The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 2

all are there. I will spend a quiet evening
with you and then back to the world I love even better than I love
life."

As he spoke he dropped into the chair upon the opposite side of the
chess table.

"You spoke of children," I said. "Have you more than Carthoris?"

"A daughter," he replied, "only a little younger than Carthoris, and,
barring one, the fairest thing that ever breathed the thin air of dying
Mars. Only Dejah Thoris, her mother, could be more beautiful than Tara
of Helium."

For a moment he fingered the chessmen idly. "We have a game on Mars
similar to chess," he said, "very similar. And there is a race there
that plays it grimly with men and naked swords. We call the game jetan.
It is played on a board like yours, except that there are a hundred
squares and we use twenty pieces on each side. I never see it played
without thinking of Tara of Helium and what befell her among the
chessmen of Barsoom. Would you like to hear her story?"

I said that I would and so he told it to me, and now I shall try to
re-tell it for you as nearly in the words of The Warlord of Mars as I
can recall them, but in the third person. If there be inconsistencies
and errors, let the blame fall not upon John Carter, but rather upon my
faulty memory, where it belongs. It is a strange tale and utterly
Barsoomian.



CHAPTER I

TARA IN A TANTRUM

Tara of Helium rose from the pile of silks and soft furs upon which she
had been reclining, stretched her lithe body languidly, and crossed
toward the center of the room, where, above a large table, a bronze
disc depended from the low ceiling. Her carriage was that of health and
physical perfection--the effortless harmony of faultless coordination.
A scarf of silken gossamer crossing over one shoulder was wrapped about
her body; her black hair was piled high upon her head. With a wooden
stick she tapped upon the bronze disc, lightly, and presently the
summons was answered by a slave girl, who entered, smiling, to be
greeted similarly by her mistress.

"Are my father's guests arriving?" asked the princess.

"Yes, Tara of Helium, they come," replied the slave. "I have seen
Kantos Kan, Overlord of the Navy, and Prince Soran of Ptarth, and Djor
Kantos, son of Kantos Kan," she shot a roguish glance at her mistress
as she mentioned Djor Kantos' name, "and--oh, there were others, many
have come."

"The bath, then, Uthia," said her mistress. "And why, Uthia,"

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