I will, in time, explain the method of how I have been able to address
the inhabitants of the twentieth century. Suffice it to say that a method
became available to me and addressing my remote ancestors became both possible
My name is Julian, officially Robin Harold Julian 68th, Prince-Jemdar
of Earth, and the Protector of Vah-Nah as well as several equally important
sounding titles and that alone should inform you of some of the circumstances
of my life. I bear the name Julian with a certain amount of pride, but
also with the clear knowledge that I have personally done nothing to create
the reputation which it signifies.
Julian is the name of the house of the Yank-Jemdar of Earth and has
been for some six hundred odd years ever since Julian 20th, the Red Hawk,
started the revolution that would result in reclaiming our world from the
Kalkars of Vah-Nah.
Some day, I will be Jemdar for as much as that is worth. The position
has been largely ceremonial for two centuries. The fact is that the Julians
are the pampered pets of the Terran nation. We live graciously, we have
what we want, the people love us and we incite no controversy. For me,
life has held opportunity for everything I could possibly want save for
that which I want the most, adventure.
Adventure! I have learned not to even mention the word in the presence
of my father! He is ever willing to dismiss and deride my strange craving.
Every young man once sought to toss off the bonds of his world and seek
something greater, unknown and dangerous, but this has slowly been bred
out of our race as we have advanced through time and grown to know more
of the world.
In the era before the coming of the Kalkars, humanity had become
briefly aware of the existence of the inhabitants of Barsoom and Pellucidar
but had that knowledge stripped from us during our cruel oppression. That
awareness was won back through difficult exploration by men who are as
remotely in the past from me as is Christopher Columbus from your age.
Today, San Francisco, the capital city of Earth, stands almost directly
above the city of Greenwich in Pellucidar and can be reached in a small
fraction of an hour by underground rail. The average person can holiday
on Amtor or might very well have a second house in the restored and irrigated
countrysides of Vah-Nah. The would be adventurer who wishes to travel to
Barsoom need only purchase a ticket and may, if he has the means, make
the passage in pampered luxury. I myself took the first part of my university
in Greater Helium before I returned to Earth to continue my studies.
To a young man, who craves the unknown, this world of my age seems
tame and lacking in that which a young fellow of my sort needs the most,
that hated word. Adventure.
Barsoom holds political sway over all of the worlds outward from
the sun from itself although they have only developed Thuria, Cluros and
Eurobus with a few of its moons to any degree. Earth controls the Moon
and the inner worlds of Pellucidar and Vah-Nah under the direct government
of the Jemdarate and administrates Amtor as a protectorate with its own
local Jemdar. The two Solar governments have lived with peaceful, friendly
relations for as long as anyone on Earth cares to remember.
For a fellow of my temperament, this was a perfectly awful situation.
There were no new worlds to conquer. There was no good fight to fight.
All my life, I had immersed myself in the tales of the great heroes
of the past. Gilgamesh, Alexander, Robin Hood, John Carter, John Clayton
(Lord Greystoke), Julian the Red Hawk, all of these men got to live the
life I craved but was seemingly forever cut off from me.
Or so it was until one day two years ago.
A day like any other it was. I was to make two appearances, one to
speak to a civic association in London and another to be interviewed by
the "personality press" on the Jemdar's palace grounds.
As the aircar was whisking my secretary Man-tan-ko, a Vaga, and myself
over the Atlantic Ocean a radio message arrived. Voiced in official language
that left no doubt as to its gravity, I was asked to return to San Francisco.
And appear before my father, the Jemdar.
Even having grown up around it, I was still impressed by the Jemdar's
audience room at the palace. No man could not be, for its design was for
that very purpose. It was here, at least symbolically, that all humans
of Earth knew resided the very soul of their race. When Man-tan-ko and
I entered the room we were surprised to be greeted with a full honor guard
and I saw that standing with my father was the President who was the true
political head of state of the Jemdarate of Earth. With the two of them
stood a Barsoomian in a metal laden harness wearing the yellow bordered
cloak that signified that he was a messenger of the Jeddak of Jeddaks,
The Warlord of Barsoom. Of course, the "metal" was purely decorative, signfying
his office, nothing more. Barsoomians born after the 24th century were
raised with their historic grand martial tradition as nothing more than
quaint folklore. He was Nomar Tomak, a high attendant of the Jeddak's court
whom I had met on several occasions during my university days. Normally
a jovial fellow, he favored me with not so much as a smile on this day.
