The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 88

you heap upon him every indignity
and degradation of which you can conceive."

With these words he left us.

Xodar still sat with his face buried in his hands. I walked to his
side and placed my hand upon his shoulder.

"Xodar," I said, "you have heard the commands of Issus, but you need
not fear that I shall attempt to put them into execution. You are a
brave man, Xodar. It is your own affair if you wish to be persecuted
and humiliated; but were I you I should assert my manhood and defy my
enemies."

"I have been thinking very hard, John Carter," he said, "of all the new
ideas you gave me a few hours since. Little by little I have been
piecing together the things that you said which sounded blasphemous to
me then with the things that I have seen in my past life and dared not
even think about for fear of bringing down upon me the wrath of Issus.

"I believe now that she is a fraud; no more divine than you or I. More
I am willing to concede--that the First Born are no holier than the
Holy Therns, nor the Holy Therns more holy than the red men.

"The whole fabric of our religion is based on superstitious belief in
lies that have been foisted upon us for ages by those directly above
us, to whose personal profit and aggrandizement it was to have us
continue to believe as they wished us to believe.

"I am ready to cast off the ties that have bound me. I am ready to
defy Issus herself; but what will it avail us? Be the First Born gods
or mortals, they are a powerful race, and we are as fast in their
clutches as though we were already dead. There is no escape."

"I have escaped from bad plights in the past, my friend," I replied;
"nor while life is in me shall I despair of escaping from the Isle of
Shador and the Sea of Omean."

"But we cannot escape even from the four walls of our prison," urged
Xodar. "Test this flint-like surface," he cried, smiting the solid
rock that confined us. "And look upon this polished surface; none
could cling to it to reach the top."

I smiled.

"That is the least of our troubles, Xodar," I replied. "I will
guarantee to scale the wall and take you with me, if you will help with
your knowledge of the customs here to appoint the best time for

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