Story of Gor, Daughter of Gor – Part 3

Daughter of Gor – Part 3
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 so far:

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 slavery
in Kurtz’ compound. They hoped his male brain would make her immune to
the power of Kurtz’ will.

Earth-man Aurius of London was chosen for that mission, and surviving
the transformation process became the breath-taking redhead female,
Aurore of the Sardar.

Only when Aurore had spent some time as pleasure slave to Kurtz did she
discover it was his plan, and not that of the Priest Kings, that had
led to her transformation.

Kurtz had been suffering something akin to mental breakdown, driven by
the alien Kurii, (enemies of the Priest Kings), to question the
acceptance of rape and slavery in Gorean society. Aurore was his living
experiment, to test whether the true nature of woman was to find
happiness in the place as slave to a master, or as a free independent
being.

However Kurtz’ feelings for Aurore grew and prevented her living a true
slave’s life, producing an ambiguous result, and when the external
threats to the compound became too great he ordered her to abandon him
and return to the safety of the Nest.

Unfortunately Aurore was abducted before she even began the journey.
But where is she now?

The Second Interlude – A nightmare in silk – part 2

Deep under the warm waters of Lake Ushindi, I blink into the gloom. The
pressure this far below makes my blood pound in my ears with each
heartbeat, as if I am in a womb rather than alone in a vast empty
expanse of water. But apart from the sounds of my own living body, it
is utterly silent in the depths.

Down here there is little to illuminate the inky blackness, but when I
stare far up above me I see that moonlight is still glimmering on the
gently rippling surface of the lake.

I feel no panic – quite the opposite. I don’t seem to need to breathe,
so I’m suffused with a dreamy calm. All the same, I elect to move
upwards in easy swimming strokes, reaching out with my thin arms to
pull myself towards the light.

I become aware that something is dragging between my legs, slowing me
down. Perhaps they are my heavy masculine genitals.

But no – they are woman’s arms I see propelling me upwards. That’s
right – I’m a woman now. I’m not the soldier that I once was – a
battle-hardened veteran who witnessed many horrors, including my best
friend Lieutenant Dodds blown to pieces in Helmand Province. How could
I have forgotten my transition? I’m a woman, and the clothing I can
feel is my slave silk. Degrading slave silk is fastened at my waste and
dragging between my thighs.

The fabric moves against my pudenda as intimately as a lover’s touch,
stirred by the currents, and an awakening deep in my belly warns me
that the caress of silk is stimulating my female body into a state of
arousal.

The growing warmth irritates me. This is not the time to satisfy my
desires, so I do my best to ignore the sensation, even though it is
pleasurable.

Instead I strike harder for the moonlit air above.

I break the surface of the water, but during my time in the silent
depths the familiar compound has been transformed to a scene of horror.

Everything is in flames, and silhouettes of warriors move in front of
the blaze, projecting vast shadows. Real Kurii stride among the
phantoms, but not Kurii like I’ve ever seen before. These are Godzilla
sized creatures – hundreds of feet high. Their eyes glitter with insane
bloodlust, and froth drips from their fangs.

“No!” I plead. How are such monsters to be fought? Everyone will be
killed.

“She’s waking up,” a woman’s voice echoes urgently from far beyond the
universe. “Give her some more of the drink. Keep her under until we’re
further away.”

“That’s dangerous,” the voice of Udumi disagrees, also from somewhere
beyond the horrific scene of slaughter I am watching. “We don’t know
how the brandius flower will work in combination with the drug you used
to knock her out.”

“What are you – a physician?” the first woman’s voice counters. “Give
it to her, or I’ll take that potion from your corpse and do it myself.
We can’t take the risk of her betraying our position. Do it now!”

Meanwhile one of the giant Kurii is tearing a man in the red tunic of
the warriors in half, just as Dodds was dismembered in Afghanistan. It
is Petrucus, he who was once master to Nessa. I try to scream but no
sound comes.

“You’ll answer to them if she dies,” Udumi says calmly from an infinite
distance, but then her words are suddenly right next to me, even though
I can’t see her.

“Open your mouth Aurore,” Udumi’s voice says soothingly. “You’re unwell
and I’m going to give you something that will make you more
comfortable.”

I don’t understand what is happening to me, but if Udumi is here,
everything must be okay. It’s all some kind of fever induced by
sickness. Kurtz never dismissed me – I imagined that too, and I’m being
comforted right now in the pens.

I am safe.

She is lifting my head. Obediently I open my mouth, expecting a
spoonful of medicine, but a wad of cloth is shoved between my teeth
instead. It’s soaked with some kind of liquid, something as cold and
bitter as my hopes.

Why can’t she just let me sip from a cup? I can’t be that ill. I shake
my head, trying to expel the cloth with my tongue and explain how
unnecessary it is, but something is already being wrapped around my
cheeks like a tie, and the mouthful is held in place.

Liquid drips and splashes against the back of my throat and I
reflexively swallow. I’m scared of choking – vomiting against the ball
of wet fabric in my mouth, but as soon as the fluid reaches my stomach
it fills me with the same calm I felt deep under the lake.

“So this is the famous brandius flower?” a different female voice is
asking Udumi. This one’s tone is growing less tense with each word,
settling with my own sense of peace.

“An infusion of the plant,” Udumi corrects. “It will make her continue
to hallucinate, but the aphrodisiac properties of drug are much more
powerful than the narcotic. One of you should arouse her with your
touch and her visions will turn to pleasurable images, keeping her
relaxed.”

There is a cynical chuckle.

“I’m not touching another girl,” the other voice counters with open
hostility. “You arouse her – slave!”

There is a taunting emphasis on the final “slave”, but their voices are
leaving me. The Kurii have also gone and I am falling back to the lake,
spiralling like a feather.

I become aware of a sound in the background, like a chord sung by a
vast choir, never stopping but building steadily in volume.

The music resonates through me, pooling at my nipples and my sex, but
as well as the caress from the sound there is also a real physical
touch. My lover and my master, Kurtz, is probing intimately against me,
looming as I lay supplicant underneath him, ready to take me as his,
and I moan with pleasure, begging him to use me as his slave.

But perhaps I am wrong and he is not in my most intimate place, because
my mouth is also filled with his sex. I move my tongue against the
bulky bitter-tasting mass, attempting to please him.

No, that image is gone too. I am still a man, back in the Priest King’s
home of The Nest, before my transformation. It is I who am on top,
claiming the naked body of the slave girl Tala.

Poor Tala. She was sent to my furs with no choice whether to please me
or not, but all the same she writhes underneath me in ecstatic
pleasure, too aroused to keep still.

My breasts crave a caress, just like Tala wants me to touch her, so I
arch my back and groan, pulling my nipples away from me.

If I have breasts I must be Aurore and not Aurius. Yes, I’m Aurore and
I’m in the water cage with Kwesi.

I was foolish to fear him, so this time I let him fill me as deep as my
abdomen with his tremendous organ. I wrap my legs around his body, and
he supports me in the water, holding one of my buttocks with each giant
hand.

The cage is filled with lake water and some of it splashes on the back
of my throat. I swallow and find it strangely bitter, like the fruit
they gave us in the slave pens.

As soon as I think of the prison that was my home I am no longer in the
cage, but I find myself back in that room with so many other nude
women.

Lying head to toe with Udumi we move towards each other’s cores, lips
kissing intimately and fingers probing.

But no, that can’t be right, Udumi does not lay with other females. I
look up questioningly to see is the beautiful Taluna, Ailsa, who
pleasures me.

She touches me again, throwing fuel on my already blazing passion, and
I cry out my pleasure. I am lost in the moment of Ailsa, Udumi, Kwesi,
Tala and Kurtz.

I melt, becoming as liquid as the lake, and dissolve into its waters.

35 – I have new owners. Others enjoy a change in social status.

There is sunlight and my head rests on a pillow of dead leaves. This
place where I’m lying is warm with the tropical climate, but unlike the
grassy swampland around the compound, it is shaded here.

Above me is the canopy of jungle trees, vast trees that are hundreds of
years old. I am in the main rainforest.

It is quiet in this new place, except for the exotic calls of tropical
birds, the buzzing of insects and the faint rustling of the breeze
through the foliage.

I blink, not certain that what I see is reality, or the beginning of
another series of hallucinations.

Abruptly I try to sit upright, but realise that I can’t move as I wish.
A pain in my head stops me, so severe that a warrior’s sword must be
piercing my skull.

My gorge rises as if I have the world’s worst hangover, and I
understand there is a rag held in my mouth. I panic. If I vomit, I
could choke to death.

Looking around frantically for aid I barely register that I don’t know
this place. It looks like a nomadic campsite, claiming just enough
space from the rainforest for a few tents around a fire.

The bundle of cloth must be removed immediately, but I can’t do it,
because my hands are pinned together behind my back. My fingers probe
urgently, and brush against some kind of coarse rope. I discover that
my arms are tied together at the wrists, and further attempts to
struggle tell me there is also a set of ropes above my elbows. They
restrict me uncomfortably, straining muscles and cutting into my flesh.

I have been restrained enough times to know that these bindings are
inescapable, and I grow more desperate.

“She’s awake,” a woman’s voice says from close by.

I demonstrate this my jerking my bare legs enough to lift my torso into
a sitting position, discovering in the process that a third set of
ropes lash my ankles together.

There is another intense flare from the headache, and my stomach gives
another threatening roll, but this time I manage to get into a sitting
position. Upright, I use my tied arms as a prop so I can look around,
and with the nausea under control my panic starts to subside.

I am in a ring of Taluna, the Amazon-like panther women of Gor. Some of
the Taluna are standing, some are crouching, and some are sitting on
logs strategically locating around this forest clearing, but I am the
only one bound.

Several of the girls, despite being clad in animal skins that identify
them as free panthers, have rusted slave collars about their necks and
brands at their thighs. Runaways. A couple of these former kajirae are
exceptional beauties – their masters were foolish to let girls such as
they escape.

I do not recognise this tribe – they are not the group of Ailsa.

When I attempt to speak to these women, I emit a muffled and incoherent
sound, reminding me I am gagged.

Probing with my tongue I find the rag is still wet, but from my saliva
rather than the drug. The bitter taste of the brandius has almost
faded.

“You can free her mouth,” one of the panthers says. I look to the voice
and see a stocky girl with frizzy brown hair. Udumi, following orders
by instinct, steps in and fumbles at the back of my head.

So Udumi really is here. That part wasn’t a dream.

When the cloth is pulled from my mouth my stomach immediately heaves,
as if my body has been waiting for the first safe moment to purge
itself, and I vomit a thick fluid like slave broth.

Once my stomach is back under control I look again at my captors, who
seem willing to watch silently and let me take the initiative.

I will do that by trying to gather intelligence on my situation.

I select the one I consider most beautiful, considering that she is
most likely to be the leader. Across both worlds, people are drawn to
follow beauty.

This girl is a willowy creature, almost gangly and exceptionally tall,
with big green eyes and hair the colour of straw. She holds a long
spear like a javelin, with a large serrated blade at the tip. She does
not wear a collar and her skin is unmarked.

“What’s going on?” I ask her.

“Curiosity is not becoming in a kajira,” she replies in a sultry voice.
“You could be beaten for it.”

I shrug, which is a mistake with such a severe headache, and I groan.

“Let’s agree I’m not a very good kajira, and then you can answer my
question.”

The panther laughs at this, amused.

“The fortified compound that has been home is about to be attacked,”
she says. “The raiders wish you removed into safe custody before that
event. They do not wish for you to be killed by accident. They employed
my band to complete the extraction.”

I look around the circle again. There is only panther girls, and Udumi.

“Who are you your employers?” I ask.

The leader might be tolerant to my questions, but others are not.

“She said you could be beaten for asking questions, slave!” a familiar
voice commands. Just as familiar is the strike she delivers to my head,
hard enough to make my ears ring and trigger a second wave of vomiting.

Udumi’s presence must be my answer. I look miserably towards her, my
eyes blurring with the pain in my skull.

“The man in the grey cloak,” I say to Udumi in Aurore’s high voice.
“You sold me to the man in the grey cloak.”

“It was not difficult to obtain a lock of your hair while you were
sleeping, the token that the grey one required as a sign,” Udumi
agrees. “But I took a risk leaving it as at the slave posts. I had to
accompany it with a note, that the grey man not approach Chiron by
accident. Had my master discovered it, he would have known it was me,
as the only other witness to the offered deal. For once in my life,
luck was on my side.”

“You’re not lucky, you’re a fool,” I tell her contemptuously. “I was
about to leave with you. Kurtz had given me the means to return home,
and others with me. Now you’ve made yourself as much of a prisoner here
as I am.”

“You were escaping dressed like that?” Udumi says, disbelieving. “Yeah,
like you’d really flee dressed as a pleasure slave.”

“She looks like a tavern slut,” the frizzy haired girl agrees,
confirming this opinion.

Checking myself I blush with shame. I had forgotten my attire.

The lower section of pleasure silks rely on the assistance of gravity
in covering the intimate areas of the body, hanging down from ties at
the waist to cover the genitals and the backside.

When horizontal they’re more difficult to keep in place, and looking
down past Aurore’s heaving breasts I see my silks have fallen aside,
exposing the apex of my legs.

I am only displayed before other women, but it is humiliating
nonetheless. I draw up my knees to hide myself as best as I can,
tucking my bound ankles beneath me.

Meanwhile the remaining masculine soldier’s part of my intellect
continues its tactical assessment of my situation.

First, I must dismiss the possibility that the panthers will help me.
Panthers hate slave girls as much as they hate men, viewing them as
traitors to the female sex.

My best chance of an ally had been Udumi, but she won’t help me if
she’s betrayed me into captivity a second time.

“They will never return you to Urth,” I tell her spitefully, risking
naming the other world.

“Be silent, both slaves.”

It is not Udumi addressing me, but the willowy panther commanding us.

“I am not a slave,” Udumi quickly asserts to her, although her hand
strays to the steel collar which is as secure as ever around her neck.
“I am free, at the orders of the grey one.”

She tries to pull her camisk in enough to cover her exposed sides. It
is of course unsuccessful. Men take great care in selecting the fit of
their slave’s clothing.

“Do you not have some animal skins I can wear?” Udumi asks with whining
annoyance. “I do not wish to be mistaken for a slave about the
encampment.”

“Only women in my band are given pelts,” the willow-girl replies with a
smile. “If the grey one wishes you to be recognised as free, the grey
one must provide suitable clothing.”

“Let me temporarily join your tribe then,” Udumi says.

There is a rumble of amusement through the group at that.

“If you wish to join our sisterhood, even for a short time, you must
defeat one of my girls in combat,” the willowy girl says. “Why not
choose one, if you wish to fight?”

Udumi looks uncertainly around the ring of aggressive faces, sizing up
opponents.

In scrolls describing this situation, the weak kajira usually folds
quickly at the threat of violence. The Taluna seem to think the same
will happen here.

“Fight me!” says the girl with the frizzy brown hair stepping boldly
forward.

It is a mistake.

Before she’s even finished issuing her challenge Udumi has punched the
frizzy haired girl in the face with all her might. The poor panther is
entirely unprepared for this commencement of hostilities, and the blow
strikes her square between the eyes with an audible crunch.

The frizzy girl tumbles back to the leaves where she lies on her back,
groaning.

“Will that do?” Udumi says calmly, turning back to the blonde leader.

“Fudding bitth, I tthink you bwoke my fudding nothe” the frizzy girl is
saying, pushing herself up and clutching that part of her face while
she scowls at Udumi. Blood streams freely down her chin.

No one ever said Gor was fair, and it turns out Udumi’s demonstration
is perfectly acceptable. Five ehn later she is clad in her reward – the
striped animal skins of a Taluna.

I hide a smile as I watch the frizzy-haired girl use the discarded
camisk to staunch the flow of blood.

Udumi still has the collar of a slave around her neck but the change of
clothing has transformed her. Suddenly here stands a free woman of Gor,
proud and beautiful. The skins expose even more of her athletic form
than the camisk did, and yet her dignity is restored. I feel very
inferior bound at her feet, my pleasure silks in shameful disarray.

“I don’t suppose I can fight someone to join as well?” I ask the
leader, pulling at the ropes at my wrists.

She smiles.

“You are too valuable to set free, pretty one. And some women truly are
only good for slavery. I have watched you for some time and concluded
you are created for men’s pleasure. Your reaction to the brandius
flower was quite something to behold.”

I recall the erotic visions I saw under the influence of the drug, and
wonder how much of the hallucinations I’ve betrayed.

“Beware of this one though,” Udumi says, stepping close so she towers
over me. “She is tougher than she looks. She defeated the chief of
another Taluna band in combat, a woman known as Ailsa, with very little
effort.”

“Ailsa of the Jerags Sa’ng Vana’shii?” willow says with great interest,
“We are not the best of friends with those of her tribe.”

“Then you will be pleased to learn that Ailsa lives in the slave pens
back at the compound,” Udumi says. “She is collared and branded and
serves the desires of men, as do the rest of her girls. All thanks to
the fighting prowess of Aurore.”

“I am in your debt then, redhead,” willow says to me with unexpected
respect, “but it is one I cannot entirely repay. I must still deliver
you over to our employer. And if Udumi speaks the truth and you can
fight, then I must keep you secured at all times. But all else that is
possible will be done to ease your stay with us.”

I look at her in surprise. This leader is nothing like Ailsa. She is
more thoughtful and more compassionate a commander than Ailsa was, and
I can see how she could inspire trust and loyalty. But however great a
leader she might be, it will be no help to me.

I must remain her prisoner and her slave. I look gloomily about me. The
jungle looks dense in all directions, and I don’t know where I am. It
would be foolhardy to attempt an escape.

“Mistress has not honoured me with her name,” I say despondently to my
new if temporary owner, admitting defeat.

“I am called Giani,” she says. “My girls named me Giani. That was not
the title I was born to. They make jest of my excessive height, by
naming me after the smallest species of the panthers.”

I don’t dare pronounce “Giani” back – a slave does not repeat the name
of a free person to their face, but I commit it to memory.

“Do you question your place as slave to us?” Giani asks. “I do not wish
to force you into obedience through punishment, but it can be done if
you intend to disrupt the order of this tribe.”

Again I glance hopelessly at the dense jungle, and pull at my roped
wrists.

“No Mistress,” I say. “I do not question my place. I am a slave.”

My training as a kajira has made me less ashamed by displays of
humility, and I shrewdly calculate that a show of debasement on my part
will lower the Taluna’s guard.

With my ankles bound I summon my courage and shuffle towards Giani on
my knees, then I lean forward and almost overbalance.

Humbly I touch my lips to each of Giani’s grubby but shapely feminine
feet. Aurore’s long beautiful hair falls about my face, dragging into
the dirt of the forest floor.

I feel like my curvaceous rump is sticking out behind me. It is not the
most graceful of positions.

There are a few titters of contempt from the group, but the scorn of
panthers is not going to hurt me.

“If I’m the only slave in the camp, I could better carry out all the
chores with my wrists and ankles released, Mistress,” I wheedle as I
straighten up, keeping my tone subservient. “I promise not to run
away.”

Giani grins wryly.

“Do not worry, little one,” she says. “We have some old steel shackles
that will permit you sufficient movement to serve, but will make
resistance or escape difficult. And you will soon learn you are wrong
in thinking yourself the only slave in our camp, you are merely the
only kajira.”

36 – I make the acquaintance of Kailiauk, who is slave to women.

My new home would be like a piece of paradise, were it not for my
miserable situation, serving free women as their slave while I wait my
inevitable trade to agents of the Kurii.

Surrounding our rainforest clearing is a fertile Garden of Eden, with
dark green plants that proliferate below the tree canopy producing huge
white blooming flowers emitting a pungent aroma.

I notice after several ahn in the camp that I have not been bitten by
the mosquitos since my arrival here, and conjecture that the scent
those flowers must keep the insects away.

A waterfall just outside the camp plunges to a refreshing looking
shaded pool. I see from the presence of a nude panther girl washing
herself in the flow that this waterfall serves as the camp shower.

All around me are the sounds of wildlife, the rasping calls of jungle
insects and the exotic cries of tropical birds and mammals. I suspect
that hunting is easy here, but also that the creatures of the forest
represent danger for the unarmed.

All the needs of the tribe are catered for in this one location. It is
a good strategic choice, and my respect for Giani’s leadership and
forest-craft increases.

The Taluna of this tribe live in simple tents, similar in design to the
tipis of Native Americans on the Great Plains. There are fewer of these
tents than there are women, but when I observe the despatch of half a
dozen girls of the tribe I conclude that more are unnecessary as some
of the band are usually absent on scouting patrol.

Panthers are nervous creatures, knowing their inferiority to men, and I
had been assuming the only people permitted in camp would be the tribe
and their chattels. I am therefore surprised to see the grey man emerge
from one of the tents.

I’m certain this is the same person I watched in the quarters of
Chiron. He still wears that long grey cowl, but surrounded here by
women he keeps the hood pushed back on his shoulders to expose his
head. No two men on Gor would have that same deformed face and patchy
white hair sprouting from his misshaped skull.

The grey man stretches and drinks from a gourd, looking as if he feels
as rough as I do. Giani walks over to confer with him and he looks
directly up at me, piercing me with his sharp blue eyes.

My stomach rolls as our eyes meet. My fate, my life, is entirely in the
hands of this stranger.

Then he nods to her in confirmation. I recall the woman’s voice at the
moment of my abduction. “This is the one we want,” she said, and the
grey man’s gesture seems to confirm that.

I’m expecting him to address me, but his face assumes a strange
expression, almost as if he’s overcome with emotion, and he abruptly
turns his back and walks into his tent. Even Giani looks a little
bemused by this reaction, but she shrugs.

“Kailiauk!” she shouts then.

Instead of one of the slow lumbering bovine forest mammals of Gor who
bear that name answering the summons, a human man emerges from one of
the tents.

His status in the camp is immediately obvious. This hapless fellow is
the first example I have seen of a male slave indentured to women.

It would be difficult to demonstrate a captive’s status by dressing him
in even less clothing than the panthers wear, but they have managed
with this man.

A small rectangle of silk-like fabric, about the size of the page in a
book and secured only with ties at the waist, covers his manhood, and
that’s all he is permitted to wear. When he turns to fall to his knees
before Giani, about six feet from my position, I see that there is not
even a covering for his buttocks.

A stripe of the man’s neat hair has been shaved to further indicate his
status – the band running from the crown to the nape of the neck,
making the whole like the inverse of a Mohawk.

It is common for panthers to shame captive males in this way, but he is
the first example I have seen in life.

The man is well built, and would be stronger than any of the women in a
one-on-one combat, and yet I immediately note the Taluna are fearless
around him. Giani touches him affectionately in greeting, the way one
would pet a puppy rather than handling a dangerous sexual enemy.

“Kailiauk, this is Aurore,” says Giani. “She will be staying
temporarily with us, as slave to the grey one.”

“Yes, Huntress,” Kailiauk replies, flashing me a quick glance of
acknowledgement over his shoulder.

He does not address the panther as “Mistress”. It is a distinction in
title to show that these Taluna do not see themselves as the same as
other free women on Gor.

“See that Aurore is locked in steel shackles, both wrist and ankle,”
Giani commands, “those ropes she wears now are not practical for long
periods. Then make sure Aurore does not learn the location of the key.”

He looks at me again, and then nods.

“After that you may see that she is fed and watered.”

“Yes, Huntress,” Kailiauk responds, and Giani dismisses us both.

He is diligent in carrying out his mistress’ instruction. In one of the
tents allocated to storage shackles replace my ropes, and I am bid to
remain kneeling and face forward while Kailiauk goes somewhere outside
to hide my only means of release.

I do not attempt cheat and discover its location. At this point I would
not know where to escape, even if I were unrestrained. My best chance
of survival is to remain here, despite the threat of the Kurii over me.

My shackles are heavier than the ropes, but I have much more freedom of
movement – there being about eighteen inches of chain between my
wrists, and twelve between my ankles. It is similar to the sirik I wore
before my master, except my current shackles miss the vertical chain
linking ankles to collar.

“Come with me, Aurore,” Kailiauk requests. “I will show you where to
find food.”

Unsteadily I get to my feet, having not walked for some hours, and I
shuffle after him with the abrasive sound of my ropes replaced with the
clink of steel.

He walks away from me and observe him with interest, and not only
because he appears naked from the back view and I find his muscular
body attractive. I study him carefully because as the only other slave
in this camp, he is my best chance at an ally or friend.

I attempt to engage him in conversation as follows:

“You are slave to women,” I begin rather unnecessarily.

“That is true,” he confirms.

“Why do you not attempt to escape?” I ask. “You are not kept restrained
and could quickly hide in the trees.”

Kailiauk stops and studies me for a moment, and immediately I regret
the impudent familiarity of my opening gambit.

“It is not in my interest to escape,” he says eventually, turning back
to his tasks, and changes the subject before I can ask any more.

“This tent, is where we store our provisions,” he says. “You can
identify it wherever we camp, for there is a red ribbon tied to the
canvas.”

It is starting to rain, so we take cover inside the same provision
tent. “You move camp frequently?” I ask, trying a less controversial
topic.

“Sometimes we remain in a location for many days,” he answers.
“Sometimes it is only for one night.”

His tone is still brusque. I am not forgiven for discussing escape with
him.

The food he gives me is underwhelming, comprising only some berries and
dried fruit. I would actually have felt fuller at the end of a bowl of
slave gruel.

“We can only eat meat when meat has been caught,” Kailiauk says,
observing my disappointment. “Today, meat has not been caught.”

As we fall into uncomfortable silence I realise I am actually missing
the compound.

I wonder what Kurtz is doing right now, but it is a mistake to think of
him for my spirits sink. He will believe I have left as ordered, unless
he happens to find the canoe still present and hidden in the reeds. He
will be unaware of the attack closing in on him.

I must not allow myself to succumb to self-pity, but the unwanted
memory of him saying he loved me returns, and my despair grows. He
seemed in physical pain as he pushed me from his hut. He claimed that
his feelings had interfered with his experiment in the rights and
wrongs of Gorean morality.

Could someone really feel that way about me? My body is desirable but
that’s lust, not love. Under the skin I’m just – me. Aurius of London
is hardly loveable.

I will never have the opportunity to find out about Kurtz’ feelings
now. They have removed me from the compound before the attack. As the
Kurii have so much interest in me, they must know I am an agent of the
Sardar. From here I expect to be delivered to a place of interrogation,
and once I’ve been broken I’ll be sold or even executed.

My future does not look rosy.

I refocus on my surroundings and see Kailiauk’s eyes are on me. Men’s
eyes are always on me, but usually it is sexual desire, not love.
Kailiauk looks at my body appreciatively, but without the raw hunger
that is typical of most Gorean males.

All the same, I feel self-conscious, and press my hand between my bare
legs to check that the very meagre swathe of cloth covering my sex is
in place.

“You are very beautiful,” he says, but in a tone of observation rather
than passion.

Interesting – his preference seems to lie somewhere else. If my reading
of him is correct this could mean he’s less likely to rape me, but it
makes the task more difficult of charming him onto my side.

The rest of the day passes miserably. Back at the compound there was
always chores or training to keep slaves occupied, but here in the camp
the Taluna are a self-sufficient lot.

Left with nothing to do, I spend the best part of an ahn sitting in my
chains by the waterfall and resting back against a tree, until I
discover some giant Gorean insect like a cockroach has perched on my
bare shoulder and I shriek with fright.

I am no longer used to having my own leisure time. It is almost with
relief therefore that Kailiauk comes to find me, and tells me, “Come,
the grey one has summoned you.”

Docilely I follow his naked back view, steeling myself to learn my
fate.

37 – I serve the grey man

Both the parallels and the differences between the nights when I knelt
before my former master, Kurtz, and my current situation, are not lost
on me.

The dwelling we are in is humble and lit by a small oil lamp. That is
very similar.

I am dressed in a camisk, just as I was the second time I knelt to give
service to Kurtz. Only tonight my garment is the cast-off from Udumi,
who as a free woman no longer needs it, rather than it being one
carefully personalised for me in the slave pens.

