We have been watching you.
The next morning I awoke, as I walked out of the cave I remembered all that happened to me. I just sat down on a rock and cried for I wanted to go home so bad. After a while I got up and washed off in the water of the waterfall. I knew as I was taught by my grandfather that washing keep my sent down. As I washed my stomach growled I had not eatten in a while. So shifting forms I went fishing. Which if someone was around would have looked funny seeing a big cat trying to get fish and getting soaked in water in the process.
I guess I fished for about a hour and had about six fish big ones at that. I returned to normal and started a small fire to cook the fish. I might be a cat but I still cant stand raw meat. I did not realize this would cause some trouble soon. As I sat there and ate my breakfest. I heard flapping of wings and not like small birds big wings. I looked at the fire and then realized my mistake I quickly put out the fire and went for cover under some brush to be on the safe size.
As I looked up I could see two of those birds that Lorth called tarns. To me they were what my people called thunderbirds. On them I saw two men one had a nude girl on his lap tied up like a bundle. Her hands and feet were bound and she was gaged. They circled for a while looking for who set the fire. I did not move do to any movement and those birds would have seen me. They were huge massive in size. I looked out by the fire and saw my backpack by it. I knew the birds saw it and now I was in a mess for I could hear movement in the bushes. I had to do something to get it back but it was in the open.
I sat there and decided to go for get it. I shifted in the brush and rushed out gripping the pack in my teeth I did not stop at all and turned and went away from the noise as fast as I could. I could hear the birds following me and I could hear one of the men on the tarn’s use a horn it was loud. I was also surpised how fast I was running on all fours. I never could run this fast on earth. I must have been going three times faster, everything here was strange, for not only was I faster I could dodge and move in a instant like all my sences went major hightened.
I knew as long as I was in the thick woods the birds had no chance of diveing on me like the hawks do around where I lived on earth. But I knew they saw me and for me to stop this I had to get up high. I keep running till I heard a roar of what sounded like a tiger. I then headed strait for it. I figured if it was a cat then perhaps I could use it to my advantage and get those birds off me. But to my surpise I came into a clearing which was not good at all. For now the tarns has a shot at me. I had to do something quick as I could hear one starting a dive on me. Knowing how hawks dive I knew it would come in super fast almost breaking the sound barrier.
I could hear by the wind pressure of how it was diveing it was fixing to strike and I had no chance to make it to the far side of the clearing. I droped the backpack from my teeth and waitined as I moved in a circle so I could face it. I was scared big time for this was going to be a do or die thing right here. Its tallons were way out infront. It looked just like a giant hawk comeing in for the kill. I knew if I was to live I would have to act and I did. I hunched at the last second and used my leg strenght and leaped strated at it my claw dug into just above the talon and I swung upwards and hit the rider hard. He did not even know what hit him as I heard his jaw break in three places and his neck snap. He feel right off the Tarn. But now I really had a fight on my hands as the tarn rolled and banked. I had to kill this thing fast. I barrned my claws into its neck and brought my teeth to bear on it just behind hits head I bet down on it hard. At that moment it thrashed about in the air.
I keep my claws deep into its flesh as I knew it would throw me off if not. I keep biteing it over and over but I could not get in deep enough to get its bones. And I was not strong enough to break them ithere. I keep clawing and biteing for it was all I could do. But I was not looking at what was around me as the other tarn had come in close to see what was going on. Thats when I felt the arrow hit me in the side. I roared and lost my grip as the tarn rolled. I fell to the ground hitting a couple of trees on the way down. I had wounded one but that one with the rider was now looking for me.
The other tarn had to land do to it was bleeding so bad and could not keep flying. I quickly ran and grabed the backpack and headed into the dense brush thinking how lucky I was that I did not die right there but oooh that arrow was stinging. I quickly pulled it out knowing I would heal from it soon. I woundered if they would hunt me more. I decided not to find out and keep going deeper into the woods. I decided to stay as the pumaca it was better in movement and in senses. I traveled all day till I came along a small river. I decided to follow it for a moment. It lead north to a pond. It was quiet and lovely here so I decided to relax. I returned to my natural from and went for a swim.
