En'Kara
The First Turning
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Passage Hand
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Year 10,171 Contasta Ar


Birds



Here are relevant references from the Books where birds are mentioned.
I make no pronouncements on these matters, but report them as I find them.
Arrive at your own conclusions.

I wish you well,
Fogaban



     Bird
          Corn
          Deft
          Finch
          Fleer
               Hook-Billed Night-Crying
               Long-Billed
               Prairie
               Yellow
          Fruit Tindel
          Gant
               Arctic
               Jungle
               Marsh
          Gim
               Horned
               Lang
               Yellow
          Gort
          Gull
               Black-Tipped Coasting
               Broad-Winged
               Coast
               Cos
               Harbor
               River
               Schendi
               Sea
               Torvaldsland
               Tyros
               Vosk
          Herlit
          Hermit
          Hurlit
          Ivory-Billed Woodpecker
          Jard
               Black
               Forest
               Marsh
               Yellow-Winged
          Kite
               Meadow
          Lake
          Lit
               Crested
               Needle-Tailed
          Maize
          Marsh
               Marsh Kite
          Mindar
          Night Singer
          Parrot
          Ring-Necked and Yellow-Legged Wader
          Tanager
          Tarn
               Black
               Brown
               Domestic
               Draft
               Forest
               Greenish Brown
               Multicolored
               Racing
               Reddish
               Reddish Brown
               War
               White
               Wild
          Tibit
          Tufted Fisher
          Tumit
          Umbrella
          Ushindi Fisher
          Veminium
          Vulo
               Turian
          Warbler
          Zad
          Zadit
-
 


Birds
To The Top


Though it was still bright, many of the colorfully plumed birds had already sought their nests.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Page 25


A small, curious bird darted to the top of the stone, and then hopped from it to the blackened grass to hunt for grubs.
Priest-Kings of Gor     Book 3     Page 139


There was a huge, apparently flightless bird stalking about in another case. From its beak I judged it to be carnivorous.
Priest-Kings of Gor     Book 3     Page 191


A brightly plumaged bird sprang from the rushes to my left, screaming and beating its sudden way into the blue sky. In a moment it had darted again downward to be lost in the rushes, the waving spore stalks, the seed pods of various growths of the Gorean tidal marshes. Only one creature in the marshes dares to outline itself against the sky, the predatory Ul, the winged tharlarion.
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Page 1


I cried out as I saw a bird, tiny and purple, flash past overhead.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Page 36


I would surely starve. There was nothing to eat. I cried. Once, looking up, I saw a flight of large, white, broad-winged birds. They seemed lonely, too, high in the gray sky. I wondered if they, too, were hungry.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Page 43


Here and there, among the wagons, leashed, clad in short woolen skirts, heavy bands of iron hammered about their throats, under the guard of huntsmen, cowled in the heads of forest panthers, there walked male slaves, male outlaws captured by Marlenus and his hunters in the forest. They had long, shaggy black hair. Some carried heavy baskets of fruits and nuts on their shoulders, or strings of gourds; others bore wicker hampers of flowers, or carried brightly plumaged forest birds, tied by string to their wrists.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Page 210


She had, thrust in her belt, the binding fiber she had used for snares. We always took it with us, of course, when we moved. Over her shoulder she had two small, furred animals, hideous forest urts, about the size of cats, and in her left hand she carried four small, green-and-yellow-plumaged birds.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Page 237


I heard night birds cry in the forest.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 100


Overhead were several birds, bright, chattering, darting, swift among the branches and green leaves.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 106


The birds carded on above me, as I passed slowly, carefully beneath them. Sometimes when I first moved below them, they would be silent, but then, seeing in a moment that I was moving away, would begin to cry out again, and dart about from branch to branch. I stopped to wipe my brow on my forearm. Almost instantly they stopped, clutching the branches, the notes of their song for the instant stilled. If I had then sat down, or lain down, or remained standing for some time, but made no threatening move toward them, they would again resume their gatherings of food, their flights and songs.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 107


Some birds flew over the ruins of the camp. Some flew down to peck at crumbs.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 190


jungle birds, prized as pets,
Tribesmen of Gor     Book 10     Page 37


Colorful birds screamed to one side, on their perches. They were being sold by merchants of Schendi, who had them from the rain forests of the interior.
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 47


Many goods pass in and out of Schendi,
. . .
colorful birds
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 115


Far off, across the marsh, we could hear the noises of jungle birds, the howling of tiny, long-limbed primates.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 257


Trees surrounded us. Overhead bright jungle birds flew. We could hear the chattering of guernon monkeys about.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 307


The kailiauk is a migratory beast, thusly, but only in a rather special sense. It does not, for example, like certain flocks of birds, venture annually in roughly linear paths from the north to the south, and from the south to the north, covering thousands of pasangs in a series of orthogonal alternations.
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 95


Strangers will reprimand us, and even strike us, if we do not hold ourselves well. In a sense, I suppose, we are part of the beauties of the city, an aspect of its scenic delights, part of the attractions of the area, as might be her flower trees and brightly plumaged birds.
. . .

And suppose that we were not that rare. Think of the flower trees, the brightly plumaged birds!
Witness of Gor     Book 26     Page 403


"The prisoner," said the officer of Treve, "may have died in the nest. Too, he may have been trapped beneath the water, wedged under an outcropping, or between rocks."

The latter hypothesis was an interesting one, as water urts sometimes secure prey under the water, saving it for later, rather as certain predatory beasts will bury a kill, or place it in a tree, to be finished later. Some birds impale insects on thorns, for a similar purpose.
Witness of Gor     Book 26     Page 626


"To be sure," said Cabot, "it seems a pity to think of that pretty little body disfigured and mangled, burned with irons, torn by hooks, coated with honey, and then put out, alive, staked out naked, helplessly, for the delectation of flocks of tiny, carnivorous song birds. They feed, and sing, and feed, and sing."
. . .

"There are no tiny, carnivorous song birds," said Lord Grendel.

"I know," said Cabot, "but she does not."
Kur of Gor     Book 28     Pages 432 - 433


I turned about, and looked out to sea. I was now sure of it. What had been hitherto no more than a dot on the horizon, perhaps no more than a sea bird resting on the waves, even sleeping, as they do, was now clearly, though still small, and far off, a sail.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 87


We looked after the ship which was now gone from sight. There was only the empty river, quiet in the morning sun, and the cries of some birds, fishing, skimming its surface, sometimes diving under the water, and there was smoke, here and there, drifting about. It seems there had been fires in the vicinity.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 530


Our work was often marked by hundreds of birds alighting on the spilled stores, who would soon compete with returning draymen, who would gather what rice they could and carry it away to their villages, where it might be concealed from the tax collectors of Lord Yamada. We would depart, smoke in our wake, leaving behind us the scramblings of hungry men and the cries of clouds of small birds.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 91


Colorfully plumaged birds occasionally fluttered overhead.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 159


One dealer had set up a stall on the walkway, to sell brightly plumaged birds.
Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Page 140





 


Corn
To The Top


Too, they are often undecorated, save perhaps for a knot of the feathers of the yellow, long-winged, sharp-billed prairie fleer, or, as it is sometimes called, the maize bird, or corn bird, considered by the red savages to be generally the first bird to find food.
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 43


I had smote my hands slowly together three times. It was like the beating of wings. It now stood, I saw, for the Fleer tribe. The fleer is a large, yellow, long-billed, gregarious, voracious bird of the Barrens. It is sometimes also called the Corn Bird or the Maize Bird.
. . .
I later learned the sign for knife alone would suffice for this tribe. In the compound sign fleer presumably occurs as a modifier in virtue of the bird's coloration.
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 246





 


Deft
To The Top


Thousands of tiny defts, a small, flocking, gray, migratory bird, undistinguished in its plumage and not noted for its song, on their way to the shores of the Cartius, had been caught in the storm, as well, and, paralyzed with cold, with wings coated with ice, unable to continue their journey, had fallen to the snow-covered ground, littering the no-man's-land between the two armies, the projected field of battle. This became clear on the morning after the third day of the storm when the weather suddenly cleared, and, to the surprise of the potential combatants, a dreadful landscape was revealed, dark with the tiny bodies of stricken, half-frozen birds, partly buried in the snow In short, the truce standards were raised, and hundreds of men, from each army, came onto the field, gathered up the birds in their helmets and the basins of their shields, and returned to their respective camps, where the birds were nursed, being warmed and fed, and, two days later, on a common signal, between the two armies, were lofted into the air, where they rose above the field, circled it three times, and then resumed their journey. After that, the truce standards were returned to their racks, and, the next day, the battle was joined, one that was fought with unusual ferocity.
Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 436





 


Finch
To The Top


In the second level, that of the canopies, is found an incredible variety of birds, warblers, finches, mindars, the crested lit and the common lit, the fruit tindel, the yellow gim, tanagers, some varieties of parrot, and many more. Here, too, may be found snakes and monkeys, gliding urts, leaf urts, squirrels, climbing, long-tailed porcupines, lizards, sloths, and the usual varieties of insects, ants, centipedes, scorpions, beetles and flies, and so on.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 311


In the ground zone, and on the ground itself, are certain birds, some flighted, like the hook-billed gort, which preys largely on rodents, such as ground urts, and the insectivorous whistling finch, and some unflighted, like the grub borer and lang gim.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 311





 


Fleer
To The Top


"Over his herds the sky will be dark with fleer," said Cuwignaka.
I smiled. The location of large herds of kaiila is sometimes marked by the presence of circling, swarming fleer. They come to feed on the insects stirred up in the grass, activated by the movements of the beasts' paws.
Blood Brothers of Gor     Book 18     Page 95


The fleer, then, the members of a common flock, as the fleer usually flies, departed. They would probably return at a later time.
Blood Brothers of Gor     Book 18     Page 278


Once we had heard two notes of the fleer, but, that time, as it had turned out, the source of the signal had not been Cuwignaka but, to our frustration, an actual fleer.
Blood Brothers of Gor     Book 18     Page 317





 


Fleer - Hook-Billed Night-Crying
To The Top


My master looked upward, at the moons. From through the trees, on the other side of the camp, came what I took to be the sound of a bird, the hook-billed, night-crying fleer, which preys on nocturnal forest urts. The cry was repeated three times.

"Quiet is the night," called one of the camp guards, and this call was echoed by the others.

Again, three times, I heard the cry of the fleer.
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Page 117


I heard again, from outside, the cries of the hook-billed fleer.
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Page 126





 


Fleer - Long-Billed
To The Top


In the level of the emergents there live primarily birds, in particular parrots, long-billed fleers, and needle-tailed lits.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 311


I had smote my hands slowly together three times. It was like the beating of wings. It now stood, I saw, for the Fleer tribe. The fleer is a large, yellow, long-billed, gregarious, voracious bird of the Barrens. It is sometimes also called the Corn Bird or the Maize Bird.
. . .
I later learned the sign for knife alone would suffice for this tribe. In the compound sign fleer presumably occurs as a modifier in virtue of the bird's coloration.
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 246





 


Fleer - Prairie
To The Top


Too, they are often undecorated, save perhaps for a knot of the feathers of the yellow, long-winged, sharp-billed prairie fleer, or, as it is sometimes called, the maize bird, or corn bird, considered by the red savages to be generally the first bird to find food.
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 43





 


Fleer - Yellow
To The Top


Too, they are often undecorated, save perhaps for a knot of the feathers of the yellow, long-winged, sharp-billed prairie fleer, or, as it is sometimes called, the maize bird, or corn bird, considered by the red savages to be generally the first bird to find food.
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 43





 


Fruit Tindel
To The Top


He wore, too, the teeth of his beast as a necklace. Behind and about him had swirled a gigantic cloak of yellow and red feathers, from the crested lit and the fruit tindel, brightly plumaged birds of the rain forest.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 236


In the second level, that of the canopies, is found an incredible variety of birds, warblers, finches, mindars, the crested lit and the common lit, the fruit tindel, the yellow gim, tanagers, some varieties of parrot, and many more. Here, too, may be found snakes and monkeys, gliding urts, leaf urts, squirrels, climbing, long-tailed porcupines, lizards, sloths, and the usual varieties of insects, ants, centipedes, scorpions, beetles and flies, and so on.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 311





 


Gant - Artic
To The Top


I stepped aside to let a young girl pass, who carried two baskets of eggs, those of the migratory arctic gant. They nest in the mountains of the Hrimgar and in steep, rocky outcroppings, called bird cliffs, found here and there jutting out of the tundra. The bird cliffs doubtless bear some geological relation to the Hrimgar chains. When such eggs are frozen they are eaten like apples.
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 196





 


Gant - Jungle
To The Top


Along the river, of course, many other species of birds may be found, such as jungle gants, tufted fishers and ring-necked and yellow-legged waders.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 311





 


Gant - Marsh
To The Top


I heard a bird some forty or fifty yards to my right; it sounded like a marsh gant, a small, horned, web-footed aquatic fowl, broad-billed and broad-winged. Marsh girls, the daughters of rence growers, sometimes hunt them with throwing sticks.
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Page 4


The calls of marsh gants, a kind of piping whistle, seemed more frequent now, and somewhat closer.
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Page 8


I heard some domestic marsh gants making their piping call. They wandered freely on the island, leaving it to feed, then returning to it later. Wild marsh gants, captured, even as young as gantlings, cannot be domesticated, on the other hand, eggs, at the hatching point, gathered from floating gant nests, are sometimes brought to the island; the hatchlings, interestingly, if not permitted to see an adult gant for the first week of their life, then adopt the rence island as their home, and show no fear of human beings; they will come and go in the wild as they please, feeding and flying, but will always, and frequently, return to the rence island, their hatching place; if the rence island, however, should be destroyed, they revert entirely to the wild; in the domesticated state, it might be mentioned, they will often come to whistles, and will invariably permit themselves to be picked up and handled.
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Pages 16 - 17


Two wild gants alighted on the island, away from the men and their prisoners, and began pecking about the ruins of one of the rence huts, probably after seeds or bits of rence cake.
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Pages 60 - 61


The marsh was quiet. They heard only, from somewhere, far off, the piping cry of a marsh gant.
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Page 70


The primary pigments used were yellows, reds, browns and blacks. These are primarily obtained from powdered earths, clays and boiled roots. Blues can be obtained from blue mud, gant droppings and boiled rotten wood.
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 36


A gant suddenly fluttered out of the reeds, darting up, then again down, away.
Vagabonds of Gor     Book 24     Page 90





 


Gim - Horned
To The Top


"The first southern migrations of meadow kites," he said, "have already taken place. The migrations of the forest hurlit and the horned gim do not take place until later in the spring. This is the time that the Vosk gulls fly."
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 138


I heard a bird twittering.

It was a small bird, about the size of a sparrow, but it looked a bit like a tiny owl, with tufts over its eyes. It was purplish. It looked at me quizzically. It was perched on some split piping.

It looked at me for a moment, and then, with a flurry of wings, darted out of the ship.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Page 39


There was only the laughter of the girls, the bubbling of the stream, the work, the blue sky and white clouds, the wind and the bending grass, clean air and, somewhere, the call of a tiny horned gim, the tiny purplish owllike bird.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Page 97


Overhead were several birds, bright, chattering, darting, swift among the branches and green leaves. I heard the throaty warbling, so loud for such a small bird, of the tiny horned gim.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 106


We heard the throaty warbling of a tiny horned gim.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 120


"Oh!" cried the girl, startled. A grasshopper, red, the size of a horned gim, a small, owllike bird, some four ounces in weight, common in the northern latitudes, had leaped near the fire, and disappeared into the brush.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 293


It was very quiet, save mostly for the rustling and clicking of insects. Too I heard, intermittently, from somewhere far off, the cries of a tiny, horned gim.
Players of Gor     Book 20     Page 188


and autumn gim berries, purple and juicy, perhaps named for the bird, whose cast fruit lies under the snow, the seeds surviving until spring, when one in a thousand might germinate. I saw a small, purple, horned gim flutter away from the bush. It startled me, for I had not seen it there. It is strange how close things may be, and yet not be seen. Its coloring deepens at this time of year. It molts in both the spring and autumn, and in the autumn its coloring is much like that of the fruit and leaves of the bush itself. It is not truly horned, but the feathering about the sides of the head suggests horns.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 243





 


Gim - Lang
To The Top


In the ground zone, and on the ground itself, are certain birds, some flighted, like the hook-billed gort, which preys largely on rodents, such as ground urts, and the insectivorous whistling finch, and some unflighted, like the grub borer and lang gim.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 311





 


Gim - Yellow
To The Top


In the second level, that of the canopies, is found an incredible variety of birds, warblers, finches, mindars, the crested lit and the common lit, the fruit tindel, the yellow gim, tanagers, some varieties of parrot, and many more.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 311





 


Gort
To The Top


In the ground zone, and on the ground itself, are certain birds, some flighted, like the hook-billed gort, which preys largely on rodents, such as ground urts, and the insectivorous whistling finch, and some unflighted, like the grub borer and lang gim.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 311





 


Gull - Black-Tipped Coasting
To The Top


Its feathers were five inches long, set in the shaft on three sides, feathers of the black-tipped coasting gull, a broad-winged bird, with black tips on its wings and tail feathers, similar to the Vosk gull.
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Page 235





 


Gull - Broad-Winged
To The Top


I heard the cry of sea birds, broad-winged gulls and the small, stick-legged tibits, pecking in the sand for tiny mollusks.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 247





 


Gull - Coast
To The Top


Coast gulls screamed overhead. The air was sharp and clear. The sky was very blue.
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Page 288


It was very pleasant near the shore, with the smell of Thassa, with the cool, penetrant air, the sense of the salt of her churning waves, the sound of the surf, the incoming tide, the wash of sea weed on the shore, the water with its soft, fluid rush across the sand and amongst the stones, and then its circuitous return, and then its advance, and then again its return, and the wheeling and intermittent crying offshore of broad-winged coast gulls.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 74


"Meat is also available, Tarl Cabot tarnsman," he said. "I have seen to it. Coast gull, vulo, tarsk, verr, and mountain deer."
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 204





 


Gull - Cos
To The Top


Then we heard the cry of a Vosk gull. These are large, broad-winged birds, which occasionally fish three and four hundred pasangs from the delta. Smaller gulls nest on the cliffs of both Tyros and Cos.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Pages 27 - 28





 


Gull - Harbor
To The Top


I enjoyed the smell of the salt water, the sight of the soaring harbor gulls. I wore a collar, and was clad for the pleasure of men. But I was not unhappy.
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Page 341





 


Gull - River - Vosk
To The Top


We decided to wager to see who would get the second bottle of Paga.

"What about the flight of birds?" asked Kamchak.

