Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Edgar Rice Burroughs
A Green Man's Captive
The Fair Race
The Jeddak of Lothar
The Phantom Bowmen
The Hall of Doom
The Battle in the Plain
Kar Komak, the Bowman
Green Men and White Apes
To Save Dusar
Turjun, the Panthan
Kulan Tith's Sacrifice
Glossary of Names and Terms
THUVIA, MAID OF MARS
CARTHORIS AND THUVIA
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, red-skinned
warrior bent low toward her, whispering heated words close to her
"Ah, Thuvia of Ptarth," he cried, "you are cold even before the
fiery blasts of my consuming love! No harder than your heart, nor
colder is the hard, cold ersite of this thrice happy bench which
supports your divine and fadeless form! Tell me, O Thuvia of
Ptarth, that I may still hope—that though you do not love me now,
yet some day, some day, my princess, I—"
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.
"You forget yourself, and the customs of Barsoom, Astok," she said.
"I have given you no right thus to address the daughter of Thuvan
Dihn, nor have you won such a right."
The man reached suddenly forth and grasped her by the arm.
"You shall be my princess!" he cried. "By the breast of Issus, thou
shalt, nor shall any other come between Astok, Prince of Dusar,
and his heart's desire. Tell me that there is another, and I shall
cut out his foul heart and fling it to the wild calots of the dead
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.
"Release me." Her voice was level—frigid.
The man muttered incoherently and drew her roughly toward him.
"Release me!" she repeated sharply, "or I call the guard, and the
Prince of Dusar knows what that will mean."
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 free arm.
"Calot!" she exclaimed, and then: "The guard! The guard! Hasten
in protection of the Princess of Ptarth!"
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.
But before they had passed half across the royal garden to where
Astok of Dusar still held the struggling girl in his grasp, another
figure sprang from a cluster of dense foliage that half hid a golden
fountain close at hand. A tall, straight youth he was, with black
hair and keen grey eyes; broad of shoulder and narrow of hip; a
clean-limbed fighting man. His skin was but faintly tinged with
the copper colour that marks the red men of Mars from the other
races of the dying planet—he was like them, and yet there was a
subtle difference greater even than that which lay in his lighter
skin and his grey 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.
Astok still clutched Thuvia's wrist as the young warrior confronted
him. The new-comer wasted no time and he spoke but a single word.
"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
Her champion turned toward the girl. "Kaor, Thuvia of Ptarth!" he
cried. "It seems that fate timed my visit well."
"Kaor, Carthoris of Helium!" the princess returned the young man's
greeting, "and what less could one expect of the son of such a
He bowed his acknowledgment of the compliment to his father, John
Carter, Warlord of Mars. And then the guardsmen, panting from
their charge, came up just as the Prince of Dusar, bleeding at the
mouth, and with drawn sword, crawled from the entanglement of the
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
"But say the word, Thuvia of Ptarth," he begged, "and naught will
give me greater pleasure than meting to this fellow the punishment
he has earned."
"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."
"As you say, Thuvia," replied the Heliumite. "But afterward he
shall account to Carthoris, Prince of Helium, for this affront to
the daughter of my father's friend." As he spoke, though, there
burned in his eyes a fire that proclaimed a nearer, dearer cause
for his championship of this glorious daughter of Barsoom.
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
"And thou to me," he snapped at Carthoris, answering the young
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 merited death.
The young man hesitated. He looked toward his princess. She, too,
guessed all that hung upon the action of the coming moment. For
many years Dusar and Ptarth had been at peace with each other.
Their great merchant ships plied back and forth between the larger
cities of the two nations. Even now, far above the gold-shot
scarlet dome of the jeddak's palace, she could see the huge bulk
of a giant freighter taking its majestic way through the thin
Barsoomian air toward the west and Dusar.
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.
No sense of fear influenced her decision, for fear is seldom known
to the children of Mars. It was rather a sense of the responsibility
that she, the daughter of their jeddak, felt for the welfare of
her father's people.
"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."
Without another glance in the direction of Astok she turned, and
taking Carthoris' proffered hand, moved slowly toward the massive
marble pile that housed the ruler of Ptarth and his glittering
court. On either side marched a file of guardsmen. Thus Thuvia
of Ptarth found a way out of a dilemma, escaping the necessity
of placing her father's royal guest under forcible restraint, and
at the same time separating the two princes, who otherwise would
have been at each other's throat the moment she and the guard had
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.
As they disappeared within the structure Astok shrugged his shoulders,
and with a murmured oath crossed the gardens toward another wing
of the building where he and his retinue were housed.
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.
Carthoris was not present at the leave-taking, nor was Thuvia. The
ceremony was as stiff and formal as court etiquette could make it,
and when the last of the Dusarians clambered over the rail of the
battleship that had brought them upon this fateful visit to the
court of Ptarth, and the mighty engine of destruction had risen
slowly from the ways of the landing-stage, a note of relief was
apparent in the voice of Thuvan Dihn as he turned to one of his
officers with a word of comment upon a subject foreign to that
which had been uppermost in the minds of all for hours.
But, after all, was it so foreign?
"Inform Prince Sovan," he directed, "that it is our wish that the
fleet which departed for Kaol this morning be recalled to cruise
to the west of Ptarth."
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.
"Thuvia," he whispered.
The girl turned her eyes toward his. His hand stole out to find
hers, but she drew her own gently away.
"Thuvia of Ptarth, I love you!" cried the young warrior. "Tell me
that it does not offend."
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
The young man got slowly to his feet. His eyes were wide in
astonishment. It never had occurred to the Prince of Helium that
Thuvia of Ptarth might love another.
"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?"
"And what did I do, Carthoris of Helium," she returned, "that might
lead you to believe that I DID return it?"
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 you."
"And how might I know it, Carthoris?" she asked innocently. "Did
you ever tell me as much? Ever before have words of love for me
fallen from your lips?"
"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
"Do the maids of Helium pay court to their men?" asked Thuvia.
"You are playing with me!" exclaimed Carthoris. "Say that you are
but playing, and that after all you love me, Thuvia!"
"I cannot tell you that, Carthoris, for I am promised to another."
Her tone was level, but was there not within it the hint of an
infinite depth of sadness? Who may say?
"Promised to another?" Carthoris scarcely breathed the words. His
face went almost white, and then his head came up as befitted him
in whose veins flowed the blood of the overlord of a world.
"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.
"Kulan Tith, Jeddak of Kaol," she replied. "My father's friend
and Ptarth's most puissant ally."
The young man looked at her intently for a moment before he spoke
"You love him, Thuvia of Ptarth?" he asked.
"I am promised to him," she replied simply.
He did not press her. "He is of Barsoom's noblest blood and mightiest
fighters," mused Carthoris. "My father's friend and mine—would
that it might have been another!" he muttered almost savagely. What
the girl thought was hidden by the mask of her expression, which
was tinged only by a little shadow of sadness that might have been
for Carthoris, herself, or for them both.
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 loyalty.
He raised a jewel-encrusted bit of the girl's magnificent trappings
to his lips.
"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.
"I am promised to him," she replied.
Carthoris backed slowly away. He laid one hand upon his heart,
the other upon the pommel of his long-sword.
"These are yours—always," he said. A moment later he had entered
the palace, and was gone from the girl's sight.
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.
Carthoris of Helium had come all unannounced to the court of his
father's friend that day. He had come alone in a small flier, sure
of the same welcome that always awaited him at Ptarth. As there
had been no formality in his coming there was no need of formality
in his going.
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
Carthoris' improvement upon this consisted of an auxiliary device
which steered the craft mechanically in the direction of the
compass, and upon arrival directly over the point for which the
compass was set, brought the craft to a standstill and lowered it,
also automatically, to the ground.
"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
A dozen officers of the court with several body servants were
grouped behind the jeddak and his guest, eager listeners to the
conversation—so eager on the part of one of the servants that he
was twice rebuked by a noble for his forwardness in pushing himself
ahead of his betters to view the intricate mechanism of the wonderful
"controlling destination compass," as the thing was called.
"For example," continued Carthoris, "I have an all-night 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."
"Provided," suggested Thuvan Dihn, "you do not chance to collide
with some other night wanderer in the meanwhile."
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.
"It is quite simple, being nothing more than a radium generator
diffusing radio-activity in all directions to a distance of a
hundred yards or so from the flier. Should this enveloping force
be interrupted in any direction a delicate instrument immediately
apprehends the irregularity, at the same time imparting an impulse
to a magnetic device which in turn actuates the steering mechanism,
diverting the bow of the flier away from the obstacle until the craft's
radio-activity sphere is no longer in contact with the obstruction,
then she falls once more into her normal course. Should the
disturbance approach from the rear, as in case of a faster-moving
craft overhauling me, the mechanism actuates the speed control as
well as the steering gear, and the flier shoots ahead and either
up or down, as the oncoming vessel is upon a lower or higher plane
"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."
Thuvan Dihn smiled his appreciation of the marvellous device. The
forward servant pushed almost to the flier's side. His eyes were
narrowed to slits.
"All but one," he said.
The nobles looked at him in astonishment, and one of them grasped
the fellow none too gently by the shoulder to push him back to his
proper place. Carthoris raised his hand.
"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 overlooked?"
As he spoke Carthoris observed the servant closely for the first
time. He saw a man of giant stature and handsome, as are all those
of the race of Martian red men; but the fellow's lips were thin
and cruel, and across one cheek was the faint, white line of a
sword-cut from the right temple to the corner of the mouth.
"Come," urged the Prince of Helium. "Speak!"
The man hesitated. It was evident that he regretted the temerity
that had made him the centre of interested observation. But at
last, seeing no alternative, he spoke.
"It might be tampered with," he said, "by an enemy."
Carthoris drew a small key from his leathern pocket-pouch.
"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."
The servant took the key, glanced at it shrewdly, and then as he
made to return it to Carthoris dropped it upon the marble flagging.
Turning to look for it he planted the sole of his sandal full upon
the glittering object. For an instant he bore all his weight upon
the foot that covered the key, then he stepped back and with an
exclamation as of pleasure that he had found it, stooped, recovered
it, and returned it to the Heliumite. Then he dropped back to his
station behind the nobles and was forgotten.
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.
When the party had come to the lower levels, and the jeddak had
dispersed them by a sign, none noticed that the forward fellow who
had drawn so much attention to himself before the Prince of Helium
departed, was no longer among the other servants.
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 court.
A good rule that, and only relaxed by courtesy in favour of the
retinue of visiting royalty from a friendly foreign power.
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
It was the Palace of Peace in which were housed the representatives
of the foreign powers, or rather in which were located their
embassies; for the ministers themselves dwelt in gorgeous palaces
within the district occupied by the nobles.
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 the clerk.
The latter's eyes went wide, and his attitude turned at once to
one of deference. He bowed the stranger to a seat, and hastened
to an inner room with the armlet in his hand. A moment later
he reappeared and conducted the caller into the presence of the
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 minister.
That night two swift fliers left the same palace top. One sped
its rapid course toward Helium; the other—
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 verge.
The girl's thoughts wandered from her impending nuptials, that
would make her empress of Kaol, to the person of the trim young
Heliumite who had laid his heart at her feet the preceding day.
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
So, too, is it impossible to conjecture just what her emotions may
have been as she discerned the lights of a flier speeding rapidly
out of the distance from that very direction, as though impelled
toward her garden by the very intensity of the princess' thoughts.
She saw it circle lower above the palace until she was positive
that it but hovered in preparation for a landing.
Presently the powerful rays of its searchlight shot downward from
the bow. They fell upon the landing-stage for a brief instant,
revealing the figures of the Ptarthian guard, picking into brilliant
points of fire the gems upon their gorgeous harnesses.
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.
For but an instant the searchlight halted upon Thuvia of Ptarth,
then it was extinguished as suddenly as it had come to life. The
flier passed on above her to disappear beyond a grove of lofty
skeel trees that grew within the palace grounds.
The girl stood for some time as it had left her, except that her
head was bent and her eyes downcast in thought.
Who but Carthoris could it have been? She tried to feel anger
that he should have returned thus, spying upon her; but she found
it difficult to be angry with the young prince of Helium.
What mad caprice could have induced him so to transgress the
etiquette of nations? For lesser things great powers had gone to
The princess in her was shocked and angered—but what of the girl!
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
Thuvia watched it dart swiftly eastward. So, too, did other eyes
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 intellects of our ancestors are with us to-night," said one
in a low tone.
"No plan ever carried better," returned another. "They did precisely
as the prince foretold."
He who had first spoken turned toward the man who squatted before
the control board.
"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.
Thuvia of Ptarth, gazing toward the east, saw the blacker blot
against the blackness of the trees as the craft topped the buttressed
garden wall. She saw the dim bulk incline gently downward toward
the scarlet sward of the garden.
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!
Scarce had the flier touched the ground when four men leaped from
its deck. They ran forward toward the girl.
Still she made no sign of alarm, standing as though hypnotized.
Or could it have been as one who awaited a welcome visitor?
Not until they were quite close to her did she move. Then the
nearer moon, rising above the surrounding foliage, touched their
faces, lighting all with the brilliancy of her silver rays.
Thuvia of Ptarth saw only strangers—warriors in the harness of
Dusar. Now she took fright, but too late!
Before she could voice but a single cry, rough hands seized her.
A heavy silken scarf was wound about her head. She was lifted
in strong arms and borne to the deck of the flier. There was the
sudden whirl of propellers, the rushing of air against her body,
and, from far beneath the shouting and the challenge from the guard.
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 measurements.
A smile played upon his lips as he completed his task and turned
to one who waited at the opposite side of the table.
"The man is a genius," he remarked.
"Only a genius could have evolved such a lock as this is designed
to spring. Here, take the sketch, Larok, and give all thine own
genius full and unfettered freedom in reproducing it in metal."
The warrior-artificer bowed. "Man builds naught," he said, "that
man may not destroy." Then he left the cabin with the sketch.
As dawn broke upon the lofty towers which mark the twin cities
of Helium—the scarlet tower of one and the yellow tower of its
sister—a flier floated lazily out of the north.
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.
Peace reigned throughout Helium. Stagnant, emasculating peace.
Helium had no enemies. There was naught to fear.
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.
The cheery "Kaor!" and the plausible explanation that the owner had
come from distant parts for a few days of pleasure in gay Helium
sufficed. The air-patrol boat sheered off, passing again upon its
way. The stranger continued toward a public landing-stage, where
she dropped into the ways and came to rest.
At about the same time a warrior entered her cabin.
"It is done, Vas Kor," he said, handing a small metal key to the
tall noble who had just risen from his sleeping silks and furs.
"Good!" exclaimed the latter. "You must have worked upon it all
during the night, Larok."
The warrior nodded.
"Now fetch me the Heliumetic metal you wrought some days since,"
commanded Vas Kor.
This done, the warrior assisted his master to replace the handsome
jewelled metal of his harness with the plainer ornaments of an
ordinary fighting man of Helium, and with the insignia of the same
house that appeared upon the bow of the flier.
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.
Among them his warrior trappings were no more remarkable than is
a pair of trousers upon Broadway. All Martian men are warriors,
save those physically unable to bear arms. The tradesman and
his clerk clank with their martial trappings as they pursue their
vocations. The schoolboy, coming into the world, as he does, almost
adult from the snowy shell that has encompassed his development
for five long years, knows so little of life without a sword at
his hip that he would feel the same discomfiture at going abroad
unarmed that an Earth boy would experience in walking the streets
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.
As he moved with the throng in the parklike canyon of the thoroughfare
the life of an awakening Martian city was in evidence about him.
Houses, raised high upon their slender metal columns for the night
were dropping gently toward the ground. Among the flowers upon the
scarlet sward which lies about the buildings children were already
playing, and comely women laughing and chatting with their neighbours
as they culled gorgeous blossoms for the vases within doors.
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.
The district in which he had landed was residential—a district of
merchants of the more prosperous sort. Everywhere were evidences
of luxury and wealth. Slaves appeared upon every housetop with
gorgeous silks and costly furs, laying them in the sun for airing.
Jewel-encrusted women lolled even thus early upon the carven
balconies before their sleeping apartments. Later in the day they
would repair to the roofs when the slaves had arranged couches and
pitched silken canopies to shade them from the sun.
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.
