Sunday, 7 May 2017

Panther Girl of Gor Chapter Two

Chapter Two: We flee from Elysium and have our doubts about Jacinta. I speak at length to Brinn about the ring of red metal

Brinn had flown the Tarn for as long as he could, desperate to put as much distance between himself and Elysium before the sun rose. It was dark and so Brinn was flying blind, able only to steer the bird in a rough northerly direction, guided by the stars. I had ceased screaming after five minutes or so, mostly because my voice had grown hoarse. Now I clung to the saddle pommel where my wrists were bound to a steel ring behind it. Brinn's left arm was around my waist, but even so I felt sure I might fall from the bird at any moment.

“Do you still have your eyes closed, Emma?” asked Brinn after what might have been half an hour in the air.

“Yes, Master! I'll fall if I open them! I know I will!”

Brinn laughed and kissed me softly on my right shoulder. “You will not fall, Emma. I have you, and your wrists are bound to a saddle ring. You should open your eyes and gaze at the stars. They are very beautiful tonight, especially at this height.”

“I can't!” I wailed. “How can you be so calm!”

“It comes naturally to me. I trained as a Tarnsman when I was very young. There is nothing better in life than riding a great Tarn through the sky, wheeling and swooping, knowing the bird will respond to your every command.”

“Please! No swooping or wheeling... and nooooo...” I suddenly screamed as Brinn deliberately pulled on a strap that made the Tarn dip to the left hand side and swoop through the sky in a figure of eight before righting itself in the original direction.

“Don't do that!” I screamed, as I clutched at the saddle pommel with knuckles that were now white with tension. On either side of the Tarn Melinda and Jacinta were screaming too. Brinn kissed my shoulder again and squeezed me tightly against his body.

“I am glad you are travelling with me,” he said after a while.


“Yes. I did not truly wish to give you to Marcellus in Elysium.”

“Then... then you won't sell me in Lydius?”

“You will still be sold in Lydius. I do not change my mind about such things.”

“Why? Why! Why do you have to be so stubborn? You can change your mind! It's not a sign of weakness! I want to be your slave. Do you understand that? I want to wear your collar. Have you any idea how humiliating it is to admit that?”

“No, I do not. You are a slave, Emma. Of course you wish to wear my collar. That much is obvious. I will enjoy having you until we reach Lydius, and then I will have to dispose of you.”

Brinn set the Tarn down shortly before dawn. We found some thickets on the scrub land now that we had travelled some distance from the Tahari, and he decided this would be a good place to conceal ourselves, for he felt sure that Kurgus would have sent men in pursuit on the other Tarns from the Tarn cots of Elysium. He sent the great Tarn, Thunder Rider, off into the sky to hunt for food, after releasing Jacinta, Melinda and myself from the saddle rings..

“It will be back once it has found itself a plump Tabuk for breakfast,” said Brinn as he regarded the three of us. We knelt on the grass, myself in Nadu, the other two women in Tower as Brinn stretched his legs. Jacinta and myself were still dressed in the scandalous pleasure silks, much to the amusement of Melinda who wore a rather more modest slave tunic.

“Look at you,” said Melinda with a sneer. “it is impossible to tell that one of you is free.”

“I have really had enough of your attitude,” said Jacinta as she stood up and flexed her fingers into fists. “Get up, you skanky Parisian bitch.”

Brinn regarded the girls with a smile as Melinda rose to her feet and stared Jacinta down. “You look like a slave!” she hissed, and prepared herself for the sort of hair pulling and nail scratching that typically serves as a prelude to a fight between girls. But instead, Jacinta simply balled her right hand into a fist and drove it with some force into Melinda's stomach. The girl doubled up and fell to the ground, gasping for breath as Jacinta then pounced on her. With her left hand she seized Melinda's hair and twisted it until the girl screamed. Jacinta's right hand was raised, still in a fist, ready to strike down at a moment's notice. But then suddenly she felt Brinn seize that wrist and pull her up with ease, away from Melinda's prone body.

“Enough. She is free. You are not a pair of squabbling slave-girls. This ends now.”

“Let go of me!” hissed Jacinta as she tried to shake her arm free. She was caught up in the adrenalin rush of combat.

“No.” Brinn continued to hold her wrist firmly.

“Melinda has been an arrogant bitch since the moment I met her! I'm not putting up with it any more!”