This new garment does not fit me well.

Udumi and I were of similar height, both of us being long legged women
and tall like catwalk models, so the length of her camisk is
acceptable. But my body, being created for the sole purpose of pleasing
men, has more of the hourglass shape that males find so desirable. Thus
wearing clothing fitted for a girl with a straighter figure, my fuller
breasts bulge humiliatingly at the sides of my new garment, and more of
my wider feminine hips are exposed.

Since I was given this hand-me-down rag I have frequently pinched
handfuls of the cloth under my arms, trying in vain to close the broad
stripe of my pale skin bared from underarm to thigh.

My new camisk is also blood-stained with the remains of the panther’s
nosebleed, however it is an improvement on my pleasure silks, which
were quickly disintegrating under the rigour of forest life, and the
variation in attire between tonight and my earlier camisk is not the
most significant change.

The most notable difference between now and my earlier service is of
course that rather than being on my knees in Kurtz’ crude hut I kneel
in one of the panthers’ tents.

The sounds I can hear outside are not the voices of warriors and slave
girls, but the chatter of women gathering around a fire.

I am a trained pleasure slave however, and I focus only on satisfying
my current host. Serving in precisely the same way I keep my head down
and hold out the bowl above me, offering “water Master?”

The grey man takes it as silently as Kurtz might have done, and sips. I
interpret this as permission to rest back, my heels pressing into the
perfect curves of my buttocks.

My knees are apart, as is expected of a red-silk kajira such as me. He
will be able to view my sex. I try to remember the last time I wore
underwear, and didn’t feel perpetually open.

“Quite magnificent,” he finally says, and I am unsure if this is a
reference to the water or myself.

“Thank you, Master,” I say neutrally.

The grey man’s eyes are on me, so I attempt to hold myself as
beautifully as is possible. The light from a single small oil lamp
flickers on my exposed skin.

You perhaps consider me sluttish in this behaviour, but my actions are
more pragmatic.

I am a woman on Gor, I am chained and unarmed, and I am in the camp of
my enemy. Beauty is my best survival chance at this moment.

“You are not frightened by my appearance,” the grey man observes.

In the privacy of his tent his hood is drawn back, and again I can see
those bulging, deformed features and the irregular tufts of white hair
that show his age.

Taking his tone as permission to speak I reply, “Life has shown me that
looks are not important, Master.”

He chuckles.

“Yes you in particular would understand that. Here you kneel, the
Priest King’s bold experiment. I have been much interested to see in
reality the outcome of a female body and Kurtz’ slave training when
imposed on one who was once a man.”

I think back to when I hid inside Chiron’s hut and overheard the
conversation I learned I was part of the Kurii demands. This must be
the reason why. The technology that transformed me could be a powerful
weapon in the hands of the enemy.

In the compound, only Kurtz knew of my origins though. So it is not
someone there, but a traitor within The Nest that has betrayed the
secret. I resolve to ask questions and try to induce the grey man into
revealing the identity of the mole.

“Master seems to know much about me.”

“I know more than you might expect,” he agrees, “both about you and
those around you. For instance, how was our bald-headed friend when you
last saw him? Frozen into noble inertia by the troubles of Gor only he
has the vision to solve, I suppose?”

I don’t intend to give away any intelligence, so instead I risk
glancing up and smiling maliciously.

“If Master knows Kurtz so well, Master will know how relentless the
Ubar can be when he has a challenge. He is probably in pursuit of me
already, and nothing will stop him achieving victory. Kurtz is likely
to be vexed with you, Master.”

The grey man laughs.

“No doubt,” he says. “But I do not think he will find us in time. He
will soon be occupied with his own problems. I suggest you abandon
dreams of rescue for now, and focus on ingratiating yourself with your
new owners.”

It is in my interests to co-operate, but I silently vow not to please
these people by revealing anything that might damage Kurtz or the
Priest Kings, even if he tortures me.

The grey man picks up a gourd at his side and takes a sip from it. It
is the same gourd I noticed him using when I first arrived at the camp.

“So Aurore, I already understand the purpose of your mission here in
the jungle, and I understand that this mission was planted at the
instigation of Kurtz,” he begins.

That wrong-foots me. How has he found out that it was Kurtz, and not
the Priest Kings, who came up with the concept of my mission, and I was
in fact the lab rat in some cruel experiment? How can he hold secrets
from both locations? The mole has told him even more than the Priest
Kings knew.

“I am aware that you responded superbly to slave training and charmed
your way successfully into the Ubar’s furs. Through training in the
behaviour pleasing in a woman you increased greatly in desirability,
and they tell me you deserve your place as the First Girl.”

First Girl – this also gives me pause. I was never addressed directly
so in the compound but I suppose it is true. Goreans give the title to
the highest status slave – typically the most beautiful among the
females, and the favoured girl of the leader.

“Whether your response to training answered Kurtz’ little ethical
dilemma does not interest me. He can tie himself up in moral knots as
long as he wants, as it keeps him from causing trouble elsewhere.”

“What interests me personally is one of my few missing pieces of my
information. I wish to understand why you stayed with him, Lady Aurore,
when you had the opportunity to leave him some time ago. My explanation
is unsatisfactory. Udumi tells me you were offered your freedom and
could have been back in the Sardar by now, with your mission
completed.”

It is strange being addressed as Lady Aurore – the era before the fire
on the barge seems a lifetime ago. But that does not matter. He seems
to know everything that’s happened in the compound, except the intimate
details between Kurtz and myself.

Udumi must have told him everything she witnessed, but she wasn’t able
to read my mind.

“You are not the only one to raise that point, Master,” I answer, “I’ve
asked myself that same question, especially since I found myself in
this reversal of fortune.”

“And what did you conclude, Aurore?”

“A lot of reasons, Master. There was still time to influence Kurtz’
path, and if I’d left to return he might have been forever lost. My
orders, as you seem to know, were to return him or terminate him.
Ending Kurtz’ life did not seem an attractive option once I knew more
of his motivation.”

“Furthermore he made me question my own allegiance to the Sardar, and
it would have been hypocritical to return. And finally and perhaps most
importantly, I wasn’t thinking very clearly at the time.”

The grey man’s head nods in acceptance.

“The force of his personality can be somewhat mesmerising,” he agrees
with a smile, “or perhaps your wish to influence his path towards life
stemmed from feelings that were more intimate?”

I feel a blush rising. This question I do not wish to answer. I’m not
going to admit that I loved him, or he loved me. That is between us.
When pressed I always reply by counterattack.

“I presume that we can dispense with ambiguity, and Master can confirm
his interest in these answers is on behalf of his employers, the
species known as the Kurii, or the Others?”

He laughs at me then.

“You might look entirely like a woman, but you remain as closed from
discussing your feelings as a man, Aurore, or perhaps I should call you
Aurius?” he says.

If that’s meant to sting my pride it works. My blush deepens, and he
laughs at my discomfort, saying, “Very well, Lady. At this moment I am
acting on behalf of the Others, although I have a more personal
interest in a creation so unique on Gor.”

This good-humoured banter puts me even more on the defensive. My
stomach gives the familiar lurch of fear. I hope that “personal
interest” wasn’t an allusion to him wishing to sleep with me.

“But why have the Kurii gone to so much effort to capture me?” I ask,
trying to turn back the initiative yet again. “I am no scientist, so I
cannot betray the secret of the transformation process through
interrogation. As a hostage, the life of a kajira would be sacrificed
for the cause of The Nest. The process that transformed me is valuable,
my personal worth is only the coins needed to buy a slave girl.”

“Your importance in proceedings will become clear when we return to the
compound.”

I am so surprised I forget myself.

“We’re going back?”

I have switched in a heartbeat from defeat to being filled with hope. I
have a better chance of escape back there where I know the
surroundings. If we return to the fort I might see him, I mean see
everyone in the compound again.

But then my spirits start to deflate as quickly as a punctured
football. The only way the grey man might return me is once the
compound was under the control of the Others.

“You still intend to attack the compound, even though you have me?” I
ask.

“The aims I disclosed in discussion with Chiron, which I have been
informed you overheard, were all truthful. The compound was in a useful
strategic location for our operations, and it will be so once more. It
is remote enough to land ships without drawing attention, but the
waterways provide reasonable links for dispersing agents or
merchandise.”

I am opening my mouth to ask another question, but he silences me.

“But enough questions for now, slave. It is time for us to rest.”

Then all thought of strategy and the great war being waged for Gor is
banished when he continues, “You are to spend your nights while in camp
here, sleeping with me.”

Oh no, I think. My heart doubles in speed, and I feel sweat break out
on my skin. I had at least thought I might escape rape in the camp of
the Taluna, but it turns out I will end up in the furs of a man after
all.

Since arriving I have been aware of the grey one’s sleeping roll
unfurled on the floor of the tent, as it fills much of the cramped
space. His bed is barely large enough for one person, so we will be
intimately close unless I spend the night on the bare floor.

“Come,” he orders, indicating a place on the bedroll.

“Have mercy Master,” I plead, drawing back.

But before I can argue further he snatches the chain between my wrists,
closing his giant hand over the steel and pulling me towards him. With
his superior strength I am dragged out of my kneeling position and onto
my belly.

The grey man has immense broad shoulders and I am expecting him to
overpower me easily, but he grunts with exertion as I’m forced to the
floor. My heart is pounding with fear, and my skin crawls with a cold
sweat.

With his free hand the grey man reaches out and picks up two steel
stakes, hooked at one end like a tent peg, but with their shafts much
longer so they’re more difficult to remove from the soil.

These he hammers into the ground with a wooden mallet, threading the
spike through one of the links in my shackles so it pins the chains to
the floor at the top and bottom of his bedroll.

One spike secures my wrist chain and the other my ankles, so I finish
lying helpless on my side, stretched out along the length of the
mattress.

Rape is commonplace on Gor, but I have not truly contemplated becoming
its victim since I knelt on the dockside in the compound, expecting to
be given to Chiron’s use. By the time Kurtz took Aurore’s virginity I
was more-or-less consensual in the matter. But here in a remote tent in
the jungle I am finally at the mercy of a male, and my refusal will
make no difference.

I close my eyes, feeling sick with anticipation, and expecting his
hands on me any moment now, but the touch does not come.

The grey man does no more than lie down on his bed, and reaching out to
the oil lamp to blow out the flame.

With the tree canopy blocking any moon or starlight from reaching the
campsite, we are plunged immediately into total blackness.

“I would advise you not to attempt to escape,” the grey man’s voice
calls in the dark. “The jungle is not a safe place for you to go
alone.”

I lie there feeling grateful bemusement at this turn of events. Why
didn’t he force himself on me? I am truly thankful, but I still wonder
is he the first man to not find Aurore’s body desirable, or am I being
preserved for some other purpose?

The grey man has certainly not forgotten the right of owner to enjoy
slave, because as we try to sleep a loud reminder of this power becomes
audible through the thin walls of the tents.

Such is the volume of noise that any chance of rest is prevented by the
loud and rhythmic animal grunts of a male and a female joined in
copulation. As there is only one other man in the camp, the sound I can
hear must be Kailiauk satisfying the pleasure of one of the women. It
does not sound as if the experience of forced service is too much of an
ordeal for him.

Chained to the floor I feel very sorry for myself. The cries of joy
bring vivid memories of the last time I took pleasure as a man, lying
with the beautiful slave girl Tala. Even more intense are those
recollections of becoming one with Kurtz when I was the woman.

Now both such chances of happiness are forever gone. I am a forgotten
female left on a barbarian world, and one who is never likely to fall
asleep on such an uncomfortable surface.

To the sound of Kailiauk reaching climax I miserably close my eyes.

38 – All is not peaceful in the Garden of Eden

I am being shaken roughly awake.

“Come, we need to move,” one of the Taluna is saying in a stern
whisper, standing over me in the early morning light of the grey man’s
tent.

I am quite unable to move, but I am quickly released from the pegs
securing me to the floor, and emerge into the dawn to discover the camp
is silently being dismantled.

Kailiauk is busily strapping the rolled-up tents across his back like a
Sherpa.

“What’s happening?” I whisper to him, he being the closest thing to an
ally.

“One of our scout patrols has not returned,” he answers. “It probably
means that hunters have seized them, and they now approach the camp.”

I look up hopefully, but I can see nothing in the impenetrable green.

“Kurtz’ men?” I ask.

Kailiauk shakes his head. I have kept my voice quiet during the
conversation, but even that low volume has attracted attention.

“Gag the slave girl,” Giani orders.

A wad of muddy cloth is forced into my mouth by one of the panthers,
and held in place via a leather strap secured at the back of my head,
in similar manner to the gag soaked in brandius fluid when I was
kidnapped.

“We cannot risk you betraying us,” I am told.

Their concern for my silence even includes swapping my chains for
tightly knotted ropes, so I cannot use the jingle of metal to give away
our location.

Despite this greater security I could probably still lean forward and
reach to unfasten the gag strap, but I do not attempt to do so. Rather,
I look indignantly around me.

“We have to relocate frequently,” Kailiauk tells me in a whisper. “Many
would like to take the huntress Giani as slave.”

His face clouds with fierce emotion while he tells me this, as if he
himself might wish to take on all these men in battle as a means to
protect her. I study his features, recalling that this man as the
source of the noises last night.

Perhaps I have discovered which of the Taluna he served.

While I ponder the mystery, the disassembly of our corner of jungle
paradise is completed with tense urgency. There is almost no trace that
we were present save for the fire circle, which they cover with some
strategically arranged leaves.

As soon as we are able we silently pad into the woods, a blonde Taluna
who reminds me a little of Ailsa picking a route into what at first
appears to be impenetrable jungle.

It turns out we have not reached safety, even away from the site of our
encampment. At one point the scout in front signals wildly and we
crouch down, deep in the cover of some vegetation.

Gradually I hear the voices of men growing louder, and the crashing
sound of unskilled movement through the jungle. Each one of us inches
as far into the undergrowth as they can, trying to be swallowed
entirely by the forest.

Silently, in the green gloom of the leaves, we wait. These men are
going to pass terribly close – what will happen if they walk right
across us?

Then, through a tiny gap in the foliage, I see movement. They are
indeed hunters. Men, and what’s more they are men that I do not
recognise.

One after another these brutes enter my field of view, the third and
fourth hunters carrying a long pole of bamboo between them, its weight
supported on their shoulders.

Between this is suspended a girl, tied to the pole to hang by her
wrists and ankles.

It is the frizzy haired girl, she of the broken nose. She is not having
a lucky week, getting punched by Udumi and then captured by hunters.
They have stripped her, but they left her brief furs dangling from her
neck to show all who see her that she was once Taluna.

The frizzy haired girl passes from my view and I see a second captive
also hanging from a pole, a small pixie-like Taluna with short dark
hair that I recognise as one of Giani’s number.

She too is naked, with her furs hanging from her neck. This girl is one
of the runaways, with a rusted iron collar and the scar from a brand
inflicted long ago on her thigh.

Her treatment will not be pleasant if she is returned to her former
owners. Knowing this, the pixie girl writhes desperately as she fights
her bonds.

The hunting group pass near enough to our hiding place for me to hear
their words.

“We’re close behind them, I’m sure,” a man says in a relaxed, laconic
voice, unaware how accurate his words are. “The campfire was still
warm, and now I can smell woman.”

There is a coarse laugh.

“The Taluna Giani will please us from on her knees before nightfall,”
his companion boasts confidently.

I look across to Giani, who is crouching down with a look of such quiet
determination on her face that I wager that these men will not be
enjoying her tonight.

The hunting group perhaps totals forty males. They are too numerous for
any direct rescue attempt on the captives, and as they gradually draw
away from us I assess that Giani will not be foolhardy enough to try a
recovery by stealth.

It is common on Gor to use captives as live bait to lure their comrades
to the same doom. But the wisest decision of abandoning these two will
mean the girls are lost to us, and will begin a new career as slaves. I
do not envy them.

Giani makes us wait for nearly two ahn hiding in the undergrowth before
she gives the signal to continue. We chose a direction tangential to
the path of the hunters. Perhaps they would expect us to flee in the
opposite direction, and thus our chosen route is safer.

There is an atmosphere of defeat permeating the tribeswomen, but on
this new path we have our first sign of improving luck, disturbing a
boar like tarsk from the undergrowth which one of the Taluna has shot
before even knowing the nature of the creature.

Thus when we finally make camp around a clearing created by a fallen
tree, we have some meat to roast over a spit.

Unlike in the compound of Kurtz I am not involved in the cooking.

Once returned from my ropes to my chains I am left idle in the company
of the grey one. Perhaps it is because I am perceived by the group as
being his slave, rather than communal property.

The mood of the Taluna band gradually lifts during the evening,
although I notice the panthers sitting in a ring around the fire
subconsciously leave spaces between them, as if they expect the missing
to return at any moment and claim their places in the group.

Conversation and singing occasionally falls into sudden silence as
these women think of the ordeal their recent companions might be
enduring even now. The captives are probably being what Goreans
euphemistically call “taught their slavery”.

When we go to our furs, with me once again chained to the ground in the
tent of the grey man, this night there are no sounds of Kailiauk
providing pleasure.

39 – I experience more of the life of a Taluna

Like many of those familiar with Gor I had developed a romantic image
of life as a Taluna, picturing a slow paced life of sisterly love with
its innocence only coloured with the undercurrent of lesbian eroticism.

From my experience with the tribe of Giani I see that the reality is a
rather miserable existence, constantly in fear and on the run, with few
comforts and subsisting on the edge of starvation.

This perpetual sense of threat is the truth of a woman’s life on Gor
without the protection of men.

At night in the blackness of the jungle I am not the only one lying
awake and fearing that hunters might be a few feet away, about to
surprise us. Each time I think of such a fate I shudder, shuffling with
a rattle of chains instinctively closer to the protection of the grey
man.

During my five days with the Talunas of Giani, we have to relocate our
camp two more times. I grow in respect for the skill of our guides on
each occasion I experience these treks, for they manage to pick their
way to new and suitable sites unerringly when I am completely
disorientated in the woods.

I also grow in admiration of the qualities of Giani, who might lack the
fire of Ailsa in her steady leadership, but commands and manages her
girls with strategic and tactical surefootedness that helps soothe
their terrors of the unknowns lurking in the jungle.

But even with the best of leaders I still pity these women. Their base
fear of a fate at the hands of men makes them prisoners to this life.
And despite even Giani’s skill I know the tribe will not be lucky every
time, and one day they all will fall into the captivity they dread.

I am the only woman who feels any hope when there’s a warning of
hunters in the woods. My mind clings to fantasies of Kurtz coming to
save me, but it turns out every time that the groups we dodge are never
from the compound, but are groups of men from the cities, flying in on
tarns and hunting women for sport.

Being taken by these strangers would not be pleasant, but sexual
slavery to the hunters is likely to be better than my fortunes once I’m
delivered to the Kurii.

I think of my former master often. Perhaps Kurtz is preoccupied with
other matters, or he’s failed to realise that I was kidnapped, rather
than leaving of my own volition.

I do not know.

They grey man said that we would be returning to the compound, and
despite the threat to myself implicit when that occurs, I look forward
to it. At least with the Kurii this hungry, mud-soaked time will come
to an end.

The only positive of my experience of panther life is that for the
closet bisexual, I am indeed given pleasingly erotic sights to watch.

One morning when we again camp close to a pool I am treated with the
view of several entirely nude panther girls washing themselves,
splashing and laughing with chaste vivacity, and I marvel at what
beautiful creatures women can be.

From my first arriving in the pens I have frequently witnessed nude
women cleaning themselves, but these girls are different to those
slaves because of their liveliness. This spirit is because they are
free, and proud. These free women are confidently exposing themselves
both before Kailiauk and the grey man without shame.

This behaviour before Kailiauk is no surprise – a male slave is
nothing, a beast, an object, and nudity before such as he is no
different to changing clothes before one’s pet dog. But it is strange
they reveal themselves without inhibition to the grey man, and he
apparently takes as little interest in their bodies as he has in mine.

As I have already noticed, Gorean men are not usually trusted in the
camps of panther girls, and yet the grey man seems to be as tolerated
by Giani’s tribe as if he too were female.

Perhaps here stands the only homosexual man on the planet. The puzzle
intrigues me, and I know there is a secret there somewhere.

Kailiauk is the only one likely to give me a clue to this and other
concerns, so I continue to engage him in conversation when I have
opportunity.

At first I was a little nervous of him. As a slavegirl, I do not have
the right to choose my sexual partners, and it could easily have been
that I would be mated with Kailiauk as a reward.

But it soon becomes clear that while he might find my female body
physically attractive, Kailiauk’s emotional cravings are for the
delights of free women rather than kajirae.

Provided with only a loose square of silk to cover his manhood, this
truth is regularly demonstrated in an entirely literal sense. He is
unable to disguise when he grows aroused in response to his many
mistresses, and I fail to raise this reaction.

The Taluna take great delight in provoking his blood to warm, and
Kailiauk accepts their treatment with good natured endurance. He seems
to be shared amongst all the women, but I can soon see that one
particular flames his passion.

“You like her, don’t you?” I ask him, when I see him paused in a task,
lost in watching Giani conferring with the scouts.

He looks at me with the sad expression of the lovelorn.

“My feelings do not matter. I am a slave,” he states to me with simple
dignity.

“That’s why you stay here, isn’t it?” I say. “You don’t want to leave
her.”

“Not every man on Gor is destined, or wishes to be a warrior,” he
replies candidly. “It is my rightful place to serve women.”

“Does she use you?” I ask, rather nosily, wondering who the source of
the cries of pleasure was the other night.

“Never,” he says, shaking his head. “All the others have taken me to
their bedrolls except her, and Lori, she with the red hair who was
recently taken by hunters.”

Thus I learn that like so many men before him, Kailiauk desires most
the one he cannot have. This confirms finally that I need not fear him.
A lowly kajira such as myself is not of interest. He will not want such
an easy conquest. Kailiauk seeks to prove himself by winning the
affections of a woman he considers superior in status, like all men
seek challenges.

As he says, not every man on Gor wishes to be a warrior. People on Gor
and on Earth can be aroused by the idea of service to strong and
beautiful women, and there is nothing I find contemptible in him.

“What’s the story with my master, the grey one?” I ask, deeming that
safe to discuss. “How came he to our camp?”

“The grey one has been with us nearly a Gorean month,” Kailiauk
answers.

“The Huntress Giani and the Huntress Fieri,” and here he indicates a
leggy brunette looking fetching in one of the briefest sets of skins in
the tribe, “returned from a foraging trip in the jungle with the grey
one in their company.”

“Rumour is that the grey one had defeated both women, and he spared
them to prove himself true to his word. I do not know if this is the
truth, but since his arrival he has been trusted completely by the
tribe.”

Could the grey man really have had the opportunity to take his pleasure
from both of the women, as he did from me, and still he declined? What
is it with him?

“Tal slaves,” Udumi says, striding athletically across and then
standing before us with one hip raised coquettishly. “I bring you
tidings. Tomorrow we are to leave, so this night I will enjoy the use
of the male.”

The last part of this sentence is directed at Kailiauk, and as she
speaks she boldly reaches under the square of his silk to touch him
intimately.

“As you command, Huntress,” he says, voice trembling as he tries to
speak while she tests him.

“It has been some time since a man has tried to please me, so prepare
yourself for a busy night.”

She releases him from her caress, but by this time his manhood is at
attention. Then Udumi slaps his bare buttock, the way a farmer might
slap a beast to test the quality of the beef.

So, finally we are leaving. I prickle with nerves. I can both fear and
hope for what I’ll find back at the fortified compound.

When darkness falls and the nocturnal noises of the jungle are again
disturbed by the sounds of human pleasure, this time I am certain of
the identity of both male and female voices. Udumi makes love with the
passion that she applies to the rest of her life.

The ecstasy of Kailiauk fills my thoughts as I lie unable to sleep. If
a man can take such pleasure from sexual servitude, might it not be
possible for woman also to enjoy providing pleasure in a submissive
role without shame?

Tala certainly seemed to find great joy in her slavery, and I have met
other kajirae who are quite clearly happy. Perhaps I should accept
there is some merit in this culture.

But no, what makes Gor barbaric and inhuman, different from any other
BDSM relationship, is the denial of consent by the weaker party. If
those people who certainly wanted slavery were the only ones to be
collared, it might be a better place.

I reach up in the dark to finger my own slave collar, as I have done so
many times. I am still wearing the collar of Kurtz – the Taluna not
being equipped with the tools to remove it, but it will no doubt soon
be replaced with the badge of the Kurii.

Next day I rise bleary eyed in the early morning light to accompany the
grey man and Udumi as we begin to pick our way into the jungle.

After stripping and washing in the pool I don my camisk, tightening it
to give what little covering I can to Aurore’s lush curves. Oh why did
the Priest Kings have to make me so beautiful? I will never escape the
consequences of this body, until old age finally quenches my
desirability.

When our party assembles I see the Taluna are not to accompany us for
this journey. Unlike Ailsa, Giani is not planning to lead a group of
sexy underdressed women into a place filled with Gorean warriors.

Thus we are deprived of the skills of the scouts, but the grey one
leads the way into the jungle trees with the same certainty of
navigation.

I take a last look at the encampment of the tribe. All the girls have
gathered to stand and watch us in a silent farewell.

I am not sorry to be leaving.

It seems inevitable to me that one day Giani and her girls will be
captured, stripped and conquered, quickly being turned into willing and
obedient slaves like so many women before them. I do not want to see
her fall to that fate.

We circle round a large bush with dark green leaves and rhododendron
like flowers, and the Taluna are lost to our sight. Away we walk
proceeding in single file, with myself in the middle of the group.

Udumi seems irritable this morning, more than she would be from mere
lack of sleep, and she deliberately trips me several times, kicking one
of my chained feet behind the other so I fall to my face on the forest
floor.

The treatment is unpleasant, but I am a slave girl and as we trek into
the jungle I know better than to object.

40 – I do not witness a defeat.

I have read many fictional scrolls about Gor, which usually feature
brave warriors; beautiful slave girls; and epic battles. If the life of
Aurore unrolled before me like one of these scrolls, after this hiatus
in the jungle the story would now benefit from an exciting chapter
where I described the fall of the compound of Kurtz to the forces of
the Kurii.

Alas, I must report to you that Gorean reality is not always like a
scroll.

It would be a foolish warrior who took his weak and unarmed female
slave to witness an epic battle. Female warriors – Taluna, are not
suited to engage in open combat with trained men, and would not carry
their captives to observe events. Women of any kind are better absent
for such occasions.

Giani and the grey man are no fools. So although men probably fought
bravely on both sides of the conflict between Kurtz’ forces and the
Others, and heroes and cowards might both have given accounts worthy of
bards and storytellers, I cannot relate anything of these matters in my
own narrative.

It is the aftermath of war that our small canoe approaches. I grow more
and more emotional as we get closer to the fortifications, half-hope
and half-dread at what I may discover within.

The grey man leads in our boat, propelling us through the waters of the
lake with strong strokes of his broad shoulders.

Udumi is behind me, also paddling, still in the revealing garb of a
forest panther, and I sit in the middle, useless in my shackles.

I must grudgingly respect Udumi’s bravery throughout the execution of
her plan. In order to return to Urth, she must risk presenting herself
to the agents of the Others and hope they fulfil their part of the
bargain.

I am not optimistic for her chances in this gamble. The male agents of
the Kurii are well known for exploiting the skills of women, only to
reward them for loyalty by making them slaves.

Udumi has rolled her dice in this game, just as I have rolled mine.

When I approach the compound for the second time I study it just as
carefully as I did when I first saw it, from my place tied nude to the
ship’s prow.

I don’t know what to expect – perhaps to see the compound reduced to
ash, but the structure looks entirely unscathed save for a troubling
plume of black smoke rising from within.

As we paddle even closer through the tranquil lake, other than noting
that the brightly-coloured crossbowmen of Kurtz guarding the log walls
have been replaced with black-garbed warriors of the Kurii, the only
other change is that the decaying heads of two of those bear-like
creatures that were staring out across the lake have been removed.

