WITH THE YELLOW MEN
Thuvan Dihn was not long in joining me; and, though we found
the hooked weapon a strange and savage thing with which to deal,
the three of us soon despatched the five black-bearded warriors who
When the battle was over our new acquaintance turned to me,
and removing the shield from his wrist, held it out. I did not
know the significance of his act, but judged that it was but a
form of expressing his gratitude to me.
I afterward learned that it symbolized the offering of a man's life
in return for some great favor done him; and my act of refusing,
which I had immediately done, was what was expected of me.
"Then accept from Talu, Prince of Marentina," said the yellow man,
"this token of my gratitude," and reaching beneath one of his
wide sleeves he withdrew a bracelet and placed it upon my arm.
He then went through the same ceremony with Thuvan Dihn.
Next he asked our names, and from what land we hailed.
He seemed quite familiar with the geography of the outerworld,
and when I said I was from Helium he raised his brows.
"Ah," he said, "you seek your ruler and his company?"
"Know you of them?" I asked.
"But little more than that they were captured by my uncle, Salensus Oll,
Jeddak of Jeddaks, Ruler of Okar, land of the yellow men of Barsoom.
As to their fate I know nothing, for I am at war with my uncle,
who would crush my power in the principality of Marentina.
"These from whom you have just saved me are warriors he has
sent out to find and slay me, for they know that often I come alone
to hunt and kill the sacred apt which Salensus Oll so much reveres.
It is partly because I hate his religion that Salensus Oll hates me;
but mostly does he fear my growing power and the great faction
which has arisen throughout Okar that would be glad to see
me ruler of Okar and Jeddak of Jeddaks in his place.
"He is a cruel and tyrannous master whom all hate, and were it not
for the great fear they have of him I could raise an army overnight
that would wipe out the few that might remain loyal to him. My own
people are faithful to me, and the little valley of Marentina has
paid no tribute to the court of Salensus Oll for a year.
"Nor can he force us, for a dozen men may hold the narrow way
to Marentina against a million. But now, as to thine own affairs.
How may I aid you? My palace is at your disposal, if you wish to
honor me by coming to Marentina."
"When our work is done we shall be glad to accept your invitation,"
I replied. "But now you can assist us most by directing us to the
court of Salensus Oll, and suggesting some means by which we may
gain admission to the city and the palace, or whatever other place
we find our friends to be confined."
Talu gazed ruefully at our smooth faces and at Thuvan Dihn's
red skin and my white one.
"First you must come to Marentina," he said, "for a great change
must be wrought in your appearance before you can hope to
enter any city in Okar. You must have yellow faces and black
beards, and your apparel and trappings must be those least likely
to arouse suspicion. In my palace is one who can make you appear
as truly yellow men as does Salensus Oll himself."
His counsel seemed wise; and as there was apparently no other
way to insure a successful entry to Kadabra, the capital city of
Okar, we set out with Talu, Prince of Marentina, for his little,
The way was over some of the worst traveling I have ever seen,
and I do not wonder that in this land where there are neither
thoats nor fliers that Marentina is in little fear of invasion; but
at last we reached our destination, the first view of which I had
from a slight elevation a half-mile from the city.
Nestled in a deep valley lay a city of Martian concrete,
whose every street and plaza and open space was roofed with glass.
All about lay snow and ice, but there was none upon the rounded,
domelike, crystal covering that enveloped the whole city.
Then I saw how these people combatted the rigors of the arctic,
and lived in luxury and comfort in the midst of a land of
perpetual ice. Their cities were veritable hothouses, and when I
had come within this one my respect and admiration for the
scientific and engineering skill of this buried nation was unbounded.
The moment we entered the city Talu threw off his outer garments
of fur, as did we, and I saw that his apparel differed but little
from that of the red races of Barsoom. Except for his leathern
harness, covered thick with jewels and metal, he was naked,
nor could one have comfortably worn apparel in that warm and
For three days we remained the guests of Prince Talu, and
during that time he showered upon us every attention and courtesy
within his power. He showed us all that was of interest in his
The Marentina atmosphere plant will maintain life indefinitely
in the cities of the north pole after all life upon the balance of
dying Mars is extinct through the failure of the air supply, should
the great central plant again cease functioning as it did upon that
memorable occasion that gave me the opportunity of restoring life
and happiness to the strange world that I had already learned to
love so well.
He showed us the heating system that stores the sun's rays in
great reservoirs beneath the city, and how little is necessary to
maintain the perpetual summer heat of the glorious garden spot
within this arctic paradise.
Broad avenues of sod sewn with the seed of the ocher vegetation
of the dead Sea bottoms carried the noiseless traffic of light
and airy ground fliers that are the only form of artificial
transportation used north of the gigantic ice-barrier.
The broad tires of these unique fliers are but rubber-like gas
bags filled with the eighth Barsoomian ray, or ray of propulsion--
that remarkable discovery of the Martians that has made possible
the great fleets of mighty airships that render the red man of the
outer world supreme. It is this ray which propels the inherent or
reflected light of the planet off into space, and when confined
gives to the Martian craft their airy buoyancy.