“Melinda is my captive, Lady Jacinta. Have you forgotten that? Therefore if you strike her you are effectively striking my property. I consider that an insult, especially if I haven't been consulted and given permission first. I do not wish you damaging her. If it transpires that I cannot exchange her for the Lady Coraline in Lydius, then I will enslave her, and I do not want you doing anything that might reduce her market price in the port.”

“Let go of me!” Jacinta tried to pull free a second time but was still unsuccessful. She was never going to free herself from Brinn's grip. He was simply too strong. After a while her futile attempts subsided and she stood there, simmering with anger as Brinn held her wrist, gazing into her eyes. A woman tends to become docile after a period of wild struggling and resisting, after she reaches the point when it is clear she cannot free herself. In the process of the fight, and her resistance to Brinn, Jacinta's breasts had been bared as the wisp of slave silk had come loose. This is always the danger with wearing slave silk – a girl must be mindful of how flimsy and delicate the arrangement of it is on her body.

“I suggest you fix your garments, Lady Jacinta. You appear even more lovely than before, and it is not wise to expose yourself thus before a Free Man such as me. You do not want me to grow too tempted...”

Jacinta suddenly realised with horror that the wisp of silk had come loose from her chest. With her left hand she pulled it back about herself, but without her right wrist she couldn't secure it in place. “Please... let me cover myself.”

“I don't know,” said Brinn. “I rather like you the way you are now.” His other hand reached for the length of the silk that was still wound about her hips. It too was coming loose now that the other end had come away from her breasts. It would be simple enough for Brinn to strip her if he chose to do so.

“You know now that I work for Priest Kings!” she said.


“What do you mean, perhaps?” Jacinta continued to hold the red pleasure silk in place with her left hand. She suddenly looked scared. That is a normal reaction for a Free Woman who finds herself held helplessly.

“It was a long flight and I had plenty of time to think during it. How convenient it was that Kurgus chose to explain to me how he found us. It had never occurred to me that Kurgus was the sort of man who might detail his plans and operational procedures to an enemy. It was almost as if in doing so I might then ask him where he got the Priest King recognition codes from.”

“What do you mean?” Jacinta was only too aware how the silk around her hips was slipping now. She could only hold the silk about either her breasts or her hips, not both, so long as she had only a single hand free. She remained very still, not wishing the silk around her hips to loosen or slide any further.

“I mean it gave Kurgus an opportunity to appear shocked and look at you with suspicion. It would then be natural enough for me to believe that you really have been a double agent for the Priest Kings all this while, based on Kurgus's supposed reaction to the revelation.”

“But I am!”

“Perhaps. Or perhaps not. For I now wonder whether perhaps Kurgus was only too happy for me to escape with you, believing that you are a loyal agent of Priest Kings. Certainly he could  have attacked Marcellus's shield wall at any time, but he seemed to delay doing so until I was in a position to run with you to the tarn cots.”

“This is ridiculous! You saw how scared I was when Kurgus discovered the truth, thanks to your ineptitude! He would have tortured me.”

“You certainly seemed scared. But what did Kurgus say about you? Ah yes, what a consummate actress you are.”

“I'm not acting! You have to believe me!”

“Who was your Handler?”

“I'm not supposed to say.”

“How convenient, Lady Jacinta.”        

“You have to let go of me! These silks are slipping...”     

“I know. It is a very arousing sight. I didn't have a chance to use a girl last night.”

“Please! I am free!”

“For the time being.” Brinn released her wrist and watched as she stumbled backwards a step or two and began to twist and rewind the length of silk about her body, securing it once again in a knot at her left thigh.

“You will use a slip knot, Lady Jacinta. That is an overhand knot you are about to tie. I will not permit that.”

“Very well.” She shook her hair in irritation, undid the more secure overhand knot and tied it instead into a slip knot that could be unravelled with a single pull.

“That is better. Display yourself.”

“I will not!”

“Lady Jacinta, I retain capture rights over you until I decide I do believe your story. I strongly suggest you obey me when I speak to you.”

Jacinta displayed herself, standing there in the grass, with her feet sufficiently apart such that a hand could easily be slipped between her thighs. She stood tall with her back arched, chin level to the ground, eyes lowered in respect and hands behind her back with wrists crossed, ready to be examined. Brinn walked around her, enjoying the sight of Jacinta displaying herself in the secluded thicket of the scrub lands. Melinda smirked as she raised herself back up to a kneeling position.

“You should enslave her,” said Melinda as she combed her hair smooth with the fingers of her hands. “Think of the pleasure she can give you in the furs. It is the right place for her.”