When we finally pass through the gate I see the maggot-infested things
are half-buried in the compound’s rubbish heap, and are surrounded by a
cloud of flies. I pity whoever was given the unpleasant task of
removing those trophies.

It is the human devastation that betrays the ferocity of the battle
that must have occurred here. Bodies are strewn everywhere in the
colours of both sides, still too far away to recognise individuals.

I barely notice that the structure of the compound looks entirely
undamaged, saved for one building that contained some warriors’
sleeping places. The communal hall is there; the building where slaves
were penned; and the storage buildings.

Even the two tall thin punishment cages where I witnessed two of the
Taluna left to stand naked for ahn after ahn are still there, swinging
slightly in the hot breeze.

My heart jumps as I see my master’s humble hut, standing undisturbed
with the curtain still in place, as if he’s merely sleeping inside.

The grey man accelerates, guiding the canoe rapidly across to one of
the wharves, and looking round in tense silence we climb quickly out,
Udumi and I both urgently needing to check the dead for those we care
about.

Frantically I flit from corpse to corpse, scanning these forms, seeing
person after person that I recognise. A smashed lute is a marker for
the place where one of the musicians fell.

Petrucus, who was once master to my friend Nessa, is face down in a
puddle of blood, his features mercifully hidden from view. He looks to
have been killed be a clean arrow shot to his back.

Not so lucky Chiron, who has been sliced so deeply across the back of
his neck as to be almost decapitated. His head, lolling unnaturally
forwards, stares with unseeing eyes out at Gor.

When I first arrived at the compound I had lived in fear of the man
lying there, Chiron, but I shall never tremble again at his approach.
Rather than the satisfaction I might have expected at seeing the corpse
of one who whipped me so often, my feelings are of sadness. He was a
great warrior of Gor, for all his faults. Udumi, also has a mixed
expression at the demise of her former master.

And it is not just men that have been killed. Slaves are dead as well,
either caught in the crossfire between combatants or because they stood
by warriors with whom there was a particular attachment. Carrie the
dancer will never display her extraordinary skill again, and seeing her
lifeless figure pierces my heart.

Rehema who was claimed as slave to Petrucus after Nessa’s departure
lies dead with her body draped protectively across his, as if she were
the warrior rather than him. Her rump that looked so pleasing lashed to
the prow of a longship is thrust into the air, undignified in death.

But I do not see Him. Where is Kurtz?

Anxiously I look around, but there is still no sign of him. And there
is no evidence of surviving male prisoners – the Kurii have slaughtered
every male they could find, so he is not likely being held captive.

We do not have long to examine the dead when the living demand our
attention. Striding about the jetties of the compound it is easy to
identify the leader of the Other’s human forces. Here stands a true
alpha ruler.

“I have heard of this man. He is known as the Kur’s Claw,” the grey man
whispers in my ear, as if reading the direction of my attention, “For
they say he acts in union with the will of the beasts.”

Kur’s Claw looks like a beast himself, being a shaggy bearded fellow
looking like a half-breed between Kurii and man.

He crosses to us bearing an immense blood-stained sword in one hand
that Aurore would struggle to lift in two of hers.

“Tal, you must be the grey one,” he greets in a neutral tone. With
rather overdone formality he continues, “The agent of the North-eastern
Control Group is welcome to the territory of the Southern Control
Group,”

The grey man is replying with similarly ornate phrases, but his voice
tails off when he realises he has entirely lost Kur’s Claw’s attention.

During my lifetime as a male I came across nothing as likely to bring
men to violence as rivalry over women. Best friends can turn to bitter
enemies when they lose their minds over the same girl.

For example, I remember back in my army days, Corporals Fletcher and
Cooper, two buddies who were like a double act. Fletcher had pretty
much saved Cooper’s life when an IED totalled their lightly armoured
Land Rover, and Dodds carried the injured Cooper back to base under
fire.

They were like brothers until the day back on leave when Fletcher met
Jennifer. Jennifer was a dark-haired beauty, blessed with dynamite
legs. Both men had been with their share of lookers, but with Jennifer
her personality was as beguiling as her looks. She was more like the
kind of woman Goreans like, prized for intelligence as well as beauty.

Jennifer got on like a house on fire with both guys, and they liked
her. But she could only date one of them, and she chose Fletcher. That
decision just ate up Cooper from the inside. When we were all out
together I’d see Cooper looking at Jennifer like he was sinking into
madness. He stared like he’d be willing to kill Fletcher to get to that
woman, and it didn’t take long for Fletcher to realise what was going
on.

The ugly ending of all this is not important. I’m recounting the
experience because Claw is looking at me the way Cooper looked at that
woman, and I know we’re in big trouble. Kur’s Claw wants me like a
junkie craves their fix.

“This is her?” he asks, shaking his head as if to clear a daze. “The
agent of the Priest Kings? I’d never have believed it.”

Kur’s Claw must know I was once a man then, but he clearly doesn’t
care. No, he looks at my body in the flimsy camisk like he doesn’t care
at all. I’ve been blissfully unselfconscious about my luscious
femininity in the panther camp, but back amongst the men of Gor I
suddenly have to re-learn that I’m a woman, and I feel like I’m wearing
nowhere near enough.

“You will send this enemy to serve me food and drink tonight,” he says,
eyes locked on me like he’s in a trance. “It will give me pleasure to
see the agent of the Sardar on her knees before me.”

Claw finally recovers his senses and next he turns to give an order to
one of his men, but his eyes still flicker back to me as if he’s
unsettled.

“As you wish, dread Ubar,” the grey man says in response to the
request, and I am disappointed he makes no effort to protect me. “Your
attack looks to have been a success,” he goes on to observe, even
admitting defeat by trying to change the subject.

“The weight of numbers was much in our favour, so our losses were
light,” agrees Claw while watching my breasts, “although Kurtz still
evades us.”

This is the first encouraging news I’ve heard for days, and I try to
keep the joy from my face.

“Are you sure he’s here?” the grey one asks.

“The slave girls tell me he was seen just before the attack,” Claw
answers, “so we know he is in hiding somewhere close by, perhaps in the
reeds or even within the fortifications.”

“Victory is not assured until Kurtz is captured,” the grey man states.

“Indeed,” Claw says. “And I do not intend to underestimate my opponent.
But there is a weakness in the Ubar that if necessary, we can exploit.”

“Oh really, what is that?” asks the grey one.

“We have his woman,” says the Kur’s Claw, in a tone that fills me with
dread.

41 – A free woman is in the compound

I had grown to accept the constant eyes of men on my female figure, but
I realise this was because I lived under the protective umbrella of
Kurtz. With the change of administration in the fortified compound, I
feel a new sense of vulnerability as I go about my tasks.

It is not to my advantage that by arriving with the grey one, I am seen
as the property of an outsider. The grey one is not uniformed, like the
other warriors in service of the Kurii, and the simple difference of
clothing colour creates a psychological divide between us and them.

The speculation in men’s eyes betrays their thoughts. Perhaps, they
speculate, this stranger, the grey one, will leave or be removed, and
then his pretty slave will be given to a new master. They look at me
and wonder what it would be like to take such a girl as her to their
furs.

On the first evening after our return my master absents himself from
the meal, held in the same fire-lit communal room where Kurtz received
the panthers.

Thus I serve the Kur’s Claw alone, further emphasising the perception I
might soon be sexually available to those other than the grey man. They
must be wondering if the Claw might claim this girl from the deformed
old man, and give her to reward a favoured warrior.

My outfit does nothing to protect me from masculine interest.
Unfortunately for the women left in camp, the new regime favour the
southern rather than the northern mode of slave dress.

On an oppressively humid tropical night, each one of us slave girls are
garbed only in a strip of rep-cloth, tied about the waist with a bow at
the left hip.

Mine is barely long enough to cover my pudenda and has a tendency to
ride up with my movements, so the occasions when I am required to kneel
with my thighs open, in the manner of a slave marked for sexual
service, nothing is left to the imagination.

The single waistband of rep-cloth is all we are permitted, so I deliver
my evening’s service naked from my hips upwards. Aurore’s glorious
breasts are on display to all, the sensation of their free swinging
weight making me feel all the more self-conscious.

I have been given such accessories as make me yet more pleasing to
men’s eyes.

A jewelled necklace is draped around my throat, this adornment
terminating in a heavy pendant that lies in the valley between those
pale globes of flesh.

I am not an expert in the Gorean jewellery markets but I would guess
this item to be worth a fortune judging by the size of the stones and
the weight of the metal resting on my upper torso.

It is very common for the wealthy on Gor to adorn slave girls in
expensive jewels. They can advertise the girl’s beauty, drawing the eye
to the most pleasing areas of the body and making others more jealous
of her owner.

Furthermore jewellery can serve as an additional identifier of
ownership to the collar, being a badge that the girl has been dressed
according to the wishes of one particular master.

Finally, for those kajirae forced to serve nude or partially clad
before other men, jewellery shows that the girl has not been left
unclothed because her master is poor, but he has chosen to display her
because it pleases him to do so.

My origins as agent of Priest Kings appears to be well known about the
compound, judging by the abusive and ribald comments I receive through
the evening.

It gives satisfaction to the Claw’s men to see the agent of the enemy
humbled, kneeling bare-breasted as she serves the needs of her
opponents. No doubt my appearing in so demeaning a way is a boost to
their confidence and morale.

The only consolation to me in the evening is the relief I of seeing
that some familiar faces have survived the attack.

Ailsa passes me with a huge bowl of vulo eggs propped on her shoulder,
clad in a tie of red rep cloth matching my own.

We did not part on the best of terms, as Ailsa had discovered my
presence as a slave in the compound was voluntary, and thus the events
that led to her own collaring might have been avoided. All the same I
sense warmth in the greeting when her eyes briefly meet mine.

Tonight Ailsa has been selected to dance after the meal, so there is a
jingle of slave bells as she passes by me.

I am sure it will be a good performance.

Jaya is here as well, and I learn from Jaya that Colleen also survived
the attack and is working in the kitchen. Of the four free women
captured in the raid on the barge, only Nessa is absent, sold literally
down the river before the compound fell.

Snatching a brief conversation with Jaya in the kitchens, I learn that
all the female slaves have been moved out the pens and each is assigned
to the quarters of a warrior, a reward for his loyalty and courage. The
remaining men, mostly the lower ranks, must do without. It is they that
look at us with the most hunger.

With so many warriors lacking partners the slave women have a new
incentive to please their assigned warriors. A discarded slave might be
given over to the use of the frustrated ones, and women are outnumbered
so completely that gang rape by the lesser males would be a danger to
life.

Jaya tells me an additional piece of gossip – the women have not only
been moved out of the pens, the building is now entirely forbidden to
the slave women, and is being put to some secret purpose. I sincerely
hope a live example of the Kurii species is not being hidden there. If
there is a beast here that considers human women the best food source,
there may be punishments far worse than rape.

Near naked girls hurry anxiously about, but there is one exception to
the new female dress code and the women’s general nervousness.

Kneeling on a cushion on the dais next to claw is a woman clad head to
foot in the robes of concealment. There is a free woman tolerated in
the compound of Kurtz for the first time.

I shouldn’t feel like a tradition has been broken, for her presence can
only be a positive result for women’s rights in the Schendi Jungles.
And yet the loss of the old regime pains me. This wouldn’t have
happened in Kurtz’ day.

“Meat, Mistress,” I say, kneeling to offer this female the plate I am
carrying.

The presence of a free woman makes me feel more conscious of my own
near nakedness. The heat is making sweat bead on my skin, and when I
extend my arms drips form and run down into the valley between my
breasts.

Before her only I kneel with my thighs together, the custom on Gor
being that women do not want to view the open legs of slave girls.

The free woman takes a piece of tarsk meat and has it almost to her
lips when she remembers the veil, as if she is not used to wearing the
robes. Raising the lower hem of the covering to insert the meat under
the veil, I catch a glimpse of beautiful ebony skin underneath and
understand.

It would appear that the Others have actually been true to their words
to Udumi. For the time being her gamble is paying off.

She is now free, while my social status continues on its inexorable
downwards progress.

When I first arrived on Gor I was the male, sitting as a free warrior
while a slave girl knelt to serve me. Then I was humbled in the eyes of
Goreans to the body of a free woman, weak and unable to exist without
the protection of men. I wore the robes of concealment, just as Udumi
is doing now.

Finally I was denied even the status of free woman, being made slave
and less than human in the eyes of Goreans. Now I am even lower than I
was as slave of Kurtz, with humiliations to be heaped on me as a
ridiculed enemy.

I am kajira, an animal, an object, a possession.

It comes as a great relief to Aurore the slave girl when my public
degradation is over for the night and the Kur’s Claw dismisses me. I
hand back the valuable necklace to him and hurry back to hide in the
room of the grey man.

The hour is late but outside the compound is still alive with warriors,
moving like ants in another organised search for Kurtz. With the night
being pitch black they have to hunt by torchlight. I cannot help but
feel some pride at his ingenuity in avoiding detection.

I fold my arms across my chest to hide my nakedness as I move around
the wharves and jetties, erect nipples rubbing against my forearms, but
the warriors are engrossed and only a few stop to watch me hurry by.

Only one stops to stare, a young man with blonde curls like a cherub
who must be on one of his first missions away from home.

Silently I move past him, padding on the balls of my small bare feet to
draw as little attention as possible, and in this fashion I scurry with
relief through the curtain and into the privacy of the grey man’s
quarters.

It turns out he is washing – I have a back view of him as he stands
naked in a crude tin bathtub. Unusually wide hips for a man don’t
reduce the manliness of buttocks so muscular and toned that a
competitive bodybuilder would be proud of them.

Then, sensing my presence only then he spins instinctively, without
thinking what he’s doing, and I have a full frontal view of my master
naked for the first time.

At first I don’t understand what I’m seeing. Between the grey man’s
legs is not the protruding genitals of a man. I’m looking at a woman’s
organs, but they appear somehow incomplete. It’s like someone has made
a few sketch strokes with a pencil as a prelude to rendering the image
of a pudenda, and left those lines on an undoubtedly feminine pelvic
shape before the artist moved to another work.

His nipples are also larger and typical on a male, and there is signs
of development on his bare chest that is flesh other than pectoral
muscle. Surely these are vestigial mammary glands.

When he recognises me he cries out a curse, snatching his robe before
him, but I have already seen what I have seen. But what have I seen?

“I don’t understand,” I state, forgetting myself in my confusion. “You
have the sex organs of a woman, but on the body of a man. What are
you?”

For a moment the grey man is incandescent with rage.

“Curse you, damned kajira,” he swears, face red with anger, and in his
fury he lifts a crude pottery water jug and throws it right at me.

I duck just in time and it smashes off the wall behind my head,
showering me in water drops and sharp ceramic fragments.

“Damn slave girl,” he shouts again, but his anger is gradually
deflating and no more missiles are thrown. Then he sighs, as if
defeated, raising a meaty hand to his straggly hair.

“What will this mean, that she knows?” he groans to himself.

I continue to stare in frozen incomprehension as he steps from the tub
and wraps that grey robe about his body, hiding his nudity.

“What are you?” I repeat, and then remember my status.

“Forgive my curiosity Master,” I add, but even that seems wrong.
“Mistress?” I stammer.

“I suppose it does not matter, that you know, Aurius of London,” the
grey one says, tying the robe at his waist. “But if you cannot now
deduce the truth I shall be disappointed with you. All the information
is before you, like the pieces on the playing board of the great game,
and you just have to make the connections.”

The facts make no sense to me, but all the same my mind races through
what I know. I consider the amount of information he has about both
myself and Kurtz, his awareness of my transition, his familiarity with
everything about me, and his own distorted form, as if he were a failed
attempt at the same process.

Then I look into his rheumy eyes, and I see some strange familiarity.

“Telisio?” I ask.

“Perhaps you would make a player after all, Aurore,” he says,
acknowledging the correctness of my answer.

At first I don’t think to ask why he betrayed us to the enemy.

“How did you come to be like this?” I blurt, still forgetting that it
is not the place of a slave to question. But then – this is Telisio. I
know this man, both as a free male and a free woman.

“It is a long story,” the grey one says wearily, pouring red wine into
a pewter tankard and sitting down to take a long drink before starting
to speak.

“You will no doubt vividly remember your arrival in the compound of
Kurtz, bound naked to the second prow of his longships,” he begins. “It
must have been a shattering experience. That moment was the fulfilment
of his plan to test the essence of the slave in females. Did you know
he considered every detail of your arrival? Kurtz had even ruled you
were not to be first prow – he did not wish you to be overly confident
in your own beauty.”

“I always assumed it was because of the wealth and status of Lady
Nessa,” I reply.

“I had not seen you nude since the tube at the Nest, so I remember
marvelling at your beauty as you struggled in your ropes,” the grey one
reminisces. “But I am digressing from my subject. Back then, as
Telisio, my greatest loyalty was to Kurtz. When he sank into
melancholy, long before your creation, I was desperate to be the
instrument of restoring him to greatness.”

“Even so, I would never have accepted the task of planting the idea in
the Sardar if it betrayed the interests of Priest Kings. But when Kurtz
conceived the plan the will of The Sardar, the Ubar, and myself
coincided. A man must be transformed to a woman, and sent to learn her
slavery, and she would be the instrument of delivering Kurtz back to
loyal service. You would prove woman’s place as the property of man,
and vindicate the Priest Kings.”

“But when you arrived here at our fortifications your rebellion made
Kurtz lose his temper and he had you placed in the water cage, the
first departure from his careful plan.”

“It was intended that you should glimpse me in the crowd, speeding the
breaking of your spirits, but you were moved to the cage too quickly to
become aware of my presence, or witness my departure, tasked by the
Ubar to travel immediately to Port Schendi and report to the local
agent on your successful arrival.”

“It was at the end of my journey when things went even more wrong,”
Telisio says. “I was intercepted by a patrol of tarnsmen loyal to the
Kurii, not a pasang from my destination in Port Schendi.”

“Normally they would have simply killed a stranger travelling alone,
but unfortunately for me I was recognised as one of Kurtz’ highest
deputies by a tarnsman turned traitor. They chained me, and after I was
stripped and hooded I was removed to a place I know not where. In that
Kurii stronghold there was no need for the Others to torture me. I was
simply forced to drink a drug that made me disclose all of the truths I
knew, so the Kurii learnt of the full plan.”

“It did not take the enemy long to appreciate the potential of the
transformation process for their own use. It could be applied both as a
means of restoring injured Kurii, and also of exploiting human
victims.”

“At the Nest, I had learned much of the technology,” the grey man says,
“my inquisitive nature meaning I asked questions throughout your
changing.”

“All this was related to the Others in detail, sufficiently so that
they were able to speculate on the composition of the chemicals used on
you and a Kurii scientist could begin to develop their own prototype.”

“I would have made greater efforts to kill myself before surrendering
the information if I had realised they would test the procedure on an
expendable human subject before risking it on one of their own. And
what could have been more ironic than testing it on the human who
betrayed all this information?”

“The results, you see before you. Something went terribly wrong with
their attempt to turn me into a female, and I woke not young and
beautiful, but as you see me now.”

“My sole consolation had been a belief that the sight of my deformities
would cool their interest in using the Priest Kings’ technology, but
the Kurii did not accept defeat. They are a tenacious species.”

“The Kur believe there will be fingerprints of the chemicals used in
the transformation residing in your body tissues, Aurore. By analysing
these traces they can identify the difference between the process used
by the Priest Kings, and their own attempts.”

“Body tissues?” I say nervously.

“They formed a new plan,” the grey one says, ignoring my concern, “to
seize you, and recover their lost outpost at the same time. I was the
ideal instrument to support both these tasks, being familiar with the
geography of the fortifications, and able to recognise you.”

“But why are you helping them?” I then ask. “To complete your
transformation? Surely you don’t want be a woman on Gor. At least in
your current shape you can masquerade as a male. Why help them, only to
be rewarded with transformation into something more contemptible?”

“I help them because I no longer have the mental strength to end my own
life, and fear of death has taken command of me,” Telisio answers with
sad candour. “This body is not stable – it looks powerful but I grow
weaker with every day. My organs are steadily breaking down. It is
unlikely that I could even overpower you as I did in the tent a few
days ago. I have perhaps a month to live, unless I can save myself by
enduring the process a second time.”

“I know, Aurore, that it is contemptible to serve the enemy for a
chance of life, but my mind has lost its will along with my body. And I
betray no-one but myself and you. My failure to report to the Nest
meant that one of two dooms would inevitably overcome Kurtz.”

“What difference would your non-return make to Bila-Haruma?” I ask,
referring to the other threat on the shores of the lake.

“As another Ubar loyal to Sardar, the Priest Kings stayed his hand
while there was hope Kurtz could have been saved,” is the answer.
“Telisio’s absence from the Nest will have been interpreted as a sign
of both our deaths at Kurtz’ hands. They will unleash military force to
restore order in the region.”

“But you could return to the Sardar, now,” I protest, “we could escape
together. Priest Kings could repair your body, or even turn you back to
a male.”

Telisio shakes her head sadly.

“That too is impossible for me. The Kurii did make one unfortunately
successful modification to the process – by implanting some kind of
biological restraint to control their victim’s behaviour. I have to
ingest a liquid that only they can provide constantly, or I die within
hours. They make sure that my supply is insufficient to flee.”

She pauses and says, “I am almost as much of a slave to them as you
are, Aurore. If I’d set you free it would have meant the end of my
life.”

We are silent for a moment, as she gives me time to absorb this
information. Poor Telisio. This war between alien species has ruined
his world far more than mine.

“At least your discovery of my gender brings the benefit that you will
accept I do not represent a threat to you,” the grey man, correction,
the grey woman, says. “You can help preserve the secret.”

“The panthers knew, didn’t they?” I ask, mind racing. “That’s why you
were permitted in the camp.”

“I needed to reveal myself to win their trust,” Telisio confirms. “The
physician here is also aware – he supplies the potion that sustains my
life. But that is all.”

“Kur’s Claw doesn’t know?” I say. It makes me feel nervous that this
great secret is out there for him to discover, as if something horrific
is closing that I can’t yet discern, but still I sense it.

“He only knows that we are subjects of the process,” the grey one
confirms, “not that I was transformed, or damaged so severely. He
thinks I was changed into an ageing man. Kurii society is highly
factionalised, you know, and so are their agents. The physician and I
are under what the Kurii call the North-eastern Control Group. Kur’s
Claw and his men are under the Southern Control Group. They are greatly
suspicious of us, but courtesies must be observed.”

“This lack of unity is a good thing for humanity – if the Kurii acted
as one they would be a far more terrible threat. But here on the ground
it means the physician and I are at best tolerated in this place. We
must not provoke them into open hostility.”

My fears begin to take solid form.

“You saw the way Kur’s Claw looked at me,” I say, my voice quavering.
“If he discovers you’re not strong enough to defend me, he may claim me
for his own.”

“I am no longer vigorous enough to protect you in combat, Aurore,”
Telisio says, shaking his head. “If he decides to take you for himself,
I can do little to prevent it. Between us we must make sure that does
not happen. So you will have to submit to his every request to avoid a
confrontation, even if that means going to his furs. I’m sorry, but
that is how it must be.”

My heart feels like lead, so intense is the sudden loathing horror. The
only shield protecting me was the grey man, but that is no shield at
all.

“I don’t want to be his pleasure slave,” I plead in a breaking voice.
My mind is filled with images of his hands on me, possessing me the way
Kurtz did.

“I’m sorry Aurore,” the grey one says again. “This is not the fate you
hoped for when you left the Sardar. But as pleasure slave to a human
agent you at least escape the fate of those females that are chosen to
provide live meat to the beasts.”

Perhaps at that image she draws her cloak tighter, as if she were cold
despite the jungle heat, and I study the fit of her garment properly
for the first time. I realise it is not a cloak. The grey woman wears
the robes of concealment.

“I will be no better than live meat if I have to lie with him,” I moan,
and not for the first time I regret the day I agreed to be made a
female.

42 – The Kur’s Claw takes measures to find his enemy.

Next morning my prospects do not improve.

The grey woman and I are summoned into the hall, before the throne of
the Ubar. There we discover Kur’s Claw is vexed, and he is drumming his
powerful fingers on the arm of his chair.

“The enemy, Kurtz still evades me,” he grumbles to the grey one.

“He is a resourceful man,” Telisio observes with a tone of amusement.
“But are you sure he is still here?”

“One of the slaves informs me the food stores have been disturbed
during the night,” Claw says irritably. “So either one of my men has a
nocturnal eating habit, or we have an uninvited guest.”

“I’m not sure how we can help,” Telisio says, unconcerned.

“An incentive must be to draw him out of hiding. The only thing he
cares for is his female. Kurtz will not stand by and see his favourite
shamed.”

From my place on my knees I look up in anguish at the grey one,
clutching his robe in my hand as my pulse rate suddenly leaps with
adrenaline.

“Aurore must remain undamaged,” the grey one insists, also starting to
show concern now she needs to plead my cause. “You know the physician’s
caste needs her for their work.”

Claw looks hungrily at me in a way that makes my skin crawl.

“I do not intend any permanent harm to her,” he sneers, with contempt
for me and the grey one. “That would be a waste. But the physicians can
obtain the information they require as long as the girl still breathes,
and the security of this place is much more important than the
wellbeing of a slave.”

“Master, please don’t,” I beg Kur’s Claw. Many weeks of slave training
have made me used to humbling myself, and I place my cheek to his heavy
boot without regret to plead for his goodwill.

But it is too late. Two warriors are already moving up behind us, their
hands on the hilts of their swords. We aren’t going to win this debate.

“You will think me unnecessarily cruel for this action, no doubt,” he
says firmly, addressing not me but the grey one standing above me. “But
I am convinced the girl’s suffering will draw Kurtz out more quickly.”

“You must do as is necessary,” the grey woman accedes, reading our
chances as I do. “But please – no permanent damage.”

“If she is harmed in a way that reduces her value, I will see you are
compensated,” he says with chilling coldness.

I lift my head from his boots and straighten up, in time to see from
his stony expression that the decision has been made.

Thus only 5 ehn, the Gorean minutes later, I stand on one of the
wharves of the compound inside a tall, narrow punishment cage that I
last witnessed used on a captive panther girl. It has been temporarily
lowered to the ground to facilitate my entry through the hinged gate,
but I know they will soon winch me up like I’m in a birdcage.

I am actually feeling a little calmer at my prospects. This will be an
ordeal, but it is one I consider merciful compared to my expectations.
Kur’s Claw said I would be “shamed”, and that word usually implies rape
to the Gorean mind. When the gate is padlocked behind me I almost feel
relieved at the relatively safe environment of the cage.

“Pass your hands through the bars in front of you,” I am commanded, and
conditioned from long months under the whip, I obey as a reflex,
delivering my hands out immediately at the height of Aurore’s stomach.

In this fashion shackles are attached to my wrists, so I cannot
withdraw them back through the bars to my body.

I reflect that I should have offered out my hands above my head, which
might at least have offered the opportunity to rest, relaxing my thighs
and dangling from my wrists, but it is now too late.

Before I can consider my failures any further, there is more devilry.

I am commanded to spread my feet so they can also chain my ankles
closely to the outer circumference of the cage, low down where I stand
on its base. This opens my legs into an inverted “V”, but to little
wider than the width of my shoulders. My feet, trapped apart, search
for the most comfortable place on the gridded floor.

The additional restraints seem an unnecessary measure and it was not a
punishment applied to the troublesome panther girls, although after
several hours unable to shuffle my feet far it may turn out to be a
means of torture.

Next the brief skirt of rep-cloth about my waist is torn from me,
leaving me naked for this fresh camp of warriors to admire. I don’t
enjoy being publicly nude, but again things could be worse. No-one can
rape me through these narrow bars.

The grey one stands silently watching the whole time, his hood drawn
over his head. Telisio has not raised any objections to their treatment
of me, but I detect disapproval in the shape of the shoulders.

Claw, who has also come outside to supervise the proceedings squints
into the sky, raising a hand to shield his face. It is going to be an
oppressively hot day. This will not be fun.

