Monday, 19 February 2018

Shadows of Gor Chapter Seventeen (of Eighteen)


Chapter Seventeen: Hexagram 23 – 'Things Fall Apart'

“Sword brother,” said Brinn with genuine warmth and admiration as he clasped Simon’s arm with his own. “You came for me. I will not forget this.”

Oh, the Bromance! I watched as the 'sword brothers' (snark...) hugged each other in a manly way. You might be forgiven for thinking by the way they downed paga and toasted one another that they had rescued Chloe and myself, rather than the other way around.


We stood, or in my case knelt, within the great hall of Samos again – the one that had the large map of known Gor inlaid in colourful mosaic stones on the central floor. Chloe and Marissa knelt beside me with the patience of angels, having been told to do so by Simon shortly after we arrived. I remained naked unlike Chloe and Marissa for I hadn't been given a tunic since we had been rowed back to the great Slaver House that overlooked the central canals, not far from the council chambers of the Pirate Captains. Marissa looked nervous, as well she might be, for she now wore a steel collar about her throat. No one had thought to comment on it since we arrived. Samos in fact had barely looked at her, according her perhaps the same attention that he would give to any slave belonging to a coffle. In fairness she had put her head down in shame the moment she had been marched into the great hall looking so slave like, so maybe he really hadn't seen her.

Samos had however paid a lot of attention to the Kur artefact that Simon had presented to him. The golden globe with its intricate swirls of circuitry had seemed like all his Christmases come at once.

“I think you will find this of interest,” Simon had said with pride. Brinn had told him that he should be the one to make a gift of it to Samos.

“I’m already the grand hero of Gor who has saved the Sardar. Time for you to gain a reputation,” he said with a warm smile as he slapped Simon on his left shoulder. So once again it was the case that free men claimed all the credit. No mention of a slave who saved their lives. I was beginning to accept that this would always be my lot on Gor.

“The Priest Kings will be pleased,” said Samos as she stroked his chin and regarded the device. “You will always be welcome in Port Kar for this, Simon.”

“I have to be honest,” said Simon. “I had help.” He gazed first at me, then at Chloe.

Samos nodded without looking up. “It is what it is. As Brinn says, it is time for you to build a reputation for yourself. Consider this the foundation.”

“But Emma…”

“Emma is a slave-girl,” said Samos. “Give her a pan of ka-la-na if you feel she did well.”

A pan of ka-la-na...

Perhaps Elizabeth Bentley had been right in her motives, if not her methods. Was she in a sense the heroine, and Chloe and I had done nothing more than preserve the sexist rule of Gor that is imposed upon women? And yet, I could never condone her choice of reckless murder and terrorism to achieve her goals. Maybe I am naïve in not believing there has to be another way, but I cannot and will not simply adopt Elizabeth’s principle that the ends justify the means. My conscience will not allow that.

“Emma, should I say something…” whispered Marissa as she knelt beside me with her knees pressed tightly together. She was concerned I think that Samos gave no sign of recognising her. I think maybe he had, but for his own reasons hadn’t chosen to acknowledge his beautiful agent just yet.

“I think not, Mistress,” I said. I touched the back of her left hand with my right to reassure her. “Don’t be afraid. Samos will free you. I am sure of it. You only ended up in this state because you risked everything for his cause.”

“I’m scared. And the men here… the way they look at me now.” It was true, many men in Samos’s great hall had gathered to hear the news and to see the Kurii artefact with their own eyes, and nearly all of them had taken the time to feast their eyes on Marissa’s beauty. “I know some of them,” she wept. “And now they see me like this…”

“You will be rewarded, Mistress. Samos will understand what you did. By working for Samos you are in a sense of his home stone, and men protect Free Women of their home stone. Be brave.” I suppose I had come to like Marissa after all. Her experiences in the house and the lagoon had changed her, and I felt sure that she would now be a kinder, more understanding Free Woman in future. She had of course confessed her secret slave feelings to me while we were in the water, expecting to die, but I would not inform the men of what she had said. “Your secret is safe with me, Mistress,” I whispered to reassure her.

“Emma, I will always be grateful to you. And to Chloe.” She turned and nodded to Chloe. “I owe my life to you, Chloe.”

“Then live a good one, Mistress,” said Chloe as she smiled back. “That's all I ask. Live a good one and touch the lives of other people in a kind way.”

“I will! I promise you.”

I was happy at the transformation that had taken place in the Lady Marissa. I do not think she had ever been a bad person, but like so many Free Women on Gor she had been conditioned since birth to despise slaves. Now perhaps that had changed. Oh, she would still own slaves, and she would still approve of the institution of slavery, for very few Goreans change that much, but I do not think she would be cruel to slaves again. I think she would be much like I was when I was First Girl in Brinn's estate – firm, but fair. Slave-girls would not suffer in her collar.

“I would buy you both if you were for sale, “ said Marissa kindly.

“And then free us?” I said with a raised eyebrow and an amused expression, for I kind of knew the answer.

“Well, no.” Marissa shook her head, surprised at the suggestion. “Obviously not. Only a fool frees a slave. And you are both natural slaves, fit for the collar. But I would treat you both well. You would have an easy life. I would be kind to you.”

“Thank you Mistress, but I do not truly think either of us will be sold.” I gazed up at Brinn as he continued to talk to Samos about matters pertaining to the Great Game of Worlds. Soon, very soon my current collar would be removed and replaced again with Brinn's collar. And then we would return to Brinn's estates where I would be reunited with my children. I felt happy, despite my fatigue and sore limbs. All I wanted right now was to sleep, curled up in Brinn's arms, and tomorrow I would deal with everything else. My ordeal was over. Just being reunited with my children would be reward enough.

“I will speak to your Master and tell him everything you did, Emma,” said Marissa. She smiled softly and added, “Brinn will listen to me. We have worked together in Samos's service, and he likes me, I think”

Ah, yes... the elephant in the room. There was still that unresolved matter of Marissa's comment in the island house that she had grown close to Brinn and would attempt to win him from me to the point where she believed Brinn might take her as a Free Companion. Was that likely? I hoped not. I hated the thought of it. I knew however that many Gorean men did exactly that – maintained a coffle of slave-girls alongside forming a Free Companionship with a Free Woman. But it didn't make any sense to me. I knew for a fact that Brinn would be bored with a Free Woman on his couch, unless he could take her as he might take a slave. He was uncompromising in that regard. Of course some men did treat their high born free companions that way – making them crawl to the sleep couch and lie there in an ankle chain while they ravaged them as they would a slave. Would Brinn do that? This was not the time to ask such questions, for I knew Brinn well, and I knew just when I should make such enquiries – usually when I was driving him close to orgasm. Then he would tell me. It was impossible for him to keep secrets when I had my wet cherry red lips around the tip of his cock.

And I was not too worried really, because I knew I had an advantage that Marissa couldn't possibly anticipate. Brinn was an honourable man, and he would be in my debt for what I did in the house in the lagoon. Once before when I had saved Gor from Tarn Strike he had told me I could ask anything of him, but he begged me not to ask him for my freedom. He would owe me the same choice once again. This time of course he would know I could not ask for my freedom. For if I did, Brinn's stubborn pride would be such that he could not bear seeing me again, for he could only relate to me as a Master does to a slave. If I insisted on being freed he would be forced to send me away from the estate, no doubt with a bag of gold, to forge a new lonely life for myself as a Free Woman on Gor. He would never speak to me again, and in so doing, I would lose my children. Brinn knew I could never choose that. My children bound me now to his collar more securely than any steel chains. But I could ask for something else. I would ask him to swear on his honour and his Home Stone that he would never take any Free Woman as a Free Companion so long as I lived. That is what I would ask of him, and Brinn would be honour bound to grant that to me.

So no, I wasn't particularly worried about the Lady Marissa, even if there had been some romantic liaison between her and Brinn in the past. Brinn would end it, for he owed me.

“Brinn is handsome, isn't he,” said Marissa quietly to me.

I smiled to myself. Poor Marissa had no idea that her dreams of Free Companionship with Brinn were effectively at an end. “He is strong too,” I said. “And virile. I am a natural slave when I am chained to his couch.” I regarded Marissa's expression with amusement. I could imagine what she must be thinking of now as she knelt in the great hall of Samos, collared, in front of so many strong men. Marissa had confessed to me of her secret slave feelings after all.

“It is so hard sometimes,” she sobbed.

“I know. But you mustn't think such thoughts, Mistress. You are a Free Woman. It isn't right. You must forget such fantasies – drive them from your mind. You must be chaste and pure.” I felt sorry for her actually, for it is often a terrible thing to be a lofty Free Woman on Gor. They must repress their deepest feelings, when I, as a slave, can revel in them. “Unless you wish to beg a collar for real?”

“No! I could never do that... You know I couldn't.”

“Of course not, Mistress. That would be unthinkable. Well then, you know what you have to do. You must never surrender to your fantasies. Never. You will not be happy, I suppose, but you will be free.”

