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Volume 3677
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THE GLORY THAT WAS ONCE ZODANGA
The Fifteenth Runner-Up in the Seven Wonders of Barsoom 
Part III
by Woodrow Edgar Nichols, Jr.

Map of Barsoom

John Carter's willingness to depopulate the entire planet of Barsoom is rapidly coming to a crisis point. He is lost, desperate, and mentally traumatized over the effects of Martian custom on his love life. And he is running out of time. He only has two slim opportunities before the wedding of Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium, and Sab Than, Prince of Zodanga, comes to pass.

To possess Dejah Thoris for his own, he must stop the Royal Wedding.

This will either come as the result of the assassination of Sab Than by Kantos Kan or, if that fails, he himself must stop it. But how? His directional compass and speedometer are broken, damaged by a good shot from a Zodanga cruiser. His only hope was to reach Helium and attain the assistance of Dejah Thoris’s Jeddak grandfather, Tardos Mors. With that hope now dashed, he drifts aimlessly over an ancient dead sea bottom, lost to the ages, without time on his side. And then he sees something that will forever change his life as well as the evolution of the entire planet.

Passing over a dead city, he sees thousands of Green warriors having a battle. He is seen by some of them and shot out of the sky. He has no choice other than to fight or die. Randomly, he chooses one side and finds himself fighting shoulder to shoulder with Tars Tarkas against the Warhoons. Ten thousand green warriors fight that day, and three thousand of them die before the contest is over and Carter and Tars Tarkas are victorious.

Carter returns with Tars Tarkas to Thark, where they must face the wrath of Tal Hajus.

But first they care of the problem of Sarkoja, sending her off to exile to the River Iss and the horrible fate that awaits her there. Tars Tarkas suggests that Carter should escape while he looks the other way, but Carter demands that they both face Tal Hajus before the assembled council. 

Tal Hajus sentences Carter to death before the council can deliberate and in doing so he has broken Martian custom, allowing Carter to challenge his fitness to rule. The other Jeds and chieftans join in the challenge and Tars Tarkas takes him on and almost immediately slays him, thus becoming Jeddak of the Tharks. That’s when Carter’s fevered brain comes to its frenzied climax. He cannot wait to know whether Kantos Kan has succeeded. He must act and act now.

The ultimate solution to his dilemma: the virtual extinction of Zodanga!

“Seeing the favorable disposition of the warriors toward Tars Tarkas, as well as toward me, I grasped the opportunity to enlist them in my cause against Zodanga. I told Tars Tarkas the story of my adventures, and in a few words had explained to him the thought I had in mind.

“‘John Carter has made a proposal,’ he said, addressing the council, ‘which meets with my sanction. I shall put it to you briefly. Dejah Thoris, the Princess of Helium, who was our prisoner, is now held by the jeddak of Zodanga, whose son she must wed to save her country from devastation at the hands of the Zodangan forces.

“‘John Carter suggests that we rescue her and return her to Helium. The loot of Zodanga would be magnificent, and I have often thought that had we an alliance with the people of Helium we could attain sufficient assurance of sustenance to permit us to increase to the size and frequency of our hatchings, and thus become unquestionably supreme among the green men of Barsoom. What say you?’” (PM/24.)

Carter seeks allies in “his cause against Zodanga.” This is a crucial statement since it shows that Carter is still virtually non-political in his outlook. This is an extremely personal matter and has nothing to do with the right or wrong of the conflict between Helium and Zodanga. Carter’s only moral compass at this stage is his physical desire for the Princess.

When I read this passage I imagine a young T.E. Lawrence reading A Princess of Mars when it was released in hardback, shortly before joining the British forces in the Middle East during WWI. I see him remembering this passage as he is negotiating with Anthony Quinn’s tribe to join his cause against Aqaba. He inspires Quinn’s character with the temptation of possessing all of the great loot that lies in Aqaba. If it worked for John Carter, then it can bloody well work for Lawrence of Arabia and the British Empire. This is likely pure fancy, but it makes a good comparison.

The Hordes respond affirmatively and it is not long before Carter is leading an army of Green warriors on Zodanga. I hope the upcoming movie does justice to this scene as the army approaches the gates.