“You think so?” said Brinn with a wry smile.

“Yes. Women like her belong in the collar. I will hopefully be there at her branding. I would like that.”

“Perhaps you will be.” Brinn paused. “There at her branding, that is, Lady Melinda.”


“You have an incredible figure, Lady Jacinta,” said Brinn. “You should be proud of it.”

“Thank you,” said Jacinta bitterly.

“Have you ever fantasised about being a slave?”

“No!” Her answer was sharp and very quick.

“I see. You may relax and kneel now.” He clicked his fingers to indicate she could change position. Jacinta dropped to her knees and pressed her thighs tightly together.      

A few hours later we watched from hiding as three Tarns with riders flew overhead, passing over our thickets and flying north. They were armed with spears, and heavy war shields hung from the saddle rings.

“They are Kurgus's men,” said Brinn as he lay on his back, and I lay curled in his arms with my head on his chest. “They would have soon caught us if I had continued to fly north. Thunder Rider cannot fly as quickly as them since it carries three slave-girls as cargo.”

“They will think we are still ahead of them then, Master?”

“I expect so. For a time at least. Eventually they will realise they have lost us, and then I suppose they will simply head to the area of Lydius and Laura to watch for the arrival of a lone Tarnsman from the south. They may even spread word in the cities between here and the Laurius river for local operatives of the Kurii to seek us out. We had best avoid the central cities during our journey north.”

“But surely if you are correct in respect of Jacinta, and her loyalties are still with Kurgus, then he wants you to escape, in which case why is he pursuing you?”

“Kurgus would have to make this look realistic. I do not know. I cannot be sure of anything. Perhaps the Tarnsmen have been instructed not to find me. Or perhaps Jacinta is telling the truth and Kurgus is desperately trying to find me.”

“I want to believe that Jacinta is telling the truth.”   

“Of course you do, Emma. She pretends to be your friend. She is very clever like that.”

As we travelled further North there was one constant to our journey. People fled for cover as soon as our Tarn was sighted in the sky.

“They think I’m raiding,” said Brinn as the men and women in a convoy of three wagons lashed their draught Tharlarions and made for the nearest thickets of trees at top speed. “They can see I have girls chained to my saddle rings and they think I’m hunting for more.” Brinn flew past them, much to their relief.

The sight of a lone Tarnsman in the sky is an unnerving one if you happen to be travelling across the Gorean wilderness in small numbers. A Tarnsman can swoop down on a wagon or rider with incredible speed and force. Unless you happen to have a prepared formation of spearmen, you are unlikely to be able to fend off the Tarnsman.

Soon the rough scrublands north of the Tahari were giving way to the cultivated fields of central Gor. We could see farmsteads and outlying villages and Brinn was tempted to land to buy supplies. But it was risky to do so, for the men of a village would see the Tarnsman land and they would assume he was a raider too, and would raise the alarm to bring armed men to the village’s defence. Brinn stood the risk of being shot by the peasant long bow before he had a chance to explain himself.

“I’m hungry, Master.” We had flown for two days now without eating, for Brinn lacked the weapons necessary to make a quick kill in the wilds. There was no bow on our Tarn, and no time for Brinn to build snares or traps. Whenever we landed to rest, Brinn would send his girls out to pick wild berries, but we were not permitted to stray beyond his line of sight for fear that something might happen to us. Jacinta and Melinda were chained together by their ankles, much to their annoyance. It made walking difficult, and it meant they could not stray more than three feet from one another, but Brinn was not going to take any chances that Jacinta might make some insane attempt to escape.

“You don’t honestly think I would try and run?” said Jacinta as she sat on the grass with her left ankle extended as Brinn locked the slave steel around it. The saddle bags of the Tarn had held some basic chains which Brinn was now making full use of.

“You seem to be a resourceful Kurii agent. I am not taking any chances with you.”

“How many times do I have to tell you, I secretly serve Priest Kings! And think about it – where would I run to in the wilderness, dressed as I am in red pleasure silk, with no food, no water, no weapons, nothing. I would simply run straight into a collar.”

“I didn’t say such an action would be sensible or likely to succeed, but in your desperation you might attempt it, causing me a great deal of inconvenience in having to track you down.”

