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Volume 3317a

The Eighth Runner-Up in the Seven Wonders of Barsoom 
Part Two: Aaanthor, Torquas, and Lothar 
(continued from ERBzine 3317)
Cartography by Larry Ivie for Readers Guide to Barsoom and Amtor
Woodrow Edgar Nichols, Jr.

Carthoris and Thuvia tell the strange man from Lothar where they are from, but the man has never heard of Helium or Ptarth:

“‘I know of nothing beyond the Lotharian hills,’ he said. ‘Naught may live there beside the hideous green hordes of Torquas. They have conquered all Barsoom except this single valley and the city of Lothar. Here we have defied them for countless ages, though periodically they renew their attempts to destroy us. From whence you come I cannot guess unless you be descended from the slaves the Torquasians captured in early times when they reduced the outer world to their vassalage; but we had heard that they destroyed all other races but their own.’...

“After considerable parleying he consented to admit them to the city, and a moment later the wheel-like gate rolled back within its niche, and Thuvia and Cathoris entered the city of Lothar.“All about them were evidences of fabulous wealth. The facades of the buildings fronting upon the avenue within the wall were richly carven, and about the windows and doors were ofttimes set foot-wide borders of precious stones, intricate mosaics, or tablets of beaten gold bearing bas-reliefs depicting what may have been bits of the history of this forgotten people.

“He with whom they had conversed across the wall was in the avenue to receive them. About him were a hundred or more men of the same race. All were clothed in flowing robes and all were beardless. 

“Their attitude was more of fearful suspicion than antagonism. They followed the new-comers with their eyes but spoke no word to them.” (TMM/6.) 

They inquire about the lost bowmen but discover that no man has left the city that day, only a score or so of the sacred banths exited the gate. They protest, having witnessed thousands of bowmen leaving the city. Their host then asks them to look up the street and they see a great army of bowmen marching towards them. The host draws their attention away from the army and then asks them to turn and look again. The army has vanished. They have many questions so the host takes them to Tario, the Jeddak of Lothar, who will answer all that they want to know. He then leads them down the broad avenue from which the phantom army had marched.
“For half an hour they walked along lovely avenues between the most gorgeous buildings that the two had ever seen. Few people were in evidence. Carthoris could not but note the deserted appearance of the mighty city. 

“At last they came to the royal palace. Carthoris saw it from a distance, and guessing the nature of the magnificent pile wondered that even here there should be so little sign of activity and life....

“‘Here,’ said their guide, ‘is the palace of Tario.’

“As he spoke Carthoris again let his gaze rest upon the wondrous palace. With a startled exclamation he rubbed his eyes and looked again. No! He could not be mistaken. Before the massive gate stood a score of sentries. Within the avenue leading to the main building was lined on either side by ranks of bowmen. The gardens were dotted with officers and soldiers moving quickly to and fro, as though bent upon the duties of the minute....

“‘I thought that you just said that there were no soldiers in Lothar,’ said the Heliumite, with a gesture toward the guardsmen. ‘What are these?’ 

“‘Ask Tario,’ replied the other. ‘We shall soon be before him.’” (TMM/6.)

They enter a lofty chamber where a man reclines on a rich couch standing upon a high dais. Their guide, Jav, tells them to follow his example: he throws himself headlong on the floor, then rises on his hands and knees and crawls towards the dais, swinging his head back and forth and wiggling like a dog.
“Thuvia glanced quickly toward Carthoris. He was standing erect, with high-held head and arms folded across his broad chest. A haughty smile curved his lips.” (TMM/6.)
I throw this quote in because it shows us what ERB is up to. It was unnecessary for ERB to tell us what Carthoris was doing at this point from Thuvia’s point of view. He could have just stated what Carthoris was doing without mentioning Thuvia. Therefore he is telling us psychologically what it going through her mind. She is checking out all of his actions to see if they comport with what he has told her in all “honesty.”

Tario and Carthoris have a stare-down, then Tario asks Jav to identify the two strangers to Lothar to him:

“‘O Tario, most glorious Jeddak,’ replied Jav, ‘these be strangers who came with the hordes of Torquas to our gates, saying that they were prisoners of the green men. They tell strange tales of cities far beyond the Lothar.’” (TMM/6.)
Tario commands Jav to teach the strangers how to properly respect him. Jav turns in rage upon Carthoris and Thuvia and commands them to prostrate themselves before Tario, but Carthoris places his hand on the hilt of his sword. Before he knows it, he is surrounded by a score of bowmen. Carthoris pulls out his sword, SCHWING!, and the bowmen draw back their slim shafts.
What is Tario doing during this dangerous moment? He is a true Lothario: he only has seduction of women in mind:
“Tario half raised himself upon one elbow. For the first time he saw the full figure of Thuvia, who had been concealed behind the person of Carthoris. 

