The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 96

was set solid about the
radium bulbs with precious stones whose scintillant fire and color and
beauty filled the whole apartment. The stones were carried down the
walls in an irregular fringe for a few feet, where they appeared to
hang like a beautiful and gorgeous drapery against the white marble of
the wall. The marble ended some six or seven feet from the floor, the
walls from that point down being wainscoted in solid gold. The floor
itself was of marble richly inlaid with gold. In that single room was a
vast treasure equal to the wealth of many a large city.

But what riveted the girl's attention even more than the fabulous
treasure of decorations were the files of gorgeously harnessed warriors
who sat their thoats in grim silence and immobility on either side of
the central aisle, rank after rank of them to the farther walls, and as
the party passed between them she could not note so much as the flicker
of an eyelid, or the twitching of a thoat's ear.

"The Hall of Chiefs," whispered one of her guard, evidently noting her
interest. There was a note of pride in the fellow's voice and something
of hushed awe. Then they passed through a great doorway into the
chamber beyond, a large, square room in which a dozen mounted warriors
lolled in their saddles.

As U-Dor and his party entered the room, the warriors came quickly
erect in their saddles and formed a line before another door upon the
opposite side of the wall. The padwar commanding them saluted U-Dor
who, with his party, had halted facing the guard.

"Send one to O-Tar announcing that U-Dor brings two prisoners worthy of
the observation of the great jeddak," said U-Dor; "one because of her
extreme beauty, the other because of his extreme ugliness."

"O-Tar sits in council with the lesser chiefs," replied the lieutenant;
"but the words of U-Dor the dwar shall be carried to him," and he
turned and gave instructions to one who sat his thoat behind him.

"What manner of creature is the male?" he asked of U-Dor. "It cannot be
that both are of one race."

"They were together in the hills south of the city," explained U-Dor,
"and they say that they are lost and starving."

"The woman is beautiful," said the padwar. "She will not long go
begging in the city of Manator," and then they spoke of other
matters--of the doings of the palace, of the expedition of U-Dor, until
the messenger returned to say that O-Tar bade them bring the prisoners
to him.

They passed then through a

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