Monday, 13 November 2017

Shadows of Gor Chapter Six (of Eighteen)


Chapter Six: Explanations are given before we begin a long journey by land and sea to Port Kar


'...and by a force of will,
my lungs are filled,
with air,
so I breathe.'


Two years eight months ago, minus a few days, sort of...

I had danced on the tiles for just under eight minutes. Barefoot, fully made up with my most beguiling cosmetics, naked except for long ankle length strips of red silk tied to a silver chain about my waist, shorter lengths of silk to my wrists, and belled at the ankles, I had danced to the Arabic rhythms of three musicians who sat in a far corner. I say Arabic but of course they were from the Tahari and they enjoyed the patronage of Brinn who had taken a liking to that kind of music when it was accompanied and enhanced by the presence of silken dancers such as myself. Back on Earth I had loved Arabic style trance records that fused the ethnic desert rhythms with electronic pulses. I’ve always loved music and in my student days I tried to learn to play the guitar, never really progressing beyond some basic heavy blues riffs, as I thought it might give me an air of bohemian artistry and attract the attention of the lovely Cathy Granger, because didn’t all women want to hang out with a guitarist? Sadly Cathy Granger found one of the members of the University rowing society more her kind of thing. 



When Brinn had first brought the Taharian musicians onto his estate with promises that he would offer them a residency, I had spied the sintir which is essentially a three stringed, skin covered bass plucked lute instrument, approximately the size of a guitar, carved from wood with animal skin on one side. The neck is a simple stick with one short and two long strings that produce a percussive sound similar to a pizzicato cello or double bass, and with Brinn’s amused permission I had picked it up and offered to play something.

“So, this is a sweet and tender little ballad sung by the introspective sea-faring raiders of Torvaldsland,” I had explained, adopting a classic rock guitar stance and winking at Chloe before launching into a fast heavy strumming rendition of the riff-tastic Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin. I’m pleased to say I actually made Brinn jump in alarm as I let loose with a rather good version of Robert Plant’s opening high pitched scream. He actually put his hand to the hilt of his sword out of sheer instinct before he remembered it was just Emma...

Ah-ahhhhh, ahhhh!

We come from the land of the ice and snow!
From the midnight sun, where the hot springs flow!
How soft your fields so green...
Can whisper tales of Gor...
Of how we calmed... the tides of war...
We are your overlords!


Ah-ahhhhh, ahhhh!

I think I've mentioned before that the Kurii shape changing machines pretty much crafted a perfectly functioning body in all respects (why wouldn't they) and that included gifting me with a really good voice that can span many octaves in range and vocal power.

Oh boy, can it!

In the end Brinn told me to stop my deafening wailing because I was scaring his musicians. Really...

I don’t think the big tough men of Gor are quite ready for Led Zeppelin...

Later that night when I lay chained to Brinn's couch and he was driving me close to the point of a delicious orgasm, I couldn't resist singing, 'Valhalla... I am coming…'

Brinn doesn't speak English, so sadly the delicious pun was lost on him.

The chamber boasted three enormous couches, each big enough for five people, and these had been placed to form three sides of a square with a tiled dance area in-between. It was here that Brinn would often entertain his most trusted warriors in the evenings as a spontaneous reward for their service. Tonight Brinn lay sprawled on one of the couches, while Simon and three of the house warriors occupied the other two, along with four slave-girls. I rose, sleek and supple with a jingle of slave bells from the tiles on completion of my dance and brandished my arms high with a flutter of the long silks as the men applauded and the girls nodded in approval.

I glanced at Shannon who lay silken and seductive, curled beguilingly beside Simon who looked happier than I’d seen him for a long time now. He hadn’t been able to keep his hands off Shannon the entire evening as we had feasted on rich tapas and golden wine. Shannon too was sparkling with delight as she let or rather encouraged Simon to feed her. She kissed and touched him and revelled in his attention. I think we had all noticed the difference ever since he had spent that night with Shannon chained to his couch in his bedroom. Brinn’s ruse had worked and with the tacit compliance of Shannon, Simon had overcome his fear of taking advantage of a slave-girl. The beaming look on his face that morning when he had entered the breakfast hall with Shannon meekly heeling him, and the wild cheers and encouragement from Brinn’s men at the various tables had been a revelation, for I think every man on the estate had secretly wanted Simon to loosen up and have some sex.

I threw myself back on to Brinn’s couch and kissed him. He seemed very pleased with my dance, as he should be for I am a superbly trained dancer. I glanced back at Shannon and saw her being fed peeled grapes by Simon as the other three girls entertained the chosen warriors. The musicians had now changed their music from the sexual dance rhythms I had asked for to more atmospheric background music as fresh ka-la-na was poured by a girl called Limina.

“You seem to be spending a lot of time with Shannon lately,” said Brinn with an amused smile as he raised his goblet in Simon’s direction. “I told you she was good.”

“The best,” said Simon with an expression of pure drunken pleasure. He ran his hands over the girl’s thighs and brought forth some passionate moans and whimpers in response. I knew Shannon really liked Simon and had desperately wanted him to have her for many weeks now. She looked happy, and understandably so for Simon was an important man on Brinn’s estate. If she could become his favoured girl then her status would swiftly rise to a tier just below my own. I suppose I would have to accord Shannon more privileges and exempt her from many of the basic chores if that were to happen, which judging by the way Simon seemed to adore her was now very likely. I hoped Shannon wouldn’t act too spoilt with her new found favouritism. I would still have whip rights over her after all.

Chloe was with Cassius tonight. Like me she was dressed in just a silver chain belt and swirling lengths of silk for she had danced on the tiles before me. She was becoming a good dancer under my tutelage and I was pleased with her progress. I watched as Cassius pulled Chloe to him and kissed her deeply. From the way she wriggled she seemed to be encouraging it.

“The Master, Simon, is happy,” I said to Brinn as I nuzzled and kissed him.

“He is. I am pleased.” Brinn had wanted this for Simon for years now. I had been angry with him at first for the subterfuge that had seemed to coerce poor Simon into accepting Shannon onto his couch for fear of her being punished and sold if he didn’t, but in retrospect I suppose it had been a good move for both of them. No one could deny the chemistry there. “I suppose,” said Brinn to me with a conspiratorial smile on his face which always meant that his words were meant to be overheard by other people, “that you will have to lock Shannon in the slave pens later on, unless anyone has asked for her use tonight…” he gave me an innocent look. “I'm guessing no one has because she is just a common kajira, hardly worth a silver tarsk...”

“Oh, we paid much less for her than that, Master,” I said, joining in the teasing as I pretended not to notice Simon's alert expression. “I suppose I will have to, Master. Who would want Shannon chained to their couch after all...” I winked at Shannon who was making urgent nodding motions of her head towards Simon.

“Um, Brinn…” Simon lifted himself up from the couch and licked his lips.

“Yes, brother of mine?” said Brinn with feigned innocence.

“I’d like to claim Shannon again for tonight… seeing as how she’s available…”

“Well, this is something of a surprise,” said Brinn as he leaned back on the couch. “You do know she’s a slave, yes? I mean, she wears a collar and a brand and would be sent to your couch whether she wishes to go there or not?”

“I do want to go there, Master!” said Shannon as she turned to kiss Simon’s shoulder. “Please chain me there tonight. I want to please Master Simon.”

“But still,” said Brinn rubbing his chin thoughtfully. “You were quite clear three nights ago, Simon, how terrible it is to take and use a kajira.”

“I really like Shannon,” said Simon with an embarrassed blush. “And the point is she likes me too, so that’s okay.”

“Is it?” Brinn raised a surprised eyebrow. “Doesn’t she have to say that? Isn’t that what you told me? Perhaps we should give her the dignity of a cold cement cell in the slave pens instead of forcing her to the indignity of sharing your soft couch…”

“I want you to have me, Master,” said Shannon as she dropped to her knees and began to kiss Simon’s feet. “Please claim me tonight.”

“I want her Brinn!” said Simon, rather more urgently than before, and now everyone in the chamber was laughing, men and girls alike as, oblivious to Simon we could now see the front of his tunic lift up slightly due to his rising erection.

“Well, I think we can all see how much you want the girl,” said Brinn as he pointed out the unmistakable evidence to a mortified Simon. “Have her as you please, Simon. I’m only teasing you. Emma will do her makeup, she’ll be silked and belled and waiting for you in your furs tonight.”

“Thank you.” Embarrassed as he might be, Simon was too delighted at the thought of the sensual Shannon in his furs again to really care about the teasing. “And Brinn… I have something else to ask of you…” He swallowed hard.

“Ask it. You are my brother,” he said with a generous gesture. I squirmed, excited, because I knew what Simon was going to ask. He’d confided in me for advice about how to ask Brinn earlier today. I looked up at Simon and smiled encouragement. 'Go on' I whispered silently for him to read the words on my lips.

“I want to buy Shannon. Will you sell her? I’ll pay anything. Whatever you ask... if I have it.”

The men burst out laughing again, but I think they were all actually pleased that Simon now lusted after a deliciously sexual girl like Shannon.

“Buy her? Well now…” whatever Brinn was about to say to tease Simon further was interrupted when I elbowed him hard in the ribs and shot him a ‘don’t make Simon suffer’ look. “Simon, you know I won’t sell a girl to you - I will give her to you. I don’t need your money. If you want her, Shannon is yours. I’ll arrange the papers and new collar with your name on it in the morning.”

“Thank you, Brinn! Thank you so much!” He turned and embraced Shannon, kissed her and enfolded her in his arms, while I squealed and clapped my hands in excitement. I was so pleased for them both. I think Shannon was surprised by the announcement, but obviously delighted. I hadn’t told her of course - I wanted it to be a surprise. She would belong to a man, rather than to the estate, and that meant a huge rise in status for her. And she liked Simon. She found him handsome. I suppose Simon is handsome really.

“Thank you, Master,” I said as I purred and kissed Brinn in gratitude, from where I knelt on my hands and knees on the soft couch. He really liked Simon and had looked out for him since the events on Skaffell Peak. I think Simon would have died on Gor without Brinn's patronage. “They will be so happy together. I hate to say this, but you were right.”

“But of course, Emma. I am always right,” said Brinn with a smile as he quickly thrust me onto my back and kissed me there in return.

