Swordsmen of Gor

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Book: Read Swordsmen of Gor for Free Online
Authors: John Norman
from immortal, and might even be fed to sleen, she would retain her youth and beauty. To be sure, it would wear a collar.
    Doubtless a value judgment is involved in such things.
    One might balance, say, freedom, misery, and death, against bondage, happiness, and life.
    One might consider two lives. In one, we might suppose a given woman who, with some good fortune, might live a life of, say, some eighty to ninety years, and live to watch her interest and beauty fade, and observe her once lovely body submit to the slow degradations of age, watch it dry, wither, suffer, decay, and weaken until it subsides into an infantile helplessness, characterized by misery and pain, or perhaps a semi-comatose, bedridden state in which, indifferent and drugged, she waits for an encroaching end which she no longer even understands. Conceivably that could be the choice of a given woman. Does it fulfill her? Does it make her happy? Has her life been a good life? Let us hope so. Then let us consider another life. Let us suppose a young woman is brought to Gor, to be collared and sold like meat off a block. She will learn she is property, and a slave. She will find herself at the feet of men, subject to discipline, chains, and the whip. She will find herself the most degraded and despised, and the most valued and sought-after, of women. She will be expected to kneel and obey. She will be dressed in revealing fashions. She will learn to labor. She will learn what it is to be roped, to wear a chain, perhaps to crouch in a tiny, locked cage. She will learn a life of radical and profound sexuality, in which she will be expected to perform for, and well please, a master, in ways which might have been beyond her hopes, dreams, and ken as a mere female of Earth. She will learn what it is, for the first time in her life, to breathe good air, to look into a blue sky, to see an unpolluted sunset or sunrise, to eat fresh and natural foods, to relish the taste of fresh bread, to be grateful for a piece of meat fed to her by a master’s hand, to put her tongue, if permitted, to a wine beyond what she thought might exist. The purpose of her life will be to please her master. She may fall in love with him, but she should be wary of letting him suspect this, and surely should not speak of it, lest she be peremptorily sold. And in this degradation she may live indefinitely. She learns to understand men and herself. She is likely, in most cases, to be rapturously content, and is likely to live in joy, but she is, of course, when all is said and done, only a slave. She is in a collar. It gives her security, and meaning, and happiness, and identity. Perhaps it is right for her. Could that be? But whether it is right for her or not, she cannot remove it. She is slave.
    “How is it that a forester,” I said, “claims as his the Home Stone of Port Kar?”
    “I once lived there,” he said, “before I took caste. At that time, long ago, there were few, if any, castes in Port Kar. She had no Home Stone. She was a den of thieves, as it was said, a lair of cutthroats, and such, a stinking maze of canals at the marshes, squalid and foul, and malignant.”
    “And without honor,” I said.
    “Yes,” said he, “and without honor.”
    “I think once she had no Home Stone,” I said.
    “That is true,” he said. “Can you conceive of a city, a town, a village, a hamlet, without a Home Stone?”
    “There are probably such places,” I said.
    “Then,” said he, “that changed. In a moment of crisis, in a time of confusion and terror, when a vulnerable Port Cos awaited the onslaught of the combined fleets of Tyros and Cos, the word spread, the startling mysterious word, a word like the flash of lightning, a word striking through the darkness, a word as mighty as the rallying of a thousand battle horns, as swift as the flight of a tarn, that there was now a Home Stone in Port Kar.”
    “Jewel of Gleaming Thassa,” I said.
    “Tatrix of the Sea,” said he.

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