My father was the first to break the silence. "My son, I am sorry
to have brought you back to court with so little warning, but this is a
somber day and you are called upon to perform your duties as a crowned
prince. You must travel to Barsoom without delay and stand as Earth's representative
on a very bleak occasion. After a brief illness, the Grand Jeddara of Barsoom
has passed away. You must attend her state funeral."
I was stunned. Barsoomians live ten times longer than Earthmen, a
fact which most of us take easily in stride, but sometimes that strange
fact is brought home to us with alarming clarity. This was just such a
The Grand Jeddara was like a human monument whose years of life had
encompassed all of the greatest years of our history. To call her a monument,
unfortunately, obscures the fact that she was also a woman of great beauty
and wisdom who her devoted husband never ceased to refer to as "incomparable."
She was Dejah Thoris, the Heliumite princess who helped her husband reclaim
a dying world! I had known her, and like so many others learned that to
know her is to love her. Beyond a doubt, she was the most admired woman
in the Solar Worlds. Now she had died and an era had come to a close.
I would go and stand with the Jeddak as he bid farewell to his wife.
The Jeddak himself was a man with a strange history. It was his claim that
he had originated on Earth although his life span exceeded even that of
the Barsoomians whom he had come to live among and eventually rule. His
name was John Carter. He was the Warlord of all of Barsoom, a planet which
he had known in his earlier life by the name Mars. No one had referred
to the planet by that name in hundreds of years. It was a place name as
outdated as the name Cathay would have been to people of your century.
Nomar Tomak provided for my passage aboard the great Barsoomian ship
which rested on the water in San Francisco bay. The passage to Barsoom
would be swift beyond the imagining of you to whom I address this tale.
I would appear before the court at Helium in a mere two days.
Even at that, the journey seemed long indeed with the dark mood which
ruled the ship's crew. The blackness of the space outside our ports mirrored
the feelings that every Barsoomian had in his heart.
When we finally entered the atmosphere of Barsoom, I was finding
that even on this sad occasion, I looked forward to seeing the wonders
of Helium once more. When the city of Greater Helium with Lesser Helium
in view some seventy five miles beyond came into view on the horizon, I
was somewhat surprised, although in retrospect I don't know why, by the
number of airships which filled the sky overhead. People had come from
every corner of Barsoom to say a final goodbye to the Grand Jedarra.
Even in mourning, the Barsoomian nobility wore bright silks and glittering
metal. These were a warrior people by temperament and their honored dead
were given tribute by showing that the Barsoomian heart beats ever strong.
John Carter himself met me in one of the palace gardens and clasped
my hand firmly. Ignoring his own grief, he inquired after the health of
my father and the progress of my studies. I was always flattered by any
interest the Jeddak showed in me. He had checked in on me frequently in
my university days, but my awe of him never lessened. A person in the twentieth
century could only imagine what knowing him was like. It was as if Julius
Caesar was still alive and walked among us.
"My father is in good health," I told him, "and I have only a year
before my degree is completed. I'm sure that I shall have much use for
it when I become a paper ruler."
John Carter s frown made me instantly regret my flippant remark.
"Lad," he said, "even though you are to be spared the responsibility
of governing your people, they shall still look to you for wisdom and as
a symbol of excellence. You must not disappoint them."
I looked sheepish before the great man. "I only wish that I, like
you, had earned the right to rule."
John Carter had once told me that the world had become too tame for
him. He felt that he had become superfluous living among a human race that
was at peace with itself. He once told me, "The title 'Warlord' has become
something of a joke in the ongoing absence of war. These days it makes
more sense to call me simply the First Jeddak, or Jeddak of Jeddaks, for
I have become a man of politics rather than a man of the sword."
