The Gods of Mars HTML version

Chapter 10. The Prison Isle Of Shador
In the outer gardens to which the guard now escorted me, I found Xodar surrounded by a
crowd of noble blacks. They were reviling and cursing him. The men slapped his face.
The woman spat upon him.
When I appeared they turned their attentions toward me.
"Ah," cried one, "so this is the creature who overcame the great Xodar bare-handed. Let
us see how it was done."
"Let him bind Thurid," suggested a beautiful woman, laughing. "Thurid is a noble Dator.
Let Thurid show the dog what it means to face a real man."
"Yes, Thurid! Thurid!" cried a dozen voices.
"Here he is now," exclaimed another, and turning in the direction indicated I saw a huge
black weighed down with resplendent ornaments and arms advancing with noble and
gallant bearing toward us.
"What now?" he cried. "What would you of Thurid?"
Quickly a dozen voices explained.
Thurid turned toward Xodar, his eyes narrowing to two nasty slits.
"Calot!" he hissed. "Ever did I think you carried the heart of a sorak in your putrid breast.
Often have you bested me in the secret councils of Issus, but now in the field of war
where men are truly gauged your scabby heart hath revealed its sores to all the world.
Calot, I spurn you with my foot," and with the words he turned to kick Xodar.
My blood was up. For minutes it had been boiling at the cowardly treatment they had
been according this once powerful comrade because he had fallen from the favour of
Issus. I had no love for Xodar, but I cannot stand the sight of cowardly injustice and
persecution without seeing red as through a haze of bloody mist, and doing things on the
impulse of the moment that I presume I never should do after mature deliberation.
I was standing close beside Xodar as Thurid swung his foot for the cowardly kick. The
degraded Dator stood erect and motionless as a carven image. He was prepared to take
whatever his former comrades had to offer in the way of insults and reproaches, and take
them in manly silence and stoicism.
But as Thurid's foot swung so did mine, and I caught him a painful blow upon the shin
bone that saved Xodar from this added ignominy.