A Princess of Mars HTML version

From Joy To Death
For ten days the hordes of Thark and their wild allies were feasted and entertained, and,
then, loaded with costly presents and escorted by ten thousand soldiers of Helium
commanded by Mors Kajak, they started on the return journey to their own lands. The jed
of lesser Helium with a small party of nobles accompanied them all the way to Thark to
cement more closely the new bonds of peace and friendship.
Sola also accompanied Tars Tarkas, her father, who before all his chieftains had
acknowledged her as his daughter.
Three weeks later, Mors Kajak and his officers, accompanied by Tars Tarkas and Sola,
returned upon a battleship that had been dispatched to Thark to fetch them in time for the
ceremony which made Dejah Thoris and John Carter one.
For nine years I served in the councils and fought in the armies of Helium as a prince of
the house of Tardos Mors. The people seemed never to tire of heaping honors upon me,
and no day passed that did not bring some new proof of their love for my princess, the
incomparable Dejah Thoris.
In a golden incubator upon the roof of our palace lay a snow-white egg. For nearly five
years ten soldiers of the jeddak's Guard had constantly stood over it, and not a day passed
when I was in the city that Dejah Thoris and I did not stand hand in hand before our little
shrine planning for the future, when the delicate shell should break.
Vivid in my memory is the picture of the last night as we sat there talking in low tones of
the strange romance which had woven our lives together and of this wonder which was
coming to augment our happiness and fulfill our hopes.
In the distance we saw the bright-white light of an approaching airship, but we attached
no special significance to so common a sight. Like a bolt of lightning it raced toward
Helium until its very speed bespoke the unusual.
Flashing the signals which proclaimed it a dispatch bearer for the jeddak, it circled
impatiently awaiting the tardy patrol boat which must convoy it to the palace docks.
Ten minutes after it touched at the palace a message called me to the council chamber,
which I found filling with the members of that body.
On the raised platform of the throne was Tardos Mors, pacing back and forth with tense-
drawn face. When all were in their seats he turned toward us.
"This morning," he said, "word reached the several governments of Barsoom that the
keeper of the atmosphere plant had made no wireless report for two days, nor had almost
ceaseless calls upon him from a score of capitals elicited a sign of response.