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Here is an overview of the 81 chapters in Kur of Gor:
Prolegomena to the Tale
1. The Containment Device
2. The Disruption, and What Occurred Shortly Thereafter
3. The Stall
4. The Interlocutor
5. The Steel World
6. A Conversation with Grendel
7. Cabot Learns Something of Agamemnon, The Eleventh Face of the Nameless One
8. An Interview with Agamemnon, The Eleventh Face of the Nameless One
9. Cabot Renews his Acquaintance with a Blonde
10. Cabot Renews his Acquaintance with the Former Miss Pym
11. It is Like a Tavern
12. The Game World
13. What Occurred in the Forest
14. The Forest Seems Quiet
15. How Kaissa Came to the Forest
16. The Defile
17. How the Hunt Turned Out
18. The Ledge
19. The Intervention of the Steel Larl
20. The Trial
21. What Occurred in the Arena
23. What Occurred in a Glade
24. What Occurred Later in the Glade
25. The Stray
26. A Slave will be Put in a Collar, as is Appropriate
27. Cabot has Delayed his Departure, Upon the Advice of Peisistratus
28. The Seeking of Grendel
29. A Saurian is Encountered
30. A Slave Learns More of Gor
32. Cabot Receives Guests
33. A Return to the Habitats is Contemplated
34. The Storm; The Cave
35. Lita Returns to the Cave
36. Cabot Leaves the Cave; He is Accompanied by a Shapely Beast of Burden
37. The Encountering of Small Camps
38. The Place of War
39. What Occurred in the Afternoon
40. What Occurred in the Evening
41. The Sleen
42. The Ramp; The Ladder
43. In the Vicinity of the Slaughter Bench
44. The Insurrection is not yet Quelled; A Kur Female is Encountered; Statius
45. The Lady Bina Desires to Make Herself Useful
46. Darkness Encroaches; A Plan is Formed
47. How the Tarns of Victory Came to Surmount the Standards of Agamemnon
48. The Amnesty
50. The Hand of Agamemnon is Played, But Perhaps Not Wisely
51. A Cave is Found Empty
52. Small Camps Have Been Found Abandoned
53. Return to Camp; A Surprise; A Mystery
54. There is Converse in a Rebel Camp
55. What Occurred on the Plain
56. What Occurred Within the Vale of Destruction
57. What Occurred in the Camp of Lord Grendel
58. Cabot Contemplates a Rendezvous
59. A Rendezvous Takes Place
60. The Ways of Kur
61. A Stability of Positions; The Report of Flavion; The Accosting of the Lady Bina; A Reference to Omens
62. The Conversation in the Redoubt
63. What Took Place in the Field
64. Thoughts Behind Thoughts
65. The Delegation Returns
66. Winter Has Been Arranged; Time Has Run Out
67. CabotÆs Journey; An Acquaintance is Renewed
68. An Encounter in the Forest
69. Cabot Will Hunt; First, He Will Feast
71. A Destination is Approached
72. The Treachery of Flavion
73. There Will Be an Institution of Festivals
74. An Earth Female Finds Herself Kept in a Slave Cage; Feasts, Festivals, and Agons; A Slave is to be Taken into the Forest
75. A SlaveÆs Scent is Taken; An Earth Woman is Tortured by her Needs, And Understands the Meaning of This; No Fire Has Been Made
76. The Forest Camp
77. What Occurred Later in the Forest Camp
78. A Conversation Takes Place Between Two Ankle-Chained Slaves; Some Account is Given of Lord GrendelÆs Meeting with the Kur, Flavion
79. The Litany; Cecily Better Learns Her Collar, At the Discipline Post; The Feast; Cecily Dances; Some Account of What Later Occurred Between a Master and his Slave
80. They Will Soon to the Tables
The image below shows the most often used words and terms within Kur of Gor. The larger the size, the more often the word or term occurs in the text.
He thrust violently against the close, curving, transparent walls, howling with rage.
We can understand such emotions.
They are not strange to us.
In his own language his name was said to be Tarl Cabot.
Such things do not really much matter, with such creatures. Nonetheless, to themselves, and to some of their kind, they seem of much importance. I do not know, of course, whether it was important to him, or not. Perhaps some microorganisms arrange their cilia in some bizarre fashion, and then understand themselves as being somehow thereby exalted. Are names so important? Perhaps. But is that which is named not more important? One does not know with such creatures. I think they are strange.
They cannot tell themselves from their names, nor do they care to do so. They name themselves, and things, and think thereby to acquire them. They do not do so.
They have names; reality does not.
How is it, in any event, that they so invest themselves with such importance? What a piteously naive arrogance is therein displayed.
Are they truly so unaware of their small place in the yard of existence, so ignorant of the length of space and the breadth of time, of the flight of galaxies, of the journeys of streaming light, perhaps touching nothing for a hundred thousand years; are they unaware even of the patience of stone, cogitating its memories of a molten youth? It is hard to accept that they are the offspring of stars, a freshened reconfiguration of antique components long ago expelled into the darkness, but are we not all such?
They are so tiny, and so generally useless, an active rash on quietude, a small noise, perhaps brave in its way, in the night.
But are we not, in our way, as well?
When the Nameless One stirred the cauldron of stars did it intend them? Are they not a lapse of sorts? Might it have been distracted at the time? But in what workshop or cauldron was formed the Nameless One itself? From what unseen seas was it itself cast forth, beached on shores burnt by drifting, incandescent tides, and from whence came these, the tides, the continents, these, too, children of the mystery?
Before the Nameless One, you see, is the Mystery.
It is that which was, and that which is, and that which will be. And none have lifted its veil.
I suppose it is offensive to conceive that we are brothers to that woeful life form, the human, one so disgusting and treacherous in its diverse paths, one so despicable in its intolerable vanity. How absurd, how repulsive, one supposes, that we are siblings in virtue of the parentage of stars.
But then we may console ourselves that we are siblings, too, to the diatom, to the smallest living thing, to the worm in the sea, the mote in the air.
But how small, how trivial, is the human.
How easily might he be struck by some astral debris, not noticing him. Or fall prey to a prolific, invasive mite, a thousand mutations from an eye or claw, a mite not even visible to his eye.
And how despicable, how contemptible, is the human!
A spawn of greed, an embracer of comfort, a seeker of ease, a blemish on the world, a wart of vanity, a stranger to honor.
One who guards his mind, fearing it will awaken.
One who guards his mind, as one might guard a prisoner.
One who so treasures his mind that he dares not use it.
His bulwark is stupidity.
And what labor is not expended in its preservation!
How mighty is the sweet shield of ignorance!
How fearfully and carefully he burnishes it!
He is a herd animal. He is unworthy of the stars.
Yet there is in that life form a spark of awareness, for all its frivolity and frailty, for all its egregious contumely and its hideous ineptitude, a flicker of mind, however reluctant, in a largely oblivious, somnolent world. It is one of the rare places the universe has stirred, and awakened, and opened its eye, and looked upon itself, startled to learn that it exists.
Does it recoil, seeing itself in the human?
Surely it rejoices, seeing itself in us, we who are worthy of it.
It is conscious in countless minds, of course, in that of the mouse, and cat, in that of the urt and verr, in that of the barracuda, in that of the viper and leopard, in that of the hith and larl.
But we are most worthy of it.
In us is its nature most fully manifested. Are we not the outward form of its inward horror, or essence? Are we not the choice fruits of its inward terrors, the splendid robes of its dark, shrieking soul? In us, it finds its fangs, and talons, its hunger, its indifference, its terribleness, its sublimity, its rage, its glory.
And it is through our eyes that it sees the stars.
One day, perhaps, the human will disband his herds and be free. One day, perhaps even the human will lift his head, and see the stars.
They are there.
I am personally, you see, not ill disposed to the human.
If I were I should not tell this story, which deals primarily with some humans, and something not human, with the monster.
And, of course, with the Kurii.
I wonder if you know of them.
They know of you.
You could not understand our name for the human with whom we will begin. In fact, you would not even know it was uttered. One might use our name for the human, of course, but you could not pronounce it. For example, if a leopard or a lion, or a larl or a sleen, had a name for you you would doubtless not recognize it as a name, let alone as your name. We will, accordingly, refer to that individual with whom we shall begin by that name by which other humans might know him, namely, as Tarl Cabot, or, as some will have it, Bosk, of Port Kar.
He pounded again, and again, at the transparent walls, until his hands bled.
Bruised, and bewildered, he sank down then, naked, inside the bottlelike container. Such containers taper toward the bottom, that wastes may drain from them. They taper, too, toward the top. Near the top a tube descends periodically, automatically, through which liquid, if the occupant chooses to live, may be drawn by the mouth into his body. The entire facility is automated, though one supposes some supervisory personnel may be in attendance, if only by means of olfactory devices, listening devices, cameras, or such. Certainly one seldom sees them. The tube’s descent is indicated by an odor. The corridors are commonly empty and silent. One may conjecture, occasionally, from the outside, that within the containers there is sound, this being surmised from the expressions of the occupant, the motions and configurations of his mouth, the gestures of his limbs, such things. The container is rather oval, or ovoid, rounded, ascending rather vertically, but narrowing, rounded, toward the top and bottom. The diameter, in measurements likely to be familiar to the reader, would be something like four feet, whereas the container, as a whole, is something like eight feet in height, though much of this space is not conveniently utilizable, given the tapering at the top and bottom. In such a container one sleeps as one can. Indeed a soporific gas may be entered into the container remotely, which suggests there is some actual surveillance of the containers. Too, the air in the container may be drawn from the container, should one wish, say, to terminate an occupant, clear the space for a new occupant, and so on. Too, it might be noted that the corridor itself, as most of the structure, is airless. This contributes to the incarcerational efficiency of the facility.
Various life forms may be kept in such containers.
From where he was contained, the human in question, Tarl Cabot, could see several tiers of similar containers, several of them occupied. He did not realize at the time the absence of air outside the container, as the container itself contained a regulated, breathable atmosphere. And probably some of the other life forms did not understand that either. One supposes, incidentally, that there were diversities in the container atmospheres, as, upon inspection, there appeared to be substantial dissimilarities amongst their occupants.
In the human species, aside from some unusual specimens, there are two sexes. Commonly both collaborate in replication. Interestingly, the biological functions of conception, gestation, and nurturance in the human species are all centered in a single sex, that of the female. Among the Kurii, on the other hand, the procedures of replication are conveniently divided amongst three, or, if you like, four sexes. There is the dominant, the submissive, and the nurturant, who gestates and nurtures, until the child is mature enough to chew and claw its way free. At that point it is ready for meat. It is not clear if the nurturant was a naturally evolved entity or if it was the result of biological engineering long ago, in the Kurii’s original world, or one of its worlds, for it may have destroyed more than one. Indeed, the technology of the nurturant might have been obtained from another species. It is not known. These thing are lost in the prehistory of a species, so to speak, or at least in the time from which no histories remain. The fourth sex, if one may so speak, is the nondominant. Under certain unusual circumstances the nondominant becomes a dominant. It is very dangerous at such times, even to dominants.
The individual, Tarl Cabot, doubtless called out a number of times, angrily, requesting an explanation or justification for the predicament in which he had so unexpectedly found himself. That would be only natural. From outside the container, of course, given the container and the near vacuum of the corridor, he could not be heard, nor, it seemed, was there anyone there to listen. He may not have recognized this, or, if he suspected it, he might have supposed that somehow sounds from within the container might be conveyed, doubtless by means of some listening device, to some point at which they might be audited, or recorded, for future audition. On the other hand, given the emptiness of the corridor, and the absence of intelligible communication from an outside source, he had no assurance that his demands, protests, or such, were anywhere registered, or even that they might be of the least interest to anyone or anything.
Needless to say this can be unsettling.
Indeed, it can derange certain sorts of minds. The instincts of many caged animals, on the other hand, are more healthy. Understanding themselves trapped, they are patient, and wait. Beyond a certain interval they do not exhaust their resources, but conserve them, almost lethargically, for a given moment, for the sudden movement, for the lunge, the movement to the throat. So, after a time, Tarl Cabot, who was not particularly disanalogous to such beasts, became quiescent, at least as far as external observation might detect. This was in conformance, incidentally, with certain recommendations of his caste codes. One can learn much, even from the codes of humans. He was, as we learned, of what on Gor amongst humans is referred to as the scarlet caste. This is a high caste, doubtless because it is armed. Individuals of this caste are of great value to their cities, their employers, their princes, so to speak. Indeed, they are indispensable in their way; have they not, however unintentionally, secured the foundation of law; have they not, however unbeknownst to themselves, raised from the mire of brutishness, insecurity, and terror the towers of civilization? Surely it is they who must man the walls and defend the bridges, who must police the streets and guard the roads, and who will in sunlight, or in darkness and storms, carry forth the standards. They are unusual men and seldom understand their own nature, nor need they. Perhaps it is better that they do not. Let them laugh and fight, and drink and quarrel, and seek their slaves in conquered cities and taverns, and chain them and put them to their feet, and not inquire into the dark and mighty processes which have bred them, which have made them so real, and necessary. And so they are encouraged to emulate the stealth and savagery of the larl, the cunning and tenacity of the sleen, the vigilance and swiftness, the alertness, of the mighty tarn. They are companions to discipline; they are hardened to short rations, long watches, and the march; they are inured to the exigencies of camp and field; and trained to fight, and kill, preferably swiftly and cleanly. They do not know how they came to be, but they would not be other than they are. They are more beast than man, and more man than beast. They are, so to speak, dangerous beasts with minds. And such have their utilities. We may laud them or despise them. They are called Warriors.
Life is very real where they live it, at the edge of a sword.
The reader may be interested in obtaining an account, however superficial, of certain events antecedent to the incarceration of the individual, Tarl Cabot.
It is rumored that within recent years certain tumults or transitions have taken place in the realm of Priest-Kings. I do not know whether that is true or not. Who is to say what thrones may have been toppled, what crowns seized? Surely such things, coups, insurrections, fatalities, suppressions, and such, are not unknown even within the benign civilizations of the habitats. And are they not useful in subverting stagnation, and improving bloodlines? And if such things occurred, it is not impossible that they may have had a role in this business. Again, one does not know. On the other hand, such things, such conjectured events, bloody or otherwise, are not strictly germane to this history.
The individual, Tarl Cabot, had, it seems, upon occasion proved to be of some value to Priest-Kings. In some eyes, though not in his, we may conjecture, he was even taken as an agent of Priest-Kings. And certainly, whether this be so or not, one may well suppose that any behavior of his which might have been deemed counter to the interests or policies of those mysterious beings would not have been likely to be generously countenanced.
We can understand these things.
In this respect I do not think we are so unlike the Priest-Kings, whoever, or whatever, they may be.
