A Princess of Mars HTML version
Battling In The Arena
Slowly I regained my composure and finally essayed again to attempt to remove the keys
from the dead body of my former jailer. But as I reached out into the darkness to locate it
I found to my horror that it was gone. Then the truth flashed on me; the owners of those
gleaming eyes had dragged my prize away from me to be devoured in their neighboring
lair; as they had been waiting for days, for weeks, for months, through all this awful
eternity of my imprisonment to drag my dead carcass to their feast.
For two days no food was brought me, but then a new messenger appeared and my
incarceration went on as before, but not again did I allow my reason to be submerged by
the horror of my position.
Shortly after this episode another prisoner was brought in and chained near me. By the
dim torch light I saw that he was a red Martian and I could scarcely await the departure of
his guards to address him. As their retreating footsteps died away in the distance, I called
out softly the Martian word of greeting, kaor.
"Who are you who speaks out of the darkness?" he answered
"John Carter, a friend of the red men of Helium."
"I am of Helium," he said, "but I do not recall your name."
And then I told him my story as I have written it here, omitting only any reference to my
love for Dejah Thoris. He was much excited by the news of Helium's princess and
seemed quite positive that she and Sola could easily have reached a point of safety from
where they left me. He said that he knew the place well because the defile through which
the Warhoon warriors had passed when they discovered us was the only one ever used by
them when marching to the south.
"Dejah Thoris and Sola entered the hills not five miles from a great waterway and are
now probably quite safe," he assured me.
My fellow prisoner was Kantos Kan, a padwar (lieutenant) in the navy of Helium. He had
been a member of the ill-fated expedition which had fallen into the hands of the Tharks at
the time of Dejah Thoris' capture, and he briefly related the events which followed the
defeat of the battleships.
Badly injured and only partially manned they had limped slowly toward Helium, but
while passing near the city of Zodanga, the capital of Helium's hereditary enemies among
the red men of Barsoom, they had been attacked by a great body of war vessels and all
but the craft to which Kantos Kan belonged were either destroyed or captured. His vessel
was chased for days by three of the Zodangan war ships but finally escaped during the
darkness of a moonless night.