The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 157

the slave Turan who stole the woman Tara
from your throne room, O-Tar. He desecrated the dead chief I-Mal and
wears his harness now!"

Instantly all was pandemonium. Warriors drew their swords and leaped to
their feet. Gahan's victorious players rushed forward in a body,
sweeping The Keeper of the Towers from his feet. Val Dor and Floran
threw open the gates beneath the royal enclosure, opening the tunnel
that led to the avenue in the city beyond the Towers. Gahan, surrounded
by his men, drew Tara and Lan-O into the passageway, and at a rapid
pace the party sought to reach the opposite end of the tunnel before
their escape could be cut off. They were successful and when they
emerged into the city the sun had set and darkness had come, relieved
only by an antiquated and ineffective lighting system, which cast but a
pale glow over the shadowy streets.

Now it was that Tara of Helium guessed why the Black Chief had drawn
out his duel with U-Dor and realized that he might have slain his man
at almost any moment he had elected. The whole plan that Gahan had
whispered to his players before the game was thoroughly understood.
They were to make their way to The Gate of Enemies and there offer
their services to U-Thor, the great Jed of Manatos. The fact that most
of them were Gatholians and that Gahan could lead rescuers to the pit
where A-Kor, the son of U-Thor's wife, was confined, convinced the Jed
of Gathol that they would meet with no rebuff at the hands of U-Thor.
But even should he refuse them, still were they bound together to go on
toward freedom, if necessary cutting their way through the forces of
U-Thor at The Gate of Enemies--twenty men against a small army; but of
such stuff are the warriors of Barsoom.

They had covered a considerable distance along the almost deserted
avenue before signs of pursuit developed and then there came upon them
suddenly from behind a dozen warriors mounted on thoats--a detachment,
evidently, from The Jeddak's Guard. Instantly the avenue was a
pandemonium of clashing blades, cursing warriors, and squealing thoats.
In the first onslaught life blood was spilled upon both sides. Two of
Gahan's men went down, and upon the enemies' side three riderless
thoats attested at least a portion of their casualties.

Gahan was engaged with a fellow who appeared to have been selected to
account for him only, since he rode straight for him and sought to cut
him down without giving the slightest heed to several who slashed at

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