The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 114

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

"But why should they feel contempt for those who have suffered the
misfortune of falling into their hands?" queried Tara.

"I do not know," said Lan-O; "A-Kor says that he believes that it is
because their country has never been invaded by a victorious foe. In
their stealthy raids never have they been defeated, because they have
never waited to face a powerful force; and so they have come to believe
themselves invincible, and the other peoples are held in contempt as
inferior in valor and the practice of arms."

"Yet A-Kor is one of them," said Tara.

"He is a son of O-Tar, the jeddak," replied Lan-O; "but his mother was
a high born Gatholian, captured and made slave by O-Tar, and A-Kor
boasts that in his veins runs only the blood of his mother, and indeed
is he different from the others. His chivalry is of a gentler form,
though not even his worst enemy has dared question his courage, while
his skill with the sword, and the spear, and the thoat is famous
throughout the length and breadth of Manator."

"What think you they will do with him?" asked Tara of Helium.

"Sentence him to the games," replied Lan-O. "If O-Tar be not greatly
angered he may be sentenced to but a single game, in which case he may
come out alive; but if O-Tar wishes really to dispose of him he will be
sentenced to the entire series, and no warrior has ever survived the
full ten, or rather none who was under a sentence from O-Tar."

"What are the games? I do not understand," said Tara "I have heard them
speak of playing at jetan, but surely no one can be killed at jetan. We
play it often at home."

"But not as they play it in the arena at Manator," replied Lan-O. "Come
to the window," and together the two approached an aperture facing
toward the east.

Below her Tara of Helium saw a great field entirely surrounded by the
low building, and the lofty towers of which that in which she was
imprisoned was but a unit. About the arena were tiers of seats; but the
thing that caught her attention was a gigantic jetan board laid out
upon the floor of the arena in great squares of alternate orange and

"Here they play at jetan with living pieces. They play for great stakes
and usually for a woman--some slave of exceptional beauty. O-Tar
himself might have played for you had you not angered him, but now you
will be played for

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