Story of Gor, Daughter of Gor – Part 1

Daughter of Gor – Part 1
By Olga Turlovna


 

Introduction:

Dear readers, every now and again the discussion in the GE panther world arises about the possibility of herms being bred as slaves and escaping to join panther girl tribes. The novel Daughter of Gor is often referred to as a basis for legitimizing this claim, however , what is often overlooked is that this is a piece of fanfiction and not from the pen of John Norman.

Aurore of the Sardar is however a well written piece of fanfiction in my opinion. Very much in the style of JN. Judge for yourselves.

The full fanfiction story can be found on the fanfiction website, Fictionmania.

The story – a brief introduction to Part 1

Agent of the alien godlike Priest Kings of Gor, Kurtz of Ar, has gone rogue.

All attempts to send human spies from the Priest King’s Nest to Kurtz’ fortified compound in the Schendi jungles of Gor have failed. Male agents were identified and tortured, and female agents succumbed to Kurtz’ masculine charisma and turned loyal to him, betraying the Nest.

The Priest Kings attempted one final desperate plan – to turn one of their male agents into a beautiful woman and send that woman to slaveryin Kurtz’ compound. They hoped his male brain would make her immune to the power of Kurtz’ will.

 

1 – In which men talk business with Priest Kings

“And why is it that a man of Urth is needed to serve the Priest Kings?”
I ask, leaning forward attentively. “Yes, I am from the caste that
Goreans would call the warriors, but so are many of your allies. You
have a mission on my home world, perhaps?”

Urth is their name for the Earth, my home, for I am no longer on the
Earth. This world is Gor, the Counter Earth, a dangerous planet but a
beautiful one.

I’ve visited several times and each time I’m here it feels like my
senses awaken and I come truly alive. The air is so fresh it is like
perfume. Colours seem brighter. The mountains I can see from the
window, here in the region called the Sardar, are so breathtaking they
would shame the CGI enhanced views in the Lord of the Rings.

Terrain is not the world’s only beauty. There is the sound of pouring
liquid as, from her place by my thigh, a girl fills my wine cup.

“Not every task can be completed by a Gorean warrior,” the Priest King
named Misk replies in his manner of speech, “and this is an unusual
mission where only someone of your… background… might serve.”

Priest Kings are the godlike rulers of this world. Non-human, they are
part of an ancient insect-like race that live for thousands of years.
There is an almost palpable aura of timeless wisdom emanating from this
one, Misk.

The two other men in the room, the two humans, are watching me with
curiosity. A man of Urth, I am almost as novel to them as they are to
me.

Each time I’m here I have to remind myself I’m not in a planet-wide
Disneyland, themed around the Roman era. The short sword propped
against my low chair is a very real weapon. In this world where honour
means everything to men, it pays not to mock.

The girl stands, and moves gracefully to the man at my left.

She kneels silently next to him, and silently fills his cup as she did
with mine. For a moment the sun catches on a steel collar that fits
tightly around her throat. I see a glint from the metal.

Her feet and shapely legs are bare, the single garment she wears only
covering down to her upper thighs.

Personally I’m finding it hard not to stare – she is unusually
beautiful and such a girl would be a striking sight back home, but it
is interesting to note the other two men barely look at her. A sight
such as this is commonplace here.

“It is a mission on Urth, then?” I ask. Misk’s reply seems to confirm
the reason for my presence.

“The mission is on Gor,” the elder of the two men answers without
elaborating.

“Rorius here, is of the warriors,” the Priest King explains,
introducing the speaker. I see a bulky, gruff, patriarchal man with a
face like a granite wall. As he studies me silently, he gives me the
impression he is someone I wouldn’t want to cross.

“And Telisio, also a warrior, is part of Rorius house,” Misk continues,
indicating the second man, who nods to me once.

Telisio is younger, handsome with a playboy, swashbuckler air about
him. He looks as if he’d be the more fun of these two to get drunk
with, but there is something less trustworthy in his manner.

“These two men will defend you and bear the greatest risk to life in
the mission,” Misk explains. “By the time you leave the Sardar, death
is not likely to be your fate.”

“We serve the Priest Kings to death if necessary, stranger,” Rorius
confirms, managing to imply that I might not be as worthy.

I recall that the Gorean word for “stranger” and “enemy” are the same,
and I judge it an appropriate point to introduce myself.

“I am Aurius,” I say, “Aurius of London. On Urth I too am a warrior. I
have risked my life in combat missions before.”

My background as a warrior – Special Forces in fact, is entirely true,
but the title is not. “Aurius” is not how I’m known on Earth.

My real name is Arran, but when I first visited Gor and discovered that
the Goreans mishear it as the feminine Erin, I modified it to a more
Latin version.

Gor is not a good planet to be mistaken for a female. Where on Earth
the sexes strive to be treated in the same way, on Gor they base much
of their culture around sexual inequalities, celebrating the physical
superiority of men and male dominance over female.

Being from a more enlightened world, I know I should revile this
barbaric sexism. And yet I am a hypocrite – proven by the way I can’t
take my eyes from the girl.

Far away from Earth in a sunlit, airy room, high in the Sardar
Mountains, the role of three men is talking business with a Priest
King. The female’s role is to serve us wine, moving to kneel gracefully
by the third man while I watch her.

She has a pretty face, oval with the darker colouring often seen in
Hispanic women on my home world. I was raised to treat women with
respect, but each time I try to concentrate on the conversation I find
myself watching her again.

Her simple clothing is insufficient even to wrap completely round her
sides, so I can see a broad vertical stripe of her soft bare skin from
her thigh to under her arm. Particularly drawing the eye is the part of
her luscious, pert breast visible to me. I’d just have to slip my hand
under that fabric to access her.

She senses my gaze and I see her breathing quicken slightly, but she
makes no objection. Yet again I force myself to concentrate on the
men’s conversation.

“Have you heard of a man named Kurtz of Ar?” Misk asks me.

I laugh.

“Kurtz? Who on Gor hasn’t?” I admit. “He is reputed to be one of the
greatest warriors of our age. A natural charismatic leader, inspiring
incredible loyalty to his men. A fighter – brutal, but a strategic
genius. A warrior poet. A lover of women.”

“What is less commonly known, is that Kurtz of Ar was once in the
service of the Priest Kings.”

I nod, and then I catch on.

“Once, you say?”

“Once,” Misk repeats. “Kurtz’s last mission for us was to secure a
location in the jungles of Schendi against our ancient enemies, the
Kurii”

Hearing the name of the Priest Kings enemy spoken aloud, the bear-like
Kurii, makes me start. It is a forbidden word. The Priest Kings and the
Kurii, the other alien species found on Gor, have been warring for
generations, but their battle is fought in secrecy from most of the
human population, who view Priest Kings as gods.

Only a privileged few men such as myself are recruited to represent
mankind in the service of beings on either side of this conflict.

It should be noted that it is the Priest Kings who keep human
technology on Gor locked in the pre-gunpowder era. The Kurii have no
interest in human progress, regarding us as nothing more than a food
source.

“Kurtz’s mission was to secure one of the Kurii landing points used for
bringing troops, agents and slaves into Gor, and return that point to
our use,” Misk continues.

“It is a strategic location between the Nyoka and Kamba rivers, from
where he could control all the traffic into Lake Ushindi. But when he
arrived, something happened.”

“Kurtz seized the fortified compound, but he and his men failed to
return to the Sardar. Instead he claimed the right of ruler and
chieftain out of there – what Goreans call an Ubar, and his men who
were also believed loyal to the Priest Kings, remained with him.”

I try to recall the geography of that region. A vast lake, Lake
Ushindi, lies centrally in the jungle. Two rivers, the Nyoka and Kamba,
drain to the west downstream to the sea, known as Thassa in the Gorean
language.

Another river goes upstream from the lake, the river Cartius. The point
on the lake between the two rivers would indeed control the traffic,
but at the price of enduring oppressive heat and humidity; swamps;
poisonous animals and insects; and disease.

“The jungles are an inhospitable place to rule,” I comment. “Why does
he stay?”

“That is what we need to know. It appears to be for the pleasures of
power. His men raid the surrounding area, capturing goods, treasures,
and taking captives as slaves. He displays his superiority over others
with impunity.”

“As well as capturing women in transit up and down the rivers, they
also take women from the tribal groups in the jungle. Fresh captures
are marked with the four-petal brand of the brandius flower – Kurtz’s
symbol.”

The brandius plant can be dried to make a narcotic. It is addictive and
enticing, yet poisonous. It is a strange plant to choose as one’s
motif.

“By the time the women are passed on to the markets, the slaves are
said to be exquisitely trained. A girl marked with the brandius will
command a high price on the auction blocks of Gor.”

That seems an irrelevant fact for my task, which I think I understand
now.

“My mission is to infiltrate Kurtz’s group, as a spy? Investigate for
the involvement of the Kur?”

The electronic translator used by the Priest King does not convey
emotion, but I nearly sense entertainment at my ignorance.

“Not exactly,” is the answer.

“We’ve tried this approach several times. They are always able to
quickly detect our agents, and Kurtz’s men defend him loyally.”

He pauses, and in the same emotionless tone says, “Parts of our agents’
bodies are returned to the Sardar as a message – limbs, heads,
genitals. The treatment is barbaric. We will send no more men to the
jungle.”

I feel a chill at the word “genitals,” imagining the brutality behind
these acts and the terror of the victims as they meet their fate.

If my purpose isn’t to act as a spy, then again I am puzzled about the
nature of my mission. My parents raised me to be an agent of the Priest
Kings.

As a child in London I was schooled in a second language no-one else
could speak. I was trained to fight, with an emphasis on hand to hand
fighting and combat with medieval weapons.

Only when I turned eighteen, not long before my parents” death, did
they tell me of Gor – a world who’s language I spoke fluently. At first
I thought they were deluded, until I first saw the world for real. But
several years in the army still don’t explain why I am required over
these two native warriors. There is nothing unusual about Aurius of
London except for my hair, which is an exceptionally rare dark red
colour.

“The only strangers to enter the compound are women,” Misk says, “and
they pass through the gates in the chains of captivity.”

Setting aside the mystery of my role for now, I make further
suggestions.

“A female spy could permit herself to be captured and observe from the
inside,” I say, “and then purchased on the block to report her
discoveries.”

The one called Rorius interrupts, replying scathingly to me.

“You speak of a mission where the girl departs knowing she’s destined
for slavery. No free female with honour would accept such a task, and
slaves are not to be trusted with such a task.”

“There are brave women on Gor,” I counter. “And women of Gor serve the
Priest Kings too, like this one here.”

Kneeling between us, facing into the circle, the girl gives a little
start at being mentioned, but does not speak. She is being discussed by
the men rather than addressed directly, and she knows better than to
reply.

To a Gorean, this girl’s status is instantly obvious, declared by the
collar of steel locked around her neck. She is kajira, owned, a slave.

Her clothing – a simple and scanty outfit made of one wide strip of
cloth worn over the head like a poncho, would also only ever be worn by
a slave. Goreans call this a camisk – it is worn by slaves across the
planet.

It is fastened with a tie around her waist. Despite being humiliatingly
revealing, the girl has secured hers tightly, so rather than hanging
loosely the camisk hugs her figure, accenting the swell of her breasts
and her feminine hips.

Slavery is an abhorrent practice to the people of Urth, and yet the
girl does not seem unhappy with her state. The opposite seems to be
true – she radiates a beautiful serenity. I feel a flash of desire at
the sight of such a woman. You’d never see a creature like her at home.

“Infiltration by women has also been tried,” Misk continues, “and it
has failed. Whether we send a female agent that’s free or a kajira,
Kurtz seems to inspire a devotion and submission in her that is
unusually profound.”

“Our girls leave the compound loyal to him, even defending him to the
point of torture, and we find nothing but superficial information from
them. Priest Kings will not mistreat those who have been brave for us,
so we will not interrogate these girls and their reports are useless.”

“You do not torture them enough,” the one called Rorius states bluntly.

I smile to see he’s got his arms folded, flexing his biceps. When
you’re built like me you get used to this alpha male thing, with guys
trying to intimidate each other. I’m not going to rise to it. I could
break him if I wanted to, but I’d rather relax and watch the girl.

I wonder if this woman in the room with us is one of those agents that
were sent to Kurtz, but her thigh is marked with the most common Gorean
slave brand, a curling letter “k” that denotes “kajira’, the female
expression of the word for slave in the Gorean language. She doesn’t
wear Kurtz” personal brand.

“From our studies in your species, we think it is perhaps that the
problem stems from the nature of woman,” Misk says.

“Research on your own planet matched that of Gor, and found that most
females have elements of coercion in their fantasies. They say it is a
powerful image to be conquered by the strong, handsome, warrior, and
Kurtz represents all of these. It is possible that women cannot resist
bending to his will.”

I glance across to the girl. Is she breathing more quickly?

Gorean slave positions are formal and deliberate, and this girl kneels
with her thighs apart, a posture indicating a girl who has been opened,
what they call “red silk.” In Earth parlance, we would say she is not a
virgin. Slave women are not even permitted to keep that information
private from strangers.

Slaves are not permitted undergarments, so with her thighs apart, all
I’d have to do is lower my head to see a view that would be considered
obscene on Urth. I wonder what it would be like to lay with her.

She really is very beautiful, with her dark eyes demurely lowered,
peering from under those long lashes.

Hiding the diversion of my thoughts, I smile ruefully.

“Your situation seems hopeless, then,” I tell Misk. “You can’t send a
male agent to investigate Kurtz’s compound, because his team will find
them out and kill them immediately. And you can’t send a female agent,
because women seem to turn into his willing slaves as soon as they’re
in his presence.”

“Not quite hopeless – we have one last option,” Misk says. “We could
send a female body with the mind of a man, in the hope his inherently
masculine nature would resist the force of Kurtz’s charisma.”

The suggestion comes so out the blue that I scoff, laughing out loud.
Misk discusses science fiction. And there is a more immediate problem
with the suggestion.

“Even if you could do that, no Gorean man alive would swap places with
a woman,” I scorn. “Gor is a world for men to enjoy and for women to be
enjoyed.”

“Yes,” he agrees slowly. “It is only the men from Urth who envy the
lives of women.”

I understand then why I have been brought to the Sardar.

2 – I learn more of the Priest Kings’ Technology

The room doesn’t look much like a laboratory. There are no bubbling
flasks, no gadgets and no computers. Recalling the occasions of my
watching movies at home on Urth, I am reminded more of the sleeping
chambers from Alien.

The Priest King is showing me a horizontal tube made of a clear
material, the correct size to hold a human being. I can see the device
is designed to be sealed, airtight, and it has pipes feeding into the
ends. Their function is to feed in nutrients and chemicals to effect
the change, and remove waste.

“In human beings, your sex is determined by the form of the sperm,
before you’re even an embryo,” Misk is explaining.

“So to turn you into a female we would have to amend your DNA, and then
trigger a complete rebuild of your body, cell by cell, leaving only
your brain intact. Such a process will take time – perhaps one Gorean
month.”

“It sounds dangerous,” I say dubiously.

The loss of one more human being would be unimportant in the endless
conflict between Priest Kings and Kurii where so many have given their
lives. The Priest Kings could have simply forced me to participate,
male slaves dragging me to the tube like a human sacrifice to the
altar.

Such cruelty is not their nature, however. Instead I am being shown the
laboratory where I will be transformed.

If I accept, that is.

“The process is not without risk,” Misk confirms, “being difficult to
sustain organic matter through such trauma, although as your human body
is much simpler than ours the task is made easier. This technology was
first designed for the healing of Priest Kings. Your chance of survival
is perhaps… seventy percent.”

He continues, “That level of danger makes it too risky to reverse the
process after the mission. You would live out your life as a female.”

“Will I live looking like a man with female attributes?” I ask. “Gender
switching is not unknown on my world, but it is a combination of
physical surgery to reshape the bone structure and treatment with
hormones.”

“You will be biologically female in every way, indistinguishable from a
human developed from a female embryo, then grown to a girl child,” Misk
answers.

“The only masculine element that will remain is your brain, containing
your original personality and your memories.”

The magnitude of the potential change is too much to contemplate, so I
avoid thinking and keeping talking.

“What will I look like?” I ask, trying to joke. “If I’m going to be a
girl I do not wish to be ugly.”

“That is not in our interest either,” Misk agrees emotionlessly,
“because only the most desirable of women are likely to be personally
selected to serve Kurtz. Luckily, here we have an advantage over nature
because we can make further amendments to your DNA.”

“The Priest Kings have studied and understood the physical attributes
in a female which the men of Gor find pleasing. We will engineer you to
have the long legs, the big breasts and the facial features found in
the women that men prize most highly.”

There is a pause and he confirms, “Every effort must be made to make
you irresitable to human males, if you are to gain the attention of
Kurtz himself.”

I nod. I am free to nod, free to question, free to think. At the moment
I am a free man. I have lived and experienced life as a man. I have
known the pleasures of women. It is being proposed that I will become
the pleasurable woman.

“Your red hair is unusual, especially for those lands near the jungle
where the women normally have darker colouring, and this would also add
to your auction value,” he continues.

“The hair colour, we shall retain. Finally we shall regenerate a
younger body than your current one, so you are at the most desirable
age – a young adult.”

He actually said “auction.” We are emotionlessly discussing how I would
be sold at slave auction, no different to an object or a cow.

I look to the rest of our group for comment or support.

Still accompanying me on the laboratory tour are the two other men, and
the girl. They are mostly silent, but I sense their eyes are on me
constantly, waiting for the moment when I come to my senses and reject
the entire proposal.

I must appear more alien than the Priest King to them for having failed
to decline already.

Misk’s mission would change me forever into a female, giving up all the
benefits of being a man in a man’s world. It would be unthinkable to a
Gorean male to accept the drop in social status resulting from a gender
change.

But this man of Urth, he goes even further. They can see is
contemplating a task so demeaning it makes him even more
incomprehensible to them – becoming a female and willingly walking into
slavery.

And yet here the man of Urth stands, debating the surrender of every
last part of his masculinity and his dignity. What feeble creatures
Urth men must be.

Our group discussed the mission in more detail before commencing the
tour.

The proposed plan is that wearing my new vulnerable body I would be
transported close to the Schendi jungle and then travel through the
territories patrolled by Kurtz’s men. They are likely to capture such
tempting live bait, in the event of which I will save my life by
submitting in the manner of women.

Accompanying me safely to the jungle will have to be Rorius and
Telisio. Once I’m female I’ll be unable to travel alone and without a
protective escort. The two men will abandon me at the point of capture
and attempt to escape with their lives.

If Kurtz’s men accept my submission, I would be taken into his
compound, as a slave. No one in our discussion expresses that as a
desirable woman in this situation, I am likely to be raped, but we all
know that would be a probable fate.

Female captives also need to be checked for hidden weapons as well,
which is achieved on Gor by the simple method of stripping the
prisoner. So as a prize to be exhibited, I would probably march into
Kurtz’s compound naked.

I know all this, and yet, the man of Urth has still to refuse. Waiting
for the inevitable rejection, the two men of Gor watch me.

Once enslaved, I am likely to be branded. Even if I survive the mission
to get back to my reward on Urth, my female self will never wear a
bikini. It would be a humiliating conversation explaining a brandius
scar at the poolside. But that is the least of my worries.

The horror looming in front of me is suffering the training and
treatment of a slave girl, as has been the fate of Kurtz’s other
captives. It is at this point that the previous female agents have
broken, submitting deeply to his will. The thin hope of the mission is
that my remaining shreds of masculine nature will give me the strength
to maintain some sense of my former identity.

