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The Gods of Mars

Chapter 6. The Black Pirates Of Barsoom
"What is it?" I asked of the girl.
For answer she pointed to the sky.
I looked, and there, above us, I saw shadowy bodies flitting hither and thither high over
temple, court, and garden.
Almost immediately flashes of light broke from these strange objects. There was a roar of
musketry, and then answering flashes and roars from temple and rampart.
"The black pirates of Barsoom, O Prince," said Thuvia.
In great circles the air craft of the marauders swept lower and lower toward the defending
forces of the therns.
Volley after volley they vomited upon the temple guards; volley on volley crashed
through the thin air toward the fleeting and illusive fliers.
As the pirates swooped closer toward the ground, thern soldiery poured from the temples
into the gardens and courts. The sight of them in the open brought a score of fliers darting
toward us from all directions.
The therns fired upon them through shields affixed to their rifles, but on, steadily on,
came the grim, black craft. They were small fliers for the most part, built for two to three
men. A few larger ones there were, but these kept high aloft dropping bombs upon the
temples from their keel batteries.
At length, with a concerted rush, evidently in response to a signal of command, the
pirates in our immediate vicinity dashed recklessly to the ground in the very midst of the
thern soldiery.
Scarcely waiting for their craft to touch, the creatures manning them leaped among the
therns with the fury of demons. Such fighting! Never had I witnessed its like before. I had
thought the green Martians the most ferocious warriors in the universe, but the awful
abandon with which the black pirates threw themselves upon their foes transcended
everything I ever before had seen.
Beneath the brilliant light of Mars' two glorious moons the whole scene presented itself
in vivid distinctness. The golden- haired, white-skinned therns battling with desperate
courage in hand-to-hand conflict with their ebony-skinned foemen.
Here a little knot of struggling warriors trampled a bed of gorgeous pimalia; there the
curved sword of a black man found the heart of a thern and left its dead foeman at the
 
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