I guess I was in the water for over a hour just relaxing and enjoying the moment of quiet and calm. I guess I did not pay attention to what was around me for as I came out of the water two arrows landed near my feet. I was shocked and looked around for who did it. My senses finally picked them up but I was still caught and then saw them. It was two females. They were dressed in little clothing mostly animal skins. They had bow’s in here hands with arrows noched in them. I could see daggers on each girl’s right thigh. I thought they looked some what like my people did again back in the 1800s. They incircled me, I could easyly take them but what I sensed was more now a total of eight total. So now I had to just play it cool. They were not like the others I had seen before. They were not these so called Free Women or Slaves. I then saw another come out her face was masked and see was coverd in what looked like teeth of animals. I figured this was the leader. I stayed in somewhat defensive pose as she came closer.
Her voice showed power when she spoke * Tal girl * is all she said. I replyed * Tal*. * we have been watching you. * she replyed. * for how long if you dont mind me asking* I replyed trying to be polite and all. She looked me over closely. * sence your fight with the Tarn. * she said. I turned white knowing they had seen me shift forms and all. * uh… and…. your.. um.. going to do what* I said skiddishly.
The leader walked around me looking me up and down. * I have not made up my mind yet. Where do you come from for you are not of Gor ?* she asked. * I am from Earth* I said. * YOU LIE !* she yelled. * for all know earth girls are weak and are only good at being natural Kajira. And you are no slave as we saw. You killed a tarn and your like the great panther spirit. So there is no way you are from Earth.* I looked at her and replyed * I am called Littleclaw I am a child of Puma, I was born on Earth along with my three brothers of the Wolf. Now I am here for some strange reason.*
*littleclaw what a strange name but one that fits one as strange as you* she said. I was about to speak when I started to smell men comeing the same ones that were with the Tarn’s. * we have company comeing I can smell four men the same ones that were with the tarns.* At that moment the leader quickly motioned for her tribe to return to the woods and for me to follow. I picked up my backpack and quickly followed. They had made several hideing places that were almost impossible to see from the pond. So I hoped in one with the leader and another of her tribe as we waited to see what the men were up to.
They entered into the area near the water and I could see that they had collars on there belts, and swords. Two had bow’s they were dressed in dark brow light armor it looked like. Ugly as sin and smelled terrible. No way could they sneek up on me unless down wind. It looked like they had been tracking my paw prints but had stoped. I could easly hear the tarn over head it was the same men from earlyer. I could hear them talk to each other.
What do you think that was?* one of the men said. The one that looked to be leading turns and said * I dont care what it was I want it found. Anything that can fight and kill a tarn like that is worth a lot of coins. Now spread out and look for it. Do to I want to at least get what that thing cost me in lossing one of my tarns.* They seemed upset but there actions were slopy till one saw what I was betting on when I changed forms. He cried out to there leader * Captain come look at this it makes no sence.* The Captain came over to where the man was and looked down * what is it Armon?*
Look here one moment the creaturs paw prints then next a small foot like that of a girl.* Armon told him. * What are you talking abou…..t..* I could tell the Captain saw it also and was puzzled. I could also sence his uncertainty of what to do as well. At this point the men were all looking at the prints on the ground. And thats when it happened the Females all dressed in the animal skins attacked. It was a perfect ambush totally off guard and encircled the men were captured and knew it. After a short battle they were all bound and searched.
The Captain looked up at the women and said * Panther we have no fight with you this day we seek other game now let us lose you smelly thing or I swear you will all be in our collars and on your knee’s.* The one I knew that was there leader laughed at them. * you are in no place to speak like that male this is our land and territory and all who come here are in danger of being inslaved by use. * I was shocked at this for was I a prisoner and did not know it or what was going on. I stayed hidden and watched what was going on.
