The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 0

...[Frontispiece: The cold hollow eye of a revolver sought the center
of my forehead.]




THE GODS OF...

Page 1

...train for Richmond and within
two hours was being ushered into the room occupied by John...

Page 2

...understand. Earth men
have not yet progressed to a point where they can comprehend the...

Page 3

... XXII. Victory and Defeat





CHAPTER I

THE PLANT MEN


As I stood upon the bluff before...

Page 4

...of the mighty forest in which I lay.

The scene that met my eyes was so...

Page 5

...I had been fortunate enough to make my entry into Mars on this
second occasion through...

Page 6

...proportioned as to torso and lower
extremities precisely as is earthly man.

Their arms, however, were very...

Page 7

...cropping off the
tender vegetation with its razorlike talons and sucking it up from its
two mouths,...

Page 8

...or listening for the source or meaning of the wail.
And indeed the latter proved to...

Page 9

...universe is
their like duplicated?

There were two men and four females in the party and their...

Page 10

...clean cut that clove
one of the plant men from chin to groin.

The other, however, dealt...

Page 11

...onslaught, and in that
instant the green warrior rose to the occasion and, springing to my
side,...

Page 12

...cliff stood a strange figure of a man shrieking out
his shrill signal, the while he...

Page 13

...into the
effort, I cleared the remaining distance between myself and the cliffs
in great leaps and...

Page 14

...zenith, and as the bright rays touched the dull
surface it burst out into a million...

Page 15

...made, for the green men of Barsoom
do not relish flight, nor ever before had I...

Page 16

...now were fairly upon me.

Now, at last, I saw the nature of the other monsters...

Page 17

...back, as we had done a
hundred times before.

Time and again the ferocious apes sprang in...

Page 18

...John Carter, to think last of your own life," he
said; "but still more your way...

Page 19

...of the tree, while Tars Tarkas defended the opening
from the furious mob without.

For an hour...

Page 20

...diameter as the entrance at the foot of the tree, and
opened directly upon a large...

Page 21

...the branch we found that our combined weight so
depressed the limb that the cave's mouth...

Page 22

...its surface with my hands, and presently was
rewarded by the feel of the button which...

Page 23

...should not even guess that, for the sights I
have seen this day are as unlike...

Page 24

...but temporarily returned to your own
planet, I at last gave way to my great yearning...

Page 25

...numbers of their own dead to count than they will
get in return. White ape...

Page 26

...the dim light which a single minute radium illuminator in
the centre of the roof diffused...

Page 27

...themselves,
who conceived both Life and Death, avert their eyes from its
fiendishness and close their ears...

Page 28

...hound, with
several rows of long needle-like fangs; its mouth reaches to a point
far back of...

Page 29

...surface I saw
pictured a sight that caused me to whisper:

"Move not, Tars Tarkas! Move...

Page 30

...actions might be observed
from without.

At length a plan of action occurred to me, and backing...

Page 31

...man began to realize that he had at last met
his match.

His face became livid with...

Page 32

...had not
eaten for nearly twenty-four hours, nor slept.

I was fagged out, and for the first...

Page 33

...so he died, his thin lips curled in the snarl of his hateful laugh,
and a...

Page 34

...asked.

"Yes; release me and I will give you entrance to the other horror
chamber, if you...

Page 35

... Like lightning the great beasts wheeled upon her,
and I looked to see her torn...

Page 36

...yet
expressed a desire to return to the living world, I am taking him with
me from...

Page 37

...the plant men and the great white apes that
guard the Temple of Issus and falls...

Page 38

...allotted span of life,
one thousand years, when by the authority of custom they may take...

Page 39

...they are a race of cruel and
heartless mortals, knowing no more of the real life...

Page 40

...superstition, even though each
knew through cruel experience the fallacy of its entire fabric.

Thuvia, the girl...

Page 41

...worn by the thern who confronted us was of about the same
size as that which...

Page 42

...their apparel, and so
important a part do they consider it that it is cause for...

Page 43

...Tars Tarkas.

"Here, then, is one of them," spoke Thuvia, indicating the Thark, "and
if you will...

Page 44

...possible. How I longed for the almost miraculous healing power
of the strange salves and...

Page 45

...Thuvia.

"What is the hour?" I asked.

"It was midnight when you released me from my chains,"...

Page 46

...that rimmed his dizzy perch, voiced the shrill, weird wail
that called the demons of this...

Page 47

...gardens and temples above they are kept in pits. The therns
fear them. It...

