CHAPTER 22: "THE WIZARD"
Novelization by Dale R. Broadhurst
"One of the Wizards of Eo!" cried Sola, as the mechanical mount and
its two extraordinary riders leaped down from the sky.
Before John Carter could respond, the metal thoat and its two odd passengers
looped downward and landed beside them. The Earthman's right hand instinctively
reached for his long-sword, but its frozen fingers were useless. So, instead,
he gripped his short sword as best as he could with the less afflicted
left hand. Then John Carter advanced boldly.
"I have heard that the Wizards of Eo are great medical geniuses. I beg
you, sir, to help the Princess of Helium, if you can!"
Silently the wizard surveyed the Earthman. Only Vovo's big eyes moved,
gleaming weirdly in the moonlight. Then he mumbled low commands into his
mouthpiece and Oman helped him to the ground.
"There is but one Wizard of Eo: I am he and you may address me as 'Master
Vovo.' You wear a Barsoomian harness, but you are not of this planet. Your
arms and hands have been partly calcified and you are in immediate danger
of losing them. The body of this female is also afflicted. Chances for
any recovery are slender. You have brought nothing in payment or trade
for what I can offer. But, if you bring useful knowledge from another world,
we can talk."
John Carter pointed to the girl. "Strange gases in the city of Go-La-Ra
changed her body to stone. The same vapors are the cause of my injury.
I will tell you what happened..."
Impatiently the little wizard waved aside the explanation. "I know!"
he cried. "I know! Vovo knows all, sees all! There is nothing you can tell
me about Go-La-Ra, or the petrifying vapors that I do not already understand."
"Then help her. I am from the world you call Jasoom. I am but a simple
fighting man who has no great knowledge or riches to give. But I will cooperate
in any honorable way that you require. Just help, her, for God's sake!"
"We have no gods here, Jasoomian. I already know as much of your planet
as I care to learn. But you say that this is the Princess of Helium, do
you? Perhaps I can help her, after all. Any way, I see that there may be
some profit for me in this. As for you, what reward might there be for
restoring your arms and hands."
John Carter straightened into a soldier's pose and stared at the little
green man. Then he spoke, with anger in his voice and fire in his steel
"The only grand-daughter of the Jeddak of Helium has suffered many perils.
I serve her as a loyal companion. I know not what reward there might be
for me after she has been restored to her family, but you may take it.
I do not serve her out of greed but out of friendship and..."
"Yes, yes, I can see that!" Vovo muttered. "It may prove useful for
me to treat both of you -- but, I can do nothing for you in this wild place.
I must take the two of you to my laboratory -- from whence no outsider
have ever returned. The green girl and the calot are useless to me. If
they come any closer to Eo than this, that will be their end. Do you understand?"
Neither of the travelers spoke, but on Mars as on Earth, silence betokens
"Load the statue upon the anti-gravity device," the little man commanded
his robot. "Handle her with care. I shall take her to my tower and send
the conveyance back for you and the Jasoomian shortly. Hurry, time is of
great importance in healing these sorts of infirmities."
With that the little green man summoned the robot to help him mount
the flying thoat and was soon gone. John Carter watched as the odd contraption
lifted the wizard and the poor princess up into the nighttime sky and then
out of sight.
"Can you speak?" John Carter inquired, once he and Sola were alone with
"I can hear. I can speak. I obey the transmissions of Vovo. Vovo is
great! Vovo is wonderful! Vovo knows all. Vovo sees all..."
Sola interrupted the monotonous reply: "Your master looks like a Thark,
but he does not speak in Tharkian idiom. What is he? Where did he come
"Master Vovo is very old. You are very young. Were you very old, you
could answer these questions," was all the response he gave.
"Oman," the Earthman began again, "did Vovo build you? Are you his invention?
Do you know the story of your origin? In all my years I have never seen
anything like you -- but I have heard of a mechanical man in Europe, in
a great clock, whose hammer strikes a bell every hour."
"Your questions have no answers. Master Vovo is very old. I am very
old. Vovo has blood in his body. I have oil and radium in my body. I live
to serve my Master. My origin I cannot tell you."
But then Oman's staccato voice softened and took on tones that were
almost human. His unblinking glass eyes looked downward for a moment, and
he finished his reply with a strange disclosure.
"My origin I cannot tell you, because I myself have forgotton it. I
recall a time when the land was covered in water and Eo was surrounded
by an ocean. That was long, long ago. It is my earliest memory. Master
Vovo sustains us. Master Vovo's will is our will. We obey none but Vovo.
Then the metal man fell silent, his eyes staring straight ahead. The
only comparison John Carter could think of was the silence of a telegraph
key after the end of a Morse code message.
"What do you think, Sola?" the Earthman asked.
"There are no dwarfs among my people," she replied. I once saw a hatchling
whose egg had opened late. The child had wandered about for weeks, eating
only moss, like a thoat. He was short and very thin when we discovered
him. Sarkoja shot him with a pistol and called him a "banth morsel." I
never saw another, but Vovo may be such an orphan. Who might have raised
him I cannot say."
John Carter made a move in the direction of Oman's pistol holster and
immediatly the metal man came to life. Just then the Earthman saw the flying
thoat returning through the moon-lit sky. He directed the robot's attention
to the sight.
"Now you go to Eo; the girl waits here. Your return is indefinite; her
wait will be indefinite."