Poor Marissa. I noticed that during my conversation with Marissa, Samos had turned to regard me.

“Emma of London,” he said after a while. “There will be few men on Gor who will know the truth of what transpired last night, but rest assured that I will be one of those men. I will know. And I will never forget.”

I suppose that was meant as high praise, coming from Samos. I nodded. “Thank you, Master.” If I expected any further words of praise, I didn't get them. Samos simply turned back to Brinn and Simon and didn't say anything more to me.

“I think he likes you,” said Chloe as I rolled my eyes in amusement.

Fatigue was really setting in now, and I wondered how much longer the men would talk and laugh and drink paga before they might send us to bed. I wanted sleep. I needed sleep. It had to be mid morning by now and I felt so tired. My muscles ached, my body felt bruised and all I wanted was the comfort of soft furs. Surely that wasn't too much to ask now? Oh, how lovely sleep would be. I yawned and stretched my weary arms.

“I see there are three Kajira kneeling in my great hall,” said Samos as he walked over to inspect us. He gazed at me and Chloe and said, “you two I have seen before. You both wear Simon’s collars. But you, the other girl, seem new.” He regarded Marissa.

“Please, Samos…” she lowered her head, flushed with embarrassment. “You know who I am.”

“My Lady Marissa.” Samos gazed down at her. “How is it that you wear a steel collar? How is it that you are clad in a slave's tunic in my hall?”

“I was captured when I spied on your enemies at the docks. They stripped me and collared me. This happened to me in your service.”

Samos nodded. I touched Marissa's hand to give her strength. I was almost certain that Samos would free her from the collar. It had been a risk of her mission.

“Did you submit?” he asked.

“Please, Samos…” there were tears in her eyes. She had dreaded him asking that.

“Did you submit to the collar?” Samos asked again. “Answer truthfully. I will know if you lie.”

“Master, may I speak?” I said.

“You may, Emma of London.” Samos didn’t take his eyes from Marissa as he spoke to me.

“The Lady Marissa submitted in a sense to me, knowing it was me, but she did so merely as a subterfuge, a deceit, in order to preserve her life and continue in the pursuit of her mission for you. She was not submitting to the enemy, she submitted to me, knowing it was me. I told her to play along. She is a Free Woman, Master. A Free Woman cannot ever be the slave of a slave.”

Samos smiled. “An excellent appeal, Emma. I can see you have thought this through.”

“It’s true, Master. I can see no reason for her not be to be free.”

Well, I could think of one very good reason, from the conversation we had when we thought we were both going to die, but I wasn’t going to explain any of that to Samos. “Throughout her pretence, Master, she acted her part splendidly. You would have been proud of her deceit in your name. But at no time did she show genuine slave feelings. She is a Free Woman.”

Marissa looked at me with incredible gratitude and squeezed the fingers of my hand.

“I presume you are familiar with the penalties for lying, Emma?” said Samos with a wry smile.

“Of course I am, Master,” I said brightly with the look of a slave girl who couldn't possibly be lying. Perish the thought!

“In that case I will presume you are indeed telling me the truth, for you wouldn’t do anything as rash as lie to Samos of Port Kar, would you?”

I could tell that Samos really didn’t want to collar Marissa. He wanted to hear the exact words I was speaking to him.

“Of course not, Master. That would be very foolish of me indeed. I would be beaten.”

“And worse,” said Samos, though he seemed pleased that I had made the case for Marissa. “You have been brave,” he said to Marissa now. “By the testimony of this slave you have honoured my House with your actions. Accordingly I accept that you are indeed free.”

“Oh, thank you! Thank you!” Marissa placed her hands to her face in relief.

“You will be rewarded. You will have gold. You will be given time to rest and recover from your ordeal. You have my thanks, and…”

“I think you’ll find she’s my slave,” said Simon suddenly. “But you can buy her if you wish, Samos.”

Samos turned round and simply gazed at Simon without saying a word. There was now a deathly hush in the hall. I stared at Simon in dismay. What the fuck was he talking about?

“There are precedents for this sort of thing of course,” said Simon as he walked towards Marissa and took hold of her hair, lifting her face up to look at him. “A Free Woman who submits to a slave is in a sense submitting to that slave’s Master. The precedent is not all that different from the precedent set by the couching laws of Ar which state that if a Free Woman couches with another man’s slave, she becomes his property. The moment the Lady Marissa submitted to Emma, she submitted to my slave, and therefore to me. At that moment she was no longer the Lady Marissa.” Simon looked very pleased with himself. “I have read extensively on the subject. You can look up the mercantile law if you wish.”

Brinn coughed as he stood closely beside Simon and tried to attract his attention subtly, but Simon hadn’t noticed, so wrapped up was he in his own cleverness.

Okay, so why was this such a shock to everyone in the hall? Well, there’s a common misconception concerning Gorean men, usually from people who don’t understand the importance of Home Stones. Gorean men protect the Free Women of their own Home Stone. A Free Woman of Vonda for example need not fear enslavement at the hands of a man of Vonda unless she did something to break the law, and even then it would have to be a magistrate of the city who would sentence her to slavery. Now while Marissa did not actually share the actual physical Home Stone of Samos or Brinn, she kind of did, if you think in terms of ‘Home Stone’ here meaning they were colleagues who worked together, it would be dishonourable for Samos to send Marissa on a dangerous mission where she ran the risk of being captured and collared on his behalf, and then punish her by keeping her in that collar if that actually happened. Brinn too would feel this way. Whatever had happened to the Lady Marissa had happened because she had put her life at risk in Samos’s name. She could reasonably then expect Samos’s protection if the worst happened, provided she didn't disgrace herself, and by implication, her 'Home Stone'.

Simon though didn’t seem to understand this. What had happened to him? While his claim on Marissa had some basis in mercantile law, it was preposterous and frankly rude under the circumstances. Marissa had in a sense fought alongside him and had moved to rescue him alongside Chloe and myself. How could he stake a claim on her freedom, however much the law might agree with him?

“Pretty little Kajira,” said Simon as he gazed down at a horrified Marissa. “Open your thighs.”

Marissa stared dumbfounded at first Samos and then Brinn. Neither man looked happy about this.

“Your Master has given you a command,” snapped Simon, and then to my further astonishment he grinned at Brinn as if expecting approval. Suddenly it clicked. Suddenly I understood.

Oh, Simon… you poor stupid fool… for he thought he was being Gorean now. He thought he was being like Brinn and Samos, all forceful and dominating towards women. He thought they would both be impressed and respect him, not as an Earth man on Gor, but as an Earth man who had become Gorean. Could he not see that he already had their respect? Could he not see that Brinn was already proud of him? Could he not see that it didn’t matter that he wasn’t as strong as Brinn, nor as proficient with a sword, or that he came from Earth? Only a tiny percentage of men on Gor are warriors. Most Gorean men would be no better with a blade than Simon was.

Oh, Simon, please don’t do this, I thought to myself. You have no idea what you’re doing now.

“You really stake a legal claim on this woman?” said Samos with a frown.

“You are perhaps interested in her?” said Simon with a cocky smile. “I am open to offers.”

Samos turned to regard Brinn who now looked very embarrassed by what his sword brother was doing and saying in Samos’s great hall.

“As you can see, Samos, I am Gorean now. I am no longer a weak man of Earth. When I see a woman that pleases me, I take her, just as you do.” He smiled, oblivious to the way Samos was looking at him.

Oh Simon, Simon, baby… please don’t do this…

“The fact is I am in need of coin. If the girl pleases you, if you find her of interest, perhaps you will buy her from me? But she will not be cheap,” Simon said with a friendly chuckle.

I closed my eyes. I couldn’t bear to watch this.

“Simon, perhaps a word,” said Brinn in rising concern.

“I think ten silvers would be a good price for the luscious girl formerly known as Marissa of Corcyrus?” suggested Simon.

And then Samos spoke, and when he did it was in a very cold and brusque voice. “I am Samos of Pot Kar, First Captain and First Slaver of that city.” He paused. “I do not buy girls from you.”

“Simon, a word perhaps….” said Brinn again, more forcefully this time.

Now it began to dawn on Simon that the reaction he was receiving was not exactly approving in nature.

“What? What? Oh don’t look so pious, Brinn – you do this all the time. You take women by force when they please you. It’s the Gorean way.” Simon laughed to try to defuse the tension, but it came out sounding strained. He regarded the men one at a time. “And you Samos – you’re a slaver. You take women all the time. It's what we Goreans do.”

“Please…” said Marissa as she twisted painfully, her hair pulled tight in Simon’s grip.

“She submitted on her knees. You all know the law. You know what submission means. She was a slave the moment she said the words.” Simon shrugged. “Anyway, what does it matter? Buy her from me and you can free her if you want.”

Samos turned his back on Simon and walked back to the kaissa table where he ran his fingers over a couple of the pieces, his index finger coming to rest finally on the Ubara piece. Without a word he toppled it from its square.