“‘Enough!’ cried the Jeddak, raising a protesting hand, but at that very instant the sword of the Heliumite cut viciously at its nearest antagonist.” (TMM/7.)

Again ERB gives us more than one way to interpret this scene with the use of the term “full figure.” We can think of her full figure as all of her or, more particularly, we can think of her as a full-breasted woman. In other words, it means that he caught sight of her breasts and genitalia.

The fact that ERB used this term when others were just as suitable, gives me reason to believe he meant the latter. This view is reinforced by the fact that Thuvia is naked. It is even further reinforced by Tario’s response. He halts his bowmen when he catches sight of her full figure and then makes them disappear. 

Tario changes his demeanor and tells Jav that they must first determine if the strangers knowingly affronted them before determining what measures must be taken for proper punishment:

“Then he turned to Carthoris, but ever his gaze wandered to the perfect lines of Thuvia’s glorious figure, which the harness of a Barsoomian princess accentuated rather than concealed.” (TMM/7.)
All doubts as to ERB’s meaning of “full figure” should have dissolved at this point.

Tario is obviously a breast man. As for leather straps accentuating breasts, one has only to pick up a dominatrix magazine to fully visualize what ERB had in mind. Thuvia is one knock out babe with the morality of a Holy Thern.

Remember, ERB is writing this story in 1915 and because of strict censorship, must hint at things and use double-entendres if he wants to get away with bawdy fiction. Anyway, Carthoris informs Tario that the Prince of Helium and Princess of Ptarth prostrate themselves before no man.

“Tario looked at Carthoris for a long time. At last he spoke. 

“‘There is no other jeddak upon Barsoom than Tario,’ he said. ‘There is no other race than that of Lothar, unless the hordes of Torquas may be dignified by such an appellation. Lotharians are white; your skins are red. There are no women left upon Barsoom. Your companion is a woman. 

“He half rose from the couch, leaning far forward and pointing an accusing finger at Carthoris.

“‘You are a lie!’ he shrieked. ‘You are both lies, and you dare to come before Tario, last and mightiest of the jeddaks of Barsoom, and assert your reality. Some one shall pay well for this, Jav, and unless I mistake it is yourself who has dared thus flippantly to trifle with the good nature of your jeddak. 

“‘Remove the man. Leave the woman. We shall see if both be lies. And later, Jav, you shall suffer for your temerity. There be few of us left, but – Komal must be fed. Go!’” (TMM/7.)

Since there are no women in Lothar, and the Lotharians mistakenly believe they and the Green Hordes are all that remain on Barsoom, then the presence of Thuvia must have had a real impact on every real male in Lothar. And Thuvia is no ordinary woman.

Carthoris reluctantly leaves with Jav after he tells him it is best for them in the current situation. Carthoris looks back at Thuvia and tries to make her understand that it is in her own best interest that he leaves.

“For answer she turned her back full upon him, but not without first throwing him such a look of contempt that brought the scarlet to his cheek.” (TMM/7.)
Carthoris may have had two hits previously, but he has just struck out big time. He hesitates and Jav threatens the bowmen on Carthoris if he doesn’t come with him. Carthoris obeys, leaving Thuvia alone with the Lothario Tario . One can only guess how Tario hopes to determine the reality of the Princess of Ptarth. 

Carthoris and Jav chat. Jav tells him that he believes he is real, leading Carthoris to inquire as to the disappearing bowmen. Jav explains: 

“‘You have seen,’ replied the other. ‘We send out our deathless archers -- deathless because they are lifeless, existing only in the imaginations of our enemies. It is really our giant minds that defend us, sending out legions of imaginary warriors to materialize before the mind’s eye of the foe. 

“‘They see them – they see their bows drawn back – they see their slender arrows speed with unerring precision toward their hearts. And they die – killed by the power of suggestion.’” (TMM/7.)

Carthoris presses him, asking how is it that the dead bodies of the bowmen were piled high on the field of battle. Jav explains:
“‘It is but to lend reality to the scene,’ replied Jav. ‘We picture many of our own defenders killed that the Torquasians may not guess that there are really no flesh and blood creatures opposing them.

“‘Once that truth became implanted in their minds, it is the theory of many of us, no longer would they fall prey to the suggestion of the deadly arrows, for greater would be the suggestion of the truth, and the more powerful suggestion would prevail – it is law.’” (TMM/7.)

