The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 18

that the violence of the wind rendered an attempt to
land tantamount to destruction and she rose again, rapidly.

Carried along a few hundred feet above the ground she was better able
to appreciate the Titanic proportions of the storm than when she had
flown in the comparative serenity of the zone above the clouds, for now
she could distinctly see the effect of the wind upon the surface of
Barsoom. The air was filled with dust and flying bits of vegetation and
when the storm carried her across an irrigated area of farm land she
saw great trees and stone walls and buildings lifted high in air and
scattered broadcast over the devastated country; and then she was
carried swiftly on to other sights that forced in upon her
consciousness a rapidly growing conviction that after all Tara of
Helium was a very small and insignificant and helpless person. It was
quite a shock to her self-pride while it lasted, and toward evening she
was ready to believe that it was going to last forever. There had been
no abatement in the ferocity of the tempest, nor was there indication
of any. She could only guess at the distance she had been carried for
she could not believe in the correctness of the high figures that had
been piled upon the record of her odometer. They seemed unbelievable
and yet, had she known it, they were quite true--in twelve hours she
had flown and been carried by the storm full seven thousand haads. Just
before dark she was carried over one of the deserted cities of ancient
Mars. It was Torquas, but she did not know it. Had she, she might
readily have been forgiven for abandoning the last vestige of hope, for
to the people of Helium Torquas seems as remote as do the South Sea
Islands to us. And still the tempest, its fury unabated, bore her on.

All that night she hurtled through the dark beneath the clouds, or rose
to race through the moonlit void beneath the glory of Barsoom's two
satellites. She was cold and hungry and altogether miserable, but her
brave little spirit refused to admit that her plight was hopeless even
though reason proclaimed the truth. Her reply to reason, sometime
spoken aloud in sudden defiance, recalled the Spartan stubbornness of
her sire in the face of certain annihilation: "I still live!"

That morning there had been an early visitor at the palace of The
Warlord. It was Gahan, Jed of Gathol. He had arrived shortly after the
absence of Tara of Helium had been noted, and

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