Free Women - Attitudes and Actions
These are relevant references from the Books where Attitudes and Actions are mentioned as they pertain to Free Women.
I make no pronouncements on these matters, but report them as I find them.
Arrive at your own conclusions.
I wish you well,
Elizabeth, besides speaking boldly out on a large number of delicate civic, social and political issues, usually not regarded as the Province of the fairer sex, categorically refused to wear the cumbersome Robes of Concealment traditionally expected of the free woman. She still wore the brief, exciting leather of a Tuchuk wagon girl and, when striding the high bridges, her hair in the wind, she attracted much attention, not only, obviously, from the men, but from women, both slave and free.
Then he turned her about, and kissed her. She melted to him, her lips to his. I do not know how else to express it. I have never seen it in a free woman. I have seen it only in slave girls, at the lips of their masters.
"The document," said Marlenus, "was not forged. Talena, by the permissions of Verna, and by way of Mira, Verna's messenger, with whom I dealt, sued for her purchase, such not being the act of a free woman."
A free woman may go days or weeks without the touch of her companion. For a slave girl, who has learned her collar, this would be almost unspeakable misery.
"I found this slave in the forest," said Verna. About her own neck she still wore Marlenus' collar.
He looked at her. She looked at him fearlessly. As an unveiled free woman, not as a slave.
"It is a wonder that any man will follow you!" cried Talena. "You betrayed your codes! You are a coward! A fool! You are not worthy of me! That you dare ask me if I could care for such as you, is to me, a free woman an insult! You chose slavery to death!"
Hilda, of course was a free woman. For her to heel was an incredible humiliation.
The Forkbeard started off again, and then again stopped. Again, Hilda followed him as before.
"She is heeling!" laughed Ottar.
There were tears of rage in Hilda's eyes. What he said, of course, was true. She was heeling. On his ship the Forkbeard had taught her, though a free woman, to heel.
Whereas it commonly takes a third of an Ahn to arouse a free woman female slave is often responsive from almost the first touch of the master.
It is not unusual to give an entire day to sport with a female slave, something unthinkable with a free woman.
Women who have not been previously owned, like free women, for the most part, even if naked and collared, do not yet understand their sexuality. That can only be taught to them by a man, they helpless, in his power. An unowned girl, a free woman, thus, can never experience her full sexuality. A corollary to this, of course, is that a man who has never had an owned woman in his arms does not understand the full power of his manhood. Sexual heat, it might be mentioned, is looked upon in free women with mixed feelings; it is commanded, however, in a slave girl. Passion, it is thought, deprives the free woman to some extent of her freedom and important self-control; it is frowned upon because it makes her behave, to some extent, like a degraded female slave; free women, thus, to protect their honor and dignity, their freedom and personhood, their individuality, must fight passion; the slave girl, of course, is not entitled to this privilege; it is denied to her, both by her society and her master; while the free woman must remain cool and in control of herself, even in the arms of her companion, to avoid being truly "had," the slave girl is permitted no such luxury; her control is in the hands of her master, and she must, upon the mere word of her master, surrender herself, writhing, to the humiliating heats of a degraded slave girl's ecstasy. Only when a woman is owned can she be fully enjoyed.
When she does yield to the master, her guts half torn out with the love of him, then, of course, she is a more satisfactory slave. These indignities, of course, are not inflicted on free women. They are permitted to go through life with their eyes half closed, so to speak. In this way they can maintain their self-respect. Sometimes inert, esteemed Gorean free women cry out in rage, not understanding why their companions have forsaken them for the evening, to go to the paga tavern; there, of course, for the price of a cup of paga, he can get his hands on a silken, belled girl, a slave; the free woman must denounce her companion, crying out, for his lusts; too busy for this, however, are the sweet, dark-eyed, sensuous sluts of the paga tavern; they do not have time to denounce the lusts of their master's customers; they are too busy serving and satisfying them.
"There is a difference," laughed Hassan, "between the pride of a free woman and the pride of the slave girl. The pride of a free woman is the pride of a woman who feels herself to be the equal of a man. The pride of the slave girl is the pride of the girl who knows that no other woman is the equal of herself."
It was not as though she were a free woman whose anger might have significance, might even issue in actions or words, free from the reprisals of discipline.
Some girls attempt to flee to the greenwood forests of the north. In such forests, in certain territories, there roam bands of free women, the lithe, ferocious Panther Girls of Gor, but these despise and hate women not of their own fierce ilk; in particular do they revile and hold in contempt girls, beauties, who have been slaves to men; should such a girl, fleeing enter the cool vastness of their green domain, she is commonly hunted down like a tabuk doe and cruelly captured; the forests are not for such as she; she is tethered and bound, and often lashed, then driven by switches helplessly to the shores of Thassa or the banks of the Laurius, and then sold back to men, usually for weapons or candy.
His collar, I had heard, was one of the most sought collars in Ar.
When he strode through the streets free women sometimes threw themselves before him, tearing away their veils and robes, begging for his collar.
The lust of Gorean males has much to do, doubtless, with the robes of concealment worn in most cities by Gorean free women. They would not wish the casual, inadvertent flirtation of an accidentally exposed ankle to lead to their hunt, capture and enslavement.
The Lady Elicia, as I soon discovered, and had earlier suspected, despised and hated men. Yet, too, she found them, somehow, intensely fascinating and intriguing. Often she asked me questions which a slave girl might respond to intimately and easily if asked by another slave girl, but which were difficult to respond to if asked by a free woman. She would ask questions about the tethering and chaining of slaves, and their feelings, and what men made them do and how they were expected to speak and behave. She wanted to know intimate details of such things as what it was like to be a peasant's girl and what men exacted of girls in a paga tavern. I tried to answer her honestly. She would profess rage and indignation. "Yes, Mistress," I would murmur, putting my head down.
Sex in a woman is a very subtle and profound thing; she is capable of deep and sustained pleasures which might be the envy of any vital organism. These pleasures, of course, can be used by a man to make her a helpless prisoner and slave. Perhaps that is why free women guard themselves so sternly against them.
"What are you talking about?" she demanded. "Give me my clothing," she demanded angrily.
Again the points of the two spears pressed against her abdomen. Again they penetrated the loosely woven cloth. Again she stepped back, for the moment disconcerted.
I gathered that she had been accustomed to having her demands met by men.
When a woman speaks in that tone of voice to a man of Earth he generally hastens to do her bidding. He has been conditioned so. Here, however, her proven Earth techniques seemed ineffectual, and this puzzled her, and angered her, and, I think, to an extent frightened her. What if men did not do her bidding? She was smaller and weaker, and beautiful and desirable. What if she discovered that it were she, and not they, who must do now what was bidden, and with perfection? A woman who spoke in that tone to a Gorean man, if she were not a free woman, would find herself instantly whipped to his feet.
The sexuality of a free woman is largely inert; the sexuality of a slave girl, on the other hand, has been deliberately and seriously activated.
The sexuality of the aroused slave girl is incomprehensible to the free woman. It is nothing she will ever understand. It is a color she cannot see, a sound she cannot hear.
"Frigidity is a neurotic luxury," I told her. "It is allowed only to free woman, probably because no one cares that much about them. Indeed, frigidity is one of the titles and permissions implicated in the lofty status of a free woman. For many it is, in effect, their proudest possession. It distinguishes them from the lowly slave girl. It proves to themselves and others that they are free. Should they be enslaved, of course, it is, for better or for worse, taken from them, like their property and their clothing."
"Not all free women are frigid," she said.
"Of course not," I said, "but there is actually a scale, so to speak, in such matters. But just as some free women are insufficiently inert, or cold, to qualify, strictly, as frigid, perhaps to their chagrin, so none of them, I think, are sufficiently ignited to qualify in the ranges of "slave-girl hot," so to speak. A free woman's sexuality may generally be thought of in terms of degrees of inertness, or coolness; a slave girl's sexuality, on the other hand, may generally be thought of in terms of degrees of responsive passion, or heat. Some slave girls are hotter than others, of course, just as some free women are less cold than others, whether this pleases them or not. Whereas the free woman normally maintains a plateau of frigidity, however, the slave girl will usually increase in degrees of heat, this a function of her master, his strength, her training, and such. The slave girl grows in passion; the free woman languishes in her frigidity, congratulating herself on the starvation of her needs."
"Do free women know what they are missing?" she asked.
"I think, on some level, they do," I said. "Else the resentment and hatred they bear the slave girl would be inexplicable."
"I see," she said.
"Beware the free woman," I said.
"Yes, Master," she said.
"A slave should be proud of her heat," I said. "You are not a free woman, permitted to be smug in the icy conceit of her frigidity."
"Love is found more often among slave girls than free women," I said. "If you would learn love, learn slavery."
"So do not be surprised, in your servitude," I said, "that you find men strong. Simply to look upon you, a beautiful slave, will commonly be enough to stimulate their lust. You are no longer a free woman, filled with her rigidities and negativities, for whom it is permissible to be irritating and boring. No. You are a lovely slave. Looking upon you men will want you. They will want to buy you. They will want to own you."
"No," she said, "I would not like to be returned to Earth. I have never been so sensuously alive as here, at the mercy of men. I pity even the free women of this world, who cannot know the joys and loves of the female slave. I do not wish to return to Earth, to adopt again the role of pretending to be a man. What has Earth to offer that is worth more than joy and happiness?"
I went to the rear of the come line and took the last girl on the line gently in my arms. I put my lips, gently, to hers. They were cool, in the cold night. Yet beneath mine they yielded, as a slave's. Already had she who had been the Lady Rosa learned much. There is a difference between the kiss of the free woman and the kiss of the slave girl; the slave girl yields to her master; the difference is unmistakable. It is said that he whose lips have never touched those of a slave girl does not know, truly, what it is to hold a woman in his arms.
This type of response, however, however natural on Earth in such a situation, would not be feasible on Gor in a slave. Gorean free women, of course, may do what they wish. The slave girl, on the other hand, does not compete with the master, but serves him.
The female slave, in the fullness of her womanhood, and helplessness, attains heights of passion from which the free woman, in her pride and dignity, is forever barred. She is not a man's slave.
Frigidity is accepted by Goreans only in free women. Slave fires, of course, lurk in every woman. It is only a question of arousing them.
"As a free woman," she said, "sometimes, late at night, or in my dreams, I had dimly sensed what might be the sexuality of the slave girl, but I had never remotely understood it could be anything like that, anything so overwhelming, so helpless, so total."
"After a woman has felt anything like that," she said, "how could she ever go back to being free?"
"Not many would receive the opportunity," I told her.
She laughed. It was true. Gorean men, on the whole, do not free slaves. The freeing of a girl is almost unheard of. This makes sense. They are not free women. They are belongings, valuables, slaves, treasures. Who discards precious possessions, who surrenders treasures? If the slave girl were worth less perhaps she would be freed more. She is too marvelous to free; and if she is not marvelous, she can be slain. Too, what man who has known the glory and joy of a girl at his feet is likely to wish to exchange that for the inconvenience and bother of a free woman?
"Do you think free women could have felt what you felt?" I asked.
"Never," she said, "for they are not slaves." She looked up at me. "What I felt were the feelings of a slave in the arms of her master. Those are feelings no free woman will ever know."
"Unless she is put in bondage," I said.
"Yes, Master," she smiled. Then she said, "How I pity them, those poor free woman, such as I was. How ignorant they are. No wonder they are so hostile to men. Would not any woman hate a man who did not have the strength to put her in a collar?"
"Surely free women, too, have emotions," I said.
