The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 6

It was merely surprise, then, that
she felt--surprise that Djor Kantos could be more interested in another
than in herself. She was about to cross the garden and join them when
she heard her father's voice directly behind her.

"Tara of Helium!" he called, and she turned to see him approaching with
a strange warrior whose harness and metal bore devices with which she
was unfamiliar. Even among the gorgeous trappings of the men of Helium
and the visitors from distant empires those of the stranger were
remarkable for their barbaric splendor. The leather of his harness was
completely hidden beneath ornaments of platinum thickly set with
brilliant diamonds, as were the scabbards of his swords and the ornate
holster that held his long, Martian pistol. Moving through the sunlit
garden at the side of the great Warlord, the scintillant rays of his
countless gems enveloping him as in an aureole of light imparted to his
noble figure a suggestion of godliness.

"Tara of Helium, I bring you Gahan, Jed of Gathol," said John Carter,
after the simple Barsoomian custom of presentation.

"Kaor! Gahan, Jed of Gathol," returned Tara of Helium.

"My sword is at your feet, Tara of Helium," said the young chieftain.

The Warlord left them and the two seated themselves upon an ersite
bench beneath a spreading sorapus tree.

"Far Gathol," mused the girl. "Ever in my mind has it been connected
with mystery and romance and the half-forgotten lore of the ancients. I
cannot think of Gathol as existing today, possibly because I have never
before seen a Gatholian."

"And perhaps too because of the great distance that separates Helium
and Gathol, as well as the comparative insignificance of my little free
city, which might easily be lost in one corner of mighty Helium," added
Gahan. "But what we lack in power we make up in pride," he continued,
laughing. "We believe ours the oldest inhabited city upon Barsoom. It
is one of the few that has retained its freedom, and this despite the
fact that its ancient diamond mines are the richest known and, unlike
practically all the other fields, are today apparently as inexhaustible
as ever."

"Tell me of Gathol," urged the girl. "The very thought fills me with
interest," nor was it likely that the handsome face of the young jed
detracted anything from the glamour of far Gathol.

Nor did Gahan seem displeased with the excuse for further monopolizing
the society of his fair companion. His eyes seemed chained to her
exquisite features, from which they moved no further than to a rounded
breast, part hid beneath its jeweled covering, a naked

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