“Why would I be so desperate as to try something as foolish as that?” Jacinta winced as the steel anklet closed on her foot. It is a natural enough reaction when a Free Woman is chained. Free Women have little understanding of how their bodies are naturally programmed to respond to bondage. There are exceptions of course, but it is often the case that many women are secretly aroused by the thought of being tied or chained, and so their bodies are primed by those fantasies to react in a certain way when such a thing happens for real. It was interesting to note how Jacinta's fingers closed involuntarily on the blades of grass as she felt the anklet locked about her. Bondage can be a delicious forbidden fruit, whether we wish to admit it to ourselves or not.        

“Because the likelihood now is that you will be enslaved in Lydius.”

“What?!” Jacinta sat upright and shook her head furiously. “You can’t do that! I serve Priest Kings!”

“I think when we reach Lydius I will find that all the normal sources of proof to that effect will be conveniently ambiguous at best. I think I will find nothing that will corroborate your story, and I will be expected to trust certain circumstantial pieces of evidence. That will not be good enough.”

“What are you saying?” Jacinta drew her legs back, bringing her knees together under her chin.

“I am saying I fully expect to have you branded and enslaved in Lydius when the evidence for what you say proves to be unsatisfactory.”

“You’re insane! I serve Priest Kings!”

“How do you explain your deception that led to the death of Marcellus? You said nothing to me of your mission from Kurgus. You allowed me to lead him directly to Elysium. At any time during the journey you could have warned me, and then I would have arranged an ambush for Kurgus.”

“I didn’t think he would find me! I didn’t know about the tracking device!”

“You didn’t know about the tracking device? How very convenient.” Brinn placed his hands on Jacinta and rolled her over on to her stomach.

“What are you doing!”

“Quiet.” Brinn stripped the red silk from around Jacinta’s hips, exposing her bottom. “The chip may still be transmitting and I can’t take the risk of being found.”

“No, please!” She clutched again at the grass with her hands as she lay on her stomach, her ass exposed to Brinn's touch.

Brinn searched with his fingertips along the soft skin until he felt a small lump close to Jacinta's left hip. With his knife Brinn punctured the skin and located the tiny chip close to the surface. He cut it out, leaving just a small clean incision where it had been placed under her skin.

“I do not believe you did not know this was here. You must have felt the lump.” Brinn had the chip in the palm of his right hand. It was tiny, about the size of a sequin.

“I felt something, but thought it was just a swelling from an insect bite.”

“Well, no one is going to find you now. We are going to disappear, pretty agent of the Kurii.” He broke the chip with the point of his knife. Was that a sign of alarm in Jacinta's face, or simply shock at having been told her possible fate in Lydius? I couldn't tell for sure. Had she been relying on that chip for Kurgus to keep track of her, or was she telling the truth about being unaware of it?

“I serve Priest Kings! Why won’t you believe me!”

Brinn said nothing as he wound the silk back around Jacinta’s hips, securing it again in a slip knot.

“Go fetch berries, girl.”

I was myself in something of a quandary concerning Jacinta. What Brinn had said had opened doubts in my mind. Who was she really? Was she the long standing agent of Kurgus, or had she been a double agent for the Priest Kings all this time? Was Brinn right to suggest that the scene inside Elysium had been staged for our benefit to make us believe that Jacinta was what she claimed to be? Was it in fact a case that her mission for Kurgus was to pose as a Priest King double agent and thereby infiltrate Brinn's ranks, taking advantage of the breakdown in his network to prevent him from verifying her claims? And if so, what was her true end game? What had Kurgus ordered her to do at a crucial point in time? I desperately wanted Jacinta to be what she claimed to be, but there were certain truths that were undeniable. Whichever side she actually was on, it was clear she had caused the death of my father. She had knowingly led Kurgus to Elysium, for she had admitted that she had been ordered to allow herself to be captured. Perhaps it was true that she was unaware of the tracking device, but nevertheless she had said nothing to Brinn about the mission she claimed to have been undertaking. Even if she was a double agent for the Priest Kings, she had knowingly brought about the death of Marcellus and over thirty of his men, all loyal to the Priest Kings. I could see Brinn's point of view.

And how did I feel about this? I had hated my father for nearly all my life. I had blamed him for the damage done to my family. But had I wanted him to die? No. My distaste for him did not run that deep. I had been torn apart by conflicting emotions when the truth had dawned on me on the verandah in Elysium, when I had been ordered to dance on the tiles for the pleasure of the men there. And afterwards when I had listened to his excuses – about duty and so forth, I had not in any way forgiven him. But I had not wished him dead.