“We do not wish Kurtz’ girl to be harmed by the sun,” Claw says loudly.
This statement is not intended for our ears, but for the benefit of the
crowd gathering to witness the spectacle. “Wet her body.”

Two slaves approach me, carrying a heavy looking wooden bucket between
them. I see the one on the left is Ailsa, her face anguished, and tears
prick my eyes. Chained in place I can do nothing but shut my eyes and
mouth as this is pitched towards my face, drenching my front.

Only a second later a second deluge hits me from behind, launched by a
second team of slaves.

On my lips I taste iron. Blinking, I look down at my dripping body.

I had been expecting drips of pure water from the lake, but the fluid
that coats me is as scarlet as strawberry juice. It’s a runny mix –
some dilute solution of blood rather than the pure fluid which would be
more viscous. All the same I must look like Carrie from the Stephen
King movie.

Why have they coated me in this mess? Is this part of the shaming that
the Claw mentioned, or something just to keep me cool?

For a second I panic, thinking that I’ve been prepared for feeding to
one of the Kurii, the scent of blood enough to drive the beast into a
frenzy.

But it is broad daylight, the Kur’s Claw said I would sustain no
permanent harm, and there has been no sign of the alien species being
physically present here in the jungle. There must be some other form of
ordeal.

“Winch her up,” Claw orders, and one of the warriors cranks a rusty
handle to lift the cage.

Suddenly I am off the ground, swinging slightly in the warm breeze.
Then the cage begins to rotate as the supporting chain straightens
itself, and my view of the fortified compound changes rapidly as it
pans round.

Something is definitely different today, apart from this changed
viewpoint, but I’m not sure what.

The bloody, smelly fluid is starting to dry already, caking my skin. It
will not protect me from the heat for long so I hope they intend to
recoat me regularly.

“Kurtz, I know you can hear me,” the Kur’s Claw suddenly roars, so
loudly that I jump.

His voice is a little below me now, the floor of my cage being left
several feet above the wharf.

“We have your woman,” Claw booms. “Unless you surrender yourself, she
will remain therein suffering until the time pleases me to bring her
down. When that happens, she will be cleansed and chained, and I will
see that she is used by every warrior in the camp, one after another.”

“No!” I cry in desperation, my protest ringing out across the compound
in Aurore’s high voice. The grey one is also moving in with hands
raised to object, but one of Claw’s deputies blocks his path.

“Or you can remain in hiding, Kurtz, so each man here, as he takes his
pleasure from your own girl, will know your cowardice.”

“No!” I cry again, my voice breaking.

Kur’s Claw returns to his usual volume.

“Come friends, we have business to do,” he says, clapping one of the
warriors across the shoulders and leading him back towards the communal
building.

Another man in service to the Kurii pushes my cage so it moves in a
slow pendulum swing. Then he turns his back to me and follows his
leader away.

I am distracted from watching their departure by an abrupt piercing
pain in my thigh, as if a needle is being injected. I look down and see
one of the gigantic jungle mosquitos has settled on my filthy leg, and
with its sharp proboscis it is sucking my blood.

Instinct makes me want to swat it away and I reflexively attempt to do
so, but the chains prevent me with a loud clang.

Then I understand the purpose of dousing me in blood. I also understand
what is unusual in my view of the compound today.

The smoking braziers that keep away the insects have not been lit.

43 – The Second Ordeal of the Cage

Many years ago, when I was still a man living on Earth, I read in a
Scottish history book that a medieval punishment was to stake criminals
out naked, in a fashion where they were unable to protect their bodies.

Then the midges, a type of bloodsucking parasitic insect that plague
the country, would gather to feast on the defenceless victim without
interruption.

Although midge bites can certainly be irritating, at the time it seemed
an innocuous form of punishment compared to some of the brutal measures
used in the middle ages.

In the cage I realise the error of this assumption.

Under the baking jungle sun the insects torment me relentlessly and
without mercy. The itching bites drive me crazy.

Every inch of Aurore’s lustrous skin seems vulnerable to attack, but
they seem to take a perverse delight in targeting my erogenous zones.
By shaking my head vigorously I can protect my face, my blood-matted
hair lashing like a whip, but with my limbs chained there is little I
can do to defend the rest of my body.

The sinister purpose of chaining my ankles apart becomes clear when a
mosquito bites the sensitive fleshy lips at the apex of my thighs.

Priest Kings, no, I think, I can’t close my legs.

If I could squat down I might be able bring in my knees enough to
conceal my most intimate entrance, but the narrow cage prevents me from
doing any more than bend my legs. And the bugs are not my only torture.

Under the backing sun I feel my temperature begin to climb, until I
descent into a fevered delirium where each minute seems like an
eternity.

I start to see things that may or may not be real. One example is when
the gate leading out to the ground behind the compound is opened, and
through this gate enters a silent precession of the black clothed
warriors.

A large and apparently heavy object is carried into the camp, the size
of a wardrobe. It is wrapped in cloth to disguise its exact nature, and
in my delirium the men bear it on their shoulders look like pallbearers
carrying a coffin.

This object is taken not to one of the storage warehouses, but to the
forbidden building that was once the slave pens. A man in the robes of
the physicians answers the heavy door of the pens, and the coffin is
carefully manoeuvred inside.

Please don’t let it be holding a Kur, I beg.

Periodically I am given water, by means of a soaked sponge affixed to a
pole and lifted up through my bars, and each time it is offered I drink
with desperate gratitude.

At the times I am rehydrated the world grows a little more real, and I
see the compound with more certainty. I notice that Ailsa is the slave
given the task of watering me.

“I’m sorry, Aurore,” she whispers through the bars on one visit. “I
didn’t want to throw the blood over you, but I would have shared your
punishment if I do not follow orders.”

It comforts me to receive kindness from Ailsa, but the former Ubar’s
slave has few allies among the jealous kajirae. Others spin my cage as
they pass, so the panorama of the compound races crazily past in my
view – building, building, wall, ship, building, rubbish pile, wharves,
gate, lake, walls.

The warriors too have their sport with me, jabbing the soles of my feet
through the cage floor with weapons to make me dance, and taunting me
with the prospects that await me when I’m given to their use.

The young warrior with the angelic blonde curls stands and watches me
for some time and seems about to speak, but then he frowns to himself
and walks away.

All in all it is not the best day I spend as Aurore of the Sardar.

In the afternoon the inevitable rain forest clouds form overhead. I
watch them gather through the bars above my head. There is little
change in the temperature and the humidity seems to climb even further,
but it is a merciful relief being out of the direct sun.

The downside of this change is that I am less occupied by the delirium,
and I have more time to contemplate my situation.

The perfect skin that was so carefully created for Aurore of the Sardar
is covered with red insect bites. They itch terribly, but there are
only a few areas I can scratch by rubbing myself against the bars of
the cage.

The only consolation I can take from being disfigured like a victim of
dar kosis is that in this state I might deter the passions of some of
the men, if the Kur’s Claw does indeed give me to the whole camp.

I am sick with dread at the second humiliation that will happen if
Kurtz does not appear to surrender himself.

It would be better to die in this cage before enduring the ordeal of
being used by every single man, and I do actually look around me to see
if there is some way I can strangle myself with my own chains, but my
arms are still trapped by my wrists shackled outside the bars.

It is when night is falling that my cage pauses its spinning to leave
me looking down at the robed figure of Udumi. Her big dark eyes, the
only part of her body I can see through the rectangular opening of her
robes, wear an expression of pity.

“It is time to say farewell, Aurore of the Sardar,” she says with grave
formality. “I do not think we will meet again. My destiny is to return
to my home, whereas yours is to be a slave girl of Gor, giving pleasure
to men.”

She turns from me, and in the company of two warriors waits at the back
gate of the compound. As if her departure is about trigger some coming
apocalypse, there is a theatrical rumble of thunder from overhead.

Only ten ehn, the Gorean minutes later, the sky has grown completely
black. Men and slaves rush round lighting lamps around the wharves, and
the back gate opens. I watch as Udumi passes outside with her escort,
probably to leave my life forever. She will be going to a ship, at the
landing site by old Kurii feeding place. If the Kurii are true to their
word she will board that ship and they will return her to Urth.

I conjecture that fearing intervention by the Priest Kings, the Others
will have waited for the cover of complete darkness to make their
landing. In this case they have timed their visit particularly well,
for the impending storm could disguise anything.

A spectacular flash of lighting illuminates the rolling clouds for a
moment. There must be a risk of my cage being struck by a bolt, but I
do not fear it. It would be a fast and merciful death compared with
what awaits when the cage is lowered to the ground.

Five ehn later there is more lightning with a thunder crack like a
whip, and then a gradual increase in the volume of noises that I
realise are truly the sounds of whips.

Through the still-open rear gate passes a coffle of nude women, each
one beautiful. The slave chain links them from throat to throat, but
the girls’ wrists and ankles are also in shackles. Are these real or a
fevered delusion of my imagination?

These unlucky captives hurry to evade brutal lashings from their slave
drivers. They pass close by to my cage and one of them looks up at me
in horror, before screaming and babbling in a language that sounds like
Japanese.

I must look quite a fright if the sight of me can reduce women to
screaming.

I recognise another language used as German, before its speaker is
lashed into silence. The girl looks as if she wants to protest further,
but I hope for her sake she does not. She is a slave now, and must
learn only to speak when her owners wish her to do so.

The line of naked women are not directed to the forbidden slave pens,
but are driven straight onto one of the wooden sailing ships. Perhaps
they are to be taken to a more suitable training facility before being
sold, or perhaps they go immediately to one of the markets of Gor.

I feel every sympathy with these unlucky females, and then remember
despondently that their fate will be no worse than mine. A couple of
them I would have judged as rivalling Aurore in beauty, and with my
chance of return to the Sardar gone I too am no better than one of the
many Earth women lost forever into slavery on an alien world.

My spirits sink, and when the clouds break and it starts to downpour my
body seems to surrender to the rigours of my ordeal.

I grow cold and begin to shiver, even though I know it is a hot night,
the tropical rain is warm and I should feel fine. My legs and buttocks
are starting to tremble, tired from a day standing in the same
position. I flex my knees, attempting to find a position where I can
wedge myself against the sides of the cage to rest, but there’s no
position that’s not desperately uncomfortable.

I want to cry now, but how bad will I feel if I stand for days?

Aurore’s long hair is soaked through by the pouring rain, darkening it
almost to maroon, and it clings heavily to my skin, reaching down
almost to the base of my spine. Everyone that is at liberty has gone
inside to escape the weather. The outdoors of the fortified compound is
almost deserted, save for a token couple of warriors standing hunched
as they guard the walls.

Even the sounds of jungle animals have ceased, but the ceaseless
drumming of the night time rain makes up for the loss.

A gust of wind makes my cage rotate lazily on its axis, until I face
the heap of rotten vegetation and those Kurii heads. I can barely see
them in the dark, with only the outlines visible against an even deeper
blackness.

Then I scream with insane terror as one of the heads rears up out of
the fetid heap. It’s impossible, the beasts are dead. Kurii are mortal
– they do not regenerate, but there the monster stands.

When it starts to move towards me, uncomprehending I scream again,
thinking that somehow the plans to feed on me. Kur’s Claw does not
intend me for his men. I am to be devoured alive.

The head falls to the side as if someone has decapitated it for a
second time, but the remaining body still comes for me like a ravenous
zombie. When it breaks into a stripe of light from the light I see the
horror’s two glinting eyes and only then does it takes on a more human
shape.

Kurtz, it is Kurtz. He’s covered in filth and is camouflaged on
diagonal black stripes that make him like a human zebra, but it is
Kurtz. He is carrying a blowpipe, one of the weapons used by native
hunters in the local villages.

My surge of hysterical relief abruptly returns to greater terror, when
he lifts his weapon and points it straight at me.

“What are you doing?” I scream in incomprehension and fear. This
afternoon I was wishing I could take my own life, but instinct still
makes me cry out for self-preservation.

Kurtz’ cheeks distort only for a fraction of a second and there is a
sharp wasp sting in my thigh, no worse than the piercing insect bites,
just above the mark that will forever show I was once his slave.

A dart is embedded in the once perfect flesh of my leg. It’s an
inconsequentially small thing, really, but the pain from the injection
has not faded quickly as it should. It’s not fading at all – it feels
like there’s a white hot needle in me.

My eyes look up from the dart to meet those of my lover, and I
understand.

Kurtz thinks like a true Ubar. Rather than be made vulnerable by his
concern for me; rather than have me suffer because of my association
with him; rather than have any other man touch the property that is
his, he will take the initiative and kill me himself.

“Seize him,” commands the voice of Kur’s Claw from close by, and
suddenly from the apparently empty rain soaked wharves of the compound,
warriors are all around us. This must have been a trap. They have been
watching all night for him to make his move.

“Run!” I scream to my Master, concerned for him even though he’s my
thigh blazes with pain and he’s just killed me.

But the Ubar stands limply as the black clad warriors fall upon him,
and I scream again as I see him in their hands.

When I know all is lost, a sense of lassitude fills me.

Although I know for sure I will not live to see his fate, I feel
strangely calm as I face death. I regret only the terrible pain that
will mark my final moments.

My whole leg is on fire, as if I’m being branded a second time, and it
spreads through my body like blaze has been lit under my cage to burn
me as a witch.

Soon the pain is too bad to hold back from crying out to the world.

“Get her out, get her out,” a male voice is commanding and when I look
at the speaker I am surprised to hear such anxiety in the voice of
Kur’s Claw. “Summon the physician.”

Agony such as this has to be mortal, however. When I’m screaming like
I’ve been plunged into the sun, the fade-to-black oblivion comes as the
sweetest relief.

44 – I learn of the Jungle Rennel, and resume my duties as a slave to
Kurii

“Wake up, lazy kajira,” a man is saying.

My senses tell me I’m lying on my back, I have my sanity and I am not
in fact dead.

I am trained to obey so I do as he commands, opening my eyes to see a
man in the green robes of the physicians’ caste looming over me.

“Welcome back slave,” he smiles at me. “You’re lucky to be alive.”

Gradually I recover awareness of my body and its surroundings, and with
sensation comes the realisation he is wrong. I am not lucky to be
alive. My belly feels like it still burns with that terrible fire, my
head hurts, and he called me kajira. Better I had died than face the
gang rape that will now be prepared by my enemies.

“I don’t feel very lucky Master,” I say, groaning as a wave of cramp
knots my stomach. “What happened to me?”

“You were poisoned,” the physician tells me with smiling unconcern. I
steal a quick glance at him and see he is an elderly fellow, with the
bloodshot eyes that come from a lifetime of too much paga.

“The venom of an insect was used on you, a creature that moves like a
crab called the Jungle Rennel,” he says. “You are unlikely to have
heard of it, especially given your Urth origins. Better known across
Gor is the Rennel found on the plains of Turia.”

I do not know of either beast.

I try to sit up, but the world spins too violently. I collapse back
onto a crude cot, a cot I recognise is located in the infirmary
building of the fortified compound.

When my head touches down a pain like a dagger pierces into my skull,
and I groan again.

“I am free of this poison? I still feel terrible.”

The physician shakes his head.

“Not quite. You are free of the drug, but not all of its affects.
Although the immediate risk to your life is passed, the venom has
caused permanent disruption to one of the steps in your digestive
process. You will struggle to take in sufficient nutrients for the rest
of your existence.”

“I will remain slim?” I can’t help quip in the face of such bad news.

He smiles coldly.

“You kajirae, you are so vain about your beauty. The nutritional
deficiency might manifest itself as disfiguring sores on your legs. At
times you will not look quite as perfect as you do now.”

I decide I do not like this uncaring man. Eager to be away from his
presence, I try to push myself up into a seating position, and this
time my balance and my head are up to the task.

I swing my long legs down and perch at the edge of the bed. The brand
on my thigh looks rather attractive now it has faded to a pale scar,
but it is still a brand.

Aurore’s body is naked, but the physician will have seen everything by
now, and there’s little point attempting to cover my nudity.

Something is strange. At first I’m not sure what it is, but I realise
I’m expecting blemishes to cover my skin, and there’s not one. What
happened to the mosquito bites?

“How long was I unconscious, Master?” I ask.

“The poison rendered you in a coma for five days,”

I rub my slender fingertips over my body, feeling the familiar shape of
Aurore’s divine wide hips and narrow waist. The muscles in my stomach
have perhaps become more prominent, as if I’ve lost weight or toned-up,
during the time of unconsciousness, but they are not unsightly.

Otherwise there seems to be no damage to me at all, apart from a
headache and the dangerous contractions I can feel rumbling in my
bowels.

I close my eyes for a moment, rubbing my temples with my palms.

“It is a rather fascinating venom that Kurtz used,” the physician says
with clinical unconcern for my discomfort. “The local Ukungu tribes
deliberately administer minute doses to young men wishing to prove
their courage as warriors. They do this because their legends say that
the rite earns the blessing of the Ushindi frog, an animal that the
tribe revere as gods. The frog is itself a poisonous jungle creature
(there are so many on Gor), who’s bite brings a horrific vomiting
sickness known as the red death.”

“The Rennel venom used on you must have been the only toxic material
that was available to Kurtz. Luckily for you it is an unpredictable
poison, and the dose you sustained gave me time to save you before you
passed a point of no return.”

The next wave of cramp from my intestines is more powerful, and moan as
I have to clench the muscles in my belly. Aurore will have to seek the
relief of the straw pile soon.

“What is happening to Kurtz, Master?” I ask in a strained voice while
the contraction fades.

“That should not be a concern to you,” the physician says. “You have a
new owner now, and you have a new collar to prove it. Your duties are
to them.”

My hands fly to my throat, where I can feel that the familiar shape of
the collar of Kurtz has been replaced with a different band. This new
one is thinner, giving it a more delicate feel, but also a little wider
to cover a larger area of my skin. The edges are rough as gravel, as if
they’re embedded with precious stones, but they must be something else.
There couldn’t possibly be that many jewels on a mere slave’s collar.
Their nature will be beyond my comprehension until I find a mirror.

I can feel engraving on the metal band which will be the name of my
owner. Pray let it be the grey one.

“However, as it would perhaps give you pleasure to know of Kurtz
suffering after his attempt to kill you, I choose tell you that the
former Ubar has been undergoing interrogation since his capture,” the
physician has already continued.

Interrogation, he said. No, that concept does not give me pleasure.
Instead I feel tired, tired of Gor, tired of the cruelty of men, tired
of this battle between both sexes and species, and I just wish I could
be on Urth sleeping under crisp white sheets and forgetting this
nightmare.

I shake my head to show that I bear my former master no ill will for
his attempt on my life. I know he was just being Kurtz, and in his
twisted morality he was doing what he thought was required of the Ubar.

“Your orders are to return to the grey one,” the physician says, “and
tell it that the physicians are finished with you.”

He said “it”, twice. So this is the man who knows Telisio’s secret, the
only one that Telisio said was from the same faction. But he also said
the physicians were finished with me. That is a more immediate concern.

“I thought I was needed for tissue samples, for experimentation,” I
plead.

“We obtained what we required while you were unconscious,” the
physician says dismissively. “It was a trivial matter. Now you have no
more significance than any other attractive slave woman. Rather than
rely on your importance to protect you, you must focus your thoughts on
giving pleasure to men.”

He is right. Telisio wouldn’t be cruel to me, but my head spins in
sudden acceptance that in theory the grey one could sell me to another
master or even load me into the ships to be sold. And this is the fear
that other slave girls have to live with every moment.

I am praying it is Telisio’s collar I wear, this strange rock-crusted
thing. Not knowing whose name I wear is becoming unbearable. I must
return to him and find out straight away.

“May I leave, Master,” I humbly ask, and I am dismissed.

The physician pats my bare bottom to expedite my departure from the
infirmary, as many men have wanted to touch my rump since the
transformation.

Ignoring his impudence I find myself out in the open air of the
fortified compound, stark naked. It looks to be early afternoon.

I dearly want my first move to be towards the lodgings of my master, or
more accurately mistress (I still don’t have it clear in my head),
where I can learn of my owner and recover a little clothing. But before
I get that far nature intervenes, demanding priority, and I must detour
to the straw.

When I finally do reach the grey one’s quarters I enter cautiously,
making a noise to announce my presence and not wanting to interrupt
Telisio washing as I did before. But the grey woman is lying on her
cot, knees drawn up. Her hood is drawn back, and the grotesque head is
covered in sweat. Here lies someone who might be gravely ill.

Her head turns slowly to look at me.

“Aurore, it is good to see you recovered,” she says in a frighteningly
weak voice.

“You’re sick?” I say unnecessarily, and kneeling before the bed I touch
my hand to the misshapen brow.

“My body continues its rejection of the transformation,” Telisio says
in a whisper. “I will die before too many days have passed, unless I
can be returned to the chamber and undertake the process for a second
time.”

The skin touching my hand is burning with fever. I fight back a flutter
of panic. Telisio is my only protection, so my concern for his
wellbeing is not entirely unselfish.

“You will be healed soon – the physicians have what they need of me to
amend the process,” I reassure him. “Until then I can remain in this
hut, and ease your suffering.”

Taking my hand away, I gratefully begin to pull on Udumi’s ill-fitting
camisk, covering myself as best as I can and tying the garment at my
narrow waist.

Meanwhile Telisio laughs, but it is a bitter sound that terminates in a
fit of coughing.

“Why would the Others test their device on me, unless they fear for its
safety and want another victim?” he asks in a hoarse croak. “No, like
you, my role in this war is over. This cot will become my death bed.”

“But you said they’d cure you,” I say like a petulant child.

“No, Aurore,” Telisio whispers, shaking her head. “I said my only
chance was for them to transform me, but not that they had yet agreed
to do it. Those were the dreams of a dying man.”

Tears are forming in my eyes, but whether I cry for me or the grey one,
I do not know.

“I can nurse you, keep you alive as long as possible, while we try to
persuade them.”

Again the misshapen head shakes.

“You will not be my nurse. Your ownership has been transferred to the
local Kurii faction, and away from my own. You are to assist the
warriors caring for the barbarian slave girls, chained below decks on
the ship. It has become known that you speak one of the barbarian
tongues.”

I cannot think of the Urth girls now.

“Whose collar do I wear?” I plead, trying to pull away the strange band
around my throat.

“In the Gorean script, it says ‘This slave girl belongs to Kur’s Claw.
He chooses to name her Aurore.'”

“Protect me, please Master!” I beg in sudden fear. The idea of having
to serve the Claw sexually repels me.

“You must prepare yourself to be his,” the grey woman insists. “Have
you still not learnt? Men of Gor take what they want, and he has
decided he wants you. It pleases him to have the beautiful agent of
Priest Kings reduced to serving him as slave. You were prepared for
being taken by Kurtz’ men before you arrived here. This is no worse.”

“But that was for the mission,” I wail. “I was going to be a slave
temporarily. It wasn’t for real.”

My tears are flowing properly now. Damn Aurore’s lack of emotional
control to the Priest Kings, and damn the Priest Kings for cursing me
this way.

I know Telisio can do nothing to save me, and I can’t bear crying like
a weakling in front of the man who knew me as the proud strong warrior.
So I flee sobbing from the hut, running to hide near the rubbish heap
where Kurtz also found cover.

I long to escape more than I’ve ever done before, but the gaps in the
compound walls have been sealed, and the gates are all guarded.

I don’t want to be a slave.

My crying fit lasts for some time, and I wait for a further half ahn
before recovering my self-control enough to face the world. No one has
come to disturb me, but I know it will not be long before I am missed,
and punished.

I must resume my duties, as kajira. The grey one said my orders are to
assist with the barbarian girls.

I do not anticipate speaking to these women of my homeworld with much
relish. I will be the one to destroy their hopes, telling them they
will inevitably serve as slaves under the hot lustful hands of men. But
at least this duty it will keep me away from the Kur’s Claw, and the
look of victory on his face.

Steeling myself I make for the ships.

45 – The women in the hold

After asking for directions I present myself on my knees before the
captain of the Kurii slave vessel, a disagreeable looking fellow named
Gracus.

“You speak one of the barbarian languages, girl?” he demands.

“Yes, Master,” I say humbly.

He gives a seadog gruff “Hmm” and inspects me, more intimately than
would be allowed anywhere on Earth.

“Pretty thing, aren’t you?” he comments, and without waiting for an
answer orders me, “Well then, fetch a big bucket of water, and follow
me to my ship.”

I get to my feet with the instinctive grace trained into me, and rush
to do his bidding.

His request to fetch a bucket of water merits explanation. One might
expect that the compound’s water source comes from the harbour, but
with much of the settlement’s excreta being tipped there a separate
well has been dug for hygiene reasons, which fills itself gradually by
being below the water table of the lake.

Into this well I lower a large wooden bucket, struggling with Aurore’s
weak arms to pull it back out once full. Then I follow Gracus onto the
ship, waddling awkwardly with the heavy load between my legs.

It seems a lowly and rundown vessel, but the decks are scrubbed and he
touches the rail as lovingly as if she were a woman when he walks up
the gangplank.

Inside is a different story. The stench of humanity hits me as soon as
I submerge below the deck.

The ship’s hold is out of the sun, but it is still oppressively hot
inside. My eyes adjust to the semi-darkness of the cavernous windowless
space and I gradually resolve the ghostly shapes into naked women,
slowly and silently rising like a mist to look at us.

They have been chained down in the bilges, pits in the lowest sections
of the ships with a raised walkway running between them. Only the left
ankle of each girl has been shackled, but these shackles link to
eyehooks in the hull that are utterly inescapable.

Gracus and I move above them, along the gangway to the centre of the
hold. As he passes between the women he roars like a bull and strikes
out at the girls with great savagery, making them scream and recoil to
the furthest extent their chains will permit.

All but one girl behave this way, the exception being a dark and leggy
Latino beauty who does not flee like the others, but cowers on her
knees, extending her slender hands out to him in supplication.

This female, Gracus does not beat.

“It is always like this with new batches of barbarians,” he says to me
in his native tongue “They might not speak Gorean, but they can quickly
learn the language of the whip.”

He strokes the kneeling girl’s face with his rough fingers, and then he
moves his hand to caress her breast. At this violation the girl begins
to shake, as if she is suppressing sobs, but she still offers no
resistance.

Gracus lifts the girls chin and she nuzzles his groin as if trying to
awaken his blood, keeping her eyes closed.

“This is the first step on a girl’s path into slavery,” Gracus tells me
in Gorean. “She begins to learn that her beauty is all that is
important in her life, and she must use it to please men. Tonight the
others will hate her for debasing herself so, but next time I enter, I
wager they will all attempt to submit as she does. Thus they will begin
to compete for my kindness.”

I can see the other women observing the Latino’s treatment, and I do
not disagree with his prediction.

“Tell these women that only this slave will be fed tonight, because she
pleases her master, and the others will stay hungry.”

I do so, translating exactly into English and addressing the silent
group with no more or less than he said. It would be foolish to
disobey, with the possibility that this might be a test of my honesty.
Many servants of the Others speak an Earth language as well as Gorean.

The women that understand English – about three quarters of the group,
show this by reacting to my speech with sudden hope. They rush to me,
each one trying to plead her case.

“Help us, you must help us,” says the closest to me, a milky blonde
with a magnificent body. She speaks English with a Scandinavian accent
and grasps my hand in supplication.

It is odd that a girl like her would have never considered a man such
as Aurius with much to offer for himself, but with Aurore, a mere
slave, she is desperate to ingratiate.

But before I can have any more dialogue Gracus rushes in with another
growl, viciously lashing out again. The perfection of the blonde’s
shoulders is immediately marked with a red welt from the lash.

The girls retreat from me like waves from a beach.

“Tell them they are slaves, and slaves do not speak unless asked a
question,” Gracus barks.

This too I accurately relate.

One girl starts to open her mouth but Gracus is already raising his
slave whip and she quickly closes it again. The looks on their faces
change from gratitude towards me to hostility, and feeling stung that
they’re blaming the messenger I add, “I’m sorry. I’m a slave here too.”