“You’ll need a whip of course,” added Brinn as he lifted himself away from my squirming body. His men in the chamber nodded and and added their own advice as to the sort of whip Simon would need. “Hang it on a hook in your bed room chamber where Shannon can always see it and you will not have to use it on her very often.”

“Oh, don’t worry about that, Brinn,” said Simon with a deliriously happy laugh, “I wont need to use it at all, and I won’t need a collar either. I’ll be freeing Shannon as soon as you have the papers made up in the morning.”

The laughter in the room suddenly faded away to an awkward silence. The men cleared their thoughts, looking dumbfounded and they looked to Brinn for a response to this statement.

“You… intend... freeing Shannon?” said Brinn in bewilderment.

“Yes. She will be free. I am going to free her and we can live together as…”

“This is not the way,” said Brinn as he suddenly stood up, looking annoyed now. “Simon, this is ridiculous. You can’t free Shannon. It’s not the way things are done.”

“I wouldn’t be the first man to free a slave, Brinn. It happens sometimes.”

“Not like this it doesn’t. This is foolish, Simon. You’re being foolish and immature. This is your first slave - you can’t simply free her ten minutes after you collar her. That’s not the way things are. I coerced you into having Shannon because I wanted you to learn what it is to be a man on Gor and to enjoy women. I didn’t intend you to want to free her.” Brinn looked exasperated now. “You have no idea what you would be throwing away if you freed her. You need to discover the pleasure a slave can give you. It’s not the same thing as a Free Woman.”

“It’s my decision, Brinn. I can do what I like.”

“Not with Shannon you can’t. I’m not giving her to you. Not if it makes you do something stupid like that.”

Shannon glanced up, a look of fear in her eyes now. She clung to Simon, afraid of what might be said next.

“Cassius, swap slaves with Simon,” said Brinn. “You have Shannon tonight. Simon – you need to spend time with other girls. Take Chloe from Cassius.”

“I don’t want Chloe! I want Shannon!” Simon rose up from the couch and stood there in front of Brinn while Cassius wiped his mouth of wine and stood up too, pulling Chloe up from the couch by her left wrist.

“Chloe is good in the furs, Simon,” said Cassius. “It’s good to try different girls.” He threw Chloe suddenly into Simon’s arms as he then seized Shannon by her right wrist, pulling her to him.

“No!” Simon pushed Chloe to one side and I saw her stumble and fall back onto Simon’s couch as Simon now moved to block Cassius. He placed his hand on the arm that held Shannon. “You’re not having Shannon! She’s mine!”

Cassius narrowed his eyes and simply said, “remove your hand, physician, if you know what's good for you.”

“Give me Shannon back!”

And then Cassius simply head butted Simon in the face. Simon dropped hard on to the tiles as Cassius simply lifted Shannon up and over his shoulder in a single motion. There was laughter now at the sight of Simon lying on the floor, his face bloodied. Even Brinn laughed at the simple head butt that had taken him out in a split second.

“Simon,” said Brinn as he moved to stop the confrontation from getting any worse, “a word of advice – on Gor do not confront a warrior over the matter of a slave unless you are ready to carry the dispute to its natural conclusion.”

“You gave me Shannon,” said Simon as he fought back the tears of pain that sprang naturally in his eyes from the savage blow.

“I’ve changed my mind. Listen brother,” Brinn knelt down beside the fallen Earth man, “this is for your own good. I should have realised that you might grow awkwardly close to your first slave. It was too soon for me to give you a girl. You still have the Earth man weakness when it comes to women. You need to learn how to keep slaves first.”

“Fuck that Brinn. I don’t want other slaves! I just want Shannon!” Simon was squeezing his eyes closed, afraid of being seen to cry by Brinn’s scarred warriors, most of whom were still laughing at him

“Only three days ago you didn’t think you even wanted Shannon, Simon. You have a long way to go still before we can consider you Gorean. Small steps. Enjoy some of the other girls on this estate, and then maybe next year we’ll talk about Shannon’s ownership, assuming you still want her by then.”

“You can’t do this!”

“I can. Emma…” Brinn lifted himself up from the floor and turned again to face me. “From now on Simon can ask for any girl to share his furs except for Shannon.”

I looked up, horrified at this cruel edict. Brinn continued: “But no single girl shares his furs more often than, say, once in every seven nights. Simon must sleep with seven different girls before he can repeat any single girl again, understood?”

“Master…” I began to say.

“This is not a discussion, Emma. You are First Girl. You oversee the rotas here. Do you understand?”

“Yes Master.”

“And not Shannon.” Brinn looked over at the stricken girl. “Not ever again until I say so. I will not have my brother embarrassing himself in such a fashion.”

“You fucking bastard, Brinn!” Simon pulled himself up from the floor and gazed in misery at Shannon.

“It’s for your own good, Simon. We will toughen you up. You will learn what it is to be a man.”

I watched as Simon stormed out of the chamber, knocking aside a curule chair in the process.

“So,” said Brinn as he yawned and refilled his cup of wine. “Which girl is next up to dance? Shannon… I think we’ll have you now. Entertain us, girl.”

There was a sharp slap as a grinning Cassius smacked Shannon’s ass and pushed the sobbing girl forward on to the tiles to dance for us all in her fluttering silks and bells.


----------------------------------------------

Now:

“I was never going to just leave you to your fate, Emma. Never.”

I think if our hands hadn’t still been tied behind our backs we would both have hugged Simon there and then. As it was I was crying, but this time with tears of relief. It was Simon! We belonged now to Simon! He had followed us and he had bought us! We wore his collars! We were safe.

Simon turned me about once I stood inside the apartment and he began to untie the binding fibre on my wrists. His hand touched my shoulder in a reassuring manner as he did so. “There wasn’t time to speak to you at the estate before you were driven away, Emma. I’m sorry. You must have been so scared.”

The apartment was a typical one for the Central and Northern provinces of Gor, with paint washed plaster walls, a tiled floor and simple furnishings such as basic reclining couches and low tables adorned with copper and glassware.

I sobbed and flung myself at Simon once my wrists were free. I buried my head against his chest and blubbered thanks that spilled from my mouth. “You have no idea... you have no idea...” I felt his hands hold me and stoke my hair while Chloe stood nearby, still bound. I felt so grateful there and then. Simon had not abandoned me to my fate.  

I was safe! Simon had bought me. Nothing bad would happen to me now for Simon acted like a caring brother to me. He was kind. He was considerate about my feelings. He worried about me.

“I had to arrange things quickly, especially after the Lady Marissa came to me the night when you were so cruelly suspended in the courtyard. I’ve worked very hard for you, Emma.”

“I was so scared…” I glanced round at the Free Woman who regarded us both. Had she ever been at the estate? Perhaps. It's not likely I would have recognised her today as Free Women in veils look very much alike. It is the perfect disguise if a woman wishes to move and act anonymously within a city.

“I would never have left you to your fate.” Simon glanced round at Marissa and asked, “how much did they cost?”

“Five silvers. A builder insisted on bidding against me for quite some time. It would have been more in three weeks time of course.”

Simon nodded, but as I glanced up I could see from the look on his face that he had spent a lot of his money on us.

“Thank you, Simon. Thank you! I know it was a lot of money...” I placed my hands upon his chest, palms first, and I smiled as I met his eyes.

I felt him release me as he beckoned now to Chloe. The girl came to him as he now turned her about and set to freeing her wrists as he had done mine.

“You tied the girls tightly,” said Simon as his fingers fumbled on the knots of the binding fibre.

“The knots were tied by a slaver,” said Marissa as she shrugged and, to my surprise, began to remove her outer veils. Obviously she felt comfortable enough in Simon’s presence that she was prepared to be seen in just a single thin House veil – gossamer, semi-transparent – hardly there at all. It was made from the finest of gauze and was a veil in symbolic terms only. Such a veil would only be worn by a Free Woman in the inner chambers of her property, and only in the company of men she trusted. It was very audacious of her to face strip herself like that. She was dressed beautifully of course in swirling robes of brushed fabrics, with long sleeves that draped well over all but the extremities of her gloved fingers. 

It was clear as soon as the last veil left her lower face that she had very beautiful lips. Goreans place much emphasis on the lips of a woman. The lips are considered extremely erotic – scandalous even - almost to the point that breasts are on Earth - such is the power of a woman’s lips over a typical Gorean male. A Free Woman risks much revealing her lips to a man. I could tell that Simon was drawn to her considerable beauty as she coyly revealed herself. I presume he had seen her before? Surely this was not the first time she had exposed herself in such a way? For surely a Free Woman would wish to do so in a place of safety for the first time, in case the sight of her lips drove the man to acts of reckless passion. She would want to be sure that she could manage the possible consequences of such an encounter. I could not believe she would choose this side street apartment in a far away town to permit Simon to see her bare face for the first time.

“The Lady Marissa is strikingly beautiful,” said Simon as he gazed at her for several ihn. 

“Thank you.” There was a hint of nervousness in her voice as she regarded his penetrating gaze. She still held the last veil in her hands – a thin gossamer thing,  but better than nothing. As Simon continued to look at her, I saw him involuntarily lick his lips. Thinking better of this, Marissa raised the last veil back to her face and was about to fumble with the pins when Simon quickly apologised.

“Please... do not be alarmed... I of course respect you, Lady. You need not fear. Be at ease here. There is no need to veil yourself in this apartment.”

“You were staring at me,” said Marissa as she held the painfully thin gauze before her face with her small fingers. She did not however fix it back in place just yet.

“It was wrong of me. You are very beautiful, Lady. More beautiful than I had imagined.”

“You have... previously imagined me?” asked Marissa. “Reflected on how I might look?”

“I didn't mean it like that.” Now Simon looked away, in order to spare the Lady her blushes. “You are safe here. Be at ease.”

Marissa nodded and finally placed the last veil with the others on a table. She really was astonishingly beautiful now that her features were exposed.

“And thank you for doing this, Lady,” said Simon. “I did not want to risk being seen during the sale, in case any of the Lady Cassandra’s people were there to provide her with a report of the sale.”

“It was no great hardship,” said Marissa as she reached for a flask of ka-la-na and poured herself a small goblet of the red wine. “Though I confess I find such places vulgar.”

“But of course.” Simon nodded as if to suggest he understood completely. “Please forgive me, Lady, there was no one else I could trust at short notice. I am in your debt.” Now Simon too strode to the table where the ka-la-na was kept and with a wry smile directed at Chloe and me, he took the flask and held it for us to see. “I think this reunion calls for some wine, Emma, Chloe. Would you like some wine?” He tapped a couple of small goblets already laid out for us.