Inside the compound, I will be expected to act on my own initiative on
behalf of the Priest Kings. Ideally I am to return Kurtz to the service
of the Sardar, but if he is forever lost my orders are to take
appropriate steps.

For my whole life I’ve been preparing to serve the Priest Kings, but
now I have a mission it’s the last thing I could have wanted – serving
the sexual pleasures of Kurtz and his men as they see fit, solely to
find out if he’s loyal or traitor.

I look out the window of the laboratory, and my heart catches at the
magnificence of the mountains. This is such a breathtakingly beautiful
world, though. Do I not owe it to Gor to sacrifice myself to save it?

While I ponder, I continue to think about the future that might lie
before me.

Inside Kurtz” compound, the captivity phase of my mission may be of
some months” duration.

Once my owners are satisfied or tired of my presence, they will send me
to stand on one of the auction blocks to be sold. Agents of the Priest
Kings will be watching the slave markets across Gor armed with my
description – an unusually beautiful girl with dark red hair, marked
with a brandius flower.

Only then will I be re-purchased and returned to the Sardar Mountains.
If I have been well trained, I am likely to be expensive.

There is much that can go wrong. Even if I survive the transformation
process, there will be plenty of other stages where I could be killed.
I might be accidentally killed in the raid by Kurtz men. Slave girls
are sometimes put to death as a punishment for failing to satisfy their
masters. And yet, the man of Urth is still contemplating this
dishonour.

“What will happen to me after the mission?” I ask. “I can’t return to
my former life on Urth, looking like a young woman.”

“Suitable arrangements will be made to reward financially reward you
and re-integrate you into society, whether you chose to remain on Gor
as a female, or return to Urth,” Misk says. “But no, you won’t be able
to return to your former existence.”

My future destination is not a difficult choice. I am hardly likely to
choose remaining on Gor as a female. There are two roles for Gorean
women – the Free Woman, robed and veiled like the Arabian women on
Urth, repressed and shut away in their families” houses; or the slave
girl, a piece of property to serve as her owners wish.

But the life of a beautiful woman on Earth might be a desirable reward.
I visualise myself as a supermodel, lying on a tropical beach. The idea
my beauty attracting someone rich is not even completely abhorrent to
me. There is so much I need to consider.

“After my transition, would I leave immediately on the mission?”

“No,” states Misk. “When you are revived, you will need some time to
learn to move in your new body. You must have the natural grace and
demeanour as if you’ve always been a woman. You must conduct yourself
as would a woman in Gorean culture. Tala here will serve you until you
leave the Sardar, training you to behave as a female.”

The slave girl nods her head in acceptance. I know she will do her very
best, both because she serves the Priest Kings, and because she is
slave. That is how I learn her name – “Tala’. It is a pretty name.

I study Tala again, the direction of the conversation giving me
opportunity to watch her.

What might it be like to live as such a creature? I feel pity, and
desire, and jealousy, and hunger, and fear, for her experience of the
world. Would it be wondrous, or horrific?

She is beautiful, but the Kurii would view her flesh as nothing more
than a delicacy. Does she not deserve my courage?

It is the sight of Tala that resolves me.

“My answer is yes.”

It is out before I know it. I surprise myself, but not as much as I
surprise the two men whose mouths hang slack.

Some kind of emotion is building in me, and I know I have to say it
again before I change my mind, so I do.

“Yes, I accept the mission,” I repeat, more firmly.

The laboratory is silent. Even Tala looks astonished. The men’s
expressions show part respect for my courage, part contempt that I walk
so willingly into slavery.

After almost an ehn, a Gorean minute has elapsed, I feel obliged to
speak.

“Do we begin immediately?” I ask.

“We will need some time to prepare,” Misk answers hesitantly, as if not
even the Priest King was expecting me to accept.

“The process will begin tomorrow. Tonight you may reflect on your
decision. You may change your mind tomorrow if you wish, and Priest
Kings will accept this.”

“What will I be named?” I ask suddenly. “I can’t be called Aurius.”

It’s a ridiculous question, but it is important to me. Someone’s name
means everything to them. I remember that slaves often have their names
removed.

The two Gorean men confer, but it is Tala who asks for permission to
speak.

“Aurore is a name from my region, Masters,” she says softly, “and is a
little like Aurius’.

We all feel it – a sense of rightness.

“Yes, that is a good name – Aurore,” says Telisio, looking at me
appraisingly and repeating the name as if tasting it.

The matter is settled. Tomorrow I will become Aurore of the Sardar.

3 – The pleasures of a Man’s life

I have been meandering the corridors of the Nest, carrying a flagon of
spiced wine. I am drunk. I am very drunk. If my body’s cells will be
replaced tomorrow, my hangover will leave with them, so I might as well
enjoy myself.

Loudly I sing the songs of my homeland – Beatles, Springsteen. No one
interrupts me.

I reach the door of my own quarters. It is unlocked – there is no need
for security inside the Nest, so I enter. Inside, a small oil lamp has
been lit, and emits a warm, pleasing yellow glow that casts flickering
shadows.

A sound alerts me that my room is already occupied.

I look to the source and see my sleeping area. The girl, Tala, lies in
my furs.

I understand immediately.

I have been gifted with one final night of male pleasure, like a groom
before his wedding. It is the lamp of love that shines off Tala’s skin.
She lies there with only her torso covered by the fur – hiding an area
from thigh to under her arms.

Approaching closer to her bare legs I see a steel bracelet is locked
around her bare left ankle. From it runs a long chain, ending in a
floor ring at the foot of the bed. There is plenty of slack – Tala can
move almost entirely about the room, and yet she is chained, and she
cannot leave.

It is not untypical to secure slaves for the night in this manner. Even
the most trusted will be left in some restraint, so they never forget
they are slaves. This is Tala’s fate. She has been left shackled in a
man’s room, so he may do with her as he wishes.

My heart has started beating more quickly. I am that man.

I have the morality of a man of Earth, and when I see her there in my
furs I intend to respect Tala as a sentient female. I know she will not
have been asked her consent to lie with me. But then she sits up and
the fur covering slips to her waist, bearing her breasts, and my will
dissolves.

Priest Kings, this kajira has a nice body.

I now see bare skin right down to where her thigh joins her hip. She
must be naked under the fur coverings.

Her flesh calls out for my touch. Desire ignites in me, but also a
moment of doubt. Could the Priest Kings really be able to dress me in a
body as beautiful as hers?

“Master,” Tala says humbly, “let me please you.”

I hesitate.

“Do you want this?” I ask her. If ever in my life I’ve been handed a
“sure thing” this is it, but the Urth man in my nature just can’t take
her without some sign of consent from the girl.

“Please Master,” Tala says, and that’s enough answer for my libido to
overcome any moral objections.

Decisive, I pull back the fur to leave her completely exposed to me.
She gasps, but makes no attempt to cover herself.

I feel a primal link to men through time, wanting to make love to the
female, wanting to possess her.

My blood starts to rise.

It only takes me a moment to slip from my simple Gorean tunic.

Meanwhile Tala moves sensuously on the furs, positioning herself with
one arm above her head and her right knee drawn up. She is breathing
heavily.

This arousal in women is known to Goreans as “slave heat’.

I climb onto my furs, towering over her, dominant.

With my blood pounding I run my hands freely over her body. As I run my
palms over her breasts she arches her back to press herself more
completely into me and groans softly. I am reminded that soon I will
have breasts, just as she does.

My desire is too urgent to hold back for long, so gently I part her
thighs, before mounting her and swiftly spearing into her depths. She
is not faking her own arousal, and I penetrate her easily. The shadow
from lamplight copies our movements – the male silhouette thrusting
dominantly over the passive female.

Throughout our coupling I experience a double awareness, thinking part
as the man having sex with a beautiful girl, and in part imagining
myself as the girl.

This sense is especially intense when I grip her thigh and feel the
scarred flesh where she’s been branded. I’ve never had this experience
before during lovemaking, and the reason is known to me.

It may be only a little time before I also am in her position,
desperate to please, and a master’s touch reminds me of the mark on my
own thigh.

I can see Tala is trying to be as pleasurable as she possibly can be,
timing her movements to match mine, and moving her body to keep the
most contact. But what arouses me more than her subservience is seeing
the desire in Tala, the fulfilment her own body craves from mine.

This is a woman truly abandoning herself to her inner slave. Perhaps
some of the Gorean beliefs about the nature of the female are true.

When the end comes, the moment is exquisite, and I can see from her
closed eyes and tensed body that the girl gains almost as much pleasure
as I do.

Afterwards I am not tired, so I lie on my back, the nude girl draped
across me.

Tenderly I caress her bare back, tracing lines down her spine from the
collar at the nape of her neck to the cleft of her buttocks. She has
such beautiful round, feminine buttocks.

Now the male drive for possession and sating of desire has been
satisfied, I can feel protective and tender towards her. I wish to try
and understand her life, so I start to speak.

“How many men have you been with, Tala?”

Her body stiffens for a moment as she thinks, and then she admits, “I
don’t know, Master. Too many to remember easily.”

I feel pity for her at this.

“Do you hate us, hate men, for making you do this?”

That question seems to puzzle her, and she lifts her head.

“Can this girl ask why it should matter to Master?”

I consider telling the truth.

A Gorean man would consider what has just happened between us a
completely natural act, with nothing reprehensible. But a man from
Earth schooled in modern feminist lore would define what just happened
as “exploitation of the vulnerable party in an unequal power
distribution relationship’.

I need her to absolve my conscience, but I reply with another question.

“When I too am a woman, will you resent me for using you like this?”
Tala’s laugh is warm and rich, without malice.

“The men of Urth think so differently,” she marvels, amused. “Tala will
not resent the Master when the Master becomes the Mistress. Tala is not
vindictive.”

“Serving as a woman can be very pleasurable – Master won’t understand
until he experiences it for himself, but it is true. In slavery there
is the freedom to express one self completely. There is no shame for
the slave in yielding to pleasure, because the slave has no other
choice.”

I must seem unconvinced, because she adds, “I was trapped as a free
woman. I was of the scribes, but my tasks were unfulfilling. My life
was empty and without purpose. I would not return to it, even if I were
set free.”

“How did you become a slave?” I ask.

She smiles again.

“A tarnsman – one of those exceptional men who rides the giant
predatory birds, snatched me from one of the towers in my city. It was
very romantic really – he risked his life, just because he wanted to
capture a female for his own.”

“I was his first – a rite of passage into manhood. In front of the
people of his house, I was stripped and collared. It was one of the
most intense moments of my life. I will never forget it.”

Tarnsmen are riders of eagle-like creatures. It takes a powerful alpha-
male to tame one of the creatures enough to fly it. I can imagine the
experience of capture by one such as him being overwhelming.

“I think he had some affection for me,” Tala says. “When eventually I
was to be sold on, he made sure I was traded to a merchant that trained
and sold the highest quality slaves. The next man who bought me from
the merchant was an agent of the Priest Kings. I don’t not what made
him choose me over the other girls for sale, but that’s what happened.”

“In a sack, I was transported here, to the Sardar.”

Gently I caress the sweet curves of her rump.

“And you really wouldn’t want to be free again?” I ask.

“My current status seems right to me,” she says. “I am meant to be a
slave, and please others. Other women might not be the same, but I have
been taught that it is my nature, and pleasure comes from accepting and
fulfilling one’s nature.”

To prove her point she moves her body against me, and it is the blatant
animal movement of a slave girl attempting to arouse her master.

My blood starts to rise again.

I kiss her once, tenderly, and then with my superior strength I easily
flip her onto her back. Quickly I’m on top of her, straddling her and
showering her with more kisses.

“Then please me, slave,” I command in a gentle voice, and we lose
ourselves in the flickering light of the lamp.

(HERE)

4 – Aurius makes a final visit to the laboratory

“We Priest Kings offer you a last opportunity to change your mind,”
Misk says to me.

I shake my head.

“I do what is needed to serve,” I reply boldly.

“Then remove your clothing,” Misk requests. “There must be no other
matter in the tube.”

I comply, undressing as quickly as I’d done with Tala the night before.

For the first time since we’ve met she wears more than me – standing in
the laboratory in her short slave’s camisk, whereas I am nude.

Between my legs I am aware of the weight of a penis that last night
penetrated her. Last night it was the focus of my masculine power. This
morning it hangs limp and useless against my dark red pubic hair.

I asked Tala to accompany me until the end of my time as Aurius,
craving the presence of someone who felt an emotional connection to me.

I feel the touch of her hand for a moment, and know she made the
contact deliberately. My heart fills with protective affection towards
this wonderful girl.

This morning I awoke as she humbly prepared a simple breakfast of bread
and water. The long chain still ran from Tala’s ankle bracelet to the
foot of my bed.

I did not have the key – the person who left her there had to release
her, a slave master who arrived later in the morning.

Eating was a pointless activity for me – my stomach was about to be
rebuilt, but I was hungry and I ate more to relieve the monster
headache that pierced my skull.

My head still pounds like it is being squeezed between the jaws of a
thalarion, and I feel nauseous.

Death today might not be such a bad thing.

Of the Gorean men, only Telisio is present in the laboratory. I have a
fine muscular body and I’m in excellent physical shape, but all the
same it is humiliating standing here nude.

Being publically naked is not a good thing for either gender in this
society. Except for when lovemaking, clothing is an indicator of
status.

It will not matter after today.

I take one last look at my male body – the wide musculature on my
thighs; my narrow hips; my strong hands; my powerful arms; my large
feet; and I mentally say goodbye to it all.

I lift my hand to my face and touch the familiar contours – stubble; a
heavy brow; and a broad chin.

Male slaves, also dressed in more than me even though they only wear
loincloths, are preparing the apparatus.

They mutely manoeuvre a glass bottle of a pale pink chemical into
position, connecting it to the clear tube with a narrow pipe.

Pink for a girl, perhaps?

I am nervous. The odds are in my favour 70%, Misk had said, but all the
same – I might meet my death in that cylinder.

“The liquid is highly oxygenated,” Misk tells me. “You will be able to
breathe the fluid when the tube is full. It will keep your cells alive,
even when only your brain remains. They can take oxygen and nutrients
directly from the liquid.”

“Then the active components in the fluid will re-write your human DNA,
to transform you into a female.”

“I have to breathe that in?” I ask.

The liquid slops around in the container. It will feel like drowning
when I inhale it.

I am not anticipating this with relish. I look for distractions – any
distractions. I glace at Tala but she has tears in her eyes. She mourns
me already. Watching her won’t help.

A question has occurred to me since our discussion of my mission. I ask
it now.

“I assume my new body will be sterile,” I say. “It would not do for the
agent of the Priest Kings to become pregnant in Kurtz compound.”

The device that transposes Misk’s communications manages to convey that
I am mistaken.

“You will be fertile, as any other female might be,” Misk corrects me.
“If you were sterile, it might draw attention in an examination by the
caste of physicians.”

My stomach rolls at this new information. I could get knocked up?
Seriously? They tried to avoid warning me about that.

“Then before we leave the Sardar I can drink the Gorean slave wine
given to pleasure females, to prevent them becoming pregnant?”

“Negative,” Misk says again. “Free women do not drink slave wine, and
it would attract attention. If you are impregnated, we shall manage the
child according to your wishes later.”

I look at Tala as that news sinks in, and find myself wondering if
she’s drunk that wine. If not, I might have got her pregnant last
night.

A child would be Aurius” immortal legacy in the world. It would be a
child I should be supporting, protecting, but I am abandoning the
masculine role.

I feel a sense of loss and regret for what I might be leaving behind.
But it is too late. The male slaves have already completed their
preparation and are stepping back, ready to open the valves that flood
the cylinder.

“We are ready. Please get into the tube,” Misk instructs me.

“What is the active ingredient in the chemical?” Telisio asks.

He has been all but ignoring me as I stand, naked and nervous, but the
question is perhaps to create a delay and give me a little longer.

I half listen to the answers, too pumped with adrenaline for my brain
to function logically.

Misk’s reply is well beyond my understanding, but Telisio nods as if
following the explanation easily. The primitive weapons available on
Gor make it easy to forget that some elements of their civilisation are
far more advanced than our world.

There is no point putting this off. Aurius of London has only one task
left for to complete.

Kneeling and then leaning forward, thrusting my butt out with a
complete loss of dignity, I crawl naked into the tube.

At my feet, the end piece is pushed into place, and I hear it being
sealed. The sounds from the laboratory abruptly mute – voices in
conversation changing to muffled murmurs.

There is an unpleasant claustrophobic sensation. I have no means of
opening the tube from the inside, so I am trapped. I am powerless.
There is no going back.

The clear sides of the tube show me a distorted vision of the
laboratory, from the level of the floor. I shift to a more comfortable
position lying on my side and look up, watching the lucky ones outside.

Several minutes pass.

Then there is the sound of a valve opening, and the pink liquid begins
to flow in – first a tiny puddle in the base of the tube that wets my
flank, then an inch, then a level climbing so a good proportion of my
body is submerged.

Where it touches me, it tingles like an abrasive kiss. When the level
reaches my genitals they react to this physical contact, and shamefully
I start to grow aroused.

The liquid starts to slop around my face. I have to turn my head to
find the gap where there is still air. I know this is futile, and I’ll
inhale the liquid eventually, but my instinct for survival is too
strong. I’ve never been someone to accept defeat.

Then the tube is completely filled. Panic overcomes the rational and I
scrabble at the lid like an animal to try and escape.

I have held my breath, but my lungs are starting to burn. On the other
side of the clear tube, Tala is crouched down, sympathetically touching
her hand against the glass. She is speaking, perhaps urging me to
breathe in, but I cannot hear her.

The liquid fills my ears, and all I can here is the desperate pounding
of Aurius” heart.

My body betrays me. Without warning my lungs inhale, and the fluid is
everywhere. I think am choking, but after a moment of white hot terror
I realise I am not.

I begin to calm. Cautiously I expand and contract my chest a few times,
and discover I can breathe, and I can breathe almost as easily as I
could in air.

I’m alive for now, but the fluid is having a new effect. I’m starting
to grow drowsy, even though the tingling touch of the chemical is
everywhere on me now.

Fighting the urge to sleep I watch my skin starting to peel, floating
away as if I have severe eczema. There is no pain.

I make the diver’s “Okay” sign, and then remember it will be
meaningless to a Gorean.

I can’t resist any longer. This might be my last moment of life, but so
be it.

Giving in to sleep and letting my consciousness start to dissolve in
the liquid, I reach between my legs and cup my aroused manhood in my
hands, bidding it goodbye.

5 – Aurore of the Sardar

It is not a pleasant way to awaken. Liquid floods from the tube, and I
choke, retching to discharge the fluid from my lungs and replace it
with life giving air.

My diaphragm battles to draw in oxygen but my chest feels glued shut.
It’s no good. I can’t breathe.

I start to panic. I see bright light and intense colours, but
everything is out of focus.

Then I heave up another puddle of liquid, my ribcage functioning for
just enough time to take in one giant sweet gulp of life giving air,
before that action triggers more uncontrollable coughing and once more
I cannot inhale.

I become sentient about where I am, and what led me to be here. I am in
the Priest King’s laboratory.

It appears I have survived. In addition, there is no need for anyone to
tell me if the transformation has been successful – I can already hear
it in the high pitch of my coughs.

I am lying on my side in the tube, but before I have time to reflect
further on my position someone lifts and tips the cylinder, making me
slide down the slick surface and spill onto the laboratory floor.

It’s getting easier and easier to breathe, and I’m feeling calmer.

The noise I emit has become a series of regular moans, something
between the sound of a woman crying and the sound of her lovemaking,
instead of the strangled chokes.

