|The Herlits - Sunstriker, Kites and Hawks
|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
The wand before us was some seven or eight feet high. It is of this height, apparently, that it
may be seen above the snow, during the winter moons, such as Waniyetuwi and Wanicokanwi.
It was of peeled Ka-la-na wood and, from its top, there dangled two long, narrow, yellow,
black-tipped feathers, from the tail of the taloned Herlit, a large, broad winged, carnivorous
bird, sometimes in Gorean called the Sun Striker, or, more literally, though in clumsier English,
Out-of-the-sun-it-strikes, presumably from its habit of making its descent and. strike on prey, like
the tarn, with the sun above and behind it. Savages of Gor, page 143
Similar pits, though much smaller, are used for the capture of the taloned Herlit. In the case of
the Herlit it is dragged bodily into the pit. There it may be dealt with in various ways. It may be
strangled; it may be crushed beneath the knees, with the hunter's weight; or it may be put on
its belly, its back to be broken by a swift blow of the foot. This avoids damaged to the feathers.
It is not easy to kill such a bird with the bare hands, but that is the prescribed methodology. It is
regarded as bad form, if not bad medicine, to use a weapon for such a purpose. An adult Herlit is
often four feet in height and has a wingspan of some seven to eight feet. The hunter must
beware of being blinded or having an artery slashed in the struggle. The fifteen tail feathers are
perhaps most highly prized. They are some fourteen to fifteen inches in height, and yellow with
black tips. They are particularly significant in the marking of coups. The wing, or pinion, feathers
are used for various ceremonial and religious purposes. The breath feathers, light and delicate,
from the base of the bird's tail, are used, with the tail feathers, in the fashioning of bonnets or
complex headdresses. They, like the wing feathers, may also be used for a variety of ceremonial
or religious purposes. The slightest breeze causes them to move, causing the headdress to
seem almost alive. It is probably from this feature that they are called "breath feathers." Each
feather, of course, and its arrangement, in such a headdress, can have its individual meaning.
Feathers from the right wing or right side of the tail, for example, are used on the right side of
the headdress, and feathers from the left wing or left side of the tail are used on the left side of
the headdress. In the regalia of the red savages there is little that is meaningless or arbitrary.
To make a headdress often requires several birds. To give you an idea of the value of Herlits, in
some places two may be exchanged for a kaiila; in other places, it takes three to five to
purchase a kaiila. We were not today, however, hunting Herlits. Blood Brothers of Gor, page 315
Overhead a wild Gorean kite, shrilling, beat its lonely way from this place, seemingly no different
from a thousand other places on these broad grasslands of the south. Nomads of Gor, page 4
Tarns, who are vicious things, are seldom more than half tamed and, like their diminutive
counterparts the hawks, are carnivorous. Tarnsman of Gor, page 53