"I was free," she said. "I did not know what it was to feel until I became a slave. I was free. There was no need to feel, or be aware. But this has changed since I became a slave. I must now be sensitive to the feelings of others. I have never been so aware of other human beings as now. And I cannot always have my way, and I must yield to male domination. I can be commanded, and I must obey, and be pleasing. This answers to something very deep in me, Master."
The slave girl moves, and carries herself, differently from a free woman. This is evident in such small things as fetching a cup for her master or in pouring his wine. These movements, and bodily attitudes and postures, subtle and beautiful, difficult to fully disguise, have betrayed more than one slave beauty who, disguised as a free woman, has sought to flee a city.
"The slave girl must honestly expose her needs," I said. "The hypocrisy of the free woman, her concealment, her subterfuges, her lies, are not permitted to the female slave."
"Is she free?" asked Ayari.
"No," said Kisu.
"Have her put her arms over her head, wrists back to back," said Ayari.
"Do so," said Kisu.
The lovely posture which Tende had just assumed was undeniably one of the initial postures of certain slave dances.
No free woman, for example, would dare to place herself in such a position before Gorean free men, unless perhaps, weary of her misery and frustration, she was begging them, almost explicitly, to put her in a collar. There are many stories of Gorean free women, sometimes of high caste, who, as a lark or in a spirit of bold play, dared to dance in a paga tavern. Often, perhaps to their horror, they found themselves that very night hooded and gagged, locked in close chains, lying on their back, their legs drawn up, fastened in a wagon, chained by the neck and ankles, their small bodies bruised on its rough boards as they, helpless beneath a rough tarn blanket, are carried through the gates of their city.
"I was terribly angry," she said. "'Never have I been so insulted!' I said to him. 'I hate you!' I cried. He smiled at me. 'Being troublesome and displeasing is acceptable in a free woman,' he said. 'Be troublesome and displeasing while you may. It will not be permitted to you later.'
"Yes," she said. "They are stinking, meaningless, lascivious little sluts who have been as slaves in the arms of Gorean men. It has spoiled them for freedom. They are worthless, sensuous little beasts whose passions Gorean men have seen fit, as cruel masters, to ignite. Their sexuality, their shamelessness, their needs, their helplessness, makes them an insult to free women.
Lola looked up at me, tears in her eyes. Slavery, I suddenly suspected, releases femaleness in the woman. I did not suppose that Gorean free women could have brought themselves to this pitch of exposure, vulnerability and excitement, which was perhaps not unusual for a slave girl. The major difference then, I suspected, lay not so much between the Gorean woman and the Earth woman, but between the free woman and the slave.
"Do you still think your Mistress should be a slave girl?" she asked.
"Yes, Mistress," I said, through gritted teeth.
"Why?" she demanded.
"Because you are exciting and beautiful," I said.
"Flattering slave!" she laughed.
I did not speak.
"But I am exciting and beautiful as a free woman," she said.
"It is true, Mistress," I said. "But the excitement and beauty of a free woman is as nothing compared to the excitement and beauty of a slave girl."
"Beast!" she laughed. But I think she knew that it was true.
"If you would improve your situation somewhat," he said, "I recommend that you learn the arts of the slave girl, and practice them with diligence."
"That would only improve my situation somewhat?" she asked, puzzled.
"Yes," he said, "for you would still be free, and no free woman, because she is free, can truly compete for the attention and affection of a man as can a slave girl."
"Why?" she asked.
"I do not know," said Turbus Veminius. "Perhaps it is simply because the slave girl is a slave girl, truly, and is owned."
Frigidity is a neurotic luxury which Goreans do not see fit to indulge in female slaves. It is permitted only to free women.
"No," she said. "No!" She regarded me, in fury. "Can you not simply look upon me and see that I am free?"
"Perhaps if I saw you in the robes of concealment, and veiled, being carried in a palanquin through the streets of Vonda by slaves," I said, "I would think you free."
"It has nothing to do with such things!" she said. "Free women are different from slave girls. They are simply different! Free woman are noble and fine! Slave girls are only meaningless, lascivious, sensuous, little sluts!"
"I fear," she said, "that I will never be able to make the transition between a free woman and a slave."
I laughed at her, and she looked up, angrily.
"There is in actuality no transition for you to make," I told her.
"Why?" she asked.
"Because you are a woman," I told her.
"What you have done to me," she said, "is irreversible. I can never go back, now, knowing what I do, to being a proud free woman."
To the Gorean free woman the joys of the slave girl, though they may be despised and disparaged, are at least culturally not unknown, and are the envy of such free women. To the Earth woman, on the other hand, who finds herself in the collar of a Gorean master, such joys come as a revelation. Only in her wildest and most secret dreams had she dared even to suspect their existence. Then she finds herself a slave girl.
The girl who was serving as the small brunet's keeper withdrew from the chest, and shook out, a flimsy, tiny, diaphanous snatch of yellow pleasure silk. It was the sort of garment which, commonly, would be worn only by the most lascivious of dancing slaves writhing before strong, rude men in the lowest taverns on Gor. Free women had been known to faint at the sight, or touch, of such cloth. In many cities it is a crime to bring such cloth into contact with the flesh of free women. It is just too exciting, and sensuous.
The slave girl, it might be mentioned, in connection with the "releasing effects" of the collar, is relieved of many social pressures to which the free woman, because of her freedom, must remain subject. The free woman, for example, may fear that men will learn of her sexual vitality. It would not do for her for them to know that she, that lofty creature, on the couch, is a helpless, panting, licking she-sleen. The slave girl, on the other hand, does not have this problem. She knows that she belongs to a category of women toward which respect need not be shown, and will not be shown.
A third reason why girls tend to wear their collars with pleasure and pride, aside from the attractiveness of the collar and its seductiveness, is seldom mentioned. That is, that the collar, in its way, functions as a symbol of interesting differences among women. It, like a wired seal of quality, attests to the value of the merchandise upon which it is fastened. "Beautiful enough to he collared" is a Gorean compliment, though perhaps a rather rude one, and one that one would not be likely to hear addressed openly and to the face of a free woman. "She has legs pretty enough to be those of a slave girl" is another such compliment. If the free woman should hear such compliments she will he scandalized. But she may also wonder if, indeed, she is beautiful enough to be collared, and if, indeed, her legs are as pretty as those of a slave girl. If, at some later time, she is collared, she will then, for all practical purposes, have the answers to her questions. Normally it is only the finest, and the most feminine and desirable of women who are enslaved. This makes sense.
The collar, thus, particularly statistically, is a symbol of excellence and quality, of value, among women. It says, in effect, "Here is a woman whom men have wanted. Here is a woman whom men have found beautiful enough, and desirable enough, to enslave." The slave girl, in her tunic and collar, trembling, kneels in the street before the ornately robed, arrogant, imperious free woman. Perhaps she is even struck or kicked by her. But who, truly, is the superior woman? Many Goreans believe that it is the girl who kneels on the stones.
As a free woman she had been, in effect, without accomplishments. Now she had additional ways in which to please her master. She now knelt behind her master. She wore a yellow tunic, and her collar.
It is a well-known fact that the mere sight of chains can make many women, even free women, sexually uneasy. Imagine if they were put in them. The chain, like the rope and the strap, and the whip, even when they have no reason to believe they will ever be used on them, speak on some profound level to women. Imagine, then, that a woman, falling slave, suddenly realized that she was now, in effect, subject to them! Consider her fears, her curiosity, her arousal A woman, often, particularly if stripped, seeing a chain and knowing that it is to be placed upon her, will feel uncontrollable sexual desire, her body opening like a humid flower in its receptivity. That response can characterize even a free woman. Imagine, then, if you will, that now the woman is not free, but has fallen slave! She now knows that she is subject, categorically and in all ways, to the full domination of the master. No longer does she have even the theoretical option of offering a token resistance. Open, enraptured, joyful, she writhes moaning and crying out on the furs of love, a conquered slave, a fulfilled woman.
A familiar bit of advice given by bold Gorean physicians to free women who consult them about their frigidity is, to their scandal, "Learn slave dance." Another bit of advice, usually given to a free woman being ushered out of his office by a physician impatient with her imaginary ailments is, "Become a slave." Frigidity, of course, is not accepted in slaves. If nothing else, it will be beaten out of their beautiful hides by whips.
The lovely figures of slave girls are not accidents. Only free women are permitted to become unkempt and gross.
I looked down at her, on her belly, her small hands chained behind her. The passions of the female slave are a mystery to many free women who, unaroused and sexually inert, never collared and owned, cannot even understand them; to most free women, of course, the passions of the female slave are not so much a mystery as a source of envy and fury; she senses that they, deep and precious, making the slave so helpless and vulnerable, are far beyond anything which she herself possesses. Sometimes, perhaps, twisting on her couch at night in frustration, the free woman may dimly sense what it is to be an aroused slave, a woman so much at the mercy of men, and so precious and beautiful to them; the free woman clenches her fists and moans; the slave may throw herself to the feet of men and beg to please them, as she cannot.
"I betrayed myself," she said.
"Let us think clearly about this matter," I suggested.
"Your assertion might be construed as meaning that you had committed some treason against yourself; or, perhaps, as meaning merely that you had revealed, or manifested, yourself. Let us consider, first, the matter of treason. A free woman might, possibly, feel that she had betrayed herself, in this sense, if she had so yielded to a man as to supply him with some perhaps subtle hint as to the latency of her slave reflexes. A slave girl, on the other hand, cannot commit treason against herself in this sense, for she is a slave. To commit this type of treason one must have a right, say, to deceive others as to one's sensuality, to conceal one's sexuality, and so on. The slave girl, an owned animal, under the command of her master, does not have this sort of right. Indeed, she has no rights. Accordingly, she cannot commit this sort of treason. Her legal status precludes its possibility. She may, of course, rationally, fear the consequences of her responsiveness being discovered, thus increasing, perhaps to her terror, in a slave culture, her desirability. Similarly she may lie, or attempt to lie, about her responsiveness, but she is then, of course, merely a lying slave and, when found out, will be treated accordingly."
"Such treason, then," she said, "can be committed only by a free woman."
"Yes," I said. "It is a luxury not permitted to the slave."
"It is a function only of the free woman's right to lie, and defraud, others?" she asked.
"Yes," I said. "It is possible, of course, for the slave, subjectively, psychologically, to feel that she has committed this treason, for she may, mistakenly, be still regarding herself, implicitly, as a free woman."
"But she cannot, in fact, have committed it, because she is a slave?" asked the girl.
"Yes," I said.
"I understand, Master," she said, bitterly.
"You see," I said, "you were still regarding yourself, implicitly, at least at the moment, as a free woman, or, perhaps better, more narrowly, as retaining at least one of the rights of a free woman."
"I am not to be beaten, am I, Master?" she asked.
"Not at the moment, at least," I informed her.
"An ignorant free woman is a commonplace," I said. "An ignorant slave is an absurdity."
"You are not a wasted free woman," I said. "You are a slave. You must earn your keep."
"The free woman," I said, "lies down, and waits to see what will happen. The female slave kneels beside her master, and begs to please him. The free woman deems it sufficient that she should exist, the slave girl, on the other hand, is expected not only to exist, but to excel; indeed, she fears only, commonly, that she may not be sufficiently marvelous for her master. It is little wonder that most men find the free woman, in her inertness, her ignorance and arrogance, boring. It is little wonder that most men prefer to order her rival to their furs, the helpless, collared, curvaceous, lascivious, feminine slave."
"I was once a free woman," said the girl.
"There is hope for the free woman," I said. "She may be put in a collar, and stripped, and made subject to the whip. She may then, enslaved, be trained, too, for the pleasure of men."
