Slave Girl Of Gor
Book Number 11

       ----- by John Norman -----

        Chronicles of Counter-Earth




 27
I Kneel In The Yellow Circle


I lay at his feet, like a pet she-sleen, he, Clitus Vitellius, in his compartments, sitting in a curule chair. His hands were on the arms of the curved chair. He stared moodily out the window, at the towers of Ar.
I rose to kneel before him. "Master," I said. I did not think I could dissuade him. I wore a brief street tunic, his collar.
I put my head upon his knee. I felt his hand in my hair. There was a tear in my eye.
"You trouble me," he said.
"I am sorry," I said, "if I have displeased you."
"I do not understand the feeling I have toward you," he said. He held my head between his hands, and looked down at me. "You are a mere slave," he said.
"Only your slave, Master," I said.
He thrust me from him, to the floor. I looked up at him.
"And you are of Earth," he said, "only a wench of Earth, collared and enslaved."
"Yes, Master," I said, softly.
He stood, angrily. He had, in the past days, treated me with great brutality.
"I fear you," he said, suddenly.
I was startled.
"I fear myself," he said, angrily. "I fear you, and myself," he said. He glared down at me.
I shrank back from him, for I was a slave.
"You make me weak," he said, angrily. "I am a warrior of Ar."
"A slave laughs at her master?s weakness," I shouted, angrily.
"Fetch the whip!" he cried in fury.
I ran to the whip and brought it to him, kneeling before him, thrusting it into his hands. I looked up at him, angrily. His hand seized my tunic at the neck and shoulder and prepared to tear it from me, that I might be hurled to the floor at his feet, to be put writhing beneath the sharp discipline of his domination. His hand was on my tunic, the whip was uplifted. Then he released my tunic and threw the whip from him. He held my head between his hands. "Oh," he said, "you are an interesting and clever slave! That is one of the reasons you are so dangerous, Dina. You are so clever, so intelligent."
"Whip me," I begged.
"No," he said, angrily.
"Does Master care for Dina?" I asked.
"How could I, Clitus Vitellius, a captain of Ar, care for a slave?" he demanded.
"Forgive a girl, Master," I said.
"Should I free you?" he asked.
"No, Master," I said. "I could not then help myself. I would oppose my will to yours. I would strive against you."
"Do not fear," he said to me. "I am Clitus Vitellius, of Ar. I do not free slaves."
On the way to the Curulean we stopped at the Belled Collar. There Clitus Vitellius untied my hands, that I might, as though I were still a paga girl there, serve him.
"Will you not force me to the alcove?" I asked him.
"She-sleen," he smiled, sipping his paga.
I saw Slave Beads serving men. It was early afternoon.
"I was quite good as a paga girl," I said.
"I do not doubt it," he said.
Various of the girls whom I remembered, and Slave Beads in particular, had, with the permission of Busebius, the tavern master, spoken with me and kissed me. I think several of them envied me my master, but I informed them that I was being taken to the Curulean, there to be sold.
"Do you need a slave girl, Master," asked Helen, the Earth-girl dancer at the Belled Collar. She put out her hand, timidly, to touch his knee. "Buy me," she whispered. "I will serve you well." He cuffed her sharply back, bringing blood to her mouth. She looked up, frightened, from the floor. "Dance for us, Earth wench," he said. Her accent had betrayed her. "Yes, Master," she said. Before the table, to the music of some four musicians, Helen, commanded, danced before a Gorean master. There were tears in her eyes. Then he dismissed her, and she fled away. I was not displeased.
I saw Bran Loort entering the tavern with a basket of vegetables. He saw me, and looked away. He went to the kitchens. He did small work at the tavern.
"Where is Marla, Master?" I asked. I had regarded her as my greatest rival where Clitus Vitellius had been concerned.
"I sold her to a slaver," said he, "who specializes in the training of dancing girls."
I remembered Marla?s long dark hair, her beautiful face, her stunning figure. She would look well, belled, in the dancing sand, I thought. She would be a marvelous dancer.
"I gave Eta," said Clitus Vitellius, "to the guard, Mirus."
"I am pleased, Master," I said. I remembered the young, blond giant, Minis, how he had put her on the coffle in Tabuk?s Ford. I had seen they had been intensely attracted to one another. Now he owned her. I thought Eta would be extremely happy. I was much pleased for her. Mirus, I had thought, had been the most attractive of the men of Clitus Vitellius, saving himself, of course.
"Slave Beads, as you know," said Clitus Vitellius, "is now owned by Busebius."
"Yes, Master," I said.
"Lehna, and Donna and Chanda," said Clitus Vitellius, "I gave to two of my men, Lehna to one, and Donna and Chanda to the other, for good service in war."
I nodded. It is not unusual among warriors to bestow beautiful slave girls as rewards for good service or valor. Slave girls make lovely gifts.
"Are we to leave soon for the Curulean, Master?" I asked.
"Yes," he said. "But first I am awaiting the arrival of a friend."
"May I ask whom, Master?" I asked.
"Only if you wish to be whipped," he said.
I was silent.
"But you know him," said Clitus Vitellius.
I looked at Clitus Vitellius, curious. But I did not ask. I did not wish to be whipped, certainly not before the other girls. There are diverse philosophies of discipline. Some masters believe a girl should be whipped only privately. Others believe she should be whipped whenever and wherever she deserves it, immediately, while her offense, such as it is, is fresh in her mind. Clitus Vitellius, perhaps wisely, believed it depended upon the girl and the context. Sometimes punishment is much more effective when a girl must wait for it. Generally a girl is not whipped before another girl who is owned by the same master. They only know, when the door is closed, that their sister in bondage is to be whipped. That is enough for them. I had little doubt, however, that Clitus Vitellius, in the present context, would hesitate to whip in the Belled Collar itself. He knew I would not care to be exposed and publicly put under the leather here where I had worked, and certainly not before the girls I knew. To be whipped with Helen watching, for example, would be almost unspeakable agony. I was very quiet.
Soon I heard a roisterous peasant singing. Thurnus, whatever might have been his virtues, was not skilled in melody. "It is Thurnus!" I laughed. "Yes," Clitus Vitellius. "Do not give me to him again!" I begged. "Do not fear, little slave," said Clitus Vitellius. He leaped to his feet and he and Thurnus, who was carrying his great staff, met, embracing, among the tables.
In moments they had come to our table. Thurnus was already drunk, I thought. It seemed strange to me that they had met here, though I knew that they were friends. Thurnus, clearly, was in Ar on some business. "Greetings, little Dina," he roared. "Greetings, Master," I said.
He looked powerful and hardy, and was much pleased with himself. I knew the drought had been broken. The fields, I suspected, were doing well.
I wondered on what business it was that he had come to Ar. It was in the Fall now.
I noted Bran Loort peering out from the kitchens, but he then withdrew, his face in misery. He dared not be seen in this place, performing the chores of a churl. He had been of the peasants. I recalled the dishonor and agony in which Bran Loort had been banished from Tabuk?s Ford. Rather than permit himself to be seen in tavern work by Thurnus, Caste Leader of Tabuk?s Ford, I thought he might choose death.
I looked to Slave Beads. She was busily engaged in serving Thander of Ti, of the Salerian Confederation, and four of his men. When in Ar, negotiating commercial arrangements between Ar and the Confederation, it seemed he regularly patronized the Belled Collar. There was a girl there to whom he had taken a liking. Her name was Slave Beads.
"Sul paga!" cried Thurnus, pounding on the small table with his great staff.
"Be quiet," said a fellow at a nearby table. He was drinking with some five companions.
"Sul paga!" shouted Thurnus, pounding on the table.
"Be silent!" said some fellow at another table.
"Sul paga! Sul paga!" cried Thurnus. The great staff banged on the table.
Busebius rushed to the table. "Master," said he, "we have many pagas, those of Ar and Tyros, and Ko-ro-ba, and Helmutsport, and Anango, and Tharna!"
"Sul paga!" shouted Thurnus. Several men about, at various tables, regarded him, most unpleasantly. I had worked in the Belled Collar, and, later, in the Chatka and Curla, in Cos. It did not require a great deal of experience to sense that Thurnus must soon be quiet or there would be trouble.
The pagas mentioned by Busebius were all, of course, Sa-Tarna pagas, of various sorts and localities, varying largely in the blend.
"Sul paga!" demanded Thurnus. Sul paga, as anyone knew, is seldom available outside of a peasant village, where it is brewed. Sul paga would slow a tharlarion. To stay on your feet after a mouthful of Sul paga it is said one must be of the peasants, and then for several generations. And even then, it is said, it is difficult to manage. There is a joke about the baby of a peasant father being born drunk nine months later.
"Sul paga!" shouted Thurnus.
"Silence!" cried a brawny fellow, some two tables away.
"Please, Master," said Busebius, "we do not have Sul paga here."