Above him raced the long, light passenger fliers, plying, each in
its proper plane, between the numerous landing-stages for internal
passenger traffic. Landing-stages that tower high into the heavens
are for the great international passenger liners. Freighters have
other landing-stages at various lower levels, to within a couple
of hundred feet of the ground; nor dare any flier rise or drop from
one plane to another except in certain restricted districts where
horizontal traffic is forbidden.
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.
From private hangars upon many a roof top fliers were darting into
the line of traffic. Gay farewells and parting admonitions mingled
with the whirring of motors and the subdued noises of the city.
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.
Martians dislike harsh, discordant clamour. The only loud noises
they can abide are the martial sounds of war, the clash of arms,
the collision of two mighty dreadnoughts of the air. To them there
is no sweeter music than this.
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.
Beyond the gatekeeper he came to a slowly moving line of what to
Earthly eyes would have appeared to be conical-nosed, eight-foot
projectiles for some giant gun. In slow procession the things
moved in single file along a grooved track. A half dozen attendants
assisted passengers to enter, or directed these carriers to their
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.
Presently it switched itself automatically to another track, to
enter, a moment later, one of the series of dark-mouthed tubes.
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
Here he sought the street level, stepping immediately into a waiting
ground flier. He spoke no word to the slave sitting in the driver's
seat. It was evident that he had been expected, and that the fellow
had received his instructions before his coming.
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.
Vas Kor entered the low-ceiling room. A man at the far end
motioned him toward an inner apartment, giving no further sign of
recognition until he had passed in after the caller and closed the
Then he faced his visitor, saluting deferentially.
"Most noble—" he commenced, but Vas Kor silenced him with a gesture.
"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?"
The merchant nodded, and, turning to a great chest, produced
the unemblazoned trappings of a slave. These Vas Kor immediately
donned. Then the two passed from the shop through a rear door,
traversed a winding alley to an avenue beyond, where they entered
a flier which awaited them.
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.
The crowds were enormous to-day, for Carthoris, Prince of Helium,
was to be the principal bidder.
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.
When all were done, the major-domo of the Prince of Helium recalled
to the block such as had favourably impressed him. For such he
had made a fair offer.
There was little haggling as to price, and none at all when Vas
Kor was placed upon the block. His merchant-master 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
In the council chamber of John Carter, Warlord of Mars, was Tardos
Mors, Jeddak of Helium; Mors Kajak, his son, Jed of Lesser Helium;
Carthoris, and a score of the great nobles of the empire.
"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.
"There is but one who may convince him, and that one be you. You
must hasten at once to the court of Ptarth, and by your presence
there as well as by your words assure him that his suspicions are
groundless. Bear with you the authority of the Warlord of Barsoom,
and of the Jeddak of Helium to offer every resource of the allied
powers to assist Thuvan Dihn to recover his daughter and punish
her abductors, whomsoever they may be.
"Go! I know that I do not need to urge upon you the necessity for
Carthoris left the council chamber, and hastened to his palace.
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 Ptarth.
At last all was done. But two armed slaves remained on guard.
The setting sun hung low above the horizon. In a moment darkness
would envelop all.
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.
"What strange craft is that?" he asked.
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
Voiceless, the soldier sank in his tracks—stone dead. Quickly
the murderer dragged the corpse into the black shadows within the
hangar. Then he returned to the flier.
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.
A smile crossed his lips. With a pair of cutters he snipped off
the projection which extended through the dial from the external
pointer—now the latter might be moved to any point upon the dial
without affecting the mechanism below. In other words, the eastern
hemisphere dial was useless.
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
As quickly as possible he replaced the second dial cover, and resumed
his place on guard. To all intents and purposes the compass was
as efficient as before; but, as a matter of fact, the moving of the
pointers upon the dials resulted now in no corresponding shift of
the mechanism beneath—and the device was set, immovably, upon a
destination of the slave's own choosing.
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.
First to his mind, naturally, had sprung the thought that Astok
of Dusar had stolen the fair Ptarthian; but almost simultaneously
with the report of the abduction had come news of the great fetes
at Dusar in honour of the return of the jeddak's son to the court
of his father.
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.
With a word of farewell he touched the button which controlled the
repulsive rays, and as the flier rose lightly into the air, the
engine purred in answer to the touch of his finger upon a second
button, the propellers whirred as his hand drew back the speed
lever, and Carthoris, Prince of Helium, was off into the gorgeous
Martian night beneath the hurtling moons and the million stars.
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.
But sleep did not come at once at his bidding.
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 to
Now he saw that her reply was open to more than a single construction.
It might, of course, mean that she did not love Kulan Tith; and
so, by inference, be taken to mean that she loved another.
But what assurance was there that the other was Carthoris of Helium?
The more he thought upon it the more positive he became that not
only was there no assurance in her words that she loved him, but
none either in any act of hers. No, the fact was, she did not love
him. She loved another. She had not been abducted—she had fled
willingly with her lover.
With such pleasant thoughts filling him alternately with despair
and rage, Carthoris at last dropped into the sleep of utter mental
The breaking of the sudden dawn found him still asleep. His flier
was rushing swiftly above a barren, ochre plain—the world-old
bottom of a long-dead Martian sea.
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.
The countless dismal windows, vacant and forlorn, stared, sightless,
from their marble walls; the whole sad city taking on the semblance
of scattered mounds of dead men's sun-bleached skulls—the casements
having the appearance of eyeless sockets, the portals, grinning
Closer came the flier, but now its speed was diminishing—yet this
was not Ptarth.
Above the central plaza it stopped, slowly settling Marsward.
Within a hundred yards of the ground it came to rest, floating
gently in the light air, and at the same instant an alarm sounded
at the sleeper's ear.
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.
He gazed about in bewildered astonishment. There indeed was a
great city, but it was not Ptarth. No multitudes surged through
its broad avenues. No signs of life broke the dead monotony of
its deserted roof tops. No gorgeous silks, no priceless furs lent
life and colour to the cold marble and the gleaming ersite.
No patrol boat lay ready with its familiar challenge. Silent and
empty lay the great city—empty and silent the surrounding air.
What had happened?
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.
Quickly he unlocked the cover, turning it back upon its hinge. A
single glance showed him the truth, or at least a part of it—the
steel projection that communicated the movement of the pointer upon
the dial to the heart of the mechanism beneath had been severed.
Who could have done the thing—and why?
Carthoris could not hazard even a faint guess. But the thing now
was to learn in what portion of the world he was, and then take up
his interrupted journey once more.
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.
Beneath the second dial he found the steel pin severed as in the
other, but the controlling mechanism had first been set for a point
upon the western hemisphere.
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 him.
Leaning over the side of the flier, he saw what appeared to be a red
woman being dragged across the plaza by a huge green warrior—one
of those fierce, cruel denizens of the dead sea-bottoms and deserted
cities of dying Mars.
Carthoris waited to see no more. Reaching for the control board,
he sent his craft racing plummet-like toward the ground.
The green man was hurrying his captive toward a huge thoat that
browsed upon the ochre vegetation of the once scarlet-gorgeous
plaza. At the same instant a dozen red warriors leaped from the
entrance of a nearby ersite palace, pursuing the abductor with
naked swords and shouts of rageful warning.
Once the woman turned her face upward toward the falling flier,
and in the single swift glance Carthoris saw that it was Thuvia of
A GREEN MAN'S CAPTIVE
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 abductors.
No longer did their trappings gleam with the metal of Dusar, but
instead there was emblazoned there the insignia of the Prince of
The girl felt renewed hope, for she could not believe that in the
heart of Carthoris could lie intent to harm her.
She spoke to the warrior squatting before the control board.
"Last night you wore the trappings of a Dusarian," she said. "Now
your metal is that of Helium. What means it?"
The man looked at her with a grin.
"The Prince of Helium is no fool," he said.
Just then an officer emerged from the tiny cabin. He reprimanded
the warrior for conversing with the prisoner, nor would he himself
reply to any of her inquiries.
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.
Here the flier settled slowly into the plaza of one of those mute
monuments of Mars' dead and forgotten past—the deserted cities
that fringe the sad ochre sea-bottoms where once rolled the mighty
floods upon whose bosoms moved the maritime commerce of the peoples
that are gone for ever.
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.
And again, during her flight from the temples of the Holy Therns
with Tars Tarkas, Jeddak of Thark, she had seen them, with their
weird and ghostly inmates, the great white apes of 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.
Why, then, should they be bringing her to such a place? There was
but a single answer. Such was the nature of their work that they
must needs seek the seclusion that a dead city afforded. The girl
trembled at thought of her plight.
For two days her captors kept her within a huge palace that even in
decay reflected the splendour of the age which its youth had known.
Just before dawn on the third day she had been aroused by the voices
of two of her abductors.
"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."
"There was no other way," replied the other. "It is wondrous work
to get them both here at all, and even if we do not succeed in
luring him to the ground, we shall have accomplished much."
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.
With a quick sign to the other, he ceased speaking, and advancing
toward the girl, motioned her to rise. Then he led her out into
the night toward the centre of the great plaza.
"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."
Then he turned and retraced his steps toward the palace, leaving
her alone in the midst of the unseen terrors of the haunted city,
for in truth these places are haunted in the belief of many Martians
who still cling to an ancient superstition which teaches that the
spirits of Holy Therns who die before their allotted one thousand
years, pass, on occasions, into the bodies of the great white apes.
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 prowlings.
What was that?
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!
Thar Ban, jed among the hordes of Torquas, rode swiftly across the
ochre vegetation of the dead sea-bottom toward the ruins of ancient
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 warring.
His giant thoat was far from jaded, yet it would be well, thought
Thar Ban, to permit him to graze upon the ochre moss which grows to
greater height within the protected courtyards of deserted cities,
where the soil is richer than on the sea-bottoms, and the plants
partly shaded from the sun during the cloudless Martian day.
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.
As Thar Ban rode noiselessly up the broad avenue which leads from
the quays of Aaanthor to the great central plaza, he and his mount
might have been mistaken for spectres from a world of dreams, so
grotesque the man and beast, so soundless the great thoat's padded,
nailless feet upon the moss-grown flagging of the ancient pavement.
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.
At the side of his thoat were slung his long radium rifle and his
great, forty-foot, metal-shod spear, while from his own harness
depended his long-sword and his short-sword, as well as his lesser
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 fear.
As the rider neared the plaza, he reined suddenly in. His slender,
tubular ears pointed rigidly forward. An unwonted sound had reached
them. Voices! And where there were voices, outside of Torquas,
there, too, were enemies. All the world of wide Barsoom contained
naught but enemies for the fierce Torquasians.
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 beneath them.
In the centre of the plaza Thar Ban saw the figure of a red woman.
A red warrior was conversing with her. Now the man turned and
retraced his steps toward the palace at the opposite side of the
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.
Thuvia of Ptarth watched the shadow behind the monolith at the
opening to the avenue opposite her. She hoped that it might be
but the figment of an overwrought imagination.
But no! Now, clearly and distinctly, she saw it move. It came
from behind the screening shelter of the ersite shaft.
The sudden light of the rising sun fell upon it. The girl trembled.
The THING was a huge green warrior!
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.
At the same instant she turned her face upward toward the whirring
sound of something above her, and there she saw a swift flier
dropping toward her, the head and shoulders of a man leaning far
over the side; but the man's features were deeply shadowed, so that
she did not recognize them.
Now from behind her came the shouts of her red abductors. They
were racing madly after him who dared to steal what they already
As Thar Ban reached the side of his mount he snatched his long
radium rifle from its boot, and, wheeling, poured three shots into
the oncoming red men.
Such is the uncanny marksmanship of these Martian savages that three
red warriors dropped in their tracks as three projectiles exploded
in their vitals.
The others halted, nor did they dare return the fire for fear of
wounding the girl.
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.
Carthoris' flier had not touched the ground before he had sprung
from its deck to race after the swift thoat, whose eight long legs
were sending it down the avenue at the rate of an express train;
but the men of Dusar who still remained alive had no mind to permit
so valuable a capture to escape them.
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.
So the three who remained set upon Carthoris with their long-swords,
crying to him to surrender; but they might as successfully have cried
aloud to Thuria to cease her mad hurtling through the Barsoomian
sky, for Carthoris of Helium was a true son of the Warlord of Mars
and his incomparable Dejah Thoris.
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 have done.
So swift his sword, so mighty and agile his half-earthly muscles,
that one of his opponents was down, crimsoning the ochre moss with
his life-blood, when he had scarce made a single pass at Carthoris.
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
Thrice was Carthoris touched, so that the red blood ran down his
face, blinding him and dyeing his broad chest. With his free hand
he wiped the gore from his eyes, and with the fighting smile of his
father touching his lips, leaped upon his antagonists with renewed
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.
Carthoris made no step to pursue. He had other concern than the
meting of even well-deserved punishment to strange men who masqueraded
in the metal of his own house, for he had seen that these men were
tricked out in the insignia that marked his personal followers.
Turning quickly toward his flier, he was soon rising from the plaza
in pursuit of Thar Ban.
The red warrior whom he had put to flight turned in the entrance
to the palace, and, seeing Carthoris' intent, snatched a rifle from
those that he and his fellows had left leaning against the wall
as they had rushed out with drawn swords to prevent the theft of
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 aim.
The projectile grazed the flier's side, the opaque coating breaking
sufficiently to permit daylight to strike in upon the powder phial
within the bullet's nose. There was a sharp explosion. Carthoris
felt his craft reel drunkenly beneath him, and the engine stopped.
The momentum the air boat had gained carried her on over the city
toward the sea-bottom beyond.
The red warrior in the plaza fired several more shots, none of
which scored. Then a lofty minaret shut the drifting quarry from
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.
The Heliumite now gave his attention to his injured craft. A close
examination revealed the fact that one of the buoyancy tanks had
been punctured, but the engine itself was uninjured.
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 terrific speed.
The Prince of Helium chafed and fretted at the slowness of his
pursuit, yet he was thankful that the damage was no worse, for now
he could at least move more rapidly than on foot.
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.
All the balance of that long day Carthoris crawled erratically through
the still air, the bow of the flier sinking lower and lower, and
the list to port becoming more and more alarming, until at last,
near dark, he was floating almost bowdown, his harness buckled to
a heavy deck ring to keep him from being precipitated to the ground
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.
Far before him loomed the mountains toward which the green man had
been fleeing when last he had seen him, and with dogged resolution
the son of John Carter, endowed with the indomitable will of his
mighty sire, took up the pursuit on foot.
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.
Rugged, granitic walls towered before him. Nowhere could he discern
an opening through the formidable barrier; yet somewhere into this
inhospitable world of stone the green warrior had borne the woman
of the red man's heart's desire.
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.
But here in the hills, where loose rock occasionally strewed the
way; where black loam and wild flowers partially replaced the sombre
monotony of the waste places of the lowlands, Carthoris hoped to
find some sign that would lead him in the right direction.
Yet, search as he would, the baffling mystery of the trail seemed
likely to remain for ever unsolved.
It was drawing toward the day's close once more when the keen eyes
of the Heliumite discerned the tawny yellow of a sleek hide moving
among the boulders several hundred yards to his left.
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 planet.
The creature's nose was close to the ground. It was evident that
he was following the spoor of meat by scent.
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
Cautiously the youth crept out upon the trail of the man-eater.
Along the foot of the perpendicular cliff the creature moved,
sniffing at the invisible spoor, and now and then emitting the low
moan of the hunting banth.
Carthoris had followed the creature for but a few minutes when it
disappeared as suddenly and mysteriously as though dissolved into
The man leaped to his feet. Not again was he to be cheated as the
man had cheated him. He sprang forward at a reckless pace to the
spot at which he last had seen the great, skulking brute.
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
Perhaps the banth was in hiding behind this? The brute might have
discovered the man upon his trail, and even now be lying in wait
for his easy prey.
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
Before him yawned the mouth of a dark cave leading downward into
the ground. Through this the banth must have disappeared. Was
it his lair? Within its dark and forbidding interior might there
not lurk not one but many of the fearsome creatures?
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
Not an instant did he hesitate, nor yet did he advance rashly; but
with ready sword and cautious steps, for the way was dark, he stole
on. As he advanced, the obscurity became impenetrable blackness.
THE FAIR RACE
Downward along a smooth, broad floor led the strange tunnel, for
such Carthoris was now convinced was the nature of the shaft he at
first had thought but a cave.
