THE GREEN HORDES OF MARS
The Eleventh Runner-Up in the Seven Wonders
Woodrow Edgar Nichols, Jr.
E) The Torquasians and the Thurds
The Torquasians and the Thurds are two more hordes that like
the Tharks and Warhoons, are bitter rivals of each other, or as ERB states
in the Glossary at the end of Thuvia, Maid of Mars – the next story
after the opening trilogy in the Barsoomian Mythos – Torquas is "a green
horde," and the Thurds are "a green horde inimical to Torquas." But unlike
the Tharks and the Warhoons, who haunted at least three ancient sea bottoms
around Zodanga and Helium, the Torquas and the Thurds haunt the ancient
sea bottom of the mighty Throxeus, greatest of the Martian oceans.
The Torquas specifically haunt the ancient city of the Lotharians, the
survivors of the ancient sailing race of white skinned auburn haired people,
as well as ancient cities lying on the outskirts of their territory, like
Aaanthor. It is here where we meet our first Torquasian, a lone jed chieftan
out on a lone mission of despoiling a Thurd incubator, Thar Ban.
“As Thar Ban rode noiselessly up the
broad avenue which leads from the quays of Aaanthor to the great central
plaza, he and his mount might have been mistaken for spectres from a world
of dreams, so grotesque the man and beast, so soundless the great thoats
padded, nailless feet upon the moss-grown flagging of the ancient pavement.
We can reasonably surmise from the data presented that Aaanthor was in
the territory of the Thurds, since it was the country “of the enemy.” It
is hard to say what Thar Ban’s lone mission might signify, since he is
a jed, since it seems like a mission a jed would have delegated to one
of lower authority. To go by himself would have almost be a certain suicide
mission if he were to be intercepted by his enemies. I think we can safely
assume that what we have in Thar Ban is a very brave, extremely enterprising
Torquasian, to wit, an adventurer.
“The man was a splendid specimen of his race.
Fully fifteen feet towered his great height from sole to pate. The moonlight
glistened against his glossy hide, sparkling the jewels of his heavy harness
and the ornaments that weighted his four muscular arms, while the upcurving
tusks that protruded from his lower jaw gleamed white and terrible.
“At the side of his thoat were slung his long
radium rifle and his great, forty-foot, metal-shod spear, while from his
own harness depended his long-sword and his short-sword, as well as his
“His protruding eyes and antennae-like ears were
turning constantly hither and thither, for Thar Ban was yet in the country
of the enemy, and, too, there was always the menace of the great white
apes, which, John Carter was wont to say, are the only creatures that can
arouse in the breasts of these fierce denizens of the dead sea-bottoms
even the remotest semblance of fear.
“As the rider neared the plaza, he reined suddenly
in. His slender, tubular ears pointed rigidly forward. An unwonted sound
had reached them. Voices! And where there were voices, outside of Torquas,
there, too, were enemies. All the world of wide Barsoom contained naught
but enemies for the fierce Torquasians.” (TMM/4.)
This latter trait seems to come out in his response to the sight of
Thuvia when he first sees her in the streets of Aaanthor conversing with
another red man.
“Here was a captive worth having! Seldom
did a female of their hereditary enemies fall to the lot of a green man.
Thar Ban licked his thin lips.” (TMM/4.)
He seizes the girl, shoots several Red warriors with his rifle, and takes
off with Thuvia on his Thoat, just as Carthoris arrives overhead in his
one-man flier, but before he can rescue Thuvia, the remaining Red warriors
attack him and he must first fend them off. He fights them off, gets back
into his flier to pursue Thar Ban, but the red warriors get off a lucky
shot and damage his craft. He crash-lands with only a vague idea of the
direction Thar Ban had taken Thuvia.
When he catches up, he sees a strange ancient city and on the plain
before it, he witnesses Thuvia being presented to the Jeddak of the Torquasians
on a large raised platform.
“But what city could it be? His studies
had taught him that in this littleexplored portion of Barsoom the fierce
tribe of the Torquasian green men ruled supreme, and that as yet no red
man had succeeded in piercing to the heart of their domain to return again
to the world of civilization.