Thurnus rose to his feet, his face a maze of conflicting emotions, disbelief and incredulity chief among them.
"Sit down!" cried one critic.
"Eject him," cried another.
"No Sul paga?" said Thurnus.
"No, Master," said Busebius.
"Then I shall sing," said Thurnus.
I thought this a splendid threat.
Thurnus, as good as his word, broke into wondrous song. At this point, unable to help himself, one of the fellows at another table leaped bodily upon Thurnus and began. to pummel him. He was joined shortly in this endeavor by several others. Clitus Vitellius, to my surprise, slipped to one side. I crawled between the legs of fighting men. I saw some two men fly off their feet, held up toward the ceiling by Thurnus. Their heads made a dull sound as they were struck together. A slave girl screamed. Then I saw Thurnus go down under a pile of attackers A blur, brown and huge, leaped past me. I covered my head and backed away. I saw Bran Loort seize a man by the collar and loft him into the air, the fellow flying backward, then falling, crashing, skidding across two tables. "I am done for," cried Thurnus, from somewhere under the pile. But I saw his hand reach out and seize a paga cup which he drained while men fought over him, struggling to pound upon him, largely striking one another. "Do not fear, Caste Leader!" cried Bran Loort. He hurled another fellow away, headfirst into a wall. He seized two by the collars, pounding their heads together. I winced at the sound. He spun another man about and the fellow had little time to register the large hamlike fist which rearranged his features. I saw two teeth fly out of the mouth of the next man struck. Bran Loort fought like a madman. "Do not fear, Caste Leader!" he cried. "I am here!" Thurnus, by this time, had extricated himself from beneath the pile of bodies and stood to one side, a goblet of paga in his hand. "He fights well," said Thurnus to Clitus Vitellius. "Yes," said Clitus Vitellius, moving his head to one side to avoid a flying bottle. Then we saw Bran Loort backed against the wall, with what must have been twenty angry men of Ar encircling him. He looked wildly about himself. He saw Thurnus. "There are only twenty!" called Thurnus. "And you are of the peasants!" He flung his staff to Bran Loort, who caught it. Out stabbed the staff. A man screamed. About swung the staff and men tried to struggle backward. The staff whirled about, almost invisible, a branch lashed in a hurricane. I saw teeth flying, and blood, and a jaw broken. One man howled with misery, a shin shattered. More than one, I think, must have received a broken leg. The staff punched out, thrusting into another man?s stomach. It lashed to the side and I heard ribs crack. Men crept to the side to outflank the young peasant. Thurnus broke a table over the head of one. Busebius was weeping. "Stop, stop, Masters!" he cried. Then Thurnus and Bran Loort were fighting back to back, the goblet of Thurnus left in the hands of Clitus Vitellius. Bran Loort held the staff and, behind him, using half of the broken table, Thurnus protected him, fending blows and thrusting out, now and again, with the shattered table. At last he split the remainder of the table over the head of a brute who staggered back. Then Thurnus and Bran Loort, the wall at their back, stood side by side.
I heard a sword leave its sheath. Then I heard six swords more leap from the sheaths. I was frightened.
"No," said Thandar of Ti, standing on a table. He had drawn his own blade. Then, so, too, one after the other, did the four men with him. All were of the warriors.
The men of Ar looked angrily at Thandar of Ti and his men.
"No," said Thandar of Ti, again.
The sword, too, of Clitus Vitellius, my master, the captain of Ar, had left its sheath. He had placed Thurnus?s paga on a nearby table. He stood between Thumus and Bran Loort, and the men threatening them.
"I must agree with my fellow of the warriors," said Clitus Vitellius. "It is not proper that you should attack with. steel those who defend themselves with wood."
"What he says is true," said a man. "We are of Ar!" He resheathed his blade.
"Free paga for all!" cried Thandar of Ti.
"And I," called Clitus Vitellius, "will fee the second round of cups!"
"Cheers for the peasants!" cried a man, with bloody face.
"Cheers for the peasants!" they cried. Then they surrounded Thurnus and Bran Loort, pounding them on the back.
"I shall not sing," promised Thurnus.
"Bring paga!" cried Busebius to the girls, who had drawn back, frightened. With a scurrying flight of bells they hurried to their work.
"And what are you doing here, miserable Bran Loort?" demanded Thurnus.
Bran Loort put down his head. "I have taken service here," he said. "I am shamed that you should find me here."
"Rightfully so," roared Thurnus. He had retrieved his goblet now, handed to him by Clitus Vitellius, and, throwing his head back, splashed its contents down his throat.
"What are you doing here?" asked Bran Loort. "Is it not time to harvest the Sa-Tarna?"
"I thought you might have forgotten," said Thurnus.
"No," said Bran Loort.
Thurnus regarded the young man. "It is certainly a great surprise to me," he said, "to find you here. But, as it turned out, it was fortunate."
"I am pleased," said Bran Loort, "if I could be of service."
"An amazing coincidence," marveled Thurnus. Clitus Vitellius smiled.
"Yes," admitted Bran Loort, puzzled.
"More paga!" called Thurnus. A girl filled his cup. Swiftly again the contents vanished.
"But what are you doing here?" asked Bran Loort, suddenly, shrewdly. "It is time to harvest the Sa-Tarna."
"I am looking for men," he said, "to aid in the harvest."
"I am strong," said Bran Loort. There were tears in his eyes.
"Good," said Thurnus. Bran Loort embraced him, weeping. "Drink a cup of paga," said Thurnus. "Then we must go. The Sa-Tarna grows impatient."
Bran Loort cried out with joy and whirled about, arms uplifted, like a child running and turning in the sun. He seized a cup and tore a vessel of paga from a startled girl and filled it himself. He threw his head back and drained the cup and flung it away.
"He has much to learn," said Thurnus, "but someday he will be a caste leader. He will have, too, his own Home Stone."
"I am pleased," said Clitus Vitellius, "to have been of service."
Thurnus grasped his hand. "My thanks, Warrior!" said he.
Bran Loort looked at me. "I am so happy!" he cried. "You are so beautiful, Dina! So beautiful!"
"I am pleased if Master is pleased," I said. I was very happy for Bran Loort.
Bran Loort looked to Clitus Vitellius and the warrior smiled, and lifted his hand.
"Oh," I cried. Bran Loort seized me by the hair, which was now long enough to permit a master to grasp it.
"Come, Slave Beauty!" he cried and, bending me over, my hands trying to grasp his wrist, ran me, stumbling, to the nearest alcove. He did not even draw the curtain. I turned. I shrank back, my back against the rear wall of the alcove. I drew up my legs.
"How beautiful you are, Dina!" he cried. "How beautiful you are! I nm so happy, and you are so beautiful! You are so beautiful!"
"Remove quickly your garment," he said, happily, "or I will tear it from your body!"
I undid the five buttons, red, which ran from the throat of the garment to the waist. Buttons, interestingly, were a relatively recent innovation in some Gorean slavewear. They are not used on the garments of free persons. Most Gorean garments do not have buttons, but are slipped on, or held with brooches or pins. Hooks, however, are used with some frequency. Buttons, interestingly, are regarded as rather sensuous on Gor. Buttons, obviously, may be unbuttoned, or cut away with a knife, thus revealing the slave. Many masters do not permit a girl to button her tunic in the privacy of their compartments. When a slave opens the door of the master?s compartment and kneels, head down, say, to admit a visitor, her garment may have been closed only an instant before. This is also true of a hooked slave garment. Slaves, too, may be kept nude in the compartments. These, before answering the door, will usually don a light tunic, slipping it over their heads or wrapping it about their shoulders. When one sees the slave one does not know if, a moment before, she has been beautifully naked in her slavery or if, when the door closes, she has again, behind the door, stripped herself for her master?s pleasure. I undid, too, the red, rep-cloth sash of the tunic. The buttons and sash on the tunic were red. The tunic itself, sleeveless, was white. I slipped the tunic over my head and, hastily, cast it aside. I now faced Bran Loort clad only in the collar of my master and my brand.
"You are beautiful, Dma!" he cried.
"Please do not hurt me," I begged.
Joyfully he seized my ankles and dragged me to him, and then, with a peasant?s roughness, thrust them widely apart.
"Please, Master," I begged.
"I am so happy," he cried. "And you, Dina, pretty little slave, are so beautiful!"
"Oh!" I cried. "Oh!" And I seized him. I threw my head back. I think that Bran Loort, overcome in his joy, had little time or patience for either his own pleasure or mine.
"Oh!" I cried.
Then he was finished with me and I was shaking. He covered me with kisses.
"I am so happy!" he cried. He then crouched beside me, and kissed me again. "The Sa-Tarna must be harvested," he said.
"Yes, Master," I said.
"I wish you well, Dina," he said.
"I wish you well, Master," I said.