This time the flare of hot fire is across my back. The thundercrack of
the whip reaches me after the pain, sound travelling slower than the
nerve signals in Aurore’s body. My knees give way and I fall to the
deck, instinctively raising my arms above my head.

“You also do not have permission to speak unless I wish you to do so,”
Gracus tells me.

I do not even reply with a “Yes, Master,” having made that mistake
before, long ago.

“Tell the slaves that I wish them to drink from this bucket. Tell them
it is important that good kajirae stay hydrated, to remain healthy.
Tell them that slaves who do not drink enough water will be punished.”

These facts I accurately relate.

Cautious that my words may be a trick, women get to their feet and
shuffle forward like zombies, chains clinking. Their eyes keep flicking
to Gracus, watching for any sign of him raising the whip.

With no drinking vessels available they form crude cups with their
palms, and sip before the water drains away between fingers. I
gradually move the bucket along the gangway, with the chains for those
at the far end not permitting them to reach the centre.

All the women eventually comply with my order, those that do not
understand my translation copying the ones that do.

Gracus touches the face of the Latino girl almost affectionately as she
takes her turn to drink, and her look is questioning. She is lucky she
cannot understand the words he then speaks.

“I will permit only her food tonight, and tomorrow I will reward all
others who submit,” he says. “But on the third night I will have her
cleaned and chained in my furs, and she will be the first that I rape.
It is better that these women learn quickly why they have been
permitted to live.”

My earth-man’s horror at the fate of these newcomers makes me aware how
little I’ve changed mentally since I arrived at this place to be judged
on the docks.

When I was a newly collared slave girl I acted unlike most women and
boldly defied the Ubar, still retaining my dignity and my sense of self
with foolish hopes that I might be saved in some romantic fashion, or
that I was different to the others.

Kurtz did nothing to correct this and I believed was special – destined
to change worlds as the omen of doom.

Now I see that was all vanity. These women must learn the reason they
live, Gracus said, and I am my reaction to their ill treatment is so
intense because I still have to learn that same lesson.

No-one will come to save me -Telisio has been changed into a woman and
is in more danger than me, Kurtz has been captured, and my other
guardians are long dead.

The only important thing in my existence is that men find me desirable.
I must submit to the Claw, and these women must also surrender to the
Kurii.

Without warning a fierce contraction of my stomach grips me, so painful
it doubles me over.

“Forgive me, Master,” I blurt out, risking the whip for speaking. “I am
unwell, I need to visit the straw,” and not waiting for permission I
run from the hold. I wish I could run and run and run, but I am trapped
within these fortifications as I have always been trapped.

46 – An evening with my new master

It is towards the private quarters of the Kur’s Claw I make my way that
evening, carrying a serving tray loaded with paga, vulo eggs and tarsk
meat.

Rather than occupy Kurtz’ humble hut the Kur’s Claw has claimed the
quarters of Chiron. I enter to discover it very much as it was before,
with the same boxes of treasures, artworks, and the stack of rugs and
fabrics where I hid from the grey one.

Softly glowing lamps would make the lighting romantic, were it not for
my situation.

With the hairs standing higher and higher on the back of my neck the
closer I approach him, padding across towards the man who is my now my
master, and presenting myself on my knees.

I have assumed the position of the pleasure slave gracefully, without
spilling the contents of the tray which I place beside him on a low
table.

“Aurore,” he smiles, saying the name possessively, indicating his
desire to have me move even closer to his feet.

The thin fabric wrap slides over my buttocks as I inch closer.

I have been clad in a similar fashion to the evening I first served him
in the hall, only as the Ubar’s slave my adornments are of the highest
quality. My beauty is to be a reflection of his power, and I am to be
displayed accordingly.

Once again the priceless jewelled pendant rests between my bare
breasts, the weight of the chain adding to that of the collar around my
neck.

The roughness around that collar I have confirmed are precious
diamonds. The wealth of empires decorates the throat of a girl not
permitted to cover her chest.

Around my waist is tied a narrow band of the finest red fabric. Unlike
the wraps worn by the other girls, mine is like gauze, probably
requiring great skill to weave on the hand looms known on Gor, and thus
is also very expensive.

The sheer fabric hides nothing, covering me only not to protect my
dignity but to make other men wish for the right to remove the final
layer.

I am locked again into a sirik, my ankles and wrists joined together
before me with short chains, and these linked with a longer chain,
joining ankle to wrist to jewel-encrusted throat.

The sirik is the same simple design I wore for Kurtz, only my new one
is plated with gold, the colour offsetting my red hair and jungle-
tanned skin to further please the eyes of men.

Heavy bangles of solid gold are also slipped onto my wrists, above the
locked shackles so they cannot slide off over my slender hands.

As a final touch, on my arrival before him the Claw attaches a gold
plated chain like a dog lead to the collar at my neck, keeping the
other end wrapped around his solid fist.

Using this he will be able to control the position of my head, his
superior strength dragging my lighter body about like one would manage
a pet.

I must look utterly divine, like a true trophy, I think miserably.

One of the pieces of roasted meat from the tray is offered to me by my
Master, and I am obliged to take it from his hand with my teeth,
feeding submissively as I once did before Kurtz.

I lift my wrists reflexively, wishing I could take the food like a
human being, and the vertical chain of my sirik tugs between my legs,
warm metal touching provocatively against my sex.

While I chew he reaches out to stroke me, touching my smooth cheek, my
slim shoulders, and down to the soft upper slopes of my breasts, and he
begins to speak.

“You probably think me to be some cruel beast, a barbarian and your
intellectual inferior,” the Claw says abruptly, “but in fact I spent
twenty Urth years on your home world. I am knowledgeable about your
culture.”

After a moment he adds, “Your Star Trek is very funny to me.”

In these crude buildings on a violent and distant world it is
impossible to visualise Kur’s Claw sitting in front of a TV watching
Captain Kirk, so I am silent.

“I have seen that accounts of Gor are published on your home planet,
being received as fiction by the people of Urth.”

“At one time Aurore, on Urth these stories were hugely popular. Your
men wanted to be warriors, like the famous Tarl Cabot. Your women, in
the secrecy of their own hearts, also read the accounts, their empty
lives aroused by the fantasy of themselves as slaves to handsome and
powerful men.”

He takes his cup from the tray and sips.

“The accounts of the slave girls attracted most interest from your
people. The lifestyle that you call bondage was in its infancy, and for
many the tales of Gor were their first and only exposure to the
concepts of domination and submission for sexual pleasure, so those
scrolls awoke allies and enemies both.”

“But although Tarl Cabot was in the service of Priest Kings, the
release of his accounts and those of his slaves, did more to advance
the cause of the Kurii than that of the Sardar.”

“It was easy for us to recruit agents at this time – a golden era.
While the Nest spent its efforts in futile attempts to stop the flow of
female captives from Urth, our followers soared. We could easily tempt
your men with the promise of access to the pleasures of beautiful
women, females they would never have enjoyed in their normal lives.”

He sips from his paga cup again.

“A surprising number of Urth women also rallied to our cause, many
because they craved the slavery described in the scrolls, and only a
few hired to catch others, betraying their own sex in desperation to
escape this fate.”

“But then, as I worked on Urth your culture progressed, while ours
remained frozen at the same stage it has been for hundreds of years. On
Urth, women and men realised it was possible to enjoy being the slave
in the bedroom but the master in the boardroom, and the notion of women
being forced into collar without their consent, became abhorrent to
most.”

“Suddenly I could find women who sought the restraint of steel just by
advertising discreetly, but these females only wanted their submission
to be temporary. None of them sought true debasement in the collar of a
kajira.”

“Meanwhile on Gor our own free women continued to yearn for the release
of slavery, just as they had done for generations, but to your tastes,
evolving in sophistication, their accounts began to seem implausible,
ridiculous even.”

“Gorean men like myself would claim they love women rather than hate
them, as we too have done for generations, but our cultural acceptance
of rape meant that on Urth, we are seem as cruel and misogynistic. This
is ironic, because it was the men of Urth who grew to hate women, not
us.”

At the word “rape” I tense in my shackles, and the chains touch me with
unhelpful intimacy again. This might be my fate, tonight.

Unaware of my fears, Kur’s Claw continues his monologue. Ubars do like
to talk, I think.

“As your females abandoned Gorean fantasies to explore consensual
sexual submission with growing confidence, your men became jealous of
women’s rising power.”

“I watched your men’s cravings become darker, with the pleasure of
seeing women find genuine happiness in chains no longer being
sufficient. The source of male arousal changed to taking pleasure from
woman suffering and being humbled to a less threatening level. This
made it more difficult for Kurii to recruit the best to our service.
Only the sadists ally themselves to our cause, and more balanced men
are troubled with conscience about female right to consent.”

He sips from his cup.

“Thus our fortunes waned, and our supplies of barbarian women and the
income they bring dwindled to a trickle of coins, now we have only a
few loyal agents remaining. The Kurii were defeated on Urth not by Tarl
Cabot, but by Christian Grey and The Story of O.”

The Kur’s Claw is silent for a moment.

“You’re probably wondering why I recount my observations to you,
Aurore.”

I had assumed he was pleased with his astuteness and the sound of his
own voice, but it seems there is more.

“Udumi is on her way back to your world, the first of a new wave of
agents acting for the Kur. Her beauty makes her well placed to seek out
women suitable to serve as slaves, as they will give another desirable
woman their trust. But unlike the men of conscience on Urth, Udumi will
deliver them to us without mercy, because she knows if she fails to
please, she will end up back here in collar.”

I risk a glance up and see that he is smiling to himself.

“A true born survivor, that one. She will outlive us all.”

Then he hits me with it.

“I recount these facts to you because it is not impossible that you too
could eventually win passage back to your home to function in this
role.”

I am half hope, half horror at his suggestion.

“You too are in the position to identify suitable women, by
infiltrating areas with concentrations of the most desirable –
modelling calls and beauty competitions. You too would know that if you
fail to satisfy the Kurii with total obedience, you could be returned
to the state where you now find yourself.”

I cannot deny that anything which gets me away from this place sounds
attractive, but I feel obliged to make objections.

“The Others regard humans as no more than animals, to be exploited as a
food source or for financial gain in their war against the Priest
Kings. How can you take their side, Master?”

The vast thigh before my face moves in a shrug.

“Mankind has grown under the rule of both species, just as any farm
animal survives in far greater numbers than it would left in the wild,”
he says.

“Given the choice of sides, it is logical to ally with the one that
provides a man with wealth, and women to be his slaves. The farmer has
more to offer the animals than the shepherd.”

He tugs at the leash around my neck at the mention of slaves, pulling
me closer against him.

“And let’s say I do accept your offer,” I say. “What is to stop me
running back to the Priest Kings, as soon as I return to Urth?” I ask.

Claw chuckles.

“Do not worry about that, pretty one. You have been tagged, while you
were unconscious. A marker is present in your bloodstream that cannot
be removed. You need return to the enemies of the Kurii. We will always
be able to recover you if we wish.”

I feel my skin crawl as if I’ve already been violated. I rub Aurore’s
lustrous thighs, as if I could somehow clean this marker away, and he
chuckles.

“And what happens if I take the courageous path, choosing not to betray
the Priest Kings?” I ask.

The Claw shrugs.

“After many months of your sexual service I will tire of your
pleasures. Then I will simply have you sold in one of the northern
markets. You will be lost forever in the many slave women of Gor,” he
says, and then adds, “No doubt this is not a fearful destiny to you,
because you believe there is some scheme for the agents of the Sardar
to watch for a slave of your description, and wearing the brand of
Kurtz.”

“Do not doubt that I will ensure that you are marked a second time, to
blur and disguise the original brand. And I will have your head shaved
before the auction, so you are not identified by your distinctive
hair.”

Instinctively I raise my hands to the gorgeous red tresses created for
Aurore by the Priest Kings.

He laughs at my weak vanity.

“But for now, these are no more than shadows in your future. You shall
not be permitted to leave while it pleases me to have Kurtz’ favourite
woman on her knees before me, and for now that pleases me very much,”
Kur’s Claw says, chillingly.

“He will be victorious somehow,” I say, and then boldly risk, “I have
never met the leader who is his equal.”

I see the Claw’s black beard move as he grinds his teeth with anger.

“Perhaps then, it is time for you to witness the end of the mad Ubar,
and the complete victory of the Kurii power.”

47 – The end of Kurtz.

I have no idea what to expect as I’m led by painful jerks on my leash
from the Claw’s quarters.

It is certainly not to see Kur’s Claw begin by ordering the grey one to
join us, as if he’s doing nothing more unusual than requesting his
presence for a business meeting.

The night air is refreshingly cool after the cloying heat in the Claw’s
rooms. I can see stars, and the moons of Gor. Cicada-like insects make
their rasping calls, male wooing female in the manner of their species.
The universe is ticking on, unconcerned with the insignificant events
down here.

Telisio limps slowly towards us. His hooded head is down, and he leans
heavily on an oak staff to keep him from collapsing. Two of Kurtz’
warriors are also to accompany us. They take their places either side
of their leader.

We are to witness whatever fate awaits the Ubar.

I’m desperately searching ahead, looking for the scene of a crucifixion
or gruesome impalement, but Kur’s Claw leads me to the forbidden
building that was the former slave quarters. This is a surprise.
Goreans usually prefer a public spectacle when enemies are put to
death.

Claw raps on the heavy wooden door, and I hear the sound of bolts being
drawn back from within. The face I see looking round is a male, dressed
in the green robes of the physicians caste. It is the same one who
saved me from the poison.

Why would they take Kurtz to a physician? Some humane execution
perhaps, where he is given a draught that gives eternal sleep? No, not
judging by my experience of Gor. Whatever is coming will be brutal.

We are quickly admitted, and move into the familiar building. The
corridor behind the entrance is unchanged from the time of my
residence, lit by a sputtering lamp hanging from a bracket, but the
room we enter – where once I slept along with the other women – has
been transformed.

A complicated network of metal pipes, valves and drums give the room
the impression of a chemical factory. These focus down on an object in
the centre of the room, an object I recognise as the wardrobe-shape
that was carried in from the landing site.

This time it is uncovered, and I understand.

The Kurii have brought their transformation apparatus right here, to
the fortified compound. It resembles the equipment I experienced first-
hand in the Nest, only my transformation was in a tube and this is a
clear box.

Sitting in heavy chains with his back against the wall is my lover.

The once mighty Ubar is naked, shackled at his ankles, wrists and
throat to iron rings in the wall that were once used to secure women.

The manacles locked on Kurtz are nothing like the delicate gold plate
of my sirik. Kurtz is a man, so the steel needed for him is heavy, and
the bands to lock round limbs are much greater in diameter.

I can see he has been roughly treated by his captors. He is covered in
bruises and the lashes of whips, and his right knee is swollen. Kurtz
left eye, as black as a panda’s, is closed.

He is filthy, and has been left sitting in his own waste.

My heart swells with sympathy for my former master. When tears prick my
eyes I curse Aurore’s high-strung emotions and try to control myself.
It will be worse for him if he sees my distress.

Kurtz moans when he sees me, and without thinking I run to him, but my
leash snaps taut and the painful jerk on my neck almost pulls me over.

“Tal, dread Kurtz,” Kur’s Claw greets him in a mocking tone. “I have
come to pay homage to you in your new throne room.”

The shackled man tenses his arms and I see biceps bulge frighteningly
as he tests his chains, but the bonds do not break. Then Kurtz relaxes
his frame, accepting defeat, and he speaks in that deep voice that
resonates through me.

“You show great courage in daring to sport with me, while I am safely
restrained in this manner.”

Kur’s Claw laughs.

“Tonight it is not necessary for me to demonstrate my courage. I am not
a beardless youth who is desperate to prove himself. My purpose is to
show you how completely you have lost, and then watch you spend your
last moments, knowing I am the victor.”

With another spine-jarring tug on my leash, I am dragged closer for
Kurtz to get a good view of me. He looks up at me with his bloodshot
eye.

“You see that your favourite slave is now wearing my collar, and great
pleasure it gives me to own her. Your attempt to prevent others
possessing her by taking her life was a failure.”

There is another jerk from the leash. Priest Kings, that’s annoying.

“In four days it is the carnival of the Twelfth Passage Hand. On that
night I plan to make her dance before all my men, as befits an agent of
the Priest Kings, and then I will take her to my furs.”

My face must show the sudden horror I feel. He has drawn the line. Four
days I have left, before he rapes me, and nothing will save me this
time.

“No doubt in lovemaking as in everything else,” Claw says, “I will be
better than you.”

Kurtz growls like an animal, throwing his arms forward with a clang of
his chains as if he wants to wring Claw’s neck.

Claw laughs cruelly at the futile efforts of his enemy.

“But you will not witness the pleasure of her body responding as she
lies under me, dread Ubar. For tonight is your final night of this
life.

Kur’s Claw sweeps his hand back in a showman-like display, inviting his
audience’s attention to the apparatus.

“You’ll see that we have stolen the Sardar transformation technology,”
Kur’s Claw tells us, “but after our attempt to give our own agent
superhuman strength failed, we are reluctant to test it on a subject
with any value.”

Everyone glances at Telisio, who stands in silence with his cowled hood
hiding his face.

“Therefore we will test the transformation apparatus on you, Kurtz. As
well as demonstrating the safety of the process, it will be interesting
to see the once mighty Ubar changed to a woman.”

“No!” pleads Kurtz at this judgement, his stone exterior breaking for
the first time. He steps back, trying instinctively to get away, but
the two warriors have grasped him and are beginning to unlock his
shackles.

“When you awaken, Ubara, I will see your first experienced will be
being raped, as you have taken so many others. Then I will have you
branded and trained to please men. Perhaps if you are desirable enough,
I will lie with you myself before you are sold.”

“No!” cries Kurtz again.

“Master, Please, No!” I beg, falling to my knees before the bearded
giant and hoping that a woman’s plea might move the relentless Claw
where I man could not.

“I will serve you in every way if you spare him this,” I even plead,
putting my head to his feet in the most humble manner I can manage.

Kur’s Claw laughs.

“Aurore, you will serve me in every way anyway, for you are a slave,”
he says dismissively, and turns to his warriors.

“Put him in.”

The men have an almighty struggle posting Kurtz into the tube, but the
deposed Ubar is outnumbered. He shouts abuse at his captors throughout,
but the outcome is inevitable and his voice is suddenly cut off when
they seal him inside.

Only once inside the tube does he abandons all resistance. The naked
Kurtz places his palms on the thick glass in supplication, breathing
heavily as he watches me.

Events unfold with inevitability then. My own memories of the
transformation process are so vivid that I feel as if I am there in the
cylinder with him, rather than witnessing helplessly from outside.

It is the green-robed physician, rather than a slave who opens the
valves to slowly fill the tube with a transparent pink liquid identical
to the one I saw in the Nest.

Inexorably the fluid climbs around Kurtz’ pale body. Outside the tube
it is silent except for a gentle hiss of pressurised liquid.

When the level rises above his face he holds his breath for as long as
he can, just as I did in his place, and then with a rush of bubbles is
forced to inhale, panicking with the same animal instinct for oxygen.

His pale skin is beginning to effervesce, bubbling and disintegrating
like a tablet of soluble medication. He grows sexually aroused, which I
remember happing from my own contact with the corrosive fluid.

My lover blinks at me, but I know the liquid will be making his vision
blur and he will be able to see little but my outline. I am permitted
enough movement on my leash to crouch close to the glass and press my
chained hands against it, and he reciprocates from inside.

I can see he is growing tired, his body relaxing in defeat. Then his
eyes succumb and close and Kurtz, the male, is gone.

I have not witnessed this part of the process, having slept through my
own transformation. I discover that the fluid is grows more and more
contaminated with flakes of human skin and flesh as Kurtz visibly
disintegrates before me. He is still tumescent, even in
unconsciousness.

At areas where the skin has dissolved completely, dark red blood starts
to mingle into the liquid. We stand and observe this disintegration of
his physical form for almost a quarter of an ahn, until the contents of
the cylinder have turned opaque and are almost as red as tomato soup.

Kur’s Claw breaks the silence, addressing the grey one.

“When Aurius was changed into Aurore, the process looked like this?”

“It was exactly the same,” the grey one confirms, with dreadful
finality.

“Events progress according to my plans,” Kur’s Claw says with
satisfaction.

48 – With my new master I further debate the nature of Gorean morality

Over the next days I am permitted to enter the secret laboratory room
as frequently as I wish, as long as the physician is present to ensure
I do not grant my lover a merciful death.

In fact Kur’s Claw does more than merely permitted me to visit. He
actively encourages my entering the laboratory, seeing it as part of
the process of my accepting total defeat.

These efforts to make me feel lost and helpless are successful.
Frequently I reflect how my last defender is gone forever.

Rorius was killed on the barge, Telisio is trapped in the weak and
decaying form of the grey woman and spends longer each day sleeping on
his pallet. Kurtz is becoming female, and will have to endure all the
humiliations of being a woman in a male dominated society.

So my allies are now all women, each one as vulnerable as I am on the
sexist world of Gor.

When you want time to pass slowly it never does. With growing dread I
watch days and hours advance inexorably towards the carnival of the
twelfth passage hand, the day when Kur’s Claw said he would take me.

My new master does not permit me to forget my approaching date with
destiny, just as I am not allowed to forget my defeat. With each sunset
I am summoned to serve his food. During this time his eyes are on me
constantly, enjoying the movement of Aurore’s near naked form.

All my memories of being a man, and the impression of how a beautiful
female body could affect me, have remained undiluted in Aurore. I know
that unchecked, the constant proximity of my female form and the
anticipation of future pleasures will fuel his lust for me until it
becomes obsession.

And my master takes pains to ensure the reminders of my forthcoming
date with destiny are not merely visual. He likes to discuss the moment
when his conquest of me will be complete, debating the nature of man
and woman in a manner similar to my former master.

With no counter to his arguments about male physical superiority on
Gor, I try to regain some self-esteem by attacking the only weak point
I can find – his culture.

One of these exchanges finds me kneeling at the feet the Kur’s Claw,
humbly washing his feet from a bucket of warm water.

“I hope you see now that your submission to me is inevitable,” Kur’s
Claw says, “and you have understood that your only future is as slave
to me, and then agent of the Kurii.”

I pause in my work, contemplating his question.

“It does seem that nothing will prevent you forcing yourself on me,” I
agree in a piqued voice, “and of course I must submit to your desires
because it is the pragmatic approach to ensure my survival, but victory
over me does not prevent the inevitable failure of your cause. You will
be defeated, whether the Kurii aid you or not.”

Rather than take offence he chuckles, rocking back on his chair.

“Doomed, are we? I am eager to hear a kajira’s opinion on how such a
military catastrophe will come about.”

“Your defeat will not be a military one, but a cultural one,” I say.

“Elaborate,” he orders with amusement.

“I have had much time to observe this world, as you did mine, and I
have concluded the lack of emotional maturity will be the downfall of
Gor. That’s why this culture will fall if you don’t learn to change.”

Before he can disagree I press my point. I have had much time to debate
my conclusions, while I’ve endured months on this worlds as free and
slave.

“The culture of Gor is based on satisfying only animal instincts, where
the strong males combat each other to possess the weaker females, who
wish to mate with the best. In that respect it fulfils that primal
nature of both male and female very deeply, but that is where any
gratification stops.”

“The law of survival of the strongest does not account for the many
additional layers of emotional maturity – love, mercy and the power
that can be created by unified human action.”

“The weak, banded together, can defeat the strong. And the weak will
eventually unite when they feel mercy towards another – the old, the
sick, those that are different.”

“You cannot defeat than when the morality here on Gor is black and
white. There is no ambiguity or depth in your scrolls. The captive
girl, stripped of her robes of concealment, always turns out to be
beautiful. It is as gratifying but it is shallow.”

“In contrast, the morality on my world is deep and complex. There the
homely girl is still precious to her own. People will risk their lives
to save someone, even though they are ancient or ugly.”

I pause.

“I mean fuck – the culture is so teenage here on Gor that in the
scrolls I’ve read, no-one even swears.”

I rest back with heels pressing into buttocks, satisfied. Words won’t
stop him forcing himself on me, but I’ve made my point.

“So conquer me like an animal, Master,” I say, putting a note of
sarcasm into my voice as I linger over the word master, “but watch for
my society to be the victor in the end.”

My barbs have struck.

“Speak no further on this,” he says curtly, “or you will be whipped.”

“As you command, Master,” I say in my most mockingly obedient voice.

49 – The transformation of Kurtz

By the time three days have passed the liquid in the tube has cleared
entirely, and I begin to see the woman that was once my lover, the
warrior known as Kurtz of Ar.

This Kurii transformation is nothing like the process that failed so
terribly on the grey one. Female Kurtz is female, and she is beautiful.

I’d expected the Others to give her a full head of long hair, as
happened to me, but this woman’s body is entirely hairless. Strangely,
she looks more feminine for her baldness, rather than less. It displays
the rounded female shaping of her skull more clearly, and she looks
more delicate for that fine bone structure being visible.

I had also expected to see someone with the albino white of Kurtz’
skin, but they have changed this female’s flesh colour as well,
shifting to a rich brown shade like that which looks so beautiful on
women from India.

Her eyes, with long dark lashes, are closed in peaceful sleep, spared
by unconsciousness from dwelling on the fate that awaits when she wakes
up.

I would not have known this female for Kurtz without having witnessed
him being forced into the cylinder. He was a big man, but they have
made the female version petite even by women’s standards.

Kurtz was a mighty warrior, but just like me, his female form will be
forever reliant on the greater physical strength of men for protection.
This one will never be a fighter.

Small breasts add to the impression of her being someone elfin and
girlish. Only the wide placing of Kurtz’ female hips betray her age as
woman rather than child.

I place my hands on the glass protectively, but I’m warned away by the
physician. I can look, but not touch.

She has drawn her knees up and sandwiched her slim arms between
lusciously toned thighs, already instinctively guarding the intimate
folds of her sex.

While this position might offer her nascent womanhood some protection,
it accents the feminine shape of her buttocks.

I had frequently questioned my sexuality when I started to desire
Kurtz’ hands on me and the pleasure of penetration from his penis. Now
I am even more confused. This is a woman that was once a man, but I
still want to touch her flesh.

I conclude that physical appearance overrides much intellectual debate
over whether it’s appropriate to feel lust for someone. Now I can
understand why Kurtz and Telisio experienced such complex emotional
reactions to the body of Aurore. It is impossible not to think of this
person as female, information from the senses overriding knowledge in
the mind.

While Kurtz rests peacefully, life in the fortified compound continues
in the manner of many settlements on Gor, as it has done for millennia.

The change in regime makes remarkably little difference.

Women continue to perform the same menial tasks while men relax; engage
in sports to refine their combat skills; or fulfil the military and
business duties of the fortified compound.

I am kept occupied with attending to the captive women from Earth, not
yet dispatched for sale but still languishing in stench of the ship’s
hold. Being the only surviving slave to speak the barbarian language I
am given the responsibility of tutoring these women in rudimentary
Gorean.

It falls on me to be the deliverer of much bad news to this sorry
bunch, chained humble, frightened and naked in the humid hold of a
ship.

I have to tell them they are on an alien planet, that there is no hope
of ever returning, and that on this world they will live out their
lives as slaves. All their misery has been inflicted just to generate a
few coins for the Kurii agents.

One might expect that they would hate me for telling them these truths,
and for beginning to instruct them in the demeaning ways in which one
might woman might please man, but this is not the case.

I represent the only authority not to abuse them or threaten them, and
by being another woman I am immediately more approachable. I’ve never
had so many women behaving with such pitiful gratitude towards me,
doing anything they can to be pleasing.

My instruction begins with the most important word for their survival –
“Master”. I teach them to identify themselves – “la kajira” – I am a
slave girl.

Then we move onto some likely commands made of them – “nadu” – to
kneel; “lesha” – hands behind the back ready for binding; “veck” – to
stand.

With this vocabulary in their minds it is possible to move onto
everyday objects – “ko-lar” – the slave collar; “larma” – a Gorean
fruit; and “paga”, a whisky like alcoholic beverage favoured of
warriors.