“You don’t want her? Really? You don’t want to buy her? Oh, come on. What the fuck is this? I’m Gorean now, like you. It’s what we do. We take women. We sell women.”

“Simon, please don’t do this…” I said suddenly. “Just let her go.”

“You’re my slave, Emma!” he whirled round. “You call me Master! You don't use my name! How many fucking times do I have to fucking tell you!” And then he raised his hand to strike me hard across my face, and I flinched, but at the last moment he stayed himself, and perhaps horrified by what he had been about to do, lowered his hand before me, shaking. But he was angry. He felt slighted again. “You keep pushing and pushing me!” said Simon. “All the fucking time! You are happy to call every man on Gor, Master, apart from me! You’re my fucking slave, Emma! When will you get that through your stupid fucking head! Why do you keep provoking me? Why do you keep pushing me like that, always treating me like some weakling? You’re my slave!”

Brinn strode forward and confronted Simon. “Control yourself, brother. And try to remember that Emma is after all my slave, not yours. This is unseemly. We are guests in Samos’s hall. If you need money, you only have to ask.”

“Ask? I don’t want to ask! I don’t want charity! I want to be like you, Brinn. Can’t you see? I want to be the man who carves his own destiny on Gor! I want to be like you! I don’t want to keep living on hand outs. I want to take my own women. I want to be a man that other men respect. And…” he looked at Brinn now, and suddenly I had a horrible inkling what he was going to say next, “I want Emma.”

Brinn seemed confused for a moment, though I understood only too well what Simon meant. But Brinn hadn’t quite grasped it. “You need only ask, Simon. I think of you as my brother. You may have Emma in your furs whenever you wish. Just tell me and I shall send her to you of course. You could have asked this of me at any time.”

“No Brinn. I mean, I want Emma. Wholly. Completely. I claim her. And you know what – she already is mine anyway. Your sister sold her. I bought her. I have papers of ownership on her. She wears my collar. She’s not yours any more.”

He had said it. Words are powerful things, and there are some combinations of words that once spoken aloud can never be taken back.

“Is this some sort of Earth joke I do not understand?” said Brinn slowly as he narrowed his eyes.

“The only joke is how many years I wasted pining after her when I should have been Gorean and done something about it. You owe me, Brinn – your codes remember? A life for a life? I saved your life. I came for you when everyone else thought you dead. You owe me a life. Emma is that life. I love her. Oh fucking hell, I love her. You have no idea how difficult it has been. How much she means to me. How much I've wanted her to look at me the way she looks at you. I don’t want to feel this way, but I can’t stop thinking about her. It’s been hell these past few years, knowing every night she lies cradled in your arms, except for the nights you send her to the kitchen to be replaced by some other girl from the pens. I used to think you were fucking crazy for doing that. Why would anyone send Emma away from their couch? Ever? I mean – look at her. She’s perfect! I love her, Brinn. I love her in a way you can never understand or appreciate.”

“You have been through a lot, Simon,” said Brinn though gritted teeth. “Go to bed and tomorrow we will talk about things as if this morning never happened.”

“No! No, you don’t get to do that! No, you don't! You don’t get to patronise your stupid Earth puppy, Simon Rogers! You don’t fucking do that to me! Emma belongs to me now. That's the way it is. You can have Chloe, but Emma is mine. I own her by law, and by the codes of your caste you can’t deny me her. You owe me.”

“Right, I have had just about enough of this.” Now I barged in to the middle of the two men as Samos looked on, impassive as ever. “First thing first – you, Simon, did not save Brinn. I fucking saved Brinn, okay! And for that matter I saved you too!” I stabbed him in the chest with my finger. “You would both be Kur feed now if I hadn’t arrived. So if anyone owes anyone a life…”

“Again, mercantile law is quite clear on the matter,” said Simon. “You are my slave, Emma, and as such you cannot own property, nor can you accrue debts of honour from free people. Any debt or obligation a man might have to you passes on through to your Master. Think how it might be if you were given a reward of a silver coin for something you did. That coin would not belong to you, it would belong to your Master. The same applies to any debt of honour Brinn may owe because you saved him. Brinn owes that debt to your Master. Me.”

“Unbelievable,” I said as I stood there with my fists on my hips. “Why did I bother? Why did I ever fucking bother?!”

“Emma, please stay out of this,” said Brinn as his hand went to the hilt of his sword and he glared at Simon.

Simon noticed the movement. “You’re going to draw steel against me, Brinn? Really?”

“You can’t have Emma,” he snarled.

“I already have her! Your sister sold her to me! And your code of honour means you owe me a life. Are you going to break your caste codes, Brinn? Can you do that?”

Brinn suddenly screamed in rage and kicked Samos’s kaissa table over. The pieces clattered onto the floor and rolled around Samos's feet where he stood. “Do not do this, Simon!” There was a trace of desperation in Brinn’s voice now.

“Wait… wait a minute…” I quickly ran to Brinn and took hold of his hands. “You’re not seriously thinking… you’re not actually going along with this?”

“The codes, Emma…” said Brinn in despair. “I cannot break the codes…”

“You’re actually going to give me up?!” I was in shock. “You have got to be fucking kidding me… Brinn! Fuck your codes!”

“No. You do not understand, Emma. You are not a warrior. You are just a slave-girl with no understanding of the ways of honourable men. The codes and honour are everything.”

“No, no, no, no…” I was hyperventilating now. It wasn’t just a matter of being in Brinn’s chains – being with Brinn meant I would be with my children. “This is bullshit. Simon can’t take me if you don’t let him.”

“I don’t want this, Emma! Of course I don’t want this! But…”

Samos watched everything as he stood surrounded by scattered kaissa pieces across his flagstone floor. Still he said nothing.

“Come to me, Emma,” said Simon. He clicked his fingers and pointed to the floor by his feet. “Kneel before me. You belong to me now. You are mine.”

I turned round to look at every man in the hall. Not one of them could meet my gaze. Not one. “After all I’ve done…” I said with a hiss of breath. “After all I’ve done for Gor…”

“Emma, please, this is not the end,” said Brinn, helplessly. “I will think of something...”

I dropped before Brinn on my knees and crossed my wrists in binding position to him. “La Kajira,” I said. “La Kajira, I submit to you, Master. I submit to you.”

“You cannot submit to me, Emma. You already belong to another man.” Brinn indicated Simon.

“No! No!”

And then, with his hands trembling in fists of rage, Brinn turned away from me.  

We walked in silence along the canal paths, away from Samos’s fortified house. I think the enormity of what he had gone and done was beginning to be apparent to Simon as he had the look of a man who had committed a monumental mistake. As we had been shown to the door of the house, Samos had at last spoken, saying “I do not think there is any place for you now in Port Kar,” as he handed Simon the Ubara kaissa piece from the floor.

Marissa was in tears, for Samos had not interceded on her behalf. If I live to be a thousand years old I will never truly understand Goreans. Their pride and their outmoded concept of honour often seems to prevent them from acting rationally in ways that might be natural to men and women of Earth. Samos could easily have taken Marissa from Simon, but some peculiar social custom meant he didn’t do so.

The bored looking guards at the gate of Marissa’s compound residence were by now quite used to the sight of the comings and goings of Simon, with or without a number of slave girls in attendance, and so they thought nothing much of his further appearance this morning. One of the men nodded as he passed through the open gates, but his gaze was more centred on the legs and shapely curves of Marissa and myself. They of course had no idea that the shapely slut who stumbled at the end of Simon’s leash was in fact the haughty and proud Lady Marissa, and gagged as she now was, there was no way for Marissa to announce her identity. She did look suitably alarmed as she was led past the men with a further tug of the leash. Perhaps there was an element of pleading in those eyes, though I’m not sure what she expected might happen if she had been free to cry out. Would she have alerted the two men to her true identity? Would she have been able to face the shame and humiliation of not only they knowing who she was, but also the other Free Women resident within the walled compound? Would the men have moved to free her? It was difficult to conjecture what they might then have done, for Marissa now wore a slave collar. Simon would claim he owned her. Had she been a citizen of Port Kar she might be able to claim she had been falsely taken and she might expect the law to be on her side, for a man cannot simply enslave a woman of his own city. Women are protected from such things by law. The only people who can enslave a Free Woman within her own city are magistrates and other legal officers, and this would only be done if she fell foul of some law or other, but Marissa had no claim on the Home Stone of Port Kar, and therefore she had no legal recourse. Maybe the men would have acted to free her, or maybe they would have seen the collar, seen the soft slave curves of her body, and thought it was right that she should now be a slave. I do not truly know, but in any event the matter was hypothetical at best as Marissa was gagged and therefore she could not cry out as Simon led her to the front door of her own house.

