be as it
The girl shook her head.
"Wait!" he commanded, before she could speak. "Know the truth
before you speak words that may seal, not only your own fate, but
that of the thousands of warriors who battle because of you.
"Refuse to wed me willingly, and Dusar would be laid waste should
ever the truth be known to Ptarth and Kaol and Helium. They would
raze our cities, leaving not one stone upon another. They would
scatter our peoples across the face of Barsoom from the frozen north
to the frozen south, hunting them down and slaying them, until this
great nation remained only as a hated memory in the minds of men.
"But while they are exterminating the Dusarians, countless thousands
of their own warriors must perish--and all because of the stubbornness
of a single woman who would not wed the prince who loves her.
"Refuse, Thuvia of Ptarth, and there remains but a single
alternative--no man must ever know your fate. Only a handful of
loyal servitors besides my royal father and myself know that you
were stolen from the gardens of Thuvan Dihn by Astok, Prince of
Dusar, or that to-day you be imprisoned in my palace.
"Refuse, Thuvia of Ptarth, and you must die to save Dusar--there
is no other way. Nutus, the jeddak, has so decreed. I have spoken."
For a long moment the girl let her level gaze rest full upon the
face of Astok of Dusar. Then she spoke, and though the words were
few, the unimpassioned tone carried unfathomable depths of cold
"Better all that you have threatened," she said, "than you."
Then she turned her back upon him and went to stand once more before
the east window, gazing with sad eyes toward distant Ptarth.
Astok wheeled and left the room, returning after a short interval
of time with food and drink.
"Here," he said, "is sustenance until I return again. The next to
enter this apartment will be your executioner. Commend yourself to
your ancestors, Thuvia of Ptarth, for within a few days you shall
be with them."
Then he was gone.
Half an hour later he was interviewing an officer high in the navy
"Whither went Vas Kor?" he asked. "He is not at his palace."
"South, to the great waterway that skirts Torquas," replied the
other. "His son, Hal Vas, is Dwar of the Road there, and thither
has Vas Kor gone to enlist recruits among the workers on the farms."
"Good," said Astok, and a half-hour more found him rising above
Nor did I have long to wait; for scarce had I turned ere I shot with the rapidity of thought into the awful void before me.Page 5
Their great stems, some of them fully a hundred feet in diameter, attested their prodigious height, which I could only guess at, since at no point could I penetrate their dense foliage above me to more than sixty or eighty feet.Page 11
For an instant they recoiled before my terrific onslaught, and in that instant the green warrior rose to the occasion and, springing to my side, laid to the right and left of him as I had never seen but one other warrior do, with great circling strokes that formed a figure eight about him and that never stopped until none stood living to oppose him, his keen blade passing through flesh and bone and metal as though each had been alike thin air.Page 19
At length, all but a score, who had apparently been left to prevent our escape, had left us, and our adventure seemed destined to result in a siege, the only outcome of which could be our death by starvation; for even should we be able to slip out after dark, whither in this unknown and hostile valley could we hope to turn our steps toward possible escape? As the attacks of our enemies ceased and our eyes became accustomed to the semi-darkness of the interior of our strange retreat, I took the opportunity to explore our shelter.Page 38
" "We sent several Holy Therns to the silians to-day, then," said Tars Tarkas, laughing.Page 40
With the latter as our guide we set off rapidly but cautiously through a maze of passages, crossing great chambers hewn from the solid metal of the cliff, following winding corridors, ascending steep inclines, and now and again concealing ourselves in dark recesses at the sound of approaching footsteps.Page 46
There was a brief and futile effort of defence.Page 66
How I wished that I might have accompanied them.Page 74
Phaidor grasped my arm.Page 93
Only the highest seats, which formed the low wall surrounding the pit, were above the level of the ground.Page 96
For my part, I was fighting as I had fought a thousand times before--now sidestepping a wicked thrust, now stepping quickly in to let my sword's point drink deep in a foeman's heart, before it buried itself in the throat of his companion.Page 118
Rolling ochre sea bottom of long dead seas, low surrounding hills, with here and there the grim and silent cities of the dead past; great piles of mighty architecture tenanted only by age-old memories of a once powerful race, and by the great white apes of Barsoom.Page 125
It was much slower work returning, however, than it had been coming, for now the darkness was as utter as the silence.Page 147
"Stop!" cried Zat Arrras.Page 155
If favourable, he was to repair immediately to Thark and devote his time to the assembling of a great horde of green warriors whom it was our plan to send in transports directly to the Valley Dor and the Temple of Issus, while the fleet entered Omean and destroyed the vessels of the First Born.Page 157
Nor shall you know at what minute the hand will reach out through the darkness and the silence with the keen dagger that shall rob you of your last chance to win again the warmth and the freedom and joyousness of the outer world.Page 164
Some half-hour later we came to the pits beneath our own palace, and soon thereafter emerged into the audience chamber itself, where.Page 168
What now the value of burdening my friends with my added personal sorrows--they had shared quite enough of them with me in the past.Page 169
His very speed bespoke the importance of his information.Page 183
Death stared me in the face, nor ever can I recall a time that I so distinctly felt the icy breath from his dead lips upon my brow.