Men and the Kurii, where they met, which was usually only in the north, regarded one another as mortal enemies. Marauders of Gor,
Marauders of Gor
What occurred on the Skerry of Vars
The girl approached me.
She wore a long gown, white. She threw back the hood. She shook loose the long, blond hair.
“I have been a fool,” I said. “I have come to the north, thinking you slain. I had come north, in fury, tricked, to avenge you.”
It was near dusk. She faced me. “It was necessary,” she said.
“Speak,” I told her.
The Skerry of Vars is roughly a hundred foot, Gorean, square. It is rough, but, on the whole, flat. It rises some fifteen to twenty feet
from the water. It is grayish rock, bleak, up thrust, igneous, forbidding.
We stood alone, facing one another.
“Are you unarmed?” she asked.
“Yes,” I told her.
“I have arranged this meeting,” she said.
“Speak,” I told her.
“It is not I,” she smiled, “who wish to speak to you.”
“I had supposed as much,” I said. “Does Samos know of this?” I asked.
“He knows nothing,” she said.
“You are acting, then, independently?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said, drawing herself up, beautifully. I wondered if she were wise, to stand so beautifully before a Gorean warrior.
“You fled my house,” I said. “You returned to the marshes.”
She tossed her head. “You sought Talena,” she said.
“Talena, once,” I said, “was my companion.”
Telima shrugged. She looked at me, irritably. I had for-gotten how beautiful she was.
“When I, in the hall of Samos, before leaving for the northern forests to seek Talena, learned of your flight, I wept.”
“Always,” she said, “you were weak.” Then she said, “We have more important things to discuss.”
I regarded her.
“In the marshes,” she said, “I was contacted by Kurii.” She looked at me. “They desire peace,” she said.
“It is true,” she said, angrily. “Doubtless,” she said, “you find it difficult to believe. But they are sincere. There has been war for
centuries. They weary of strife. They need an envoy, one known to Priest-Kings, yet one independent of them, one whom they
respect, a man of valiance and judgment, with whom to negotiate, one to carry their proposals to Priest-Kings.”
“I thought you knew little of these matters,” I said.
“What little I know,” said Telima, “is more than enough. In the marshes was I contacted by a mighty Kur, but one courteous, one
strong and gentle. It would be difficult to speak directly with you. It would be difficult to begin this work if Priest-Kings understood
“And so,” I said, “you pretended to be slain in the marshes. A Kur was seen. Your screams were heard. A bloodied arm-let, bloodied
hair, was found on the rence. The Kur de-parted north. I, as expected, informed of this deed, took pursuit.”
“And now,” she smiled, “you are here. It is the first act in the drama wherewith peace will be purchased between war-ring peoples.”
“Your plan,” said I, “was brilliant.”
In the gown, long and white, flowing, Telima straight-ened, glowing.
“Your raiment,” said I, “is of high quality. There is little like that in the rence.”
“The Kurii, misunderstood,” she said, “are a gentle people. They have treated me as a Ubara.”
I looked now beyond Telima. I saw now, head first, then shoulders, then body, a Kur, climbing to the surface of the skerry. It was
large, even for a Kur, some nine feet in height. Its weight, I conjectured, was some eight or nine hundred pounds. Its arms were
some seven feet m length. About its left arm was a spiral band of gold. It carried, on its shoulder, a large, long, flattish object,
wrapped in purple cloth, dark in the dusk. I knew the Kur. It had been he who had addressed the assembly. It had been he who
had been first in the hall of Svein Blue Tooth, the night of the attack. It had been he who had rallied the Kurii in the raid on their
camp, in the ensuing battle. It had been he, doubtless a Kur from the steel worlds themselves, who had commanded the Kurii army,
who had been the leader of their forces.
I inclined my head to it. “We have met before, have we not?” I asked.
The Kur rested back on its haunches, some twenty feet from me. It laid the large, flattish object, wrapped in dark cloth, on the stone
“May I present,” inquired Telima, “Rog, emissary of peace from the Kurii.”
“Are you Tarl Cabot?” asked the beast.
“Yes,” I said.
“Have you come unarmed?” it asked.
“Yes,” I said.
“We have sought you before,” it said, “once in Port Kar, by poison.”
“Yes,” I said.
“That attempt failed,” it said.
“That is true,” I said.
He unwrapped the object which lay before him. “The woman has told you my name is Rog. That is sufficient. Yet my true name could
not be pronounced in your mouth. Yet, you shall hear it.” It then, regarding me, uttered a sound, a modulated emanation from the
cords in its throat, which I could not duplicate. It was not a human noise. “That,” it said, “is whom you face. It is unfortunate that
you do not know the ways of Kurii, or the dynasties of our clans. In my way, to use concepts you may grasp, I am a prince among
my people, not only in blood, but by battle, for in such a way only does one become prince among the Kurii. I have been trained in
leadership, and have, in assuming such a leadership, killed for the rings. I say this that you may understand that it is much honor
that is done to you. The Kurii know you, and, though you are a human, an animal, this honor they do to you.”