Carthoris asks about the banths and discovers that the ones that left the gate with the archers were not real but the ones left scavenging on the field were. Jav tells him that this is demanded by the realists among them. Jav is a realist, but Tario is an etherealist.
“The etherealists maintain that there is no such thing as matter -- that all is mind. They say that none of us exists, except in the imagination of his fellows, other than as an intangible, invisible mentality.

“‘According to Tario, it is but necessary that we all unite in imagining that there are no dead Torquasians beneath our walls, and there will be none, nor any need of scavenging banths.’

“‘You, then, do not hold Tario’s beliefs?’ asked Carthoris. 

“‘In part only,’ replied the Lotharian. ‘I believe, in fact I know, that there are only some ethereal creatures. Tario is one, I am convinced. He has no existence except in the imagination of his people.

“‘Of course, it is the contention of all of us realists that all etherealists are but figments of the imagination. They contend that no food is necessary, nor do they eat; but any one of the most rudimentary intelligence must realize that food is a necessity to creatures having actual existence.’

“‘Yes,’ agreed Carthoris, ‘not having eaten today I can readily agree with you.’” (TMM/7.)

Jav waves his hand and immediately Carthoris is confronted with a table full of food and drink. They have a long sophomoric discussion about the reality of the food before them which is rarely clear and full of contradictions. Finally they get around to discussing Komal. 
“‘Who is Komal?’ asked Carthoris. ‘I heard your jeddak speak of him.’

“Jav bent low toward the ear of the Heliumite, looking fearfully about before he spoke.

“‘Komal is the essence,’ he whispered. ‘Even the etherealists admit that mind itself must have substance in order to transmit to imaginings the appearance of substance. For if there were really no such thing as substance it could not be suggested – what never has been cannot be imagined. Do you follow me?’ 

“‘I am groping,’ replied Carthoris dryly.

“‘So the essence must be substance,’ continued Jav. ‘Komal is the essence of the All, as it were. He is maintained by substance. He eats. He eats the real. To be explicit, he eats the realists. That is Tario’s work.

“‘He says that inasmuch as we maintain that we alone are real we should, to be consistent, admit that we alone are proper food for Komal. Sometimes, as today, we find other food for him. He is very fond of the Torquasians.’

“‘And Komal is a man?’ asked Carthoris.

“‘He is All, I told you,’ replied Jav. ‘I know not how to explain him in words that you will understand. He is the beginning and the end. All life
emanates from Komal, since the substance that feeds the brain with imaginings radiates from the body of Komal.

“‘Should Komal cease to eat, all life upon Barsoom would cease to be. He cannot die, but he might cease to eat, and, thus, to radiate.’

“‘And he feeds upon the men and women of your belief?’ cried Carthoris.

“‘Women!’ exclaimed Jav. ‘There are no women in Lothar. The last of the Lotharian females perished ages since, upon that cruel and terrible journey across the muddy plains that fringed the half-dried seas, when the green hordes scourged us across the world to this our last hiding-place – our impregnable fortress of Lothar.

“‘Scarce twenty thousand men of all the countless millions of our race lived to reach Lothar. Among us were no women and no children. All these had perished by the way.

“‘As time went on, we, too, were dying and the race fast approaching extinction, when the Great Truth was revealed to us, that mind is all. Many more died before we perfected our powers, but at last we were able to defy death when we fully understood that death was merely a state of mind.

“‘Then came the creation of mind-people, or rather the materialization of imaginings. We first put these to practical use when the Torquasians discovered our retreat, and fortunate for us it was that it required ages of search upon their part before they found the single tiny entrance to the valley of Lothar.’” (TMM/7.)

Jav tells him how they first tried to just frighten off the Green Hordes, but they did not frighten, and they had to go on to more drastic measures. Jav explains the evolution of the techniques that he had seen that very day. Then Carthoris remembers Thuvia and decides to take her some food. Jav demands that he stays, but Carthoris decides to leave anyway. He has an idea of how he can thwart the imaginary bowmen. But then they hear a woman’s scream.

Carthoris brushes Jav aside and rushes down the corridor with sword drawn. 

Then, in ERB’s classic cliffhanger style, the scene shifts back to Thuvia and Tario just as Carthoris is leaving with Jav. Thuvia is left with a feeling of foreboding. She has not had the luxury of Jav’s lecture, and still knows nothing of the Lotharians. Meanwhile Tario is staring at her through half-closed eyes, an ERB euphemism for lust.