He then leapt from the alcove to find Thurnus. They left the tavern together. I was left lying on the furs. After a few minutes, I pulled my garment over my head, buttoned it and retied the sash. I went to kneel behind Clitus Vitellius. He was drinking with Thandar of Ti, and his four men. They were being served by Slave Beads.
"The Salerian Confederation," Clitus Vitellius was saying, "is a threat to the security of Ar."
"Correct," said Thandar of Ti.
"You seem distracted," said Clitus Vitellius, who apparently wished to discuss politics.
Thandar of Ti was watching Slave Beads who, head down, was pouring him drink.
"A pretty little slave," said Clitus Vitellius.
"Yes," said Thandar of Ti. He reached forth and, gently, touched Slave Beads about the throat, as she poured the drink. She blushed, and trembled, head down. "Kneel before the table, Slave," he said to her. She did so, putting the paga vessel to one side. She knelt in the position of the pleasure slave. She was briefly silked, perfumed, collared and belled. I had learned earlier, in speaking with the girls, that Thandar of Ti, when in Ar, came often to the Belled Collar. I had little doubt that the small beauty, Slave Beads, was the reason. "Do you think I should buy her?" asked Thandar of Ti of Clitus Vitellius, as he regarded the lineaments and beauty of the girl. Slave Beads shook with emotion. She almost broke the position of the pleasure slave. "She is a beauty," said Clitus Vitellius. "If she pleases you, make an offer to Busebius."
"Busebius!" called Thandar of Ti.
I thought Slave Beads might faint.
"I have taken a fancy," said Thandar of Ti to Busebius, who had hurried to the table, "to this little slut of a slave," indicating Slave Beads. "I will give you a silver tarsk for her."
"Master is generous," said Busebius, "to offer so much for so miserable a girl."
"Then it is done?" asked Thandar of Ti.
"Five tarsks," said Busebius.
"?Scoundrel!" said Thandar of Ti. "I will give you two."
"Now done!" laughed Busebius. He was pleased. He had made a profit on Slave Beads whom he had had, I understood, for less than one silver tarsk in the market, and had yet retained the good will of Thandar of Ti, a valued customer.
Slave Beads slipped to the floor in a faint. She Was still unconscious when Busebius removed his bells, and collar and silk from her, leaving her naked, save for her brand, lying on the tiles beside the table. She had not yet regained consciousness when Thandar of Ti placed his slave bracelets on her, braceleting her small wrists before her body.
In a few moments she regained consciousness, opening her eyes, discovering herself nude beside the table, in his bracelets. "Am I yours, Master?" she asked, lifting her braceleted wrists to him. "Yes, Slave," he said. She knelt before him, reaching out to him, weeping with joy. She looked to me once, that I might not reveal what had once been her identity. She had once been the Lady Sabina of Fortress of Saphronicus, the daughter of Kleomenes, of Fortress of Saphronicus, promised in Companion Contract, in a proposed political alliance intended to further the fortunes of Fortress of Saphronicus and the Salerian Confederation, to the fifth son of the warrior, Ebullius Gaius Cassius, the Administrator of Ti, Thandar of Ti, also of the warriors.
He rose to his feet. She looked up at him. Thandar of Ti, her master, regarded her. She had once been promised to him in Companion Contract, as a Free Companion; now he had purchased her as a slave.
"I love you, Master," she said.
"Let us return to the inn," said one of the men. "I think we have a slave here who is eager to serve her master."
"Rise, Slave," said Thandar of Ti.
She did so, standing before him, her wrists braceleted before her body.
"Lovely," he said.
"Thank you, Master," she said.
He examined her thigh. "A fine brand," he said. He brushed back her hair and turned her head from side to side, holding her chin in his hand. "Pierced ears," he said. "Excellent." He stepped back, admiring her as superb slave flesh.
"A good buy," said one of his men.
"Yes," he said.
He looked down into her eyes. "I think I shall call you ?Sabina,?" he said.
She started. "Master?" she asked. She looked at me. But I was confused. I had not spoken her secret to anyone.
"Is it not a lovely name for a slave?" he asked.
"Yes, Master," she said. "It is a lovely name for a slave."
"You little she-sleen," he laughed, seizing her by the arms, "do you not think I know who you once were?"
"Master?" she asked.
"You were once Sabina, the daughter of Kleomenes," he laughed, "once promised to me in Companion Contract."
She looked at him, wildly.
"Now, of course, you are only a slave," he said.
"Yes, Master," she said.
"When the Companionship was under consideration by the Council of the Confederation," he said, "I slipped away, on tarn, to Fortress of Saphronicus. I spied on you, to see if you pleased me."
"Pleased!" she cried. It is beneath the dignity of a free woman to please a man. Slave girls please men.
"Yes," he said.
"It must have been difficult," she said, "for you to tell, I clothed in the robes of concealment, if I pleased you."
"You recall your quarters," he asked, "and the window, high in the wall."
"Yes," she said.
"It may be reached by a rope, from the roof," he said.
She gasped.
"You were quite beautiful in your bath," he said.
She looked down, confused, blushing.
"Is a slave modest?" he asked.
"No, Master," she said. Then she looked up at him, shyly. "Did you find me pleasing, truly?" she asked.
"Yes, quite," he said. "The girl, Marla, too, and the others," he said, "were also quite beautiful."
"Yes," she said. "My serving slaves were beautiful." She looked up at him. "Were they more beautiful than I?" she asked.
"Not to me," he said.
"I am pleased," she said.
"You can well understand my dilemma," he said. "Seeing you I wanted you. You were one of those women who is so feminine and attractive that a man finds it difficult to think of you in terms other than jealous ownership. I wanted to own you. I wanted you at my feet naked, in my collar. Yet you were intended to be my companion. How could one relate to a girl as feminine and beautiful as you, I ask you, other than as a master to a slave?"
"I do not know," she said.
"Besides," he said, "you were only of the merchants. It is unseemly for a Warrior to take as a companion the daughter of a merchant. I detest the politics which seemed to make such a match expedient. Surely I was not consulted in the negotiations."
"No, Master," she said. "Nor was I," she added, pointing this out.
"But you are a woman," he said.
"That is true," she said.
"The daughters of merchants," he said, "are fit only to be the slaves of Warriors."
"Oh, Master?" she asked, archly.
"Yes," he said, evenly, regarding her.
"Yes, Master," she said, dropping her eyes.
"Besides," he said, "you, free, were an arrogant she-sleen. You needed enslaving, collaring and whipping."
"Yes, Master," she said, frightened.
"I resolved to refuse the companionship," said Thandar of Ti. "I resolved to flee the city." He grinned. "As it turned out," he said, "that was not necessary."
"How did master find me?" she asked.
"There is a fellowship among Warriors," he said. Clitus Vitellius smiled.
"Thank you, Master," said Slave Beads, now Sabina, to Clitus Vitellius.
He nodded, accepting her thanks.
Sabina, the slave, turned again to face Thandar of Ti, looking up at him. "You have found me," she said. "You own me." There were tears in her eyes. "I had hoped," she said, "that my identity might have remained unknown to you."
"Why?" he asked, puzzled.
She looked down, confused. She shook her head.
"Why?" he asked.
"Must I speak?" she asked.
"You are a slave," he said angrily. "Speak."
She looked up at him, boldly, tears in her eyes. "Because," she said, "I wanted you to keep me as a slave!" She looked down again, confused. "I sense," she said, "that you are my true master, and I am your true slave."
The men looked at one another, cognizing well the confession of the small, beautiful slave.
"Too," she said, "I did not wish my fate, known, to dishonor you."
"That the flank of a merchant?s daughter has met the iron cannot dishonor me," said Thandar of Ti.
"I see that it cannot," she said, a bit angrily. But it was true. What is it on Gor that a girl is caught and branded, and made a slave?
"But now, in honor, knowing my fate," she said, "you must free me."
"Oh?" he said.
"Yes," she said. "You will now free me, and once again the plans of Fortress of Saphronicus and the Salerian Confederation will proceed as before. I, freed, will be repledged to you in Companionship. Matters then, regardless of our wishes, will be as they were before."
Thandar of Ti laughed. Clitus Vitellius smiled.
"Master?" she asked.
How beautiful she looked, naked before him, in his bracelets.
"A fine brand," said Thandar of Ti, surveying her thigh.
"Now that you know who I am," she said, "you must free me."
He turned her head from side to side. "And pierced ears," he said.
"Surely you are going to free me," she said.
"You are the daughter of a merchant," he said. "The daughters of merchants are fit only to be the slaves of warriors."
"You are going to free me!" she cried.
"Kneel to be collared," he said.
"Master!" she cried.
"Bring a whip," he said to one of his men.
Swiftly she knelt. The whip would not be necessary. Sabina, the slave, looked up at Thandar of Ti, astonishment in her eyes, and wonder and love. She knew then the nature of the man, and his strength, who owned her.