“Shameful!” shouted a Free Woman who was standing in the courtyard as we passed by. Marissa flinched, knowing the woman’s scorn was being directed at her as well as at me. “Stop bringing these slaves into our home!” she shouted at Simon, but Simon simply ignored her. He knocked on the door to Marissa’s apartment and waited until Kiera inside slid back the bolts and opened it.

“Master,” said Kiera, as she swiftly dropped to her knees to the side of the open doorway. She had barely noticed Marissa, and In any event would probably have only registered a slave-girl, gagged, collared and secured on a leash. Marissa of course was now frantic at the thought of being seen like this by her own house slave. She made muffled pleading sounds as Simon tugged hard and propelled her into the apartment. As Kiera looked up, Marissa turned her head to the side, desperate not to be seen, but Simon was having none of this as he closed the door.

“Nadu,” he said to Marissa. For a moment she stood there in disbelief but then a swift cuff from the back of Simon’s hand prompted her to drop to her knees, sobbing, and spread them. She lowered her head, hiding from the gaze of Kiera.

“You have a new slave, Master?” asked Kiera.

“Yes. She was your former Mistress.” Now Simon took hold of Marissa’s hair and lifted her face up to Kiera’s view. The reaction was to be expected – Kiera gasped in astonishment and disbelief, and then settled into the universal expression of a slave-girl who now sees a former Free Woman reduced to slavery herself.

“She belongs to Simon now,” I said to Kiera. “It’s complicated.”

“And by nature of owning her, I also lay claim to her assets – you included,” said Simon to Kiera. “You are mine now.”

“Yes Master,” Kiera seemed pleased with both bits of news. She was delighted obviously that her former Mistress was now a slave, and she also seemed delighted with the news that she was now owned by a strong looking man. All other things being equal, we prefer to be owned by strong men.

“Does the new slave have a name, Master?” asked Kiera.

“For the time being she can retain her former name,” said Simon who had far more weighty matters on his mind than naming a new girl. He reached down and carefully unbuckled the gag, removing it from Marissa’s mouth. The ball part of the gag was slick with saliva as she practically coughed it free. Her face was flushed from the leather binding that had held it securely in place. “What funds do you have here?” asked Simon as he wiped Marissa’s mouth with a tangle of her hair.

“Some coins remain in the trunk,” she sobbed, gulping in great mouthfuls of air.

“Find them,” said Simon to Kiera. The girl nodded and hurried to the trunk to search.

“Please don’t do this to me…” wept Marissa as she hung her head in shame. “Please don’t make me a slave…”

“You already are a slave,” said Simon. “You were a slave the moment you submitted to my property. The deed is already done. Do not think the lack of a brand makes any difference.”

“I beg of you…”

“Quiet.” Simon was not in any mood to hear her pleas. He waited until Kiera returned with a small pouch. It didn’t seem to contain much money, and this was proven to be the case when Simon opened it and poured the contents onto a table. I saw a dozen or so coins, most of them copper tarsks.

“Is this it?” he said. He had been expecting a lot more.

“I was going to ask Samos for more money,” said Marissa. “I had a lot of expenses.”

“This isn’t enough.” Simon scooped up the coins and added them to his belt pouch. “I’m not going to be able to afford the upkeep for three slaves.” He looked at us all. “Marissa and Kiera, you will be sold. I’m keeping Emma only.”

Marissa screamed and shook her head in despair. It was bad enough that Simon had claimed her as a slave I suppose, but to then be sold to an unknown fate, that was horrifying to her. “Please keep me Master,” she begged. “Please keep me.”

She had called him Master in her desperation and shock. I shook my head softly, knowing that both Simon and Kiera had registered that word.

“I can’t afford to. I can’t afford three slaves.” He looked at the thin belt pouch and shook his head. “Selling the two of you will give me some more money. I need that money for Emma and myself to leave Port Kar by ship.”

Now Marissa dropped to the floor and began kissing Simon’s feet in an attempt to be pleasing. She really was distraught at the thought of being taken to a slaver’s house, and so she should be, for it is the most frightening thing that can be done to a new slave. A slaver house means a slave pen, training, brutality, the tender mercies of the other slaves who regard you as weak and easily bullied, and then there is the fear of what your ultimate fate will be. Far better to be retained by Simon who at least was of sexual interest to Marissa. No doubt she had consoled herself on the way here with thoughts of sharing Simon’s furs at night and being his love slave. But now she knew he would sell her and she would spend months in some brutal slave pen, being trained ready for an auction. I could see Simon wavering slightly as the sensual beauty desperately tried to appease him. She was lovely and any man would surely want Marissa in his collar, but Simon was right that maintaining three slaves was prohibitively expensive for a man of his slender means.

“I wish I could keep you. I wish I could keep all three of you. If things were different, if I had more money…” his voice trailed away as he considered the enormity of what had just happened, how he had severed his ties with both Brinn and Samos and how he had effectively been banished from Port Kar. I do not think Samos would permit him to reside within the city for more than this day.

“Sell Emma!” pleaded Marissa. “I will be more pleasing than her! I will be everything you want me to be!”

“Don’t be so stupid,” said Simon, as he pulled his foot away. “I did all of this because I want Emma. Neither of you can possibly compete with her.”

I didn’t know what to say, and so I said nothing. The truth was I too wanted to remain in Simon’s collar, for that was a thousand times better than being sold to a slaver house. I too feared going back to the pens for I knew what they were like. The memories of Banu Hashim still haunt me to this day. Much as I felt sorry for both Marissa and Kiera, I would rather they were sold to the slavers of Port Kar than I was. Life with Simon would be infinitely better than living in a cold cage with seven other girls.

There was a considerable risk that Marissa might do something incredibly foolish like attempt to bolt and run, and so Simon took her wrists and tied them behind her back with binding fibre. He then tied a throat tether to her collar ring and fastened it in turn to Kiera’s collar ring and then my own.

“Do I need to tie your wrists, Kiera?” he asked the girl.

“No Master.” She lowered her eyes, submissively.

“I will do so anyway.” And so he did. “Emma, binding position.” He didn’t even ask me. He simply tied me anyway. I felt his hands on my hips after my wrists were tied. I felt him turn me around and gaze at me.

“I want you so much, Emma. I need you. I cannot be happy without you.” He looked incredibly intense. “And now you belong to me.”

“This is wrong, Master,” I said. “Deep down you know it’s wrong. Marissa doesn’t deserve this. She fought for you. Please don't do this. There is still time. Let us return to Samos’s house. Apologise for a moment of rage when you weren’t thinking straight and Brinn will…” I screamed as Simon suddenly slapped me hard across my face.

“Shut up, Emma! I can’t go back! It’s too late!”

I shrank back, knowing he could hit me again if he wished, knowing I couldn’t defend myself with my wrists bound. “Please… you’ll regret this later… Brinn is your brother…”

“I can’t go back!” he screamed, torn up inside with what he had done. “Don't you understand? There’s no going back from that. And I must have you, Emma! I can’t give you up! You have no idea how much I must have you!”

“We were friends…” I sobbed.

“We were never fucking friends, Emma! I always wanted you. I just didn’t understand how to have you. Men can never really be friends with a woman they lust after. It’s a sham, all that pretence to be there for them, to listen to them when they have had a hard day at work, to offer advice and support – it’s always a sham – we want to fuck you. That's all. And we simply hope that our friendship will turn into something else. Only it never does. Which is why there won’t be any more sham pretence. I’m not your friend anymore, Emma, I’m your Master. Get used to it.” He kissed me fiercely and, like some fumbling teenager, ran his hands clumsily over my naked body. “You will learn to love me, Emma, you will. You will fall in love with me when you learn what a strict Gorean Master I can be. I know that’s what you secretly desire. I will give you the bondage and degradation you crave and you will learn to crave my attention. It will come, Emma, those feelings. You will love your new life with me.”

Gor had driven Simon crazy it seems. I know he hadn’t always been like this. The Simon I knew in the early years had genuinely been my friend, had been concerned for me, and didn’t want to see me suffer. Gor had done something to him, and I hated Gor for it. It had corrupted him. It had turned a caring, kind man of Earth into some sort of monster. It wasn’t his fault – everyone he knew, the entire society he lived in had gradually crushed his spirit and laughed at his sensitive Earth reservations. In the end he had adapted to the society he now found himself exiled to. My only hope was that the old Simon hadn’t died, that it had only been buried under this desperate longing for me and that in time after the novelty of having me in his furs at night had settled down, he might eventually come back to his senses and realise the enormity of what he had done. Could I save him from himself? Could I bring him back from the abyss? Maybe, but it would be far too late for Marissa. She was going to be sold today, and once we left Port Kar I would never see her again. I had failed to save Sakkara all those years ago. Now it seemed that history was going to repeat itself.

