Here are relevant references from the Books where a Whip Slave is mentioned.
I make no pronouncements on these matters, but report them as I find them.
Arrive at your own conclusions.
I wish you well,
I had been beaten by the Whip Slave for not contributing my share to the day's quota of ore required of the chain of which I was a member.
In the morning, though I knew it was morning only by the curses of the Whip Slaves, the cracking of the whips, the cries of the slaves and the rattle of chains, I and my fellow prisoners crawled from our cell, emerging again into the broad, rectangular room which lay directly beyond.
Already the feed trough had been filled.
The slaves edged toward the trough, but were whipped back. The word had not yet been given which would allow them to fall upon it.
The Whip Slave, another of the slaves of Tharna, but one in charge of the chain, was pleased with his task. Though he might never see the light of the sun, yet it was he who held the whip, he who was Ubar in this macabre dungeon.
The slaves tensed, their eyes fixed on the trough. The whip lifted. When it fell, that would be the signal that they might rush to the trough.
There was pleasure in the eyes of the Whip Slave as he enjoyed the tormenting moment of suspense which his uplifted whip inflicted on the ragged, hungry slaves.
The whip cracked. "Feed!" he shouted.
The slaves lunged forward.
"No!" I cried, my voice checking them.
Some of them stumbled and fell, sprawling with a rattle of chains on the floor, dragging others down. But most managed to stand uptight, catching their balance, and, almost as one man, that wretched degraded huddle of slaves turned its frightened, empty eyes upon me.
"Feed!" cried the Whip Slave, cracking the whip again.
"No," I said.
The huddle of men wavered.
Ost tried to pull toward the trough, but he was chained to Kron, who refused to move. Ost might as well have been chained to a tree.
Then I said, "Do not strike me again."
He backed away, the whip arm falling. He had understood me, and he knew that his life was in danger. What consolation would it be to him if the entire mine were flooded, if he had first perished with my chain about his throat?
I turned to the men. "You are not animals," I said.
"You are men."
Then, gesturing them forward, I led them to the trough.
"Ost," I said, "will distribute the food."
Ost thrust his hands into the trough, and crammed a fistful of bread into his mouth.
Kron's wrist chains struck him across the cheek and ear, and the bread flew from his mouth.
"Distribute the food," said Kron.
"We chose you," said Andreas of Tor, "because you are known for your honesty."
And amazing to say, those chained wretches laughed.
Sullenly, while the Whip Slave stood by and watched, angry, fearful, Ost distributed the poor fare that lay in the trough.
The last piece of bread I broke in two, taking half and giving the other half to Ost. "Eat," I said.
In fury, his eyes darting back and forth like those of an urt, he bit into the bread and gulped it down. "The chamber will be flooded for this," he said.
Andreas of Tor said, "I, for one, would be honored to die in the company of Ost."
And again the men laughed, and I thought that even Ost smiled.
The Whip Slave watched while we filed up the long incline to the shafts, his whip arm limp. Wondering, he watched us, for one of the men, of the Caste of Peasants, had begun to hum a plowing song, and, one by one, the others joined him.
The quota was well met that day, and the day following.
My chain of men worked well, and the quota was filled day after day, and when it was raised, it was filled again. Sometimes even, the men would hum as they worked, the strong sound resonant in the tunnels of the mine. The Whip Slaves wondered, and began to fear us.
The next day, as I had expected, an accident befell Ost. He seemed to injure his foot with the pick, and he pleaded so earnestly with the Whip Slave that the fellow removed him from the chain and, putting a collar on his throat, led him limping away. This would have been unusual solicitation on the part of a Whip Slave but it was obvious to him as to the rest of us that Ost wished to speak with him alone, to communicate information of extreme importance.
"You should have killed him," said Kron of Tharna.
"No," I said.
The bull-like man of Tharna looked at me questioningly and shrugged.
That night the slaves who brought the tub of food were accompanied by a dozen warriors.
That night Ost was not returned to the chain. "His foot requires care," said the Whip Slave, gesturing us toward the long cell.
When the iron door was shut and the bolts shot into place, I heard the Whip Slave laugh.
We had found him at the valve which emptied the reservoir of water into the slave dungeon more than two hundred feet below. He now wore the habiliments of the Whip Slave, a reward for his treachery. He threw down the whip and tried to run, scurrying like an urt, but everywhere he turned, the chain of haggard, violent men confined him, and as the chain closed, Ost fell quivering to his knees.