“Clean her,” commands the electronic voice of a Priest King. Each one
of the aliens uses these electronic voice boxes, and yet this one still
sounds like Misk.

Warm water pours over me, one bucketful and then a second, and a moment
later a third. It is clear pure water, not the slick chemical soup
where I’ve spent eternity. I feel purged, and the washing helps my
vision to clear.

My face is uncomfortably against the laboratory floor, resting on a
grille of holes designed to allow liquid to drain away, so I try to
push my shoulders up, lifting my upper body away from the surface.

Arm muscles that have never been used before shake, and I feel weak.

As I raise my head a thick heavy curtain falls across my face to block
my view, soaking wet, and matted into bootlace strands. I understand
this is my new hair. It’s the same beautiful russet colour as it was
before, but it’s much, much longer.

“We need to know that her mind has not been damaged by the process,” I
hear a man say, a human voice this time.

I am able to look up and see the one called Rorius is standing and
watching me with his arms folded.

“Do you understand who you are?” says the Priest King.

I track to see the source of the sound and see that it is indeed Misk.
I try to speak.

“I am Aurius of London,” I begin to say, but that is the wrong
response. I correct myself.

“I am Aurore of the Sardar.”

I get my first experience of a new kind of fear when I hear my own
words, and I hesitate half way through the sentence.

Oh dear, that sounds like a sexy voice. Is it really mine?

I’ve awoken with a sultry, soprano drawl, Marilyn Monroe whispering
“happy birthday, Mister President’. I’m stuck with that? Priest Kings
save me, I’m gonna get eaten alive just for opening my mouth. How bad
do I look?

Glancing back down to the tiles, I see for myself.

My hands and forearms are before me, propping my upper body away from
the floor. The limbs are long and thin, forearms as slender and
delicate as my new hands.

These are woman’s arms – girl’s arms. No one would look at these limbs
and believe for a second I’m a male in disguise. The Priest King’s
process has transformed me completely.

I now have skin that is smooth and hairless – a girl’s skin.

The new female fingers I am looking at lack the grip and strength to
wield a warrior’s sword, but their soft caress might be a different
defence. And my arms are so slim. Those wrists were once far too thick
for the binders designed to secure a female slave, but I note that now,
such restraints would fit me perfectly.

Don’t panic, I tell myself. This is all expected – it’s part of the
mission.

And then I see my breasts.

They hang down like luscious ripe fruit, the fruit that is to men,
life’s sweetest temptation.

My breasts are big and full, pert with youth and inviting. They are
porn star breasts. I’ve never even seen a chest like this on a real
life woman, and now, for life, they are mine.

Symmetrically positioned are my big nipples, nipples that are now part
of my erogenous zones. Cooled by the liquid, they’re erect. They are
big, sensitive, islands of rose pink amidst the pale skin that goes
with a typical redhead’s complexion.

Oh, shit. No one will resist breasts such as these. And they’re
attached to me for life. I cannot escape them.

It’s not a comfortable position, staring at my boobs from half way into
a push-up, so I twist my lower body until I’m lying on my side, hip
pressing into the floor, knee slightly drawn up.

As I move I feel the weight of the new globes at my chest shifting and
swaying.

Oh, shit.

No, I’m just a soldier on mission, I tell myself. Don’t panic and
assess your situation.

My raised upper body is now propped more comfortably on one arm.

This oil-painting pose accentuates the wide, childbearing hips of the
nubile woman.

Whichever way I look, I see a body that’s utterly female.

Above those hips my waist is hourglass slim. Below, the uppermost of my
new exquisitely long legs is draped over the other, hiding my genitals.
My penis will be gone unless something went wrong. My pussy will be
there now.

I’m about to lift my knee and examine myself, when I hear Misk speak.

“Has it been successful?” the Priest King asks. “Does her new form look
desirable?”

There is a male chuckle. Not the shy, repressed noise of a man of Urth
– this is the deep laugh of a Gorean man, someone who was never raised
to conceal his appreciation of beauty.

There is a human male in the laboratory – the younger human male called
Telisio.

“Now there,” he says staring straight at me, “is a fine looking woman.”

Only then do I realise that the entire time since awakening I’ve been a
nude girl in the presence of men.

Quickly tell myself, “don’t be embarrassed, this is just the mission’.

Soldiers often have to be naked in front of other men. It’s not a big
deal. It’s not even my body, really. What does it matter if these men
see it?

All the same, I have already angled my free arm across my breasts as an
instinctive effort to hide myself. I want to come to terms with this
female flesh on my own, before half of the Sardar enjoys a look.

It turns out I’m not the only one who thinks that way.

“Cover her nakedness,” Rorius says, and his voice is filled with
contempt for me, as if I’m a tavern slut flaunting herself, rather than
a recovering patient waking from an operation.

So Rorius is here too.

From behind someone lays a robe over my body. There is only a brief
contact of the hand, but I can tell it’s a girl. I look back with
gratitude and see the slave Tala is the final occupant of the
laboratory.

Quickly I draw the fabric around me, shrinking back into it, fastening
the tie around my new hourglass waist.

The robe is like a monk’s cowl from Urth – ankle length and long
sleeved, with a loose hood for the head. It covers me almost
completely, but nowhere near as much as the robes of concealment I’ll
soon be expected to wear in public.

Free women do not show their bodies under any circumstances, not on
this planet.

I can’t help recalling my mission, and the purpose for the Priest Kings
bringing about this incredible transformation. While my female body is
clothed now, the next man to see me naked is likely to be my captor.

“Try to stand, Lady Aurore,” Misk requests.

My new title sounds very strange to me.

Awkwardly, I comply. The robe parts as I move my ankles, and I flash
bare leg up to my knee.

Then I almost overbalance. I’m not prepared for the weight distribution
of my new body – the mass of my swinging breasts means the centre of
gravity is further forward than a muscular male upper body. It will
take me some time to learn to be graceful.

The length of Aurore’s exquisite legs has not been lost on me, but all
the same on my feet, I notice the men are both now taller than I am.
The height difference gives them an air of authority.

I hold my head up and look directly at them. No-one is going to
intimidate me.

Standing in my robe, I am studied. Only my bare feet are exposed, and
my face is uncovered, but I feel self-conscious. Even Tala seems to be
appraising me as a woman.

“She is undamaged by the transformation,” Misk says, discussing me as
if I’m not there. “As you deem her suitably desirable, then she is
satisfactory. When will she be ready for the next stage?”

“I suggest no more than a few days,” replies Telisio. “She must have
enough time to learn to move naturally in her new body, but not enough
for her mind to start thinking as a female does.”

“The men of Urth all think like females,” scoffs Rorius, and I feel my
anger begin to flare.

“It must be a man in a female body that falls captive,” continues
Telisio, ignoring him. “We don’t know how quickly the female hormones
in her body will begin to change her behaviour. She must remain
aggressive and strong willed.”

“I have only a few days?” I question in my new high voice. A few days
is not long enough to come to terms with being a woman before I am
dispatched into slavery.

But the matter appears to be agreed.

“Come, to my rooms. Let us make our plans,” Misk says, and the men turn
from me, following the alien insect.

I am moving behind them when Rorius turns back to me with an expression
of displeasure, and I realise that I’m not to be included in their
group.

My anger rises further.

“Are you shutting me out of this because I’m now a woman?” I ask
incredulously. “I’m a member of this team too.”

“If you’re to convince as a native female of this world, you need to
start learning your new place,” Rorius declares.

“He does have a slight point,” Telisio interrupts, stemming the growing
argument. “What is to be done with her until we depart for the
Schendi?”

“She courts the collar,” Rorius says with contempt. “If I had my way
she would be housed in the kennels with the other slaves… But I
grudgingly accept that she does need some schooling in behaviour.”

Courting the collar – they describe me with the derogatory phrase for a
free woman who deliberately seeks slavery. The insult stings, because
it is true.

“Lady Aurore has not submitted,” Misk says, closing the debate. “She
will be treated as would any other free woman of the house of Rorius.”

“A free women in my house would not move around unveiled,” Rorius says,
not pleased at my being attached to his name, and despite the
unpleasant way he says it, I must concede he is correct.

Addressing the slave girl, he instructs, “Tala, take the lady Aurore to
her new quarters. Show her how to dress with decency and how to conduct
herself. She will remain there until we send for her.”

Given the risks I’m taking for the service of the Priest Kings, and the
sacrifices I’m making, I had expected to emerge from my tube to be
treated as a hero, or rather a heroine. At the very least I expected
human respect.

As Rorius finishes delivering his instructions I realise I have been
foolish in this assumption. Goreans have very fixed views of gender, so
from now on I can expect to be treated not as a hero, but as a woman.

There is much to reflect on, so I am silent as I follow camisk-clad
Tala to the women’s rooms in the house of Rorius.

Aurore of the Sardar will be shut in her rooms to await orders, whereas
Tala the slave can move freely about the nest. Until there is a collar
around my neck, I am more of a captive than she is.

6 – I enter the women’s quarters

On our way to my new rooms, we pass a man striding along a corridor, a
stranger to me, and he halts to stare at me blatantly.

Clutching my robe protectively around me, I blush and pick up my pace,
experiencing for the first time the appraisal of a Gorean male of a
Gorean female.

This man doesn’t know me as Aurius, so his treatment of me is another
portent for the rest of my life. He shows open appreciation, as if
there is nothing wrong with a man staring at a woman. But I can see he
is also puzzled at seeing a female clad as I am.

It is true I am giving off mixed signals.

There is no collar around my neck, and yet my face is stripped, as bare
as my feet, in a fashion only a low caste peasant girl would tolerate.
The silk wrap is also tight about me, showing my figure rather than
concealing it. My outfit would be considered demure by Earth standards,
but wanton for a free woman of Gor.

I have never felt so exposed in my life.

“Lady,” he says with a slight tone of questioning.

I am not walking like a lady, but trying to move as Aurius would have
done, with my feet further apart. This is wrong for my new proportions,
but I feel self conscious keeping my ankles closer together in a
feminine sashay.

We hurry past, and I can’t turn to see if he’s still watching me
without making my interest obvious.

There are no further encounters, but it is with some relief we reach
the safety of my new quarters.

They are entered from the rooms of Rorius, so a heavy wooden door from
his living area leads to the personal space allocated for Aurore. A
small ante-room is inside this entrance, with an archway leading to my
sleeping and robing area.

Such ante-rooms are not uncommon in Gorean architecture. They allow
males of the house to wait there as the females robes themselves.

The space I occupied as Aurius of London had a balcony with a superb
panoramic view over the canyon that the Priest Kings chose for their
nest – better than the Grand Canyon and the Angel Falls combined.

Lady Aurore’s room has a narrow window like a slot, and all I can see
is a band of blue sky and some dry rocks. I comment on the loss to Tala
and she shrugs.

“You are a prize now, Mistress. A tarnsman could take you from a
balcony. These measures are for your protection.”

“An enemy tarnsman? Here in the Sardar?” I ask.

“It is not unknown.” Tala replies.

The wooden door to the ante-room is heavy, but there is no lock or bar
on the inside I can drop to guarantee my security.

“What happens if a man comes in?” I ask a little nervously.

“This is the women’s quarters of Rorius,” Tala says. “Only he is
permitted to enter, or slaves, or other free women. The outer door to
the rooms of Rorius will be guarded. That is sufficient.”

I don’t really want Rorius walking in on me, but apparently a Gorean
man is the master of his household. He may go where he wishes.

Tala tries to reassure me.

“When alone in their private rooms free women wear lighter robes, like
the one you have now,” she says. “It is acceptable for you to be
dressed like this in your private quarters, although you should be
fully robed and veiled before any other men but Rorius, and as soon as
you exit through the door.”

“This is my sanctuary, then,” I say, looking around again.

There are almost no personal effects in here. I realise that is because
most of my belongings were linked to my masculinity.

Women don’t wear male clothes; my former sword I could barely lift now;
and I have no need for a saddle or reins for a tarn. Everything that
was of Aurius is lost.

These quarters are furnished for feminine concerns. Dominating my new
room is a full length mirror, bolted into the wall and surrounded by a
simple wooden frame.

Being so near that mirror makes me desperate to examine myself, and to
have the chance to come to terms with my new female body alone. I
resolve that that is what I intend to do.

“Leave me for a while,” I say to Tala, almost pleadingly. “I need a
moment to reflect on everything that happened.”

“As you command Mistress,” she says. “Tala is ordered to fetch you
clothing suitable for receiving visitors your private rooms, and the
robes of concealment to wear in public, so she will return in thirty
ehn.”

Thirty ehn – the Gorean minute that is longer than the Earth one.

Tala gives a slightly curtsey to me, and says, “I humbly advise
Mistress not to leave her rooms alone from now on. You are not safe
without an escort.”

It is sensible advice, but disheartening. The last night I remember, I
reeled through the Nest as drunk as a lord. Now, I can’t step outside
my door.

“You’re kind to me,” I say gratefully, only to see her look confused.
Slaves are not kind, slaves obey, and free women do not show gratitude
to slaves. I have made a mistake.

After curtseying for a second time, Tala leaves.

I watch her depart through the ante-room, but the moment the door has
closed behind her, I reach down to my new tiny waistline.

I unfasten the robe and after opening it to bare my magnificent
breasts, I slip it back off my shoulders so it puddles at my feet.

Taking a deep breath, I step up to the mirror, and see my first full
length view of Aurore of the Sardar.

The groan I emit then sounds sexual. The Priest Kings have done their
work too well.

My mind is unchanged by the transformation, so as I stare at the naked
form the girl in the mirror I appraise her as would a heterosexual
male. She takes my breath away. Every red-blooded man on Gor will want
to possess this girl.

I know now that I am truly doomed.

My hair is the same deep red as before, almost the colour of red wine.
They have lengthened it while I was in the tube, so I can feel it brush
against the small of my back. Currently it is loose about my shoulders
and still a little damp from my soaking in the tube, so it hangs down
in perfectly straight rat’s tails.

The contrast of that dark hair only makes my alabaster skin look even
more pale, skin that is utterly perfect. It is tight; a young girl’s
skin, with a texture like velvet or silk.

I’m so free of moles or blemishes that I could be a marble statue.

Aurore has been crafted a supermodel’s face, with a fine jawline,
delicate high cheekbones and a cute nose. My lips are full and pouting,
making me look sensuous and waiting to kiss.

I part them slightly, and see white evenly spaced teeth.

Her eyes are the same steel blue that gives me character, but they look
larger in relation to my face, and thick curving eyelashes add to the
new aura of vulnerable beauty.

If I feel doomed by possessing such a beautiful face, when I look down
at my body my heart sinks further.

Her limbs are long and slender – I have ridiculously long legs, legs
made to wrap around men or move like liquid performing the erotic
dances of slaves.

My slim wrists and ankles look, to Gorean male eyes, meant for binders
or bells. Men would say Aurore’s limbs are wasted under the robes of
concealment – I have slave limbs.

Turning my knee gracefully I can see that the flesh on my right thigh,
my perfect, succulent, lithe right thigh, is clean – I try to imagine
that skin marked for life with a brand. Would it spoil the line of
flesh or enhance the beauty?

I’m not entirely sure, and that uncertainty makes me nervous.

Next, I return to examining my chest, as I’d done in the laboratory.

In my standing position, my breasts look just as pneumatic as they did
when I was on the floor.

They’re unusually large in relation to my slender ribcage. Whatever
robes she wears, nothing is going to hide that Aurore has a female body
shape when she’s stuck carrying these in front her.

Lifting my hands I feel their weight, juggling them to experience the
strange sensation of the flesh pulling against my chest. These are
real, and they’re mine.

My nipples were utterly inert as a man, but flicking my fingers across
Aurore’s chest, there are little electric charges of stimulation. The
feeling is not unpleasant.

This is a relief to me, as if my future runs according to plan I will
be touched here by the hand of my Master. Last night I performed this
same action to Tala. This was how she must have felt.

Aurore’s belly is flat and toned, with the outline of the stomach
muscles just discernable. The flesh looks soft, vulnerable, crying out
for a man’s caress or the kiss of his lips.

As a man my sides were almost straight from ribcage to pelvis, but my
female waist narrows noticeably, accentuating hips that are much wider
than my ribcage.

They need to be this width so I can give birth to babies. I am reminded
that Aurore is fertile – if a man climaxes in me right this second, he
could impregnate me.

I think that all he has to do is stick his cock in my… and my gaze
falls to my pussy.

Again, I moan, the initial hot flare of male lust overridden by the
fear of what this alien body means for me.

My pubic bone is now contoured to a mound above the labia, in the
manner of female genitals. Flowing down from there like the petals of a
flower are my nether lips, fleshy and full, curving into the deep
central valley of Aurore’s vagina.

Her clitoris, a delicate fold of skin, is slightly visible – not as
prominent as with some women.

Experimentally I reach down to caress between those lips, and I
experience a rush of stimulation even more intense than when I caressed
my nipples. It frightens me – it seems to be connected to every part of
my body – the whole of Aurore forming part of the erogenous zone.

That touch is also a moment of revelation.

Finally I understand why free women of Gor can both long-for and
repress this sensual side of their natures. My body is an animal that
cannot be tamed, betraying my sexuality by responding in ways that
cannot be hidden.

How might I react if forced to yield this flesh to someone’s touch?

Swiftly I close that dark vision quickly from my mind. Is this what
they call burning with slave heat? If so, then I deserve Rorius”
contempt for me.

I turn to the side to examine that view of Aurore, my eyes naturally
following the flow of her spine down to her rump. Such a pleasing
curve, my buttock makes.

I twist further to view as much of the rear view as is possible, and
see that like all women, Aurore’s wide hips make her buttocks appear
more rounded than those of a man.

The rump that the Priest Kings have crafted for her is even more
beautifully shaped than most of her contemporaries though – this is a
divine backside. In wonder I trace my fingers over the most exquisite
flesh I’ve ever touch.

For a third time, I moan in her soft voice.

Turning back to fully face the mirror, I lift my chin boldly, watching
the naked female stand proudly before me.

I recall that the sight of a woman’s exposed neck is enough to set
Gorean men thinking of collaring her, and I can understand this
sentiment. It’s easy to imagine a steel band around the throat of the
girl I see before me, when I already know it is her intended destiny.

“I’m going to be a slave,” I say aloud in Aurore’s high voice.

I’ve always accepted the consequences of my mission, but at that
moment, before the mirror, I truly understand the inevitability of it.
As soon as I am captured as a free woman, I will be stripped, because
that is how Gorean men treat female captives. And as soon as I am
stripped, they will want me. I might as well walk around carrying a big
“rape me” sign.

Back when I was a male, I would have wanted to possess this female I
see in the mirror, so they will behave no differently to the way I
would. Aurore of the Sardar would be one delightful lay.

Now I am a female, but with a male brain.

Even though this is my own body I’m admiring, the concept of sex with
Aurore still floods me with desire. That flare seems to pool in a sense
of warmth between my legs, and I understand what I’m feeling. This
sensation is female arousal.

I want her. Why can’t I have her?

Deciding abruptly, I move naked in a hurried skip across to the spread
of furs that form Aurore’s bed. I lie down.

The most beautiful woman’s body I’ve ever seen is mine to enjoy, I’m
aroused, and I intend to enjoy the opportunity.

I visualise images I’ve seen of women masturbating and try to copy
their position, lying almost on my front but with one knee drawn up to
allow my hand access to my sex.

In this pose I slip my hand down over my belly and rub a finger between
my nether lips, grating the knuckle against my clitoris. The wash of
pleasure that generates is exquisite and I groan with surprised delight
at its intensity.

Oh, this is way better than having a cock. The stimulation reaches
right through my body.