"Agreed," I said, "but I have first choice."

"Very well," he said.

I knew, of course, that it was spring and, in this hemisphere, most birds, if there were any migrating, would be moving south. "South," I said.

"North," he said.

We then waited about a minute, and I saw several birds - river gulls flying north.

"Those are Vosk gulls," said Kamchak, "In the spring, when the ice breaks in the Vosk, they fly north."

I fished some coins out of my pouch for the Paga.

"The first southern migrations of meadow kites," he said, "have already taken place. The migrations of the forest hurlit and the horned gim do not take place until later in the spring. This is the time that the Vosk gulls fly."
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 137





 


Gull - Schendi
To The Top


"Those are Schendi gulls," said Ulafi, pointing to birds which circled about the mainmast. "They nest on land at night."

"I am pleased," I said. The trip had been long. I was eager to make landfall in Schendi.

I looked to the girls. Sasi looked up at me, and smiled. The blond-haired barbarian, too, had her head lifted. She smelled the spices. She knew we were now in the vicinity of land. She looked up at the birds. She had not seen them before.

Ulafi looked to the blond-haired barbarian. She looked at him, frightened. He pointed upward, at the birds, "We are approaching Schendi," he said.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 99





 


Gull - Sea
To The Top


I heard the cry of sea birds, broad-winged gulls and the small, stick-legged tibits, pecking in the sand for tiny mollusks.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 247


Some of our bowmen climbed over bodies, and from the grisly height of such hills, formed of inert or bleeding men, plied their craft, playing, as it is said, tunes on the lyre of death.
I thought there would be much feasting here for Thassa's gulls.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 357





 


Gull - Torvaldsland
To The Top


Twice yesterday, in long games, until the Torvaldsland gulls had left the sea and returned inland, I had failed to meet the gambit.
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Page 69





 


Gull - Tyros
To The Top


Then we heard the cry of a Vosk gull. These are large, broad-winged birds, which occasionally fish three and four hundred pasangs from the delta. Smaller gulls nest on the cliffs of both Tyros and Cos.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Pages 27 - 28





 


Gull - Vosk
To The Top


We decided to wager to see who would get the second bottle of Paga.

"What about the flight of birds?" asked Kamchak.

"Agreed," I said, "but I have first choice."

"Very well," he said.

I knew, of course, that it was spring and, in this hemisphere, most birds, if there were any migrating, would be moving south. "South," I said.

"North," he said.

We then waited about a minute, and I saw several birds - river gulls flying north.

"Those are Vosk gulls," said Kamchak, "In the spring, when the ice breaks in the Vosk, they fly north."

I fished some coins out of my pouch for the Paga.

"The first southern migrations of meadow kites," he said, "have already taken place. The migrations of the forest hurlit and the horned gim do not take place until later in the spring. This is the time that the Vosk gulls fly."
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 137


Lastly it might be mentioned, thinking it is of some interest, musicians on Gor are never enslaved; they may, of course, be exiled, tortured, slain and such; it is said, perhaps truly, that he who makes music must, like the tarn and the Vosk gull, be free.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 154


Piles he had already commissioned from a smith; and Thura, on his command, this afternoon, with a bit of stick, had struck down a Vosk gull, that the shafts he fashioned, whether from Ka-la-na or tem-wood, would be well fletched.
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Page 112


Our ship lay to, east of the great chain. I could see little, because of the fog. It was a chilly morning. The water licked at the strakes. Far off, unseen, I heard the cry of a Vosk gull.
Rogue of Gor     Book 15     Page 310


I listened to the creaking of the mighty links, and to the water lapping at the sides of our galley, and to the occasional cries of Vosk gulls.
Rogue of Gor     Book 15     Page 314


Vosk gulls dove and glided among the carnage, hunting for fish.
Guardsman of Gor     Book 16     Page 36


I looked at the sun. There was blood in the water about me. It was late in the afternoon. A ship of the Voskjard, a hundred yards away, back from the immediate press of battle, was aflame. A Vosk gull had alit on the wreckage to which I had earlier clung. I put the knife in my teeth and swam slowly toward the Tamira.
Guardsman of Gor     Book 16     Page 58


"Do not struggle," said Policrates. My fists were clenched. The ropes were hot and tight on my wrists and ankles. I could feel sweat under the coarse fibers, and the rope burn where I had sought to free myself. I could see the blue sky and the white clouds. Overhead a Vosk gull was soaring in the wind.
Guardsman of Gor     Book 16     Page 125


The musicians were free. Musicians on Gor, that is, members of the caste of musicians, are seldom, if ever, enslaved. Their immunity from bondage, or practical immunity from bondage, is a matter of custom. There is a saying to the effect that he who makes music must, like the tarn and the Vosk gull, be free.
Kajira of Gor     Book 19     Pages 297 - 298


A solitary figure, with no shield, but in helmet, and with sheathed sword, approached. It seemed a long walk, coming toward me, on the walkway. I could hear his steps when he came within a few yards of me. The water lapped about the pilings beneath the walkway. There was the cry of a Vosk gull overhead. I could see the smoke still lifting from the citadel, then drifting out, toward the river.
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Page 336


We heard a Vosk gull screaming overhead.
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Page 373


"Listen," she said. "I hear Vosk gulls, out in the marsh."

"Perhaps," I said.
Vagabonds of Gor     Book 24     Page 109


I listened to birdlike cries in the marsh. The Lady Ina had thought them Vosk gulls. So, too, did the men. They may, of course, have been right.
Vagabonds of Gor     Book 24     Page 119


"Perhaps," I said.

Out in the marsh we could hear various sounds, movements in the water, the occasional bellow of a tharlarion, usually far off, and the cries of Vosk gulls, perhaps Vosk gulls.
Vagabonds of Gor     Book 24     Page 152


Rencers sometimes, incidentally, trade for the arrow shafts and points separately. They can then point their own arrows and fletch them themselves, of course, as they are normally fletched with the feathers of the Vosk gull, which is abundant in the delta.
Vagabonds of Gor     Book 24     Page 338


Then we heard the cry of a Vosk gull. These are large, broad-winged birds, which occasionally fish three and four hundred pasangs from the delta. Smaller gulls nest on the cliffs of both Tyros and Cos.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Pages 27 - 28


"A lake bird," said Grendel. "I brought it down with a stick."

"It is large, like a Vosk gull, is it not?" asked Cabot.

"I do not know," said Grendel. "Perhaps, the fauna here is diversely origined."
Kur of Gor     Book 28     Page 362


Trade has primarily to do with rence, but some attention is devoted elsewhere, for example, to salted fish, mostly parsit and grunt, to tharlarion oil and leather, and to feathers, in particular those of the Vosk gull, which are commonly preferred in the fletching of arrows.
Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Page 133


Almost all local trading, fish, feathers of the Vosk Gull, favored for fletching, rence, and such, metalware, cloth and leather goods, ka-la-na wood for bows, wines and paga, and such, between the delta and Port Kar takes place in the Delta Market.
Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Page 196


And some men, when the twig snaps and the branch moves, when birds rise unexpectedly from the grass, when the calls of the marsh kite and the Vosk gull cease, are more attentive than others.
Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Page 345





 


Herlit
To The Top


The wand before us was some seven or eight feet high. It is of this height, apparently, that it may be seen above the snow, during the winter moons, such as Waniyetuwi and Wanicokanwi. It was of peeled Ka-la-na wood and, from its top, there dangled two long, narrow, yellow, black-tipped feathers, from the tail of the taloned Herlit, a large, broad-winged, carnivorous bird, sometimes in Gorean called the Sun Striker, or, more literally, though in clumsier English, Out-of-the-sun-it-strikes, presumably from its habit of making its descent and strike on prey, like the tarn, with the sun above and behind it.
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 143


Tactical instructions in a melee, incidentally, are normally administered to the red savages; in their units, commonly warrior societies, or divisions of such societies, by blasts on a whistle, formed from the wing bone of the taloned Herlit, or movements of a long, feathered battle staff.
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 286


Similar pits, though much smaller, are used for the capture of the taloned Herlit. In the case of the Herlit it is dragged bodily into the pit. There it may be dealt with in various ways. It may be strangled; it may be crushed beneath the knees, with the hunter's weight; or it may be put on its belly, its back to be broken by a swift blow of the foot. In the latter two fashions, the wings are put to the side. This avoids damage to the feathers. It is not easy to kill such a bird with the bare hands, but that is the prescribed methodology. It is regarded as bad form, if not bad medicine, to use a weapon for such a purpose. An adult Herlit is often four feet in height and has a wingspan of some seven to eight feet. The hunter must beware of being blinded or having an artery slashed in the struggle. The fifteen tail feathers are perhaps most highly prized. They are some fourteen to fifteen inches in height, and yellow with black tips. They are particularly significant in the marking of coups. The wing, or pinion, feathers are used for various ceremonial and religious purposes. The breath feathers, light and delicate, from the base of the bird's tail, are used, with the tail feathers, in the fashioning of bonnets or complex headdresses. They, like the wing feathers, may also be used for a variety of ceremonial or religious purposes. The slightest breeze causes them to move, causing the headdress to seem almost alive. It is probably from this feature that they are called "breath feathers." Each feather, of course, and its arrangement, in such a headdress, can have its individual meaning. Feathers from the right wing or right side of the tail, for example, are used on the right side of the headdress, and feathers from the left wing or left side of the tail are used on the left side of the headdress. In the regalia of the red savages there is little that is meaningless or arbitrary. To make a headdress often requires several birds. To give you an idea of the value of Herlits, in some places two may be exchanged for a kaiila; in other places, it takes three to five to purchase a kaiila. We were not today, however, hunting Herlits.
Blood Brothers of Gor     Book 18     Page 315





 


Hermit
To The Top


Somewhere, far off, but carrying through the forest, was the rapid, staccato slap of the sharp beak of the yellow-breasted hermit bird, pounding into the reddish bark of the tur tree, hunting for larvae.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 106





 


Hurlit
To The Top


"The first southern migrations of meadow kites," he said, "have already taken place. The migrations of the forest hurlit and the horned gim do not take place until later in the spring. This is the time that the Vosk gulls fly."
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 138





 


Ivory-Billed Woodpecker
To The Top


In the lower portion of the canopies, too, can be found heavier birds, such as the ivory-billed woodpecker and the umbrella bird. Guernon monkeys, too, usually inhabit this level.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 311





 


Jard
To The Top


"No," she said. "We content ourselves with prime hide. Most of the animals we leave for the larts and sleen, and the jards." The jard is a small scavenger. It flies in large flocks. A flock, like flies, can strip the meat from a tabuk in minutes.
"Even the jards die, gorged with meat," said the man near us on the platform.
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 149


Fluttering jards, covering many of the carcasses like gigantic flies, stirred, swarming upward as Imnak passed them, and then returned to their feasting.
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 170


The men looked at one another, uneasily. They did not care to become feasting meat for the scavenging jards.
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 173


"I should put a pin through your ankles, Taphris," cried the Mistress, "and hang you up by the heels from a Tur tree, smeared with your own blood, for the jards!"
Fighting Slave of Gor     Book 14     Page 308


I sat astride the kaiila, surveying the scene. I counted some twenty-one bodies. They were stripped. There were no kaiila. Insects swam in the air above several of the bodies. One could hear their humming. Two jards, fluttering, fought in an opened abdominal cavity.
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Pages 159 - 160


Judging from the condition of the bodies, the effects of the predations of birds, some still about, jards primarily, and the tattering of the winds and rains, they had been there for several weeks.
Mercenaries of Gor     Book 21     Page 108


"Probably not in this vicinity," I said. The larger uls, as opposed to the several smaller varieties, some as small as jards, tend to be isolated and territorial.
Vagabonds of Gor     Book 24     Page 203


The jard is a small scavenging bird. It commonly moves in flocks.
Magicians of Gor     Book 25     Page 400


Once the cadaverine alkaloids are formed not even the flocking, despised jard will feed.
Kur of Gor     Book 28     Page 593


For pasangs about the city the fields were littered with feasting for scavenging jards.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 38


There would not be much to see now, burned wood, ashes, perhaps rusted weaponry, perhaps bones, scoured by jards and urts.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 27





 


Jard - Black
To The Top


"The arrow is swifter," said Cabot. "It is not for nothing the arrow is sometimes spoken of as the bird of death. In Torvaldsland, the arrow is sometimes spoken of as the jard feeder."
This reference seems obscure, but the jard is a Gorean bird, a small, black, flocking bird, a scavenger. Its gatherings, sometimes before battles, or in the vicinity of lengthy, desperate marches, are often regarded with uneasiness, and some see it as a bird of ill omen. A saying in the Gorean north, seemingly related, is to speak of a defeated force as having been given over to the feasting of jards.
Kur of Gor     Book 28     Pages 376 - 377





 


Jard - Forest
To The Top


"Her remains, by now, will be the feasting of urts and forest jards," he said.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 239





 


Jard - Marsh
To The Top


We had been with the men of Ar for some ten days now, moving generally south. Thrice in our trek had we heard the sound of the marsh jard, our agreed-upon signal, warning us of danger.
Vagabonds of Gor     Book 24     Page 325





 


Jard - Yellow-Winged
To The Top


Within the next Ahn we passed more than sixty bodies, dangling at the side of the river. None was that of Shaba. About some of these bodies there circled scavenging birds. On the shoulders of some perched small, yellow-winged jards.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 415





 


Kite
To The Top


Overhead a wild Gorean kite, shrilling, beat its lonely way from this place, seemingly no different from a thousand other places on these broad grasslands of the south.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 4
 


Kite - Marsh
To The Top


"Those are the sounds of the nesting marsh kite," whispered Bruno of Torcadino. I had heard of this bird, but had never seen it or heard its cry. It weaves its nest of rence, which floats on the water. Some speculate that the humans who had long ago taken to the vast, formidable delta marshes, perhaps fleeing to them, might have realized the possibility of rence islands from the nest building of the marsh kite.
Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Page 291


And some men, when the twig snaps and the branch moves, when birds rise unexpectedly from the grass, when the calls of the marsh kite and the Vosk gull cease, are more attentive than others.
Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Page 345





 


Kite - Meadow
To The Top


"The first southern migrations of meadow kites," he said, "have already taken place. The migrations of the forest hurlit and the horned gim do not take place until later in the spring. This is the time that the Vosk gulls fly."
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 138





 


Lake
To The Top


"Roast meat," said Cabot.

"A lake bird," said Grendel. "I brought it down with a stick."

"It is large, like a Vosk gull, is it not?" asked Cabot.

"I do not know," said Grendel. "Perhaps, the fauna here is diversely origined."
Kur of Gor     Book 28     Page 362


"Did you save the feathers of the lake bird?" asked Cabot of Lord Grendel.

"Not really," said Lord Grendel, wiping his jaws with a massive, haired forearm, "but they are about. Why?"

"They might be useful," said Cabot, "in fletching arrows."
Kur of Gor     Book 28     Page 368


He had fletched those arrows earlier finished with feathers of the lake bird, that apparently, in Cabot's mind, at least, resembling the Vosk Gull, binding the feathering to the shaft with stout threads, these obtained from the hem of his tunic,
Kur of Gor     Book 28     Page 370





 


Lit - Crested
To The Top


Behind and about him had swirled a gigantic cloak of yellow and red feathers, from the crested lit and the fruit tindel, brightly plumaged birds of the rain forest. In making such a cloak only two feathers are taken from the breast of each bird. It takes sometimes a hundred years to fashion such a cloak.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 236


In the second level, that of the canopies, is found an incredible variety of birds, warblers, finches, mindars, the crested lit and the common lit, the fruit tindel, the yellow gim, tanagers, some varieties of parrot, and many more. Here, too, may be found snakes and monkeys, gliding urts, leaf urts, squirrels, climbing, long-tailed porcupines, lizards, sloths, and the usual varieties of insects, ants, centipedes, scorpions, beetles and flies, and so on.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 311





 


Lit - Needle-Tailed
To The Top


In the level of the emergents there live primarily birds, in particular parrots, long-billed fleers, and needle-tailed lits.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 311





 


Maize
To The Top


Too, they are often undecorated, save perhaps for a knot of the feathers of the yellow, long-winged, sharp-billed prairie fleer, or, as it is sometimes called, the maize bird, or corn bird, considered by the red savages to be generally the first bird to find food.
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 43


I had smote my hands slowly together three times. It was like the beating of wings. It now stood, I saw, for the Fleer tribe. The fleer is a large, yellow, long-billed, gregarious, voracious bird of the Barrens. It is sometimes also called the Corn Bird or the Maize Bird.
. . .
I later learned the sign for knife alone would suffice for this tribe. In the compound sign fleer presumably occurs as a modifier in virtue of the bird's coloration.
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 246





 


Marsh
To The Top


I awakened in the early morning, half lying across my makeshift vessel, to the sound of marsh birds.
Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Page 309





 


Marsh Kite
To The Top


"Those are the sounds of the nesting marsh kite," whispered Bruno of Torcadino. I had heard of this bird, but had never seen it or heard its cry. It weaves its nest of rence, which floats on the water. Some speculate that the humans who had long ago taken to the vast, formidable delta marshes, perhaps fleeing to them, might have realized the possibility of rence islands from the nest building of the marsh kite.
Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Page 291


And some men, when the twig snaps and the branch moves, when birds rise unexpectedly from the grass, when the calls of the marsh kite and the Vosk gull cease, are more attentive than others.
Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Page 345





 


Mindar
To The Top


Kisu pointed overhead. "See the mindar," he said.

We looked up and saw a brightly plumaged, short-winged, sharp-billed bird. It was yellow and red.

"That is a forest bird," said Kisu.