Among their group there is enough linguistic overlap that those who do
not understand English can pass on instructions for those who do not.
Inevitably I learn some of their histories through this process, and
discover that the women have been selected for intelligence as well as
beauty, and all of them come from high status careers.

Hannah from Germany was an investigative journalist for a national
newspaper. Ava from the USA is a postdoctoral researcher in genetics.
There is a concert violinist from Brazil – Manuela.

I tell them that the only use for all their intelligence and beauty now
is in its application to pleasing men, and ignoring the protests we
move on to some elementary Gorean verbs.

They learn quickly.

By the time a couple of days have passed I have the girls jumping to
command as if I’m a drill sergeant. Gracus offers me a whip to assist
in my teaching, but I decline. My experiences are too raw to add to
raise my hand against another slave.

Meanwhile the humiliations of my own bondage continue.

On the eve of the Carnival of the Twelfth Passage Hand I am summoned
before the man of the physician’s caste.

“Cross your wrists behind your back,” he orders me bluntly.

I am so used to following the commands of men that I have complied, and
had my wrists tied tightly together before even questioning his
intentions.

We are in the same laboratory where the woman-Kurtz sleeps in her womb-
like container. I glance across, wishing she would open her eyes or
give me any kind of reassurance.

“Kneel,” is my next instruction.

This too I obey, beginning to feel some flutterings of fear. What could
the physician be intending? It must be unpleasant to require
restraining me, but I have already been branded and other physical
punishments are delivered by warriors or the caste of torturers.

I am still uncomprehending when he orders me to open my mouth, assuming
then that he expects me to provide oral pleasure. This is not an
uncommon demand for a slave girl from a community pool, although a man
would not make use of another’s private slave unless he was certain of
his permission.

But the physician is not looking for fellatio either. A funnel is
inserted between my teeth and pressed down painfully hard against my
lips, so I could not easily expel it without standing.

Then, looming over me, he pours liquid from a gourd into the open
funnel.

I swallow it reflexively when it first hits the back of my throat.
Within a second the taste overwhelms me and I understand the need for
restraints and the funnel.

It’s a disgusting brew, as bitter as lemons but without the pleasant
citrus flavour. This is more like drinking crude oil mixed with
vinegar.

I’m retching and my eyes are streaming, arms fighting my bonds, but I
can do nothing but swallow more and more until the draught is
mercifully finished.

The physician removes the funnel, setting it to one side, but the foul
taste and its implications do not leave me so quickly.

I have drunk slave wine.

Slave wine is given only to females intended for sexual use, where the
master does not wish for an unwanted pregnancy.

It is called a wine, but this title is a demonstration of Gorean
humour. There is no alcoholic content. Rather, it contains the extract
of a sip-root plant – the same ingredient that adds the unpleasant
taste.

It would be easy enough to sweeten it, but no effort is made to do
this. The woman is to be reminded of her status by the lingering taste
of the drink in her mouth.

Kurtz did not give me slave wine. In this respect our couplings were
unusual – closer to true lovemaking than the rape of a female slave. I
had not given consideration to the risks at the time, being much caught
in the mood of the moment. It is lucky for me that my cramps came
afterwards with the same cycle of the moon, and I am not to be the
bearer of a little Kurtz.

Kur’s Claw wishes to have sex with me without consequences, and it is
likely to be frequent. I will be able to taste the reminder of his
intent until the carnival tomorrow and the inevitable event occurs.

My stomach rolls dangerously as the liquid hits my digestive system but
I manage to keep it down.

“I presume if you are released, you will not attempt to regurgitate the
slave wine?” the physician asks.

“No Master,” I tell him truthfully. Indeed, I have no intention of
laying with the Kur’s Claw without some protection. The last thing I
want to be is pregnant.

With a nod of satisfaction he releases the bindings on my wrists. I
wipe the back of my hand across my mouth to clean away the last smears
of the slave wine.

“Return to your duties, girl” he commands. “You are ready.”

I comply, although I think he is wrong. I don’t feel ready at all.

50 – The Carnival of the Twelfth Passage Hand

Closing my eyes I lift my wrists above my head, crossed as if for
binding and stretch my hands.

When my fingers are extended to maximum reach a slow tempo begins from
the drum, regular as a heartbeat at rest. To this beat I circle my
pelvis, thrusting towards the warriors in a blatant display of female
sexuality.

My movements might fairly be called wanton, obscene, whorish, easy. But
I supress all inhibition I might be feeling and hold nothing back,
instead encouraging all that is female in me to show itself, because
that is how it must be.

My master, The Kur’s Claw, stands behind me, centrally located in the
dancing circle and completely still. A coiled whip is in his hand. I am
very aware he might strike me with this lash if my dancing is
insufficiently satisfactory, and from the Ubar’s girl any performance
is expected to be the very best quality.

Fear is not my only motivation, though. It is my wish in my dancing to
pay tribute to Carrie, my tutor killed during the siege of the
fortified compound. The display I give today will be a memorial to her
skill, and anything less than exquisite would be an insufficient show
of respect.

Perhaps I dance right on the line between art and pornography, but I
continue to writhe in a manner intended to arouse all the same.

My thighs are apart as I gyrate, but although the movements of my body
are obscenely suggestive my female genitals cannot be seen, because for
the first time since the attack on the barge my dignity is clothed in
robes of concealment.

Tonight is the Carnival of the Twelfth Passage Hand, a festivity
celebrated across many cities on Gor. It is a time for feasting and
drinking, for sport and for enjoying the pleasures of women.

Leaving the feet of my master I stand and step in steady time to the
drumbeat across to one of the warriors, men that encircle us in a ring
as inescapable as a collar. Before him I fall to my knees.

His name is Trionus, I recall. He is a young man, one of the up and
coming bucks eager to make his name and filled with the courage of
youth.

The move I just executed – passing attractively between my master and
Trionus is more difficult than it appears, with my legs restricted by
the robe of concealment. But I have practiced hard at this dance, and I
execute the transition with the grace and fluidity of a ballerina.

Trionus feigns no reaction to the presence of a robed female humbly
presenting herself to him, although I see he hides a smile. Perhaps
someone barely into manhood feels honoured to be the first chosen by a
girl such as I.

Some greater incentive must be required from me to encourage him to
respond, so despite being a free woman I tear my veil away and cast it
aside, that he might see the beauty of my face, Aurore’s hypnotic big
eyes and delicate features.

He waves his hand dismissively, and I assume an expression of horror
that this indignity was insufficient. How dare he?

Still moving in time, I am up on my feet and padding across the circle
to kneel before a warrior on the other side. The drum has accelerated
the tempo just slightly, as if the rejection I’ve just endured has made
my heart begin to beat faster. A lute begins to pick out a one-note
melody.

When I pass the Kur’s Claw, which is inevitable in the small space
allocated for the dance, I shrink from him in a pantomime cower that
brings cries of amusement from the crowd.

The second warrior also ignores me. I shake my fists at the indignity
that my beauty, face-stripped, is insufficient to engage his interest.
I pull a hooded section of my robe away, so my head is bared completely
and Aurore’s hair spills out in a dark red curtain.

To my greater chagrin, this too is insufficient to encourage the
warrior to intervene and I must flee again.

A second note from the lute counterpoints the first when I fling myself
at the feet of a third man, pressing my cheek against his toes, and the
tempo of the drum again accelerates by the smallest fraction.

I seem almost irate, but things are progressing as they should.

My teacher of dancing, the slave woman Carrie, was knowledgeable in
many of the dance forms of Gor. Tonight I perform one of the more
obscure formats.

This is the “dance of a dozen pleas”.

It is believed to have originated in the mountainous eyrie city of
Treve, infamous for its courageous and much-feared Tarnsmen. The dance
of a dozen pleas was performed by their newly captured women,
unfortunately about to be taken by their new masters and desperate to
avoid rape at his hands.

Here the analogies with my own situation are not lost on me, as I
perform before my own new master, the Kur’s Claw, dreading the imminent
moment of his ultimate conquest.

In performing the dance of the dozen pleas I must act as if the one
behind me, the Kur’s Claw who has just captured me, would be my last
choice of master from any in this room. I must go from man to man,
offering more and more as my price for protection. Anything is better
than yielding to Him. It is not difficult for me to act this part.

The item of clothing I remove before the third man, a scarf-like wrap
around my throat, reveals for the first time to the crowd that I am not
entirely a free woman.

This wrap has been hiding a badge of shame – the sign that shows I have
already been collared by Him. How dare he have collared me in such a
way, when I am a proud and free woman?

The flickering light of the lamps glints off the precious metal and
diamonds on my collar. It shows my master can afford the most beautiful
things – things such as me.

But even though it is worth more than I am, it is still a collar that
marks me as a slave, and someone’s property. Its weight will always be
there at my neck.

I pull at that collar, shaking my head rhythmically from side to side.

The third warrior pushes me away with his foot – he is not going to
risk himself for an already-collared female, and I beat my slender
fists on the floor of the dancing circle in time to the drum, red faced
with anger.

The circle understands that I have already been forced to shame myself
revealing more flesh than is honourable for a free woman. But even this
display of my charms was insufficient.

I hear cries of amusement from the crowd. They know what must come
next.

For the fourth man, a short and stocky fellow with his features
squashed like a boxer’s, all I have left to remove my robe of
concealment.

While a percussive instrument like a tambourine joins the drum I tease
the audience for as long as I can, lifting the hem of my robe to flash
the bare flesh of my thighs before shaking my head and lowering it, as
if changing my mind.

Kur’s Claw takes a step forward to hurry me, playing his part in this
carefully choreographed performance, and in an apparent panic I pull my
robe away in one quick movement.

It is not in fact a real robe of concealment, but a costume cleverly
contrived to part easily during the dance.

The crowd realise they have been tricked though. There is a roar as
they see I am not in fact nude underneath the robe. A long wrap is
wound tightly about my torso like a mummy’s bandage, covering from
under my arms down to my pudenda.

The boxer-like warrior roars with laughter, shaking his head. I am no
longer in the robes of concealment, dressed in a manner that would earn
me the slave’s collar in many cities of Gor, but I still have not
offered enough. I fall to the sand, scratching my nails through the
dirt with frustration at these indignities.

The music intensifies, a player of the czehar beginning to pick a bass
line to accompany the dance. Goreans are great lovers of all forms of
arts, and there are number of accomplished musicians among the
warriors.

Considering they are a savage and barbarian people, they perform with
remarkable subtlety in building the music towards its eventual noisy
climax.

It is worth relating that at no point during the dance has my body
stilled. Now, on my knees with my head pressed to the floor, I continue
to make circular movements with my pelvis. My body betrays me,
revealing me as woman by dancing of its own volition, even while my
head is still and occupied with other thoughts.

For her offering to the warriors five and six in the dance, the
character I portray is reluctant to remove more clothing and begins to
barter her sexuality as a means of securing protection.

Now the choreography starts to present a duality in my movements, where
my body continues to betray me as a female in need, but there is an
outer shell of chasteness that resists accepting my own desires.

For one man I rest my chin on his meaty thigh, my head completely
stationary as I look up with Aurore’s pleading big eyes, but my pelvis
still moves in rhythmic circles, appealing to him in a very different
way to the innocence of my gaze.

Needless to say, no champions step forward to defend me.

The dance of the dozen pleas is unique amongst Gorean dances in that an
audience member can theoretically interrupt and challenge for the girl.
So by offering his slave to this performance her owner proves his own
prowess and authority over those around him.

Men are cruel beasts though. Why would someone step forward to defend a
clothed slave, when he might have the opportunity to admire her nude
first?

I pass close by my captor, Kur’s Claw, as I dance away from warrior
number six.

Deliberately I have freed the end of the cloth wrap from under my arm,
disguising my action as a graceful movement drawing my hands up my
sides.

My master does not miss his cue and grabs the loose end, pulling the
wrap taut. Taken apparently by surprise I spin round, pirouetting out
to the edge of the circle, my precious garment unravelling all the way.

When I fall to my knees before warrior number seven I realise with
horror that Aurore’s divine breasts have been exposed.

I must mime the sense of humiliation well, because when I cross my
hands across my chest, upper body swaying in time to the music as if
I’m about to faint with the shame, there is a roar of pleasure from the
crowd.

The man before me beats his fist on his shoulder – the Gorean means of
expressing applause, but he shakes his head in a dismissal of my charms
all the same.

Without a protector I reach to my waist and pull at my end of the taut
line linking me to Kur’s Claw, attempting to reclaim my last item of
clothing.

This is a mistake because he drags the bandage inwards, towing me in
arm over arm to the centre of the circle.

Sometimes I am still taken by surprise by the superior physical
strength men wield over me, and this is one of those occasions. I
almost fly across the gap between us, but manage to control my
movements to the graceful moves of the form.

My character in the dance now faces a dilemma. Kur’s Claw has captured
all the slack from my wrap. In order to retreat from him I must
surrender the last of my covering.

I stamp my heel to the ground in anger, timing each step with the
intensifying music, and raising my arms above my head much like a
flamenco dancer. This movement, I know from practice, lifts my breasts
superbly.

Then, admitting defeat I spiral away from my captor, feeling the wrap
that was my last covering suddenly go slack and fall away.

Thus I kneel before warrior number eight naked, extending my hands out
to him in supplication. The performance has been strenuous, and I see
that the skin on my arms gleams with a sheen of sweat.

My heart is thumping with exertion.

When he shakes his head I show that this rejection has been the
greatest defeat to me so far. What a humiliation it is, that not even
displaying my nude body is enough to save me from the man standing in
the centre of the circle. Does no-one care for a woman such as me?

For my final four pleas in the dance, I have nothing left to entice
with but my uninhibited female sexuality.

I kneel before one man, drawing my hands up my sides and then pulling
my breasts out towards him in a clear invitation. For another, I grind
my pelvis into his boot as if I’m so desperate for gratification I must
use it to pleasure myself.

With desperation as frenetic as the barbarian music, I have become
shameless, a sign of the slave within achieving her own victory over
me.

What would they say, those who knew me as Aurius, to see this female
version of myself behaving in such a way? Who could refuse such a
desirable female?

But no champion presents himself, although not all of the audience
refuse my temptations entirely.

When I extend my hands out to one man, as if offering them for binding,
he seizes my hands and pulls me into his lap, overpowering me easily
and kissing me to the sound of raucous laughter before ejecting me back
into the circle.

The sensation of his stubble remains on my face, and I wipe my hand
across it instinctively, feeling unclean.

For my final warrior I chose entirely the young fellow I’ve seen around
the compound several times, the one with cherub-like curls of blonde
hair and small blue eyes who likes to watch me.

The music has grown as frenzied as my dancing, approaching its climax.
With my knees apart I arch my back so far that my head touches the
ground, bucking my pelvis out to him as though I’m reaching a climax of
a different kind.

In a moment I shall be completely defeated, and the choreography
dictates that I return back to Kur’s Claw to throw myself on his
mercies. It will represent a genuine moment of surrender for me.
Shortly he will take me to his furs and I will serve his pleasure for
the first time.

Pushing that thought away I straighten back up, my bare buttocks
resting on my heels, closing my eyes and weaving my arms in the last
few bars of the music. My arms are extended out to the cherub, as if
for binding, in my final plea for salvation.

Something is suddenly wrong, though. There is a feeling of tightness at
my wrists, gripping me closely, and I cannot move as I wished to. The
grace of my dance has been broken, for I am unable to stroke my
fingertips up the insides of my thighs, as I had been intending for my
final movement.

I open my eyes.

Viewing my extended arms in front of me, I see that my wrists are, in
fact, bound.

Lengths of the Gorean binding fibre encircle my wrists, holding them
together and joining them by a line to the blonde cherub’s clenched
fist.

He has secured me with incredible speed and skill. I was tied before I
knew what was happening.

My new captor is standing and drawing his sword.

The music stops as quickly as if someone has dragged a needle across a
record. The noise of the audience also vanishes in an instant.

“I challenge,” the blonde cherub says, and the silence is broken as my
ears ring with the roar from the crowd.

51 – In which men fight over ownership of a girl.

People are shouting encouragement, excited at the prospect of
unexpected entertainment beyond that of the dance.

I am still on my knees before the blonde young man. Uncertain of what
to do I keep my head down, unable to risk looking back at my master.

Remaining humble and silent I decide is the best approach – I am to be
the prize in this exchange, not a participant.

Kur’s Claw waits until the noise of the crowd has dropped, and then I
hear him speak.

“Well met, Erlog of Laura,” says he, with humour in his voice rather
than anger. “It is the nature of man that the young mature and want to
challenge the leader. I accept your challenge. But as the defender it
is my right to choose the method. I say to have an arena prepared for
quarterstaves.”

This produces a second cheer from the crowd.

While warriors rush around in great activity, Kur’s Claw has clapped
Erlog on the shoulder, congratulating him as if he’s announced his
engagement rather than challenging the other man to a dangerous fight.

I gather from the good humour that the combat is unlikely to be lethal,
and from Claw’s relaxed manner I can see he expects to win.

Just like my combat with Ailsa, this is mere sport as far as the crowd
are concerned. They care not for my feelings, or for the cruelty that I
will have to lie with the winner.

Five ehn later we proceed outside to discover the duelling ground that
has been prepared with great alacrity. It is set in an open area of the
jetties before the hated whipping post.

Night has fallen, but torches and lamps hang in braziers to illuminate
the area allocated to sparring.

I am pulled towards this area by means of my bound wrists, but diverted
onwards to the pillar-like whipping post. There is a slave ring
embedded high in the wood, through this the rope is threaded and I am
secured, ready to be claimed by the victor as his prize.

With the rusting iron ring being positioned well above my head height
in the post, I end up with my arms held up about my ears. My toes are
on the ground, but not my heels, so I have little leverage to move
myself.

Tied in this way I face out towards the site of the duel, the bindings
arching my back so my rump presses into the post. I will be able to see
the contest over who I will sleep with this night.

A large tree trunk runs parallel to the ground, lifted by means of “X”
shaped struts to the height of a man’s shoulders.

While the crowd flow like water to surround the area containing myself
and this arena, Kur’s Claw and Erlog climb up to stand at either end of
the tree trunk.

A quarterstaff is handed up to each man, the staff being cut from
smaller branches eight feet in length and a couple of inches in
circumferences.

“The rules for this contest will be simple,” a man’s voice booms over
the excited chatter of the watchers. It is Gracus, the captain. He has
assumed the role of compere for this entertainment.

“The last man remaining on the tree trunk wins the girl!” Gracus cries
maliciously to a cheer from the crowd. “Do you both agree to this?”

I look from Erlog to Kur’s Claw as both raise their staves in assent.
Claw grins.

“Begin!” Gracus cries, and to a roar both men inch forward towards each
other.

The etymology of the word “quarterstaff” is not known for certain, but
one theory is that it is because the lower end of the staff is gripped
a quarter of the way along its length.

Both men adopt the correct fighting position, holding the other end of
their staves slightly above the centre, presenting the upper end of the
staff out in a manner like a fencing stance.

They look competent holding their weapons.

The first exchanges are tentative ones as each tests the other with a
series of strikes and blocks before quickly retreating.

Staff fighting is both easier and more difficult than duelling with a
weapon such as a sword, in that the risk of serious injury is reduced,
but the combatant has the additional factor to consider of protecting
his hands, the most vulnerable part of the body.

A successful strike to the knuckles could disable an opponent, or cause
him to drop his staff.

My master seemed pretty confident but it is the blonde cherub, Erlog,
who scores the first hit, feinting a stab to the Claw’s chest and then
sweeping his staff low to strike Claw on his muscular thigh.

Kur’s Claw grimaces but remains solidly on the trunk, although I can
see a slight limp in his shuffle when he retreats back to his guard
position.

It is Erlog who is actually rendered more vulnerable by the strike. He
almost overbalances, the momentum of his hit carrying him to the side,
and he too has to retreat and gain time to recover.

Tempers are up now, so the second exchange of blows is more serious.
The staves move so quickly that they blur, and the feints and strikes
are parried with the honed reflexes of warriors.

Neither man is smiling now.

The second success also goes to Erlog, a stab with his staff that
strikes home on Kur’s Claw’s chest. He doubles over with a rush of
expelled air, and it is only instinct that preserves him while he
deflects the follow-up attack.

When he retreats, he momentarily holds his hand to his side and I
wonder if he has broken a rib.

People are watching me to see the effect the combat is having on me. I
try to assume as neutral an expression as I can, not wishing to offend
either potential victor. I do my best to look beautiful, holding my
head up to show myself a worthy trophy.

In truth I do not know who I would prefer to win.

Kur’s Claw’s gloating victories over me make the prospect of lying with
him abhorrent, but I am at lease familiar with his ways, whereas Erlog
is almost a complete stranger. Better the devil you know, perhaps.

Kur’s Claw counterattacks with such ferocity that I flinch, drawing up
my thigh and crossing it over my sex as if I am the one under threat
rather than being the precious prize.

His speed and aggression bring some success with a hit to Erlog’s right
hand that almost makes him drop his staff, but again he is saved by
instinctive warrior’s reflex.

My heart is racing now, as it did during my dance. The scene is
primordial, two males fighting for dominance and the rights to a
female. It has been played out many billions of times across the animal
kingdom, only this time the female is me.

I have been the subject of disputes as Aurore before – most notably the
attack in the woods on my journey to this place, but that was a
struggle for the men’s survival as well as mine. This is the first time
I have been the sole cause of a dispute.

Out on the high tree trunk Kur’s Claw presses forward. He aims a strike
towards Erlog’s face, but when Erlog blocks I realise the blow was a
feint for his main move. Allowing him to move his hands to the upper
end of the staff, he drops into a crouch and swings the lower end with
terrific momentum in a circular arc towards Erlog’s ankles.

Erlog is forced to hop from foot to foot. His first foot clears the
fast moving staff like a hurdle, but he is too slow to avoid catching
his other foot against the wooden pole.

It is a glancing blow, only enough to distract him for a moment, but it
is enough. Kur’s Claw has charged forward, slamming his body into
Erlog’s and the blonde cherub is thrown back and to the side, off the
log before he knows it.

His face shows shocked surprise as he falls back, catching his heels to
land his butt on the ground. The roar of the crowd is loud enough to
make my ears ring.

Kur’s Claw hops down almost nonchalantly, extending his hand and
sportingly pulling his opponent back to his feet.

People are milling around us, eager to congratulate and commiserate.

In the hubbub I am released from the whipping post, but my wrists
remained bound with the leash of rope. Secured in this fashion I fall
to my knees at the feet of the Kur’s Claw.

“What do you say?” he asks, looking down at me.

“Master,” I say, pressing my forehead to his feet.

“Look upon your owner,” he commands, so I do.

Above me the Claw stands, victorious, lifting his staff aloft. The
crowd are still cheering, and applauding in the Gorean way. People are
slapping both him and Erlog on the back. It has been an excellent
evening’s entertainment.

“Now, let us to my quarters. I think it is time to claim what is mine,”
Claw says.

This is the moment I’ve feared for so long. I prepare to follow him to
my fate. But after almost a minute Claw has not moved. I risk a glance
up to see high above me Kur’s Claw’s face has taken on an uncertain
expression. A couple of shudders pass through his body, as if he might
even be cold in spite of the tropical heat.

That is when he vomits.

52 – The second apocalypse

Joyful faces have changed to confusion and concern. The Ubar must have
sustained some kind of injury during the duel, the strike to his chest
perhaps causing damage that is more serious than expected.

But then he vomits again, a viscous puddle that narrowly misses
splattering me, kneeling with bound wrists at his feet.

In the torchlight I can see that the liquid is not regurgitated food,
but is black with blood.

“Do you need a physician?” Gracus begins to say, but his sentence tails
off as he too turns ashen white. He stumbles forward one pace and
vomits the same dark liquid.

As if a fuse has been lit, then the affliction spreads like a chain
reaction through the inhabitants of the fortified compound.

It would be comic, if the suffering of each person was not so very
genuine, and the stench of the liquid they vomit so fetid. The smell
overpowers me so completely that my own gorge rises with nausea, and I
too regurgitate the meat and paga I have been fed at the hand of my
master.

I barely notice that my own effort is simply digested food, and it
lacks the dark red present in the liquid discharged by everyone else.

I watch as one after the other people double over with convulsions,
crumbling to the ground and producing streams so voluminous it’s if
their bodies are trying to void themselves of all the blood inside. The
sickness is indiscriminate, touching warriors, artisans and slave
girls.

Kur’s Claw has recovered enough to grab the leash attached to my
wrists, and staggering like a drunk drags me away from the crowd.

I think he means to rape me, even though he is unwell, but I realise he
is leading me towards the laboratory.

“He has done this,” Claw says to me, his voice a growl of fury.

I am all confusion.

“Who, how?” I ask, forgetting to use “Master”.

“Kurtz,” the Kur’s Claw spits in a spray of blood. “He has killed us
all. Somehow he has poisoned us.”

For a moment I hope he is wrong, that if there is a poison it will not
be fatal, but I am silenced by seeing the first corpse. He is a
warrior, face down on the planking of one of the jetties.

“All who have the sickness will die – he has even doomed you, his
favourite slave.”

I had not considered this, but I realise with sinking heart it must be
true. I have not been secretly dosed with any antidotes. Ruefully I
reflect that this is just the kind of thing that Kurtz would do.

And yet my waves of nausea have subsided, to the same levels I’ve
endured since I was struck with the dart from the blowpipe.

Then, for the first time in many months, I dare to hope.

The blowpipe – everyone had assumed Kurtz was trying to kill me out of
jealously with the blowpipe, but what if his motivation was very
different?

The words of the physician come back to me. He told me there was a
superstition that the venom of the Jungle Rennel used to poison me
granted the blessing of the poisonous Ushindi frog. And he said the
frog poison brought on a vomiting sickness called the red death.

I look around the torch lit compound, in dawning comprehension of the
unfolding tragedy.

Kur’s Claw was right when he said that Kurtz has poisoned everybody to
gain his victory, everybody. Claw’s only small error is that one person
is not going to die.

I must hide this knowledge. If Claw realises I am immune to this
plague, he will kill me out of spite.

My master is hauling me towards the laboratory. His determination is
superhuman, but I can see his strength is at last beginning to fail. We
have to stop several times for him to void more of the bloody liquid,
even over that short distance.

I mime the same convulsions, but I am careful to turn from him, so he
cannot see what I regurgitate.

“I swear that he will die before I do,” Kur’s Claw says in a voice
grown hoarse and weak.

He hammers on the door of the pens, but there is no answer.

Then he summons his reserves of energy with another epic effort, and
charges the solid wooden door with his shoulder.

Slave’s quarters are designed to be resistant to assault, being a
natural target for raiders, so I am surprised that the lock gives way
and Kur’s Claw tumbles in.

Inside is semi-darkness. Someone has smashed the lamp in the violence
of their convulsions, but I can make out enough. On the laboratory
floor lies the corpse of the physician, the green robes of his caste
stained to brown by his own liquefied internal organs.

I back away in revulsion, hands at my sides, and my fingertips brush
against a length of spare iron piping, propped against the wall.

Female-Kurtz is still there in her cocoon, the container glowing with a
soft spectral pink light.

Kur’s Claw vomits again, and I think with sympathy and horror that he
must finally be done for, but he gradually gets back to his feet and
shuffles like a zombie towards the complex valves controlling the
transformation apparatus.

I act without thinking, lifting the spare length of pipe in a grip like
a baseball bat and swinging with all Aurore’s strength at the back of
Claw’s head.

I hear a sickening crunch as I hit home.

Kur’s Claw collapses to the floor as inert as a sack of potatoes, and
this time he is final still. Even in the half-light I can see the
mortal wound in the back of his skull.

At first I feel jubilation

“Rape me now, bitch!” I taut, hopping from foot to foot.

Then fear floods me, and I drop the length of pipe with a clang, ready
to flee.

I have just killed the Ubar. If I am caught this is not a mere whipping
offence. I will certainly be put to death, and in an unpleasant. Slaves
are typically tortured and impaled for murdering free citizens.

I must get away from the scene of my crime right away.

I turn to leave, but almost faint with terror at the sight before me.