“In three days we were on the march toward Zodanga, one hundred thousand strong, as Tars Tarkas had been able to enlist the services of three smaller hordes on the promise of the great loot of Zodanga.

“At the head of the column I rode beside the great Thark while at the heels of my mount trotted my beloved Woola.

“We traveled entirely by night, timing our marches so that we camped during the day at deserted cities where, even to the beasts, we were all kept indoors during the daylight hours. On the march Tars Tarkas, through his remarkable ability and statesmanship, enlisted fifty thousand more warriors from various hordes, so that, ten days after we set out we halted at midnight outside the great walled city of Zodanga, one hundred and fifty thousand strong.

“The fighting strength and efficiency of this horde of ferocious green monsters was equivalent to ten times their number of red men. Never in the history of Barsoom, Tars Tarkas told me, had such a force of green warriors marched to battle together. It was a monstrous task to keep even a semblance of harmony among them, and it was a marvel to me that he got them to the city without a mighty battle among themselves.

“But as we neared Zodanga their personal quarrels were submerged by the greater hatred for the red man, especially for the Zodangans, who had for years waged a ruthless campaign of extermination against the green men, directing special attention toward despoiling their incubators.

“Now that we were before Zodanga the task of obtaining entry to the city devolved upon me, and directing Tars Tarkas to hold his forces in two divisions out of earshot of the city, with each division opposite a large gateway, I took twenty dismounted warriors and approached one of the small gates that pierced the walls at short intervals. These gates have no regular guard, but are covered by sentries, who patrol the avenue that encircles the city just within the walls much as our metropolitan police patrol their beats.

“The walls of Zodanga are seventy-five feet in height and fifty feet thick. They are built of enormous blocks carborundum, and the task of entering the city, seemed, to my escort of green warriors, an impossibility. The fellows who had been detailed to accompany me were of one of the smaller hordes, and therefore did not know me.

“Placing three of them with their faces to the wall and arms locked, I commanded two more to mount to their shoulders, and a sixth I ordered to climb upon the shoulders of the upper two. The head of the topmost warrior towered over forty feet from the ground.

“In this way, with ten warriors, I built a series of three steps from the ground to the shoulders of the topmost man. Then starting from a short distance behind them I ran swiftly up from one tier to the next, and with a final bound from the broad shoulders of the highest I clutched the top of the great wall and quietly drew myself to its broad expanse. After me I dragged six lengths of leather from an equal number of my warriors. These lengths we had previously fastened together, and passing one end to the topmost warrior I lowered the other end cautiously over the opposite side of the wall toward the avenue below. No one was in sight, so, lowering myself to the end of my leather strap, I dropped the remaining thirty feet to the pavement below.

“I had learned from Kantos Kan the secret of opening these gates, and in another moment my twenty great fighting men stood within the doomed city of Zodanga.” (PM/24.)

I see ERB drawing on the fall of Troy at this point, or more likely the taking of Jerusalem by David’s forces. The Trojan Horse was the means by which the Greeks took Troy, and Carter would be the Trojan Horse in this case. But a better analogy would be Joab crawling through the underground limestone caverns and vaults to gain entrance into Jerusalem by its ancient water system. Anyway, at this point the doomed city of Zodanga is as good as dead.
“I found to my delight that I entered at the lower boundary of the enormous palace grounds. The building itself showed in the distance a blaze of glorious light, and on the instant I determined to lead a detachment of warriors directly within the palace itself, while the balance of the great horde was attacking the barracks of the soldiery.

“Dispatching one of my men to Tars Tarkas for a detail of fifty Tharks, with word of my intentions, I ordered ten warriors to capture and open one of the great gates while with the nine remaining I took the other. We were to do our work quietly, no shots were to be fired and no general advance made until I had reached the palace with my fifty Tharks. Our plans worked to perfection. The two sentries we met and dispatched to their fathers upon the banks of the lost sea of Korus, and the guards of both gates followed them in silence.” (PM/24.)

