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Volume 1311
A Graphic Interpretation of
Edgar Rice Burroughs'
A Princess of Mars
James Killian Spratt
Champion And Chief
Early next morning I was astir.
Cautioned to go armed,
I had the run of the city, 
but only to the limits. 
After a stroll, I suddenly saw the low hills
pierced by narrow, inviting ravines.
Concerned by Woola the hound's reaction 
to my going exploring,
I sat down to pet him and reassure him.
It was hilarious -- 
it seemed he'd never been petted before.

When I hugged his neck, 
scratched and talked to him 
as I would my hound at home, 
he rolled his upper lip
in a huge "collie smile," 
and rolled on his back like a huge puppy. 
I rocked with laughter 
at side-splitting ludicrousness.
He was my hound now, for certain. 
I told him in a few moments to follow me, 
authoritively, and he came along, 
cowed by my laughter, 
which, on Mars, signifies torture, 
suffering, and death. 
We walked a ways in the hills . . .
I kept our hike short for fear our absence 

would be discovered. 
I knew now that I was virtually free.
Now I would bide my time . . . 
we hurried back . . .

On regaining the plaza 
I had my third glimpse
of the captive girl.
As I approached she gave me 
one haughty glance --
and turned her back on me. 

The act was so womanly, 
so Earthly womanly,
that though it stung my pride
it also warmed my heart; 
a civilized retort to an affront, 
a breech of manners 
due to my ignorance of good manners . . . 
Presently Lorquas Ptomel, Jed, 
entered the council with his retinue, 
 signaling the girl's guards 
to bring her in;
one of the guards was Sarkoja, 
who twisted the girl's arm brutally -- 
I chanced an attempt to enter 
to observe the proceedings.

The fair captive received
the brunt of Sarkoja's nine hundred years 
of hatred, cruelty, ferocity and spite. 

Sarkoja yanked her viciously
before the Jed; 
Lorquas Ptomel addressed her,
"What is your name?" 

"Dejah Thoris, Daughter of Mors Kajak of Helium."
"And the nature of your expedition?" he continued.
"It was a purely scientific research party 
sent by my grandfather Tardos Mors, Jeddak of Helium.
It was a peaceful mission, as our banners showed. 
We were unprepared for war. 
Despite your hatred we maintain the water supply
and atmosphere factory for this planet for all life, 
including your own, even in the face of brutal, 
ignorant interference. 
Why, Oh why will you not learn
to live with us in peace?
In brotherhood? 
I, granddaughter of the greatest red Jeddak, 
ask you, 'Come with us! Will you come?'"

Lorquas Ptomel and the warriors sat 
looking silently, intently, at the young woman 
for several moments, stunned and moved 
by her stirring appeal. 
Their savage heritage warring with a new idea;
if one man could rise above custom, a new, 
mighty era could begin for Mars. 
I saw Tars Tarkas rise to speak,
a benign rapture on his savage face.

Whatever momentous words 
were on his lips were never spoken, 
for just then a young warrior, 
(an upstart who saw a chance 
to draw attention to himself
by parroting the party line,) 
leaped from the rostrum 
and struck the fair captive 
across the face,
and felled her to the floor.

-- placed his foot upon her prostrate form,
and turning toward the council, 
broke into peals of horrid,
mirthless, laughter. 

For an instant I thought 
Tars Tarkas would kill him,
but I was already halfway 
across the hall,
with a yell -- 

-- springing upward, 
I struck him full in the face 
as he turned at my warning --

-- then as he drew his short-sword,
I drew mine. 
Then he reached dishonorably 
for his pistol. 
(Martian custom holds
that one must respond
with a weapon equal in character
to the one 
with which one is challenged --

I sprang upon him, 
hooking one leg over his pistol, 
delivering blow after blow
upon his huge chest -- 

In but a moment 
he sank lifeless to the floor.

I raised Dejah Thoris in my arms 
and bore her to a bench 
at one side of the room.

-- Her injuries amounted to
little more than an ordinary
nosebleed, which I quickly stanched. 
Then she looked into my eyes, saying, 
"Why did you it?"
"You would not even acknowledge me,
now you kill one of your companions
for my sake! 
Who are you, in the garb of 
a Thark chieftain?!"

"Chieftain?!" I replied, surprised. 
"I am John Carter, of Virginia, 
one of the United States of America, 
why I am permitted to bear arms 
I do not know, 
nor was I aware that
I am a chieftain! 
I, too, am a prisoner, 
but I am your friend and protector, 
such as I am able."

We were interrupted by one of the warriors, 
bearing the arms,
ornaments and accouterments -- 
the body of my late adversary 
had been stripped, and I read in
the respectful yet menacing 
attitude of the warrior 
the same demeanor as he who had 
brought me my original equipment -- 
and realized suddenly that
I had also slain my antagonist 
of the first battle, and had won my spurs.

Then Tars Tarkas approached and said, 
"But one thing can save you now, a
nd that is if our fierce jeddak, Tal Hajus, 
accepts your services and accepts you 
as a Tharkian chieftain.
We will accord you that respect, 
for now, but remember, 
ten chieftains here outrank you and 
our duty is to deliver you 
and the other prisoner to Tal Jahus, 
our ruler, who will decide your fate. . .
" And I think I know Tal Hajus . . . 
I told him -- 
"She is now under my protection; 
and who offer insult
or injury will answer to me. . . .

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 15a | 16 | 16a | 17 | 17a | 18 | 19 | 19a | 19b | 20 | 20a | 20b |
| 21 | 21a | 21b |

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