Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 77

to the scrap-heap at the shaft's base.

With her fell a shower of her own tiny fliers, for each of them
had come in violent collision with the solid shaft.

I noticed that the wrecked fliers scraped down the shaft's side,
and that their fall was not as rapid as might have been expected;
and then suddenly the secret of the shaft burst upon me, and with
it an explanation of the cause that prevented a flier that passed
too far across the ice-barrier ever returning.

The shaft was a mighty magnet, and when once a vessel came within
the radius of its powerful attraction for the aluminum steel that
enters so largely into the construction of all Barsoomian craft,
no power on earth could prevent such an end as we had just witnessed.

I afterward learned that the shaft rests directly over the magnetic
pole of Mars, but whether this adds in any way to its incalculable
power of attraction I do not know. I am a fighting man, not a
scientist.

Here, at last, was an explanation of the long absence of Tardos Mors
and Mors Kajak. These valiant and intrepid warriors had dared the
mysteries and dangers of the frozen north to search for Carthoris,
whose long absence had bowed in grief the head of his beautiful
mother, Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium.

The moment that the last of the fliers came to rest at the base of
the shaft the black-bearded, yellow warriors swarmed over the mass
of wreckage upon which they lay, making prisoners of those who were
uninjured and occasionally despatching with a sword-thrust one of
the wounded who seemed prone to resent their taunts and insults.

A few of the uninjured red men battled bravely against their cruel
foes, but for the most part they seemed too overwhelmed by the
horror of the catastrophe that had befallen them to do more than
submit supinely to the golden chains with which they were manacled.

When the last of the prisoners had been confined, the party
returned to the city, at the gate of which we met a pack of fierce,
gold-collared apts, each of which marched between two warriors,
who held them with strong chains of the same metal as their collars.

Just beyond the gate the attendants loosened the whole terrible
herd, and as they bounded off toward the grim, black shaft I did
not need to ask to know their mission. Had there not been those
within the cruel city of Kadabra who needed succor far worse than
the poor unfortunate dead and dying out there in

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