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!
His position was anything but pleasant. His eyes could not penetrate
the darkness even to the distinguishing of his hand before his face,
while the banths, he knew, could see quite well, though absence of
light were utter.
No other sounds came to his ears than the dismal, bloodthirsty
moanings of the beast ahead and the beast behind.
The tunnel had led straight, from where he had entered it beneath
the side of the rock furthest from the unscaleable cliffs, toward
the mighty barrier that had baffled him so long.
Now it was running almost level, and presently he noted a gradual
The beast behind him was gaining upon him, crowding him perilously
close upon the heels of the beast in front. Presently he should
have to do battle with one, or both. More firmly he gripped his
Now he could hear the breathing of the banth at his heels. Not
for much longer could he delay the encounter.
Long since he had become assured that the tunnel led beneath the
cliffs to the opposite side of the barrier, and he had hoped that
he might reach the moonlit open before being compelled to grapple
with either of the monsters.
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.
To face that savage mountain of onrushing ferocity, to stand unshaken
before the hideous fangs that he knew were bared in slavering
blood-thirstiness, though he could not see them, required nerves
of steel; but of such were the nerves of Carthoris of Helium.
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 side.
With a hideous scream of pain and rage, the wounded banth hurtled,
clawing, past him. Then it turned to charge once more; but this
time Carthoris saw but a single gleaming point of fiery hate directed
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
But now, as it turned to charge again, the man had no guide whereby
to direct his point. He heard the scraping of the padded feet upon
the rocky floor. He knew the thing was charging down upon him once
again, but he could see nothing.
Yet, if he could not see his antagonist, neither could his antagonist
now see him.
Leaping, as he thought, to the exact centre of the tunnel, he held
his sword point ready on a line with the beast's chest. It was
all that he could do, hoping that chance might send the point into
the savage heart as he went down beneath the great body.
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.
However, the huge body missed him by a foot, and the creature
continued on down the tunnel as though in pursuit of the prey that
had eluded him.
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.
Before him lay a deep hollow, entirely surrounded by gigantic
cliffs. The surface of the valley was dotted with enormous trees,
a strange sight so far from a Martian waterway. The ground itself
was clothed in brilliant scarlet sward, picked out with innumerable
patches of gorgeous wild flowers.
Beneath the glorious effulgence of the two moons the scene was one
of indescribable loveliness, tinged with the weirdness of strange
For only an instant, however, did his gaze rest upon the natural
beauties outspread before him. Almost immediately they were riveted
upon the figure of a great banth standing across the carcass of a
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.
Carthoris quickly guessed that the second brute was the one he had
blinded during the fight in the tunnel, but it was the dead thoat
that centred his interest more than either of the savage carnivores.
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.
But where were the rider and his prisoner? The Prince of Helium
shuddered as he thought upon the probability of the fate that had
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.
Two human bodies would have but whetted the creature's appetite,
and that he had killed and eaten the green man and the red girl
seemed only too likely to Carthoris. He had left the carcass
of the mighty thoat to be devoured after having consumed the more
tooth-some portion of his banquet.
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.
No longer were its movements erratic. With outstretched tail and
foaming jaws it charged straight as an arrow, for the body of the
thoat and the mighty creature of destruction that stood with forepaws
upon the slate-grey side, waiting to defend its meat.
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.
The battle that ensued awed even the warlike Barsoomian. The
mad rending, the hideous and deafening roaring, the implacable
savagery of the blood-stained beasts held him in the paralysis
of fascination, and when it was over and the two creatures, their
heads and shoulders torn to ribbons, lay with their dead jaws
still buried in each other's bodies, Carthoris tore himself from
the spell only by an effort of the will.
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.
With slightly lightened heart he started out to explore the valley,
but scarce a dozen steps had he taken when the glistening of a
jewelled bauble lying on the sward caught his eye.
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.
But, sinister discovery, blood, still wet, splotched the magnificent
jewels of the setting.
Carthoris half choked as the dire possibilities which the thing
suggested presented themselves to his imagination. Yet he could
not, would not believe it.
It was impossible that that radiant creature could have met so
hideous an end. It was incredible that the glorious Thuvia should
ever cease to be.
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 Heliumite.
Then he proceeded upon his way into the heart of the unknown valley.
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 was immense.
For half the night he continued his search, until presently he was
brought to a sudden halt by the distant sound of squealing thoats.
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.
About the walled city the red man saw a huge encampment of the
green warriors of the dead sea-bottoms, and as he let his eyes
rove carefully over the city he realized that here was no deserted
metropolis of a dead past.
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.
The men of Torquas had perfected huge guns with which their uncanny
marksmanship had permitted them to repulse the few determined
efforts that near-by red nations had made to explore their country
by means of battle fleets of airships.
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.
The encircling camp of green warriors lay about five hundred yards
from the city's walls. Between it and the city was no semblance
of breastwork or other protection against rifle or cannon fire;
yet distinctly now in the light of the rising sun Carthoris could
see many figures moving along the summit of the high wall, and upon
the roof tops beyond.
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
Almost immediately after sunrise the green warriors commenced firing
upon the little figures upon the wall. To Carthoris' surprise
the fire was not returned, but presently the last of the city's
inhabitants had sought shelter from the weird marksmanship of the
green men, and no further sign of life was visible beyond the wall.
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 dead.
That he was not discovered was a miracle, for mounted warriors were
constantly riding back and forth from the camp into the forest; but
the long day wore on and still he continued his seemingly fruitless
quest, until, near sunset, he came opposite a mighty gate in the
city's western wall.
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 kind.
This, then, must be the notorious Hortan Gur, Jeddak of Torquas,
the fierce old ogre of the south-western hemisphere, as only for
a jeddak are platforms raised in temporary camps or upon the march
by the green hordes of Barsoom.
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.
His heart leaped in rejoicing. Thuvia of Ptarth still lived!
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.
He saw her dragged to the foot of the rostrum. He saw Hortan Gur
address her. He could not hear the creature's words, nor Thuvia's
reply; but it must have angered the green monster, for Carthoris
saw him leap toward the prisoner, striking her a cruel blow across
the face with his metal-banded arm.
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.
His half-Earthly muscles, responding quickly to his will, sent
him in enormous leaps and bounds toward the green monster that had
struck the woman he loved.
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
Carthoris had covered about half the distance between the forest
and the green warriors, when a new factor succeeded in still further
directing the attention of the latter from him.
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.
Once, twice, thrice the fearsome sound smote upon the ears of the
listening green men and then far, far off across the broad woods
came sharp and clear from the distance an answering shriek.
It was but the first. From every point rose similar savage cries,
until the world seemed to tremble to their reverberations.
The green warriors looked nervously this way and that. They knew
not fear, as Earth men may know it; but in the face of the unusual
their wonted self-assurance deserted them.
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.
Then he was in the midst of the astonished Torquasians. With
drawn long-sword he was among them, and to Thuvia of Ptarth, whose
startled eyes were the first to fall upon him, it seemed that she
was looking upon John Carter himself, so strangely similar to the
fighting of the father was that of the son.
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!
All about was turmoil and confusion. Green warriors were leaping
to the backs of their restive, squealing thoats. Calots were
growling out their savage gutturals, whining to be at the throats
of the oncoming foemen.
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.
Carthoris sought both to defend Thuvia of Ptarth and reach the
side of the hideous Hortan Gur that he might avenge the blow the
creature had struck the girl.
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.
The attention of the green warriors turned principally upon
the bowmen advancing upon them from the city, and upon the savage
banths that paced beside them—cruel beasts of war, infinitely more
terrible than their own savage calots.
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.
As the Heliumite's point pricked his green hide, Hortan Gur turned
upon his adversary with a snarl, but at the same instant two
of his chieftains called to him to hasten, for the charge of the
fair-skinned inhabitants of the city was developing into a more
serious matter than the Torquasians had anticipated.
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.
The other warriors quickly followed their jeddak, leaving Thuvia
and Carthoris alone upon the platform.
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.
But if the warriors themselves were outclassed, not so their savage
companions, the fierce banths. Scarce had the two lines come
together when hundreds of these appalling creatures had leaped
among the Torquasians, dragging warriors from their thoats—dragging
down the huge thoats themselves, and bringing consternation to all
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
And so it came, what with the ferocity of the banths and the
numbers of the bowmen, that at last the Torquasians fell back,
until presently the platform upon which stood Carthoris and Thuvia
lay directly in the centre of the fight.
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
To Carthoris the strangest part of the battle had been the terrific
toll taken by the bowmen with their relatively puny weapons. Nowhere
that he could see was there a single wounded green man, but the
corpses of their dead lay thick upon the field of battle.
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 poison-tipped.
Presently the sounds of conflict died in the distant forest.
Quiet reigned, broken only by the growling of the devouring banths.
Carthoris turned toward Thuvia of Ptarth. As yet neither had
"Where are we, Thuvia?" he asked.
The girl looked at him questioningly. His very presence had seemed
to proclaim a guilty knowledge of her abduction. How else might
he have known the destination of the flier that brought her!
"Who should know better than the Prince of Helium?" she asked in
return. "Did he not come hither of his own free will?"
"From Aaanthor I came voluntarily upon the trail of the green man
who had stolen you, Thuvia," he replied; "but from the time I left
Helium until I awoke above Aaanthor I thought myself bound for
"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?"
"But the warriors who stole me from the garden!" she exclaimed.
"After we arrived at Aaanthor they wore the metal of the Prince of
Helium. When they took me they were trapped in Dusarian harness.
There seemed but a single explanation. Whoever dared the outrage
wished to put the onus upon another, should he be detected in the
act; but once safely away from Ptarth he felt safe in having his
minions return to their own harness."
"You believe that I did this thing, Thuvia?" he asked.
"Ah, Carthoris," she replied sadly, "I did not wish to believe it;
but when everything pointed to you—even then I would not believe
"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
"But you did nothing of the kind, and so I am here, not in my own
service, but in yours, and in the service of the man to whom you
are promised, to save you for him, if it lies within the power of
man to do so," he concluded, almost bitterly.
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.
And then she conquered whatever had moved her.
"The future acts of the Prince of Helium," she said coldly, "must
constitute the proof of his past honesty of purpose."
Carthoris was hurt by the girl's tone, as much as by the doubt as
to his integrity which her words implied.
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
The Prince of Helium shrugged his broad shoulders. The girl noted
it, and the little smile that touched his lips, so that it became
her turn to be hurt.
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.
How could she know that the shrug was but Carthoris' way of
attempting, by physical effort, to cast blighting sorrow from his
heart, or that the smile upon his lips was the fighting smile of his
father with which the son gave outward evidence of the determination
he had reached to submerge his own great love in his efforts to
save Thuvia of Ptarth for another, because he believed that she
loved this other!
He reverted to his original question.
"Where are we?" he asked. "I do not know."
"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."
"When the bowmen return we shall doubtless learn all that there is
to know," said Carthoris. "Let us hope that they prove friendly.
What race may they be? Only in the most ancient of our legends
and in the mural paintings of the deserted cities of the dead
sea-bottoms are depicted such a race of auburn-haired, fair-skinned
people. Can it be that we have stumbled upon a surviving city of
the past which all Barsoom believes buried beneath the ages?"
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.
"It is strange that they do not return," said the girl.
"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 within?"
Both turned their eyes toward the field between them and the walled
city, where the fighting had been most furious.
There were the banths, still growling about their hideous feast.
Carthoris looked at Thuvia in astonishment. Then he pointed toward
"Where are they?" he whispered. "WHAT HAS BECOME OF THEIR DEAD
THE JEDDAK OF LOTHAR
The girl looked her incredulity.
"They lay in piles," she murmured. "There were thousands of them
but a minute ago."
"And now," continued Carthoris, "there remain but the banths and
the carcasses of the green men."
"They must have sent forth and carried the dead bowmen away while
we were talking," said the girl.
"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."
"I had hoped," said Thuvia, "that we might find an asylum with
these fair-skinned people. Notwithstanding their valour upon the
field of battle, they did not strike me as a ferocious or warlike
people. I had been about to suggest that we seek entrance to the
city, but now I scarce know if I care to venture among people whose
dead vanish into thin air."
"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.
"All that causes me to hesitate," he added, "is the danger of taking
you past so many banths. A single sword would scarce prevail were
even a couple of them to charge simultaneously."
"Do not fear on that score," replied the girl, smiling. "The banths
will not harm us."
As she spoke she descended from the platform, and with Carthoris
at her side stepped fearlessly out upon the bloody field in the
direction of the walled city of mystery.
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.
Carthoris drew his long-sword. The girl stole a quick glance
at his face. She saw the smile upon his lips, and it was as wine
to sick nerves; for even upon warlike Barsoom where all men are
brave, woman reacts quickly to quiet indifference to danger—to
dare-deviltry that is without bombast.
"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.
Carthoris would have leaped after her to protect her, but with a
gesture she motioned him back. He heard her calling to the banths
in a low, singsong voice that was half purr.
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
One, closer to her than the others, hesitated. She spoke to him
imperiously, as a master might speak to a refractory hound.
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 maneaters.
Turning she led them to where Carthoris stood. They growled a little
as they neared the man, but a few sharp words of command put them
in their places.
"How do you do it?" exclaimed Carthoris.
"Your father once asked me that same question in the galleries of
the Golden Cliffs within the Otz Mountains, beneath the temples of
the therns. I could not answer him, nor can I answer you. I do
not know whence comes my power over them, but ever since the day
that Sator Throg threw me among them in the banth pit of the Holy
Therns, and the great creatures fawned upon instead of devouring
me, I ever have had the same strange power over them. They come
at my call and do my bidding, even as the faithful Woola does the
bidding of your mighty sire."
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.
As they advanced the man looked with wonder upon the dead bodies
of those of the green men that had not been devoured or mauled by
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.
Before the bowmen's dead had disappeared the corpses of the Torquasians
had bristled with the deadly arrows of their foes. Where had the
slender messengers of death departed? What unseen hand had plucked
them from the bodies of the slain?
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.
Yet he was sure that eyes watched them from somewhere behind that
He glanced at Thuvia. She was advancing with wide eyes fixed upon
the city gate. He looked in the direction of her gaze, but saw
His gaze upon her seemed to arouse her as from a lethargy. She
glanced up at him, a quick, brave smile touching her lips, and then,
as though the act was involuntary, she came close to his side and
placed one of her hands in his.
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.
They stopped before the gate. It was a mighty thing. From its
construction Carthoris could but dimly speculate upon its unthinkable
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.
Even such world-old cities as ancient Aaanthor were as yet undreamed
of when the races lived that built such gates as these.
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.
His hair was auburn, his skin fair—fairer even than that of John
Carter, the Virginian. His forehead was high, his eyes large and
The language that he used was intelligible to the two below,
yet there was a marked difference between it and their Barsoomian
"Who are you?" he asked. "And what do you here before the gate of
"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,
"'Ptarth'?" repeated the man. "'Helium'?" He shook his head. "I
never have heard of these places, nor did I know that there dwelt
upon Barsoom a race of thy strange colour. Where may these cities
lie, of which you speak? From our loftiest tower we have never
seen another city than Lothar."
Carthoris pointed toward the north-east.
"In that direction lie Helium and Ptarth," he said. "Helium is over
eight thousand haads from Lothar, while Ptarth lies nine thousand
five hundred haads north-east of Helium."
Still the man shook his head.
"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."
Carthoris tried to explain that the Torquasians ruled but a
relatively tiny part of the surface of Barsoom, and even this only
because their domain held nothing to attract the red race; but the
Lotharian could not seem to conceive of anything beyond the valley
of Lothar other than a trackless waste peopled by the ferocious
green hordes of Torquas.
After considerable 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 Lothar.
All about them were evidences of fabulous wealth. The facades of
the buildings fronting upon the avenue within the wall were richly
carven, and about the windows and doors were ofttimes set foot-wide
borders of precious stones, intricate mosaics, or tablets of beaten
gold bearing bas-reliefs depicting what may have been bits of the
history of this forgotten people.
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 beardless.
Their attitude was more of fearful suspicion than antagonism. They
followed the new-comers with their eyes; but spoke no word to them.
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.
He wondered if all the fighting men had sallied forth in one supreme
effort to rout the foe, leaving the city all unguarded. He asked
The man smiled.