The Leader of what now I knew as panther’s moved close to the captain. * Now then tell me exactly what brings you into my woods male* Said the Leader of the panthers. I could tell the captain was really mad now but helpless all tied up like he was. * I am looking for a creature that killed one of my tarn’s you stinking panther slut. * Again the Leader laughed and looked down at the Captain. * There are only panthers in these woods and I am sure none are big enough to take down a Tarn. You must have been drinking to much paga male.* she said.
You will pay for this you slut I promise you. For that creature is powerful enough to kill a tarn it will be something you are no match for. Now cut us loose you filthy sluts! * the Captain yelled. But the leader of the panther’s looked to the others and noded and then they shaved each male with the strip of degration. The leader then looked to her sisters and said * take them to the trader and sale them for supplys we have no need for these pathadic males.*
After the men were well out of sight I came out of my hidding spot. The leader of the tribe turned to me and said. * Now about you strange one, we will take you back to our camp and decide what to do with you there.* I really had no choice I was in the woods with a backpack of clothing nude. No food or weapons and no idea where I was, so I followed them back. As we came into the area I could see a wooded fence made up of small branches mud and twigs. A make shift gate was in front of me as it was open and we walked in I could see about five wood huts very simple and nothing special. In the middle of the camp was a fire with some kined of aminal cooking over it.
I also saw three girls run up and kneel infront of the Leader * Greetings Huntress’s welcome home. All is done as you requested. * they all said at the same time. * Good * said the Leader. * we have a guest find her some food to eat.* the leader told them * yes Huntress right away Huntress.* they all said. They rushed around finding food and comeing back kneeling infront of the leader. * We bring food and drink for the guest huntress may we serve the guest. * they said again at the same time. * yes she is right here* said the leader of the tribe as she pointed to me. * Thank you Huntress* they said and bowed and moved over to me. Again they kneeled and lowered there heads and raided the food and drink and said * Mistress may this food and drink refresh and restrengthen you from your days travels*. I did not know what to do and I said what came natural * thank you girls* and took the food and drink.
I followed the leader to the main fire and sat down near her as did the rest a few moved out of the camp I guess to keep watch. There I asked about what they were. Why they were called panthers. The Leader explained things to me. She was the Cheiftess her name was Sara at one time Sara was a Free women of AR. She decided she could not stand the laws of the men any longer and left to go deep into the woods as did most here. Some were run away slaves but most were Free women who just could not take the male controled life of the citys any longer. She explained how panthers got there name. How panthers acted which surpisingly was like how my people on Earth lived in the times befor the modern men came.
I started to like these panthers until it came to slaves again even here there were slaves and the were treated as if nothing but animals. It bothered me a lot and I explained to them where I was raised there was no slaves and none of my people would accept being a slave ever. Sara smiled and said * you are a real panther not like us but like those of the woods. They are wild and always free.* I smiled alittle. Then asked * Why have you been so kind to me it seems from what you told me Panthers are terriotrial and very harsh to outsiders*. Sara looked at me and said * again you are the Panther a spirit of what we are and so we feel its best to be on your good side and after what you did to that Tarn do you think if we would have attacked you. You would not have killed us.* I thought for a moment and noded.
For the rest of the day and into the night all I did was listen to the storys and the ways of these panthers to get a more indepth idea of what was around me. They also expained about the animals out here and what kind of things I should expect and to be causious around. One of them said she had been from earth along time ago and explained what happened to her. From her I figured out why I was so much faster and stronger. The one third gravity along with triple moons feed into me with more power and speed. For on earth the moon there made my people very very strong. But here with three and less gravity I was five time stronger and faster than on Earth. They also explained some abut the classes of people here.
The high caste’s and what they stood for and to always be polite and kind to those of the Green caste for they were the healers and most trusted of all. I understood about outlaws and mercenarys, and pirates. To me this was something I could not have dreamed of it was like living back in the time of colonies on the america’s. Wild and just nuts, from all this. But here I was now and I was stuck here so I had to think of what to do. I knew I could stay here for a short time but knowing how men are from what they told me I figured I best leave and keep moveing.
©Izumi Vought/Gazette of Gor