The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

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...THE CHESSMEN OF MARS

by Edgar Rice Burroughs



CONTENTS

PRELUDE - John Carter Comes to Earth
...

Page 1

...the noble features--I recognized them at once,
and leaping to my feet I advanced with outstretched...

Page 2

...all are there. I will spend a quiet evening
with you and then back to the...

Page 3

...she
added, "do you look thus and smile when you mention the name of Djor
Kantos?"

The slave...

Page 4

...the strange, but becoming,
coiffure of her station; her leathern trappings, encrusted with gold
and jewels, had...

Page 5

...Was the faint shadow of
a frown that crossed her brow an indication of displeasure at...

Page 6

...It was merely surprise, then, that
she felt--surprise that Djor Kantos could be more interested in...

Page 7

...shoulder or the
symmetry of a perfect arm, resplendent in bracelets of barbaric
magnificence.

"Your ancient history has...

Page 8

...substitute to perform this labor, and as our own
people will not hire out for labor...

Page 9

...slowly making their way toward the
expanse of scarlet sward at the south end of the...

Page 10

...an arm about the lithe body that the
jeweled harness but inadequately covered, and the girl,...

Page 11

...did not return to her father's guests, but awaited in
her own apartments the word from...

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... * * * * *

Far out...

Page 13

...me," replied Tara of Helium. "I did not ask
them."

"They were no less your guests," replied...

Page 14

...mother looked at her and smiled. "When Gahan of Gathol
returns he may carry you off,"...

Page 15

...spaces;
Padwars, lieutenants wearing two feathers, two diagonal in any
direction, or combination; Dwars, captains wearing three...

Page 16

...she rose toward the clouds,
racing with the scudding streamers of the storm-swept fragments, and a
moment...

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...her life-time had such a tempest raged upon Barsoom.

She must turn back! She must reach...

Page 18

...that the violence of the wind rendered an attempt to
land tantamount to destruction and she...

Page 19

...in the excitement he had
remained unannounced until John Carter had happened upon him in the
great...

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...ship was
doomed, while free in the tempest it stood at least some slight chance
for life.

"By...

Page 21

...power, and each must
sever completely and instantly three strands of heavy cable that no
loose end...

Page 22

...the sun went down, the little craft upon which Tara of Helium
had hovered between life...

Page 23

...a stone wall
enclosing several acres of ground. The valley appeared to be in a high
state...

Page 24

...so that she could scarce take her eyes from them. It
was evident from their groping...

Page 25

...trifle too far away for her to
see them distinctly in the waning light of the...

Page 26

...Helium crept over the brow of the hill down toward the
valley, her presence was hidden...

Page 27

...was heavy with ripe fruit. Never, thought Tara of
Helium, had aught so delicious impinged upon...

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...have sworn that she saw something move in the
shadows beneath a tree not far away....

Page 29

...next to negligible, for as she swung
nimbly to the lower branches the creature in pursuit...

Page 30

...shadows that
altered the very hills themselves; far Cluros, stately, majestic,
almost stationary, shedding his steady light...

Page 31

...of the headless things that
the towers and the walls hid. Those by day and the...

Page 32

...within, but voices. In the
world-language of Barsoom she heard a man issuing instructions--so many
were to...

Page 33

...were covered with ornaments of precious metals and
jewels, so that little more than eyes, nose,...

Page 34

...whistling of their
fellows. Instructions and commands were shouted to and fro, with the
result that those...

Page 35

...blade drove deep into the
naked chest. The impact hurled them both to the ground and...

Page 36

...head
toppled from the body to the ground. The body stood dully for a moment
and then...

Page 37

...The new body now appropriated these and the hands
deftly adjusted them. The creature was now...

Page 38

...room from which a circular tunnel led away
from the tower, and into this the creature...

Page 39

...herself humming a gay
little tune that was then popular in Helium. The creature at her...

Page 40

...among many of these the
metal and harness were more ornate than had been those of...