"No creature other than a score or so of our sacred banths has left
Lothar to-day," he replied.
"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
Still the man smiled his knowing smile.
"Look!" he cried, and pointed down a broad avenue before him.
Carthoris and Thuvia followed the direction indicated, and there,
marching bravely in the sunlight, they saw advancing toward them
a great army of bowmen.
"Ah!" exclaimed Thuvia. "They have returned through another gate,
or perchance these be the troops that remained to defend the city?"
Again the fellow smiled his uncanny smile.
"There are no soldiers in Lothar," he said. "Look!"
Both Carthoris and Thuvia had turned toward him while he spoke,
and now as they turned back again toward the advancing regiments
their eyes went wide in astonishment, for the broad avenue before
them was as deserted as the tomb.
"And those who marched out upon the hordes to-day?" whispered
Carthoris. "They, too, were unreal?"
The man nodded.
"But their arrows slew the green warriors," insisted Thuvia.
"Let us go before Tario," replied the Lotharian. "He will tell you
that which he deems it best you know. I might tell you too much."
"Who is Tario?" asked Carthoris.
"Jeddak of Lothar," replied the guide, leading them up the broad
avenue down which they had but a moment since seen the phantom army
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.
At last they came to the royal palace. Carthoris saw it from a
distance, and guessing the nature of the magnificent pile wondered
that even here there should be so little sign of activity and life.
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.
"Here," said their guide, "is the palace of Tario."
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 minute.
What manner of people were these who could conjure an army out
of thin air? He glanced toward Thuvia. She, too, evidently had
witnessed the transformation.
With a little shudder she pressed more closely toward him.
"What do you make of it?" she whispered. "It is most uncanny."
"I cannot account for it," replied Carthoris, "unless we have gone
Carthoris turned quickly toward the Lotharian. The fellow was
"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?"
"Ask Tario," replied the other. "We shall soon be before him."
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 dais.
As the trio approached, the man turned dreamy eyes sleepily upon
them. Twenty feet from the dais their conductor halted, and,
whispering to Thuvia and Carthoris to follow his example, threw
himself headlong to the floor. Then rising to hands and knees,
he commenced crawling toward the foot of the throne, swinging his
head to and fro and wiggling his body as you have seen a hound do
when approaching its master.
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.
The man upon the dais was eyeing him intently, and Carthoris of
Helium was looking straight in the other's face.
"Who be these, Jav?" asked the man of him who crawled upon his
belly along the floor.
"O Tario, most glorious Jeddak," replied Jav, "these be strangers
who came with the hordes of Torquas to our gates, saying that they
were prisoners of the green men. They tell strange tales of cities
far beyond Lothar."
"Arise, Jav," commanded Tario, "and ask these two why they show
not to Tario the respect that is his due."
Jav arose and faced the strangers. At sight of their erect positions
his face went livid. He leaped toward them.
"Creatures!" he screamed. "Down! Down upon your bellies before
the last of the jeddaks of Barsoom!"
10 sofads = 1 ad
200 ads = 1 haad
100 haads = 1 karad
360 karads = 1 circumference of Mars at equator.
THE PHANTOM BOWMEN
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.
From whence had they sprung? Both Carthoris and Thuvia looked
Now the former's sword leaped from its scabbard, and at the same
instant the bowmen drew back their slim shafts.
Tario had half raised himself upon one elbow. For the first time
he saw the full figure of Thuvia, who had been concealed behind
the person of Carthoris.
"Enough!" cried the jeddak, raising a protesting hand, but at
that very instant the sword of the Heliumite cut viciously at its
As the keen edge reached its goal Carthoris let the point fall to
the floor, as with wide eyes he stepped backward in consternation,
throwing the back of his left hand across his brow. His steel
had cut but empty air—his antagonist had vanished—there were no
bowmen in the room!
"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."
Then he turned to Carthoris, but ever his gaze wandered to the
perfect lines of Thuvia's glorious figure, which the harness of a
Barsoomian princess accentuated rather than concealed.
"Who are you," he asked, "who knows not the etiquette of the court
of the last of jeddaks?"
"I am Carthoris, Prince of Helium," replied the Heliumite. "And
this is Thuvia, Princess of Ptarth. In the courts of our fathers
men do not prostrate themselves before royalty. Not since the First
Born tore their immortal goddess limb from limb have men crawled
upon their bellies to any throne upon Barsoom. Now think you that
the daughter of one mighty jeddak and the son of another would so
Tario looked at Carthoris for a long time. At last he spoke.
"There is no other jeddak upon Barsoom than Tario," he said. "There
is no other race than that of Lothar, unless the hordes of Torquas
may be dignified by such an appellation. Lotharians are white;
your skins are red. There are no women left upon Barsoom. Your
companion is a woman."
He half rose from the couch, leaning far forward and pointing an
accusing finger at Carthoris.
"You are a lie!" he shrieked. "You are both lies, and you dare to
come before Tario, last and mightiest of the jeddaks of Barsoom,
and assert your reality. Some one shall pay well for this, Jav,
and unless I mistake it is yourself who has dared thus flippantly
to trifle with the good nature of your jeddak.
"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!"
Carthoris could see that Jav trembled as he prostrated himself once
more before his ruler, and then, rising, turned toward the Prince
"Come!" he said.
"And leave the Princess of Ptarth here alone?" cried Carthoris.
Jav brushed closely past him, whispering:
"Follow me—he cannot harm her, except to kill; and that he can do
whether you remain or not. We had best go now—trust me."
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.
For answer she turned her back full upon him, but not without first
throwing him such a look of contempt that brought the scarlet to
Then he hesitated, but Jav seized him by the wrist.
"Come!" he whispered. "Or he will have the bowmen upon you, and
this time there will be no escape. Did you not see how futile is
your steel against thin air!"
Carthoris turned unwillingly to follow. As the two left the room
he turned to his companion.
"If I may not kill thin air," he asked, "how, then, shall I fear
that thin air may kill me?"
"You saw the Torquasians fall before the bowmen?" asked Jav.
"So would you fall before them, and without one single chance for
self-defence or revenge."
As they talked Jav led Carthoris to a small room in one of the
numerous towers of the palace. Here were couches, and Jav bid the
Heliumite be seated.
For several minutes the Lotharian eyed his prisoner, for such
Carthoris now realized himself to be.
"I am half convinced that you are real," he said at last.
"Of course I am real," he said. "What caused you to doubt it? Can
you not see me, feel me?"
"So may I see and feel the bowmen," replied Jav, "and yet we all
know that they, at least, are not real."
Carthoris showed by the expression of his face his puzzlement at
each new reference to the mysterious bowmen—the vanishing soldiery
"What, then, may they be?" he asked.
"You really do not know?" asked Jav.
Carthoris shook his head negatively.
"I can almost believe that you have told us the truth and that you
are really from another part of Barsoom, or from another world. But
tell me, in your own country have you no bowmen to strike terror
to the hearts of the green hordesmen as they slay in company with
the fierce banths of war?"
"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."
"You go out and get killed by your enemies!" cried Jav incredulously.
"Certainly," replied Carthoris. "How do the Lotharians?"
"You have seen," replied the other. "We send out our deathless
archers—deathless because they are lifeless, existing only in the
imaginations of our enemies. It is really our giant minds that
defend us, sending out legions of imaginary warriors to materialize
before the mind's eye of the foe.
"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."
"But the archers that are slain?" exclaimed Carthoris. "You call
them deathless, and yet I saw their dead bodies piled high upon
the battlefield. How may that be?"
"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 opposing them.
"Once that truth became implanted in their minds, it is the theory
of many of us, no longer would they fall prey to the suggestion
of the deadly arrows, for greater would be the suggestion of the
truth, and the more powerful suggestion would prevail—it is law."
"And the banths?" questioned Carthoris. "They, too, were but
creatures of suggestion?"
"Some of them were real," replied Jav. "Those that accompanied
the archers in pursuit of the Torquasians were unreal. Like the
archers, they never returned, but, having served their purpose,
vanished with the bowmen when the rout of the enemy was assured.
"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.
"The etherealists maintain that there is no such thing as
matter—that all is mind. They say that none of us exists, except
in the imagination of his fellows, other than as an intangible,
"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."
"You, then, do not hold Tario's beliefs?" asked Carthoris.
"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 his
"Of course, it is the contention of all us realists that all
etherealists are but figments of the imagination. They contend
that no food is necessary, nor do they eat; but any one of the most
rudimentary intelligence must realize that food is a necessity to
creatures having actual existence."
"Yes," agreed Carthoris, "not having eaten to-day I can readily
agree with you."
"Ah, pardon me," exclaimed Jav. "Pray be seated and satisfy your
hunger," and with a wave of his hand he indicated a bountifully
laden table that had not been there an instant before he spoke. Of
that Carthoris was positive, for he had searched the room diligently
with his eyes several times.
"It is well," continued Jav, "that you did not fall into the hands
of an etherealist. Then, indeed, would you have gone hungry."
"But," exclaimed Carthoris, "this is not real food—it was not here
an instant since, and real food does not materialize out of thin
Jav looked hurt.
"There is no real food or water in Lothar," he said; "nor has there
been for countless ages. Upon such as you now see before you have
we existed since the dawn of history. Upon such, then, may you
"But I thought you were a realist," exclaimed Carthoris.
"Indeed," cried Jav, "what more realistic than this bounteous feast?
It is just here that we differ most from the etherealists. They
claim that it is unnecessary to imagine food; but we have found
that for the maintenance of life we must thrice daily sit down to
"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 wasted tissue.
"Now we all know that mind is all, though we may differ in the
interpretation of its various manifestations. Tario maintains
that there is no such thing as substance, all being created from
the substanceless matter of the brain.
"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.
"This we accomplish by materializing food-thoughts, and by partaking
of the food thus created. We chew, we swallow, we digest. All our
organs function precisely as if we had partaken of material food.
And what is the result? What must be the result? The chemical
changes take place through both direct and indirect suggestion,
and we live and thrive."
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.
Jav watched him, smiling, as he ate.
"Is it not entirely satisfying?" he asked.
"I must admit that it is," replied Carthoris. "But tell me, how
does Tario live, and the other etherealists who maintain that food
Jav scratched his head.
"That is a question we often discuss," he replied. "It is the
strongest evidence we have of the non-existence of the etherealists;
but who may know other than Komal?"
"Who is Komal?" asked Carthoris. "I heard your jeddak speak of
Jav bent low toward the ear of the Heliumite, looking fearfully
about before he spoke.
"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?"
"I am groping," replied Carthoris dryly.
"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.
"He says that inasmuch as we maintain that we alone are real we
should, to be consistent, admit that we alone are proper food for
Komal. Sometimes, as to-day, we find other food for him. He is
very fond of Torquasians."
"And Komal is a man?" asked Carthoris.
"He is All, I told you," replied Jav. "I know not how to explain
him in words that you will understand. He is the beginning and
the end. All life emanates from Komal, since the substance which
feeds the brain with imaginings radiates from the body of Komal.
"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 radiate."
"And he feeds upon the men and women of your belief?" cried Carthoris.
"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 Lothar.
"Scarce twenty thousand men of all the countless millions of our
race lived to reach Lothar. Among us were no women and no children.
All these had perished by the way.
"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.
"Then came the creation of mind-people, or rather the materialization
of imaginings. We first put these to practical use when the
Torquasians discovered our retreat, and fortunate for us it was
that it required ages of search upon their part before they found
the single tiny entrance to the valley of Lothar.
"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.
"But the Torquasians did not frighten. They are lower than the
beasts—they know no fear. They rushed upon our walls, and standing
upon the shoulders of others they built human approaches to the
wall tops, and were on the very point of surging in upon us and
"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.
"Presently I thought to attempt the thing—THE GREAT THING. I centred
all my mighty intellect upon the bowmen of my own creation—each
of us produces and directs as many bowmen as his mentality and
imagination is capable of.
"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.
"It was all that was necessary. By hundreds they toppled from
our walls, and when my fellows saw what I had done they were quick
to follow my example, so that presently the hordes of Torquas had
retreated beyond the range of our arrows.
"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 of us.
"But after the Torquasians had retreated beyond bowshot, they turned
upon us with their terrible rifles, and by constant popping at us
made life miserable within our walls.
"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
"And all this is due to your intellect, Jav?" asked Carthoris. "I
should think that you would be high in the councils of your people."
"I am," replied Jav, proudly. "I am next to Tario."
"But why, then, your cringing manner of approaching the throne?"
"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."
Carthoris suddenly sprang from the table.
"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
The Lotharian shook his head.
"Tario would not permit it," he said. "He will, doubtless, make
an etherealist of her."
"But I must go to her," insisted Carthoris. "You say that there
are no women in Lothar. Then she must be among men, and if this
be so I intend to be near where I may defend her if the need arises."
"Tario will have his way," insisted Jav. "He sent you away and
you may not return until he sends for you."
"Then I shall go without waiting to be sent for."
"Do not forget the bowmen," cautioned Jav.
"I do not forget them," replied Carthoris, but he did not tell
Jav that he remembered something else that the Lotharian had let
drop—something that was but a conjecture, possibly, and yet one
well worth pinning a forlorn hope to, should necessity arise.
Carthoris started to leave the room. Jav stepped before him,
barring his way.
"I have learned to like you, red man," he said; "but do not forget
that Tario is still my jeddak, and that Tario has commanded that
you remain here."
Carthoris was about to reply, when there came faintly to the ears
of both a woman's cry for help.
With a sweep of his arm the Prince of Helium brushed the Lotharian
aside, and with drawn sword sprang into the corridor without.
THE HALL OF DOOM
As Thuvia of Ptarth saw Carthoris depart from the presence of Tario,
leaving her alone with the man, a sudden qualm of terror seized
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.
And yet nowhere about her, in antechamber or corridor, was there
sign of any other being than herself and the recumbent figure of
Tario, the jeddak, who watched her through half-closed eyes from
the gorgeous trappings of his regal couch.
For a time after the departure of Jav and Carthoris the man eyed
her intently. Then he spoke.
"Come nearer," he said, and, as she approached: "Whose creature
are you? Who has dared materialize his imaginings of woman? It is
contrary to the customs and the royal edicts of Lothar. Tell me,
woman, from whose brain have you sprung? Jav's? No, do not deny
it. I know that it could be no other than that envious realist. He
seeks to tempt me. He would see me fall beneath the spell of your
charms, and then he, your master, would direct my destiny and—my
end. I see it all! I see it all!"
The blood of indignation and anger had been rising to Thuvia's
face. Her chin was up, a haughty curve upon her perfect lips.
"I know naught," she cried, "of what you are prating! I am Thuvia,
Princess of Ptarth. I am no man's 'creature.' Never before to-day
did I lay eyes upon him you call Jav, nor upon your ridiculous city,
of which even the greatest nations of Barsoom have never dreamed.
"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
When she had finished Tario was sitting upon the edge of his
couch, his feet upon the floor. He was leaning forward with eyes
no longer half closed, but wide with a startled expression in them.
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.
Slowly he came to his feet.
"By the fangs of Komal!" he muttered. "But you are REAL! A REAL
woman! No dream! No vain and foolish figment of the mind!"
He took a step toward her, with hands outstretched.
"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 shrank back. She thought the man mad. Her hand stole to
the jewelled hilt of her dagger. The man saw the move, and stopped.
A cunning expression entered his eyes. Then they became at once
dreamy and penetrating as they fairly bored into the girl's brain.
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.
No longer was he a strange and mysterious enemy, but an old and
trusted friend. Her hand slipped from the dagger's hilt. Tario
came closer. He spoke gentle, friendly words, and she answered
him in a voice that seemed hers and yet another's.
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.
Her lips parted in sudden awe and wonder at the strange revealment
of her inner self that was being laid bare before her consciousness.
She had known Tario for ever. He was more than friend to her.
She moved a little closer to him. In one swift flood of light she
knew the truth. She loved Tario, Jeddak of Lothar! She had always
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 man.
As though a mask had been torn from her eyes, Thuvia suddenly saw
Tario as she had formerly seen him, and, accustomed as she was to
the strange manifestations of highly developed mentality which are
common upon Barsoom, she quickly guessed enough of the truth to
know that she was in grave danger.
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.
With a muffled cry he sprang upon her, throwing his arms about her
and attempting to drag her lips to his.