My vulva yields easily to my finger tip, and I find the entrance to my
body is slick and wet. These are Aurore’s juices, and my juices,
flowing for the first time.

I’m tempted to insert more fingers – a part of me already craving a
more complete penetration, but I have a premonition this might be
unwise. The Priest Kings have created me a brand new body, and my
mission for them is to surrender that virgin body into Kurtz” power.

On Gor they set much store by bloodying a girl on her first opening. My
knowledge of female anatomy isn’t certain enough to enter my own body
without accidentally breaking the virgin hymen I probably possess, so I
must find my pleasure externally.

I rub my fingertips in steady rhythmic circles over the trigger which
pushes me up the pleasure curve.

“Take me,” I beg in Gorean, knowing the sound of Aurore’s high voice
speaking the words will be erotic to my masculine mind. “Master, please
take me.”

My ears ring with the unmistakable sound of a female slave in heat, and
it adds fuel to the fire of my desire.

When the climax comes, the pleasure is unbearable and I cry out loudly.

It is only when my head clears and my breath starts to slow down that I
realise Tala has re-entered the ante-room, and is kneeling silently by
the door.

7 – I learn about the role of a free woman

“The outer veil fastens here, Mistress,” Tala says, lifting her hand to
show me a discreet loop of cloth inside my hood. “The hook on the veil
goes into the loop.”

She waits patiently while I fumble to secure the rectangle of cloth
that covers the lower part of my face.

Silently I finish the task, and then let my hands fall to my sides,
looking at my reflection in the full length mirror.

It’s not me there – it’s someone else. I see the image of Aurore of the
Sardar, fully dressed as befits a free woman of Gor.

Throughout the robing process Tala has instructed me, but left me to
complete the actions by myself. This is a wise decision. In the next
few days I must learn to do many tasks as easily as if I’ve always been
a woman, and dressing is just one of them.

The clothing I’ve put on is most reminiscent of the burqa worn by women
in the Middle East, being intended to cover as much of the female body
as possible, but the Gorean versions of the robes of concealment are
heavier and even more elaborate than those for the deserts of Earth.

It doesn’t take long to discover they’re also highly impractical, so I
pity my sisters who have endured this as part of my daily lives since
girlhood. Heavy fabric means my arms and shoulders are already tired,
and the layers wrapped around my lower legs restrict me from moving any
faster than a waddle.

They’re hot to wear too – even here in the mountain air. When I reach
the humid climate of the jungle regions this clothing will be torture.

Our mission hasn’t begun yet, and I can’t wait to be back on earth and
dressing as I wish.

I’m not surprised that so many of Gor’s free women secretly crave
slavery. The clothes that Tala wears would be liberation, compared to
this. I’ve had a couple of hours in this garb and I’m relishing the
moment I stand and stretch somewhere in a bikini.

I’m feeling irritable and petulant.

Gorean men have it easy. They wear loose clothes tied in a wrap, very
similar to the Roman Legionaries or warriors of Ancient Greece. It was
in clothing such as this that Aurius spent his day. I found the wrap
comfortable and utilitarian, once I’d got used to the lack of
underclothes.

As Aurore, life is nowhere near as pleasant.

I am covered almost completely, from the gloves on my hand to the
slipper-like soft shoes on my feet. The robes cover my head, and reach
down to my ankles.

The only part of my skin exposed is a letterbox rectangle around my
eyes, and through this restricted opening I must view the world. It
narrows my vision, and makes me feel even more vulnerable, unable to
see anything in my periphery. Through this slot I have to regard my
reflection, watching me silently in the mirror.

Tala stands next to me. I note that I am now only just taller than her.

I sigh, contemplating my fate as I study my reflection.

It’s no good. No amount of robes can disguise the fact that I’m a girl.
And it’s not just that I’m slimly build.

We began dressing me by wrapping swaths of cloth tightly around my
naked chest, like bandaging an Egyptian mummy, but all the wraps and
all the layers of cloth I could carry were not enough to hide that I
possess breasts.

My eyes are the worst giveaway, though, the most feminine quality on
display, and as the only area of exposed flesh these windows on the
soul will draw the most attention.

They’re larger than those on a man’s face, tempering the natural
strength of character with an air of vulnerability. As if my femininity
couldn’t condemn me any further, I seem to naturally hold my eyes wider
open, giving me a pleading look that is intensely seductive. This
quality is exaggerated further by my long thick lashes.

I’m dead meat looking like this – girl-bait.

What am I supposed to do?

“Damn,” I say softly in English to myself, making Tala look up,
puzzled.

I touch the veil uncertainly with my gloved hand, making certain it is
secure. This is not mere vanity – it is important for my safety.

Aurius could have walked around Gor with the sun on his features, but
in many cities I can now be enslaved if this piece of cloth falls away,
even accidentally.

I am veiled.

The touch of it on my mouth and chin is strange – I’ve never worn
anything there before. It is lighter than the rest of the robes – the
force of my breath is enough to make it ripple.

I am reminded that as a prelude to her capture, it is the custom for
men to first tear away the girl’s veil. Goreans call this face-
stripping.

Despite being the likely future recipient of this treatment, I can
still relate to their urge as I look at the mysterious girl in the
mirror. The remaining masculine nature I have desires exposing the
hidden beauty, as an assertion of my conquest.

“Hmm,” I say, vexed.

I’m clad in a way that hides and represses my sexuality, while goading
men to forcibly take me. This clothing is as demeaning as the garments
of slaves in many ways, and yet half the population are conditioned
into dressing in this fashion.

“How long did you have to wear robes like this?” I ask Tala.

“More than ten years, Mistress,” she says. “I was robed from the first
month I had bleeding, until the day I was captured.”

Captured… how different must she have been, back then when she was a
free woman, compared to the slave girl humbly assisting me today. Would
she have been vivacious and proud, or a lesser creature?

I think back to the events of this afternoon.

When I realised that Tala had been witness to my first orgasm inside
Aurore of the Sardar, I was humiliated, expecting her to mock me or
reveal my shame to Rorius. But when she entered my room as if nothing
had occurred, I remembered our relative situations and understood the
truth. Tala is a slave, and I am free.

She will not question my actions. As a free woman, it would be a simple
matter for me to have her whipped just for entering the room at the
wrong time. It is for her to be fearful of discovery, and not me.

As my alarm subsided, I considered something more.

Perhaps she discovered me in heat and waited sympathetically,
understanding that I was trying to come to terms with my destiny. I
wasn’t the first woman to control her fear of slavery by turning it
into a secret fantasy, and I won’t be the last.

“How do I look?” I ask Tala, still staring at my hypnotic eyes.

“Like a free woman of Gor,” she answers simply.

“I want to go out,” I say abruptly, curious to see how a stranger would
react to my appropriately-clad form.

Tala’s expression changes to one of worry.

“Forgive me Mistress, but Master Rorius instructed you to stay here
until you were summoned,” Tala says humbly. “Although I cannot stop you
leaving Mistress, I advise you remain here. Even in the Nest, you are
safer with an escort.”

I feel a wave of despondency as I know she is right.

I look to the heavy wooden door of my room. It is the door to my prison
cell. I will have to become very familiar with these walls before I
leave the Sardar Mountains.

“What am I supposed to do?” I ask plaintively. “I can’t just stand here
all day dressed like this.”

Her look is pitying. My situation is so bad that the slave girl feels
sorry for the free woman.

“A woman’s life is waiting on the will of men, Mistress,” she says,
“even if she is free. If you want to learn to live as a woman, Mistress
should practice waiting.”

Everything Tala advises has wisdom. So that is what I do. I learn to
wait.

I walk up and down, learning to move in Aurore’s body. My initial
efforts had brought Tala to hysterical giggles, so I need the practice.
She said I kept my legs apart like I was constipated.

I spend time reading the few books that have been left in my room,
struggling with the strange Gorean script.

Tala kneels on a cushion, reading also. Occasionally she passes comment
– change my posture; do not sit like that; hold my shoulders
differently. She is coaching me to be a woman.

A book of poetry I discover is intensely erotic, themed around man’s
conquest of woman, and despite my difficulties in the strange language
I start to feel the flush of warmth return between my legs. I pause to
close the book and rub my gloved finger along the spine of the volume,
and I’m surprised to see the author’s name is Kurtz of Ar.

The chances of the poet and my target being different individuals is
unlikely, surely?

I open the book again. I had visualised him as the brutal warrior, but
there is more to Kurtz. How would a man such as this treat me, Aurore?
Would I inspire a poem?

No visitors have come to me by the time night falls, and I do not want
to be alone.

“Stay with me,” I plead to Tala, a free woman begging a slave.

She shakes her head.

“Free women do not couch with slaves, Mistress,” she says. “It is a
dishonour.”

“I am not like other free women,” I say.

“Even so I cannot serve you in that way, Mistress,” she says. “It is
forbidden to me. Besides, Tala will be chained at the bed of another
tonight.”

I shouldn’t be surprised, but that news hits me hard. The girl I had
sex with in my last night as a man will tonight lie with someone else.

I imagine her curving against their body, moving as she once did
against me, and I feel a pang of loss. There is also jealously for this
man who will enjoy her, when I cannot.

“What am I to do, Tala?” I ask, my voice getting higher.

She looks at me, as if considering taking a risk by speaking out of
place.

“It is your destiny to be taken as slave, Mistress. In your dark time
alone, perhaps you should prepare yourself for life as a kajira.”

I blush, wondering if she’s making reference to the earlier incident.
An ordinary woman of Gor would have her whipped for the possibility of
insolence.

My session of self-gratification had been a one-off – a moment of
reward and experimentation before I embark on a regime worthy of a nun.
If Rorius discovered Tala was advising making it a habit, he would
certainly disapprove.

“I am to retain my male mind,” I say stubbornly. “I should not prepare
for slavery.”

Tala shakes her head.

“Not preparing for slavery in that sense, Mistress,” she says,
reddening a little.

“When young women come of age on Gor, the older women in their
communities will teach them to submit. It is done in secrecy, passed
down by word of mouth from mother to daughter, but it is done all the
same. Submission may save a girl’s life, and slavery is better than
death. If Mistress will not open her mind to her future, at least learn
to kneel with your wrists crossed, as if offering yourself as slave.”

I have misunderstood her intentions.

“Will you show me what they teach?” I ask.

“Of course, Mistress,” Tala says. “My orders are to prepare you for
life as a woman, and that is something a woman must know. It must be
tomorrow, though.”

I can’t keep her in my rooms any longer. She bows to me and backs away,
and I am left alone with my thoughts.

The evenings cool quickly in the Sardar Mountains, but my robes are
still oppressively warm and heavy. I realise I’ll have no more visitors
tonight, so I undress, taking some time to remove the many clips, pins
and fastenings that make the robes of a free woman.

I am taking care to avoid damaging the garments, but I can’t help
thinking how quickly they might be stripped were a man cutting them
away from me. There is a flutter of fear in my belly.

Once I am nude, I return to watching myself in the mirror. The effect
of Aurore’s reflection on me is almost hypnotic. Oh, this is a
beautiful woman.

There is a glory and freedom in moving around naked as her. I marvel at
the Priest King’s technology that transformed me from someone whose
physical appearance was so mundane, to inhabiting flesh that’s such a
prize she must be guarded and protected.

But is this a blessing or a curse?

This body has been gifted to me, and yet I have also lost something
more than my manhood. Tala burned with slave heat for Aurius – I can
still feel her against me, yet she avoids lying with Aurore. Even now
she might be with someone else.

She will never love me, because she yearns to serve men. This is also
my destiny, serving men. The only naked flesh to press against my own
will be male.

Unbidden, her words come back to me, “prepare yourself for life as a
kajira’.

In front of the mirror, I fall to my knees, watching myself.

I am not unfamiliar with the submission ritual of a Gorean female,
taught by mother to daughter in the most private of moments. So I open
my bare thighs, to deliberately flaunt Aurore’s womanhood.

The potential pleasure that might be taken my body could be all that
saves my life, so it pays the female captive to make clear what’s on
offer in exchange for mercy.

My ankles are tucked underneath me, heels pressing into my buttocks,
keeping my back straight and making my rump look round and feminine.

Crossing my wrists in front of me I lift my arms above my head and
extend them, in a position that both offers them to my captor for
binding, and lifts my breasts pleasingly. Curving at the wrists, my
hands point elegantly downwards.

If I was submitting for real I would be expected to lower my head, as a
sign of humility and to offer the vulnerable back of my neck, but as I
want to observe myself in the mirror, I keep my face raised.

It’s a graceful pose – almost like a ballet dancer. If the girl I can
see offered herself to me, I’d bind her without hesitation, and I think
most other men would behave the same way.

The woman in the mirror would undeniably make an exquisite slave. She
can’t be me – she’s stunning.

My breathing is fast – breasts rise and fall, and I can see the muscles
of Aurore’s belly defined when she inhales.

I notice my nipples are erect.

The sense of being the fragile, perfect, prize that I experience is
frightening, and also thrilling. These emotions seem to take physical
form, concentrating between my open legs in a tingling sense of warmth,
and incompleteness that is becoming familiar.

Aurore of the Sardar is sexually aroused.

I admire her feminine hips; I admire at her long legs; her slim waist;
her delicate features. She ignites my desire as a man would desire her,
but there is a second level of pleasure from knowing myself to be this
beautiful creature, and feeling the sensations from each nerve ending
of her skin.

I had vowed not to touch myself again – Aurore is supposed to remain
cold and chaste for the purposes of my mission, but temptation conquers
me.

Last night I’d brought my new body to orgasm on my furs, lying on my
front, but today I reach between my spread thighs and masturbate on my
knees, so I can watch Aurore’s reactions the whole time.

I learn that in the throes of passion she looks no less beautiful;
rather she betrays her desire by flushing a deeper pink. The pupils on
her steel blue eyes dilate, and the lips of her labia swell, also
changing to a deeper shade of pink.

When the crescendo of pleasure subsides I note that she has a slight
sheen of sweat on her cream skin.

The erotic poetry of Kurtz mused about the power and the weakness there
is in being a Gorean woman. As I groan as my breathing slows, I am
inclined to agree with his opinion.

8 – Aurore enters Gorean society

“Perhaps I would like to visit your Urth,” the Lady Elveen informs me.
“You say on your home world the women are more powerful than men, they
move around without veils, and there are no slaves?”

A male voice comments before I have time to reply.

“I have heard much of the place. Their men are weak, and that means
their women are unhappy. You would whither there, like a flower left in
the desert.” It is Lady Elveen’s free companion Suruk, being gallant to
her.

“There is some truth in what you say about the women of Urth, “I
confirm in Aurore’s soft voice.

“They have all this freedom, and yet many are unhappy. They are not as
unhappy as Urth’s men, however.”

I’m being disingenuous. In truth I don’t actually know if Earth’s women
are unhappy, but I’ve read this is the case in the western cultures
obsessed with youth and beauty.

However I do not wish to give offence to these strangers by passing
negative judgements on Gor, or get drawn into a conversation on the
topic, so I comment vapidly on the pleasant furnishings in this room,
drawing the discussion away.

Earth women might be unhappy, but all the same, Aurore intends to
return to Earth as soon as she can. It hasn’t taken long to prove that
the life of an Earth woman is much better than her Gorean counterpart,
slave or free.

My new companions also know Aurore only as a woman. They know nothing
of my past, and a lengthy debate on gender politics might betray my
lack of female life experience.

All they see is lady Aurore, Aurore of the house of Rorius.

The master of that adoptive family is currently present in our group,
watching me with the cold authority he’s wielded since I awoke inside
my breath-taking new body.

In this loose unflattering clothing of concealment am draped head to
foot, and yet under the constantly-watching eyes of the group Rorius
still makes me feel self-conscious. Each time I open my mouth he
frowns.

To Rorius I am now a lesser status of human, and should keep quiet
unless spoken to. He seems to have nothing but contempt for someone who
would willingly accept a female life, someone who chooses to look at
the world through the narrow letterbox window in her robes.

It’s disheartening. I can imagine after enduring a lifetime of this
treatment a woman would take the path of least resistance and turn
herself into a silent subservient creature.

Rorius is not the only one who keeps watching me.

Suruk’s gaze studies me in a different way, trying to deduce solely
from Aurore’s feminine eyes whether the rest of her form is as
interesting. I know this, because carrying the mind of a male, I am
watching his woman, Elveen in the same way.

I can’t help but wonder would I be pleased with what I discovered, were
I to tear Elveen’s veils away and stand over her as a conquering
master.

Her eyelashes are dark and heavy, and despite being a free woman she
keeps her gaze lowered almost as demurely as a slave. Lady Elveen has a
slight body, and although her robes disguise her heavily, what I can
see suggests a shapely frame.

Yes, she might make a pleasing captive.

Elveen is kneeling on a soft cushion, as I am. The position adds to my
sense of self-awareness – it is only one step away from the pose of the
domestic slave. Our heads are significantly lower than the height of
the men – a reminder of the reduced social status of women, but they’re
the same height as a kneeling slave.

Free women kneel with their thighs squeezed tightly together. This is
both from dignity and practicality. It is impossible not to keep the
legs together in the restrictive robes of concealment.

Early into this social gathering I stretched forward my arms, trying to
keep idle muscles from cramping. It was a mistake – I sandwiched
together my breasts, and immediately saw the eyes of Suruk move to my
chest.

I don’t need any more reminders of my new body from him. I only have to
tense my thighs and I can feel an absence – the place where once I
would have pressed skin against my testicles.

One female in this room has her knees apart to leave body available for
easy examination, the slave Tala, branded and collared, and clad in her
brief work camisk.

Tala serves our group, attending to the men first, and as she kneels
before Suruk I can’t help noticing the lingering look they exchange.
Since she left me last night I’ve been wondering whose furs she warmed,
and now I have my suspicions.

Tala and Suruk share the briefest emotional contact, but from my
kneeling position I notice all the same, and with her heightened
understanding of the subtleties of Gorean society, the lady Elveen does
not miss it either.

“Slave, here,” she commands imperiously, clicking her gloved fingers,
and conversation stops instantly as the atmosphere in the room changes
instantly from one of polite conversation to one that is darker,
ominous.

Tala looks uncertain and she hesitates, looking to Suruk for guidance
until he nods his permission for her to leave. That delay in her moving
to kneel before the mistress takes seconds, but it is enough.

“You keep me waiting, slave?” Elveen says, in almost a shout. I can’t
believe Elveen is petty enough to be jealous of this gentle kajira, but
her voice is high with emotion, almost hysterical.

It is unfair.

Tala didn’t even behave incorrectly – rather it might have been worse
if she’d left Suruk without permission, but the exchange I’m suddenly
witnessing isn’t about her being slow. This is about Elveen’s companion
looking with desire upon a mere slave girl, and the free woman’s need
to reassert her power.

“Forgive me, Mistress,” Tala says calmly, head lowered.

There is unmistakably some fear in her voice, but the emotion I can
really detect is resignation. She understands she’s already doomed.

Elveen is insecure and jealous, and this is how she will control that
insecurity.

I feel a surge of pity for the hapless slave.

“There is a master of the slaves here in the nest?” Elveen asks the
girl angrily.

“Yes, Mistress,” Tala replies instantly.

“Report to him,” Lady Elveen commands, “and tell him the Lady Elveen
ordered you whipped for being slow.”

I am about to object – this is not justice, but Rorius anticipates my
actions and cuts me off.

“Aurore, be silent,” he commands me.

His stare is direct, and I hesitate as I realise this might be a test,
this whole situation contrived to see if I interfere to protect Tala
the way a man would have done. Certainly a free woman of Gor, Lady
Aurore of the Sardar, would not intervene in the punishment of a mere
slave.