Understand this, in the end my father had not redeemed himself. He was gong to use me as a blood bag for monthly transfusions, and he was planning on raping and breeding from me. It was only when he realised I was effectively his daughter that he changed his mind. Had I been anyone else...

I cannot forgive him that. Showing mercy to his daughter does not make him a good man. Oh, of course Brinn looked up to him, for Marcellus espoused the great virtues of the men of Gor. Duty and subjugating women as an afterthought. My father had long ago become Gorean in his mind and his philosophies. Maybe he was once a man of Earth, but the decades on Gor had changed his way of thinking. I still hated him. But I did not wish him dead.

Jacinta was my friend. I hoped and I prayed that she was who she claimed to be. But even if that was the case, she had knowingly brought about the death of over thirty men. 

“Master, I really am hungry…” by the fourth day a diet of nothing but berries and the occasional sul root vegetable pulled from the ground was taking its toll on my stomach. Melinda had been complaining too, though Jacinta refused to do so.

“It is difficult to hunt with just a sword,” said Brinn as we ate a broth made from sul roots and some edible leaves we had found in the woodlands. But I could see he felt the same way and was pondering whether to risk landing close to a village. He had money after all, so could pay for whatever we needed, provided the sight of the Tarn didn’t bring the villagers out in force ready for battle. On the fifth day Brinn did land the Tarn on an open field a short distance away from a series of buildings that belonged to a land owning family. Brinn frowned as he saw a number of men arming themselves on the open yard in front of the three farm buildings. From the way they moved he could tell they weren’t trained warriors, but rather farmers who had probably been drilled in basic techniques in the event the farm needed to be defended from raiders.

“I hope these men see sense. I would hate to have to kill any of them,” said Brinn as he slung his sword belt around his hips. The great Tarn watched the line of four men as they walked with spears and shields towards us. They crossed fields of hemp seed, and they stopped maybe twenty yards from where Brinn stood with his blade sheathed.

Brinn had released my hands from the saddle ring, but had left Jacinta and Melinda still tethered to the side rings. Jacinta in particular wasn’t happy with this.

“Please let me down, Brinn. If these men kill you, your Tarn will probably take off and fly away with us tied in place.”

She had a point. I would not like to be a girl who was secured to the saddle ring of a riderless Tarn, no longer under the control of a Tarnsman.

“I take comfort from the thought that you will both be wishing me success in dealing with the spearmen then,” said Brinn with a smile.

“I’m serious,” said Jacinta. “Please do not leave us here while you speak to those men!”

“Quiet, Lady.” Brinn gazed at the approaching line of spearmen and showed them that his hands were empty.

“Get back on your Tarn and leave here,” said one of the spearmen, he who was probably senior in the workforce. “Tarnsmen are not welcome.”

“I have money and wish only to trade for food and some basic supplies. I am not a raider and I do not wish your farmstead any harm.”

“The last Tarnsman said that as well,” said one of the other men. “that was before he stole my daughter from me.” He levelled his spear now and held it over his shield in the style favoured by warriors, though his stance was amateurish at best.

“We haven’t eaten anything but berries and suls for five days,” said Brinn. “My girls are hungry.
We simply want to buy food. I won’t approach your farm buildings. You can bring food to me and I will pay you three times its normal asking price.”

“And I’m telling you that a Tarnsman isn’t welcome here. You stand on my land. I am telling you to leave. I suggest you do so.”

Brinn gazed at them for a time, and I felt sure he was going to do something rash. I hadn't yet seen Brinn fighting and therefore I had no idea what he was capable of, but these were four men, and logic dictated such odds were insurmountable. Despite what you might see in a Lord of the Rings film, your sword arm can only be in one place at a time, and so if four men are trying to stab you with spears simultaneously, your defensive capability is limited to say the least. Added to the equation was the fact that while Brinn carried a sword, he did not have a shield.

“I am not a thief. Therefore I will leave if that is what you wish.”

“It is, Tarnsman,” growled the man who had lost a daughter. He spat on the grass and kept his spear in place over his shield. I think he was the one who gave the other men confidence. They knew of course from the way Brinn stood that he was of the warriors, which meant he could kill any one of them in single combat as a matter of course. They would have been nervous to actually face him, because the chances are one or two of them might have died before the others brought Brinn down, and no one truly wants to be the one who dies. I think without the older man facing off against Brinn, the others might have lost heart.

“You're a courageous man,” said Brinn after a while. “What's your name?”

“Limus. And this is my land.”