In the north of Gor, in its polar regions, inhabited sparsely by tribes of humans known as the Red Hunters, recognizable by the small blue spot at the base of their spine, it is said that he, this Tarl Cabot, once encountered a great war general of the Kurii, Zarendargar, whose name, for convenience, we have transliterated into phonemes hopefully accessible to at least some readers of this tale, certainly in this translation. Colloquially, doubtless with a certain crudity, he, Zarendargar, was spoken of as “Half-Ear.” And, of course, few of the Kurii who ascend high in the rings will be without certain blemishes. A certain area of the polar region was at that time being used as staging area, under the command of the aforementioned Zarendargar, a staging area with munitions and such, for an attack on the Sardar enclave, destined to suddenly, decisively, and irremediably terminate the rule of Priest-Kings, destroying them in their own most-favored haunts or lairs. It had taken better than a century for this materiel, bit by bit, to be secretly assembled. One can well understand then its preciousness and importance to the Steel Worlds, its relevance to their projects, and such. The staging area, however, was destroyed, and somehow, in some way, Tarl Cabot seems to have been involved in its destruction. It was supposed at the time that Zarendargar was destroyed in the explosion, or conflagration, or such. But this turned out to be mistaken. When it became clear that Zarendargar had survived the destruction of the staging area, a death squad was dispatched from the Steel Worlds to hunt him down and kill him, for he had, after all, failed the people. The policies and decisions connected with the transmission of the death squad were controversial, incidentally, in the councils of the Steel Worlds, and the decree of termination, some months later, would be rescinded. This, of course, could not have been anticipated by the personnel of the Death Squad. Representatives of the Death Squad contacted Samos of Port Kar, clearly an agent of Priest-Kings, and Tarl Cabot, for assistance in hunting down and executing Zarendargar. It was assumed naturally that this assistance would be readily tendered for Zarendargar was well understood to be significant amongst the Kurii and a relentless, dedicated, and dangerous foe of Priest-Kings. The putative location of the at-that-time-fugitive Zarendargar was the vast prairies of the Gorean Barrens. Tarl Cabot, however, instead of lending his assistance to the Death Squad, himself entered the dangerous Barrens to warn Zarendargar and, if possible, protect him. This effort, of course, was not only contrary to the desires of the Death Squad, but, too, seemed clearly to be an act not in the best interests of Priest-Kings. On whose side, so to speak, was this mysterious, unpredictable, ungoverned Tarl Cabot? Was he an agent of Priest-Kings? Was he an agent of Kurii? If he was an agent, it seems he was his own agent, or an agent of honor, for, long ago, it seems, he and Zarendargar had shared paga.
In any event Tarl Cabot, having returned from the Barrens, and having learned later of his putative outlawry, resolved to leave the maritime city of Port Kar, only to return when it might be safe to do so, this intelligence to be gathered from agreed-upon secret signals to be displayed on the holding of his friend, Samos, of Port Kar.
Tarl Cabot remained at large, so to speak, for some time.
The surveillance of Priest-Kings is rather efficient, as we have reason to know, but it is also, as we have reason to know, far from perfect, particularly so in recent years. Perhaps this has to do with transitions or dislocations in the Sardar, such as have been occasionally rumored. But perhaps not. It is hard to know. Surely small ships, at least, manned by humans, have frequently enough, of late, penetrated the atmosphere of Gor. Many, apparently detected, have been ignored. Others, pursued, have eluded their pursuers. I personally suspect that this lapse of attentiveness or this seemingly tolerant permissiveness, or this seeming lack of zeal, on the part of Priest-Kings, and their ships, presumably mostly automated and remotely controlled, has less to do with technological limitations than with some reordering of priorities in the Sardar, perhaps even with an acceptance of the general harmlessness of the ships involved, and a disinterest in their common cargoes. It may be a simple matter of balancing costs. It is hard to know. Our information is clearly incomplete, and conjectural. On the whole, Priest-Kings seem tolerant of other life forms, their activities, partialities, and such. Indeed, they may even look with approbation, given the apparent current infrequency of their voyages of acquisition, or collection, on the introduction of additional human life forms to the world. To be sure, the chains of human females brought to Gor might conceivably, eventually, in some centuries, depress certain relevant markets. At that point presumably only carefully selected, high-quality merchandise would be brought to her shores. But one knows little about such things.
Eventually, however, we may conjecture that the presence of Tarl Cabot was detected. This may have been a matter of chance. On the other hand, he may have been sought for ardently, perhaps because of the heinousness of his offense, his treasonous concern for the welfare of an enemy. Perhaps he was to be used as an example. It is not known.
We now find him, at any rate, naked, in his container, in perfect custody.
He is completely helpless, and fully at the mercy of his captors, or keepers. In this respect he is not much unlike the human females whom men of his sort, on Gor, are wont to keep for their work and pleasure. They, of course, are not at the mercy of captors or keepers, but of owners, and masters. They are owned, you see. They are properties, possessions. Also, they are legally, and in the eyes of all, animals. And as such, as any other form of such an animal, an owned animal, for example pigs or verr, they are subject to barter, exchange, gifting, sale, and such. They are spoken of as slaves.
Whereas Kurii may own humans, and several do, they do not think of them as “slaves,” no more than men of Gor would think of their verr and kaiila as slaves, or those of, say, Earth, would think of their pigs and horses, or cattle, as slaves. They are simply domestic animals. The slave, then, from the Gorean view, is a domestic animal, but a particular type of domestic animal, one different, obviously, from other types, such as the verr or kaiila. Thus, not all domestic animals are slaves, but all slaves are domestic animals. Too, many Gorean men seem to be as fond, or even more fond, of their slaves than of, say, their sleen or kaiila, animals commonly much more expensive. To be sure, they master them with firmness, and do not let them forget that they are only slaves. That is seemingly the Gorean way.
Tarl Cabot was not certain how long he had been incarcerated in the heavy, narrow, glassine container. Nor are we. It was perhaps some days, or weeks. Given the absence of clocks, the unknown periodicity of feedings, if they were periodized, the nature of the soporific gas, and such, it would be hard to say.
The gravity in the venue, the Prison Moon, was currently indexed to that of its mother world, Gor, to which it was a satellite. We are not clear, given the small size of the moon, a mere several pasangs in diameter, how this was managed. It is done differently, certainly, and perhaps more primitively, in the cylinders and spheres, in the Steel Worlds. The capabilities of the Priest-Kings, whoever or whatever they may be, are not well understood. Certainly it would not do to underestimate either their power, resolve or sagacity. Four times the Kurii erred in this regard, and their mistakes were costly. That such, the Priest-Kings, have form, and can interact with matter, however, seems obvious. The Prison Moon, for example, seems to make that clear, as it is obviously an artificial moon, with its architectural steel, its absorbing cells, its focusing and power mirrors, its shielding, and such, one perhaps once used for purposes of extra atmospheric observation, perhaps low-gravity experiments, and such. It seems unlikely that it was originally designed as a facility for the retention and storage of life forms, or, if you like, as a maximum-security prison for, say, particular prisoners.
Shortly before the unexpected disruption, one which seems to have taken even Priest-Kings unawares, this seemingly adding indisputable and welcome evidence as to their limitations and vulnerability, two human females were entered into the container in question.
It is clear they were females, as the human species is characterized by an obvious and radical sexual dimorphism.
It is seldom difficult to tell a human female from a human male.
Their sexes are quite different.
Too, as is common in the human species, these two females were considerably smaller than the average male, and considerably weaker.
That tends to be a characteristic of the human female.
Size and strength are common features of the human male, and accordingly the human female, smaller and weaker, often seeks to secure and protect herself within the shelter of these features.
These two females were in some respects similar, and in other respects quite different. Both were, as we understand it, of the sort which would be attractive, even excruciatingly so, to a human male. One was darkly pelted, with brown eyes, and the other was lightly pelted, or blondishly pelted, with blue eyes. Both were young, the darkly pelted one perhaps a bit older than the other. Each was, as tests later demonstrated, healthy and fertile. Each, too, was characterized by delicate, even exquisite, features, of a sort so clearly different from the coarse type found commonly in the human male. This has perhaps to do with several millennia of sexual selection. Too, both were, as humans understand such things, deliciously figured, this, too, doubtless having to do with generations of sexual selection. Indeed, the figures of both were nearly, if not quite, at what merchants in these matters refer to as the optimum block measurements for their size and weight. Block measurements, taken presale, are commonly, and in some cities this is required by law, included in a female’s sales information. They are often available, as well, before the female is put on the block, hence the name ‘block measurements’. Needless to say, too, given the female’s subjection to severe regimens of rest, diet, and exercise, it is almost assured, as is desired, by attention to these “block measurements,” that she will come to the block in excellent condition, healthy, vital, and well-curved. That is the way she is to be sold. She is, after all, merchandise, and, hopefully, good merchandise. Too, we may suppose, being healthy, each had the needs and desires of a healthy female, and, considering their selection, may have had these drives, and such, in an acute fashion, even uncomfortably so, which would render them particularly sexually vulnerable. Gorean slavers, for example, often pay close attention to such things. After all, most men buy women for pleasure.
Both of these females were of the sort, then, which, on Gor, would be of interest to buyers. They were typical of the females found in Gorean markets, and were perhaps, we suspect, given their insertion into the container, somewhat above average. Presumably both would have gone for a good price, and certainly so if they had been brought within suitable block measurements, to which, as noted, they were already in close approximation.
At the time that these females were entered into the small compass of the container Tarl Cabot was sedated, and thus unaware of their insertion into his small world.
They, too, at the time, must have been sedated.
The corridor was doubtless pressurized prior to their insertion into the container, and then returned to its near-vacuum condition.
This was done shortly prior to the disruption, as well.
That was seen to.
I have mentioned that the females were quite different, and you must understand that these differences pertained to far more than their pelting, eye color, and such. Before I discourse, however briefly, on certain of these differences, I mention something you, or some of you, may find of interest. That is that the human female, and the male, as well, for that matter, is relatively hairless. This may be an adaptation to facilitate heat loss in long-distance pursuit and pack hunting, or, again, it may have to do merely with preferences involved in sexual selection, or both. It is hard to know about such things. A consequence of this lack of hair, or fur, is that the species, in its wanderings and migrations, certainly into colder areas, must clothe itself. This seems to have been done first by taking the skins and fur of other animals, with which the Nameless One, if it was concerned at all with such matters, had refused to provide them, and later particularly by the utilization of plant fibers, and such. Clothing also, it seems, interestingly, is often worn by the species even when it is not climatologically indicated, and, indeed, sometimes when it is even uncomfortable. It can serve, of course, as a decoration, a symbol of status, a concealment of provocative or vulnerable areas, and so on. The harnesses and accouterments of the Kurii are presumably not dissimilar, at least in some of these respects. Female slaves may or may not be clothed, of course, as the master pleases. This increases their sense of vulnerability, and dependence. The female slave is seldom unaware of her condition but, too, interestingly, seldom does she wish to be. Her bondage may be her terror, but more often it is her meaning and joy. This apparently has to do with a variety of genetic antecedents and endowments, dispositions and complementarities, selected for in the long and interesting course of human evolution. One does not note with surprise that such complementarities should occur in a species so sexually dimorphic. Indeed, one would expect them. When they are clothed, the female slaves, it is often minimally, and provocatively. This reminds them, too, of their bondage, and is sexually stimulatory not only to the masters but to the chattels, as well. The pelting of the Kur female, of course, on the other hand, is thick, abundant, rich, and glossy, and, in season, heavy. How could a human female even begin to compare with a Kur female in beauty, let alone in power or ferocity? Her fangs for example, are negligible. The human female could not, for example, in three or four Ihn, tear loose a limb from a terrified, struggling tabuk.
But now to the more important aspects which characterized the new additions to Tarl Cabot’s container.
Neither, in effect, at least as yet, was Gorean.
One, the darkly pelted female, was from an area on Earth not unfamiliar to Tarl Cabot himself. It is called an England, of which there are apparently more than one. He himself, we have learned, was from a seaport in that country or world, called Bristol. He attended an institution or institutions in this England, institutions of what they think of as “higher learning.” But one suspects they are, as yet, as a species, scarcely capable of what one might call “lower learning.” This supposed learning, as it is spoken of, took place, it seems, in a place where cattle were once wont to ford. That seems a strange place to build. At least they have a world. The female, who is intelligent and quite articulate, at least until she was taught silence and the appropriateness of petitioning for an opportunity to speak, was also a supposed learner, or student, in that very same place, though not exactly in the same place. These things are hard to understand. Her background was rich and her family had standing in that world. She would have counted as having been of the high classes. But I do not think her family earned its class or wealth honestly or honorably, for example through the rings, but then that is not unusual amongst humans. She was a student of “anthropology.” Here the translator is less than helpful. It is presumably a sort of history or literature, perhaps having to do with chants and songs. Perhaps it has to do with knowing the traditions, but the traditions are different in diverse worlds. How could one know them all? Too, they may guard their traditions. Is it appropriate to inquire into such things? If dogs or pigs had such studies, their anthropologies, or such, who could find them of interest? Perhaps a biologist? Perhaps a dog or pig? But such things are now behind the female. Her life has changed. It is interesting to note that her background is in some respects similar to that of Tarl Cabot. That may be important. She was apparently obtained by Priest-Kings for some purpose or another. I suspect the reason. We may learn later. In any event, she was not acquired by our human confederates, though it is also clear, from their assessments, that she was quite capable of satisfying their usual criteria. Indeed, I have been informed that had they been aware of her she would have been entered on their acquisition lists. In such a case she would have eventually found herself on a Gorean slave block, being auctioned to the highest bidder.
Accordingly one gathers she is a most excellent example of human female, highly intelligent, healthy, nicely curved, and quite beautiful, at least for the species, and acutely sexually needful. Too, she is tormented by the restless, uneasily sensed suspicions and yearnings, so alien to her acculturation, which afflict so many such women, longings which frighten her, and into which she fears to inquire. These longings have to do with her nature, and her identity, with what she is, most profoundly, and what she should be, absolutely. They are the longings of an acutely needful but as-yet unmastered slave.
The blondishly pelted female, certainly culturally, is quite different.
She was hitherto from one of the Steel Worlds, one of the animals kept there, she for the purpose of grooming her master. The tiny fingers and nibbling teeth of such females are well fitted for this task.
It was not perfectly clear at the time how she came into the possession of Priest-Kings. One supposed it might have been a matter of bartering at an exchange point, between our humans and those of Priest-Kings, for such interactions occasionally occur, however illegitimately; or she may have been taken to the surface by our human allies as, so to speak, negotiable currency, to be there exchanged unobtrusively for local coin. That is sometimes done. Too, there might have been a crashed or downed ship. Perhaps then she had been retrieved from her cage, perhaps drawn from fiery or smoking debris. Her master or keeper in the meantime might have made good his escape, or perhaps failed to do so, was apprehended by Priest-Kings, and routinely destroyed.
You might suppose that we could have easily solved this problem, how she came into the keeping of Priest-Kings, by simply asking her, but that would be incorrect, for she, as a typical Kur human, had never been taught to speak. Would you, for example, teach a dog, or pig, to speak?
That they can be trained for simple tasks is more than enough.
It is interesting to consider how easily the continuities of tradition or civilization may be broken.
Absent a species for a single generation from socialization and we have not even barbarians, only animals.
Clever animals, but animals.
This done, let us return our attention to the slight, but shapely, occupants of the container in question.
Both of the females, of course, were naked.
It is thus that Priest-Kings commonly keep their prisoners.
