A Princess of Mars HTML version

The Looting Of Zodanga
As the great gate where I stood swung open my fifty Tharks, headed by Tars Tarkas
himself, rode in upon their mighty thoats. I led them to the palace walls, which I
negotiated easily without assistance. Once inside, however, the gate gave me
considerable trouble, but I finally was rewarded by seeing it swing upon its huge hinges,
and soon my fierce escort was riding across the gardens of the jeddak of Zodanga.
As we approached the palace I could see through the great windows of the first floor into
the brilliantly illuminated audience chamber of Than Kosis. The immense hall was
crowded with nobles and their women, as though some important function was in
progress. There was not a guard in sight without the palace, due, I presume, to the fact
that the city and palace walls were considered impregnable, and so I came close and
peered within.
At one end of the chamber, upon massive golden thrones encrusted with diamonds, sat
Than Kosis and his consort, surrounded by officers and dignitaries of state. Before them
stretched a broad aisle lined on either side with soldiery, and as I looked there entered
this aisle at the far end of the hall, the head of a procession which advanced to the foot of
the throne.
First there marched four officers of the jeddak's Guard bearing a huge salver on which
reposed, upon a cushion of scarlet silk, a great golden chain with a collar and padlock at
each end. Directly behind these officers came four others carrying a similar salver which
supported the magnificent ornaments of a prince and princess of the reigning house of
At the foot of the throne these two parties separated and halted, facing each other at
opposite sides of the aisle. Then came more dignitaries, and the officers of the palace and
of the army, and finally two figures entirely muffled in scarlet silk, so that not a feature of
either was discernible. These two stopped at the foot of the throne, facing Than Kosis.
When the balance of the procession had entered and assumed their stations Than Kosis
addressed the couple standing before him. I could not hear his words, but presently two
officers advanced and removed the scarlet robe from one of the figures, and I saw that
Kantos Kan had failed in his mission, for it was Sab Than, Prince of Zodanga, who stood
revealed before me.
Than Kosis now took a set of the ornaments from one of the salvers and placed one of the
collars of gold about his son's neck, springing the padlock fast. After a few more words
addressed to Sab Than he turned to the other figure, from which the officers now
removed the enshrouding silks, disclosing to my now comprehending view Dejah Thoris,
Princess of Helium.
The object of the ceremony was clear to me; in another moment Dejah Thoris would be
joined forever to the Prince of Zodanga. It was an impressive and beautiful ceremony, I