"Bring the collar," said Thandar of Ti to one of his men.
The collar, from his belongings, was brought.
"I have found a slave who pleases me," he said. "I am collaring her."
He cared naught for the politics of cities, nor did he fear the wrath of states. He was a warrior.
He stepped behind the girl and, in the manner of Ti and certain other cities, thrust down her head and held ready the opened collar.
"Submit," he said.
"I submit myself, totally, Master," she said.
Roughly he shut the collar, enclosing her lovely throat in the obdurate band of slave steel. He then, with his foot, spurned her to the floor.
"Throw me among your women, Master," she begged.
"I shall," he said. He then turned away and strode from the tavern.
But I had little doubt the lovely Sabina would be his preferred slave.
One of Thandar of Ti?s men sought out Busebius, and made settlement of the bill.
"He is keeping me as a slave," said Sabina to me, elatedly. "How strong and marvelous he is! I fear only I will not be able to love him enough!"
I kissed her. It is difficult for a girl not to esteem a man who does as he pleases, even though it is to her that it be done. A woman admires strength, especially if it is used to dominate and control her. It is, it seems, for men to command and women to obey, for men to dominate and women to submit, for men to claim and for women to yield. It is, it seems, the way of primate nature. Its test is enactment; its proof is joy; its evidence is love. If we have lost this, we have lost part of ourselves.
"I wish you well," cried Sabina. "I wish you all well!"
"I wish you well!" I cried.
The others, too, paga girls in the tavern, wished her well.
Thandar of Ti?s men went to the portal of the tavern. One of them turned about. "Will it be necessary to leash you, Slave?" he asked.
"No, Master!" cried Sabina, and hurried to follow them. We watched them leave the tavern.
"It is time," said Clitus Vitellius, "for us to he on our way to the Curulean."
I reached out, timidly, to touch him. "Please, Master," I begged.
He looked at me, almost tenderly. I thought him sad. "Very well," he said.
He indicated that I should precede him to one of the alcoves.
I entered the alcove, and slipped away the street tunic. He closed the curtain behind us.
"Many times," I said, lightly, "I pleased the customers of Busebius in this very alcove."
He took me in his arms. It startled me, for he touched me gently.
"I shall miss you, Dina," he said.
"There are many girls," I said.
"Yes," he said, "there are many girls."
"You will soon forget me," I said.
He brushed my hair with his hand. "Your hair," he said, "will be too short, I wager, until the spring."
"Doubtless," I said, "it will lower my price."
He kissed me.
"Will you come to see me in the exhibition cages?" I asked. In most markets girls are displayed publicly in exhibition cages prior to their sale. This is almost always the case in the Curulean.
"No," he said.
"Oh," I said.
He kissed me, again, softly, tenderly.
"Keep me!" I begged suddenly.
"No," he said.
I tried not to cry.
"It is strange," he said, "I have faced wild sleen and the steel of fierce enemies. I am a warrior, and am high among warriors. Yet you, a mere girl, would conquer me with a smile and a tear."
"No, Master," I said.
"Surely you must understand," he said.
"A slave girl requires no explanation," I said. "It is hers only to obey."
"You see," he said, angrily. "You make me weak!"
"Then conquer me," I said.
"You are different from all the others!" he said, angrily.
"Yet I am only a slave," I said. "Treat me as such!"
"You should be tied at the slave ring and whipped," he said.
"Tie me at the ring," I said. "Whip me!"
"A warrior," he said, "must be hard and fierce."
"Be hard and fierce with me," I said.
"You want to be conquered and enslaved, don?t you, you slut?" he said.
"Yes," I said. "I am a woman."
He sat up beside me; "How you must despise my weakness," he said.
"Yes," I said, angrily. "I despise your weakness."
He looked at me, in fury.
"I love you," I said.
He slapped aside my head, bringing blood to my mouth. "Lying slave," he said.
Then he seized me, and well vented his anger upon me. I was well used.
When he had finished with me, he said, "Get up. We must go to the Curulean."
I slipped the tunic on, and sashed it, and, one by one, by the five buttons, closed it. I wished he had torn it open and would march me through the streets as an exposed slave, that other girls might see the strength of the man who owned me.
We left the tavern and made our way to the Curulean, to a back entrance.
I looked at the stout iron door, behind which I would be sold.
"We must enter," he said to me.
"Do with me what you want," I said to him.
"I am," he said.
"Are you?" I asked.
"Yes," he said.
I looked up at him.
"I am a warrior," he said. "I cannot be weak."
"You are weak now," I said.
"No," he said.
"I despise your weakness," I said.
"How am I weak?" he asked.
"You do not want to sell me," I said. "Yet you are doing so."
"I do want to sell you," he said.
"Look at me," I said.
He regarded me.
"What do you see?" I asked.
"A slave girl," he said.
"What now," I asked, "do you truly want to do with me?"
"Sell you," he said.
"No," I said. "You want me in your compartments. You want me at your feet. You want me in your collar. You want not  to sell me, but to master me, to own me."
"I want many things from you," he said.
"Then command them, take them," I challenged. "Did you trace me to Ar, and follow me to Cos, to sell me?"
He looked angry.
"No," I said. "You wanted me slave, naked on your chain."
"Yes!" he said, angrily. "I wanted you a naked slave on my chain, mine!"
"Strip me!" I cried. "Chain me!"
"No," he said.
I subsided. "Sell me," I said wearily. "The decision is yours. I am slave."
He pounded on the iron door.
"I had thought Clitus Vitellius strong," I said. "I had thought him of the Warriors. I had thought he had the power to do as he wills with a woman. I see now he is too weak to do with a woman what truly he wants, what pleases him."
He struck again on the iron door.
"He is weak," I said. "A slave despises him."
"Do not make me angry," he said.
I looked away. I had nothing to fear from him.
I heard feet approaching the iron door, from the other side. A small, lateral panel in the door, about eye level, slid back. "Your business?" inquired a voice.
"The vending of a girl," said Clitus Vitellius.
The panel slid shut. A moment later the door swung open. "Enter, Master," said a man.
We entered and found a large room, floored with cement. A yellow circle, in outline, narrow-bordered, the border some six inches in width, the circle itself some ten feet in width, was painted on the cement. A man, at a small, four-legged table, sat to one side. "Remove her tunic and collar," he said. Clitus Vitellius did so. We did not speak.
"Kneel in the circle, Slave," said the man at the table. The fellow who had opened the door stood to one side. A coiled, rawhide rope, on a clip, hung from his belt. I went to the circle and knelt in its center, on the cement. The man with the rope entered the circle and loosed the rope from his belt. He tied it about my neck. The knot was at the side, under my left ear. He backed away, giving me some five feet of slack. .The remainder of the rope he held, in long, loose loops, in his right hand. I knew it would serve to whip me, if necessary.
I would be put through slave paces.
"Give me whatever you think she is worth," he said, "and send the coins to the compartments of Clitus Vitellius, in the Towers of Warriors."
"Yes, Master," said the man at the table.
Clitus Vitellius turned about and left the Curulean.
I knelt alone in the yellow circle on the cement.
I felt the rope on my throat pull taut. I sensed the swinging loops of leather near me.
The man rose from behind the table and came to the circle. He looked down at me. "Well now, little beauty," he said, "let us see what you can do."
"Yes, Master," I said.
 28
What Occurred At The Curulean


The first time that one is sold it is the hardest. Yet it is, I suppose, never easy. The hardest part is perhaps not knowing who it is, among those many faces in the darkness, who will buy you. You are illuminated, exhibited, forced to perform. At your side is the auctioneer with his whip. You perform, and perform well. Do not think you would not. You feel the wood of the block with your feet, and the sawdust upon it. The block itself is smooth. Many girls have been sold here before. You are not special, you are only another slave, a bit more or less pleasing than others. You feel the sawdust with your feet. On Gor, animals are commonly sold on blocks which are strewn with sawdust. The slave girl is an animal. You lift your head under the torchlight. You hear the first bid. it is hard not to tremble. You have been bid upon. From the voice you try to guess the nature of the master. Then there is another bid. You smile, you turn, you walk, you lift your arms, you kneel, you lie upon your back at the auctioneer?s feet, your knee lifted, your arms over your head as though braceleted, you roll to your stomach, you look up at him, over your shoulder; you respond to him, instantly, setting forth for the view of the buyers subtle and provocative positions and attitudes, displaying yourself as you must, fully, and as a slave. You are sweating. Sawdust clings to your body. It clings in your hair. If you falter, or are in the least displeasing, the auctioneer?s whip will sharply instruct you in your error. At last, breathing heavily, you stand there, naked. Perhaps you have been struck.
The last bid is taken. It is accepted. The auctioneer?s fist closes. You have been sold.

