Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 15

to remain, for I saw from
Woola's actions that the trail led through the room where the two
therns held guard. I had no reason to harbor any considerable love
for this race of self-deified demons, yet I would have passed them
by were it possible without molesting them.

It was worth trying anyway, for a fight might delay us considerably,
or even put an end entirely to my search--better men than I have
gone down before fighters of meaner ability than that possessed by
the fierce thern warriors.

Signaling Woola to heel I stepped suddenly into the room before the
two men. At sight of me their long-swords flashed from the harness
at their sides, but I raised my hand in a gesture of restraint.

"I seek Thurid, the black dator," I said. "My quarrel is with him,
not with you. Let me pass then in peace, for if I mistake not he
is as much your enemy as mine, and you can have no cause to protect
him."

They lowered their swords and Lakor spoke.

"I know not whom you may be, with the white skin of a thern and
the black hair of a red man; but were it only Thurid whose safety
were at stake you might pass, and welcome, in so far as we be
concerned.

"Tell us who you be, and what mission calls you to this unknown
world beneath the Valley Dor, then maybe we can see our way to let
you pass upon the errand which we should like to undertake would
our orders permit."

I was surprised that neither of them had recognized me, for I
thought that I was quite sufficiently well known either by personal
experience or reputation to every thern upon Barsoom as to make my
identity immediately apparent in any part of the planet. In fact,
I was the only white man upon Mars whose hair was black and whose
eyes were gray, with the exception of my son, Carthoris.

To reveal my identity might be to precipitate an attack, for every
thern upon Barsoom knew that to me they owed the fall of their
age-old spiritual supremacy. On the other hand my reputation as
a fighting man might be sufficient to pass me by these two were
their livers not of the right complexion to welcome a battle to
the death.

To be quite candid I did not attempt to delude myself with any such
sophistry, since I knew well that upon war-like Mars there are few
cowards, and that every man, whether prince, priest, or peasant,
glories in deadly

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