Ar, defeated, shamed, and systematically looted, is occupied by Cosian forces. Perhaps Marlenus of Ar alone, the great ubar, could remind the men of their Home Stone and its meaning. But it is thought that he perished in the Voltai. Young women from Earth brought to Gor are commonly taken to the markets to be branded, collared, and sold as the delicious, lovely livestock they are. Such is the case of a young woman whom we shall call Janice, for that was her Gorean slave name. In the prison pits of piratical Treve there exists a chained prisoner who believes himself to be of the Gorean peasantry. The nature and even the existence of this prisoner, strangely enough, is a closely guarded secret. In order to better keep this secret, it is decided that his servant and warder had best not be a native Gorean. Rediscover this brilliantly imagined world where men are masters and women live to serve their every desire. Witness of Gor is the 26th book in the Gorean Saga, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
About the Author
John Norman, born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1931, is the creator of the Gorean Saga, the longest-running series of adventure novels in science fiction history. Starting in December 1966 with Tarnsman of Gor , the series was put on hold after its twenty-fifth installment, Magicians of Gor , in 1988, when DAW refused to publish its successor, Witness of Gor. After several unsuccessful attempts to find a trade publishing outlet, the series was brought back into print in 2001. Norman has also produced a separate science fiction series, the Telnarian Histories, plus two other fiction works ( Ghost Dance and Time Slave ), a nonfiction paperback ( Imaginative Sex ), and a collection of thirty short stories, entitled Norman Invasions. The Totems of Abydos was published in spring 2012. All of Norman’s work is available both in print and as ebooks. The Internet has proven to be a fertile ground for the imagination of Norman’s ever-growing fan base, and at Gor Chronicles (www.gorchronicles.com), a website specially created for his tremendous fan following, one may read everything there is to know about this unique fictional culture. Norman is married and has three children.
Read an Excerpt
Witness of Gor
The Gorean Saga: Book 26
By John Norman
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 2001 John Norman
All rights reserved.
I looked about. No one was looking.
I crossed the perimeter of small, sharpened stones, a foot or so deep, about ten feet wide, which lined the interior wall of the garden. This hurt my feet, which were small, and soft, and bare. Even the soles of our feet must be soft, and this is seen to, by creams and lotions, and the nature of the surfaces upon which we are permitted to walk, such things.
It was during the heat of the day.
The bangles on my left ankle made a tiny sound, and I stopped, looking about. I was frightened. But no one saw. How pleased I was that I had not been belled! Normally it is a new girl, or even a free woman, who is belled. To be sure, we may be belled at any time, and, naturally, if it is wished, kept that way. But usually one is belled, if at all, in serving, or in the dance. To be sure, it is sometimes required of us in the furs. Bells have many purposes, as might be supposed. Only one of these is security, making it easy, for example, to detect the presence, the movements, of a girl. This is particularly useful at night. One of the reasons, too, why new girls, and sometimes free women, may be belled is that they may begin to understand what they are, or are likely to become. This is not hard to understand when one has bells locked on one's limbs. What sort of girl or woman would be belled? Later, of course, bells are unnecessary for such a purpose. Later, obviously, there will be no doubt as to what one is, either in the minds of others or in one's own mind.
I crept to the wall and put my fingers to the smooth, marbled surface. I looked upward. The wall was some forty feet high. There are trees in the garden, of course, but they are not placed in proximity to the wall. One could not use them, thus, even if they were tall enough, to obtain access to its height. The wall, I had been told, was some ten feet in thickness. I did not know, considering the fashion in which I had been brought here, but presumably only the interior side was marbled. I had been told that the foundation of the wall extended several feet below the surface of the ground. The height of the wall, now that I backed from it, I could see was surmounted by incurved blades. I shuddered. Presumably some similar arrangement, perhaps outcurved blades, characterized its exterior side.
I moved the armlet on my left arm a bit higher on my arm. It was warm to the touch. Many of the others were resting. I looked about. I did not want anyone to see me near the wall. We were not to approach the wall. The sun was reflecting against the wall. The glare hurt my eyes. We were forbidden to cross the perimeter of sharpened stones.
I wore a brief wisp of yellow silk, fastened at the left shoulder, my only garment. Two bracelets were on my right wrist. I did not mind the silk. Indeed, I was grateful for it. It had only been permitted to me a few days ago. Too, of course, as I have indicated, the weather was warm. I brushed back my hair. I have brown hair, and brown eyes. My hair was now long. It was now below the small of my back. This is not untypical. Many of the others had hair even longer.
I looked, again, at the wall, so smooth and sheer. It had a lovely pattern in its marbling, but this pattern, through the glare of the sun, could not be seen to its advantage. I looked up, again, at the lofty, formidable height of the wall. The wall seemed very smooth. Surely no purchase could be gained there. And the wall was very high. And there were the knives at its summit.
Behind me, in the interior of the garden, I could hear the soft splashing of the fountain. It was set among the trees, and its spill fed into the pool.
