they were
penned in their own prison, and now the intruder could slay them
at his will, for Thuvia of Ptarth was bolting the door at the
man's direction, first taking the key from the opposite side,
where Astok had left it when they had entered.
The Heliumite was pressing close upon Vas Kor. The noble was
bleeding from a dozen wounds. Astok saw that he could not for
long withstand the cunning craft of that terrible sword hand.
Vas Kor, dreaming no treachery, nodded his head, and for a
moment succeeded in holding Carthoris at bay. Then the Heliumite
and the girl saw the Dusarian prince run swiftly to the opposite
side of the chamber, touch something in the wall that sent a
great panel swinging inward, and disappear into the black vault
"Come!" cried Carthoris. "There is no time to be lost. Astok
will be back in a moment with enough warriors to overpower
Instead Astok was racing madly through a long corridor to
reach the door of the tower-room before Carthoris and Thuvia left
the apartment. He had seen the girl remove the key and place it
in her pocket-pouch, and he knew that a dagger point driven into
the keyhole from the opposite side would imprison them in the
secret chamber till eight dead worlds circled a cold, dead
He was almost at the door. Around the next turn of the
corridor it stood. No, they had not left the apartment. Evidently
Vas Kor was still holding the Heliumite!
The fellow did not wait to ask the reason for his coming;
instead he leaped upon him with a long-sword, so that Astok had
to parry a dozen vicious cuts before he could disengage himself
and flee back down the runway.
"Well, Kar Komak?" asked the Heliumite.
"He escaped my blade, and ran down this corridor," replied Kar
Together the three hastened along the winding passages through
which Carthoris and Kar Komak had tracked the Dusarians by the
marks of the latter's sandals in the thin dust that overspread
the floors of these seldomused passage-ways.
Once more Carthoris and Kar Komak had recourse to their
blades, and before they had won their way to one of the lifts the
noise of the conflict must have aroused the entire palace, for
they heard men shouting, and as they passed the many levels on
their quick passage to the landing-stage they saw armed men
running hither and thither in search of the cause of the
Scarce had the Thuria risen from the ways ere a hundred or
more fighting men leaped to view upon the landing-stage. At their
head was Astok of Dusar, and as he saw the two he had thought so
safely in his power slipping from his grasp, he danced with rage
and chagrin, shaking his fists and hurling abuse and vile insults
A dozen times shots grazed the Thuria's side, and as Carthoris
could not leave the control levers, Thuvia of Ptarth turned the
muzzles of the craft's rapid-fire guns upon the enemy as she
clung to the steep and slippery surface of the deck.
One by one the pursuers were distanced, and as the last of
them fell out of range behind, Carthoris dropped the Thuria's
nose to a horizontal plane, as with lever drawn to the last
notch, she tore through the thin air of dying Mars toward the
east and Ptarth.
Could Carthoris have known precisely where the great fleets of
the contending nations lay, he would have hastened to them
without delay, for in the return of Thuvia to her sire lay the
greatest hope of peace.
About the vessel many figures could be seen swarming. With the
aid of powerful glasses, the Heliumite saw that they were green
warriors, and that they were repeatedly charging down upon the
crew of the stranded airship. The nationality of the latter he
could not make out at so great a distance.
If the ship was of a friendly power, he could do no less than
stop and direct his guns upon her enemies, though with the
precious freight he carried he scarcely felt justified in
landing, for he could offer but two swords in
reinforcement--scarce enough to warrant jeopardizing the safety
of the Princess of Ptarth.
"It would be futile to descend," said Carthoris to Thuvia.
"The craft may even be of Dusar--she shows no insignia. All that
we may do is fire upon the hordesmen"; and as he spoke he stepped
to one of the guns and deflected its muzzle toward the green
warriors at the ship's side.
The device was that of Kulan Tith, Jeddak of Kaol-the man to
whom the Princess of Ptarth was betrothed!
What would Carthoris, Prince of Helium, do?
"Can you navigate her?" asked Carthoris of Thuvia.
"I am going to try to take the survivors aboard," he
continued. "It will need both Kar Komak and myself to man the
guns while the Kaolians take to the boarding tackle. Keep her bow
depressed against the rifle fire. She can bear it better in her
forward armour, and at the same time the propellers will be
"Prepare to board us."
"Take the port bow gun, Kar Komak," he called to the bowman,
and himself stepped to the gun upon the starboard bow.
