The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 189

door. Here also was the top of
the runway leading to the next level below. Passing still farther
around the tower Gahan approached another window, but now he clung to
that side of the tower which ended in a courtyard a hundred feet below
and in a short time the light of Thuria would reach him. He realized
that he must hasten and he prayed that behind the window he now
approached he would find Tara of Helium.

Coming to the opening he looked in upon a small chamber dimly lighted.
In the center was a sleeping dais upon which a human form lay beneath
silks and furs. A bare arm, protruding from the coverings, lay exposed
against a black and yellow striped orluk skin--an arm of wondrous
beauty about which was clasped an armlet that Gahan knew. No other
creature was visible within the chamber, all of which was exposed to
Gahan's view. Pressing his face to the bars the Gatholian whispered her
dear name. The girl stirred, but did not awaken. Again he called, but
this time louder. Tara sat up and looked about and at the same instant
a huge eunuch leaped to his feet from where he had been lying on the
floor close by that side of the dais farthest from Gahan.
Simultaneously the brilliant light of Thuria flashed full upon the
window where Gahan clung silhouetting him plainly to the two within.

Both sprang to their feet. The eunuch drew his sword and leaped for the
window where the helpless Gahan would have fallen an easy victim to a
single thrust of the murderous weapon the fellow bore, had not Tara of
Helium leaped upon her guard dragging him back. At the same time she
drew the slim dagger from its hiding place in her harness and even as
the eunuch sought to hurl her aside its keen point found his heart.
Without a sound he died and lunged forward to the floor. Then Tara ran
to the window.

"Turan, my chief!" she cried. "What awful risk is this you take to seek
me here, where even your brave heart is powerless to aid me."

"Be not so sure of that, heart of my heart," he replied. "While I bring
but words to my love, they be the forerunner of deeds, I hope, that
will give her back to me forever. I feared that you might destroy
yourself, Tara of Helium, to escape the dishonor that O-Tar would do
you, and so I came to give you new hope and to beg that you live for me
through whatever

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