Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 41

countless ages, though
periodically they renew their attempts to destroy us. From whence
you come I cannot guess unless you be descended from the slaves
the Torquasians captured in early times when they reduced the outer
world to their vassalage; but we had heard that they destroyed all
other races but their own."

Carthoris tried to explain that the Torquasians ruled but a
relatively tiny part of the surface of Barsoom, and even this only
because their domain held nothing to attract the red race; but the
Lotharian could not seem to conceive of anything beyond the valley
of Lothar other than a trackless waste peopled by the ferocious
green hordes of Torquas.

After considerable parleying he consented to admit them to the
city, and a moment later the wheel-like gate rolled back within
its niche, and Thuvia and Carthoris entered the city of Lothar.

All about them were evidences of fabulous wealth. The facades of
the buildings fronting upon the avenue within the wall were richly
carven, and about the windows and doors were ofttimes set foot-wide
borders of precious stones, intricate mosaics, or tablets of beaten
gold bearing bas-reliefs depicting what may have been bits of the
history of this forgotten people.

He with whom they had conversed across the wall was in the avenue
to receive them. About him were a hundred or more men of the same
race. All were clothed in flowing robes and all were beardless.

Their attitude was more of fearful suspicion than antagonism. They
followed the new-comers with their eyes; but spoke no word to them.

Carthoris could not but notice the fact that though the city had
been but a short time before surrounded by a horde of bloodthirsty
demons yet none of the citizens appeared to be armed, nor was there
sign of soldiery about.

He wondered if all the fighting men had sallied forth in one supreme
effort to rout the foe, leaving the city all unguarded. He asked
their host.

The man smiled.

"No creature other than a score or so of our sacred banths has left
Lothar to-day," he replied.

"But the soldiers--the bowmen!" exclaimed Carthoris. "We saw
thousands emerge from this very gate, overwhelming the hordes of
Torquas and putting them to rout with their deadly arrows and their
fierce banths."

Still the man smiled his knowing smile.

"Look!" he cried, and pointed down a broad avenue before him.

Carthoris and Thuvia followed the direction indicated, and there,
marching bravely in the sunlight, they saw advancing toward them
a great army of bowmen.

"Ah!" exclaimed Thuvia. "They have returned through another gate,
or perchance

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