All right, Chapter 24 comes to a resounding finish with the run-up to Carter’s charge on the palace. I remember this charge as one of my most favorite scenes in the Mythos and I sure as hell will be disappointed if the movie doesn’t capture it right. Yes, I know that we all must expect to be disappointed if a filmmaker doesn’t see a story the same way we do. But some scenes are just so cinematic in themselves – silent films were extremely popular at this time, so ERB knew what was cinematic – that I believe this scene was born to see the light of day on the big screen. I am keeping my fingers crossed.
“As the great gate where I stood swung open my fifty Tharks, headed by Tars Tarkas himself, rode in upon their mighty thoats. I led them to the palace walls, which I negotiated easily without assistance. Once inside, however, the gate gave me considerable trouble, but I finally was rewarded by seeing it swing upon its huge hinges, and soon my fierce escort was riding across the gardens of the jeddak of Zodanga.

“As we approached the palace I could see through the great windows of the first floor into the brilliantly illuminated audience chamber of Than Kosis. The immense hall was crowded with nobles and their women, as though some important function was in progress. There was not a guard in sight without the palace, due, I presume, to the fact that the city and palace walls were considered impregnable, and so I came close and peered within.” (PM/25.)

This is one of ERB’s most famous literary coincidences in the Mythos. Carter returns for the Princess at exactly the same time by chance her Royal Wedding is to occur. At this point, Carter slides over the razor’s edge into murderous madness.
“At one end of the chamber, upon massive golden thrones encrusted with diamonds, sat Than Kosis and his consort, surrounded by officers and dignitaries of state. Before them stretched a broad aisle lined on either side with soldiery, and as I looked there entered this aisle at the far end of the hall, the head of a procession which advanced to the foot of the throne.

“First there marched four officers of the jeddak’s Guard bearing a huge salver on which reposed, upon a cushion of scarlet silk, a great golden chain with a collar and padlock at each end. Directly behind these officers came four others carrying a similar salver which supported the magnificent ornaments of a prince and princess of the reigning house of Zodanga.

“At the foot of the throne these two parties separated and halted, facing each other at opposite sides of the aisle. Then came more dignitaries, and the officers of the palace and of the army, and finally two figures entirely muffled in scarlet silk, so that not a feature of either was discernible. These two stopped at the foot of the throne, facing Than Kosis. When the balance of the procession had entered and assumed their stations Than Kosis addressed the couple standing before him. I could not hear his words, but presently two officers advanced and removed the scarlet robe from one of the figures, and I saw that Kantos Kan had failed in his mission, for it was Sab Than, Prince of Zodanga, who stood revealed before me.

“Than Kosis now took a set of the ornaments from one of the salvers and placed one of the collars of gold about his son’s neck, springing the padlock fast. After a few more words addressed to Sab Than he turned to the other figure, from which the officers now removed the enshrouding silks, disclosing to my now comprehending view, Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium.

“The object of the ceremony was clear to me; in another moment Dejah Thoris would be joined forever to the Prince of Zodanga. It was an impressive and beautiful ceremony, I presume, but to me it seemed the most fiendish sight I had ever witnessed, and as the ornaments were adjusted upon her beautiful figure and her collar of gold swung open in the hands of Than Kosis I raised my longsword above my head, and, with the heavy hilt, I shattered the glass of the great window and sprang into the midst of the astonished assemblage. With a bound I was upon the steps of the platform beside Than Kosis, and as he stood riveted with surprise I brought my long-sword down upon the golden chain that would have bound Dejah Thoris to another.” (PM/25.)

The classic graphic novel and movie, Watchmen, dealt with the problem of psychopathic superheroes in a way that addressed new issues in the pulp fiction community. An otherwise beautiful Royal Wedding – look how our world deals with Royal Weddings even today! – is turned into a fiendish sight in the severely mentally disturbed world of John Carter. This is against his will. This is his woman! It just cannot be. Darkness, madness, chaos... and then butchery, ensue. This is the scene that makes the wedding scene in Kill Bill pale in comparison.

The poor Zodangans have befriended a stranger and heaped honors upon his courage and fighting prowess. He has personal knowledge from many Zodangans that Than Kosis is an unpopular ruler. They gave him a real chance at an honest life upon his new planet. But Carter never saw his advent upon Mars has mere every-day-life reincarnation, but as destiny. It doesn’t take him long to discover that he has superpowers compared to the rest of the inhabitants of Barsoom, giving him an extraordinary advantage in most circumstances.