He now lifted the object from the cloth. It was a Kur ax, its handle some eight feet in length, the broad head better than two feet in
“You are a brilliant foe,” said I. “I have admired your strategies, your efficiency and skills. The rally at the camp, misdirecting our
attention by a diversion, was masterful. That you should stand first among such beasts as Kurii says much for your worth, the
terribleness of your power, your intellect. Though I am only human, neither Kur nor Priest--King, I give you salute.”
“I wish,” it said, “Tarl Cabot, I had known you better.”
It stood there, then, the ax in its right fist. Telima, eyes wide with horror, screamed. With his left paw the beast brushed her, rolling
and sprawling, twenty feet across the stone.
It lifted the ax, now over its right shoulder, gripping it in both hands.
“Had you known me better,” said I, “you would not have come to the skerry.”
The ax drew back to the terrnination of its arc, ready for the flashing, circular, flattish sweep that would cut me in two. Then the
beast stopped, puzzled. Scarcely had it seen the flash of Tuchuk steel, the saddle knife, its blade balanced, nine inches in length,
which had slipped from my sleeve, turned, and, hurled, struck him. It tottered, eyes wild, not understanding, then understanding,
the hilt protruding from its chest, stopped only by the guard, the blade fixed in the vast eight-valved heart. It took two steps
forward. Then it fell, the ax clattering on the stone. It rolled on its back. Long ago, at a banquet in Turia, Kamchak of the Tuchuks
had taught me this trick. Where one may not go armed, there it is well to go armed.
The huge chest shook. I saw it rise and fall. Its eyes turned toward me.
“I thought,” it said, “humans were honorable.”
“You are mistaken,” I said.
It reached out its paw toward me. “Foe,” it said. “Yes,” I said. The paw gripped me, and I it. Long ago, in the Sardar, Misk, the Priest-
King, had told me that Priest-Kings see little difference between Kurii and men, that they regarded them as equivalent species.
The lips of the Kur drew back. I saw the fangs. It was, I suppose, a frightening expression, terrifying, but I did not see it that way.
It was a Kur smile.
Then it died.
I rose to my feet and regarded Telima. She stood some ten feet away, her hand before her mouth.
“I have something for you,” I told her. From my pouch I withdrew the golden armlet which had been hers. It had been that which,
presented to me in Port Kar, bloodied, had lured me to the north, seeking to avenge her.
She placed the golden armlet on her upper left arm. “I shall return to the rence,” she said.
“I have something else for you,” I told her. “Come here.
She approached me. From my pouch I drew forth a leather Kur collar, with its lock, and, sewn in leather, its large, rounded ring.
“What is it?” she asked, apprehensively. I took it behind her neck, and then, closing it about her throat, thrust the large, flattish
bolt, snapping it, into the locking breech. The two edges of metal, bordered by the leather, fitted closely together. The collar is some
three inches in height. The girl must keep her chin up. “It is the collar of a Kur cow,” I told her.
“No!” she cried. I turned her about and, taking a pair of the rude iron slave bracelets of the north, black and common, which which
bond-maids are commonly secured locked her wrists behind her back. I then, with the bloodied Quiva, the Tuchuk saddle knife, cut
her clothes from her Then, by a length of binding fiber, looped double in the ring of her collar, tied her on her knees to the toot of
the Kur Then, with the knife, I knelt at the Kur´s throat.
“Tarl! Tarl Red Hair!” I heard call. It was Ivar Forkbeard. I could see the longboat, four torches uplifted in it, men at the oars, putting
in to the skerry.
I stood on the surface of the skerry.
Then I went down to meet the boat, finding my way among the rocks.
On the tiny rock promontory, footing the skerry, some eight or nine feet in width, I met Ivar Forkbeard, and his men With him were
Gorm, Ottar and Wulfstan of Torvaldsland
The torches were lifted.
The men lifted. I lifted the head of the Kur in my right hand over my head. In my belt was thrust the spiral ring of gold, taken from its
arm. To my belt, too, looped twice about it, was the length of binding fiber which went to the ring on Telima´s collar. She knelt to my
left, a bit behind rne, on the stone. “I have here three objects,” I said, “acquired on the skerry, the head of a Kur, he who was
commander of the Kur army, a spiral ring of gold, taken as loot from his carcass, and a slave girl.” I threw the head into the
longboat. I then threw the ring after it. Then, unlooping the binding fiber from my belt, but leaving it looped, double, in her collar
ring, with its loose ends, I crossed Telima´s ankles and tied them together. Her wrists were still confined behind her back in the
rude, black bracelets of the north, with their one heavy link. I carried her, wading on the stones, to the side of the longboat. She
looked at me. Then I threw her into the boat, between the feet of the oarsmen. Marauders of Gor, Chapter 20, What occurred on
the Skerry of Vars
|"It is a Kur, surely," he said,
"Yes," I said, "it is an adult Kur."
"It is a large one, is it not?" asked Samos.
"Yes, " I said, "but I have seem many larger."
Tribesmen of Gor, page 17
|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