I look back to Elveen, trying to decide if she’s contrived to bait me,
but she stares aggressively at Tala.

“Yes Mistress,” the kajira replies to the Lady Elveen, already rising
to her feet, ready to go to her fate.

“May I be dismissed, Masters?” she asks without protest.

I look desperately at the men. A command from either one could override
Elveen, but Suruk is not going to contradict his free companion in
front of strangers, and Rorius is quite willing to let an insignificant
slave be beaten if it teaches me a lesson.

Tala’s eyes meet mine just once, and I see understanding and
forgiveness. The slave forgives the free for my betrayal.

“You may go,” Rorius says, and Tala leaves the room.

I have been commanded to stay silent by the head of my house and I do
so, but inside I am seething with fury. My masculine instincts are
strong – I want to stick my damned sword through Rorius and then
Elveen, before rushing to rescue Tala from her beating.

But I have been transitioned, and I can do nothing.

Rorius is a trained warrior. Aurius of London would have been unlikely
to best him in battle, and Aurore has no chance.

Unwanted, I can also feel tears forming in my eyes.

I fight them back. There’s no way I’m going to give these people the
satisfaction of crying in front of them.

Staring down at the ornate carpet, my emotions are at their lowest
point since I awoke.

This is what being a woman is like on Gor – this feeling of impotence
in the face of male power. If the disciplining of a slave is some kind
of training test, Aurore of the Sardar has learnt the lesson, but she
doesn’t like the taste of it one bit.

Gorean literature has long advocated that women secretly delight in the
strength and superiority of men, claiming it brings out the female
natural slave. But viewing the world through the narrow slot in my
stifling robes of concealment, I think the attitude of Gorean
literature is misogynistic nonsense.

A man can have physical strength above a woman without mental
superiority. Just because these people can better me in a fight doesn’t
mean my opinion counts for nothing and should be ignored.

Nonetheless, these are the attitudes enforced on me by being female in
a sexist society on a sexist planet. This is not a world ready for
suffragettes. However much I might want equality, like every other
woman I am cursed with the deadly combination of being physically
weaker and sexually desirable.

Without the benefits of civilisation on my side, it’s undeniable that I
cannot survive without male protection. And the price of male
guardianship is my subservience to the head of my house, and the
repressive robes of concealment to hide by body.

I clench my hands into fists, vowing that as soon as I’m safe on Earth
I’ll flaunt Aurore’s body in the most revealing outfit money can buy.
I’ll enjoy the hopeless looks of men, when I deny them. The rest of my
life will be a revenge on the male sex. I shall be Estella from Great
Expectations.

Even tensing my hands reminds me of my condition, however.

The gloves that cover my hands are delicate and thin, made of a silken
material that covers but does not protect. As Aurius I had worn heavy
tarn gauntlets of thick leather. These things are no protection other
than hiding my skin.

I breathe deeply, steadily mastering my emotions.

Only once I have regained my composure do I look around. It turns out
everyone is watching me.

Rorius is nodding to himself – this defeat being the first time I’ve
seen any sign of satisfaction with me. Lady Elveen’s gaze is caustic,
as if I’m nothing more than a rival, and Suruk is puzzled.

His reaction to me is the easiest to forgive.

In the Nest we are not to ask others for the reason for their presence,
or for any information about their service to the Priest Kings. This
protocol has been observed, but it means he is expecting a woman used
to her role, and compliant, rather than a woman who clenches her fists
when a mere slave is sent to a whipping.

It is a relief when I am saved any further discussion on Tala by
Telisio, who enters the chamber and inclines his head politely to our
group.

“Lady Aurore,” he addresses me first.

He emphasises the “lady” with an impish smile, and I can’t help but
grin in response.

Telisio is the only free person to treat me with any kindness or
humanity since my transformation. I feel a surge of gratitude so
intense I could kiss him.

“Lady Aurore,” he continues, “You and Rorius are summoned by the Priest
King, Misk.”

The sudden acceleration in my heart rate is so intense I feel light
headed for a moment.

Why does Misk want to see us so soon? Is this it? Am I leaving to my
fate already?

Then I slowly get from the kneeling position to my feet. Whoever
designed the free woman’s robes didn’t consider ease of movement for
the legs, and I am ungainly and awkward.

Telisio leans out an arm to support me, and I grasp it gratefully with
my gloved hand.

Once standing, I leave that hand in position, enjoying the physical
contact for a moment. For some reason I remember that he has seen me
naked.

“Let go of him, Aurore,” Rorius tells me, and I drop my hand
obediently.

We make our polite excuses.

It is with relief that I have the opportunity to take leave of Elveen
and Suruk. My first impression as a female of Gorean society is of a
culture that is repressive and stifling, and I want no more of it.

I start to feel more like my former self as swiftly we move through the
corridors of the Nest. My head is clearing, and I focus my thoughts on
the mission.

In Misk’s chambers, two chairs have been prepared for the men, and
again a cushion is on the floor for me to kneel in the manner of free
women. They could have let me sit on a chair this once.

A map of Gor is spread on a low wooden table.

Misk is in the room. At eight feet tall the insect-like creature towers
over the humans.

We are all silent as the Priest King addresses us.

“This map shows the jungle region of Gor, where the two rivers drain
the large central Lake Ushindi,” Misk reminds us, and with an insect
limb he indicates a point on the map.

“These rivers are the Nyoka and the Kamba. The outflows are close
together on the lake shore. We have confirmed that between these two
rivers lies the camp of Kurtz, at the shoreline close to the Kurii
landing point.”

“From this strategically valuable position he controls all the shipping
downstream from his location.”

Telisio asks an obvious question.

“Why is there no city there already, if the location is so prefect?”

“This area is swampland,” Misk answers. “Proximity to the two rivers
waterlogs the ground. The Kurii landing site was nothing more than a
dry mound, deeper into the marsh.”

“It must have taken an immense amount of effort for Kurtz to construct
a defendable fort there. Our expectation is the camp will be some kind
of pontoon structure. Only a man such as Kurtz is capable of achieving
a task like this.”

Silently I stare at the map from on my knees, imagining myself in the
steaming heat of the jungle. Then I trace the snakelike coils of the
river west to the sea. Soon I will see all this for myself.

“How are we to ensure that Aurore moves close to the camp, in such a
way as she can be captured without arousing suspicion?” asks Rorius. He
calls me Aurore, not Lady Aurore the way Telisio does.

Well – I suppose it’s better than him using Aurius.

“We have received intelligence,” replies Misk. “A retinue will pass
through the Jungle, a retinue travelling upriver by barge. It carries
the Lady Nessa, a woman reputed to be a great beauty, and the treasure
that is her dowry. She is pledged to be made free companion to a
warrior in the high country.”

“Priest Kings believe that the barge is too attractive a target for
Kurtz” men to resist, even though it will be heavily defended. You will
join the retinue escorting the Lady Nessa, with your story being that
Lady Aurore is also on her way to an arranged companionship and there
is benefit from combined protection. When the barge is attacked your
orders are to abandon Aurore and escape with your lives if possible.”

The phrase “abandon Aurore” chills me. They mean abandon Aurore to
slavery, a fate many would consider worse than death.

“When does the barge leave?” Rorius asks.

“In ten days,” answers Misk.

Telisio gives a low whistle, tracing a line with his finger from the
Sardar Mountains in the north east of Gor, over the trading city of
Torcadino and all the way west and south to the jungles.

“That’s a long way to travel in so little time,” he says.

“It is, so you must leave in one ahn,” agrees Misk. “Any other training
that Lady Aurore requires, she must learn on the journey.”

Someone once described army life as long periods of boredom separated
by brief moments of terror. After endless waiting in my room, we have
reached the terror stage, but perhaps that is for the best.

I’ve felt sick with nerves since I first saw my female body, and I
might attempt to flee if I have too long to contemplate my future.

The men leave to pack. Male Nest slaves are despatched to prepare two
tarns to transport us to the port of Schendi, on the other side of the
continent.

An armed guard escorts me back to my quarters, but my preparations only
take moments. I have nothing to take but loading a set of spare robes
into a sack. All my belongings will be lost when I fall to Kurtz men,
so it is pointless for me to take treasured possessions.

The only kind of leave I want to take is bidding farewell to Tala.

She is away somewhere, perhaps being flogged even now. I long to hold
her to me, but I’ll be lucky if I live long enough to see her again.

9 – Blood on his sword

After two days flying I am so cold I can’t remember being warm, and the
soreness has taught me about every muscle in my new female body.

My mode of transport has been the cause of this.

The men rode up on the tarn birds” backs, as proud warriors. I
travelled in a small circular basket suspended underneath the bird’s
stomach, in a space not much bigger than a wicker laundry carrier.

There is no distinction between free women and slaves in this form of
carriage, although slaves usually travel bound. At least I have escaped
that indignity.

For once the use of tarn baskets is not a display of Gorean sexism.
Only rarely do tarns tolerate female riders.

It was freezing at altitude, and for the first time I was grateful to
be clothed head-to-toe in the heavy robes of concealment. I was
provided with blankets by a slave on departure from the Nest. For this
kindness I have been grateful.

Flying by tarn is safer and faster than travel on the ground, but like
many species of daylight hunters tarns don’t see well in the dark.
Therefore we adopted a routine where each day at dusk we looked for a
secluded place to land and wait out the night.

This evening I have no idea where we are, other than a small wooded
area in a line southwest of the Sardar. We are in is enemy territory.
Not very surprising – anywhere on Gor that is not home counts as enemy
territory.

Everyone is being cautious.

The warriors lit a fire, but disguised it by strategically placed rocks
and bushes, designed so as not to be visible to distant observers. It
does not shed enough heat to warm me.

There is a cold breeze blowing, and the trees rustle.

All of us crave food, so we quickly agree to risk someone leaving the
camp to hunt. I am disqualified by gender from participating, again, so
my duties are to prepare the cooking pots over the fire.

Rorius is selected to hunt, either through being the most skilled, or
through a desire to get away from me.

I am not displeased to see him go. Picking up a complicated looking
crossbow, Rorius disappears grumbling into the darkness.

Telisio is left to mind the camp, the birds, and the female.

“Why does he hate me so much?” I ask Telisio, watching Rorius disappear
into the gloom of the woods.

I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to ask, and Telisio doesn’t seem
to be surprised at the question.

“His anger is not really directed at you,” he replies, “but at the
situation. Rorius believes the mission is a mistake, but he respects
Misk too much to contradict the Priest King’s judgement.”

I can’t help but feel stung.

“He thinks I am not good enough? I will fail?”

“Finding someone to collar you will not be difficult. But after that
event, Rorius believes there is no scenario where you can succeed in
your mission. You will be broken and his will becomes yours, as
happened with the other females sent to him. Or you will remain
masculine in your mind and your male nature will betray you. Slaves who
do not bend can be killed. It will be an impossible path for anyone to
walk safely.”

I nod, digesting this new information.

“He is unsure how to treat you to give you the greatest chance of
success – both of us are, for that matter,” Telisio admits. “Rorius”
instinct is to treat you like any other female of his household,
educating you to behave in the inferior role of a woman, so your
disguise is stronger as a result. There is wisdom in this –
familiarising you with your female role while deliberately provoking
your male pride.”

“For me it is more difficult. I visited frequently while you were
changing in the tube, so I perceive the woman and react to your beauty,
but I remember the man. I treat you as I did before. ”

Sitting down on a log Telisio begins to check his kit, examining arrows
for defects.

My cheeks grow warm – the only warm part of my body in the cold night,
as I wonder how much time he’s spent looking at Aurore naked. It had
never occurred to be before, but I wonder if he might actually desire
the female-me.

“What did I look like in the tube?” I ask curiously. I might as well
find out. “Did I grow organs and then a skin, or did I mature from
infant to adult?”

“At first your male body appeared to dissolve, until there was so much
matter suspended in the liquid that I could no longer see anything.
When the fluid became clear, your body appeared as it did when you left
the tube – as a complete adult female. So I didn’t witness the true
transformational phase of the process, but the Priest King said the
organs are grown already adult.”

I am silent, and Telisio seems to consider our discussion concluded,
but as I move away he adds one more thing.

“Except for you, we probably travel to our deaths. And yet Rorius puts
this fate aside works to train your mind. So don’t judge him too
harshly for his Gorean nature.”

I ponder this as I make myself busy. I stir a pot of broth, chopping in
a few vegetables as I wait for Rorius to catch the meat course.

On a combat mission, one soldier always has to prepare the meals, so I
do not consider this work demeaning when it is allocated to me. It is
not necessarily “woman’s work’.

Telisio’s perspective on Rorius hasn’t softened my views on him yet,
but it might do when I’ve had enough time to think. Could his attitude
really be carefully contrived to provoke a male reaction, flaming my
masculine pride?

I am not convinced.

The tarns, a short distance outside the camp circle, shuffle
restlessly.

Crouching down, I suspend a cooking pot over the fire. It dangles from
a metal crossbar, propped by simple “X” shaped supports of iron at
either end.

As I stretch forward my breasts press again against my upper arms,
surprising me. Since awakening in Aurore I have frequently experienced
such moments, where my body suddenly reminds me that I am female.

In front of the fire I pause.

The veil rests against my feminine chin, kissing softly.

I crouch differently to a man, Aurore’s wider hips making kneeling a
more comfortable position. My heels press into my buttocks.

What have I done? I’m a woman. Overcome by the enormity of the changes
in my life I look up for a moment to Telisio, and discover he has
stopped checking his arrows.

He might have been watching me for a while.

“What’s it like?” he asks, as if he’s been reading my mind.

“To have this body?” I reply, and laugh ruefully in Aurore’s high
voice. “I feel weak. I don’t like being reliant on others to protect
me. I have to deal with being both vulnerable, and desirable. That’s a
dangerous combination on Gor.”

“I mean inside your head,” he clarifies. “Do you feel like you’re a
woman, or a man in a woman’s body? Do you think this mission is futile?

I crumble some herbs into the pot, as I consider the question.

“I don’t know how a woman thinks, so it’s difficult to answer that
accurately,” I say. “But I don’t feel a very fundamental shift in my
identity. I feel the instincts of the man, and only see the woman in
the mirror. My thoughts and desires are as before. I would not be
aroused by a male lover, for example.”

“In that case surrender to Kurtz will perhaps be difficult to bear.”

“I will complete my mission,” I state simply, although I feel a flutter
of fear in my chest. “When the time comes I will kneel, offer my wrists
as if for binding and beg for the slave’s collar. But I will do so
because it is my best option for survival, not for any other reason. I
know this ordeal will be finished, one day, and I will be living a life
of ease back on Urth. All I have to do for this reward, is not get
killed. Slavery is the practical choice. Even you would consider it.”

“Be careful making that suggestion Lady Aurore. A warrior of Gor would
tell you he should prefer death to such dishonour.”

I shrug.

A twig in the fire breaks with a snap, and I hear from the shadows a
noise of irritation from one of the tarns.

“Survival for me is through obedience to my mission,” I insist, “but I
will yield from pragmatism. There is not some part of my soul that
secretly craves the life of a slave, as my natural place. If the Gorean
belief is true that women, in their hearts, crave the life of a slave…
No, I do not think like a woman.”

“It is good for our purpose that you are not suited to yielding
sexually, but will make your destiny an unpleasant one.”

I shudder, but blame it on the cold night. Unable to meet Telisio’s
gaze, I look into the shadows. And just in time to see those shadows of
the forest come to life.

Telisio and I are already on our feet, with the reflexes of trained
warriors.

A large group of armed men are rushing us from every direction, with
loud cries intended to intimate.

They are roughly dressed – common robbers or outlaws perhaps. It
doesn’t matter. They are the enemy.

Telisio has his sword drawn, and is the main threat to them. I have no
weapon, and yet they come for me, and not him. The strategy is logical.
It is because I am the weak point in our group.

Five men are upon me, in an instant.

I cry out with rage, as strangers” hands grasp me.

The force is overwhelming, and the struggle is brief.

I am almost dragged off my feet by the strength of them, while my arms
are quickly and efficiently forced behind my back. But rather than pull
me over, their grip on me pins me between them in a standing position.

One man who is not occupied with the task of restraining me holds a
knife to my neck, the point pressing right into my jugular. He is a
little taller than the others, with a nearly trimmed brown beard. There
is an air of authority to him, and the other men look to him as if he
is their leader.

There is no need for him to vocalise his threat.

“Stop,” is all he says to Telisio, in a quiet voice, and my companion
freezes instantly. I feel momentary gratitude that Telisio will not
risk letting me die, but then dread when one of our attackers removes
Telisio’s sword from his limp grasp.

We are disarmed. We are doomed.

I do not panic. Rather I count round the circle, assessing our
strategic situation. There are nine attackers – five on me (four
restraining and one holding the blade); two guarding Telisio; and two
watching the forest. It is a sensible formation.

One of these four that surround me is fumbling behind me, but pinned by
my arms, my wrists crossed as if for binding, I cannot look round to
see exactly what he’s doing or uncross my arms. I can guess their aims
though.

Something bites as hard as wire into the skin of those wrists,
confirming my fears. Aurore of the Sardar is indeed bound.

I struggle instinctively, tensing my arms to test the bonds. I’ve never
been tied-up before, and it’s not a pleasant experience. The binding is
incredibly tight and I feel vulnerable.

It’s too high up my wrists to reach the knots – straining my hands I
can barely reach the fibrous material with my fingertips.

Unsurprisingly, my efforts are futile. The men of Gor have known for
centuries how to tie a woman.

“You, the female – also – keep still,” the man holding the knife
orders, and I freeze. The blade is right against my throat. It feels
razor sharp. Once foolish movement and my life could bleed away by
accident.

“You’re in the wrong part of Gor, strangers,” says the bearded man. He
says “strangers” including us both, but he is looking at Telisio and
addressing a fellow warrior.

He doesn’t even glance at me. A bound female does not represent a
threat.

“There is a price for spending the night here,” he continues. “Hand
over your coin, and the leave us the woman, and you may go with your
life.”

Telisio looks directly back at him. My friend is calm, so calm that he
is almost indifferent. His eyes glance to meet mine only once.

“You can take my coins and leave in peace,” Telisio replies, staring
bold and unblinking at the bearded man, “but the woman leaves with me.”

This bravado is perhaps a mistake, because knife-man looks at me
appraisingly, and I find my face growing hot.

“She must be beautiful, to be worth dying for,” he speculates. “Well –
if she is indeed pleasing, then tonight she shall change from girl to
woman as she serves us in the furs. If she does not please, she will be
sold in the morning to the first passing slaver.”

His men chortle at this. Their laugh chills my blood.

A number of them are looking suggestively at me now. The idea of an
evening’s entertainment at my expense is evidently pleasing to them.

I can’t just stand here passively and let them think they’ve beaten me,
without some show of resistance.

“I will never yield to someone like you,” I retort angrily.

Knife-man laughs at me then, a rich, warm laugh.

“A challenge from a girl with spirit. All the better. I will enjoy
taming you.”

He is patronisingly self-confident, but he probably has good reason.

I realise I have trusted in Rorius and Telisio’s ability to execute
this mission so entirely that I have become blind to the realities of
Gor. It has never even crossed my mind that we might fail before I am
delivered to Kurtz. Instead of me enjoying a blessed life on Earth,
perhaps only a year from now, a different fate awaits.

I will become just one of the millions of slave girls on Gor, lost
forever from the influence and protection of the Priest Kings. They
will not make efforts to find me when they can find another man of Urth
for the mission.