“Simon!” Marissa’s voice was suddenly sharp and commanding. I saw Simon flinch in surprise. “After all I have done for you, is it your intention to humiliate me publicly in return?”

“Lady…” Simon genuinely seemed confused. “Of course not, but forgive me, I’m not sure…”

“A Free Woman is present, Sir. She is drinking ka-la-na from a goblet.” She indicated the receptacle with her free hand. “Are you truly so inconsiderate as to suggest a kajira might drink in her presence in the same way? Have you no sense of propriety?”

“I am sorry… of course – it was wrong of me.” Simon quickly took his hand from the free standing goblets intended for us. “I wasn’t thinking.” He saw the Lady look away as if a great wrong had just been inflicted upon her. “Perhaps… perhaps a shallow pan would be more appropriate?”

“I would think so, yes,” said Marissa as she actually wiped a small tear from one eye.

And then to my astonishment, Simon actually found such two such pans, filed them with some ka-la-na, placed them on the floor and indicated we could now drink from them.

No fucking way, I thought, as I glanced at Lady Marissa. I was not going to go down on my hands and knees and lap ka-la-na from a pan while this woman watched.

“Thank you, Simon,” I said politely, “but there’s no need.”

“Oh come on, Emma, don’t be like that – it’s good ka-la-na, and it would be embarrassing for the Lady if you drank from a goblet in her presence.”

“Perhaps later, Simon, I’m not really…”

“Drink the ka-la-na, girl,” said Marissa. “A kajira eats and drinks when commanded, not when she prefers to.” Her voice was sharp and commanding.

I hesitated for a moment to give Simon time to put her in her place, but Simon said nothing. He looked uncomfortable with the situation, but apparently he had no wish to contradict the Free Woman in front of two slave-girls.

Really? You’re really going to make me lap wine from a bowl on the floor, Simon? Really?

Nothing was said for a couple of ihn, and then I saw Marissa’s hand reach for the handle of the slave crop in its sheath. Suddenly Chloe was on her knees, forearms resting on the floor, head down, and she was lapping at the wine in the bowl with her tongue. As the leather handle slid from its sheath, I quickly joined Chloe and, alternating with her, lapped at the wine, feeling humiliated and angry.

“You must not be weak with slaves,” said Marissa as she slid the crop back into its sheath. “They will secretly despise you for it. If you are to survive on Gor, Simon, you must learn to be more Gorean.”

“Lady, I know these girls and…”

“And you allow them to take advantage of you. You are a man. You are on Gor. Here you can only be dominant or submissive. You are a man so you have the choice. Many women do not. Which will you be?”

“Dominant of course,” said Simon. “But Emma meant no disrespect, Lady. She has been through a lot.”

“Do not show weakness, Simon. Others will scent weakness and they will seek to dominate you. You are a handsome man. Pretty even, as many of the men of Earth are. It is not inconceivable you could be a woman’s silk slave if you take the path of weakness. Is that what you wish?”

“No.” Simon was firm and sure about that.

“Good.” Lady Marissa walked slowly around Simon, regarding him with curiosity. “Good. I despise soft men like that. Men should be strong. Men should be fearless. It is your birthright. You should never surrender that. Tell the girls what they are.” She paused and indicated us with a sweep of her hand. “Tell them now.”

Simon turned his gaze upon Chloe and myself. “You are a kajira, Emma. You too, Chloe.”

“Yes, Master,” we both said as we knelt beside the pan.

“Do not be soft with these girls. You can never be a man of Gor if you are. If circumstances mean we are to work together in Port Kar, I will need you to be strong. I need you to be Gorean. My life will be at stake. Brinn of the Sardar was a strong man whom I could rely upon. Are you such a man, Simon? Or am I wasting my time?”

“You can rely on me, Lady. Do not mistake kindness for weakness.”

“We shall see.” The Lady Marissa paused to sip a little of her ka-la-na. She of course drank from a crystal glass. “I have been working in Port Kar these last few months, ably assisted in my mission by Brinn, for as I think you guessed, Simon, I work for Priest Kings, as does Brinn. I cannot fully explain the nature of my work, but suffice to say Samos of Port Kar has become concerned about a secret organisation that is referred to as the Shadow Council of Port Kar. It is said to meet in secret and, with the aid of silver and gold from the Enemy, it seeks to subvert the natural order of power in Port Kar to its own ends.”

“You may not be familiar with the current balance of power on Gor, Emma,” said Simon as he paced about the room. “The city states of Ar and Cos are no longer as strong as they once were, and in the intervening years Port Kar’s fortunes have risen to the point where it is now the pre-eminent power on the Thassa.”

Thassa is Gorean for the Sea, and bearing in mind the vast continent of Gor has never been adequately explored any further east than the Barrens, Goreans here are only familiar with the one sea, found to the west of the continent, which they name Thassa. Port Kar occupies a prominent position on the coast, at the mouth of the Vosk delta, from which green painted pirate galleys emerge to hunt and raid. Some call it the 'Tarn of the Sea' and with good reason, for it is crowded, squalid, malignant, and populated by rogues and scoundrels in the main.

To call it a city glosses over the fact that it is essentially an anarchic configuration of independent holdings – each one essentially a fortress – controlled by a renowned Pirate Captain. These holdings are separated by canals, for the city is built on a series of lagoon like islands, making the city resemble in certain aspects ancient Venice. Where the city exists as an identifiable construct it is due to the Council of Captains who meet to agree common cause throughout Kar. When united, as they often are these days, the Captains of Port Kar can combine their ships into a massive naval fleet able to rival the warships of Cos and Tyros. Port Kar enjoys remarkable natural defences due to its position at the mouth of the marshlands of the Vosk Delta. Moving and supplying an army through that inhospitable terrain is a recipe for disaster as the great city of Ar once discovered decades ago. An attack by sea of course faces the problem of facing the war fleets of Port Kar on their own waters, and so along with the mountain fortress of Treve, Port Kar remains pretty much impregnable.  

To be on the council which took control and which is currently around a hundred and twenty Captains, you must command at least five ships, which must be merchant ships or ships of war of medium class. Captains are permitted a crest of sleen hair on their helms to mark their status and you can take what a captain owns if you kill him in single combat, which is allegedly what the (probably mythical) Tarl Cabot once did under the assumed name of Bosk.
 
“I am aware of this, Simon,” I said. “News did filter through to us from Brinn’s men, you know.” It’s worth mentioning that men like to talk to slave-girls. A Gorean man has a far greater interest in a woman than the typical man of Earth does, by which I mean, they are interested in our thoughts, our emotions, and our opinions. A Gorean man might spend hours conversing with a slave-girl, while still fucking her of course, and it is worth noting he would much prefer a woman to be highly intelligent and eloquent. Gorean men prize intelligence in women. They treasure it in fact. The Earth cliché of a brainless bimbo would not be particularly attractive to a Gorean man. So yes, it was quite common for the warriors in Brinn’s service to spend time with us, talking, as we lay in their furs or in their arms.

There is a saying amongst slave girls, that if you truly wish to know what goes on in a city, then you should sleep with a kajira, for we know everything and we will tell you everything as we come close to an orgasm. 

“Simon, why is she using your name?” asked Marissa suddenly.

“I have known Emma for many years,” said Simon. “She is permitted to use my name.”

“Really?” The Lady Marissa seemed incredulous. “Do you think that wise? It is hardly conducive to discipline. Men might consider it a weakness on your part.”

“It is not a weakness,” snapped Simon. I could see he was getting irritated by this.

“Some would say it is. I would say it is!”

“Well they are wrong. You are wrong. Emma sometimes calls me 'Master'. It depends on the merits of the conversation.”

Actually I don’t think I did ever call Simon Master, unless Brinn was in the same room. He didn't like me calling Simon by his name either. He once beat me for it. But I couldn't think of Simon as a 'Master'. It would just seem… ridiculous I suppose. Can you imagine Simon as a Master? Simon? With his Justice League of America action figures? He still owned a few. He actually went back to the ruined hulk of Golden Klaw and salvaged half a dozen after our victory there. He has them now on his shelves in the infirmary. One of them is Wonder Woman, and after numerous men enquired what sort of slave figurine she was, Simon, feeling exasperated by it all, commissioned a toy maker to make a small rep cloth gown for the figure, so it is now modestly dressed and veiled. I couldn’t stop myself laughing when I saw it like that for the first time.

“Well, for the record I do not approve,” said Marissa. “I believe slave-girls should be kept under strict discipline. One should not become overly familiar with them. Brinn would not approve either. And as for Samos...”

“Noted,” said Simon, though I could see he felt embarrassed by the Gorean reprimand. No doubt this wasn’t the first time a Gorean man or woman had suggested to him he was showing signs of unbefitting weakness.

I smiled to myself while Marissa was looking the other way and winked to Simon in a conspiratorial manner. Usually when I did this he winked back as if to say, “don’t worry Emma, I’ve got your back,” but strangely this time he didn’t wink or even smile. He simply looked troubled. Something seemed to be on his mind following the words from Marissa.

“And why are we explaining anything to a pair of slave-girls?” asked Marissa. “This is strange behaviour, Simon. Truly it is. Brinn would not act this way. He would not approve. Brinn is a strong man. He is worthy of my admiration. Don't you want to be respected like Brinn is?”

Simon was looking even more uncomfortable now as his manliness was under question.

“Emma serves a purpose here, Lady. She knows Brinn intimately. Very intimately. I intend for her to examine the body that will be presented to us in the morgue in Port Kar. I believe Emma will be able to conclusively confirm or deny that the body is Brinn’s beyond any reasonable doubt. It doesn’t help our situation if she is ignorant of things.”

“I am aware of her relationship with Brinn. He occasionally spoke about her.” She now regarded me with a less than approving expression.

I bet he did, I thought to myself with a hidden smile. If there was one thing that was a constant over the last six years, it was Brinn’s desire for me. I knew exactly how to push his buttons and drive him to distraction. 

“Emma, this Shadow Council… Samos believes it wields real power now in the background. Port Kar is nominally governed by a council of the Pirate Captains, operating in the best interests of the city. But lately things have been going awry…” said Simon.