It was a night like no other in the mines of Tharna. Leading the chain of slaves in two lines behind me, we swept through the shafts like an eruption from the molten core of the earth. Armed only with ore and the picks that chip the ore from the walls we stormed into the quarters of Whip Slaves and guardsmen, who had scarcely time to seize their weapons.
How terrible those moments for the guards and Whip Slaves, to suddenly see, unchained and irresistible, the avalanche of wrath and vengeance that broke in upon them! Dice and cards and game boards and drinking goblets scattered to the rocky floors of the guard chambers as Whip Slaves and guardsmen looked up to find at their throats the blades of desperate and condemned men, now drunk with the taste of freedom and determined to free their fellows.
Cell after cell was emptied of its wretched chained occupants, only to be refilled with shackled guardsmen and Whip Slaves, men who knew that the least sign of resistance would bring only a swift and bloody death.
The next lot was an interesting one, consisting of two slave girls, clad in the skins of forest panthers, from the northern forests of Gor, and chained together by the throat. They were driven up the steps by a whip slave and forced to kneel at the center of the block.
To the amusement of the crowd it took the whip slave, and two others, to strip the biting, scratching forest beauties.
The third lot was a High Caste girl of Cos who stood before us clad in the complete robes of Concealment, which, piece by piece, were removed from her. She was beautiful, and had been free; she was not trained; she was of the Scribes, and had been picked up by pirates from Port Kar. She did nothing to move the buyers but stood, head down, numb on the block until she was completely revealed. Her movements were wooden. The crowd was not pleased. There was only a two gold piece bid. Then taking the whip from the whip slave the auctioneer stepped to the disconsolate girl; suddenly, without warning, he administered to her the Slaver's caress, the whip caress, and her response was utterly, and uncontrollably, wild, helpless.
"Are they trained?" called a voice.
"They are so certified," responded the auctioneer. He then summoned three whip slaves to the block, and each held the chain of one of the girls.
The whip slave who held her chain then hauled her cruelly, on her stomach, and then on her back, to the center of the block. There the whip slave stepped on the chain fastened to her slave bracelets about six inches from the bracelets, pinning her wrists to the block. The auctioneer, with his foot on her belly, held her in place.
The bids increased to a hundred and forty gold pieces. Then the girls were spaced on the block, Elizabeth toward the front and middle, and Virginia and Phyllis on alternate sides. The chains were then removed from their slave bracelets and the three whip slaves retired. The auctioneer then, with his key, removed the left slave bracelet from the wrist of each, permitting it to dangle from the right wrist.
Again the girls were commanded to walk about the block, and they did so, proudly, irritably, as though wishing to express only contempt for what they seemed to regard as the rabble about them. When they had finished, Virginia now stood toward the center, with Phyllis behind her and to her left, and Elizabeth behind her and to her right. The three whip slaves then again climbed to the block. By this time the bids had increased to two hundred and forty. There were some cries of protest, perhaps from less-affluent bidders, that the girls were not of High Caste.
The auctioneer then motioned to the whip slave who stood behind Virginia. He drew her left wrist behind her back and snapped it into the open slave bracelet, thus confining both wrists behind her. Then he, pulling at the shoulders of her livery, jerked it down to her waist. This pleased the crowd. There was a bid of two hundred and fifty then for the lot. The auctioneer then signaled the whip slaves and the girls rotated their position, bringing Phyllis to the front of the block. There, she, like Virginia, was similarly secured and revealed. The bids then increased to two hundred and seventy-five gold pieces. Then the girls rotated again and this time Elizabeth stood at the center of the block.
The crowd screamed with amusement, but the auctioneer did not seem much pleased. Angrily he motioned back the whip slave, who stood behind the girl, and then he himself threw her hands cruelly behind her back and snapped shut the slave bracelets, thus himself confining her.
Almost instantly, by the whip slaves, the three barbarian beauties from the House of Cernus were revealed to the buyers of Ar.
The crowd rose to its feet shouting and stamping, drowning out what bids might have been made.
How beautiful were the three women, the slaves.
When the tumult subsided, the voice of Samos was heard again.
"Remove the bracelets."
This was done and the three whip slaves retired, taking with them the bracelets which had confined the lovely commodities that now graced the block of Ar.
The girls were now on their feet and whip slaves were braceleting their wrists before their bodies and attaching the lead chains to the bracelets, preparing to conduct the purchased merchandise from the block.
