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Volume 1313
A Graphic Interpretation of
Edgar Rice Burroughs'
A Princess of Mars
James Killian Spratt
A Prisoner With Power
As I entered and saluted,
Lorquas Ptomel 
signaled me to advance, 
fixing his great, 
hideous eyes upon me, 
addressed me thus:

Your position is a peculiar one; 
you have won a high position 
among us by your prowess, 
yet you are not one of us. 
A midget who can kill 
with one blow of his fist; 
and a prisoner 
who must be obeyed. . . .


And now you are said to be plotting 
escape with a very valuable prisoner, 
who half believes you have returned 
from the Valley Dor. . .

"Either of these charges,
if proven, would be enough 
to execute you, 
but you shall have your trial,
if Tal Hajus so deems, 
when we return to Thark.
"But if you run off
with the Red Girl,
it is I who shall have 
to account to Tal Hajus, 
and Tars Tarkas to me. 
"Not in a thousand years 
have we had so valuable
a prisoner as she --
the granddaughter of 
our most bitter, 
powerful red enemy! 
-- But you --"


In justice, you may be killed,
either by losing at armed combat, 
or to be caught trying to escape --
and truthfully I warn you --

We await but one of these 
two reasons to be rid of you,
but we are just and truthful. 
You may go."

So this was the beginning of 
Sarkoja's persecution! 
I now recalled our conversation -- 
Sarkoja could be 
the only one responsible. 

It was now more important
than ever to save Dejah Thoris 
from the clutches of Tal Hajus; 
Sola had told me of his cunning,
his cruelty, and his atavistic lust. 

We must escape 
before we arrived at Thark.

I wandered for a while 
with gloomy foreboding, 
then Tars Tarkas 
approached me in the plaza.

"Where are your quarters?" 
he asked. "John Carter?"

"I have selected none," 
I replied, 
"I had meant to ask you?"

"Come with me,"
he directed.

"I understand you gave
your woman to the Red captive,"
he said. 

"That is your affair, but a chieftain 
needs those to serve, 
and you have won the retinues,
any or all the women and possessions,
of the warriors you defeated. 

They will prepare food and care 
for your weapons and ammunition." 
I mentioned that I would need sleeping furs, 
for I had none.

I ascended to the third floor of 
Tars Tarkas' building, 
and after some exploration,
settled on a front room;
this brought me 
closer to Dejah Thoris, 
who was in the next building's
second floor. 

I thought on how to 
communicate with her 
should she need me. . . 

The back windows 
faced a huge court 
where the animals were kept, 
closed in by the rear walls 
of the buildings. . . 


I gazed for a while at the many
fountains, statuary, benches and pergolas 
in the overgrown courtyard, 
pondering upon the happy life 
which must have once filled it, 
now in ruins. 

My thoughts were cut short by 
the advent of several young females 
bearing loads of weapons,
silks, furs, jewels, casks of food and drink --

all the property of the two chieftains
I had slain, which was now mine.

At my direction 
they placed the stuff
in one of the back rooms, 
and then departed, 
only to return 
with a second load, 
which constituted 
the balance of the goods...


They were accompanied 
by ten or fifteen women 
and youths, who, it seemed, 
formed the retinues 
of the two late chieftains.

A man's retinue is 
somewhat like a military unit 
for which he is responsible
in various ways. 
His women are in no sense wives, 
and mating is a matter 
of community interest, 
directed by the council of chieftains 
coldly and scientifically. . . 

One of the girls I charged with the duties of my simple cuisine, 
and the others to their former vocations. 
Thereafter I saw little of them, nor did I care to.

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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