I remember longing to see, with my kids, Yoda fighting some black lord of the Sith since his fighting skill was allegedly the best among the Jedi. It amused me to picture this cute little muppet type creature as the baddest ass with a light saber in three star systems. I thank George Lucas for providing me with this enjoyment in his second pre-trilogy. It was a gas to see Yoda bouncing about like a Mexican jumping bean, and then I recalled that this is how John Carter must have fought beings that were nine feet taller than him. Anyway, back to the massacre.

“In an instant all was confusion; a thousand drawn swords menaced me from every quarter, and Sab Than sprang upon me with a jeweled dagger he had drawn from his nuptial ornaments. I could have killed him as easily as I might a fly, but the age-old custom of Barsoom stayed my hand, and grasping his wrist as the dagger flew toward my heart I held him as though in a vice and with my longsword pointed to the far end of the hall.

“‘Zodanga has fallen,’ I cried. ‘Look!’

“All eyes turned in the direction I had indicated, and there, forging through the portals of the entranceway rode Tars Tarkas and his fifty warriors on their great thoats.

“A cry of alarm and amazement broke from the assemblage, but no word of fear, and in a moment the soldiers and nobles of Zodanga were hurling themselves upon the advancing Tharks.

“Thrusting Sab Than headlong from the platform, I drew Dejah Thoris to my side. Behind the throne was a narrow doorway and in this Than Kosis now stood facing me, with drawn long-sword. In an instant we were engaged, and I found no mean antagonist.

“As we circled upon the broad platform I saw Sab Than rushing up the steps to aid his father, but, as he raised his hand to strike, Dejah Thoris sprang before him and then my sword found the spot that made Sab Than jeddak of Zodanga. As his father rolled dead upon the floor the new jeddak tore himself free from Dejah Thoris’ grasp, and again we faced each other.” (PM/25.)

Sab Than may have been angry enough over the death of his father and by the sleazy betrayal of his bride-to-be to give him extra adrenaline to believe he stood a good fighting chance facing John Carter, but this fool-for-love will soon discover how delusional the whole thing really is.
“He was soon joined by a quartet of officers, and, with my back against a golden throne, I fought once again for Dejah Thoris. I was hard pressed to defend myself and yet not strike down Sab Than, and, with him, my last chance to win the woman I loved. My blade was swinging with the rapidity of lightning as I sought to parry the thrusts and cuts of my opponents. Two I had disarmed, and one was down, when several more rushed to the aid of their new ruler, and to avenge the death of the old.

“As they advanced there were cries of “The woman! The woman! Strike her down; it is her plot. Kill her! Kill her!’

“Calling to Dejah Thoris to get behind me I worked my way to the little doorway back of the throne, but the officers realized my intentions, and three of them sprang in behind me and blocked my chances for gaining a position where I could have defended Dejah Thoris against any army of swordsmen. 

“The Tharks were having their hands full in the center of the room, and I began to realize that nothing short of a miracle could save Dejah Thoris and myself, when I saw Tars Tarkas surging through the crowd of pigmies that swarmed about him. With one swing of his mighty long-sword he laid a dozen corpses at this feet, and so he hewed a pathway before him until in another moment he stood upon the platform beside me, dealing death and destruction right and left. “The bravery of the Zodangans was awe-inspiring, not one attempted to escape, and when the fighting ceased it was because only Tharks remained alive in the great hall, other than Dejah Thoris and myself.

“Sab Than lay dead beside his father, and the corpses of the flower of Zodangan nobility and chivalry covered the floor of the bloody shambles.

“My first thought when the battle was over was for Kantos Kan and leaving Dejah Thoris in charge of Tars Tarkas I took a dozen warriors and hastened to the dungeons beneath the palace. The jailers had all left to join the fighters in the throne room, so we searched the labyrinthine prison without opposition.

“I called Kantos Kan’s name aloud in each new corridor and compartment, and finally I was rewarded by hearing a faint response. Guided by the sound, we soon found him helpless in a dark recess.

“He was overjoyed at seeing me, and to know the meaning of the fight, faint echoes of which had reached his prison cell. He told me that the air patrol had captured him before he searched the high tower of the palace, so that he had not even seen Sab Than.

“We discovered that it would be futile to attempt to cut away the bars and chains which held him prisoner, so, at his suggestion I returned to search the bodies on the floor above for the keys to open the padlocks of his cell and of his chains.

