A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 101

of his conqueror, and then his women cremated what remained,
amid wild and terrible laughter.

The injuries to Dak Kova had delayed the march so greatly that it was
decided to give up the expedition, which was a raid upon a small Thark
community in retaliation for the destruction of the incubator, until
after the great games, and the entire body of warriors, ten thousand in
number, turned back toward Warhoon.

My introduction to these cruel and bloodthirsty people was but an index
to the scenes I witnessed almost daily while with them. They are a
smaller horde than the Tharks but much more ferocious. Not a day
passed but that some members of the various Warhoon communities met in
deadly combat. I have seen as high as eight mortal duels within a
single day.

We reached the city of Warhoon after some three days march and I was
immediately cast into a dungeon and heavily chained to the floor and
walls. Food was brought me at intervals but owing to the utter
darkness of the place I do not know whether I lay there days, or weeks,
or months. It was the most horrible experience of all my life and that
my mind did not give way to the terrors of that inky blackness has been
a wonder to me ever since. The place was filled with creeping,
crawling things; cold, sinuous bodies passed over me when I lay down,
and in the darkness I occasionally caught glimpses of gleaming, fiery
eyes, fixed in horrible intentness upon me. No sound reached me from
the world above and no word would my jailer vouchsafe when my food was
brought to me, although I at first bombarded him with questions.

Finally all the hatred and maniacal loathing for these awful creatures
who had placed me in this horrible place was centered by my tottering
reason upon this single emissary who represented to me the entire horde
of Warhoons.

I had noticed that he always advanced with his dim torch to where he
could place the food within my reach and as he stooped to place it upon
the floor his head was about on a level with my breast. So, with the
cunning of a madman, I backed into the far corner of my cell when next
I heard him approaching and gathering a little slack of the great chain
which held me in my hand I waited his coming, crouching like some beast
of prey. As he stooped to place my food upon the ground I

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