Page 48

...lay sprawled about the floor, sometimes overlapping one
another, again in heaps of several bodies, they...

Page 49

...their impregnable fortress.

We had reached the doorway now and Thuvia was opening it.

"They fear the...

Page 50

...the black pirates threw themselves upon their foes transcended
everything I ever before had seen.

Beneath the...

Page 51

...evinced in their mad battle with the therns.

All about us in the garden lay their...

Page 52

...tons of projectiles
upon the temples, the gardens, and the courts, until every thern who
was not...

Page 53

...the tiny one-man air scout and I had commanded
the greatest battleship that ever had floated...

Page 54

...that
of my opponents that the odds were not so greatly against me as they
appeared.

My seething...

Page 55

...saw that the thing that
had struck us was the trailing anchor of a rather fair-sized...

Page 56

...forced to drop his firearm and clutch the rail with
both hands.

My grasp upon his throat...

Page 57

...I gained the deck. The girl nodded to me to approach her.
As I bent...

Page 58

...soon permit her to reduce the number by one at least. Then
things happened with...

Page 59

...intently for several minutes before she replied. It
was as though she were attempting to...

Page 60

...and delicate instruments with
which, as an officer in the Heliumite Navy, I had formerly reckoned...

Page 61

...thing you have just learned," she continued, "has led to
as erroneous deductions as the first...

Page 62

..."With the skin of a thern, the black hair of a First Born and
the muscles...

Page 63

...For countless ages they lived their long lives within their
hard shells, hopping and skipping about...

Page 64

...a little forward of where I stood at the levers, and thus he
faced the stern...

Page 65

...was no room to fight. We
were simply submerged by numbers. Then as swords...

Page 66

...behind them.

We could hear the men working on the broken propellers, and from the
port-hole we...

Page 67

...detected in the act of staring at a lesser creature, I
thought.

"Do you find the study...

Page 68

...flesh of beasts, yes," I replied, "but not the flesh of man."

"As man may eat...

Page 69

... You will witness something very
interesting, and as you never shall return to the outer...

Page 70

...from the Valley Dor. My only wonder was that even the
one had been successful....

Page 71

...duty on the vessel, and Phaidor and
I stood alone beside the rail. The girl...

Page 72

...with majestic grace the battleship dropped until she rested
on the water. Her great propellers...

Page 73

...Issus," said Xodar to Phaidor. "The few prisoners
we take are presented to her. ...

Page 74

...particularly that while the
building is roofless it is covered with a strong metal grating."

"Then where?"...

Page 75

...two worlds that I had known and admired during my long
life she alone had I...

Page 76

...that we were forging through a narrow
passage, rock-lined, and tube-like.

After a few minutes the propellers...

Page 77

...nameless jewels of Barsoom?

Even my eyes, for long years accustomed to the barbaric splendours of...

Page 78

...Issus."

"The woman pleases me," said the thin, wavering voice again after a few
moments of silence....

Page 79

... Such a fighter as you, for example, would render fine sport
in the monthly rites...

Page 80

...and look upon Issus, knowing that those of the lower
orders who gaze upon the holy...

Page 81

...the room by another exit.

Turning to me, she said: "You shall be returned to Shador...

Page 82

...face. The women spat upon him.

When I appeared they turned their attentions toward me.

"Ah,"...

Page 83

...my feet.

The blacks gazed in astonishment, first at the still form of the proud
Dator lying...

Page 84

... One of the blacks opened the door of the
prison with a huge key, we...

Page 85

...light
in colour for a red man, but in other respects he seemed a typical
specimen of...

Page 86

...my eyes ever had rested upon."

For a moment he eyed me in horror-stricken amazement, and...

Page 87

...the radiant
beauty of Issus nearly a year since. It has always been a source...

Page 88

...you heap upon him every indignity
and degradation of which you can conceive."

With these words he...

Page 89

...the
attempt, and guide me to the shaft that lets from the dome of this
abysmal sea...

Page 90

...a hundred feet from the building.

The pace of the sentries, Xodar said, was very slow,...

Page 91

...the guard.

"I know not," replied Xodar. "He was here even as you entered. ...

Page 92

...men and
great white apes.

The brutal beasts moved among the crowd as pet dogs might. ...

Page 93

...nearly a year of the rites of Issus.
My mother would be very proud could she...

Page 94

...saw one who
sat during the rites with closed eyes while a slave narrated to her...

Page 95

...indeed, to keep those poor victims from rushing
into the arena which the edict of the...

Page 96

...the young red man as he raced after the
guards. Never had I seen such...