I looked again at the wall.
I heard voices, coming from the house. As swiftly as I could, wincing, hurting myself on the stones, I withdrew from the wall. It was my intention to circle about, through the shrubbery, and the tiny, lovely trees of the garden, to the vicinity of the fountain.CHAPTER 2
It is difficult to comprehend such realities.
I had screamed, of course, but I had had no assurance that I would be heard.
Indeed, I suspected that I would not be heard, or, if heard, that I would be merely ignored. I suspected, immediately, that my own will, my own feelings, and desires, were no longer of importance, at least to others. And even more profoundly, more frighteningly, I suddenly suspected that I myself, objectively, had now become unimportant. I realized that I might have value, of course, in some sense or other, for I found myself, and in a certain fashion, in this place, but this is not the same sort of thing as being important. I was no longer important. That is a strange feeling. It is not, of course, and I want you to understand this, that I had ever been important in any of the usual senses of "important," such as being powerful, or rich, or well-known. That is not it at all. No, it was rather in another sense of "important" that I suspected or, I think, better, realized, that I was no longer important. I had now become unimportant, rather as a flower is unimportant, or a dog.
It is difficult to comprehend such realities, the darkness, the collar, the chains.
I had screamed, of course, but, almost immediately, I stopped, more fearing that I might be heard, than not heard.
I crouched there, shuddering. I tried to collect my wits.
My neck hurt, for I had jerked, frightened, against the collar, turning it, abrasively, on my neck.
I do not think that I had realized fully, in the first instant, or so, though I must have been aware of it on some level, that it was on me. Perhaps I had, in that first instant, refused to admit the recognition to my full consciousness, or had immediately forced it from my consciousness. Perhaps I had simply put it from my mind, rejecting the very possibility, refusing to believe anything so improbable. And in consequence I had hurt myself, unnecessarily, foolishly.
I felt it, in the darkness. It fitted closely, and was heavy. I could not begin to slip it. A ring was attached to it, and a chain was attached to this ring, running, as I discovered, to another ring, fastened to a plate, apparently bolted into the wall.
My wrists were also confined. I wore metal cuffs, joined by some inches of chain. My ankles, by metal anklets, linked by a bit of chain, were similarly secured.
I crouched in the darkness, terrified.
I felt the collar again. It was closed by means of a heavy lock, part of the collar itself. It would thus, presumably, respond to a key. The cuffs and anklets, on the other hand, were quite different. They had apparently been simply closed about my limbs, closed by some considerable force, perhaps that of a machine, or even, perhaps, unthinkably primitive though it might seem, by the blows of a hammer on an anvil. They were of flat, heavy, straplike metal. They had no hinges. Perhaps they had begun as partly opened circles into which my limbs had been thrust, circles which had then been, by some means, closed about my limbs, confining them. They did not have hinges. There was no sign of a place for the insertion of a key. They clasped me well. It would be impossible to remove them without tools. I could thus be freed from the collar, and the wall, quite simply, by means of the key. I could not be rid so simply, of course, of my other bonds. This suggested to me that I might be, in the near future, removed from this place, but that no similar indulgence might be expected with respect to my other bonds. I wondered who held the key to my collar. I suspected that it might be merely one of many keys, or, perhaps, a key to many similar locks. It would doubtless be held by a subordinate, or agent. The key to a collar such as mine, I suspected, would not be likely to be held personally by anyone of importance. The will by the rule of which, by the decision of which, I, and perhaps others, might be confined would doubtless be remote from the instrumentalities by means of which the dictates of that will would be enacted. As far as I knew I did not have any enemies, and I did not believe that I had ever, really, truly offended anyone. I suspected, accordingly, that what had happened to me was in its nature not personal, at all, but was, rather, objective and, in its way, perhaps quite impersonal. Accordingly, although I did not doubt that I was here because of something about me, perhaps because of some properties or other, and thusly, doubtlessly, for some reason, I did not think that the matter really had anything to do with me in a truly personal sense. I suspected it had to do rather with a kind, or a sort, of which kind, or sort, I was presumably an example.
What had become of me?
What was I now?
I dared not conjecture, but knew.
The place where I was damp, and cold. I did not wish to be there. I did not want to be in such a place. I heard water dripping from somewhere, probably from the ceiling. I felt about, in the darkness. Near me, as I brushed aside straw, I discovered two shallow, bowl-like depressions in the floor. My fingers touched water in one. In the other there was something like a bit of damp meal, surely no more than a handful, and a curl of something, like a damp crust.
I lay back down, in the damp straw, on my right side. I pulled up my knees, and put my head on the back of my left hand.
I would certainly not drink from such a source, nor eat from such a place.
I pulled a little at the chain, that attached to the collar on my neck. I could feel the force, small as it was, transmitted through the chain, to the collar, the collar then drawing against the back of my neck.