"The mindar is adapted for short, rapid flights, almost spurts, its wings beating in sudden flurries, hurrying it from branch to branch, for camouflage in flower trees, and for drilling the bark of such trees for larvae and grubs.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 282


This afternoon, late, when we had come inland, almost in the dusk, she had become entangled in the web of a rock spider, a large one. They are called rock spiders because of their habit of holding their legs folded beneath them. This habit, and their size and coloration, usually brown and black, suggests a rock, and hence the name. It is a very nice piece of natural camouflage. A thin line runs from the web to the spider. When something strikes the web the tremor is transmitted by means of this line to the spider. Interestingly the movement of the web in the air, as it is stirred by wind, does not activate the spider; similarly if the prey which strikes the web is too small, and thus not worth showing itself for, or too large, and thus beyond its prey range, and perhaps dangerous, it does not reveal itself. On the other hand, should a bird, such as a mindar or parrot, or a small animal, such as a leaf urt or tiny tarsk, become entangled in the net the spider swiftly emerges. It is fully capable of taking such prey. When the blond-haired barbarian stumbled into the web, screaming, trying to tear it away from her face and hair, the spider did not even reveal itself. I pulled her away from the net and slapped her to silence. Curious, as she, sobbing, cleaned herself with leaves and saliva, I located the gentle, swaying strand which marked the location of the spider. It, immobile on the ground, was about a foot in diameter. It did not move until I nudged it with a stick, and it then backed rapidly way.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 294


In the second level, that of the canopies, is found an incredible variety of birds, warblers, finches, mindars, the crested lit and the common lit, the fruit tindel, the yellow gim, tanagers, some varieties of parrot, and many more. Here, too, may be found snakes and monkeys, gliding urts, leaf urts, squirrels, climbing, long-tailed porcupines, lizards, sloths, and the usual varieties of insects, ants, centipedes, scorpions, beetles and flies, and so on.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 311





 


Night Singer
To The Top


The Night Singers were now afield, but would return in the evening to proclaim and defend their small territories.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 159


On the other hand, I would later learn, interestingly, that this lack of an obvious warning arrangement, first, was intended to encourage an approach through the garden to the courtyard, which would then facilitate the entrapment of intruders between the double walls, those of the courtyard and those of the garden, and, second, that there was, in a sense, a warning device in the garden, as well as in the more open, barren courtyard, nearer the palace, a warning device, however, which was armed, so to speak, only after dark. This consisted in the Night Singers themselves, whose song would be silenced if an unfamiliar individual entered the garden, and, when resumed, would be rather different and would occasionally be interrupted with warning notes, should the individual change his position.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 160


"The moons smile upon the garden," he said. "The brook flows brightly between the rocks. The Night Singers rejoice in the branches."
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 205


I heard rain gently falling on the leaves of the trees in the garden.

"The Night Singers are quiet," I said.

"It is the rain," said Lord Akio.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 208


The Night Singers were now in the fields.

I sat in the shade, on a bench, near the small bridge which spanned the tiny brook wending its way amongst the rocks, the tiny terraces, the shrubberies, the flowers, and trees of the garden.

It had rained the night of the attack. Accordingly, the Night Singers, as I had gathered from Lord Akio, were silent.
Thus, the cessation of their song, commonly resulting from wariness, perhaps an uneasiness occasioned by the entrance of an intruder, or something unfamiliar, in the garden had not occurred. Had it occurred, it might have been noted by guards, or others. Accordingly, I had little doubt that the attack had been coordinated with their silence, to be expected under the circumstances.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 219


The Night Singers were abroad in the fields.

It was late morning.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 245


"You can read rain," I said, "perhaps as much as four or five Ahn, even before the clouds gather."

"I garden," he said.

"It rained on the night of the attack on the shogun," I said.

"I recall it so," he said.

"The Night Singers, returned, were quiet" I said.

"It was the rain," he said.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 245


"On clear nights, in this time of year," I said, "it is my understanding that the garden is alive with the songs of the Night Singers, songs of demarcating territory, of courting, and nesting. It is also my understanding that when these lovely guests are wary, uncertain, apprehensive, or frightened, they do not sing."

"That is true, noble one," he said.

"Thus," I said, "on a clear night, their silence would betoken their concern, and their concern might be occasioned by something unanticipated or unfamiliar in the garden, for example, an animal, or intruder."

"It is true," said the gardener, "that their sudden silence might be so motivated."

"Their silence, then," I said, "could be construed, by those familiar with such things, guards, servitors, even slaves, as a clarion of alarm."

"It is true, noble one," said the gardener. "I have work to do."

"But on a night of rain," I said, "as their songs desist, their silence would be unlikely to motivate an investigation."
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 246





 


Parrot
To The Top


I paused before a given stall, where light, walking chains were being sold. They were strung over racks rather like parrot perches.
Tribesmen of Gor     Book 10     Pages 48 - 49


On the other hand, should a bird, such as a mindar or parrot, or a small animal, such as a leaf urt or tiny tarsk, become entangled in the net the spider swiftly emerges.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 294


In the level of the emergents there live primarily birds, in particular parrots, long-billed fleers, and needle-tailed lits.
. . .
In the second level, that of the canopies, is found an incredible variety of birds, warblers, finches, mindars, the crested lit and the common lit, the fruit tindel, the yellow gim, tanagers, some varieties of parrot, and many more. Here, too, may be found snakes and monkeys, gliding urts, leaf urts, squirrels, climbing, long-tailed porcupines, lizards, sloths, and the usual varieties of insects, ants, centipedes, scorpions, beetles and flies, and so on.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 311





 


Ring-Necked and Yellow-Legged Wader
To The Top


Along the river, of course, many other species of birds may be found, such as jungle gants, tufted fishers and ring-necked and yellow-legged waders.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 311





 


Tanager
To The Top


In the second level, that of the canopies, is found an incredible variety of birds, warblers, finches, mindars, the crested lit and the common lit, the fruit tindel, the yellow gim, tanagers, some varieties of parrot, and many more. Here, too, may be found snakes and monkeys, gliding urts, leaf urts, squirrels, climbing, long-tailed porcupines, lizards, sloths, and the usual varieties of insects, ants, centipedes, scorpions, beetles and flies, and so on.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 311





 


Tarn
To The Top


This afternoon, when it was time for our lesson, he was not laughing. He entered my apartment, carrying a metal rod about two feet long, with a leather loop attached. It had a switch in the handle, which could be set in two positions, on and off, like a simple torch. He wore another such instrument slung from his belt. "This is not a weapon," he said. "It is not to be used as a weapon."

"What is it?" I asked.

"A tarn-goad," he replied. He snapped the switch in the barrel to the "on" position and struck the table. It showered sparks in a sudden cascade of yellow light, but left the table unmarked. He turned off the goad and extended it to me. As I reached for it, he snapped it on and slapped it in my palm. A billion tiny yellow stars, like pieces of fiery needles, seemed to explode in my hand. I cried out in shock. I thrust my hand to my mouth. It had been like a sudden, severe electric charge, like the striking of a snake in my hand. I examined my hand, it was unhurt. "Be careful of a tarn-goad," said the Older Tarl. "It is not for children." I took it from him, this time being careful to take it near the leather loop, which I fastened around my wrist.

The Older Tarl was leaving, and I understood that I was to follow him. We ascended a spiral staircase inside the cylinder and climbed for what must have been dozens of apartment levels. At last we emerged on the flat roof of the cylinder. The wind swept across the flat, circular roof, tugging one toward the edge. There was no protective rail. I braced myself, wondering what was to occur. Some dust blew against my face. I shut my eyes. The Older Tarl took a tarn whistle, or tarn call, from his tunic and blew a piercing blast.

I had never seen one of the tarns before, except on the tapestry in my apartment and in illustrations in certain books I had studied devoted to the care, breeding, and equipment of tarns. That I had not been trained for this moment was intentional, as I later discovered.

The Goreans believe, incredibly enough, that the capacity to master a tarn is innate and that some men possess this characteristic and that some do not. One does not learn to master a tarn. It is a matter of blood and spirit, of beast and man, of a relation between two beings which must be immediate, intuitive, spontaneous. It is said that a tarn knows who is a tarnsman and who is not, and that those who are not die in this first meeting.

My first impression was that of a rush of wind and a great snapping sound, as if a giant might be snapping an enormous towel or scarf, then I was cowering, awestricken, in a great winged shadow, and an immense tarn, his talons extended like gigantic steel hooks, his wings sputtering fiercely in the air, hung above me, motionless except for the beating of his wings.

"Stand clear of the wings," shouted the Older Tarl.

I needed no urging. I darted from under the bird. One stroke of those wings would hurl me yards from the top of the cylinder.

The tarn dropped to the roof of the cylinder and regarded us with his bright black eyes.

Though the tarn, like most birds, is surprisingly light for its size, this primarily having to do with the comparative hollowness of the bones, it is an extremely powerful bird, powerful even beyond what one would expect from such a monster. Whereas large Earth birds, such as the eagle, must, when taking flight from the ground, begin with a running start, the tarn, with its incredible musculature, aided undoubtedly by the somewhat lighter gravity of Gor, can with a spring and a sudden flurry of its giant wings lift both himself and his rider into the air. In Gorean, these birds are sometimes spoken of as Brothers of the Wind.

The plumage of tarns is various, and they are bred for their colors as well as their strength and intelligence. Black tarns are used for night raids, white tarns in winter campaigns, and multicolored, resplendent tarns are bred for warriors who wish to ride proudly, regardless of the lack of camouflage. The most common tarn, however, is greenish brown. Disregarding the disproportion in size, the Earth bird which the tarn most closely resembles is the hawk, with the exception that it has a crest somewhat of the nature of a jay's.

Tarns, who are vicious things, are seldom more than half tamed and, like their diminutive earthly counterparts, the hawks, are carnivorous. It is not unknown for a tarn to attack and devour his own rider. They fear nothing but the tarn-goad. They are trained by men of the Caste of Tarn Keepers to respond to it while still young, when they can be fastened by wires to the training perches. Whenever a young bird soars away or refuses obedience in some fashion, he is dragged back to the perch and beaten with the tarn-goad. Rings, comparable to those which are fastened on the legs of the young birds, are worn by the adult birds to reinforce the memory of the hobbling wire and the tarn-goad. Later, of course, the adult birds are not fastened, but the conditioning given them in their youth usually holds, except when they become abnormally disturbed or have not been able to obtain food. The tarn is one of the two most common mounts of a Gorean warrior;
. . .

The Older Tarl had mounted his tarn, climbing up the five-rung leather mounting ladder which hangs on the left side of the saddle and is pulled up in flight. He fastened himself in the saddle with a broad purple strap. He tossed me a small object which nearly fell from my fumbling hands. It was a tarn whistle, with its own note, which would summon one tarn, and one tarn only, the mount which was intended for me.
. . .

I blew a note on the whistle, and it was shrill and different, of a new pitch from that of the Old Tarl.

Almost immediately from somewhere, perhaps from a ledge out of sight, rose a fantastic object, another giant tarn, even larger than the first, a glossy sable tarn which circled the cylinder once and then wheeled toward me, landing a few feet away, his talons striking on the roof with a sound like hurled gauntlets. His talons were shod with steel - a war tarn. He raised his curved beak to the sky and screamed, lifting and shaking his wings. His enormous head turned toward me, and his round, wicked eyes blazed in my direction. The next thing I knew his beak was open. I caught a brief sight of his thin, sharp tongue, as long as a man's arm, darting out and back, and then, snapping at me, he lunged forward, striking at me with that monstrous beak, and I heard the Older Tarl cry out in horror, "The goad! The goad!"
. . .

The tarn is guided by virtue of a throat strap, to which are attached, normally, six leather streamers, or reins, which are fixed in a metal ring on the forward portion of the saddle. The reins are of different colors, but one learns them by ring position and not color. Each of the reins attaches to a small ring on the throat strap, and the rings are spaced evenly. Accordingly, the mechanics are simple. One draws on the streamer, or rein, which is attached to the ring most nearly approximating the direction in which one wishes to go. For example, to land or lose altitude, one uses the four-strap which exerts pressure on the four-ring, which is located beneath the throat of the tarn. To rise into flight, or gain altitude, one draws on the one-strap, which exerts pressure on the one-ring, which is located on the back of the tarn's neck. The throat-strap rings, corresponding to the position of the reins on the main saddle ring, are numbered in a clockwise fashion.

The tarn-goad also is occasionally used in guiding the bird. One strikes the bird in the direction opposite to which one wishes to go, and the bird, withdrawing from the goad, moves in that direction. There is very little precision in this method, however, because the reactions of the bird are merely instinctive, and he may not withdraw in the exact tangent desired. Moreover, there is danger in using the goad excessively. It tends to become less effective if often, used, and the rider is then at the mercy of the tarn.
. . .

"I thought," I said, "on the roof it would kill me. It seems the tarn keepers do not train their prodigies as well as they might."

"No!" cried the Older Tarl. "The training is perfect. The spirit of the tarn must not be broken, not that of a war tarn. He is trained to the point where it is necessary for a strong master to decide whether he shall serve him or slay him. You will come to know your tarn, and he will come to know you. You will be as one in the sky, the tarn the body, you the mind and will. You will live in an armed truce with the tarn. If you become weak or helpless, he will kill you. As long as you remain strong, his master, he will serve you, respect you, obey you."
. . .

I mounted my tarn, that fierce, black magnificent bird. My shield and spear were secured by saddle straps, my sword was slung over my shoulder. On each side of the saddle hung a missile weapon, a crossbow with a quiver of a dozen quarrels, or bolts, on the left, a longbow with a quiver of thirty arrows on the right. The pack contained the light gear carried by raiding tarnsmen in particular, rations, a compass, maps, binding fiber, and extra bowstrings.
. . .
The Older Tarl had told me that Thentis is a city famed for its tarn flocks and remote in the mountains from which the city takes its name.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Pages 49 - 67


"You're not frightened?" I asked, stumbling on the words, feeling stupid. "I mean - about the tarn. You must have ridden tarns before. I was frightened my first time."
The girl looked back at me, puzzled. "Women are seldom permitted to ride on the backs of tarns," she said. "In the carrying baskets, but not as a warrior rides."
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 70


During the day I freed my tarn, to allow him to feed as he would. They are diurnal hunters and eat only what they catch themselves, usually one of the fleet Gorean antelopes or a wild bull, taken on the run and lifted in the monstrous talons to a high place, where it is torn to pieces and devoured. Needless to say, tarns are a threat to any living matter that is luckless enough to fall within the shadow of their wings, even human beings.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 73


I brought him to rest on one of the steel projections that occasionally jut forth from the cylinders and serve as tarn perches. The great bird opened and closed his wings, his steel-shod talons ringing on the metal perch as he changed his position, moving back and forth upon it.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 77


I folded the ladder and fastened it in its place at the side of the saddle.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 80


We were somewhere over the swamp forest," said the girl, "when we flew into a flock of wild tarns. My tarn attacked the leader of the flock."

She shuddered at the memory, and I pitied her for what must have been a horrifying experience, lashed helpless to the saddle of a giant tarn reeling in a death struggle for the mastery of a flock, high over the trees of the swamp forest.

"My tarn killed the other," said the girl, "and followed it to the ground, where he tore it to pieces." She shook with the memory. "I slipped free and ran under the wing and hid in the trees. After a few minutes, his beak and talons wet with blood and feathers, your tarn took flight. I last saw him at the head of the tarn flock."
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 89


I was conscious in that mad, terrible instant of the flash of steel-shod talons at the breast of my bird, and then my bird shook as though seized with a convulsion and opened his talons. I began to drop toward the wastes below. In that wild instant I saw my bird beginning to fall, flopping downward, and saw his attacker wheeling in my direction. Falling, I twisted madly, unsupported in the air, a wordless cry of anguish in my throat, and watched in horror as the ground seemed to rush upward to meet me. But I never reached it, for the attacking bird had swooped to intercept me and seized me in his beak much as one gull might seize a fish dropped by another. The beak, curved like an instrument of war, slit with its narrow nostrils, closed on my body, and I was once more the prize of a tarn.

Soon my swift captor had reached his mountains, and the vague, distant smudge that I had seen had become a lonely, frightening, inaccessible wilderness of reddish cliffs. High on a sunlit mountain ledge, the sable tarn dropped me to the sticks and brush of its nest and set one steel-shod taloned foot across my body to hold me steady as the great beak did its work. As the beak reached down for me, I managed to get one leg between it and my body and kicked it back, cursing wildly.

The sound of my voice had an unusual effect on the bird. He tilted his head to one side quizzically. I shouted at him again and again. And then, fool that I was, half demented with hunger and terror, I only then realized that the tarn was none other than my own! I shoved on the steel-shod foot that pressed me into the sticks of the nest, uttering my command with ringing authority. The bird lifted his foot and backed away, still uncertain as to what to do. I sprang to my feet, standing well within the reach of his beak, showing no fear. I slapped his beak affectionately, as if we were in a tarn cot, and shoved my hands into his neck feathers, the area where the tarn can't preen, as the tarn keepers do when searching for parasites.

I withdrew some of the lice, the size of marbles, which tend to infest wild tarns, and slapped them roughly into the mouth of the tarn, wiping them off on his tongue. I did this again and again, and the tarn stretched out his neck. The saddle and reins of the tarn were no longer on the bird and had undoubtedly rotted off or had been rubbed from his back by scraping against the rock escarpment backing its nest ledge. After a few minutes of my ministrations the tarn, satisfied, spread his wings and took flight, to continue the search for food which had been interrupted. Apparently, in his limited fashion, he no longer conceived of me as being in the immediate category of the edible. That he might soon change his mind, particularly if he found nothing on the plains below, was only too obvious. I cursed because I had lost the tarn-goad in the quicksands of Ar's swamp forest. I examined the ledge for some means of escape, but the cliffs above and below were almost smooth.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Pages 141 - 143


I wasn't sure I could control the tarn without a tarn-goad. I had used it sparingly in my flights with him, even more sparingly than is recommended, but it had always been there, ready to be used if needed. Now it was no longer there. Whether I could control the tarn or not would probably, at least for a time, depend on whether or not he had been successful in his hunt and on how well the tarn keepers had done their work with the young bird. And would it not also depend on how deep the bite of freedom had been felt by the bird, how ready he would be to be controlled once more by man? With my spear I could kill him, but that would not rescue me from the ledge. I had no desire to die eventually of starvation in the lonely aerie of my tarn. I would leave on his back or die.
. . .

