Oasis of Four Palms
The Oasis of Four Palms, far south of Red Rock, farther from Klima than from Red Rock and closer to the edge of Dune Country than Red Rock.
A morning in Oasis of Four Palms
Mag is typically up early in the morning. She has chores to do. She is the only Kajira of the House of Sirnah that is allowed to leave the building, a very unusual privilege. Her task in the morning is to get sa tarna and fruits from the bazar.
Quickly she puts on her chalwar and vest, the normal dress for slaves in most Taharian places. On top she puts on haik, those long black rope like dresses that cover the entire body including the hair and leave just a little bit open for the eyes.
Strangers from other parts of Gor are wondering why slaves are allowed a dress typical for the free woman on Gor?
The sun is burning down on the desert, especially at noon. The air temperature can reach up to 120 degrees or 50 in Celsius. If not covered properly a body will dehydrate within a few hours and possibly die. The sun in the Tahari kills those who don’t obey the laws of nature, merciless and cruel.
Mag wears slave bells around her angles. That way anyone she passes in the oasis will know there is no free woman under that haik but just a slave.
Quickly she leaves the House and turns around the corner directing herself to the library. When she goes to the bazaar she always does a bit the rounds so to speak. She just loves to see whats going on in the oasis and she is not in a hurry either. Mistress Lady Sheraka will not be up for at least two more hours.
At the bazaar most people know the charming girl and treat her friendly because she is owned by Lady Sheraka who has lived in the Oasis for some time. Here is where she gets the latest news and gossip; mostly from the girls that help the merchants in their stalls but also that rug merchant is always open for a chat with the slave girl while she is doing her chores.
Suddenly a group of Riders passes the bazaar on their Kaillas, lances in their hand and their burnouse swelling in the wind, fast riding through the gate of the little Kasbah just above the market and turning North.
Those are warriors of the high Pasha of the Kavar.
“Why are the warriors out today, Master”? Mag is asking her friend the rug merchant. “We should have received a caravan from Tor; it is overdue and the warriors are out in the desert to find them. I hope nothing bad happened to them”.
Caravans are important for the merchants of the oasis. They depend on caravans, usually from Tor, sometimes from Kasra, sometimes even from far Turia, to supply many of their needs. In turn, of course, caravans export the products of the oases. To the oases caravans bring various goods, for example, rep-cloth, embroidered cloths, silks, rugs, silver, gold, jewelries, mirrors, kailiauk tusk, perfumes, hides, skins, feathers, precious woods, tools, needles, worked leather goods, salt, nuts and spices, jungle birds, prized as pets, weapons, rough woods, sheets of tin and copper, the tea of Bazi, wool from the bounding Hurt, decorated, beaded whips, female slaves, and many other forms of merchandise.
They are the clients of the artisans and merchants of the oasis. There are only so many people that can buy rugs within the oasis, so the rug merchants really need the trade with Tor, Kasra, and even sometimes merchants from the rich and sophisticated Turia. It takes them about seven days to reach the Sand Sleen Oasis and sometimes the caravans are as large as 200 Kaillas including the riders, hired guards, that protect them.
At the oases, it is common for the local pashas to exact a protection tax from caravans, if they are of a certain length, normally of more than fifty kaiila. The protection tax helps to defray the cost of maintaining soldiers, who, nominally, at any rate, police the desert
“This is already the second troop leaving in the desert. I have heard the captain of the guards took 30 riders with him yesterday, its really worrying”, shouts the silk merchant from the neighboring stall, “rumor is that raiders are after the caravans to the Sand Sleen.
Raiders are not unusual in the Tahari. Bandits or outlaws that ride the desert and attack smaller caravans or people that are insane enough to travel alone through the desert. They take what ever they can find of use, take the women of such parties as slaves and kill the men. Sometimes they don’t bother with killing the men and simply take their water bags and kaillas with them, which is guarantee for a painful death under the harsh sun of Tahari desert.
