The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 94

fought them. "Let us go with them. Why pit your puny blade
against their mighty ones when there should lie in your great brain the
means to outwit them?" She spoke in a low whisper, rapidly.

"You are right, Tara of Helium," he replied and sheathed his sword.

And so they moved down the hillside toward the gates of Manator--Tara,
Princess of Helium, and Ghek, the kaldane of Bantoom--and surrounding
them rode the savage, painted warriors of U-Dor, dwar of the 8th Utan
of O-Tar, Jeddak of Manator.



CHAPTER XI

THE CHOICE OF TARA

The dazzling sunlight of Barsoom clothed Manator in an aureole of
splendor as the girl and her captors rode into the city through The
Gate of Enemies. Here the wall was some fifty feet thick, and the sides
of the passageway within the gate were covered with parallel shelves of
masonry from bottom to top. Within these shelves, or long, horizontal
niches, stood row upon row of small figures, appearing like tiny,
grotesque statuettes of men, their long, black hair falling below their
feet and sometimes trailing to the shelf beneath. The figures were
scarce a foot in height and but for their diminutive proportions might
have been the mummified bodies of once living men. The girl noticed
that as they passed, the warriors saluted the figures with their spears
after the manner of Barsoomian fighting men in extending a military
courtesy, and then they rode on into the avenue beyond, which ran, wide
and stately, through the city toward the east.

On either side were great buildings wondrously wrought. Paintings of
great beauty and antiquity covered many of the walls, their colors
softened and blended by the suns of ages. Upon the pavement the life of
the newly-awakened city was already afoot. Women in brilliant
trappings, befeathered warriors, their bodies daubed with paint;
artisans, armed but less gaily caparisoned, took their various ways
upon the duties of the day. A giant zitidar, magnificent in rich
harness, rumbled its broad-wheeled cart along the stone pavement toward
The Gate of Enemies. Life and color and beauty wrought together a
picture that filled the eyes of Tara of Helium with wonder and with
admiration, for here was a scene out of the dead past of dying Mars.
Such had been the cities of the founders of her race before Throxeus,
mightiest of oceans, had disappeared from the face of a world. And from
balconies on either side men and women looked down in silence upon the
scene below.

The people in the street looked at the two prisoners, especially at the
hideous Ghek, and called out in question

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