Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 53

"Come!"




NEW ALLIES


Surrounded by guardsmen I marched back along the corridors of the
palace of Kulan Tith, Jeddak of Kaol, to the great audience chamber
in the center of the massive structure.

As I entered the brilliantly lighted apartment, filled with the
nobles of Kaol and the officers of the visiting jeddak, all eyes
were turned upon me. Upon the great dais at the end of the chamber
stood three thrones, upon which sat Kulan Tith and his two guests,
Matai Shang, and the visiting jeddak.

Up the broad center aisle we marched beneath deadly silence, and
at the foot of the thrones we halted.

"Prefer thy charge," said Kulan Tith, turning to one who stood
among the nobles at his right; and then Thurid, the black dator of
the First Born, stepped forward and faced me.

"Most noble Jeddak," he said, addressing Kulan Tith, "from the first
I suspected this stranger within thy palace. Your description of
his fiendish prowess tallied with that of the arch-enemy of truth
upon Barsoom.

"But that there might be no mistake I despatched a priest of your
own holy cult to make the test that should pierce his disguise and
reveal the truth. Behold the result!" and Thurid pointed a rigid
finger at my forehead.

All eyes followed the direction of that accusing digit--I alone
seemed at a loss to guess what fatal sign rested upon my brow.

The officer beside me guessed my perplexity; and as the brows of
Kulan Tith darkened in a menacing scowl as his eyes rested upon
me, the noble drew a small mirror from his pocket-pouch and held
it before my face.

One glance at the reflection it gave back to me was sufficient.

From my forehead the hand of the sneaking thern had reached out
through the concealing darkness of my bed-chamber and wiped away a
patch of the disguising red pigment as broad as my palm. Beneath
showed the tanned texture of my own white skin.

For a moment Thurid ceased speaking, to enhance, I suspect, the
dramatic effect of his disclosure. Then he resumed.

"Here, O Kulan Tith," he cried, "is he who has desecrated the temples of
the Gods of Mars, who has violated the persons of the Holy Therns
themselves and turned a world against its age-old religion. Before
you, in your power, Jeddak of Kaol, Defender of the Holies, stands
John Carter, Prince of Helium!"

Kulan Tith looked toward Matai Shang as though for corroboration
of these charges. The Holy Thern nodded his head.

"It is indeed the arch-blasphemer," he said. "Even now he

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