"Yes, Master," whispered the girl.
"Sometimes, metaphorically, in English, however," I said, "a distinction is drawn between the virgin and the woman, a distinction which is almost Gorean in tone. Strictly, of course, in English, one might be both a woman and a virgin."
"Do Goreans speak freely of these things?" she asked.
"Free persons do not commonly speak freely of them," I said. "For example, whether a free woman is glana or falarina is obviously her business, and no one else's. Such intimate matters are well within the prerogatives of her privacy."
Slave girls must yield, and fully, to any man. Their entire mental set, so to speak, in the furs, is oriented toward providing the master with marvelous pleasures, and, in their own case, to feel as richly and deeply as possible, and, in the end, in an uncompromised and delicious capitulation, submitting fully to their master, to obtain the surrender spasms of one who is merely a vanquished woman, naught but an owned and degraded slave. This is quite different from the mental set taken by the free woman to the furs, of course, with attendant deleterious consequences for the free woman, in so far as any woman could be called free who is not surrendered and owned. The free woman is expected to pervert her nature in the furs, behaving as a cultural identical rather than as what she is by nature, the servant and slave of her master. It is littlie wonder that the free woman, concerned with her putative identicality, her status, her image, her dignity and pride, is often inhibited and sexually inert in the furs. The Goreans say that if one has never had a slave one has never had a woman. Similarly there is a secret saying, among Gorean men, that no female is a woman, who has not been made a slave. The free woman, often, fears to feel. The slave, on the other hand, fears not to feel, for she may then, in all likelihood, be punished. The same frigidity which may be accounted a virtue among free women, figuring in their vanity competitions, how well they can resist men, is commonly among slaves an occasion for the imposition of severe discipline; it can even constitute a capital offense. The degraded slave has little choice but to yield, and yield well. An interesting question arises as to whether a woman, permitted her own will in the matter, as a slave is not, can be forced to yield. There are two answers to this question, and the division between the answers is primarily a function of the time involved. Within a given amount of time, say, half of an Ahn, some women can resist some men. On the other hand, there will be some men whom they cannot resist and to whom, despite their will in the matter, they will find themselves uncontrollably yielding. Given a longer amount of time, however, any woman may be made to yield, whether she wishes to or not, by any man. Sometimes, after such a yielding, she is then collared. "Resistance is now no longer permitted," he tells her. "Yes, Master," she says. She now knows that she, as a slave, must open herself to feeling, and even seek it avidly, even knowing whence it leads, to the acknowledgement of the male as her master, and of her as his slave.
I well understood, now, why free women could not be permitted to see such a dance. It was the dance of a slave. How horrified, how scandalized, they would have been. Better that they not even know such things could exist. Such dances, that such things could be, are doubtless best kept as the secrets of masters and slaves. Too, how furious, how outraged, they would be, to see how beautiful, how exciting and desirable another woman could be, a thousand times more beautiful, exciting and desirable than themselves, and one who was naught but a slave. But then how could any free woman compete with a slave, one who is truly mastered and owned?
A free woman, understandably, cannot even begin to compete with a female slave for a man's love. That is perhaps another reason why free women so hate their vulnerable, imbonded sisters. If a free woman would assure herself of her man's love she could not do better than, in effect, become his slave. She can beg of him, if she senses in herself the true bondage of love, an enslavement ceremony, in which she proclaims herself, and becomes, his slave. In their most secret and intimate relations thereafter she lives and loves as his slave. If a woman fears to do this she may, on an experimental basis, resort to limited self-contracting, in which her documents will contain stated termination dates. Thus, by her own free will, she becomes a slave for a specific period, ranging usually from an evening to a year. The woman enters into this arrangement freely; she cannot, of course, withdraw from it in the same way. The reason for this is clear. As soon as the words are spoken, or her signature is placed on the pertinent document, or document, she is no longer a free person. She is then only a slave, an animal, no longer with any legal powers whatsoever. She is, then, until the completion of the contractual period, until the expiration date of the arrangement, totally subject to the will of her master.
"In what way," I asked, "could a slave girl possibly have more power than a free woman?"
She smiled. She lowered her head, demurely. "Some men," she said, "find us attractive."
"That is true," I said. How unpretentiously, and delicately, she had put this point. I could not help, in spite of myself, but agree with her. How could the capacity of a free woman to stimulate male desire even begin to compare with that of the female slave? The female slave, in her helplessness, her vulnerability and beauty, is the most exciting and desirable of all females. Even to look upon one can drive a man mad with passion.
"I can see," I said, "that the female slave, in her beauty, may possess, upon occasion, at least, some meager particle of power which does not appertain to the free woman."
"But how," I asked, "in what other way, other than in possible attractiveness and desirability, could a slave have more power than a free woman?"
"If one can do things another cannot, and if one is permitted to do things which another, in effect, could not, then, I suppose, one has, in a sense, powers which the other does not."
"I see," I said. "Powers in the sense of capacities and permissions."
"Yes," she said. "Slave girls, for example, can, and must, do things and perform acts, superbly, lovingly and unquestioningly, which would be forbidden to free women, or unthinkable for them. Indeed, some of the performances expected of slave girls, and some of the services rendered by them to their masters, are doubtless beyond even the ken of our ignorant free sisters. They probably do not even suspect their nature."
"They may suspect," I smiled. The liberties, in certain senses, permitted to slave girls doubtless constituted an additional reason why free women so hated and envied them. The free woman, in a sense, is paradoxical. She professes to despise the slave girl; she professes to loathe her and hold her in contempt; but, too, obviously, she is almost insanely jealous of her. Can it be that she, too, in her secret heart, wishes to kneel before a man, naked and in his collar, totally subject to his will?
"But some of the things they probably do not even know of," she said.
"That is probably true," I said. It was true that free women tended to be somewhat naive and ignorant. Some of them, at any rate, when enslaved, seemed quite startled to discover the nature of some of the even routine performances and services that would now be expected of them.
"Too," said the girl, "we are better at certain things than free women, such as serving and pleasing men."
"That is true," I said. The docility, deference and perfection of a slave girl's service are legendary. They had better be. She is owned. Too, the intimate and fantastic pleasures they can give men are well known, at least among free men.
"Too," she said, "we are permitted to act in certain ways in which I think it would be unlikely that a free woman could, or would, act."
"What were your relations with men, prior to your enslavement?" I asked.
"Cannot you simply take me and be done with it?" she asked.
"Speak," I said.
"At one time," she said, "in spite of being a proud free woman of Ar, I felt the desire for the companionship of men."
"I understand," I said.
"I decided that I would permit them, certain ones of my careful choosing, of proper means and stations, to become acquainted with me, and that I might then, from among these, favor certain ones with the dignity and honor of my friendship. Then, perhaps, in time, if I felt so inclined, I might, if he were thoroughly pleasing and wholly suitable, consider acceding to the pleas of one to enter into companionship with me."
"And how did matters proceed?" I asked.
"I called together a number of young men," she said. "I informed them of my willingness to form acquaintances, and specified to them the strict conditions to which these relationships, absolute equality, and such, would be subject."
"And what happened?" I asked.
"All withdrew politely," she said, "and I never saw them again, with one exception, a little urt of a man who told me he shared my views, fully."
"You entered into companionship with him?" I asked.
"I discovered he was interested only in my wealth," she said. "I dismissed him."
"You were then angry and hurt," I said, "and began to devote yourself wholly to the pursuits of business."
"Yes," she said.
"Too," I said, "I gather, from other aspects of your story, that you became mercenary and greedy."
"Perhaps," she said.
"And then you were captured, and brought into the Barrens, and made a slave," I said.
"I think you feared your womanhood," I said. "That seems clear, even from your behavior in Ar. This is not unusual, incidentally, in a free woman, because deep womanhood, they sense, involves love, and love, for a woman, seems always to involve a bondage, if not of ropes and chains, of one sort or another."
She looked at me, tears in her eyes.
"Then, when you were, in effect, rejected as a woman, you were hurt and angry. You determined never to endure another such humiliating rejection. Too, understandably, you became hostile towards men. You would hate them. You would outdo them. You would have your vengeance on them. You came to fear certain sorts of feelings. You drew back even further from your womanhood."
"No, no, no," she wept, "I am a poor slave only because I am unresponsive! That is my nature! I cannot help it!"
"That is not your nature," I told her. "And you are going to help it."
Free women, whose sexuality is usually, for most practical purposes, sluggish and inert, often have difficulty in understanding the desperation and intensity of these needs on the part of a female slave. They think that she is different from, and inferior to, themselves. If they themselves should be enslaved, of course, they are likely to soon revise these opinions. They, too, then may well find themselves moaning and scratching in their kennels, begging rude keepers for their touch, and being despised, in turn, by free women.
"It is perhaps just as well," I said. "You were a free woman, and you have not had much training. If you did not do well, you might be whipped severely, or perhaps slain."
"Oh," she said.
"Being a slave girl is very different from being a free woman," I said. "From a free woman a man expects little, or nothing. From a slave girl, on the other hand, he expects, as it is said, everything, and more."
"I understand," she said.
"A free woman may be valueless and, if she wishes, account this a virtue. A slave, on the other hand, must be superbly pleasing. She must see to it, with all her intelligence and beauty, that she is her master's attentive, sensitive, skillful treasure."
Whereas a free woman may often make a man angry with impunity, she being lofty and free, this latitude is seldom extended to the slave.
"Yes," she said, "I was jealous of their beauty and desirability. I envied them their happiness."
"Did you know this as a free woman?" I asked.
"Yes," she said, "but I do not think that I would have freely admitted it."
"Deceit is a freedom of free women," I said.
I supposed it was difficult for mere female slaves, in their scanty garments, and in their lowly station, not to be excited by rich, powerful, handsome, resplendent free men, so far above themselves. It was much easier for one like myself, a free woman, and richly robed, to control, resist and fight femininity. In the case of the slave, on the other hand, femininity is actually required of her. Indeed, if she is insufficiently feminine she will be beaten. It is no wonder female slaves are so helpless with men. I noted the eyes of Miles of Argentum on Susan. She trembled, being appraised. I felt sudden anger, and jealousy. He had not looked at me like that! To be sure, she was a slave, and I was free. It would certainly be improper for anyone to look on me, a free woman, in that candid, basic way! Too, Susan had me at a disadvantage. Would not any woman look attractive if she were half naked and put on a chain? How could I compete with that?
I glanced about the room. It was spacious, well lit, comfortable and private. I wondered if free men and free women ever met in such places, for affairs. But then I glanced again at the slave ring. It seemed more likely that a man might bring a slave here, perhaps one rented for the afternoon or evening. I looked at Drusus Rencius. How could a free woman, I thought, ever compete with a slave?
On Earth it is not unusual for a free woman to attempt to take a profit on her own beauty, using it, for example, if only in mate competitions, to advance herself economically. On Gor, however, if that same woman should be enslaved, she will soon discover that the profits accruing from her beauty redound now not to her, but to her master. This is quite appropriate. It, like she herself, is his.
I did not doubt but what these garments were genuine. The last garment, for example, was undoubtedly really that which had been taken from me in the throne room of Corcyrus, before the very throne itself, before I had been taken naked and in chains outside, into the courtyard, to be placed in a golden cage. These garments, Ligurious had informed me in the throne room of Argentum, before placing me in the golden sack, from which I had been rescued by Drusus Rencius, had been smuggled out of Corcyrus. He had probably paid much to obtain them. The last pieces were all items of intimate feminine apparel, which had been worn next to my body.
