Exploring the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
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Last year I read "Sanoma Tora Jeddara of Jahar". It made scarce impression on me because I almost didn't remember the original ERB story from which derived. This year I read "Tora's Tale" and the impression was indeed very strong, and lead me to re-read the original story of Tan Hadron.
Such tale is superb, it seems to be written by ERB himself! But, how sad! I couldn't stand the sufferings of poor Sanoma Tora, as she was an actual person.
Because of that, I feel myself prompted to write a continuation (I have amateur literary inclinations), which I am sending to you attached, in case you want to publish it at your page.
As English is not my mother tongue, I acknowledge your right to correct the text to render it in proper English.
Editor's Note: The "English" edits were very light and centered around Tense and Punctuation. I have left the Author's words as intact as possible.
THE REDEMPTION OF SANOMA TORA
Copyright © 2006
Sequel to Tora's Tale by an Argentine Author
The void opened beneath Sanoma Tora and swallowed her.
The ground, hundreds of feet below, rushed to crush her lovely form and deprive it of the tiny flame of life. In her tortured soul Sanoma Tora experienced a blinding horror that forced her to leap into the void from the flagship of Helium. Every fiber of her body shuddered, every cell screamed in terror—a cruel decision taken by a soul strained beyond its limits. The abject panic made prey of her—an instantaneous madness that was, in a certain way, merciful, yet; screaming, shrieking, Tor Hatan's daughter fell, grotesquely spinning like a windmill. Sky and earth revolved madly around her. The dust-laden wind suffocated her. She experienced a rough and dull crashing—consciousness faded.
The eyes of Kal Taven went wide as some men hurriedly laid a female figure upon the deck of John Carter's warship. A dwar made his way toward the Warlord. Kal Tavan did not wait to hear his report. Brushing the man aside, he ran toward the woman's form.
John Carter turned to the dwar of the deck. "Ker Chak! What happened?"
"Tub Lat and Zu Tag, patrolling aboard a two-men flier, saw this lady jump overboard. Tub Lat maneuvered the flier and Zu Tag was able to catch the girl."
Those who heard the report crowded around the unconscious woman. The Warlord joined them once Tub Lat and Zu Tag had made their report. He looked on as Kal Tavan knelt beside Sanoma Tora. Kal Tavan looked toward the Virginian. "She's burning with fever!
"Care for her!" ordered John Carter.
Attendants from the ship's medical staff took over. Tavia and Phao accompanied them. Meanwhile, the men remained on deck.
Kal Tavan was over-wrought. "Why? What could have made her do this?"
Tan Hadron broke the silence: "Her guilt." The others stared at him.
Kal Tavan went pale. "What do you mean?"
Tan Hadron recounted his adventures, attempting to make light of Sanoma Tora's perfidy. Kal Tavan, Tor Hatan's former slave, first paled then blustered with anger. "For such slanders I am tempted to challenge you to a duel!"
Tan Hadron, surprised, also showed an understanding at the man's impassioned words. "At your service!" he cried.
The warlord intervened. "Hold! I will hear what Sanoma Tora has to say."
The men, Kal Tavan, John Carter, Tan Hadron and Tor Hatan—Sanoma Tora's father—waited outside the door to the ship's infirmary. A short time later Tavia and Phao came to announce that Sanoma Tora had revived.
Kal Tavan pressed forward eagerly. "With your permission?"
The Warlord noted that the girl's father had said nothing. He gave permission to Kal Tavan with a nod. "Granted."
Kal Tavan entered the infirmary and knelt beside Sanoma Tora. He took her small hand into his.
Tor Hatan stepped inside, followed by John Carter and Tan Hadron. Tor Hatan was told what had transpired with his daughter by quiet words from Tan Hadron. Her father was surprised."
"She is Jeddara of Jahar?" he asked confirmation. A gleam entered his eyes when Tan Hadron and John Carter confirmed. "Something to think upon," the Dwar of the 91st Umak uttered.
John Carter frowned, staring at Tor Hatan, but kept his thoughts to himself.
The ship's surgeon made an impatient gesture. "Out. I have work to do!
John Carter gathered Tan Hadron and Tor Hatan with his eyes. He laid a hand on the shoulder of Kal Tavan, then relented when Sanoma Tora's voice rose to a wail when the ex-slave attempted to rise. "Stay," the Prince of Helium said.
Tavia and Phao ushered the men out, except for Kal Tavan...
The warship arrived at Helium. The passengers disembarked at the Warlord's Palace, and the Palace Surgeon took over the care of Sanoma Tora, who was in a delirious state. She took no comfort from Tavia or Phao, seeming to quiet only when Kal Tavan was near.
"I will take her home," said Tor Hatan. "I thank you for the service of your physician—"
"No!" cried Kal Tavan.
At that moment Sanoma Tora regained, in part, her senses. "Kal Tavan!" she uttered with relief. "Where am I?"
"In the Warlord's palace," replied Kal Tavan.
"Why am I here? I— Oh!" her hand gripped Kal Tavan's. "I jumped from the ship— Why am I alive?" Her voice was filled with desolation as she recalled the recent events in heart-wrenching sobs.
Tor Hatan, who was near the door, heard his daughter's words. "Jeddara! How grand!" Then, softer, harder in tone, "Why, Sanoma Tora?" asked Tavia's father. "You are the Jeddara of Jahar! All that we desired has come to pass. Why throw it away?"