It was a forlorn hope at best. At any moment the repulsive ray
tanks might be pierced. The men upon the Kaolian ship were
battling with renewed hope. In the bow stood Kulan Tith, a brave
figure fighting beside his brave warriors, beating back the
ferocious green men.
Like a wounded bird she dived suddenly Marsward careening
drunkenly. Thuvia turned the bow upward in an effort to avert the
imminent tragedy, but she succeeded only in lessening the shock
of the flier's impact as she struck the ground beside the Kaolian
The former now turned their attention upon the new arrival,
for they saw her defenders could soon be overcome and that from
her deck they could command the deck of the better-manned
"Who is it," he cried, "that offers his life in the service of
Kulan Tith? Never was wrought a nobler deed of selfsacrifice upon
Kar Komak stood behind the gun he had been operating, staring
with wide eyes at the onrushing hideous green warriors.
Carthoris, seeing him thus, felt a pang of regret that, after
all, this man that he had thought so valorous should prove, in
the hour of need, as spineless as Jav or Tario.
Kar Komak turned toward the Heliumite, a grim smile upon his
The green men, a handful of them, had already reached the
Thuria's deck, as Carthoris glanced in the direction the
Lotharian had indicated. The sight that met his eyes set his
heart to thumping in joy and relief --Thuvia of Ptarth might yet
be saved? For from below there poured a stream of giant bowmen,
grim and terrible. Not the bowmen of Tario or Jav, but the bowmen
of an odwar of bowmen--savage fighting men, eager for the
A volley of arrows stopped them in their tracks. In a moment
the only green warriors upon the deck of the Thuria were dead
warriors, and the bowmen of Kar Komak were leaping over the
vessel's sides to charge the hordesmen upon the ground.
At last the green men could withstand the onslaught of
overwhelming numbers no longer. Slowly, at first, they fell back
across the ochre plain. The bowmen pursued them. Kar Komak,
standing upon the deck of the Thuria, trembled with
Leaping over the ship's side to the ground, he joined the last
of his bowmen as they raced off over the dead sea-bottom in
pursuit of the fleeing green horde.
As the last of them disappeared behind the promontory,
Carthoris turned toward Thuvia of Ptarth.
The girl reached out a hand and laid it upon the thick black
hair of the head bent before her. Softly she asked:
"With Kar Komak, the bowman," he replied. "There will be
fighting and forgetfulness."
"May my ancestors have mercy upon me," she cried, "if I say
the thing I have no right to say; but I cannot see you cast your
life away, Carthoris, Prince of Helium! Stay, my chieftain.
Stay--I love you!"
For a long moment none spoke. Then Kulan Tith cleared his
"Nor can I fail to appreciate the virtue that has kept your
lips sealed against words of love for this Heliumite, Thuvia, for
I know that I have but just heard the first declaration of your
passion for him. I do not condemn you. Rather should I have
condemned you had you entered a loveless marriage with me.
A GLOSSARY OF NAMES AND TERMS USED IN THE MARTIAN BOOKS
Aaanthor. A dead city of ancient Mars. Aisle of Hope. An aisle
leading to the court-room in Helium. Apt. An Arctic monster. A
huge, white-furred creature with six limbs, four of which, short
and heavy, carry it over the snow and ice; the other two, which
grow forward from its shoulders on either side of its long,
powerful neck, terminate in white, hairless hands with which it
seizes and holds its prey. Its head and mouth are similar in
appearance to those of a hippopotamus, except that from the sides
of the lower jawbone two mighty horns curve slightly downward
toward the front. Its two huge eyes extend in two vast oval
patches from the centre of the top of the cranium down either
side of the head to below the roots of the horns, so that these
weapons really grow out from the lower part of the eyes, which
are composed of several thousand ocelli each. Each ocellus is
furnished with its own lid, and the apt can, at will, close as
many of the facets of his huge eyes as he chooses. (See THE
WARLORD OF MARS.) Astok. Prince of Dusar. Avenue of Ancestors. A
street in Helium. Banth. Barsoomian lion. A fierce beast of prey
that roams the low hills surrounding the dead seas of ancient
Mars. It is almost hairless, having only a great, bristly mane
about its thick neck. Its long, lithe body is supported by ten
powerful legs, its enormous jaws are equipped with several rows
of long needle-like fangs, and its mouth reaches to a point far
back of its tiny ears. It has enormous protruding eyes of green.