“I have reason to believe that this Shadow Council was formed by refugees from Tharna nearly fifty years ago,” said Marissa, conceding finally to speak to me. “Tharna back then was a matriarchy ruled by the Silver Masks. The great Tarl Cabot brought down their rule early in his career and it was believed that all the silver mask clad women were enslaved. There is now evidence to suggest that some escaped the fall of their regime, and in time they made their way to Port Kar where they might hide due to the anarchic nature of the city. For over five decades they, or their children, have secretly acquired power to the point where they now control some dishnourable men, wealth and assets throughout the lagoons and canals. I have been trying to infiltrate their ranks over the last few months and was close to succeeding when Brinn was murdered. Though I now have strong reason to believe that the body that was fished out of the Port Kar canals – the body that bears the evidence of being Brinn - I believe that body belongs to someone else and was deliberately mutilated to make us believe that Brinn of the Sardar is dead.”

“Please Mistress,” I said, “why do you believe this?” Hope was rising inside me. I had no idea why Marissa believed what she did, but I desperately wanted to believe it too.

“Tell your slave-girl,” said Marissa, without looking at me, “that if she continues to ask me questions without permission, I will have her whipped.”

Simon looked uncomfortable again, but to my annoyance he turned to me and said, “Emma, you really shouldn't be speaking to the Lady like this. She has a point.”

The stuck up bitch. Oh, I really disliked Free Women. Why were they always like this? What had I ever done to them? Why did they always treat me like shit?

“Yes Master,” I said, though I knew there was no way in Hell Simon would let the bitch actually whip me. Still, I was obviously making things difficult for him. Marissa obviously had information we needed.

“Apologise to the Lady, Emma,” said Simon.

I lowered my head to the woman's slippers and said, “this kajira begs forgiveness, Mistress. She was wrong to speak to you like that.”

“Look at me, Emma.”

I did as she said, and suddenly I reeled as she face slapped me with the flat of her hand. It was a shock and I knelt there in astonishment and some pain as she continued to gaze down at me.

“Now you will be silent until you are asked a question, do you understand me, girl?”

“Yes Mistress.” I felt my face burning from the slap. Simon said nothing! He just stood there, shifting his weight from one foot to the other! He said nothing! By implication in his silence he was taking the Free Woman's side, or at least, condoning her actions.   

“Lady, I understand your irritation with Emma,” said Simon as he attempted in his own clumsy way to make peace here, “but it would probably help matters if she was aware why you suspect Brinn might still be alive. Please bear in mind she is perhaps the only person who can make a definitive assessment of the body when we see it.”

“Very well. Brinn was in possession of a silver Tarn ring that he always wore. It was a personal thing that had been passed down by his father. He loved that ring.”

I knew this to be true. He always wore it.




“The ring was on the mutilated body when it was fished out of the canal,” said Marissa. “It was one of the means by which Brinn was identified, as his face had been chewed by urts. However, one day before his disappearance, Brinn leant me his ring as a luck token when I was about to make contact with the conspirators. He said it carried the blessings of the Priest Kings and would protect me in my hour of need. I still have it.” The Lady reached under the neck of her gown and produced the familiar looking ring that hung on a thong loop beneath her dress. “Therefore the ring on the body had to be deliberately planted to make us believe the body was Brinn's. It could not have been the real one, as I still have it.” She held the ring before me. I wasn't close enough to study it in detail, and obviously I didn't dare ask to do so, but from where I knelt it certainly appeared to be Brinn's ring.

“So you see, Emma, that in itself is enough to arouse suspicion once the Lady spoke to me. I didn't want to raise your hopes unduly, but Brinn may very well be alive and a prisoner of the Enemy, and another body was mutilated to make us believe it was his. When we reach Port Kar I will expect you to make a close study of the body and tell me whether there are any signs that it is your previous Master,” said Simon.

“How is it that you're not with the Lady Cassandra now?” I asked, for I remembered that Simon had gone down on one knee to save me from torture and death, and he had sworn an oath into her service as the price he had to pay.

“I am here on the Lady's service, Emma. She despatched me to Port Kar to retrieve Brinn's body, or what remains of it. She will give him a warrior's funeral. I have adequate funds and, unbeknown to her, I have the assistance of the Lady Marissa who as I explained, came to me that same night with separate news from Cassandra's.” Simon turned back to Marissa and spoke now to her. “Tell me, Lady, will you accompany us on our journey to Port Kar?”

“No, Simon, I shall travel separately and meet you there shortly after you arrive, and I will introduce you to Samos of Port Kar who will explain matters further, particularly the matters pertaining to the mission Brinn and I undertook. For myself, I first need to detour and report to agents in the Sardar and convey secret messages from Samos to representatives of the Nest.”

The 'Nest' of course is the mysterious home in the Sardar mountain range for the Priest Kings who rule Gor behind their metaphorical smoke and mirrors. I had never seen a Priest King, but I understood from Brinn that they were alien in form, resembling giant insects. Brinn had met them once, and spoke little of that encounter despite my constant prodding. 

I had however seen Samos once, though I hadn't spoken to him. He had been one of the many men who congratulated Brinn during the night when riches and adulation had been bestowed upon him. I had been displayed on a dais as Brinn's slave-girl, secured by a golden neck chain attached to my collar. Samos had walked past me without expression for I was, I suppose, nothing to him.

I didn't like what I saw of Samos. He seemed cruel and hard.           

“Did your Master speak of me much?” asked the Lady Marissa of me without warning.

“No Mistress.” Why would he? It wouldn’t be a good idea for me to tell Marissa how little Brinn thought of Free Women, and certainly how infrequently he mentioned them. “He never spoke of you.”

“I suppose there was no reason for him to confide in a kajira,” said the Lady as she sipped some more of her wine. “We have worked together for about a year now, on and off,” she explained while I knelt there having to listen. In truth I knew little of Brinn’s work for the Priest Kings. Occasionally he might reference something or other, but on the whole he remained tight lipped for the simple reason that anything he told me could be tortured out of me if the Enemy ever got their hands on me. What I didn’t know I couldn’t tell, and despite my great service to the Priest Kings at Skaffel Peak, I was not in any sense one of their agents. I did not play a part in the Great Game of Worlds.

“We made a good team, Brinn and I. He respected me greatly.”

I doubted that very much. Brinn tended to view women as sexual creatures first and foremost. Respect didn’t really come into it, but if the Lady wanted to delude herself in that fashion, who was I to suggest otherwise.

“Our working relationship had its… intimate moments…” she said.

My eyes flickered upwards as she said that. Intimate moments?

“Ah, I see this is news to you then, Emma.” Marissa touched her bosom with her free hand. “Your Master has deep feelings for me. They grew naturally enough as we worked together closely. He found me attractive and I too found him handsome.”

What… the… fuck…

“I confess that on some occasions there was not actually an operational need for us to spend time together, and yet that is what we did. Brinn, your Master, would take me to exquisite places to eat and drink, and sometimes we would walk together in the gardens. He saw something in me I suppose that he did not find in common slave girls such as yourself.”

No fucking way. I must have been staring now as Marissa laughed softly. “Its true, Emma, we spent a lot of time between operations just talking. We have even…” her voice grew quieter now as if what she was about to say was shameful, “we have even kissed on occasion, our lips brushing one another’s while we held hands in a garden.”

I have heard some ridiculous things in my life, but nothing quite as ridiculous as this. For a moment I considered the possibility that she had confused Brinn with some other Priest King operative and had never actually met my Master after all, but then I remembered the tarn ring she had in her possession. It was definitely Brinn’s, if it was genuine.

Simon looked surprised, which added to my sense of disbelief. “Brinn mentioned nothing of this, Lady.”

“I asked him not to, Simon. It is not the done thing for two agents to form an emotional or even physical bond when they are in service together against the enemy. It… complicates matters. And yet Brinn and I shared many special moments. We have grown close. It is why he gave me his tarn ring for luck.”

I glanced at Chloe but she seemed as bewildered as I was by this supposed revelation.

“Is something wrong, Emma?” Marissa asked sweetly.

“My Master generally contents himself with slaves, Mistress.” It was about the most polite thing I could say.

“I know, he told me that several times. He told me these feelings for me were very new to him, and that he had never felt this way about a Free Woman before. I am apparently special. Do you doubt me?”

“It is not my place to doubt the words of a Free Woman, Mistress,” I said, as I felt my chest tighten. Was this possibly true? Had Brinn actually fallen for a Free Woman? Was that even possible? Logically I knew it couldn’t be true, and yet… what did I really know about his life when he was away from the estate? Marissa was obviously very beautiful. Was it possible he did want her?

Oh God, I began to feel sick.

“There is something else you should know, Simon,” said Marissa as she turned to face him. “When Brinn gave me his ring, it was a token for another reason as well. When this current service for the Priest Kings concludes, he wishes to Free Companion with me contractually for the space of a year.” She beamed a big smile, looking like the proudest woman on Gor, for to be the Free Companion of the hero of the Sardar was second only to becoming the Ubara of a city.

Simon looked stunned, and I must have looked even more stunned as I knelt there. No. No fucking way. There is no fucking way Brinn would ever want to take a Free Companion. Never. He only related to women sexually as a Master to a Slave. I could not imagine him taking a woman tenderly, with respect, being gentle. The only way Marissa would ever find herself on Brinn’s couch if she was stripped and chained to it, forced to comply with a whip nearby. That was the only way Brinn related sexually to women.

“I said yes of course. Oh, I know, I should perhaps have been a little more hesitant, unsure, made him work for my hand a little longer, but I too have feelings for him. I want to be his Free Companion. Isn’t it wonderful?”

“It’s… wonderful, Lady…” said Simon for he didn’t know what else to say.

“There will be one condition of course. I will not have slave-girls present in our bed chambers. If Brinn wishes to use those sluts I will expect him to do so in some other set of chambers where I do not ever have to set foot. It would be insulting to me otherwise.”

“I understand, Lady,” said Simon with the expression of a man who was still trying to take all of this in. Brinn? With a Free Companion?     

I think Chloe sensed I was getting near boiling point, for I suddenly felt her place a hand on my thigh and warn me to keep quiet with a penetrating stare. She remembered only too well of course what had happened to me the last time I had spoken out at a Free Woman in anger. And so I simmered inside, but held my tongue. 