“‘Come nearer,’ he said, and, as she approached: ‘Whose creature are you? Who has dared to materialize his imaginings of a woman? It is contrary to the customs and the royal edicts of Lothar. Tell me, woman, from whose brain have you sprung? Jav’s? No, do not deny it. I know that it could be no other than that envious realist. He seeks to tempt me. He would see me fall beneath the spell of your charms, and then he, your master, would direct my destiny and – my end. I see it all! I see it all!’

“The blood of indignation and anger had been rising to Thuvia’s face. Her chin was up, a haughty  curve upon her perfect lips.

“‘I know naught,’ she cried, ‘of what you are prating! I am Thuvia, Princess of Ptarth. I am no man’s creature. Never before today did I lay eyes upon him you call Jav, nor upon your ridiculous city, of which even the greatest nations of Barsoom have never dreamed.

“‘My charms are not for you, nor such as you. They are not for sale or barter, even though the price were a real throne. And as for using them to win your worse than futile power --’ She ended her sentence with a shrug of her shapely shoulders, and a little scornful laugh. 

“When she had finished Tario was sitting upon the edge of his couch, his feet upon the floor. He was leaning forward with eyes no longer half closed, but wide with a startled expression in them.

“He did not seem to note the lese majeste of her words and manner. There was evidently something more startling and compelling about her speech than that.

“Slowly he came to his feet. 

“‘By the fangs of Komal!’ he muttered. ‘But you are real! A real woman! No dream! No vain and foolish figment of the mind!’

“He took a step toward her, with hands outstretched.

“‘Come!’ he whispered. ‘Come, woman! For countless ages have I dreamed that some day you would come. And now that you are here I can scarce believe the testimony of my eyes. Even now, knowing that you are real, I still half dread that you may be a lie.’

“Thuvia shrank back. She thought the man mad. Her hand stole to the jeweled hilt of her dagger. The man saw the move, and stopped. A cunning expression entered his eyes. Then they became at once dreamy and penetrating as they fairly bored into the girl’s brain. 

“Thuvia suddenly felt a change coming over her. What the cause of it she did not guess; but somehow the man before her began to assume a new relationship within her heart.” (TMM/8.)

Yes, this is ERB’s stock in trade near rape scene. Did you notice how Tario went from believing Thuvia was a lie to a full hypnotic seduction the moment he realized she was real.

Perhaps there was a good reason the women chose to perish with their children rather to be around these men any longer. Anyway, Tario has managed to get inside the head of the Thern thinking Princess:

“No longer was he a strange and mysterious enemy, but an old and trusted friend. Her hand slipped from the dagger’s hilt. Tario came closer. He spoke gentle, friendly words, and she answered him in a voice that seemed hers and yet another's.

“He was beside her now. His hand was up her shoulder. His eyes were down-bent toward hers. She looked up into his face. His gaze seemed to bore straight through her to some hidden spring of sentiment within her. 

“Her lips parted in sudden awe and wonder at the strange revealment of her inner self that was being laid bare before her consciousness. She had known Tario forever. He was more than friend to her. She moved a little closer to him. In one swift flood of light she knew the truth. She loved Tario, Jeddak of Lothar! She had always loved him.” (TMM/8.)

Did you catch the “hidden spring of sentiment within her”? That’s the same spring Solomon tapped with the dark skinned Rose of Sharon in the Bible:
“A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon. Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and his pleasant fruits.

“I have come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.” (The Song of Solomon, 4:15 - 5:1.)

I think you get the idea. Thuvia is getting wet. Tario sensed her Thern morality and went for the jugular. If Thuvia is getting wet, imagine the state Tario must be in. Thuvia gets closer and closer to Tario even after he feels her shoulder. We are not told what happened with Tario’s hands after that, but we can imagine. Did Thuvia do anything with her hands in return? ERB is silent on these essential facts, but, because of the censors, he had to be. We learn below that at this point they were in each others arms. Whatever was going on between them ends suddenly when Tario blows his cover.
“The man, seeing the success of his strategy, could not restrain a faint smile of satisfaction. Whether there was something in the expression of his face, or whether from Carthoris of Helium in a far chamber of the palace came a more powerful suggestion, who may say? But something there was that suddenly dispelled the strange, hypnotic influence of the man.

“As though a mask had been torn from her eyes, Thuvia suddenly saw Tario as she had formerly seen him, and, accustomed as she was to the strange manifestations of highly developed mentality which are common upon Barsoom, she quickly guessed enough of the truth to know that she was in grave danger. 

“Quickly she took a step backward, tearing herself from his grasp. But the momentary contact had aroused within Tario all the long-buried passions of his loveless existence.

