Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 130

as judges. There
was Kulan Tith, Jeddak of Kaol, whom we had but just left within
his own palace a few days since; there was Thuvan Dihn, Jeddak of
Ptarth--how came he to Helium as soon as we?

There was Tars Tarkas, Jeddak of Thark, and Xodar, Jeddak of the
First Born; there was Talu, Jeddak of Jeddaks of the North, whom
I could have sworn was still in his ice-bound hothouse city beyond
the northern barrier, and among them sat Tardos Mors and Mors Kajak,
with enough lesser jeds and jeddaks to make up the thirty-one who
must sit in judgment upon their fellow-man.

A right royal tribunal indeed, and such a one, I warrant, as never
before sat together during all the history of ancient Mars.

As I entered, silence fell upon the great concourse of people that
packed the auditorium. Then Tardos Mors arose.

"John Carter," he said in his deep, martial voice, "take your place
upon the Pedestal of Truth, for you are to be tried by a fair and
impartial tribunal of your fellow-men."

With level eye and high-held head I did as he bade, and as I glanced
about that circle of faces that a moment before I could have sworn
contained the best friends I had upon Barsoom, I saw no single
friendly glance--only stern, uncompromising judges, there to do
their duty.

A clerk rose and from a great book read a long list of the more
notable deeds that I had thought to my credit, covering a long period
of twenty-two years since first I had stepped the ocher sea bottom
beside the incubator of the Tharks. With the others he read of
all that I had done within the circle of the Otz Mountains where
the Holy Therns and the First Born had held sway.

It is the way upon Barsoom to recite a man's virtues with his sins
when he is come to trial, and so I was not surprised that all that
was to my credit should be read there to my judges--who knew it
all by heart--even down to the present moment. When the reading
had ceased Tardos Mors arose.

"Most righteous judges," he exclaimed, "you have heard recited all
that is known of John Carter, Prince of Helium--the good with the
bad. What is your judgment?"

Then Tars Tarkas came slowly to his feet, unfolding all his mighty,
towering height until he loomed, a green-bronze statue, far above
us all. He turned a baleful eye upon me--he, Tars Tarkas, with whom
I had fought through countless battles; whom I loved

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