It was not originally clear for what reason the females were introduced into the container. Perhaps, one supposed, they were merely gifts for him, rather as might have been food, for another of his appetites. Certainly it seemed clear, at least at first, they were not used for purposes of torture, for then they would have been placed, presumably, in an adjacent container, where they might have been deliciously exposed, but inaccessible, rather as hot, savory food might have been placed just beyond the reach of a chained, starving man. One supposes, too, they were not placed with him in the container for purposes of breeding, for that would make little sense under the circumstances. Presumably Priest-Kings, if interested in such matters, would select appropriate seed and eggs, fertilize them, and then tend the consequent embryos, at least for a time, in a secure laboratory environment. They might then be raised for a time in containers, several months, say, or implanted in the bodies of various host mothers, of various suitable species, human or otherwise, for a natural birth later. Some Goreans breed slaves, of course. This is commonly done by agreement amongst masters. There are, too, of course, the slave farms. Some members of the caste of physicians, incidentally, concern themselves with such matters, for example, by implanting fertilized eggs in host mothers. In this way, a prize slave may be used to produce numerous offspring. The same thing is done routinely with other domestic animals. On the whole, however, this is rare with Gorean humans, who tend to be traditional in such matters and accordingly are inclined to refrain from such practices. In this respect, they are much like the Kurii, who are also reluctant to avail themselves of such devices, and who, indeed, interestingly, profess to find them unnatural and distasteful. The Kurii, for example, when they wish to breed humans, commonly chain them, left wrist to right wrist, right wrist to left wrist, left ankle to right ankle, right ankle to left ankle. After a time, this works rather well. I mention this in passing. One does not know the views of the Priest-Kings on these matters. In these respects, the Sardar is silent.
We supposed, originally, then, that they were placed in the container for his pleasure, for human males commonly derive great pleasure from the females of their species, a pleasure of which they avail themselves avidly and frequently, a pleasure not limited to certain hours or seasons, but one sought, it seems, at any hour, and in all seasons. On the other hand, as it turned out, and as we should have surmised, as the male was a prisoner, this was not the case. Rather a most insidious form of torture was intended, at least for a male of his particular type.
In order to understand the nature of this torture, one might note that the two females involved had not been selected for their role in this matter at random. They had been selected with great care. Both had, of course, been selected for their unusual desirability as human females. They were both of the sort which could drive a human male mad with desire. The girl from the Steel Worlds, of course, was no more than an animal, but she was doubtless familiar with, if contemptuous of, human males, whom she knew, of course, too, as animals, speechless animals like herself. She had been, after all, the grooming pet of a Kur master, and held herself, accordingly, superior to others of her species. Certainly she had not been bred, nor did she wish to be. She was special, in her way. She knew her name in Kur and could respond to certain commands in Kur. She could not speak it, of course, as her vocal apparatus was unsuited to the formation of its phonemes. As the pet of a Kur she had an unusual status amongst the few humans in the Steel Worlds. Doubtless she was somewhat aware of her effect on males, and was not disinclined to take pleasure in their discomfiture. She was a vain little thing, not unaware of her charms, and the pleasures of utilizing them to taunt and frustrate weak and helpless males, from whom she had nothing to fear. On the Steel Worlds she would have had the protection of her collar, which was wide and locked on her neck. It identified her master in Kur, and gave her much standing amongst those of her species. It was not a slave collar, of course, as she was not a slave, but merely an animal. It served much the same purpose as might a collar on, say, a dog on Earth. She was an animal, of course, but a very clever animal, a sly, cunning, vain, shapely, little animal. It is supposed she was included with Tarl Cabot and the other female not simply for her attractiveness, which was considerable, but for at least two other reasons. First, there was her basic raw animality, and, in its way, its associated simplicity and innocence. She would be unfamiliar with the touch of men. In this she had something of the charm of a virgin and the fascination of an unacculturated, primeval, shapely beast. Such, it is supposed, would present a normal male with an interesting, unusual, and naive object of desire, one which could be interestingly exploited, and conveniently and ruthlessly ravaged, doubtless to her bewilderment, and consternation, rather like the young female slaves who are raised in isolation from men and do not even know men exist, until, after being drugged, they are rudely awakened, to shouts and music, to find themselves in a collar, and being seized at feasts of victory, to be well ravished, afterwards to be distributed to favored officers. The second reason she was included in the container was doubtless to complicate the social interactions, so to speak, even to the point of hatred and anguish, in the small environment she shared with her fellow prisoners. This would have little to do, of course, with any initial indecision which might perplex or trouble the male, however briefly, confronted with such riches, for he might eventually, surely, enjoy either as he might please, and in any order or frequency he might find interesting or convenient.
For example, it is not unknown for a Gorean man to have more than one slave, that they may desperately compete with one another, each striving zealously to please him more than the other, that she may become his favorite. To be sure, this is a situation commonly productive of misery, jealously, and hatred amongst the slaves. Which female wishes to found inferior to another? Even a female not yet broken to her collar will strive to be found not less pleasing than another. Her own womanhood insists on this, as does her pride, her self-image, her concern for her own desirability, her sense of her own worth and value as a female. How intolerable to be found less a female than another! But then perhaps, at a moment, one even unexpected, kneeling, she looks up, into his eyes, and sees suddenly that he is her master, in a sense a thousand times more profound than the indisputable and perfected legalities in which she is irretrievably enmeshed, and wholly helpless to alter or qualify. Then perhaps the other woman is marketed, who may hope then to find a private master, as well. She who has been kept is now the single slave of a private master. She is humble and grateful. She is zealous to be such a slave to him that he will not desire another. She lives to love and serve. She fears only that he may find her in some way insufficiently pleasing. She rejoices. She has been found worthy of a man’s collar. What a dignity, to wear a man’s collar! What a badge of selection and excellence is that insignia, proving that she is lovely enough and desirable enough to be a slave! How free women, pretending to despise her, and her radiance, and happiness, envy her that distinction!
The anguish, the tumult, the distress, the rage, the conflict, the jealousy, in the container, as disturbing and irritating as it might be to the male, would be largely, doubtless calculatedly, consequent upon the interactions of the two females. Which female might be chosen, so to speak, or favored, and what would be the consequences of that choice with respect to the other female, and the male? Females, of course, compete for the attention of males, as would be biologically anticipated. They dress for them, they concern themselves with their appearance, their posture, their speech, and behavior. They wish to be found attractive to males.
Men, of course, compete for females, sometimes with the sword. But females, too, in their way, compete for men. Who has not seen the difference in the behavior of even veiled free women when in the presence of men, how they stand, how they hold their heads, how they speak, with such pretended, insouciant indifference? And, too, who has not seen the even more obvious competitions amongst the girls on a slave shelf when a handsome fellow is in the vicinity, their languorous poses, as though unaware of his presence, or, say, their smiles, their vivacity, or perhaps even, with the rustling of chains, the lifting of their small shackled limbs to him, begging that a bid may be made upon them?
The female from the Steel Worlds may have seldom seen another human female, unless perhaps to drive her away from the vicinity of her master, with hissing, and teeth and nails, lest she should attempt to groom him. But she would certainly in any case be acutely aware that the lovely stranger in the enclosure with her was another female, and thus an enemy, or competitor. And the English girl, aside from her confusion and consternation at finding herself as she was, unclothed, not even a thread upon her body, inexplicably confined in the small, narrow, glassine, ovoid container, within an arm’s reach of a similarly confined male, would be only too aware not only of the presence of the male but of the other female, as well, who was startlingly young, beautiful, and desirable. Too, there was something about the other female that seemed somehow incomprehensibly different from the women with which she was familiar. There was something somehow animallike about her. She seemed untutoredly, rawly, primitively, radically female. Never had she encountered such a female. How could she, as a civilized creature, even stripped, compare with such a sensuous little beast? In her presence, she was acutely sensitive of her own deficiencies, her deficiencies as a female animal, one reduced to its biological essentials. A hundred transparent, inhibitory wrappings swathed her about, constricting her; a culture’s tendrils and trammels had been tightened about her; she had been shaped by frowns, images, propounded exemplars, small remarks, sneers, customs, and scoldings for years, subtly taught, by a multitude of cultural stratagems of which she was scarcely aware, to belittle and discount, if not despise, the very substance of herself, the very core of her being. She had been taught that her femaleness was a matter of historical idiosyncrasy, a societal convention, a social construction, and one perhaps somewhat regrettable. It was to be understood as a fabrication peculiar to a locality, a particular place and period, something of no more than transitory significance. At best it was an unimportant contingency, irrelevant to important matters such as advancements, politics, and promotions, a contingency to be ignored, if not deplored, as much as possible, saving perhaps as it might be politically utilized to obtain unearned advantages.
And now she was naked in a container.
What a simple refutation of absurdity is nudity.
The girl from the Steel Worlds, and the girl from England, as indicated, had not been selected at random.
In particular, however, we should note that the English girl had been selected by her captors, the Priest-Kings, with particularly great care, and with all the expertise and wisdom of their advanced science, to be a match with the male in question. Each would be intensely, irresistibly attractive and desirable to the other. She would be exactly the sort of woman he would relentlessly bid upon to bring into his collar, and he would be exactly the sort of man into whose collar she would long to be locked. This matching, of course, was scarcely accidental, or gratuitous. It had its role to play in what would prove to be an interesting and remarkable, if duplicitous and guileful, gambit of Priest-Kings. Each would seem to be a gift to the other, in the most profound modalities of male/female relations, but a gift, as it turned out, which had its ulterior purposes, one intended to further the designs of Priest-Kings.
She awakened something like an Ahn before the disruption.
As she was essentially an animal she, as most animals, accepted her surroundings rather as a given, as no more or less explicable than a great number of other possible givens. A dog, on Earth, for example, accepts electric lighting without amazement, or inquiry into its nature. It is just the way his world is, in that time and place. He will, of course, as would a sleen, take cognizance of his surroundings, familiarize himself with this new territory, and such. He does not, however, wax hysterical, doubt his sanity, or such.
The first thing the little beast did was flare her nostrils, perhaps trying to catch the scent of her master. Then, gingerly, slipping, putting her hands out, she examined the peculiar barrier through which she could see, but could not pass. She examined, and took the scent of, the male confined with her. He was much larger, and somehow much different, it seemed, from the few males of her species with which she was familiar. He was quite different, of course, from her master. In her blood there were stirrings with which she was unfamiliar. Her lip wrinkled, and a canine was visible, as she inspected the other female in the container. A slight, tiny hiss of displeasure escaped from betwixt her well-formed lips. There was no pan of food or water in the container, she noted, nor could there have easily been, given its curvature. These things did not please her. There was a hoselike tube near the top of the container, but it would be difficult for her to reach it. Too, she did not understand its purpose. She put her hands to her throat, feeling for her collar, but it was not there. This puzzled her, for her master had always kept it on her. It had had a ring on it, to which he sometimes attached a leash, when he walked her. She was very proud to be walked by her master, and she did not wish to be confused with others of her species, inferior sorts, whom she despised, strays, scavengers, and such. In particular she would not wish to be confused with the cattle, crowded and fattened in their pens, for she knew they were eaten. It made her uneasy to be without the collar. Indeed, she was afraid. Sometimes catchers, small Kurii, badly pelted, only four or five hundred pounds in weight, prowled the habitat, searching for loose humans, escaped or strayed, usually to be hamstrung and put back in the barred pens, then unable to walk, unable then to do much more than feed at the troughs, fatten, and wait, usually ignorantly, for the butchers. But she was not ignorant. She was apprised of the usual fate of such. It would not do, at all, to be mistaken for one of them. It would be one thing to lead them to the knife, they following unsuspectingly, docilely, and quite another to be confused with one of them. That would not do at all. Where was her master? She wanted her collar. She felt understandably uneasy without it. Her master had had only one pet, her. Hopefully she still belonged to him. Certainly, too, she would not wish to share her importance and status with another pet. She looked angrily at the other female. She, too, of course, must be a pet. What else, as she was, could she be? She did know there were other pets. That must be one of them. She resented the other female, and feared her, and what she might mean. She snarled, softly. Her fingers crooked. Her master had had her nails clipped and filed, but even so, even had they not been, they were poor weapons, certainly compared to the claws and fangs of the masters. There could be no doubt as to the relationships involved, nor as to the rankings of species, nor as to her own nature, and the appropriateness of it, that of a harmless, caressable pet. But surely not harmless to such as herself. She could scratch and bite, and hiss, and she had, more than once, to the amusement of her master, driven other females, bloodied and shrieking, from his vicinity.
But the master was not here?
Where was he?
She did sense the maleness of the larger human in the container, and this maleness intrigued her, and fascinated her. She also had strange feelings in his presence, feelings which she had not experienced in the vicinity of the few males she had encountered in the habitat. It never occurred to her that he might have speech, for only the masters, the Kurii, had language. Animals, such as she, and others, were incapable of such things, just as they were incapable of building pens, making rooms light and dark, burning objects at a distance, and such.
They could not even make the chains and shackles in which they were sometimes so helplessly placed.
She, at least, had not yet been chained to a man.
But clearly the male in the container was the nearest thing to her master, and thus she, as any smaller animal would, had a lively sense as to where lay the power in this small world, and, accordingly, in which direction lay her best interests. It would be with the larger animal. She was unfamiliar with larger animals who had been turned against themselves, who were hampered, crippled, neutralized and vitiated by the knives of social engineering. She would not have understood them. She was certain then she must ingratiate herself with him, and appease him, and certainly so with the other female in the container. She could not drive her off, of course, given the peculiar enclosure in which she found herself, but she could certainly warn her off, and, hopefully, so terrify or intimidate her that she would not dare to offer the least challenge to her priority. The male was to be hers; the other must not be permitted to intrude; accordingly, she must, in one way or another, be eliminated, physically or psychologically, or both, as a possible competitor or rival. The female from the Steel Worlds regarded the other female. She did not think it would be hard to teach her terror, and her place. If the male were a Kur, she would groom him, smoothing and licking his fur, and searching for insects. Sometimes her master permitted her to wipe and dry his teeth with her hair, in which activity she could scavenge for meat particles. Too, not unoften he permitted her to clean his nails and claws with her tongue. These were largely hygienic pursuits. Little of a symbolic nature was involved here. She was simply a docile pet serving her master. It was quite unlike the practices of the Red Savages of the Gorean Barrens who not unoften put their white female slaves naked on their bellies before their lofty, silken mounts, the kaiila, in helpless, servile prostration to the mere beasts of their masters, whose paws and nails they must then clean with their lips and tongue. This is because of what, in their traditions, is called the Memory. Few white men are allowed in the Barrens. Commonly they are ridden down and killed. Lovely white women, on the other hand, are accepted as slaves, and are sometimes, at trading points, bartered for, usually with the skins of the Pte, or Kailiauk. Occasionally, too, they are raided for, and then carried deep within the Barrens. Sometimes they are kept in herds, guarded by boys, but normally, in their colorful, beaded leather collars, they serve in the lodges. The native women, unless prevented, treat them with great cruelty. The slaves perform much work in the Barrens and give their masters much pleasure in the lodges. Some white women flee to the Barrens, that they may become the slaves of such men.
The girl from the Steel Worlds studied the sleeping male, puzzling over her sensations.
She had never yet been chained to a man.
She wondered what it would be like, to be chained to a man.