Many girls dream of being sold in the Curulean. Its great block is perhaps the most famous in Ar. It is also the largest. It is semi-circular and some forty feet in width. It is painted for the most part in blue and yellow, the colors of the slavers, and ornately carved, with many intricate patterns and projections. It is perhaps fifteen feet high. An interesting feature of the block is that about it, on the semi-circular side facing the crowd, tall and serene, carved in white-painted wood, evenly spaced, are the figures of nine slave girls. They represent, supposedly, the first nine girls taken, thousands of years ago, by the men of a small village, called Ar. In the carving it may be seen that the throats of the girls are encircled by ropelike collars, presumably woven of some vegetable substance. It is said that at that time the men of Ar were not familiar with the working of iron. It is also said the girls were forced to breed mighty sons for their captors.
"You, Slave!" said the man.
"Yes, Master!" I said, looking up in the collar, with its two chains, one on each side, which fastened me to the girl on my left and right.
We were in the tunnel leading to the block. Another tunnel left the block.
"Are you familiar with the choreography of your display?" he asked.
"Yes, Master," I said. I had been well rehearsed. Little occurs by accident on the block of the Curulean.
He then went to the next girl, she on my right, farther down the tunnel toward the pens. He addressed to her the same question. She, too, wore a collar, with two chains. It fastened her, on her left, to me, and, on her right, to another girl. "Yes, Master!" she assured him. He then went to the next girl in the line, farthest from the block. Each collar opens, and the chains may be attached or removed. This provides great flexibility. There were one hundred and twenty girls in the line. It would take some five or six Ahn to sell us, if the bidding was brisk. On a slow night it could take as much as eight Ahn, the sales extending into the early morning hours. Some girls sell quickly, and others slowly. When it takes longer to sell a girl it usually means that she is less interesting to the buyers, and that the bids are slow, or that she, an unusual beauty, is being more elaborately displayed, with the object in mind of intensifying and driving up the eventual bids.
"Yes, Master!" said the girl some two girls below me on the chain, responding to the question of the slaver?s man. We would all be ready. We would all do our best, or, be punished terribly.
I looked to the girl on my left, and to the one on my right. How beautiful they were. We had all had Gorean slave cosmetics applied to us. Let the men beware. We had all been exposed in the exhibition cages earlier, stark, save for perfume. It was at that time that the buyers had had their opportunity to view us objectively. It was their responsibility now, in the bidding, to be on their guard.
I sensed a tremor, sudden, subtle, in the chain. I leaned forward, looking down the line. The whisper was sped rapidly down the chain. "The bidding has begun," said the whisper.
"I?m frightened," said a girl.
"All Ar bids at the Curulean," said another.
I could hear nothing. But I knew the first girl had now ascended the block.
I sat back on the long wooden bench. It was some eight inches in width. It was set against the side of the tunnel. It ran almost the length of the tunnel. I pulled the wide bands of green silk about me, more closely. They would resemble, initially, a gown, but they were not truly a gown. They would be unlooped and lifted away, bit by bit, beginning about the head and the feet, gradually, cunningly, revealing me. Toward the end I would be spun almost free of them and then, in the end I would be ordered, exposed save for the final silk, concealing my breasts and thighs, to lie supine at the auctioneer?s feet. He would then stand over me, the two bands extending from me, ribbonlike, in his grasp, taking more bids. When the crowd, fierce in its impatience, demanded it, he would, shrugging, roll me free of them, in two turns, I finishing, lying on my back again, knee lifted, hands over and behind my head, the backs of my hands on the block, the palms exposed, like the rest of me, helplessly. I would lie there, a resigned slave girl, awaiting her rape-taming. Presumably the bids then would much increase. I was to follow the commands of the auctioneer from that point. Presumably he would order me to my feet and, sensing the crowd, playing it with skill, put me through what slave paces seemed suitable.
"Move down one space," said the slaver?s man.
We did so.
The girl to my left wore a demure, brief house tunic, of the sort worn by a house slave. She would be presented to the crowd as though, since childhood, she had been owned by a quiet, respectable family which, lately, because of financial difficulties had been forced to sell her. She would be reputed to know little of the lust of men or the duties of a pleasure slave. Still, it would be suggested, a master might teach her. This story was not entirely a fabrication. It would not be said, however, that she was an appetitious girl who had welcomed her sale, or that she hungered for a man. She hoped to be bought by a man of modest means. She wanted to be the only girl in his compartments. I thought she would make a wonderful slave. The girl on my right, who would be sold after me, would be presented quite differently. She was clad in a bit of virginal white fluff, from her shoulders to thighs. The contrast between her dark hair, and her naked arms and legs, and the bit of white fluff about her, was quite striking. She had lovely, slender shoulders and well-curved, slender, trim legs. I thought she would bring a high price. She was the one who had said, "I am frightened." I did not blame her. First, she was a virgin. Secondly, it would terrify almost any lovely girl to be presented in such a costume before Gorean men.
We moved down another place on the bench.
"The sales go rapidly," said a girl farther down, to my right. That was a good sign. For one thing, it meant that the auctioneer would be in a good humor and that, thus, he would probably be less cruel with us on the block. We fear the auctioneer. On the block he is our master. Even when a girl is not sold, if the sales have gone well, she is less likely to be whipped.
"Move," said the slaver?s man.
We moved again.
Most girls are sold singly, but sometimes they are sold in groups, in matched pairs or larger sets, usually with a theme, such as blond hair or a given dialect. Sets may also he composed of girls once of complementary castes or those marked with diverse, representative brands. When a girl is enslaved she loses caste, of course, as well as citizenship, rights and personhood; when she is enslaved she becomes an animal, subject to the whips and wills of masters. Most groups, however, are sold for field and kitchen work. The Curulean did not handle such latter groups. We did have two pairs to be sold tonight, one consisting of a singer and her lyre player, and another of identical twins, from the island of Tabor, named for its resemblance to the small Gorean drum of that name.
I could not yet hear the calls of the auctioneer. The occasional response of the crowd, however, carried through the tunnel.
The girl on my right, the slender, virginal girl, in fluff, began to cry. Instantly the slaver?s man was upon her, lifting his whip. She shrank back against the cement wall. She must not stain or smear her make-up. Angrily, with a small cloth, he dabbed her face. "Save your tears for the block, sleek little animal," he said. "Yes, Master," she said.
I was Girl 91 on the chain. It was a good position. The sales begin in the early evening and usually, unless there is something special for sale, they begin a bit slowly. Men are, commonly, still entering the market at that point. Often the seats are not entirely filled until the second Ahn of the sale. I was a bit puzzled about the apparent speed of the sales. There was, as far as I knew, nothing special for sale this evening. It was, as far as I knew, a normal night at the market. At any rate, usually, it is not regarded as desirable to be among the first twenty girls on the chain; sometimes these are sold to an almost half-empty house; a reciprocity tends to become involved; the slavers tend to put their least valuable girls up first, because of the smallness of the house in the early market, and many men tend to come later because, normally, the least interesting girls are put up first; this often presents a merchandising dilemma but it was not one which hurt the slavers of the Curulean very much, for their merchandise tends to be generally of high quality and the reputation of their house is such that, even in the early hours of the market, they tend to have a sizable number of bidders on hand. Sometimes an extraordinary girl or girls are marketed almost immediately, to encourage buyers to come early. Although this does tend to bring in larger early crowds the slavers feel that, often, they do not get on these girls what they might have, had their sale taken place later in the evening, in the heat and press of more determined bidding. At any rate, from the girl?s point of view, any chain position after forty and before one hundred would be good. The ideal, of course, is to be sold at the height of the sale. With one hundred and twenty girls the most serious bidding would presumably come somewhere between Girl 80 and Girl 95. Late in the sale, of course, it is not uncommon for buyers to be weary and to begin to drift away. These remarks, incidentally, pertain to a normal "long" sale, usually held four times a week at a large house. They are not meant to apply to special sales, private sales, and in-house sales. Sometimes special sales, well-publicized, are held, in which as few as fifteen or twenty girls, of great quality or interest, are sold. All Ar, it is said, tries to fill the house upon such occasions. If a Ubara of a conquered city, for example, were to be sold, it would, customarily, be in such a special sale, unless the victorious Ubar, he who had conquered her city and captured her, chose to have her sold, for his amusement, in a common sale and from an unimportant block. Normally, of course, the conquering Ubar would keep such a regal wench, now collared and debased to slavery, in his own pleasure gardens, as a delicious memento of his victory, and as a woman.
"Stand," said the slaver?s man.
My group stood.
"Move to the next position," he said.
We hurried to the next position.
