The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 158

as he passed them. The Gatholian, practiced in the art of combating
a mounted warrior from the ground, sought to reach the left side of the
fellow's thoat a little to the rider's rear, the only position in which
he would have any advantage over his antagonist, or rather the position
that would most greatly reduce the advantage of the mounted man, and,
similarly, the Manatorian strove to thwart his design. And so the
guardsman wheeled and turned his vicious, angry mount while Gahan
leaped in and out in an effort to reach the coveted vantage point, but
always seeking some other opening in his foe's defense.

And while they jockeyed for position a rider swept swiftly past them.
As he passed behind Gahan the latter heard a cry of alarm.

"Turan, they have me!" came to his ears in the voice of Tara of Helium.

A quick glance across his shoulder showed him the galloping thoatman in
the act of dragging Tara to the withers of the beast, and then, with
the fury of a demon, Gahan of Gathol leaped for his own man, dragged
him from his mount and as he fell smote his head from his shoulders
with a single cut of his keen sword. Scarce had the body touched the
pavement when the Gatholian was upon the back of the dead warrior's
mount, and galloping swiftly down the avenue after the diminishing
figures of Tara and her abductor, the sounds of the fight waning in the
distance as he pursued his quarry along the avenue that passes the
palace of O-Tar and leads to The Gate of Enemies.

Gahan's mount, carrying but a single rider, gained upon that of the
Manatorian, so that as they neared the palace Gahan was scarce a
hundred yards behind, and now, to his consternation, he saw the fellow
turn into the great entrance-way. For a moment only was he halted by
the guards and then he disappeared within. Gahan was almost upon him
then, but evidently he had warned the guards, for they leaped out to
intercept the Gatholian. But no! the fellow could not have known that
he was pursued, since he had not seen Gahan seize a mount, nor would he
have thought that pursuit would come so soon. If he had passed then, so
could Gahan pass, for did he not wear the trappings of a Manatorian?
The Gatholian thought quickly, and stopping his thoat called to the
guardsmen to let him pass, "In the name of O-Tar!" They hesitated a
moment.

"Aside!" cried Gahan. "Must the jeddak's messenger parley for the

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