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Volume 1316a
A Graphic Interpretation of
Edgar Rice Burroughs'
A Princess of Mars
James Killian Spratt
CHAPTER 15 ~ Pt 2
Sola Tells Me Her Story . . . (continued)
We camped that night
near the foothills 
which bound the ancient, 
moss-covered sea bottom,
and after my evening meal of
cheese-like food and 
vegetable milk, 
I sought out Sola, 
who was working by torchlight 
on some of Tars Tarkas' gear. 
Her face lit with pleasure and 
welcome as I approached.


"I am so glad you came." she said;
"Dejah Thoris sleeps and I am lonely."

"Mine own people do not care for me, 
John Carter; 
I am too unlike them. 
It makes me so sad, 
to live among them, 
without love,
without hope--
I who have known love,
and now am lost."

"I promised to tell you of my parents. 
Among your people 
their tale would not be strange, I think, 
but among the green Martians 
it has no precedent, 
nor many in our oldest legends. 
My mother was rather small....

--too small to be permitted a fertile egg,
caring little for the cold 
companionship of the other women, 
she often roamed the hills alone,


enjoying the flora and fauna,


-thinking and dreaming
among the wildflowers, 
and wishing things which 
I think I alone may understand, 
for I am my mother's daughter, 
am I not?

And there among the hills one day 
she met a young warrior, 
guarding the feeding zitidars and thoats 
to see that they roamed 
not beyond the hills...

And they talked, 
lightly at first, 
and met often in the hills,
and gradually more often, 
and it became clear 
to both of them over time, 
no longer by chance. 
They talked of themselves, 
their likes, their ambitions 
and their hopes.

She came to trust him, 
and told him of her repugnance 
for the cruelties of their kind,
fearful of the storm of denunciation 
to break from his lips;
but instead he took her in his arms 
and kissed her.


They kept their love a secret 
for six long years. 
Had they been discovered, 
they would both have 
paid the penalty in the arena, 
for defecting 
from the traditions of Thark. 
My mother was of
the retinue of Tal Hajus, 
and her lover a simple warrior, 
on his own. 
Then came the egg.

The egg from which I came 
was hidden beneath a great glass vessel 
upon the highest and most inaccessible 
of the partially ruined towers 
of ancient Thark. 
Once each year my mother visited 
for the five long years it incubated. 
My father swore 
to someday become Jeddak--
to change the evil custom, 
and claim his family for his own.

My father gained rapid rank, 
but was sent off to war 
in the far ice-clad south 
for four long years, 
in the fourth year of my incubation. 
Tharks do not labor 
for what they can steal 
from others by war. 
My egg hatched, 
fortunately at near the same time
as a new hundred of the tribe, 
but by the time he returned, 
he was three years too late to save my mother.

My mother visited me nightly
in the old tower, 
teaching me the language and 
customs of our kind, 
the secret of my birth, 
and the need for it to remain secret. 
And she lavished me with love, 
and one night,
whispered to me my father's name--
then a light flashed out of the darkness--

In a frenzy of loathing and contempt,
poured a torrent of 
hatred and abuse upon my mother, 
demanding the name of her partner in sin, 
then hastening away 
to tell Tal Hajus of her crime.

Then my poor mother,
in a panic of fear and desperation, 
gathered me in nightclothes and 
fled madly southward, 
toward the man she loved,
who could not aid her, 
to see his face once more
before she died.

At the edge of the city 
we heard a coming caravan--
vain hope my father's expedition 
had returned--but no, 
it was the incubator caravan, 
bearing home the young new Tharks. 
Instantly her plan was formed.

In the confusion of 
the arriving procession, 
with one last kiss, 
she slipped me quickly 
onto one of the chariots, 
effectively mixing me in
with the other new children. 
She knew, what I did not--that--

--I would never see my mother again.

Sarkoja reported us, and 
Tal Hajus gleefully, 
brutally had her tortured 
to find out my father's name, 
horribly, shamefully, 
but she remained steadfast 
until, at last, amid their laughter, 
in silent agony, she died.

Upon hearing Tal Hajus' laughing account 
of my mother's death throes, 
years later, my father instantly 
became the cruelest of the cruel, 
and I know that he but awaits the day 
he may challenge Tal Hajus, 
and wreak his vengeance 
upon the one who killed the love 
that transfigured him forty years ago.

"Sarkoja may suspect who I am; 
my father knows it not. 
I alone know his name. 
And we talk while sensible people sleep, 
John Carter."  Sola said.

I asked, "And your father, 
Sola, is he with us now?"

She was silent for a time, wrapped in gloom,
and I in pity for these sad people.

Presently she spoke: 
"John Carter, 
I know that if ever were a real man, 
it is you,
and also that a Virginia gentleman
can lie to save others from suffering. 
So if the time comes, 
speak the truth if it seems best to you. 

My father's name is Tars Tarkas."

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