“With a muffled cry he sprang upon her, throwing his arms about her and attempting to drag her lips to his.

“‘Woman!’ he cried. ‘Lovely woman! Tario would make you queen of Lothar. Listen to me! Listen to the love of the last of the jeddaks of Barsoom.’” (TMM/8.)

This is another of ERB's euphemisms: listen to the love. Come on, think about it. What is there to hear? But there is a lot to feel and I believe that was what Tario was really talking about.
“Thuvia struggled to free herself from his embrace.

“‘Stop, creature!’ she cried. ‘Stop! I do not love you. Stop, or I shallscream for help!’

‘“‘Scream for help,’” he mimicked. ‘And who within the halls of Lothar is there who might come in answer to your call? Who would dare enter the presence of Tario, unsummoned?’

“‘There is one,’ she replied, ‘who would come, and, coming, dare to cut you down upon your own throne, if he thought you had you offered affront to Thuvia of Ptarth!’

“‘Who, Jav?’ asked Tario.

“‘Not Jav, nor any other soft-skinned Lotharian,’ she replied; ‘but a real man, a real warrior – Carthoris of Helium!’

“Again the man laughed at her.

“‘You forget the bowmen,’ he reminded her. ‘What could your red warrior accomplish against my fearless legions?’

“And he caught her roughly to him, dragging her towards his couch.

“‘If you will not be my queen, you shall be my slave.’

“‘Neither!’ cried the girl.

“As she spoke the single word there was a quick move of her right hand; Tario, releasing her, staggered back, both hands pressed to his side. At the same instant the room filled with bowmen, and then the jeddak of Lothar sank senseless to the marble floor.

“At the instant he lost consciousness the bowmen were about to release their arrows into Thuvia’s heart.” (TMM/8.)

But of course they don’t release their arrows for they are only in Tario’s mind and he has lost consciousness. Did you see how far ERB took the rape scene? Just as far as he was allowed under the current standards of the age. Rape was not allowed to be described in legal fiction. If you wanted to legally read a description of rape at the time you had to read a court transcript of a
rape trial. 

Anyway, Carthoris arrives with Jav on his heels. Thuvia sees Carthoris in a new way and struggles with the idea of her betrothal. At first everyone believes Tario has been slain, but he is still alive and seals Carthoris, Thuvia, and Jav in his chamber, sentencing them all to die the Death. Hours go by. Thuvia snuggles up next to Carthoris:

“Thuvia of Ptarth drew quite close to him. She felt safer with the feel of his arm against hers, and with the contact of her the man took a new grip upon himself.” (TMM/8.)
Then the floor becomes a trap, sinking in all directions, they slide toward the center:
“Better to cling to the smooth stone he kicked off his sandals of zitidar hide and with his bare feet braced himself against the sickening tilt, at the same time throwing his arms supportingly about the girl.

“In her terror her own hands clasped about the man’s neck. Her cheek was close to his. Death, unseen and of unknown form, seemed close upon them, and because unseen and unknowable, infinitely more terrifying.

“‘Courage, my princess,’ he whispered.

“She looked up into his face to see smiling lips above hers and brave eyes, untouched by terror, drinking deeply of her own.” (TMM/8.)

Then the floor gives away totally and they are dumped into a chamber below where the Death awaits them:
“Carthoris, still clasping Thuvia tightly to his breast, came to the ground catlike, breaking the shock for the girl. Scarce had his feet touched the rough stone flagging of this new chamber than his sword flashed out ready for instant use. But though the room was lighted, there was no sign of enemy about. 

“Carthoris looked toward Jav. The man was pasty white with fear. 

“‘What is to be our fate?’ asked the Heliumite. ‘Tell me, man! Shake off your terror long enough to tell me, so I may be prepared to sell my life and that of the Princess of Ptarth as dearly as possible.’

“‘Komal!’ whispered Jav. ‘We are to be devoured by Komal!”

“‘Your deity?’ asked Carthoris.

“The Lotharian nodded his head.” (TMM/9.)

Komal proves to be a huge banth, but, of course, Jav has no idea that Thuvia is a banth whisperer. Komal is soon putty in her hands and she leads the way out of the chamber to explore for an exit. Komal’s lair has another opening into an arena and they are soon above ground once again. No one is around. They ask Jav why this is so:
“‘Poor Lothar,’ he said. ‘It is indeed a city of ghosts. There are scarce a thousand of us left, who once were numbered in the millions. Our great city is peopled by the creatures of our own imagninings. For our own needs we do not take the trouble to materialize these peoples of our brain, yet they are apparent to us.” (TMM/9.)
Jav then demonstrates this truth to Carthoris and Thuvia by summoning up a scene from Lothar’s dim past with a wave of his hand:
“The sight that met them was awe-inspiring. Where before there had been naught but deserted pavements and scarlet swards, yawning windows and tenantless doors, now swarmed a countless multitude of happy, laughing people.

