he was a man of position, and he was evidently in
heated discussion with some one whom Norman of Torn could not see. The
man, a great, tall black-haired and mustached nobleman, was pounding
upon a table to emphasize his words, and presently he sprang up
as though rushing toward the one to whom he had been speaking. He
disappeared from the watcher's view for a moment and then, at the far
side of the apartment, Norman of Torn saw him again just as he roughly
grasped the figure of a woman who evidently was attempting to escape
him. As she turned to face her tormentor, all the devil in the Devil of
Torn surged in his aching head, for the face he saw was that of Joan de
With a muttered oath, the imprisoned man turned to hurl himself against
the bolted door, but ere he had taken a single step, the sound of heavy
feet without brought him to a stop, and the jingle of keys as one was
fitted to the lock of the door sent him gliding stealthily to the wall
beside the doorway, where the inswinging door would conceal him.
As the door was pushed back, a flickering torch lighted up, but dimly,
the interior, so that until he had reached the center of the room, the
visitor did not see that the cot was empty.
He was a man-at-arms, and at his side hung a sword. That was enough for
the Devil of Torn--it was a sword he craved most; and, ere the fellow
could assure his slow wits that the cot was empty, steel fingers closed
upon his throat, and he went down beneath the giant form of the outlaw.
Without other sound than the scuffing of their bodies on the floor, and
the clanking of their armor, they fought, the one to reach the dagger at
his side, the other to close forever the windpipe of his adversary.
Presently, the man-at-arms found what he sought, and, after tugging
with ever diminishing strength, he felt the blade slip from its sheath.
Slowly and feebly he raised it high above the back of the man on top of
him; with a last supreme effort he drove the point downward, but ere it
reached its goal, there was a sharp snapping sound as of a broken bone,
the dagger fell harmlessly from his dead hand, and his head rolled
backward upon his broken neck.
Snatching the sword from the body of his dead antagonist, Norman of Torn
rushed from the tower room.
As John de Fulm, Earl of Buckingham,
This audio reading of A Princess of Mars is read by Stephan Moebius, Peter Yearsley, Tony Hightower, Steve Hartzog, Kymm Zuckert, Chris Petersen, Kara Shallenberg, Chris Vee, Patrick McNeal, and Sherry Crowther.Page 1
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