Erlog is in the doorway of the laboratory, standing propped with one
shoulder against the frame.

There is a bloodstain on his blonde curls, making his hair appear to
have a black patch. His expression is determined, purposeful. He must
have seen everything.

I am backing away, but rather than approach me or draw his weapon to
put me to the sword, Erlog beckons.

“Come,” he urges in a gurgling croak. “We must leave before I am
overcome with this affliction. I am sent by the Priest Kings.”

“You are in the service of the Sardar?” I say, processing this
information rather dumbly.

“My orders are to observe the compound without risking my life, report
on the fate of you and Kurtz, and extract you if appropriate, “he
gasps. “When one of the Kurii warriors was hiring swords, I let myself
be recruited by these men as a mercenary.”

Erlog has to pause, as his body doubles over with a convulsion from the
poison. When he finishes he looks at me and opens his mouth as if to
speak further, but no sound comes out and his eyes widen with fear.

It is like his own throat has been dissolved.

“How are we supposed to get away?” I ask selfishly.

Kurtz had once mentioned an agent in Port Schendi, a woman named
Coraline, and I also heard tell that the Ubar across the lake, Bila
Haruma, was in the service of Priest Kings.

It would be a cruel twist of fate for me to be liberated from this
place only to fall into slavery on my return journey.

But I am too late to learn of a route to salvation. Erlog doubles over,
and then collapses to the ground. I kneel next to him, looking into his
eyes.

As I cradle yet another man’s head in my lap while he draws his last
breath, I weep because Erlog’s death is so utterly pointless.

53 – The red death

The Kur’s Claw is dead. Ailsa is dead. Jaya is dead. Trionus is dead.
Telisio is dead. Gracus is dead. Erlog is dead. When I run around the
compound in increasing desperation I soon discover that the women
captives on the boat are dead – including Hannah, Ava and Manuela.

As the last few victims succumb to the plague, an unnatural silence
falls over the fortified compound. Even the nocturnal insects seem to
be quiet for once as they mourn the massacre.

Only two of us have survived the apocalypse. Myself, and the woman
sleeping peacefully in the transformation chamber.

I have no guidance as to when I can safely open her container, so I
decide to leave female-Kurtz there for the time being.

Instead, when dawn breaks I free my wrists and begin the laborious task
of dealing with the bodies, under a sky of gathering storm clouds.

I do not have the time or strength to dig a burial pit or build a pyre
for everyone. The most dignified end I can conceive is to I undress
each one and tip them into the harbour, where their flesh feeds the
many carnivorous fish and aquatic reptiles.

Dead human beings are usually dealt with quickly in the tropics, for
the practical reason that the heat makes corpses smell very quickly. By
late morning each corpse I disturb from the place it fell launches a
cloud of flies.

The onset of the deluge of rain comes as a relief, cleansing my naked
body as it does the compound. The rain is not cold, so I ignore it and
continue my work.

When the turn comes for the corpse of the Kur’s Claw, I discover in his
possessions a small silver key, which I insert into a lock on the
priceless diamond collar around my neck.

The collar unlocks with an almost inaudible click and it comes away in
my hand. With it goes a burden of misery I’ve been carrying for so long
I’d forgotten it was there.

At that momentous instant my emotions fly sky high. I could jump for
joy. For the first time in many months I am uncollared, free. Even with
all these innocent dead around me I cannot help but smile.

I am a survivor. I am a free woman. I can go home.

Casually I flip the jewel encrusted collar into the muddy waters of the
harbour, where it vanishes with only a small splash. Not so the body of
the Kur’s Claw, which causes the surface to erupt when I despatch it to
its watery grave, and I am grateful the silt and the downpour hides the
frenzy below the surface.

As a free woman I should now cover my nudity, but for a while I make no
effort to dress myself. There is no one to see me, so I rove at will,
naked and uninhibited.

I do arm myself, however.

There is no further obligation for me to feign any resistance when
under attack, as I did in order to fall captive to the men of Kurtz.
Now I can truly fight for myself.

I vow that I will never be taken as slave again.

My physically weaker body still dictates that I must arm not with the
direct weapons of a man however, so I choose the stealthy, defensive
tools used by a female.

I find a dagger, selected for its razor sharp needle blade rather than
its sale value, and from a board in the kitchens used to slice the
delicate and flavoursome blue Gorean cheese I steal the wire,
fashioning it into a vicious garrotte.

These I secure around my waist with a belt. It is my first adornment as
a free woman, although it hides nothing of my body. I recall that in
the novel of Doctor No, our hero Bond spies on the girl dressed in this
very same outfit.

“Underneath the mango tree,” I softly sing to myself, with a smile.

I remove every single body from the compound before returning to the
laboratory. By this time the rain has stopped, as abruptly as switching
off a tap.

There is still no sign of response from female-Kurtz. She could be
sleeping, comatose or dead.

I can’t leave her there forever though. I have an uneasy and growing
feeling of apprehension – a sixth sense that it will be dangerous to
remain here too much longer.

Suddenly decisive, I begin turning valves, shutting off the flow of the
mysterious pink chemicals. Then I begin to unfasten the series of
latches that seal her container.

I have forgotten the weight water can have, and when I release the door
it swings open with enough force to knock me off my feet. Chemicals
flow from of the container in a tide, spilling the nude girl out onto
the floor on her side.

Her back is facing me, and she looks completely limp. I worry I’ve been
too late, or too early, but then the girl moves for the first time,
gradually drawing up one knee in a sensual, cat-like motion to curve
her buttock.

For a moment she is overcome and her shoulders and spine heave as she
coughs and retches repeatedly. Pushing herself up on one arm, I see
puddles of the clear pink liquid splash down onto the floor.

Then she seems to become aware of herself, and she spins with
supernatural speed, looking at me with eyes as sharp and feral as an
animal. They are almost amber in colour, making her appear even more
feline, and there is no welcome for me in them.

“Kurtz, it’s me, Aurore,” I plead weakly.

She gives no acknowledgement at having understood, but her staring gaze
at last breaks from mine as she looks around the room.

“Everyone else is dead,” I tell her, trying to sound calming and
harmless. “Men, women, everyone. We’re the only ones left.”

For some reason I am nervous of this female, even though she is smaller
than me. Perhaps it is because she still looks like a tiger ready to
spring.

I have just delivered news of a massacre, but the girl eventually nods
in satisfaction, finally showing she understands me. Some of the
tension goes out of her, and she looks down at her naked body for the
first time.

“I gambled with my life that they would be vindictive enough to test
the transformation process on me,” she says, “and I also had to stake
my life that the poison I too ingested would be purged from my body by
the change process.”

When I watched her in the transformation chamber I had wondered what
she’d sound like. Her voice is high pitched, almost adolescent, but
there’s still something of Kurtz’ charisma left there.

“So what Kur’s Claw told me is true – you sacrificed everybody?” I ask
in a calm voice.

Female Kurtz is rubbing a hand over her new nipples experimentally.

“It was the most certain way to defeat the Kurii, Aurore,” she insists
without looking at me. “The sacrifice of a few slaves is nothing in
comparison to the victory I achieved today. Now I have this
transformation technology in my hands, I hold the means to change Gor.
With this weapon I will rise to be an Ubara like none before me.”

She is ecstatic at her victorious rebirth, but I feel utterly
despondent at her words. I had been hoping desperately that the
transformation might soften Kurtz, and she would awaken without the
megalomaniac madness of the Ubar driving her to win without
consideration of the human cost.

I should have known from my own transformation that the personality
remains unchanged. This is still Kurtz – it is just Kurtz inside a
woman’s body.

I move around behind her, and place my hand with brief tenderness on
her new, narrow shoulder. The skin is clammy with the fluids from the
chamber.

“We’ll need to get this gunk off you first,” I say, releasing my hold
and reaching to my belt.

I don’t know if she is expecting me to try something, but it does not
matter. My wire garrotte is over her head before she can react, and I
am bracing my knee into the back of her neck, pulling the wire into her
throat with all the strength I can muster so I can banish the spirit of
Kurtz as humanely as possible from this world.

I have seen a lot of death today, but when I murder my former lover it
is the first time I must close my eyes, and she takes a terribly long
time to finally lie still.

54 – Alone and not so alone

Afterwards I can do little but weep.

“I’m sorry my love,” I tell the silent corpse, “but you were insane, a
monster. You had to die.”

“I gave you every chance – that’s why I awakened you instead of making
you die in the tube. I was praying you would awaken with your humanity
healed.”

Her eyes are still open, looking up at me in silent recrimination, so I
push them gently closed. The hideous gaping wound around her throat,
like a distorted smile, I cannot bring myself to touch.

There is one last corpse for return to nature. I drag the remains of
Kurtz tenderly towards the edge of the wharf, and roll her off into the
water.

The clothes of the dead I pile up on the grass outside the back gate,
and then set alight. Standing to watch the black plume of smoke rise
like a signal, I recall that I am unlikely to be left alone for long.

While the bonfire blazes I clothe myself. There is no way I am covering
my body in the symbolic and demeaning garb of a kajira, but neither do
the full robes of concealment appeal to me.

Taking a long bolt of scarlet cloth from one of the warrior’s quarters
I wrap it around myself. Red is the colour of the warriors’ caste on
Gor, so it is appropriate for me. It is wide enough to run from under
my arms down to where I have crudely sliced of the excess. Pinning this
in place under my arm I am satisfied with tailoring something
resembling an ankle-length evening dress.

I gather some coins, although a great deal more I will leave behind. I
find a red-riding-hood like woman’s travelling cloak, made of light
material suitable for wear in the tropics, and some shoes small enough
to fit me.

From the kitchens and stores I take no food. I do not wish to ingest
anything that may be poisoned, even if I have some resistance, and I
did not give Kurtz time to tell me how he administered the toxin.

When I’m satisfied with my preparations I emerge from dressing in the
buildings, ready to look for a boat. I have resolved to travel
downriver, and seek the woman named Coraline in Port Schendi, who is
said to be agent of the Priest Kings.

My exit is cut off, however. The instinct that told me danger was
coming was correct.

A large war canoe is moored against one of the jetties, and from this
climb warriors, led by a giant with a feather headdress. Each is dark
skinned – this is one of the native tribal groups.

I attract their attention immediately in my bright red robes. They have
me so vastly outnumbered that rather than attempt to flee, I walk
boldly up to the one I know to be their leader.

I have never met this man before, but I know him by reputation and
description.

Bila Haruma stands before me. He heads an organisation called the Black
Slavers, who live across the lake. His reputation is of a Ubar above
Ubars. The fellow is a large and muscular, clad in a loincloth made
from the pelts of a creature called the yellow panther.

Bracelets of gold adorn his arms, and he wears a necklace of
carnivorous teeth.

“Tal, lady,” he says, observing me with great curiosity.

“Tal,” I reply.

Behind him I can see an ornate cloak, decorated with red and yellow
feathers. It makes my own cloak look rather dowdy.

“Who are you?” he asks politely.

Across his cheek is a spiral pattern of tattooed spots. I believe it to
be a sign of reaching manhood, in one of the local tribal groups.

“I am Aurore, the red death,” I tell him without fear. “I am Ubara of
this place.”

“You seem to rule your territory alone, Lady Aurore. What happened
here?”

“All these people perished. They called me the omen of evil when I
arrived here, and it turned out to be an accurate name.”

My words are truthful. I did bring evil to this place. It is unlikely
the men of the Kurii would have attacked the compound without their
interest in me, and Kurtz would not have poisoned everyone without the
Kurii attack. Only two person died directly at my hands, but I am the
reason that many more had to suffer.

“It is the nature of leadership that the demise of your people
sometimes cannot be avoided,” he says philosophically, “and one must
live with the consequences of the decision.”

I hold his gaze, but out the corner of my eyes I can see his warriors
have cautiously encircled me, and stand poised. If he gives the word
they will attempt to seize and disarm me.

“Do not command your men to attack me,” I say, trying to keep my voice
steady. “I would rather kill myself than be enslaved.”

To emphasise this I draw my needle-like dagger, pressing the point
against my jugular. Perhaps if they move to attack me, there will be
time to press it home.

“But what else should I do with you, Lady?” he says with genuine
confusion. “I am a slave trader. I would be foolish to allow such an
exceptional beauty as you to escape.”

“You must assist my return to the Sardar Mountains,” I tell him. “There
are matters I need to present to Priest Kings.”

I take a gamble in openly discussing the Sardar before him. It may not
be that all his own men realise he is in their service. I must risk
revealing his allegiance in order to convince him that there is more at
stake here than his collaring a pretty girl.

I press the dagger a little harder into place, and feel a bead of blood
start to run down my throat.

“My mission is worth risking my life.”

“So I can see,” Bila Haruma says. There is silence for almost an ehn,
during which time I pray he is the man of vision depicted in the
legends.

He considers me for a moment longer and decides.

“Lady, Aurore, pass in peace into the protection of Bila Haruma.”

Weak with the relief of tension, I feel faint, but manage to keep my
feet. His warriors have stood down their weapons immediately.

Bila Haruma gives orders for some of his men to establish a garrison at
the compound. I will not be staying with them, however. My fate is to
travel back with the Ubar to his palace on the lake. No one will harm
me now. The will of this man is not to be contradicted.

After warning them about the poison, I take what will hopefully be my
last look around the compound of Kurtz, and there are ghosts are
everywhere.

I can see where Chiron stood over me as I waited for my first judgement
on the docks, so clearly he might really be there.

I can see the cross where Ailsa was chained after her defeat. I can see
Nessa padding around in her camisk with a jug of paga balanced on her
shoulder.

I can see the smithy and its branding rack where I endured such agony,
the fire now extinguished and cold.

And there is the hut of Kurtz, the curtain still drawn, and I could
almost believe he is there with those intense eyes shining in the dark
as he was when I arrived.

Such sights I have seen here will never leave me.

“The horror,” I say softly to myself, “the horror.”

Afterword – New York City, 2014

“Skinny latte, ma’am,” the waitress says, placing the steaming cup on
the table.

I smile my thanks to her and take a sip, sighing with satisfaction.
Priest Kings, I’ve missed coffee.

I’ve selected a corner seat in the café, so I can sit with my back to
the wall, have scope to watch the door; look through the full-length
front window out over the people on the street; and keep my laptop
hidden from view.

Discretion is necessary – the waitress might be less friendly if she
leaned too far over me and caught a glimpse of my screen.

On the display before me are computer generated images of the Gorean
world, but not one that’s anything like the Gor I remember.

True, this is supposed to be a simulation of the Schendi Jungles, and
the foliage looks more like a deciduous wood from cooler climates, but
nothing could render the colour, noise and scent of the rain forest.
That is a superficial detail.

It is the ratio of people that makes the difference. I count eight
kajirae kneeling in a big circle, their Barbie-doll avatars
immaculately presented in brightly coloured pleasure silks and slave
collars that glint with electronic jewels.

Two free women are also present, clad in black leather outfits that
look closer to steampunk costumes than robes of concealment I remember,
have a third female bound and nude, the unlucky one being pulled round
on a leash that doesn’t quite fit.

The text at the bottom of the screen that represents their conversation
shows me a dispute is taking place as to whether the nude one was
fairly captured or not.

And there are no men. Not one. Or at least there are no male avatars in
this version of Gor. I am sure there are men at the keyboard behind
many of these female slaves.

That is the big difference between the computer generated Gor, and
reality. Everyone here wants to be a woman, and wants to be a kajira.

I wish them the luck of their dreams coming true.

A movement outside catches my attention and I look up. Down on the
street a woman is leaving an apartment block opposite and walking away
along the sidewalk.

She’s a beauty this one, with the kind of figure that gives guys
fantasies. And the woman doesn’t seem afraid of showing that figure
either. Rather than repress her female nature like most women on this
world, she still walks like a kajira, because she’s been trained to
move until it became so instinctive she could never unlearn it.

Men on the street actually come to a stop, staring at her like they’re
hypnotised. Few men on Earth have ever seen a woman walk in such away.
And they are unware that as well as the woman on the street that moves
with such shameless beauty, there is another watching from the café
that received the same harsh tuition.

So it’s true. They really did return her all the way back to Earth. He
told me this was the case – the agent I now report to – I only know him
by his first name of Agratay, but I didn’t quite believe it until I saw
her.

I watch her, this woman that is my enemy in theory.

After all that has passed between us I’d expected to feel aggression,
hate even, but instead there is only the bond of shared experience and
suffering.

My mind fills with questions I wish I could ask her. Do you still have
the nightmares like I do? Do you still wake up clutching at your throat
to pull away the collar that is no longer there? Do you try to shower
without touching your thigh, because you know each time your fingers
brush the mark it will bring everything back? Does it still feel
strange to have underwear on, and not feel so constantly open?

This is not the time to reminisce.

I click the speed dial on my mobile that will signal my fellow agents
to commence their break-in of her apartment. They will leave no signs
of their intrusion – the security on Earth buildings is nothing to
technology such as ours.

With my signal sent, I continue to watch her sashay down the street.
She’s carrying a bag of heavy-looking study books that pull her
slightly off centre, but she still manages to move like she’s on a
catwalk rather than a sidewalk.

I wonder why she chose to come to New York, and study a degree in
philosophy, of all things. If she wants to learn methods of coping with
the trauma and the memories, she’d have been better to study religion
or psychology.

As I ponder I again rub my neck, confirming as I am compelled to do
obsessively that the collar has not returned.

My throat is bare of ornament. There is no steel, as there hasn’t been
since I was delivered back to Earth, but I will always feel myself
collared. Indeed, returning me here places me under an obligation to
the aliens, so even though I wanted to run and run and forget every
image of Gor, I have just entered a new form of slavery. It is merely
that my chains are longer and better disguised than they were before.

Like the girl over there, a part of me will always remain back at that
god-forsaken fort in the jungle.

She has stopped at a street-side coffee stall. The vendor looks to be
flirting with her, but she laughs with relaxed familiarly at his
efforts. This must be a daily occurrence.

She is at peace, but I am tensed as a mousetrap. I keep one hand on my
phone the whole time that she stand there. If she turns back to her
apartment I will need to signal the agents instantly.

How would it be if she discovered that she had not escaped Gor as
completely as she might wish, and that she was about to provide fresh
assistance?

She would fall to her knees. Anything to avoid going back, would be her
plea. I know that because I am the same.

We women have both been losers in the battle of the sexes that has been
fought for millennia on Earth and Gor. But this war will not end
without a glimmer of hope. Finally the means is within our reach to
ensure that only the willing are taken to serve as sex slaves, and I
will be the instrument of bringing this about.

I learned this information from that same controller assigned to watch
over me on Earth. We are supposed to be on the same side, but I can
admit I do not like the man.

Although I may address him by his name, as a free woman might address a
Gorean male, in many respects his attitude towards me is no better than
a master handling his kajira.

Gorean men often treat women as if they’re less than human.

When he explained the plan Agratay almost identically echoed the Kur’s
Claw’s observations that changing attitudes to non-consensual
submission have lost the Kurii, Priest Kings and the culture of Gor
support. It was perhaps not an original thought of Claw’s, then, but
some older report that he merely confirmed.

The warring alien species are for once united in understanding,
although their interests in changing the fate of humanity are very
different.

Both Kurii and Priest Kings have learnt that not every beautiful woman
on Gor wishes to endure slavery, but there is a surplus of Gorean men
who wish to be their masters.

On Urth the situation is no better. There are many unhappy men, who
long to feel valued as beautiful female slaves in a way they never can
at home. There are many desirable women on Urth, but most of them have
no interest in becoming kajirae, or even behaving submissively towards
the men around them. Waking up in the hands of Kurii agents is their
worst nightmare.

Thus continued a cycle of misery for many generations, until recently.

A wise creature from one of the species proposed an answer, and an
answer that would be both lucrative and helpful in winning the war. I
ridiculed the idea when I first heard this new strategy would actually
be attempted, but soon I began to accept the elegant simplicity of the
solution.

The alien suggested we claim only those men of Urth who desire to
experience the life of slave women, thus easing the consciences of
those on Urth in our service, who will be almost doing a good deed in
fulfilling people’s dreams.

Those men who crave a kajira’s existence will be shipped unconscious to
Gor and loaded into the transformation apparatus, which could be
replicated many times now the technology has been mastered. Once the
captive men are changed into beautiful women, they will be sold at the
slave markets across Gor, and their dream will become their reality.

I must admit to finding some malicious pleasure in giving men who
consider sexual slavery an erotic fantasy a taste of the real
experience I had to endure. They’ll soon learn.

For the female sex, the idea is a double-win. For each man I deliver to
the transformation I will be saving one of my fellow women from a
terrible fate.

All that was missing in the alien plan is a means of identifying
sufficient numbers of males willing to be slavegirls. And here the
human agents familiar with Earth were able to help with submissives
aplenty.

Males playing kajirae are rife in the virtual Gorean worlds. It is
easily within the reach of alien technology to discover the real
identities of these men.

Someone else suggested those who are aroused by master and slave
stories in transgender fiction as being even more suitable targets,
already being attuned to the psychic shock of waking up female.

This brings me back to the woman out there on the street. My fellow
kajira alumnus is going to help.

My laptop buzzes with an incoming message and I open it again. Only
seconds have passed, but the agents already have the file from her
computer, and they’ve sent it on to me. My screen fills with pages and
pages of text.

But before I have the chance to read it properly, someone has stood in
my light.

“Aren’t you Udumi Ayeola, the supermodel?”

It’s a girl, as skinny as a beanstalk and barely sixteen. Her face
shows the residue of what must have been difficult years of teenage
acne, but she’s masked it well with makeup.

I close my laptop, so there’s no chance the girl will see the obscene
virtual Gor.

“You’re an inspiration to me, Udumi. I want to be just like you,” she
says, her voice growing more hesitant when she sees my frozen
expression, and then tailing off into a stammer.

All the confidence she’s mustered to go and talk to a celebrity has
abandoned her, and she stands there uncertainly.

I look at her. She certainly has potential, with the right body shape,
pleasing eyes and almost elfin features. This time last week I would
have invited her to audition in a model call, and we could have marked
her for agents to watch.

In a couple of years, five at the most, she would have been ready.
She’d have gone to sleep one night in her own bed and awoken the next
morning naked and bound on an alien world. There she would have served
as slave to men.

Until last week I would have been obliged to give her encouragement,
luring her into my power, her loss of liberty the only way to keep a
collar from my own neck. But things are changing in the battle between
Kurii and Priest Kings.

“Get lost,” I tell her, “I’m drinking my coffee.”

The teenage model wannabe turns away, eyes filling with tears at my
blunt dismissal. She deflates like a punctured football, unaware how
close she has passed to having everything taken from her.

Opening my laptop I begin to read the document.

Soon I nod with satisfaction. This confirms my expectations.

All the time I knew her as a slave on Gor, Aurore felt the need for
self-expression. There was one girl that could never keep her mouth
shut if she felt obliged to speak her mind. I had predicted she would
document her experiences somehow.

I had left the fortified compound and returned to Earth still ignorant
of the transformation apparatus and of Aurore’s masculine origins,
although my controller told me soon after my arrival in Los Angeles.

Much became clear about her behaviour once I knew what happened to
Aurius, and it explains how Aurore retained her very masculine drive to
do the noble thing. Her personality reminded me of Kurtz’ in many ways.

I skim to the end of her autobiography, feeling sympathy and shared
remembrance at some sections but smiling at others – particularly her
description of me. The only section that makes me laugh snidely is the
last chapter. So she called herself the “red death” in front of Bila
Haruma, did she? Drama queen…

But the literary quality does not matter. It reads well enough and will
be sufficient for our purposes. Aurore of the Sardar will serve the
Kurii, whether she wishes to or not, and so will all those males who
read her autobiography.

I smile secretly at the real Aurore, still at the coffee stand. She
believed the transfer technology was safely back with the Priest Kings
when she left the fortified compound as the sole survivor. She didn’t
consider that the physician might have reported all his findings before
his demise.

Aurore’s narrative does not tell how she returned to Urth. Perhaps this
was arranged under the protection of Bila Haruma.

That Ubar’s association with the Priest Kings is already known to us,
but the alliance of the woman in Port Schendi Kurtz called Coraline is
new. It was unwise of Aurore to document this piece of valuable
intelligence.

I shall contact my superiors and see that this Coraline is enslaved.

As Aurore has not finished her history it falls to me to complete the
work, perhaps documenting this very moment in the café in the same
first person narrative that she used. I shall even tell the readers of
our plans for them, but they will continue to read anyway, believing my
words to be fiction as they do with all things Gorean.

I will insert some unusual trigger words at the very end of the story,
words that our scientists tell me causes a unique pattern of brain
activity, identifying the reader to the sensitive detection equipment
of our agents. Then we shall watch them, even letting these victims
spot our scouts occasionally, and when their fear and paranoia is at
its peak will we claim them. So live in fear, all submissive men of
Urth. Udumi will see you in collar, and be victorious over you all.

Sasquatch Orang-utan.

Alternate Chapter 54

Olga’s Note: Kurtz’ death was the only way the story could end in my
view. He had become an insane megalomaniac, and Aurore would not live
with her own conscience if she let him go unpunished.

In addition I felt a part of Kurtz craved a release from the role he
felt compelled by his own ego to play. In this sense Aurore saw her act
as a merciful one.

Finally I wanted to keep true to the Heart of Darkness / Apocalypse Now
storyline once I’d started to use it as a vehicle to examine morality
in the Gorean universe.

However I know a TG audience might have got excited about Kurtz’
transformation and then disappointed that there wasn’t more explanation
of Kurtz’ experience of being female, so this is for those of you that
feel that way – an alternate ending where the female Kurtz remains
alive.

After the third night of the voyage on Thassa, the sea, I feel
compelled to leave my sleeping place.

My feeling of disquiet has been growing for some time, a restless
yearning that many women report themselves experiencing, and being
unable to calm.

I slip on the lightest of robes possible, a garment of loose material
like a kimono, and fasten the briefest of veils over my face. I hold my
red hair out like a fan to cover where the veil fastens behind my ears,
and settle it into a tidy mane that reaches down below my shoulder
blades.

I have been provided with an impractical set of delicate slippers for
travelling. These I slip over my small feet.

I am certainly not robed sufficiently to venture into a public location
like the street, but it will do for the confines of the ship.

Stealing silently away from my cabin, I creep along the narrow
corridors of the “Blessing of the Sardar”. It has been my home for
several days now, and the location for one of my happiest times as a
woman.

Each pasang has taken me further from the heat, humidity and horror of
the tropics. The temperature has also dropped blissfully as we
progressed northwards. Today has been the first time for months when
I’ve not felt too hot.

Only the memories travel with me.

The vessel is bound for the port of Lydius, in the north of Gor. From
there we shall voyage upriver, until the furthest navigable point for a
ship of this size, where it is only a short distance to travel over
land to The Sardar.

I am downgraded by being transported by sea, but with Kurtz deceased as
far as the Priest Kings are aware, my importance in the eyes of The
Nest is reduced. There is nothing for me to report, so there is no
urgency.

The voyage is a risky one. We shall have to pass the notorious pirate-
ridden city of Port Kar, at the delta of the Vosk River, and also the
island state of Cos, known as another source of plundering raids on
shipping.

I can do little to contribute to our safety – I am merely a woman. And
yet I do not worry. I am protected by strong men, and the threat to me
here is much less and immediate than it was in the Compound.

My soft steps carry me a closed cabin door, made of solid wood. Like
all of Blessing of the Sardar it has been bleached by many years
exposure to salt, but the quality of the construction will keep it in
service for many more years. On this door I tap gently with Aurore’s
long fingernails.

“Enter,” says the captain in a business-like voice.

Good – he is still awake.

I do enter, closing the door behind me and leaning back against it.

“Tal, Lady Aurore,” Kwesi says with a smile that makes my heart warm.

“Tal, Captain,” I say nonchalantly.

Kwesi’s cabin is the largest on the vessel, but still small by the
standards of quarters on land. Inside his door there is barely room to
take a pace.

Apart from a small working desk much of the room is occupied with his
sleeping area – a roughhewn wooden cot with a mattress stuffed with
straw and draped with soft furs.