I was embarrassed to see them. Now that I was a slave, of course, I would have been grateful to have even so much to wear publicly. But when I had worn them they had been the garments of a free woman. Thus, when I saw them now it was as one who had once been a free woman that I was embarrassed. Few free women care to have their intimate garments exhibited publicly before men.
"I am not one of those women who thinks her part in making love is finished when she lies, down," I said.
"That is clear," he said. The slave, of course, is not permitted the ignorance, inertness and mediocrity of the free woman. She must serve marvelously and totally. Nothing less is permitted her.
The Gorean slave girl is not a free woman. Accordingly she must keep herself beautiful.
Sometimes free women, during the time of carnival, masquerading as slaves, run naked about the streets.
It is not difficult, however, aside from such possible historical antecedents, and the popular, superficial interpretations of such a custom, in one time or another, to speculate on the depth meaning of such favors. One must understand, first, that they are given by free women and of their own free will. Secondly, one must think of favors in the sense that one might speak of a free woman granting, or selling, her favors to a male. To be sure, this understanding, as obvious and straightforward as it is, if brought to the clear light of consciousness, is likely to come as a revelatory and somewhat scandalous shock to the female. It is one of those cases in which a thing she has long striven to hide from herself is suddenly, perhaps to her consternation and dismay, made incontrovertibly clear to her. In support of the interpretation are such considerations as the fact that these favors, in these games, are bestowed by females on males, that, generally, at least, strong, handsome males seem to be the preferred recipients of such favors, that there is competition among the females in the distribution of these favors, and that she who first has her "favors" accepted therein accounts herself as somewhat superior to her less successful sisters, at least in this respect, and that the whole game, for these free women, is charged with an exciting, permissive aura of delicious naughtiness, this being indexed undoubtedly to the sexual stimulations involved, stimulations which, generally, are thought to be beneath the dignity of lofty free women.
In short, the game of favors permits free women, in a socially acceptable context, by symbolic transformation, to assuage their sexual needs to at least some small extent, and, in some cases, if they wish, to make advances to interesting males. There is no full satisfaction of female sexuality, of course, outside of the context of male dominance. I wondered what the free woman whose favor I wore would look like, stripped and in a collar. How would she look, how would she act, I wondered, if slave fires had been lit in her belly. I did not think she would then be distributing silken scarves to make known her needs to men. She must then do other things, such as putting a bondage knot in her hair, offering them wine or fruit, dancing naked before them, or kneeling before them, whimpering and whining for attention, licking and kissing at their feet and legs.
"It is interesting to me that free women play the game of Favors," I said.
"It gives them a way of flirting," he said. "Too it gives them an opportunity to put themselves, in a way, at the mercy of the male, to engage in petitioning behavior, suing for his indulgence. In this it is not difficult to see a form of symbolic submission, a making of themselves dependent on his will. Too, of course, it gives them a way of testing their desirability and publicly proclaiming, or advertising, it."
"Luscious, vain creatures," I observed. I myself had earlier speculated along these lines. To be sure, the game of Favors, like most games, customs and practices, was undoubtedly complex and multiply motivated. Too, sometimes things take on additional meanings and values as they are enriched in a historical tradition or more deeply or variously interpreted in different contexts.
"I agree," I said. That certain games, such as that of Favors, provided a mechanism for establishing desirability rankings among females, something in which they seemed much interested, seemed clear.
"What do you think of free women?" asked the officer.
"I didn't know there were any, really," I said. Goreans have a theory that there are only two sorts of women, slaves and slaves.
"You know what I mean," he said.
"I suppose they are all right," I said. They were all right, I supposed.
"Slaves are incomparably superior," he said.
"That is true," I said. There was no comparison.
"Please, Master, take me to a rack," begged the girl at my feet.
Freedom, with its inhibitions, inertnesses and hostilities, tends to produce a blockage to the emergence of the depth female. In bondage this blockage is removed, freeing the woman to find her natural fulfillment, her fulfillment in the order of nature, that of a slave at the feet of her master.
I saw that her sexual drives were far too strong to be appropriate for those of a free woman. In her there was an eager, succumbing slave.
"Now I want to be overwhelmed, dominated. Now I want to take my place in the order of nature. Now I want to be what I am, and have always been, truly, a woman!"
In every woman, of course, Goreans think, there is a slave.
Perhaps, in the end, there is no difference.
She looked at me, pleadingly.
"You are a free woman," I told her.
"It would seem thus," I said, "at least according to some, that you are entitled to respect and dignity."
"I have never encountered a convincing proof to that effect," she said. "Have you?"
"No," I said.
"Oh, would that I were a slave," she smiled. "Then I would not have to concern myself with such matters. Then I would only have to mind my manners and make certain that I pleased my masters, totally."
"To be sure," I said, "many of the matters with which the free woman must concern herself are simply irrelevant to the slave."
"Such as dignity and respect," she said.
"Yes," I said.
"Under those names I have gone hungry for years," she said.
"And yet, now," I said, "you have come, and of your own free will, to a rack."
"There comes a time," she said, "when the slogans no longer suffice, a time when the myth is seen to be meaningless."
"And such a time came for you?" I said.
"Yes," she said.
We could see the Sardar Mountains in the distance. I had been her servant for some three days. After the first night she had not commanded me to her intimate service. I think that first night had terribly unsettled her. She had apparently not understood that she could have such feelings. At times she had seemed almost taken out of herself. At times, clearly, she had responded uncontrollably, reflexively, at my mercy, almost as might have a slave. This sort of behavior was inappropriate in her, inexcusably so, she doubtless deemed, as she was a free woman. Roundly had I been scolded for my part in matters. Yet with mixed feelings, it was, I think, that she chastised me. I pretended, of course, to ignorance and innocence, and a perhaps overzealous desire to please. In any event she clearly now feared her feelings.
"Yes, Mistress," I said. I saw that she still feared me, and herself, and, I think, men generally. She had not yet been able to cope with the sensations which I had induced in her. This is not surprising in a free woman. To be sure, such sensations can be terribly frightening to a free woman. They whisper to her of slavery. She is terrified to say "yes" to them, with all she knows this means, but aches and longs to do so, and will not be whole until she does.
"I am a free woman," she said. "How can you, a free man, deny me anything I want?"
"Easily," I said.
She looked at me, angrily.
"Many free women believe they can have anything they want, merely by asking for it, or demanding it," I said, "but now you see that that is not true, at least not in a world where there are true men."
"I am Telitsia, Lady of Asperiche," she said. "I am a free woman! I am not afraid of men!"
I smiled to myself. She was perfectly safe, of course, for she was within the perimeters of the Sardar Fair. How brave women can be within the context of conventions! I wondered if they understood the artificiality, the fragility, the tentativeness, the revocability of those subtle ramparts. Did they truly confuse them with walls of stone and the forces of weaponry? Did they understand the differences between the lines and colors on maps and the realities of a physical terrain? To what extent did they comprehend the fictional or mythical nature of those castles within which they took refuge, from the heights of which they sought to impress their will on worlds? Did they not know that one day men might say to them, "The castle does not exist," and that they might then find themselves once again, the patience of men ended, the folly concluded, the game over, snuck to their place in nature, gazing upward at masters?
The slave, "Lady Telitsia," had in her, I suspected, superb slave potential. Up to now, of course, as a free woman, given her conditioning and what was expected of her in her culture, she had undoubtedly, possibly even agonizingly, resisted her sexuality, fighting to control and suppress her slave drives. Now, of course, now that she had been freed of the psychological chains, the confining restrictions, the imprisoning inhibitions of the free woman, I had little doubt that she, and perhaps even soon, would prove to be a helplessly arousable, helplessly yielding slave, a joy both to herself and her masters.
"I do not know about other women," she said, "but I am one who wishes to belong to a man, wholly."
"Beware your words," I cautioned her.
"I am a free woman," she said. "I can speak as I please."
I could not gainsay her in this. She was free. She could, accordingly, say what she wished, and without requiring permission. She stood before me. She had dared to brush back her hood. She had unpinned her shimmering veils, permitting them to fall about her throat and shoulders. A soft movement of her hands and a shake of her head had thrown her long, dark hair behind her back. She had dark eyes. Her face was softly rounded. It was delicate and beautiful.
You have unpinned your veil," I observed.
"Yes," she said.
"You are brazen," I said.
"Yes," she said, insolently.
I mused, considering this. It is not difficult, of course, to take insolence from a woman.
"Why have you unpinned your veil before me?" I asked.
"Perhaps you will like what you see," she said.
"Bold female," I observed.
She tossed her head, impatiently.
"Do you have the least inkling as to what it might be, to belong to a man, wholly?" I asked.
"Do you find me pleasing?" she asked.
"Answer my question," I said.
"Yes," she said.
I wondered if this were true. It might be. She was Gorean.
"Now," she said. "Answer mine!"
"Do not court an alteration in your condition, unless you are prepared to accept it, in its full consequences," I said.
She shuddered. She lowered her eyes. "It is said that there is in every woman that which I sense so fearfully, yet so longingly, in myself."
"I wonder if that is true," I said.
"I do not know," she said, "but I know that it is in me, passionately, strongly, irresistibly."
"You are bold," I said.
"A free woman may be bold," she said.
"True," I granted her.
"I need this for my fulfillment, to be one with myself," she said.
"Speak clearly," I said. She was free. I saw no point in making it easy for her.
"I want to be a total woman, in the order of nature," she said.
"My heart cries out," she wept, "with the need to be accepted, to be acquired, to be owned, to be mastered, to be forced to submit, to be forced to willlessly and selflessly serve and love!"
I did not respond to her.
"I beg this of you, for you are a man," she said.
"Speak with greater precision," I said.
"What sort of man are you?" she wept.
"Speak with greater precision," I said.
She shook her head. "Please, no," she said.
"Mine is the slave sex!" she said, angrily, defiantly.
"The slave sex?" I asked.
"Yes!" she said.
"And you are a member of that sex?" I asked.
"Yes!" she said, angrily.
"I see," I said.
"I am tired of trying to be like a man!" she said. "It is a lie which robs me of myself!"
I said nothing.
"I want to be true to myself," she said. "I want to be fulfilled!"
"Such a thing is not reversible by your will," I said.
"I am well aware of that," she said.
"There are many sorts of masters," I said, "and you would be at the disposal of any of them, and totally."
"I know," she whispered.
I said nothing.
"You have still not answered my question," she said. "Do you find me pleasing?"
"It is difficult to say," I said, "bundled and covered as you are."
She looked at me, frightened.
"Strip," I said. She would be assessed.
She reached to the veils about her throat and shoulders and, taking them, dropped them softly to the grass. She stood not more than a hundred yards from the gate of Tesius, in the city of Samnium, some two hundred pasangs east and a bit south of Brundisium, both cities continental allies of the island ubarate of Cos. She slipped softly from her slippers. She must then have felt the touch of the grass blades on her ankles. She looked at me. Her hands went to the stiff, high brocaded collar of her robes, the robes of concealment, to the numerous eyes and hooks there, holding it tightly, protectively, about her throat, up high under her chin.
"Do not dally," I told her.
In a few moments she had parted her robes, and slipped them, first the street robe, that stiff, ornate fabric, and then the house robe, scarcely less inflexible and forbidding, from her small, soft shoulders. Clad now only in a silken sliplike undergarment, she then looked at me.
"Completely," I said, "absolutely."
She then stood before me, even more naked than many a girl up for vending, waiting to be thrust to the surface of the block, for she wore no collar, no chains, no brand. A merchant on his way to the gate of Tesius paused, to gaze upon her. So, too, did two soldiers, guardsmen of Samnium. She stood very straight, inspected. None of these wrinkled their noses nor spat upon the ground.
