The Gods of Mars HTML version

Chapter 5. Corridors Of Peril
How long I slept upon the floor of the storeroom I do not know, but it must have been
many hours.
I was awakened with a start by cries of alarm, and scarce were my eyes opened, nor had I
yet sufficiently collected my wits to quite realize where I was, when a fusillade of shots
rang out, reverberating through the subterranean corridors in a series of deafening echoes.
In an instant I was upon my feet. A dozen lesser therns confronted us from a large
doorway at the opposite end of the storeroom from which we had entered. About me lay
the bodies of my companions, with the exception of Thuvia and Tars Tarkas, who, like
myself, had been asleep upon the floor and thus escaped the first raking fire.
As I gained my feet the therns lowered their wicked rifles, their faces distorted in mingled
chagrin, consternation, and alarm.
Instantly I rose to the occasion.
"What means this?" I cried in tones of fierce anger. "Is Sator Throg to be murdered by his
own vassals?"
"Have mercy, O Master of the Tenth Cycle!" cried one of the fellows, while the others
edged toward the doorway as though to attempt a surreptitious escape from the presence
of the mighty one.
"Ask them their mission here," whispered Thuvia at my elbow.
"What do you here, fellows?" I cried.
"Two from the outer world are at large within the dominions of the therns. We sought
them at the command of the Father of Therns. One was white with black hair, the other a
huge green warrior," and here the fellow cast a suspicious glance toward Tars Tarkas.
"Here, then, is one of them," spoke Thuvia, indicating the Thark, "and if you will look
upon this dead man by the door perhaps you will recognize the other. It was left for Sator
Throg and his poor slaves to accomplish what the lesser therns of the guard were unable
to do--we have killed one and captured the other; for this had Sator Throg given us our
liberty. And now in your stupidity have you come and killed all but myself, and like to
have killed the mighty Sator Throg himself."
The men looked very sheepish and very scared.
"Had they not better throw these bodies to the plant men and then return to their quarters,
O Mighty One?" asked Thuvia of me.