"What you wanted!" the girl moaned in despair. She would not release the hand of Kal Tavan, whose heart took fire in her defense.
Kal Tavan stared at Tor Hatan, a cold promise in his eyes. "You drove her to this!" Kal Tavan accused.
"That is not true!" exclaimed Sanoma Tora's father. "She's mad—not well! Look at her! She tried to kill herself! I deeply regret..."
"Shut up!" snapped John Carter, who saw more than had been said.
Tan Hadron, who had every reason to be unsympathetic, spoke truthfully. "Ill-used by Tul Axtar...and her father!"
The warlord's features hardened as he lay a hand on Kal Tavan's wrist when the angry ex-slave rose to draw his sword.
"This is not the time or place," John Carter uttered softly. "She needs you."
Kal Tavan struggled with violent emotions until he saw the tears running down the cheeks of Sanoma Tora. He, first of those present, heard her faint words.
"I should have died!"
"No!" he cried, drawing her to his breast. "Never!" said Kal Tavan firmly.
Sheltering Sanoma Tora in his arms, Kal Tavan turned fierce gaze upon her father. "Tor Hatan," he said, "you are a scoundrel. You sought to use your daughter to gain an advantage by marriage. A marriage of the worst sort!"
Tor Hatan's eyes widened. His skin tone alternated pale and dark, his lower lip trembled slightly.
"I will not hear that from the likes of you!" Tor Hatan shouted.
Kal Tavan rose to his full height. "You will hear it from me...and my sword!"
At which empass John Carter gestured to his guard. Kal Tavan and Tor Hatan were separated and held under guard. John Carter looked upon the form of Sanoma Tora, who had fainted. The doctor looked up and said, "She will recover." Carter nodded, ushering the others from the room.
In the corridor Tan Hadron said: "The fact remains she is dishonored in the eyes of all of Barsoom."
"I will take care of her!" shouted Kal Tavan.
"She's my daughter!" hissed Tor Hatan.
Two strained against the men holding them, an ex-slave and a father. The warlord lowered his head in thought for a moment, then looked into the eyes of Tor Hatan. "You are no father. Sanoma Tora is under my protection."
"You can't do this!" Tor Hatan shrieked. "She is the ruler of a nation!"
John Carter narrowed his eyes and steel came to his voice: "She is a child mis-used, and you will not benefit!"
Tavia met her father after Tor Hatan had been escorted from the Warlord's palace. "I heard what happened," she said.
"It was terrible, the things he said—"
"Tan Hadron?" asked Tavia with a shudder of despair.
"No," her father replied. "You love him, and he loves you better than he ever loved Sanoma Tora. I was there, remember? No," he continued, "her father used her beauty to advance himself, and that is most horrible, terrible... Oh, daughter! I am glad you have found happiness!"
"And yet," Tavia replied, "you are unhappy. How it must have stung," she said with brilliant insight, "that Tan Hadron wooed the girl you loved."
Kal Tavan stopped in mid-pace. "I—I was a slave. A slave cannot..."
Tavia wrapped her arms about her father, tenderly—and grateful to have found him again after all these years. "Go to her. You served her as a slave, now claim her as a wife!"
"I cannot," he wept. "Because I was a slave!"
Kal Tavan entered the courtyard of the Warlord's Palace. Next to the fountain, on a ersite bench shaded by an immense gloresta, lay the frail figure of Sanoma Tora. He carried a tray with an assortment of treats. "Are you hungry?" he asked, kneeling at her side.
Sanoma Tora gazed upon the intent face. Smiling sadly, she sighed. "I am not hungry.
"You must eat!" cried Kal Tavan. "Let me serve you!"
"Do you wish to serve me, Kal Tavan?" the girl asked. She half raised herself from the bench.
"Always!" he replied, his voice choked with emotion.
"Then draw your blade and kill me," she begged, laying a slim hand upon his face. "Give me peace from the shame and..."
She was startled by the hard grip on her wrist. The pain shocked her lassitude. "You're hurting me!" Sanoma Tora whispered.
"Yes," said Kal Tavan equally soft. "If I must hurt you to keep you alive I will do that! Do not beg for death!"
"What do I have to live for? I have dishonored my..."
That grip became more intense. The pain on her face was echoed by her tiny gasp. He leaned closer, his face inches from hers. "Not your fault," he said. "You never have to worry about your father again. You are free!"
For a long moment Sanoma Tora gazed into the face of Kal Tavan. "Am I free?" she asked.
"Yes! Of course!"
"Then I wish to die. Kill me!"
When he did not respond, or move a muscle, Sanoma Tora wept.
"I am not free!" she sobbed. "Give me your knife and go away!"
Kal Tavan drew his knife. He offered the hilt to her, but kept tight his hold on the blade, even as it cut into his palm. "You pain is mine," he breathed, "but I cannot end your life—and you will have to hurt me far more than this bit of blood of mine to kill yourself. I love you enough to be here if you should—but please! Do not!"
Sanoma Tora caressed the hilt of the dagger, raised it and the hand that grasped it to her lips and kissed it. Her eyes glowed with a strange light.
"I was one of fifteen hundred wives to Tul Axtar. A wife. I have known a man," she said.
Kal Tavan took a firm grim on his emotions. "And I have known a woman. Tavia is my daughter. Your suitor of old has married her."
Sanoma Tora paused. "Just so." she replied.
The daggar was forgotten as arms of the ex-Jeddara of Jahar stole about the neck of an ex-slave once employed by her father.