Once footsteps passed, in what I supposed must be a corridor outside. I lay there, very quietly, not daring to move. I saw, for a moment, as the footsteps passed, a crack of light beneath the door. Until that time I did not know the location of the door. The light was some form of natural light, that of a candle, a lamp, a lantern, I did not know. As it passed I saw some of the straw on my side of the door. The door, as one could tell from the light, it revealing the thickness of the beams, was a heavy one. Also, along its bottom, reinforcing that portion of the door, one could detect a heavy, bolted band. It seemed likely, too, of course, that the door might be reinforced similarly at other points. These things, the light, the nature of the door, seemed to fit in well with the primitive confinements in which I found myself.
I then, trembling, put my head down again.
Perhaps, I thought, I should have called out, as someone, or something, had passed.
Of course, that is what must be done!
But when the steps returned, I was again absolutely quiet, terrified. As the steps passed, I did not even breathe. I remained absolutely still. I was frightened, even, that the metal on my body, in which I was so helpless, might make some tiny sound. I did not want, even by so small a sound, to attract attention to myself. It was not that I doubted that whoever, or whatever, was out there was well aware of where I was, and how I was. It was merely that I did not want to draw attention to myself. I would later be taught ways in which it is suitable to draw attention to oneself, and ways in which it is not suitable to draw attention to oneself. On this occasion I am confident that my instincts were quite correct. Indeed, they have seldom, if ever, betrayed me.
I gasped with relief, as the steps passed.
To be sure, but a moment later, I again castigated myself, at having neglected this opportunity of inquiry or protest. Indeed, shortly after the steps had passed, I scrambled to my knees! I must be angry! I must pound upon the door! I must call out! I must insist upon attention! I must demand to see someone! I must demand release! I must bluster and threaten! I must attempt to confuse my jailers, and terrify them into compliance with my will! If necessary, I must appeal to undoubted legalities!
But I could not pound upon the door, of course. I could not even reach the door. I had not been chained in such a way as to make that possible. And I did not doubt but what that was no accident.
I struggled to my feet, bent over. I could not stand fully upright, because of the chain on my neck. I put my hand up. It touched the ceiling. I had not realized the ceiling was that low. I then lay down, again. I was alarmed, and dismayed. The area in which I was confined was not so much a cell, as something else. It was more in the nature of a kennel.
My mood, or fit, of indignation, or resolve, of protest, of momentary righteousness, of transitory belligerence, such a futile bellicosity, soon passed. Save for the sounds of a bit of chain it had been silent. I supposed I had thought I owed it to my background, or my conditioning program. To be sure, I suspected that neither of these was likely to be particularly germane, or helpful, with respect to my current plight, or, more likely, condition. It was not merely that it seems somehow inappropriate, or silly, and likely to be ineffective, to adopt a posture of belligerence when has a chain on one's neck, and cannot even stand upright. It was rather that, given my current situation, chained and confined as I was, it seemed to me that any such pleas, or demands, or such, would be absurd. Doubtless decisions had already been made, pertinent to me. Matters, in effect, like those of nature, had doubtless already been set in motion. If there had been a time when such threats, or protests, might have been effective, it was doubtless long past. Too, I did not doubt, somehow, but what I was not the only one, such as myself, in this place. The chains, the ring, the depressions in the floor, the apparently small, close, nature of the area of my confinement, the incomprehensibility of my being here, except perhaps as one of a group, perhaps similar to myself, all suggested this. Let others, if they wish, I thought, adopt such postures. For myself, not only did I not find them congenial, given my nature, but, too, I was afraid, distinctly, that they might not be found acceptable, unless perhaps, very briefly, at the beginning, as a source for amusement. Too, I considered the nature of legalities. One tends, if naive, to think of those legalities with which one is most familiar as being somehow the only ones possible. This view, of course, is quite mistaken. This is not to deny that all civilizations, and cultures, have their customs and legalities. It is only to remark that they need not be the same. Indeed, the legalities with which I was most familiar, as they stood in contradiction to nature, constituted, I supposed, in their way, an aberration of legalities. They were, at the least, uncharacteristic of most cultures, and historically untypical. To be sure, if the intent is to contradict nature rather than fulfill her, there was doubtless much point to them. Thusly, that they produced human pain and social chaos, with all the miseries attendant thereupon, would not be seen as an objection to them but rather as the predictable result of their excellence in the light of their objectives. But not all legalities, of course, need have such objectives. As I lay there in the darkness, in my chains, and considered the factuality and simplicity of my predicament, and the apparently practical and routine aspects of my helplessness and incarceration, I suspected that my current situation was not at all likely to be in violation of legalities. Rather I suspected it was in full and conscious accord with them. I suspected that I was now, or soon would be, enmeshed in legalities. To be sure, these would be different legalities from those with which I was most familiar. These would be, I suspected, legalities founded not on politics, but biology.
I was now very hungry. But I would not, of course, drink from a depression in a floor, nor soil my lips with whatever edible grime might be found in an adjacent depression.
I was cold, and helpless.
Excerpted from Witness of Gor by John Norman. Copyright © 2001 John Norman. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
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