The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 61

It was a saddened company that drifted onward through the air
toward whatever destination Fate was to choose for them.

And Gahan, Jed of Gathol--what of him? Plummet-like he fell for a
thousand feet and then the storm seized him in its giant clutch and
bore him far aloft again. As a bit of paper borne upon a gale he was
tossed about in mid-air, the sport and plaything of the wind. Over and
over it turned him and upward and downward it carried him, but after
each new sally of the element he was brought nearer to the ground. The
freaks of cyclonic storms are the rule of cyclonic storms, since
such storms are in themselves freaks. They uproot and demolish
giant trees, and in the same gust they transport frail infants for
miles and deposit them unharmed in their wake.

And so it was with Gahan of Gathol. Expecting momentarily to be dashed
to destruction he presently found himself deposited gently upon the
soft, ochre moss of a dead sea-bottom, bodily no worse off for his
harrowing adventure than in the possession of a slight swelling upon
his forehead where the metal hook had struck him. Scarcely able to
believe that Fate had dealt thus gently with him, the jed arose slowly,
as though more than half convinced that he should discover crushed and
splintered bones that would not support his weight. But he was intact.
He looked about him in a vain effort at orientation. The air was filled
with flying dust and debris. The Sun was obliterated. His vision was
confined to a radius of a few hundred yards of ochre moss and
dust-filled air. Five hundred yards away in any direction there might
have arisen the walls of a great city and he not known it. It was
useless to move from where he was until the air cleared, since he could
not know in what direction he was moving, and so he stretched himself
upon the moss and waited, pondering the fate of his warriors and his
ship, but giving little thought to his own precarious situation.

Lashed to his harness were his swords, his pistols, and a dagger, and
in his pocket-pouch a small quantity of the concentrated rations that
form a part of the equipment of the fighting men of Barsoom. These
things together with trained muscles, high courage, and an undaunted
spirit sufficed him for whatever misadventures might lie between him
and Gathol, which lay in what direction he knew not, nor at what
distance.

The wind was falling rapidly and with it the dust that obscured

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