The Chessmen of Mars HTML version

Chapter 2. At The Gale's Mercy
TARA of Helium did not return to her father's guests, but awaited in her own apartments
the word from Djor Kantos which she knew must come, begging her to return to the
gardens. She would then refuse, haughtily. But no appeal came from Djor Kantos. At first
Tara of Helium was angry, then she was hurt, and always she was puzzled. She could not
understand. Occasionally she thought of the Jed of Gathol and then she would stamp her
foot, for she was very angry indeed with Gahan. The presumption of the man! He had
insinuated that he read love for him in her eyes. Never had she been so insulted and
humiliated. Never had she so thoroughly hated a man. Suddenly she turned toward Uthia.
"My flying leather!" she commanded.
"But the guests!" exclaimed the slave girl. "Your father, The Warlord, will expect you to
"He will be disappointed," snapped Tara of Helium.
The slave hesitated. "He does not approve of your flying alone," she reminded her
The young princess sprang to her feet and seized the unhappy slave by the shoulders,
shaking her. "You are becoming unbearable, Uthia," she cried. "Soon there will be no
alternative than to send you to the public slave-market. Then possibly you will find a
master to your liking."
Tears came to the soft eyes of the slave girl. "It is because I love you, my princess," she
said softly. Tara of Helium melted. She took the slave in her arms and kissed her.
"I have the disposition of a thoat, Uthia," she said. "Forgive me! I love you and there is
nothing that I would not do for you and nothing would I do to harm you. Again, as I have
so often in the past, I offer you your freedom."
"I do not wish my freedom if it will separate me from you, Tara of Helium," replied
Uthia. "I am happy here with you--I think that I should die without you."
Again the girls kissed. "And you will not fly alone, then?" questioned the slave.
Tara of Helium laughed and pinched her companion. "You persistent little pest," she
cried. "Of course I shall fly--does not Tara of Helium always do that which pleases her?"
Uthia shook her head sorrowfully. "Alas! she does," she admitted. "Iron is the Warlord of
Barsoom to the influences of all but two. In the hands of Dejah Thoris and Tara of
Helium he is as potters' clay."