We didn’t stay long in the apartment for Simon knew there was an effective banishing order hanging over his head. Samos was influential on the Council of Captains and could make his life very miserable indeed if he chose to do so. If Simon knew what was good for him he would leave Port Kar that day and as quickly as possible before Samos had the opportunity to reflect further on how he had acted. Brinn would no doubt be getting drunk and might soon swear all manner of vengeance on Simon; things that Samos might choose to carry out in private. Simon remained just long enough to shorten the tunics that Marissa and Kiera wore. Both tunics had been suitable for slaves belonging to Free Women, with modest hem lines that fell to the knees. Simon preferred a more revealing brevity. With a knife he cut away the hem until it was incredibly short and revealing, and he slit the neck lines down to the navel of each girl. Kiera took the adjustments to her garment stoically, though I could sense she was nervous now, but Marissa wept openly as her legs were further revealed.

“Stop crying, or else I’ll remove the tunic entirely and you can walk to the slaver house naked.”

“Please don’t sell me, I beg of you,” wept Marissa as Simon put her and Kiera into a common neck tether together.

“We’re not discussing this any more,” he said as he arranged Marissa’s loose hair about her shoulders. He seemed satisfied with the way she looked now.

And then he marched us out of the door.

We were just three slave-girls as far as the citizens of Port Kar were concerned as Simon led us along the twisting canal paths. Marissa was growing more hysterical in her behaviour the further she got from her home and the closer she got to the Street of Brands. With Simon’s permission I tried to calm her down. Kiera, I think, was quite looking forward to belonging to a man, and she assumed her sale to a slaver house would eventually lead to that, so she didn’t seem too troubled by the unexpected turn of events. I think she also quite liked the fact that her former Mistress was going to become a slave like her.

“Samos can’t possibly permit this,” sobbed Marissa. “He’s going to think again and come for me, won’t he Emma?”

“Maybe, Mistress, maybe.” I simply told her what she desperately wanted to hear. How terrible this was for her. It had been a shock to me too, but not nearly as much of a shock as learning that Brinn wouldn’t challenge Simon for ownership of me because of his stupid codes. I think I was feeling just as miserable as Marissa, for I had truly believed my ordeal was at an end and soon I would be back at the estate in the Sardar with my children. Now my future was uncertain – I would follow Simon to whatever city he chose to make his new home. He had little money and I could expect a life that was hard to begin with.

“This is a nightmare! I don’t honestly want to be a slave, Emma! It was just a fantasy I had!” Her body was trembling as she imagined the reality that she was now facing. “I can’t survive in a slave pen! What am I going to do?”

“Be strong. Obey men. Do not anger the more experienced slaves. Accept that you will be the lowest girl in the cage for a time. Do whatever they tell you to do. The first few months are the worst. Train well and try to be pleasing. If you do, men may protect you from the worst the other slaves may do.”

The front entrance to the austere slaver house beckoned. Once we passed through those heavy wooden doors Marissa’s fate would be forever sealed. She would be stripped, made to stand in a circle of assessment and after being put through rudimentary slave paces with the threat of a whip, and only after her beauty was examined intimately, the slave house would offer Simon a price. If Simon accepted, Marissa would be sold, branded and placed in the slave pens in the lowest, darkest, most squalid part of the house. I knew only too well from my own past experiences how truly terrible the next few months would then be for her. She would be hysterical with fear and pain and misery. Her life would be unbearable to begin with, and then she would break and become the slave that we all eventually become. Few girls resist the training programme, and those few who do are simply killed, usually painfully as a warning to others. There is no escape, for where can a branded slave run to on Gor?

I am soft I suppose that I now cared for Marissa, but if I could save her from this fate, I would at least try.

“Please Master, there is still time to stop this,” I said, turning to Simon as we paused by the doors. I dropped to my knees as I spoke, not only to improve the likelihood of him listening to me, but also to buy a little more time to talk, for I would have to stand again before we might pass through into the house.

“Emma, I’ve warned you already,” said Simon. “Do not make me beat you.”

“Beat me if you must, Master, but I have to say this – once we enter that house you will have made an irrevocable decision that you may regret in later months. You are a good man, a kind man. I thought of you as my best friend on Gor. I looked up at you for so long. You kept me safe and you cared for me. You don’t have to do this. There is still time. We can go back to Brinn and Samos. They will forgive you. I know they will.”

“Samos will not forgive me,” said Simon. I could see the anguish and I knew he was already regretting the moment of madness in the House of Samos. I could work with this. I could appeal to Simon and I could save us all from this dreadful mistake. “Emma, I really, really don’t want to have to discipline you. Get up and walk through that door. Do it now.”

“I love you, Simon,” I said as I remained on my knees with my wrists braceleted behind my back.

“What?” He looked momentarily stunned as I knew he would.

“I said I love you. You asked me many days ago, did I love you, and this is what I should have told you. I love you. It may not be the love you want, but I love you anyway. I love you like I love my brother and my sister. We’ve known each other for six years on Gor. I’ve come to care for you very much during that time. We’ve laughed together and comforted one another through good times and bad times. I would never hurt you. I would always risk my life for you. I did so today. So yes, I love you. Do you truly love me?” I looked straight into his eyes.

“You… you know I do,” he said as he swallowed hard. “I have never loved anyone as much as I’ve loved you, Emma. I would have done anything for you. You mean everything to me, and I so desperately want…”

“You say that, but what you’re doing now is not born out of love. This isn’t love, Simon. Think about it. Maybe this is rage, jealousy, anger, all manner of burning emotions, but it isn’t love. If you do love me then that love has been consumed by other feelings. Love does not harm the subject of that love. If you loved me, truly loved me, you would be incapable of marching me through Port Kar naked, collared, in full view of Free Women who loathe the sight of me. You could never cause me any pain or misery. You could never bracelet my hands behind my back and make me helpless like this. Love doesn’t do that. Love would compel you to save me, to comfort me, to be there for me when I suffer. You’ve done that before, Simon, and I’ve loved and admired you for it. Don’t do this. Don’t carry on down a path that will ultimately turn you into a monster, and ultimately crush my love for you. You can’t possibly want that.”

“Emma… I didn’t want any of this… I didn’t mean any of this…”

“Let me see my children again, please. If you truly love me, how could you do the one thing that is guaranteed to drive me into a bleaker despair then I have ever known? You’ve seen me with my children. How can you do that to me, to them, and still claim love for me? You could make me happy Simon. You could give me a life worth living, right now, right this minute. And I would love you for it. Please. Please just stop for a moment, think about what has happened, and what you still can do. And Marissa…” I turned my gaze towards her, so that Simon would do the same. “She worked beside you. She risked her life for you and Samos. And I’m sorry, because she will hate me for telling you this, but she has deep feelings for you, Simon.”

“Emma!” Marissa cried out in shame as I declared one of her deepest secrets. She found both Simon and Brinn sexually desirable. I thought it best not to mention her primary desire for Brinn though. Simon might not relish being a consolation prize.

“It’s true, Simon, she hated me since we met in the Sardar because she dreamed of being with you. She finds you incredibly attractive. She fought long and hard not to simply offer herself to you.”

“Emma, please, no!” screamed Marissa in shame.

“This is no way to treat her. This is a woman who longs to be with you. There is no need to enslave her. She would gladly share your couch, be your Free Companion on Gor in honour and dignity. Think how happy you could be with Marissa at your side? Please don’t cast her into months of misery and suffering and a lifetime of abject slavery for the sake of money you won’t need if we return now, today, to the House of Samos. You can fix this, you can fix all of this, Simon. Please. But if we enter this house… if you throw Marissa into the circle of assessment, you will hate yourself for it in months to come. Your conscience will eat away at you, no matter where we go.”

I could see how horribly torn Simon was now. I was getting through to him.

I rose up onto my feet and walked the two steps to stand inches from his chest. I lowered my head and pressed it to his chest. “Come back to me, Simon. Accept my love the way it is.”

And then Simon placed his arms around me, gently, with compassion. I let out a sigh of relief as I knew I had won. Simon was going to be Simon again. He held me with kindness as he gazed round at Marissa.

“You… have feelings for me…” he asked.

“Yes!” sobbed Marissa, distraught at that revelation. “You are strong and handsome and… I am ashamed to admit I have sexual feelings for you, Simon of the Sardar. I want to share your couch and I want to be with you. But not like this.” She pulled at her own slave bracelets. “Please free me. Please accept me as a Free Woman. I will be yours even to the Free Companionship if you deem me worthy of it.”

“Marissa…” whispered Simon. “You are beautiful… very beautiful… I thought so the first time I saw you unveiled.” He released me now, and I saw his hand move to the pouch where he kept the keys to the slave bracelets. It was over. The madness was over. We would go home. Marissa would be freed. It would take time for Brinn to truly forgive Simon, but it would come I think. The madness was over.

“Weak,” said Kiera with derision. “That is what she will think of you once you have freed her and she wears her fine robes and gowns again. She will laugh at your weakness and tell her friends about you, to your undying shame.”

I turned round in astonishment as Kiera stood there regarding Simon with a sneer.