(See THE GODS OF MARS.) Bar Comas. Jeddak of Warhoon. (See A
PRINCESS OF MARS.) Barsoom. MARS Black pirates of Barsoom. Men
six feet and over in height. Have clear-cut and handsome
features; their eyes are well set and large, though a slight
narrowness lends them a crafty appearance. The iris is extremely
black while the eyeball itself is quite white and clear. Their
skin has the appearance of polished ebony. (See THE GODS OF
MARS.) Calot. A dog. About the size of a Shetland pony and has
ten short legs. The head bears a slight resemblance to that of a
frog, except that the jaws are equipped with three rows of long,
sharp tusks. (See A PRINCESS OF MARS.) Carter, John. Warlord of
Mars. Carthoris of Helium. Son of John Carter and Dejah Thoris.
Dak Kova. Jed among the Warhoons (later jeddak). Darseen.
Chameleon-like reptile. Dator. Chief or prince among the First
Born. Dejah Thoris. Princess of Helium. Djor Kantos. Son of
Kantos Kan; padwar of the Fifth Utan. Dor. Valley of Heaven.
Dotar Sojat. John Carter's Martian name, from the surnames of the
first two warrior chieftains he killed. Dusar. A Martian kingdom.
Dwar. Captain. Ersite. A kind of stone. Father of Therns. High
Priest of religious cult. First Born. Black race; black pirates.
Kar Komak. Odwar of Lotharian bowmen. Gate of Jeddaks. A gate in
Helium. Gozava. Tars Tarkas' dead wife. Gur Tus. Dwar of the
Tenth Utan. Haad. Martian mile. Hal Vas. Son of Vas Kor the
Dusarian noble. Hastor. A city of Helium. Hekkador. Title of
Father of Therns. Helium. The empire of the grandfather of Dejah
Thoris. Holy Therns. A Martian religious cult. Hortan Gur. Jeddak
of Torquas. Hor Vastus. Padwar in the navy of Helium. Horz.
Deserted city; Barsoomian Greenwich. Illall. A city of Okar. Iss.
River of Death. (See A PRINCESS OF MARS.) Issus. Goddess of
Death, whose abode is upon the banks of the Lost Sea of Korus.
(See THE GODS OF MARS.) Jav. A Lotharian. Jed. King. Jeddak.
Emperor. Kab Kadja. Jeddak of the Warhoons of the south. Kadabra.
Capital of Okar. Kadar. Guard. Kalksus. Cruiser; transport under
Vas Kor. Kantos Kan. Padwar in the Helium navy. Kaol. A Martian
kingdom in the eastern hemisphere. Kaor. Greeting. Karad. Martian
degree. Komal. The Lotharian god; a huge banth. Korad. A dead
city of ancient Mars. (See A PRINCESS OF MARS.) Korus. The Lost
Sea of Dor. Kulan Tith. Jeddak of Kaol. (See THE WARLORD OF
MARS.) Lakor. A thern. Larok. A Dusarian warrior; artificer.
Lorquas Ptomel. Jed among the Tharks. (See A PRINCESS OF MARS.)
Lothar. The forgotten city. Marentina. A principality of Okar.
Matai Shang. Father of Therns. (See THE GODS OF MARS.) Mors
Kajak. A jed of lesser Helium. Notan. Royal Psychologist of
Zodanga. Nutus. Jeddak of Dusar. Od. Martian foot. Odwar. A
commander, or general. Okar. Land of the yellow men. Old Ben (or
Uncle Ben). The writer's body-servant (coloured). Omad. Man with
one name. Omean. The buried sea. Orluk. A black and yellow
striped Arctic monster. Otz Mountains. Surrounding the Valley Dor
and the Lost Sea of Korus. Padwar. Lieutenant. Panthan. A soldier
of fortune. Parthak. The Zodangan who brought food to John Carter
in the pits of Zat Arras. (See THE GODS OF MARS.) Pedestal of
Truth. Within the courtroom of Helium. Phaidor. Daughter of Matai
Shang. (See THE GODS OF MARS.) Pimalia. Gorgeous flowering plant.