The ground fliers of Marentina contain just sufficient buoyancy
in their automobile-like wheels to give the cars traction for
steering purposes; and though the hind wheels are geared to the
engine, and aid in driving the machine, the bulk of this work is
carried by a small propeller at the stern.
I know of no more delightful sensation than that of riding in
one of these luxuriously appointed cars which skim, light and airy
as feathers, along the soft, mossy avenues of Marentina. They move
with absolute noiselessness between borders of crimson sward and
beneath arching trees gorgeous with the wondrous blooms that mark
so many of the highly cultivated varieties of Barsoomian vegetation.
By the end of the third day the court barber--I can think of no
other earthly appellation by which to describe him--had wrought
so remarkable a transformation in both Thuvan Dihn and myself that
our own wives would never have known us. Our skins were of the
same lemon color as his own, and great, black beards and mustaches
had been deftly affixed to our smooth faces. The trappings of
warriors of Okar aided in the deception; and for wear beyond the
hothouse cities we each had suits of the black- and yellow-striped orluk.
Talu gave us careful directions for the journey to Kadabra, the
capital city of the Okar nation, which is the racial name of the
yellow men. This good friend even accompanied us part way, and then,
promising to aid us in any way that he found possible, bade us adieu.
On parting he slipped upon my finger a curiously wrought ring set with
a dead-black, lusterless stone, which appeared more like a bit of
bituminous coal than the priceless Barsoomian gem which in reality it is.
"There had been but three others cut from the mother stone,"
he said, "which is in my possession. These three are worn by
nobles high in my confidence, all of whom have been sent on secret
missions to the court of Salensus Oll.
"Should you come within fifty feet of any of these three you will
feel a rapid, pricking sensation in the finger upon which you
wear this ring. He who wears one of its mates will experience the
same feeling; it is caused by an electrical action that takes place
the moment two of these gems cut from the same mother stone come
within the radius of each other's power. By it you will know that
a friend is at hand upon whom you may depend for assistance
in time of need.
"Should another wearer of one of these gems call upon you for aid
do not deny him, and should death threaten you swallow the ring
rather than let it fall into the hands of enemies. guard it with
your life, John Carter, for some day it may mean more than life to you."
With this parting admonition our good friend turned back
toward Marentina, and we set our faces in the direction of the
city of Kadabra and the court of Salensus Oll, Jeddak of Jeddaks.
That very evening we came within sight of the walled and glass-roofed
city of Kadabra. It lies in a low depression near the pole, surrounded
by rocky, snow-clad hills. From the pass through which we entered
the valley we had a splendid view of this great city of the north.
Its crystal domes sparkled in the brilliant sunlight gleaming above
the frost-covered outer wall that circles the entire one hundred miles
of its circumference.
At regular intervals great gates give entrance to the city;
but even at the distance from which we looked upon the massive pile
we could see that all were closed, and, in accordance with Talu's
suggestion, we deferred attempting to enter the city until the
As he had said, we found numerous caves in the hillsides about us,
and into one of these we crept for the night. Our warm orluk
skins kept us perfectly comfortable, and it was only after a most
refreshing sleep that we awoke shortly after daylight on the
Already the city was astir, and from several of the gates we saw
parties of yellow men emerging. Following closely each detail
of the instructions given us by our good friend of Marentina, we
remained concealed for several hours until one party of some half
dozen warriors had passed along the trail below our hiding place
and entered the hills by way of the pass along which we had come
the previous evening.
After giving them time to get well out of sight of our cave,
Thuvan Dihn and I crept out and followed them, overtaking them
when they were well into the hills.
When we had come almost to them I called aloud to their leader,
when the whole party halted and turned toward us.
The crucial test had come. Could we but deceive these men
the rest would be comparatively easy.
"Kaor!" I cried as I came closer to them.
"Kaor!" responded the officer in charge of the party.
"We be from Illall," I continued, giving the name of the most remote
city of Okar, which has little or no intercourse with Kadabra.
"Only yesterday we arrived, and this morning the captain of
the gate told us that you were setting out to hunt orluks,
which is a sport we do not find in our own neighborhood. We have
hastened after you to pray that you allow us to accompany you."
The officer was entirely deceived, and graciously permitted us
to go with them for the day. The chance guess that they were bound
upon an orluk hunt proved correct, and Talu had said that the
chances were ten to one that such would be the mission of any party
leaving Kadabra by the pass through which we entered the valley,
since that way leads directly to the vast plains frequented by this
elephantine beast of prey.
In so far as the hunt was concerned, the day was a failure,
for we did not see a single orluk; but this proved more than
fortunate for us, since the yellow men were so chagrined by their
misfortune that they would not enter the city by the same gate by
which they had left it in the morning, as it seemed that they had
made great boasts to the captain of that gate about their skill at
this dangerous sport.