Now in these days following his greatest loss, he had become a subdued,
quiet man, more given to keeping his own council rather than involving
himself deeply in the day to day affairs of government. The high jeds did
most of the governing these days.
He looked deep into my eyes and gave a wry smile followed by a deep
sigh. "Yes, there it is, the warrior spirit. I thought it had died out
among the people of my home world. Your turn will come, I can feel it and
I am rarely wrong about this. Remember this. When it comes to you that
you are thoroughly beaten, that you can do no more, when hope is gone check
to see if you can yet draw a breath. If you can then all is not lost. You
may still conquer as long as you are still alive. When you are in that
dark place, say it aloud as I have had to several times even in these last
few sad days, I still live!"
"I still live," I repeated. It seemed rather tepid advice from a
man of such far reaching experience. I would have expected something that
was a bit more of a revelation than that. Nonetheless, it had come from
the Jeddak of Jeddaks so I resolved to remember it anyway.
The funeral itself drew over a half million people in the great square
of Helium city with several millions more listening by wireless. Further
by means of sophisticated Gridley wave transmitters, it was heard by persons
on every Solar planet.
I, like every other person in the crowd, was moved deeply by the
sight of the inert form of Dejah Thoris, still grandly beautiful in her
eternal repose. The Barsoomian funeral, was itself a comparatively recent
tradition, less than a Barsoomian lifetime ago. In the Grand Jeddara's
youth, it had been the tradition for persons near death (or merely tired
of life) to let themselves drift down the river Iss (they thought) into
the hands of the gods. When John Carter discredited this belief , it precipitated
the most important religious crisis in the history of Barsoom. In the centuries
since, the Barsoomians, with some exceptions, have adopted a humanist philosophy.
They recognize that, today, their symbolic acts exist for the benefit of
the human population, not the gods.
As I stood with the other prominent mourners I heard a disturbance
behind me. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a young woman run from the
thick of the crowd with a look of mortal dread in her eyes.
John Carter also saw the girl and called out "Tamla!" It was then
that I realized the girl was Tamla of Helium the eight (Barsoomian) year
old thrice great grand daughter of the Jeddak. She had been well known
as a difficult child and as she had grown older she had become tomboyish
and positively wild. Tamla was the subject of much gossip for having taken
on the habit of wearing a man's style of harness and metal. complete with
real, not decorative, weapons.
The girl's disposition was of no account at this moment, however,
for she was in obvious peril. John Carter had already drawn his sword as
had his son, Carthoris and his close friends Kantos Kan and Tars Tarkas.
All of them took a step backward, however when they saw what emerged from
the crowd in pursuit of the girl. It resembled a Barsoomian Green man although
its skin was a dark nut brown and its tusks pointed directly outward from
its face like twin spikes. Its intermediate set of limbs were specialized
as a pair of leathery wings, which, as it cleared the knot of people, it
spread and began to beat vigorously. From the base of his spine emerged
a long tail with a small flat fin at the end, perhaps to aid it in steering.
It was almost instantly out of the reach of even the long sword of Tars
Tarkas. John Carter, Tars Tarkas and the rest gave chase as the girl started
to run directly toward me with the nightmarish thing a mere few feet behind
her. A scant second before the girl could reach me, the flying man scooped
her up and with powerful strokes of its huge wings raised himself high
aloft with the girl screaming in panic firmly held in his hands. Without
thinking I jumped straight upward with all the strength my legs could provide.
In the Barsoomian gravity, this was enough to propel me some fifty feet
and into reach of the creature's tail. Kantos Kan had drawn a powerful
Barsoomian pistol, but The Jeddak stayed his hand lest he accidentally
shoot Tamla or myself. I was being furiously whipped back and forth in
the wind as I clung to the flying man's tail with my self preservation
foremost in my mind.
Aloud I cried at the top of my lungs, "I still live!" How hard I
tried to believe that that would help.
As the palace dwindled behind us, I saw a flyer rise from its roof
to give chase and prayed that I could hang on long enough for it to reach