"Woman!" he cried. "Lovely woman! Tario would make you queen of
Lothar. Listen to me! Listen to the love of the last of the jeddaks of
Thuvia struggled to free herself from his embrace.
"Stop, creature!" she cried. "Stop! I do not love you. Stop, or
I shall scream for help!"
Tario laughed in her face.
"'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?"
"There is one," she replied, "who would come, and, coming, dare
to cut you down upon your own throne, if he thought that you had
offered affront to Thuvia of Ptarth!"
"Who, Jav?" asked Tario.
"Not Jav, nor any other soft-skinned Lotharian," she replied; "but
a real man, a real warrior—Carthoris of Helium!"
Again the man laughed at her.
"You forget the bowmen," he reminded her. "What could your red
warrior accomplish against my fearless legions?"
Again he caught her roughly to him, dragging her towards his couch.
"If you will not be my queen," he said, "you shall be my slave."
"Neither!" cried the girl.
As she spoke the single word there was a quick move of her right
hand; Tario, releasing her, staggered back, both hands pressed to
his side. At the same instant the room filled with bowmen, and
then the jeddak of Lothar sank senseless to the marble floor.
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.
Then she closed her eyes and waited for the end. No slender shafts
pierced her tender side. She raised her lids to see what stayed
the hand of her executioners.
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 unconscious.
Thuvia was amazed. Where were the bowmen? Why had they not loosed
their shafts? What could it all mean?
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 girl glanced apprehensively about, first for signs of the return
of the bowmen, and then for some means of escape.
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.
Ah, if she had but an instant more of time she could have reached
that screening arras and, perchance, have found some avenue of
escape behind it; but now it was too late—she had been discovered!
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.
For days she had doubted the intentions of the Heliumite. She
had thought him a party to her abduction. Since Fate had thrown
them together she had scarce favoured him with more than the most
perfunctory replies to his remarks, unless at such times as the
weird and uncanny happenings at Lothar had surprised her out of
She knew that Carthoris of Helium would fight for her; but whether
to save her for himself or another, she was in doubt.
He knew that she was promised to Kulan Tith, Jeddak of Kaol, but
if he had been instrumental in her abduction, his motives could
not be prompted by loyalty to his friend, or regard for her honour.
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.
Never, she thought, in all her life had the sight of any man been
so welcome to her. It was with difficulty that she refrained from
rushing forward to meet him.
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 misunderstand.
Carthoris was by her side now. His quick glance had taken in the
scene within the room—the still figure of the jeddak sprawled upon
the floor—the girl hastening toward a shrouded exit.
"Did he harm you, Thuvia?" he asked.
She held up her crimsoned blade that he might see it.
"No," she said, "he did not harm me."
A grim smile lighted Carthoris' face.
"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."
With the firm authority that sat so well upon him in whose veins
flowed the blood of John Carter of Virginia and Dejah Thoris
of Helium, he grasped her hand and, turning back across the hall,
strode toward the great doorway through which Jav had brought them
into the presence of the jeddak earlier in the day.
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.
Carthoris turned to face him, his sword ready in his hand, and his
great body shielding the slender figure of the girl.
"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 ghostly city."
"You have killed Tario!" exclaimed Jav, ignoring the other's
challenge. "You have killed Tario! I see his blood upon the
floor—real blood—real death. Tario was, after all, as real as I.
Yet he was an etherealist. He would not materialize his sustenance.
Can it be that they are right? Well, we, too, are right. And all
these ages we have been quarrelling—each saying that the other
"However, he is dead now. Of that I am glad. Now shall Jav come
into his own. Now shall Jav be Jeddak of Lothar!"
As he finished, Tario opened his eyes and then quickly sat up.
"Traitor! Assassin!" he screamed, and then: "Kadar! Kadar!"
which is the Barsoomian for guard.
Jav went sickly white. He fell upon his belly, wriggling toward
"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!"
"Cease, knave!" cried Tario. "I heard your words: 'However, he
is dead now. Of that I am glad. Now shall Jav come into his own.
Now shall Jav be Jeddak of Lothar.'
"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—"
But he got no further. Carthoris guessed what he would have said,
and before the words could be uttered he had sprung forward and
struck the man across the mouth with his open palm.
Tario frothed in rage and mortification.
"And should you again affront the Princess of Ptarth," warned the
Heliumite, "I shall forget that you wear no sword—not for ever
may I control my itching sword hand."
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.
"Die!" he shrieked. "Die!" and then he turned toward the exit at
Jav leaped forward, screaming in terror.
"Have pity, Tario! Have pity! Remember the long ages that I have
served you faithfully. Remember all that I have done for Lothar.
Do not condemn me now to the death hideous. Save me! Save me!"
But Tario only laughed a mocking laugh and continued to back toward
the hangings that hid the little doorway.
Jav turned toward Carthoris.
"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
Carthoris followed Jav's example, but the "last of the jeddaks
of Barsoom" was too quick for them. By the time they reached the
arras behind which he had disappeared, they found a heavy stone
door blocking their further progress.
Jav sank to the floor in a spasm of terror.
"Come, man!" cried Carthoris. "We are not dead yet. Let us
hasten to the avenues and make an attempt to leave the city. We
are still alive, and while we live we may yet endeavour to direct
our own destinies. Of what avail, to sink spineless to the floor?
Come, be a man!"
Jav but shook his head.
"Did you not hear him call the guards?" he moaned. "Ah, if we
could have but intercepted him! Then there might have been hope;
but, alas, he was too quick for us."
"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 summons."
Jav shook his head mournfully.
"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."
Carthoris and Thuvia turned their eyes in the direction of the
several doorways which pierced the walls of the great chamber.
Each was tightly closed by huge stone doors.
"Well?" asked Carthoris.
"We are to die the death," whispered Jav faintly.
Further than that he would not say. He just sat upon the edge of
the jeddak's couch and waited.
Carthoris moved to Thuvia's side, and, standing there with naked
sword, he let his brave eyes roam ceaselessly about the great
chamber, that no foe might spring upon them unseen.
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.
Thuvia of Ptarth drew quite close to him. She felt safer with the
feel of his arm against hers, and with the contact of her the man
took a new grip upon himself. With his old-time smile he turned
"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 me."
She was about to make some reply when a fearful shriek broke from
the lips of the Lotharian.
"The end is coming!" he cried. "The end is coming! The floor!
The floor! Oh, Komal, be merciful!"
Thuvia and Carthoris did not need to look at the floor to be aware
of the strange movement that was taking place.
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 considerably.
Jav was shrieking still, and clawing at the royal couch that had
already commenced to slide toward the centre of the room, where both
Thuvia and Carthoris suddenly noted a small orifice which grew in
diameter as the floor assumed more closely a funnel-like contour.
Now it became more and more difficult to cling to the dizzy
inclination of the smooth and polished marble.
Carthoris tried to support Thuvia, but himself commenced to slide
and slip toward the ever-enlarging aperture.
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.
In her terror her own hands clasped about the man's neck. Her
cheek was close to his. Death, unseen and of unknown form, seemed
close upon them, and because unseen and unknowable infinitely more
"Courage, my princess," he whispered.
She looked up into his face to see smiling lips above hers and
brave eyes, untouched by terror, drinking deeply of her own.
Then the floor sagged and tilted more swiftly. There was a sudden
slipping rush as they were precipitated toward the aperture.
Jav's screams rose weird and horrible in their ears, and then the
three found themselves piled upon the royal couch of Tario, which
had stuck within the aperture at the base of the marble funnel.
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 BATTLE IN THE PLAIN
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, still clasping Thuvia tightly to his breast, came to
the ground catlike, upon his feet, breaking the shock for the girl.
Scarce had his feet touched the rough stone flagging of this new
chamber than his sword flashed out ready for instant use. But
though the room was lighted, there was no sign of enemy about.
Carthoris looked toward Jav. The man was pasty white with fear.
"What is to be our fate?" asked the Heliumite. "Tell me, man!
Shake off your terror long enough to tell me, so I may be prepared
to sell my life and that of the Princess of Ptarth as dearly as
"Komal!" whispered Jav. "We are to be devoured by Komal!"
"Your deity?" asked Carthoris.
The Lotharian nodded his head. Then he pointed toward a low doorway
at one end of the chamber.
"From thence will he come upon us. Lay aside your puny sword, fool.
It will but enrage him the more and make our sufferings the worse."
Carthoris smiled, gripping his long-sword the more firmly.
Presently Jav gave a horrified moan, at the same time pointing
toward the door.
"He has come," he whimpered.
Carthoris and Thuvia looked in the direction the Lotharian had
indicated, expecting to see some strange and fearful creature in
human form; but to their astonishment they saw the broad head and
great-maned shoulders of a huge banth, the largest that either ever
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.
Carthoris stepped between Thuvia and the banth, his sword ready to
contest the beast's victory over them. Thuvia turned toward Jav.
"Is this Komal, your god?" she asked.
Jav nodded affirmatively. The girl smiled, and then, brushing past
Carthoris, she stepped swiftly toward the growling carnivore.
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 of Lothar.
The beast ceased its growling. With lowered head and catlike purr,
it came slinking to the girl's feet. Thuvia turned toward Carthoris.
"It is but a banth," she said. "We have nothing to fear from it."
"I did not fear it," he replied, "for I, too, believed it to be
only a banth, and I have my long-sword."
Jav sat up and gazed at the spectacle before him—the slender girl
weaving her fingers in the tawny mane of the huge creature that he
had thought divine, while Komal rubbed his hideous snout against
"So this is your god!" laughed Thuvia.
Jav looked bewildered. He scarce knew whether he dare chance
offending Komal or not, for so strong is the power of superstition
that even though we know that we have been reverencing a sham, yet
still we hesitate to admit the validity of our new-found convictions.
"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 fed."
"Is there any way out of this chamber to the avenues of the city?"
"I do not know," he replied. "Never have I been here before, nor
ever have I cared to do so."
"Come," suggested Thuvia, "let us explore. There must be a way
Together the three approached the doorway through which Komal had
entered the apartment that was to have witnessed their deaths.
Beyond was a low-roofed lair, with a small door at the far end.
This, to their delight, opened to the lifting of an ordinary latch,
letting them into a circular arena, surrounded by tiers of seats.
"Here is where Komal is fed in public," explained Jav. "Had Tario
dared it would have been here that our fates had been sealed; but
he feared too much thy keen blade, red man, and so he hurled us
all downward to the pit. I did not know how closely connected were
the two chambers. Now we may easily reach the avenues and the city
gates. Only the bowmen may dispute the right of way, and, knowing
their secret, I doubt that they have power to harm us."
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.
No one appeared to question them as they advanced, mighty Komal
pacing by the girl's 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
"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 us.
"Even now I see great throngs lining the avenue, hastening to and
fro in the round of their duties. I see women and children laughing
on the balconies—these we are forbidden to materialize; but yet
I see them—they are here. . . . But why not?" he mused. "No
longer need I fear Tario—he has done his worst, and failed. Why
"Stay, friends," he continued. "Would you see Lothar in all her
Carthoris and Thuvia nodded their assent, more out of courtesy than
because they fully grasped the import of his mutterings.
Jav gazed at them penetratingly for an instant, then, with a wave
of his hand, cried: "Look!"
The sight that met them was awe-inspiring. Where before there
had been naught but deserted pavements and scarlet swards, yawning
windows and tenantless doors, now swarmed a countless multitude of
happy, laughing people.
"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.
"See those fine, upstanding men swinging along the broad avenue?
See the young girls and the women smile upon them? See the men
greet them with love and respect? Those be seafarers coming up
from their ships which lie at the quays at the city's edge.
"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.
"We hated war, and so we trained not our youth in warlike ways.
Thus followed our undoing, for when the seas dried and the green
hordes encroached upon us we could do naught but flee. But we
remembered the seafaring bowmen of the days of our glory—it is
the memory of these which we hurl upon our enemies."
As Jav ceased speaking, the picture faded, and once more, the three
took up their way toward the distant gates, along deserted avenues.
Twice they sighted Lotharians of flesh and blood. At sight of
them and the huge banth which they must have recognized as Komal,
the citizens turned and fled.
"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.
"Explain, red man, to the woman the truths that I have explained to
you, that she may meet the arrows with a stronger counter-suggestion
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.
Scarce had they covered a hundred yards when the sound of many men
shouting arose behind them. As they turned they saw a company of
bowmen debouching upon the plain from the gate through which they
had but just passed.
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.
Jav turned white, and commenced to tremble. At the crucial moment
he appeared to lose the courage of his conviction. The great banth
turned back toward the advancing bowmen and growled. Carthoris
placed himself between Thuvia and the enemy and, facing them,
awaited the outcome of their charge.
Suddenly an inspiration came to Carthoris.
"Hurl your own bowmen against Tario's!" he cried to Jav. "Let us
see a materialized battle between two mentalities."
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
Jav was a new man the moment his battalions stood between him and
Tario. One could almost have sworn the man believed these creatures
of his strange hypnotic power to be real flesh and blood.
With hoarse battle cries they charged the bowmen of Tario. Barbed
shafts flew thick and fast. Men fell, and the ground was red with
Carthoris and Thuvia had difficulty in reconciling the reality of
it all with their knowledge of the truth. They saw utan after utan
march from the gate in perfect step to reinforce the outnumbered
company which Tario had first sent forth to arrest them.
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.
Jav and Tario seemed to have forgotten all else beside the struggling
bowmen that surged to and fro, filling the broad field between the
forest and the city.
The wood loomed close behind Thuvia and Carthoris. The latter cast
a glance toward Jav.
"Come!" he whispered to the girl. "Let them fight out their empty
battle—neither, evidently, has power to harm the other. They are
like two controversialists hurling words at one another. While they
are engaged we may as well be devoting our energies to an attempt
to find the passage through the cliffs to the plain beyond."
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.
The thing that lay beyond that look had been deep in his heart
since first he had laid eyes upon Thuvia of Ptarth. He had not
recognized it, however, until now that she seemed about to pass
out of his existence.
He centred his mind upon the Heliumite and the girl for an instant.
Carthoris saw Thuvia of Ptarth step forward with outstretched
hand. He was surprised at this sudden softening toward him, and
it was with a full heart that he let his fingers close upon hers,
as together they turned away from forgotten Lothar, into the woods,
and bent their steps toward the distant mountains.
As the Lotharian had turned toward them, Thuvia had been surprised
to hear Carthoris suddenly voice a new plan.
"Remain here with Jav," she had heard him say, "while I go to search
for the passage through the cliffs."
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.
And Jav watched the two and smiled his cunning smile.
When Carthoris had disappeared within the wood, Thuvia seated
herself apathetically upon the scarlet sward to watch the seemingly
interminable struggles of the bowmen.
The long afternoon dragged its weary way toward darkness, and still
the imaginary legions charged and retreated. The sun was about to
set when Tario commenced to withdraw his troops slowly toward the
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
Thuvia could scarce repress a smile as she noted the scrupulous
care with which Jav's imaginary men attended to each tiny detail
of deportment as truly as if they had been real flesh and blood.
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.
Thuvia turned toward Jav.
"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
"You do not understand them," replied Jav. "While they exist they
are real. I do but call them into being now, and in a way direct
their general actions. But thereafter, until I dissolve them, they
are as actual as you or I. Their officers command them, under my
guidance. I am the general—that is all. And the psychological
effect upon the enemy is far greater than were I to treat them
merely as substanceless vagaries.
"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 dying race.
"Some there are who claim already to have accomplished the thing.
It is generally supposed that the etherealists have quite a few
among their number who are permanent materializations. It is even
said that such is Tario, but that cannot be, for he existed before
we had discovered the full possibilities of suggestion.
"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 seems well and sensibly based upon the belief that our ancient
forbears developed before their extinction such wondrous mentalities
that some of the stronger minds among them lived after the death
of their bodies—that we are but the deathless minds of individuals
"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 love!"
Thuvia could not mistake the palpable meaning of his words and
expression. She turned away with a little shrug of disgust that
was not lost upon the Lotharian.
He came close to her and seized her arm.
"Why not Jav?" he cried. "Who more honourable than the second of
the world's most ancient race? Your Heliumite? He has gone. He
has deserted you to your fate to save himself. Come, be Jav's!"