Page 97

...the audience, and as they passed the nobles
there unsheathed their swords and sprang into the...

Page 98

...hands of the fallen and fell upon
the guards of Issus, but they were soon cut...

Page 99

...reached out from behind my
adversary and clutched his elbow as the blade was falling upon...

Page 100

...crazed by the affront I
had put upon their goddess, just as Issus disappeared into the...

Page 101

...found below these an
ancient system of corridors and chambers that had been sealed up for
ages....

Page 102

...my hold and dropped--four feet to a
soft cushion of sand.

The boy followed me.

"Raise me to...

Page 103

...still existed a remnant
of the ancient race of yellow men?

My reveries were broken in upon...

Page 104

...us were we apprehended;
however many more might come from the temples and gardens of Issus
would...

Page 105

...to the pool as though to
corroborate my story. For that instant everything hung in...

Page 106

...haunts the depths of Korus is more at home in
water than is Xodar," he replied.

"Good....

Page 107

...of Matai Shang. It was dug ages ago by the slaves of
the First Born...

Page 108

...dreamless
sleep of Mars.

Our guard entered to inspect us for the last time before the new...

Page 109

...wall and pulled myself up on to
it. There I found a flat surface about...

Page 110

...me. Unbuckling my harness I snapped it together with a
single long strap which I...

Page 111

...firearms of the men. Warily I pushed
the door a trifle wider to admit my...

Page 112

...the guard. He
evidently took in the situation at a glance and appreciated the gravity
of...

Page 113

...not rising from the water.

"A little to your right," cried Xodar, for there are no...

Page 114

...bows upward, and then with
a shattering jolt we were in collision. What I had...

Page 115

...the boy and hold tight--we
are going straight up the shaft."

The words were scarce out of...

Page 116

...grasp the
opportunity for escape which this happy condition offered us. Keeping
the boat's nose at...

Page 117

...the boy, "are as my mother has described them to
me a thousand times--but even with...

Page 118

...after I had examined the damage I found it a much
graver matter than I had...

Page 119

...our way,
since they afforded greater opportunity for concealment from the
pursuers we were confident might stumble...

Page 120

...men, whose high and chivalrous honour is always ample
protection for every woman in his household,...

Page 121

...last they overwhelmed him, those behind
pushing the foremost upon him until there remained no space...

Page 122

...buildings surrounding each square.

These old familiar sounds that are so distinctive of green Martian life
sent...

Page 123

...to attract
the attention of the warriors within the buildings.

Close to the east wall, beneath the...

Page 124

...That they had gone down and not up I was sure from my
knowledge of these...

Page 125

...I might plunge headlong
into some terrible pit or meet with some of the ghoulish creatures...

Page 126

...was but being escorted to the
audience chamber to have sentence passed upon him. I...

Page 127

...back. I could not
even guess the size or nature of the weird creatures. ...

Page 128

...I determined to pursue the single pair until I
should have at least settled my account...

Page 129

...the corridor and the cell at the same time. As I saw
the two warriors...

Page 130

...the balcony overlooking the
courtyard, without being detected.

At our right was the window letting into the...

Page 131

...discuss our plans.

"There be five now in the party, Tars Tarkas," I said; "Thuvia, Xodar,
Carthoris,...

Page 132

...four more toward the great gates.

Tars Tarkas rode ahead and, leaning down to the latch,...

Page 133

...speed."

There was no time to be lost. We sprang to our hobbled thoats, freed
them,...

Page 134

...the safety of the hills. Poor child! She should have known John
Carter better...

Page 135

...and retreat to a wild panic. In another moment they
were racing as madly away...

Page 136

...the
Valley Dor.

"Ah, my Prince," he continued, as though no thought had interrupted his
greeting, "that you...

Page 137

...her out of harm's way.

Immediately Hor Vastus dispatched a dozen air scouts in as many
directions...

Page 138

...expedition upon expedition returned
with the same hopeless tale of no clue as to his whereabouts,...

Page 139

...dispatch and then turned to me.

"Zat Arras commands me to bring our 'prisoners' before him....

Page 140

...was
at his side and one hand grasped his throat.

"Come I from heaven or hell, Zat...

Page 141

...their
superstitious belief in the doctrine of Dor and Iss and Korus. I could
not blame...

Page 142

...thing from my mind.

It was in the forenoon that we arrived above the mile-high scarlet
tower...

Page 143

...great volume of scientific data, but since
the International Astronomic Society is at present engaged in
classifying,...

