Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 55

adversaries.

It was the visiting jeddak.

"Hold!" he cried. "If you value my friendship, Kulan Tith, and the
age-old peace that has existed between our peoples, call off your
swordsmen; for wherever or against whomsoever fights John Carter,
Prince of Helium, there beside him and to the death fights Thuvan
Dihn, Jeddak of Ptarth."

The shouting ceased and the menacing points were lowered as a
thousand eyes turned first toward Thuvan Dihn in surprise and then
toward Kulan Tith in question. At first the Jeddak of Kaol went
white in rage, but before he spoke he had mastered himself, so
that his tone was calm and even as befitted intercourse between
two great jeddaks.

"Thuvan Dihn," he said slowly, "must have great provocation thus
to desecrate the ancient customs which inspire the deportment of
a guest within the palace of his host. Lest I, too, should forget
myself as has my royal friend, I should prefer to remain silent
until the Jeddak of Ptarth has won from me applause for his action
by relating the causes which provoked it."

I could see that the Jeddak of Ptarth was of half a mind to throw
his metal in Kulan Tith's face, but he controlled himself even as
well as had his host.

"None knows better than Thuvan Dihn," he said, "the laws which govern
the acts of men in the domains of their neighbors; but Thuvan Dihn
owes allegiance to a higher law than these--the law of gratitude.
Nor to any man upon Barsoom does he owe a greater debt of gratitude
than to John Carter, Prince of Helium.

"Years ago, Kulan Tith," he continued, "upon the occasion of your
last visit to me, you were greatly taken with the charms and graces
of my only daughter, Thuvia. You saw how I adored her, and later
you learned that, inspired by some unfathomable whim, she had
taken the last, long, voluntary pilgrimage upon the cold bosom of
the mysterious Iss, leaving me desolate.

"Some months ago I first heard of the expedition which John Carter
had led against Issus and the Holy Therns. Faint rumors of the
atrocities reported to have been committed by the therns upon those
who for countless ages have floated down the mighty Iss came to my
ears.

"I heard that thousands of prisoners had been released, few of
whom dared to return to their own countries owing to the mandate of
terrible death which rests against all who return from the Valley
Dor.

"For a time I could not believe the heresies which I heard, and
I prayed that my daughter Thuvia might have

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