“‘It is the past,’ said Jav in a low voice. ‘They do not see us – they but live the old dead past of ancient Lothar – the dead and crumbled Lothar of antiquity, which stood upon the shore of Throxus, mightiest of the five oceans. 

“‘See those fine, upstanding men swinging along the broad avenue? See the young girls and the women smile upon them? See the men greet them with love and respect? Those be seafarers coming up from their ships which lie at the quays at the city’s edge.

“‘Brave men, they – ah, but the glory of Lothar has faded! See their weapons. They alone bore arms, for they crossed the five seas to strange places where dangers were. With their passing passed the martial spirit of the Lotharians, leaving, as the ages rolled by, a race of spineless cowards. 

“‘We hated war, and so we trained not our youth in warlike ways. Thus followed our undoing, for when the seas dried and the green hordes encroached upon us we could do naught but flee. But we remembered the seafaring bowmen of the days of our glory – it is the memory of these which we hurl upon our enemies.’” (TMM/9.)

The ocean is called Throxus only in this story. It later becomes Throxeus. Why was the "e" added? Either ERB liked the sound of it better or it was always Throxeus and the typist made a mistake. Anyway, the three of them accompanied by Komal open the city gate and exit. Tario, standing on the city wall above the gate, sends out a company of bowmen in pursuit. Jav panics, but Carthoris gets an idea and tells Jav to hurl his own imaginary bowmen against Tario’s imaginary bowmen. An absurd battle ensues.

While Jav and Tario are thus engaged, Carthoris heads off with Thuvia to look for the tunnel of escape from the valley of Lothar. Jav sees them and for the first time realizes that he too wants to possess Thuvia of Ptarth. He gets a cunning look in his eye:

“The thing that lay beyond that look had been deep in his heart since first he had laid eyes upon Thuvia of Ptarth. He had not recognized it, however, until now that she seemed to about to pass out of his existence.
“He centered his mind upon the Heliumite and the girl for an instant.

“Carthoris saw Thuvia of Ptarth step forward with outstretched hand. He was surprised at this sudden softening toward him, and it was with a full heart that e let his fingers close upon hers, as together they turned away from forgotten Lothar, into the woods, and bent their steps toward the distant mountains. 

“As the Lotharian had turned toward them, Thuvia had been surprised to hear Carthoris suddenly voice a new plan.

“‘Remain here with Jav,’ she had heard him say, ‘while I go to search for the passage through the cliffs.’

“She had dropped back in surprise and disappointment, for she knew that there was no reason why she should not have accompanied him. Certainly she should have safer with him than left here alone with the Lotharian.

“And Jav watched the two and smiled his cunning smile.” (TMM/9.)

Jav is playing with their minds. He finally arranges a cease fire with Tario for the night, and Thuvia watches in fascination as both sides dig in and make camp for the night. She asks Jav why so much detail is necessary for imaginary armies. He relates to her what he had told Carthoris before: the realists demand it.
“‘Then too,’ continued the Lotharian, ‘there is always the hope, which with us is little short of belief, that some day these materializations will merge into the real – that they will remain, some of them, after we have dissolved their fellows, and that thus we shall have discovered a means for perpetuating our dying race.

“‘Some there are who claim already to have accomplished the thing. It is generally supposed that the etherealists have quite a few among their number who are permanent materializations. It is even said that such is Tario, but that cannot be, for he existed before we had discovered the full possibilities of suggestion.

“‘There are others among us who insist that none of us is real. That we could not have existed all these ages without material food and water had we ourselves been material. Although I am a realist, I rather incline toward this belief myself.

“‘It seems well and sensibly based upon the belief that our ancient forbears developed before their extinction such wondrous mentalities that some of the stronger minds among them lived after the death of their bodies – that we are but the deathless minds of individuals long dead.

“‘It would appear possible, and yet insofar as I am concerned I have all the attributes of corporeal existence. I eat, I sleep’ – he paused, casting a meaning look upon the girl – ‘I love!’” (TMM/9.)

We see that Jav too has a bit of the Lothario in him. Thuvia begins to pick up a bad vibe with Jav and maybe something else more visible: 
“Thuvia could not mistake the palpable meaning of his words and expression. She turned away with a little shrug of disgust that was not lost upon the Lotharian.

