Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 111

Okar.

"In a moment the thing shall have been done and we may return to
the battle, while she who is now the Princess of Helium looks down
from the queen's tower upon the annihilation of her former countrymen
and witnesses the greatness which is her husband's."

Then, turning to a courtier, he issued some command in a low voice.

The addressed hastened to a small door at the far end of the chamber
and, swinging it wide, cried: "Way for Dejah Thoris, future Queen
of Okar!"

Immediately two guardsmen appeared dragging the unwilling bride toward
the altar. Her hands were still manacled behind her, evidently to
prevent suicide.

Her disheveled hair and panting bosom betokened that, chained though
she was, still had she fought against the thing that they would do
to her.

At sight of her Salensus Oll rose and drew his sword, and the sword
of each of the fifty nobles was raised on high to form an arch,
beneath which the poor, beautiful creature was dragged toward her
doom.

A grim smile forced itself to my lips as I thought of the rude
awakening that lay in store for the ruler of Okar, and my itching
fingers fondled the hilt of my bloody sword.

As I watched the procession that moved slowly toward the throne--a
procession which consisted of but a handful of priests, who followed
Dejah Thoris and the two guardsmen--I caught a fleeting glimpse
of a black face peering from behind the draperies that covered the
wall back of the dais upon which stood Salensus Oll awaiting his
bride.

Now the guardsmen were forcing the Princess of Helium up the few
steps to the side of the tyrant of Okar, and I had no eyes and no
thoughts for aught else. A priest opened a book and, raising his
hand, commenced to drone out a sing-song ritual. Salensus Oll
reached for the hand of his bride.

I had intended waiting until some circumstance should give me a
reasonable hope of success; for, even though the entire ceremony
should be completed, there could be no valid marriage while I
lived. What I was most concerned in, of course, was the rescuing
of Dejah Thoris--I wished to take her from the palace of Salensus
Oll, if such a thing were possible; but whether it were accomplished
before or after the mock marriage was a matter of secondary import.

When, however, I saw the vile hand of Salensus Oll reach out for
the hand of my beloved princess I could restrain myself no longer,
and before the nobles of Okar knew that aught had

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