When I had questioned her, Lara had said to me that only when true love is learned is the Free Companionship possible, and that some women can
learn love only in chains. Outlaw of Gor, page 250
The talender is a flower which, in the Gorean mind, is associated with beauty and passion. Free Companions, on the Feast of their Free
Companionship, commonly wear a garland of talenders. Raiders of Gor, Page 216
“It is long since you have been the Free Companion of Talena, daughter of Marlenus,” said Samos. “The Companionship, not renewed annually, is at
an end. And you were once enslaved.”
I looked at the board, angrily. It was true that the Companionship, not renewed, had been dissolved in the eyes of Gorean law. It was further true
that, had it not been so, the Companionship would have been terminated abruptly when one or the other of the pledged companions fell slave. I
recalled, angrily, with a burning shame, the delta of the Vosk, when I, though of the warriors, once, on my knees, begged the ignominy of slavery to
the freedom of honorable death. Yes, I, Bosk of Port Kar, had once been slave. Hunters of Gor, page 9
Our Parents, naturally, knowing nothing of what had occurred between us, pressed us to intertwine our arms and drink the wine of the
companionship. Guardsman of Gor, Page 85
In certain cities, in connection with the free companionship, the betrothed or pledged beauty may wear eight veils, several of which are ritualistically
removed during various phases of the ceremony of companionship; the final veils, and robes, of course, are removed in private by the male who,
following their removal, arms interlocked with the girl, drinks with her the wine of the companionship, after which he completes the ceremony.
Slave Girl of Gor, Page 107
Companionship with such a person, for anyone of position or power, was unthinkable. It would result in the equivalent of ostracism. With her as
companion one could be only rich. Companionship with such a person, an ex-slave, one without caste, one without family and position, would be,
politically and socially, a gross and incomparable mistake.
I wondered of the daughters of Ubars. It was unfortunate that the great Ubar, Marlenus, had no such daughter. Had he one, she might have been
Lurius of Jad, Ubar of the island of Cos, was said, by a long-dissolved companionship, to have a daughter. Phanius Turmus, of Turia, was said to have
two daughters. They had once been enslaved by Tuchuks, but they were now free. They had been returned, though still wearing the chains of slaves,
as a gesture of good will, by Kamchak, Ubar San of the Wagon Peoples. Turia was called the Ar of the south.
Cos and Port Kar, of course, are enemies, but, if the Companion Price offered Lurius were sufficient, I would not expect him to hesitate in giving me the
girl. The alliance, of course, would be understood, on all sides, as not altering the political conditions obtaining between the cities. It was up to Lurius
to dispose of his daughter as he saw fit. She might not desire to come to Port Kar, but the feelings of the girl are not considered in such matters. Some
high-born women are less free than the most abject of slave girls.
Clark of Thentis had a daughter, but he was not a Ubar. He was not even of high caste. He, too, was of the merchants. Indeed, there were many
important merchants who had daughters, for example, the first merchant of Teletus and the first merchant of Asperiche. Indeed, the two latter
individuals had already, in the past year, approached me with the prospect of a companionship with their daughters, but I had declined to discuss the
I wanted a woman of high caste.
I could probably have Claudia Tentia Hinrabia, of the Builders, who had been daughter of Claudius Tentius Hinrabius, once Ubar of Ar, but she was now
without family. Marlenus, in whose palace she held her residence, probably in his generosity, would have seen that she accepted my proposal. I
recalled she had once been slave, and that I had, on a certain occasion, in the house of Cernus, seen her fully. Other things being equal, I would, of
course, prefer a beautiful companion. Claudia, as I recalled with pleasure, was beautiful. Further, she, once having been slave, would promise delights
not always obtainable from an ignorant free woman. A woman who has once been slave, incidentally, often wishes to kiss and touch again in the
shadow of the slave ring. Why this is I do not know. Beauty in a companion, of course, is not particularly important. Family and power are. In a house
such as that of Bosk there are always beautiful slave girls, eager to please, each hoping to become first girl. But I dismissed Claudius Tentius Hinrabia.
The Hinrabians, with the exception of herself, had been wiped out. Thus she was, for practical purposes, of a high name but without family.