This is deja vu all over again, that is, if we recall that a very similar
scene played out between a young greeen warrior and Dejah Thoris. But when
the youngster struck Dejah Thoris a cruel blow across the face with his
metal-banded arm, the audience of Tharks was silent in contemplation. Dejah
Thoris’ skill in oratory had made the leading chieftans really think about
“The men of Torquas had perfected huge guns with
which their uncanny marksmanship had permitted them to repulse the few
determined efforts that nearby red nations had made to explore their country
by means of battle fleets of airships.
“That he was within the boundary of Torquas, Carthoris
was sure, but that there existed there such a wondrous city he never had
dreamed, nor had the chronicles of the past even hinted at such a possibility,
for the Torquasians were known to live, as did the other green of Mars,
within the deserted cities that dotted the dying planet, nor ever had any
green horde ever built so much as a single edifice, other than the low-walled
incubators where their young are hatched by the sun’s heat.
“The encircling camp of green warriors lay about
five hundred yards from the city’s walls. Between it and the city was no
semblance of breastwork or other protection against rifle or cannon fire;
yet distinctly now in the light of the rising sun Carthoris could see many
figures moving along the summit of the high wall, and upon the roof tops
“That they were beings like himself he was sure,
although they were at too great distance from him for him to be positive
that they were red men.
“Almost immediately after sunrise the green warriors
commenced firing upon the little figures upon the wall. To Carthoris’ surprise
the fire was not returned, but presently the last of the city’s inhabitants
sought shelter from the weird marksmanship of the green men, and no further
sign of life was visible beyond the wall.
“Then Carthoris, keeping within the shelter of
the trees that fringed the plain, began circling the rear of the besiegers’
line, hoping against hope that somewhere he would obtain sight of Thuvia
of Ptarth, for even now he could not believe that she was dead.
“That he was not discovered was a miracle, for
mounted warriors were constantly riding back and forth from camp into the
forest; but the long day wore on and still he continued his seemingly fruitless
quest, until, near sunset, he came opposite a mighty gate in the city’s
“Here seemed to be the principle force of the
attacking horde. Here a great platform had been erected whereon Carthoris
could see squatting a huge green warrior, surrounded by others of his kind.
“This, then, must be the notorious Hortan Gur,
Jeddak of Torquas, the fierce old ogre of the south-western hemisphere,
as only for a jeddak are platforms raised in temporary camps or upon the
march by the green hordes of Barsoom.
“As the Heliumite watched he saw another green
warrior push his way forward toward the rostrum. Beside him he dragged
a captive, and as the surrounding warriors parted to let the two pass,
Carthoris caught a fleeting glimpse of the prisoner.
“His heart leaped in rejoicing. Thuvia of Ptarth
“It was with difficulty that Carthoris restrained
the impulse to rush forward to the side of the Ptarthian princess; but
in the end his better judgment prevailed, for in the face of such odds
he knew that he should have been throwing away, uselessly, any future opportunity
he might have to succour her.
“He saw her dragged to the foot of the rostrum.
He saw Hortan Gur address her. He could not hear the creature’s words,
nor Thuvia’s reply; but it must have angered the green monster, for Carthoris
saw him leap toward the prisoner, striking her a cruel blow across the
face with his metal-banded arm.
“Then the son of John Carter, Jeddak of Jeddaks,
Warlord of Barsoom, went mad. The old blood-red haze through which his
sire had glared at countless foes, floated before his eyes.
“His half-Earthly muscles, responding quickly
to his will, sent him in enormous leaps and bounds toward the green monster
that had struck the woman he loved.
“The Torquasians were not looking in the direction
of the forest. All eyes had been upon the figures of the girl and their
jeddak, and loud was the hideous laughter that rang out in appreciation
of the wit of the green emperors’ reply to his prisoner’s appeal for liberty.”