Under a skin like a leopard’s lies the captain, a book at his side. The
fur pelt covers up to his sternum, but I can see his beautiful dark
muscular shoulders and pectorals.

“Some concern disturbs your rest?” he asks.

“I was reminiscing over the night we spent in the cage,” I say
nonchalantly. “Back then you seemed to find me beautiful. I was
wondering if that was still the case.”

Kwesi makes a show of considering me, propping his head up with his
hands.

“I recall that night you were nude,” he says. “Now you are not nude, so
it is impossible for me to make an assessment. I fear I will not be
able to comment.”

His tone is not patronising like most Gorean males when addressing the
other sex. He is man, I am woman, and we are both enjoying the
interplay between us.

I give no reply, but pull my robes over my head in one swift movement.
I leave the veil to unfasten last, because it gives me a flush of
shameful pleasure to be veiled like a free woman, and yet have the rest
of my body so exposed.

Holding my chin bravely up, I stand naked before the captain.

“I am now nude,” I inform him.

My body reacts so intensely to his gaze that it’s as if he’s touching
me. I can feel my nipples grow aroused, and the warm liquid sensation
between my legs that Goreans euphemistically refer to as “heat”.

“You are still beautiful,” he confirms. “And I too am nude, as I was
that night in the cage.”

To demonstrate this he throws back the fur covering, and I can see that
his blood is rising.

“Come, lady Aurore” he laughs, and joyfully I throw myself towards his
cot.

Gor is a world where women are usually forced to please. When I went to
the furs of Kurtz I was in the collar of a slave, and although I
consented willingly to the act between us, I was still in his service.

This time it is making love between equals, and it is a delight. I had
not laid with a man since my nights with the mad Ubar, and as time
passed I felt the growing craving of the sexually experienced woman to
be penetrated.

With our movement enhanced by the rocking of the ship I thrill to the
touch of Kwesi’s hands on my body, and when I reach my peak I cannot
help but cry out in pleasure so loudly I risk waking the whole vessel.

My lover is equally uninhibited. Goreans view sex as a perfectly
natural act, and vocal demonstrations of pleasure are not considered a
source of shame.

Afterwards I lie in his arms with my head on his chest, listening to
the deep reassuring thud of his heartbeat. He strokes my arms, which in
the post-orgasmic glow still sends waves of stimulation coursing
through me.

“I’m glad your ship was able to carry me home,” I tell him in such a
relaxed voice that I sound drugged.

It is not long before dawn when I reluctantly tiptoe back to my own
cabin, to discover that in my absence the girl has rolled over to
occupy most of my smaller cot. There is barely room for two of us, but
she has insisted on sharing my quarters anyway.

I study her sleeping form for a moment, admiring the shape of her
hairless head as I’d done many times when she was in the transformation
tank, and then I push her shoulder firmly out the way so I can get back
into bed.

“You smell of sex,” she says, testy in her drowsiness, when I worm my
way in beside her. “Don’t think I can’t tell where you’ve been.”

Her vexation is at my waking her rather than jealousy. It is
interesting that the female version of Kurtz has lost some of the
possessive nature that was present in the male.

I look at her fondly. I have never told her I intended to kill her if
she woke with the same autocratic view of the world, and I’m so glad I
didn’t. If Bila Haruma had arrived after I’d had time to open the
apparatus instead of before, it might all have been different.

“This is Kur… they told me her name is Kurii,” I told Bila Haruma,
while the girl lay sprawled on the floor of the laboratory, “named
after our enemies, for they trapped her in this form.”

“Do you know who she was before insertion into the apparatus?” he
asked.

“Some enemy of The Others, no doubt,” I said, thereby guaranteeing her
safety.

“And what of Kurtz?”

“He fell defending the compound during the siege by the forces of the
Kur’s Claw,” I lied glibly. “I did not witness the battle but they told
me he gave his life heroically.”

My eyes met Kurii’s only briefly during this exchange, but she
understood. She had retained her intellect, even if everything else was
gone. Kurii was also quick witted enough to pretend she’d lost her
memory during the transformation process, and she followed me with
surprising docility.

It was not just her new body that changed things between us.

Before, he had been Ubar and I had been slave.

After the transformation, my experience gave me seniority. She was
suddenly reliant on me to teach her the million small things that are
important about being a woman. I guided her through the first fumbling
attempts at wearing the heavy, uncomfortable robes of concealment.

At night, in the privacy of our quarters, I taught her how to awaken
her body, and how to use it to give pleasure to others.

Unlike the night I’ve just spent with Kwesi, it was necessary to
maintain secrecy about my trysts with Kurii. Lesbian relationships are
very rare on Gor and viewed with suspicion, so many were the times we
would have to bite down on our forearms to stifle the cries of
pleasure.

Gor is also a world where women are dependent on the protection of men.
Men who might have disapproved over us satisfying each other’s needs,
rather than seeking the arms of some mighty warrior.

Kurtz was once such a man. At first I thought the loss of his authority
must be painful, but I saw as the days passed that Kurii was developing
a power of a different kind.

She seemed to be able to hold some of the men almost under a spell in a
way even Aurore’s beauty could not. When we passed through Port Schendi
there was an ugly knife fight between two of her warrior guardians, not
a sporting contest over a mere slave like the one in the compound, but
blood drawn between two men both eager to present themselves as
potential free companions.

I asked her once if she misses the strength and freedom of being a man
and a Ubar.

Quite the contrary, she told me. She still has power, she said, staring
with the same charismatic intenseness. It is merely power of a less
physical kind. And women, denied the positions of leadership, can enjoy
the power they have without the responsibility placed on men. It is a
very satisfactory state of affairs.

I disagreed with her observation – a free woman can still order harm to
a slave, but Kurii merely laughed. I still had the sentiments of a man
of Urth, she said.

It is only at night, like now when I return from Kwesi’s embrace and
she falls quickly back to sleep when there is any sign of feminine
weakness. She wakes from nightmares clinging to me in terror, her body
wet with the sweat of fear.

I always ask her to describe the nightmare, but Kurii will never say.
There is only her haunted expression to show me that her heart will
forever be filled with an immense darkness.

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 redux version of
the story if you wish.

The Second Interlude – Kiev, Ukraine, summer 2012

Olga’s note: This long chapter was the first piece of writing I did on
episode 3. I wanted to have some symmetry in the story, breaking
Aurore’s present tense flow with a flashback to Earth, as I’d done
beginning episode 2. The idea of Aurius recalling a stag party in drag
that I recount below allowed me to introduce a TG element, as I’d also
done beginning episode 2.

The problem with it is the hallucinogenic sequence in the main story
was essential in advancing the plot, and if I left this original
interlude there the reader would have to go through two consecutive
interludes before finding out who kidnapped Aurore.

I also favoured the drug sequence over this, because with its acid trip
style I could pay homage to Apocalypse Now, and remind the reader that
many of the plot themes in Daughter of Gor (good and evil, civilisation
and barbarity) are derived from the film, or Heart of Darkness.

But this chapter let me compare consensual stripping to kajirae dances
though which was a good way to contrast Earth and Gor, and for those
who think Aurore is a Mary Sue for myself – here is my only true cameo
in the book.

Dodds is finally getting married.

Lieutenant Dodds, the soldier who will always be legend in the regiment
for leaving his rifle behind on the chopper and having to spend a whole
wargames exercise in the Highlands of Scotland armed with sticks and
stones, has found his soul mate.

We would never have believed a woman would be dumb enough to want to
spend her life with Dodds but what’s more surprising is that his bride
to be, Rebecca, is not a minger like most of the women he’s pulled over
the years.

Stag party tradition in the United Kingdom is to give one of the lads a
good send-off when he’s about to sign his life away to womankind, and
the Army is nothing if not a believer in tradition.

So here we are in Kiev, once a puppet capital oppressed by the
Russians, but now almost as renowned as Amsterdam as a stag destination
for its strippers and prostitutes.

It is my first visit to the country and my observation has been that
many of the women living in The Ukraine are exceptionally physical
attractive.

Some of these might make Dodds think twice about relinquishing his
freedom. The natives know this however, and use it to turn us males
into the prey. Aware of the appeal of Slavic women to Western European
men, Pretty girls have been strategically positioned in the city
centre, touts to approach all-male tourist groups and lure them to
expensive clubs.

One such female, a blonde beauty with eye-wateringly tight denim jeans
and immaculate spoken English, leads us to the lap dancing club that
employs her.

We attempt to make conversation during the short walk, observing that
we hope she will undress for us, but the girl fends off these comments
as if she’s heard them a thousand times.

Her interaction is to be strictly business, and on her terms.

Local men, lacking in the affluence needed to buy these women’s
temporary and pretend interest, watch us pass by with open hostility
from their tables at street cafes. All is not perfect in this garden of
pleasure.

I cannot blame them for their resentment. Men across the universe are
unwilling to share their women with strangers in the best of
circumstances. Here in Kiev, aside from the financial superiority we
flaunt over the locals, Dodds appearance to normally conservative
culture of Ukraine is hardly likely to ingratiate him.

Stag party custom in the United Kingdom is to make the bridegroom
endure some form of public humiliation as a rite of passage into
married life, and here too we have followed tradition. We’ve borrowed a
dress from Fletcher’s girlfriend, Jennifer. It’s a little black
stretchy number – we’re talking Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at
Tiffany’s. This is to be Dodds’ only available clothing for the
weekend.

The groom is very sanguine about his attire.

Lieutenant Dodds faced down a charge from insurgents when we were based
in Mosul, and he’s not about to be intimidated by the locals here in
Kiev.

He has thrown himself into the spirit of the occasion so completely
that I wonder if something of the cross-dresser has always been in
Dodds, waiting for an excuse to flower.

Feet more used to army boots have been squeezed into a pair of
Jennifer’s high heels, and Dodds happily dons the cheap wig we’ve found
for him, which makes his hairdo look rather like eighties-era Tina
Turner.

A pair of party-grade oversize plastic breasts are strapped to his
chest, testing the dress more than his broader build. Dodds even goes
off to the bathroom to shave the hair from his legs and shoulders, when
we present him with his uniform.

We have already drunk a bottle of Cognac at the hotel, and the alcohol
gives me a pleasant glow that warms me during the walk. I look forward
to seeing the striptease with relish. I need a distraction.

In a month I will make my first journey to Gor. If the descriptions are
to be believed, I will changed forever by the experience.

“Mate, I can see your cock,” laughs Cooper when Dodds emerges from the
bathroom in his dress.

“Is that a Prince Albert piercing?” Fletcher catcalls.

Cooper is for once correct in his observation of Dodd’s anatomy. A
decidedly male bulge protrudes against the black elasticated fabric. To
the sound of much ribald cheering, Dodds performs “the tuck”, squashing
his genitals back between his legs and out of sight.

A strip of plastic duct-tape is relieved of duty holding Cooper’s
suitcase together, and reapplied to fix Dodd’s protrusion permanently
out of sight. How he’s going to pee once we get to the strip club
doesn’t bear thinking about, and it’s going to be really uncomfortable
for him if one of the girls brings him to arousal.

As we should have known, the blue-eyed blonde abandons us at the door
to the club, as soon as we’ve handed over our entrance fee, and she
walks off to hunt for new victims.

Inside, it is packed and thick with cigarette smoke. I recognise
accents in American and British English, and speakers in German,
Swedish and Dutch languages, shouting over a juke box playing Van
Halen. I don’t detect anyone speaking the local languages and I have an
ear for foreign tongues, having long listened out for any other speaker
of the tongue only apparently known on this planet by my parents and
myself.

The Gorean language word for a female slave is “kajira”. Listening to
the mix of speech in the club while I think of the journey ahead, I
reflect that the word bears no similarity to the genderless English
word “slave”, with its root in the name of the oppressed “Slav” tribes,
nor the German female “sklavin” or the French “esclave”. Therefore any
transfer of peoples between Earth and Gor must have occurred before the
establishment of European languages.

I wonder if I will ever see a female slave on Gor. They are a common
part of Gorean culture, so it seems likely. They are also said to far
outdo Earth women in beauty, but I find that harder to believe. The
women who work here in the club for example, conning the clientele into
buying them expensive drinks, are quite something.

Who would not enjoy the fantasy of having one of these creatures forced
to serve your every desire? Would a kajira on her knees be even more
arousing?

The overwhelming majority of the clientele in this club are male,
although there is a Japanese woman standing dutifully behind her suited
husband. She seems surprisingly unembarrassed to be here.

Shots of vodka are ordered for our group from the bar, and quickly
knocked back, and a second round purchased.

There is a sense of something about to happen so we take our seats on
stools around a long, narrow catwalk stage, which extends into the
crowd like a pier into the sea, level with our stomachs.

The exposed end of the stage terminates in a circular platform, where a
chrome pole runs vertically from the level of the stage and up into the
ceiling. This circle is slightly larger in diameter than the rest of
the catwalk, giving the stage a phallic outline from overhead.

Bright spotlights shine down, and I can feel their warmth, even from my
position on the stool.

The juke box silences mid-way through a song, and the volume of the
crowd also drops in anticipation.

The club’s public address system begins to play “When Doves Cry”,
significantly louder than the volume we’d heard from the juke box, and
out from behind a curtain of shining ribbons comes the girl.

I’d been expecting the standard of the women in the club wouldn’t match
those working as lures, but I see in this assumption I was very wrong.

Priest Kings be praised, this dark haired, chocolate eyed beauty could
have been a fashion model if only she were a fraction taller. She’s
dressed in a silver bikini made from a silk-like material that shimmers
in the spotlights. She also has a micro-skirt tied around her waist.

Would Gorean slave silks look anything like this, I find myself
wondering. My mother was reluctant to discuss slavery when my parents
revealed the existence of the Counter Earth known as Gor to me, and my
father only smiled in a “wait and see” attitude.

This Earth girl struts down the catwalk on high heels that make her
thin legs look even longer, and she jumps straight up onto the pole,
sliding down to the stage like a fireman.

Male clients have already begun to drape banknotes over a brass bar
that circles the stage. These tokens are an established method in strip
clubs for men to procure special attention from a dancer.

The girl moves across to one man and falling into a kneeling position
drapes her slim arms over his shoulders, shouting something into his
ear over the loud music.

It must have been a permission, because he pulls the string supporting
the miniscule skirt, and the garment falls away into the dancer’s hand.
She spins away, barely missing hitting his face with her backside,
deftly palming his banknote at the same time, and goes into the splits
near the base of her pole.

I glance across to Dodds, noting that his attention is captured
completely by the gymnastic movements of the pole dancer.

Dodds sits with one bare knee crossed over the other, and he looks
remarkably feminine. Now their hair is removed I could almost find his
legs attractive.

The borrowed dress is a provocative one, with a series of circular
holes running up his side that flash the skin underneath. I realise I
am staring speculatively at these, the way I would steal a glance at a
woman.

I shake my head, smiling to myself. What am I thinking? It’s a good
think he can’t read my mind.

I note that Dodds has draped his own banknote over the rail, and I do
the same, turning my attention back to the beautiful dancer who is
definitely female.

Fate decrees she comes to me before Dodds, dropping into the same
kneeling position with her thighs apart.

She drapes her slim arms gracefully around my neck and leans in close
enough to kiss me.

“English?” she breaths huskily into my ear, and before waiting for an
answer she says, “reach around my back, and pull the string of my top.”

I am happy to comply. The girl gyrates her pelvis in time to the music
throughout, keeping the attention of the rest of the audience. Desire
ignites in me.

For a moment when I have my arms around her I feel like a primal male.
She feels small and weak compared to me. I could grab her, pulling her
to me, and race from the room to do with her as I wish.

But then the instance is past and she is whirling away, spectacular
breasts bared now. I am a considerable amount the poorer for her
absence.

The next man she visits, a stranger sitting on the longer section of
the catwalk denudes her completely while she kneels submissively before
him.

Is this how a kajira kneels?

I had moved through the world unaware of slavery for the first eighteen
years of my life. But my parents tell me that human agents from the
Priest Kings’ alien enemies, the Kurii, are here on Earth abducting the
most beautiful who awaken to find themselves playthings of Gorean men.

This brunette is blissfully unaware of this threat hanging over her.
She is unaware that as she dances to please these men, women just like
her dance on Gor to please their masters, only those women are slaves.

I watch as the girl lifts herself up the thin chrome shaft with
surprising upper body strength, before descending in a gentle spiral,
held using only the grip of her inner thighs.

Dodds has waited patiently, and at last he wins the dancer’s attention.
She moves gracefully towards him on her sleek long legs that I can
imagine wrapped around me in the throes of pleasure.

Kneeling with her thighs apart she leans so far back that her head
touches the floor, and she bucks her pelvis up towards Dodds, giving
him a shameless view of her sex.

Then she is upright, resting on her heels to say something into his
ear. Her face shows amusement for the first time. I conjecture she is
making some observation about his outfit.

The girl’s final visit to a client she makes by lying flat on her belly
and dragging herself towards him with movements of her limbs timed to
the music. She pushes herself up on her arms so her breasts are almost
in his face. With her pelvis still on the stage floor her back arches
to sweetly present the curve of her back and the cream globes of her
rump.

I have been trying to push Gor from my thoughts, but with my first
journey off this planet imminent, juxtaposed on my observation of her
throughout her dance has been a growing awareness of that other world.
What a delight conquering this one would be as her Gorean master.

Bitterly I knock back my shot of vodka in one go.

Here on the world Goreans call Urth, it is the men who are weak. This
poor example of manhood she stretches up for, for example, is either is
overcome with desire or unaware of the protocols to be observed in
strip clubs.

Before anyone can stop him, or he can stop himself, he has reached out
and cupped the girl’s breast in his palm, breaking one of the strictest
taboos of the strip club.

She moves back as if she’s been stung, almost falling off the other
side of the stage, and chaos erupts in the bar. Leather jacketed local
men that look like ex-soldiers employed as security are fighting
through the crowd towards the transgressor whose face shows terror as
he sees the calamity approaching.

It turns out this fellow is not without allies however.

An innocent bystander is caught by a punch thrown by one of the local
enforcers, and with that the battle lines are drawn between foreigners
and native Ukrainians.

For warriors in the British Army a good fight can be the high point of
a weekend’s entertainment. While the dancer scuttles for the safety of
backstage without even grabbing her clothes, we engage with gusto in
the expanding brawl.

Dodds is swinging away with the best of us despite his black dress and
heels, but I can’t help noticing something about the local men around
him. Even though he’s quite obviously a man in drag, it is too
ingrained in them to avoid harming one dressed as a female to override
their instincts.

It is a reaction I see in men’s treatment of women across the world.

When I think of back to the good times in the army, I often think of
the way he was treated differently just for dressing as a woman, and I
smile to think of Dodds’ legs in that little black dress.

But I cannot recall that night in Kiev without then thinking of the
Afghanistan explosion only three months later that popped those same
unexpectedly beautiful legs in unnatural directions as his torso flew
up into the air.

Outtakes – 47b – The end of Kurtz Ailsa takes some revenge.

Olga’s Note: This is a new one for me – outtakes rather than deleted
scenes. In the early versions of this section of the story, I wrote
this femdom scene, where Claw delivered a public humiliation to Kurtz
by ordering Ailsa to arouse him.

Afterwards I felt it was overly sadistic for a Gor tribute story (my
most common writing error with this project), as John Norman keeps
explicit descriptions of suffering down to those only necessary to
advance the storyline. It made Kur’s Claw appear petty and vindictive,
when I wanted him to also be an inspirational leader.

Also it meant I had to write a clunky passage moving Kurtz from the
hall to the laboratory ready for his transformation, and there would
have been too many chapters set in the hall.

So I left Kurtz languishing in the laboratory, and moved most of the
dialogue from this scene into there. But the femdom fans might like the
forced arousal thread though, so here you go.

That evening there is a jolly atmosphere in the compound, and the
communal building is filled with warriors and slaves. All are eating
and drinking.

The room is packed, the Kurii forces having been greater in number than
those of Kurtz, and with the former Ubar safely captured almost
everyone is in the hall.

There is not even room for every man to sit.

The only really clear space is a circular area before the Ubar’s
throne, as if no-one dares approach too close.

Into this ring a heavy section of tree trunk has been brought, and laid
on its side on the dirt floor.

My heart sinks when I see it, knowing it to be intended for some new
cruelty that Goreans consider entertainment. Heavy iron shackles have
been fixed to the trunk for holding down a prisoner – either on their
front or their back.

Many are observing me. I see even Telisio has left his sick bed and
slipped into the hall. His hooded head is turned towards me, and he
leans heavily on an oak staff to keep him from collapsing.

A slave comes and serves the Kur’s Claw from a tray of roasted meat. I
recognise her as Jaya.

The room gradually falls silent as they bring him in.

The once mighty Ubar is naked, shackled at his ankles, wrists and
throat. His chains are very similar to my own, only Kurtz is a man, so
the steel needed for him is heavy, and the bands to secure limbs much
greater in diameter.

The short chain between his ankles restricts the length of his pace,
but it is unnecessary. Kurtz is barely shuffling.

I can see he has been roughly treated by his captors. He is covered in
bruises and the lashes of whips, and his right knee is swollen. Kurtz
left eye, as black as a panda’s, is closed.

My heart swells with sympathy for my former master. When tears prick my
eyes I curse Aurore’s high-strung emotions and try to control myself.
It will be worse for him if he sees my distress.

Guards lead Kurtz towards the tree trunk lying in the centre of the
room.

To this heavy piece of wood Kurtz is shackled, lying on his back with
arms and ankles either side of the trunk, to leave his torso exposed
and vulnerable.

Being naked, his genitals protrude very prominently between his spread
knees. That organ has been inside me. I have made love to him, and he
has given me great pleasure with that organ, but now it looks
vulnerable and pathetic.

Kurtz’ head turns towards the Ubar’s throne once, and his open eye
meets mine. I am expecting to see disappointment that I survived his
attempt on my life, but the expression on his face remains neutral.

Kur’s Claw bangs his paga cup on the side of the Ubar’s throne,
bringing the last whispers of conversation in the room to silence.

“Friends,” he says to the room. “Our victory over our enemies is
complete. The territory that was taken from us is once again in our
hands. The perpetrator of the crime has been captured and will soon pay
for his mistake.”

There is a malicious cheer from the crowd at these words, but they
quickly fall silent when their leader speaks again.

“His woman, the agent of the enemy, is now my slave. Greatly
entertaining it is to see their symbols so humbled before us.”

He jerks the leash at my throat as he says this, and there are louder
cheers and cries of “hail Ubar” around the room.

My face grows hot with anger.

Kur’s Claw turns his attention directly to Kurtz.

“Tal, dread Kurtz,” he greets in a mocking tone. “It is kind of you to
join us for this celebration.”

The shackled man tenses his arms and I see biceps bulge frighteningly
as he tests his chains, but the bonds do not break. Then Kurtz speaks,
in that deep voice that resonates through me.

“You show great courage in taunting me, while I am restrained in this
manner.”

Kur’s Claw laughs.

“Tonight it is not necessary for me to demonstrate my courage. My
purpose is to demonstrate the fate of those who cross the Others, while
rewarding those who are loyal with entertainment.”

Again there are the cries of sadistic anticipation from the audience.

“We have taken everything from you, even your favourite slave. Your
attempt to prevent others possessing her by taking her life was a
failure.”

There is another jerk from the leash.

“In four days it is the carnival of the Twelfth Passage Hand. On that
night your woman will be made to dance before us all, and then I will
take her to my furs.”

My face must show the sudden horror I feel. He has drawn the line. Two
days I have left, before he rapes me, and nothing will save me this
time.

“But you will not witness this event, dread Ubar. For tonight is your
final night of this life. And you will spend it in a task worthy of
such a man. You will providing sport for slave girls.”

The laugh from the crowd is loud.

“Bring forth the kajira, Ailsa,” Kur’s Claw commands.

The beautiful blonde that was once a Taluna hurries out and falls
gracefully to her knees before the throne. It has been some time since
I have seen her, and I have forgotten how breath-taking she looks.

What a divine kajira she makes. Her brand has healed to a pale scar, as
has my own, and she wears the collar of a slave around her neck like a
badge of honour.

Ailsa’s adornments are very different to my own. She has been decorated
with the camouflage black stripes of a Taluna almost as if she were
free, making her look ferocious and feral.

And yet she is still bare breasted, and collared, and rather than the
furs of panthers she wears the brief waist-wrap of a kajira.

I understand the choice of attire. They wish to mock both her and him
by reminding them of their changed circumstances. She has been reduced
from Taluna to slave girl. He has been reduced from the Ubar that
defeated a Taluna to the victim of that same female.

I look frantically between the two of them, but it is Ailsa, kneeling
proud and brave before her new master, who demands most sympathy. With
a flash of the male that I once was, I ache to hold and comfort her.

“You were made slave by this man and this female, were you not?” the
Kur’s Claw asks Ailsa.

“Through that man’s command, and defeated in combat by his slave,
Master,” she confirms. I’m expecting her to stop there, but she
courageously adds, “But the kajira had no choice in my defeat, so I
bear her no ill will. I only blame the Master for my present
condition.”

Claw nods.

“Tonight, you will be avenged against this man. I command you to arouse
him and keep his passion at its peak, but I forbid you from permitting
his pleasure any release.”

This concept is very amusing to the crowd.

“If you can keep him aflame for the next ahn you shall be rewarded. But
if you lose control and grant him fulfilment you will be whipped.”

“Yes, Master,” Ailsa says. If she is pleased with the idea of winning
some retribution against Kurtz, she does not show it. Her voice is
emotionless, like she’s a soldier following any order.

“You may begin,” instructs Kur’s Claw, and to calls of encouragement
Ailsa elegantly stands up. There is a ripple of anticipation from the
watchers.

Kurtz struggles as she approaches, but he cannot escape his bonds and
soon she is on him, straddling the log to sit between his spread knees
– her free, him in chains.

Then she reaches out, and he gives a cry at the first intimate touch of
her hands.

I well remember the capacity of male genitals for betraying their
owner, and masculine physiology has not changed since my transformation
to female. Kurtz’ blood quickly rises as she manipulates him.

Once he stands proud Ailsa drapes herself right over him so her breasts
scrape against his bruised chest and his manhood squashes against her
abdomen.

She whispers something in his ear, and Kurtz flinches as if struck.

Pity for him wells up in me. I lower my head, but there is a chocking
tug from my collar and Kur’s Claw commands me to continue watching.

I raise my head, in time to see Ailsa sit back up and mount my master.
Many men might be jealous of his experience with her up to this point,
but then she scrapes her fingernails down his chest with great raking
scratches.

Ailsa is not to be exploited by a mere male captive. She wields the
power now.

As I watch her attentions to him I can see that her sexual experience
has increased in her time as a captive in the fortified compound.

She drives Kurtz up the curve of pleasure, but before the peak she
knows to remove her touch. At one time she even climbs off the log
completely, standing with her back to Kurtz and nonchalantly studying
her nails, an action which causes much mirth in the hall.

Thus, my former master’s evening of misery progresses. After half an
ahn people in the hall begin to lose interest, and conversation
resumes.

“He is not faithful to you,” Kur’s Claw observes at one point,
indicating my lover’s raging blood. “Do you have female jealousy when
another arouses your man?”

“I do not, Master,” I answer, and this is the truth. Kurtz cannot help
simple human biology. It is only sympathy for the once great man that I
feel, and my eyes fill with tears as his ordeal drags on for an
eternity.

He is enduring cruelty such as this, and hardly anyone is even watching
the scene now.

Slave girls that are not busy working giggle in a huddle, gossiping
about something, before warriors pounce and they are carried away
laughing and screaming to the private places of the fort.

“Enough,” Claw says abruptly, and Ailsa leaps quickly away from her
victim.

Kurtz is released from his place on the log, but only to be re-
shackled. He stands calmly and unashamed that he is still rampant,
looking rather curiously at Kur’s Claw.

“Come,” My new master says to his enemy. “The time of Kurtz is over.”

(As is the Daughter of Gor project, which has taken up a year of my
writing life. Hope you enjoyed it).


©Olga Turlovna

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