The journey to Port Kar was easy enough, though time consuming. First we travelled across land from the Sardar mountains to the western port of Piedmont, a journey of some 1,600 pasangs. Brinn would have flown us there quickly by Tarn, but Simon had no such skill with the great birds of Gor, and so we travelled on a High Tharlarion. Over the years Brinn had insisted that Simon learn to ride, and we were amused over many weeks on the estate, watching him cling to one of the great riding lizards in fear with both hands as it trotted around the stable paddock, hissing and spitting and roaring.

“It can't eat you while you remain on its back,” Brinn had reasonably pointed out as he ate a piece of fruit.

“It eats people?” Simon had said in alarm.

“Not anyone of any importance.”

Simon eventually learned to ride reasonably well, though he had never trained to fight from the back of a tharlarion. He could just about manage a respectable trot and rein the beast in from plodding into a thicket to hunt for medium size brush rodents, which was all we required to reach the port. The High Tharlarion is commonly trained to respond to simple voice commands and smacks with the butt or tip of a lance. They move in a bounding, lurching fashion, often taking large strides equal to twenty men's paces at a time. The saddle strapped to the back of the tharlarion was technically sophisticated, incorporating a degree of shock absorbers on an hydraulic fitting that makes the journey a little more comfortable. Both the tharlarion and the saddle in this case was large enough to accommodate both Chloe and myself. I sat before Simon, with his arms around my waist, while Chloe sat behind him with her arms about his waist.

“You're in a slave-girl sandwich now,” I joked when I felt him first place me in position. The saddle was big enough so that it stretched down beyond my legs, meaning I would not have the soft skin of my calves rub against the scaled hide of the beast. I was pleased to be placed close to the pommel as the clear implication meant I was therefore First Girl in Simon's coffle, as I should be. Then to my surprise I felt him take my wrists and lash them together with binding fibre to a steel ring mounted on the front of the saddle. “I'm bound!” I said as I felt his left hand around my waist. It was very uncharacteristic of Simon to do something like this. 

“Yes you are, Emma. That's very observant of you. Well done,” he joked.

“I suppose it's so I won't fall from the Tharlarion?” I asked, as I felt him settle in behind me, once he had placed Chloe to the rear position of the saddle.

“Of course. Why else would I have bound your wrists like that?”

I pulled weakly at the bindings, which was my habit whenever I was bound, and I felt the usual  thrill at being secured like that. I couldn't help myself. It was the way my body was designed to respond to bondage. 

We travelled maybe 60 pasangs a day, as our Tharlarion obviously had to carry a significant weight. We tended to rest for a couple of hours at lunch time, when Simon would feed the beast with salted meat from a saddle bag while Chloe and myself took turns to prepare a simple cold meal for ourselves.

At night we camped in concealment away from the road, and we were careful not to make too much noise. The roads in Northern Gor are reasonably safe and regularly patrolled by troops of guardsmen from neighbouring cities, but outlaws and bandits do nevertheless prey on small groups of travellers. Simon was not a warrior and therefore didn’t have Brinn’s smug confidence when it came to setting up camp. That’s not to say he couldn’t defend himself, for Simon by now had the appearance of a strong looking man, and Brinn had tutored him in the basics of fighting with a blade, but still, he wasn’t of the caste of warriors as Brinn was.

“I’d rather not test how good Brinn was as a sword teacher,” Simon said on the first night when we camped. The arrangement each night was always the same. Chloe or myself would set up camp, including a fire, while the other prepared the food. We would eat and then as the sun set we would sit around the camp fire talking. Simon would ask us a lot of questions about our lives on Earth, for I think he was more homesick than we were. To be honest I didn’t like to be reminded of my life on Earth as a man. Eric Michael Anderson seemed another person by now, and one that had effectively died in a quiet field outside of Milton Keynes. I was Emma now, and I only wanted to be Emma. Interestingly Chloe felt much the same. She answered Simon’s questions but did so reluctantly, and offering as little information as she could get away with. But when the conversation turned instead to our experiences as girls on Gor, we both opened up and enthusiastically spoke of our experiences on this wild but splendid world. Little by little Simon gave up talking about Earth, and before long we only spoke of Gor.

“Correct me if I’m wrong, but you did seem very happy on Brinn’s estate, Emma.”

“I was.” I nibbled at a piece of meat that was too hot to hold properly. I had wrapped some thick festal tree leaves around it, and was dribbling juice down onto my thighs. “My life there was good. I was happy.”

“Even though you were a slave?”

“It wasn’t a hard slavery. I actually lived very well. And as First Girl I had a lot of power. You have no idea, Simon.”

Chloe laughed behind me. “It’s true, Master,” she said. Unlike me, she didn’t dare call Simon by his name. And I notice Simon never suggested she might have permission to do so. “Emma was a proper little slave-Ubara. She never let us forget it, you know.”

I gave Chloe a cross look, but then winked to show I didn't mean it.

“I was actually scared of her to begin with,” admitted Chloe. “She gave me this stern speech when I first arrived, and she laid down the law and warned us all what might happen if we so much as looked at Brinn.”

I smiled smugly. It was true, but my bark was worse than my bite.

“She was really quite scary. 'You have no idea what I’m capable of if someone crosses me', she said to us. I tried my best to keep a low profile to begin with. And all the other slaves warned me to never so much as flirt with Brinn. Don't annoy Emma, was the first lesson I was taught.”

“Damn right,” I said as I nibbled some more at the meat. Oh, but it was good. I licked the juices from my fingers and breathed in the sweetness of the wild night air. 

Simon had brought thick furs for the journey and there were sufficient to go round. Simon chose to sleep on his own, but Chloe and I shared the same furs for warmth. By now we were both used to sleeping together with other girls in the pens, even though it had been a long time since I had done so, back in the days when Kara and I underwent training at Banu Hashim. The truth was I didn’t like sleeping on my own. It wasn’t necessarily a sexual thing – I just like the sensation of being with someone else for comfort and security. Chloe and I spooned and I felt safer in doing so. At night if you are out in the wilds it can be quite scary. The darkness is absolute and you often lay awake hearing the snuffling and snarling of animals in the distance. Our camp fire would keep animals at bay while it burned, but there was always the threat of a sleen for example coming across our scent and checking us out. Simon kept his sword close to where he slept just in case.

Simon kept us chained by the ankles at night. An ankle chain on my left ankle was connected by maybe three feet of links to Chloe’s ankle. A longer length of chain trailed from that ankle cuff to a tree where it was wrapped around twice and secured with a padlock.

I chose not to question Simon about this, for I understood it was common practice to secure slaves in the wilds. What was unusual of course, by Gorean standards, is that Simon chose to sleep on his own. Obviously he wouldn’t have ordered me to his furs, because he respected me too much to do that, but Chloe didn’t have any such status with him. Chloe found this mystifying.

“Simon does like women, yes?” she asked me as we clung to one another in the thick furs. We were still awake, listening to animals moving around in the trees some distance from our camp. I was a little scared to be honest. It was like listening out for thunder, counting how close the lightning might be.

“Definitely. He’s had several of the girls on the estate,” I whispered. “Did that sound like a wild sleen to you just now?” I burrowed further down into the furs, for all the good that would do me if a savage sleen did enter our camp. 

“No, that's just the snuffling of a small Tarsk. You'd know that if you ever fed them back home, instead of handing that chore out to the rest of us. It’s strange that Simon doesn’t send either of us to his furs, don't you think?”

“Simon is from Earth,” I said. “He’s not truly Gorean. He made a point of telling me many years ago how abhorrent slavery was. He doesn’t think we should be in collars and chains. Well, not me anyway. He knows I'm better than that. He doesn’t think men should be able to order girls to crawl to their furs.”

“And yet he has used slaves at the estate? I know he has.”

“Well, he’s only human… I suppose the temptation must get too much at times. But I think he always asked the girl for her permission first.”

Chloe began to giggle and I joined in too at the thought of a strong man on Gor asking a kajira for permission to sleep with her!

“Poor Simon,” whispered Chloe.

“Poor Simon,” I agreed. I felt warm and snug in the furs with Chloe. I knew Simon was close by with a sword, a shield and a spear, and he would use those to protect us from wild animals. It is good to have the protection of a man. 

“What do you think he would do, Emma, if a kajira actually said no to him?”

“God knows. Probably apologise for asking in the first place.” The thought of that set us off giggling again.

“Emma, you do realise he actually owns us now? I mean, we wear his collar, and he has papers of slave ownership. It's all legal. Even if Brinn is alive, we are Simon’s property now.”

I hadn’t thought about it like that. I yawned and turned in the furs to give Chloe a sisterly little kiss on the tip of her nose. I was beginning to feel drowsy. “You know as well as I do that if Brinn is still alive, Simon will simply return us to him. And if he isn’t, then at least we will be safe with Simon. We will have an easy slavery. He may even free me.” I thought about the possibility of being free again. Simon might well do that. He cared for me and didn't truly think of me as a natural slave. In his eyes I was better than that. 

“You don’t think Simon would want to keep you?” said Chloe with some thought. “I mean... sexually?”

“Honestly, Chloe, can you really imagine Simon telling Brinn I didn’t belong to him any more? And why would he do that anyway?”

“Well… I’ve seen the way Simon looks at you. You don't always see it, you know. I don’t think you’ve seen the expression on his face at times when Brinn has handled you intimately in public, when you were laughing and squealing in aroused delight and kissing him.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. You make me sound like a slut. Anyway, Simon is Simon. If he really wanted me he could easily have asked Brinn to loan me out. Brinn's like an older brother to him. He would have shared me.”

“But what if Simon doesn’t really want that?”

“Believe me, Chloe, I know Simon a lot better than you do. If he has a crush on anyone, it’s probably Wonder Woman or the Black Canary.”

The road we travelled along wasn’t that far south from the Northern Forests. The days rolled by and I fell into something of a lazy stupor, riding for hours with my wrists tied to the saddle pommel, feeling Simon pressed close to me. I grew uncomfortably aroused from time to time by being in such close proximity to a man. Chloe too was beginning to feel restless, for it had been a while now since she had been touched sexually. I saw the look on her face each night as we knelt by the camp fire, a growing sense of need taking control of her. I felt the same of course. I had noticed how Simon had relaxed around Chloe now. It was almost as if he had forgotten she was originally from Earth. On the seventh night when Simon chained her by the ankle, he allowed the touch of his hand to linger on Chloe’s leg for a few moments. I could see her body tremble a little and her mouth open into an 'O' as she gazed up at him. Simon spoke a few words to her – small talk, nothing much, and as he did so he allowed his fingers to stroke her calf. The effect on Chloe was breath taking. My beautiful friend gazed up hungrily at Simon, and she couldn’t help herself when she whispered, “Please Master… please…” but I think Simon mistook her words for some appeal for mercy, because he hurriedly released her ankle and looked away. I saw Chloe’s fingers clutch handfuls of grass and tear them from the ground in mounting frustration.That night as we lay close to one another in the furs, Chloe turned round away from me and began to masturbate with her fingers, doing so very quietly so that Simon wouldn’t know. I listened to my friend moaning softly, and I felt her body tremble until eventually she came. But it wasn't the same. The orgasm is nowhere even close to a true full blown slave orgasm. That remains out of our own reach.