How Carthoris was able to discern that Thuvia’s reply had been an appeal
to liberty when he specifically states earlier that they were to far away
to hear, is anyone’s guess. I had naturally imagined the haughty princess
insulting Hortan Gur for the horrible way they had treated her, so it was
with a little surprise and some doubt when I read that Carthoris assumed
her reply was an
appeal for liberty. But, we must recall that Thuvia is the woman he
loves, a woman with quite a scandalous past, and he does his best at spin-doctoring.
After all, I very much doubt that Hortan Gur's response of belting her
across the face would have been provoked by a mere appeal to liberty.
Anyway, the Torquasians are interrupted by someone in the city opening
“The green warriors looked nervously
this way and that. They knew not fear, as Earth men may know it; but in
the face of the unusual their wonted selfassurance deserted them.
The Torquasians disappear for awhile after the battle, giving Carthoris
and Thuvia time to have their adventures with the Lotharians. When they
meet the Jeddak of Lothar, we are given some more scant information about
the Torquasians as the Jeddak speaks:
“And then the great gate in the city wall opposite
the platform of Hortan Gur swung suddenly wide. From it issued as strange
a sight as Carthoris had ever witnessed, though at the moment he had time
to cast but a single fleeting glance at the tall bowmen emerging through
the portal behind their long, oval shields; to note their flowing auburn
hair; and to realize that the growling things at their side were fierce
“Then he was in the midst of the astonished Torquasians.
With drawn long-sword he was among them, and to Thuvia of Ptarth, whose
startled eyes were the first to fall upon him, it seemed that she was looking
upon John Carter himself, so strangely similar to the fighting of the father
was that of the son.
“Even to the famous fighting smile of the Virginian
was the resemblance. And the sword arm! Ah, the subtleness of it, and the
“All about was turmoil and confusion. Green warriors
were leaping to the backs of their restive, squealing, thoats. Calots were
growling out their savage gutterals, whining to be at the thoats of the
“Thar Ban and another by the side of the rostrum
had been the first to note the coming of Carthoris, and it was with them
he battled for possession of the red girl, while the others hastened to
meet the host advancing from the beleagured city.
“Carthoris fought both to defend Thuvia of Ptarth
and reach the side of the hideous Hortan Gur that he might avenge the blow
the creature had struck the girl.
“He succeeded in reaching the rostrum, over the
dead bodies of two warriors who had turned to join Thar Ban and his companion
in repulsing this adventurous red man, just as Hortan Gur was about to
leap from it to the back of his thoat.
“The attention of the green warriors turned principally
upon the bowmen advancing upon them from the city, and upon the savage
banths that paced beside them – cruel beasts of war, infinitely more terrible
than their own savage calots.
“As Carthoris leaped to the rostrum he drew Thuvia
up beside him, and then he turned upon the departing jeddak with an angry
challenge and a sword thurst.
“As the Heliumite’s point pricked his green hide,
Hortan Gur turned upon his adversary with a snarl, but at the same instant
two of his chieftans called to him to hasten, for the charge of the fair-skinned
inhabitants of the city was developing into a more serious matter than
the Torquasians had anticipated.
“Instead of remaining to battle with the red man,
Hortan Gur promised him his attention after he had disposed of the presumptuous
citizens of the walled city, and, leaping astride his thoat, galloped off
to meet the rapidly advancing bowmen.
“The other warriors quickly followed their jeddak,
leaving Thuvia and Carthoris alone upon the platform.
“Between them and the city raged a terrible battle.
The fair-skinned warriors, armed only with their long bows, and a kind
of short-handled war-axe, were almost helpless beneath the savage mounted
green men at close quarters; but at a distance their sharp arrows did fully
as much execution as the radium projectiles of the green men.
“But if the warriors themselves were outclassed,
not so their strange companions, the fierce banths. Scarce had the two
lines come together when hundreds of those appalling creatures had leaped
among the Torquasians, dragging warriors from their thoats – dragging down
the huge thoats themselves, and bringing consternation to all before them.
“The numbers of the citizenry, too, was to their
advantage, for it seemed that scarce a warrior fell but his place was taken
by a score more, in such a constant stream did they pour from the city’s
“And so it came, what with the ferocity of the
banths and the numbers of the bowmen, and at last the Torquasians fell
back, until presently the platform upon which stood Carthoris and Thuvia
lay directly in the center of the fight.