Page 41

...something of the smaller openings
in the walls, for almost immediately there crawled from them, like
giant...

Page 42

...difficult to
reproduce." He turned again to the other kaldanes. "Will you notify
Luud that I am...

Page 43

...was naught
but a prisoner. Her rank and titles meant nothing to these inhuman
monsters. They led...

Page 44

...leaves," replied Luud.

"But my people are not at war with yours. I am a princess...

Page 45

...it was to the overwrought girl, Ghek stood with
his eyes fixed upon her.

"It is wonderful,"...

Page 46

...be Luud and all would go on as before, for are we not all alike?
Luud...

Page 47

...and brain. If
he is hurt, I would suffer if I remained connected with him; but...

Page 48

...organs will be removed. The future kaldane will be
nothing but a great brain. Deaf, dumb,...

Page 49

..."if it might not be pleasant to be of
your race. Do you all sing?"

"Nearly all,...

Page 50

...advantage of possessing an unlimited supply of bodies.
Do you not wish that you were a...

Page 51

...appear like sleep, since his lidless
eyes were unchanged; but he lay quietly in a corner....

Page 52

...you do not grow fatter he will send for you anyway," said Ghek;
"but he will...

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...hideous eyes bent
upon the upturned soil. She led Ghek quite close to them, pretending
that she...

Page 54

...great
brains that were beyond the possibility of human emotions.

And so she was dragged back to...

Page 55

...there is no hope."

"Find a way to what?" he asked.

"To life and liberty and mine...

Page 56

...of orally expressing reason
uninfluenced by sentiment. "You will not escape. You are merely the
embodiment of...

Page 57

...day that
she had first been brought to his presence. He stopped there and
fastened his terrible...

Page 58

...voice alone lacked all authority to influence her. It was not like
the eyes. She heard...

Page 59

...until all were
worn to exhaustion. There was a brief lull in the storm during which
one...

Page 60

...feet above the surface of Barsoom, and
then, at last, the thing he had hoped for...

Page 61

...It was a saddened company that drifted onward through the air
toward whatever destination Fate was...

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...the
landscape. That the storm was over he was convinced, but he chafed at
the inactivity the...

Page 63

...vantage
point upon a hill that projected further into the valley, and here he
lay upon his...

Page 64

...seemingly as good
as new, ran quickly to where its fellows were dragging the hapless
captive to...

Page 65

...naught else than the jewel-encrusted emblem upon the prow of a
small flier. Gahan, his hand...

Page 66

...a propellor to make her fit for
the long voyage to Helium. Gahan shrugged impatiently--there must...

Page 67

...of following their leader to the ship's deck. Should they
reach it in any numbers he...

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...nothing for it but to risk all on a bold bid for
fortune, or drift helplessly...

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...A thousand beautiful strangers might sing
and dance about it, but it could derive no pleasure...

Page 70

...you to liberate her, will you take me with you?"

Gahan of Gathol eyed the weird...

Page 71

...faces
suddenly endowed him with the strength of ten warriors and the ferocity
of a wounded banth....

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...the stranger. She saw the hand of the creature's rykor creeping
stealthily toward the hilt of...

Page 73

...of Barsoom is in itself sufficient reward."

As they spoke the girl was making her way...

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...the man
questioningly. She did not understand.

"Your flier," he said. "It is moored before the tower."

Her...

Page 75

...the stairways leading to the
ground level, but after them, even more rapidly, came the minions...

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...but something else--a quality that was indefinable,
yet as distinct as it was familiar. She had...

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...with the power to
act! Then indeed might the safety of the panthan be assured; but...

Page 78

...girl above, "or they will drag us down!"
But the ship seemed scarcely to move, though...

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...opening, or spring to my defense if I
am threatened that it is almost as though...

Page 80

...been
balanced."

"Fortunate indeed are those in which there is combined a little good
and a little bad,...

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...Only this single one and when it died there
could not be another. When it tired,...

Page 82

...The Warlord guess
that a simple panthan aspired to her hand and heart?

