City Description of the City of Tor

TOR001

by

Murin of Ar

of the

House of Panterac

 

I looked over My shoulder from the boulder strewn rise overlooking the road to Tor and the

long merchant caravan stretched out along it back at the Port City of Kasra some 20 pasangs in

the distance. Only the tallest of the cylinders were visible and those clouded by the heat waves

shimmering up off the terrain of the edge of the vast Tahari Desert. I turned in the saddle of

My kaiila feeling the near constant wind strike My face as I looked out ahead of the caravan for

the tell tail dustcloud of any approaching riders. Seeing nothing My eyes turned to the caravan

itself. Nearly a hundred wagons long, it was stretched out for nearly 2 pasangs. Near the rear

of the line of wagons and pack kaiila was the specially designed wagon upon which rested the

cot which transported My Tarn. It would be fed and water deeply on a daily basis so that when

I did take him out to stretch his wings he wouldn’t be unmanagable. I doubted that he would

be however as he had already proven an unusual loyalty to Me rarely seen in his breed,

coming to My rescue numerous times and even saving Me from a nasty fall from one of the

taller cylinders of the glorious city of Ar. I had been told stories of one other such Tarn who

had the same traits that My own bird exhibited. The Tarnmaster in Thentis had admitted that

it was possible that My Tarn could be descended from that bird as he had been born of wild

Tarns.

The caravan was traveling the south road which dipped below the branch of the Fayeen river,

and then ran directly to Tor. The merchant Hasad, not very happy about being ordered to take

My tarn to Tor, had required that I serve as an outrider for the caravan. For reasons I kept to

Myself I did not trust Hasad. He knew I carried the homestone of Tor and for that reason alone

he may try to have Me killed. I looked back down at the caravan. The slave wagons, four of

them with their cargoes of flesh were lined up behind the tarn cot. I had taken a look at

Hasad’s slaves as a courtsey though I hadn’t been interested in purchasing one, not from him,

though there had been a couple exceptionally striking girls. I knew in Tor I would see many

more slaves on the block as it was well known for its slave trade.

We traveled the nearly 400 pasangs from Kasra to Tor in about two weeks. I had been right to

wonder about the guards in Hasad’s caravan seeking an opportunity to kill Me, but the raid on

the caravan had made up their minds as to My skills with a blade. 50 raiders had attacked the

caravan looking to loot it before it got within the ring of protection of patrolling soliders of Tor. I

had joined in the fight vigourously after felling 10 of the raiders with My bow, and together

with what was left of the guards we had managed to fend off the raiders. Though I had seen the

guards talking quietly together afterwards, an attack had never came. On the last day as we

approached the City of Tor, I rode ahead on My kaiila for a better view.

I was upon a rise which overlooked the main gates of the City. Tor, despite its location, was a

vast city. Its walls alone towered up to nearly 15 Ah-rals near the main gates but never dipping

below 13 Ah-rals. The walls were thick having enough room for four men to march abreast

upon the battlements of the walls. The tall gates, standing open for the caravans, were made of

iron wrapped lumber. The City itself was spread out on the hilly terrain of this part of the

Tahari built in concentric circles about the City wells which were at the lowest point of any

part of the City. The City however was dominated by the kasbah on a rise near the center.

Not far from the City walls, I spied a familar sight that most men wouldn’t consider a friendly

one. The black banners waving in the wind proclaimed that the Master Assassain of Ar, the

legendary Pa Kur, had arrived at Tor. I remembered when last I had seen the man at his camp

south of Ar. He had told Me that holding the homestone of Tor would prove a heavy burden

though the man, by the codes of his own caste, claimed no homestone. I glanced at the tents of

his camp knowing that the killer would contact Me after I had been received in Tor.