There were various jarls in Torvaldsland who had daughters, but these, generally, were ignorant, primitive women. Moreover, no one jarl held great
power in Torvaldsland. It was not uncommon for the daughter of a jarl in that bleak place, upon the arrival of a suitor, to be called in from the
pastures, where she would be tender her father´s verr.
There were Ubars to the far south, I knew, but their countries were often small, and lay far inland. They exercised little political power beyond their
It seemed clear that I should take unto myself as companion the daughter of some Ubar or Administrator, but few seemed appropriate. Too, many
Ubars and Administrators might not wish to ally their house with that of a mere merchant. That thought irritated me.
Gorean pride runs deep. Hunters of Gor, page 174, 175
In taking companionship with one of the Warriors she would raise caste, for the Warriors on Gor are among the high castes, of which there are five,
the Initiates, Scribes, Physicians, Builders and Warriors. In many cities only members of the high castes may belong to the city’s high council. Most
Gorean cities are governed by an executive, the Administrator, in conjunction with the high council. Some cities are governed by a Ubar, who is in effect
a military sovereign, sometimes a tyrant, whose word is law: The Ubar’s power is limited institutionally only by his capacity to inspire and control those
whose steel keeps him upon the throne. Sword loyalty is a bond of fidelity sworn to the Ubar. Gorean warriors seldom break this bond. It is not sworn
lightly. It is sworn only to those who are thought fit to be Ubar. When the Ubar is thought to be unfit, it is thought, too, he has dishonored the pledge
of sword loyalty. It is not then uncommon for him to die beneath the steel of his outraged men. Only a Ubar, it is said, may sit upon the throne of a
Ubar. Only when a true Ubar sits upon the throne is it said the pledge of sword loyalty is binding. It was my hope that the Lady Sabina would be
happy. It was said she was muck pleased to raise caste and would become, by this match, one of the high ladies of the Salerian Confederation, which
was becoming powerful in the north. I did not think much of Thandar of Ti, perhaps because he was a man. I supposed he was not too pleased at
being matched with a girl who was not of the five high castes, but surely he could appreciate the commercial and political significance of the match, and
would be pleased to serve his city by doing his part. From the point of view of his father the bargain was a good one for Thandar was the youngest
and least important of five sons; it was not as if his first or second son had been matched with a merchant’s daughter; besides the match was
politically and commercially expedient; who knew how ambitious might be the aspirations of Ti, and the Salerian Confederation? Too, from Thandar´s
point of view, if the match turned out to be a misery he, being a Gorean male of high caste, could content himself with bought women, who would fight
one another and beg on their bellies to serve one such as he. Tribesmen of Gor, page 113, 114
“You can well understand my dilemma,” he said. “Seeing you I wanted you. You were one of those women who is so feminine and attractive that a
man finds it difficult to think of you in terms other than jealous ownership. I wanted to own you. I wanted you at my feet naked, in my collar. Yet you
were intended to be my companion. How could one relate to a girl as feminine and beautiful as you, I ask you, other than as a master to a slave?”
“I do not know,” she said.
“Besides,” he said, “you were only of the merchants. It is unseemly for a Warrior to take as a companion the daughter of a merchant. I detest the
politics which seemed to make such a match expedient. Surely I was not consulted in the negotiations.”
“No, Master,” she said. “Nor was I,” she added, pointing this out.
“But you are a woman,” he said.
“That is true,” she said.
“The daughters of merchants,” he said, “are fit only to be the slaves of Warriors.”
“Oh, Master?” she asked, archly.
“Yes,” he said, evenly, regarding her.
“Yes, Master,” she said, dropping her eyes.
“Besides,” he said, “you, free, were an arrogant she-sleen. You needed enslaving, collaring and whipping.”
“Yes, Master,” she said, frightened.
“I resolved to refuse the companionship,” said Thandar of Ti. “I resolved to flee the city.” He grinned. “As it turned out,” he said, “that was not
“How did master find me?” she asked.