“He came close to her and seized her arm.

“‘Why not Jav?’ he cried. ‘Who more honorable than the second of the world’s most ancient race? Your Heliumite? He has gone. He has deserted you to your fate to save himself. Come, be Jav’s!’

“Thuvia of Ptarth rose to her full height, her lifted shoulder turned toward the man, her haughty chin upraised, a scornful twist to her lips. 

“‘You lie!’ she said quietly. ‘The Heliumite knows less of disloyalty than he knows of fear, and of fear he is as ignorant as the unhatched young.’

“‘Then where is he?’ taunted the Lotharian. ‘I tell you he has fled the valley. He has left you to your fate. But Jav will see that it is a pleasant one. Tomorrow we shall return into Lothar at the head of my victorious army, and I shall be jeddak and you shall be my consort. Come!’ And he attempted to crush her to his breast.

“The girl struggled to free herself, striking at the man with her metal armlets. Yet still he drew her toward him until both were suddenly startled by a hideous growl that rumbled from the dark wood close behind them.” (TMM/9.)

ERB is at it again. The rape scene cut off in the middle to create another cliffhanger. The focus switches back to Carthoris, who has just discovered that Thuvia is not by his side. He snaps out of the spell and rushes back to Lothar where he finds the mangled remains of Jav. 

Let’s forget the cliffhanger effect for now and skip ahead a couple of chapters to see what happened. Was Thuvia raped?

“Thuvia of Ptarth, battling for more than life against the lust of Jav, cast a quick glance over her shoulder toward the forest from which had rumbled the fierce growl. Jav looked, too. 

“What they saw filled each with apprehension. It was Komal, the banthgod, rushing wide-jawed upon them!

“Which had he chosen for his prey? Or was it to be both? 

“They had not long to wait, for though the Lotharian attempted to hold the girl between himself and the terrible fangs, the great beast found him at last.

“Then, shrieking, he attempted to fly toward Lothar, after pushing Thuvia bodily into the face of the man-eater. But his flight was of short duration. In a moment Komal was upon him, rending his throat and chest with demoniacal fury. 

“The girl reached their side a moment later, but it was difficulty that she tore the mad beast from its prey. Still growling and casting angry glances back upon Jav, the banth at last permitted itself to be led away into the wood.” (TMM/112.)

Ironically, Jav thus confirmed that he was real and got to insure that Komal kept radiating the substance for the imaginings. Yes, it pays to be a banth whisperer. If you’re counting, that makes three near rape misses for Thuvia: Astok; Tario; and now Jav. What is it about her that sends out such an irresistible signal? Anyway, with Komal as her guide and bodyguard, she leaves the valley and returns to Aaanthor, where she believes Carthoris was headed. Of course, they pass each other in the woods.

When Carthoris discovers from the remains of Jav that Thuvia has gone the way he just came, he makes mad haste back to the tunnel: 

“It was dawn when he reached the mouth of the dark tunnel that would lead him to the other world beyond this valley of ghostly memories and strange hypnotic influences and menaces.

“Within the long, dark passages he met with no accident or obstacle, coming at last into the light of day beyond the mountains, and no great distance from the southern verge of the domains of the Torquasians, not more than one hundred and fifty haad at the most.

“From the boundary of Torquas to the city of Aaanthor is a distance of some two hundred haads, so that the Heliumite had before him a journey of more than one hundred and fifty Earth miles between him and Aaanthor.” (TMM/10.)

ERB tells us in a footnote in chapter 6 that a haad, or Barsoomian mile, contains about 2,339 Earth feet. An Earth mile is 5,280 feet. If I am reading him correctly, from the entrance of the tunnel to the southernmost boundary of the Torquasians is about one hundred and fifty haads, and from the boundary to Aaanthor is another two hundred haads, meaning that Aaanthor is not 
within the boundaries of Torquas. Thus, Carthoris has a trek of 350 haads in front of him, or about 150 Earth miles.

Time for the calculator. Remember, ERB was making approximations. Hmm, let’s see:
350 haads x 2, 339 Earth feet = 818,650 Earth feet. 150 Earth miles x 5,280 Earth feet = 792,000 Earth feet. 
Close enough for horseshoes. As Carthoris journeys he comes across a strange sight:

“As he followed rapidly downward toward the dead sea bottom, where he knew he must lose the spoor in the resilient ochre vegetation, he was suddenly surprised to see a naked man approaching him from the north-west.