I rejoined the caravan as it came through the bluffs which surrounded much of the City on its

western borders. I noticed as we passed through the gates the heavy iron porticus drawn up to

admit the caravan thinking to Myself how difficult it would be to break through the City gates

with the porticus down and the gates closed. I would soon to learn that all of the Gates of the

City, 7 of them in total, were constructed in the same manner, and never in the history of the

City had the gates been breached, though it had been tried numerous times.

The majority of the caravan turned off the main avenue heading for Hasad’s storehouses but

Hasad, now riding a kaiila, bade Me to follow him. The tarn cot wagon and one of the slave

wagons followed us as we made our way down the broad avenue lined with tall palms and olive

trees towards the towering kasbah in the center of the city. We passed through two more

smaller gates connected to interior city walls which in effect divided the city into districts with

each district being centered around one of the city wells. An army attacking Tor would have

great difficulty in first breaching the city’s main walls only to find that each of the districts

within the city was much like a city itself with its own gates and walls. Each one would be

defended fiercely by the patrolling guards I saw atop the walls armed with crossbows, and any

army would pay a heavy toll in men’s lives attacking the City. I learned later that becasue of its

location the City of Tor had never been attacked by an army from the northren parts of Gor. It

had no need for tarnwire stretched across it as other gorean cities did in times of war as simply

the birds couldn’t make the journey to Tor. The City, however, had planned for such an

eventuality as it maintained a kaiila calavary of 1,000 men. the City itself had 2,000 more

soliders as its garrison.

The Great Kasbah of Tor loomed up before My eyes. It was set upon a large hill near the center

of the city giving it a commanding overview of the entire city. Its walls, constructed of what

looked to be whitewashed sandstone blocks stretched for 400 feet on either side of the massive

iron sheathed gate which allowed entrance into the kasbah, and rivaled the height of the outer

city walls. Hasad informed Me that entire complex was surrounded by eight such walls

conjoined at the corners by masssive towers with interconnecting walls which ran to the outer

walls of the kasbah. In effect the kasbah had eight seperate courtyards though Hasad did not

know what they were used for as he had only ever visited the Great Hall in the central

courtyard of the massive sandstone fortress. The walls, being thick enough for four men to walk

abreast, were patrolled by guards, one of whom looked down over the edge of the wall at us as

we approached the open gates, his face a mask of surprise as he saw the smooth polished Homestone of Tor hanging about My neck.

After we had dismounted, we were met by a thin, older man obvisously not of Tahari birth who

wore a white kaftan with the rich blue shoulder cords which marked him as a member of the

caste of Scribes. He was flanked by two very able looking guardsmen who wore scimitars at

their waist. They regarded Me for a long moment but as I was taught by Saheel I held their

eyes until they looked away content that the man that stood before them was no coward.

“Tal, Murin of Ar,” the man said. “I am Lando, Master Scribe of Tor. Your arrival has been

expected.”

This surprised Me somewhat but not overly so. I knew that a lone rider on a kaiila could travel

the distance from Kasra to Tor in half the time it took a caravan. It was not improbable that a

rider had been sent ahead by the Shiek to announce the news of the return of the homestone

of Tor.

Lane abruptly turned with a gesture for Me to follow and climbed the five broad sandstone

steps to the two beautiful, iron lattice doors one of which was opened by a veiled kajira in

gauzy white silks allowing us admittance. I’d caught sight of her looking at Me and noticed her

blue eyes. I found that very interesting as I did the long hall we proceeded down followed ten

steps behind by the kajira. I could feel her eyes on My back, but I ignored her. The hall was

quite long, reaching all the way through the kasbah to the central courtyard contained at the

center of the massive fortress. I noted five heavy looking gates drawn up into the shadows of

the arched hallway. I was correct in assuming that these gates could be dropped at a moment’s

notice in the improbable event that the gates to the kasbah were breached.

The hallway itself was not without merit despite its cleverly contrived military usages. There

ten alcoves along each wall, each containing a black marble statue of various animals of Gor

and rich tapestries of the area from which that particular animal came from on the planet.