“And Brinn will think you weak, as will Samos, the moment they learn you surrendered your Gorean identity and adopted birthright to act as a pitifully sensitive man of Earth once again. Women deserve collars!” she snapped. “Haven't you learned that yet? Only a fool frees a slave! You will be laughed at by every man on Gor!”

“Kiera, shut the fuck up!” I screamed as I moved to face her, my teeth inches from her face, as I struggled with my bound wrists.

“Don’t get in my face, Emma!” she snapped back.

“Right, you fucking asked for this…” I lunged for Kiera, planning to bite her nose off or something, but Simon quickly grabbed me by my hair and pulled me back, throwing me down to the ground where I landed on my side.

“No, Emma, let her speak,” said Simon.

I rolled in the dust, and struggled up into a kneeling position.

“This is Gor!” screamed Kiera at Simon. “This is your birthright to have these women in collars, kissing your feet, and tending to your pleasure! How can you surrender that! Brinn would be disgusted with you! Samos would never respect you for it! Women will never respect you for it! Emma will never love you when she wears another man’s collar, because that man will master her the way you should do now! She will laugh at your weakness! And Marissa! Marissa does want you, but she wants to lie at your feet and beg you for your touch while she wears slave silk! She will despise you if you do not force her slavery on her. She is a slave! I have seen and heard her in her sleep, moaning and crying out for what she needs! Can’t you see that!”

“No!” cried Marissa. “Please, Simon, it’s not true.”

“You already have these women!” said Kiera. “You already have them on your terms, fully on your terms. Only a weak fool would throw that away. You want Emma? Take Emma! Take her, enjoy her, master her, and she will soon love you for it. She will crawl to your feet, beg you for sex, and worship you in time.”

“I’m going to fucking kill you, you bitch!” I screamed as I got to my feet again, but Simon took hold of my hair once again and stopped me running at the slave. “This is about you, isn’t it?” I screamed at her. “You want this because you want to be sold to a man? That’s why you’re saying this? You don’t want Marissa to be freed because you’ll be her slave again! That’s all this is! You want to be sold to a man!”

“I want to be a man’s slave, yes,” said Kiera as she stood up straight showing herself to Simon. “If I have to be a slave on Gor, I want to be the slave of a man, not some Free Woman who secretly yearns to be a slave herself! But that doesn’t change what I said. Neither of you will care for Simon if he frees you.”

“Let go of me!” I screamed at Simon. “I'm going to...”

“Stop it, Emma,” said Simon as he pulled me further away from Kiera.

“Look at her,” said Kiera as I squirmed in his grip. “This is the woman you want more than anything? She wears your collar and your chains. Are you really going to let her go? Really? Just because she promises to think sweet things of you from time to time? Oh, how romantic. How pitiful. Wake up! This is Gor! You can have women anyway you want them! You really want to give Emma up to another man’s collar? To know she will squirm to his touch, not yours, night after night? I thought she was your love slave? Be a man! Take her! Make her submit! Make her beg you for your touch!”

“Don’t listen to that fucking bitch, Simon!” I screamed, still trying to struggle free so I could kick Kiera to the ground.

“Call me Master, Emma,” said Simon. He looked angry again now. “Kiera is right. I would be less than a man if I gave you up. You’re mine. I'm not letting you go.”

So close! I had been so close! Simon’s hand remained firmly in my hair as he marched me forwards ahead of him and through the double doors into the slaver house. Marissa and Kiera had no option but to follow since their throats were leashed together and connected to the leash at my throat. I continued to plead with Simon, but my moment of sanity was lost in a haze of despair. Kiera's words had poisoned Simon’s mind again, reminding him of the beliefs of this alien society – beliefs that ran counter to his own Earth born morality. If there was one thing I had learned in the last few weeks it was how desperately Simon now wanted to be accepted and respected by his Gorean male peers. He wanted to be one of them, even if that meant adopting their barbaric customs towards women. The belief system is strong if it is universal.

My pleading must finally have angered Simon, for he slapped me hard across the face and when the slaver who greeted us saw my behaviour, he, with Simon’s tacit permission, promptly took a whip to my back. My wrists were secured to an iron ring set at waist height against one of the walls, and he gave me ten strokes of the broad five bladed whip to quiet my struggling. By the end of that beating my back was on fire, and I simply knelt there, tears rolling down my cheeks, my breath coming out in ragged gasps, unable to think clearly. All I was conscious of was the desperate desire not to be whipped a second time.

“Will you be troublesome again, girl?” asked the slaver as he brandished the whip before my face.

“No Master, a girl will be pleasing…” I kissed the strands of the whip, for it was expected of me.

Over in the other side of the room, Marissa screamed instinctively as the black haired slaver touched her intimately between the legs. He looked up, surprised at the reaction.

“This is a Free Woman?” he asked.

“She was free,” said Simon, nodding, “but she submitted to me. She is a slave now.””

“I am not a slave!” screamed Marissa again as the slaver’s hand touched her sex. “I did not submit to him! This is illegal! You can’t do this to me!”

I stood nearby and winced as Marissa said that. Kiera too looked scared on her behalf. It was a very bold thing for a slave to say to a Free Man.

“Speak clearly, but understand that if you are lying, you will be beaten hard, girl,” said the slaver whose name was Antibes. He had roughly pulled the hem of Marissa’s tunic up about her waist, revealing her lower torso to his inspection. He did not seem pleased with her claim to be free and that he was breaking the law by touching her.

“I am free! I did not submit to this man!” screamed Marissa as she backed away by the distance of two small steps within the circle of assessment. We were in the hall of assessment of the House of Verenus on the Street of Brands. Simon wished to know what the House would offer him for both Marissa and Kiera.

Now the slaver gazed at Simon for want of an explanation.

“She submitted to my slave, Emma, and therefore under mercantile law submitted to me as her Master. She still doesn’t seem to understand or accept this, but I have over the years studied the matter and I can assure you the submission is legal and binding.” Simon crossed his arms and looked angrily at Marissa. “I am therefore entitled to bring her to this house for an assessment and possible sale. She is a slave in the eyes of the law, even though she isn’t branded.”

I was horribly afraid for Marissa, for Simon seemed confident in what he was saying.

“Is this true?” Asked the slaver of Marissa. “Did you submit to Simon’s slave-girl?”

“You do not understand the circumstances!” she wept. “It was a deception! It was not real! It was contrived…”

“Yes or no?” said the slaver. He seemed very annoyed by this now.

“It is more complicated than just a yes or no!” said Marissa.

The slaver turned his gaze to me now and asked, “did this woman submit to you, Emma?”

“Yes Master, she did.” I looked down at my feet, unable to lie convincingly before either of the men. Especially after having felt the whip on my back. My heart was beating furiously as my many years of conditioning reverted me back to a submissive state, too fearful to disobey a man.

“Emma! Please!” begged Marissa, on hearing my words.

“The matter is clear then,” said the slaver. “You became Simon’s property the moment you submitted to his slave. Strip completely and stand in display position. NOW!” He cracked his whip against the floor tiles and poor Marissa screamed and flinched at the sound.

“Now, Marissa,” added Simon, “or by God I will have you whipped where you stand.”

Poor Marissa struggled to remove the tunic, her hands fumbling due to panic. The slaver gave her a little more time than he might otherwise have done, and then Marissa cast her single garment to the floor. She stood there, strikingly beautiful in her nudity. Only the steel collar graced her skin.

“What do you think?” asked Simon. He watched as the slaver touched Marissa in several places. Marissa's reaction ranged from cries of misery to cries of surprise as some of the touches were tender and quite erotic. Her body it seems was hormonally rich after all.

“Interesting.” The slaver removed his hand from the girl. “She seems vital enough bearing in mind she is free. Can you confirm she does not share the Home Stone of Port Kar?”

“I can. She resides in Corcyrus. That is her city.”

“Good, then there is no legal problem with enslaving her in Port Kar.” The slaver smiled as he saw Marissa stand with difficulty in the position of display, with her hands, wrists crossed behind her neck, her breasts thrust out, and her lovely belly sucked in. He moved her feet further apart as she did so. “It seems you are a slave, despite your protests, girl. And a lovely one too.” 

Marissa trembled, hearing those words. “But that is not what is interesting about you. More so is the fact that you come here with the other girl, Kiera, formally your personal slave. I believe there is a sales opportunity here to auction the two of you together as a matching pair. My customers will be intrigued at the possibilities of a former free woman and her personal slave being sold together, where the slave is trained and skilled and the former Mistress is not. The possibilities are quite splendid.”

“I’m not like Kiera,” sobbed Marissa.

“No you are not,” said the slaver. “Kiera has had some training. You are unskilled and need to learn. Your former slave, Kiera, will of course be First Girl. In the pens below you will look to her to train you in the skills you will require to survive. How you persuade her to train you is down to you. She is under no obligation to teach you anything if she does not wish to,” added the slaver, mostly for Kiera’s benefit.

“I do not understand, Master,” said Kiera as he gazed at her former Mistress.

