The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 139

to receive them. His eyes
travelled to the great, painted warrior on the thoat and as they ran
over the splendid trappings and the serviceable arms a new light came
into the pain-dulled eyes of the panthan. With a quick step he crossed
to the side of the dead warrior and dragged him from his mount. With
equal celerity he stripped him of his harness and his arms, and tearing
off his own, donned the regalia of the dead man. Then he hastened back
to the room in which he had been trapped, for there he had seen that
which he needed to make his disguise complete. In a cabinet he found
them--pots of paint that the old taxidermist had used to place the
war-paint in its wide bands across the cold faces of dead warriors.

A few moments later Gahan of Gathol emerged from the room a warrior of
Manator in every detail of harness, equipment, and ornamentation. He
had removed from the leather of the dead man the insignia of his house
and rank so that he might pass, with the least danger of arousing
suspicion, as a common warrior.

To search for Tara of Helium in the vast, dim labyrinth of the pits of
O-Tar seemed to the Gatholian a hopeless quest, foredoomed to failure.
It would be wiser to seek the streets of Manator where he might hope to
learn first if she had been recaptured and, if not, then he could
return to the pits and pursue the hunt for her. To find egress from the
maze he must perforce travel a considerable distance through the
winding corridors and chambers, since he had no idea as to the location
or direction of any exit. In fact, he could not have retraced his steps
a hundred yards toward the point at which he and Tara had entered the
gloomy caverns, and so he set out in the hope that he might find by
accident either Tara of Helium or a way to the street level above.

For a time he passed room after room filled with the cunningly
preserved dead of Manator, many of which were piled in tiers after the
manner that firewood is corded, and as he moved through corridor and
chamber he noticed hieroglyphics painted upon the walls above every
opening and at each fork or crossing of corridors, until by observation
he reached the conclusion that these indicated the designations of
passageways, so that one who understood them might travel quickly and
surely through the pits; but Turan did not understand them. Even could
he have read

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