"What is your name?" I asked.
"Charlotte, Lady of Samnium," she said.
"Turn slowly before me, Lady Charlotte," I said. "Now, place your hands, clasped, behind the back of your head, and arch your back. Good. You may now kneel. Do you know the position of the pleasure slave? Good."
"How does it feel to be kneeling before a man?" I asked.
"I have never been like this before a man," she said.
"How does it feel?" I asked.
"I do not know," she said. "I am so confused. It is so overwhelming. I am uncertain. I do not know what I feel like. I am almost giddy."
"Lift your chin," I said.
She complied immediately, unhesitantly.
"Spread your knees more widely," I said. Again, unhesitantly, immediately, she complied.
I regarded Lady Charlotte. I saw that she might be suitable. She was beautiful, and extremely feminine. I saw one of the soldiers licking his lips.
"These are difficult and dark times," I told her. "I tell you nothing you do not know when I tell you that. Too, I now inform you that where I go, it will be dangerous."
She looked up at me.
"Remain in the city," I said. "There you will be safe, there you will be secure."
"No," she said.
"No?" I asked.
"No," she said, firmly. "I am not yours. I do not need to obey you."
"Assume a position on your hands and knees," I told her.
"Yes," I said. I removed a slave whip from my pack.
"I am free!" she said.
"I think it will do you good to feel this," I said, shaking out the five, soft, broad blades. I then went behind her.
"Ai!" she cried, struck. "It hurts, so!" she wept, now, a moment later, beginning to feel the pain in its fullness, now on her stomach, disbelief in her eyes. "I did not know it was like that."
"I struck you but once, and not hard," I told her.
"That was not hard?" she gasped, striped, stung, sobbing, terrified.
"No," I told her. "Go back now to the city, and be safe."
"No," she sobbed. "No!"
I crouched near her, looking at her, closely.
"No," she said. "No, no!"
I regarded her. "Please," she said.
"Very well," I said.
She looked at me, wildly, elated. I thrust her face down to the grass. She sobbed with relief, with pleasure. I drew forth a slave collar from my pack. Roughly, unceremoniously, I placed it on her neck, snapping it shut, locking it.
"Good," said the merchant, turning away.
"Good," said the two soldiers, too, turning away.
I regarded her.
She was now collared. She was now a slave. She was now mine.
She looked up at me, frightened. "I am yours," she whispered.
"Yes," I said.
"Please strike me once more," she said, "that I may this time feel the blow as a slave."
I said nothing.
"I want to feel your whip, as your slave," she said.
"Very well," I said. I then, by the hair and an arm, drew her again to her hands and knees. I again then stood behind her but this time I did not strike her immediately, but let her wait, as a slave, that she might anticipate the blow, and grow apprehensive of it, and not know precisely when it would fall. Then the blades hissed suddenly down upon her and again she cried out, sobbing, flung to the grass, which she clutched with her fingers. "You punish me," she said. "You can do with me as you please. I am your slave! I am yours!"
I looked down upon her. She was not unattractive. I had not planned to take a slave with me from Samnium, but I did not truly object to doing so. She could cook for me, and serve me, and keep me warm in the furs. It was late in Se'Kara. I would find her a useful convenience, a lovely one. Every man needs such a convenience. Then, when I wished, I could give her away, or dispose of her in some market.
"Do you think you were struck hard?" I asked.
"I do not know, Master," she said.
"You were not," I informed her.
"Yes, Master," she whispered, frightened, sensing what might have been done to her but had not been. To be sure, I had struck her harder than the first time, for she was now a slave, and slaves, of course, are whipped differently from free women, but I had not, truly, struck her with great force. "Can men strike harder than that?" she asked.
"Do not be absurd," I said. "I struck you with only a tiny fraction of the force that an average fellow, if he wished, might bring to such a task. Too, I struck you only once, and in only one area, one less sensitive to pain than many others."
"I see, Master," she said, shuddering. She had then sensed what it might be to be a whipped slave girl. And whipping, of course, is only one of the punishments to which such a girl might be subjected. "I will try to be a good slave, Master," she whispered, frightened, understanding now perhaps somewhat better than before something of the categorical and absolute nature of her new condition.
"Who were you?" I asked.
"Lady Charlotte, of Samnium," she said.
"Who are you?" I asked.
"A slave, only a slave, yours," she said.
"Do you know how to heel, Feiqa?" I asked.
"Yes, Master," she said. She was a Gorean woman, familiar at least superficially with the duties and obligations of slaves. To be sure, as a recently free woman, she might perhaps find herself astounded and horrified at some of the things that would now, even routinely, be required of her. I did not know. Certain things which are not only common knowledge to slaves but even a normal, familiar part of their lives seem to be scarcely suspected by free women. These are the sorts of things about which free women, horrified and scandalized, scarcely believing them, sometimes whisper, fearfully, delightedly, among themselves.
"There are many ways to take a woman," I said. "All of them are pleasurable. Much depends on the situation, and the time of day, and the preferences and tastes of the master. If you think that the pleasure of the man is inextricably linked with the pleasure of the woman you are naive. That is a common misunderstanding of the free woman. That is much like thinking that the fruit cannot be enjoyed if it has not first begged to be plucked from the tree. That is simply not true. One can simply take it and enjoy it. Indeed, there is something to be said for such takings. In them one simply imposes one's will upon the helpless other. In them one senses imperiousness and power. Those who have felt such things know their value."
How well, if haughtily, she now walked. I considered the walks of free women, and of slaves. How few free women really walk their beauty. Perhaps they are ashamed of it, or fear it. Few free women walk in such a way as to display their beauty, as, for example, a slave must. I considered the length of garments. The long garments, usually worn by free women, such as that now worn by Boabissia, might cover certain defects of gait perhaps, but when one's legs are bared, as a slave's commonly are, one must walk with beauty and grace. Too, given the scantiness of many slave garments, it is sometimes necessary to walk in them with exquisite care.
The slave, for example, and this is commonly included in her training, seldom bends over to retrieve a fallen object. Rather she flexes her knees, lowering the body beautifully, and retrieves the object from a graceful and humble crouch. Sometimes, to be sure, commonly in serving at the parties of young men, certain objects, sometimes as part of a game, objects with prearranged significances among the young men, are thrown to the floor, and she must pick them up in a less graceful fashion. Whichever object she first touches determines to whose lusty abuse she must then submit. This game is sometimes played several times in the evening. I considered Boabissia. Her walk now seemed something between that of a free woman and a slave. It was, if haughty, quite good, and it showed, I thought, definite signs of slave promise. There seemed little doubt that, with some tutelage, and perhaps a collar on her neck, the beauty could be kept in it, and considerably improved, and the sullying haughtiness removed. I glanced again at her. Yes, it seemed to me that Boabissia might even be ready to walk in a slave tunic. I had little doubt but what several of the fellows she had passed, her nose in the air, would, with whips, have been more than willing to give her instruction in the matter, with or without the tunic.
She looked up at me in wonder, blood at her mouth. She had been cuffed.
"Did you strike me because I challenged your manhood?" she asked. "I did not really mean it. It is only that I was terribly angry. I did not think."
"You were not struck for such an absurd reason," I said. "You are, after all, a free woman, and free women are entitled to insult, and to attempt to demean and destroy men. It is one of their freedoms, unless men, of course, should decide to take it from them. You were struck, rather, because you were attempting to manipulate me."
He tapped me twice, rather smartly, but not cruelly, not to hurt me, with the side of the stick, swinging it to his right, as I passed him. It had been done with a good-natured, if perhaps somewhat vulgar, familiarity. It was like the good-natured, possessive slap below the small of the back with which men sometimes speed slave girls about their business. In his way be was complimenting me. I must endure such touches, of course. Men owned me, and could do what they wanted with me. I belonged to them. Actually, of course, I was pleased that he had done so. In its way it was a kindly act. Indeed, it may have been intended to hearten and reassure me. Slave girls seldom object to such treatment, vulgar though it might seem to free women, and even free women, I think, in spite of the scandal they profess to feel in its wake, do not really mind it. It is a way in which women are informed that they are of sexual interest.
As a free woman I had been priceless, and thus, in a sense, without value, or worthless. As a slave, on the other hand, I did have a value, a specific value, depending on what men were willing to pay for me.
Once a free woman came to watch, for a moment. I dared not meet her eyes, but, too, I did not falter in my dance, or beauty; indeed, I tried to show her, lovingly, as one woman to another, what a woman could be, even a lowly slave, especially a lowly slave. She hurried away, trembling within her robes. I wondered if sometime she, too, would wear a collar, and move so before men.
I danced in such a way that a free woman might only dream of, awakening, sweating, in the night, clutching her covers, in terror, then feeling her throat with trepidation, with the tips of frightened fingers, to ascertain that no collar has been locked on it in the night. How could she, a free woman, have such a dream? What could it mean? And what would the men do to her when they came to take her in their arms? She awakened, in terror. Perhaps she hurries to strike a light in her room. The familiar surroundings reassure her. She has had such dreams before. What could they mean? Nothing, of course. Nothing! Such dreams must be meaningless! They must be! But what if they were not? She shudders. Perhaps she then, in her long silken gown, curls up, frightened, at the foot of her bed. What, too, could that mean? She does not know. Surely that, too, means nothing. But what if it did? She lies there, troubled, but somehow comforted, somehow secure, in that position. It seems to her, somehow, that that is where she belongs.
Some Gorean "coaches," and fee carts, not many, are slung on layers of leather. This gives a reasonably smooth ride but the swaying, until one accommodates oneself to it, can induce nausea, in effect, seasickness. This seems to be particularly the case with free women, who are notoriously delicate and given to imaginary complaints.
"Beg," I said.
I laughed. How amusing are free women! Slaves learn to be in the "mood" instantaneously, at so little as a glance or a snapping of the fingers, and a pointing to the floor.
The slave, because of her training, her emotional freedom, thousands of times greater than that of a free woman, the discipline she is under, and such, can attain orgasm much more quickly than a free woman, sometimes, particularly if she has been deprived for a time, almost immediately. A response which might take a free woman a third to a half of an Ahn to attain a slave, and not an unusual slave, might attain in three or four Ehn.
Many free women know more of the behaviors of slaves, and details of the relationships between them and their masters, than many free men give them credit for knowing. Indeed, many free women, while expressing disinterest in such matters, or disgust at their very thought, tend to be fascinated by them, and inquire eagerly into them. Perhaps there is a practical motivation for such interests. Perhaps they wish to know such things in case they should one day find themselves being pulled from a branding rack, their own flesh marked. To be sure, no free woman knows really what it is to be a slave, for that is known truly only to the slave herself, similarly, there is much in the relationship between a slave and her master that cannot be known to a free woman, much that she cannot even suspect. She is likely to learn these things, so precious, intimate and secret, so profound, wonderful and rewarding, so fulfilling, to her astonishment and revelation, only when the collar is on her own throat. She will then understand why many slave girls would rather die than surrender their collars. In the collar they have found their joy and meaning.
The woman cried out with anguish as the single garment was removed from her. She put down her head. She blushed, totally, from the roots of her hair to her toes.
I did not think the woman would be chosen. Like many free women, she had not taken care of her figure. Perhaps that was why she had not wished to be bared before men.
The leader brought forward the pouch, and put it down on the stones. He then signaled to the lad with the veil. That fellow then brought the veil forward, too, and put it on the stones. Both of them then backed away. I then released the hand of the other lad, Decius, it seemed, and he scrambled away, holding his wrist.