“There is a fellowship among Warriors,” he said. Clitus Vitellius smiled. Tribesmen of Gor, page 421
The retinue was the betrothal and dowry retinue of the Lady Sabina of the small merchant polis of Fortress of Saphronicus bound overland for Ti, of
the Four Cities of Saleria, of the Salerian Confederation. Ti lies on the Olni, a tributary of the Vosk, north of Tharna. Tharna, sometimes called the City
of Silver, is well known for the richness of her silver mines. She is ruled by Lara, a Tatrix. This seems paradoxical, for in Tharna, of the hundreds of
known Gorean cities, the position of women is surely among the lowest. The sign of a man of Tharna is two yellow cords carried at the belt, suitable for
the binding of the hands and feet of a female. At one time apparently women were dominant in Tharna but this situation, in a revolution of the males,
was overturned. Few women in Tharna, even now, years later, are permitted out of the collar.
I looked at the four new wagons which had been added to the retinue. The wagon which I had seen earlier, the supply wagon, was now almost
empty, the food supplies perhaps being diminished as the peregrination neared its end, and the poles and tenting, of course, being used in the
sheltering for the camp. The other four wagons, however, were fully loaded, largely, it seemed, with produce and coarse goods.
The Lady Sabina, I learned from Eta, was pledged by her father, Kleomenes, a pretentious, but powerful, upstart merchant of Fortress of Saphronicus,
to Thandar of Ti, of the Warriors, youngest of the five sons of Ebullius Gaius Cassius, of the Warriors, Administrator of Ti, this done in a Companion
Contract, arranged by both Ebullius Gaius Cassius and Kleomenes, to whic` had now been set the seals of both Ti and Fortress of Saphronicus. The
pledged companions, the Lady Sabina of Fortress of Saphronicus and Thandar of Ti, of the Four Cities of Saleria, of the Salerian Confederation, had, as
yet, according to Eta, never laid eyes on one another, the matter of their match having been arranged between their respective fathers, as is not
uncommon in Gorean custom. The match had been initiated at the behest of Kleomenes, who was interested in negotiating a commercial and political
alliance with the Salerian Confederation. These alliances, of interest to the expanding Salerian Confederation, were not unwelcome. Such alliances,
naturally, might presage the entrance of Fortress of Saphronicus into the Confederation, which was becoming a growing power in the north. It seemed
not unlikely that the match would ultimately prove profitable and politically expedient for both Fortress of Saphronicus and the Salerian Confederation.
In the match, there was much to gain by both parties. The Companion Contract, thus, had been duly negotiated, with the attention of scribes of the
law from both Fortress of Saphronicus and the Confederation of Saleria. The Companion Journey, then, when the auspices had been favorable, as they
promptly were, these determined by the inspection of the condition and nature of the liver of a sacrificial verr, examined by members of the caste of
Initiates, had begun. The journey itself, overland and afoot from Fortress of Saphronicus to Ti, would take several days, but it was ceremonially
prolonged in order that the four tributary villages of Fortress of Saphronicus might be visited. It is not unusual for a Gorean city to have several villages
in its vicinity, these customarily supplying it with meat and produce. These villages may or may not be tributary to the city. It is common, of course, for
a city to protect those villages, whether they are tributary to the city or not, which make use of its market. If a village markets in a given city, that city,
by Gorean custom, stands as its shield, a relationship which, of course, works to the advantage of both the villages and city, the city receiving produce
in its markets, the villages receiving the protection of the city´s soldiers. The policy of Fortress of Saphronicus, extending its hegemony politically over
its nearby villages, even to the extent of exacting tribute in kind, is not unprecedented on Gor, but, on the other hand, is not the general rule. Most
villages are free villages. The Gorean peasant is a resolute, strong fellow, upright and stubborn, who prides himself on his land and his sovereignty.
Also, he is usually the master of the Gorean longbow, in the wake of which liberty is often to be found. He who can bend the longbow, a peasant
saying has it, cannot be slave. Women, of course, it might be noted, lack the strength to bend this bow. I suppose if they could bend the bow, the
saying would not exist or would be altered. That is the way men are. Goreans enjoy making women slaves. The women, on the whole, interestingly,
save some verbally, do not seem to much mind. Interestingly, the longbow is outlawed in the tributary villages of Fortress of Saphronicus. The
Betrothal or Companion Journey, ceremonially, included the circuit of the four villages, in each of which a feast was held, and from each of which a
wagon of produce was procured, to be added to the dowry riches to be presented to Ebullius Gains Cassius, father of Thandar of Ti, to be included in
the treasury of Ti. I had seen four wagons of produce in the camp, and knew independently from Eta, that the four tributary villages had now been
visited. The wagons of produce were not of great value but stood as token of the relation of the villages to Fortress of Saphronicus. Also, of course,
visiting the villages presented die opportunity for publicizing the match and, doubtless, unobtrusively, in the feasting and celebration, for gathering the
reaction, and general feelings, of the villages. Are they content? Is trouble brewing? Must a leader be deposed, or Imprisoned? Must a daughter be
taken hostage to the city? Accurate information on the oppressed is essential to the maintenance of the power of the oppressor.
