The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 196

would prove, if found,
the cowardice of O-Tar. At last three consented to go. "You need not
fear," I-Gos assured them. "There is naught there to harm you. I have
been there often of late and Turan the slave has slept there for these
many nights. The screams and moans that frightened you and O-Tar were
voiced by Turan to drive you away from his hiding place." Shamefacedly
the three left the apartment to search for O-Tar's dagger.

And now the others turned their attention once more to Gahan. They
approached the throne with bared swords, but they came slowly for they
had seen this slave upon the Field of Jetan and they knew the prowess
of his arm. They had reached the foot of the steps when from far above
there sounded a deep boom, and another, and another, and Turan smiled
and breathed a sigh of relief. Perhaps, after all, it had not come too
late. The warriors stopped and listened as did the others in the
chamber. Now there broke upon their ears a loud rattle of musketry and
it all came from above as though men were fighting upon the roofs of
the palace.

"What is it?" they demanded, one of the other.

"A great storm has broken over Manator," said one.

"Mind not the storm until you have slain the creature who dares stand
upon the throne of your jeddak," demanded O-Tar. "Seize him!"

Even as he ceased speaking the arras behind the throne parted and a
warrior stepped forth upon the dais. An exclamation of surprise and
dismay broke from the lips of the warriors of O-Tar. "U-Thor!" they
cried. "What treason is this?"

"It is no treason," said U-Thor in his deep voice. "I bring you a new
jeddak for all of Manator. No lying poltroon, but a courageous man whom
you all love."

He stepped aside then and another emerged from the corridor hidden by
the arras. It was A-Kor, and at sight of him there rose exclamations of
surprise, of pleasure, and of anger, as the various factions recognized
the coup d'etat that had been arranged so cunningly. Behind A-Kor came
other warriors until the dais was crowded with them--all men of Manator
from the city of Manatos.

O-Tar was exhorting his warriors to attack, when a bloody and
disheveled padwar burst into the chamber through a side entrance. "The
city has fallen!" he cried aloud. "The hordes of Manatos pour through
The Gate of Enemies. The slaves from Gathol have arisen and destroyed
the palace guards. Great ships are landing warriors upon the palace
roof and in the Fields

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