When the tarn had fed, I walked over to him, speaking familiarly, as if I might be doing the most customary thing on Gor. Letting him see the harness fully, I slowly and with measured care fastened it around his neck. I then threw the saddle over the bird's back and crawled under its stomach to fasten the girth straps. Then I calmly climbed the newly repaired mounting ladder, drew it up, and fastened it to the side of the saddle. I sat still for a moment and then decisively drew back on the one-strap. I breathed a sigh of relief as the black monster lifted himself in flight.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 145


The tarn, my sable giant from Ko-ro-ba, landed and stalked majestically forward. I waited uneasily until he thrust his head past me, over my shoulder, extending his neck for preening. Good-naturedly, I scratched out a handful or two of lice which I slopped on his tongue like candy. Then I slapped his leg with affection, climbed to the saddle, dropped the dead tarnsman to the ground, and fastened myself in the saddle straps.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Pages 161 - 162


Across the city, from the walls to the cylinders and among the cylinders, I could occasionally see the slight flash of sunlight on the swaying tarn wires, literally hundreds of thousands of slender, almost invisible wires stretched in a protective net across the city. Dropping the tarn through such a maze of wire would be an almost impossible task. The wings of a striking tarn would be cut from its body by such wires.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Pages 162 - 163


Light engines, mostly catapults and ballistae, would be transported over the ditches by harnessed tarn teams.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 164


At the entrance to the compound was a gigantic, temporary wire cage, a tarn cot.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 165


Over the compound, as if it were a small city under siege, was stretched a set of interlaced tarn wires.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 166


Meanwhile, at several points in the city and at randomly selected times, picked tarnsmen of Pa-Kur, each of whose tarns carried a dangling, knotted rope of nine spearmen, dropped to the wires and the tops of cylinders, landing their small task forces of raiders.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Pages 178 - 179


Worse, from the reports of deserters, it became clear that the city was starving and that water was running short. Some of the defenders were opening the veins of surviving tarns, to drink the blood.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Pages 186 - 187


Near dawn, to the brave sound of tarn drums, a mighty procession left the camp of Pa-Kur, and as it crossed the main bridge over the first ditch, I saw in the distance the great gate of Ar slowly opening.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 189


The cry, rather forlorn, to lower the wire was echoed along the length of the walls and from tower to tower. Soon the great winches were in motion and, foot by foot, the frightful netting of tarn wire began to sag. When it reached the ground, it would be sectioned and rolled.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 193


Marlenus and his men and I raced down the long stairs to the main hall of the Central Cylinder, where we came on the remains of the grisly feast of the tarns. The great birds, fed, were once again as tractable as such monsters ever are, and with the tarn-goads Marlenus and his men were again in command.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 202


There were two items I had hoped to find in the bundle which were not there, a tarn-goad and a tarn-whistle. The tarn-goad is a rodlike instrument, about twenty inches long. It has a switch in the handle, much like an ordinary flashlight. When the goad is switched to the on position and it strikes an object, it emits a violent shock and scatters a shower of yellow sparks. It is used for controlling tarns, the gigantic hawklike saddle-birds of Gor. Indeed, the birds are conditioned to respond to the goad, almost from the egg.

The tarn-whistle, as one might expect, is used to summon the bird. Usually, the most highly trained tarns will respond to only one note, that sounded by the whistle of their master. There is nothing surprising in this inasmuch as each bird is trained, by the Caste of Tarn Keepers, to respond to a different note. When the tarn is presented to a warrior, or sold to one, the whistle accompanies the bird. Needless to say, the whistle is important and carefully guarded, for, should it be lost or fall into the hands of an enemy, the warrior has, for all practical purposes, lost his mount.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Pages 23 - 24


Ko-ro-ba was not set as high and remote as for example was Thentis in the mountains of Thentis, famed for its tarn flocks,
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Page 39


I would have given much for a tarn in my journey, though I knew no tarn would fly into the mountains. For some reason neither the fearless hawklike tarns, nor the slow-witted tharlarions, the draft and riding lizards of Gor, would enter the mountains. The tharlarions become unmanageable and though the tarn will essay the flight the bird almost immediately becomes disoriented, uncoordinated, and drops screaming back to the plains below.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Page 48


I wondered if men in this city were not proud of their castes, as were, on the whole, other Goreans, even those of the so-called lower castes. Even men of a caste as low as that of the Tarnkeepers were intolerably proud of their calling, for who else could raise and train those monstrous birds of prey?
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Pages 65 - 66


Perhaps the Amusements of Tharna were not spoiled at all; perhaps the best was yet to come? Surely my death beneath the beak and talons of a tarn would provide a gratifying spectacle for the insatiable masks of Tharna, adequate compensation for the disappointments of the afternoon, for the disregard of their will, for the defiance they had witnessed?

Though I sensed I was to die, I was not ill pleased at the manner. Hideous though the death might seem to the sliver masks of Tharna, they did not know that I was a tarnsman, and knew these birds, their power, their ferocity; that in my way I loved them; and that as a warrior I would not find a death by tarn ignoble.

Grimly I smiled to myself.

Like most members of my Caste, more than the monstrous tarns, those carnivorous hawklike giants of Gor, I dreaded such creatures as the tiny ost, that diminutive, venomous reptile, orange, scarcely more than a few inches in length, that might lurk at one's very sandal and then, without provocation or warning, strike, its tiny fangs the prelude to excruciating torment, concluding only with sure death. Among warriors, the bite of an ost is thought to be one of the most cruel of all gates to the Cities of Dust; far preferable to them are the rending beak, the terrible talons of a tarn.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Pages 117 - 118


I scrutinized the tarn.

Its lineaments were not unfamiliar. I examined the glistening, sable plumage; the monstrous yellow beak now cruelly belted together. I saw the great wings snap, smiting the air, the hurricane from their blow spilling slaves into the sand, tangling chains, as the great beast, lifting its head and smelling the open air, struck it with his wings.

It would not attempt to fly while hooded; indeed, I doubted that the bird would attempt to fly while it dragged its bar of silver. If it was the bird I thought it to be it would not futilely contest the weight of the degrading hobble, would not provide a spectacle of its helplessness for its captors. I know this sounds strange, but I believe animals have pride, and if any did, I knew that this monster was one of them.

"Stand back," cried one of the men with a whip.

I jerked the whip from his hand, and with my arm struck him aside. He flew tumbling into the sand. I threw whip scornfully after him.

I stood near the platform now. I wanted to see the ankle ring the bird wore. I noted with satisfaction that its talons were shod with steel. It was a War Tarn, bred for courage, for endurance, for combat in the skies of Gor. My nostrils drank in the wild, strong odor of the tarn, so offensive to some, yet an ambrosia to the nostrils of the tarnsman. It recalled the tarn cots of Ko-ro-ba and Ar, the Compound of Mintar in Pa-Kur's City of Tents on the Vosk, the outlaw encampment of Marlenus among the crags of the Voltai Range.
As I stood beside the bird, I felt happy, though I knew it was intended to be my executioner. It was perhaps the foolish affection which a tarnsman feels for these dangerous, fierce mounts, almost as much a threat to him as to anyone else.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Pages 119 - 120


A nimble slave, wasting no time, and held on the shoulders of a fellow slave, loosened the belts that held the beak of the tarn and the hood that bound its head. He did not remove them but only loosened them, and as soon as he had he and his fellow scurried for the safety of the open section of wall, which then slid noiselessly shut.

The tarn opened its beak and the belts that bound it loosely flew asunder. It shook its head, as if to throw water from its feathers and the leather hood was thrown far into the air and behind the bird. Now it spread its wings and smote the air, and lifted its beak and uttered the terrifying challenge scream of its kind. Its black crest, now unconfined by the hood, sprang erect with a sound like fire, and the wind seemed to lift and preen each feather.

I found him beautiful.

I knew that I gazed upon one of the great and terrible predators of Gor.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Pages 121 - 122


The tarn, as if it understood it was free, shook the hated metal from its leg and lifted its beak to the skies and uttered such a cry as must have been heard by all in Tharna, a cry seldom heard except in the mountains of Thentis or among the crags of the Voltai, the cry of the wild tarn, victorious, who claims for his territory the earth and all that lies within it.

For an instant, perhaps an unworthy instant, I feared the bird would immediately take to the skies, but though the metal was shaken from its leg, though it was free, though the spearmen advanced, it did not move.

I leapt to its back and fastened my hands in the stout quills of its neck. What I would have given for a tarn saddle and the broad purple strap that fastens the warrior in the saddle!
. . .

I had no way to guide the tarn proficiently. Normally the tarn is guided by a harness. There is a throat strap to which, customarily, six reins are attached in a clockwise fashion. These pass from the throat strap to the main saddle ring, which is fixed on the saddle. By exerting pressure on these reins, one directs the bird. But I lacked both saddle and harness. Indeed, I did not even have a tarn-goad, without which most tarnsmen would not even approach their fierce mounts.

I did not fear much on this score, however, as I had seldom used the goad on this bird. In the beginning I had refrained from using it often because I feared that the effect of the cruel stimulus might be diminished through overfrequent application, but eventually I had abandoned its use altogether, retaining it only to protect myself in case the bird, particularly when hungry, should turn on me. In several cases tarns have devoured their own masters, and it is not unusual for them, when loosed for feeding, to attack a human being with the same predatory zest they bestow on the yellow antelope, the tabuk, their favorite kill, or the ill-tempered, cumbersome bosk, a shaggy, long-haired wild ox of the Gorean plains. I found that the goad, with this monster at least, did not improve, but rather impaired his performance. He seemed to resent the goad, to fight it, to behave erratically when it was used; when struck with it he might even slow his flight, or deliberately disobey the commands of the tarn straps. Accordingly the goad had seldom left its sheath on the right side of the saddle.

I wondered sometimes if that bird, my Ubar of the Skies, that tarn of tarns, of a race of birds spoken of by Goreans as Brothers of the Wind, might have considered himself as above the goad, resented its shocks and sparks, resented that that puny human device would pretend to teach him, he, a tarn of tarns, how to fly, how swiftly and how far. But I dismissed such thoughts as absurd. The tarn was but another of the beasts of Gor. The feelings I was tempted to ascribe to it would lie beyond the ken of so simple a creature.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Pages 124 - 125


The cry of "Tabuk!" is used by the tarnsman on long flights when time is precious, and he does not wish to dismount and free the bird to find prey. When he spots a tabuk in the fields below, or, indeed, any animal in the prey range of the tarn, he may cry "Tabuk!" and this is the signal that the tarn may hunt. It makes its kill, devours it, and the flight resumes, the tarnsman never leaving the saddle. This was the first time I had called "Tabuk!" but the bird would have been conditioned to the call by the tarn-keepers of Ko-ro-ba years ago, and might still respond. I myself had always freed the bird to feed. I thought it well to rest the bird, unsaddle it, and, also, frankly I did not find myself eager to be present at the feeding of a tarn.

The great sable tarn, upon hearing the cry of "Tabuk!", to my joy, began to describe its long, soaring hunting circles, almost as if it might have received its training yesterday. It was truly a tarn of tarns, my Ubar of the Skies!

It was a desperate plan I had seized upon, no more than one chance in a million, unless the great tarn could tip the scales in my favor. Its wicked eyes gleamed, scanning the ground, its head and beak thrust forward, its wings still, gliding silently in great sweeps, lower and lower, over the gray towers of Tharna.

Now we passed over the arena of Tharna, still boiling with its throbbing, angry multitudes. The awnings had been struck, but the stands were still filled, as the thousands of silver masks of Tharna waited for the golden Tatrix herself to be the first to leave that scene of the macabre amusements of the gray city.

Far below in the midst of the crowd I caught sight of the golden robes of the Tatrix.

"Tabuk!" I cried. "Tabuk!"

The great predator wheeled in the sky, turning as smoothly as a knife on wire. It hovered, the sun at its back. Its talons, shod with steel, dropped like great hooks; it seemed to tremble almost motionless in the air; and then its wings, parallel, lifted, almost enfolding me, and were still.

The descent was as smooth and silent as the falling of a rock, the opening of a hand. I clung fiercely to the bird. My stomach leaped to my throat. The stands of the arena, filled with its robes and masks, seemed to fly upward.

There were shrill screams of terror from below. On every hand, robes and regalia flying, the silver masks of Tharna which had so insolently screamed but moments before for blood fled now for their lives in panic-stricken rout, trampling one another, scratching and tearing at one another, scrambling over the benches, thrusting one another even over the wall into the sands below.

In one instant that must have been the most terrifying in her life the Tatrix stood alone, looking up, deserted by all, on the steps before her golden throne in the midst of tumbled cushions and trays of candies and sweetmeats. A wild scream issued from behind that placid, expressionless golden mask. The golden arms of her robe, the hands gloved in gold, were flung across her face. The eyes behind the mask, which I saw in that split second, were hysterical with fear.

The tarn struck.

Its steel-shod pinioning talons dosed like great hooks on the body of the screaming Tatrix. And so for an instant stood the tarn, its head and beak extended, its wings snapping, its prey locked in its grasp, and uttered the terrifying capture scream of the tarn, at once a scream of victory, and of challenge.

In those titanic, merciless talons the body of the Tatrix was helpless. It trembled in terror, quivering uncontrollably like that of a graceful, captured tabuk, waiting to be borne to the nest. The Tatrix could no longer even scream.

With a storm of wings the tarn smote the air and rose, in the sight of all, above the stands, above the arena, above the towers and walls of Tharna, and sped toward the horizon, the golden-robed body of the Tatrix clutched in its talons.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Pages 126 - 128


The tabuk cry is the only word to which a tarn is trained to react. Beyond this it is all a matter of the tarn-straps and the tarn goad. I bitterly criticized myself for not having conditioned the bird to respond to voice commands. Now, of all times, without a harness and saddle, such a training would have been invaluable.

A wild thought occurred to me. When I had borne Talena home from Ar to Ko-ro-ba I had tried to teach her the reins of the tarn-harness and help her, at least with me at hand, to learn to master the brute.

In the whistling wind, as the need arose, I had called the straps to her, "One-strap!", "Six-strap!" and so on, and she would draw the strap. That was the only association between the voice of man and the arrangements of the strap harness which the tarn had known. The bird, of course, could not have been conditioned in so short a time, nor for that matter had it even been my intention to condition the bird - for I had spoken only for the benefit of Talena. Moreover, even if it had been the case that the bird had been inadvertently conditioned in that short a time, it was not possible that it would still retain the memory of that casual imprinting which had taken place more than six years ago.

"Six-strap!" I cried.

The great bird veered to the left and began to climb slightly.

"Two-strap!" I called, and the bird now veered to the right, still climbing at the same angle.

"Four-strap!" I called, and the bird began to drop toward the earth, preparing to land.

"One strap!" I laughed, delighted, bursting with pleasure, and the plumed giant, that titan of Gor, began to climb steeply.

I said no more and the bird leveled off, its wings striking the air in great rhythmical beats, alternating occasionally with a long, soaring, shallow glide. I watched the pasangs flow by below, and saw Tharna disappear in the distance.

Spontaneously, without thinking, I threw my arms around the neck of the great creature and hugged it. Its wings smote on, unresponsive, paying me no attention. I laughed, and slapped it twice on the neck. It was, of course, only another of the beasts of Gor, but I cared for it.

Forgive me if I say that I was happy, as I should not have been in the circumstances, but my feelings are those that a tarnsman would understand. I know of few sensations so splendid, so godlike, as sharing the flight of a tarn.

I was one of those men, a tarnsman, who would prefer the saddle of one of those fierce, predatory titans to the throne of a Ubar.

Once one has been a tarnsman, it is said, one must return again and again to the giant, savage birds. I think that this is a true saying. One knows that one must master them or be devoured. One knows that they are not dependable, that they are vicious. A tarnsman knows that they may turn upon him without warning. Yet the tarnsman chooses no other life. He continues to mount the birds, to climb to their saddle with a heart filled with joy, to draw upon the one-strap and, with a cry of exultation, to urge the monster aloft. More than the gold of a hundred merchants, more than the countless cylinders of Ar, he treasures those sublime, lonely moments, high over the earth, cut by the wind, he and the bird as one creature, alone, lofty, swift, free. Let it be said simply I was pleased, for I was on tarnback again.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Pages 129 - 131


Sometimes when the tarn strikes a tabuk, the animal's back is broken.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Page 132


"You shall have them," she said.

In that moment the shadow of the tarn covered the ledge and, with a great beating of wings, the monster rejoined us. In its talons it held a great piece of meat, bloody and raw, which had been torn from some kill, perhaps a bosk more than twenty pasangs away. It dropped the great piece of meat before me.

I did not move.

I had no wish to contest this prize with the great bird. But the tarn did not attack the meat. I gathered that it had already fed somewhere on the plains below. An examination of its beak confirmed this guess. And there was no nest on the ledge, no female tarn, no screeching brood of tarnlings. The great beak nudged the meat against my legs.

It was a gift.

I slapped the bird affectionately. "Thank you, Ubar of the Skies," I said.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Page 138


The great giant landed on the marble pillar, its steel-shod talons ringing on the stone.

I did not dismount, but held the Tatrix more firmly.

The tarn seemed nervous. I tried to calm the bird. I spoke to it in low tones, patted it roughly on the neck.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Page 142


Suddenly the tarn screamed and shuddered in the air! The thought of the emptiness of the Sardar Range was banished from my mind, for here was evidence of the Priest-Kings!

It was almost as if the bird had been seized by an invisible fist.

I could sense nothing.

The bird's eyes, perhaps for the first time in his life, were filled with terror, blind uncomprehending terror. I could see nothing.

Protesting, screaming, the great bird began to reel helplessly downward. Its vast wings, futilely, wildly, struck out, uncoordinated and frenetic, like the limbs of a drowning swimmer. It seemed the very air itself refused any longer to bear his weight. In drunken, dizzy circles, screaming, bewildered, helpless, the bird fell, while I, for my life, desperately clung to the thick quills of his neck. When we had reached an altitude of perhaps a hundred yards from the ground, as suddenly as it had come, the strange effect passed. The bird regained his strength and senses, except for the fact that it remained agitated, almost unmanageable.

Then to my wonder, the valiant creature began once more to climb, determined to regain the altitude he had lost.

Again and again he tried to rise and again and again he was forced down.

Through the beast's back I could feel the straining of his muscles, sense the mad pounding of that unconquerable heart. But each time we attained a certain altitude, the eyes of the tarn would seem to lose their focus, and the unerring balance and coordination of the sable monster would be disrupted. It was no longer frightened, only angry. Once again it would attempt to climb, ever faster, ever more fiercely.

Then mercifully I called "Four-strap!" I feared the courageous beast would kill himself before surrendering to the unseen force that blocked his path.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Pages 180 - 181


The hands in their gloves of silver jerked back savagely on the one-strap and the wings of the tarn burst into flight. The carrying basket remained a moment on the roof and then, attached by its long ropes, interwoven with wire, it slid for a pace or two and lurched upward in the wake of the tarn.
I watched the basket swinging below the bird as it winged its way from the city.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Page 243


The tarn, my gigantic, hawklike mount, had been unsaddled and freed, for it could not accompany me into the Sardar. Once it had tried to carry me over the palisade into the mountains, but never a again would I have essayed that flight. It had been caught in the shield of the Priest-Kings, invisible, not to be evaded, undoubtedly a field of some sort, which had so acted on the bird, perhaps affecting the mechanism of the inner ear, that the creature had become incapable of controlling itself and had fallen disoriented and confused to the earth below. None of the animals of Gor, as far as I knew, could enter the Sardar. Only men could enter, and they did not return.