This isn’t the way it’s meant to be. Panic rises in my chest. I can’t
face being condemned to slavery. I must do anything I can to escape
this future.

“I was once a male,” I plead, my last idea of a way I might escape the
inevitable.

Even if it buys me time, that’s good.

Neat-beard first looks surprised, and then laughs uproariously.

“That’s a new one,” he cries, tears in his eyes, and he claps his hand
to his chest the way a Gorean would applaud an entertainer. “You – a
male. Well male – I shall confirm the truth for myself very soon. Let
us strip this male who wears robes of concealment, while his companion
makes up his mind if he wants to live.”

Telisio twitches, hand reaching for his sword, but the man chides him,
saying, “No, no…”

My friend stills again.

The man holding the knife takes it from my throat, ready for using it
to strip my robes from around my shoulders. I prepare for the first cut
that bares my skin.

Instead, an arrow strikes the bearded man’s skull and penetrates so
deeply that the point protrudes from the back of his head.

Adrenaline spikes. Everything happens in slow motion.

My surviving guards release their hold on me and reach for their
weapons. One is ducking with the reflexes of a trained warrior and
simultaneously drawing his sword, but he only moves into the path of a
second arrow that takes him straight in the chest. It flings him back
with such force that his feet leave the ground before he tumbles
backwards to the leafy forest floor.

Telisio is also moving with instinct, diving to the side in a combat
roll, while reaching for his sword.

I am not unskilled in combat, so I also move at professional speed. But
as the only one in this tableau with their wrists bound behind them, my
options are limited.

I can do little but dive out of range of enemy weapons, and avoid
getting myself killed by accident. As a former professional soldier, I
know that my male ego must not important at this moment. To play as a
team, my duty is to keep out the way.

Telisio comes up from his gymnastic roll with sword in hand, and he
slices across the belly of the first of his two guards. The man’s
stomach opens like a zip, and the pink loops of his digestive system
start to spill down with a wash of blood.

As the gutted man screams, groping to keep his guts inside him, Telisio
is already acrobatically on his feet. He buries his sword into the
throat of his second guard.

Nine attackers is down to five. No, four – an arrow thuds into the
chest of another one of the robbers, flinging him back onto the forest
floor.

The remaining men close on Telisio, with their swords drawn. Four armed
men close on one.

He doesn’t have a chance against such odds, but then I hear a berserker
roar that chills the blood, and Rorius comes charging from the forest.

“Get the girl,” a wiry man in ragged clothing says, pointing urgently
at me. “They won’t risk anything happening to the girl.”

Two of the men turn and stalk towards me. Their eyes look flat and
dead.

Crap.

I start backing away, my wrists held helplessly behind me. I don’t dare
look around for an avenue to escape. My hood and veil restrict my view
too much to risk turning my face away. I strain against the bonds. If
only I could get free.

These two men have made an error, though, in turning their backs to
Rorius and Telisio. My protectors defeat the other two opponents as
effortlessly as any contest between expert and amateur, and our numbers
of warriors are even.

The fight is nearly over. Two of the enemies are between me and my
allies, but they can’t risk turning to attack me, as that will present
their backs to my friends.

Rorius and Telisio are closing.

The last two robbers made no attempt to escape their fate, but boldly
faced death. They must have realised that we couldn’t risk releasing
them in their home territory, where there was the risk of re-
enforcements arriving for a further ambush.

I respect their courage.

Four blades meet with a clash, blood is spilt, and we are victorious.

The forest seems suddenly silent after the noise of combat, and we
stand for almost an ehn.

Rorius walks round the nine bodies, checking on the dead. The man with
the belly wound is still alive but mortally injured. I watch as Rorius
dispatches him mercifully, with a stab through the heart. It is the
first sign of humanity I’ve seen from him.

For a moment he and I look at each other, before I start pulling at my
bonds. Struggling seems to make them tighter, not looser. I’m no closer
to being free.

“Can someone release me from these?” I eventually have to plead.

It is Rorius that walks across to me first. I turn my back to him,
stretching my arms out behind me. There is a light pressure from
something I assume to be his sword, and suddenly the bindings go slack
and I can move freely.

It is impossible for the captive to escape the bonds, but so easy for
someone else to free them.

I gratefully rub my sore wrists. The skin is covered by my slender
gloves, but I suspect there will be red marks left by the bindings.

“You did well, Aurore,” Rorius says. And that is the first nice thing
he has ever said to me. Two kind acts in one day. I’ll have to narrowly
escape death more often.

“I was no use at all,” I reply, surprised. “I tried to keep out of the
way.”

“Exactly. I thought you might try to fight, like a man. Your
responsibility to this mission is to stay alive.”

“Thank you…” I answer a little uncertainly.

He nudges one of the bodies with his foot.

“Please, search these men thoroughly – we might as well take anything
useful that will help us on our journey. Then Telisio and I will drag
them away from the camp. I don’t want to have to stare at corpses all
night.”

“Of course,” I say softly, and crouching gracefully I begin to pat down
the first body. Now I have the chance to impress I’m going to make the
most of it, so my search is thorough, even patting down the men’s
genitals.

I can’t help being reminded with each one that had things gone
differently, I could have been handling these organs in a different
way.

I reach the bearded leader, and wonder if he’d really have given me to
them all, or kept me as a prize for himself.

The next man is a ferret-like individual, thin enough to be emaciated.
He was not the alpha-leader of this group, and would only have the
choice of females his betters had rejected.

I would not have enjoyed him forcing himself on me.

My wrists are throbbing, distracting me. I was only bound for minutes,
and I pray that I never have to experience the bite of those ties for a
longer period.

After the battle, the rest of the night is sleepless for me.

The ambush in the forest has reaffirmed to me that as a female on Gor,
I am entirely reliant on male protection. There are only two ways to
attain this protection – through subservience within a family or a
tribe, or via the total submission of slavery.

I have been reminded how easily that protection can be lost, and the
courage men need to maintain it. Compared to capture by strangers,
obedience to Rorius is not such a bad option.

10 – What occurs in Torcadino

As I walk under armed guard through the city of Torcadino, I consider
that this has been my most pleasurable experience since awakening
inside Aurore. Despite being a woman I finally have a little freedom to
move around, exploring the city almost like an Urth tourist would back
home.

Granted I have an escort – either Telisio, Rorius, or both, stand close
by me, exuding their combination of menace and protectiveness. But the
two men are as interested in exploring this new city as I am, so it is
not difficult persuading them to leave our discrete rooms in the safety
of the midday.

Women clad in the robes of concealment are everywhere, so although it
is hot under the heavy garments, they do grant me a pleasing anonymity.

I am not unhappy with my situation.

We had travelled by tarn for several days since leaving the Sardar,
pushing the giant birds to the point of exhaustion. By the time the
city of Torcadino loomed on the horizon, it was clear to the men that
we would need a more protracted rest for the tarns.

Torcadino was an ideal location for this time-out. The city lies on a
plain, approximately half the distance between the Sardar Mountains and
our destination in Schendi. Sitting across a number of important trade
routes, Torcadino is famed for its markets and is, by Gorean standards,
relatively tolerant to outsiders.

It is through this market area we currently browse, the men responding
jovially to the calls of the merchants who try and tout their wares to
us in the same way that would be recognised on Urth.

I am looking over the goods of a merchant selling women’s garments, not
from a wish to conform to gender stereotypes but from a genuine
ignorance about female clothing.

I avoid looking up at the slave clothing displayed at the back of the
merchant’s stall.

We test some sweet pastries, and Rorius purchases a batch to provision
us for the onward journey. I am given a small sample of this food,
managing to insert it under my veil without showing any of my face.

Since my transformation I have become more practiced at conducting
myself in public as a free woman. With that improvement I have become
less constantly conscious of being female.

But then, in the crowded city market, we are passed by an example of
the most famous product sold in Torcadino. A line of naked women,
linked together by short chains running from throat to throat, are
being driven towards the auction block.

Most of these hapless females proceed in total defeat, their heads down
and almost oblivious to everything going on around them, but one girl
looks around at the people in desperation, her face red with fear,
hands trying to cover her body.

“I’m of the merchants,” she calls out, “I’m not a slave. Somebody buy
me, and I’ll be able to reward you.”

She tries to pull out of the line, the chain going taut and almost
pulling her neighbour off her feet, until the slave masters move in.
There is a sharp retort from a whip cracking, and the girl jumps
forward with a cry, moving quickly in unison with the others. She would
have been reasonably attractive, were her face not so tear streaked.

The girl behind – she who was nearly dragged off balance – shoves the
other one testily in the back. Thus are settled the petty squabbles of
slaves.

To me, these sights are barbaric. Anyone who believes that the Gorean
system frees women from their repressed nature would only need look at
this merchant girl to learn the real truth. She called out for someone
to buy her, and that is likely to be her fate. Only she will not reward
them out of choice. Soon she will be desperate to do so.

I would rather browse the stalls that witness a fate that will soon be
mine, but the two men want to watch the auction. So I have to acquiesce
and we follow the group along busy streets to emerge onto a main
square, packed with people.

The sights of Gor never fail to surprise me: that such a world can
exist when simultaneously somewhere else a modern, technological,
civilised society is functioning.

The market square in Torcadino is more reminiscent of Ancient Rome, or
perhaps the 19th Century slave trading era. In its centre, Human beings
are sold as property here, from a large wooden platform like a theatre
stage.

Meanwhile in New York, or London, or Tokyo, city commuters will be on
their way to work, unaware of the misery elsewhere in the universe.

Three men, heavily shackled, stand facing the crowd as bidders vie to
possess them. All three are naked.

Their vendor is squeezing one of the men’s upper biceps, to demonstrate
his physical prowess.

The genitals of two of the men are limp and small, perhaps reduced with
fear, but the third man is much more blessed. As our group moves closer
to the platform we hear that he is being taunted for this endowment,
and there is much ribald joking about his ability to satisfy a female
owner.

Furious at the humiliation, the man tenses in his chains and I think
for a moment he’s going to break the iron by force of will. We can see
he is in excellent physical shape and the sounds of the crowd are calls
of appreciation.

The pace of the bidding increases – he has only managed to raise his
sale price.

While the sale progresses the group of naked women we’ve been following
stumble up onto the stage, encouraged by swats from the whips. The male
slaves react immediately, breaking their line and trying to move
protectively towards the females.

I realise from the behaviour of the two groups to each other that they
must be connected. These must be the hapless victims of a raid on the
same town or village. The captive girls are so fresh that none of them
are branded – further evidence they must be recent captures.

“They can sell unbranded females here,” Telisio comments to Rorius,
also noting their unmarked skin. “It is illegal in many cities of Gor.”

It takes some ferocious usage of the lash to drive the two slave groups
apart. The handlers do not use gentle swats – these are brutal lashes
with a whip. Even so the males seem insensitive to harm to their own
bodies, and are only controlled when the slavers threaten the women.

The whole incident is heartbreaking to watch, and I feel tears of
sympathy bead in my eyes.

The men fetch a high price after their display of strength and spirit.

Male slaves are much more valuable than female, owing not just to the
relative abundance of women on the market, but to the men’s ability to
take on more physical work. Female slaves are only useful for domestic
toil, or for providing the pleasures of the furs.

“I’ll find you,” one of the men calls devotedly to one of the women, as
he is driven down the steps from the stage to his new owner. I hope he
is re-united with his love, but it is unlikely.

Even if he does earn his freedom, he may think differently about
liberating a slave girl. He has already been led away by the time the
women are sold.

The whole batch of female captives are traded, much to their chagrin,
to a paga tavern. They sell for a considerably lower price than the
male group.

Paga tavern girls are worked hard. The woman who cried out to the crowd
will undoubtedly have to reward her new owner.

The next girl propelled on the block by a shove is a beauty, but she
looks lifeless and numb with shock. Goreans prefer a girl with spirit,
so her attitude will not assist her price.

“Help me, someone,” she pleads to the crowd in English, and that
explains it. She’s one of the many Urth women, brought here to be sold
as slaves.

“There’s been a mistake,” she calls.

As she’s forced to kneel on the platform she moves awkwardly, lacking
the grace of a Gorean female, as if she’s not completely comfortable in
her own body. Her natural beauty means she has potential, but it will
demand patience and training to bring this out. For this reason she
only sells for a few copper tarsks, to a man of the metalworkers”
caste.

No doubt he will teach her that there has not been a mistake.

The crowd’s attention is caught by the next girl, who moves like a
catwalk model, as proudly as an Ubara, onto the wooden platform. Like
the others were, she is, of course, already naked. There is a Gorean
saying that only a fool buys a woman clothed.

Moving as smoothly as a ballerina, the slave faces the crowd and falls
to her knees. Her thighs are apart, and she holds her breath, lifting
her chest to display her breasts to their best advantage.

This may seem a surprise to a reader unfamiliar with the ways of Gor.
Why would a girl court her own sale, rather than fleeing from it?

The answer is very logical. It is very much in the girl’s best
interests to fetch a high price, as that is likely to indicate a
wealthy master, rather than a poor one.

The lifestyle and tasks assigned to a slave in a rich household are
likely to be more pleasant than those of a slave that works the fields
or cleans the latrines.

The lowest value slaves can even end up as live human bait for the
hunters of urts or sleen – at the bottom of the food chain in every
respect.

This woman here will certainly hope to be the girl of a wealthy owner,
when it can mean the difference between a relatively comfortable
existence and a painful death to her.

Furthermore, the girl will know that as a female slave, her most
important attribute is physical desirability.

A woman purchased to provide sexual pleasure will likely have an easier
life than a female slave bought purely for domestic tasks.

Except for the pleasure women owned by the paga taverns, who will be
worked hard and used repeatedly, the life of “silk girls” can be almost
indolent.

A Gorean would therefore not be surprised that this girl is trying her
best to fetch a good price. But even a Gorean would be impressed by the
way she holds herself.

This one is quite exquisite. I realise I am holding my breath.

She has already been marked – we are looking at a trained kajira, but
my heart leaps when I notice the brand.

“That girl!” I whisper urgently to Telisio.

“She wears the brandius flower – Kurtz’s symbol.”

I am choked with emotion. Kneeling on the platform is my destiny –
something close to the Aurore that will exist in my future. The sight
of her overwhelms me, and I have to lift a gloved hand to my delicate
face as if to hide my veiled expression.

Tala, the slave I knew back in the mountains of The Sardar, was an
attractive kajira, but I’ve never seen a woman like this. She holds
herself with such an instinctive grace that each tiny movement appears
like a part of a dance that she performs involuntarily.

The creature before me is an entire universe of paradoxes – she sits
proudly although in the most humble of positions; something about her
manner is a challenge to every man watching, and yet she is submissive.
She is an exquisite living creature, and yet no more than an object.

“One silver tarsk,” a man is already calling out a bid.

Can this really be my future? I have been told my mission necessitates
my sale back to the agents of the Priest Kings, but those are just
words.

It still seems as unreal as my being Aurore. I try to imagine myself
kneeling in her place, exposed and naked, a slave brand burned in my
flesh. Would I be trying to win the best price, and praying for fate to
deliver me to the right Master?

“Two silver tarsks,” someone shouts from just behind me.

“Three silver tarsks,” a female voice says this time.

“Five silver tarsks,” another man is already outbidding the woman.

Competition for the girl is fierce.

She is exceptionally beautiful, but as I watch the sale I can’t forget
that the female body created for me has the potential to be even more
attractive. Will there be as many bidders when it’s my turn?

“One gold!” someone calls out. There is cheering. Slave sales are an
everyday occurrence, but this auction has become a spectacle. For a
girl to fetch such a high price is unusual.

“One gold, and four silver,” someone else has called.

When the woman finally sells, for two coins of gold, there is cheering
from the crowd and the sound of fists hammering on shoulders – the
Gorean method of applause. Even the girl herself has a slight
expression of pride, as she humbly tries to glimpse her new owner.

I search the crowd and see a man in the colours of a warrior moving
towards the vendor.

Now a naked man is being let in shackles to the platform, but he is a
poor specimen and much of the crowd is dispersing.

Telisio puts his hand on my shoulder gently, and turns me away.

I feel like I want to cry. The barbarity; the humiliation; and the
certainty of my destiny prick my eyes with tears. Visions of my future
overlay the fresh images of the sale in my memory, and it horrifies me.

How could I kneel there to be sold, hoping I’ve been identified by an
agent of the Priest Kings?

Rorius is a few paces ahead, so I have a brief moment to speak to
Telisio. I’ve warmed a little to Rorius since the ambush in the forest,
but Telisio is still more approachable.

“What happens if something goes wrong, and an agent of the Priest Kings
is not there to buy me?” I blurt out.

He smiles at my apprehension.

“Then you’d better please your new Master,” he says.

“It’s not funny,” I insist. “I don’t want to be like her. I’m doing
this in service of the Priest Kings.”

“Perhaps if you move like her, I’ll seek you out and buy you myself,”
he says.

I punch him in the arm, but it doesn’t help. His biceps are like iron,
large and strong compared to Aurore’s weak upper body, and they remind
me of everything I’ve sacrificed.

“You wouldn’t want someone who used to be a man.”

He laughs again, but there is a tension in the air.

“I saw you when you emerged from the tube, Lady Aurore. Remember you’re
certainly a woman now. You would make an excellent slave.”

“I do not have a female mind.”

Telisio looks meaningfully at me. Our conversation has become serious.
Again I wonder if he could desire me. It makes me strangely
uncomfortable.

“That remains to be seen,” he says, “but our mission depends on you
being correct in that statement. A kajira is allowed to hold nothing
back, however. Your only means to survive may be to sacrifice the
person you are now.”

“I will not end up with the mind of a slave,” I repeat. “I will not end
up like those women up there.”

But I am not sure.

11 – A free woman in Schendi

The heat in this place makes me feel faint. It’s like a humid choking
blanket, which makes me drip sweat even if I make the smallest
movement.

Equally overwhelming is the smell. I am inside, far from the city
perimeters, and yet I can smell the damp from the jungle permeating
everything. Mixed into the presence of the jungle is the salt smell of
Thassa, the sea, and the more stagnant water of the muddy Nyoka River.

There is the rich smell of spices – particularly the Gorean equivalent
of cinnamon, and the odours of humanity – sweat and blood and excrement
and sex.

“Lady Aurore?” a female voice says, and I realise my attention has
drifted. I’ve not been listening.

My face grows hot.

“Forgive me, Lady Nessa,” I stammer in my high voice. “The heat and the
humidity – they are difficult for me.”

Generously, Lady Nessa excuses me.

“Like me, you are a woman of the North,” she says, and I can hear the
understanding in her voice. “This climate does not suit you. When we
reach the higher lands up river, you will be more comfortable. Drink
some fruit juice – it will help you.”

Nessa pauses her conversation and turns to instruct the slave girl
serving drinks. She thanks the girl and directs her across to me.

I am impressed. Such politeness in a free person addressing a slave is
unusual. Free women on Gor are expected to treat kajirae with contempt
and distain, but Nessa, it appears, does not.

The slave girl, clothed in the short white camisk that indicates her
status as a domestic, rather than a pleasure slave, kneels before me
and pours me a glass of the same liquid.

Looking across at her takes me back to the last time I was served by a
kajira – when Tala knelt before me in the Priest Kings” sanctuary of
The Nest. Tala was also clad in a camisk.

Then I received service the way that a female slave serves a man of
Gor. This time I am served as woman serves woman.

The noticeable difference is that the slave kneels next to me with her
thighs together. In front of Aurore there is no need for her to flaunt
her body to a fellow female. Rather – the opposite is preferred. Free
women do not like reminders of their sexuality from lowly slaves.

No one present knows that Aurore of the Sardar was once a man.