One lunar month from this date, by the phases of the largest moon, after days of preparation, the ceremony of the companionship was scheduled to
be consummated in Ti, binding together as companions Thandar of Ti, son of Ebullius Gaius Cassius, Administrator of Ti, and the Lady Sabina, daughter
of Kleomenes, high merchant in Fortress of Saphronicus. I hoped, naturally, that they would be happy. I was only a slave, but I did not think myself
much less free than the Lady Sabina, whose beauty was being bartered for commercial and political power. I might have to be half naked in a bond
girl´s Ta-Teera but she, I expected, despite the wealth of her robes and jewels, was in her way as slave as I. Yet I did not feel sorry for her, for I had
heard from Eta that she was a pretentious, haughty girl, one bold in speech and cruel to her slave maids. Many of the daughters of merchants are
proud sorts, for the merchants themselves, by virtue of their power, tend to vanity and pride, and agitate, justifiably or not, for the inclusion of their
caste among the high castes of Gor. Their pampered daughters, protected from work and responsibility, ostentatiously garbed and elaborately
educated in caste trivia, tend to be spoiled and soft. Yet I did not wish the Lady Sabina unhappiness. I hoped that she would have a splendid
companionship with Thander of Ti. Too, allaying my commiserations for the girl, for she had had no say in her companionship arrangements, was my
understanding, conveyed by Eta, that she Looked forward to the match and was much pleased by it. In taking companionship with one of the Warriors
she would raise caste, for the Warriors on Gor are among the high castes, of which there are five, the Initiates, Scribes, Physicians, Builders and
Warriors. In many cities only members of the high castes may belong to the city´s high council. Most Gorean cities are governed by an executive, the
Administrator, in conjunction with the high council. Some cities are governed by a Ubar, who is in effect a military sovereign, sometimes a tyrant, whose
word is law: The Ubar´s power is limited institutionally only by his capacity to inspire and control those whose steel keeps him upon the throne. Sword
loyalty is a bond of fidelity sworn to the Ubar. Gorean warriors seldom break this bond. It is not sworn lightly. It is sworn only to those who are
thought fit to be Ubar. When the Ubar is thought to be unfit, it is thought, too, he has dishonored the pledge of sword loyalty. It is not then uncommon
for him to die beneath the steel of his outraged men. Only a Ubar, it is said, may sit upon the throne of a Ubar. Only when a true Ubar sits upon the
throne is it said the pledge of sword loyalty is binding. It was my hope that the Lady Sabina would be happy. It was said she was muck pleased to
raise caste and would become, by this match, one of the high ladies of the Salerian Confederation, which was becoming powerful in the north. I did not
think much of Thandar of Ti, perhaps because he was a man. I supposed he was not too pleased at being matched with a girl who was not of the five
high castes, but surely he could appreciate the commercial and political significance of the match, and would be pleased to serve his city by doing his
part. From the point of view of his father the bargain was a good one for Thandar was the youngest and least important of five sons; it was not as if
his first or second son had been matched with a merchant´s daughter; besides the match was politically and commercially expedient; who knew how
ambitious might be the aspirations of Ti, and the Salerian Confederation? Too, from Thandar´s point of view, if the match turned out to be a misery he,
being a Gorean male of high caste, could content himself with bought women, who would fight one another and beg on their bellies to serve one such
as he. Slavegirl of Gor, page 110, 111, 112, 113
“And do not remove your lips from the cup,” said Thurnus, “until given permission.”
I kept my lips pressed to the cup, my head bent to the side. A Gorean slave girl dares not disobey.
