The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 180

all her wants and guard her carefully from harm."

* About 8:30 P. M. Earth Time.


Now E-Thas knew that the real meaning concealed in these fine words was
that he should conduct the prisoner under a strong guard to the women's
quarters and confine her there in the tower for seven days, placing
about her trustworthy guards who would prevent her escape or frustrate
any attempted rescue.

As Tara was departing from the chamber with E-Thas and the guard, O-Tar
leaned close to her ear and whispered: "Consider well during these
seven days the high honor I have offered you, and--its sole
alternative." As though she had not heard him the girl passed out of
the banquet hall, her head high and her eyes straight to the front.

After Ghek had left him Gahan roamed the pits and the ancient corridors
of the deserted portions of the palace seeking some clue to the
whereabouts or the fate of Tara of Helium. He utilized the spiral
runway in passing from level to level until he knew every foot of it
from the pits to the summit of the high tower, and into what apartments
it opened at the various levels as well as the ingenious and hidden
mechanism that operated the locks of the cleverly concealed doors
leading to it. For food he drew upon the stores he found in the pits
and when he slept he lay upon the royal couch of O-Mai in the forbidden
chamber sharing the dais with the dead foot of the ancient jeddak.

In the palace about him seethed, all unknown to Gahan, a vast unrest.
Warriors and chieftains pursued the duties of their vocations with dour
faces, and little knots of them were collecting here and there and with
frowns of anger discussing some subject that was uppermost in the minds
of all. It was upon the fourth day following Tara's incarceration in
the tower that E-Thas, the major-domo of the palace and one of O-Tar's
creatures, came to his master upon some trivial errand. O-Tar was alone
in one of the smaller chambers of his personal suite when the
major-domo was announced, and after the matter upon which E-Thas had
come was disposed of the jeddak signed him to remain.

"From the position of an obscure warrior I have elevated you, E-Thas,
to the honors of a chief. Within the confines of the palace your word
is second only to mine. You are not loved for this, E-Thas, and should
another jeddak ascend the throne of Manator what would become of you,
whose enemies are among the most

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