The dawn found them...

Page 83

...had been low within them. Suddenly Turan leaned
forward, pointing ahead.

"Look, Tara of Helium!" he cried....

Page 84

...first glance at the city, now much closer than when they had first
discovered it, revealed...

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...You are a brave panthan and a mighty one, but
you cannot overcome a city singlehanded."

She...

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...of Helium bid her panthan search for food and drink; but she
cautioned him against attempting...

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...he came and
when he found it and that it was open he paused for a...

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...upon two warriors standing upon
either side of the entrance to a building upon his right....

Page 89

...shadows of the buildings behind him, nor of the third who hastened
ahead of him upon...

Page 90

...it resisted his every
effort--it was locked upon the outside. Here indeed was a sorry
contretemps. Turan...

Page 91

...low laugh.

Rapidly Turan examined each of the other doors. They were all locked. A
glance about...

Page 92

...and died with her,
ready always to protect her, than to have left her at the...

Page 93

...up the hill toward them a single
mediocre swordsman such as Ghek was worse than no...

Page 94

...fought them. "Let us go with them. Why pit your puny blade
against their mighty ones...

Page 95

...or comment to their guard; but
the watchers upon the balconies spoke not, nor did one...

Page 96

...was set solid about the
radium bulbs with precious stones whose scintillant fire and color and
beauty...

Page 97

...massive doorway, which, when opened,
revealed the great council chamber of O-Tar, Jeddak of Manator, beyond.
A...

Page 98

...for food and water. He has doubtless fallen
into the hands of your people. I ask...

Page 99

...swarm up from the dead sea bottoms lusting
for pillage and for loot, the stately ships...

Page 100

...her away, and at the next games let the prisoners and the
common warriors play at...

Page 101

...tongue will yet pierce thy heart,
son of a slave!" he cried. "Once too often mayst...

Page 102

...for kind
is the heart of A-Kor."

"I remember, now," said Tara, slowly. "I remember; but where...

Page 103

...a table standing upon
the dirt floor near the wall, and set in the wall several...

Page 104

...* * *

When Turan the panthan regained consciousness it was to...

Page 105

...of moments. Rising at last
he flung the lifeless thing from him with a shudder of...

Page 106

...gathered himself together, his brows cleared, and he returned
to his unfinished meal. At least they...

Page 107

...our present existence. Ah, if we had but the power to recall
them! Before us would...

Page 108

...followed such
runways as appeared to terminate in the pits or other chambers of the
inhabitants of...

Page 109

...Then he addressed Ghek. "How long have you been
here?" he asked.

"Who knows better than those...

Page 110

...into another corridor from that down which
he knew the warrior was coming. Here he waited...

Page 111

...Tara of Helium and the slave
girl, Lan-O. He seized the former roughly by a shoulder....

Page 112

...you value your life."

But Tara of Helium made no reply. Already had she spoken. She...

Page 113

...drawn to
a section of paneling that seemed to be separated at one edge from the
piece...

Page 114

...doubtless accounts
for their treatment of us, their slaves."

"But why should they feel contempt for those...

Page 115

...in an open game by slaves and criminals, and you
will belong to the side that...

Page 116

...within the gates of Manator ever has survived ten games,"
replied the slave girl. "They are...

Page 117

...kaldane," replied
the officer.

"But Turan! Tell me, padwar, have you heard aught of him?" Tara's tone
was...

Page 118

...is coming," said Lan-O, "none other dares enter thus,
with blaring trumpets, the city of Manator....

Page 119

...after
utan entered through the great gate, and even when the head of the
column reached the...

Page 120

...he demanded, "why I have been made prisoner, and if other
strangers were captured since I...

Page 121

...maturity and whose span of life may be a
thousand years.

"And where lies Gathol?" asked Turan.

"Almost...

Page 122

..."but how much better off would I
be? In the eyes of the Gatholians I would...

Page 123

...conducted toward the throne room of O-Tar
the jeddak, and when he entered the Hall of...