“Fortunately among the first I examined I found his jailer, and soon we had Kantos Kan with us in the throne room.

“The sounds of heavy firing, mingled with shouts and cries, came to us from the city’s streets, and Tars Tarkas hastened away to direct the fighting without. Kantos Kan accompanied him to act as guide, the green warriors commencing a thorough search of the palace for other Zodangans and for loot, and Dejah Thoris and I were left alone.

“She had sunk into one of the golden thrones, and as I turned to her she greeted me with a wan smile.

“‘Was there ever such a man!’ she exclaimed. ‘I know that Barsoom has never before seen your like. Can it be that all Earth men are as you? Alone, a stranger, hunted, threatened, persecuted, you have done is a few short months what in all the past ages of Barsoom no man has ever done: joined together the wild hordes of the sea bottoms and brought them to fight as allies of a red Martian people.’

“‘The answer is easy, Dejah Thoris,’ I replied smiling. ‘It was not I who did it, it was love, love for Dejah Thoris, a power that would work greater miracles than this you have seen.’” (PM/25.)

Ah, Carter is such a simple study. He does not hesitate to identify his crazy, possessive love for Dejah Thoris as something greater than himself, a higher power, so to speak. This, at least in his mind, absolves him of all guilt and personal responsibility for the lives and civilization he has just destroyed. His only comment on his vanquished foes is that they were not cowards. They met their deaths honorably.
“A pretty flush overspread her face and she answered, “‘You may say that now, John Carter, and I may listen, for I am free.’

“‘And more still I have to say, ere it is again too late,’ I returned. ‘I have done many strange things in my life, many things that wiser men would not have dared, but never in my wildest fancies have I dreamed of winning a Dejah Thoris for myself – for never had I dreamed that in all the universe dwelt such a woman as the Princess of Helium. That you are a princess does not abash me, but that you are you is enough to make me doubt my sanity as I ask you, my princess, to be mine.’” (PM/25.)

Ultimately, Carter’s mentality is judged normal on Barsoom. No one is outraged by his behavior. In fact, he is admired for it. After all, one of the major goals in Barsoomian geopolitics and diplomacy is the abduction of another nation’s princess and holding her for ransom or making her someone’s wife or whore. This is not a normal world. It is much more fun this way.

Don’t get me wrong about Carter’s obsessive quest for his princess. I love to read him in the first person, to personally experience his triumphs, kills, and sufferings. The fact is that ERB allows the reader to be the hero on Barsoom. In Tarzan, written in the third person, the reader has to imagine being the hero – and millions do – but in John Carter, written in the first person, the reader is the hero.

John Carter is not a normal person; no one knows if he was even born on Earth. He may be somewhat crazy, but it is fun to be crazy when you are brave and have superpowers. And ERB had his most fun as John Carter, and so does the reader, in the last authentic work of the Barsoomian Mythos: Llana of Gathol, where he repeatedly takes on the strongest man or best swordsmen in several settings and bests them all one by one. Some critics say that ERB was mocking his own characters and themes in this book, but they just don’t get the character of John Carter.

The video or interactive game will never be able to replace the combination of mind, imagination, and writing that engages the brain in the act of reading. Reading will never go out of style, as the fad of text messaging so amply proves. And the act of reading, thanks to the genius of ERB, allows me to be the man that now faces this luscious, naked princess, the most beautiful woman on two planets – as she says to me in the bloody audience chamber of the Jeddak of Zodanga:

“‘He does not need to be abashed who so well knew the answer to his plea before the plea were made,’ she replied, rising and placing her dear hands upon my shoulders, and so I took her in my arms and kissed her.

“And thus in the midst of a city of wild conflict, filled with the alarms of war; with death and destruction reaping their terrible harvest around her, did Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium, true daughter of Mars, the God of War, promise herself in marriage to John Carter, Gentleman of Virginia.’” (PM/25.)