Lando noted My interest in the statues as I stopped to examine one being polished by a kajira

in frothy yellow silks. She worked without taking notice of us as she polished the marble

surface of the statue with a rep-cloth to a high shine until she could see her own reflection

upon the smooth, cool surface of the black marble. I noticed that she had blue eyes as well.

“The last Pasha had an affixation with animals from all parts of Gor,” he said. “My personal

favorite is the Tarnsmen there in 2nd alcove.”

It was a beautiful statue of course just as the other ones were. Twenty animals of Gor all

expertly carved from the same black marble by the same hand it looked. All were highly

detailed right down to the feathers on the tarn on the statue before Me. I turned to follow Lando
as he bade Me onward from the Hall of Beasts.

The hallway came to another set of iron lattice doors. These opened out into the central

courtyard of the kasbah down five broad steps which much to My surprise was an open air

courtyard though it was heavily shaded from palm, date, and olive trees planted in sandstone

planters through out the courtyard. I spied two tall needle trees rising out of planters on either

side of a raised dias at the far end of the courtyard. It was much cooler within the courtyard

even for the time of the day it was. Temperatures exceeded 120 in the Tahari yet as I found

later the temperatures in the courtyard rarely exceeded 95. The lush verr grass felt soft under

My boots as we walked towards the dias which was an extended part of the covered walkways

surrounding the entire courtyard. The walkways themselves had arches allowing access to

them from different parts of the courtyard and I noted the finely detailed workmanship on the

lattice of the archways even where it connected into the marble pillars next to each of the

archways. The low walls dividing the walkways from the courtyard contained flower boxes with

many of the beautiful, exotic flowers of Gor most notably the dina which was most commonly

found in the hill regions of northern Gor. I spied rich taspestries hung from the walls along the

walkways and other statues through the lattice.

Near the center of the courtyard was a carefully raked sand pit surrounded by sandstone

blocks. This sand pit was not more than 20 paces from the dias, and affixed into large stone

blocks were five marble pillars surrounding the sand circle. I immediately noticed the shackles

that hung from these pillars and wondered silently to Myself what it had been used for in the

past. The sand pit itself was some 30 foot across and we skirted it as we approached the dias.

We climbed the steps and took seats upon finely embroidered cushions with a low table

between us. The slave that had followed from the main doors had hurriedly knelt in nadu

asking in a voice barely above a whisper if the Masters required any service. Lando ordered us

blackwine and the slave rose gracefully bowing as she backed three steps away turning on her

heel heading for the servery located nearby.

“Our last Pasha built this garden,” Lando said gesturing with a wave of his thin hand, “its

carefully maintained by the male slaves of the kasbah and quite comfortable even in the day,

don’t you think?” I nodded. “I’m sure you find it as peaceful and enjoyable as I do. I come here

often to sit and read My scrolls with blackwine.”

“I notice the kasbah seems very empty,” I mentioned examining the bowls of fruits and dates

on the table between us picking out a ripe date and popping it into My mouth. “Who has been

running the place in the absence of the Pasha?”

“You’ve a strange accent for one of Ar,” Lando commented. “Gorean wasn’t your first language

was it?”

“No, it wasn’t,” I replied simply in English which brought a faint smile to Lane’s face. I noted he

understood that language as well. When he continued speaking, it was in English in a slight

southren drawl common to mountains throughout the eastern seaboard. It had been nearly 10

years since I had heard the language spoken by another man.

“I didn’t think so,” he continued. “You are different from Gorean men yet you know their ways.

I noticed the way you held the eyes of my guards until they looked away.” he nodded. “So you

have come to Tor bearing the homestone of the City.”

“Given to Me by a man named Svein,” I replied. I told him the story of the duel in the glorious

city of Ar.

