Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 112

happened I had
leaped through their thin line and was upon the dais beside Dejah
Thoris and Salensus Oll.

With the flat of my sword I struck down his polluting hand; and
grasping Dejah Thoris round the waist, I swung her behind me as,
with my back against the draperies of the dais, I faced the tyrant
of the north and his roomful of noble warriors.

The Jeddak of Jeddaks was a great mountain of a man--a coarse,
brutal beast of a man--and as he towered above me there, his fierce
black whiskers and mustache bristling in rage, I can well imagine
that a less seasoned warrior might have trembled before him.

With a snarl he sprang toward me with naked sword, but whether
Salensus Oll was a good swordsman or a poor I never learned; for
with Dejah Thoris at my back I was no longer human--I was a superman,
and no man could have withstood me then.

With a single, low: "For the Princess of Helium!" I ran my blade
straight through the rotten heart of Okar's rotten ruler, and before
the white, drawn faces of his nobles Salensus Oll rolled, grinning
in horrible death, to the foot of the steps below his marriage
throne.

For a moment tense silence reigned in the nuptial-room. Then the
fifty nobles rushed upon me. Furiously we fought, but the advantage
was mine, for I stood upon a raised platform above them, and I
fought for the most glorious woman of a glorious race, and I fought
for a great love and for the mother of my boy.

And from behind my shoulder, in the silvery cadence of that dear
voice, rose the brave battle anthem of Helium which the nation's
women sing as their men march out to victory.

That alone was enough to inspire me to victory over even greater
odds, and I verily believe that I should have bested the entire
roomful of yellow warriors that day in the nuptial chamber of the
palace at Kadabra had not interruption come to my aid.

Fast and furious was the fighting as the nobles of Salensus Oll
sprang, time and again, up the steps before the throne only to fall
back before a sword hand that seemed to have gained a new wizardry
from its experience with the cunning Solan.

Two were pressing me so closely that I could not turn when I heard
a movement behind me, and noted that the sound of the battle anthem
had ceased. Was Dejah Thoris preparing to take her place beside
me?

Heroic daughter of a heroic world! It

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