"Give me my veil!" demanded the woman, coming forward.
I handed it to her.
"Pick up my pouch," she said, her back to us. "Give it to me."
I picked up the pouch. The lads had now withdrawn some forty yards or so away. They were gathered about the fellow whom I had had down on his knees, his arm behind him, the wrist bent. He was still undoubtedly in pain.
"Give me my pouch!" she demanded.
I looked at the group of youths.
The fellow's wrist had not been broken. I had not chosen to do that.
One or another of the lads, from time to time, looked back at us. I did not think they would return, however. To be sure, Marcus might have welcomed that. His sword was still unsheathed. Too, I did not think they would be interested in causing the lady further inconvenience.
I felt the woman's hand snatch at the pouch and my own hand, almost reflexively, closed on the pouch.
Her eyes flashed angrily over the veil, an opaque street veil, now readjusted.
"Give it to me!" she said.
"It was our mistake to interfere," said Marcus, dryly. He resheathed his blade.
"Give it to me!" said the woman.
"You are rude," I said.
She tugged at the pouch.
"Are you not grateful?" I asked.
"It demeans a free woman to express gratitude," she said.
"I do not think so," I said.
"Are you not paid for your work?" she asked.
"Are you not grateful?" I asked.
"I am not a slave!" she asked.
"Are you not grateful?" I asked, again.
"Yes," she said. "I am grateful! Now, give it to me!"
"Ah," I said, "Perhaps you are a slave."
"What do you think of this free woman?" I asked Marcus.
"It is difficult to tell, clothed as she is," he said.
She reacted angrily, but did not release the pouch.
"Do you think she might be more civil," I asked, "if she were stripped?"
"Yes," he said, "particularly if she were also branded and collared."
"She would then learn softness, as opposed to hardness," I said.
"It would be in her best interest to do so," said Marcus.
"Yes," I said.
She released the pouch and stepped back a little.
Her eyes were now wide, over the veil.
"Perhaps she is the sort of woman who is best kept in a kennel," I said, "to be brought forth when one wishes, for various labors."
"Such women are all haughty wenches," he said. "But they quickly lose their haughtiness in bondage."
"Please," she said. "Give me the coins."
I did not release them.
"Give them to me!" she said, angrily.
"Would you not like to learn softness, as opposed to hardness?" I asked.
She looked at me, angrily.
"Women learn it quickly in bondage," I said.
"It is in their best interest to do so," said Marcus.
"Yes," I said.
"Surely you have wondered what it would be, to be a slave?" inquired Marcus.
She gasped. Only too obviously had she considered such matters.
"But then," I said, "you may not be attractive enough to be a slave."
She did not speak.
I put the pouch inside my tunic.
"Oh!" she said, for I had then reached up and taken her hood in my hands.
"We shall see," I said.
"Oh!" she said, startled.
I pushed back her hood and thrust it down. I then jerked away the veil, and surveyed her features.
"I think you, like most women, would make an adequate slave," I said.
"Hold her wrists together," I said. I then tied them together, behind her back, with her veil.
"Please," she begged. "Let me veil myself. Slavers might see me!"
"You were not pleasing," I said.
I then took the pouch of coins in my hand and lofted it to the group of lads some forty yards away. Their leader caught it. They then turned about, and ran.
The woman looked at me, astonished, aghast.
"Your lips are pretty," I said. "They could probably be trained to kiss well."
Tears sprang to her eyes.
"And lest you return home too quickly," I said, "we shall do this." I then crouched down and tore off a bit of the hem of her robes, but not enough to offend her modesty, for example, revealing her ankles, and, using the cloth as a bond; fastened her ankles together, leaving her some four or five inches of slack, rather like a slave girl's hobble chains.
"Return home now," I said.
We watched her withdraw, sobbing. She had not been pleasing.
"She is not unattractive," said Marcus.
"No," I said. "To be sure, her face now is a bit cold, and tight, and strained, as seems her body, as well, common in free women, but I do not doubt but what, in time, relaxed, brought into touch with herself, and her fundamental realities, no longer permitted to deny them, obliged then rather to express and fulfill them, she will blossom in softness and beauty."
"She might even bring a good price in a market," said Marcus.
"I am sure of it," I said.
"Sleen!" said a free woman, bundled in the robes of concealment, heavily veiled, hurrying by. Doubtless she had witnessed, from a distance, the fate of her compatriot.
"Forgive me, Masters!" she wept. "You are men! You are men! A slave begs forgiveness!" Her concern was certainly not out of place. The demeaning of men, whereas it is permitted to, and not unknown among, free women, is not permitted to female slaves.
We are trained to clean ourselves well, incidentally. If we do not, we are whipped.
The slave is not a free woman; she must keep herself, as best she can, fresh, rested, clean, and attractive.
I wondered if the slave had simply been taken, or purchased, by the fellow, whether she wished it or not, or if she had smiled, and posed, and, finding him of great interest, had proffered herself as a slave, promising him delights beyond the interests, or ken, of a free woman.
He was looking at me.
I straightened my body. We are not free women; we may not be slovenly or slatternly. We must stand and walk with excellent posture.
Frigidity is not permitted to kajirae. We are not free women.
I wondered that the fellow accepted, with such apparent tolerance, what appeared an obvious manifestation of annoyance on the part of the slave, if not of actual insolence. Did she not fear her silks would be removed and that she might be tied to a ring and whipped? I supposed she must have felt the whip at one time or another. She did move well, of course. That suggested that she was not totally unfamiliar with the whip. We must move well. We are not free women. If we do not move well, men, and their whips, see to it that we soon do. And whatever might have been her peripheral tokens of irritation or exasperation she did obey with alacrity. Yes, I thought, she undoubtedly knew something of the whip. Yet, too, undeniably, her behavior seemed to leave something to be desired. Perhaps she presumed too much on the status of a high slave, which status, it seemed, must be hers. Or perhaps she had been a high free woman, and her master, or masters, allowed her to act as she did, finding some amusement in the absurdity of it, she not understanding the joke, knowing they could in an instant bring her to her knees as a humbled, abject, servile, weeping slave.
Perhaps she had once been a high free woman. But now, of course, somehow, it seemed that she had come into the collar. Perhaps her life now was quite different from what it had once been. Perhaps once she had even possessed some sort of authority, perhaps even over certain men. But now, it seemed, she must obey men, strive to please them and hope to be fed.
"Yes, Master," I said. He was the sort of man whom I think even a free woman might have found herself drawn to address as "Master."
To be sure, vitality is expected in a slave. In markets, we may even be tested for it. It is not only, you see, that a profound sexuality, an acute sexual sensitivity, an uncontrollable responsiveness, is permitted in a slave; it is required in her. It is one of the things for which we are purchased. We are slaves, you see. We are not free women.
I trusted she would not fall into the clutches of peasants. I understand that they are not always tolerant of the laziness and insolence of arrogant, urban free women. They enjoy using them, when they obtain them as slaves, in the fields.
I want to please men! Denounce me if you will but I am such! But, too, perhaps you know not men such as are on this world! In their presence I find myself docile, submissive, and obedient. Let their free women rant at them, contradict them, and attempt to make them miserable, for whatever strange reasons might prompt them to do so, but before them, before such men, I am only, and can be only, a slave.
How different we are from free women! And yet, interestingly, how artificial, and how fragile, and how culturally precarious, is the distinction between the free women and the slave. Do the free women understand that that distinction is not part of nature, like dominance and submission, but that it depends merely on the will of men? Do they not understand that their lofty status requires the permission of males, and, in a sense, depends upon the whims of males? There is a thin line, and a short distance, between the free woman and the slave, a line as thin as slave silk, a distance as short as the three links joining slave bracelets.
Slaves are not permitted dignity. That is for free women.
I had known, of course, that I could be easily aroused, and that I was unusually responsive, and, in moments, could become even helplessly so. To be sure, such reflexes, and such, are expected in a slave. She may be beaten if she is inadequate. They are even trained in her. We are not free women.
"I am not lying," I said. "I am not a free woman. I am a slave. I can be punished terribly for lying."
"We are not free women," I said. "We must wash frequently. We must keep ourselves pleasing, in so far as we can, for masters."
"Do not be afraid," I said. "It is not as though you were a slave. You are a free woman. It is not as though you must, under discipline, groom yourself, attend to your appearance, keep your body clean, such things. Have no fear. Your neglect of such things, as you are a free woman, will not be punished."
Some free women seek the collar, having come to understand that only in it can they find their fulfillment and happiness, and, paradoxically, at last, strangely perhaps, their most profound freedom.
The slave, of course, already knows how to please. The free woman must learn.
"May I speak?" she begged.
I supposed that this might be the first time in her life the free woman had ever begged permission to speak.
Free women may make men miserable, and even attempt to destroy them, but slaves may not do so.
And she wondered, too, if some of the cumbersomely clad free women in the room, several even veiled, might not envy the others, their sisters, the freedom of their simple garmentures.
Some slaves are permitted a liberty of speech by their masters which is not obviously inferior to that enjoyed by a free woman, until a stern look puts them to their knees, reminding them of what they are.
Above all, though this may seems strange to some, the female slave is not permitted to move with the abruptness, the clumsiness, the awkwardness, the gross, unconscionable, offensive, mannish motions permitted to a free woman. As a female slave she is expected to be muchly aware of her very different, very lovely, very special body, so exciting and wondrous, and to carry it, and present it, beautifully. She is not a free woman. She is a female, and must move as such.
She lay beside her tub, thrilled, considering the sexual freedom of the Gorean slave girl. She felt a twinge of regret for free women. How unfortunate they are, she thought. How they must envy us, she thought. It is no wonder that they hate us as they do, or as I have been told they do.
I dare not lie. The masters will have the truth of me. The free woman may lie. I may not. I am slave.
The free woman, being free, can sell, barter or trade her beauty for favors or gain. The beauty of the slave girl, on the other hand, like she herself, is owned, and can thus be commanded by the master for his pleasure, at any time, in any way he may desire.
Was she not to be permitted pride? But then it occurred to her that she was a slave girl and that slave girls were not permitted pride. Inertness and frigidity were not permitted to them. Those luxuries were reserved for free women, who might make the most of them, if they wished.
To be sure, the female slave is the most sexual, loving, vulnerable, helpless and feminine of all women, but such things are not confined to those whose lovely throats are clasped securely within the circlet of bondage. Free women, too, can feel such things. For example, the mere secret touching of a slave tunic can make a free woman sob with need.
She was not, however, altogether ignorant of slave dance, or its general nature; indeed, how could anyone on Gor, unless it be a free woman, be totally ignorant of it?
Ultimately, of course, the slave is responsible for her own appearance, cleanliness and such. She must keep herself clean, neat and attractive. The carelessness or slovenliness of a free woman is not permitted to her.
Perhaps one of the most difficult things for an Earth woman to understand in the case of the female slave, unless of course she herself is a slave, is that one of the most significant fears known to the female slave is that she may not be found fully pleasing. You see, there are consequences for such lapses. Anything less than perfection of performance is not accepted in a kajira. They are not, after all, inert, vain, independent, quiescent, smug, bored, exalted, spoiled free women. For example, they are not permitted indifference to sex, indifference to appearance, indifference to movement, and such.
On her neck was a collar, and slave fires burned in her belly. But she did not envy or desire the sluggish, aloof tranquility of the free woman, so much a stranger to need and life. Let them in their pride and separateness scorn the vitality of slaves, she thought. Let them, if they wish, prize and cultivate a winter within their robes. Let them congratulate themselves on ice and inertness. What would they care for, or could they know of, the feelings of a slave? What could they know of the needs of slaves? Would such needs not be so alien to them that they must find them incomprehensible?