“Ai, I know Svein quite well,” Lane replied. “If he thought you fit to sit as Pasha in Tor then you

shall.” The white silk clad slave returned bearing a tray with a pot of blackwine and two of the

small cups from which it was normally drank. She knelt three paces from us and begged to

approach. Lando motioned her forward with a gesture. He switched back to gorean before he

continued. “The City of Tor is the largest, most populated city in the south. It is the central

crux of much of the trade which occurs in the Tahari, and much of the city is dedicated soley

to the caravans. There are large sections of the many of the districts that are storehouses.

These all of course are guarded closely by the men in the merchant’s employ. The merchants

in this city have great power here as their buisness is supplying much of the Tahari with goods

brought in from trade with the north.”

After the slave had served us each one of the small cups of blackwine she withdrew at a word

from Lando an odd satisfied smile on her face. He continued in English after he had taken a

small sip of the steaming liquid that I knew better as coffee though I did make note that

blackwine was quite a great deal stronger. “The City pretty much runs itself and is

peaceful for the most part. The merchants like to keep it that way as it is good for buisness.

Cafes are a big buisness here as well. Alot like the finer paga taverns of the north yet with

some of the finest flesh I have yet to see on Gor. A most notable one is the Silken Oasis.”

“I have heard of it talked of in Ar,” I replied. “Its said to be the finest collection of pleasure

slaves known on Gor”

“Indeed!” Lando laughed sipping his blackwine. “the Cafes do a booming buisness with each

caravan that enters the city, the drovers and guards find themselves relieved quickly of their

money. Yet that is the way of things with men who traverse the Tahari. Some go many weeks

without spying a fine piece of flesh. One cafe in particular called the Golden Kaiila offers

gaming tables however I’ve heard tell of men losing more than just their shirts at those tables.”

“A fool and his money are soon parted,” I replied.

Lando laughed his agreement at the quote from P.T. Barnum then continued. “Another huge

industry in Tor is rug making. Tor’s rugs are famous all over Gor. The rugs themselves are only

woven by the hands of Freewomen, and the patterns are quite closely guarded Caste secrets.” He set his cup aside, it

only half empty, washing his right hand with a bit of the veminium water in a small bowl on the

table before plucking a date from the other bowl popping it in his mouth. I knew that it was a

tradition of the Taharic Tribes that men only ate with their sword hand knowing that only the

hand that was able to wield steel to end life was the only hand proper to feed the man wielding

the steel.

“You never did answer My question,” I mentioned. An annoyed look passed over Lando’s face

and I reminded him again, “the kasbah seems quite empty.”

“Oh it is at the moment, only those two kajira you seen live here besides myself. There’s the

guards of course, and the male slaves. The kasbah hasn’t had a pasha for some time so we

don’t entertain many. The Regent Flarius wasn’t very well liked by the merchant caste, many

thought him to be a low caste oaf though he claimed to be of the Scarlet.”

“What happened to him?”

“When he heard your name, he fled.” Lane answered. “The last he was seen was riding his

kaiila hard towards Turia. Even here in Tor I have heard the exploits of the famous Murin of Ar,

even the more nefarious ones.” We both had a good laugh about that. “The kasbah itself is fully

contained, we produce enough from our gardens to keep our kitchen well stocked with fresh

produce. The kitchens are located through that archway,” he indicated an archway to the left

of the dias, “the servery’s cold room is located in a basement level beneath the kitchens. It

stays quite cool in there from what I have heard of the kajira talk about it, somewhere in the

range of 40 to 50 degrees. I know it keeps the paga good and cold. The slave kennels are also

through the same archway but to the right and down a bit from the hall leading to the

kitchens. We keep a guard on the kennels as is proper though its not usually needed as the

few kajira’s lives here are relatively simple compared to what they could be.”

He switched back to Gorean as he noticed the approach of the yellow silked kajira who had

been polishing the statues with such attention to minute detail. She said nothing as she knelt

quietly assuming nadu awaiting to be of service toe the Free. “The upper floors of the kasbah,”

he gestured with a hand towards the balconies overlooking the courtyard on the inner walls of

the fortress are the living quarters. The chambers for the guests are quite opulent. Your own

chambers are there,” he pointed towards a darkened balcony on the top floor of the massive 3

story sandstone fortress. “That particular balcony overlooks the courtyard but your chambers

has another balcony which opens out to overlook the entire city, which I might add is quite

beautiful at night.”

