The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 149

in the
great dining hall of the palace of the Prince of Helium that day. We
were over a hundred strong, not counting the members of my little
court, for Dejah Thoris and I had maintained a household consistent
with our royal rank.

The board, according to red Martian custom, was triangular, for there
were three in our family. Carthoris and I presided in the centre of
our sides of the table--midway of the third side Dejah Thoris'
high-backed, carven chair stood vacant except for her gorgeous wedding
trappings and jewels which were draped upon it. Behind stood a slave
as in the days when his mistress had occupied her place at the board,
ready to do her bidding. It was the way upon Barsoom, so I endured the
anguish of it, though it wrung my heart to see that silent chair where
should have been my laughing and vivacious Princess keeping the great
hall ringing with her merry gaiety.

At my right sat Kantos Kan, while to the right of Dejah Thoris' empty
place Tars Tarkas sat in a huge chair before a raised section of the
board which years ago I had had constructed to meet the requirements of
his mighty bulk. The place of honour at a Martian board is always at
the hostess's right, and this place was ever reserved by Dejah Thoris
for the great Thark upon the occasions that he was in Helium.

Hor Vastus sat in the seat of honour upon Carthoris' side of the table.
There was little general conversation. It was a quiet and saddened
party. The loss of Dejah Thoris was still fresh in the minds of all,
and to this was added fear for the safety of Tardos Mors and Mors
Kajak, as well as doubt and uncertainty as to the fate of Helium,
should it prove true that she was permanently deprived of her great
Jeddak.

Suddenly our attention was attracted by the sound of distant shouting,
as of many people raising their voices at once, but whether in anger or
rejoicing, we could not tell. Nearer and nearer came the tumult. A
slave rushed into the dining hall to cry that a great concourse of
people was swarming through the palace gates. A second burst upon the
heels of the first alternately laughing and shrieking as a madman.

"Dejah Thoris is found!" he cried. "A messenger from Dejah Thoris!"

I waited to hear no more. The great windows of the dining hall
overlooked the avenue leading to the main gates--they were

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