Once we saw a flight of Tarnsmen high in the sky, their freight baskets full of bound girls, and a pair of girls braceleted and secured either side of the Tarnsman’s saddle. They had been raiding I guessed, and it was only on account of the fact that they were already fully laden that they didn’t trouble themselves to try chain luck with us. Simon watched them as they flew past.

“I think they’re flying back to Treve,” he said as he shaded his eyes from the sun with his right hand.

“They look magnificent,” I said, as I gazed up too. I had always been impressed by the sight of Tarnsmen in flight, even if the thought of being carried away on one of those great birds was a scary prospect.

“You travelled north with Brinn on Tarn in the old, days, didn't you?” said Simon. 

“Yes, after we fled the fall of Elysium on the outskirts of the Tahari. I was terrified to begin with, but after a while I got used to it. Brinn was a great Tarnsman. I have no idea where he learnt to ride a Tarn. There were some things from his past that he never spoke to me about.” I leaned back a little into Simon's body and I chewed my lower lip as I felt the hardness of his chest muscles against my back. My wrists were of course tied to the pommel of the saddle as they were every day we travelled. I pulled at them again, feeling frustrated now.

“Is something wrong, Emma?” Both Simon's hands were about my waist. He was holding me so close to him! So close!

“No.” I shook my head. I could almost feel his breath on the softness of my neck. His mouth was mere inches from the base of my hair. “Perhaps you could untie my wrists for a while?”

“I think not.” Simon laughed.

“Why?” I pulled at my wrists again. One of the other things Brinn had taught Simon early on was how to tie superb capture knots on a woman's body. There was no way I could free myself like this.

“Surely I don't have to explain myself to a kajira,” joked Simon. I think he was actually enjoying having me tied helplessly to the pommel of his saddle, for all his so called protestations that it was terrible how I was treated on Gor. What man secretly wouldn't?

“What if I have an itch I need to scratch?”

“Then tell me where that itch is, and I will relieve it with my hand.”

His right hand now fell on my bare thigh, and a tingle of arousal swept through my sex starved body. “Please don't do that!” I said suddenly, and Simon quickly withdrew it.

“I'm sorry, Emma, I didn't mean...”

“Just don't!” I snapped. “You have no right!”

“Well, you do wear my collar... technically I do own you, according to merchant law...” Simon's voice sounded hurt that I had reacted the way I had. But what did he expect? He was Simon! He was a man of Earth! He was supposed to respect me! If I didn't want to be touched, then he shouldn't touch me!

“Don't touch me again.” I looked straight ahead, my breath sharp and my chest feeling tight. I still felt the tingles from the brief caress of my thigh. “I mean it, Simon. I don't want you to touch me. And I don't want to be tied like this!” I struggled suddenly with my wrists, pulling futilely at the steel ring set into the saddle leather. 

“There's no need to be such a bitch, Emma,” said Simon. He really did sound hurt. “You know I'd never do anything to...”

“I want my wrists untied!” I said loudly and petulantly. “Now!”

“No.” Now Simon's voice sounded firm, resolute, uncompromising. Quite unlike him in fact. “Your wrists will remain tied. And we won't talk about the matter any more. We will ride in silence, Emma.”

“I hate you!”

“In silence. Or God help me, Emma, I swear I'll gag you.”

I snorted something in anger but then fell silent. Did Simon have a gag? Would he use it? I didn't really want to find out.

Silent?

Oh yes, I'd be silent...

------------------------------------------

“Emma, please, how long are you going to keep this silent routine up?”

It was late at night and I still wasn't talking to Simon. I knelt on the grass, not looking at him, as I dipped my fingers into a small bowl of rice food. It was Chloe's night to do the cooking and serving, which suited me well, as I certainly didn't want to be serving food to that prick tonight. He wanted me to be silent? Very well, let's see how well he liked it.

“I'm sorry I spoke to you like that, Emma. But you were being really ungrateful. I've done a lot for you and Chloe.”

“I'm grateful, Master,” said Chloe as she knelt beside him, offering a small cup of ka-la-na that he took and thanked her for. I notice he still hadn't told Chloe she didn't need to call him Master.

“See.” Simon motioned towards Chloe. “Why can't you be a bit more like Chloe?”

Just fuck off, I thought, as I continued to eat in silence.

----------------------------------------

“You’ve been getting very touchy-feely with Simon recently,” I said to Chloe after Simon had finished the usual night time ritual of chaining us together by our ankles. I lay in the furs, feeling generally pissed off and in a mood for an argument. Chloe and Simon had been giggling together all night and it was beginning to annoy me.

“Is that a problem, Emma?” said Chloe as she made herself comfortable in our shared furs. Our ankle chains jingled slightly, but muffled beneath the fur throws. “We were just talking.”

“Look, if you expect Simon to fuck you to a beautiful slave orgasm, you’re in for a really big disappointment. I had him six years ago. He’s not very good in bed, so don’t get your hopes up, slave-girl.”

“Emma...” Chloe gazed at me in surprise.

“Just so you know there's no point in you getting all hot and slutty around him.”

“God, Emma, you can be such a bitch at times. You really can.” Chloe turned on to her side to face me. “What is your problem? So I snuggled up next to Simon by the camp fire and we laughed together for a while. I’m a kajira. I’m lonely. I like Simon. I haven’t been touched in days. It felt good. Why should you care?”

“I don’t. I don’t care. Be a slut if you want to be.”

“I can’t believe you’re saying things like that! Men regularly used us both back on the estate. What’s your problem? Why is this any different?”

“You’re just making yourself look stupid. Mooning all over Simon like that with your big fluttery eyelashes. Oh Master, let Chloe pour you some more wine. Oh Master, it’s cold tonight. Thank you for keeping me warm in your big strong arms. Oh Master, you’re so handsome…”

“You really are a bitch tonight, Emma. You really are.”

“He’s from Earth. He’s Simon. He’s not going to give you much of an orgasm. Trust me – I know.”

“Emma, do you know your problem? I think you suffer from some sort of behaviour disorder. Some times you’re the best friend I could hope for, but then sometimes something sets you off, and you won’t talk about it - you just turn into this bitch queen from Hell. Let me tell you something, Emma. Remember back when Brinn decided to send you to a neighbouring estate for three days as a humility exercise? Remember how we all said how terrible that was to your face? Well, the fact is, although we all liked you, after you were gone most of the girls agreed it would probably do you some good. Bring you back down to Earth a bit. I mean, we liked you, but you really did have this sense of entitlement all the time. And sometimes it made you a bit…”

“Oh, fuck you, Chloe. Fuck you!”

I turned round onto my side, showing Chloe my back and I pulled my leg forward as far as it could go in our shared ankle chains. I felt Chloe pull the chain back a few inches with her ankle, by way of reply.

“Fine. Be like that. Shit all over your friends, Emma. You’re not First Girl in the Sardar any more, you know. It’s a different world now. You really don’t want to be alone in it. Trust me.”


------------------------------------------


I stood beside the Tharlarion in the morning as Simon tied the last of our satchels and sacks to the rear of the saddle. He was careful to distribute the weight evenly of course. I didn’t look at him. Instead I regarded the far horizon where the long road faded to its vanishing point. By my reckoning we were now just a few days away from the port of Piedmont, from where we would take passage on a ship to Port Kar. I was no longer as angry as I had been last night, and when I saw Chloe laughing softly while she conversed with Simon, I began to feel I had let my anger get the better of me. I certainly regretted what I had said to Chloe last night. I felt ashamed with myself. Was she right? Did I have some deep rooted behavioural problem? Brinn had always referred to my ‘mood swings’ but looking back they were at least usually triggered by genuine slights on his part. But yesterday, I had been looking for a confrontation with Simon. I had told him to untie my wrists, and when he didn’t I had lashed out at him, knowing I was safe to do so.

Brinn would have beaten me if I had acted that way, but then Brinn was Gorean. Simon was from Earth.

Simon and Chloe had barely spoken to me over breakfast. It had been my turn to see to the cooking, and Simon had woken me as usual, unlocking the ankle chain and directing me with a few words to build a camp fire and prepare Tarsk strips and porridge. Previously he would have made small talk with me as I worked, and perhaps even helped out. We would have laughed and joked and Chloe would have sat near by, joining in. But not today. I had built the fire and made breakfast while Chloe squealed as Simon had told her to strip and wash in the nearby stream. He had crept up on her and, without warning, had thrown a heavy rock into the stream while she knelt beside it, scooping up handfuls of water to clean her arms and breasts. The splash had taken her by surprise and had soaked her. Now she was laughing and throwing small stones at Simon until he scampered safely away.

I felt ashamed of myself. I looked for a chance to say something, to join in the early morning banter as I served food in simple bowls, but Chloe lay in Simon’s arms, her hair wet, and they simply nodded as I served on my knees.

“Just put the plates on the grass for the moment,” said Simon as he combed Chloe’s hair with a wide toothed comb. She looked content, in the lap of a man, stretched out, feeling the delicious sensation of being groomed by a Master.

She barely looked at me.

I stood by the saddle stirrups, for I was not really tall enough to lift myself into the Tharlarion saddle. I needed Simon to help me up. But when he did, instead of lifting me to the front of the saddle, where he would then lash my wrists together on the pommel, I found myself lifted to the back of the saddle.

“Simon?” It was the first word I’d spoken in nearly 24 hours.

“Chloe rides at the front today,” he said, as he lashed my ankles to steel rings either side of the saddle. I would travel with my arms about his waist, and my ankles lashed to provide me from falling. Chloe would ride in the preferential position.

I suddenly felt like I wanted to cry, but I fought back the onset of tears. I had been a bitch last night, to both of them.

