Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 129

sky was
gorgeous with gaily trimmed fliers. Every roof within both cities
was spread with costly silks and tapestries.

Gold and jewels were scattered over roof and street and plaza,
so that the two cities seemed ablaze with the fires of the hearts
of the magnificent stones and burnished metal that reflected the
brilliant sunlight, changing it into countless glorious hues.

At last, after twelve years, the royal family of Helium was reunited
in their own mighty city, surrounded by joy-mad millions before
the palace gates. Women and children and mighty warriors wept in
gratitude for the fate that had restored their beloved Tardos Mors
and the divine princess whom the whole nation idolized. Nor did
any of us who had been upon that expedition of indescribable danger
and glory lack for plaudits.

That night a messenger came to me as I sat with Dejah Thoris and
Carthoris upon the roof of my city palace, where we had long since
caused a lovely garden to be made that we three might find seclusion
and quiet happiness among ourselves, far from the pomp and ceremony
of court, to summon us to the Temple of Reward--"where one is to
be judged this night," the summons concluded.

I racked my brain to try and determine what important case there
might be pending which could call the royal family from their palaces
on the eve of their return to Helium after years of absence; but
when the jeddak summons no man delays.

As our flier touched the landing stage at the temple's top we saw
countless other craft arriving and departing. In the streets below
a great multitude surged toward the great gates of the temple.

Slowly there came to me the recollection of the deferred doom that
awaited me since that time I had been tried here in the Temple by
Zat Arras for the sin of returning from the Valley Dor and the Lost
Sea of Korus.

Could it be possible that the strict sense of justice which dominates
the men of Mars had caused them to overlook the great good that
had come out of my heresy? Could they ignore the fact that to me,
and me alone, was due the rescue of Carthoris, of Dejah Thoris, of
Mors Kajak, of Tardos Mors?

I could not believe it, and yet for what other purpose could I have
been summoned to the Temple of Reward immediately upon the return
of Tardos Mors to his throne?

My first surprise as I entered the temple and approached the Throne
of Righteousness was to note the men who sat there

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