The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 84

One of the blacks opened the door of the
prison with a huge key, we walked in, the door closed behind us, the
lock grated, and with the sound there swept over me again that terrible
feeling of hopelessness that I had felt in the Chamber of Mystery in
the Golden Cliffs beneath the gardens of the Holy Therns.

Then Tars Tarkas had been with me, but now I was utterly alone in so
far as friendly companionship was concerned. I fell to wondering about
the fate of the great Thark, and of his beautiful companion, the girl,
Thuvia. Even should they by some miracle have escaped and been
received and spared by a friendly nation, what hope had I of the
succour which I knew they would gladly extend if it lay in their power.

They could not guess my whereabouts or my fate, for none on all Barsoom
even dream of such a place as this. Nor would it have advantaged me
any had they known the exact location of my prison, for who could hope
to penetrate to this buried sea in the face of the mighty navy of the
First Born? No: my case was hopeless.

Well, I would make the best of it, and, rising, I swept aside the
brooding despair that had been endeavouring to claim me. With the idea
of exploring my prison, I started to look around.

Xodar sat, with bowed head, upon a low stone bench near the centre of
the room in which we were. He had not spoken since Issus had degraded
him.

The building was roofless, the walls rising to a height of about thirty
feet. Half-way up were a couple of small, heavily barred windows. The
prison was divided into several rooms by partitions twenty feet high.
There was no one in the room which we occupied, but two doors which led
to other rooms were opened. I entered one of these rooms, but found it
vacant. Thus I continued through several of the chambers until in the
last one I found a young red Martian boy sleeping upon the stone bench
which constituted the only furniture of any of the prison cells.

Evidently he was the only other prisoner. As he slept I leaned over
and looked at him. There was something strangely familiar about his
face, and yet I could not place him.

His features were very regular and, like the proportions of his
graceful limbs and body, beautiful in the extreme. He was very

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