She had seen the relevant devices, of course, on posts and hanging in sheds, dark, stern, heavy, close-fitting shackles, breeding shackles.
She wondered what it would be like to be put in them, to be locked in them, to feel them on her body, their weight, and that of their short chains, and to be aware of their close, unslippable clasp on her small wrists and ankles, then so helplessly confined in their designed encirclements, and then to be led before a male and fastened by their means to him, himself their prisoner, as well.
She would be helpless, of course, so near to him, so close as to feel his breath, the heat of his body.
The methods of the Kurii are traditional, and perhaps primitive, but, too, they are clever and efficient.
She looked again at the male.
She did not think she would mind being chained to him.
Suddenly the girl from the Steel Worlds made a tiny, angry sound, for the other female had whimpered, and stirred, and put out her hands, as though feeling for some familiar surroundings, the edge of a bed, a pillow, a layer of covers. The other female’s hand slipped on the descendent, glassine surface of the container. Her shapely legs moved, sought purchase. She squirmed. A foot moved, slipping, toward the bottom of the container. Suddenly her eyes opened, wildly, and she tried to stand, abruptly, and slipped down, toward the bottom of the container. Her belly was to the outside of the container, and, struggling to stand, but slipping, she, confused, astonished, disoriented, bewildered, shocked, pressed her hands against its thick, enclosing, transparent surface. Then suddenly, half kneeling in the container, unable to stand, she uttered a wild, incoherent scream, a cry of utter incomprehension and dismay, and shook her head, as though to awaken herself. She even struck herself on the cheek, sharply, and tore at her forearm with her nails, even to bring blood. This sudden hysterical activity and outcry on the part of her lovely container mate startled the girl from the Steel Worlds, who drew quickly back, alarmed, then perplexed, then resentful. She could not understand the distress, the consternation, the bewilderment, of the other girl. She was not behaving as would one of her species, as the Steel Worlds’ girl understood such things. This was not the way a pet would be expected to behave. Presumably a master would not care to have a pet behave in such a fashion, and would punish it. She was perhaps a poor pet. Surely she was an unusual pet. She did not even snarl at the Steel Worlds’ girl or attempt to challenge her. She seemed unaware of her surroundings save in so far as her occupancy in the container was concerned. She struck against the sides of the container, and pounded on them, sobbing, with her small fists, and cried out, as though in protest, or disbelief, or to attract someone’s attention. But the corridor, of course, was empty, and silent.
Whereas the surprise of the Steel Worlds’ girl at this seemingly unmotivated and unaccountable behavior on the part of the other female is understandable, given her background and experiences, I think that it will be in general comprehensible for most of us, and presumably for the majority of our readers, particularly those in the habitats. It was not unusual, at any rate, for a civilized female, to the extent that such are civilized, suddenly confronted with a seemingly inexplicable transformation in her circumstances and condition, to behave in a manner which suggests bewilderment and alarm. Although we are not certain just how the Priest-Kings manage these things, we may presume they are not altogether unlike the practices of our human confederates. Whereas they enjoy utilizing a number of securing devices, ropings, thongings, traps, and such, and a variety of interesting psychological techniques, in acquiring and orienting their wares, some of which are extremely enjoyable and sophisticated, their most common procedure is a simple one, merely to sedate the unsuspecting female while sleeping, and then to strip and bind her, and then transport her to the collection point, for shipment in her waiting capsule. She is not revived, commonly, unless they wish to enjoy her on the voyage, until she is on Gor, commonly in the house of a slaver. In short, she retires, unsuspecting, in the midst of her familiar surroundings, and awakens in a quite unfamiliar reality, both ambient and personal. This pertains not only to the women of Earth, of course, but may pertain as well to the women of Gor.
There is much to be said, I am told, for both varieties. Gorean men enjoy both. Originally, Earth females on Gor tended to have about them something of an aspect of luscious exotica. Barbarians, the stupid sluts could not even speak Gorean, the language. To many Gorean males this seemed almost incomprehensible, but, we note, many languages are spoken on Gor, though obviously, because of the standardizations agreed upon by the caste of Scribes, meeting at the great fairs, Gorean is the most common. Also, it is thought that the Priest-Kings wish to have a single language at their disposal by means of which they can address themselves to almost any human likely to be encountered on their world. Now, however, with the relative commonness of Earth females in the Gorean markets, they have lost much of their erstwhile exotic flavor. Often they are now regarded, and particularly by slaves of native Gorean origin, as merely an inferior sort of slave. But men like them. That is doubtless the reason they are not as rare on Gor as formerly. They sell well. Too, it seems they make superb slaves, grateful, devoted, sexually helpless, passionate chattels. On Earth it seems their sexual needs were suppressed in favor of various neuterisms and political expediencies, and sacrificed to a variety of peculiar societal imperatives. They were, in short, for whatever reasons, taught to suspect and deny their sexuality, and see it, if at all, in terms of guilt and fear. They were taught, too, to see men as weaklings and inept adversaries, not surprising given the crippling social engineering to which most Earth males were subjected almost from the cradle, and not as their natural masters. They sensed, of course, the meaninglessness and emptiness of their existence, the tragic, profound lacunae in their lives, that a female can obtain the wholeness of her nature and being only in relation to a dominant male, and that she can find her ultimate sexual fulfillment only in the earthquakes and blasts of a helpless, surrendered slave, one writhing in the arms of her master. On Earth women were starved; on Gor they are fed, be it only on scraps of food thrown to a slave. It is the paradox of the collar; in it, a helpless slave, she is most free. To be sure, the lot of an Earth slave on Gor, as that of any slave, is not an easy one. Too, it might be noted that some Gorean men, apprised of what is termed the “Second Knowledge,” have some understanding of what is done to men on Earth and how they are commonly treated. Accordingly, their treatment of Earth females is likely to be excessively severe, requiring of them, however irrationally, an atonement for the faults and crimes of their sex on their former, sorry world. Such girls are swiftly apprised of the nature of their collars. They soon learn they are no longer on Earth, dealing with the men of Earth, but are on Gor, at the mercy of Gorean men. They are now no longer a woman of Earth but merely a female on Gor and a man’s helpless, perfect, and complete slave.
Different techniques are used to introduce women to their new life, and these often depend on the house. Sometimes they are revived in slave wagons en route to one destination or another, that they may have time to adjust; or the tiered cages might be used; or a simple chaining, with others, in a keeping room. Some are awakened to the lash. Others are given time to adjust, even days, in a darkened cell, chained by the neck, with water and gruel. It should be remarked that few women are promptly sold. Most are given some training first. That helps them to survive. Many Earth women, for example, do not even know how to lace a man’s sandals or bathe him. It would seem absurd to lash them for such ignorances as their culture has not prepared them to perform such tasks. To be sure, such deficiencies must be quickly rectified, and the whip will be utilized to encourage diligence.
Sometimes, however, our human confederates, for their amusement, alert the quarry, sometimes months in advance, and perhaps hint by hint, of her ineluctable fate. Most commonly this is done with a quarry which is unpleasant, smug, nasty, insolent and vain, and who has, too, say, an overweening sense of her own qualities, importance, and superiority. To be sure, she must be intelligent, beautiful, healthy, and so on, or she will be ignored. Too, as would be expected, she must also be the sort who can be easily made the writhing, helpless victim of her profound, if initially suppressed, sexual needs. Such a quarry, at first, usually, misinterprets the clues she is given, however obvious they may be, with respect to the network of plans within which she is already enmeshed. Perhaps a set of measurements, her own, is slipped beneath her door, interestingly pertaining in particular to her wrists, ankles, and throat, or perhaps, even more obviously, she is sent a tunic in the mail, a slave tunic. To be sure, at that time she understands it only as a brief, revealing garment. Perhaps she dares to don it secretly, and then, startled at how she appears in it, and flushing with embarrassing, unaccustomed heat, she hides it away. To be sure, it may later be thrown against her body. In time, however, as the net tightens, things will become ever more obvious. She will receive messages, and calls, which are quite clear, but will be interpreted, naturally enough, as impostures, jests, and hoaxes, or even insults. Examples would be such things as “Simple custodial hardware consists of ankle and wrist rings, and, of course, a collar. We have your measurements for such,” “The tunic you received in the mail was a slave tunic. You may find yourself in one, if your master permits it,” or even things as obvious as, “You may begin, even now, to think of yourself as a Gorean slave,” or “Be careful in your diet and see that you exercise well, that you may be more likely to obtain an affluent master when you are sold, from a slave block on the planet Gor.” To be sure, she believes that there is no such place as Gor. It is embarrassing to bring these things to the attention of the police, but she eventually does. But they are more bemused than helpful. She does, of course, inquire into the nature of Gor, and begins to have a sense of the nature of the fate which might await her there, a young, beautiful female of Earth. Her beauty she had always until now bartered to her own advantage, utilizing it, with its smiles, and gestures, and turnings, to obtain the perquisites of Earth. Now she begins to suspect that its value might substantially accrue to the benefit of others, that others, and not she, might have their profit upon it. It would seem to have little value to herself now, save as it might procure her a better master or a lighter bondage. But she has learned in her reading, to her consternation, that Gorean men are not lenient with such as she would be, an embonded Earth female. Might her charms then, and her tricks and wheedling, so irresistible on Earth, be unavailing on Gor? Might they even bring her an impatient stroke of the switch or lash? Finally, one morning, she awakens, discreetly attired in her lovely night gown, just as when she retired, though it is now thrust up to her thighs, to discover that her ankles have been tied widely apart, with leather thongs, to the bottom bedposts. She frees herself, though with tears of frustration and difficulty, and rises, and rushes about, frantically, but she finds that she is alone in the apartment, and the doors and windows are locked. There is a note on the dresser. With a trembling hand she opens and reads it. It is written in a powerful, cursive masculine script, suggesting severity and the nonexistence of compromise:
Rejoice. In spite of your many deficiencies and your unworthiness, it has been decided that you will be taken to Gor, there to be sold as a slave.
We trust that you enjoyed having your legs tied apart. You will grow used to such things on Gor.
You belong in a collar. Therefore, you will be put in one.
Flee, if you wish.
You cannot escape.
In the field, in the early morning, you will remove your clothing and kneel, and lift your wrists to us, to be braceleted.
Hasdron, of Gor.
In such a case the female often does, as was so in this case, flee. Then began a nightmare of fear and pursuit, when time and time again she thought herself secure, and having escaped, only to be confronted with a new evidence of the proximity, seemingly ever more closely, of those who followed her. At last, early one morning, in an open field, trembling, shaking, chilled, exhausted, unable to run further, she sees them about her, discernible in the half light and fog of the early morning. Defeated, she numbly removes her clothing and kneels in the cold grass, frightened, lifting her wrists to them. It is the first time she has worn slave bracelets. A collar and leash is then put on her and she is drawn to her feet and led to a waiting van. In this vehicle her leash is attached to a sturdy wall ring, only a few inches from the floor, and she is put to her side, to be given the injection which will render her unconscious, an unconsciousness which will be ended only with her awakening on Gor.
But let us return now to the container of Tarl Cabot.
The English girl continued, for a time, to pound on the obdurate side of the container. Too, she tried to call out, for a time, but, being highly intelligent, soon realized that her cries might not be heard outside the thick glassine barrier within which she found herself enclosed.
Shortly thereafter, she seemed to understand, perhaps in part from her distraught reflection in the barrier, with a sudden, poignant and alarmed fullness of realization, her complete lack of covering, and she became, too, then, perhaps for the first time, more acutely aware that she was not alone in the container. She turned about and looked wildly at the unconscious male, who had just begun to stir, perhaps aroused by her actions and cries, which might have seemed far off to him, and at the blonde female. She tried to put her legs together and cover herself with her hands, frenziedly, an activity which puzzled the blonde. Perhaps she was trying to protect herself from blows, not yet delivered? The blonde could understand that. She began to speak to the blonde but the blonde, of course, had no language, and her noises would have been unintelligible to her. Doubtless, trying to cover herself, she must have been demanding at the same time some sort of explanation from the blonde, an account of their common predicament. The blonde however, to the brunette’s dismay, and trepidation, wrinkled her lip and snarled at her, much as might have an animal, a displeased, threatening animal. She shrank back, and this pleased the blonde, who raised her hand, menacingly, clawlike. The brunette shrank back then even further, frightened, until her back was against the glassine wall. Clearly the blonde was in some way less than human, or mad. The blonde made a rumbling noise in her throat, reminiscent of a Kur’s warning growl, and the brunette, alarmed, pressed back even more tightly against the wall. There was something inhuman about the blonde, something feral, and dangerous. She tried to smile at her, but this brought forth only a more intense warning noise. She began then to speak soothingly to the blonde, as one might attempt to pacify a beast, perhaps an ocelot or small leopard, but this merely elicited an angry hiss. The brunette then remained very still, watching the blonde, fearfully. The blonde, for her part, was pleased that the other creature was intimidated. Indeed, she had expected a counterdisplay of hostility, and an exchange of hissings, and spittings, as with others, until they were beaten and torn, and fled away, bitten and bleeding. The other pet then, from the point of view of the blonde, was an unbelievably poor thing, spiritless, and without fight. Was she not confined in the container the blonde would have fully expected, with another snarl, that she would have fainted, or backed away, and then suddenly turned about, and fled. That pet, she was sure, would not be worth a collar. Better to put her in with the cattle, in the pens. She could imagine her, looking out through the bars. To be sure, she might count as a tender morsel for her master.
The blonde had not even understood that the brunette had tried to communicate with her in a language. Only the Kurii, as far as she knew, had a language. The other pet just made strange noises. Did she not even know how to whimper, for food, or a caress, or for mercy?
The blonde thought she would show her mercy, if she would stay out of her way, and have nothing to do with the male.
Otherwise she might lose her eyes.
The blonde was not the sort of pet who would happily share a food pan, or a master.
The brunette was confused, disoriented, frightened, and sick with misery.
Also, she was terrified of the blonde, who did not seem human, but something different, something wild and feral in a human form.
Too, she had never encountered anything so innocently, and rawly, so naively, and so primitively female before. The creature exuded a sexuality which she could scarcely comprehend. The brunette was, of course, too, a female, but, aside from her dreams, in which she was often well and callously handled, and as a female, and in some of which she even wore a slave collar, she chose, on the whole, save for certain gratifying, manipulative ambivalences, some of which may be noted later, to see herself, and to behave as, and strive to be, a witty, clever, urbane, discriminating, tasteful, lofty, superior, refined, educated, largely, it must be admitted, sexless entity, a person to whom sex then was meaningless, or, at least, irrelevant and unimportant. She was an individual, then, of staid culture, tedious civility, tiresome refinement, and an insufferable, snobbish gentility. She refused the attentions of men, or boys, when they were offered, unless they were of an acceptable, suitable background and class. One must be careful about such things. On her rare dates she would remain aloof and remind her companions, when necessary, in quite clear terms, to their chagrin, of her dignities and their correspondent duties. Sometimes, however, she wondered what it would be to be in their arms. But such thoughts were soon thrust away, indignantly, or almost indignantly. She was quite pleased with her social station and irritatingly vain concerning what she took to be, mistakenly, as it turned out, the excellence of her breeding. To be sure, in some respects, her breeding was indeed excellent, for it had been selected out by the Priest-Kings, for, in particular, certain of its dispositions and helplessnesses. For their purposes, then, at least, it was an excellent breeding. Too, of course, it was an excellent breeding for general human purposes, as well, as suggested, for she was highly intelligent, beautiful, and such. Too, she would prove to have sexual latencies of a sort which, once ignited, once commanded forth, would put her helplessly, beggingly, needfully, ungovernably, uncontrollably, at the sexual mercy of men. She would need their touch and attentions. But that is not uncommon with a certain sort of woman. Goreans are familiar with them. They are called slaves. I think I mentioned that had our human confederates known of her she would have been selected for their purposes, and would eventually have found herself suitably auctioned, as would be appropriate for her. Her diction was precise, but distant and aloof. One had the sense that they were being talked down to. She would later learn to speak softly, modestly, and humbly, when she was given permission to speak. She commonly dressed with a seemingly understated but yet all too obvious elegance. She was cool, prim, priggish, and formal. Yet, beneath her clothing, if one looked closely, it could be discerned that she might be attractive. And when she was stripped, this became clear.