“That neither was struck by a bullet or an arrow
seemed a miracle to both; but at last the tide had rolled completely past
them, so that they were alone between the fighters and the city, except
for the dying and the dead, and a score or so of growling banths, less
well trained than their fellows, who prowled among the corpses seeking
“‘I know nothing beyond the Lotharian
hills,’ he said. ‘Naught may live there beside the hideous green hordes
of Torquas. They have conquered all Barsoom except this single valley and
the city of Lothar. Here we have defied them for countless ages, though
periodically they renew their attempts to destroy us. From whence you come
I cannot guess unless you be descended from the slaves the Torquasians
captured in early times when they reduced the outer world to their vassalage;
but we have heard that they destroyed all other races but their own.’
The Torquasians next appear as Thuvia, escorted by the great banth Komal,
and Carthoris, escorted by the newly incarnated Lotharian bowman Kar Komak,
who is naked and unarmed – just like John Carter on his first two advents
on Mars – a score of thoat-mounted Torquasians, and a couple of Dusarian
airships all collide at the same time just outside of Aaanthor. Carthoris
calls Thuivia “his princess” and quickly realizes his mistake, since she
is betrothed to another:
“Carthoris tried to explain that the Torquasians
ruled but a relatively tiny part of the surface of Barsoom, and even this
only because their domain held nothing to attract the red race; but the
Lotharian could not seem to conceive of anything beyond the valley of Lothar
other than a trackless waste peopled by the ferocious green hordes of Torquas.”
“‘Forgive me!’ said the man in a low
voice. ‘Let my great love be my excuse – that, and the belief that I have
but a moment more of life,’ and with the words he turned to meet the foremost
of the green warriors.
Carthoris stumbles into Aaanthor, then through building after building,
street after street, in a daze, as if there were no great white ape threat,
paying no attention to his surroundings. However, the eyes of a Torquasian
squad pay close attention to his route and finally surprise him.
“The fellow was charging with couched spear, but
Carthoris leaped to one side, and as the great thoat and its rider hurled
harmlessly past him he swung his long-sword in a mighty cut that clove
the green carcass in twain.
“At the same moment Kar Komak leaped with bare
hands clawing at the leg of another of the huge riders; the balance of
the horde raced in to close quarters, dismounting the better to wield their
favorite long-swords; the Dusarian fliers touched the soft carpet of the
ochre-clad sea-bottom, disgorging fifty fighting men from their bowels;
and into the swirling sea of cutting, slashing swords sprang Komal, the
“A Torquasian sword smote a glancing blow across
the forehead of Carthoris. He had a fleeting vision of soft arms about
his neck, and warm lips close to his before he lost consciousness.
“How long he lay there senseless he could not
guess; but when he opened his eyes again he was alone, except for the bodies
of the dead green men and the Dusarians, and the carcass of a great banth
that lay half across his own.
“Thuvia was gone, nor was the body of Kar Komak
among the dead.” (TMM/10-11.)
“No time then to draw long-sword; but
swift from his harness flew his long, slim dagger, and as he went down
beneath them more than a single green heart ceased beating at the bite
of that keen point.
So, we learn that the horde under the command of Thar Ban hid in enemy
city of Aanthor after being defeated by the Bowmen of Lothar. It is not
clear from this information if Hortan Gur in the city, but I would assume
not since why would Carthoris be dragged before Thar Ban first if Hortan
Gur were also in the city.
“Then they overpowered him and took his weapons
away; but only nine of the twelve warriors who had crossed the plaza returned
with their prize.
“They dragged their prisoner roughly to the palace
pits, where in utter darkness they chained him with rusty links to the
solid masonry of the wall.
“‘Tomorrow Thar Ban will speak with you,’ they
said. ‘Now he sleeps. But great will be his pleasure when he learns who
has wandered amongst us – and great will be the pleasure of Hortan Gur
when Thar Ban drags before him the mad fool who dared prick the great jeddak
with his sword.
“Then they left him to the silence and the darkness.”
