Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 59

after my own heart, and that
night saw the beginning of a friendship which has grown until it
is second only to that which obtains between Tars Tarkas, the green
Jeddak of Thark, and myself.

The first burst of Mars's sudden dawn brought messengers from Kulan
Tith, summoning us to the audience chamber where Thuvan Dihn was
to receive his daughter after years of separation, and I was to
be reunited with the glorious daughter of Helium after an almost
unbroken separation of twelve years.

My heart pounded within my bosom until I looked about me in
embarrassment, so sure was I that all within the room must hear.
My arms ached to enfold once more the divine form of her whose
eternal youth and undying beauty were but outward manifestations
of a perfect soul.

At last the messenger despatched to fetch Matai Shang returned. I
craned my neck to catch the first glimpse of those who should be
following, but the messenger was alone.

Halting before the throne he addressed his jeddak in a voice that
was plainly audible to all within the chamber.

"O Kulan Tith, Mightiest of Jeddaks," he cried, after the fashion
of the court, "your messenger returns alone, for when he reached
the apartments of the Father of Therns he found them empty, as were
those occupied by his suite."

Kulan Tith went white.

A low groan burst from the lips of Thuvan Dihn who stood next me,
not having ascended the throne which awaited him beside his host.
For a moment the silence of death reigned in the great audience
chamber of Kulan Tith, Jeddak of Kaol. It was he who broke the
spell.

Rising from his throne he stepped down from the dais to the side
of Thuvan Dihn. Tears dimmed his eyes as he placed both his hands
upon the shoulders of his friend.

"O Thuvan Dihn," he cried, "that this should have happened in the
palace of thy best friend! With my own hands would I have wrung
the neck of Matai Shang had I guessed what was in his foul heart.
Last night my life-long faith was weakened--this morning it has
been shattered; but too late, too late.

"To wrest your daughter and the wife of this royal warrior from the
clutches of these archfiends you have but to command the resources
of a mighty nation, for all Kaol is at your disposal. What may be
done? Say the word!"

"First," I suggested, "let us find those of your people who
be responsible for the escape of Matai Shang and his followers.
Without assistance on the part

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