The brunette, shuddering, put her face in her hands, tears streaming through her fingers, and wondered if she had gone insane.
At this point, only several minutes before the disruption, the male in the container, the prisoner, Tarl Cabot, opened his eyes.
We do not know how long he had been awake, but presumably it had not been long. Yet we are sure he was awake somewhat before he permitted this to be understood.
He was, after all, of the Warriors.
He had an active mind, and was, of course, by now quite familiar with the nature of his confinement. Therefore he would not have been startled or dismayed at finding himself as he was, in the container, but would have doubtless been more surprised had he not found himself so. His concerns, therefore, had more to do with trying to fathom the designs of his captors. For what reason was he now not alone in the container, and why with these two particular creatures?
He had not been informed, of course, by Priest-Kings of his inadvertence, error or crime. This is not unusual. Would you inform, say, an insect, or small animal, found annoying, of the reasons for your displeasure? You would, presumably, simply deal with it, and as you pleased. Surely the Flame Death does not explain itself, but simply strikes. But in certain cases, with rational creatures, this lack of communication is deliberate, and calculated to unravel, so to speak, its victim, who, perplexed and frightened, is denied an accounting of his alleged faults or charges. He is plunged then into confusion, dismay, and, not unoften, is overcome by a sense of unlocalized, nebulous guilt. Such techniques, incidentally, are not unknown on Earth, or in some of the Steel Worlds. But Tarl Cabot had, it seemed, surmised, and correctly, that his predicament was occasioned by his intervention in the strife between the Steel Worlds and the world of the Priest-Kings, Gor, an intervention in which he had sought to warn and succor a Kur, Zarendargar, or “Half-Ear.” Too, largely on account of this intervention, it was supposed, and certainly with some plausibility, that he was an agent of Kurii. And such things are not condoned by Priest-Kings, nor, indeed, would their like be condoned by Kurii, who have a variety of interesting techniques for dealing with supposed traitors, techniques which we shall omit to delineate, on the grounds that they might be found disturbing by readers with whom they might be unfamiliar. Doubtless the Priest-Kings have their techniques, as well. And we suspect they could hardly be inferior in effectiveness to those of the Kurii. To be sure, given his codes, Tarl Cabot would be less encouraged to indulge in fruitless speculation and laborious self-searching than biding his time, attempting to obtain a weapon, plotting an escape, and such. The codes encourage attention to the future and action, rather than to the past and speculation. The exceptions commonly have to do with matters of honor and vengeance.
Largely, certainly after the few first days, or was it hours, in the container, Tarl Cabot had been curious as to why he was being kept alive. He had not yet been slain. Why? Indeed, had they wished to slay him, they might have done so long ago, doubtless within moments of his discovery. Certainly he was totally at the mercy of his captors. He might have been denied the liquid food dispensed now and then through the tube, a poisonous gas might have been introduced into the container, rather than the sedating gas, the air might have been simply drawn from the container, and so on. Indeed, a number of things might have been done to him. Who knows, say, what might have been introduced into the container while he slept, which might have satisfied the sense of vengeance of outraged Priest-Kings, perhaps a coil of squirming osts, a live sleen, successions of urts each time he slept, which he might try to kill, and on which might feed, until eventually, from pain and loss of blood, days later, unable to resist, he became the feed. Perhaps, even, the container might have been slowly filled with mud or sand, or with fast-growing poisonous molds, or with dark water, in which swam the tiny, razor-teethed eels kept in large pools at the palatial villas of some Gorean oligarchs, both as a delicacy, and as a standing admonition to slaves, to which swift, snakelike, voracious creatures they may be thrown. He was being kept alive for some reason, but for what reason?
The Priest-Kings, it seemed, were not yet done with him.
Perhaps he was being saved for some holiday, some celebration, in which he might be used as a spectacle.
Certainly they had not forgotten about him, as is sometimes the case with prisoners in Gorean dungeons.
They were Priest-Kings.
Too, he was now not alone in the container.
Clearly he was recollected.
For what purposes were the females introduced into his tiny world, and why these particular females?
The blonde whimpered, and licked at his shoulder.
The brunette, trying desperately to keep herself covered, as she could, gasped. She had witnessed this simple act in utter disbelief. Her inadvertent exhalation had been one of astonishment and shock, of indignation and disapproval, one of protest, even outrage. And yet the act frightened her, because she felt its reality, and physicality. It seemed one of the most real things she had ever witnessed in her life. It spoke not of ideas and theories, or verbalisms, or of the fencings and cant in which she had sought to perfect herself, of the skills which brought status in her world, but of a different world, one of which she knew but little, one in which she had little part, one in which she did not belong, one in which she would be neglected and ignored, a world of rain and wind, and grass, and beasts, and sunlight, one of life, not of its contrived substitutes.
Whereas she was doubtless shocked at what she had seen she was also, in a sense, moved. Perhaps she thought of herself, as in one of her dreams, so licking a male’s shoulder, perhaps commanded to do so, in precisely that subservient manner. Several times she had awakened in her bed, from such dreams, twisted in the covers, heated and thrashing, tormented by sensations that seemed to enliven and enfire every cubic inch of her, and turn her skin into a mottled sheet of living flame. At such times the smallest touch of a male, or even a smile, would have brought her begging to his feet. Sometimes she had fearfully, so awakening, felt her wrists and ankles, and her throat, making certain that her small, fair limbs were not thonged, and her lovely neck not encircled by a man’s claiming collar.
The slut clearly had promise.
The Priest-Kings had done their job well.
The male seemed not to notice her, not truly then, but turned to the blonde, and apparently spoke to her. Doubtless he did so in Gorean. She seemed startled that such seemingly articulate sounds should emanate from a human. She tried to imitate them, but managed, one supposes, to do little more than replicate a handful of disjointed phonemes. He seemed puzzled at her response. He did not understand, of course, at that time, that she, whatever might be her native intelligence, which was surely considerable, lacked speech, and for a very obvious reason. It had never been taught to her. Presumably he first thought her simply differently spoken, and that they had no language in common. But he soon discounted this speculation as she did not seem to speak to him in a different language, hers, but seemed rather to be trying to make his own sort of sounds. He did not think she was retarded because she had a lively, seemingly perceptive sense about her, and she repeated a number of his sounds with an alacrity and accuracy that suggested, rather, an agile, quick mind. Too, she could not be deaf, or a mute. Clearly she was not mute for she could utter sound, and she could not have been deaf, for she produced many of his sounds, though not all, with surprising fidelity. He then supposed, as we later learned, that she must be a Gorean exotic, in this case a slave who has been raised without a language. It did not occur to him at the time that she was from the Steel Worlds.
He then turned his attention to the brunette who, frightened, not meeting his eyes, flushing scarlet, every inch of her, turned frantically away from him, her side to the glassine barrier, covering as she could the sweetness of her bosom with her small hands.
She was well-curved.
He assumed she must be a slave, as she was enclosed with him. Certainly her curves were worthy of an auction block, at least in a minor city. He did not understand why she strove so mightily, essentially so futilely, to conceal herself from him. That was not like a slave. No slave, aware of the lash, would dare such a thing. Yet here, surely, the pretty thing, the nicely curved little slut, must be a slave.
He had looked, of course, upon many slaves. But this one seemed unusual, in many respects. Her demeanor was odd. She was trying to shield herself, however ineffectively, from his scrutiny. She could be punished for that. And she had not performed an obeisance, nor had she addressed him in Gorean. As she was in the container, it had not occurred to him that she might be a free woman. It had not even occurred to him to see her as a free woman, robed in dignities, a citizeness, entitled to respect and deference. He saw her instantly, doubtless as the Priest-Kings had intended, in terms of the brand and collar, in terms of shackles and the whip, in terms of the auction block and cage. She was the sort of woman a man would put joyously, triumphantly, to his feet. She was far too beautiful and desirable to be free. Freedom was not for such as she. She was the sort of woman a man would not accept, except upon the terms of absolute and complete ownership.
You could look upon her, and see she was a natural slave.
The man who does not see natural slaves as slaves is a fool. They are slaves, and are whole only at a man’s feet.
She decided she would turn her head to him, pleadingly. Surely he must understand her distress, her fear, her confusion, her consternation, her predicament!
The blond uttered a menacing, soft growl.
The brunette shuddered, frightened of the other female.
But, too, suddenly, instinctively, she understood where might lie her one hope, her single protection, from the hostility of the other girl.
It would lie with this taciturn, supple, naked, powerful man.
Never before had she depended on a male for anything.
She was acutely conscious of her nudity.
Perhaps she could smile at him.
She was in no way unaware of her effect on males, and had often, shamelessly, pleasurably, made use of her sex to tease, torment, and exploit them, even while pretending to a sexless neutrality, putting forth then a charade of impartial personhood which was only too obviously, to an astute observer, belied by the subliminal signals she was at pains to project, and the tumults and furies they inevitably kindled, to which she would then, were they manifested, react with surprise and indignation.
We earlier alluded, as I recall, to such aspects of her persona.
The males with which she was familiar were easily manipulated. A clever woman, particularly if lovely, could do with them rather as she pleased.
They were, of course, not Goreans.
Suddenly their eyes met.
She did not smile, as she had intended. She could not. Her lower lip trembled. She was profoundly startled.
She had not expected this.
What manner of eyes were these?
She trembled, and if she had tried to speak, she would have stammered, helplessly.
But she could not speak.
And she felt that if he had spoken to her in some settings, the rug in a Tuareg tent, the tiles of a Roman villa, she would have instantly knelt before him, and pressed her lips fervently, placatingly, to his feet.
She found herself looking into the eyes of a dominant male, for the first time in her life, into the eyes of a man who was by nature the master of such as she, a woman.
This could not be, she thought, a man of Earth.
These surely did not seem the eyes of a man of Earth. In them reposed resolution, and power.
Before them she felt small, helpless, vulnerable, female, and weak.
Never before had she felt like this before a man, so graspable, so weak, so female.
She felt him a thousand times her superior.
And what only could such as she be to such as he?
She suspected she knew.
Where had she seen such eyes before?
Could it have been in her dreams?
Then she sensed herself surveyed.
But certainly more was involved here than merely the eyes of a dominant male, regarding a female.
To be sure, that in itself might have been shocking to her, to find herself looked upon as one might look upon a property, something desirable that one might own, and would be appropriately owned, but a great deal more was involved. We recall that she had been selected as a match for the particular male in question, and that, thus, they would find themselves irresistibly and excruciatingly attractive to one another. She was, in effect, a slut he might pursue in dreams, and he was to her, too, in her dreams, one to whose feet such as she would hasten, to kneel, and press her warm, moist lips upon them, hoping to be found pleasing. She seemed to him one for whose throat was made his collar, and he to her as one for whose collar her throat was made.
She found these moments, these sudden sensations and feelings, unprecedented and inexplicable, suffusive, shocking, overwhelming.
She had the sudden sense she belonged in a collar, a slave collar, and that such as she was the rightful property of such as he.
And he, too, though this was much concealed, looked upon this frightened, shapely, stripped beast with remarkable intentness.
There was little doubt as to her suitability.
Such women are made for the slave block.
It is wholly right for them.
They belong upon it, to be taken from it by masters.
What would it be to have her at his feet?
How startling, he thought, that so extraordinarily attractive and luscious a slut should be before him.
And how unique and special she somehow seemed!
He was pleased with the look of her.
She had promise.
The limbs of such women call for chains, their throats for collars. They are whole only at the feet of a man.
And here, as she was, she must be a slave!
He must have her, he thought.
On the outside he would doubtless have brought her quickly to his chains.
But then, suddenly, he grew suspicious.
How unlikely that this female should be in the container! Many were beautiful slaves, and it would not be hard to find them on Gor. He had been a man of wealth and power, even a captain, with many ships, in Port Kar, and had lusted for and possessed many branded beauties, acquiring them and discarding them in the markets as he pleased. But this female was surely amongst the small number of those he had found most tormentingly desirable. She was one of the most exciting sluts he had ever seen. Everything about her seemed to beg to be possessed, to be mastered. The Priest-Kings could have placed any of thousands of collar sluts in the container. But this one seemed special to him, as though tailored from his dreams. Perhaps, he thought, she had been! Might not the Priest-Kings, with their wizardry, have inquired into such things, and perhaps, in the female’s case, too, might they not have accessed her own needs, fantasies, and dreams?
This match, he suddenly suspected, is too close, too well done.
In this, he speculated angrily, is seen the hand of Priest-Kings.
I must be on my guard!
The girl, meanwhile, was struggling to regain her former sense of self, somehow lost before this man. But it seemed dashed, and irrecoverable.
She thought of herself in his arms and had the sudden sense she would oil and leap within his arms as no more than a helpless, manipulated toy, as not other than a meaningless slave.
Then she strove to discard such radical and disturbing thoughts.
All the shallow, torrential, withering blasts of her former life rose up before her, outraged and denunciatory.
She had always had power as a female. She would now exert it. Men were weaklings.
She smiled at the brute in the container.
Clearly he might protect her from the other female, whom she feared.
He did not smile back.
This disconcerted her.
Her smiles had always proved a successful coin on her old world, easily purchasing accommodations and favors.
But he seemed to see through its falseness.
He spoke to her, it seemed not pleasantly, and doubtless in Gorean, for she shook her head, negatively, indicating her lack of comprehension. Then she spoke to him, hoping doubtless that she might somehow be understood. She doubtless spoke to him in an English, that of one of the Englands aforementioned. For the first time she detected a distinct reaction in her reticent, supple interlocutor. He had clearly not expected her to be conversant in that language, which is seldom heard on Gor. It was in his own native language, as it turned out, much to his astonishment, that he was addressed. This instantly exacerbated his suspicions. Tarl Cabot is not, we note, natively Gorean. I am told he speaks Gorean with an accent, but such subtleties seem to me neither here nor there. There are many accents, I am told, too, even amongst native Goreans. In any event, the fact that the female spoke his native tongue, as well as the hitherto noted excellencies of her face and figure, which seemed customized, so to speak, to his own tastes, informed him, as he had suspected, that her presence, and doubtless, too, that of the blonde, in the container, was not a matter of mere happenstance, but had some role to play in the designs of Priest-Kings. Certainly he did not think, as we had originally supposed, that they were some sort of gift to him, or even a mere concession to one of his appetites.
