The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 118

is coming," said Lan-O, "none other dares enter thus,
with blaring trumpets, the city of Manator. It is U-Thor, Jed of
Manatos, second city of Manator. They call him The Great Jed the length
and breadth of Manator, and because the people love him, O-Tar hates
him. They say, who know, that it would need but slight provocation to
inflame the two to war. How such a war would end no one could guess;
for the people of Manator worship the great O-Tar, though they do not
love him. U-Thor they love, but he is not the jeddak," and Tara
understood, as only a Martian may, how much that simple statement

The loyalty of a Martian to his jeddak is almost an instinct, and
second not even to the instinct of self-preservation at that. Nor is
this strange in a race whose religion includes ancestor worship, and
where families trace their origin back into remote ages and a jeddak
sits upon the same throne that his direct progenitors have occupied
for, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of years, and rules the descendants
of the same people that his forebears ruled. Wicked jeddaks have been
dethroned, but seldom are they replaced by other than members of the
imperial house, even though the law gives to the jeds the right to
select whom they please.

"U-Thor is a just man and good, then?" asked Tara of Helium.

"There be none nobler," replied Lan-O. "In Manatos none but wicked
criminals who deserve death are forced to play at jetan, and even then
the play is fair and they have their chance for freedom. Volunteers may
play, but the moves are not necessarily to the death--a wound, and even
sometimes points in swordplay, deciding the issue. There they look upon
jetan as a martial sport--here it is but butchery. And U-Thor is
opposed to the ancient slave raids and to the policy that keeps Manator
forever isolated from the other nations of Barsoom; but U-Thor is not
jeddak and so there is no change."

The two girls watched the column moving up the broad avenue from The
Gate of Enemies toward the palace of O-Tar. A gorgeous, barbaric
procession of painted warriors in jewel-studded harness and waving
feathers; vicious, squealing thoats caparisoned in rich trappings; far
above their heads the long lances of their riders bore fluttering
pennons; foot-soldiers swinging easily along the stone pavement, their
sandals of zitidar hide giving forth no sound; and at the rear of each
utan a train of painted chariots, drawn by mammoth zitidars, carrying
the equipment of the company to which they were attached. Utan

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