“As the fellow drew closer, Carthoris halted to await his coming. He knew that the man was unarmed, and that he was apparently a Lotharian, for his skin was white and his hair auburn.

“He approached the Heliumite without sign of fear, and when quite close called out the cheery Barsoomian ‘kaor’ of greeting.

“‘Who are you?’ asked Carthoris.

“‘I am Kar Komak, odwar of the bowmen,’ replied the other. ‘A strange thing has happened to me. For ages Tario has been bringing me into existence as he needed the services of the army of his mind. Of all the bowmen it has been Kar Komak who has been oftemost materialized. 

“‘For a long time Tario has been concentrating his mind upon my permanent materialization. It has been an obsession with him that some day this thing could be accomplished and the future of Lothar assured. He asserted that matter was nonexistent except in the imagination of man – that all was mental, and so he believed that by persisting in his suggestion he could eventually make of
me a permanent suggestion in the minds of all creatures.

“‘Yesterday he succeeded, but at such a time! It must have come all unknown to him, as it came to me without my knowledge, as, with my horde of yelling bowmen, I pursued the fleeing Torquasians back to their ochre plains.

“‘As darkness settled and the time came for us to fade once more into thin air, I suddenly found myself alone upon the edge of the great plain which lies yonder at the foot of the low hills.

“‘My men were gone back to the nothinness from which they had sprung, but I remained – naked and unarmed.

“‘At first I could not understand, but at last came a realization of what had occurred. Tario’s long suggestions had at last prevailed, and Kar Komak had become a reality in the world of men; but my harness and my weapons had faded away with my fellows, leaving me naked and unarmed in a hostile country far from Lothar.’

“‘You wish to return to Lothar?’ asked Carthoris.

“‘No!’ replied Kar Komak quickly. ‘I have no love for Tario. Being a creature of his mind, I know him too well. He is cruel and tyrannical – a master I have no desire to serve. Now that he has succeeded in accomplishing permanent materialization, he will be unbearable, and he will go on until he has filled Lothar with his creatures. I wonder if he has succeeded as well with the maid of Lothar.’ 

“‘I thought there were no women there,’ said Carthoris.

“‘In a hidden apartment in the palace of Tario,’ replied Kar Komak, ‘the jeddak has maintained the suggestion of a beautiful girl, hoping that some day she would become permanent. I have seen her there. She is wonderful. But for her sake I hope that Tario succeeds not so well with her as he has with me.’” (TMM/10.)

It is never clear which side is right in the debate between the realists and etherealists. Both sides seem to score some major points but the fact that Kar Komak is resurrected out of thin air because of someone’s mental suggestion lends credence to the etherealists having the stronger position. But we can’t take any of this seriously for, after all, ERB is just having fun. They
return to Aaanthor: 
“And so they came, upon the morning of the third day, within sight of the glistening domes of distant Aaanthor.” (TMM/10.)
There is little or no more information given about dead sea-bottom cities or their inhabitants after this point. However, we are given further geographical information about Barsoom:
“Aaanthor lies in fifty south latitude, and forty east of Horz, the deserted seat of Barsoomian culture and learning, while Dusar lies fifteen degrees north of the equator and twenty degrees east from Horz.” (TMM/12.)
Of course, there is one last connection made between the Lotharians and the Therns when Carthoris must convince Vas Kor, the spy who sabotaged Carthoris’s directional compass, that Kar Komak can be trusted even though he has white skin and auburn hair:
“‘Kar Komak,’ he explained, ‘is, as you can see, a thern. He has wandered far from his icebound southern temples in search of adventure. I came upon him in the pits of Aaanthor; but though I have known him so short a time, I can vouch for his bravery and loyalty.” (TMM/13.)
This story is too good to give any more away, so we will bid goodbye to Aaanthor, Torquas, and Lothar for now.


When you open your eyes and read with discernment you can see clearly that ERB wrote this series for adults. He would leave Barsoom behind for another six years before he returned with The Chessmen of Mars. Perhaps it took him this long to get Thuvia out of his system.

Who was Thuvia in real life? Was she a real person? If she wasn’t then ERB was like Tario and his maid of Lothar, perhaps hoping by his suggestion alone he could materialize this wanton babe into real life. After all, Barsoom and all its life only exist in the mind that time forgot. They only live when the mind of ERB is explored by other readers who love adventure, horror, and romance. Keep the dream alive. The Barsoomian Mythos exists!

And there you have it, ERB’s Aaanthor, Torquas, and Lothar: 
Part Two of the Eighth Runner-Up in the Seven Wonders of Barsoom!

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.


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

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