|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
One obvious danger lay in the road itself, and the fact that I had no light. After dark, various
serpents seek out the road for its warmth, its stones retaining the sun's heat longer than the
surrounding countryside. One such serpent was the huge, many-banded Gorean python, the
hith. One to be feared even more perhaps was the tiny ost, a venomous, brilliantly orange
reptile little more than a foot in length, whose bite spelled an excruciating death within seconds.
Outlaw of Gor, page 26
Like most members of my Caste, more than the monstrous tarns, those carnivorous hawk like
giants of Gor, I dreaded such creatures as the tiny ost, that diminutive, venomous reptile,
orange, scarcely more than a few inches in length, that might lurk at one's very sandal and then,
without provocation or warning, strike, its tiny fangs the prelude to excruciating torment,
concluding only with sure death. Among warriors, the bite of an ost is thought to be one of the
most cruel of all gates to the Cities of Dust; far preferable to them are the rending beak, the
terrible talons of a tarn. Outlaw of Gor, page 118
One by one, slowly, almost tenderly, on their strings, Bila Huruma lifted the tiny osts from the
floor of the pit and placed them, one by one, in the basket near the foot of the sleeping platform.
“Are you of that caste called assassins?” he asked.
“No,” I said.
He held the last of the osts on its string, suspended, about five feet from the floor of the pit.
“Bring him near,” he said.
I was dragged to the edge of the pit. Bila Huruma extended his arm. I saw the small ost, red
with its black stripes, on its string, near my face. Its tiny forked tongue slipped rapidly back and
forth between the tiny jaws. Explorers of Gor, page 241
I smiled. The banded ost is a variety of ost, a small, customarily brilliantly orange Gorean reptile.
It is exceedingly poisonous. The banded ost is yellowish orange and is marked with black rings.
Assassins of Gor, page 335
I looked to the round, shallow, circular pit in the center of the room. It was about a foot deep.
The poles supporting the sleeping platform were set within it. In the pit, his hands still clutching,
fingernails bloody, at one of the round poles supporting the platform, lay an askari. His body was
twisted horribly, and contorted. The flesh had turned a blackish orange and, in places, had
broken open, the skin peeling back like burned paper. A knife, fallen, lay near him in the pit.
About his body, small, nervous, sinuous, crawled tiny snakes, osts. Each of these, startlingly, had
tied to it a thin string. There were eight such diminutive reptiles. The strings, fastened behind
their heads, led up to a pole at the head of the sleeping platform, where they were tied. A
woven basket hung, too, near the foot of the sleeping platform. The ost is usually an orange
snake, but these were Ushindi osts, which are red with black stripes. Anatomically, and with
respect to toxin, I am told they are almost identical to the common ost. Explorers of Gor, page