Carthoris is then captured by a strange band of highly evolved Great
White Apes, where he meets Kar Komak again after learning that he had also
been captured first by the Green Men, chained in the pits, and then recaptured
by the same tribe of Great White Apes.
“As his eyes met those of his fellow-captive
a smile lit the other’s face, and: ‘Kaor, red man!’ burst from his lips.
It was Kar Komak, the bowman.
Carthoris thinks of a plan of escape and suggests to Kar Komak to materialize
a bowman army in the same manner as Tario and Jav of Lothar were able to
do. Kar Komak is able to mentally conjure the army and they escape the
Great White Apes of Aaanthor. Carthoris has Kar Komak wait in a safe place
while he goes to steal some thoats from the Torquasians.
“‘Kaor!’ cried Carthoris, in response. “How came
you here, and what befell the princess?’
“‘Red men like yourself descended in mighty ships
that sailed the air, even as the great ships of my distant day sailed the
five seas,’ replied Kar Komak. ‘They fought with the green men of Torquas.
They slew Komal, god of Lothar. I thought they were your friends, and I
was glad when finally those of them who survived the battle carried the
red girl to one of the ships and sailed away with her into the safety of
the high air.
“‘Then the green men seized me, and carried me
to a great, empty city, where they chained me to a wall in a black pit.
Afterward came these and dragged me hither.’” (TMM/11.)
“To reach the courtyard where the thoats
were kept it was necessary for Carthoris to pass through one of the buildings
which surrounded the square. Which were occupied and which not he could
not even guess, so he was compelled to take considerable chances to gain
the enclosure in which he could hear the restless beasts squealing and
quarrelling among themselves.
Thus we are given another tidbit about the Thurds. Not only does Aaanthor
lie within the territory of the Thurds, they are also the ancient enemies
of the Torquasians. Since the Torquasians are spending the night in their
enemy’s city, the Thurds would naturally be the main suspects in the killing
of their fellow. Without this understanding, it is only an amusing interlude
as Carthoris makes good his escape.
“Chance carried him through a dark doorway into
a large chamber in which lay a score or more of green warriors wrapped
in their sleeping silks and furs. Scarce had Carthoris passed through the
short hallway that connected the door of the building and the great room
beyond it than he became aware of the presence of something or some one
in the hallway through which he had but just
“He heard a man yawn, and then, behind him, he
saw the figure of a sentry rise from where the fellow had been dozing,
and stretching himself resume his wakeful watchfulness.
“Carthoris realized that he must have passed within
a foot of the warrior, doubtless rousing him from his slumber. To retreat
now would be impossible. Yet to cross through that roomful of sleeping
warriors seemed almost equally beyond the pale of possibility.
“Carthoris shrugged his broad shoulders and chose
the lesser evil. At his right, against the wall, leaned several swords
and rifles and spears – extra weapons which the warriors had stacked here
ready to their hands should there be a night alarm calling them suddenly
from slumber. Beside each sleeper lay his weapon – these were never far
from their owners from childhood to death.
“The sight of the swords made the young man’s
palm itch. He stepped quickly to them selecting two short-swords – one
for Kar Komak, the other for himself; also some trappings for his naked
“Then he started directly across the center of
the apartment among the sleeping Torquasians.
“Not a man of them moved until Carthoris had completed
more than half of the short though dangerous journey. Then a fellow directly
in his path turned restlessly upon his sleeping silks and furs.
“The Heliumite paused above him, one of the short-swords
in readiness should the warrior awaken. For what seemed an eternity to
the young prince the green man continued to move uneasily upon his couch,
then, as though actuated by springs, he leaped to his feet and faced the
“Instantly Carthoris struck, but not before a
savage grunt escaped the other’s lips. In an instant the room was in turmoil.
Warriors leaped to their feet, grasping their weapons as they rose, and
shouting to one another for an explanation of the disturbance.
“To Carthoris all within the room was plainly
visible in the dim light reflected from without, for the further moon stood
directly at zenith; but to the eyes of the newly-awakened green men objects
as yet had not taken on familiar forms – they but saw vaguely the figures
of warriors moving about their apartment.