Plant men of Barsoom. A race inhabiting the Valley Dor. They are
ten or twelve feet in height when standing erect; their arms are
very short and fashioned after the manner of an elephant's trunk,
being sinuous; the body is hairless and ghoulish blue except for
a broad band of white which encircles the protruding, single eye,
the pupil, iris and ball of which are dead white. The nose is a
ragged, inflamed, circular hole in the centre of the blank face,
resembling a fresh bullet wound which has not yet commenced to
bleed. There is no mouth in the head. With the exception of the
face, the head is covered by a tangled mass of jet-black hair
some eight or ten inches in length. Each hair is about the
thickness of a large angleworm. The body, legs and feet are of
human shape but of monstrous proportions, the feet being fully
three feet long and very flat and broad. The method of feeding
consists in running their odd hands over the surface of the turf,
cropping off the tender vegetation with razor-like talons and
sucking it up from two mouths, which lie one in the palm of each
hand. They are equipped with a massive tail about six feet long,
quite round where it joins the body, but tapering to a flat, thin
blade toward the end, which trails at right angles to the ground.
(See THE GODS OF MARS.) Prince Soran. Overlord of the navy of
Ptarth. Ptarth. A Martian kingdom. Ptor. Family name of three
Zodangan brothers. Sab Than. Prince of Zodanga. (See A PRINCESS
OF MARS.) Safad. A Martian inch. Sak. Jump. Salensus Oll. Jeddak
of Okar. (See THE WARLORD OF MARS.) Saran Tal. Carthoris'
major-domo. Sarkoja. A green Martian woman. (See A PRINCESS OF
MARS.) Sator Throg. A Holy Thern of the Tenth Cycle. Shador.
Island in Omean used as a prison. Silian. Slimy reptiles
inhabiting the Sea of Korus. Sith. Hornet-like monster.
Bald-faced and about the size of a Hereford bull. Has frightful
jaws in front and mighty poisoned sting behind. The eyes, of
myriad facets, cover three-fourths of the head, permitting the
creature to see in all directions at one and the same time. (See
THE WARLORD OF MARS.) Skeel. A Martian hardwood. Sola. A young
green Martian woman. Solan. An official of the palace. Sompus. A
kind of tree. Sorak. A little pet animal among the red Martian
women, about the size of a cat. Sorapus. A Martian hardwood.
Sorav. An officer of Salensus Oll. Tal. A Martian second. Tal
Hajus. Jeddak of Thark. Talu. Rebel Prince of Marentina. Tan
Gama. Warhoon warrior. Tardos Mors. Grandfather of Dejah Thoris
and Jeddak of Helium. Tario. Jeddak of Lothar. Tars Tarkas. A
green man, chieftain of the Tharks. Temple of Reward. In Helium.
Tenth Cycle. A sphere, or plane of eminence, among the Holy
Therns. Thabis. Issus' chief. Than Kosis. Jeddak of Zodanga. (See
A PRINCESS OF MARS.) Thark. City and name of a green Martian
horde. Thoat. A green Martian horse. Ten feet high at the
shoulder, with four legs on either side; a broad, flat tail,
larger at the tip than at the root which it holds straight out
behind while running; a mouth splitting its head from snout to
the long, massive neck. It is entirely devoid of hair and is of a
dark slate colour and exceedingly smooth and glossy. It has a
white belly and the legs are shaded from slate at the shoulders
and hips to a vivid yellow at the feet. The feet are heavily
padded and nailless. (See A PRINCESS OF MARS.) Thor Ban. Jed
among the green men of Torquas. Thorian. Chief of the lesser
Therns. Throne of Righteousness. In the court-room of Helium.
Throxus. Mightiest of the five oceans. Thurds. A green horde
inimical to Torquas. Thuria. The nearer moon. Thurid. A black
dator. Thuvan Dihn. Jeddak of Ptarth. Thuvia. Princess of Ptarth.
Torith. Officer of the guards at submarine pool. Torkar Bar.
Kaolian noble; dwar of the Kaolian Road. Torquas. A green horde.
Turjun. Carthoris' alias. Utan. A company of one hundred men
(military). Vas Kor. A Dusarian noble. Warhoon. A community of
green men; enemy of Thark. Woola. A Barsoomian calot. Xat. A
Martian minute. Xavarian. A Helium warship. Xodar. Dator among
the First Born. Yersted. Commander of the submarine. Zad.
Tharkian warrior. Zat Arras. Jed of Zodanga. Zithad. Dator of the
guards of Issus. (See THE GODS OF MARS.) Zitidars. Mastodonian
draught animals. Zodanga. Martian city of red men at war with
Helium. Zode. A Martian hour.