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To Live On

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Dejah Thoris brought herself to her feet slowly, hands on the glass that protected the egg of her child. She looked about as many in their private garden found the air to live.

She held her chin high, for those that had not lived to take a saving breath. Soon, she would know the full numbers of the losses among their cities, among the peoples that traded with them. For now, she merely threw her heart and will toward her captain, the man she had so willingly wed and made new life with.

"Come home safe to me, John Carter."

The flaking away of the egg shell began quietly, as Dejah took her meal in the garden, knowing that any time now, John would return. That mad race in the thin air had probably depleted him, possibly damaged the flier her had taken.

"That's it, our child," Dejah encouraged as she knelt beside the opened incubator. "It will be a wonderful surprise for your father, that you are with us already."

The last piece of the upper shell broke away, revealing a perfect red child, albeit with paler skin than her own, and she noted it was a boy.


Kantos Kan brought the news. Dejah Thoris, sitting in her office to plan relief at the various industries of Helium that had lost too many people, set her face to resolve, and her heart to a firm steadiness.

"If there is no body, he is not dead. Some day, he shall return."

Kantos inclined his head to that pronouncement, and made plans that no funerary games or life celebrations would be planned. Their beloved princess had spoken, and Kantos followed her in all things.

He withdrew, and Dejah Thoris permitted herself to weep in private.

Where had fate taken John?

Sola came as soon as the news reached the Tharks. She'd traversed the distance alone, on a thoat, so that her friend need not be alone with the weight of it. Tars Tarkas had given his blessing, as he was completely in control of his nation of warriors, and firmly wedded to the concepts John Carter had taught him.

Sola, recognized as one of the heroes of Helium for having protected their princess in captivity, was welcomed by the guards, and a servant led her to Dejah.

No words were needed, as four arms wrapped tight around the grieving woman.

"Tell me of my father," were words said so often by Carthoris. Each time, a tiny part of Dejah's heart withered, as the years grew long, and their son grew tall.

"Do you think he'd be proud of me?" were words that wounded more deeply, but each time, Dejah told him yes, and spun another tale about the lessons John would have given him. Kantos Kan and Tars Tarkas had guided his martial skills, while Dejah instructed his more academic pursuits.

Through it all, Dejah held to her need to live, for John Carter of Virginia, her captain, would return.