The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 143

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

It was already morning when he awoke, and rising he paid for his
lodgings, sought a place to eat, and a short time later was on his way
toward The Towers of Jetan, which he had no difficulty in finding owing
to the great crowds that were winding along the avenues toward the
games. The new keeper of The Towers who had succeeded E-Med was too
busy to scrutinize entries closely, for in addition to the many
volunteer players there were scores of slaves and prisoners being
forced into the games by their owners or the government. The name of
each must be recorded as well as the position he was to play and the
game or games in which he was to be entered, and then there were the
substitutes for each that was entered in more than a single game--one
for each additional game that an individual was entered for, that no
succeeding game might be delayed by the death or disablement of a
player.

"Your name?" asked a clerk as Turan presented himself.

"U-Kal," replied the panthan.

"Your city?"

"Manataj."

The keeper, who was standing beside the clerk, looked at Turan. "You
have come a great way to play at jetan," he said. "It is seldom that
the men of Manataj attend other than the decennial games. Tell me of
O-Zar! Will he attend next year? Ah, but he was a noble fighter. If you
be half the swordsman, U-Kal, the fame of Manataj will increase this
day. But tell me, what of O-Zar?"

"He is well," replied Turan, glibly, "and he sent greetings to his
friends in Manator."

"Good!" exclaimed the keeper, "and now in what game would you enter?"

"I would play for the Heliumetic princess, Tara," replied Turan.

"But man, she is to be the stake of a game for slaves and criminals,"
cried the keeper. "You would not volunteer for such a game!"

"But I would," replied Turan. "I saw her when she was brought into the
city and even then I vowed to possess her."

"But you will have to share her with the survivors even if your color
wins," objected the other.

"They may be brought to reason," insisted Turan.

"And you will chance incurring the wrath of O-Tar, who has no love for
this savage barbarian," explained the keeper.

"And I win her O-Tar will be rid of her," said Turan.

The keeper of The Towers of Jetan shook his head. "You are rash," he
said. "I would that I might dissuade the friend of my friend O-Zar from
such

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