Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 103

Tardos Mors I went
first, asking where the keys might be which would unfasten their
fetters.

"The officer of the guard has them," replied the Jeddak of Helium,
"and he is among those without who seek entrance. You will have
to force them."

Most of the prisoners were already hacking at their bonds with the
swords in their hands. The yellow men were battering at the door
with javelins and axes.

I turned my attention to the chains that held Tardos Mors. Again
and again I cut deep into the metal with my sharp blade, but ever
faster and faster fell the torrent of blows upon the portal.

At last a link parted beneath my efforts, and a moment later Tardos
Mors was free, though a few inches of trailing chain still dangled
from his ankle.

A splinter of wood falling inward from the door announced the
headway that our enemies were making toward us.

The mighty panels trembled and bent beneath the furious onslaught
of the enraged yellow men.

What with the battering upon the door and the hacking of the red
men at their chains the din within the armory was appalling. No
sooner was Tardos Mors free than he turned his attention to another
of the prisoners, while I set to work to liberate Mors Kajak.

We must work fast if we would have all those fetters cut before
the door gave way. Now a panel crashed inward upon the floor, and
Mors Kajak sprang to the opening to defend the way until we should
have time to release the others.

With javelins snatched from the wall he wrought havoc among the
foremost of the Okarians while we battled with the insensate metal
that stood between our fellows and freedom.

At length all but one of the prisoners were freed, and then the door
fell with a mighty crash before a hastily improvised battering-ram,
and the yellow horde was upon us.

"To the upper chambers!" shouted the red man who was still fettered
to the floor. "To the upper chambers! There you may defend the
tower against all Kadabra. Do not delay because of me, who could
pray for no better death than in the service of Tardos Mors and
the Prince of Helium."

But I would have sacrificed the life of every man of us rather
than desert a single red man, much less the lion-hearted hero who
begged us to leave him.

"Cut his chains," I cried to two of the red men, "while the balance
of us hold off the foe."

There were ten of us now to do

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