The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 152

piece leaped in and drew
first blood, from the shoulder of his merciless opponent. An
ill-smothered cry of encouragement went up from U-Dor's men; the Orange
Odwar, encouraged by his single success, sought to bear down the Black
by the rapidity of his attack. There was a moment in which the swords
moved with a rapidity that no man's eye might follow, and then the
Black Odwar made a lightning parry of a vicious thrust, leaned quickly
forward into the opening he had effected, and drove his sword through
the heart of the Orange Odwar--to the hilt he drove it through the body
of the Orange Odwar.

A shout arose from the stands, for wherever may have been the favor of
the spectators, none there was who could say that it had not been a
pretty fight, or that the better man had not won. And from the Black
players came a sigh of relief as they relaxed from the tension of the
past moments.

I shall not weary you with the details of the game--only the high
features of it are necessary to your understanding of the outcome. The
fourth move after the victory of the Black Odwar found Gahan upon
U-Dor's fourth; an Orange Panthan was on the adjoining square
diagonally to his right and the only opposing piece that could engage
him other than U-Dor himself.

It had been apparent to both players and spectators for the past two
moves, that Gahan was moving straight across the field into the enemy's
country to seek personal combat with the Orange Chief--that he was
staking all upon his belief in the superiority of his own
swordsmanship, since if the two Chiefs engage, the outcome decides the
game. U-Dor could move out and engage Gahan, or he could move his
Princess' Panthan upon the square occupied by Gahan in the hope that the
former would defeat the Black Chief and thus draw the game, which is
the outcome if any other than a Chief slays the opposing Chief, or he
could move away and escape, temporarily, the necessity for personal
combat, or at least that is evidently what he had in mind as was
obvious to all who saw him scanning the board about him; and his
disappointment was apparent when he finally discovered that Gahan had
so placed himself that there was no square to which U-Dor could move
that it was not within Gahan's power to reach at his own next move.

U-Dor had placed his own Princess four squares east of Gahan when her
position had been threatened, and he had hoped to lure

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