We talked for some hours after that about the kasbah and the Tahari. Lando was quite

informative about the tribal politics of the Tahari Tribesmen though I had learned much about

each of the tribes during My time with Saheel. He had been a proud warrior of the Aretai, and

I wondered where My friend had gotten off to in the years since that fateful night upon the

Dunes. I felt the need to retire soon after despite the strong blackwine that we had drank as

the sun had started to set the shadows becoming long in the courtyard. Lando left Me with the

yellow silked kajira ordering her to accomdate My every wish before he took his own leave for

the evening. The desert cools very quickly as the sun sinks past the horizon, and by full night

time the temperatures had dipped below 75 degrees. In the very early morning hours it was

the coldest sometimes not itching much above the 40 degree mark, quite chilly for those used

to blazing heat of the Tahari.

The next morning awakened to sound of very vocal songbirds in the central courtyard, I opened

My eyes. The soft warm body of the kajira nestled under My left arm made Me want to stay in

the large, soft bed covered with a thick comforter and sleep the day away but I knew that as

soon as the sun was up that the heat would begin to build. I slipped from the bed not waking

the girl though I doubted she would have awaken quickly. I had used her roughly the night

before working out My stress in passion.

The chamber that I was in was a on the top floor of the middle rear tower of the kasbah. I turned My head and looked

at the room. The sun had just peeked the horzion and it shone through the gated balcony

there. One the other side of the room there was another gated balcony that looked out over the

city. From there I could hear the voices of the bazaar distantly. I rose from My bed and stood

gazing around the room. There were trunks against the walls, and rich taspestries hung in

between them. I was not unsatisfied with the room as it was on a quite elegant scale, I found

My clothing had been washed, mended, and placed near the foot the bed.

The bed stood against one wall. It was a king-sized four poster. The pillars of the bed were of

stone each carved elegantly supporting a canopy with thin curtains. On the opposite wall, the

room was accessed by a stairwell which I found lead to a windowless chamber which was used

as a study for the Administrator if he so chose to use it. I looked around the room and found

another staircase leading downward which I promptly took. Each following four levels of the

tower were empty rooms. Upon reaching the ground floor I found it opened the main hallway of

the rear wall of the kasbah which much like the entrance hallway lead to the central courtyard

it however contained in its 20 alcoves statues of a naked kajira in different positions, the Hall of the kajira. Another

hallway passed through this hallway leading to the different areas of the kasbah. I glanced up

at gates which hung suspended from chains over each of the archway entrance with a smile. I

liked whoever had designed the kasbah. It’s general feel was not only of a fortress from with

out but a fortress from within as well yet it retained a quite elegance and diginity.

To the left, down the hallway approximately 50 feet from me, the hallway ended in two large

doors, one of which stood partially open. I heard the sound of splashing water and I caught the

aroma of bath oils. I noted that this was probably where the kasbah’s bath house was located.
I looked to My right down the hallway to the other side noting that doors were also at the same

distance but these were closed. I looked back to the left knowing that a bath would awaken My

body more fully, and strode down the hallway to the door.

I noticed how delicately carved the heavy tem wood doors were as I pulled it fully open

revealing the kasbah’s bath house to My eyes. Being quite pleased at what I saw I stepped

inside quietly. The room was huge, stretching the width of the rear portion of the kasbah,

some 100 feet and three times that in length. At the far end were another set of doors but

these were closed tightly. The baths were three large circular pools placed around a central

area. In this central area there were five low, padded benches so that a man might lay down

and stretch his body out for the attention of the slaves, two of which frolicked naked in the

water in one of the pools. I looked to My right seeing a rack of heavy, soft looking towels next to

another rack of different sorts of bath oils. Around the room at regular intervals were

sandstone pillars, each having been carved in the semblance of a strikingly beautiful kajira

displaying herself for her master’s eyes. Large potted plants and palms were generously placed

throughout the room giving it the sense more of an abundant desert oasis than an interior

room in a mighty military fortress. I looked up at the ceiling of the bathhouse, seeing that the

pillars connected to arches which stretched arcoss the room supported the floor above the

bath. I strode forward towards the pools catching the attention of the two naked kajira

splashing about in one of the pools.