“Now one stumbled upon the corpse of him whom
Carthoris had slain. The fellow stooped and his hand came in contact with
the cleft skull. He saw about him the giant figures of other green men,
and so he jumped to the only conclusion that was open to him.
“‘The Thurds!’ he cried. ‘The Thurds are upon
us! Rise, warriors of Torquas, and drive home your swords within the hearts
of Torquas’ ancient enemies!’
“Instantly the green men began to fall upon one
another with naked swords. Their savage lust of battle was aroused. To
fight, to kill, to die with cold steel buried in their vitals! Ah, that
to them was Nirvana.
“Carthoris was quick to guess their error and
take advantage of it. He knew that in the pleasure of killing they might
fight on long after they had discovered their mistake, unless their attention
was distracted by sight of the real cause of the altercation, and so he
lost no time in continuing across the room to the doorway upon the opposite
side, which opened into the inner court, where the savage thoats were squealing
and fighting among themselves.” (TMM/11.)
Later, Carthoris, Thuvia, and Kar Komak escape the Dusarians in the
airship, Thuria, and head for Ptarth. On the way they spy a ship on the
sea-bottom below being attacked by a green horde. We assume that this horde
is Torquasian, but it could be the Thurds, or any other Green Horde as
far as that goes.
The devastating fire of the Green Men brings the Thuria to a crash landing
next to the other ship, and they discover that it belongs to Kulan Tith,
the man to whom Thuvia is betrothed. They are saved when Kar Komak conjures
his bowman army against the Green Horde, who retreat against the advancing
bowmen. Kulan Tith cannot believe the bravery of Carthoris who risked his
life to save the life of his rival, and bows out of the betrothal, leaving
Carthoris free to have Thuvia for his own.
The City of Torquas takes center stage in an early chapter of A Fighting
Man of Mars. As Hadron of Hastor pursues Sanoma Tora to Jahar, he comes
upon the ancient dead city of Torquas.
“The city of Torquas, from which they
derive their name, was once of the most magnificent and powerful of ancient
Barsoom. Though it has been deserted for ages by all but roaming tribes
of green men, it is still marked upon every map, and as it lay directly
in the path of my search of Jahar, and as I had never seen it, I had purposely
laid my course to pass over it, and when, far ahead, I saw its lofty towers
and battlements I felt the thrill of excitement and the lure of adventure
which these dead cities of Barsoom proverbially exert upon us red men.
Hadron imagines what the life of the city was like and then spies a herd
of thoats in a courtyard below, knowing that it means the presence of the
Green Men, and which should have come as no surprise since it was well
known that the Torquasian Horde derived their name from this city. A Green
warrior sees him as he passes above the courtyard and sounds the alarm:
“As I approached the city I reduced my speed and
dropped lower that I might obtain a better view of it. What a beautiful
city it must have been in its time! Even today, after all the ages that
have passed since its broad avenues surged with the life of happy, prosperous
throngs, its great palaces still stand in all their glorious splendor,
that time and the elements have softened and mellowed but not yet destroyed.”
“I cursed myself for a stupid fool in
having taken this unnecessary chance merely to satisfy my idle curiosity.
Instantly I took a zig-zag, upward course, rising as swiftly as I could,
while from below a savage war-cry rose plainly to my ears. I saw long,
wicked-looking rifles aimed at me. I heard the hiss of projectiles hurtling
by me, but, though the first volley passed close to us, not a bullet struck
the ship. In a moment more I would be out of range and safe, and I prayed
to a thousand ancestors to protect me for the few brief minutes that would
be necessary to place me entirely out of harm’s way. I thought that I had
made it and was just about to congratulate myself upon my good luck when
I heard the thud of a bullet against the metal of my ship, and almost simultaneously
the explosion of the projectile, and then I was out of range.” (FMM/2.)