Page 144

...who overran Zodanga's
broad avenues, looting, burning, and murdering.

About us the vast circular coliseum was packed...

Page 145

...and
sprang upon the platform.

"What manner of justice be this?" he cried to Zat Arras. ...

Page 146

...of Helium that I speak now. When I am done let the men
of Zodanga...

Page 147

...palace," and they formed about us and started toward the stairs
leading to the Aisle of...

Page 148

... Go."

No one moved. Instead, they stood in tense silence with their eyes
fastened upon...

Page 149

...in the
great dining hall of the palace of the Prince of Helium that day. ...

Page 150

...upon the
opposite side of the hall from me with the table intervening. I did
not...

Page 151

...a horde of black men. The
Princess's guard fought nobly to the end, but they...

Page 152

...before the return of her beloved lord.

"'I do not blame you for loving him, Thuvia,'...

Page 153

...hundred swords leaped from a hundred scabbards, and a hundred
fighting-men sprang to the table-top and...

Page 154

...Kajak are gone
to return no more; if I be here, then I shall join you...

Page 155

...empire until we should be
ready to assemble it for the dash upon Omean.

It was late...

Page 156

...outside my
own household, I was doubtful. Yet the leader of the band did not
hesitate...

Page 157

...of Helium. Say that you will espouse my cause. This
is the price of...

Page 158

...the rocky walls. To them chains were fastened, and at the ends
of many of...

Page 159

...were he free to act, but in so far as I
knew, he also might be...

Page 160

...more than likely
throw me headforemost into the avenue. No, it cannot be, though I
thank...

Page 161

...which I
described. That was all. But it meant everything to me and to
Carthoris.

I...

Page 162

...the
First Born by those very wild beasts; that her bleeding corpse would be
dragged through the...

Page 163

...brain.

At length came the cruel recollection of the thing that I had done in
my last...

Page 164

...worm the information from him. And so I caused Hor
Vastus to be harnessed in...

Page 165

...we had laid nearly a year ago
had been carried out.

"It has taken much longer than...

Page 166

...he replied. "Each is
sworn to loyalty and secrecy, nor were enough recruited from a...

Page 167

...his dagger and cut open a locked pouch which had
dangled from the thern's harness, and...

Page 168

...realized
with a pang of dismay that I had misreckoned the time while I lay in
the...

Page 169

...a new instrument for wireless
purposes its neighbours bend every effort until they are able to
intercept...

Page 170

...countless ages. It had
not been my intention to be distracted from the main issue...

Page 171

...was like stopping a buzz
saw with the bare hand.

From my position on the deck beside...

Page 172

...across that dreary ice cap. How I wished
that I might face Zat Arras with...

Page 173

...my colours broke from one of Zat Arras' ships. Then
from another and another. ...

Page 174

...passed between us that could not be
intercepted by our enemies I passed the word that...

Page 175

...for all the
vessels to reach their previously appointed stations, then with the
flagship I dropped quickly...

Page 176

...had taken with him during my
captivity among the First Born.

"How does it seem," I asked...

Page 177

...had spent upon Barsoom had encompassed but five years and
ninety-six days of Martian time, whose...

Page 178

...I as far from her as when I stood upon the banks of the Hudson
forty-eight...

Page 179

...of twos the soldiers followed him in good order, each company
entering the corridor only at...

Page 180

...shouted. "Here seems a way
of escape. Turn back and follow me."

My orders were...

Page 181

..."Help, John
Carter; we are suffocating," and then there swept back upon us at the
rear a...

Page 182

...into such a trap as I might have
known these pits easily could be. Now...

Page 183

...of Issus and the side of the fair
prisoner who languished there.

But even as hope was...

Page 184

... What knew I where any of them
led! And so without waiting to be...

Page 185

...me, what of Carthoris, our son?"

"He was with me less than an hour since, Dejah...

Page 186

...do it, and filled me only with the blackest shadows of
terrible foreboding, I guided her...

Page 187

..."Men of the First Born, look!"

For an instant the fighting ceased, and with one accord...

Page 188

...Issus? Search the temple for her,
but let no man harm her but John Carter....

Page 189

...the reality of the picture
she was seeing, and that was added by the highest noble...

Page 190

...fate occurred to me for this false deity.

"First Born," I cried, turning to those who...

Page 191

...led me
along a level floor at the end of which I discerned a lighted chamber.

Massive...

Page 192

...from the burning Temple of Issus.

A draught from above brought the fumes of smoke to...

Page 193

...crevice had closed, and for a long year that hideous chamber would
retain its secret from...