The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 106

escape."

"To-night will do as well as any," I replied.

"It will soon be night," said Xodar. "How may I aid in the adventure?"

"Can you swim?" I asked him.

"No slimy silian that haunts the depths of Korus is more at home in
water than is Xodar," he replied.

"Good. The red one in all probability cannot swim," I said, "since
there is scarce enough water in all their domains to float the tiniest
craft. One of us therefore will have to support him through the sea to
the craft we select. I had hoped that we might make the entire
distance below the surface, but I fear that the red youth could not
thus perform the trip. Even the bravest of the brave among them are
terrorized at the mere thought of deep water, for it has been ages
since their forebears saw a lake, a river or a sea."

"The red one is to accompany us?" asked Xodar.

"Yes."

"It is well. Three swords are better than two. Especially when the
third is as mighty as this fellow's. I have seen him battle in the
arena at the rites of Issus many times. Never, until I saw you fight,
had I seen one who seemed unconquerable even in the face of great odds.
One might think you two master and pupil, or father and son. Come to
recall his face there is a resemblance between you. It is very marked
when you fight--there is the same grim smile, the same maddening
contempt for your adversary apparent in every movement of your bodies
and in every changing expression of your faces."

"Be that as it may, Xodar, he is a great fighter. I think that we will
make a trio difficult to overcome, and if my friend Tars Tarkas, Jeddak
of Thark, were but one of us we could fight our way from one end of
Barsoom to the other even though the whole world were pitted against
us."

"It will be," said Xodar, "when they find from whence you have come.
That is but one of the superstitions which Issus has foisted upon a
credulous humanity. She works through the Holy Therns who are as
ignorant of her real self as are the Barsoomians of the outer world.
Her decrees are borne to the therns written in blood upon a strange
parchment. The poor deluded fools think that they are receiving the
revelations of a goddess through some supernatural agency, since they
find these messages upon their guarded altars to

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