We are also at the same height, me and this domestic kajira, both of us
being on our knees. Her eyes are level with my own.

Looking across at the kneeling slave, I notice the sweet shape of her
breasts and her hips. I notice the beautiful dark skin of her thighs –
a typical colour for the people of the Schendi region, and think how
pleasant it might be to lie between those limbs.

I have not yet learned to look upon women without the desire of male
eyes.

I consider it a waste that she is only allocated domestic duties when
she could provide other pleasures, but this is sometimes the fate of
beautiful captives.

Free women sometimes purchase attractive slaves, to show their ability
to deny men pleasure. By controlling the slave’s sexual destiny, they
feel more in control of their own.

I snap out of the reverie. I must not think of sex. Women do not spend
their day thinking about sex. I am a woman, and it is too hot under
these robes.

“… great that you are also travelling to a free companionship,” Lady
Nessa is saying, and she giggles naughtily. “We can anticipate the
pleasures to come, together.”

“You look forward to the moment of your union?” I ask uncertainly.

“Most women of high caste are united with companions of financial or
political benefit to their families, rather than joined with the ones
they love.”

“I am lucky. My betrothed is a strong and handsome warrior, well able
to protect me, but he is also a man of intelligence and humour. I have
met him several times. As soon as we are ready to leave Schendi, I will
hasten to be with him.”

This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. I shake my head. Nessa will
never reach her intended. She is a Trojan horse, bearing me to the camp
of Kurtz. A rivulet of sweat drips down my chest to settle between my
breasts.

“What happens if something happens on the way?” I stammer. “We could be
attacked. Have you heard of this man Kurtz, who seizes control of the
jungle territory?”

“We are women – we live our lives under threat,” she replies
tolerantly. “We have experienced and skilled warriors to protect us.
All will be well, Aurore.”

I shake my head. All will not be well. Either Nessa’s caravan will be
attacked and she will fall captive like me, or we will reach our
destination, and my mission will be unsuccessful. Both outcomes are
undesirable.

And I’m so hot in these robes.

I have stopped shaking my head, but the world is still spinning.
Nessa’s voice is getting further away. And next moment, I am being held
upright in my kneeling position by the supporting hands of the kajira.

“Let me help you cool down, Lady Aurore,” Nessa is saying in a voice
filled with concern. “When you’re well enough to walk we can go to the
bath house. It’s the best way to handle the humidity – I visit every
day.”

“What about my escort?” I protest. “Telisio and Rorius?”

The men have gone into the city and left me in Lady Nessa’s custody.

I have not been told the purpose of their trip, and it is perhaps best
I do not know. It might be the last time in their lives for them to
enjoy any pleasure.

However, without them, I feel vulnerable, and my fears are puzzling
Lady Nessa.

“You’re nervous as a young girl on her first robing,” she says. “My men
will accompany us to the doors of the bath house. All will be well.”

She used the same phrase – all will be well. My destiny looms, the
collar closing around my neck, but I must behave as if I’m on my way to
a free companionship ceremony. I must behave as if I’ve always been
female, and trust in my male protectors.

So I let myself be persuaded, and after a short interval we are moving
through the exotic streets of the jungle port, Schendi.

A beggar reaches up cupped hands, calling “Lady, Lady,” and I hide in
the circle of men.

Surrounding us is a retinue of Nessa’s guards. A giant of a man walks
next to me. He keeps being obliged to support me, as fresh waves of
dizziness overwhelm me. This man encloses my forearm easily in his
giant hand. I’m glad he’s on our side – he could break me as easily as
snapping a twig.

I learn from hearing lady Nessa address him that his name is Barolios.

Our destination is one of the more reputable bath houses. It looks
crude from the exterior, but once inside I discover the rooms are light
and airy, decorated with black and white ceramic tiles that remind me
of the interior of a roman villa.

Plants like miniature palm trees grow from ornate pottery.

In the rigidly segregated and private area reserved for the use of
women, I prepare to undress for the first time in front of someone who
doesn’t know my secret.

Already, I am fighting down a blush. Aurore seems to blush much more
easily than Aurius did. It is not a positive aspect of the transition.

As the lady Nessa slips out of her robes, uninhibited in her nakedness
before me, I can’t help stare. She has a lovely slim figure, with long
limbs and wide hips that make her backside look more feminine. Her
breasts are small, but pleasing. I can see her slender ribcage.

When I glance back to her face, I realise she’s noticed my gaze.

“Forgive me – I was admiring your beauty,” is the only thing I can
think of to say.

I hope that it is a normal thing for women to do in each other’s
company, and I appear to get away with it.

She accepts the comment as a compliment, rather than anything sexually
suggestive. Nessa slips into the water of the pool, which I discover
comes up to her thighs.

She might be comfortable with group nudity, but I am blushing even more
profoundly when I slip my own robes over my head to discover that Nessa
is reciprocating the stare.

Her expression is weird – almost a kind of jealous awe.

“Poetry has been written to praise me,” she says in a reverent tone,
“but I appear quite plain compared to you. The Priest Kings have truly
blessed you with your figure.”

“You’re too kind,” I stammer, but lady Nessa has not finished.

“I must admit I’m surprised to see you have such a perfect shape,
because you walk awkwardly – a little like a man does. Perhaps you’re
shy about your beauty, or you haven’t come to terms with being a
woman.”

“You’re more right than you know,” I admit.

Nessa moves right up next to me then, so she’s almost touching, and
casually runs her fingers through Aurore’s long, silken hair.

“And I would give my left arm to have this,” Nessa says longingly.
“It’s an amazing colour.”

I can’t get that blush to fade, and she notices.

“You are very shy though,” Nessa teases, “so I’ll leave you alone,” and
she lies back in the pool, pushing away, closing her eyes and letting
the water suspend her body. Her breasts are lifted beautifully, and I
allow myself a delicious flare of desire.

I crouch down in the pool so the surface laps around my shoulders.

There is a thrill of the forbidden about being here, in the women only
part of the baths, enjoying the sight of a nude Lady Nessa. And her two
ladies in waiting have been despatched on a shopping mission, otherwise
there would be four of us here now.

A slave girl enters the room, clad in a simple camisk. She is here to
help us bathe, and carries a large jug made of rough earthenware for
this purpose.

It is typical on Gor that females serve in both sexes” areas of a bath
house. Free women are strictly forbidden from exposing themselves to
male eyes, whether that male be free or slave. And free men enjoy the
company of slave girls in their recreation time.

With female slaves outnumbering the male across Gor, this is one
serendipitous occasion where supply is suited to demand.

This particular girl kneels at the edge of the pool, her head lowered.
She places her jug down on the tiled floor with a clinking noise.

“Permission to assist you, Mistresses,” she says in a soft voice.

“You may,” Nessa answers without opening her eyes.

The girl gracefully slips her camisk off over her head, and eases
herself into the pool.

She crosses to me first, and begins to delicately wash me.

Nessa abruptly sits up and moves towards me, a mischievous expression
on her face. A wave washes before her, momentarily distorting my view
of her nude body. Her face is only inches from mine now.

“Your betrothed companion places great trust in you and the men that
guard you, lady Aurore,” she smiles impishly. “They are handsome
warriors, and you are a desirable woman.”

I have never considered my companions as attractive, and this must show
on my face.

“What? You have never thought about what it would be like to be furred
by either of them?” she gasps, with wide eyes. “Truly you are the cold
one. Surely in the dark of the night you must image yourself in the
arms of a strong man, and feel the heat burn in your body?”

The blush comes back again. It seems to be an emotional barometer I
can’t control.

I fear for a moment that I have betrayed my male past by showing my
lack of heterosexual interest, but Nessa simply interprets it as a sign
of my exceptional innocence.

“What about Barolios?” she asks, and then gives her wicked giggle
again. “He’s reputed to be a big warrior in every way. Don’t you want
to be chained to his bed?”

My reaction must show, because it provokes a warm, rich laugh from her.
Even the bath slave has forgotten herself and is smiling at me with
amusement.

“Oh, Aurore, you’ll experience such delight when your companion awakens
your body,” Nessa says affectionately, and then her arms are around my
bare shoulders and she kisses my forehead.

I regret being unable to tell her that her one kiss has “awakened” me,
far more than an evening with Barolios ever would.

“Don’t fear,” she adds, releasing me from her arms. “Everything will be
fine for you.”

Everything will not be fine.

The slave remembers herself, and pours water over Nessa’s hair, soaking
into dark spaghetti strings.

I watch this gentle domestic scene, silenced by my inner turmoil.

It’s no good. I must speak.

“I’d expected you to be proud, and haughty, like so many Gorean women,”
I admit. “I’m surprised that I like you so much.”

Nessa laughs merrily.

“Perhaps your exceptional beauty has meant that your male family never
let you out of their sight,” she says, “and you’ve lacked female
friends. While there is a correct formal way for a woman to behave
publically in our society, but we all have a secret life behind closed
doors. We are all women here, and it is safe to relax when we are
alone.”

Nessa stands then, pushing the soaking wet hair away from her face with
both hands, so her breasts are presented delightfully to me. Water
streams down her body. She looks like a pose from a swimsuit calendar.

Of course, she is correct.

The experience with Lady Elveen may have been overly negative. I must
try to adjust to Nessa’s new social perspective. We are all women here.
It is not unnatural to appear nude before one another, and relax in
each other’s company.

Even though one of us has a collar locked round their throat; and one
of us has only been female for less than a month, we are all women
here. And I must come to terms with the truth that we always will be
women.

12 – Apocalypse Now

The water of the river looks as if it might be cool compared to the
constant humidity in the rain forest. I am not to be fooled, though.
Down there lies death.

Early into our journey the river seemed to boil as river thalarion went
into a feeding frenzy over some unfortunate prey they intercepted below
the surface.

Thalarion are lizard-like animals, so the frightening spectacle was
like seeing a wildlife documentary of giant crocodiles attacking. The
sight of their tails thrashing was enough to deter my interest in
swimming.

The deck of our barge is also high above the river, in order to
accommodate the benches of rowers below, so the eight foot drop from
the deck to the water is a further disincentive. It would not be easy
to climb back up.

Nature is cruel, and yet it is beautiful. Looking across to the
riverbanks moving slowly by, I see rain-forest birds of heart-breaking
iridescent beauty. Small mammals that are unknown to me leap between
the trees.

The jungle is an incredible shade of green, more alive than any plant
life I’ve seen before. The river is brown with dissolved sediment.

A giant raptor of a species unknown to me flaps languidly over my head,
with the eviscerated form of one of these mammals dangling limply from
its claws.

“If Kurtz intends to attack us, the best location would be here,” a
male voice says nearby, reminding me that Gor can be a harsh place for
human as well as beast.

It is Barolios speaking – that being the name for the giant man who
accompanied us to the bath house back in Schendi. He is studying a map
with Rorius, and several other men from Nessa’s escort.

His bulk led me to assume Barolios would be mentally slow, lumbering
like a bosk, but I was incorrect. He is clever and tactically shrewd,
qualities which have combined with his combat skill to earn his place
as Nessa’s head bodyguard.

“Here the river is narrow, but not fast,” Barolio continues. “The banks
are steep but not cliffs, so Kurtz has an easier task launching canoes
into the water during an ambush. The lookouts will have less time to
react and give warning. The barge may also be in range of bow-shot from
the banks.”

“To you and I, this is indeed the logical place to attack,” Rorius
agrees. “But it will not be there. Kurtz is a genius. He will have
discovered a way to attack us, where we do not expect it. The attack
will come here, where the river is wide and deep.”

“Kurtz is not superhuman,” Barolios disagrees.

“You have not met him.”

“Any human can be killed. If he attacks us from a strategically weaker
location, we will be victorious,” Barolios counters.

“What concerns me, is understanding how Kurtz will turn the weaker
location into the stronger one,” Rorius says, and with that he walks
across to stare across into the jungle.

The tribute barge carrying the Lady Nessa towards her free
companionship is three days from the port of Schendi, progressing
upstream on the sweltering humid Nyoka River.

Below me the oars dip into the water and pull back, as they’ve already
done for thousands of times during our journey.

Nessa herself should be sufficient incentive to lure most men into
companionship, but according to Gorean customs the barge is laden with
further blessings of goods, coins, and a few slaves.

Accompanying Nessa are the two other free women that act as her
chaperones, and myself – travelling upstream to a fictitious
companionship in the settlement of Cartius.

Each pull of the oars brings us closer to Him.

Rorius and Telisio are nearing the end of their mission, and I approach
the beginning of mine.

I say Rorius and Telisio, but the second of our companions is not on
the barge, and has been invisible to me since Schendi.

After a counsel of war in Schendi it was decided that Telisio’s role
would be to follow us in secret and confirm that my capture takes place
according to plan.

I can only assume he is somewhere close by, although how he might move
through the dense rain forest is a mystery to me.

“There is a village here,” Barolios say, indicating a clearing on the
riverbank populated by a dwellings of mud and straw. “We can ask for
the situation upriver, and ask for word of Kurtz.”

Then with a bass shout to the helmsman, he orders, “bring us in.”

I can imagine the gratitude of the rowers each time we pause.

The river is broad and the current slow, but the dense high surrounding
trees of the rain forest mean that there is no breeze for sails in this
hot and humid hell. Slaves chained below decks are made to pull heavy
oars.

When I feel so unwell on deck, I can’t imagine how much worse this must
be for those unlucky enough to be chained below and engaged in
backbreaking toil.

I look towards the village.

Tribesmen armed with spears have seen the approaching boat and are
prepared to meet us, and there is a nervous couple of moments as both
parties confirm the other does not represent a threat. Then we tie up
at the gently tapered river bank.

“This village may be allied to Kurtz,” Rorius cautions to Barolios
before the other man disembarks. “It is within the range of his
predations.”

My guardian’s behaviour during this voyage has taught me much about the
essence of the Gorean male. It is not in Rorius interests to give
strategic advice to Barolios, when a successful outcome for our mission
is for the barge to fall to Kurtz. And yet he pays attention to our
defences, and more.

I have watched Rorius tell everything of Kurtz he can to Barolios,
short of explaining our mission.

Honour is more important than anything else, to the Gorean warrior. And
so Rorius will not betray the trust of our hosts, the party of Lady
Nessa. The brotherly bond of fellow warriors makes such an action
unthinkable.

His advice has been so thorough, and the barge is so heavily defended,
that I begin to doubt Kurtz could capture this prize.

“I would not cross this Barolios,” I said to Rorius on the first
evening of our voyage, while I watched the huge man practice with his
sword.

“Do you really think Kurtz will capture the barge?”

“Yes,” Rorius said.

And that was the end of the matter.

Once the tribe have decided we’re not raiders, the whole village turns
out to see us. All are dark-skinned, as is typical in this region of
Gor, so a rare pale-skinned group from the north we are an interesting
spectacle.

Their warriors are muscular and intimidating, wearing nothing but
loincloths so their prowess is flaunted. The free women wear grass
skirts, but are bare breasted – a dress code that would scandalise in
most cities of this world. Slaves are shamelessly naked, except for
collars made of twine to mark their status.

I almost envy these women their dress. Nessa has provided me with some
lighter robes to cover me decently, but I am sweating so profusely that
these are soon soaked. I frequently have to retreat to the privacy of a
tented area provided for the free women, because the clinging wet robes
indecently reveal my body shape.

There in the tent I can temporarily strip and hang my robes up to dry
out, but the humidity means the effect is limited.

To the villagers” untrained gaze, Nessa; the ladies of her retinue; and
myself must look freakish. Indeed – the village women permitted onto
the deck finger my robes with unabashed curiosity.

I find myself drawing into a close circle with the other females from
our group.

I decide I do not like this place. I would prefer we were moving
upriver.

“How long must they talk?” I whisper to Lady Nessa in a whining voice.

But the men seem in no rush to depart.

Barolios and his adjutant talk to the village headsman – his status
marked by an ornate headdress of feathers from the forest birds. The
latter is nodding vigorously, gesticulating towards the jungle in the
upstream direction.

Slaves swarm across the barge, carrying on fresh water and various
goods that are traded by the free. They merge with the local slaves
that form part of Nessa’s tribute, and I am concerned that tribute
slaves might escape to join the village women.

“Managwa,” a pendulously breasted village woman says to me in an alien
dialect. She lifts my veil part aside to see my face. I permit it,
after being certain that I’m not visible to any of the men, but even
this small amount of exposure is enough to make me feel shame.

“Beh-cheely managwa,” she says in a tone of satisfaction, releasing the
veil to cover me once more.

With this continued unwanted attention from the village females, I am
grateful when the men conclude their business and we can pull back into
the river current.

A drum sounds somewhere below, and once more the oars begin their
rhythmic dips into the water, pulling us slowly upstream. The villagers
wave us off. Two small girls are laughing at us, nudging each other
with their elbows and pointing at the strange free women in their heavy
robes.

They form a circle with their fingers around their throats – a symbol I
interpret as representing a slave collar. Then they point at me again.

What do they mean?

It is too late. The barge pulls round a sharp curve in the river and we
lose sight of the village.

I have to sit down, or more accurately kneel on a cushion in the manner
of women. I am still not acclimatised to the humidity, and it takes
only a little tension to make me feel faint.

At a crawl, our barge makes its progress up the lazy coils of the
river.

The sun sets rapidly in this region and nightfall brings some respite,
as there is a little drop in the temperature.

That night a meal is cooked on an ingenious open metal bowl like a
barbecue, designed to protect the flammable barge.

In the privacy of the tent the women dress in fresh robes for the
night, as our daywear is damp and uncomfortable. A slave helps me robe
myself – an ebony beauty so exceptionally graceful I’m surprised I’ve
not noticed her before. She is nude except for the steel collar typical
in Lady Nessa’s retinue, and yet apart from keeping her eyes down she
holds herself like an Ubara.

“Thank you,” I say to her.

The woman passes a comment in a local dialect, her tone humble. She
doesn’t seem to understand high Gorean.

“A night with you would be special,” I can safely comment.

Satisfied with my dress the girl bows and departs to another part of
the barge. I then join the free women and the men around the firebowl,
ready to eat.

These robes are looser about my lower body than the heavier robes of
the north. I can take longer steps without being restricted by the
fabric. I am in a good mood.

We have chosen the spot indicated by Barolios to spend the night. The
river is wide enough to almost be a lake here. There are watchers on
guard at the front and rear of the barge, and the moons are bright,
making it easier to see.

The river banks, far enough away to be out of range, are like cliffs.
It would take some time for attackers to reach us, even in the fastest
canoe. Thalarion in the ink-black water protect us from any threat by
swimmers.

I feel like I can relax in such a well-protected location, but Rorius
is as tense as a mousetrap.

“He’s coming,” he says, irritated, pacing the boards of the deck. “I
just can’t see how.”

In the flickering black shadows of the firelight it is easier to lift
the veil and eat and drink.

Everyone except Rorius seems calm – Another naked slave woman pours me
a cup of liquid, and I cough at the fiery taste of alcohol. People
mingle freely.

At one point Lady Nessa hugs me, her small arm tight around my neck. I
can smell the same alcohol on her breath.

“A few more days and we can be with our men,” she says into my ear.

The drifting groups bring me back to Rorius again.

“You are one of the few men not drinking, or taking a slave to the
furs,” I comment. “The moons of Gor are playing games with all the
others.”

“He comes,” Rorius says determinedly, “I must keep my head’.

A question has been in my mind for a while, and this seems a good
opportunity to ask.

“You say you have met Kurtz?” I ask, and he nods.

“What does he look like? I don’t know how to recognise him.”

Rorius seems to think this is good information to disclose.