I saw Simon lift Chloe into the front of the saddle, and I heard her laugh again as Simon climbed into position behind her. Taking her wrists, he bound them now, without any complaint on the part of my friend.

“Place your arms about my waist, Emma,” he said without any warmth in his voice.

I did so. I pressed my face to his shoulders as I sat there. I was now in second slave position. Conversation would tend to be between Simon and the girl to his front.

We rode, and I listened as Chloe and Simon conversed. She seemed delighted to be able to see the countryside as it appeared before her. Laughing, she would point things out to Simon, and together they would marvel at things I often took for granted – birds, animals, flowers, trees, stone mounds on hill tops built long ago by ancient Gorean peoples.

I felt excluded, but the truth was I had excluded myself.

And then as the morning wore on, they began to play ‘Truth or Dare’ as we rode through pleasant meadowlands on either side of our road. I’m not sure what the nature of the ‘dare’ might have been had Simon refused to answer one of Chloe’s questions truthfully, as she never truly put him to the test on that point by asking him anything particularly embarrassing, but Chloe had already shied away from answering two intimate questions, and each time had forfeited a kiss. It was incredible. They were acting like teenagers, with Chloe forfeiting something so minor that any Gorean man would consider it to be routine. It was innocent. It was playful. But it certainly wasn’t Gorean.

“My turn,” said Simon. “Tell me… tell me something you love about being a kajira.”

“Oh that’s an easy one, Master,” said Chloe as she sat there with his left arm about her waist. “Girl Catch. I love playing Girl Catch.”




Girl Catch is a popular game on Brinn’s estate, and it is played by a number of off duty men, often on hot lazy afternoons. A girl – say Chloe for example - is hooded and belled. The men are all blindfolded, and they begin the game in an enclosed space. The object of the game is for the girl to survive being seized by men for as long as she can. The men of course try to track the girl by the sound of her bells and by the tell tale sounds of her trying to evade her would be captors. On Brinn’s estate the game runs for a set amount of time, and the winner is the man who has caught the slave the most often. He then gets to use her in the furs. Depending on how long the girl managed to avoid their questing hands, she earns herself a number of treats for the evening.

“Have you ever played ‘Girl Catch’, Master?” asked Chloe.

“No, but I saw it from time to time out of my medical station window. I think you were hooded once and I watched you darting skilfully between the men. More often than not the men seemed to catch one another.”

“I was very good at it,” laughed Chloe. “The secret is moving when you hear two or more men run into one another. You last longer that way.”

“Perhaps when all this is over I’ll play Girl Catch with you one day,” said Simon as he placed his hand on her thigh.

“I think you should, Master. I think you should! Okay, so it’s my turn again. Let’s see… if you could bring any one thing from Earth to Gor today – a thing, not a person – what would it be and why?”

“Good question. Um, do I have to worry about Priest King Technology laws?”

“I suppose so.”

“Well, in that case…”

“I’m sorry.” I said the words softly and pressed my face against Simon’s tunic with my eyes screwed shut. “I don’t know why I…”

“Master,” said Chloe as I struggled to form the right words, “do you think perhaps it’s time to rest the Tharlarion for fifteen ehn or so?”

“I think it might be, Chloe, yes.”

And so we dismounted and Simon helped Chloe down first. He then tethered the Tharlarion to a tree and watched as Chloe stretched her legs and arms, free from the saddle after a couple of hours bound to it. Only then did he free my ankles and lift me down to the ground. I flexed my own legs and did some basic stretches to restore circulation. I was aware they were both watching me without saying anything.

“I’m so sorry… Simon… Chloe… I was such a bitch last night, especially to you Chloe. I can’t believe what I said to you. I can’t believe I was so petty and hurtful.”

Simon gazed at Chloe and nodded. Without any further prompting, Chloe walked up to me and placed her arms around my body. “It’s okay, Emma. We know you’ve been through Hell. It’s okay.”

“I was such a bitch…I don’t know why I say these things…” I was crying now as Chloe hugged me. “I hate myself sometimes. I really do.”

“Hush.” Chloe held me for a while and Simon did what men do in such a situation – he tried not to get in the way.

“Friends?” I said, looking up into Chloe’s eyes.

“Of course. But hey, slave-girl, don’t even think about asking to sit up front for the rest of the day. That seat today is sooo mine, and you know I've earned it!”

------------------------------------------------------------

The harbour front of Port Kar was crowded with ocean going vessels that clung to every wharf and jetty like barnacles to wood. The sound of creaking timbers and lapping waves intermingled with the loud voices of men and the hammering of tools as our vessel slipped between the lines of moorings in search of a place to dock. The air was fresh with salt and a strong breeze that blew my hair back behind me as I leaned against the rail gazing at the sight of the narrow canals and waterways that formed an arterial system through the heart of the city. Seagulls were everywhere, swooping down to pluck at flotsam that could possibly be food, and standing sentry on the tops of tall buildings and imposing towers that overlooked the entry to this shallow bay. Today the light was warm and bright, casting the gulls into dark sombre shadows against a soft pale sky. They screeched as they made inverted arcs in the air, hungry and tenacious, gracefully swaying from side to side, tracing the curves of the waves with time honoured precision.   

We had taken passage on a small coastal sailing ship with a single mast that set off from the small port of Cardonicus on the western coast of the known continent of Gor. It lies a short distance from the city state of Piedmont which occupies a fortified position in the foothills of a mountain range just south of the Northern Forests. The vessel carried a large cargo of timber planks bound for Port Kar, along with a handful of passengers who were required to sleep on deck as the hold itself was full of wood. Thankfully the weather had been dry, for sleeping on deck in a rain storm is a truly miserable experience, even with a tarpaulin of sorts. Once again Chloe and I snuggled together for warmth and I enjoyed the security and comfort of her body as it lay entwined with mine. At times I felt aroused as I lay there, for I am still attracted to women, even though my feelings on the matter are quite complicated thanks to the hormonally rich female body the Kurii gifted me. Simon kept us chained as he was wary of the other men on board ship who might take an interest in us. For once I agreed with him on the issue as we had only been on board for a matter of an hour or two when some of the sailors had offered Simon copper tarsk bits for our 'use'. It is easy to forget that if you own a slave-girl, particularly a desirable one, she is a natural source of income should you choose to rent her out. I knelt there nervously as Simon declined the offers, telling the men he had no need of coin, and that first night I asked Simon to chain my ankles together with close chains to make it difficult for a man to seize me and rape me during the night.

Simon did so and slept close by with his sword in its scabbard close to his chest. To be clear it would be an act of theft if a sailor did use one of us without permission, in much the same way as if a man chose to use any of Simon's possessions without his say so, but the temptation would be there and sometimes men do things they regret after the event when the law comes down on them. The men on board ship may have thought it strange that Simon did not sleep with either one of us, but if so they kept their thoughts largely to themselves it seems.

During the coastal voyage I made a point of not straying far from Simon's side. Although he was of Earth, the sailors didn't know that, and what they saw was a strong looking man with a sword who would no doubt draw steel if he was challenged in respect of his property. Simon seemed to take pleasure from the way I followed him around devotedly, and the anxiety I showed when he had to leave me somewhere for a short period of time.

“Please, Simon... let me stay with you, please...” I would say as Simon chained me to a common slave ring attached to the mast. There were two pairs of rings, each one heavy, each set bolted either side of the mast, where girls could be secured safely knowing they were in full view of the entire crew. One of the rings was screwed into the deck, suitable for ankle chains, while the other was set at arms length above where a girl might kneel. The combination meant that a girl could be secured by her ankles, by her wrists above her head while kneeling, or by a combination of such arrangements. Simon chose to secure me by both an ankle chain and wrist chain.

“Please don't chain my wrists above my head, Simon,” I whispered urgently, knowing that I would be completely helpless in such a position, and that the chain arrangement would effectively lift the swell of my breasts to any passing man, offering a temptation that might be hard to resist.

“It's a typical arrangement, Emma. I won't be gone long, I promise.”

“I'm helpless like this, Simon!” I couldn't believe he was simply going to leave me like this amongst all the men on deck.

“Relax, Emma. No man here would dare attempt to use you in broad daylight in full view of the other crew members. The ship's captain would not permit it.” Simon finished securing my wrist bracelets and I noticed him steal a furtive glance at the way my breasts looked like this. I saw him swallow hard, his Adam's apple moving as he perhaps struggled to control his instincts. I shrank back against the mast a little for I suddenly saw a glimpse of the way a Gorean man looks at a slave-girl when he gazed at me like that. But this was Simon, I reminded myself. Simon was from Earth. He read Marvel and DC comics. He respected me. I would be safe with Simon. He would not touch me if I did not permit it. He was of Earth.

“That's not the point.”

“Then what is the point, Emma? Tell me.” Simon brushed my hair back a bit as it had fallen in front of my face and chained as I was I was unable to do anything more than shake it away.

“The point is I don't want my hands braceleted above my head like this.”

“Oh. Well, the thing is you're a slave, Emma, so it would look suspicious if I was seen by the crew to take heed of your wishes. It's just for appearances sake. You understand that?”

“Please hurry back.” I moved my head towards him, imploringly.

“Of course I will, Emma.” He smiled, seeming pleased with my expression and admission that I needed him in some way. And then he reached out and touched my steel collar. “So very pretty,” he said to no one in particular. “Whatever the dubious sexual politics of the matter, there's no denying girls do look good wearing steel collars.”

I turned my head away, angry that he could think so.

“You don't agree, Emma?” asked Simon.

“I can't remove the collar. It's locked on me!”

“And that is part of the attraction, I suppose.” Simon smiled again. “I'm just being honest. Please look at me, Emma. It's disrespectful not to look at a man when you're talking to him.”

I pulled hard at my wrist manacles in anger and then then I tuned my head to look at him. I was helpless! Did he not understand how wrong this was! He was from Earth! He had chained me on display to a ship's mast!

“We will be in Port Kar soon, and then we will meet with the Lady Marissa again and through her make the acquaintance of Samos, First Slaver of the city. We will determine the true fate of Brinn and then this ordeal of yours will be over. It is just for a little while, Emma. I have done so much for you. A little gratitude perhaps...” Simon touched me briefly on my thigh, my bare thigh, where the hem of my slave tunic had ridden up.

