The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 131

inhabitants of two worlds I counted none a
better friend than Tars Tarkas, Jeddak of the Tharks.

As we reached the courtyard we stood in the shadows beneath the balcony
for a moment to discuss our plans.

"There be five now in the party, Tars Tarkas," I said; "Thuvia, Xodar,
Carthoris, and ourselves. We shall need five thoats to bear us."

"Carthoris!" he cried. "Your son?"

"Yes. I found him in the prison of Shador, on the Sea of Omean, in the
land of the First Born."

"I know not any of these places, John Carter. Be they upon Barsoom?"

"Upon and below, my friend; but wait until we shall have made good our
escape, and you shall hear the strangest narrative that ever a
Barsoomian of the outer world gave ear to. Now we must steal our
thoats and be well away to the north before these fellows discover how
we have tricked them."

In safety we reached the great gates at the far end of the courtyard,
through which it was necessary to take our thoats to the avenue beyond.
It is no easy matter to handle five of these great, fierce beasts,
which by nature are as wild and ferocious as their masters and held in
subjection by cruelty and brute force alone.

As we approached them they sniffed our unfamiliar scent and with
squeals of rage circled about us. Their long, massive necks upreared
raised their great, gaping mouths high above our heads. They are
fearsome appearing brutes at best, but when they are aroused they are
fully as dangerous as they look. The thoat stands a good ten feet at
the shoulder. His hide is sleek and hairless, and of a dark slate
colour on back and sides, shading down his eight legs to a vivid yellow
at the huge, padded, nailless feet; the belly is pure white. A broad,
flat tail, larger at the tip than at the root, completes the picture of
this ferocious green Martian mount--a fit war steed for these warlike
people.

As the thoats are guided by telepathic means alone, there is no need
for rein or bridle, and so our object now was to find two that would
obey our unspoken commands. As they charged about us we succeeded in
mastering them sufficiently to prevent any concerted attack upon us,
but the din of their squealing was certain to bring investigating
warriors into the courtyard were it to continue much longer.

At length I was successful in reaching the side of one great brute, and
ere

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