This seems to be a really interesting and not that widespread role to play. If you would like to read more about them, have a look here, it is a marvellous page*smiles*
A she-urt, short for ‘she-urts of the wharves’, is a Free woman. Generally they are Free Women and thus they should be treated with respect by slaves. Those women are homeless – runaways, vagabonds, orphans, etc. – who live near the canals in port cities surviving by scavenging, begging, stealing and some sleeping with paga attendants. Due to the books the she-urts might form groups to establish territories to live and scavenge food. They sleep wherever they find space, in crates and under piers and bridges, and usually wear a brief tunic instead of Robes of Concealment.
“They wore rags of various sorts and colours; they had good legs; they where all bare foot”
Explorers of Gor, page 62
Some more quotes out of the books:
“I stopped on the walkway. Ahead, some yards, was a girl dark-haired, lying on her belly on the walkway, reaching with her hand down to the canal, to fish out edible garbage. She was barefoot, and wore a brief, brown rag. I did not think she was a slave. Some free girls, runaways, vagabonds, girls of no family or position, live about port cities, scavenging as they can, begging, stealing, sleeping at night in crates and under bridges and piers. They are called the she-urts of the wharves. Every once in a while there is a move to have them rounded up and collared but it seldom comes to anything. ”
Explorers of Gor, page 47
Except for her failure to exhibit interest in the garbage she might have been only one she-urt among the others. She was as pretty, and as dirty, as the rest.
Suddenly she saw me. For an instant I saw she was frightened. Then she doubtless reassured herself that I could not know her. She was, after all, only another she-urt. Her thighs were unmarked.
She went then, as not noticing me, to the basket of garbage. She tried to saunter as a she-urt. Steeling herself she thrust her hand into the fresh, wet garbage. She looked up at me. She saw I was still watching her. In her hand there was a half of a yellow Gorean pear, the remains of a half moon of verr cheese imbedded in it. She, watching me, lifted it toward her mouth. I did not think it would taste badly. I saw she was ready to vomit.
Suddenly her wrist was seized by the girl, a tall, lovely girl, some four inches taller than she, in a brief white rag, who stood with her at the basket. “Who are you?” demanded the girl in the white rag. “You are not one with us.” She took the pear from her, with the verr cheese in it. “You have not laid with the paga attendants for your garbage,” she said. “Get out!” Any woman, even a free woman, if she is hungry enough, will do anything. The paga attendants knew this. “Get out!” said the girl in the white rag.
Not unrelieved, though I do not think she understood much of what was said to her, the blond barbarian backed away. She reacted then, despite herself, with momentary horror, as the girl in the white rag bit thoughtlessly into the pear with verr cheese. Then, remembering herself, she tried to look disappointed. “Get out,” said the girl in the white rag. “This is our territory.” The other girls now, too, belligerently, began to gather around. “Get out,” said the girl in the white rag, “or we will tie you and throw you into the canal.”
Explorers of Gor, pages 62-63
I was bewildered, and confused and miserable. I did not know if I had eluded the sleen or not. I did not know what to do. I was afraid to return to the agency and afraid not to return to it. My trails would presumably be particularly rich and numerous in that vicinity. Certainly I left that building in the morning and returned to it in the evening. On the other hand, if I did not return to it, I did not know, then, what I should do. I could not leave the city and, if I remained within it, it seemed obvious that I must be apprehended, if not by the sleen then by free citizens, probably guardsmen. I did not think it would be difficult for them to do so. I would stand out. I was garbed as what I was, a slave, and my collar, which I could not remove, clearly identified me. Indeed, as soon as it became dark I would become suspect as a runaway slave. Slave girls, with the exception of coin girls, lure girls for taverns, and such, are generally not permitted to walk unaccompanied about the streets of a city after dark. I did not have the common garb of such slaves, such as the bell and coin box chained about my neck, of the coin girl, or the tavern silk, with its advertising, of a tavern’s lure girl. My absence from my kennel would presumably be reported by midnight, the twentieth hour of the Gorean day. By morning guardsmen would be alerted to be on the lookout for me. How, too, could I live in the city? I might try to live by begging and scavenging garbage for a time as do those vagrant free women sometimes called she-urts, but I being collared, could never pass for one. The she-urts often wear tunics almost as short as those of slaves. This is supposedly to make it easier for them to flee from guardsmen. On the other hand the guardsman usually ignore them. Sometimes they will catch one and bind her helplessly, just to let her know that she can be caught, if men wish. These she-urts have their gangs and territories. I had little doubt but what they might set upon me and bind me, and turn me over to guardsmen, hoping for some small reward. I, being a slave, could hope for no mercy from them. They would hate and despise me. As low as they might be they were a thousand times higher than I. They were free women. Once or twice a year, particularly when there are complaints, or they are becoming nuisances, many of them will be rounded up and taken before a praetor. Their sentence is almost invariably slavery. Interestingly, once branded and in the collar, and knowing themselves helpless and under suitable male discipline, it is said they become joyful and content. It is almost as if they had adopted their mode of life and slavelike costumes because, in some part of themselves, perhaps some deep, hidden part, they were begging men to take them and make them slaves. They thought they hated men but they were, in fact, only begging to be put at their feet.
Kajira of Gor, pages 316-317
she-urts: (noun; short for ‘she-urts of the wharves’) homeless free girls – runaways, vagabonds, orphans, etc. – who live near the canals in port cities, surviving by scavenging, begging, stealing, and sleeping with paga attendants; they sleep wherever they find space, and usually wear a brief tunic instead of Robes of Concealment
It takes a very special, flexible individual to want to take on this role at all. There will be times you will be looked down on. (Actually, this will happen, allot.) You are still 1000 times higher then a slave. You are legally a Free Woman. Do not forget that. In these pages I will also cover some of the Gorean Laws you will come across that pertain to you and your freedom. Yet always remember, too, that Gor is a Man’s World. What is done is by their will.
She Urts travel in Gangs. Remember this. They are territorial. Each gang taking a partion of Alleys. This does not mean there’s war with each gang, tho. She Urts compete for the choice prospects of food. The best paga taverns to pick through trash are desired. There’s no power struggles between two seperate groups. If one invades the other’s territory they simply chase the competiter away. Strays have no skills. No special lock-picking, thieving, fighting stealth skills. They are simply homeless Free Women surviving on the streets.
It should be noted that weapons, if the she-urt carried them at all would have been most likely a rusty dagger or a sling. They traveled in small packs, providing mutual protection and companionship for each other. They are territorial. Each gang, normally between 4 – 7 woman taking a portion of alleys and back streets. She-urts compete for the choice prospects of food and the best paga taverns to pick through trash are desired. There are no power struggles between two separate groups. If one invades the other’s territory, then the competitor is simply chased away. She-urts are strays having no special skills. They are simply homeless Free Woman.
Stealing is a dangerous occupation, particularly for the she-urt. She will not have the weapons or the skills to attack a Gorean male, so she will either have to team up with a man to do such…or more likely simply try to pick the pouch of an unwary passerby or steal some food where she can. A half eaten loaf of bread from a sleeping sailor or a tunic off a laundry line. A collar or worse awaits the she-urt every time she steals, so stealing smaller things carries a lesser risk.
Being without caste, the she-urt has to relay on the charity of the Free. Goreans do not generally favor begging, and some regard it as an insult that there should be such, an insult to them and their city. When charity is in order, as when a man cannot work or a woman is alone, usually such is arranged through the caste organization, but sometimes through the clan, which is not specifically caste oriented but depends on ties of blood through the fifth degree. If one, of course, finds oneself in effect without caste or clan, [their life] is likely to be miserable and not of great length.