The two major island powers on Thassa are Cos and Tyros. Both islands are about four hundred pasangs west of Port Kar, another major maritime power. Cos is located a hundred pasangs north of Tyros. They both engage in piracy and raiding. Pirates paint their entire ships green, including green hulls, sails, oars and ropes. They do this because in the bright sun reflecting off the sea, green ships are nearly invisible. This allows them to more easily close with merchant ships.
Here’s a little fan-fiction based in John Norman’s world of sci-fi, beasts, heroes and sexism – Gor
Jade paced around the camp in the late of the night, her sisters sleeping in their various huts and on their furs around the fire. Even the sentries had managed to find slumber at their posts due to a little mix ofCrimson Dream in their paga from the feast of the night. Certain that her sisters were well in the land of dreams she quietly made her way over to the crates where the majority of the tribe’s supplies were stored.
With a soft sigh she pushed on crate out of the way, revealing a hole in the ground with a chest inside. Jade lifted her head to look around once more, before reaching into her satchel, drawing out a small golden key. She slipped the key into the lock and turned with a near inaudible click, allowing the lid to lift and open. She smiled upon seeing her old garbs from a life long past. Only several minutes passed from the time the chest was opened to the time it was closed and hidden again, and where a proud panther pledge once stood, now stood an androgynous looking figure garbed all in black, her hair tied back under a hood and face hidden by a mask, what one would identify as a member of the hated Black Caste.
Jade took one last glance around and placed atop the crate for the eye to easily see a scroll with her signature wax seal to be read by her sisters, stating simply that she has left on an expedition and would return in no less than 2 moons time. The sounds of the night sleen could be heard, on their nightly hunts again as she made her way to the zipline. Securing her pack to her back, she silently slid down the hemp cable to the ground, landing with a stealthy sprint through the forests, passing wildlife and Zima sentries alike unnoticed. All the time training, the lessons, the reading, the practice she did in solitude once again were being put to active use as she made her way to the south, to her launching destination, the port city of Bazi.
Several days passed as Jade travelled, never once speaking with a voice of her own. She communicated only in gesture and in written word, procuring a slave on her travels to speak for her two days out from Bazi. She strode into the city, walking and carrying herself like a man, a place well known for the plague which once ravaged the region and could still be found in trace volumes in other parts of Gor. Not many came to Bazi without suspicion or fear, as a result most overlooked the city as a place to raid or target, despite it being a major coastal trading port that had neutral access to both Port Kar and the Imperial Alliance of Cos.
Jade spent three days, observing various men, part of her Panther training making her hate them, her knowledge as an assassin and scribe keeping her temper in check. If they were to discover her gender, she would surely wind up as a prize tied to the front of one of their galleys, which is not the position she preferred in this instance. After watching one boastful man gloat about how he had a large raiding galley, manned and ready to deploy, she made it a point to sign on as a passenger to the islands of Cos. The crew eyed her and her slave with healthy suspicion, wondering why a Black Caste would traverse the Thassa to a region rife with raiding, piracy, and deception. There were no known collectives or bases in the isles of Cos for Black Caste members, but the captain was the Ubar of his ship, and the crew acknowledged that.
After two days at sea the crew had become accustomed to Jade prowling the decks, orders being barked from her slave simply by gesture signals alone. When night had fallen it was then that Jade entered the Captain’s personal quarters, silently and unnoticed due to his wild indiscretions with his bow slave, noisily making use of her warmth. Moments dragged on like ahn, as the blackened obsidian dagger crept through the air in Jade’s grasp. The slave’s eyes went wide for only a moment before blade pierced through the back of the Captain’s neck and out through the front, killing him silently. She twisted the blade firmly, severing his spinal column, not even a gurgle escaping him as the slave beneath him pushed his body off of her, instinctively she curled into a ball up at the head of the furs in the corner, out of fear. Jade made a simple gesture, but it was clear. She pointed the blade to her feet, a gesture demanding the slave submit to her, and with no hesitation at all, the girl knelt down and crossed her wrists before her above her head. Jade clasped her hand over the girl’s wrists firmly, claiming her in standard Gorean fashion before turning and leaving the cabin.
