The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 144

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

About us the vast circular coliseum was packed to its full capacity.
All classes were represented--all ages, and both sexes. As we entered
the hall the hum of subdued conversation ceased until as we halted upon
the platform, or Throne of Righteousness, the silence of death
enveloped the ten thousand spectators.

The judges were seated in a great circle about the periphery of the
circular platform. We were assigned seats with our backs toward a
small platform in the exact centre of the larger one. This placed us
facing the judges and the audience. Upon the smaller platform each
would take his place while his case was being heard.

Zat Arras himself sat in the golden chair of the presiding magistrate.
As we were seated and our guards retired to the foot of the stairway
leading to the platform, he arose and called my name.

"John Carter," he cried, "take your place upon the Pedestal of Truth to
be judged impartially according to your acts and here to know the
reward you have earned thereby." Then turning to and fro toward the
audience he narrated the acts upon the value of which my reward was to
be determined.

"Know you, O judges and people of Helium," he said, "that John Carter,
one time Prince of Helium, has returned by his own statement from the
Valley Dor and even from the Temple of Issus itself. That, in the
presence of many men of Helium he has blasphemed against the Sacred
Iss, and against the Valley Dor, and the Lost Sea of Korus, and the
Holy Therns themselves, and even against Issus, Goddess of Death, and
of Life Eternal. And know you further by witness of thine own eyes
that see him here now upon the Pedestal of Truth that he has indeed
returned from these sacred precincts in the face of our ancient
customs, and in violation of the sanctity of our ancient religion.

"He who be once dead may not live again. He who attempts it must be
made dead for ever. Judges, your duty lies plain before you--here can
be no testimony in contravention of truth. What reward shall be meted
to John Carter in accordance with the acts he has committed?"

"Death!" shouted one of the judges.

And then a man sprang to his feet in the audience, and raising his hand
on high, cried: "Justice! Justice! Justice!" It was Kantos Kan, and
as all eyes turned toward him he leaped past the Zodangan soldiery

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