Thuvia, Maid of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 88

in his swiftest flier.




CHAPTER XIII

TURJUN, THE PANTHAN


The face of Carthoris of Helium gave no token of the emotions that
convulsed him inwardly as he heard from the lips of Hal Vas that
Helium was at war with Dusar, and that fate had thrown him into
the service of the enemy.

That he might utilize this opportunity to the good of Helium scarce
sufficed to outweigh the chagrin he felt that he was not fighting
in the open at the head of his own loyal troops.

To escape the Dusarians might prove an easy matter; and then again
it might not. Should they suspect his loyalty (and the loyalty
of an impressed panthan was always open to suspicion), he might
not find an opportunity to elude their vigilance until after the
termination of the war, which might occur within days, or, again,
only after long and weary years of bloodshed.

He recalled that history recorded wars in which actual military
operations had been carried on without cessation for five or six
hundred years, and even now there were nations upon Barsoom with
which Helium had made no peace within the history of man.

The outlook was not cheering. He could not guess that within a
few hours he would be blessing the fate that had thrown him into
the service of Dusar.

"Ah!" exclaimed Hal Vas. "Here is my father now. Kaor! Vas Kor.
Here is one you will be glad to meet--a doughty panthan--" He
hesitated.

"Turjun," interjected Carthoris, seizing upon the first appellation
that occurred to him.

As he spoke his eyes crossed quickly to the tall warrior who was
entering the room. Where before had he seen that giant figure,
that taciturn countenance, and the livid sword-cut from temple to
mouth?

"Vas Kor," repeated Carthoris mentally. "Vas Kor!" Where had he
seen the man before?

And then the noble spoke, and like a flash it all came back to
Carthoris--the forward servant upon the landing-stage at Ptarth
that time that he had been explaining the intricacies of his new
compass to Thuvan Dihn; the lone slave that had guarded his own hangar
that night he had left upon his ill-fated journey for Ptarth--the
journey that had brought him so mysteriously to far Aaanthor.

"Vas Kor," he repeated aloud, "blessed be your ancestors for this
meeting," nor did the Dusarian guess the wealth of meaning that lay
beneath that hackneyed phrase with which a Barsoomian acknowledges
an introduction.

"And blessed be yours, Turjun," replied Vas Kor.

Now came the introduction of Kar Komak to Vas Kor, and as Carthoris
went through the little ceremony there

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