“Thurnus,” said his free companion, a large, heavy woman, in a rep-cloth veil, kneeling to one side. She was squat and heavy. She was not much
There was a kennel nearby, where Thurnus kept his girls. He did not tend his fields alone.
“Be quiet,” said Thurnus, to her, “Woman.”
To one side, against the wall of the hut, there rested, on a small table, a piece of plain, irregularly shaped rock, which Thurnus, years earlier, when first
he had founded the farm, later to be the community, of Tabuk´s Ford, had taken from his own fields. He had, one morning, years ago, bow upon his
back and staff in hand, seed at his thigh, after months of wandering, come to a place which had pleased him. It lay in the basin of the Verl. He had
been driven from his father's village, for his attendance upon a young free woman of the village. Her brother's arms and legs had he broken. The
woman had followed him. She had become his companion. With him, too, had come two young men, and two other women, who saw in him, the
young, raw-boned giant, the makings of a caste leader. Months had they wandered. Then, following Tabuk, in the basin of the Verl, he had come to a
place which had pleased him. There the animals had forded the river. He had not followed them further. He had driven the yellow stake of claimancy
into the dark soil, near the Verl, and had stood there, his weapons at hand, beside the stake, until the sun had reached the zenith and then, slowly,
set. It was then he had reached to his feet and picked up the stone, from his own fields. It now rested in his hut. It was the Home Stone of Thurnus.
“Thurnus,” said his companion.
He paid her no attention. It had been many years ago that she had followed him from the village of her father. It had all been many years ago. In the
fashion of the peasants he kept her. She had grown slack and fat. She could no longer in honor return to the village of her brother.
I kept my lips pressed to Thurnus´s cup. He drew the cup more closely to him. I must needs follow.
I knew he had girls he kept in a kennel.
Thurnus was a strong man, of the sort who must either have many women, or incredibly much from one woman. His companion, I supposed, was tio
longer attractive to him, or, perhaps, in the prides of her freedom, was too remote to be much in his attention. It is easiest for a man to see a woman
who is at his feet, begging to be seen.
“You are a pretty little slave,” said Thurnus to me.
I could not speak, for my lips were pressed to his cup.
“What is her name?” asked Thurnus of my master.
“She does not have a name,” he responded.
“Oh,” said Thurnus. Then he said, “She is a pretty little thing.” I felt his hand on my leg.
Angrily, Melina, who was the free companion of Thurnus of Tabuk´s Ford, rose to her feet and left the hut. Slavegirl of Gor, page 139-140
My master, with his men, in a bold coup, had several weeks ago stolen the Lady Sabina of Fortress of Saphronicus from among her retainers, on her
journey to be joined in companionship to Thandar of Ti, of Ti, of the Four Cities of Saleria, those comprising the Salerian Confederation. The motivation
for this abduction, as well as the motivation for the companionship originally, was apparently political. Slavegirl of Gor, page 144
They looked at one another and laughed. "I'll bet you are a pretty one!" said one of the women.
"My companion would not even let me have a pet like you," said the other. Fighting slave of Gor, page 123
"In Port Cos," said he, "long ago, I wooed you with all the honors and dignities to be accorded to the free woman. Well did we grow acquainted, and
many were the long and intimate conversations in which we shared." His eyes then grew hard. " d in one of these," he said, "you uttered an
unspeakable confession, acknowledging your slave needs."
"I was so ashamed," she said, turning her face away.
"How could I take to my bed in honor one who had dared to confess her slave needs? Such girls I could buy at the market. We parted, naturally. But
our families, desiring the companionship, pressed us for explanations. That our honors might be protected, of course, yours that you had dared to
confess your slave needs, and mine, that I had been the scandalized auditor of so shameful an admission, we remained silent."
"But," said she, moist-eyed, "that our courtship not appear to have failed, and that our families not be disgraced, you agreed to proceed with the
companionship, this in accordance with your conception of your duty as an officer and a gentleman."
He looked down at her, not speaking.
"I did not wish to languish, scorned and neglected, in a cold bed, while you contented yourself with market girls. I fled the city."
"You are mistaken in at least one thing," he said. "I had not determined to proceed with the companionship because of family pressures. I am not so
weak. Similarly, my duties as an officer and a gentleman were not implicated in the matter."
"But, why then?" she asked.
"I wanted you," he said.
"But I have slave needs," she said.