Brinn nodded, acknowledging that. “I will leave now, Limus, but first I shall place a coin on the grass. It is payment for standing on your land when I was, without knowing it, unwelcome. I ask only that you do me the honour of taking the coin. I apologise for my presumption in landing here.” Brinn reached slowly into his belt pouch and, to the astonishment of the men lined up in front of him, produced a gold coin. Very carefully he placed it on a broad stone and then stood up. “May your crops be abundant this autumn.”

“Wait,” said Limus.

Brinn didn't move.

“You are forgetting something, Tarnsman.”

“And what is that?

“The sack of provisions I am going to assemble for you. Bread, cheese, ka-la-na and smoked tabuk. You would be foolish to leave without it.” Limus thrust his spear, point first into the ground and struck his shoulder in greeting.

“That I would be,” said Brinn with a smile. “That I would be.”

And so we feasted that night, gorging ourself by a camp fire on the smoked tabuk and the fresh bread and incredibly rich cheese. Limus had gifted Brinn a peasant bow as well, and a quiver of arrows so that he might hunt during his flight to Lydius. And Brinn gifted in turn my services to Limus and his three sons, and I was made to pleasure them that night in ways none of them had ever experienced before, for the caste of peasants are not accustomed to the skills of a trained pleasure slave. It amused me to see the expression on Limus's face after I had moved in certain ways in his bed. I think I brought him to a level of ecstasy that he had never experienced with his broad shouldered, freckle-faced farm girls.

I was by now very experienced in the arts of pleasing a man.

“You are worth a peasant bow and twenty arrows,” said Limus as he lay there, sated.

“That is very kind of you to say so, Master. I have often speculated on my price.” I rolled off him and lay on my back beside the strong Gorean peasant.
“Siba, Kora and Yefris have never done anything like that to me.” He referred of course to the three strong slave-girls on the farm with thick thighs and calves that he would yoke to a plough each morning to work in the fields.

“I should hope not, Master.” I kissed him below the waist in a fashion that is guaranteed to revive any man. His eyes widened, and before I knew it he had thrown me onto my back.   


The further north we flew, the better the pickings became. The scrubland was giving way to flat plains of arable agricultural land, and it was simple enough for us to now land in cultivated fields and help ourselves to vegetables growing in the soil to add to our supply of smoked tarsk and cheese. Brinn didn’t consider this to be too dishonourable as we were only taking that which we needed to live off the land, and we were doing so with the aim in sight of saving Gor from the Kurii. In a sense the peasant farmers were therefore contributing to the cause. Occasionally we would be spotted by men working in the fields, but as they would only be armed with hoes and similar farm implements, they were naturally reluctant to challenge an armed Tarnsman who seemed content simply to steal some turnips. Whenever Brinn did take crops where he could see a man tending the field, he would make a point of showing a coin in his hand and he would place the coin in plain sight on, say, a flat rock. The implication was clear – he was paying for the food, whether the farmers wished to sell to him or not. I suppose they took the money after we left. They would have been foolish not to.

In the evenings I would cook a stew with the vegetables and the smoked tabuk in a single pot. Brinn had found the pot early on in our journey when we had stopped off at an irrigated field where pots of water stood by a hedge for washing. We ate the stew directly from the cooking pot with our hands as we did not have bowls.

The pasangs were passing by at a remarkable rate, for Tarns can cover a great deal of ground in a single day. I was seeing the whole breadth of Gor from the southern scrublands through the arable farmlands, and on past the central cities. Brinn was always careful to circumvent the cities because he feared Tarnsmen of the Kurii might be watching out for us from the cities' tarn cots. Staying in the central wilderness was much safer, though it meant we couldn’t re-provision ourselves.

At night I snuggled close to Brinn for warmth. Melinda was not so lucky and I could see that the nights were uncomfortable for her, sleeping alone. The weather was no longer as warm as it had been in the Tahari, though I suppose the temperature never dropped below fifteen degrees centigrade. Brinn would cover Melinda and Jacinta with spare saddle blankets.

“I think you’re settling in to your collar,” said Brinn one night as we lay under a saddle blanket, somewhere east of Venna. He had taken me on the grass twice and I was feeling content as he ran his fingers along the edge of my collar.

“Perhaps I am,” I said in a dreamy state.

“I often think back to how you were that morning in the stables in Kurgus’s villa. There has been a remarkable change in you, Emma, since then.”

“I have had little choice but to adapt to my changed circumstances,” I said as I kissed his chest softly.

“True. But even so there is a contentment that I can see. You are beginning to accept slavery. It seems right for you.”

