Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 80

before a magnificent building
on the plaza opposite the royal grounds and the palace.

Here we walked boldly in past the armed guard at the door, to be
met by a red slave within who asked our wishes.

"Tell Sorav, your master, that two warriors from Illall wish to
take service in the palace guard," I said.

Sorav, Talu had told us, was the commander of the forces of the
palace, and as men from the further cities of Okar--and especially
Illall--were less likely to be tainted with the germ of intrigue
which had for years infected the household of Salensus Oll, he was
sure that we would be welcomed and few questions asked us.

He had primed us with such general information as he thought would
be necessary for us to pass muster before Sorav, after which we would
have to undergo a further examination before Salensus Oll that he
might determine our physical fitness and our ability as warriors.

The little experience we had had with the strange hooked sword of
the yellow man and his cuplike shield made it seem rather unlikely
that either of us could pass this final test, but there was the
chance that we might be quartered in the palace of Salensus Oll
for several days after being accepted by Sorav before the Jeddak
of Jeddaks would find time to put us to the final test.

After a wait of several minutes in an ante-chamber we were summoned
into the private office of Sorav, where we were courteously greeted
by this ferocious-appearing, black-bearded officer. He asked us
our names and stations in our own city, and having received replies
that were evidently satisfactory to him, he put certain questions
to us that Talu had foreseen and prepared us for.

The interview could not have lasted over ten minutes when Sorav
summoned an aid whom he instructed to record us properly, and then
escort us to the quarters in the palace which are set aside for
aspirants to membership in the palace guard.

The aid took us to his own office first, where he measured and
weighed and photographed us simultaneously with a machine ingeniously
devised for that purpose, five copies being instantly reproduced in
five different offices of the government, two of which are located
in other cities miles distant. Then he led us through the palace
grounds to the main guardroom of the palace, there turning us over
to the officer in charge.

This individual again questioned us briefly, and finally despatched
a soldier to guide us to our quarters. These we found located upon
the second floor of

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