They nearly fell over themselves to rush out of the water and present themselves at My feet in

perfect nadu. I found this quite pleasing that I had not had to utter a word to them. Well

trained I thought to Myself as I laid upon one of the benches after removing My clothing. I

allowed them to clean and rub some of the fragrant oils into My body before allowing them to

please Me eagerly with their hands and mouths. After I had My pleasure, I relaxed for a time in

one of the pools. I noted how warm the water was to one of the kajira. She explained that the

water in the pools was heated from underneath in a lower level of the kasbah by fires kept alive

by male work slaves. I asked her what her name was but she merely smiled replying that it

would be whatever Master desired it to be. Yes, I thought, well trained slaves.

After My bath I redressed in My own clothes leaving the bathhouse by the two far doors finding

Myself in another hallway. There were doors to each side, and I opened various ones noting

that these rooms were also quite empty except deep rich rugs which laid upon the floor. Each

one of these rooms were spacious but I had no idea what their uses could be for. At the end of

this hallway it turned following the wall of the kasbah. More empty rooms I found here though

occasionally I did find a room that had been used for the storage of goods and furniture

needed throughout the kasbah. The hallway was not as long as I thought it might be, and I

found Myself at another corner, that hallway leading to central courtyard. There was a single

doorway here in this hallway. Its heavy wooden door was plain except for the Crest of the

Scribe which hung upon its surface.

Opening the door, I found a large windowless library with row upon row of shelves which

contained all manner of scrolls. In the center of the library there was a high desk with a chair

behind which sat Lando pouring over a scroll. He looked up as I approached him.

“You smell like a paga girl from Ar,” he chided Me goodnaturedly, “I see you found the baths. I

do so hope there were kajira in the baths to assist you?”

I related to him what had transpired in the baths with a fond smile. He nodded rolling his

scroll gently before him to store it on the shelves. “They had better be pleasing,” he answered

with a grunt. “when I first came here to the Kasbah the slaves were some of the poorest I had

ever laid My eyes upon. While beautiful, they were quite stupid as well. Untrained for the most

part and acting as if they were Freewomen in their insolence. Those that were here then are

not here now having been sold at the block to the foulest of masters, or killed for their defects.”

Lando explained to Me something of his strict mental conditioning when training female slaves

and I quite impressed. Kajira, no matter what training that their papers claimed they had,

were put under Lando’s strict training regime until he deemed them worthy mentally to be of

service to Men. They were broken and reformed by the mind and hand of this elderly Scribe

whose eyes glinted in pleasure speaking about the training that he gave them. The result

being that the kasbah had some of the most proficently trained slaves in all of Gor, each one of

the girls fetching a absurdly high price should they ever be sold at the auction blocks in the

public pens of Tor.

After we had conversed a bit, Lando took Me on a tour of the kasbah showing Me the different

areas of the huge fortress. The slave kennels were of interest to Me. These were located on the

other side of the courtyard from the Library in the hallway leading to to the kitchens and were

quite unlike any slave kennels I had ever seen before upon Gor. I had seen kennels in Ar that

were no more than small rooms with tiny cages packed tightly in them, but the kennels in the

kasbah were on a much more elegant scale.

