The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 62

the
landscape. That the storm was over he was convinced, but he chafed at
the inactivity the low visibility put upon him, nor did conditions
better materially before night fell, so that he was forced to await the
new day at the very spot at which the tempest had deposited him.
Without his sleeping silks and furs he spent a far from comfortable
night, and it was with feelings of unmixed relief that he saw the
sudden dawn burst upon him. The air was now clear and in the light of
the new day he saw an undulating plain stretching in all directions
about him, while to the northwest there were barely discernible the
outlines of low hills. Toward the southeast of Gathol was such a
country, and as Gahan surmised the direction and the velocity of the
storm to have carried him somewhere in the vicinity of the country he
thought he recognized, he assumed that Gathol lay behind the hills he
now saw, whereas, in reality, it lay far to the northeast.

It was two days before Gahan had crossed the plain and reached the
summit of the hills from which he hoped to see his own country, only to
meet at last with disappointment. Before him stretched another plain,
of even greater proportions than that he had but just crossed, and
beyond this other hills. In one material respect this plain differed
from that behind him in that it was dotted with occasional isolated
hills. Convinced, however, that Gathol lay somewhere in the direction
of his search he descended into the valley and bent his steps toward
the northwest.

For weeks Gahan of Gathol crossed valleys and hills in search of some
familiar landmark that might point his way toward his native land, but
the summit of each succeeding ridge revealed but another unfamiliar
view. He saw few animals and no men, until he finally came to the
belief that he had fallen upon that fabled area of ancient Barsoom
which lay under the curse of her olden gods--the once rich and fertile
country whose people in their pride and arrogance had denied the
deities, and whose punishment had been extermination.

And then, one day, he scaled low hills and looked into an inhabited
valley--a valley of trees and cultivated fields and plots of ground
enclosed by stone walls surrounding strange towers. He saw people
working in the fields, but he did not rush down to greet them. First he
must know more of them and whether they might be assumed to be friends
or enemies. Hidden by concealing shrubbery he crawled to a

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