We were now coffled in groups of ten. Early in the sale, for the first twenty girls, the chain had been intact, one chain for us all. With each sale we had moved one position. Each time we had moved one or two positions on the bench we knew that one or two of our sisters had been sold. The psychological effect of this, methodical and relentless, tends to produce anticipation and anxiety, even in an experienced girl. No girl ever grows completely used to being exhibited and sold. Then, after the first twenty girls, when our nerves were keen and taut, we were separated into coffles of ten. We might then seem to relax. But when our nerves had eased and we might seem to breathe a bit more easily, the coffle, as a whole, would be ordered to its feet and moved ten spaces toward the end of the tunnel. The effect of this, being for a time relatively at ease, and then being forced suddenly to move ten times closer to the block tends, suddenly, to whet one?s fears and anticipations anew; when one, psychologically, in spite of herself, had begun to feel a little safe one is suddenly hurried even closer to her exhibition and sale, and all it means, the uncertainty, the danger, the not knowing, the being sold, the being owned anew, by someone who can do with you what he pleases.
I could now hear the calls of the auctioneer quite clearly. I could hear individuals, too, in the crowd. A vendor was hawking sherbets.
I was now in the point coffle, that at the end of the tunnel. The sales were doing well.
The girl to my left, she in the house tunic, sat tense beside me. Her fingernails dug into the wood of the bench. Her make-up was inspected and touched up. Then she was removed from the coffle, the collar, and the length of chain on her right, attaching her to me, placed to one side. A man stood near the end of the tunnel, with a tablet and marking stick. He indicated that she should approach him. She did. He inspected her chain number, used in the Curulean as a sales number, which, tiny, was written under her left ear in lipstick. The Curulean does not use sales collars. She was Girl 90.
I heard a roar of approval and I knew the girl on the block had been sold. Another girl, Girl 89, had been waiting at the foot of the block. A man with a whip prodded her to climb to its height. She moved carefully, feeling the stairs, creeping upward. She wore a slave scarf, as a blindfold. It was all she wore. The man with the tablet quickly thrust the girl in the house tunic from the tunnel to the foot of the stairs leading to the block.
"Look at me," said a man.
I sat very still, looking at him. He examined my make-up. Deftly, he improved it.
"You are beautiful," he said.
"Thank you, Master," I whispered.
Another man removed my collar, with the chain that fastened me to the girl on my right, the virginal girl in a bit of white fluff. The man with the tablet indicated that I should stand near him, and I did. From where I stood, at the end of the tunnel, I could see the ceiling of the Curulean, and some of the buyers, crowded in the higher tiers.
Their excitement frightened me. The sales were going too well.
The crowd roared. The girl on the block, naked, was being forced to perform blindfolded before the men.
She screamed with misery when the blindfold was removed, looking out upon buyers.
She was soon sold.
The girl in the house tunic was hurried to the height of the block.
"What have we here?" cried the auctioneer. "Surely there is some mistake. This is only a meaningless little house slave!"
The crowd roared with laughter.
The man with the tablet listened intently. He did not order me immediately to the foot of the stairs, those leading to the surface of the great block at the Curulean.
He glanced back at the slender, frightened girl, in the bit of white fluff, still in chain and collar, on the bench. She looked away from him, frightened, looking straight ahead.
I wished my hair was longer.
I listened to the sale of the girl in the house tunic. It would soon be torn from her.
"Number," said the man with the tablet to me.
I turned, and put my head to the side, that he might read the tiny number printed in lipstick beneath my left ear.
"Ninety-one," he said. He jotted it down on the sales sheets.
I heard the tunic torn from the girl on the block, the roar of the crowd.
She was now being exhibited naked.
The man with the tablet thrust me toward the foot of the block, and I stumbled to the place at the foot of its stairs. I stood, that I not disarrange the bands of silk so cunningly looped about me. The man with the tablet had apparently decided not to alter the order of sales. I think this was wise on his part. The girl in the house tunic, seemingly not yet broken in, not yet humbled and trained to the collar of pleasure, might have whetted the appetite of the buyers for an even more virginal, innocent form of merchandise, but, on the block, as I gathered from the remarks of the auctioneer and the responses of the crowd there was now little illusion left lingering of her formality or restraint, or reluctance; only too clearly, she starved for male domination, was she eager and ready for the slave ring at the foot of a man?s couch.
Then she was sold.
I climbed to the height of the block. The block was very large. I had not realized how many were in the crowd. The crowd was silent. This frightened me.
The auctioneer seemed puzzled, too, but only momentarily. "Someone, it seems," he said, "has sent us a gift." He indicated me with the whip. "Its contours," he said, "suggest that it is lovely." He looked out to the crowd. "Shall we see?" he asked.
But the crowd, instead of urging him on, was quiet. His hand shook for a moment. I was frightened. I did not understand the mood of the crowd.
"Let us see," he continued, with feigned humor. He lifted away loops of silk which concealed my head. There was a murmur of admiration from the crowd. I was too vain not to have been pleased. "A lovely face," he said, "feminine, soft, vulnerable, expressive. It would be easy to read in order to control her." He shrugged. "The hair, of course," said he, "is far too short, but I am assured, by officers of the Curulean, that it will grow."
There was no laughter from the crowd.
The auctioneer?s hand trembled. He was nervous. I thrust my right leg forward, lifting it, pointing the toes, touching only the toes of my right foot to the floor. My left hip was turned out. I lifted and extended my left arm, wrist bent, palm to the left.
Gracefully then did he unloop, bit by bit, the silk from my left arm.
"A lovely limb," he said.
The crowd seemed quiet, intense, watchful. The auctioneer was clearly disturbed.
"Let us see if there is more of interest here," he said.
I heard an intake of breath from the crowd, but there were no bids.
We did not complete the choreography which had been planned. Much depends upon the crowd. It interacts in the drama of the block in a way that it, or many of its members, fails to understand. The auctioneer, puzzled, finally removed from my person the bands of silk. He did not spin me from them; he did not roll me from them at his feet.
"This is the woman," he said. "What am I bid?"
There was no bid.
"Look!" cried a voice. The crowd turned, and I and the auctioneer, looked as well. At the height of the center aisle, high, framed in the portal of the market hail, stood a warrior, in full panoply of war. He did not speak. He carried shield and spear. On his left shoulder hung the scabbard of the short sword. He was helmeted.
"Master?" inquired the auctioneer. His voice faltered.
The warrior did not speak.
The auctioneer indicated me, taking his attention from the figure who had recently entered the hail.
"This is the woman,"? he said, weakly. "What am I bid?"
At this point the helmeted warrior began to descend the aisle. We watched him approach.
In moments he stood, too, on the block, facing the crowd. He struck the butt of his great spear on the heavy wood. "Kajira canjellne!" he said. "Slave girl challenge!" He turned to look at me, and I knelt. I could not speak. I feared I might faint.
He turned again to face the crowd.
"I will have this woman," he said. "For her I will stand against all Ar, and all the world."
"I love you, Clitus Vitellius!" I cried, tears in my eyes.
"You were not given permission to speak!" cried the auctioneer. He lifted his whip to strike me.
But the point of the spear of Clitus Vitellius lay at his throat. "Do not strike her," said Clitus Vitellius.
"Yes, Master," said the auctioneer, white-faced, lowering his arm, frightened, hacking away.
Clitus Vitellius turned again to face the crowd of Ar. "Kajira canjellne," he said. "Slave girl challenge."
There was no response from the crowd. Then one man rose to his feet, striking his left shoulder. And then another rose to his feet and did the same, and another and another. Soon the crowd was on its feet, cheering and striking their left shoulders. Clitus Vitellius stood straight on that great platform, his great, circular shield on his left arm, his mighty spear, seven feet in length, headed in tapering bronze, grasped in his right hand. His head was high, his eyes were shrewd and clear, those of a warrior.
"She is yours, Master," said the auctioneer to Clitus Vitellius.
I knelt at his feet, joyfully. He would now free me, and take me as his companion. He put aside his shield and spear, to lift me to my feet as his equal.
"Your whip," said Clitus Vitellius to the auctioneer.
"You did not wish her whipped," he said.
"She is mine to whip," said Clitus Vitellius. The auctioneer placed his whip in the hands of Clitus Vitellius.
"Master?" I said.
"Yes?" he said.
"Are you not going to free me?" I asked.
"Only a fool," he said, "frees a slave girl."
"Master!" I cried.
"Kneel to the whip," he said.
I obeyed. I put my head down, and, beneath my body, crossed my wrists, as though they were bound. My back was bowed, ready for whatever punishment he might see fit to administer to me. I was in consternation. I trembled. Could I be still a slave girl? Could he be serious? Was it his intention to keep me still as a slave?
Surely not. Surely not!
"I would not wish you to take a loss on her," he was saying to the auctioneer. "Here is something which may cover the cost of the miserable little slave."
I heard a pouch, heavy, filled with metal, strike heavily on the smoothed beams of the surface of the block.
"The gratitude of the house, Master!" cried the auctioneer. He untied the strings of the pouch and, crying out with pleasure, spilled coins of gold to the woods. Swiftly he sorted the coins, expertly. "There are a hundred tarn disks of gold here!" he cried.