I was silent now. I could feel my body stiffen at the implications of what he said. Was it true? Was I now accustomed to my collar? Was this what I wanted? I felt confused, unsure of myself.

“Tell me how you feel tonight, Emma. Be honest. A slave in my collar will never be punished for answering a question truthfully.”

“I feel good. I feel whole, alive, vibrant, in touch with my body, my femininity, my needs. This feels right.” I snuggled closer. I felt his arm around me.

“What of your pride? Your dignity?”

“They are not as important as my happiness. And I am happy at times like this.”

“You are happy in a collar?”

“Sometimes. More often than not.”

“Tell me about this ring.” Brinn produced the ring of red metal from his belt pouch. He held it before me and turned the metal so that I could see the strange alien symbols engraved around the circumference. “It was obviously important to Marcellus, and I saw the way you reacted when he asked me to give it to you in the event I decided not to keep you.”

I hesitated now. Brinn had asked me a direct question but I feared that if I told him the truth he might destroy the ring. It was my only hope to ever escape Gor and return home to Earth! There was a strong possibility that once he knew what the ring was capable of, he might never give it to me. Even if he decided not to keep me in his collar, he might hold to the typical Gorean view that a slave-girl should not be given the means to escape her bonds. He might even consider it a kindness to me to ensure I remained in a slave collar, even if that collar wasn’t his own.

“Emma? I asked you a question.”

“It… it was the ring Marcellus used to travel from Earth to Gor and back again. It summons a silver ship of the Priest Kings. It has but a single charge left in it.”

“And why then did he ask me to give it to you?”

“So that I might have the ability to return home if you no longer... felt anything for me…” my voice trailed to a whisper. I felt scared now that I had told him of the ring’s properties. If he destroyed it, or cast it away into the darkness…

“You could return to Earth with this ring?”

“Yes.” I remained very still as I lay next to him. “It is possible. A ship would come if I willed it.”

“Why would Marcellus ask me to give you the ring? It makes no sense. Why would he care that you should return to Earth?”

“He was my father on Earth…” I closed my eyes wondering how Brinn might take this revelation. He said nothing for a time and then he examined the ring again, turning it between his fingers, deep in thought.

“How long had you known that, Emma?”

“Not long. He was absent a lot. I now know it was because he was fighting on Gor for the Priest Kings. I was only three years old when he spent a few months with me. He had left permanently for Gor before my fifth birthday. He looked older now, sounded different, and he had grown a beard. He had the same leg wound though. Perhaps I should have recognised him at first, but he seemed so different. I suppose Gor changed him.”

“I think Gor has changed you too, Emma.” Brinn kissed me on the lips and I responded fully to his kiss. He had taken me twice already, so he was tender now in his love making. This was always the time when I was most likely to draw any sort of emotional response past his usual impenetrable guard.

“Yes, I have changed very much since you bought me. I have such needs now. I think I have found my slave belly and it scares me.”

“You would lack such fulfilment on Earth, Emma. You would be surrounded by the weak men of your planet. They would respect you, try to impress you, they would compete for your affections. But they would not Master you.”

“I know. Oh God, I feel so confused when I lie here in your arms after we’ve fucked.”

“Do you want to go home, Emma?”

“I think I do. Yes. Please don’t be angry.”

“I am not angry.”

“You’re not?”

“No. Why should I be angry that you wish to go home?”

“Because it would mean I would leave you. In a sense by going home I would be rejecting you.”

“But you would not actually be going home - you would not have a choice in the matter – so your wishes are redundant at best. Your preference would be irrelevant. If I wish to keep you I shall.”

“So you’re not going to sell me in Lydius?”

“I didn’t say that.”

“But if you don’t keep me, you’ll give me the ring?”

“Probably not.”

“What?!” I stiffened and pulled slightly away from Brinn. “You’d sell me, instead of allowing me the chance to escape this world?!”

“You belong in the collar, Emma. You would not be happy on your world. You would be frustrated, moody, you would seek out strong men to dominate you, and in your inability to find them you would grow bitter and depressed. You would begin to hate and despise the men of your planet for failing to Master you. You would become shrewish. I think it best you remain in a slave collar where you will ultimately be happy.”

“You can’t make that sort of decision for me! I have a right to decide myself!”

“You’re being ridiculous now, Emma. You’re a slave. You do not have a say in your fate. I am actually acting in your best interests.”

“My best interests!”

