The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 195

forfeit--that you all know and I know. I demand therefore to
be heard. It is my right!"

"It is his right," echoed the voices of a score of warriors in various
parts of the chamber.

"That O-Tar is a coward and a liar I can prove," continued I-Gos. "He
said that he faced bravely the horrors of the chamber of O-Mai and saw
nothing of the slave Turan. I was there, hiding behind the hangings,
and I saw all that transpired. Turan had been hiding in the chamber and
was even then lying upon the couch of O-Mai when O-Tar, trembling with
fear, entered the room. Turan, disturbed, arose to a sitting position
at the same time voicing a piercing shriek. O-Tar screamed and swooned."

"It is a lie!" cried O-Tar.

"It is not a lie and I can prove it," retorted I-Gos. "Didst notice the
night that he returned from the chambers of O-Mai and was boasting of
his exploit, that when he would summon slaves to bring wine he reached
for his dagger to strike the gong with its pommel as is always his
custom? Didst note that, any of you? And that he had no dagger? O-Tar,
where is the dagger that you carried into the chamber of O-Mai? You do
not know; but I know. While you lay in the swoon of terror I took it
from your harness and hid it among the sleeping silks upon the couch of
O-Mai. There it is even now, and if any doubt it let them go thither
and there they will find it and know the cowardice of their jeddak."

"But what of this impostor?" demanded one. "Shall he stand with
impunity upon the throne of Manator whilst we squabble about our ruler?"

"It is through his bravery that you have learned the cowardice of
O-Tar," replied I-Gos, "and through him you will be given a greater
jeddak."

"We will choose our own jeddak. Seize and slay the slave!" There were
cries of approval from all parts of the room. Gahan was listening
intently, as though for some hoped-for sound. He saw the warriors
approaching the dais, where he now stood with drawn sword and with one
arm about Tara of Helium. He wondered if his plans had miscarried after
all. If they had it would mean death for him, and he knew that Tara
would take her life if he fell. Had he, then, served her so futilely
after all his efforts?

Several warriors were urging the necessity for sending at once to the
chamber of O-Mai to search for the dagger that

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