The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 82

SHADOR


In the outer gardens to which the guard now escorted me, I found Xodar
surrounded by a crowd of noble blacks. They were reviling and cursing
him. The men slapped his face. The women spat upon him.

When I appeared they turned their attentions toward me.

"Ah," cried one, "so this is the creature who overcame the great Xodar
bare-handed. Let us see how it was done."

"Let him bind Thurid," suggested a beautiful woman, laughing. "Thurid
is a noble Dator. Let Thurid show the dog what it means to face a real
man."

"Yes, Thurid! Thurid!" cried a dozen voices.

"Here he is now," exclaimed another, and turning in the direction
indicated I saw a huge black weighed down with resplendent ornaments
and arms advancing with noble and gallant bearing toward us.

"What now?" he cried. "What would you of Thurid?"

Quickly a dozen voices explained.

Thurid turned toward Xodar, his eyes narrowing to two nasty slits.

"Calot!" he hissed. "Ever did I think you carried the heart of a sorak
in your putrid breast. Often have you bested me in the secret councils
of Issus, but now in the field of war where men are truly gauged your
scabby heart hath revealed its sores to all the world. Calot, I spurn
you with my foot," and with the words he turned to kick Xodar.

My blood was up. For minutes it had been boiling at the cowardly
treatment they had been according this once powerful comrade because he
had fallen from the favour of Issus. I had no love for Xodar, but I
cannot stand the sight of cowardly injustice and persecution without
seeing red as through a haze of bloody mist, and doing things on the
impulse of the moment that I presume I never should do after mature
deliberation.

I was standing close beside Xodar as Thurid swung his foot for the
cowardly kick. The degraded Dator stood erect and motionless as a
carven image. He was prepared to take whatever his former comrades had
to offer in the way of insults and reproaches, and take them in manly
silence and stoicism.

But as Thurid's foot swung so did mine, and I caught him a painful blow
upon the shin bone that saved Xodar from this added ignominy.

For a moment there was tense silence, then Thurid, with a roar of rage
sprang for my throat; just as Xodar had upon the deck of the cruiser.
The results were identical. I ducked beneath his outstretched arms,
and as

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