The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 65

was no room to fight. We
were simply submerged by numbers. Then as swords menaced me a command
from Xodar stayed the hands of his fellows.

"Secure them," he said, "but do not injure them."

Several of the pirates already had released Xodar. He now personally
attended to my disarming and saw that I was properly bound. At least
he thought that the binding was secure. It would have been had I been
a Martian, but I had to smile at the puny strands that confined my
wrists. When the time came I could snap them as they had been cotton
string.

The girl they bound also, and then they fastened us together. In the
meantime they had brought our craft alongside the disabled battleship,
and soon we were transported to the latter's deck.

Fully a thousand black men manned the great engine of destruction. Her
decks were crowded with them as they pressed forward as far as
discipline would permit to get a glimpse of their captives.

The girl's beauty elicited many brutal comments and vulgar jests. It
was evident that these self-thought supermen were far inferior to the
red men of Barsoom in refinement and in chivalry.

My close-cropped black hair and thern complexion were the subjects of
much comment. When Xodar told his fellow nobles of my fighting ability
and strange origin they crowded about me with numerous questions.

The fact that I wore the harness and metal of a thern who had been
killed by a member of my party convinced them that I was an enemy of
their hereditary foes, and placed me on a better footing in their
estimation.

Without exception the blacks were handsome men, and well built. The
officers were conspicuous through the wondrous magnificence of their
resplendent trappings. Many harnesses were so encrusted with gold,
platinum, silver and precious stones as to entirely hide the leather
beneath.

The harness of the commanding officer was a solid mass of diamonds.
Against the ebony background of his skin they blazed out with a
peculiarly accentuated effulgence. The whole scene was enchanting.
The handsome men; the barbaric splendour of the accoutrements; the
polished skeel wood of the deck; the gloriously grained sorapus of the
cabins, inlaid with priceless jewels and precious metals in intricate
and beautiful design; the burnished gold of hand rails; the shining
metal of the guns.

Phaidor and I were taken below decks, where, still fast bound, we were
thrown into a small compartment which contained a single port-hole. As
our escort left us they barred the door

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