The room housing the kennels was a long hall. On each side of the room there were 10 small

doors in the wall set approximately 1ft off the ground. Each door was just large enough to

admit a full grown man. The kajira housed there entered their alcoves on their hands and

knees to remind them of their place. Looking inside the alcoves I noticed some care had been

taken in their construction. The floors were tiled with dark blue marble tiles, cold to the touch

of My hand, the walls covered in a biege plaster. Each kennel had a low vanity with a mirror, a

sleeping mat with a thick rep cloth blanket, a small braizier for warmth, and a bucket in the

corner.

At the end of the hall was the buisness end of the kennels. A pair of guards sat there at a table

and though they looked relaxed their eyes were constantly watchful. I glanced up at the room

at the end of the kennels as Lando chatted with them. From the wall to My left hung chains

with shackles and collars attached to them. Various rings were inset into the walls so that a

slave could be chained there. On the back wall of the room stood the branding rack with a

small brazier nearby currently cold with which to heat the brands. The kasbah’s brands

themselves stood in a rack near the brazier and I noticed the brands that were used most

common in the City of Tor being the dina and the kef. In the corner stood a rough post with

slave bracelts dangling from a ring. On one of the walls were whips of various sizes intended for

various levels of punishment. Rough submission mats covered most of the floor except for the

area around the brazier it setting on the stone floor of the room. The room was for all practical

purposes not only where the slaves were branded but where also they were punished. I noted a

chest near the wall which one of the guards explained to Me held other various slave

equipment.

We visited the kitchens next and I was quite satisfied with what I found there as well. The

large, spacious kitchen had at its center a heavy wooden preparation table. To the right of this

table was a massive stone hearth with a baking oven carved out in the stone atop the mantle.

Various beaten copper pots and pans hung from hook on the front of the hearth. Next to it was

a full box of split wood. On the left of the table was a large stone sink. I noted that there was a

pipe leading down from the ceiling ending in a spigot. To My own delight I found that this sink

had running water and I was quite impressed.

“The kitchens and the baths both have running water,” Lando commented noticing My smile.

“The top floor of the north corner torner is a cistern kept full by pumps. Its checked once a day

by the kajira to ensure its full. The pump used to draw the water from the well is difficult for a

woman so male slaves are used to pump the water upto the cistern. The water here runs off a

gravity system.”

A stairwell lead on the right of the sink down to a lower level of the kitchen and I noticed the

heavy wooden door of the cold room at the bottom of the stairs. to the left of the sink a doorway

opened in to a store room where all of the dry foods and produce were stored. We continued

through the kitchen to the large doors at the rear of the room.

These opened into another courtyard that was the kitchen’s garden area. The garden of the

kasbah grew all sorts of vegetables in low planters some 10 ft across and nearly 50 ft long. The

soil of the Tahari is harsh yet the soil in the planters was rich and dark. Lane explained that

the soil was brought from the north in twon called Tabuk’s Ford in a trade deal struck with

caste leader there. It was brought once every three years and the soil in the planters was

replaced the old soil being spread through out the inner courtyard’s planters around the base

of the trees there. There were also date palms and olive trees in the kitchen courtyard which

recieved the only slightly used soil.

We walked through the courtyard until we came to a heavy gate on the wall connected the

fortress’s walls to the kasbah. A guard at the gate admitted us to the rear courtyard of the

kasbah which I found quite empty save for a a group of trees around a small sitting area to one

side. Lando explained to Me this was the area the guards had used to train but if I had wished it

closed off it would be. I shook My head noticing the distances of the courtyard. It would prove

to be a fine archery range. Before the day was out there would be archery targets set up

against one fo the walls I decided as I still had an affection for the long bow so commonly used

by the peasant caste.

We went through another gate on another interior wall of the kasbah. Here were the stables

for the kaiila and against the wall of the fortress itself were the guard barracks. this courtyard

opened into the main courtyard through a large gated archway which stood open. I noticed the

hard packed earth under My feet from the heavy trampling of the kaiila and how different it

felt from the soft ground in the rear courtyard.