There is a pregnant pause between Chapter 25 – which ends with Carter and his Princess still alone in each other’s arms – and Chapter 26, which begins with “Sometime later...” A lot can happen when you are all alone in the throne room in this amount of time. It it easy for me to imagine making love with Dejah Thoris on the golden, diamond encrusted throne. I bet that is true for all of the men reading this, as it was for the men first reading it in 1912.
“Sometime later Tars Tarkas and Kantos Kan returned to report that Zodanga had been completely reduced. Her forces were entirely destroyed or captured, and no further resistance was to be expected from within. Several battleships had escaped, but there were thousands of war and merchant vessels under guard of Thark warriors.

“The lesser hordes had commenced looting and quarrelling among themselves, so it was decided that we collect what warriors we could, man as many vessels as possible with Zodangan prisoners and make for Helium without further loss of time.

“Five hours later we sailed from the roofs of the dock buildings with a fleet of two hundred and fifty battleships, carrying nearly one hundred thousand green warriors, followed by a fleet of transports with our thoats.

“Behind us we left the stricken city in the fierce and brutal clutches of some forty thousand green warriors of the lesser hordes. They were looting, murdering, and fighting amongst themselves. In a hundred places they had applied the torch, and columns of dense smoke were rising above the city as though to blot out from the eyes of heaven the horrid sights beneath.’” (PM/26.)

This is a sad sight: the end of Zodanga, a city that has become a Biblical nightmare of death, torture, rape, pillage, and destruction. When I see such mutual hatred for each other as manifested between the Red Martians and the Green ones, I am amazed that the Therns were able to successfully carry the Religion of Issus to the Green Hordes. There must have been many missionaries who suffered horrible deaths during the initial period of evangelization.

Perhaps they were able to do it through the caretakers of the atmosphere factory, who wore the same kind of “nine-ray” stones as the Holy Therns of the Tenth Cycle. The old Red Martian who talked to Carter inside the factory said the Green men were supposed to respect their profession out of concern for their survival. Who knows?

In fact, who invented the Religion of Issus? Did the ancient white race believe in Issus?

And what are the Ten Cycles? Thuvia said she had learned too much from the Holy Therns and had thus become dangerous to them. Was it a mystical teaching? Was it like the Kama Sutra or Tantric Yoga? Since we know that both Sator Throg and Matai Shang used Thuvia for a plaything, I suspect the Cycles to be both mystical and sexual. If so, no wonder Thuvia was so popular.

But we have wandered far from our story. With that kiss and promise – and who knows what else? – Dejah Thoris has forever sealed John Carter’s allegiance to Helium. From now on he acts as an agent of Helium. From now on Virginia is just a place where he once laid his head. 

In the middle of the afternoon we sighted the scarlet and yellow towers of Helium, and a short time later a great fleet of Zodangan battleships rose from the camps of the besiegers without the city, and advanced to meet us.

“The banners of Helium had been strung from stem to stern of each of our mighty craft, but the Zodangans did not need this sign to realize that we were enemies, for our green Martian warriors had opened fire upon them almost as they left the ground. With their uncanny marksmanship they raked the on-coming fleet with volley after volley.

“The twin cities of Helium, perceiving that we were friends, sent out hundreds of vessels to aid us, and then began the first real air battle I had ever witnessed.

“The vessels carrying our green warriors were kept circling above the contending fleets of Helium and Zodanga, since their batteries were useless in the hands of the Tharks who, having no navy, have no skill in naval gunnery. Their small-arm fire, however, was most effective, and the final outcome of the engagement was strongly influenced, if not wholly determined, by their presence.

“At first the two forces circled in the same altitude, pouring broadside after broadside into each other. Presently a great hole was torn in the hull of one of the immense battle craft from the Zodangan camp; with a lurch she turned completely over, the little figures of her crew plunging, turning and twisting toward the ground a thousand feet below; then with sickening velocity she tore after them, almost completely burying herself in the soft loam of the ancient sea bottom.

“A wild cry of exultation arose from the Heliumite squadrons, and with redoubled ferocity they fell upon the Zodangan fleet. By a pretty maneuver two of the vessels of Helium gained a position above their adversaries, from which they poured upon them from their keel bomb batteries a perfect torrent of exploding bombs.

“Then, one by one, the battleships of Helium succeeded in rising above the Zodangans, and in a short time a number of the beleaguering battleships were drifting hopeless wrecks toward the high scarlet tower of greater Helium. Several others attempted to escape, but they were soon surrounded by thousands of tiny individual fliers, and above each hung a monster battleship of Helium ready to drop boarding parties upon their decks.

