Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 69

nearly every one of them. Once a month
they sleep for a full day, and it was our good fortune to stumble
by accident upon one of these occasions.

Beyond the last cave we emerged into a desolate country of snow
and ice, but found a well-marked trail leading north. The way was
boulder-strewn, as had been that south of the barrier, so that we
could see but a short distance ahead of us at any time.

After a couple of hours we passed round a huge boulder to come to
a steep declivity leading down into a valley.

Directly before us we saw a half dozen men--fierce, black-bearded
fellows, with skins the color of a ripe lemon.

"The yellow men of Barsoom!" ejaculated Thuvan Dihn, as though
even now that he saw them he found it scarce possible to believe
that the very race we expected to find hidden in this remote and
inaccessible land did really exist.

We withdrew behind an adjacent boulder to watch the actions of
the little party, which stood huddled at the foot of another huge
rock, their backs toward us.

One of them was peering round the edge of the granite mass as though
watching one who approached from the opposite side.

Presently the object of his scrutiny came within the range of my
vision and I saw that it was another yellow man. All were clothed
in magnificent furs--the six in the black and yellow striped hide
of the orluk, while he who approached alone was resplendent in the
pure white skin of an apt.

The yellow men were armed with two swords, and a short javelin
was slung across the back of each, while from their left arms hung
cuplike shields no larger than a dinner plate, the concave sides
of which turned outward toward an antagonist.

They seemed puny and futile implements of safety against an even
ordinary swordsman, but I was later to see the purpose of them and
with what wondrous dexterity the yellow men manipulate them.

One of the swords which each of the warriors carried caught
my immediate attention. I call it a sword, but really it was a
sharp-edged blade with a complete hook at the far end.

The other sword was of about the same length as the hooked instrument,
and somewhere between that of my long-sword and my short-sword.
It was straight and two-edged. In addition to the weapons I have
enumerated each man carried a dagger in his harness.

As the white-furred one approached, the six grasped their swords
more firmly--the hooked instrument in the left hand,

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