Thuvia of Ptarth rose to her full height, her lifted shoulder turned
toward the man, her haughty chin upraised, a scornful twist to her
"You lie!" she said quietly, "the Heliumite knows less of disloyalty
than he knows of fear, and of fear he is as ignorant as the unhatched
"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 breast.
The girl struggled to free herself, striking at the man with her
metal armlets. Yet still he drew her toward him, until both were
suddenly startled by a hideous growl that rumbled from the dark
wood close behind them.
KAR KOMAK, THE BOWMAN
As Carthoris moved through the forest toward the distant cliffs
with Thuvia's hand still tight pressed in his, he wondered a little
at the girl's continued silence, yet the contact of her cool palm
against his was so pleasant that he feared to break the spell of
her new-found reliance in him by speaking.
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 side.
They must plan together for the future. It was his idea to pass
through the cliffs at once if they could locate the passage, and
he was quite positive that they were now close to it; but he wanted
her assent to the proposition.
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.
For an instant he was dumbfounded, and then the whole truth flashed
suddenly upon him. Jav had caused him to believe that Thuvia was
accompanying him through the wood while, as a matter of fact, he
had detained the girl for himself!
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.
Scarce had he realized the truth than he had started to retrace
his steps toward Lothar, but now he moved at a trot, the Earthly
thews that he had inherited from his father carrying him swiftly
over the soft carpet of fallen leaves and rank grass.
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
At first he saw no indication that there was another than himself
anywhere about. The plain was deserted. No myriad bowmen camped
now beneath the overhanging verdure of the giant trees. No gory
heaps of tortured dead defaced the beauty of the scarlet sward.
All was silence. All was peace.
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.
It was the body of a man, lying prone. Carthoris turned the figure
over upon its back. It was Jav, but torn and mangled almost beyond
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 into
"The Princess of Ptarth!" cried Carthoris. "Where is she? Answer
me, man, or I complete the work that another has so well begun."
"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."
"Which way went they?" asked Carthoris.
"There," replied Jav faintly, "toward the passage through the
The Prince of Helium waited to hear no more, but springing to his
feet, raced back again into the forest.
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.
Within the long, dark passages he met with no accident or obstacle,
coming at last into the light of day beyond the mountains, and
no great distance from the southern verge of the domains of the
Torquasians, not more than one hundred and fifty haad at the most.
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
He could at best but hazard a chance guess that toward Aaanthor
Thuvia would take her flight. There lay the nearest water, and
there might be expected some day a rescuing party from her father's
empire; for Carthoris knew Thuvan Dihn well enough to know that he
would leave no stone unturned until he had tracked down the truth
as to his daughter's abduction, and learned all that there might
be to learn of her whereabouts.
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.
Even as he emerged from the mouth of the passage to look across
the foothills in the direction of Aaanthor, a Ptarth battle fleet
was winging its majestic way slowly toward the twin cities of
Helium, while from far distant Kaol raced another mighty armada to
join forces with its ally.
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 princess.
He did not know of the lengths to which the Dusarians had gone to
disrupt the friendship and alliance which existed between the three
great powers of the eastern hemisphere—Helium, Ptarth and Kaol.
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 he knew.
Nor did he know how even to the last John Carter, Warlord of Mars,
had refused to permit the jeddak of Helium to declare war against
either Ptarth or Kaol, because of his implicit belief in his son,
and that eventually all would be satisfactorily explained.
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.
War had been declared by Thuvan Dihn, but the messenger who had
been dispatched with the proclamation had been a Dusarian who had
seen to it that no word of warning reached the twin cities of the
approach of a hostile fleet.
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 Barsoom.
But of all this Carthoris was ignorant. All that interested him
at present was the finding of Thuvia of Ptarth. Her trail beside
that of the huge banth had been well marked to the tunnel, and was
once more visible leading southward into the foothills.
As he followed rapidly downward toward the dead sea-bottom, 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
As the fellow drew closer, Carthoris halted to await his coming.
He knew that the man was unarmed, and that he was apparently a
Lotharian, for his skin was white and his hair auburn.
He approached the Heliumite without sign of fear, and when quite
close called out the cheery Barsoomian "kaor" of greeting.
"Who are you?" asked Carthoris.
"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 oftenest
"For a long time Tario has been concentrating his mind upon my
permanent materialization. It has been an obsession with him that
some day this thing could be accomplished and the future of Lothar
assured. He asserted that matter was nonexistent except in the
imagination of man—that all was mental, and so he believed that
by persisting in his suggestion he could eventually make of me a
permanent suggestion in the minds of all creatures.
"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.
"As darkness settled and the time came for us to fade once more
into thin air, I suddenly found myself alone upon the edge of the
great plain which lies yonder at the foot of the low hills.
"My men were gone back to the nothingness from which they had
sprung, but I remained—naked and unarmed.
"At first I could not understand, but at last came a realization of
what had occurred. Tario's long suggestions had at last prevailed,
and Kar Komak had become a reality in the world of men; but my
harness and my weapons had faded away with my fellows, leaving me
naked and unarmed in a hostile country far from Lothar."
"You wish to return to Lothar?" asked Carthoris.
"No!" replied Kar Komak quickly. "I have no love for Tario. Being
a creature of his mind, I know him too well. He is cruel and
tyrannical—a master I have no desire to serve. Now that he has
succeeded in accomplishing my permanent materialization, he will
be unbearable, and he will go on until he has filled Lothar with
his creatures. I wonder if he has succeeded as well with the maid
"I thought there were no women there," said Carthoris.
"In a hidden apartment in the palace of Tario," replied Kar Komak,
"the jeddak has maintained the suggestion of a beautiful girl, hoping
that some day she would become permanent. I have seen her there.
She is wonderful! But for her sake I hope that Tario succeeds not
so well with her as he has with me.
"Now, red man, I have told you of myself—what of you?"
Carthoris liked the face and manner of the bowman. There had been
no sign of doubt or fear in his expression as he had approached
the heavily-armed Heliumite, and he had spoken directly and to the
So the Prince of Helium told the bowman of Lothar who he was and
what adventure had brought him to this far country.
"Good!" exclaimed the other, when he had done. "Kar Komak will
accompany you. Together we shall find the Princess of Ptarth and
with you Kar Komak will return to the world of men—such a world
as he knew in the long-gone past when the ships of mighty Lothar
ploughed angry Throxus, and the roaring surf beat against the
barrier of these parched and dreary hills."
"What mean you?" asked Carthoris. "Had you really a former actual
"Most assuredly," replied Kar Komak. "In my day I commanded the
fleets of Lothar—mightiest of all the fleets that sailed the five
"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 time.
"Ah, but it will seem good to see men once again—real men! Never
had I much respect for the landsmen of my day. They remained in
their walled cities wasting their time in play, depending for their
protection entirely upon the sea race. And the poor creatures who
remain, the Tarios and Javs of Lothar, are even worse than their
Carthoris was a trifle skeptical 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.
The outcome of the matter was that he gave the naked odwar leave to
accompany him, and together they set out upon the spoor of Thuvia
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.
It was a long and tedious journey, fraught with many dangers. The
bowman could not travel at the pace set by Carthoris, whose muscles
carried him with great rapidity over the face of the small planet,
the force of gravity of which exerts so much less retarding power
than that of the Earth. Fifty miles a day is a fair average for
a Barsoomian, but the son of John Carter might easily have covered
a hundred or more miles had he cared to desert his new-found comrade.
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.
Good fortune was with them, however, and although they sighted two
detachments of the savage green men, they were not themselves seen.
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
This morning, far ahead, half-way between themselves and Aaanthor,
the men saw two tiny figures moving toward the city. For a moment
they watched them intently. Then Carthoris, convinced, leaped
forward at a rapid run, Kar Komak following as swiftly as he could.
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.
Not yet could Thuvia of Ptarth have recognized Carthoris, though
that it was he she must have been convinced, for she waited there
for him without sign of fear.
Presently he saw her point toward the northwest, beyond him.
Without slackening his pace, he turned his eyes in the direction
Racing silently over the thick vegetation, not half a mile behind,
came a score of fierce green warriors, charging him upon their
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 long-swords.
Carthoris shouted to the Lotharian, warning him back, for he knew
that he could but uselessly sacrifice his life by placing himself,
all unarmed, in the path of the cruel and relentless savages.
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.
Even as it was, it would be nip and tuck as to who came first to
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.
Now, indeed, seemed little hope for Thuvia of Ptarth. With
savage warriors of the hordes of Torquas charging toward her from
one direction, and no less implacable enemies, in the form of the
creatures of Astok, Prince of Dusar, bearing down upon her from
another, while only a banth, a red warrior, and an unarmed bowman
were near to defend her, her plight was quite hopeless and her
cause already lost ere ever it was contested.
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 present predicament.
Now had he stopped, panting, before her. A brave smile of
encouragement lit his face.
"Courage, my princess," he whispered.
To the girl's memory flashed the occasion upon which he had used
those same words—in the throne-room of Tario of Lothar as they had
commenced to slip down the sinking marble floor toward an unknown
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 betrothed.
Carthoris saw her flush of mortification, and in an instant regretted
his words. There was but a moment before the green warriors would
be upon them.
"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
The fellow was charging with couched spear, but Carthoris leaped to
one side, and as the great thoat and its rider hurtled harmlessly
past him he swung his long-sword in a mighty cut that clove the
green carcass in twain.
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.
GREEN MEN AND WHITE APES
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 consciousness.
How long he lay there senseless he could not guess; but when he
opened his eyes again he was alone, except for the bodies of the
dead green men and Dusarians, and the carcass of a great banth that
lay half across his own.
Thuvia was gone, nor was the body of Kar Komak among the dead.
Weak from loss of blood, Carthoris made his way slowly toward
Aaanthor, reaching its outskirts at dark.
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
Disheartened and discouraged by the strange sequence of events
that seemed fore-ordained to thwart his every attempt to serve
the Princess of Ptarth, he paid little or no attention to his
surroundings, moving through the deserted city as though no great
white apes lurked in the black shadows of the mystery-haunted piles
that flanked the broad avenues and the great plaza.
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.
And as the Heliumite entered the small building a dozen mighty,
grotesque figures emerged from the doorway of the palace to speed
noiselessly across the plaza toward him.
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.
No time then to draw long-sword; but swift from his harness flew
his long, slim dagger, and as he went down beneath them more than
a single green heart ceased beating at the bite of that keen point.
Then they overpowered him and took his weapons away; but only nine
of the twelve warriors who had crossed the plaza returned with
They dragged their prisoner roughly to the palace pits, where
in utter darkness they chained him with rusty links to the solid
masonry of the wall.
"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."
Then they left him to the silence and the darkness.
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.
Then, from out of the mysterious blackness before him, there
came to his ears the sound of naked feet moving stealthily upon
stone—approaching nearer and nearer to where he lay, unarmed and
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 him.
At last he heard a sudden rush of unshod soles across the empty
blackness, and at a little distance a scuffling sound, heavy
breathing, and once what he thought the muttered imprecation of
a man battling against great odds. Then the clanging of a chain,
and a noise as of the snapping back against stone of a broken link.
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 lungs.
Then came the rush of many feet toward him, and the THINGS were
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 Aaanthor.
Thewed like some giant god was Carthoris of Helium, yet in the
clutches of these unseen creatures of the pit's Stygian night he
was helpless as a frail woman.
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.
Fangs, too, mighty fangs, he knew were close, and why they did not
sink into his flesh he could not guess.
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.
Now he was seized upon either side and dragged at a rapid pace through
the dark corridors—toward what fate he could not even guess.
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.
After half an hour or more of rapid racing through the underground
passages that are a distinguishing feature of all Barsoomian cities,
modern as well as ancient, his captors suddenly emerged into the
moonlight of a courtyard, far from the central plaza.
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.
Now he saw the cause of that which had deceived him—across the
chest of each of them were strips of hairy hide, usually of banth,
in imitation of the harness of the green warriors who so often
camped at their deserted city.
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 he glanced about the courtyard, he saw fully fifty of the hideous
beasts, squatting on their haunches, and at a little distance from
him another human being, closely guarded.
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,
"Kaor!" cried Carthoris, in response. "How came you here, and what
befell the princess?"
"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.
"Then the green men seized me, and carried me to a great, empty
city, where they chained me to a wall in a black pit. Afterward
came these and dragged me hither. And what of you, red man?"
Carthoris related all that had befallen him, and as the two men
talked the great apes squatted about them watching them intently.
"What are we to do now?" asked the bowman.
"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 is coming."
Kar Komak looked in the direction Carthoris indicated to see a huge
ape advancing with a mighty bludgeon.
"It is thus they like best to kill their prey," said Carthoris.
"Must we die without a struggle?" asked Kar Komak.
"Not I," replied Carthoris, "though I know how futile our best
defence must be against these mighty brutes! Oh, for a long-sword!"
"Or a good bow," added Kar Komak, "and a utan of bowmen."
At the words Carthoris half sprang to his feet, only to be dragged
roughly down by his guard.
"Kar Komak!" he cried. "Why cannot you do what Tario and Jav did?
They had no bowmen other than those of their own creation. You
must know the secret of their power. Call forth your own utan,
The Lotharian looked at Carthoris in wide-eyed astonishment as the
full purport of the suggestion bore in upon his understanding.
"Why not?" he murmured.
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.
The creature that was to slay the red man was almost within arm's
reach of his prey when Carthoris heard a hoarse shout from the opposite
side of the courtyard. In common with the squatting apes and the
demon with the club he turned in the direction of the sound, to see
a company of sturdy bowmen rushing from the doorway of a near-by
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 the battle.
"Come!" whispered Kar Komak. "Now may we escape while their
attention is diverted from us by my bowmen."
"And leave those brave fellows leaderless?" cried Carthoris, whose
loyal nature revolted at the merest suggestion of such a thing.
Kar Komak laughed.
"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 into existence."
"You are right," said Carthoris. "Still, I hate to leave them,
though there is naught else to do," and so the two turned from
the courtyard, and making their way into one of the broad avenues,
crept stealthily in the shadows of the building toward the great
central plaza upon which were the buildings occupied by the green
warriors when they visited the deserted city.
When they had come to the plaza's edge Carthoris halted.
"Wait here," he whispered. "I go to fetch thoats, since on foot
we may never hope to escape the clutches of these green fiends."
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.
Chance carried him through a dark doorway into a large chamber in
which lay a score or more green warriors wrapped in their sleeping
silks and furs. Scarce had Carthoris passed through the short
hallway that connected the door of the building and the great room
beyond it than he became aware of the presence of something or some
one in the hallway through which he had but just passed.
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 realized that he must have passed within a foot of the
warrior, doubtless rousing him from his slumber. To retreat now
would be impossible. Yet to cross through that roomful of sleeping
warriors seemed almost equally beyond the pale of possibility.
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.
The sight of the swords made the young man's palm itch. He stepped
quickly to them, selecting two short-swords—one for Kar Komak,
the other for himself; also some trappings for his naked comrade.
Then he started directly across the centre of the apartment among
the sleeping Torquasians.
Not a man of them moved until Carthoris had completed more than half
of the short though dangerous journey. Then a fellow directly in
his path turned restlessly upon his sleeping silks and furs.
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.
Instantly Carthoris struck, but not before a savage grunt escaped
the other's lips. In an instant the room was in turmoil. Warriors
leaped to their feet, grasping their weapons as they rose, and
shouting to one another for an explanation of the disturbance.
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.
Now one stumbled against the corpse of him whom Carthoris had
slain. The fellow stooped and his hand came in contact with the
cleft skull. He saw about him the giant figures of other green
men, and so he jumped to the only conclusion that was open to him.
"The Thurds!" he cried. "The Thurds are upon us! Rise, warriors
of Torquas, and drive home your swords within the hearts of Torquas'
Instantly the green men began to fall upon one another with naked
swords. Their savage lust of battle was aroused. To fight, to
kill, to die with cold steel buried in their vitals! Ah, that to
them was Nirvana.
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 among themselves.
Once here he had no easy task before him. To catch and mount one
of these habitually rageful and intractable beasts was no child's
play under the best of conditions; but now, when silence and time
were such important considerations, it might well have seemed quite
hopeless to a less resourceful and optimistic man than the son of
the great warlord.
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.