I looked up at the sun as it shone brightly down. The day was already starting to get hot and

Lando suggested that we go back into the kasbah’s inner courtyard to escape the building heat

that would soon envelop even the main courtyard of the front of the kasbah. I looked up at the

two pinnions which flew over the gate noticing the wind came from the east knowing that could

mean a dust storm. The pinnions, or long flags, held My interest for a long minute. One was

white marked with the Insigna of Tor, and the other which had not been there the day before,

was a deep rich scarlet that held My gaze for sometime.

Lando noticed My gaze. “The scarlet is for you,” He said gesturing. “We didn’t know your crest so

we left the pinnion a plain scarlet. I assume though you’ll want your own flag there?”

“Aye,” I replied as we climbed the steps the entrance of the kasbah. Reaching within My tunic I

withdrew the medallion which I wore and had worn for years. It had traveled with Me from

Earth as had the silver rings I wore upon each of My fingers. Before I handed it to Lando I

rubbed a thumb over the carved surface of the medallion. It was an upright 5 point star within

a circle containing another upright 5 point star within a circle overlaid with a three pronged

yin yang like symbol. It meant many things to Me but now it would be My standard as High

Pasha of Tor. I handed it to him explaing what I wanted. With a nod he took it promising its

safe return once the design was copied. Before three days was out My standard would be

fluttering in place of the scarlet banner there now. It would be scarlet with My crest

embroidered in gold thread the banner bordered in gold.

We spent the day in the courtyard inspecting the new girls that had been brought in when I

had arrived and seeing to their branding. I met the Captain of the Guard, Anlahim Saheel, an

intelligent and able man of the Warrior caste. He and I quickly formed a friendship. he

informed that after My Tarn’s cot had been transferred to shielded corner of one of the

courtyard, it had promptly flew off. I did not worry. I knew that he, My glorius sable Tarn with

his strange sense of loyalty would return before the morning.

Later as the evening grew upon us and the shadows began to fill the courtyard, I found Myself

alone sitting upon the rugs on the dias looking upĀ  at the triple moons of Gor inhaling the

sweet, clean air. I tilted My head forward, sensing a presence near to Me in the deep shadows. I

had ordered the torches which lit the courtyard extinguished so that I might better see the

stars and the moons. I had felt the cold sensation on the back of My neck before and only one

man on all of Gor had ever given Me that feeling. The dark, malignant presence I felt belonged

only to one Man.

“I saw your camp when I arrived,” I said to no one in particular, “I’d have thought you would

have come to visit Me earlier but then you have never moved when other Men wished you had,

have you My Friend?”

There was chuckle from deep within the shadows as Pa Kur stepped forth reveling himself only

dimly in the moonlight. “How do you do that?” He asked his voice leathery and distinct in its use

of the language. “I was completely silent in My approach yet you heard Me.”

In the moonlight I shrugged. “I did not hear you My Friend, your Art is still better than the

hearing of Men.” I nodded drinking down the last of My water from My goblet. “Rather I felt

you. All Men even those of the Black Caste have a presence, and for those who are open to

such things, all Men are visible.”

“You are a strange man, Murin of Ar,” he replied sinking to a sitting position to My left on the

dias. “Strange even for a Earthling.” He looked around the courtyard. “Nice kasbah you got

here, many guest rooms, quite fit for the man who sits as High Pasha of Tor. I hope you serve

long and with justice. If only some of the other fools which profusely populate Gor will learn by

your example.”

I smiled in the moonlight remembering a night long before when I found Myself on the Dunes.

Now I sat as Master of the Kasbah of Tor, sitting with a man who many men trembled at the

thought of appearing before them out of the shadows with his dagger in his hand. I glanced

upward at the sound of a ghost like flutter of wings as My tarn landed on the roof of the

kasbah cocking his head to one side gazing down at us as we sat on the dias. His name,

though I had never spoken it to any Man, was Maximus, and He was the only tarn that graced the

skies around the City of Tor.

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