The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 147

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

"Stop!" cried Zat Arras. "Soldiers of Helium, let no prisoner leave
the Throne of Righteousness."

The soldiery from Zodanga were the only organized body of Heliumetic
troops within the temple, so Zat Arras was confident that his orders
would be obeyed, but I do not think that he looked for the opposition
that was raised the moment the soldiers advanced toward the throne.

From every quarter of the coliseum swords flashed and men rushed
threateningly upon the Zodangans. Some one raised a cry: "Tardos Mors
is dead--a thousand years to John Carter, Jeddak of Helium." As I heard
that and saw the ugly attitude of the men of Helium toward the soldiers
of Zat Arras, I knew that only a miracle could avert a clash that would
end in civil war.

"Hold!" I cried, leaping to the Pedestal of Truth once more. "Let no
man move till I am done. A single sword thrust here to-day may plunge
Helium into a bitter and bloody war the results of which none can
foresee. It will turn brother against brother and father against son.
No man's life is worth that sacrifice. Rather would I submit to the
biased judgment of Zat Arras than be the cause of civil strife in
Helium.

"Let us each give in a point to the other, and let this entire matter
rest until Tardos Mors returns, or Mors Kajak, his son. If neither be
back at the end of a year a second trial may be held--the thing has a
precedent." And then turning to Zat Arras, I said in a low voice:
"Unless you be a bigger fool than I take you to be, you will grasp the
chance I am offering you ere it is too late. Once that multitude of
swords below is drawn against your soldiery no man upon Barsoom--not
even Tardos Mors himself--can avert the consequences. What say you?
Speak quickly."

The Jed of Zodangan Helium raised his voice to the angry sea beneath us.

"Stay your hands, men of Helium," he shouted, his voice trembling with
rage. "The sentence of the court is passed, but the day of retribution
has not been set. I, Zat Arras, Jed of Zodanga, appreciating the royal
connections of the prisoner and his past services to Helium and
Barsoom, grant a respite of one year, or until the return of Mors
Kajak, or Tardos Mors to Helium. Disperse quietly to your houses.

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