Virginia and Phyllis were weeping. Elizabeth, by remarkable contrast, seemed exceedingly well pleased. When they had turned and were being led from the block by the whip slaves who held their leashes, Cernus spoke to two of the guards behind me. "Throw the fool on his feet," said he. "Let her see him!"
As we silently moved among the growths of the marsh we heard the wild cries of men, and the screaming of the girl bound to the prow, until, by a whip slave, she was lashed to silence.
Following the meal she would retire to my quarters which, on hands and knees, with brush and bucket, she would scrub to the satisfaction of a Whip Slave, with strap, standing over her.
"Few, if any, men are allowed there," she said. "We are managed by first girls, large tharlarion-like women, female whip slaves."
I had made my way at times past the Kasra and Venna areas. Few were the sounds that now emanated from those places. Within those holding areas I had little doubt that the large women, the whip slaves, muscular, freakish, and mannish, with their switches, thinking themselves the truest of women, perhaps because they were the most like men, would take the largest and best portions of food for themselves. How they would abuse the smaller, beautiful, more feminine women in their power! It was interesting how some women, such large, gross, misshapen, unhappy women, could hate other women, smaller, lovelier women, clearly, fittingly, and appropriately the slaves of men. Did they envy them? It was hard to say. Certainly slaves feared them, even as they did free women, who despised them for their weakness, needs, and bondage. But such gross women, slaves, would kneel, tremble, and grovel, no differently from their smaller, fairer sisters, before a free woman. It was no wonder then that lovely slaves looked to the protection of males from such gross brutes, and free women. What hope had they for safety, understanding, and compassion, and happiness, save from males who would relish their beauty and master it, uncompromisingly, putting it to the purposes for which the slaves knew it had been formed by nature. To be sure, I had seen such gross slaves occasionally taken in hand by a man, to whom, and before whom, they were as small, weak, and helpless as the lovelier slaves had been to them, and before them. Such gross women, sold perhaps for a pittance, and taught the meaning of their sex, if only by the whip, discovered the femininity they had thought nonexistent, and had professed to despise in their smaller sisters. They, too, suitably mastered, as women may be, soon learned themselves, and love. One need not be a gold-piece girl or a silver-piece girl to be fulfilled in bondage. Now they know themselves, and gratefully, and humbly, as mastered females, as only another sister in bondage.
"Where are the whip slaves?" I asked a fellow.
"Over there," he said, casting a contemptuous thumb to the side.
I went a bit to the side, and there I found, prone, naked, bound hand and foot, the five large, gross whip slaves who, as first girls, served to keep the smaller, softer, more beautiful, more desirable slaves in order. To be sure, their power rested on their authority, and not on their coarseness, or bulk. They had had behind them the power of men. Three or four smaller women, together, might have overcome, perhaps in her sleep, bound, and beaten such women.
"I trust the whip slaves in the Kasra area," said Alcinoë, "are similarly inconvenienced."
"Probably," I said.
"Good," she said.
She had doubtless felt their switches frequently enough.
I pulled the head of one of the whip slaves up a little, and back. She whimpered. She was afraid. To men, she was only another woman, and one unlikely to be of interest. Between the teeth of each was bound a switch.
"You tried to stop the entrance of men into the area?" I asked.
The woman, her head held up and back by the hair, whimpered once.
"Do you wish to be turned over to the slaves not yet secured," I asked, "to be lashed?"
She whimpered twice, pathetically.
I let her lower her head, stood up, and looked about.
The whip slaves doubtless feared the vengeance of the charges whom they had kept in such terror, over whom they had ruled with such cruelty.
Given their plainness, and grossness, they had something of the hatred of the free woman for the exquisitely feminine, muchly desired female slave, smaller and weaker, but so much their superior.
But once the slaves were chained, they had little to fear. When, later, they had been freed, by one officer or another, things would doubtless be much the same in the keeping area.
But perhaps not.
The men might come again.
In a bit we had come to the Kasra keeping area, within which its whip slaves had been served similarly to those of the higher area, bound naked, hand and foot, prone, their switches tied between their teeth.
I saw whip slaves, in their turn, moving past.
They were wrist-shackled identically with the others, and were similarly clad, and were barefoot. Gone were their switches. Gone now was their authority. As slaves they were poor stuff. I doubted that, stripped and exhibited, they would bring much off the block. To be sure, some men might like them. Perhaps some Peasants might buy them, to hoe suls, to pick beans, to swill tarsks, to draw the plow, to warm their feet in the winter.
Before we were caged, our necks were examined by the Whip Slave.