The woman meanwhile, finding herself understood, shook with emotion, and, sobbing with unspeakable relief, eagerly, gratefully, neglecting to request permission, began to speak, enunciating what must have been a torrent of solicitations, questions, inquiries, demands, protests, and such, which was surely understandable. She was doubtless trying to explain, too, that some terrible mistake had been made, that there must be someone to whom to appeal, and so on. The fact that she had not requested permission to speak, at least at such length, doubtless seemed anomalous to Tarl Cabot. It was almost as though she might be a free woman, and not a slave. But he was tolerant, at least for a time, of her effusive excesses, doubtless taking into consideration her confusion and dismay, given her presumably recent entrapment and her present circumstances. There is a time, of course, to show a woman kindliness, compassion, and understanding, and then a time to put her to her knees and remind her that she is only a slave. Tarl Cabot, as he could, tried to answer the woman’s questions, and apprise her to the best of his ability of the nature of her location, the identity of her captors, and such. There was much, to be sure, that was unknown to him, as well. At one point, she shook her head wildly, and then, a few moments later, apprising herself of the gravity, and more clearly of the nature of her surroundings, she threw back her head and apparently screamed in misery and terror, though one could not hear her outside the container. It had been made clear to her, it seems, that she was no longer on Earth, but was a captive of beings alien to her, in an artificial satellite of a planet she had not even known existed, the Prison Moon. She then began to sob hysterically, trying to keep herself covered, as before. Tarl Cabot could not only see her, but, now and then, given the lighting, could see her reflection, as well, in the barrier behind her. Gradually, despite the improbability of the matter, he began to suspect that she might not be a slave. To her horror he pulled her hands apart and placed them, fingers locked, behind the back of her head. She immediately removed them from this location but when he lifted his hand, irritably, and was obviously prepared to cuff her, sharply, as though she might be naught but a recalcitrant little brute, she quickly replaced them, putting them into the position he had prescribed. Her eyes were wide. It was doubtless the first time she had ever been subjected to discipline. She had strange feelings, being under a man’s will.
She was then handled, and turned about, for he was looking for slave brands. The most common site for such, recommended in Merchant Law, is high on the left thigh, under the hip. But there are other sites, as well. As the polities of Gor are largely scattered and independent there is, as would be expected, some variation in brands. The most common types are the staff and fronds, and the Dina, resembling a small and common flower of that world. Various cities, too, have their brands, such as Treve, and Ar, and some populations, as well, such as those of the nomadic Wagon Peoples. The white female slaves of the Red Savages of the Barrens are not branded. Being white in that area, it is understood they are slaves. Their colorful, beaded collars, however, identify their masters.
The brunette was not accustomed to being handled so, as might be a slave. But she did not object, perhaps for fear of being struck, or perhaps for another reason, having to do with surprising and unexpected sensations. He did not test her slave reflexes, though, had he done so, he might have found them such as would considerably raise her price in a market. To her misery and chagrin she found herself waiting and hoping that he, this unusual man, would touch her intimately, but he did not do so. Had he done so, she feared she might have cried out, softly, gratefully, and squirmed with pleasure, and was this so different from a slave?
The blonde, while all this was proceeding, had been profoundly puzzled. It seemed that these two humans, members of her own species, actually communicated with one another, rather as did the Kurii. That such creatures should be able to do this, that they should have a language, had been hitherto beyond her ken. Now, enflamed with curiosity, and sensing amazing and unforeseen horizons, she longed to speak, as well. When Tarl Cabot had positioned the brunette the blonde, instantly, to please him, had straightened her body and placed her own hands, fingers interlocked, behind the back of her head. Too, when he turned toward her, she did her best, of her own accord, to turn about for him, that he examine her as he had the other.
Tarl Cabot indicated that the blonde might lower her hands, and she did so. She tried to press herself against him, but he gently pushed her back. She uttered a small protestive whimper, but drew back.
The brunette, too, lowered her hands, but, at the male’s frown, returned them to the position behind her head.
He was not too pleased with her.
It annoyed him that she would attempt to cover herself. It was too much like a free woman.
The brunette blushed, wholly, but kept her hands, fingers interlocked, behind the back of her head.
It is a common examination position. It lifts the bosom nicely, and keeps the hands from interfering with the examination, in both its visual and tactile dimensions. If she had been standing on an examination platform it would be usual for her legs to be placed widely apart.
He regarded her, and she looked away.
She tried to look away, as though indifferently, but we fear she failed to do so. She recalled his hands on her body, handling her as though she might have been an animal. Never had she had an experience of that sort. And she had dared not protest. She had the sense that he would do with her as he wanted. He had handled her as though she might be the least, the most worthless, the most unimportant, the most contemptible, the most meaningless, and the most desirable, of human females, the female slave. Too, she was well aware of how she might appear to him, in her present position. The thought crossed her mind that the men she had known on earth, and had so despised, would have been delighted to see her so. She thought of herself placed so before them, helpless, completely subject to a masculine will. Would they have rushed to afford her succor? No. How amused rather, and pleased, they would have been! What a pleasant vengeance on her they would have found in this! And she was aware, displayed, too, that she was now suffused with unfamiliar feelings and sensations. She found them disturbing and, in their way, frightening. She feared to speculate on their nature.
Tarl Cabot crouched in the container, and reflected. It had seemed clear to him that the two females, given their attractiveness and their placement in the container, must be slaves.
Yet, clearly, they were not collared, nor, as far as he could discern, were they branded.
Commonly a slave is both branded and collared. The brand identifies its wearer as a slave; the collar also identifies its wearer as a slave but it, too, commonly, bears a legend, or identifies the master, or such. A typical legend might be something like “I am Margaret, the slave of Rutilius, of Venna.”
Not all slaves, of course, are branded and collared.
Tarl Cabot supposed that the blonde might be an exotic, in this case a slave raised without a language.
He was more puzzled, and a great deal more uneasy, in the case of the brunette.
Surely she must be a slave!
But there were so many anomalies in her behavior, her attempts to cover herself, the absence of lovely symbolisms of servitude, such as obeisances, her failure to request permission to speak, her general lack of deference, and so on.
Slaves may lie, of course, but it is extremely dangerous for them to do so. It is expected that they will speak the truth. They do not have the liberty of the free woman to deceive and dissimulate, to conceal the truth, or twist it and deny it, as they please.
It then occurred to him, in fury, what must be the plan of Priest-Kings.
Neither woman, he then suspected, was a slave!
He had been placed in the container with two beautiful free females, and his codes, his honor.
It seemed likely to him, you see, at that point, that the blonde, too, must be free, perhaps a freed slave.
The Priest-Kings doubtless counted on this natural surmise.
He was to be torn then between his nature and his codes, between his passion and his honor.
Sooner or later, rather as a starving man put in with food, he would feed, and would then in this way betray his codes.
Then, humiliated, lost to honor, broken as a warrior and man, shamed and degraded, mocked, they might do with him as they pleased, perhaps doing away with him in some grisly, amusing fashion on some holiday, or even turning him loose, if they wished, naked in some wilderness, to live as he could with himself and his dishonor, a dishonor doubtless to be broadcast, from city to city, amongst those of the warrior caste.
He then, in anger, addressed his question to the brunette, who, for a time, scarcely understood its import. The question seemed to her incomprehensible. Her world had not prepared her to even understand such a question. On her world, as far as she knew, slavery did not even exist, or certainly not, at least, in areas with which she was familiar, and certainly not with such as she. Had she not made clear to him her wealth, her standing, her position, her class, her breeding? Too, could he not see that she was fair? She was not such as would be enslaved! She was not such as could be enslaved! Her, in a collar, never! She was not a brown or dusky lass!
He then let her lower her arms, and she covered her lovely breasts, and turned away from him. She was furious and shamed, but, too, she then thought of herself as a slave, and what it might be to be a slave. Had she not, in her dreams, in thongs and chains, often enough, lifted her body fearfully, beseechingly, to strong, silent men bearing whips?
So, she was not, and presumably neither was the other, the blonde, a slave.
The brunette’s denials of her collaring, and her insistence on her status as a free woman, once she even understood what he was asking, had been violent and intense, even hysterical. The very thought that she might be a slave, such an abjectly debased and degraded thing, had seemingly been found insulting, demeaning, and outrageously offensive.
Tarl Cabot leaned back in the container.
He had not expected the intensity of her response to his question. It had been surprisingly emotional, the tearful hysteria of her denials of bondage, the agitation and near frenzy with which she enunciated her claims to be a free woman.
He found such things of interest.
Clearly a nerve had been touched. Some sensitivity, seemingly, had here been somehow engaged.
But he thought no more of it at the time. It was the sort of thing which might well be left to an inward dialogue, say, that between a girl and her pillow, or her secret self.
It was not that he accepted uncritically the brunette’s denials of bondage, of course, so much as that the supposition of her freedom seemed to best explain, and best cohere with, a hundred small details of her temperament and behavior. And even more to the point, if she, and the other, were free, this suddenly illuminated why they should have been inserted into his small, glassine world. They were neither gifts nor commonplace sexual provender, but torture devices, wherewith to despoil him of his honor, and perhaps his sanity.
Slave girls may be used as men please. It is what they are for. But these were free women.
There were the codes.
Female slavery is quite common on Gor, for men enjoy owning women, as they might other domestic animals, but not every woman at every time stands for every man within the rights of the capture loop.
A female, for example, who is within the rights of the capture loop for one man may well not be within such rights for another.
For example, whereas I am not clear on the nature of “Home Stones,” or their meaning, if any, it would be unusual, as I understand it, for a woman to be enslaved by a man with whom she shares a Home Stone. She might, of course, be enslaved for vagrancy, misdemeanors, or crimes. Too, it is generally accepted that a man may enslave a woman who has insulted him or in some way treated him badly, but this option is seldom acted upon, it seems, if a Home Stone is shared. Interestingly, Gorean free women are commonly proud, haughty, insolent, arrogant and outspoken. They often treat males with contempt and ridicule. One supposes then that they are relying on the assumed protection of a common Home Stone. Or perhaps it is their way of, as it is said, “courting the collar.” In any event there are considerable differences between the Gorean free woman and the Gorean slave girl, for example, in attitude, speech, garmenture, and behavior. For example, Gorean slave girls must be pleasing to their masters. If they are not, they will be punished.
Warfare among polities, not always declared, is common on Gor, and the women of one polity in such a case are regarded by those of the other as objects eminently suitable for apprehension, as prizes, as loot, they, as well as rugs, jewels, coin, art works, fine cloths, draperies, saddles, harnesses, kaiila, and such. When a city falls her women, stripped and chained, are herded to the conquering city, to be sold, or, if kept, to serve and please the victors. Such depredations pertain, of course, to the seas, and to the roads, as well. Sometimes wars are fought to obtain slaves, for men desire them. It is supposedly delicious to capture a woman of the enemy, and enslave her, and publicly display and humiliate her, leashing her and marching her about, and such, this making clear that even the high-caste women of the enemy are worthy of no more than being abject slaves to the victor.
Gorean women are always at risk of the collar. It is strange that more Gorean free women do not seem to understand this. Doubtless it becomes clearer to them when they are stripped and chained.
They are relatively safe, usually, only within the walls of their city, and amongst those with whom they share a Home Stone, but not always, as suggested, even then.
To make this matter more clear, and to be fairer to the customs of Gor, it should be noted that any woman, any woman whatsoever with whom one does not share a Home Stone, is understood to be fair game for the capture loop. This does not entail, of course, that one is under any obligation to bring them within one’s chain, but only that one is entitled to do so. The cities need not be at war. They need only be different. To be sure, some deference is usually accorded to allied cities, which, however, are few, as Gorean polities tend to be mutually suspicious of, and often hostile to, one another. Accordingly, slave raids are a common pastime amongst young men, raids in which not only slaves, but free women, as well, may be taken as booty.
A common Gorean saying has it that all women are slaves. It is only that some are in collars and others are not.
Free women hear such sayings with trepidation.
And there are, of course, slavers, who specialize in these matters, and brigands, and bands of brigands, who frequently engage in these activities.
Travel between cities is usually accomplished in caravans, which affords some protection, both to goods, and females.
Goreans, as Kurii, have their senses of propriety, and what is to be permitted and what is not to be permitted. For example, it is understood that free women are not permitted in paga taverns. Some, however, curious, or bold, or such, disguise themselves as boys, or even as slaves, and dare to enter such forbidden precincts. If they are discovered, they are not unoften enslaved. If they would be in such a tavern, let them be so appropriately, bringing paga to the tables and serving in the alcoves, in their own collars, locked on their necks, slaves. Similarly, should a free woman impersonate a slave, which is frowned upon, it is thought suitable that she be made a slave. If she would appear a slave, let her be a slave. It is, in most cities, incidentally, a capital offense for a slave to impersonate a free woman. It is understood that there is a vast and unbridgeable chasm between the priceless free woman and the worthless slave. To be sure, some slaves are quite expensive, and some free women, displayed, would not be likely to receive a bid.
As a last remark, it might be noted that it is generally understood that any woman who becomes a slave should be kept a slave.
As an extreme example, let us suppose that the daughter of a household is captured, carried away, and enslaved. Then, let us suppose that she, say, through exchanges, buyings and sellings, and such, is recovered by her family. They will not free her, but, disowning her, will keep her as a slave, as any other slave in the house. She will serve as any other slave, and, as any other slave, if her work is not satisfactory, will be lashed. Eventually, once she has fully understood how she has shamed and humiliated her family, she will sold out of the house, as might be any other slave. Cast her into the markets. She is now only goods. It is the Gorean way. Similarly, let us suppose a woman of a given city falls slave and eventually finds herself once more in her native city. There she will remain a slave, and may well be kept in a slavery more grievous than what was hers outside the city. Her bondage, that she has served others, rendered obeisance to them, cried out and leapt, collared, in their arms, and such, has shamed her city. Too, for such despicable activities, she is an insult to free women. To them she is an abomination. She has been a slave. Thus, she will remain a slave. Sometimes a fellow, who was once a spurned suitor, discovers a woman whom he had earlier courted in vain is now a slave, and buys her. He will see to it that she serves him splendidly.