We, therefore, approached Kadabra at a point several miles
from that at which the party had quitted it in the morning,
and so were relieved of the danger of embarrassing questions
and explanations on the part of the gate captain, whom we had
said had directed us to this particular hunting party.
We had come quite close to the city when my attention was
attracted toward a tall, black shaft that reared its head several
hundred feet into the air from what appeared to be a tangled mass
of junk or wreckage, now partially snow-covered.
I did not dare venture an inquiry for fear of arousing suspicion
by evident ignorance of something which as a yellow man I should
have known; but before we reached the city gate I was to learn
the purpose of that grim shaft and the meaning of the mighty
accumulation beneath it.
We had come almost to the gate when one of the party called to
his fellows, at the same time pointing toward the distant
southern horizon. Following the direction he indicated, my eyes
descried the hull of a large flier approaching rapidly from above
the crest of the encircling hills.
"Still other fools who would solve the mysteries of the
forbidden north," said the officer, half to himself.
"Will they never cease their fatal curiosity?"
"Let us hope not," answered one of the warriors, "for then
what should we do for slaves and sport?"
"True; but what stupid beasts they are to continue to come to
a region from whence none of them ever has returned."
"Let us tarry and watch the end of this one," suggested one of the men.
The officer looked toward the city.
"The watch has seen him," he said; "we may remain, for we may be needed."
I looked toward the city and saw several hundred warriors issuing
from the nearest gate. They moved leisurely, as though there
were no need for haste--nor was there, as I was presently to learn.
Then I turned my eyes once more toward the flier. She was
moving rapidly toward the city, and when she had come close enough
I was surprised to see that her propellers were idle.
Straight for that grim shaft she bore. At the last minute I
saw the great blades move to reverse her, yet on she came as though
drawn by some mighty, irresistible power.
Intense excitement prevailed upon her deck, where men were
running hither and thither, manning the guns and preparing to
launch the small, one-man fliers, a fleet of which is part of the
equipment of every Martian war vessel. Closer and closer to the
black shaft the ship sped. In another instant she must strike, and
then I saw the familiar signal flown that sends the lesser boats in
a great flock from the deck of the mother ship.
Instantly a hundred tiny fliers rose from her deck, like a
swarm of huge dragon flies; but scarcely were they clear of the
battleship than the nose of each turned toward the shaft, and they,
too, rushed on at frightful speed toward the same now seemingly
inevitable end that menaced the larger vessel.
A moment later the collision came. men were hurled in every
direction from the ship's deck, while she, bent and crumpled,
took the last, long plunge to the scrap-heap at the shaft's base.
With her fell a shower of her own tiny fliers, for each of
them had come in violent collision with the solid shaft.
I noticed that the wrecked fliers scraped down the shaft's side,
and that their fall was not as rapid as might have been expected;
and then suddenly the secret of the shaft burst upon me,
and with it an explanation of the cause that prevented a flier
that passed too far across the ice-barrier ever returning.
The shaft was a mighty magnet, and when once a vessel came within
the radius of its powerful attraction for the aluminum steel
that enters so largely into the construction of all Barsoomian craft,
no power on earth could prevent such an end as we had just witnessed.
I afterward learned that the shaft rests directly over the magnetic pole
of Mars, but whether this adds in any way to its incalculable power of
attraction I do not know. I am a fighting man, not a scientist.
Here, at last, was an explanation of the long absence of
Tardos Mors and Mors Kajak. These valiant and intrepid warriors
had dared the mysteries and dangers of the frozen north to search
for Carthoris, whose long absence had bowed in grief the head of
his beautiful mother, Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium.
The moment that the last of the fliers came to rest at the
base of the shaft the black-bearded, yellow warriors swarmed over
the mass of wreckage upon which they lay, making prisoners of those
who were uninjured and occasionally despatching with a sword-thrust
one of the wounded who seemed prone to resent their taunts and insults.
A few of the uninjured red men battled bravely against their
cruel foes, but for the most part they seemed too overwhelmed by
the horror of the catastrophe that had befallen them to do more than
submit supinely to the golden chains with which they were manacled.
When the last of the prisoners had been confined, the party
returned to the city, at the gate of which we met a pack of fierce,
gold-collared apts, each of which marched between two warriors,
who held them with strong chains of the same metal as their collars.
Just beyond the gate the attendants loosened the whole terrible herd,
and as they bounded off toward the grim, black shaft I did not need
to ask to know their mission. Had there not been those within the
cruel city of Kadabra who needed succor far worse than the poor
unfortunate dead and dying out there in the cold upon the bent
and broken carcasses of a thousand fliers I could not have
restrained my desire to hasten back and do battle with those horrid
creatures that had been despatched to rend and devour them.
As it was I could but follow the yellow warriors, with bowed head,
and give thanks for the chance that had given Thuvan Dihn and me
such easy ingress to the capital of Salensus Oll.
Once within the gates, we had no difficulty in eluding our friends
of the morning, and presently found ourselves in a Martian hostelry.
Warlord of Mars Chapter 8
... Warlord of Mars Chapter 10