The crowd roared its approval.
I cried, tears falling to the wood of the block, mixing in the sawdust. It was ten to a hundred times, or more, what I was worth. I saw then the extent of the regard of Clitus Vitellius for me. I wept with joy.
I had not known that a man could desire a woman so much. Yet he kept me as a slave!
Perhaps it is only a slave who can be so bought and sold, and so desired.
Oh, the indescribable, incredible feeling of being owned, literally owned, by a man!
I knelt, a slave ready for punishment.
"Master is far too generous," said the auctioneer. "This is far more than the slave is worth."
"You are right," said Clitus Vitellius.
I shook with fury, but did not break the position.
"Give me the next then, too, on your chain," he said.
"No!" I cried.
He turned to face me, and, again, I swiftly lowered my head. Could he truly mean to keep me as a slave? Could he truly be that strong? I could not believe it.
"Gladly," cried the auctioneer. "Ninety-two," he cried.
The virginal girl, slender, sweetly shouldered, lovely legged, terrified, crept to the surface of the block. The bit of fluff clung about her. It did not much conceal her. Her legs were well exposed to the inspection of masters, and the sweetness of her breasts was evident, it but scarcely concealed in the wafting of insinuative, tantalizing fluff.
The crowd roared its approval, and she shrank back on the block. I wondered what men saw in her. She was herself only a bit of fluff, to rape and serve.
"Come here," said Clitus Vitellius to the girl.
Swiftly she fled to him, to stand before him.
"Position," he snapped.
She dropped to her knees before him, in the position of the pleasure slave.
"Get your back straighter," he said. She did so.
He crouched beside her and, with his belt knife, cut away the strings which held the fluff about her. It floated to the surface of the block, stirring in the slight movements of air.
He regarded the girl. He then looked, too, to me. "I will take both," he said.
"Master!" I cried in protest.
Then he stood over me, with the whip.
I looked up into his eyes. Then I was frightened. I saw that he was a Gorean master. However much he might hold me in regard, however much he might desire me, I saw that I could be to him only a helpless slave girl. Whatever might be his feelings for me I saw that he would have me only at his feet as a slave. I would be uncompromisingly owned. He would have all, fully, from me. I would not be permitted to hold anything back, ever. He would be master, and I slave. No longer did I dare to suggest that I might be freed. No longer did I dare to think it. He was Gorean.
I put my head down, kneeling to the whip.
"Forgive me, Master," I whispered.
"Once this evening," said he, "you, a slave, addressed me by my name, rather than as ?Master.?"
"Forgive me, Master," I said. I trembled. I recalled I had cried out, "I love you, Clitus Vitellius!" How foolish I had been. It was a girl?s mistake. It would not go unnoticed.
"Too," he said, "more than once this evening you have spoken without permission."
"Yes, Master," I said.
"Too," said he, "I think you dared to protest this evening my purchase of a girl."
I had indeed done so!
"Do you oppose your will to mine, or question my will in the least?" he asked.
"No, Master," I said.
"Do you think me an easy master?" he asked.
"No, Master," I said.
"Do you beg now to be punished?" he asked.
"Yes, Master," I said. "I beg to be punished."
I saw him grip the slave whip on the long handle with two hands. I put down my head. further, I shut my eyes, I tightened my body, I clenched my fists, held crossed, as though bound, beneath my body.
I determined to hold position.
I heard the swift sound of the leather in flight.. Never had I heard it approach so swiftly. After the fourth blow I could no longer hold position. "Tie me at the slave ring," I begged. "Put me at a post, Master!" I lay on the block on my stomach, my hands over my bead. There was sawdust on my lips and face. I could not, after the second blow, scream. Yet he struck me only ten times. I cried, lying on the block, punished. I felt him thrust a steel collar about my throat, and lock it.
I was collared. He had not been angry with me. He had only been punishing me. I had deserved a whipping. He had given it to me.
Yet it is hard for a girl to grow used to the leather. One can be a slave for years and still fear it. The Gorean master uses it unhesitantly if we are not pleasing. We know that he will do so. We are pleasing.
Clitus Vitellius had turned to the slender, virginal girl. "Do you wish to be in the least troublesome?" he asked her, lifting the whip, laughing.
"No, Master!" she cried.
He collared her, as he had done me. We both wore his collar. He knelt us together. "I submit, fully, Master," I said. "I submit, fully, Master," said the virginal girl, quickly, following my example.
The slave whip lay to one side.
"We have surely delayed the sales of the Curulean too long," said Clitus Vitellius, to the auctioneer.
The auctioneer bowed, the pouch of gold in his hand.
"Come, Slaves," said Clitus Vitellius to the two of us, naked in his collar.
He lifted his shield and took up his spear, and then descended the steps of the great block. We followed him. He ascended the long aisle leading from the hall. Men cried out his name, and cheered, and smote their left shoulders, as he passed them. He strode as a Warrior. We hurried after him, his slave girls.
"Will he march us through the streets naked?" asked the virginal girl.
"He will do with us as he pleases," I told her. "He is a Warrior"
 29
A Warrior?s Vengeance; The Furs Of My Master


We were but four bridges from the Towers of the Warriors when Clitus Vitellius turned suddenly, regarding me. I stopped, suddenly, naked, behind him, where I was heeling him. The virginal girl, too, stopped suddenly. But he did not look at her. He approached me. He stood before me, his shield on his left arm, the mighty spear grasped in his right hand. Immediately I trembled, and knelt, head down.
"Oh!" cried the virginal girl. He, placing the spear and shield to one side, had moved to her and was tying her hands behind her back. He fastened her by the wrists to a ring at the foot of the Four Lamps bridge. Such rings are  common in Gorean cities, in public places, and serve the convenience of masters in tethering their slaves. The ring was mounted on a post, about a yard high. She stood at the post, naked, tethered there, her hands fastened behind her back, at the foot of the Four Lamps bridge. I could see the lights of glorious Ar. The light of one lamp was upon her. She was very beautiful. "Master?" she begged.
He took a blunt marking stick from his pouch and wrote Gorean words on her left shoulder.
He then, to her amazement, and mine, removed his collar from her throat.
"Master?" she sobbed.
He replaced the collar and marking stick in his pouch. "Can you read?" he asked her.
"Yes," she said.
"Read then what I have inscribed upon your body," said he.
"I cannot well see it, Master," she said. "But from the feel of it in my flesh, I know what you have written."
"Speak it aloud," said he, "Slave."
"You have written ?Collar me. Own me,?" she said.
"Yes," he said.
"You are leaving me here for the first stranger who passes, Master?" she asked.
"Do you object, Slave?" he asked.
"No, Master!" she said, drawing back. The point of the spear, which Clitus Vitellius had now retrieved, was at her throat.
I then felt the point of the spear in my back. "On your feet, Slave," he said.
Swiftly I rose to my feet.
He then strode past me, and began the crossing of the bridge of Four Lamps. I hastened to follow him, heeling him obediently. I did turn, on the crest of the bridge, to look back at the tethered girl. The area at the foot of the bridge was deserted. It was late. She seemed very much alone there, naked, the light of the lamp on her, tethered, waiting for the first individual who might chance by.
I turned away, hurrying to follow Clitus Vitellius. I remembered the look he had given me when first, moments ago, he had stopped and turned, and approached me. Never had I seen such lust, possessiveness and desire in a man?s eyes. I felt weak. I wondered about the service of how many girls I would have to render to him. He had cast aside the virginal girl, arrogantly, in a warrior?s gesture, leaving her for whomsoever might find and desire her. Her slave service, and mine, and more, he would now want from me. I did not know if I could be so much a slave to him.
We were but a short way from the Towers of Warriors, on the second of its approaching high bridges, when again Clitus Vitellius turned and faced me.
"I cannot wait," he said to me.
"Yes, Master," I said. We were on a high bridge, one of the highest in all Ar. The lights of the city were strewn beneath us; above us burned the stars of Gor.
He placed his shield upon the bridge, straps down, its convex surface like a bow facing the stars.
He indicated that I should take my position upon it, and I did so, my head down. With the straps, brought about the sides of the great shield he fastened my wrists apart, one on each side, about at shoulder level, at the edges of the shield. I lay over the shield, bound upon it.
"Now I have you where I want you, Dina," said he, "Earth girl."
"Yes, Master," I said.
Swiftly he took me in his arms. I yielded immediately to my master.
"I love you, Master," I said to him.
His hands were upon my shoulders. He dragged me upward to his pressing mouth, pulling me against the wrist straps which held my wrists at the shield?s edges. I thought he might tear me from the shield. Then he flung me back, arched across its surface. I felt his lips at my belly and thighs. I could not protect myself from the fierce ardor to which I must submit. Then again I cried out, lost in my slave?s love of him, my master.