“Simply that if this slave wishes to learn skills that will save her from punishment beatings, she will have to beg and plead with you to teach her those skills. As you were formally her slave, the requirement to beg you will be an interesting role reversal that will teach her the reality of her new position in life sooner rather than later. Tell me, was she a kind Mistress to you?”

“No, not really.” Kiera gazed at Marisa again. “She took out a lot of her sexual frustrations on me with the whip. She was often spiteful and cruel.”

“Of course. How splendid.” The slaver turned back to face Marissa. “Well my dear, you have a choice it seems. You can train and train well, and escape the regular application of the lash, or you can fail to train and experience a short but brutal life in the pens. Which will it be?”

“Please, no…” Marissa looked like she was about to faint.

“Which will it be?” said the slaver again, this time with a growl.

“I will train!” she sobbed.

“Then you will have to be pleasing towards your former girl. You will have to persuade her to teach you the things you will need to know. Do you think you can do that?”

“I will have to,” she sobbed.

“Good. See that you do. So…” now he turned back to face Simon. “I am interested in the pair of girls. I will offer you a silver tarsk for the pair.”

Simon was obviously expecting a higher offer than that, judging by the look on his face, but the slaver cut him off before he could say anything. “The market is currently saturated with girls here in Port Kar. Dietrich of Tarnburg has concluded a successful and brilliant campaign on behalf of the Vosk League, and over a thousand girls were sold in bulk to this city alone in the last month. To be honest my offer would be lower if the girls you offer didn’t have such an intriguing connection between them. I can market that.” The slaver clicked his fingers and called Kiera over. She didn’t hesitate to run to him and drop to her knees in the circle of assessment, head bowed.

“But still, a single silver tarsk for two beauties,” said Simon.

“I will save you time and effort when I tell you that you can visit every slave house in the city and you will find they offer you broadly speaking the same money. This is currently a buyer’s market, not a seller’s market.” The slaver lifted Kiera’s chin as he spoke. “Pretty, but there are lots of girls like her being unloaded at the docks as we speak.” And then his eyes regarded me casually. “What of her? Do you wish me to make an offer on Emma?”

“No,” said Simon. “I will keep her.”

“But you do not object to me assessing her?” The slaver regarded Simon with a smile.

“If you want, but as I say, she is not for sale.” Simon motioned me forward. “Go to him, Emma.”

And so I did, once my wrists were untied from the slave ring. I stood there in perfect display position, offering myself to his intimate inspection The slaver of course knew what he was doing and I responded quickly and deliciously to his touch.

“She is a trained pleasure slave, yes?” said the slaver.

“She is,” said Simon.

“Kiss me, girl.” I did so, kissing him with an intensity that surprised and shocked Marissa. I kiss well, very well indeed, and when my lips left the man’s, he seemed pleased. He then, while Marissa looked on in alarm, put me through a number of basic slave paces, giving me the opportunity to demonstrate what I now knew by rote. My body glided from one position to the next as he barked the words at me. My movements were smooth and fluid, and I think there was no denying my expertise.

“You have a well trained slave there,” he said after a while.

Simon nodded and gazed at Marissa and Kiera. “Add an extra twenty coppers to the price and you have a deal.”

“No.” The slaver smiled, for I think he knew Simon was desperate. “My offer is not negotiable. It also comes with a finite time limit. Leave here today and I cannot guarantee I will be able to match the offer when you return from the other slaver houses. A silver tarsk is the market price for two matched girls like these. They would fetch a smaller combined sum if marketed individually.”

“Very well. I’ll take it.” Yes, Simon was desperate. He needed money if he was going to leave Port Kar before night fall.

I couldn’t look at Marissa any more. I couldn’t bear the look of despair in her face as the slaver paid Simon his money and legally claimed her and Kiera as his own. In a moment Marissa was sold, now the property of the centuries old slaver house on the Street of Brands.

“You are mine now, my dear,” he said to Marissa. “Kneel, nadu, now!”

And sobbing, Marissa did so. She was a slave. She had been sold and bought for the first time in her life.

“Please Masters,” I said meekly, “may I speak to Marissa before we go?”

The slaver nodded and turned away. “You have a few minutes, girl.”

I knelt down beside Marissa and hugged her trembling body. I pressed her head to my shoulder and held her.

“Please don’t leave me here, Emma. I’m terrified.”

“I know. I know.” There was nothing I could do now. I was just a slave as she was. I had no say in anything. “This isn’t fair,” I said to her. “But it is what it is. Do not fight them. Nothing good will come of the attempt. Your only hope is to submit. I have been in your place and I know this is true.”

Approximately six years ago – the foothills of Skaffel Peak

Simon looked forlorn seated on a ledge of rock, trembling in the early morning chill. He wore a torn pair of denim jeans and a band T-shirt that I didn’t recognise. He'd lost one of his shoes somewhere, his floppy hair was damp from the early morning dew and he looked scared. Rachel was gone – taken by the silver ship that had recognised the ring of red metal that I had slipped on to her finger. Erin was leaving, Elizabeth was dead, and Brinn was hunting survivors of the Kurii forces. It was over. It was finally over. Soon the forces of the Priest King Nest in the Sardar would be here to take command and to cauterise the area of any sign of Kurii technology. But until then there was peace and just the sound of forest birds as the sun rose to mark the start of a new day. I could imagine what Simon Rogers must be feeling now. He had been brought to Gor to work on the ship computers on Golden Klaw, the great Kurii drop ship that had been hidden in the sunken depths of Lake Siljan, and I suppose he had expected to eventually return to Earth with the abundant riches he had been promised. But now he was marooned on Gor – his allies dead and his home destroyed. He looked so small, weak and helpless before the vast panoply of the Gorean continent. All his skills would be useless on this world, and adapting to it would be hard.

And he did not know the reality of Gor the way I did.

“Hey you,” I said as I approached with a bota of paga in one hand and a thick blanket in the other. Simon looked up and seemed embarrassed to be seen looking at me while I was naked. Quickly he looked away, blushing. “It’s okay,” I said as I handed him the bota. “I’m used to men gazing at me.” I sat down on the outcrop of rock and watched as he drank some of the strong liquor. “You’ll be okay. Brinn is going to look after you. He told me.”

In the distance we could see the wreck of Golden Klaw, the Kurii drop ship, crashed at the foot of Skaffel Peak. Some distance away was a smoking, still partially blazing section of forest where the Priest King weapons had obliterated the escape pods to our rear. It had been a very close call. I propped my chin on the palm of one hand, resting the elbow on my knee as I gazed at the dwindling figure of Erin as she slowly faded from view into the dense forest canopy to start a new life as a Panther Girl.

“I’m going to die here, aren’t I?” said Simon, his voice tinged with genuine fear. “I’m stranded on some primitive Game of Thrones world and I’m going to be killed by the first Viking I come across.”

“Brinn is going to take you in. You’re one of us now,” I said as I reached over and placed my hand on his thigh. He seemed startled by the physical contact but then settled down and placed one of his own hands on top of mine.

“I’m so sorry for what Brinn made you do with me, Emma. I mean… before the alarm went off...” He was so shy, so afraid of hurting me.

“You mean the sex?” I said with a smile.

Simon nodded and went red faced again. “I must have been a real disappointment. I didn’t know what to do. I haven’t been with a girl before.”

“Well, there’s no shortage of them on Gor. Believe me - you’ve just won the lottery thanks to your male chromosomes. And no, you weren’t that bad.” I squeezed his hand a bit. “Honestly… there’s nothing to be ashamed of. It was your first time. And I guess I can be a bit intimidating, you know, what with my perfect sexy body and all. I'm just soooo sexy,” I said in a mock sexy voice that managed to raise a smile on his face.

Simon laughed, despite his fear. “You… you are pretty much perfect, Emma.” He couldn’t look at me as he spoke. “Like a fantasy. I've never seen anyone like you before...”

“Wow. You’re going to ruin my natural sense of modesty. Swollen head, much?” I laughed softly.

Neither of us said anything for a while. Simon passed me the bota and with a nod motioned for me to drink as well. Brinn had given me a blanket which I now wrapped about my upper body against the cold morning air. “Do you mind?” I said as I snuggled close to him. “We may as well share body warmth until the Priest King ships arrive.”

“Where’s Brinn?” asked Simon as he nervously put an arm around my shoulders. I could feel his body trembling as I snuggled in close to him. With his floppy hair, pretty face and slim boyish body, he looked almost feminine, at least compared with the men I was used to on Gor.

“Clearing up. He wants to provide the Priest Kings with a full report when their men arrive. If there’s so much as a wounded Kur anywhere within a pasang or two, Brinn is going to find them. He's got a sword again, and he loves to use it.”

I could see he was looking sideways at my slave collar. I smiled and picked up his hand and brought its fingers over to touch the steel. “Go on. I know you want to.” I sat there as Simon traced his fingers over the metal.

