The race of blacks that for ages had worshiped Issus, the false deity of Mars, had been left in a state of chaos by my revealment of her as naught more than a wicked old woman.
Fierce green warriors from the ocher sea bottoms of outer Mars had ridden their wild thoats across the sacred gardens of the Temple of Issus, and Tars Tarkas, Jeddak of Thark, fiercest of them all, had sat upon the throne of Issus and ruled the First Born while the allies were deciding the conquered nation's fate.
He had been a dator, or prince, until Issus had degraded him, so that his fitness for the high office bestowed was unquestioned.
The figure ahead was that of the black dator of the First Born, Thurid, whose undying enmity I had earned that time I laid him low with my bare hands in the courtyard of the Temple of Issus, and bound him with his own harness before the noble men and women who had but a moment before been extolling his prowess.
"Only Issus knew this; nor was it ever Issus' way to divulge more of her secrets than were necessary.
"And more I learned--that many men had gone thither for Issus in the past, always on errands of death and torture to the prisoners; but those who thus learned the secret way were wont to die mysteriously immediately they had returned and made their reports to cruel Issus."
Wouldst cheat the mysterious Issus, Goddess of Death, of her just dues?
"Thinkest thou, O fools, that Issus wilt give up her own?
"What if I were from the Temple of Issus?" I hazarded on a wild guess.
His answer indicated that for all he KNEW I might be from the Temple of Issus and in it were men like unto myself, and either this man feared the inmates of the temple or else he held their persons or their power in such reverence that he trembled to think of the harm and indignities he had heaped upon one of them.
"By the breast of Issus
, thou shalt, nor shall any other come between Astok, Prince of Dusar, and his heart's desire.
A little band of holy therns was attempting to revive the ancient and discredited religion of Issus
, who they claimed still lived in spirit and had communicated with them.