Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 78

rose, and
shouting to one another for an explanation of the disturbance.

To Carthoris all within the room was plainly visible in the dim
light reflected from without, for the further moon stood directly
at zenith; but to the eyes of the newly-awakened green men objects
as yet had not taken on familiar forms--they but saw vaguely the
figures of warriors moving about their apartment.

Now one stumbled against the corpse of him whom Carthoris had
slain. The fellow stooped and his hand came in contact with the
cleft skull. He saw about him the giant figures of other green
men, and so he jumped to the only conclusion that was open to him.

"The Thurds!" he cried. "The Thurds are upon us! Rise, warriors
of Torquas, and drive home your swords within the hearts of Torquas'
ancient enemies!"

Instantly the green men began to fall upon one another with naked
swords. Their savage lust of battle was aroused. To fight, to
kill, to die with cold steel buried in their vitals! Ah, that to
them was Nirvana.

Carthoris was quick to guess their error and take advantage of it.
He knew that in the pleasure of killing they might fight on long
after they had discovered their mistake, unless their attention
was distracted by sight of the real cause of the altercation, and
so he lost no time in continuing across the room to the doorway
upon the opposite side, which opened into the inner court, where
the savage thoats were squealing and fighting among themselves.

Once here he had no easy task before him. To catch and mount one
of these habitually rageful and intractable beasts was no child's
play under the best of conditions; but now, when silence and time
were such important considerations, it might well have seemed quite
hopeless to a less resourceful and optimistic man than the son of
the great warlord.

From his father he had learned much concerning the traits of these
mighty beasts, and from Tars Tarkas, also, when he had visited that
great green jeddak among his horde at Thark. So now he centred
upon the work in hand all that he had ever learned about them from
others and from his own experience, for he, too, had ridden and
handled them many times.

The temper of the thoats of Torquas appeared even shorter than their
vicious cousins among the Tharks and Warhoons, and for a time it
seemed unlikely that he should escape a savage charge on the part
of a couple of old bulls that circled, squealing, about him;

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