“You forget, Emma, I know what makes you happy. This makes you happy…” Brinn raised himself up slightly, moved on top of me, pushed my legs apart and slowly entered me, gazing down at my face all the while. I gasped, wriggled and moaned as he pushed inside and held himself there. Then he took my wrists and pinned them against the grass, above my head with his hands. He gripped them in place as firmly as if I was wearing slave bracelets and as soon as I found myself helpless and pinned like that my body began to writhe in ecstasy. “Now you are happy, yes?”

“Oh God, yes!” I pushed my pelvis forward to feel him deeper inside me. Brinn began to move and I gasped again, feeling him grind down, slowly, rhythmically, driving me to distraction, and all the while securing my wrists with his hands.

“A Free Woman wouldn’t want this.”

“I’m not free! I don't care about them!”

“But you would be free on Earth. Free and frustrated.”

“I’m a slave!”

“Yes you are, Emma. It would be cruel of me to free you.”

“Don’t free me, Master!”

“What? I thought you wanted the ring, to return yourself to Earth?” Brinn smiled as he continued to slow fuck me.

“I want this! Just this!”

“Of course you do.” I could see that Brinn was overcome with a need to have me now too. In many respects Gorean men are as responsive to their sexual desires as women are.

“I love being a slave,” I moaned as I drove deeper into sub-space.

“Your cries are carrying to the other girls,” said Brinn. “Be careful. Jacinta can hear you. She will think you a slut.”

“I don’t care! I’m a slave! I’m your slave!”

“Yes, and I am the one who will ultimately decide your fate, not you my pretty little slut.” And then we fucked. And I came and I wept and I clung to him, all thoughts of freedom and Earth wiped from my mind for the rest of that night. That is the power my collar and brand has over me now.

“It’s not just the sex. It’s the sense of belonging to someone, of being owned, not in a theoretical and consensual sense, but in an actual literal sense,” I explained as I lay there in his arms, feeling so at peace with the world. “I feel continually on edge during the day, knowing how I excite men by the way I am dressed, and the knowledge that I am owned by you, that everything I do, even down to the way I dress is dictated by you. You can never understand how that makes a girl feel. Sometimes I pause and think about it and it feels incredible. Being owned and collared makes me feel so alive, so aware of my surroundings, and I find my senses heightened. When I was on Earth I felt… I don’t know… submerged, in amongst the crowd, worn down by all manner of things that no longer matter on Gor. Compared to how I feel tonight I felt numb, detached from the sort of feelings I now enjoy. You have no idea.”

“I’m pleased for you, Emma. You still have some way to go, but you are adapting well to slavery. Any woman can feel that way in the furs during sex, but it is when you feel such strong emotions during the day as well that you know in your heart that you are a natural slave.”

“It does feel incredible at times. Even just kneeling before you in Nadu sends shivers through my body. I had no idea it would be like this.”

“Of course not. A slave-girl could have told you of course, but you would probably have had her beaten for doing so.”

“Yes, yes I would have. I would have had her whipped for her insolence.”

“Free Women do not appreciate being told the truth about themselves. They wish to remain safe within their cocoons, denying their fantasies. Can you imagine going back to the life of a Free Woman? Being forbidden to express yourself sexually?”

“I would be unhappy, I think.”

“Yes, you would be. But you would have dignity and respect.”

“It’s not what I want.”

“You are happy being a slave, and I am happy that you are a slave. It seems to me to be a perfectly satisfactory situation. I would be a fool to change it.”

“But you’re going to sell me in Lydius!”

“Yes, but that doesn’t change the fact that you need to be enslaved. The collar you wear will be different, that is all.”

“I won’t be happy in another man’s collar! Not like yours.”

“You would not be happy if you lacked a collar, so the distinction is not one that matters. You compare the certainty of not being happy on Earth with the possibility of not being happy in another man’s collar. Better a possibility of being happy than the certainty of being miserable.”

“It’s not that simple. There are benefits to being free on Earth.”

“You would soon be depressed, Emma, and depression means you would enjoy nothing. All other sensations and experiences would become dull and without value if you felt unfulfilled deep inside. I am in a sense acting in your best interests. You will remain a slave. You will not be given the ring of red metal. I will hand it back to an agent of Priest Kings when we reach Lydius.”

“You can’t do that!”

“I can and will do anything I wish in relation to my slave-girl. I have decided. My decision is final.” Brinn returned the ring to his belt pouch, and then he rolled me on to my stomach and used me again in the grass.

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