I regretted freeing the tarn, for it was a fine bird, powerful, intelligent, fierce, courageous, loyal. And, strangely, I think it cared for me. At least I cared for it. And only with harsh words could I drive it away, and when it disappeared in the distance, puzzled, perhaps hurt, I wept.
Priest-Kings of Gor     Book 3     Pages 7 - 8


In none of the cases did I spy a tarn, one of the great, predatory saddle birds of Gor, perhaps because they do not thrive well in captivity. To live a tarn must fly, high, far and often. A Gorean saying has it that they are brothers of the wind, and how could one expect such a creature to survive confinement? Like its brother the wind when the tarn is not free it has no choice but to die.
Priest-Kings of Gor     Book 3     Pages 191 - 192


I had no tarn, one of Gor's fierce saddlebirds; I had not even the monstrous high tharlarion, used as the mounts of shock cavalry by the warriors of some cities.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 9


Lastly it might be mentioned, thinking it is of some interest, musicians on Gor are never enslaved; they may, of course, be exiled, tortured, slain and such; it is said, perhaps truly, that he who makes music must, like the tarn and the Vosk gull, be free.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 154


In the distance we heard a sound like a thunder of wings and then, against the three white moons of Gor, to my dismay, we saw tarnsmen pass overhead, striking toward the camp. There were perhaps eight hundred to a thousand of them. I could hear the notes of the tarn drum above controlling the flight of the formation.
. . .

I was startled by the appearance of tarnsmen on the southern plains. The nearest tarn cavalries as far as I knew were to be found in distant Ar.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 177


"It is said," I muttered, "that the tarn knows who is a tarnsman and who is not and that it slays him who is not."
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 190


Then overhead in the darkness we heard the beat of a tarn's wings and saw one of the monstrous birds pass above us. In a short moment we heard it flutter to alight somewhere beyond.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 225


A tarn can, incidentally, without difficulty, carry a knotted rope of seven to ten men.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 256


There were two of the great birds left on the roof, both fine specimens, huge, vicious, alert.

Harold dropped Hereena to the floor of the roof and strode to the first tarn. I shut my eyes as he vigorously struck it once, authoritatively, across the beak. "I am Harold of the Tuchuks," he said, "I am a skilled tarnsman - I have ridden over a thousand tarns I have spent more time in the tarn saddle than most men on their feet I was conceived on tarnback I was born on tarnback I eat tarns - fear me! I am Harold of the Tuchuks!"

The bird, if such emotions it could have, was looking at him, askance and baffled. Any instant I expected it to pick Harold from the roof with its beak, bite him in two and eat the pieces. But the bird seemed utterly startled, if possible dumbfounded.

Harold turned to face me. "How do you ride a tarn?" he asked

"Get into the saddle," I said.

"Yes!" he said, and climbed up, missing one of the rungs of the rope ladder at the saddle and slipping his leg through it. I then managed to get him to the saddle and made sure he fastened the safety strap As swiftly as I could I then explained to him the guidance apparatus, the main saddle ring and its six straps.

When I handed Hereena to him the poor girl was shivering and moaning in terror, uncontrollably trembling. She, a girl of the plains, familiar with fierce kaiila, herself a proud, spirited wench, brave and daring, was yet like many women utterly for some reason terrified of a tarn. I felt genuine pity for the Tuchuk girl. On the other hand Harold seemed quite pleased that she was beside herself with terror. The slave rings on the tarn saddle are similar to those on the kaiila saddle and in a trice Harold, using the thongs streaming from the slave rings, one on each side of the saddle, had bound the girl on her back across the saddle in front of him. Then, without waiting, uttering a great cry, he hauled on the one-strap. The tarn did not move but, I thought, though it was undoubtedly not the case, turned and regarded him skeptically, reproachfully.

"What is the matter?" asked Harold.

"It is still hobbled," I said.

I bent to the tarn hobble and opened it. Immediately the huge bird's wings began to beat and it sprang skyward. "Aiii!" I heard Harold cry, and could well imagine what had happened to his stomach.

As quickly as I could I then unhobbled the other bird and climbed to the saddle, fastening the broad safety strap Then I hauled on the one-strap and seeing Harold's bird wheeling about in circles against one of the Gorean moons sped to his side.

"Release the straps!" I called to him. "The bird will follow this one!"

"Very well," I heard him call, cheerily.

And in a moment we were speeding high over the city of Turia. I took one long turn, seeing the torches and lights in the House of Saphrar below, and then guided my bird out over the prairie in the direction of the wagons of the Tuchuks.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Pages 229 - 230


Swiftly I climbed the short ladder to the tarn saddle, and tied it against the saddle.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 343


Cernus and Ho-Tu rode together in another basket. The tarn basket may or may not have guidance attachments, permitting the tarn to be controlled from the basket. If the guidance attachments are in place, then the tarn is seldom saddled, but wears only basket harness. If the basket is merely carried, and the tarn cannot be controlled from the basket, then the tarn wears the tarn saddle and is controlled by a tarnsman. The basket of Cernus and my basket both had guidance attachments, similar to those of the common tarn saddle, a main basket ring corresponding to the main saddle ring, and six leather straps going to the throat-strap rings. The other three baskets, however, had no control attachments and those birds wore saddles and were guided by tarnsmen. Tarn baskets, incidentally, in which I had never before ridden, are of many different sizes and varieties, depending on the function for which they are intended. Some, for example, are little more than flat cradles for carrying planking and such; others are long and cylindrical, lined with verrskin, for transporting beverages and such; most heavy hauling, of course, is done by tharlarion wagon; a common sort of tarn basket, of the sort in which I found myself, is a general utility basket, flat-bottomed, square-sided, about four feet deep, four feet wide and five feet long. At a gesture from Cernus the birds took wing, and I felt my basket on its heavy leather runners slide across the roof for a few feet and then drop sickeningly off the edge of the cylinder, only to be jerked up short by the ropes, hover for a moment as the tarn fought the weight, and then begin to sail smoothly behind the bird, its adjustments made, its mighty wings hurling the air contemptuously behind it.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Pages 94 - 95


The cot was one of six in a vast and lofty cylinder containing many of the offices and dormitories of those associated professionally with the Greens. Their records and stores, and treasures, are kept in this cylinder, though it is only one of four they maintain in the city. The tarncot in which Mip worked was the largest and, I was pleased to note, he was the senior Tarn Keeper in the place, though there were several employed there. The cot was a huge room beneath the roof of the cylinder, taking up what normally would be four floors of the cylinder. The perches were actually a gigantic, curving framework of tem-wood four stories high, and following the circular wall of the cylinder. Many of the perches were empty, but there were more than a hundred birds in the room; each was now chained to its area of the perch; but each, I knew, at least once in every two days, was exercised; sometimes, when men do not wander freely in the cot, and the portals of the cot, opening to the sky, are closed, some of the birds are permitted the freedom of the cot; water for the birds is fed from tubes into canisters mounted on triangular platforms near the perches, but there is also, in the center of the cot, in the floor, a cistern which may be used when the birds are free. Food for the tarns, which is meat, for that is their diet, is thrust on hooks and hauled by chain and windlass to the various perches; it might be of interest to note that, when any of the birds are free, meat is never placed on the hooks or on the floor below; the racing tarn is a valuable bird and the Tarn Keepers do not wish to have them destroy one another fighting over a verr thigh.

As soon as Mip entered the cot he picked a tarn goad from a hook on the wall over a small table with a lamp and papers on it. He then took a second goad, from a hook nearby, and handed it to me. I accepted it. Few dare to walk in a tarncot without a goad. Indeed, it is foolish to do so.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 169


Mip was fondling the beak of one bird, an older bird I gathered. It was reddish brown; the crest was flat now; the beak a pale yellow, streaked with white.

"This is Green Ubar," said he, scratching the bird's neck.

I had heard of the bird. It had been famous in Ar a dozen years ago. It had won more than one thousand races. Its rider, one of the great ones in the tradition of the greens, had been Melipolus of Cos.
. . .

I wondered why the bird, as is usual, it now being rather old, surely past its racing prime, had not been destroyed. Perhaps it had been preserved as an act of sentiment, for such is not unknown among the partisans of the factions. On the other hand, the business managers of the factions have little sentiment, and an unprofitable tarn, like an unprofitable or useless slave, is customarily sold or destroyed.

"The night," I said, "is beautiful."

Mip grinned at me. "Good," he said. He moved over the tem-wood beams until he came to two sets of racing saddles and harness, and he threw me one, indicating a brown, alert racing tarn two perches away. The racing harness, like the common tarn harness, works with two rings, the throat ring and the main saddle ring, and six straps. The major difference is the tautness of the reins between the two rings; the racing saddle, on the other hand, is only a slip of leather compared to the common tarn saddle, which is rather large, with saddle packs, weapon sheaths and paired slave rings. I fastened the saddle on the bird and, with a bit of difficulty, the bird sensing my unsure movements, the tarn harness. Mip and I, moving the lock levers, removed the hobble and chain from the two birds and took the saddle.

Mip rode Green Ubar; he looked well in the worn saddle; his stirrups were short.

We fastened the safety straps.

On the racing saddle there are two small straps, rather than the one large strap on the common saddle; both straps fasten about the rider and to the saddle, in a sense each duplicating the work of the other; the theory is that though smaller straps can break more easily the probability of both straps breaking at the same time is extremely small; further the two straps tend to divide strain between them, thereby considerably lessening the possibility of either breaking; some saving in weight, of course, is obtained with the two smaller straps; further, the broad strap would be a bit large to fasten to the small saddle; even beyond this, of course, since races take place largely and most often over a net there is normally not as much danger in a fall as there would be in common tarn flight; the main purpose of the straps is simply to keep the rider in the saddle, for the purpose of his race, not primarily to protect his life.

"Do not try to control the tarn until you are out of the cot," said Mip. "It will take time to accustom yourself to the harness." He smiled. "These are not war tarns."

Mip, scarcely seeming to touch the one-strap with his finger, almost a tap, took the old bird from the perch and in a whiplike flurry of its wings it struck the outside perch and stood there, its old head moving alertly, the wicked black eyes gleaming. My bird, so suddenly I was startled, joined the first.

Mip and I sat on tarnback on the lofty perch outside the tarncot. I was excited, as I always was, on tarnback. Mip too seemed charged and alive.

We looked about, at the cylinders and lights and bridges. It was a fresh, cool summer evening. The stars over the city were clear and bright, the coursing moons white with splendor against the black space of the Gorean night.

Mip took his tarn streaking among the cylinders and I, on my tarn, followed him.

The first time I attempted to use the harness, though I was aware of the danger, I overdrew the strap and the suddenness of the bird as it veered in flight threw me against the two narrow safety straps; the small, broad, rapid-beating wings of the racing tarn permit shifts and turns that would be impossible with a larger, heavier, longer-winged bird. With a tap on the two-strap I took the bird in a sudden breathtaking sweep to the high right and in an instant had joined Mip in flight.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Pages 170 - 172


The great bird he rode was no racing tarn but its size, its swiftness, its sureness, its incredible power and ferocity made it a terrible foe in the wars of the suspended rings; indeed, never had it lost; many of the other tarns of the Steels, as well, were not bred racing tarns, but war tarns,
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Pages 229 - 230


Approaching him we heard a wild tarn scream, of hate and challenge, and we stopped.

I beheld, in its compound, strewn about its perch, more than five men, or the remains of such.

"Yellows," said one of the men with the crossbow, "who tried to slay the bird."

"It is a War Tarn," said another.

I saw blood on the beak of the bird, its round black eyes, gleaming, wild.

"Beware," said one of the men, "even if you be Gladius of Cos, for the tarn has tasted blood."

I saw that even the steel-shod talons of the bird were bloodied.

Watching us warily it stood with one set of talons hooked over the body of a yellow. Then, not taking its eyes from us, it put down its beak and tore an arm from the thing beneath its talons.

"Do not approach," said one of the men.

I stood back. It is not wise to interfere with the feeding of a tarn.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 351


The tarn, the great, fierce saddlebird of Gor     , is a savage beast, a monster predator of the high, blue skies of this harsh world; at best it is scarce half domesticated; even tarnsmen seldom approach them without weapons and tarn-goad; it is regarded madness to approach one that is feeding; the instincts of the tarn, like those of many predators, are to protect and defend a kill, to the death; Tarn Keepers, with their goads and training wires, have lost their lives with even young birds, trying to alter or correct this covetousness of its quarry; the winged majestic carnivores of Gor, her tarns, do not care to share their kills, until perhaps they have gorged their fill and carry then remnants of their repast to the encliffed nests of the Thentis or Voltai Ranges, there to drop meat into the gaping beaks of white tarnlings, the size of ponies.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Pages 352 - 353


Menicius of Port Kar would, of course, ride in the Ubar's Race for the Yellows. His mount was the finest in their tarncots, Quarrel, named for the missile of the crossbow, a strong bird, very fast, reddish in color, with a discoloration on the right wing where, as talk had it, protagonists of the Silvers, long ago, had hurled a bottle of acid.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 361


To the crowd's astonishment, but not to mine, he wheeled his tarn, a rare, gloriously plumaged jungle tarn from the tropical reaches of the Cartius,
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 368


I saw the brightly plumaged bird, who had first contested a ring with us, in the net below, alive but trembling.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 371


The tarn is a land bird, generally of mountainous origin, though there are brightly-plumaged jungle tarns. The tarns crowded into the holds of the round ships were hooded. Feeling the wind and the cold suddenly strike them they threw back their heads and beat their wings, pulled against the chains that bound them to the keel timbers.

One was unhooded, the straps that bound its beak unbuckled.

It uttered its scream, that pierced even the freezing winds of Thassa.

Men shook with fear.

It is extremely difficult to take a tarn far out over the water.

I did not know if they could be controlled at sea.

Generally even tarn goads cannot drive them from the sight of land.
. . .

The wicked, curved, scimitarlike beak of the unhooded tarn lifted itself. Its eyes blazed. It looked like a good bird. I regretted that is was not Ubar of the Skies. It was a reddish brown tarn, a fairly common coloring for the great birds. Mine own had been black-plumaged, a giant tarn, glossy, his great talons shod with steel, a bird bred for speed and war, a bird who had been, in his primitive, wild way, my friend. I had driven him from the Sardar.
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Pages 271 - 272


The tarn can scarcely be taken from the sight of land. Even driven by tarn goads he will rebel. These tarns had been hooded. Whereas their instincts apparently tend to keep them within the sight of land, I did not know what would be the case if they were unhooded at sea, and there was no land to be found. Perhaps they would not leave the ship. Perhaps they would go mad with rage or fear. I knew tarns had destroyed riders who had attempted to ride them out over Thassa from the shore. But I hoped that the tarns, finding themselves out of the sight of land, might accommodate themselves to the experience. I was hoping that, in the strange intelligence of animals, it would be the departure from land, and not the mere positioning of being out of the sight of land, that would be counter-instinctual for the great birds.

Doubtless I would soon know.

I leaped down to the saddle of the unhooded tarn. It screamed as I fastened the broad purple safety strap.

The tarn goad was looped about my right wrist. I wrapped the wind scarf about my face.

"If I can control the bird," I said, "follow me, and keep the instructions I have given you."

"Let me ride first," said Terence of Treve.

I smiled. Why would one who had been a tarnsman of Ko-ro-ba, the Towers of the Morning, let one of Treve, a traditional enemy, take the saddle of a tarn before him?

It would not do, of course, to tell him this.

"No," I said.

There was a pair of slave manacles wrapped about the pommel of the saddle, also a length of rope. These things thrust in my belt.

I gestured and the tarn hobble, fastening the right foot of the great bird to a huge bolt set in the ship's keel, was opened.

I drew on the one-strap.

To my delight the tarn, with a snap of its wings, leaped from the hold. He stood on the deck of the round ship, opening and closing his wings, looking about himself, and then threw back his head and screamed. The other tarns below in the hold, some ten of them, shifted and rattled their hobbles.

The sleet struck down cutting my face.

I drew again on the one-strap and again the bird's wings snapped, and he was on the long, sloping yard on the round ship's foremast.

His head was very high and every nerve in his body seemed alert, but puzzled, He looked about himself.

I did not hurry the bird.

I slapped the side of its neck, and spoke to it, gently, confidently.

I drew on the one-strap. The bird did not move. His talons clutched the sloping yard.

I did not use the tarn goad.

I waited for some time, stroking it, and talking to it.

And then, suddenly, I gave a cry and jerked on the one-strap and the bird, by training and instinct, flung itself into the sleeting wind and began to climb the dark, running sky.

I was again on tarnback!

The bird climbed until I released the one-strap and then it began to circle. Its movements were as sure and as swift as though it might have been over the familiar crags of the Voltai or the canals of Port Kar.

I tested its responses to the straps. They were immediate and eager. And suddenly I realized that the bird was trembling with excitement and pleasure, finding itself swift and alive and strong in a new world to his senses.

Already, below me, I saw tarns being unhooded, and the straps that bound their beaks being unbuckled, and cast aside. Riders were climbing into the saddles. I saw tarns leaping to the decks of the round ships, and I saw the knotted ropes being attached to the saddles, and picked seamen, experts with the sword, five to a rope, taking their positions. And besides these seamen, each tarnsman, tied to his saddle, carried a shielded, protected ship's lantern, lighted, and, in the pockets of leather aprons, tied together and thrown across the saddles, numerous clay flasks, corked with rags. These flasks, I knew, were filled with tharlarion oil, and the rags that corked them had been soaked in the same substance.

Soon, behind me, there were some hundred tarnsmen, and below each, dangling, hanging to the knotted ropes, were five picked men.
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Pages 273 - 275


Then the first of the tarns returned to the flagship, having cast down its flaming bombs of burning oil.

Five of my men seized its rope, and, in an instant, they were lifted away from the ship.

"Fire the ship!" I called to my men.

They rushed below the decks to set fires in the hold.