“You belong to Brinn?”

I nodded. “I’m a slave here. But you know that.”

“It’s insane. I was told about this sort of thing when I came here, but I never ventured anywhere more than a mile from the drop ship. I never saw any slaves.”

“Well you’ve seen one now, and quite intimately too,” I said with a smile. “Did you have fun?”

Simon blushed again and turned away from me. “I feel so bad. I should have said no to Brinn, but I was afraid of what he might do. He scares me. He looks very violent. I practically raped you… Emma, I’m so sorry.”

“Hmm, I probably raped you actually. You were basically just lying there and thinking of England. It’s not a big deal. Some of the things I’ve had to do in the past…” I sighed. “Best I don’t tell you.”

“I’m really scared, Emma. I don’t know what to do. I can’t survive here. I’m not strong enough.”

“You might be surprised. The gravity is different. You’ll probably find you’re stronger here then you were on Earth. You’re starting with an advantage as an Earth man. You can build on that. Here…” I held out my wrist. “Try and force my arm down.”

“Honestly, Emma, I don’t think I’ll be able to. I was never very good at that sort of thing at school.”

“Try me. Go on.” I smiled. Simon reluctantly took hold of my raised wrist and tensed himself to try and force my arm down. To his amazement he did so with with ease.

“OW!” I said as I winced. “Take it easy. Your grip is really strong…” I looked up and saw the surprise in his eyes. “Like I said – different gravity.”

“But you’re from Earth too,” he said.

“Sort of, yes, but my body was re-built by the Kurii from a basic molecular level. They hard wired my new body to match Gor’s gravity. I never had the advantage you do. Give it time and you could be a regular Conan.” I noticed Simon was still holding my wrist. “Um…” I glanced at my wrist and then back at him with a raised eyebrow.

“Oh God, sorry…” he quickly released me. “I was just a bit stunned, that’s all.”

“It’s fine.” I rubbed my wrist. I was going to have bruises there by tonight. “Hey, hey…” I suddenly noticed tears welling in Simon’s eyes. “Look, you’ll get through this.”

“There’s no way for me to get back home. I don’t know what to do, Emma. I am so scared. I don’t know anyone here.”

“You know me.” I took his hands again. “We’re both from Earth. I made it through the worst, and you will too. How about we make a pact?”

“A pact?” Simon sniffed, wiped his eyes with his free hand and looked at me.

“Yes. We’ll stick together, we’ll help one another, and we’ll never let one another down. How about it? We can be friends. If you want…”

“Please…” said Simon. “I want to be your friend, Emma.”

“Okay. Wow. I bet you’ve never been friends with a slave-girl before. The other men are going to tease you about it, you know. They don't do that here on Gor – have slaves as friends.”

“I don’t care. I don’t care what they think. We’ll be friends, yes? And nothing will ever change that?”

“Damn fucking right, Simon Rogers. The best of friends. Forever, yes? Though I suppose I'm going to have to call you Master when Brinn gets back.”

“Forever,” said Simon, as his eyes inadvertently strayed from my face to my naked breasts, and then back again. “And I'll make you two promises, Emma. You'll never have any reason to fear me, ever, and you'll never have to call me Master.”

“Sweet,” I said with a smile. And then I kissed him softly on the cheek.

Just like I'd kiss my brother.


“Emma, it's time to go,” said Simon, seemingly unconcerned with Marissa’s feelings. He gazed at the single silver coin in his hand, worth perhaps two thousand dollars. He had sold two women to get it. He, a man of Earth, had sold women, one of whom had been abducted from Earth, and the other he had forced into slavery himself. Simon was becoming Gorean it seemed.

I rose and rejoined my Master. I stood there passively as he snapped a leash to my collar. He pulled my body to him and he kissed me deeply, savouring the sensation. I winced as I felt his hands touch the painful whip marks on my back. I kissed him back obviously, for I could be beaten for being displeasing. And yes, I kissed him well, to the best of my ability. I had to be pleasing. I didn’t want Simon to sell me to a slave pen as he had done to Marissa and Kiera. A private Master was always preferable to that.

I thought of Marissa as Simon led me through the narrow cobbled side streets of Port Kar, following the path of the nearby canals towards the docks. She would be naked now, taken down into the lower levels of the basement cellars beneath Samos’s house where the slave pens were kept. The area would be dank, cold, riddled with damp below the water line of the sea level. Marissa would be routinely branded at a blacksmith’s forge, screaming, tears running down her face. Her wrists would be braceleted behind her back so that she couldn’t then touch the fresh brand and spoil it. Maybe her ears would be pierced, though I doubted it. That was not done routinely in Port Kar by slavers, but rather a matter for her eventual owner to decide upon. She would however be thrust into a slave pen with several other girls who would know she was a former free woman reduced to bondage. They would be cruel to her at least to begin with, for slaves fear free women and are only too happy to vent their anger at one who falls prey to slavers.

I had failed Marissa just as I had failed Sakkara all those years ago when she called me her chain sister. I am still haunted by that last lingering look in her eyes as I was freed from the coffle chain in the oasis and I walked away with Brinn, leaving her to the tender mercies of Rashid. I will never forget the look on her face. It wasn’t a look of abandonment but a look of relief that I at least was free of Rashid’s chain.

She was happy for me.

I feel so ashamed sometimes, because that day in the oasis I thought only of myself, and how desperately I wanted Brinn to buy me so that I would not return to Rashid’s house in the desert and the rough treatment of his sisters. I should have begged Brinn to buy Sakkara too. He had enough money. But I was afraid he wouldn’t buy me if I caused a scene. I was afraid of being whipped that night for being unsellable. I was a coward.

I’m sorry Sakkara. Please forgive me wherever you are.

I didn’t look at Simon as he led me on at the end of a leash. I didn’t look at the free men and women who passed by either, for fear of what I might see. I was naked still, and I felt ashamed every time a free woman saw me like this. I didn’t even dare to look at a man, for if a Free Woman was close by and she saw me doing so, she might be angry. Free Women do not like slaves to gaze at men. They beat us for it.

“Come along, Emma, we’re close to the docks now,” said Simon as he shortened the length of the leash. He liked to keep me close by, close enough to reach out and touch me if he wished. To this end he now walked me ahead of him, and from time to time he stroked my ass and my thighs. “I still can’t believe you’re truly mine,” he said as we passed by a street of fish merchants. “Emma of London, in my collar. Emma of London, pleasuring me each night from now on.” He was heady with excitement at the thought of the sexual delights to come it seemed. I had cost him dearly in his friendship with Brinn and his new found enmity with Samos, and he would no doubt make me perform to the value of everything he had lost in his pursuit of me.

But Simon had other concerns because he knew that he was effectively under a death sentence if he remained in Port Kar. Samos was offended, and Samos was not the kind of man you wanted to offend. And so Simon led me through the city at something of a fast pace, intent on booking passage on one of the next sailing ships due to leave the harbour side. The wharves were busy by the time we reached the sea front, mostly with new arrivals from the waters to the south of the Vosk delta. As I knelt close to some stacked crates, Simon made enquiries with the local harbour master as to which vessels were departing today. He was advised that the Carcassonne was due out in a few hours time and bound for southern waters which seemed to Simon as good a place as any to head to. He found a money changer and changed his silver tarsk for a bag of ninety five copper tarsks at a cost of a 5 tarsk deduction. The large pouch of money weighed heavy and I could see he was concerned that it might be stolen from him as his original funds had been when we first arrived at Port Kar. He spent a little of the money purchasing a shoulder sack and some essential provisions and travelling supplies and he hid the majority of his funds in that bag that he wore at his shoulder. A cut purse would have a harder job of filching the money if it was embedded within the rest of his possessions. He also purchased me a slave tunic that I was actually extremely grateful for. I was pathetically relieved as I pulled it over my body and tugged it down past my hips.

“It will be taken from you if you are disobedient in any way, Emma,” he explained as he watched me dress.

“I understand, Master,” I said. I stood there obediently as he took a knife to the sides of the garment and cut vertically up from the hem on either side of my thighs. The clinging garment was then slit to my waist and parted slightly as I moved.

“Master…” I said as I blushed. The sight of the slits was having an obvious effect on him if the sudden lump in his tunic was anything to go by.

“You are so beautiful,” he said after gazing at me for a while. “I have never wanted anyone as much as I wanted you. And you are mine now, Emma. I own you. After all these years I finally own Emma of London. What a marvellous world Gor is that permits me to own a woman. I was so stupid before. I deprived myself of so much pleasure. It is right that you should be in a collar, naked, kneeling at my feet. It is right that you should obey me in everything. I will never be weak with you again. You will please me, Emma, or you will feel the whip. I am Gorean now.”

“I will please you, Master,” I said seductively, knowing I had no other choice. “You own me, I wear your collar now.” It is what he wanted to hear me say, and it meant I would not suffer. They are just words.

They are only words on the wind.

No comments:

Post a Comment