We beg rather for the ecstasy of the slave. We wish to be used then not as free women but as ruthlessly mastered chattels, for that is precisely what we are, and would be. We are not free women who may adjust and regulate, as we please, beneath our sheets and within our modesty robes, the delicate and respectful attentions of some fellow fortunate enough to have been admitted to our chamber.
Frigidity may be a virtue of free women, but that dignity is not permitted to slaves.
She must learn to speak not with the strident, insolent tones of a free woman, but with the softness, and deference, of the slave;
The love of a free woman, should they be capable of love, is very different from the love of a slave. The free woman must have her respect, her self-esteem, her dignity. She must consider how her friends will view her, and the match, and what they will think of her, and say of her. She must consider her assets, her properties, and their protection. All details of contracts must be arranged, usually with the attention of scribes of the law. She must have a clear understanding of what will be permitted to her companion and what will not be permitted to him. Certainly, as she is free, her modesty is not to be compromised. All things are to be regulated with care, how and where he may touch her, and such. She has her position in society to consider, her station and status. She is hedged in with a thousand trammels and compromises, militating against her selfless surrender. The love of a free woman, then, to the extent that she can love, is beset with a great number and variety of considerations, with a thousand subtle and noxious calculations, plannings and governances. Needless to say, these several appurtenances do not enter into the ken of a slave. Sometimes a free woman, who fears that her feelings for a projected companion, to her dismay and scandal, are more intense, suffusive, overwhelming and passionate than is proper for one of her status will withdraw from the projected match. She is terrified to think of herself as, in effect, a slave. Sometimes, too, a free man will withdraw from a match if he suspects that the woman's desires and needs are unworthy of a free woman. After all, he is looking for a free woman, not a slave, a proud, lofty, noble, free woman, one who will fulfill the customs of her station, and prove to be a suitable asset, particularly with respect to connections and career.
And what of the calculating free woman, as well, she, ensconced in veils and customs, despising men as weaklings, exploiting them, though sheltered and protected by them, viewing them as conveniences, as little more, at best, than sources of social and economic advantage, save, of course, for the gratifications she derives from their torment, from delightfully arousing in them a hundred hopes and desires which she will then enjoyably frustrate.
Sometimes a slave learns that her master is to be companioned. In such a case she must expect to be given away or sold. This often causes her great sorrow. But certainly one could not expect the projected companion to tolerate so distractive a presence in their domicile. Free women are well aware that they cannot compete with slaves; accordingly, to the best of their ability, they see to it that any such competition is precluded.
First, some free women, disconsolate and lonely, unhappy, miserable, deprived of sex, starved for love, distressed with the numerous circumscriptions and constraints which confine them, realizing the boredom, the emptiness, of their lives, "court the collar." Consciously, of course, they will deny this sort of thing. An example might be the former Lady Melanie of Brundisium, now collared. They might, for example, wander the high bridges at night, or frequent low markets and gloomy streets. They may undertake long and dangerous journeys, stay at unsavory inns, and so on. They might be careless with their veiling, or, seemingly inadvertently, reveal a wrist or ankle. Some might even disguise themselves as slaves, convincing themselves that this is merely a sprightly lark, unattended with danger. Perhaps they even dare to enter a paga tavern, just to see what they are like, or perhaps wander in the Street of Brands, to stroll through the open markets or slave yards, to see true slaves, chained, or caged.
Gorean free women can be difficult and troublesome. But the pain that Gorean men will accept from their free women, in deference to their freedom, and their sharing of a Home Stone, they do not, and will not, accept in their slaves.
Slaves may lie, of course, but it is extremely dangerous for them to do so. It is expected that they will speak the truth. They do not have the liberty of the free woman to deceive and dissimulate, to conceal the truth, or twist it and deny it, as they please.
Interestingly, Gorean free women are commonly proud, haughty, insolent, arrogant and outspoken. They often treat males with contempt and ridicule. One supposes then that they are relying on the assumed protection of a common Home Stone. Or perhaps it is their way of, as it is said, "courting the collar." In any event there are considerable differences between the Gorean free woman and the Gorean slave girl, for example, in attitude, speech, garmenture, and behavior.
Gorean women are always at risk of the collar. It is strange that more Gorean free women do not seem to understand this. Doubtless it becomes clearer to them when they are stripped and chained.
They are relatively safe, usually, only within the walls of their city, and amongst those with whom they share a Home Stone, but not always, as suggested, even then.
To make this matter more clear, and to be fairer to the customs of Gor, it should be noted that any woman, any woman whatsoever with whom one does not share a Home Stone, is understood to be fair game for the capture loop.
Slavery, incidentally, often brings a woman to beauty, for a variety of reasons. Most trivially, within it she is seldom permitted the straining, disfiguring uglinesses common to the free woman, nastiness, arrogance, brassiness, and so on.
"When I was free, I did not treat men well," she said.
"That is the prerogative of a free woman," he said.
"I am a free woman," she said. "I will use my beauty. I will dangle it before men, and entwine them in its toils, and they will obey me, unquestioningly, for gifts as small and costless to me as a glance or smile."
"You know what should be done with you, do you not?" he asked.
"What?" she asked.
"You should be put on a block and sold," said Cabot.
"As you are a free woman," I said, "even though one of Earth, I have treated you with some circumspection. In the codes such matters are gray, for it is commonly supposed that a Home Stone would be shared. If you were a slave, of course, whether of Earth or not, the matter would not even come up. Too, as you may not understand, even a Gorean free woman is expected to show a fellow respect, as another free person. If she insults him, belittles him, ridicules him, or treats him in any way which he deems improper or unbecoming, sometimes even to the glance, depending on the fellow, she is considered as having put away the armor of her status, and may be dealt with as the male sees fit. This is particularly the case if there is no shared Home Stone.
"Perhaps it would do for a free woman," I said, "intent on discouraging the avidity of a suitor."
"No," he said. "Free women are women, and they desire to be desired. It gives them great pleasure to attract, and then deny and torment suitors. They find it gratifying. It is an exercise of power."
"True," I said. Gorean free women were famed for their arrogance and pride. It was little wonder that men often took such things from them. What a terror for a free woman, reduced to bondage, to know that spurned suitors may find her, even seek her out, and buy her. When a woman is stripped and collared, and knelt, and has the whip pressed to her then unveiled lips, she is scarcely any longer in a position to discomfort and torment a fellow. Rather she must then be seriously concerned for her life, and hope that she will be found pleasing, and fully.
The preciousness of the collar to the slave, and the fulfillments of her bondage, are not to be minimized. Commonly she lives to love and serve the master, to the best of her ability. She knows she is a slave, and how slaves are expected to behave. Accordingly that is how she does behave, as a slave.
Even free women, it seems, have some sense of these remarkable and profound fulfillments, and this accounts, one supposes, for their almost universal hostility toward, and contempt for, their embonded sisters.
The satisfaction of the slave's needs is up to the master. Occasionally one frustrates them. It helps them to keep in mind that they are slaves. On the other hand, the sex lives of slaves are a thousand times richer and deeper than those of a free woman, if the free woman, with her hauteur and grandeur, has anything worth considering a sex life. There is no comparison with that of a free woman. The sexual experiences of slaves, as opposed to those of free women, are lavish, vital, frequent, and prolonged. The sexual experiences of the free woman are usually brief and disappointing.
"I must speak the truth, Mistress," said Cecily. "I am a slave."
"That is true," I said to Miss Wentworth. "The slave must speak the truth. She is not a free woman."
Sometimes the binding fiber, in its double loop, is looser, that it may ride low on the hips. The point of this is to exhibit the navel of the slave, which, in Gorean, is known as "the slave belly." The Gorean free woman, as I understand it, who often mates while gowned, commonly refuses to reveal her "slave belly" to her companion, because of the shame of it. What if he should become excited, tear off her gown, and put her to use with the same audacity, aggression, exhilaration, and exultation with which he might use a vulnerable, meaningless animal, say, a chain-slut or paga girl?
The human body, on Gor, is not regarded as shameful. Even Gorean women of high caste, who are commonly robed and veiled in public, do not regard bodies as shameful. That would be absurd for a Gorean. They do, however, usually, regard their bodies as special and provocative, and exquisitely private, and certainly not for public viewing. The Gorean free woman then does not think of her body as something to be hidden for reasons of shame but as something to be hidden for reasons of propriety. As is well known the usual Gorean free woman is more concerned with the concealment of her facial features than her body. Her face is much more revealing of herself than her body.
Free women may be slovenly, and shuffle, or slouch or slump to their heart's content, but such luxuries are not permitted to the collar girl, for she is owned by men.
Cecily and Jane lowered their heads. The female slave is expected to keep herself neat, well-groomed, clean, combed, brushed, and so forth. She is, after all, not a free woman. Too, she is usually expected to keep herself at her "block measurements," namely the measurements she was sold at. Accordingly, regimens of diet and exercise may be forced upon her. Again, she is a slave, not a free woman. Much may be concealed beneath the "Robes of Concealment," but a slave tunic conceals almost nothing.
Free women need not be pleasing, and, commonly, are not so, as it is beneath their dignity to be pleasing, and to be pleasing is to be too much like a slave.
Talena, freed, in contempt and arrogance, permitted to a free woman, ridiculed and scorned her benefactor, and insisted upon being returned to power and glory in Ar, which matter was arranged by this fellow, Bosk of Port Kar.
Too, such as she could be punished severely for lying. They are not free women, who may lie with impunity.
It is not unknown, of course, that a slave might strive desperately to be returned to her master. A love unknown to a free woman, in its helplessness, its need, its depth, profundity, beauty, and passion, is often felt by a woman for the man whose collar she wears.
"'You may speak,' he said, as though I, a free woman, required such permission. 'I wish passage to Brundisium,' I said, 'and I am prepared to pay for it, as might a Ubara herself. I have riches.' 'You speak as a free woman,' he said. 'I am a free woman,' I said. 'That is fortunate,' he said, 'for were you a slave, and spoke as you do, you would be muchly lashed. The lesson of suitable speech, of deference, and such, for a slave is quickly learned.'
One is familiar with the haughtiness, the arrogance, the pride, of the typical free woman, defended by guardsmen, ringed by the walls of her city, well-veiled, well-robed, secure in her status, unassailable in station, ensconced in society's regard, but there is another pride, too, little spoken of, which is, perhaps surprisingly, that of the slave.
If a slave speaks, she is expected to speak as a slave, not a free woman. It is, after all, a privilege for a slave to be allowed to speak in the presence of a free man. They are not free women. Free woman may do much what they please.
Free women often fear to be in a man's arms, fearing what will become of them. Perhaps few understand the meaning of their restlessness, their irritations, their distractions, their turnings and thrashings in the night, or perhaps, somehow, they understand them only too well.
Many pillows have been dampened with the tears of free women.
Do they know the source of their tears?