He unbound my wrists from the shield. He thrust me from its surface. I rolled to my side, on the bridge. I lay quietly on the bridge, in his collar.
"It is getting late," he said. "I must get you to the love furs."
"Yes, Master," I said.
"Get up," he said. He moved his foot against my body.
I tried to get up, but could scarcely stand. I sank to my hands and knees.
He laughed at me.
I sank to my side. I lifted my hand to him.
"Get up, Earth girl," he said.
"I will try, Master," I said.
But again I fell to my knees.
"Do not beat me, Master," I begged. "You have made me so weak."
"I can smell your weakness," he said.
"Yes, Master," I. said. I was so overcome by my love for him that I could not stand. I had never known such weakness. I felt I had the strength only to lie vulnerably before him, perhaps holding and kissing him, awaiting him. It is, I suppose, one of nature?s utilities, reducing the female?s effectiveness in self-defense or flight, putting her all the more at the mercy of the stronger beast.
"I cannot walk, Master," I said. "Let me crawl to your furs."
He slung his shield upon his back, and tied his spear, too, beneath the shield?s edge, upon his back.
I felt myself lifted gently into his arms. He carried me, my head against his left shoulder, over the bridge and toward the second bridge, leading to the Towers of the Warriors.

I served him wine.
I was the only girl in his compartments. I well understood the meaning of this. He had chosen the perfection of one man, the complete master, and one woman, the total slave. It is called the perfect bondage, each all and perfect to the other.
It is right for some men, and not for others. Much depends on whether the man has met his perfect slave and the woman her perfect master.
Clitus Vitellius and I, though I would not have dared tell him, were so related. I think he, too, knew this.
When I had served him wine he gave me, too, to drink of the cup. This was, in its way, a great honor, and a token of his recognition as to how I stood to him. I still, of course, did not dare to drink from the same edge of the cup as he, the master.
I put the cup aside.
At his indication I spread the love furs. I did not spread them upon the couch hut at its foot. I was slave. Only a small lamp burned in the compartment.
At a gesture from Clitus Vitellius I reclined upon the furs, at the foot of the couch.
He slipped away his tunic and crouched beside me. I could see he could scarcely restrain himself from seizing me.
"I?m yours," I told him. I lifted my arms to him. "Take me, Master," I said.
"I care for you," he said.
I regarded him. "Be strong with me, Master," I whispered. "I do not want to challenge you. I do not want to fight you. I want to serve you, and I want to love you. I want to give you all, holding back nothing, ever."
He regarded me.
"Do you not understand, Master?" I asked. "If I had the choice, I would choose not to be free but to be your slave." A woman, I had learned, must choose between freedom and love. Both are estimable virtues. Let each choose which is best for her.
"But I do not give you a choice," he said.
"Of course not, Master," I said. "You are Gorean."
He looked down at the furs.
"Perhaps I will sell you," he said.
"You may do as you wish, Master," I said. I knew I was at his complete mercy, only a bond girl.
He seemed angry.
"Bring me wine, Master," I said.
He looked at me, suddenly.
"A girl is only testing her master," I smiled.
Suddenly he struck me, slapping me cruelly across the mouth. It hurt me. I tasted a bit of blood.
"Do you think," he asked, "that because I care for you I will not be strong with you?"
"No, Master," I said.
I lay in the shadow of the slave ring. A chain and heavy collar lay at the foot of the ring, the chain attached to the ring.
He took the heavy metal collar and closed it about my throat, over and about the lighter collar I wore, confining me at the ring, on the furs at the foot of his couch.
Then he touched me.
"I see you will be strong with me, Master," I said.
"What a fool I am," he said, "to care for a miserable Earth-girl slave."
"I ask only to love and serve you, Master," I said.
"Yet you are attractive," he said.
"A girl is grateful to her master, should he find her pleasing," I said.
"So you would choose to be a slave?" he asked.
"Yes, Master," I said.
"Slut," said he.
"Yes, Master," I said.
"It is I who will decide," he said.
"Yes, Master," I said.
"I decide?" he said.
"Yes, Master," I begged.
"?that you are my slave."
"Yes, Master!" I cried.
Then I writhed in his arms as he took me, exploding in the deepest and most profound ecstasies a female can know, those of the slave orgasm, known only to the owned woman.
"How could I love you so much," he asked, "if I did not truly own you, if you were not fully mine?"
"I do not know, Master," I said. Clitus Vitellius had confessed his love for a slave. I hoped he would not now beat me.
He took me by the hair and thrust my head down to the furs. "A man can truly love only that woman," he said, "who is truly his, who belongs to him. Otherwise he is only a party to a contract."
"A woman," I said, "can love only that man to whom she truly belongs."
"To whom do you truly belong, Slave?" he asked.
"To you, Master," I said.
"You please me, Slave Girl," he said.
"Free me," I said, teasing him.
"Do you wish to feel the whip?" he asked.
"No, Master," I said, quickly, suddenly frightened. I was his. He might do to me what he wanted.
"Beg for your freedom," he said.
"Please free me, Master," I begged.
He laughed. "No," he said. "I do not free you. I will keep you as my slave."
I closed my eyes. I had been Judy Thornton, of Earth. I had been a co-ed at a small but prestigious college. I had been an English major. I had written poetry. I had been popular on campus. Now I was only a branded slave girl, Dina, helpless in the arms of her master. I thought of Elicia Nevins, who had been my beauty rival at the college. She now, too, wore a collar. I wondered if she were as happy in the arms of her master as I in the arms of mine. She had been an anthropologist. I wondered if now she truly understood, perhaps for the first time, the nature of the institution of slavery. Her master had perhaps taught her. I lay blissfully in the arms of Clitus Vitellius, owned.
I opened my eyes.
"Is a girl not to be permitted sometimes to speak her mind?" I asked.
"Perhaps upon occasion," said Clitus Vitellius, "provided she does so upon her knees and at my feet."
"You are a monster, Master," I said.
Then again I felt his body at mine, and I cried out as my legs were thrust apart.
"You are rough, Master!" I chided. Then, frightened, I said, "Forgive me, Master."
He did not beat me.
I began to respond to him, shuddering under the blows of his manhood, and surrendered myself then, content, to the delicious brutality of my ravishment.
He had many ways of taking me, and I must submit to them all, unquestioningly.
We heard men later upon the bridges outside. It was early morning.
I held Clitus Vitellius. "You are very lustful, Master," I told him.
"I am shamed neither by my health nor vitality," he said. He said this as a Gorean, explaining something to an ignorant Earth-girl slave. "And you," he said, "you must know, are an exquisitely responsive she-sleen. Does that shame you?"
"Not any more, Master," I said.
"It is an indication of your vitality and health, and emotional freedom," he said. "It is a sign that you are vigorous and sound, neither psychologically crippled nor diseased."
I had grown free on Gor, though I wore a collar. Strange, collared, I was free. Uncollared I had been a true slave, a prisoner of a pathological culture, ascetic, mechanistic and twisted.
"Perhaps I am emotionally free," I laughed. "But I scarcely am physically free."
"True," he said. He pulled me by the chain at the back of the collar back to my back on the furs at the foot of his couch.
"You keep me a slave?" I asked.
"Of course," he said.
"I never knew I would meet a man who could lust for me and desire me so much," I said, "that he would keep me as a slave."
"You never knew you would meet a man who would satisfy your deepest needs," he said, "the hidden, profound, scarcely understood, secret needs which you yourself scarcely recognized."
"You are a secret dream, which I scarcely dared dream, come true to me, Master," I said.
"And you to me, Slave," said he.
"Will you truly be hard with me, Master?" I asked.
"Yes," he said.
"Will you truly, though you care for me, keep me as full slave?"
"Yes, Slave," he said.
"Subject even to discipline, if I displease you?" I asked.
"Subject to discipline, at my pleasure, whether you displease me or not," he said.
"My bondage then will be absolute," I said.
"Of course, Slave," he said.
I reached out timidly, to touch him. I kissed him, tenderly, on the shoulder.
"I love you, Master," I said.
"Be silent, Slave," he said, irritably.
"Yes, Master," I said.
He then touched me with sweetness, and tenderness, and I held him closely, but did not speak, lost in his touch, for I, a slave, had been forbidden to speak. He made gentle love to me then, which, I knew, might become abrupt or brutal as he chose. There were a thousand ways to have a slave girl and I did not doubt but what Clitus Vitellius was master of them all. How joyful I was. He was dominant over me. I was subject to him. I was his, completely without qualification. It is impossible for me to express my feelings. Perhaps this is why he had warned me to silence, that I might not try to speak, but would be content to feel what could not, in any language, be spoken. So I did not then try to speak, but, rather, contented myself with turning to the tasks of love.


Chapter 27 to The End of Book 11
Slave Girl of Gor