More tarns returned and more of my men, sometimes six and seven to a rope, were carried away from the ship.
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Pages 277 - 278


I went to the tarn that I had ridden back to the Dorna. I took off my Admiral's cloak and threw it over the shivering bird.
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Page 281


I had meat brought for the tarn, great chunks of tarsk, thighs and shoulders, which I had thrown before it, on the cold deck. It tore at them greedily. I had had the bones removed from the meat. If it had been bosk I would not, but the bones of the tarsk are thinner and splinter easily. Then I had water brought for the tarn, in a leather bucket, the ice broken through that coated the water like a lid. It drank.
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Pages 281 - 282


Far away, through the sky, from the east of Laura, following the forest line, there came a flight of tarnsmen, perhaps forty of them, mounted on the great, fierce, hawklike saddlebirds of Gor     , the huge, swift, predatory, ferocious tarns, called Brothers of the Wind. The men seemed small on the backs of the great birds. They carried spears, and were helmeted. Shields hung on the right sides of the saddles.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Page 84


Beyond the compound of Haakon of Skjern I could see the compound of his tarns, where, hobbled, the great birds beat their wings, threw back their heads and screamed, and tore at the great pieces of bosk thrown before them. Sometimes they tore at their hobbles and struck at their keepers with their great yellowish, scimitarlike beaks. The wind driven by their pounding, snapping wings, with hurricanes of dust and small stones, could hurl a man from his feet. Those great rending beaks and pressing, ripping talons could tear him in two as easily as the great thighs of bosk on which they fed. Even separated as I was by three walls of bars, that of their compound, that of the far wall of Haakon's compound, and that of our common wall, these birds terrified me. The northern beauties of Haakon, too, I was pleased to see, cowered away from that side of their compound. Sometimes when one of the great birds screamed, several of them would scream, too, and run, huddling away against our bars, or flying into their log dormitory. I do not know why it is that women fear tarns so terribly, but we do. But most men do, too. It is a rare man who will approach a tarn. It is said that the tarn knows who is a tarnsman and who is not, and if one approaches him who is not, he will seize him and rip him to pieces. It is little wonder that few men approach the beasts. I had seen tarn keepers, but, except for Haakon of Skjern, I had seen no tarnsmen. They were wild men, of the caste of warriors, who spent much of their time in the taverns of Laura, fighting and gambling and drinking, while slave girls, excited and with shining eyes, served them and pressed about them, begging to be noticed and ordered to the alcoves. It was no wonder that some men, even warriors, hated and envied the arrogant, regal tarnsmen, one night rich, the next impoverished, always at the elbow of adventure, and war and pleasure, wearing their pride and their manhood in their walk, in the steel at their side and the look in their eyes.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Pages 91 - 92


"Look!" cried Ute. "Tarns!"

In the distance, in a set of four, long, narrow, extended "V's," there came a flight of tarnsmen. The first "V" was lowest in altitude, and in advance of the other three; the second was second lowest, and in advance of the other two, and similarly for the third and fourth. There were no tarn drums beating. This was not a military formation.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Page 224


We saw tarnsmen, in flight, riding down running girls, the tarns no more than a few feet from the grass, beating their wings, screaming.

Often a tarn would clutch the girl in its talons and alight. The tarnsman would then leap from the saddle and force the bird's talons from its prey, binding the hysterical girl's wrists and fastening her to a saddle ring, then remounting and hunting another. One man had four girls bound to his saddle. Another would fly low and to the side of the running girl, and a beat of the tarn's great wings would send her rolling and sprawling for a dozen yards across the grass. Before she could arise, the tarnsman would be upon her, binding her.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Pages 227 - 228


Then, looking up, I saw the great talons of the tarn, held in against its body, above me. They were huge, curved and sharp.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Page 252


I was certain the tarn would follow the coast. It was extremely difficult, if not impossible, to fly a tarn from the sight of land. It is counterinstinctual for them. In the engagement of the 25th of Se'Kara we had used tarns at sea, but they had been kept below decks in cargo ships until beyond their sight of land. Interestingly, once released, there had been no difficulty in managing them. They had performed effectively in the engagement.
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Page 21


Of what value is a tarn of war who permits a stranger, even a girl, a mere wench, to ascend to its saddle?
Tribesmen of Gor     Book 10     Page 106


I looked above me at the posts mounted on the walls. Between them was slung fine wire, gently bending and swaying in the slow breeze of the hot afternoon. Such wire is tarn wire. It is used to prevent the descent of tarns into the courtyard of a fortress. It is common in Gorean defenses.
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Page 265


The wire had been cut, with bladed hooks, swung on long lines below giant tarns, cut, and torn from its posts. The tarnsmen had approached from the dark quadrant, away from the moons, low, not more than a few feet from the ground, hidden by the shadows of the world, and then had, without warning, little more than a quarter of a pasang from the keep, swept into the air, the first wave striking at the wire, the second, third and fourth waves dropping through the cut, billowing wire to the parapets, roofs and courtyard of the keep. Numbers had fought their way almost instantly to the hall. The plan of the fortress seemed well known to them. They moved with dispatch.
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Page 272


"Ho!" cried the men of Rask of Treve.

The man who had placed me in the basket, and then tied it shut, climbed swiftly to the saddle of his tarn; our trail lines, those attached to the basket in which we were confined, ran to the tarn's stirrups. When the tarn took to flight the basket, following it, would be lifted into the air. He awaited only the command of flight.
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Page 279



"I need a wench," said the man, "one who will cost me little, one to keep in the cots by day, to shovel the excrement of tarns, one to keep in my hut by night, as a pot-and-mat girl."
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 70


I did not know how long it would take my tarn to make a kill and return. Usually this can be done within the Ahn. There is little scarcity of game on Gor, save in relatively populated areas. Usually one spots game from the saddle and calls "Tabuk," which is the tarn's hunting signal. I had, however, spotted little suitable game, and so had released the tarn to do his own foraging. When the tarn takes game one may either retain the saddle or not. If there is no press of time I have usually surrendered it, if only to stretch my legs. Too, the feeding of a tarn is not pleasant to witness.
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 112


"They have closed the country north of Ax Glacier," he said.

"How can this be?" I asked.

"Tarnsmen, on patrol," said he. "I was seized and, though free, sold south as a slave."

"Why should these men wish to close off the north?" I asked.

"I do not know," he said.

"Tarns cannot live at that latitude," I said.

"In the summer they can," said he. "Indeed, thousands of birds migrate each spring to the nesting cliffs of the polar basin."

"Not tarns," I said.

"No," said he. "Not tarns." Tarns were not migratory birds.
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 128


It was early morning. Ram sat upright in the grass. I stood near the tarn, which had returned in the night, its beak smeared with blood and the hairs from the small yellow tabuk, of the sort which frequent Ka-la-na thickets. I cleaned its beak and talons with dried grass. I had already saddled the beast.
. . .

"What weight can the tarn carry?" asked Ram.

"It is strong," I said. "It can carry, if need be, a rider and freighted tarn basket."
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 131


"We learned from Sarpelius, from what he had learned from Drusus, that there was a headquarters farther north, one which could be reached only in the late spring, summer or early fall."

"Perhaps it is at sea," I said. The sea, being frozen, would be impassable to shipping in the winter.

"Perhaps," he said.

"But, too," I said, "tarns, like most birds, will fly in the arctic only during those seasons."
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 297


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.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 342


I looked up, hearing tarn drums in the sky. A squadron of Ar's tarn cavalry, the stroke of their wings synchronized with the beat of the drum, passed by, overhead. There must have been some forty birds and riders. The formation seemed large to be a patrol.
Fighting Slave of Gor     Book 14     Page 178


We were in the remains of a half-fallen, ruined tarn complex, built on a wide platform, at the edge of the rence marshes, some four pasangs from the northeast delta gate of Port Kar. In climbing to the platform, and in traversing it, the guards with us, who had now remained outside, had, with the butts of their spears, prodded more than one sinuous tharlarion from the boards, the creature then plunging angrily, hissing, into the marsh. The complex consisted of a tarn cot, now muchly open to the sky, with an anterior building to house supplies and tarn keepers. It had been abandoned for years. We were now within the anterior building. Through the ruined roof, between unshielded beams, I could see patches of the night sky of Gor, and one of her three moons. Ahead, where a wall had mostly fallen, I could see the remains of the large tarn cot. At one time it had been a huge, convex, cage-like lacing of mighty branches, lashed together, a high dome of fastened, interwoven wood, but now, after years of disrepair, and the pelting of rains and the tearings of winds, little remained of this once impressive and intricate structure but the skeletal, arched remnants of its lower portions.
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 14


We heard, again, the screaming of the ul outside the building. The tarns in the tarn cot moved about. The ul will not attack a tarn. The tarn could tear it to pieces.
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 19


The tarn, even an adult one, is a bird and is light for its bulk.
Blood Brothers of Gor     Book 18     Page 345


I fought for breath.

The mighty lungs of the tarn expanded. I could feel their motion between my knees. It drew the thin air deeply into those moist, widened cavities. Still we climbed.

Then we turned, the sun at our back.

The other tarns, strung out now, struggling, wings beating painfully, sporadically, against the thin air, hung below us. They were exhausted. They could climb no further. They began to turn back.

Out of the sun struck the great tarn. As I had been trained to do I drew as deep a breath as possible before the dive began. It is not impossible to breathe during such a descent, particularly after the first moments, even in the rushing wind, but it is generally recommended that one do not do so. It is thought that breathing may effect the concentration, perhaps altering or complicating the relationship with the target. The bird and the rider, in effect, are the projectile. The tarn itself, it might be noted, does not draw another breath until the impact or the vicinity of the impact, if the strike fails to find its mark. The descent velocities in a strike of this sort are incredible, and have never been precisely calculated. They are estimated, however, at something in the neighborhood of four hundred pasangs per Ahn.*

*No terrestrial conversion is supplied in the Cabot ms. for this figure. Equivalences supplied elsewhere in the Cabot mss. suggest a figure of a little over two hundred miles per hour. - JAN.
Blood Brothers of Gor     Book 18     Page 437


I could smell the tarns, gigantic, crested saddlebirds, on their perches some hundred feet away, to our right. There were five of them.
Kajira of Gor     Book 19     Page 98


Then I heard a succession of wild, startling sounds, like the snapping of great sheets, and it seemed I was in the midst of a whirlwind, mad, choking dust swirling up and about me. I tried to rise, but a man's foot pressed me back to the dirt. I also heard a sudden, shrill, terrifying, piercing scream. It was not a human noise, but the cry of something terribly large and fierce. It could only be, I conjectured, some sort of giant bird. I lay trembling in the dirt, helpless, the man's foot on my back. I would learn it was indeed a large bird, one called a "tarn." And, I would later learn, it was not even a warrior's mount, bred for swiftness and aggressiveness, a war tarn, but a mere draft tarn. I had been gagged, and hooded and manacled, and put on my belly, because the first sight of such a beast, at close hand, I was told, not unoften, in its size and ferocity, and terribleness, produces a miasma of terror in a female, and she is unwilling even to approach it, whips being often necessary. Happily I was unaware of the full terror within whose orbit I lay. I was pulled to my feet by an arm and walked for a few feet and then put down, on my back, on a blanket, on the ground. This blanket was wrapped about me, closely. It was then secured on my body apparently by ropes, above and below my breasts, about my waist and below my knees. I was then lifted in it and set down, sitting, on what seemed to be a heavy wicker surface. A leather collarlike arrangement was then put about my neck and my head was pulled back, apparently, as I could tell, pressing back through the hood, against a vertical wicker surface. This held me in place. I was then pushed back, further, against the vertical wicker surface. A broad belt then, perhaps some five or six inches in width, was put about my waist, drawn snug, and buckled shut. This, too, held me in place. My knees were up slightly. My ankles were then roped together, and fastened down, in place. This was done, apparently, by the rope being threaded once or twice through the wicker flooring and then being resecured about my ankles. I then heard again, it startling me, terrifying me, that sudden, loud, shrill, piercing scream, this time, it seemed, from terribly close, surely no more than a few feet away. I squirmed helplessly in the tight blanket, in the manacles, in the straps and ropes. I knew almost nothing of what was going on. We are so helpless when we are gagged and hooded. I then was conscious of other weights being placed in the area where I was, and being cinched in place. I was conscious of their movements, and squirmings, through the wicker. Then, in a few moments it seemed a side gate was shut, near me, and roped shut. I heard the rattle of harness, sensed the attachment of ropes, the tying of knots, the drawing of them tight, their testing. Then, in a bit, I heard a cry and the jerking of harness, and that wild scream again, so piercing, hurting my ears, making me again leap and squirm, terrified, miserable, in my bonds. I heard great snapping sounds. There was a sudden swirling of air. I felt the pitting of dust against the hood and my feet. I heard the striking of small pebbles against the outside of the wicker. Then, to my astonishment, the object in which I had been placed began to slide rapidly along the ground and then, in a moment, it taking my breath away for an instant, it swung free, and was rising. I was off the ground! We were climbing. After a few minutes we were moving in a level manner. I could feel, even with the blanket, the wind whistling through the wicker walls. I hoped the object in which I was confined was strong.
Dancer of Gor     Book 22     Pages 148 - 149


It might be of interest to note that when I had come to Gor, some years ago, domestic tarns, like wild tarns, almost always made their own kills. They may still do so, of course, but now many have been trained to accept prepared, even preserved, meat. Ideally, they are taught to do this from the time of hatchlings, it being thrust into their mouths, given to them much as their mother bird would do in the wild. Tongs are used. With older birds, on the other hand, captured wild tarns, for example, the training usually takes the form of tying fresh meat on live animals, and then, when the tarn is accustomed to eating both, effecting the transition to the prepared meat. Needless to say, a hunting tarn is extremely dangerous, and although its favorite prey may be tabuk, or wild tarsk, they can attack human beings. This training innovation, interestingly enough, and perhaps predictably, was not primarily the result of an attempt to increase the safety of human beings, particularly those in rural areas, but was rather largely the result of attempting to achieve military objectives, in particular those having to do with the logistical support of the tarn cavalry. Because of it, for the first time, large tarn cavalries, numbering in the hundreds of men, became practical.
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Pages 52 - 53


He then entered the cot, to ready the bird.

I went about the shed and cot, and crossed the yard, moving between buildings. I wanted to make certain that the gate was indeed open. It was. It had not been opened to facilitate my departure, of course, but, as a matter of course, during the day, for the convenience of new arrivals. The two parts, or leaves, of the gate, within their supporting framework, of course, opened inward. They were now fastened back. In opening, they swung back across the landing platform, which was a foot or two above the level of the height of the palisade. An extension of this platform, retractable when the gate was closed, and probably braced with hinged, diagonal drop supports, would extend beyond the palisade. There was a ramp leading up to the platform on the inside, on the right. The leaves of the gate were very large, each being some thirty feet in height and some twenty-five feet in width. They are light, however, for their size, as they consist mostly of frames supporting wire. Whereas these dimensions permit ordinary saddle tarns, war tarns, and such, an entry in flight, the landing platform is generally used. It is always used, of course, by draft tarns carrying tarn baskets. The draft tarn makes a hovering landing. As soon as it senses the basket touch the ground it alights to one side. The sloping ramp, of course, makes it easy to take the tarn basket, on its leather runners, no longer harnessed to the tarn, down to the yard. It is also convenient for discharging passengers, handling baggage, and such.

Not all tarn gates have this particular construction. In another common construction the two parts, or leaves, of the gate, within their supporting framework, lean back, at an angle of some twenty degrees. They are then slid back, in a frame, on rollers, each to its own side. This gives the effect of a door, opening to the sky. The structure supporting the gate, in such a case, with its beams, platforms, catwalks and mastlike timbers, is very sturdy. Narrow ladders, too, ascend it here and there, leading to its catwalks and platforms. Such a construction, of course, requires the more time-consuming, hovering landing of all birds, not simply draft tarns, carrying tarn baskets. It does, however, make the landing platform unnecessary. The construction at the Crooked Tarn, incidentally, was more typical of a military installation, in that it permitted the more rapid deployment and return of tarnsmen, coupled with the capacity to open and close the tarn gate in a matter of Ihn. The tarn gate's construction here suggested that the Crooked Tarn might not always have served as an inn. Probably at one time or another, before the founding of Ar's Station, it had served to garrison troops, perhaps concerned to monitor the more northern reaches of the Vosk Road. This was suggested, too, by its distance from the Vosk, which was approximately one hundred pasangs. The ordinary one-day march of the Gorean infantryman on a military road is thirty-five pasangs. The Crooked Tarn, then, was almost exactly three days march from the river.
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Pages 119 - 120


I looked into the tarncot. The tarn was finished feeding now, and was being watered. The bone which had been within the meat lay to one side, with a tatter of rope, amidst straw. It was deeply scratched and furrowed. The bird thrust its beak into a tall, narrow vessel. It would draw water into that dreadful recess. It would then put its head back. Then, shaking its head, it would hasten the water down its throat.
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Page 127


There is even the legend of the tarntauros, or creature half man, and half tarn, which in Gorean myth, plays a similar, one might even say, equivalent, role to that of the centaur in the myths of Earth.
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Page 138


I would have time for her later. This was not the moment. When one first ascends a new mount, or, indeed, masters a new woman, it is well to put them through their paces, to see what they can do, to see what they are like. In the case of the tarn one's very life can depend on such things as understanding its speed, its rate of climb, the sharpness of its turns, and so on.
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Page 139


I suddenly then heard again, this time so much closer and terrible, from somewhere to the right, perhaps no more than a hundred yards away, that dreadful shrill birdlike cry or scream. I was startled. I was terrified. I stood behind the bars, unable even to move. Then I suddenly gasped with fear. My hands were clenched on the bars. Moving from the right toward the left, some yards above the level of the ledge, some seventy or so yards out from it, I saw a gigantic hawklike creature, a monstrous, titanic bird, of incredible dimension. It must have had a wingspan of some forty feet in breadth! It was difficult to convey the terribleness, the size, the speed, the savagery, the power, the ferocity, the clearly predatory, clearly carnivorous nature of such a thing! But the most incredible thing, to my mind, was that I saw, in the moment or two it was in my visual field, that this monster was harnessed and saddled, and, astride it, was a helmeted figure, that of a man!
Witness of Gor     Book 26     Pages 113 - 114


At various times in the past days I had seen one or more of the gigantic birds, coming or going, aflight over the valley between my location and the mountains in the distance. Sometimes there seemed great speed in the flights, moving to the left, at other times the birds smote the air with leisurely precision. Sometimes formations left the area. Twice I had heard drums and rushed to the bars to see perhaps twenty such winged monsters aflight, the second stroke of wings keeping the cadence of the drums. Once, a large formation, consisting of perhaps two hundred such creatures, wheeled about in diverse aerial maneuvers, sometimes in abrupt, breath-taking turns, and ascents and descents, sometimes breaking into smaller groups and then reuniting, as though converging on aerial prey, to piercing whistles, and sometimes in more sedate, stately evolutions, responsive to an almost ceremonial skirl of shrill pipes. It was then as though there were a parade ground in the sky itself. Sometimes I would see birds leaving or returning to whose harness were slung baskets, sometimes open, sometimes closed. I did not doubt but what I had been brought here in such a conveyance. Too, of course, I could not but wonder if others such as I, coming and going, might be cargo in such containers. Once I saw some ten birds returning in straggling formation, some struggling to remain aflight. Some riders drooped in the saddles. Others, bandaged, seemed clearly wounded. Some were tied upright in the saddle, proudly unwilling, perhaps, to bow to exhaustion or wounds. On some birds there were two riders. Some of these men lacked weapons, helmets and shields. I could see the long hair of some of them, flying in the wind.
Witness of Gor     Book 26     Page 137


This one did not bear apparent booty, but bore, rather, it seemed, on long straps, dispatch cases. The rider was not armored. The bird was smaller than many, and with shorter wings. Such are most adept, I would learn, in evasive maneuvers.
Witness of Gor     Book 26     Page 141


"Tarns do not care to leave the sight of land," said another, as though reminding his peer of something.