“Within but little more than an hour from the moment the victorious Zodangan squadron had risen to meet us from the camp of the besiegers the battle was over, and the remaining vessels of the conquered Zodangans were headed toward the cities of Helium under prize crews.

“There was an extremely pathetic side to the surrender of these mighty fliers, the result of an age-old custom which demanded that surrender should be signalized by the voluntary plunging to earth of the commander of the vanquished vessel. One after another the brave fellows, holding their colors high above their heads, leaped from the towering bows of their mighty craft to an awful death.

“Not until the commander of the entire fleet took the fearful plunge, thus indicating the surrender of the remaining vessels, did the fighting cease, and the useless sacrifice of brave men come to an end.” (PM/26.)

Carter surrenders Dejah Thoris to the Helium fleet, and she is quite put out with him when he does not stay, for he insists of going with Tars Tarkas to finish off the Zodangan land forces.
“The commander of the naval forces of Helium promised to arrange to have the armies of Helium attack from the city in conjunction with our land attack, and so the vessels separated and Dejah Thoris was borne in triumph back to the court of her grandfather, Tardos Mors, Jeddak of Helium.

“In the distance lay our great fleet of transports, with the thoats of the green warriors, where they had remained during the battle. Without landing stages it was to be a difficult matter to unload these beasts upon the open plain, but there was nothing else for it, and so we put out for a point about ten miles from the city and began the task.

“It was necessary to lower the animals to the ground in slings and this work occupied the remainder of the day and half the night. Twice we were attacked by parties of Zodangan cavalry, but with little loss, however, and after darkness shut down they withdrew.

“As soon as the last thoat was unloaded Tars Tarkas gave the command to advance, and in three parties we crept upon the Zodangan camp from the north, the south and the east.

“About a mile from the main camp we encountered their outposts and, as had been prearranged, accepted this as the signal to charge. With wild, ferocious cries and amidst the nasty squealing of battle-enraged thoats we bore down upon the Zodangans.

“We did not catch them napping, but found a well-entrenched battle line confronting us. Time after time we were repulsed until, toward noon, I began to fear for the result of the battle.

“The Zodangans numbered nearly a million fighting men, gathered from pole to pole, wherever stretched their ribbon-like waterways, while pitted against them were less that a hundred thousand green warriors. The forces from Helium had not arrived, nor could we receive any word from them.

“Just at noon we heard heavy fighting all along the line between the Zodangans and the cities, and we knew then that our much-needed reinforcements had come.

“Again Tars Tarkas ordered the charge, and once more the mighty thoats bore their terrible riders against the ramparts of the enemy. At the same time the battle line of Helium surged over the opposite breastworks of the Zodangans and in another moment they were being crushed as between two millstones. Nobly they fought, but in vain.

“The plain before the city became a veritable shambles ere the last Zodangan surrendered, but finally the carnage ceased, the prisoners were marched back to Helium, and we entered the greater city’s gates, a huge triumphal procession of conquering heroes.” (PM/26.)

One thing you can say about the Zodangans: they die hard. Just like the Nazi and Japanese armies of their empires, both of which were ruthless to their conquered. Yes, evil never dies easy. 

We will next examine Zodanga in its decline.



BARSOOMIAN GREEN MEN and TARS TARKAS ART GALLERIES
I | II | III | IV | V | VI | VII | VIII
THE SEVEN WONDERS OF BARSOOM SERIES
7 WONDERS: I | II | III | IV | V | VI | VII

RUNNERS UP: I.a | II | III | IV | V | VI | VII | VIII.2.2b.3a.3b | IX | X.2.3.4
|.XI.2.3.4.5.6.7 |.XII.2.| XIII.|.XIV.|.XV.2.3



 
WEB REFS
www.johncarterofmars.ca
SYNTHETIC MEN OF MARS: Art and Commentary
A Princess of Mars
Gods of Mars
Warlord of Mars
Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Chessmen of Mars
Mastermind of Mars
A Fighting Man of Mars
Swords of Mars
Synthetic Men of Mars
Llana of Gathol
Skeleton Men of Jupiter
John Carter and the Giant of Mars


The Fall of Barsoom
 


BILL HILLMAN
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