The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 188

to wed the
daughter of The Warlord. Where shall I see you again, and when? I go
now to speak with Tara, Princess of Helium."

"I like your boldness," said I-Gos; "but it will avail you naught. You
will not speak with Tara, Princess of Helium, though doubtless the
blood of many Manatorians will drench the floors of the women's
quarters before you are slain."

Gahan smiled. "I shall not be slain. Where and when shall we meet? But
you may find me in O-Mai's chamber at night. That seems the safest
retreat in all Manator for an enemy of the jeddak in whose palace it
lies. I go!"

"And may the spirits of your ancestors surround you," said I-Gos.

After the old man had left him Gahan made his way across the roof to
the high tower, which appeared to have been constructed of concrete and
afterward elaborately carved, its entire surface being covered with
intricate designs cut deep into the stone-like material of which it was
composed. Though wrought ages since, it was but little weather-worn
owing to the aridity of the Martian atmosphere, the infrequency of
rains, and the rarity of dust storms. To scale it, though, presented
difficulties and danger that might have deterred the bravest of
men--that would, doubtless, have deterred Gahan, had he not felt that
the life of the woman he loved depended upon his accomplishing the
hazardous feat.

Removing his sandals and laying aside all of his harness and weapons
other than a single belt supporting a dagger, the Gatholian essayed the
dangerous ascent. Clinging to the carvings with hands and feet he
worked himself slowly aloft, avoiding the windows and keeping upon the
shadowy side of the tower, away from the light of Thuria and Cluros.
The tower rose some fifty feet above the roof of the adjacent part of
the palace, comprising five levels or floors with windows looking in
every direction. A few of the windows were balconied, and these more
than the others he sought to avoid, although, it being now near the
close of the ninth zode, there was little likelihood that many were
awake within the tower.

His progress was noiseless and he came at last, undetected, to the
windows of the upper level. These, like several of the others he had
passed at lower levels, were heavily barred, so that there was no
possibility of his gaining ingress to the apartment where Tara was
confined. Darkness hid the interior behind the first window that he
approached. The second opened upon a lighted chamber where he could see
a guard sleeping at his post outside a

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