Let us consider again, briefly, the “daughter of the household.” As we recall, as we left her, she had been cast into the markets, and was only goods. To be sure, interestingly, the girl, herself, is not displeased. Perhaps it would not do to tell her family, but she loves her collar. She is, of course, acutely aware of how she had shamed and humiliated her family, and perhaps, to some extent, regrets this, but, too, she felt a certain rightness in kneeling before her brothers and sisters, in her rag and collar, and serving them, and such. Similarly she dares not meet the eyes of her offended, scornful parents. How could she, once their daughter, now a slave, do so? In the kitchen and halls, where she scrubs and cleans, she accepts as her due, as any other slave, her reprimands and switchings. Sometimes, at night, after humbly, head down, assisting in serving dinner, she is sent upstairs, and is chained to the slave ring at the foot of a visitor’s couch, as might be any other slave, for his pleasure. This is fitting. She is now no different from any of the other house girls. But usually at night she clutches her threadbare blanket about her, and lies curled in her kennel, awaiting dawn, when she will be summoned forth to new labors. But she is pleased, surely, when, her lessons learned, her family’s reproach suffered and accepted, its displeasure ventilated upon her, with abuse and switch, to its satisfaction, she is hooded, and taken to a slaver’s house, where she is sold for a pittance, that her worthlessness may be made clear to her. There, in the slaver’s house, in the pens, she will await her vending. If convenient, it will doubtless take place on the next sale day. Interestingly, she is not disconsolate, but happy. She knows she is excellent female meat. She has been found worthy of a collar. How beautiful and exciting then she must be! She looks forward to her sale. She hopes some of her scornful brothers and vengeful sisters might come to see her sold. She will then have her vengeance on them! She will pose, writhe, and dance as the slave she is, and knows herself now to be. Let them flee from the auction house, in rage and shame, as she is taken from the block with a fine bid. It is her hope, now, to find a kind, strong master, who will be strict with her, and well command her, and well fulfill her womanhood, one whom she may then, in gratitude, selflessly love and serve.
One thing that is apparently difficult for free Goreans to understand, and perhaps for others who are free, or enjoy the semblance of freedom, is the reveling of the slave in what they conceive of as her degradation. Does she not know she is a debased, worthless creature, unworthy to lace a man’s sandals? Does she not know she is a rightless, domestic animal, subject to buying and selling, her thigh branded, her throat encircled with its locked, debasing insignia of bondage? How is it that she can sing at her work, or step so lightly, toss her head as she does, and smile, and kneel and belly as the subservient creature she is, so contentedly, so happily? Does she not know she may not even place a thread of cloth upon her body without the permission of her master, and that she is subject to the very whip she licks and kisses so gratefully? How is it that she can lovingly kiss the chain that fastens her to her master’s couch?
Civilization has its imperatives and priorities and surely high amongst these are the pretensions and indoctrinations which prescribe and evaluate the perceptions of its occupants. These pretensions and indoctrinations often have in mind, so to speak, primarily the persistence of the civilization, and not the happiness of its occupants, or inmates. The inmates are taught to commend some things, and emulate certain exemplars, and so on. There is not always an easy congruence between what a civilization insists on as true, and what is, in fact, true. Consider, as an example, the view that a woman is essentially similar to a man, and thus what is appropriate for a man is appropriate for a woman. It is not obvious that this is true. It may be taught, and insisted upon, and such, perhaps even hysterically, but that, I think you will see, does not make it true. Consider, for example, matters pervasive within higher, or more complex, species, such as the ratios of dominance and submission, and then consider, too, in particular, the human species, which is clearly and radically sexually dimorphic, and in a thousand ways. Would it really seem so surprising if amongst sexes so different there might not be diverse rightnesses? What if, say, in a given species, for example, the human, nature had chosen to breed not neuters, but, say, dominants and submissives, or, to speak more clearly, masters and slaves. What a falsification of nature it would be then to teach natural masters and natural slaves that they were, or, at least, must pretend to be, neuters, or identicals, or such. They are not. The human male is best fulfilled in the mastery. And the human female does not come home to herself until she is on her chain. She relishes being conquered and subdued, being given no choice but to obey. In the ancient genes of her she lives for, hopes for, and craves male dominance. In her heart she has been bred for the pleasure and service of the male. She wants to be herself; she wants to be mastered. At the feet of a male who will have from her what he wishes, she understanding this and knowing herself choiceless in the matter, as she wishes to be, she finds her fulfillment. In the collar, she is, then, most free. The female who knows herself as a natural slave, and longs to be a slave, will not be fully happy until she has found her master, or he her. She belongs on her knees before a man. She kisses his feet.
Civilizations differ. The Gorean civilization is a complex, high civilization, comparable to various others, and its height is not a little associated with the fact that it is on the whole compatible with nature, rather than incompatible with her; it constitutes less of a contradiction to her, than an acceptance, and, indeed, in its way, an enhancement, of her.
Once collared, you see, a woman is never the same. How radiant are the slaves, and how fulfilled, and how envied they are by the bitter free women!
But now let us return to Tarl Cabot.
Presumably to many men the alleged dilemma in which he found himself would have been nonexistent, or, at least, ignored.
Why should one not feed when hungry? Why should one not drink when thirsty?
Many men, doubtless, and not the worst, might simply have rejoiced in their good fortune and, so to speak, enjoyed the repast with which they had been unexpectedly provided. Indeed, many Warriors might have done so. And one does not doubt but what a member of that other, though rarer, Gorean martial caste, though not held a high caste, the Assassins, might have done so. If one, anyone, were squeamish concerning the legalities, or etiquette, of the situation, he might have simply enslaved the women, and then put them to his pleasure.
Too, one supposes many men might, if only as an assertive effrontery to Priest-Kings, a way of mocking their subtleties, of refusing to suffer, might have made prompt use of the goods placed at their disposal.
Cabot, of course, unwisely or not, was not such a man.
The codes do, you see, recommend respect for the status of the free female, if not for the female herself. To be sure, the codes make it abundantly clear that this pertains only to females with whom one shares a Home Stone. Cabot, however, as some Warriors, tended to generalize this recommendation to free women more generally, saving, of course, those who might be insolent or abusive, or of an enemy city. Whereas there are clear cases in which the codes apply or do not apply, they, as most recommendations, rules, principles, and such, perhaps unavoidably, were occasionally afflicted with a regrettable penumbra of obscurity. More acutely, a personal sense of honor, one which seems to me misplaced and overly sensitive, seems to have been involved, one clearly exceeding the parameters of the codes. One suspects this might have been the consequence of a personal idiosyncrasy, or even a residue lingering from an unnatural and ridiculous acculturation, one to which he had been subjected in the innocence of his childhood or adolescence.
In any event both females were helpless and at his mercy.
And yet he refrained, perhaps unconscionably, at least for the time, of making use of one, or both.
If the Priest-Kings thought that his fellows in the caste of Warriors would scorn him for dealing with the goods in the container as one might expect, it seems to me they were incorrect. Too, if Cabot was of this opinion, he, too, in my view, was mistaken. On the other hand, if they did not know humans that well it seems they did know this particular human, Tarl Cabot.
Whereas it is true that Warriors might scorn a fellow of their caste who had lost his honor, it is not at all clear that they would have regarded the usage of two females, neither of whom had a Home Stone, as it turned out, as in any way involving a loss of honor. Indeed, not making use of them would doubtless have been viewed as an inexplicable peculiarity, calling for some justification or, at least, an explanation.
Tarl Cabot was surely not eager to be shamed in the eyes of other men. On the other hand, he was most concerned not to be shamed in his own eyes.
There are such men.
As there are such Kurii.
In any event, the Priest-Kings surely knew how to torture this particular individual, Tarl Cabot.
He was confined with two lovely specimens of the human female animal, one of which was acquiescent, sinuous, eager, and rawly sexual, and the other, educated, articulate, and urbane, stripped, was one of the most excruciatingly desirable women he had ever seen, one who seemed made for his collar, one matched to him as slave to master.
And, as we have noted, this was no coincidence, no accident.
It had been seen to by Priest-Kings.
Yes, they clearly knew how to torture this particular individual, our friend, Tarl Cabot.
The English girl, despite the strange, unfamiliar feelings in his presence, feelings which frightened, warmed and delighted her, did not understand, of course, that she had been selected out for him, that she had been chosen for him with great care, that she had been matched to him most exquisitely, as slave to master.
And, indeed, so naive was she that she was not even fully aware that she was such as, in general, aside from the specifics of a given situation, are rightfully put to the feet of men, as properties.
To the practiced, discriminating eye of the professional slaver, who is skilled in reading women, their beauty and their needs, it was clear she belonged in a slave collar.
There are many such.
Despise them if you wish.
But they belong on their knees before men, and their necks belong in collars.
The English girl was one such.
Indeed, had our human confederates known of her, as earlier indicated, she would have been long ago acquired and disposed of, suitably, in the Gorean markets.
She would expect, and would demand, that he behave toward her as what, in her world, and his former world, was known as a “perfect gentleman.” Surely the other men she had known had done so. She had seen to it that they had not dared not do so.
Cabot was well aware of her expectations in these matters and he, a male, found them irritating. Was she unaware that she was beautiful and naked? Was she unaware she was a woman and he was a man? Did she not know he was of the Warriors, and that she, with all her loftiness and pretensions, luscious and unclothed, easily within his grasp, did not even possess a Home Stone?
But he growled, and did not touch her.
The sinuous little blonde beast looked up at him, and licked at his thigh, but he pressed her gently, firmly, back.
She whimpered, reproachfully.
For the first time in her life she was afflicted with imperative, unaccountable sensations.
She was in heat.
He did not touch her. She looked balefully at the brunette, who, still covering herself as she could, looked away, frightened.
Tarl Cabot rested back, against the wall of the container, and looked out, into the empty hallway.
The container was transparent, and had there been wardens or guards, visitors or bystanders, the container’s occupants would have been in public view.
Tarl Cabot had no doubt that the Priest-Kings, or others, properly situated, could see and hear all that might occur within the container. That would be important for them. The hallway might be empty, and silent, but there were doubtless, somewhere, surveillance devices, cameras, microphones, or such, to them undetectable, perhaps no more than a few microns in width.
Tarl Cabot lifted his head, for he had detected the feeding signal, the odor connected with the liquid food dispensed through the tube at the height of the cylinder.
Given its consistency and its tension within the tube, it must be drawn into the mouth, as one wishes, until one is satisfied, or until the quantity allotted is consumed. Any residue not imbibed is retracted.
Cabot was hungry.
Were the two females encased with him slaves, he would of course feed first. Even in a normal household the master takes the first bite from the bowl proffered to him by the slave. She must clearly understand, as his property, that she is dependent upon him for food, as for other things. Often then they eat together. Sometimes he feeds her by hand. Sometimes, he takes what he wishes, and then, later, puts the bowl on the floor for her and she then feeds, head down, on all fours. She may or may not be clothed for meals, just as, within the household, she may or may not be clothed. She is commonly clothed outside the household, usually in a brief tunic.
In no way is she to be confused with her glorious superior, the free woman. She is merely a degraded, worthless beast, a domestic animal, a property. Still, it must be admitted, she is attractive, chained to a slave ring.
He wondered if the interval between feedings had been longer than usual.
His hunger suggested that it had been.
Surely his warders, or guards, knew of the additional occupants in the container. Would there then be additional food? He supposed so. Neither female could get her mouth to the tube. It had apparently been adjusted to his height, if he stretched somewhat.
He wondered if they were hungry.
He supposed so.
As they were free women, he should feed them first.
He wished they were slave girls. Slave girls may be forced to beg, and perform, and well, for their food. Slave girls may be used as men please. It is what they are for.
But these were not slave girls.
He did not think so. He was sure they were not.
And they were not.
The blonde was looking about, alert, quizzical. She, an exquisite little animal, was very sensitive to a variety of odors, a variety of sounds, and such. She was unfamiliar with this odor, but it suggested food. She looked about, and whimpered. She is hungry, thought Cabot.
He lifted himself to the tube and drew some feed into his mouth. He did not swallow it, but took the blonde by the hair and gently pulled her toward him. He then, holding her head back, placed his mouth over hers. She sensed the food almost immediately, squirmed a little, and, excitedly, took it from him. He repeated this action twice, and then he thought that she had had enough. Too, he was not sure how much feed would be available. While he was engaged in feeding the blonde the brunette had watched, at first in horror, and then almost pathetically. She is hungry, thought Cabot, very hungry.
He took more of the liquid food into his mouth and looked at her, but she shook her head, wildly, negatively. But there were tears in her eyes. She is very hungry, thought Cabot. Had she been a slave he would have left her hungry. Had he been rather as many other men, he might have seized her, lifted her, and held her to him, helplessly, her head held back by the hair, and then, placing his mouth over hers, permitted her to feed. In such a case, the girl would have been left in no doubt that she was a female.
The thought crossed Cabot’s mind that she would much profit from a taste of the lash.
The lash is efficient in humanizing a female.
But he expelled the gelatinous provender into his cupped hands, and held them to the brunette.
Gratefully, she put down her head and, still covering herself, as she could, fed. Something within her realized that her head was bowed before him. Too, as she moved her hands, she must have been aware, given his stance and her posture, he so close, that he was nicely positioned to assess the sweetness of her figure. Surely, despite her efforts, the softness and fullness of her bosom could be but ill concealed. But surely he was a gentleman, and would not do so. He must avert his eyes. But she looked up, and saw his eyes full upon her, and she put down her head again, quickly feeling a flush of heat.
Never before, she was sure, had she been so looked upon.
What sort of man could look so upon a woman?
And what sort of woman might be so looked upon by a man?
She was not a slave! She was not a slave!
But was it not as a slave might be looked upon?
Again then she shuddered, but this time with a strange pleasure.
She was sure he was pleased with what he saw.
This both disturbed her, and pleased her.
And so might a slave have been pleased, understanding that her beauty was such that it might meet with a man’s favor.
Too, she thought then to herself, perhaps I can make use of this. I am a female, and he is only a man.
Then she continued to feed.
He liked the way her hair now fell to the sides of her neck. He could see the base of her bowed neck, with the short, fine hairs there. He considered what it would look like in a slave collar. It is there, at the back of the neck, incidentally, that the collar commonly closes and locks. If the collar is to be changed, the male does so from behind the girl. This helps her to keep in mind that she is a slave. If a new collar is to be placed on the girl this is commonly done before the old one is removed. If a girl is between collars, or is being fitted, or such, she is commonly bound hand and foot. Her limbs may be freed, of course, once she is again in a collar. Aesthetic and psychological features are commonly involved, as well, in these matters. With the lock in the back, as the girl, and others, might be most commonly expected to see the collar, the enclosing, encircling aspect of the band is most prominent, this suggesting an uncompromising security and irremovability. The common Gorean slave band, incidentally, even in its simplicity, flat, narrow, and close-fitting, is quite beautiful on a woman. In certain cultures one supposes women might pay a great deal of money to obtain such a device, though perhaps one more akin to those one might expect to find on high slaves, say, colored, enameled, ringed, bejeweled, of precious metals, and such. On Gor, of course, these collars, at least the simple ones, sell for a pittance, and even common slaves are routinely fastened in them. Indeed, this is required by Merchant Law. Clearly, all in all, the collar is an attractive device which much enhances the beauty of a woman. But doubtless its most significant aspect is its meaning, that its occupant is a property, that she is owned.
He again gave her food.
Her hair was not short, but it was not of a common slave length either. But, he thought, it will grow out.
Then, he fed her again. Then he desisted, despite her plea for more. In his view she had fed sufficiently. The diet of slave girls is closely supervised, as that of any other animal one wishes to keep in prime condition. She was not a slave girl, of course, but it pleased him to decide when she had had enough. Also the blonde had had only three helpings, too, so to speak. Indeed when the blonde had understood that the brunette was asking for a fourth helping she became quite agitated, bared her small canines, and hissed menacingly. Tarl Cabot growled softly at the blonde, who then subsided. She understood the purport of such noises. The brunette, pleased at this, requested more food, again, but was denied her wish. Seldom one supposes had she failed before to obtain her way. But this was not her familiar world. Things here were quite different. She did, however, rejoice that the male, at least as of now, stood between her and the frightening little thing with which they were sharing the container.
