Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 6

against
the current which flowed from beneath the rocky mass behind me.

I could not imagine what might cause this strong lateral flow, for
the main channel of the river was plainly visible to me from where
I sat, and I could see the rippling junction of it and the mysterious
current which had aroused my curiosity.

While I was still speculating upon the phenomenon, my attention
was suddenly riveted upon Thurid, who had raised both palms forward
above his head in the universal salute of Martians, and a moment
later his "Kaor!" the Barsoomian word of greeting, came in low but
distinct tones.

I turned my eyes up the river in the direction that his were bent,
and presently there came within my limited range of vision a long
boat, in which were six men. Five were at the paddles, while the
sixth sat in the seat of honor.

The white skins, the flowing yellow wigs which covered their bald
pates, and the gorgeous diadems set in circlets of gold about their
heads marked them as Holy Therns.

As they drew up beside the ledge upon which Thurid awaited them,
he in the bow of the boat arose to step ashore, and then I saw that
it was none other than Matai Shang, Father of Therns.

The evident cordiality with which the two men exchanged greetings
filled me with wonder, for the black and white men of Barsoom were
hereditary enemies--nor ever before had I known of two meeting
other than in battle.

Evidently the reverses that had recently overtaken both peoples had
resulted in an alliance between these two individuals--at least
against the common enemy--and now I saw why Thurid had come so
often out into the Valley Dor by night, and that the nature of his
conspiring might be such as to strike very close to me or to my
friends.

I wished that I might have found a point closer to the two men
from which to have heard their conversation; but it was out of the
question now to attempt to cross the river, and so I lay quietly
watching them, who would have given so much to have known how close
I lay to them, and how easily they might have overcome and killed
me with their superior force.

Several times Thurid pointed across the river in my direction, but
that his gestures had any reference to me I did not for a moment
believe. Presently he and Matai Shang entered the latter's boat,
which turned out into the river and, swinging round, forged steadily
across in my direction.

As they advanced I moved

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