Page 124

...to see the eyes of U-Thor, the great jed of
Manatos, upon her. Brave eyes they...

Page 125

...as an unhatched egg. He dragged me
to him, greatest of jeddaks, with his eyes! With...

Page 126

...his
foolish heart urged but a single explanation--that she refused to
recognize him lest she be involved...

Page 127

..."You gave me a slave woman, Haja, who had been a princess in
Gathol, because you...

Page 128

...Corphal and so you believe, too, that only the sword of a jeddak
may slay me,...

Page 129

...throne a score of warriors
rose as though to rush forward to intercept them. "Stay!" cried...

Page 130

...Manator are just--they cannot err. U-Dor, dispatch those
who will search the palace, the pits, and...

Page 131

...the throne of Manator where stood O-Tar, the jeddak, with
drawn sword ready to take his...

Page 132

...than because of any evidence against me, and so I
knew that if I acknowledged you...

Page 133

...his thin laughter
jarred upon the silence of the subterranean vaults. "A strange place to
woo! A...

Page 134

...had the girls
then. There was one that I gained upon The Fields of Jetan. Ey,...

Page 135

...level of
its crown. It will be a very beautiful piece, this one, when it is
ready.

"And...

Page 136

...them all, as far back as the first one, and
many is the evening I spend...

Page 137

...beauty of Tara
of Helium, and then they drifted to the harness of the two. Turan
thought...

Page 138

...other
opening in the stone walls, but his search revealed a heterogeneous
collection of odds and ends...

Page 139

...to receive them. His eyes
travelled to the great, painted warrior on the thoat and as...

Page 140

...the language of Manator they might not materially have
aided one unfamiliar with the city; but...

Page 141

...man
was A-Kor, and that he had stumbled by accident upon the very cell in
which he...

Page 142

...a stranger and a hunted fugitive accomplish this?" asked
Turan.

"No one will recognize you. You will...

Page 143

...of himself in the service of Tara of
Helium the following day.

It was already morning when...

Page 144

...madness."

"Would you favor the friend of O-Zar?" asked Turan.

"Gladly!" exclaimed the other. "What may I...

Page 145

...Golden Cliffs to The Carrion Caves. My name
is Val Dor. Who knows Helium, knows my...

Page 146

...it possible that should we win this game we may
even win your freedom!"

They leaped to...

Page 147

...and sweet a trumpet spoke across The Fields of Jetan. From The
High Tower its cool...

Page 148

...board Gahan obtained, for the
first time, a close view of those who opposed him. The...

Page 149

...of him when he had been
locked in the room beneath the palace by I-Gos, the...

Page 150

...Odwar three squares diagonally to the right,
which placed the piece upon the Black Chief's Odwar's...

Page 151

...mind. He dared not
speak, the ethics of the game forbade it, but what his lips...

Page 152

...piece leaped in and drew
first blood, from the shoulder of his merciless opponent. An
ill-smothered cry...

Page 153

...the Black Chief
after her and away from U-Dor; but in that he had failed. He...

Page 154

...Helium, Warlord of Barsoom--and she knew that the
skill of the Black Chief suffered little by...

Page 155

...a point and brought blood to
his opponent's copper hide until both were red with gore;...

Page 156

...the two Princesses, formed in
procession behind The Keeper of the Towers and were conducted to...

Page 157

...the slave Turan who stole the woman Tara
from your throne room, O-Tar. He desecrated the...

Page 158

...as he passed them. The Gatholian, practiced in the art of combating
a mounted warrior from...

Page 159

...right
to deliver his message?"

"To whom would you deliver it?" asked the padwar of the guard.

"Saw...

Page 160

...just
traversed, he saw three warriors approaching on foot at a run. Leaping
from his thoat Gahan...

Page 161

...arc
of a great circle, gathering swift and terrific momentum from its own
weight backed by the...

Page 162

...I rode with a dozen of my warriors along the western
border of Gathol searching for...