The temper of the thoats of Torquas appeared even shorter than their
vicious cousins among the Tharks and Warhoons, and for a time it
seemed unlikely that he should escape a savage charge on the part
of a couple of old bulls that circled, squealing, about him; but
at last he managed to get close enough to one of them to touch the
beast. With the feel of his hand upon the sleek hide the creature
quieted, and in answer to the telepathic command of the red man
sank to its knees.
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.
The other bull, still squealing and enraged, followed after his
fellow. There was no bridle upon either, for these strange creatures
are controlled entirely by suggestion—when they are controlled at
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 planet.
With difficulty Carthoris urged the two beasts to the gate, where,
leaning down, he raised the latch. Then the thoat that he was
riding placed his great shoulder to the skeel-wood planking, pushed
through, and a moment later the man and the two beasts were swinging
silently down the avenue to the edge of the plaza, where Kar Komak
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 sea-bottom beyond the
All that night and the following day and the second night they
rode toward the north-east. No indication of pursuit developed,
and at dawn of the second day Carthoris saw in the distance the
waving ribbon of great trees that marked one of the long Barsoomian
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 contrary.
It was mid-forenoon when the two at last entered one of the roads
that cut through the cultivated districts at regular intervals,
joining the arid wastes on either side with the great, white,
central highway that follows through the centre from end to end of
the far-reaching, threadlike farm lands.
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.
Carthoris stopped before the first gate he came to, pounding for
admission. The young man who answered his summons greeted the
two hospitably, though he looked with considerable wonder upon the
white skin and auburn hair of the bowman.
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 them.
As they waited in the low-ceiled, pleasant living room of the
farmhouse until the meal should be ready, Carthoris drew his host
into conversation that he might learn his nationality, and thus
the nation under whose dominion lay the waterway where circumstance
had placed him.
"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."
Carthoris was very glad that he had not disclosed his identity, for
though he had no idea of anything that had transpired since he had
left Helium, or that Astok was at the bottom of all his misfortunes,
he well knew that the Dusarian had no love for him, and that he
could hope for no assistance within the dominions of Dusar.
"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?"
Now, these wandering soldiers of fortune are common upon Barsoom,
where most men love to fight. They sell their services wherever
war exists, and in the occasional brief intervals when there is
no organized warfare between the red nations, they join one of the
numerous expeditions that are constantly being dispatched against
the green men in protection of the waterways that traverse the
wilder portions of the globe.
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 calling.
The suggestion was a happy one, and Carthoris embraced the chance
it afforded to account satisfactorily for himself. There was, however,
a single drawback. In times of war such panthans as happened to
be within the domain of a belligerent nation were compelled to don
the insignia of that nation and fight with her warriors.
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
A pleasant smile lighted Hal Vas' face as Carthoris admitted his
"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 Helium."
TO SAVE DUSAR
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.
What they saw filled each with apprehension. It was Komal, the
banth-god, rushing wide-jawed upon them!
Which had he chosen for his prey? Or was it to be both?
They had not long to wait, for though the Lotharian attempted to
hold the girl between himself and the terrible fangs, the great
beast found him at last.
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.
The girl reached their side a moment later, but it was with difficulty
that she tore the mad beast from its prey. Still growling and
casting hungry glances back upon Jav, the banth at last permitted
itself to be led away into the wood.
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 far-distant Ptarth across the more than
seventeen thousand haads of savage Barsoom.
She could not believe that Carthoris had deliberately deserted her,
and so she kept a constant watch for him; but as she bore too far
to the north in her search for the tunnel she passed the Heliumite
as he was returning to Lothar in search of her.
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 princess."
Kulan Tith, Jeddak of Kaol, to whom she was affianced, commanded
her respect and admiration. Had it been that she had surrendered
to her father's wishes because of pique that the handsome Heliumite
had not taken advantage of his visits to her father's court
to push the suit for her hand that she had been quite sure he had
contemplated since that distant day the two had sat together upon
the carved seat within the gorgeous Garden of the Jeddaks that
graced the inner courtyard of the palace of Salensus Oll at Kadabra?
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 clean-limbed fighting man—black-haired and
grey-eyed. Black was the hair of Kulan Tith; but his eyes were
It was almost dark when she found the entrance to the tunnel. Safely
she passed through to the hills beyond, and here, under the bright
light of Mars' two moons, she halted to plan her future action.
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?
Her parched throat and dry tongue gave her the answer—toward
Aaanthor and water. Well, she, too, would go first to Aaanthor,
where she might find more than the water she needed.
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.
When at last Carthoris found her, only to be struck down by the
long-sword of a green man, Thuvia prayed that the same fate might
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
Komal, too, was dead—dead across the body of the Heliumite. She
was, indeed, alone now. There was none to protect her.
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.
At last those who had not died in the conflict gained the decks
of the two craft. The engines throbbed and purred—the propellers
whirred. Quickly the swift boats shot heavenward.
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 above her.
Swift were the fliers of Astok of Dusar, and great the need for
reaching his father's court as quickly as possible, for the fleets
of war of Helium and Ptarth and Kaol were scattered far and wide
above Barsoom. Nor would it go well with Astok of Dusar should
any one of them discover Thuvia of Ptarth a prisoner upon his own
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.
Great though the distance is, the fliers covered it without a stop.
Long before they had reached their destination Thuvia of Ptarth had
learned several things that cleared up the doubts that had assailed
her mind for many days. Scarce had they risen above Aaanthor than
she recognized one of the crew as a member of the crew of that other
flier that had borne her from her father's gardens to Aaanthor.
The presence of Astok upon the craft settled the whole question.
She had been stolen by emissaries of the Dusarian prince—Carthoris
of Helium had had nothing to do with it.
Nor did Astok deny the charge when she accused him. He only smiled
and pleaded his love for her.
"I would sooner mate with a white ape!" she cried, when he would
have urged his suit.
Astok glowered sullenly upon her.
"You shall mate with me, Thuvia of Ptarth," he growled, "or, by
your first ancestor, you shall have your preference—and mate with
a white ape."
The girl made no reply, nor could he draw her into conversation
during the balance of the journey.
As a matter of fact Astok was a trifle awed by the proportions
of the conflict which his abduction of the Ptarthian princess had
induced, nor was he over comfortable with the weight of responsibility
which the possession of such a prisoner entailed.
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 her.
And so at last they came to Dusar, where Astok hid his prisoner in
a secret room high in the east tower of his own palace. He had
sworn his men to silence in the matter of the identity of the girl,
for until he had seen his father, Nutus, Jeddak of Dusar, he dared
not let any one know whom he had brought with him from the south.
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.
"And if you command it, Sire," he said, "I will go and capture
her—fetching her here to Dusar."
Nutus frowned and shook his head.
"You have done enough already to set Ptarth and Kaol and Helium
all three upon us at once should they learn your part in the theft
of the Ptarth princess. That you succeeded in shifting the guilt
upon the Prince of Helium was fortunate, and a masterly move of
strategy; but were the girl to know the truth and ever return to
her father's court, all Dusar would have to pay the penalty, and to
have her here a prisoner amongst us would be an admission of guilt
from the consequences of which naught could save us. It would cost
me my throne, Astok, and that I have no mind to lose.
"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,
Astok, Prince of Dusar, shuddered.
Weak he was; yes, and wicked, too; but the suggestion that his
father's words implied turned him cold with horror.
Cruel to their enemies are the men of Mars; but the word "enemies"
is commonly interpreted to mean men only. Assassination runs riot
in the great Barsoomian cities; yet to murder a woman is a crime
so unthinkable that even the most hardened of the paid assassins
would shrink from you in horror should you suggest such a thing to
Nutus was apparently oblivious to his son's all-too-patent terror
at his suggestion. Presently he continued:
"You say that you know where the girl lies hid, since she was stolen
from your people at Aaanthor. Should she be found by any one of
the three powers, her unsupported story would be sufficient to turn
them all against us.
"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
Astok, Prince of Dusar, well knew his royal father's temper. He
knew that in the tyrant's heart there pulsed no single throb of
love for any creature.
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.
After a dozen daughters of his own nobility had sought self-destruction
rather than wed him he had given up. And then it had been that
he had legally wed one of his slaves that he might have a son to
stand among the jeds when Nutus died and a new jeddak was chosen.
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.
At sight of it beads of sweat broke out upon his brow.
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 heart.
Her heart! The heart that he had hoped would brim with love for
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
A cold smile supplanted the terror that had dilated his eyes. He
turned his steps toward the tower. He would see her before he set
out upon the journey that was to blind his father to the fact that
the girl was already in Dusar.
Quietly he passed in through the secret way, ascending a spiral
runway to the apartment in which the Princess of Ptarth was immured.
As he entered the room he saw the girl leaning upon the sill of
the east casement, gazing out across the roof tops of Dusar toward
distant Ptarth. He hated Ptarth. The thought of it filled him
with rage. Why not finish her now and have it done with?
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.
He was still looking at her as she stood there before him meeting
his gaze steadily and unafraid. He felt the hot passion of his
love mounting higher and higher.
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 charge?
"Thuvia," he said, "I come once again, for the last time, to lay
my heart at your feet. Ptarth and Kaol and Dusar are battling with
Helium because of you. Wed me, Thuvia, and all may yet be as it
The girl shook her head.
"Wait!" he commanded, before she could speak. "Know the truth
before you speak words that may seal, not only your own fate, but
that of the thousands of warriors who battle because of you.
"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.
"But while they are exterminating the Dusarians, countless thousands
of their own warriors must perish—and all because of the stubbornness
of a single woman who would not wed the prince who loves her.
"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.
"Refuse, Thuvia of Ptarth, and you must die to save Dusar—there
is no other way. Nutus, the jeddak, has so decreed. I have spoken."
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 cold
"Better all that you have threatened," she said, "than you."
Then she turned her back upon him and went to stand once more before
the east window, gazing with sad eyes toward distant Ptarth.
Astok wheeled and left the room, returning after a short interval
of time with food and drink.
"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."
Then he was gone.
Half an hour later he was interviewing an officer high in the navy
"Whither went Vas Kor?" he asked. "He is not at his palace."
"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 the farms."
"Good," said Astok, and a half-hour more found him rising above
Dusar in his swiftest flier.
TURJUN, THE PANTHAN
The face of Carthoris of Helium gave no token of the emotions that
convulsed him inwardly as he heard from the lips of Hal Vas that
Helium was at war with Dusar, and that fate had thrown him into
the service of the enemy.
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.
To escape the Dusarians might prove an easy matter; and then again
it might not. Should they suspect his loyalty (and the loyalty
of an impressed panthan was always open to suspicion), he might
not find an opportunity to elude their vigilance until after the
termination of the war, which might occur within days, or, again,
only after long and weary years of bloodshed.
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 man.
The outlook was not cheering. He could not guess that within a
few hours he would be blessing the fate that had thrown him into
the service of Dusar.
"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
"Turjun," interjected Carthoris, seizing upon the first appellation
that occurred to him.
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
"Vas Kor," repeated Carthoris mentally. "Vas Kor!" Where had he
seen the man before?
And then the noble spoke, and like a flash it all came back to
Carthoris—the forward servant upon the landing-stage 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 Aaanthor.
"Vas Kor," he repeated aloud, "blessed be your ancestors for this
meeting," nor did the Dusarian guess the wealth of meaning that lay
beneath that hackneyed phrase with which a Barsoomian acknowledges
"And blessed be yours, Turjun," replied Vas Kor.
Now came the introduction of Kar Komak to Vas Kor, and as Carthoris
went through the little ceremony there came to him the only
explanation he might make to account for the white skin and auburn
hair of the bowman; for he feared that the truth might not be
believed and thus suspicion be cast upon them both from the beginning.
"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
Since the destruction of the fabric of their false religion by
John Carter, the majority of the therns had gladly accepted the
new order of things, so that it was now no longer uncommon to see
them mingling with the multitudes of red men in any of the great
cities of the outer world, so Vas Kor neither felt nor expressed
any great astonishment.
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 him.
During the evening Vas Kor announced that on the morrow they should
depart north toward Dusar, picking up recruits at various stations
along the way.
In a great field behind the house a flier lay—a fair-sized
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.
Toward midnight Vas Kor returned to the vessel from his son's
house, repairing at once to his cabin. Carthoris, with one of the
Dusarians, was on watch. It was with difficulty that the Heliumite
repressed a cold smile as the noble passed within a foot of
him—within a foot of the long, slim, Heliumitic blade that swung
in his harness.
How easy it would have been! How easy to avenge the cowardly
trick that had been played upon him—to avenge Helium and Ptarth
But his hand moved not toward the dagger's hilt, for first Vas Kor
must serve a better purpose—he might know where Thuvia of Ptarth
lay hidden now, if it had truly been Dusarians that had spirited
her away during the fight before Aaanthor.
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?
Faintly out of the night there came to Carthoris's ears the purring
of a distant motor. He scanned the heavens.
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 Barsoomian
Carthoris, knowing not whether the craft might be friend or foe
of Dusar, gave no sign that he had seen, but turned his eyes in
another direction, leaving the matter to the Dusarian who stood
watch with him.
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 by.
The cruiser-transport lay without lights, and, resting as she was
upon the ground, must have been entirely invisible to the oncoming
flier, which all presently recognized as a small craft.
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.
"It is the Thuria," whispered one of the Dusarian warriors. "I
would know her in the blackness of the pits among ten thousand
"Right you are!" exclaimed Vas Kor, who had come on deck. And then
"Kaor!" came presently from above after a brief silence. Then:
"Cruiser-transport Kalksus, Vas Kor of Dusar."
"Good!" came from above. "Is there safe landing alongside?"
"Yes, close in to starboard. Wait, we will show our lights," and
a moment later the smaller craft settled close beside the Kalksus,
and the lights of the latter were immediately extinguished once
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.
But the face of the first man to cross the rail undeceived him
with a shock that was not at all unpleasurable—it was the face of
Astok, Prince of Dusar.
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 guard.
The latter walked quietly to and fro. The former leaned across
the rail, wishing for the hour that would bring him relief. He
did not see his companion approach the lights of the cabin of Vas
Kor. He did not see him stoop with ear close pressed to a tiny
"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
He paused. No man should have heard from his lips the thing he was
trying to tell. It should have been for ever the secret of Nutus
and Astok, for upon it rested the safety of a throne. With that
knowledge any man could wrest from the Jeddak of Dusar whatever he
But Astok was afraid, and he wanted from this older man the suggestion
of an alternative. He went on.
"I am to kill her," he whispered, looking fearfully around. "Nutus
merely wishes to see the body that he may know his commands have
been executed. I am now supposed to be gone to the spot where we
have her hidden that I may fetch her in secrecy to Dusar. None
is to know that she has ever been in the keeping of a Dusarian. I
do not need to tell you what would befall Dusar should Ptarth and
Helium and Kaol ever learn the truth."
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 the
"And you wish me to go with you while you fetch her to Dusar," Vas
Kor was saying. "Where is she?"
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 at least.
"And how may I help you, my Prince?" asked the older man suavely.
"I cannot kill her," said Astok. "Issus! I cannot do it! When
she turns those eyes upon me my heart becomes water."
Vas Kor's eyes narrowed.
"And you wish—" He paused, the interrogation unfinished, yet
"YOU do not love her," he said.
"But I love my life—though I am only a lesser noble," he concluded
"You shall be a greater noble—a noble of the first rank!" exclaimed
"I would be a jed," said Vas Kor bluntly.
"A jed must die before there can be another jed," he pleaded.
"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."
Already Vas Kor was commencing to presume upon his power over the
young prince. Astok was quick to note and appreciate the subtle
change in his lieutenant. A cunning scheme entered his weak and
"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."
"When shall we return to Dusar?" asked the noble.
"At once," replied Astok. "Let us get under way now—there is
naught to keep you here?"
"I had intended sailing on the morrow, picking up such recruits as
the various Dwars of the Roads might have collected for me, as we
returned to Dusar."
"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."
"Yes," acquiesced Vas Kor; "that is the better plan. Come; I am
ready," and he rose to accompany Astok to the latter's flier.
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 imprisoned.
The two men were ascending from the cabin to the deck. Turjun,
the panthan, crept close to the companionway, his sinuous fingers
closing tightly upon the hilt of his dagger. Could he despatch
them both before he was overpowered? He smiled. He could slay an
entire utan of her enemies in his present state of mind.
They were almost abreast of him now. Astok was speaking.
