Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 90

my left hand to my forehead, that the ring might be
visible to one who sought it. Simultaneously one of the waiting
warriors raised his left hand, ostensibly to brush back his hair,
and upon one of his fingers I saw the duplicate of my own ring.

A quick look of intelligence passed between us, after which I kept
my eyes turned away from the warrior and did not look at him again,
for fear that I might arouse the suspicion of the Okarians. When
we reached the edge of the pit I saw that it was very deep, and
presently I realized I was soon to judge just how far it extended
below the surface of the court, for he who held the rope passed it
about my body in such a way that it could be released from above
at any time; and then, as all the warriors grasped it, he pushed
me forward, and I fell into the yawning abyss.

After the first jerk as I reached the end of the rope that had
been paid out to let me fall below the pit's edge they lowered me
quickly but smoothly. The moment before the plunge, while two or
three of the men had been assisting in adjusting the rope about
me, one of them had brought his mouth close to my cheek, and in
the brief interval before I was cast into the forbidding hole he
breathed a single word into my ear:

"Courage!"

The pit, which my imagination had pictured as bottomless, proved
to be not more than a hundred feet in depth; but as its walls were
smoothly polished it might as well have been a thousand feet, for
I could never hope to escape without outside assistance.

For a day I was left in darkness; and then, quite suddenly, a
brilliant light illumined my strange cell. I was reasonably hungry
and thirsty by this time, not having tasted food or drink since
the day prior to my incarceration.

To my amazement I found the sides of the pit, that I had thought
smooth, lined with shelves, upon which were the most delicious
viands and liquid refreshments that Okar afforded.

With an exclamation of delight I sprang forward to partake of
some of the welcome food, but ere ever I reached it the light was
extinguished, and, though I groped my way about the chamber, my
hands came in contact with nothing beside the smooth, hard wall
that I had felt on my first examination of my prison.

Immediately the pangs of hunger and thirst began to

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