"Of course," said the fellow.
Witness of Gor     Book 26     Page 217


Some of the mighty saddle birds, like gigantic, crested hawks, they are called "tarns," moved about uneasily. Sometimes wings would snap and the air would rush about. Once or twice one or another of these mighty creatures put back its head and screamed to the clouds.
Witness of Gor     Book 26     Page 416


One of the tarns screamed. It was an incredibly loud, frightening, piercing sound. It rang from the wall.
Witness of Gor     Book 26     Page 472


If the approaching riders had banners they had not yet unfurled them. To be sure, this is normally done only when recognition is practical, or important. It might be mentioned, too, that the unfurled banner, at high speeds, is difficult to manage. It requires a strong man under such conditions to keep it from being whipped from its boot. It also, because of drag, reduces airspeed. Too, obviously, it handicaps its bearer in combat. His compensation is the banner guard, usually four of his fellows whose duty it is to protect him and the ensign. Actual instructions in flight are usually auditory rather than visual. They tend to be transmitted not by manners, or standards, or even pennons, but by tarn drums, trumpets, and such. Even riderless birds, as I understand it, will often respond to these signals, the charge, the wheel to one attitude or another, the ascent, the dive, the retreat, and such. In measured flight, tarn drums may also supply the cadence for the wing beat.
Witness of Gor     Book 26     Page 475


Then suddenly she flung her hands before her face and screamed, and the world seemed madness about her. There was a wild cry, piercing, at hand, not more than fifteen feet above her, surely the loudest and most terrifying sound she had ever heard, as of some living, immense, monstrous creature, and she was in shadow and then not in shadow, in a shadow that moved and leapt and was shattered with bursts of sunlight, and then darkness, and clothing was torn from the lines by the blasts of wind from the smitings of mighty wings, and one of the racks, seized in monstrous talons, broke into a thousand pieces, and, lifted, fell in a shower of sticks, raining down to the roof. Ellen could not believe what she saw. Above her, now darting away, was a gigantic bird, an enormous bird, a saddlebird, its wings with a span of thirty or more feet, and, seemingly tiny on its back, was a helmeted man!
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 156


Selius Arconious, as we recall, at the time of his accosting a young slave, had been in the vicinity of the great portal, that leading outward to the long, curving platform, outside, ledgelike, about the cylinder or tower, with its several perches. Within the portal was the "tarncot," so to speak, of Portus Canio, which was, in effect, for the most part, a large, lofty, barnlike area, certainly that within the great portal. To the left, as one might look outward from the great portal, barred and gated, was the general housing for tarns, with its perches and roosting areas, hooks for meat, reservoirs for water, and such. There were also, in the vicinity, similarly provisioned, some individual cages. Occasionally a tarn must be isolated, particularly a male tarn, from its fellows. Such individual cages, too, are often used with new birds, in their training, in accustoming them to saddling and harnessing, and such. They are also valuable given the occasional necessity of tending ill or wounded birds. The area directly within the great portal, a large area, as one might suppose, served for the departure and entry of tarns. In this area also, against the walls, were various stalls, slave stalls, in one of which Ellen commonly slept, now usually unchained, when not ordered to her master's slave ring, that in which she had been originally placed, hooded, chained and back-braceleted, and a variety of storage areas. Too, to one side there were many stacked tarn baskets. The enterprise of Portus in the Corridon Tower was, so to speak, a livery stable and transportation outlet. The tarns were largely draft tarns, large, relatively slow birds, controlled either from a saddle or, by reins, from the tarn basket, slung below the bird. Birds and baskets could be rented, or purchased, and drivers, or tarnsters, hired. There were also, these accessible from the larger area, some hallways, and a number of ancillary rooms, a kitchen, a pantry, living quarters, a workroom, sometimes used, the office of Portus Canio, and so on.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Pages 296 - 297


In the barred feeding area, the gate shut against the housing for returning tarns, Ellen put the basket of meat on the floor, and, moving about, and climbing, ascending, placed the meat, piece by piece, heavy strip by heavy strip, on the hooks in the wall. From those hooks, sometimes as they fluttered in the feeding area, feet from the floor, it would be torn by the feeding tarns. Sometimes, too, when the tarns were in the feeding area, she would throw the meat upward, between the bars to them. In such a case they tended to seize it in the air, with their beaks. If a piece fell to the floor, they would hover above it, seize it in their talons, and then crouch over it, holding it in place with a taloned foot, while tearing it to pieces with their beaks.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 306


"What of the tarn cage?" asked the officer. "Has it been searched?"

His men looked at one another. "No," said one of the men.

"Search it," said the officer.

"There are tarns there," said a man.

"Give me a tarn goad," said the officer to Portus Canio.

Portus made a negligible gesture, as of regret. "There are no tarn goads here," he said.

The officer regarded him, angrily.

"These are only draft tarns," said Portus, "slow, clumsy, gentle birds. Of what need would be a goad?"

The officer then went to the cage door and, with two hands, flung up the latch, and, with both hands, swung the gate open a foot. The gates are large, and heavy, and barred, some fourteen to fifteen feet in height, some ten feet in width. A tarn can thus stalk through one, but could not spread its wings and fly through one. Normally they are harnessed in the cage, and then led through the opening. In returning to the loft, from a flight, they are normally unharnessed outside, save for a halter, by means of which they are led within, the halter then being removed. The tarns instantly, alertly, regarded him. At the entrance he hesitated.

"Only cowards fear tarns," said Portus Canio.

The officer thrust through the gate, but scarcely had he entered the area, a stranger, one unknown to the tarns, than one of the birds flew at him, aggressively, and he sprang back through the narrow opening and the great, yellow, scimitarlike beak snapped on the bars, not a foot from his hand.

"They are so tame?" inquired the officer, irritably, turning to regard Portus Canio.

"I do not know what could be the matter," said Portus Canio. "Perhaps it is just that they do not know you."

"It is growing late," said one of the men. "We have other areas to search."

"Several," said another.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Pages 327 - 328


The tarn is not an aquatic species, and resists being flown out of the sight of land.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 361


At that moment, far over the roof, high, outside the hut, far overhead, there was a thunderous noise. It was like a sudden, passing surf, a storm in the sky. It lasted no more than a part of an Ehn.

"Master?" said Cecily, startled.

Constantina seemed frightened.

Perhaps she had at one time seen tarns.

I did not leave my place.

"Migratory tarns," said Pertinax.

"The tarn is not a migratory bird," I said.

"Forest tarns," he said.

"Tarns are of the mountains and the plains," I said. "They do not frequent the forests. They cannot hunt in them, for the closeness of the trees."

"Perhaps it was thunder," he said.

"You may be unfamiliar with the sound," I said, "but I am not. That was the passage of several tarns, perhaps a tarn cavalry."

"No," he said, "not a cavalry."

"Not one disciplined, at any rate," I said.

In a tarn cavalry the wing beats are synchronized, much as in the pace of marching men. Normally this is facilitated, unless surprise is intended, by the beating of a tarn drum, which sets the cadence. One of the glorious sights of Gor is the wheeling, the maneuvering and flight, of such cavalries in the sky, a lovely sight, in its way not unlike that of a fleet of lateen-rigged galleys abroad on gleaming Thassa, the sea.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Pages 62 - 63


"Why do you and your people wish a tarn cavalry?" I asked.

"For purposes of war, of course," said Tajima.

"On continental Gor?" I inquired.

"Elsewhere," said Tajima.

This made sense to me, as whatever might be afoot in the forest would not be likely to be of sufficient size and potency to effect much success against Gorean cities with their own tarn forces, which might number in the hundreds and, as of old, in Ar, in their thousands. Similarly it seemed that formidable island ubarates such as Tyros and Cos would have little to fear from, say, a squadron of bandit tarnsmen. And would one not require the means to reach those sovereignties, which lay hundreds of pasangs to the west? The tarn is a land bird, and will not fly beyond the sight of land. And even if the tarn could do that, no tarn could make that flight, but would fall exhausted into the sea. They are not sea birds which can rest on the wind, aloft for Ahn, wings spread, not moving, and, if they wished, descend, and rest on the sea itself.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 244


My attention was then drawn to an area of the training plaza where a fellow was standing quietly before a hobbled tarn. Its beak was unbound. It lifted its unhobbled taloned foot as though to rake the fellow from head to foot. It opened and closed its large, razor like beak. In a tarn strike on a tabuk the animal's back is usually broken by the strike, and then the beak, like a shearing engine, slashes through the back of the neck. The fellow had no disciplinary wand, no branch, no club in his grasp. He was defenseless if the bird were to attack. I would not have wished to be placed in that position. The tarn screamed hideously, menacingly. Then it made a hissing sound. That sound is intended to intimidate. It is not uncommon in intraspecific aggression. At that sound the smaller bird, or younger bird, or less aggressive bird, usually backs away. That response has presumably been selected for. Had it not been presumably there would be commonly but one male in a flock. The male which retreats one day, of course, may not retreat another day, and then a fight to the death, or to the disabling of the defeated, is likely to take place. Eventually the younger bird will grow stronger and fiercer and the older bird weaker and less fierce, and, sooner or later, a new Ubar, over the body of its torn, quivering foe, will scream its conquest, and its claiming of the flock.

But the fellow menaced by the tarn did not move.

"He will be a tarnsman," I said.

"I think so," said Tajima.

Then the fellow put his hand out, on the bird's beak, which touch the bird, as though puzzled, suffered without protest. It is hard not to show fear in the presence of the tarn, but it is extremely dangerous to do so, for the tarn, as many animals, can sense fear, and this stimulates its aggression. The fellow, of course, was not another bird, or a tabuk, or verr, but a different life form, the human, which is not an unknown form of prey for a tarn, but it is certainly not its customary prey. Too, the tarn commonly attacks from the air. It is not unknown for tabuk to graze in its presence, if it has alighted. The fellow then embraced, as he could, its large head. The bird's eyes gleamed, brightly, wickedly, but it did not pull away. The fellow then began to groom the bird, smoothing its feathers. The tarn raised its crested head to the sky, and then lowered its head, again, for the pleasure of the fellow's touch. I could not hear, but I supposed the fellow was speaking to it, soothingly. Human speech, even a soft crooning, can settle a restless tarn. The girls who tend tarn cots sometimes, in the evening, after the feeding, sing to their charges. It is sometimes hard to know when the tarn is asleep as it, as many birds, sleeps with its eyes open. To be sure, interestingly, it apparently does not see then, although the eye is open. It seems to be something like a window through which no one at the time is looking. Occasionally in its sleep the tarn moves uneasily, and tosses its head, and a taloned foot will move, sometimes marking the floor of the cot. One supposes that the bird is dreaming, doubtless of flight, perhaps of the hunt. Some human beings, incidentally, occasionally sleep with their eyes open. This tends to be somewhat unnerving, for an observer. To be sure, sleepwalkers sleep with their eyes open, as well, but, clearly, they are seeing at the time, given their avoidance of obstacles, and such.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Pages 255 - 256


"I wanted you to see the training area, and the tarns," said Tajima. "There is little for you to do now, though you are welcome, as you wish, and whenever you wish, to visit this area. The training will continue. Also, we are awaiting the arrival of more leather for saddles and harnessing. Once we have a hundred or more men who have flighted a tarn and lived, we will begin a more disciplined endeavor, and will try to form riders, with such skills as they will then have, into prides, which you may then form into a cavalry."

The expression 'pride', in this context, was a metaphor, of sorts, taken from the usual grouping of larls, such a group being commonly called a pride. The term is Gorean, but, like a great many terms in Gorean, not surprisingly, given the voyages of acquisition, it is taken from another language, in this case, English.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 256


How is it that the vision of the tarn can discern the movement of even an urt at a thousand feet?
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 265


The typical Gorean shield is heavy, large and round, of layered leather bound with metal stripping. It may shield a soldier but it cannot, even given its size, protect a tarn. More practical on the whole, I thought, everything considered, would be the metal buckler, smaller and easily managed, with one hand, rather than an entire arm. It could turn a spear thrust, whereas a thrust or thrown spear would be likely to anchor itself in the common shield. Indeed, a common infantry tactic is to disable the opponent's shield by penetrating it with one's spear. This, in effect, renders the shield not only ineffective but a liability, as the attack then proceeds with the gladius. The buckler I had in mind was not only easily manageable but would have two additional features of interest. First, it might be easily slung at the saddle, freeing the tarnsman's hands, for a purpose which will soon be obvious, the use of the bow, and, second, as in some arena bucklers, it would have a bladelike edge, thus allowing it to be used to cut at an opponent's body, ideally the throat. I did not expect there would be much call for this latter feature unless the tarnsman was on foot, but sometimes tarnsmen do lock in combat, even on tarnback, as the birds, spinning about, buffeting one another, screaming and twisting about, do grapple in the sky. The buckler, too, though with less efficacy than the larger shield, would provide some defense against flighted quarrels, at least for the most vulnerable areas of the body, those most frequently targeted. Lastly, its lightness, compared to the usual infantry shield, would to some extent, if only one rather negligible, increase the speed and maneuverability of the tarn.

Given the size of the tarn, the beating of its wings, and such, there is no simple way to protect it from arrow fire, either aerial fire or fire from the ground. When I had first come to Gor war tarns had often been lightly armored and the beak and talons sheathed with steel. The armor, light as it was, encumbered and slowed the bird, considerably decreasing not only its speed but its maneuverability. It also, in its alien aspects, tended to make the bird harder to manage. Lastly the enhancement of the beak and talons proved of little merit for two reasons. First, in most tarnflight, the beak and talons do not come into play, and, second, when they do come into play they are formidable weapons in themselves, as in, say, tearing at the eyes and vitals of an enemy bird, far above the ground. Evolution, on whatever world might be that of the tarn's origin, had armed it well. Whatever world that was, I suspected, it had been a high-gravity world, one with a deep gravity well, for the strength of the tarn was considerable, far beyond what one would normally expect of an avian creature of a more typical world, such as Earth or Gor. I have always referred to the tarn as a bird, and will continue to do so, for it is surely that, at least in a sense, given its ecological place, its feathering, its wings, and such, but, zoologically, one supposes, it is something rather different from what are normally taken as birds, either on Earth or Gor, or, perhaps better, one should say it is an unusual bird. Its massive size and wing spread may not be its only remarkable features. It does nest and reproduce itself oviparously. Indeed, I would soon learn numerous items of unusual value were stored in the warmth of certain of the sheds at the plaza of training.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Pages 282 - 284


There are six strap positions on the common tarn harness. On the tarn's collar there are six rings, to which straps are attached, which straps ascend to the saddle, which, too, has six rings, corresponding to the collar rings. The six saddle rings are arranged on a vertical ring. The one-ring is at the top of the main saddle ring, and the four-ring is at the bottom. The two-ring and three-ring are on the right side of the main saddle ring, and the four-ring and five-ring are on the left side of the main saddle ring. Given the correspondences, drawing on the one-strap exerts pressure at the bottom of the tarn's throat, to which pressure it responds by ascent, and drawing on the four-ring exerts pressure on the ring at the back of the tarn's neck, to which pressure it responds by descent. Similarly, it may wheel to the high right and the low right, and to the high left and low left, by drawing on the appropriate straps. If one wishes a lateral motion to the right one draws on both the two and three straps at the same time, and if one wishes a lateral motion to the left one draws on the four and five straps simultaneously. Similar adjustments may be made by drawing on the one and two straps, on the three and four straps, and so on, about the ring. A simple knot in each strap prevents it from slipping back through one of the saddle rings.

"Three-strap," I called, and Ichiro blew the signal, and the flock turned downward and to the right.

"Rings free!" I called to Ichiro, and he blew the appropriate blast, and the flock leveled out in its flight, and continued on the path on which it had been set.

Of great assistance in such matters is the natural flocking behavior of tarns, which consists of three genetically coded behaviors, two of which deal with spatiality and one with velocity. A tarn flock will tend to cohere, to stay together, and it will also maintain a bird-to-bird distance. These spatial habituations are then linked with a tendency to match velocity. In this fashion a flock of birds, even in the wild, will engage effortlessly in what appear to be astonishingly swift and complex maneuvers.

"Five-strap!" I called. "Rings free!" The horn gave forth this command, and the flock descended to the left and leveled in its flight.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Pages 308 - 309


Commonly the tarn strike breaks the back of the verr or tabuk, and then it begins to feed, while the animal is still alive. Sometimes it seizes the animal, carries it to a height, and then releases it, and then descends to feed.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 328


"How did you know the tarn would return?" asked Pertinax.

"When the rider lost consciousness, it was no longer controlled," I said. "It would then, having no guidance, return to its cot, perhaps even hastening, that it might not miss the evening feeding."
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 377


"Eggs," I had said, finally, "hundreds." I had seen them nestled in their straw-lined boxes.

Obviously they had been the eggs of tarns.

"They will not hatch," I said. "They are without females, they lack incubators."

"Incubators?" he asked.

"Devices, heated," I said, "to hatch eggs."

"Touch one," he suggested.

I reached into one of the boxes, and placed my hand on the egg.

"It is warm," I said.

"It is a matter of fluids," he said. "There are two, one to keep the egg viable, another, later, to induce hatching."

"I see," I said.