She watched the male then, as he fed.
It did not seem there was much left. He wiped his mouth with his right forearm. She wondered if, the next time, were there a next time, the food might be rationed differently.
How lean and strong seemed the male to her.
She would have muchly preferred that the blonde had not been there, of course, for she feared her, but there may have been another reason, as well, one that she might have been more reluctant to acknowledge.
Too, she would not have cared to have discovered herself alone in the container. Bewildered, confused, she might have literally lost her mind. In her present situation there was in her proximity at least another human, for the male clearly was human, who was similarly incarcerated, and, moreover, one who could speak her language, who would try to comfort her, assuage her fears, and such.
Too, in his presence she felt strange sensations.
He seemed to her stronger, and more powerful, than any male she had hitherto met.
He is crude, and rugged, but not unattractive, she mused.
Indeed, in some moments, she felt herself absolutely weak before him, and had sensed that she would be helpless in his arms.
Indeed, had she not had dreams in which she was helpless, eager, and begging in the arms of men less than he, strange dreams in which she had found that the throat of her heated, mottled, thrashing body had been confined, however inexplicably, within a close-fitting, irremovable metal circlet?
She regarded the blonde.
She would certainly fear to be alone with the feral little savage, but, happily, she was not alone with her. Had she been alone with her, and unable to flee, she would have made herself small, groveled, whimpered, and begged for mercy. She would have done her best to assure her, cringing, terrified and pleading, not only that she constituted no threat to her but that she would try to avoid her to the best of her ability and, in any disputed matters, would instantly retire and yield her first place. Such behaviors, though the brunette might not have cared to recall the point, given her class, her social background, the excellence of her education, the quality of her diction, and such, were common in the animal kingdom. But she had little fear of the blonde now, for the male, she was sure, would protect her. She needed only to ingratiate herself with him, and that should not be difficult. She had always had her way with men, and, too, had she not sensed, though to her indignation, how he had viewed her while feeding her? She knew she was a female of high intelligence, and she was quite well aware that she was also one of unusual attractiveness. Yes, he would protect her. Any male, she was sure, with a bit of attention on her part, and perhaps a little thought, and a smile, or two, could be entangled helplessly within the net of her wiles. She had always had whatever she wanted of men, and he was a man. He would be no different.
Perhaps she might even permit him to kiss her.
She might find that interesting.
She wondered what it might be to be kissed by him.
She had been kissed before, of course, once or twice, by men of Earth, as much as an experiment as anything else. In both cases she had pretended shock and indignation.
That had disconcerted them, and taken them off guard. Both had stammered, and apologized.
Secretly she had been much amused.
What inane twits they were!
She could have had both well in hand after that, but neither had any longer been of interest to her.
Their subsequent invitations were declined.
She had found the men of Earth weak and boring.
She was certain that he with whom she was incarcerated was not physically weak, but then, too, some men of Earth were physically strong, irritatingly so. But even the strongest men of Earth, she had discovered, were psychologically weak, presumably as a consequence of their conditioning programs, designed to thwart and tame them, or, with some effort, she was sure, could be made so, even pathetically so. She wondered if her fellow prisoner was psychologically weak. If not, she was sure she could soon make him so, by turning his own strength against him, by dividing him emotionally, and by arranging self-conflicts which would bring him, his own confused enemy, to an uncertain and anxious balance, where she might, by as little as a breath, so to speak, move him to her will.
Were men not made to be wrapped about the smallest finger of a beautiful woman?
And was she not beautiful?
At that time she was not familiar with how common beauty is on Gor, and how it may be easily purchased in the markets.
She smiled to herself. She had always had whatever she wanted of men, even as a pretty little girl, even before her face and body, advancing through its teens, had become, as now, disturbingly, tormentingly, desirable, suitable for fastening in a slave coffle.
Always she had been able to manipulate and control men, by a word, a tone of voice, a smile, a frown, a tear.
It would be no different with this male, he with whom she shared this inexplicable, eccentric, bizarre confinement.
Her sex, and her beauty, had always proved reliable instruments, and weapons.
They would so now.
The male in the container was a man, and he would be no different from the others.
She did not understand, of course, that he, despite his familiarity, as she had discovered, with her language, was unlike the men with whom she had hitherto been acquainted.
He was of the Warriors; he knew battle; he knew the sea; he knew the great bow, and the blade.
Too, she was quite unfamiliar with Gorean males, and how they viewed women, in particular those with whom they do not share Home Stones.
Their acculturation had not been that of Earth, but one quite different, one far more consistent and healthy, one far more natural.
Nothing had prepared her, you see, for the men of Gor.
And this large, strong man was no longer of Earth. He was now of Gor.
How could it even occur to her that Gorean men would look upon such as she and see her not in terms of her breeding, education, position, and background but in terms of the slave tunic and chain, in terms of the whip and collar?
Did she not know that such as she were put barefoot and naked on the sawdust of the slave block and routinely auctioned to the highest bidder?
Comfortable with her assumed power, and confident that she would be protected by the male in the container, she cast a glance of lofty disdain at the blonde. Did the blonde not even know enough to cover herself, as did the brunette, at least to the extent possible?
Many facial expressions and bodily words, so to speak, in the human species are presumably genetically coded, at least with respect to their templates, as they are amongst other Earth primates, for they seem, for the most part, to be easily interpreted amongst diverse linguistic and cultural groups, for example, expressions of contentment, of jealousy, of pride, of pleasure, of satisfaction, of suspicion, of anger, and so on. In any event, whether in virtue of these species characteristics, or in virtue of her experiences in her Steel World, the blonde took instant umbrage at the brunette’s expression, and bared her canines and hissed viciously at the brunette, who drew back, frightened.
The male put out his hand and pressed the blonde back who, hands raised, and fingers crooked, was clearly on the verge of attacking the brunette.
He shook her head, good-naturedly, and she put her head gently against him. She had done this often with her master.
Then, looking at him, timidly, she licked his knee.
The brunette looked upon this display of tenderness with severe disapproval, but the male did not deter or punish the little animal.
Rather he smiled at the brunette, who gasped in indignation. Apparently the brute had no intention of prohibiting the blonde from engaging in such disgusting exhibitions of ingratiation.
What sort of man could he be?
Was he even a man, as she had known men?
Perhaps he was something far more masculine, more virile and dangerous, more dominant?
What then might be the relation of such a man to a woman?
Perhaps he was the sort of man who would simply master a woman?
She thought of herself as mastered, and shuddered, with pleasure.
Then she cast such thoughts from herself, indignantly.
Surely she was not such that she could be mastered! She was educated, and civilized, and such!
But what if it was done to her?
Her dreams had left her in no doubt that it could be done to her, and with perfection.
Surely she would fear the whip.
She would be choiceless.
Never before had she encountered such a man.
Could she be longing for a master?
Was that what it was to be a woman, to be a slave?
Then she, a civilized beauty of station, position, and class, the young, spoiled, pampered, proud, self-righteous scion of a pathological acculturation, put aside such thoughts as offensive and absurd, and considered her present predicament and vulnerability.
She was imprisoned, helplessly, perfectly, why or how she had no idea. She had no evidence, even, of the number or nature of her captors, or owners.
She looked at the heavy, glassine walls, closely curving about her, within whose compass she and the others were confined.
She was a member of a miniscule social group, in a tiny, inescapable environment, subject to a technological ecology she was incapable of altering. What might be the social relations in such a world, in such a small, stout, encircling, transparent world?
And what might be the consequences to herself of these social relations?
She became extremely frightened. What if she were marginalized, or neglected? What if the little animal should become, so to speak, his favorite? How would this affect her plans, her role, in this tiny space? There was a single male, and two females.
Must she not somehow compete for his favor?
At this point, she seemed to speak to him, but in response she received only his smile, which disconcerted her.
She then drew back, miserably, against the wall of the thick, glassine barrier, and, for some time, watched the little blonde, with her soft, pink tongue, licking at the male’s knee.
She became more and more agitated.
She seems then to have said something to Tarl Cabot, which displeased him, for he seems to have spoken back to her, sharply.
She then, upset, drew back, again.
Perhaps no man had spoken to her in that fashion before.
She began to cry.
He paid her no attention.
Later, she seems to have said something to him again, but he only shrugged, noncommittally.
She tried to plead with him, it seemed, but he looked away.
Tears stained her cheeks.
Had she been found displeasing?
Never had that happened before.
Clearly then she understood, perhaps as never before, save in her dreams, her femaleness in relation to a male’s maleness, that she was a female, and that she, if she would please, or even survive, had best relate to the male as a female.
She was startled.
He was dominant.
Never before had she sensed a male dominant over her, but she sensed it now.
He controlled the container, or could, if he wished.
It must have been clear to her then that she might be isolated, excluded, that her standing in this tiny world might be in jeopardy.
What if she were not fed?
Then, after a time, the brunette, covering her breasts, as she could, with one arm, put out her hand and took one of the hands of Tarl Cabot.
Looking at him, she drew it timidly to her mouth, and, putting her head down, began to lick at its palm, perhaps to obtain any residue of the gelatinous provender which it had hitherto held.
Then she looked up at him, frightened, and then, again, submissively, put her head down and licked his palm.
Could she at one time have even conceived of herself doing this?
Could it be she, behaving so?
Oddly, she felt sexually enflamed.
She was trying to please a male.
How would the males she had hitherto known react to this, those she had treated with such coolness, with such contempt and condescension, whom she had routinely disdained, belittled, and spurned, whom she had treated as so much beneath her, to whom she had postured herself as their lofty, haughty superior, seeing her naked, fearful, degraded, attempting to please a male? Would they not have cried out with pleasure, and perhaps removed their belts, that they might have served as whips?
Tarl Cabot did not withdraw his hand, but he looked at her, closely. Slaves sometimes try to call themselves so to the attention of their master. It was a slave’s gesture, a slave’s act. Cabot wondered if she knew what she was doing. It is erotic, of course, to feel that soft tongue in the palm of one’s hand. It, too, this gesture or act, is often used not simply as a device of placation, but as a way of petitioning to be caressed.
The blonde, half asleep, contented, did not even object to the brunette’s solicitation, her apology, and begging for forgiveness.
The brunette was then, in her view, no more than another pet. And she was not concerned at the moment, in her own contentment, with driving her away.
The male put his left hand on the brunette’s forehead and, holding it in place, gently drew his right hand away.
The brunette looked up, timidly.
He smiled at her, and she put her head down, quickly, beside his leg. He then gently drew her hands apart that she, kneeling now beside him, need no longer prolong her pretense of modesty, so out of place in their tiny world, that she need no longer struggle so absurdly to hide her beauty from him.
She did not then grasp herself as before, in that preposterous fashion, trying to conceal herself from him, for he had seemed to discountenance it, but she did press herself against his leg, putting her head down, so that he could not see the full slave of her.
This amused him.
Did she not know that he could seize her, and hold her, and turn her, and examine her, minutely, and then, his assessment done, discard her, casting her to the side of the container as one might a slave?
But he recalled she was a free woman.
She looked up at him, timidly, tears in her eyes. And then put her head down and softly licked the side of his leg. She then put up her head again, timidly, to see his reaction.
It was the sort of thing a slave might do.
Would her solicitation be accepted, or might he be annoyed, and cuff her from his leg?
He put his hand gently on her hair, and then she felt, in a moment, his hand close within her hair, holding it, tightly.
She was helpless.
He seemed to struggle with himself. He wants me, she thought, trying to hold her head very still, quite aware that if she made any sudden movement or made the least attempt to escape, it would hurt even more, and that he, if he wished, with a mere tightening or twist, could subject her to the torment of hundreds of tiny scalding knives of pain, to avoid which she would do anything. Then he released her hair. She was, after all, a free woman.
She crouched as she could in the container, against his leg.
She was startled, confused.
He could have done with her what he wanted, but he had not.
She put down her head.
She kissed his leg, again.
She had strange, unaccountable sensations.
This is what it is, she thought, to be a female.
Then she thought, I want him to claim me. I want to wear his collar. Lash me, she thought, prove to me you own me.
But he did not touch her.
She was free.
She grappled with her feelings. Had women felt this way, in a thousand years, she wondered, or two thousand, perhaps in Baghdad, Damascus or Byzantium, in Athens or Rome, in Thebes or Corinth, in Gaul or Britain, or in the German forests, or in Persia or Egypt, or in Nineveh or Babylon, or in the great muddy river valleys, or in horse-haunted grasslands, the dominion of bowmen, or in clustered huts where metal was new or in fire-illuminated caves where flint was patiently shaped?
What would it be, she wondered, to struggle in the thongs of a prehistoric lover.
Where have the gods gone, she asked herself.
We no longer hear them call to one another.
What has become of us? What have we done to the world?
She felt herself touched then, you see, however softly, by the fingers of a world alien to her, a natural world of meadows and moisture, of damp rocks and blades of moist grass, a world rather like her own might once have been, unspoiled, a world quite different from the world she had known, an artificial world, a sly world, one of lies and pretense, of hypocrisy, and artifices, of convention and deception.
Am I a slave, she asked herself. Is this my master?
She looked up at him, and he smiled.
He is reading my body, my expressions, she thought. He knows, he must know, what I am thinking!
So he reads women, does he? Well, he is mistaken in the case of such as I! Perhaps there are low women who would grovel and place a man’s foot upon their head, but I am not one such! My knees do not seek the tiles! My tongue is not for the feet of masters! My limbs are not for the chains of owners, my throat is not for their collars!
I am not such, she thought. I am not such.
I am not a slave, she thought. No, no, I am not a slave, not a slave!
Then suddenly, angrily, she thrust away from him, and thrust herself back against the obdurate transparent barrier which so closely confined them.
He smiled at her, and she lunged forth to strike him but he grasped her wrists and he held her helplessly before him, her struggles as futile as might have been those of a child, until tears of frustration streamed down her cheeks.
He then released her.
She regarded him angrily.
I hate you, she thought. I hate you! Then she subsided, frightened, for he had frowned.
I have displeased him, she thought.
Why does he not discipline me? Because I am a free woman, of course. She shuddered, as he looked away. If I were a slave, she thought, he would punish me. Why does he not make me his slave?
But I fear that I am not worthy to be his slave!
But clearly he desires me!
I think he would not mind having me at his feet!
Then why might he not make me his slave?
Where is Earth? Where is my old world! Where is the world where I understand myself? What is this place, or world, where I cannot understand myself, but where I am other than I was, and am hopelessly, needfully so?
I must never understand myself as I truly am, she thought, for that is forbidden!
But why, she asked herself, is it forbidden?
Teach me who I am, she thought, teach me myself! Release me! Free me, to be myself, and yours—Master!
She then cried out at him, angrily.
It was at that point that the disruption occurred.
Here is a cover gallery showing all the editions and printings of Kur of Gor, sorted by year of publication. Click on any cover to see the book.
Here is a cover gallery showing all the editions and printings of Kur of Gor, sorted by edition. Click on any cover to see the book.