The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 42

difficult to
reproduce." He turned again to the other kaldanes. "Will you notify
Luud that I am here?" he asked.

"Sept has already gone to Luud. He will tell him," replied one. "Where
did you find this rykor with the strange kaldane that cannot detach
itself?"

The girl's captor narrated once more the story of her capture. He
stated facts just as they had occurred, without embellishment, his
voice as expressionless as his face, and his story was received in the
same manner that it was delivered. The creatures seemed totally lacking
in emotion, or, at least, the capacity to express it. It was impossible
to judge what impression the story made upon them, or even if they
heard it. Their protruding eyes simply stared and occasionally the
muscles of their mouths opened and closed. Familiarity did not lessen
the horror the girl felt for them. The more she saw of them the more
repulsive they seemed. Often her body was shaken by convulsive shudders
as she looked at the kaldanes, but when her eyes wandered to the
beautiful bodies and she could for a moment expunge the heads from her
consciousness the effect was soothing and refreshing, though when the
bodies lay, headless, upon the floor they were quite as shocking as the
heads mounted on bodies. But by far the most grewsome and uncanny sight
of all was that of the heads crawling about upon their spider legs. If
one of these should approach and touch her Tara of Helium was positive
that she should scream, while should one attempt to crawl up her
person--ugh! the very idea induced a feeling of faintness.

Sept returned to the chamber. "Luud will see you and the captive.
Come!" he said, and turned toward a door opposite that through which
Tara of Helium had entered the chamber. "What is your name?" His
question was directed to the girl's captor.

"I am Ghek, third foreman of the fields of Luud," he answered.

"And hers?"

"I do not know."

"It makes no difference. Come!"

The patrician brows of Tara of Helium went high. It made no difference,
indeed! She, a princess of Helium; only daughter of The Warlord of
Barsoom!

"Wait!" she cried. "It makes much difference who I am. If you are
conducting me into the presence of your jed you may announce The
Princess Tara of Helium, daughter of John Carter, The Warlord of
Barsoom."

"Hold your peace!" commanded Sept. "Speak when you are spoken to. Come
with me!"

The anger of Tara of Helium all but choked her. "Come," admonished
Ghek, and took her by the arm, and Tara of Helium came. She

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