Two thousand haads later he crash lands near what once was the water-front
of another ancient dead city, and out necessity explores it, ever on the
lookout for Green Men and Great White Apes. He is attacked by a Great White
Ape, is trapped in a high tower, when he sees a Green Martian patrol entering
“Just as the sun was seeting my attention
was attracted towards the waterfront, where the long shadows of the city
were stretching far out across the dead sea bottom. Riding up the gentle
acclivity towards the city was a party of green warriors, mounted upon
their great savage thoats. There were perhaps twenty of them, moving silently
over the soft moss that carpeted the bottom of the ancient harbor, the
padded feet of their mounts giving forth no sound. Like spectres, they
moved in the shadows of the dying day, giving me further proof that Fate
had led me to a most unfriendly shore, and then, as though to complete
the trilogy of fearsome Barsoomian menaces, the roar of a banth rolled
down out of the hills behind the city.
This gives us a clue that we are still dealing with the Torquasians. Hadron
decides that whoever the woman is, it is duty to save a member of his own
race. He descends the tower where he had been trapped by the Great White
Ape. It is a treacherous descent and he is once again attacked by the Great
White Ape, but he finally dispatches it with his long-sword. He quickly
gets out of the area in case there are other Great White Apes, then heads
for the plaza, the place where the Green Hordes always gather.
“Safe from observation in the high tower above
them, I watched the party as it emerged from the hollow of the harbor and
rode out upon the avenue below me, and then for the first time I noted
a small figure seated in front of the one of the warriors. Darkness was
coming swiftly now, but before the little cavalcade passed out of sight
momentarily behind the corner of the building, as it entered another avenue
leading towards the heart of the city, I thought that I recognized the
little figure as that of a woman of my own race. That she was a captive
was a forgone conclusion, and I could not but shudder as I contemplated
the fate that lay in store for her. Perhaps my own Sanoma Tora was in equal
jeopardy. Perhaps – but no, that could not be possible – how could Sanoma
Tora have fallen into the clutches of warriors of the fierce horde of Torquas?”
“I reached the plaza in safety, confident
that I had not been observed.
The body belongs to the girl he is seeking. She is Tavia, originally from
Tjanath, but recently from Jahar, where she was kidnapped by the Jeddak,
Tul Axtar. She escaped, only to fall into the hands of the Torquasians
who inhabit the ancient dead sea bottom city of Xanator, where Hadron and
Tavia now find themselves.
“Upon the opposite side I saw light within one
of the great buildings that faced it, but I dared not cross the open space
in the moonlight, and so, still clinging to the shadows, I moved to the
far end of the quadrangle where Cluros cast his densest shadows, and thus
at last I won to the building in which the green men were quartered. Directly
before me was a low window that must have opened into a room adjoining
the one in which the warriors were congregated. Listening intently I heard
nothing within the chamber, and slipping a leg over the sill I entered
the dark interior with the utmost stealth.
“Tiptoeing across the room to find a door through
which I might look into the adjoining chamber, I was suddenly arrested
as my foot touched a soft body, and I froze into rigidity, my hand upon
my long sword, as the body moved.” (FMM/4)
And that’s the last we see of the Torquasians, unless they were the
Green Horde menacing the Orovars of Horz, who play a minor role in the
first episode of Llana of Gathol, the last official story of the Barsoomian
Mythos. I will explain in a future article the reasons why I do not believe
the last two stories, assembled together as John Carter of Mars, are part
of the Barsoomian Mythos or were written by ERB.
The Green Hordes of Mars presented such a massive amount of material that
I made most of my analysis as I went along. But to conclude, the Green
Hordes are what give the Barsoomian Mythos its genuine science fiction
pedigree. As the sci-fi genre grew steadily more sophisticated and as later
rules were adopted as to what would be considered genuine science fiction,
Barsoomian Mythos was subsequently denigrated to a planetary-sword-adventure-and-romance
classification. But such a view is myopic at best when considering Tars
Tarkas and the Green Martian Hordes. If the reader hasn’t grasped this
fact by now, he or she never will.
And there you have it,
ERB's Green Hordes of Mars: the Eleventh Runner-Up in the Seven
Wonders of Barsoom!
BARSOOMIAN GREEN MEN and TARS TARKAS ART GALLERIES
| II | III
| IV | V
| VI | VII
Green Man Horde by Murphy Anderson