Many are the cultural expectations imposed upon the free woman. Is she not more of a slave than a slave? Abundant are her limitations; narrow are the corridors permitted for her movements; stout are the bonds of convention wherein she is bound. Can she fail to sense the invisible ties which bind her? How natural, then, imbued by unquestioned prescription and expectation, for her to justify the walls within which she is imprisoned. How natural then her pride, her aloofness, her struggle to maintain the pretenses demanded of her. What is her will compared to the weight of society? Too, is it not easy to make a virtue of necessity, that ice should commend cold, and the stone its lack of feeling? How natural then that she should, with all innocence and conviction, often with a raging earnestness, praise the treachery which has been done to her, and struggle to betray herself, to deny herself to herself. How natural then that she should compete with her sisters in her imperviousness to desire, in her frigidity and inertness, in her estrangement from herself. How glorious is the free woman! She possesses a Home Stone, as a slave may not. But she is a woman, still, and that, however denied, is adamant. It continues to exist. Its hereditary coils reign in each living particle of her body. Truth, primitive and antique, remains true. Her nature is with her, for it is herself. Does she suspect at times that there is a slave masquerading within her robes? Does she not, at times, hear the whimpers, the cries, of the slave within her? Does she not long, at times, for the collar of a master, for the weight of his chains? Does she not know in her heart that she is his rightful slave?
A free woman may speak and behave as she wishes, a slave may not. When a free woman stands proudly she may do so as she wishes, independently, regally, even defiantly. When a slave stands proudly it is commonly to display her beauty before free men.
What a difference between the unquestioned prerogatives of the free woman who may speak if and when, and as, she pleases, and the helplessness of the slave who may be silenced with a word or gesture, and may not speak without permission.
I was not a free woman, a person, a citizen, the possessor of a Home Stone. I was not a proud creature of dignity and station. I was not the sort of woman who was to be treated with esteem and respect even awe, to whom would be accorded the many honors befitting her position. I was not veiled in public, that men might not look upon my beauty. I was not wrapped in the lengthy, ornate folds of the Robes of Concealment, that the lineaments of my figure should not betray the delicate canons of modesty, or no more so than might provoke inevitable speculation. I was not encircled with conventions and formalities; I was not one for whom strong men were to step deferently aside, who might be carried in a palanquin, for whom ways were to be cleared, one who was expected, I gathered, at least if of high caste, to speak boldly, even sharply, and with haughty contempt, one expected to hold oneself, and move, in stately disdain, one mighty in presence and power. I had gathered from the instructresses that such women, certainly those of high caste, of such exalted nobility, so taken with themselves, commonly prided themselves on their self-containment, their self-control, their freedom from many human weaknesses, their superiority to many of the elements commonly found in the nature of the female. In particular, many felt they must, as persons, view themselves as above a variety of allegedly lower, or baser, considerations. Accordingly, they would compete with one another, it seems, each attempting to outdo the other with respect to their imperviousness to the liabilities commonly associated with a lower nature, an animal nature. Many, I gathered, particularly of high caste, held themselves superior to sex, which they professed to find demeaning. It is difficult I supposed, to regard oneself as an equal to, or a superior of, a male when one is smaller, softer, and weaker, and finds oneself clasped in the arms of such a beast, helpless, unable to free oneself, its prisoner, one's softness clasped forcibly, mercilessly, to its hardness, the beast beside itself in its rage of possession and joy. And how unfree then should she feel herself if she sensed what it might be, so held, to be owned and mastered? How she must resist her body, her dispositions, her inclinations, her desires, her emotions, her feelings, lest they betray her, lest they threaten treason to her dignity and personhood.
"The slave," he said, "is not to be self-concerned, self-seeking, or self-interested. That is for the free woman. The free woman thinks of herself. The slave thinks of her master, and hopes to be found pleasing.
I have wondered, sometime, if the glorious free women of these men, so arrogant and remote, so lofty and proud, so secure, so serene, so abundantly and beautifully robed and veiled, so regal, so majestic, so concealed from head to toe, if stripped and sold, if so caressed, would not also have cried out, squirmed, and leapt as obediently, as helplessly, as revealingly, as spasmodically, as I?
Lying is permitted to the free woman, not the slave.
Free women may move awkwardly, clumsily, stiffly, however they please, but you, you must keep in mind, are no longer a free woman.
Insolence, rudeness, disrespect impudence, incivility, slovenliness, temper, impatience, carelessness, clumsiness, and such are not acceptable in a slave. The slave is not a free woman, who may be as she wishes.
It is said that a free woman might perish of shame if placed in a slave tunic, but, to a slave, such a garment, which she knows need not be accorded to her, may be a treasure, more precious to her than some assemblage of robes and veils to a free woman.
A free woman may be as ill-kempt and slovenly as she pleases, but this option is not permitted to the slave.
One might also note, in passing, that a free woman can be loud, intrusive, forward, unpleasant, ill-tempered, and so on. Such things are her prerogative.
The free woman is not concerned to please, but to be pleased. She is not to be bought and commanded, but to be solicited, wooed, and cajoled.
She may be sought for prestige position, family, influence, fortune, and such.
One courts the moody, unpredictable free woman who may confuse, vacillate, misdirect, tease, and tantalize to her heart's content.
The free woman may dangle the prospect of her couch, angling for gain, selling herself for her own profit.
A free woman, of course, may speak when, and how, she wishes, as she is not a slave.
She is not permitted the awkwardness, the clumsiness, the crudity of movement, the carelessness of movement, the slovenly posture of the free woman.
Had I been a free woman, perhaps I might have tortured him, and made him long for me, flirting, approaching and then backing away, demanding attentions and bargains, teasing, and taunting, implicitly bespeaking my favors, and then, perhaps with feigned surprise or scorn, withholding them. Might I not make my companioning, if I were interested in such, a prize in a game many might play, and from which, at my whim, I might withdraw? Might I not sell myself, on my own terms, as I saw fit, to the highest bidder, for station, and wealth? But there is no hurry in such matters. Lure, seem to promise, and then deny. What powers are at the disposition of the free woman! Is it not a pastime most pleasant, one of the more diverting of sports, and one which, with its anecdotes, stories, and amusements, is twice delightful, once in its enactment, and then, again, in its recounting? Accounts of such exploits surely afford the gist of many a meeting amongst oneself and one's free sisters. Who is the most skillful player, she with the most victories, the most discomfited, shattered swains, she who is to be most admired, the most emulated, and perhaps the most envied?
Masters, as is recognized, seldom mix in the altercations of slaves.
Amongst free women who may tear veils or lose slippers, or amongst slaves, who may rend or lose a tunic, not much is likely to take place which could not be reduced to unpleasantries such as insults, scratchings, bitings, and yanked hair.
A free woman can freely pronounce herself a slave but, following such a pronouncement which she, then a slave, is incapable of rescinding, she is a slave, helplessly and fully.
There are consequences, of course, for clumsiness in a slave. She is not a free woman.
After all, there would be camp grounds to be cleared, fuel to be gathered, water to be carried, food to be cooked, clothes to be laundered, and troops to be entertained, and in the way of the slave, kissing, caressing, dancing, mat service, and such. And woe to the slave who does not do well on the mat. A free woman may disdain such things, or fail in them, even miserably, but a slave is to be pleasing, fully pleasing, and in the way of the slave.
"Dullness, inertness, a lack of feeling, insensibility, passivity, dormancy, the suppression of nature, self-fear, self-denial, frigidity, torpidity, and such, is acceptable in a free woman," he said.
"The slave," he said, "is wholly different from the free woman. The free woman is free, the slave is a belonging, a property. The free woman does as she pleases; the slave hopes to be found pleasing. The free woman stands proudly; the slave kneels at feet of her master, submissively, her head down. The free woman is a person; the slave is a purchasable, vendible animal, a domestic beast."
He then turned back to the slave. "Margaret Wentworth," he said, "was a free woman, petty, vain, venal, ambitious, conniving, sly, hypocritical, dishonest, pretentious, lying, and arrogant but free, one despicable in many ways, but free. A free woman is permitted whatever nasty indulgences, whatever flaws and faults, she pleases, but the least suggestion of such a thing in a slave can be a cause for discipline."
This was true. The free woman need please only herself. The slave is to please the master. The free woman is responsible only to herself. The slave is responsible to her master. She is owned.
It is common for slaves, not free women, to ask for permission to speak, before daring to speak.
Free women, at least on the continent, commonly speak boldly, as, when, and how they wish.
A free woman may look boldly into the eyes of a free man, why not, she is free, but a girl in her collar, aware of her collar, is not likely to do so.
The feeling of free women toward tunics and such seems to be ambivalent. They seem to favor them in order to humiliate and degrade the slave, and emphasize the difference between themselves, the free, and the slaves, while, at the same time, they seem to resent the attention and pleasure with which men regard slaves so clad.
Free women, of course, play games with their veils, with their adjustings and slackenings, and raisings, and lowerings, much as might be done with fans, or even a parasol.
A free Gorean male is highly unlikely to strike a free woman, unless as a prelude to reducing her to slavery. As a result, a free woman, given the privileges of her liberty, usually feels free to abuse a free male, verbally or corporally, much as she might wish.
"One side, oafs!" she cried. "Dare not obstruct the path of a free woman, not so much as brushing her sleeve, lest I summon the guardsmen of Ar and have you remanded to the nearest pole of impalement! Aside, all of you, now! I have business here! Stand aside, aside!"
Men moved aside, even officers, lest her robes be touched.
Associated with freedom is standing, respect, dignity, prestige, status, privileges, and power, and acknowledged claims and rights. One is a person, and, in favored cases, a citizen, and may even possess a Home Stone. The Gorean free woman has a place in society that is far above that of the "free woman" of Earth. She is the pride and treasure of a city, to be elevated and honored, to be exalted and revered, to be defended to the death, unless she should fall slave, in that case, of course, she is then only another animal, to be bought and sold as the stock she then is. Naturally free women, in most cities, in their frustration, as would be expected, make the most of their prestige, caste rights, intelligence, beauty and such, exploiting such things ruthlessly to consolidate and improve their position in society.
Sometimes," said he, "a bold free woman will insist on entering a tavern. Sometimes they even disguise themselves as slave girls. Not unoften then they are seized, and enslaved, and sometimes they discover themselves as collared paga girls in the very tavern into which they sought, illicitly, to intrude."
Free women, in their unwonted arrogance, in their unwarranted, unconscionable, preposterous vanity, in their well-recognized stupidity, commonly take themselves to be far more beautiful than slaves, but it is difficult to assess this claim, even if one were to take it seriously, given the common impediments to vision supplied by the robes of concealment, the layers of veils, and such.
A free woman may lie, but a slave may not.
The free woman may be stiff and clumsy; the slave, in movement, posture, and attitude, must be beautiful.
"The female slave," said the other man, "is not a free woman. She is to be clean, neat, attractive, presentable, lovely."
If a captured free woman should beg to be purchased, for example, to be freed, she has thereby pronounced herself a slave.
Free women, in their unwonted arrogance, in their unwarranted, unconscionable, preposterous vanity, in their well-recognized stupidity, commonly take themselves to be far more beautiful than slaves, but it is difficult to assess this claim, even if one were to take it seriously, given the common impediments to vision supplied by the robes of concealment, the layers of veils, and such. It might be noted, too, that the great majority of slaves were once free women. How then could there be such a difference?
"What is going on here?" asked a slaver's man.
"Nothing," snapped Dorna. Free women can speak sharply and unpleasantly to free men. They are protected by their freedom, and, one supposes, often, a shared Home Stone.
A free woman may be as unpleasant and displeasing as she wishes; but the girl who is marked, collared, and tunicked, should the master permit her clothing, may not be so.
Free women, too, I have heard, from several slaves who were once free women, often feel the inclination, the impulse, the desire, the temptation, to kneel before a suitable male. How troubling and tormenting must this be for the regal free woman! Is she, despite her robes and veils, a slave? And some do so kneel, freely, scorning the pressure of prescribed resistance, putting themselves at the feet of such a male, in effect, offering themselves to be his slave.
Melete threw me a look of anger. She would soon learn that that indulgence can be a cause for discipline. Slaves are not free women.