Straight from the Gor-SL forums (and my head) I bring to these forums... the Skies of Gor! It's going to be my own little miniseries based loosely on my roleplay and what I have learned about Gor and it's society. Bear in mind this first short is the end of the series, and everything else is what leads up to these events.
Comments, questions, and anything else is EXTREMELY WELCOME!
Short #1: Progress
Loki sighed and grabbed her ‘secret project’. She had been working on it for a while now, and the other merchants were rather curious as to what the ‘Tiny Man-Child’ would do today, as it was the day that she claimed her project would be done.
Two weeks ago, she had drunkenly declared that the saddles used for high tharlarion were ridiculously made, bulky, and hard to sit in without wanting to just ride bareback. Her boss, the Head Merchant, had asked ‘Well why not make your own?’ She had accepted the challenge, and after a morning of agonizing over whether to follow through with it or not, she decided having something to do other than ferrying goods sounded perfect. So, after asking for two weeks off, and buying various hides from the VT Panthers, she had set to work.
She drew on her memories of horse riding gear, as well as riding straps from Earth rodeos, carriage harnesses, and various Tarn saddles. The end result was a rather simple affair; A small ‘saddle’, little more than a bit of padded bosk leather would lay across the lizard’s back, while two sets of straps, two in the front and two in the middle, would buckle around the neck and barrel respectively. Directly behind the neck straps were large iron rings, one sewn on each side with goatskin and binding thread, to tie carrying sacks, bells or [she knew this would be how it would mostly be used for] a way to keep a captive near.
Aside from the iron rings and saddle straps, this saddle was unique in that instead of stirrups, loops of tightly-braided leather were attached to each saddle strap, linking them together while allowing for multiple handholds and footholds. There was also a single thick leather strap, sewn vertically into the saddle where a pommel would normally be, as well as two large pouches sewn into the sides of the saddle, behind the barrel straps and on either side of the pommel strap. Each pouch was made of tharlarion leather, like the straps and was one-fourth the size of the saddle, with a deep pocket on the inside. All in all, this saddle was meant to be multipurpose, used for racing, as well as for battle, casual travel, trade and hunting.
Now she just had to test it out.
Half an hour later she was clinging for dear life to the pommel strap, trying not to fall off as her tharlarion Drail ran through the tall grass like his tail was on fire. She had made the entirety of the saddle, harness and bags light- Too light, so much that to her tharlarion, it was like there was nothing but a little weight of equally little consequence. She had work to do, but first, she had to get off this death ride.
“Slow down, damn you!” Lokiande hissed. “Slow d- Augh!” And she was flung from the saddle, weightless in the air but a moment before gravity remembered what down meant. Then she was on the ground, wheezing while Drail shook himself and turned frantically in a circle, snapping and clawing at the saddle she had worked nearly two weeks on.
She had meant to force a turn, and thus, a stop. What she hadn’t counted on was Drail using that turn as a springboard, leaping and actually bucking forward at the same time. Now winded, she staggered to her feet, watching in horror as Drail spun about, tearing at the saddlebags like a beast possessed. Two weeks of work was being ripped apart like a sugar high brat would tear open their birthday gifts, or bash open a piñata.
“Well that’s just gre-“
“Tal there, Tiny Man-Child!” a familiar voice called from above. Drail paused in his destruction to hiss at the Incoming Flying Object.
And there goes the rest of my day, she thought to herself. Scowling, she shaded her eyes from the midday sun, looking up as a Tarnsman landed his mount, giving the traditional hand motion almost as an afterthought. This Tarnsman was about average for a man of Gor; that is to say broad-shouldered, built like a tank, and with an unmistakable air of smug confidence that would make anyone on Earth want to punch him. His eyes stared at all he did not yet own as if it would be his, casually assessing and looking over everything like a hungry lion.
He was Mikkel, an up-and-coming Tarnsman. A visitor from Ko-Ro-Ba, he had come in late summer to the City-State of Tharna to see if the rumors of a Tatrix brought low and banners waving were true. Instead, he had been met with Lokiande, among other things. A few hours, a visit to the Tatrix, and the strange food Loki called “a ham, cheese and lettuce sandwich- Hey! That’s my… Lunch.” later, they had a sort of uneasy alliance going, and Loki found herself stuck with the above nickname.
Now he was just a slightly annoying, if overbearing friend. Who was heading her way with a weird look on his face. And doing a poor imitation of a gentlemen’s bow. Then he straightened, and gave her a rather serious look.
“Hay-loo thar! How is it hanging out, bro?”
Why oh why had she agreed to teach him English?
“So, you made a new saddle.”
“And in under an hour, you almost got killed by your tharlarion. One that is usually quite docile.”
“How does this not raise any concern on your part?!”
“Uh… Because I don’t really care?.”
“How is that reassuring?!”
Another day, another dollar. Sort of. As it turned out, Lokiande’s ‘secret project’ had not stayed secret for long. She and Mikkel, after dropping off her tharlarion at the stables, had headed into the city to work up new designs over some pastries. What they had not counted on was meeting an irate Head Merchant, who had immediately dragged her over to the Physician’s, Mikkel following behind with an amused grin plastered across his face. And after the Greencaste member had checked over the rider, Mikkel watched from a nearby stool as Loki got the tongue lashing of her life.