“I'm grateful, Simon, you know I am.” I looked up at him and tried to calm my rising anxiety. “Anything could have happened to me.”

“Yes... anything could have happened to you...” Simon's hand lingered for a moment before he suddenly realised what he was doing, and he quickly withdrew it. “I'm sorry, Emma. I didn't mean to touch you like that. It was wrong of me.”

“It's okay, Simon, I know you didn't mean it...” I drew my legs back from where I was kneeling. “Where... where are you going anyway?”

“Does it matter?” Simon smiled reassuringly. “There is a saying that curiosity is not becoming in a kajira, you know...”

“I hate that saying!” I pulled at my wrists manacles again. “Men always come out with that saying. It's pathetic!”

“Do you know the other half of the saying, Emma?” asked Simon pleasantly.

Of course I knew the other half of the Gorean saying. 'Curiosity is not becoming in a kajira. You could be beaten for it.' I didn't say anything. I just stared up at Simon until he suddenly laughed and shook his head.

“Oh Emma, you didn't think... oh for God's sake, I'd never beat you! It's me – Simon. We're friends. I respect you. You're from Earth, like me. I don't think of you as a slave, not really. If you must know, I'm going to play dice with some of the men. They have a game going and I was invited and it's a good opportunity for me to learn about Port Kar and the region. I can ask a lot of questions over dice. It's what Brinn would do. If you were there you'd have to serve the men, and one or two of them might petition me for your use, and then I'd be in that awkward position of having to refuse what is considered to be reasonable hospitality. So you see, I can't really take you with me, can I?”

“I'm sorry, Simon, I, I... didn't think.” He didn't want to demean me or put me in a position where a man might expect to be allowed to use me for ten minutes in some bales of sail cloth. I relaxed, feeling relieved. But still my wrists were manacled. Still I was quite helpless. “Thank you, Simon. Thank you for looking after me.”

Simon smiled, and then left us to find his dice game.      

It was unlikely that any single man would try anything in plain sight of the Captain. Even so, Chloe and I were subjected to men caressing us as they passed by. I shrank back against the mast in my wrist and ankle chains as the brutal looking men would approach, my head down cast for I was genuinely afraid in a way I hadn't been for many years. Gone was the security of my position on the estate in the Sardar where I was well liked by the men who had sworn service to Brinn. They were of the warrior caste and bound to him by oaths that they would never dishonour or break. These men who worked the coastal ship though treated me as a common kajira.

Simon tried not to leave me too often, but occasionally he liked to be alone with his thoughts. Each time he returned he was greeted by the sight of two pathetically grateful slave-girls eager to see him again.         

The sun had risen high in the sky, illuminating the water, offering brilliant white hues overlaid on turquoise, complementing the bright paint works of the harbour-side buildings with their lilac, yellow, blue, red and orange walls, by the time our ship docked. Merchant stalls lined the stone quays where fresh fish was laid out on trays of rock salt and where men and one or two women inspected and bid on the catches of the day.

“Port Kar,” said Simon as he joined me at the rail. “A wretched hive of scum and villainy, as the saying goes.”

“Where we will find the truth about Brinn,” I said, ignoring his pop culture reference, for I was cold and nervous despite the sunshine. Simon saw me shiver in the strong wind and he draped some sack cloth over my shoulders for warmth. “Thank you,” I said, as I gazed up at him. Men seemed so tall to me these days. Sometimes I remembered what it had been like to be the same height as them, but more often than not I simply accepted the fact that it was now my place in life to always gaze up at a man due to my short stature.

As our vessel brought itself up against a vacant wharf space, I gazed out at the lines of streets that plunged deep into the city from the open side of the harbour front. Like most Gorean cities, the length, width and design of streets within Port Kar varied considerably. Street surfaces on Gor are commonly either dirt or cobblestone and they lack anything we might recognise as a pavement, instead they slope gently from each side to a central gutter. Some streets can be very wide while others are too narrow for a wagon to travel down. This is particularly true of the alley ways and narrow side streets which you would be advised to avoid unless you were very familiar with the area and you knew how to fight. Few of the streets in Port Kar have official names, but if you are local you will often know them by a variety of unofficial names – possibly making reference to who lives or works on the street, or maybe referencing a famous incident that occurred on that street long ago. This tends to make it difficult for strangers to travel around in a city without stopping frequently to ask directions. On Gor people generally will only ask someone of their own sex for directions of course. Free Women would never ask questions of a strange man and similarly would be horrified at the prospect of answering the questions of such a man. Such a thing would be scandalous and away from the central areas, potentially dangerous if the man happened to take an interest in the woman and the area turned out to be relatively secluded. It was one of the first things I had been taught as a Free Woman in the service of Kurgus – do not approach men and do not allow them to approach you.

Despite Port Kar's ominous reputation, I could see that the streets radiating from the harbour side were very clean by the comparative standards of Earth. Many streets are actually cleaned by the residents of the buildings facing the street who take a pride in their neighbourhood. The larger streets, plazas and squares found deeper within the city tend to be maintained by state slaves.

We disembarked from the vessel, with Simon thanking the Captain for his hospitality over the past few days. Simon had a sea sack full of his possessions slung over one shoulder, and both Chloe and myself were burdened down with leather satchels containing some of his other things. Before leaving the ship, Simon had produced a length of chain that he clipped to first my collar ring and then to Chloe's. We were therefore chained together by a length of six feet of steel. “So you don't get separated by accident,” said Simon, pleasantly enough. He then took hold of the centre of the chain with his left hand, so that he could lead us along. I think he was worried that one or both of us might be snatched if an opportunity arose, for Port Kar is home to many slavers, pirates, thieves and criminals – far more so than any other city on Gor.

“It makes sense to secure my property,” said Simon with a reassuring smile. His property. Because of course we now wore his collars, inscribed with his name, and in his sea sack he carried legal papers of ownership on us both. Simon owned us, as much as he owned the clothes he wore.   

We were barely ten yards or so down the harbour jetty when a voice called out to us.

“Please excuse my familiarity, but I feel I must complement you on the beauty of your two slave-girls,” said a very polite and well spoken man to Simon as we stood on the quayside, unsure where we should go from here. “I saw you just step down from the ship and I was at once impressed by the lithe beauty of your property. You Sir, are a lucky man, though such fortune I am sure cannot be down to luck itself! Why no!” He had detached himself from the side of the harbour wall where he had been relaxing, cutting slices of an apple with a small knife – perhaps enjoying an early lunch by the beauty of the wave dappled Thassa waters.

“That's very kind of you,” said Simon with a warm smile. “Their names are Emma and Chloe. I'm Simon of the Sardar.” I think Simon was pleasantly surprised by the warm and friendly greeting from one of the locals, especially after he had been warned of the nature of Port Kar and its inhabitants.

“Master,” I said as I dropped quickly to my knees before this Free Man of Port Kar. It was an automatic response drilled into me over many years and I felt Chloe do the same. Both our heads were lowered in submission as he no doubt studied us with interest.  

“Welcome to our beautiful city,” said the man as he continued to smile warmly. “My name is Quintus. Set aside all concerns you may have, friend Simon – these days Port Kar is the jewel of the Thassa – a cosmopolitan and forward thinking city that welcomes fresh faces, concepts and ideas to its sparkling canals and waterways. Cast aside your burdens and begin a new life free from the shackles of doubt and uncertainty.”

There was a small commotion as another man, apparently passing by, accidentally bumped into Simon while he was engrossed, talking to his new found friend.

“I beg your pardon,” said the second man as he quickly moved on, dipping his head in apology to Simon as he turned to face him. “Truly clumsy of me. I should look where I'm going. May the Priest Kings bless you, Sir.” And then the second man was away into the crowd.

“The people of Port Kar are far more polite than I had expected,” began Simon as he turned back to find Quintus suddenly gone too. Only the bobbing motion of his rapidly departing head could be seen as he headed now towards one of the side streets radiating out from the harbour front, obviously in a hurry, having perhaps suddenly recalled a prior engagement that he was now late for.

I suddenly had a bad feeling about this.

“Simon...” I looked up at him and chewed my lower lip.

“Well, polite, but seemingly in a hurry, these people of Port Kar. Still, a good start to our arrival, I think, Emma.”           

“Um, Simon...” I glanced in the direction of the side street where the man, Quintus, had disappeared to. He was no longer anywhere in sight. Nor was the second man. “Where do you keep your money?”

“Why, here in my belt... pouch...” Simon's voice trailed away as his hand touched the cut strings where his belt pouch had rested snugly against his left hip.

Our money was gone.

6 comments:

  1. So will Simon be a real Gorean man and rent you and Chloe out to earn money for food?

    Donna

    ReplyDelete
  2. Simon?! Rent me out to earn money for food? Simon? You must be joking! Simon would never do that. He respects me too much. He's from Earth. He doesn't think of me that way. I mean, believe me, I am seriously pissed off that he let himself get robbed like that – can you imagine Brinn ever falling for such an obvious trick? - but let's not get carried away now – there's no way he could rent me out for money. He's not that sort of man. Simon is sweet and considerate. He's gentle. He doesn't approve of the concept of slavery. He doesn't think I should be in a collar. He collects superhero action figures and worries that he'll never find out how 'Game of Thrones' ends.

    He's Simon!

    Really, Donna, you don't know him like I do...

    The lack of money IS worrying though...

    - Emma x

    ReplyDelete
  3. Chloe + sex = happy Chloe, Emma + no sex = hungry Emma

    Right, Boots Tarsk Bit, appeared in some Tarl Cabot novels, who exactly is he, just a strolling player or someone in disguise?

    Donna

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Funny you should mention Boots Tarsk Bit, as he's in the next chapter! Yes he is one of the supporting characters in two of the Tarl Cabot novels – Players of Gor (possibly my favourite book in the series) and Magicians of Gor, and coincidentally you're about to see him play a part in chapters seven and eight of Shadows of Gor.

      And yes, Chloe does seem to be very happy when she has some sexual attention. A lot more on that in chapter seven... ;)

      - Emma x

      Delete
  4. What is Lady Cassandra's role, is she innocent in Brinn's disappearance or is she part of the Port Kar mob? Either way I think she will end up being a slave girl

    Donna

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lady Cassandra is an absolute bitch! And that would be all my Christmases come at once if she ended up as a slave-girl. I sometimes dream how lovely that would be... preferably with me standing over her with a slave crop in my right hand!

      - Emma x

      Delete