When the night falls in the Tahari, those raiders enter the different oases to trade what they have stolen in the day. Mag knows too well as she has seen those dealings in the house of her Mistress on occasions. Scary strong men in black burnooses standing in the yard of the house, just in front of the auction blog, negotiating the price for two women standing on the block naked. Mag shivers remembering those unpleasant visitors.
“Mag, take these silks with you and give it to Lady Sheraka, its a free gift”, says the silk merchant. Of course, he does that for Mistress to see the quality of his new sets of silks and hopes she comes back to negotiate for some more. Slave merchants, like Lady Sheraka, are the best clients of a silk merchant.
“Thank you Master, very kind of you,” she answers, even so knowing its not mere kindness but for a commercial purpose. “I wish you well Masters, and may your water bags never be empty Masters,” she says and turns away.
On her way back she passes the Inn. She notices a lot of activity there. Men preparing the stables for the expected caravan. There is a lot of work involved to host some 200 Kaillas for several days. Kajiras are preparing the rooms. The upper more comfortable ones with a roof terrace, are reserved for those rich merchants that organize the caravans, usually traveling with several Kajira.
The lower small ones for the riders, mere mercenaries that are usually hired for one trip. They get paid part of their wage when arriving in the Sand Sleen so they won’t need a comfortable room. They will spend most of the night, and most of their money, in the Moonlight Cafe, renowned for its pleasure slaves and its unique ambiance right on the central lake of the Sand Sleen Oasis.
It will be busy tonight at the Moonlight, but that is a story for another day. Mag is heading back to the house. Another day is to beginning in the Sand Sleen Oasis in the Taharian desert – our father and our mother.
My thoughts on Oasis of four palms:
Every Taharian oasis, I have visited so far in SL Gor , are built like Gorean cities. They have in their center some kind of square with official, mostly quite big, public buildings around that central square. There you will find the library, an admin building, the cafe, the tea house and so on, just like a Northern gorean city.
In every Oasis there are rules to wear the appropriate attire.
However, the vast majority of people you see on these sims do not dress the part.
Nothing is more ridiculous in a SIM portraying a desert then a man with a black kilt and naked breast. It’s just not Taharian, in fact it’s not even Gorean.
The burnoose is the loose, billowing outer robes favored by the men of the Tahari in caravan; it is a sleeveless,hooded desert cloak. This robe is preferred by those wielding scimitars.
Usually it is of white in color to reflect the rays of the sun. The burnoose is very loose and flowing to keep the wearer cool. Also, there is the djellaba for men, which is a striped, hooded loose robe.
The kaffiyeh is the head covering of the tribesmen of the Tahari; it is a folded, square cloth that is worn folded into a triangle and placed over the head. It consists of two points at the side of the shoulders and one in back to protect the back of the neck. Also, a head scarf/wrapped turban wound around the head, much often a repcloth worn by lower class males; acts as a cushion for carrying burdens on the head. The agal is a length of cord which is used to bind the kaffiyeh to the head, usually several loops secure it.
Men of the Tahari wore slippers rather than boots. They are cooler, circulate air, and can be easily slipped on and off while riding.
Free Women wore gowns, cloaks and veils. The most common was the haik, which is actually worn by both Free Women and slaves. It is often black and covers a woman from head to toe. A tiny piece of black lace lies over the eyes so that she may see. The women also wear black, non-heeled slippers with curled toes decorated sometimes with a line of silver thread. Slaves are naked beneath a haik save for their collar.
The general clothing of the Taharian slaves is chalwar. Chalwar by definition is much similar to the harem trousers of earth; the pants bear a sash The pants are a baggy diaphanous silk, very sheer. The vest is of the same color, also silk, and bears the midriff. In the Kasbah, girls in training as ‘whitesilks’ will wear white. Once moving on, the color is silver of the state slave. Slaves also wear the haik, but underneath they are naked, save for their collars and wear slave bells so one knows its a slave not a free woman.
Also included in a slave’s attire may be the slave djellaba which is repcloth and varies in color, coming high on the thighs of the wearer. In the caravan, it is what a slave may use to sleep in.
Slaves also wore veils held by a tiny (sometimes golden) string, ear rings, bangles on wrists and ankles, and dancing chains.