Jade’s own slave came in and with the help of the newly claimed slave, the two dragged the body out to the deck. Jade took up position at the helm as the slaves laid the body of the now dead captain on the decking. She looked to her personal speaker and nodded, and the alarm bell was rung, awakening the entire crew. Men scrambled to ready position, expecting a fight, ready to row, to make sail, to fight, strapping swords on and readying bows. It was only when they looked up ready to receive orders from their captain did they notice what they had been summoned for.
The slave spoke boldly, “I am Aria, Speaker and Slave of my Master Laughing Shadow. This ship and its crew are now his to command. We sail for Cos now, let loose the sails and row with haste. This vessel is now no longer a merchant ship, its cargo will be sold in Cos, and from there we will make our fortunes between Cos and Kar.” The men murmured amongst themselves, none moving at the words of the slave. Jade stepped forward for them to see, the ice cold stare in her eyes making a few of the galley slaves tremble. She drew a sword from her hip and with a quick downward strike, severed the corpse’s head from his body and lifted it for all to see by his hair. It was then and only then that she removed her mask, revealing her true gender, “I am Jade, and I am your Captain. You will refer to me as Captain or as Laughing Shadow, and any man or woman who calls my gender, my role, my authority into question, or reveals to others outside of the service of this ship will meet the same fate as this rotting body here. I aim to make fortunes for all of us lads, and if this sits ill with you, you may speak now so I can have your cowardly ass thrown to the water demons. Is that understood?” Jade’s voice echoed in the night, and only seconds of silence passed before one man, the one who had been the previous captain’s quartermaster stepped forward and spoke, “Yes Captain. I am Tarl of Kar, exiled from my city. I will serve you as I have always served for this vessel. And if any of these dogs disobey, they know the level of cruelty I have been come to be known for.” As the quartermaster finished his words the orders immediately were obeyed and the galley made its way to Cos.
Several weeks have passed, and word finally was brought forth back to Forest Moon, this letter here that you are now reading. It details all the events that have transpired, how a base has been set up on one of the unnamed islands and a stockpile of goods has been amassed. The sisters are expected to start receiving shipments from the island via the rivers through trusted merchant couriers, containing supplies ranging from foods to weapons and raw materials, as well as medicines and fabrics. A personal note was also attached reading thusly:
“Hello my Sisters,
I know I have been gone for some time, and it seems like ages. I wished for you all to know that I am well, I have been operating in disguise in the Thassa, acting as a Raider Captain. The crew knows of me, and the Quartermaster does not question my authority. A base has been set up and the men who serve under me are all happy as can be, outlaws the majority of them, the rest loyalty purchased by plunder. Each male has been getting their equal share and a veritable utopia in the male mind has been created to keep them placated. They know not of my Panther origins, nor that the majority share of my supplies are being shipped to you, my Sisters. With the winter months coming, and raids being dangerous, I took a large risk and have in turn earned a large reward. I will be amongst you again soon and hope these supplies reach you in good condition. I’ve secured standard commodities as well as luxuries for you all to enjoy, as well as supplies for Kolby and myself to continue our experiments. Enjoy the Rum of Tyros, the Kalana, the Paga, and the various candies and confections that can be made with the recipes I have procured and supplies sent. Each courier has been paid in advance and has to return to me for the other part of their payment. Under no circumstances are any of you to pay them, and please, do not enslave or kill them as securing these few men has been a major chore. They are indebted to me by Merchant Code, and it took great care to secure them in that position. This letter comes to you with the first skiff carrying at least a month’s worth of materials. Expect no less than 3 additional shipments preceding my arrival. I will be home soon.
Tied to the letter is a string with ten gold tarn disks and a second note affixed, “This is for my En, should any of the merchants in the area demand coin for goods. Use wisely please my En, as acquiring coin on the Thassa is a rarity, goods are easier to come by.”
The letter ends with a black ribbon stitched into the parchment, and embroidered into that ribbon are the initials for Forest Moon Panthers, a feather purposefully stitched into the pattern.
© Lunacaleengpanthers/Jade Kaligawa