“Kurtz is very distinctive. He is completely hairless – some say he has
exotic breeding somewhere in his ancestry. He is a big man, very
strong. He stands like an Ubar.”

Absorbing this, I watch the movement of the exquisite dark slave girl
as she disappear below the decks, carrying a large amphora of liquid
and a flickering lamp to illuminate her path. She must be treating the
men below to some of the liquor.

“That new one there is quite exceptional,” I comment, trying to lighten
his mood as I point a gloved hand towards her slender back. My tongue
is loosened by the hot drink so I add, “She makes me wish I was still a
man.”

He looks up briefly at the girl, and then across to me.

“You must accept your fate, Aurore,” Rorius says intently, grasping my
forearms.

“Listen to me, because once the attack begins we might not get chance
to speak again. You must serve Kurtz in whatever way is required to
stay alive and complete your task. Do not try to resist until death
like a warrior. Honour for you is not found in resistance, but
survival. Yield to him as a slave, and serve him in every way.”

I am about to reply, but Rorius” expression has changed to one of
horror. He stares into the distance, as if his mind is working at
lightning speed.

“Of course, a slave,” he says, and he is on his feet, running towards
the hatch to the lower decks with his sword already half drawn.

I look after him in confusion. Others are also staring, aware that
something is wrong but not comprehending the nature of the threat.

Only a moment later the explanation comes, revealed by a strange
flicker from below and the smell of smoke. It is not the smoke from the
coals or from roasting meat.

It is wood smoke.

From one of the slaves chained at the rowing benches, there comes a
male scream.

The barge is on fire.

13 – Flames on the Water

Everything is ablaze, burning from below. The speed the fire spreads is
supernatural. Someone must have spread something flammable to help the
fire take hold so quickly, and I understand Kurtz method of attack –
arson.

The dark slave girl emerges from the hatch, minus the amphora. Her eyes
widen with fear as she sees Rorius bearing down on her, and she darts
away into the panicked people milling around on the deck.

Rorius does not follow her though – instead he continues down the
hatch.

There is another scream from below, and then another. These are
desperate animal cries of pain, which break the heart and curdle the
blood.

I understand Rorius” purpose.

The slaves are chained to their benches, and will either burn alive
trapped in their places, or drown when the barge sinks. He is
attempting to free them, or perhaps end their misery.

The brutality of Kurtz plan astounds me.

Only a madman could conceive this idea – surely not a servant of the
Priest Kings? He will let all these chained rowers die an agonising
death just to achieve his goal. And yet, it is as Rorius said – genius.

All the strategic advantages of our location have been turned against
us. With our mooring surrounded by cliffs, it will be more difficult
for us to escape to shore, and there is insufficient time to manoeuvre
the barge without its human power source. Our carefully contrived
defences are meaningless. Warriors cannot make war against fire.

The smoke is getting dense enough to make me cough.

I move to the side of the barge where the air is cleaner, and catch my
first glimpse of the enemy.

War canoes are visible crossing towards us, illuminated by the flicker
of flames. They have high prows and sterns, almost like Viking
longships, and they’re pulled by oars rather than paddles.

I count four ships.

No-one shoots at them, and their progress is sedate, leisurely even.

Rorius backs up from the hatch, and turns to me. He is weeping and
coughing. His bare forearms are a strange colour, burnt to the shade of
cooked lobster. A cinder singes his hair.

“I couldn’t save them,” is all he can manage, and he leans forward,
choking.

People mill about on the deck without purpose. There is nowhere to run.
At one point I bump into the lady Nessa. Even with the veil on, I can
tell she is crying.

“I can’t swim,” she sobs.

A warrior charges between us, and we are separated. I stumble, almost
knocked over.

Someone grabs my forearm then, a strong, male grip, and I am pulled
upright. It is Rorius.

“To the prow,” he says, leading me towards the front of the barge.

It is a sensible location.

The fire has been started in the centre of the barge, so there is less
smoke near the prow. The rail is also higher here, so we will have
greater protection from the approaching canoes.

Rorius turns me to face him. His hands are on my shoulders.

“Are you ready?” he asks me, and his voice is urgent but gentle. “They
are coming.”

“Yes,” I reply.

“Then I wish you safe paths, Aurore of the Sardar.” He says with grave
formality, and he touches his lips to my forehead like a benediction.

My gaze is caught by movement behind him. The nude ebony slave is at
the rail, stretching towards the canoes as elegantly as a cat.

“Masters!” she calls to the canoe in perfect Gorean.

“Udumi,” a male voice replies from close by.

I risk a glance over the side of the barge.

The canoes are packed with armed men. I can see them clearly.

They have weapons already drawn – a combination of swords and bows, but
no-one is firing on either side of this conflict.

I do not see a man who answers the description of Kurtz.

Rorius looks to the ebony slave girl and his face darkens.

“This one final injustice I can correct,” he growls.

I don’t need an explanation. I can still hear the screams of those
trapped below, and there is a smell like burnt pork.

Rorius draws his sword and moves towards the woman. Her attention is
taken with the approaching canoes, and by the time she turns to notice
him, he is almost on her.

But Rorius never reaches his target.

Even above the screaming and shouting of human beings and the roar of
the fire, I hear the noise.

I will never forget it.

It is a soft swish, a mere bird’s wing in the jungle.

My guardian sinks to the deck, twisting as he goes so he lands almost
flat on his back.

An arrow has passed right through Rorius” neck, lodging horizontally
with the tip pointing towards me. Blood is already starting to run down
onto his shoulders in a steady rivulet.

We haven’t been the greatest of friends since our first meeting in the
towers of the Nest, high in the Sardar Mountains, but I feel horror and
sympathy as I see the oncoming death in his eyes.

I hurriedly kneel next to him, and lift his head into my lap, looking
helplessly into his eyes.

Rorius coughs, spitting out a mouthful of blood.

Then reaches up to my face, almost tenderly, touching the veil at my
cheek. His lips mouth something that looks like “Aurore’.

“It’s okay,” I reply in a trembling voice. I want to convey my
forgiveness for any animosity there’s been between us, before he dies.

He mouths a second word. It looks like “Telisio’.

I am proud for him. Rorius is in his final moments, but he’s still
concerned about the safety of his friend.

“He’s not with us,” I say rapidly. “Don’t worry – I think he’s safe,
somewhere back there in the forest.”

Rorius is already shaking his head, as if there’s something more
important he needs to tell me. But that small movement shifts the
arrow, still lodged through his neck. He coughs another gout of blood
over his face, and then his body goes limp and his head lolls to the
side.

Gently resting the inert skull back on the deck I stand up, blinking
back tears.

For the first time as a Gorean woman, I am unprotected.

There is no time to mourn. His last instruction to me was to survive,
and as a soldier I am trained to do so. From somewhere near the back of
the barge, there comes a female scream.

A bump tells me the canoes have arrived. Warriors are climbing
carefully onto the deck.

“Surrender, or die,” calls a tall bearded man with his sword drawn to
the defenders.

This is not Kurtz either. Is Kurtz too important to even attend this
mission?

I hate him.

Some of our warriors do choose death before dishonour, and step up with
tremendous bravery to meet the opposing force. But most are already
laying down their swords.

One who does not give in is Barolios, the giant who leads Nessa’s
guard.

He swings his sword in a wide dangerous arc as he’s gradually
surrounded by a circle of his enemies. I’m hoping for some heroic last
stand, but life on Gor is not like a novel.

From behind, someone cracks him on the skull with a stave of wood, and
Barolios sprawls face first to the floor, unconscious.

“There’s another woman,” a nearby male voice calls, and I look round.
Two warriors have noticed me.

I dart away, back down towards the rear of the boat. There are fewer
people milling round on the deck now – some have already been loaded as
captives across to the canoes.

It is only an ehn since the canoes arrived, but the raid has already
reached the clean-up stage.

Two men drag a heavy chest towards one of the ships. It contains the
wealth that is Nessa’s dowry, and her hopes for the future.

My heart pounds as I flee the two men. They almost catch up to me but I
am saved by a roar of steam from below which separates us like a
curtain of heat. The river has broken through below – imminently we
will sink.

I move towards the rear of the boat, but only to meet another enemy
warrior.

“Tal, woman,” he greets me in the Gorean manner.

“Help, please,” a female voice from down near the deck distracts me. At
the man’s feet lies a woman. She is dressed in the robes of the free,
and yet she is bound hand and foot. It is one of Nessa’s ladies in
waiting. I am not in a position to aid her.

The man smiles lasciviously at me. Already his hands reach for coils of
thin leather at his belt.

I am familiar with these coils from the incident at our overnight camp
– they are called binding fibres. Their purpose is to secure prisoners.

It is my mission to be captured, and yet I cannot let myself be taken
without resisting.

I try to jab at his face with Aurore’s fist, but he laughs, dodging and
grabbing my forearm, then twisting the limb so I am forced to present
my back to him rather than let it be broken.

“Who are you?” I demand, trying to mask my terror and instead sound
strong, insolent, as a free woman of Gor might.

I feel a circle of the binding fibre slip over my wrist, and he reaches
for my free arm.

The deck of the ship lurches and tilts, pressing my back against him
and pushing us both into the side of the barge. I am in his arms almost
intimately.

“We are the men of Kurtz, lady,” he says affably to me. “You are being
taken captive by the men of Kurtz.”

This is how I learn than I have been successful in the first phase of
my mission, and yet as he grabs my other wrist and easily crosses my
arms behind me, I do not feel pleased.

End of part 1.

Olga’s note:

I have a clear direction for Aurore’s final fate but there’s still room
for manoeuvre, so if there’s a Gorean storyline you’re desperate to see
– post me a nice review to tell me. No promises, but I’ll see what I
can do.

Deleted Scenes

Olga’s note: I’m never sure how patient you’re going to be out there in
reader-land, so Olga tradition is to include a section for any deleted
scenes I write, then you can create your own personal longer version of
the story if you wish.

10a – Circle of Hell

Olga’s note: This short text inserts into the Torcadino chapter,
between the sale of the Urth girl and the sale of the Kurtz girl. It
describes a Gorean game, loosely based on the sexual harassment that
was really inflicted on women during Egypt’s Tahrir Square protests.

I wrote the section to introduce something that I might use in a later
section of the story. But it makes the Torcadino chapter too long, and
in my view it means there too many examples of the mistreatment of
slaves. But you may want to put it back into your own version…

The noise of the crowd intensifies – it the sound of men shouting, but
I can see no fresh meat being walked to the platform. Telisio and
Rorius push forward towards the source of the sound, steering me
protectively along with them.

“What is going on?” I ask.

“It’s a circle of hell,” Telisio calls back.

His face shows mirth, excitement. I should know enough of Gor to expect
something unpleasant, but the sight still shocks me.

Through the heads and bodies that surround me I can see a round
clearing in the crowd of people. At its centre is a girl, nude, but
uncollared. She is in a half crouch, looking as alert as a panther.

Slavers stand forming the edge of the circle, each man dressed in the
same livery, as though they form a group.

I count six men, and I notice that the circumference of the ring is
such that they are spaced quite far apart.

“They are recapturing an escaped slave?” I ask Telisio, having to shout
over the noise.

“Not yet,” he replies. “It is a form of sport. They have removed the
slave’s collar. She wins her freedom if she can break free from the
ring. If they catch her, she will be taken to the platform and
immediately sold.”

Sympathetically I look to the girl. Her eyes dart around wildly,
searching desperately for a weak point in the circle.

“The slavers will gradually close the ring,” Telisio continues to
explain. “So she has a dilemma. If she tries for the edge of the circle
early, they have more time to anticipate her and react. If she waits
for a long time, the ring is smaller, and also the spaces between the
men.”

“Do they ever escape?” I ask.

“Not very often, but it sometimes happens. A sport where there is no
chance of victory or defeat is no sport.”

I clench my fists, silently cheering on the naked woman.

She makes her move then, darting not forward, but to a space between
two men at her left hand side. She has her body lowered, bent at the
waist, hoping to duck beneath grasping arms.

It is a ploy that is almost successful.

Only at the very last moment does a slaver close his giant arms over
her waist. She nearly slips her hips through his hands, but then he has
her tightly held, and he is lifting her up high into the air and back
to the ring.

She kicks out in vain, thighs drawn in to herself so her flailing looks
like the dance moves of a ballerina in a lift.

Then the men are upon her. It does not take long before she is
restrained again.

The crowd are cheering and there is much applause. The atmosphere is
festive.

With her wrists bound she walks to the block, head bowed in defeat and
all resistance gone.

The girl fetches a good price. She has shown some spirit during the
game.

Telisio informs me that slavers sometimes play the circle of hell
solely to raise a captive’s sale value. It can display the vivacity in
a slave of only moderate quality, making her more desirable.

I only saw cruelty in the game.

The captive was almost looking straight at me as her wrists are lashed
together behind her. I did not see spirit. I saw the moment where the
hope died in her eyes.

10b – Stories by the Fire

Olga’s note: One of the themes in the original Heart of Darkness novel
is the narrator’s obsession with Kurtz, and the number of stories about
Kurtz that are told before meeting the character in person.

I wanted to pay tribute to this in Daughter of Gor, which has many of
the same themes (there’s a clue to what’s coming next). So here is a
campfire story about Kurtz that takes place during the journey from the
Sardar to Schendi.

This doesn’t make the final cut as there’s already a campfire sequence
with the ambush by robbers, which I felt was more essential to the
narrative – before the robbery sequence Aurore has been a little too
secure in the knowledge that she will be rescued by agents of the
Priest Kings if everything goes to plan. The ambush forces her to
experience the fear of the unknown common to other Gorean women.

A second reason is that while this is nice backstory for Kurtz, it
doesn’t add to the progression of the main storyline.

However I like the juxtaposition created by introducing another TG
story though (that will make sense when you read the chapter), so it’s
included here in the deleted scenes.

Telisio prods the campfire with a stick, provoking a shower of sparks
and embers to rise into the night sky.

“Kurtz better appreciate this,” he grumbles. “Every muscle in my body
aches.”

I know how he feels. I’ve endured yet another gruelling day cramped in
a small basket suspended beneath a tarn. Aurore’s female derriere might
be more rounded than the male equivalent, but my buttocks and thighs
are still as sore as if I’ve climbed a mountain.

Only yesterday we were resting in Torcadino, but all the aches and
pains and exhaustion are back.

“It is worth it for the mission. He is not an easy man to outwit,”
Rorius says. “Aurore is our only idea to place an agent in the camp
that Kurtz might not detect.”

“You sound as if you respect him,” Telisio says.

Rorius smiles to himself.

“He is a military genius. Kurtz wins by considering the tactic that no-
one else would. That is why he deserves the title of Ubar that his men
give him.”

“Can you give me an example?” I ask, speaking for the first time.

Women are not expected to speak much, in the households of Gor. Rorius
and Telisio seem to insist I conform to the expected female behaviour,
and after a number of days, I’ve learned it’s easier to go along with
it.

But this time I have to break my silence – this is the man I might soon
serve as slave. I wish to know more of him.

Rorius, considers, and then consents. His treatment of me has improved
since night we were attacked, in a clearing very similar to this one.

“At one time no one in the city of Ko-Ro-Ba believed it could ever
fall,” Rorius begins. “There were too many warriors; the walls were too
high; the gates were made from the thickest wood. A mighty army would
be required to lay siege to the place.”

“When the priest kings wished the city to be destroyed, the task was
given to Kurtz. His men prepared themselves to plan the attack, but
Kurtz disappeared into seclusion for six days, sealing himself into the
library. They say he did not eat or drink during this time.”

Rorius pauses, and prods the fire as Telisio did a few moments ago.

“If there was a time that the city was at its most desirable for
capture, it was ten days later,” he resumes.

“More desirable to capture, but even more difficult to take. Word had
reached Ko-Ro-Ba that the caravan Lady Pilata of Tharna, one of the
wealthiest women on Gor and one of the few free women destined for
political leadership, was going to pass through the city on her way to
a diplomatic visit in Ar.”

“She was rumoured to be an exceptional beauty.” Rorius pauses and
smiles to himself. “No one on Gor knows how such rumours get abroad
when the women are constantly robed and veiled. Only other women see
their faces, and their opinions might not be the same as those of a
man. All the same, with women such as her, everyone has heard they are
beauties.”

“People came out of their houses and workplaces to watch as her caravan
approached. It was quite a spectacle.”

“There were a series of wagons, drawn by bosk. Each wagon was shaped
like a cube and draped with ornate fabrics. People wondered what riches
must be underneath if this fabric was merely a covering.”

“Lady Pilata herself was heavily guarded. The women of Tharna fear the
fall into slavery more than most. Her many warriors walked alongside
the wagons, as though riding on the bosk was beneath them.”

“The lady was carried into the city on a palanquin, mounted on the back
of a single bosk. Her face was covered with a steel mask, as is the
custom with the female rulers of Tharna. Lady Pilata’s mask was
fashioned with a great steel sad tear below one eye, and the face had
an expression of determined sorrow as if she was reluctantly passing a
judgement of death.”

“Around Pilata was a display of exceptional wealth. The most important
free women are always accompanied by a retinue of ladies, and Pilata
was no different. The people of Ko-Ro-Ba marvelled at the women of
Tharna, each one in the steel mask instead of the traditional Gorean
veil.”

“Her caravan proceeded majestically towards the city’s central square,
surrounded by the tallest of the cylindrical towers, watched by the
crowd. It was at the moment of their arrival in the square that Kurtz
chose to begin his attack.”

“As the caravan halted, the crowd saw something unexpected. Lady Pilata
lifted a great sword, making a vertical chopping motion. Her warriors
reacted instantly, drawing their swords and moving into the crowd,
striking the warriors and the men of Ko-Ro-Ba, but leaving the women
and the children.”

“The women of the caravan also revealed weapons. Bows – the giant
Gorean longbows, that they’d managed to conceal in the loose folds of
their robes.”

“It took a little time for the crowd to understand what was happening.
In fact the first of the city’s women had even been led to their places
in a slave chain still believing that this might be some kind of staged
entertainment. But it was an entertainment at the citizens” expense.”

“Arrows had shot the men guarding the walls and the towers. Some of
them fell dead to the streets below. It was at this point that the
first alarms sound.”

“Panic broke out then. The people of Ko-Ro-Ba understood they were
being attacked. But it was too late. The women of Pilata pulled away
their robes, to reveal they were also warriors. Only one of them
remained robed – Pilata herself, wearing that sad weeping mask.”

“There were no women in the party of Lady Pilata. There was only Kurtz,
bringing slavery or death to Ko-Ro-Ba.”

“The ornate fabrics over the caravans were pulled back to reveal their
contents. Slave cages, except for one caravan which was fortified for
Kurtz men to use for defence.”

Rorius sits back, stretching.

“The rest is Gorean history. The city fell, as the Priest Kings had
decreed. The old, and those who resisted were killed. All who had value
as slaves were led to a place in the chains. They say the trail of
captives stretched for more than a mile.”

“Each of Kurtz” men was rewarded with ten females to do with as he saw
fit. Kurtz had been at the centre of the battle, in the most intense
fighting, but he took no reward. Only at the end did Kurtz remove his
mask and robes, to reveal his identity.”

He looks around the campfire to each of us, his face almost becoming
gentle as he looks at me.

“Most Gorean men would see it as a dishonourable way to fight by robing
themselves as females,” he says, and almost smiles as he says, “That’s
why a man of Urth was chosen to become Aurore. But not Kurtz. Honour,
custom, and dignity were set aside in accomplishing his goals. But he
took no pride in the acts, setting an example to his men by declining
the rewards.”

“That is why his followers call him Ubar.”


©Olga Turlovna

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