"I thought long after our conversation," he said. "You had
dared to confess your slave needs, and this had shamed you, and it had scandalized me. But, why, I asked myself. Should not, rather, one be more
ashamed by deceit than the truth? Can there truly be a greater honor in hypocrisy than in honesty? It does not seem so. I then realized how bravely
you had trusted me and revealed this to me. My outrage gave way to gratitude and admiration. Similarly, I asked myself, why was I scandalized. Was
this not connected with hidden fears of my own, that I might discover complementary needs within myself, the needs to own and be a master? Your
confession, so expressive and poignant, tended to undermine a deceit of free persons. You had dared, it seemed, to break the code of hypocrisy. Had
the gate to barbarism been left ajar? I regretted, for a time, the loss of the lie. We grow fond of our myths. Yet our myths are like walls of straw.
Ultimately they cannot protect us. Ultimately they must perish in the flames of truth:"
"You would have taken me," she asked, "knowing that I had slave needs?"
"Your slave needs," he said, "made you a thousand times more desirable. What man does not want a slave?"
She looked at him, startled.
"It was thus my intention to take you into honorable companionship," he said, "but, in the privacy of our quarters, away from the sight of the world, to
put you in a collar, and keep you as a slave, even to the whip."
She looked up at him, disbelievingly.
"But," he said, "such a farce will not now be necessary"
"I do not understand," she said.
"Strip," he said.
"There are others present," she protested.
His right hand, in a backhand blow, lashed forth, fierce and powerful, striking her from her knees to her side on the tiles. She rose to her hands and
knees and, blood at her mouth, regarded him, disbelievingly.
"Must a command be repeated?" he inquired.
Swiftly she tore away the slave tunic, stripping herself. He snapped his fingers and pointed to his feet. She crawled to his feet on her belly. She looked
up at him.
"I gather that you accept the gift," I said.
"I do accept it," he said, "and I thank you."
"I have called her Lola," I said, "but you may, of course, call her what you wish."
"You are Lola," he said to the slave.
"Thank you, Master," she said, named. She put down her head and, gently, kissed his feet.
"Lola," he said.
"Yes, Master," she said.
"From the first instant, long ago, when I saw you in Port Cos, I wanted to own you."
"And from the first instant in Port Cos, so long ago," she said, "I wanted to be your slave."
"You now are," he said.
"'Yes, Master," she said.
"Here," I said. I threw Calliodorus an eighteen-inch black binding strap. It was identical to the one I had earlier given to Aemilianus.
"Thank you," grinned Calliodorus.
"Bind her well," I said.
"Have no fear," laughed Callidorus, "she will know herself bound."
There was then laughter, and Gorean applause, congratulating Calliodorus on his good fortune, and me on the loveliness and generosity of my gift.
Then again we sat down. The gift, nude and collared, curled lovingly on its side near him, its hand touching his knee. Guardsman of Gor, page 256-257
Some Goreans think if the Free Companionship as being a form of contract slavery; this is not, of course, precisely correct; on the other hand, if more
women took that definition seriously, I have little doubt but what free companionships would be far more rewarding than they now are, for many
couples. They might then, under that interpretation, and held contractually enforceable on the woman, be that next best thing in her actual slavery.
There is no full and adequate substitute, of course, given the dominance/submission ratios and the order of nature, for the uncompromised, and full
and total bondage of the female. Once this is institutionalized and legalized, as it is on Gor, we have, then, the union of nature and civilization, a union
in which civilization no longer functions as a counter biological antithesis to nature but rather, perhaps, as an extension and flowering of nature
herself, a union in which natural relationships are fulfilled and furthered. Blood Brothers of Gor, page 246
"You are probably not for sale," I said.
"My master does not care for me," she said. "He bought me only to anger his companion, who is terribly cruel to me. During the day, when my legs are
open, he even rents me out to strangers for a tarsk bit!"
"Does his companion grow more attentive and concerned?" I asked.
"I think not," she said.
"Perhaps it should be she who is chained beneath the wagon," I said.
"She is a free woman!" protested the girl, in horror. Renegades of Gor, page 29
|This research is done on the series of books written by John Norman, the comments in italics are mine and my point of view.
Woman of Gor
|Free Women of Different Cultures