“Tharlarion rider or not, Merchant or not, you are still a Freewoman! You can’t just go off and do something so damn foolish and not expect to get in trouble!” The man yelled angrily.
“I dont give a damn!” Loki snapped back. "You're not my father, so stop acting like one, you stupid old man!"
The sound of a slap echoed in the suddenly quiet room, and it was a moment before Mikkel realized what had happened. Loki sat on the bench, head tilted slightly to the side and cheek reddening, eyes wide with shock. The head Merchant Isan stood before her, lowering his hand.
“…Very well, then." He replied quietly, "If that is what you wish."
The room suddenly felt cold. Cold and thick with a heavy silence. The physician had long since gone, and Lokiande felt she had made a grave mistake.
"As you are my ward, I have been lenient with you. Too lenient, it seems.”
Isan was pacing back and forth, slowly like a larl on the hunt. Then, he stopped before the young merchant on the bench, pinning her with his glare. Analyzing and sizing her up. Mikkel said nothing. Friend to her he may be, but above all else, he was a Warrior of Koroba, a Tarnsman of Gor. He knew that look, for he had given it many times to the chattel being sold in the streets, or dancing in the taverns, giving their all to pleasure him and his comrades, begging to be owned.
For a single moment, he felt... Upset, of all things. Fearful for what could become of her. Then it passed and he was once more a man of Gor. It was only natural, he reasoned, for a man to want a woman; too, it was natural for the women, the weak and beautiful to want a strong master. Surely that was why she had told the Head Merchant to stop acting like her father. That and no other reason.
“I have allowed you to go about in men’s clothing, unveiled, handling weapons and teaching others their proper usage and care. I have allowed you a tharlarion, and leave to roam where you will so long as the message or package got delivered. Clearly, it was a mistake."
Panic welled up in her chest, and she wanted to run, to leave, to fly away from what she knew was something inescapable. It roared and came at the woman like a black tidal wave in her mind, sending her innermost self screaming in terror. So, she sat on the bench, frozen with such fear that she almost missed what was said next.
"What...?" She rasped. Distantly, she realized that she hadn't even had a drink since that morning.
"This time tomorrow, you ascend the auction block."
The Head Merchant, Isan, watched in silence as the Auctioneer began to talk of his newest item to be sold. The crowd below the block murmured amongst themselves, openly curious as he listed off its attributes.
"This kajira is a barbarian, an untrained thing brought from the far off land of earth! A former outlaw, I now bring before you... Hazel Locks!" And up the steps was brought none other than Lokiande.
Not Lokiande, Isan reminded himself. The slave. It is just a slave, and nothing more.
"See this hair, silken and soft as down. It is short, so the master may grow it out as he wishes. Too, this slave is well tanned, well worked. Note the healthy glow of her skin, and the fullness of her breasts!" Here, Desik lifted a silken-clad breast, squeezing it. The slave gave a small groan, and shifted her feet. "It is also an 'unopened' girl, untouched by a single hand!"
The audience began shouting prices.
Isan heard a throat being cleared, and turned from his musings to face Mikkel. The warrior had a small rucksack strapped to his back, along with the standard gladius and shield. His tarnwhistle hung round his neck, and his helmet was tucked under one arm.
"You are leaving." It was not a question.
"Yes." He replied, glancing at the block. She was bent in the pose of the she-quadraped now, and Desik was leading her about. She did not resist even the slightest pull.
"She is taking this rather well, Rarius. As are you." Isan muttered. Mikkel snorted derisively and the other raised an eyebrow.
"It, Head Merchant. Just a slave, and nothing more."
"...Who are you trying to convince, Warrior? Me or yourself?" Isan had tured fully to face Mikkel, who looked like he was contemplating murder. He gripped his helmet tightly, hard enough that it seemed he would draw blood. Then he stopped, calm as the blue skies above.
"It asked me to kill yesterday, after you left." Mikkel said suddenly. Isans eyes widened a fraction, nearly spinning like a top in his efforts to catch a glimpse of the girl that just yesterday, he had considered sending to Sulport to work on trade skills. She was bought now, by a Tharna local named Bael. He could afford the upkeep and training, and doubtless, wanted to perform the Rites of Submission soon.
Isan just wanted this day to be over. "What did you mean, she -it- asked you to kill?" He probed carefully.
"Simple, Isan. The woman asked for death, and if I could not do so, to break her. Make her forget, so that whoever bought her could do as he wished, without herself and her foolishness in the way."
"And you broke her; Rather well, it seems."
"Indeed. I asked the healer if there were any substances to 'close' a female. There was a small drink they were to be selling soon. It worked well for the purpose. What is being led from the block is the result of a sleepless night, and one well spent!" He laughed, and it was a harsh sound. Isan turned back to the auction block, and saw Bael's oldest slave, Kef walking to her master with a rolled up red rug under one arm, yellow cords held in her grasp.
The crowd had spread out, now, watching intently. Isan turned away to order some blackwine, and Mikkel began to walk away, down the path and to the gates. Doubtless, he would call his tarn and leave for the last time.
"As it should be," Isan said as he waited for his drink. By the time it had been given to him, the ritual phrases were coming to an end.
"...by the laws of Tharna do I claim you.
Remember you were free.
Know now you are my slave.
Weep, Slave Girl."