The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 186

the chiefs came the day that I stole Tara from
you?"

"It was you, then, old scoundrel?" demanded Gahan, moving threateningly
toward I-Gos.

"Come, come!" expostulated the old man; "it was I, but then I was your
enemy. I would not do it now. Conditions have changed."

"How have they changed? What has changed them?" asked Gahan.

"Then I did not fully realize the cowardice of my jeddak, or the
bravery of you and the girl. I am an old man from another age and I
love courage. At first I resented the girl's attack upon me, but later
I came to see the bravery of it and it won my admiration, as have all
her acts. She feared not O-Tar, she feared not me, she feared not all
the warriors of Manator. And you! Blood of a million sires! how you
fight! I am sorry that I exposed you at The Fields of Jetan. I am sorry
that I dragged the girl Tara back to O-Tar. I would make amends. I
would be your friend. Here is my sword at your feet," and drawing his
weapon I-Gos cast it to the floor in front of Gahan.

The Gatholian knew that scarce the most abandoned of knaves would
repudiate this solemn pledge, and so he stooped, and picking up the old
man's sword returned it to him, hilt first, in acceptance of his
friendship.

"Where is the Princess Tara of Helium?" asked Gahan. "Is she safe?"

"She is confined in the tower of the women's quarters awaiting the
ceremony that is to make her Jeddara of Manator," replied I-Gos.

"This thing dared think that Tara of Helium would mate with him?"
growled Gahan. "I will make short work of him if he is not already dead
from fright," and he stepped toward the fallen O-Tar to run his sword
through the jeddak's heart.

"No!" cried I-Gos. "Slay him not and pray that he be not dead if you
would save your princess."

"How is that?" asked Gahan.

"If word of O-Tar's death reached the quarters of the women the
Princess Tara would be lost. They know O-Tar's intention of taking her
to wife and making her Jeddara of Manator, so you may rest assured that
they all hate her with the hate of jealous women. Only O-Tar's power
protects her now from harm. Should O-Tar die they would turn her over
to the warriors and the male slaves, for there would be none to avenge
her."

Gahan sheathed his sword. "Your point is well taken; but what shall we
do with him?"

"Leave him where he lies," counseled I-Gos. "He

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