A Princess of Mars HTML version
He entirely omitted the usual formal salutation as we entered the presence of the jeddak,
and as he pushed me roughly before the ruler he exclaimed in a loud and menacing voice.
"I have brought a strange creature wearing the metal of a Thark whom it is my pleasure to
have battle with a wild thoat at the great games."
"He will die as Bar Comas, your jeddak, sees fit, if at all," replied the young ruler, with
emphasis and dignity.
"If at all?" roared Dak Kova. "By the dead hands at my throat but he shall die, Bar
Comas. No maudlin weakness on your part shall save him. O, would that Warhoon were
ruled by a real jeddak rather than by a water-hearted weakling from whom even old Dak
Kova could tear the metal with his bare hands!"
Bar Comas eyed the defiant and insubordinate chieftain for an instant, his expression one
of haughty, fearless contempt and hate, and then without drawing a weapon and without
uttering a word he hurled himself at the throat of his defamer.
I never before had seen two green Martian warriors battle with nature's weapons and the
exhibition of animal ferocity which ensued was as fearful a thing as the most disordered
imagination could picture. They tore at each others' eyes and ears with their hands and
with their gleaming tusks repeatedly slashed and gored until both were cut fairly to
ribbons from head to foot.
Bar Comas had much the better of the battle as he was stronger, quicker and more
intelligent. It soon seemed that the encounter was done saving only the final death thrust
when Bar Comas slipped in breaking away from a clinch. It was the one little opening
that Dak Kova needed, and hurling himself at the body of his adversary he buried his
single mighty tusk in Bar Comas' groin and with a last powerful effort ripped the young
jeddak wide open the full length of his body, the great tusk finally wedging in the bones
of Bar Comas' jaw. Victor and vanquished rolled limp and lifeless upon the moss, a huge
mass of torn and bloody flesh.
Bar Comas was stone dead, and only the most herculean efforts on the part of Dak Kova's
females saved him from the fate he deserved. Three days later he walked without
assistance to the body of Bar Comas which, by custom, had not been moved from where
it fell, and placing his foot upon the neck of his erstwhile ruler he assumed the title of
Jeddak of Warhoon.
The dead jeddak's hands and head were removed to be added to the ornaments of his
conqueror, and then his women cremated what remained, amid wild and terrible laughter.
The injuries to Dak Kova had delayed the march so greatly that it was decided to give up
the expedition, which was a raid upon a small Thark community in retaliation for the
destruction of the incubator, until after the great games, and the entire body of warriors,
ten thousand in number, turned back toward Warhoon.