The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 168

wrong to Djor Kantos, whom now I
know I never loved, who knew not the meaning of love. And if you love
me as you say, Turan, your love must protect me from greater dishonor,
for I am but as clay in your hands."

Again he crushed her to him and then as suddenly released her, and
rising, strode rapidly to and fro across the chamber as though he
endeavored by violent exercise to master and subdue some evil spirit
that had laid hold upon him. Ringing through his brain and heart and
soul like some joyous paean were those words that had so altered the
world for Gahan of Gathol: "I love you, Turan; I love you so!" And it
had come so suddenly. He had thought that she felt for him only
gratitude for his loyalty and then, in an instant, her barriers were
all down, she was no longer a princess; but instead a--his reflections
were interrupted by a sound from beyond the closed door. His sandals of
zitidar hide had given forth no sound upon the marble floor he strode,
and as his rapid pacing carried him past the entrance to the chamber
there came faintly from the distance of the long corridor the sound of
metal on metal--the unmistakable herald of the approach of armed men.

For a moment Gahan listened intently, close to the door, until there
could be no doubt but that a party of warriors was approaching. From
what Tasor had told him he guessed correctly that they would be coming
to this portion of the palace but for a single purpose--to search for
Tara and himself--and it behooved him therefore to seek immediate means
for eluding them. The chamber in which they were had other doorways
beside that at which they had entered, and to one of these he must look
for some safer hiding place. Crossing to Tara he acquainted her with
his suspicion, leading her to one of the doors which they found
unsecured. Beyond it lay a dimly-lighted chamber at the threshold of
which they halted in consternation, drawing back quickly into the
chamber they had just quitted, for their first glance revealed four
warriors seated around a jetan board.

That their entrance had not been noted was attributed by Gahan to the
absorption of the two players and their friends in the game. Quietly
closing the door the fugitives moved silently to the next, which they
found locked. There was now but another door which they had not tried,
and this they approached quickly as they knew that the searching party
must be

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