Page 163

...is little doubt but that he would command you to devote your
talents and your prowess...

Page 164

...legends have it that the ghosts of Corphals pursue the
spirit of the wicked Jeddak nightly...

Page 165

...it not for that you
would--"

"Stop!" she commanded. "You have no right to assume aught else...

Page 166

...hoary one!" he cried. "What brings you out of your beloved and
stinking burrow again this...

Page 167

...you wish."

"But do not ask for volunteers," interrupted I-Gos, "or you will go
alone."

The three chiefs...

Page 168

...wrong to Djor Kantos, whom now I
know I never loved, who knew not the meaning...

Page 169

...close to the chamber. To their chagrin they found this avenue
of escape barred.

Now indeed were...

Page 170

...it, to find the dried and shrivelled corpse of a man
lying upon his back on...

Page 171

...courage they possessed, and now that they were
within the very chambers of O-Mai their nerves...

Page 172

...their mad retreat before they
stumbled, weak and trembling, into the banquet hall of O-Tar. At...

Page 173

...had resumed his seat there was a painful silence, for all knew
that the speaker had...

Page 174

...good or for evil other than the effect that their
example while living might have had...

Page 175

...that would
apprise the creature of his presence. He wished that there might be
even the slightest...

Page 176

...but you
are too large for that and your lungs need more air than may be...

Page 177

...of Manator while U-Thor marched to the palace over the corpses
of the slain." He paused,...

Page 178

...taught me that there be finer and nobler things than perfect
mentality uninfluenced by the unreasoning...

Page 179

...the gag from her mouth and
release her hands," he commanded aloud. "Make room for the...

Page 180

...all her wants and guard her carefully from harm."

* About 8:30 P. M. Earth Time.


Now...

Page 181

...powerful of Manator?"

"Speak not of it, O-Tar," begged E-Thas. "These last few days I have
thought...

Page 182

...hateful slave, Turan; may the curse of Issus be upon
him!"

"My jeddak, what shall we do?"...

Page 183

...brave and popular son of
the jeddak of Manator."

This was indeed open treason, but E-Thas feigned...

Page 184

...it if he does not visit
the chamber of O-Mai. Then indeed shall O-Tar fall!"

The night...

Page 185

...stood still within his breast and the
cold sweat broke from the clammy skin of his...

Page 186

...the chiefs came the day that I stole Tara from
you?"

"It was you, then, old scoundrel?"...

Page 187

...is not dead. When he
revives he will return to his quarters with a fine tale...

Page 188

...to wed the
daughter of The Warlord. Where shall I see you again, and when? I...

Page 189

...door. Here also was the top of
the runway leading to the next level below. Passing...

Page 190

...may transpire, in the knowledge that there is yet a
way and that if all goes...

Page 191

...the palace he had gained control of himself. He
walked with chin high and something of...

Page 192

...O-Tar would take the Princess Tara of Helium
to wife. For hours slaves prepared the unwilling...

Page 193

...Chiefs to receive the blessings and the council of
the great ones of Manator who had...

Page 194

...the throne room, other than to die with
her? There could be no hope of rescue.

The...

Page 195

...forfeit--that you all know and I know. I demand therefore to
be heard. It is my...

Page 196

...would prove, if found,
the cowardice of O-Tar. At last three consented to go. "You need...

Page 197

...of Jetan. The men of Helium and Gathol are
marching through Manator. They cry aloud for...

Page 198

...raising high his right hand displayed a jeweled dagger.
"We found it," he said, "even where...

Page 199

...as honorably as did O-Tar."

"What do you mean?" asked Tara of Helium. "What are you...

Page 200

...O-Tar's
trappings?" I asked.

"It was simple--for Gahan of Gathol," replied The Warlord. "With the
assistance of I-Gos...

Page 201

...3 spaces diagonal in any direction or
combination; and may jump intervening pieces.

Chief: Diadem with ten...

Page 202

...upon the head of each piece, according to its value,
and for each piece that a...