"Bring a couple of your men along, Vas Kor," he said. "We are
short-handed upon the Thuria, so quickly did we depart."
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.
Turjun put himself in the path of Vas Kor that he might not be
overlooked. The noble aroused the men sleeping upon the deck, but
always before him the strange panthan whom he had recruited that
same day found means for keeping himself to the fore.
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 the padwar.
"You two accompany us to the Thuria," he said, "and put yourselves
at the disposal of her dwar."
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.
One of the two was Kar Komak, the bowman. The other was not
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!
As Vas Kor descended to the ground Carthoris boldly followed him,
nor did any attempt to halt him, thinking, doubtless, that he was
one of the party.
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.
Kar Komak preceded the Dusarian. The latter reached upward for
the swinging rounds, and as he did so steel fingers closed upon
his windpipe and a steel blade pierced the very centre of his heart.
Turjun, the panthan, was the last to clamber over the rail of the
Thuria, drawing the rope ladder in after him.
A moment later the flier was rising rapidly, headed for the north.
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
A quick sign, and Kar Komak turned once more to find the Thuria's
dwar that he might report himself for duty. Behind him followed
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 journey to Dusar seemed interminable to the impatient Carthoris,
though as a matter of fact it was quickly accomplished. Some
time before they reached their destination they met and spoke with
another Dusarian war flier. From it they learned that a great
battle was soon to be fought south-east of Dusar.
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.
Not for many a day had there been the promise of such a battle.
Four jeddaks were in direct command of their own fleets—Kulan Tith
of Kaol, Thuvan Dihn of Ptarth, and Nutus of Dusar upon one side;
while upon the other was Tardos Mors, Jeddak of Helium. With the
latter was John Carter, Warlord of Mars.
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
And from the distant south, from the sea of Omean and the cliffs
of gold, from the temples of the therns and the garden of Issus,
other thousands sailed into the north at the call of the great man
they all had learned to respect, and, respecting, love. Pacing the
flagship of this mighty fleet, second only to the navy of Helium,
was the ebon Xodar, Jeddak of the First Born, his heart beating
strong in anticipation of the coming moment when he should hurl his
savage crews and the weight of his mighty ships upon the enemies
of the warlord.
But would these allies reach the theatre of war in time to be of
avail to Helium? Or, would Helium need them?
Carthoris, with the other members of the crew of the Thuria, heard
the gossip and the rumours. None knew of the two fleets, the one
from the south and the other from the north, that were coming to
support the ships of Helium, and all of Dusar were convinced that
nothing now could save the ancient power of Helium from being wiped
for ever from the upper air of Barsoom.
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.
Now the Thuria touched the landing-stage above the palace of Astok.
Hurriedly the prince and Vas Kor disembarked and entered the drop
that would carry them to the lower levels of the palace.
Close beside it was another drop that was utilized by common
warriors. Carthoris touched Kar Komak upon the arm.
"Come!" he whispered. "You are my only friend among a nation of
enemies. Will you stand by me?"
"To the death," replied Kar Komak.
The two approached the drop. A slave operated it.
"Where are your passes?" he asked.
Carthoris fumbled in his pocket pouch as though in search of them,
at the same time entering the cage. Kar Komak followed him, closing
the door. The slave did not start the cage downward. Every second
counted. They must reach the lower level as soon as possible after
Astok and Vas Kor if they would know whither the two went.
Carthoris turned suddenly upon the slave, hurling him to the opposite
side of the cage.
"Bind and gag him, Kar Komak!" he cried.
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.
Below him he could now see the top of Astok's cage in the parallel
shaft, and he reduced the speed of his to that of the other. The
slave commenced to scream.
"Silence him!" cried Carthoris.
A moment later a limp form crumpled to the floor of the cage.
"He is silenced," said Kar Komak.
Carthoris brought the cage to a sudden stop at one of the higher
levels of the palace. Opening the door, he grasped the still form
of the slave and pushed it out upon the floor. Then he banged the
gate and resumed the downward drop.
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.
KULAN TITH'S SACRIFICE
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.
The solid ersite slabs she could not even scratch; the tough
Barsoomian glass of the windows would have shattered to nothing
less than a heavy sledge in the hands of a strong man. The door
and the lock were impregnable. There was no escape. And they had
stripped her of her weapons so that she could not even anticipate
the hour of her doom, thus robbing them of the satisfaction of
witnessing her last moments.
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 could not help but compare him with another. And with whom
would an affianced bride compare an unsuccessful suitor? With her
betrothed? And did Thuvia of Ptarth now measure Astok of Dusar by
the standards of Kulan Tith, Jeddak of Kaol?
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.
She dreamed of his noble face, the quiet dignity of his bearing,
the smile that lit his eyes as he conversed with his friends, and
the smile that touched his lips as he fought with his enemies—the
fighting smile of his Virginian sire.
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.
In the corridor outside her prison-room two men had paused in heated
"I tell you again, Astok," one was saying, "that I shall not do
this thing unless you be present in the room."
There was little of the respect due royalty in the tone of the
speaker's voice. The other, noting it, flushed.
"Do not impose too far upon my friendship for you, Vas Kor," he
snapped. "There is a limit to my patience."
"There is no question of royal prerogative here," returned Vas
Kor. "You ask me to become an assassin in your stead, and against
your jeddak's strict injunctions. You are in no position, Astok,
to dictate to me; but rather should you be glad to accede to my
reasonable request that you be present, thus sharing the guilt with
me. Why should I bear it all?"
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.
Across the chamber the girl, hearing them enter, rose to her feet
and faced them. Under the soft copper of her skin she blanched
just a trifle; but her eyes were brave and level, and the haughty
tilt of her firm little chin was eloquent of loathing and contempt.
"You still prefer death?" asked Astok.
"To YOU, yes," replied the girl coldly.
The Prince of Dusar turned to Vas Kor and nodded. The noble drew
his short-sword and crossed the room toward Thuvia.
"Kneel!" he commanded.
"I prefer to die standing," she replied.
"As you will," said Vas Kor, feeling the point of his blade with
his left thumb. "In the name of Nutus, Jeddak of Dusar!" he cried,
and ran quickly toward her.
"In the name of Carthoris, Prince of Helium!" came in low tones
from the doorway.
Vas Kor turned to see the panthan he had recruited at his son's
house leaping across the floor toward him. The fellow brushed past
Astok with an: "After him, you—calot!"
Vas Kor wheeled to meet the charging man.
"What means this treason?" he cried.
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 swordsman.
Before he half realized the stranger's purpose he found the man
between himself and Thuvia of Ptarth, at bay facing the two swords of
the Dusarians. But he fought not like a man at bay. Ever was he
the aggressor, and though always he kept his flashing blade between
the girl and her enemies, yet he managed to force them hither and
thither about the room, calling to the girl to follow close behind
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.
Astok, as was his way, finding that the enemy did not fall immediately
before their swords, was leaving the brunt of the fighting to
Vas Kor, and now as his eyes appraised the panthan carefully they
presently went wider and wider, for slowly he had come to recognize
the features of the Prince of Helium.
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.
"Courage, Vas Kor!" he whispered in the other's ear. "I have a
plan. Hold him but a moment longer and all will be well," but the
balance of the sentence, "with Astok, Prince of Dusar," he did not
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 beyond.
It was done so quickly that by no possibility could they have
intercepted him. Carthoris, fearful lest Vas Kor might similarly
elude him, or Astok return immediately with reinforcements, sprang
viciously in upon his antagonist, and a moment later the headless
body of the Dusarian noble rolled upon the ersite floor.
"Come!" cried Carthoris. "There is no time to be lost. Astok will
be back in a moment with enough warriors to overpower me."
But Astok had no such plan in mind, for such a move would have
meant the spreading of the fact among the palace gossips that the
Ptarthian princess was a prisoner in the east tower. Quickly would
the word have come to his father, and no amount of falsifying could
have explained away the facts that the jeddak's investigation would
have brought to light.
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 sun.
As fast as he could run Astok entered the main corridor that led
to the tower chamber. Would he reach the door in time? What if
the Heliumite should have already emerged and he should run upon
him in the passageway? Astok felt a cold chill run up his spine.
He had no stomach to face that uncanny blade.
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!
Astok could scarce repress a grin at the clever manner in which he
had outwitted the noble and disposed of him at the same time. And
then he rounded the turn and came face to face with an auburn-haired,
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.
A moment later Carthoris and Thuvia entered the corridor from the
"Well, Kar Komak?" asked the Heliumite.
"It is fortunate that you left me here, red man," said the bowman.
"I but just now intercepted one who seemed over-anxious to reach
this door—it was he whom they call Astok, Prince of Dusar."
"Where is he now?" he asked.
"He escaped my blade, and ran down this corridor," replied Kar
"We must lose no time, then!" exclaimed Carthoris. "He will have
the guard upon us yet!"
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 seldom-used passage-ways.
They had come to the chamber at the entrances to the lifts before
they met with opposition. Here they found a handful of guardsmen,
and an officer, who, seeing that they were strangers, questioned
their presence in the palace of Astok.
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 commotion.
Beside the stage lay the Thuria, with three warriors on guard.
Again the Heliumite and the Lotharian fought shoulder to shoulder,
but the battle was soon over, for the Prince of Helium alone would
have been a match for any three that Dusar could produce.
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 at
With her bow inclined upward at a dizzy angle, the Thuria shot
meteor-like into the sky. From a dozen points swift patrol boats
darted after her, for the scene upon the landing-stage above the
palace of the Prince of Dusar had not gone unnoticed.
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.
It was a noble race and a noble fight. One against a score now, for
other Dusarian craft had joined in the pursuit; but Astok, Prince
of Dusar, had built well when he built the Thuria. None in the
navy of his sire possessed a swifter flier; no other craft so well
armoured or so well armed.
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.
Thirteen and a half thousand haads away lay Ptarth—a stiff
thirty-hour journey for the swiftest of fliers, and between Dusar
and Ptarth might lie half the navy of Dusar, for in this direction
was the reported seat of the great naval battle that even now might
be in progress.
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.
Half the distance they covered without sighting a single warship,
and then Kar Komak called Carthoris's attention to a distant craft
that rested upon the ochre vegetation of the great dead sea-bottom,
above which the Thuria was speeding.
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.
It was not necessary to change the course of the Thuria to permit
of passing directly above the scene of battle, but Carthoris dropped
his craft a few hundred feet that he might have a better and closer
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.
As they came close above the stricken ship, they could see that
it would be but a question of minutes before the green horde would
swarm across the armoured bulwarks to glut the ferocity of their
bloodlust upon the defenders.
"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.
At the first shot from the Thuria those upon the vessel below
evidently discovered her for the first time. Immediately a device
fluttered from the bow of the warship on the ground. Thuvia of
Ptarth caught her breath quickly, glancing at Carthoris.
The device was that of Kulan Tith, Jeddak of Kaol—the man to whom
the Princess of Ptarth was betrothed!
How easy for the Heliumite to pass on, leaving his rival to the fate
that could not for long be averted! No man could accuse him of
cowardice or treachery, for Kulan Tith was in arms against Helium,
and, further, upon the Thuria were not enough swords to delay even
temporarily the outcome that already was a foregone conclusion in
the minds of the watchers.
What would Carthoris, Prince of Helium, do?
Scarce had the device broken to the faint breeze ere the bow of
the Thuria dropped at a sharp angle toward the ground.
"Can you navigate her?" asked Carthoris of Thuvia.
The girl nodded.
"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 protected."
He hurried to the cabin as Thuvia took the control. A moment later
the boarding tackle dropped from the keel of the Thuria, and from
a dozen points along either side stout, knotted leathern lines
trailed downward. At the same time a signal broke from her bow:
"Prepare to board us."
A shout arose from the deck of the Kaolian warship. Carthoris,
who by this time had returned from the cabin, smiled sadly. He was
about to snatch from the jaws of death the man who stood between
himself and the woman he loved.
"Take the port bow gun, Kar Komak," he called to the bowman, and
himself stepped to the gun upon the starboard bow.
They could now feel the
sharp shock of the explosions of the green warriors' projectiles
against the armoured sides of the staunch Thuria.
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
The Thuria came low above the other craft. The Kaolians were forming
under their officers in readiness to board, and then a sudden fierce
fusillade from the rifles of the green warriors vomited their hail
of death and destruction into the side of the brave flier.
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 ship.
When the green men saw only two warriors and a woman upon the deck
of the Thuria, a savage shout of triumph arose from their ranks,
while an answering groan broke from the lips of the Kaolians.
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 ship.
As they charged a shout of warning came from Kulan Tith, upon the
bridge of his own ship, and with it an appreciation of the valour
of the act that had put the smaller vessel in these sore straits.
"Who is it," he cried, "that offers his life in the service of
Kulan Tith? Never was wrought a nobler deed of self-sacrifice upon
The green horde was scrambling over the Thuria's side as there
broke from the bow the device of Carthoris, Prince of Helium, in
reply to the query of the jeddak of Kaol. None upon the smaller
flier had opportunity to note the effect of this announcement upon
the Kaolians, for their attention was claimed slowly now by that
which was transpiring upon their own deck.
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—the man!" he shouted. "Grip yourself! Remember the
days of the glory of the seafarers of Lothar. Fight! Fight, man!
Fight as never man fought before. All that remains to us is to
Kar Komak turned toward the Heliumite, a grim smile upon his lips.
"Why should we fight," he asked. "Against such fearful odds?
There is another way—a better way. Look!" He pointed toward the
companion-way that led below deck.
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 fray.
The green warriors paused in momentary surprise and consternation,
but only for a moment. Then with horrid war-cries they leaped
forward to meet these strange, new foemen.
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.
Utan after utan tumbled from the bowels of the Thuria to launch
themselves upon the unfortunate green men. Kulan Tith and his
Kaolians stood wide-eyed and speechless with amazement as they
saw thousands of these strange, fierce warriors emerge from the
companion-way of the small craft that could not comfortably have
accommodated more than fifty.
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 excitement.
At the top of his lungs he voiced the savage war-cry of his forgotten
day. He roared encouragement and commands at his battling utans,
and then, as they charged further and further from the Thuria, he
could no longer withstand the lure of battle.
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.
Beyond a low promontory of what once had been an island the green
men were disappearing toward the west. Close upon their heels
raced the fleet bowmen of a bygone day, and forging steadily ahead
among them Carthoris and Thuvia could see the mighty figure of Kar
Komak, brandishing aloft the Torquasian short-sword with which he
was armed, as he urged his creatures after the retreating enemy.
As the last of them disappeared behind the promontory, Carthoris
turned toward Thuvia of Ptarth.
"They have taught me a lesson, these vanishing bowmen of Lothar,"
he said. "When they have served their purpose they remain not
to embarrass their masters by their presence. Kulan Tith and his
warriors are here to protect you. My acts have constituted the
proof of my honesty of purpose. Good-bye," and he knelt at her
feet, raising a bit of her harness to his lips.
The girl reached out a hand and laid it upon the thick black hair
of the head bent before her. Softly she asked:
"Where are you going, Carthoris?"
"With Kar Komak, the bowman," he replied. "There will be fighting
The girl put her hands before her eyes, as though to shut out some
mighty temptation from her sight.
"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
A cough behind them brought both about, and there they saw standing,
not two paces from them Kulan Tith, Jeddak of Kaol.
For a long moment none spoke. Then Kulan Tith cleared his throat.
"I could not help hearing all that passed," he said. "I am no fool,
to be blind to the love that lies between you. Nor am I blind to
the lofty honour that has caused you, Carthoris, to risk your life
and hers to save mine, though you thought that that very act would
rob you of the chance to keep her for your own.
"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.
"Take back your liberty, Thuvia of Ptarth," he cried, "and bestow
it where your heart already lies enchained, and when the golden
collars are clasped about your necks you will see that Kulan Tith's
is the first sword to be raised in declaration of eternal friendship
for the new Princess of Helium and her royal mate!"
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
Bar Comas. Jeddak of Warhoon. (See A PRINCESS OF 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.
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.
Kab Kadja. Jeddak of the Warhoons of the south.
Kadabra. Capital of Okar.
Kalksus. Cruiser; transport under Vas Kor.
Kantos Kan. Padwar in the Helium navy.
Kaol. A Martian kingdom in the eastern hemisphere.
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.
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.
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.