The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 100

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

"And this?" asked U-Dor, pointing at Ghek.

"To the pits until the next games," replied O-Tar.

"So this is your vaunted justice!" cried Tara of Helium; "that two
strangers who have not wronged you shall be sentenced without trial?
And one of them is a woman. The swine of Manator are as just as they
are brave."

"Away with her!" shouted O-Tar, and at a sign from U-Dor the guards
formed about the two prisoners and conducted them from the chamber.

Outside the palace, Ghek and Tara of Helium were separated. The girl
was led through long avenues toward the center of the city and finally
into a low building, topped by lofty towers of massive construction.
Here she was turned over to a warrior who wore the insignia of a dwar,
or captain.

"It is O-Tar's wish," explained U-Dor to this one, "that she be kept
until the next games, when the prisoners and the common warriors shall
play for her. Had she not the tongue of a thoat she had been a worthy
stake for our noblest steel," and U-Dor sighed. "Perhaps even yet I may
win a pardon for her. It were too bad to see such beauty fall to the
lot of some common fellow. I would have honored her myself."

"If I am to be imprisoned, imprison me," said the girl. "I do not
recall that I was sentenced to listen to the insults of every low-born
boor who chanced to admire me."

"You see, A-Kor," cried U-Dor, "the tongue that she has. Even so and
worse spoke she to O-Tar the jeddak."

"I see," replied A-Kor, whom Tara saw was with difficulty restraining a
smile. "Come, then, with me, woman," he said, "and we shall find a safe
place within The Towers of Jetan--but stay! what ails thee?"

The girl had staggered and would have fallen had not the man caught her
in his arms. She seemed to gather herself then and bravely sought to
stand erect without support. A-Kor glanced at U-Dor. "Knew you the
woman was ill?" he asked.

"Possibly it is lack of food," replied the other. "She mentioned, I
believe, that she and her companions had not eaten for several days."

"Brave are the warriors of O-Tar," sneered A-Kor; "lavish their
hospitality. U-Dor, whose riches are uncounted, and the brave O-Tar,
whose squealing thoats are stabled within marble halls and fed from
troughs of gold, can spare no crust to feed a starving girl."

The black haired U-Dor scowled. "Thy

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