The matter, I gathered, was in effect a chemical incubation. I supposed we owed this development to the Builders or Physicians. I supposed the Builders, some of whom concerned themselves with industrial and agricultural chemistry, might have been paid to inquire into such matters. The Physicians, I thought, would have regarded such research as beneath the dignity of their caste.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Pages 409 - 410


"Hold!" he cried. "He is below, somewhere in the forest. A physician's pellet was concealed in the tarn's meat, before flight, the coating dissolving in some twenty Ehn. The bird is downed, sluggish, drugged. Both mount and rider, I assure you, are unharmed. Both, before morning, will return to your camp."
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 444


Tarns, as other birds, do not much care to flight in the rain. Whereas the feathering tends to shed water, it is only a matter of time before the penetrant fluid soaks through the layerings and impedes the flight. For maximum efficiency the feathers must be dry and the sky clear and dry.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 448


The tarn is a land bird and will not fly beyond the sight of land. What I had done was to house tarns below decks until we were far from land. Then, in battle, I had released them with riders, primarily to cast vessels of fire upon the ships of Cos and Tyros. Fortunately for us the tarns responded to their straps as though over land. They may have taken the ships below as land, as islands, so to speak, or, perhaps, it was a mere matter that we had not triggered or engaged the bird's reluctance to forsake the sight of land. I supposed this disposition had been selected for in the course of the beast's evolution. Tarns which were disposed to leave the sight of land might have perished in the sea, and thus failed to replicate their genes. Tarns which, for whatever reason, or random gift of genes, were reluctant to leave the sight of land might nest, and reproduce.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Pages 495 - 496


Last night hundreds of tarn eggs had been brought aboard, to be nestled in padded containers below decks. These were being chemically incubated, to keep the egg viable. Later, responsive to a second chemical, which might not be administered for months, hatching was to occur. Clearly Lord Nishida's plans involved tarns beyond those of the present cavalry.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 547


There was then another cry, but it was not the cry of the Vosk gull. It was a wild, shrill, ringing scream, unmistakable.

"That is a tarn!" cried a man.

"Impossible," said the captain.

Even with the fog we could not be so far off our course, or so confused. The tarn, you see, is a land bird, a hook-beaked, vast-winged, gigantic, crested, dreaded, fearsome monster of the skies. Its talons can clasp a kaiila and carry it aloft, to drop it to its death, thence to land and feed on the meat. Its most common prey is the delicate, flocking, single-horned tabuk. A single wrench of that mighty beak could tear the arm from a man. The tarn, you see, never flies from the sight of land. It could not be the cry of a tarn.

Then, again, we heard that shrill scream, as though at dawn, as it might announce itself to the sun, Tor-tu-Gor, as it might inform the world of the privacy and sanctity of its nesting site, as it might warn even larls away from its surveyed domain.

The tarn, it is said, is the Ubar of the sky.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 28


The tarn is a dangerous bird, half wild even when domesticated It would be an easy thing to resist the reins, and turn upon a rider. And even an obedient tarn must eat, after a time. And then, presumably, one must die, tarn or rider. And if the rider survive, how will he live, afoot, alone, in the cold, in the long night?

But the man Tajima had returned.

I suspected he was an able rider.

Because of the risks few tarns were now flighted.

And tarns who cannot fly will, after a time, die.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 138


When the ship had debouched from the Alexandra, and entered Thassa, I had been told there were something like two hundred tarns aboard. They were housed in three large areas, each occupying a substantial portion of its own deck. The highest area was on the first deck below the open deck. The other two areas, by ramps, led to the highest area, it alone having the sky accessible, once the great hatch was rolled back. As the tarn is a large, dangerous, aggressive bird, and territorial in the wild, many of the ship tarns had separate stalls, or cages; others were chained apart, by the left foot; some others, crowded together, literally had their wings bound, their beaks strapped shut, save for feeding.

Restless, and many long unflighted, it was unusually dangerous to be amongst them. Few but tarnsmen or tarnkeepers would approach them, and then with great caution.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 158


I gathered that these folk had never seen a tarn, and might not even, at first, understand such things to be a natural, vulnerable form of life. They might take it as a dragon bird, whatever that might be.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 387


"Tarns," he said to me. "They kill men. Men fly them."
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 113


Here I had my first clear sight of tarns. Before, in the forest, I had known them only as large, frightening shadows overhead, rapid, monstrous darknesses overhead, storms of wings smiting the air, whose passage had torn leaves from the canopy, these then showering downward, scattering about us. Too, I had not forgotten the single wild, streaming, raucous scream I had heard. It had been said that they killed men, and that men flew them. One alighted on the training ground not ten yards from us. Dust scattered about. We crowded together, stripped, our necks in the rope coffle, instinctively. I think I cried out. I know others did. How small the rider was compared to the bird! I think it fair to call it a bird, but it was no form of life with which I was familiar.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 151


There was a blast of wind which shook the brush about us. The great bird had descended, not yards from us, on the beach.

I had never been this close to a tarn before, not even on the training field east of Tarncamp, en route to Shipcamp. How small the man appeared next to this terrible, winged monster, its broad wings restless, its head, with its fearful beak, high above the beach, moving alertly about, the large wicked, round, shining, black eyes.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 539


Many, at their first sight of a tarn, particularly at close quarters, are unable to move, so paralyzed with fear they are. Yet these assailants had, at least on the whole, diligently addressed themselves to the destructive, murderous work for which they had obviously been well prepared. It is interesting to wonder whether or not such men might approach tarns as readily in the future. Surely some were seized, some disemboweled by raking talons, some having their heads, or an arm or leg, torn from their bodies. Had they been led to believe that the tarn was no more, I wondered, than a large, harmless feathered creature, something in the nature of a large jard or gull? It was enormous and carnivorous. Its talons were like hooks; its beak like snapping, severing sabers. Its scream could be heard in the mountains for pasangs. The beating of its wings could lash the leaves from trees. Its strike, the sun behind it, could break the back of a running kaiila.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Pages 5 - 6


Indeed, Lord Temmu, shortly after the great ship of Tersites had been wharfed below the holding, had sowed the seeds of such alarms by means of spies, spreading rumors of terrifying winged beasts, demon birds, dragon birds, alleged to be favorable to the cause of the house of Temmu.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 87


The scream of the tarn is unmistakable, once one has heard it. It is commonly piercing and redolent with challenge and territoriality. The wild tarn will defend its nesting site against larls and sleen. Its hunting strike can break the back of a tarsk, ten hands at the shoulder. Its beak can tear a head from a body and its talons can tear loose the backbone of a larl. I once saw one in Torvaldsland disembowel a Kur, before the ax half severed its head and the Kur began to feed, one paw thrusting its intestines back into its body, holding them in place. Whereas a human being is not the common prey of a wild tarn, the usual objects of its interests being verr and tabuk, the tarn can be dangerous to humans, particularly if a nest is approached. The tarn commonly kills in hunting by breaking the back of its prey, but it can seize a verr and bear it aloft, to drop it to its death, after which it feeds, or carry it to its nest, where fledglings fight for the meat, the swiftest and most aggressive surviving, often at the expense of its siblings. The domestic tarn, on the other hand, like the domestic sleen, is bred for at least the partial tolerance of humans. It does not require live game. There are different varieties of domestic tarns, some bred for war, some for racing, and some for draft purposes, the haulage of tarn baskets, which may contain cargo or passengers, or, in the case of slaves, slave cargo. A tarnster commonly controls the tarn with reins from the basket, unless there is a line of tarns, tied together, which commonly follows a lead tarn, with its own tarnster and basket. The domestic tarn, given the selections involved and their purposes, like the domestic sleen, is usually larger, stronger, faster, and healthier than its wild cousin. It is bred to be such.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Pages 89 - 90


"You have commanded demon birds, dragon birds, brought from across the sea. You have well served the rebellious house of Temmu and have muchly discomfited the rightful, honorable house of Yamada. Yamada, Shogun of the Islands, has not been pleased. Now you are at our mercy. We have waited long to have you as you are."
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 128


The scream of the tarn is unmistakable, once one has heard it. It is commonly piercing and redolent with challenge and territoriality. The wild tarn will defend its nesting site against larls and sleen. Its hunting strike can break the back of a tarsk, ten hands at the shoulder. Its beak can tear a head from a body and its talons can tear loose the backbone of a larl. I once saw one in Torvaldsland disembowel a Kur, before the ax half severed its head and the Kur began to feed, one paw thrusting its intestines back into its body, holding them in place. Whereas a human being is not the common prey of a wild tarn, the usual objects of its interests being verr and tabuk, the tarn can be dangerous to humans, particularly if a nest is approached. The tarn commonly kills in hunting by breaking the back of its prey, but it can seize a verr and bear it aloft, to drop it to its death, after which it feeds, or carry it to its nest, where fledglings fight for the meat, the swiftest and most aggressive surviving, often at the expense of its siblings. The domestic tarn, on the other hand, like the domestic sleen, is bred for at least the partial tolerance of humans. It does not require live game. There are different varieties of domestic tarns, some bred for war, some for racing, and some for draft purposes, the haulage of tarn baskets, which may contain cargo or passengers, or, in the case of slaves, slave cargo. A tarnster commonly controls the tarn with reins from the basket, unless there is a line of tarns, tied together, which commonly follows a lead tarn, with its own tarnster and basket. The domestic tarn, given the selections involved and their purposes, like the domestic sleen, is usually larger, stronger, faster, and healthier than its wild cousin. It is bred to be such.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Pages 89 - 90


"I am in touch with the negotiations being pretended in the holding of Temmu," he said. "Message vulos keep me informed, and I have intelligence by tarn, as well.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 467


"Tarns' eggs were brought west from the continent on the ship of Tersites," I said. "They have now been removed to the camp of tarns, and several have hatched."
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 596


"Many decisions will be made by the tarns themselves," I said. The tarn, an aggressive, terrible bird, senses diffidence, hesitation, and fear. And some, for no clearly understood reason, will not accept certain riders. Many men have been maimed, even torn to pieces, by these dangerous "brothers of the wind." But men will seek their saddles. They will risk death to share the flight of the tarn.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Pages 604 - 605


Suddenly, I heard, for the first time, a mighty sound, deafening, but feet away, shrill and sustained, annunciatory, the long, shrieking, readiness cry of an awesome, dangerous, incredible form of life. Doubtless the sound might be familiar to some but it was not to me. It might have rung out in the mountains of Thentis, reflected from peak to peak, causing all who heard it to pause, and tremble, and raise their eyes apprehensively to the sky. My blood froze. For a moment I could neither move nor breathe. Had I seen its source, given its proximity, and understood its meaning, I know not what my response might have been. Can one die of such things? How frightening, and amazing, it would seem to me, later, to understand that men, some rare, few men, dare to share the sky with such things.

But a moment after this startling sound, I heard a human voice, from some yards away. "Hold!" it cried. "Hold! Gold or steel! Hold!"

"Gold!" cried Tullius Quintus, "as and when it pleases me!"

"Sleen!" cried the other voice.

There was suddenly a great crack, as of the smiting of wind, like the crack of sails, like the snapping of a mighty banner, or whip, and the very basket in which I was held shook, and then, suddenly, the ropes were taut, and the basket, as I screamed in fear, thrown back, helpless in my bonds and strap, slid rapidly across the wooden platform, and, a moment later, it seemed to leap from the planks and it swung free, how far above the land I did not know.
Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Pages 177 - 178


A gold tarsk is usually valued at ten silver tarsks, and a gold tarn, in today's market, might well purchase two draft tarns, a racing tarn or a war tarn."
Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 338


Overhead there was a fight of tarnsmen, perhaps a hundred men and mounts. We could see sunlight flashing from helmets, shields, and weapons. They were perhaps five hundred feet above us, to our right. The tarn drums kept the cadence of the flight, the wings of the great birds beating in unison.
Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 601


Shortly thereafter she had been stripped and tied, belly up, over a tarn's saddle apron, and was well on her way to some camp or other, where she was marked and collared.
Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Page 173


And races are popular, those of slaves, male and female, of the lofty kaiila, of tharlarion of various sorts, four-legged and two-legged, ponderous and fleet, and of the broad-winged, fierce, mighty tarns. Breeding lines are often kept in such matters. Breeding fees for champion animals can be exorbitant.
Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Page 271


"If he who would obstruct our will is apprised of these preparations the quarry may be moved," said the beast.

"To whence?" asked the man in the boat. "The harbor is under surveillance, and each gate of the port, and even the skies are watched, for the darting, message-bearing vulo, returning to a far cot, for the majestic tarn."
Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Pages 295 - 296


"Not every brigand will do," said the man in the boat. "And agents must be planted, contacts made, spies ensconced, patrols and watches noted and recorded. Later some must know the broad-winged tarn, others the craft of siege work, mining and ascent, the management of ladders and the planning of waves of attack.
Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Pages 296 - 297


"Before dawn," said Cella. "Five mighty tarns, draft tarns, each with a string of ten men, hovered at the parapet. These raiders discharged, they seized the parapet, hurling secured rope-ladders down to barges, by means of which more assailants reached the parapet. Vigilance was sparse and relaxed, if present. A guard or two was swiftly done away with."

I knew little of tarns, and had never seen one. I gathered that they were gigantic, dangerous, avian monsters. Few would dare to approach them. Those rash enough or mad enough to risk ascent to their saddles were called "Tarnsmen," an unusual and fearsome breed of men. These swift, terrible, broad-winged monsters were rare in the vicinity of Port Kar.
Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Page 378





 


Tarn - Black
To The Top


The plumage of tarns is various, and they are bred for their colors as well as their strength and intelligence. Black tarns are used for night raids, white tarns in winter campaigns, and multicolored, resplendent tarns are bred for warriors who wish to ride proudly, regardless of the lack of camouflage. The most common tarn, however, is greenish brown.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Pages 51 - 52


"That is not she!" he cried. "The hair is brown, not black, not like the sheen of sable tarn; the complexion is wrong; the eyes are wrong! That is not she!"
Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Page 77





 


Tarn - Brown
To The Top


The tarn, a brown tarn with a black crest like most wild tarns, streaked for that vague, distant smudge I knew marked the escarpments of some mountain wilderness.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 140


The two guardsmen were fixing a carrying basket to the harness of a large brown-plumaged tarn. The reins of the tarn were fixed to a ring in the front of the basket. Inside the basket was a woman whose carriage and figure I knew to be that of Dorna the Proud, though she now wore only a simple silver mask of Tharna.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Page 240


He pointed to the top of the tiers. There I saw a man with a brown tarn, holding its reins.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 348


A tarn of the Reds, a large-winged bird, goaded almost to madness by a small, bearded rider, wearing a bone talisman about his neck, held the lead. He was followed by two brown racing tarns, their riders wearing the silk of the Blues and the Silvers.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 355


I was making my way toward the tarn cot where I had housed the tarn on which I had come to the fair, a brown tarn, from the mountains of Thentis, famed for its tarn flocks. My belongings I had taken there earlier, putting them in the saddlebags. I had had supper.
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 99





 


Tarn - Domestic
To The Top


I went forward and seized the guide-ropes of the tarn, near the beak. It shook its head. The guide-ropes, or reins, of the tarn, as the Kinyanpi fashion them, seem clearly to be based on the jaw ropes used generally in the Barrens by the red savages to control kaiila. This suggests that the Kinyanpi had probably domesticated kaiila before tarns and that their domestication of the tarn was achieved independently of white practice, as exemplified, say, by the tarnsmen of such cities as Thentis. The common guidance apparatus for tarns in most cities is an arrangement involving two major rings and six straps. The one-strap is drawn for ascent, and the four-strap for descent, for example.
Blood Brothers of Gor     Book 18     Page 340


I patted the tarn on the neck. "This is a domestic tarn," I said. "It is trained. Not only will it be unnecessary to break it but it will be of great use, in a brace harness, in training the two tarns we have already caught." This is a common method of training new tarns.
Blood Brothers of Gor     Book 18     Page 341


It might be of interest to note that when I had come to Gor, some years ago, domestic tarns, like wild tarns, almost always made their own kills. They may still do so, of course, but now many have been trained to accept prepared, even preserved, meat. Ideally, they are taught to do this from the time of hatchlings, it being thrust into their mouths, given to them much as their mother bird would do in the wild. Tongs are used. With older birds, on the other hand, captured wild tarns, for example, the training usually takes the form of tying fresh meat on live animals, and then, when the tarn is accustomed to eating both, effecting the transition to the prepared meat. Needless to say, a hunting tarn is extremely dangerous, and although its favorite prey may be tabuk, or wild tarsk, they can attack human beings. This training innovation, interestingly enough, and perhaps predictably, was not primarily the result of an attempt to increase the safety of human beings, particularly those in rural areas, but was rather largely the result of attempting to achieve military objectives, in particular those having to do with the logistical support of the tarn cavalry. Because of it, for the first time, large tarn cavalries, numbering in the hundreds of men, became practical.
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Pages 52 - 53


Many have died learning the tarn. The tarn is a dangerous bird, aggressive, carnivorous, often treacherous. The wingspan of many tarns is in the neighborhood of forty feet. Humans are small beside them. Many human beings will not approach them. It, like many wild beasts, can sense fear, and that stimulates its aggression. In facing a tarn a human being has little but will to place between himself and the beak and talons. To be sure many tarns are domesticated, so to speak, raised from the egg in the vicinity of humans, taught to expect their food from them, accustomed to harnessing from the age of the chick, and so on. In the past domestic tarns were sometimes freed, to hunt in the wild, and later to return to their cots, sometimes to the blasts of the tarn whistle. That is seldom done now. A hungry tarn is quite dangerous, you see, and the reed of its domesticity is fragile. There is no assurance that its strike will be directed on a tabuk or wild tarsk, or verr. Too, it is not unknown for such tarns to revert, so to speak. I think no tarn is that far from the wild. In their blood, it is said, are the wind and the sky.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Pages 52 - 53


The tarn is a dangerous bird, half wild even when domesticated It would be an easy thing to resist the reins, and turn upon a rider. And even an obedient tarn must eat, after a time. And then, presumably, one must die, tarn or rider. And if the rider survive, how will he live, afoot, alone, in the cold, in the long night?

But the man Tajima had returned.

I suspected he was an able rider.

Because of the risks few tarns were now flighted.

And tarns who cannot fly will, after a time, die.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 138


The scream of the tarn is unmistakable, once one has heard it. It is commonly piercing and redolent with challenge and territoriality. The wild tarn will defend its nesting site against larls and sleen. Its hunting strike can break the back of a tarsk, ten hands at the shoulder. Its beak can tear a head from a body and its talons can tear loose the backbone of a larl. I once saw one in Torvaldsland disembowel a Kur, before the ax half severed its head and the Kur began to feed, one paw thrusting its intestines back into its body, holding them in place. Whereas a human being is not the common prey of a wild tarn, the usual objects of its interests being verr and tabuk, the tarn can be dangerous to humans, particularly if a nest is approached. The tarn commonly kills in hunting by breaking the back of its prey, but it can seize a verr and bear it aloft, to drop it to its death, after which it feeds, or carry it to its nest, where fledglings fight for the meat, the swiftest and most aggressive surviving, often at the expense of its siblings. The domestic tarn, on the other hand, like the domestic sleen, is bred for at least the partial tolerance of humans. It does not require live game. There are different varieties of domestic tarns, some bred for war, some for racing, and some for draft purposes, the haulage of tarn baskets, which may contain cargo or passengers, or, in the case of slaves, slave cargo. A tarnster commonly controls the tarn with reins from the basket, unless there is a line of tarns, tied together, which commonly follows a lead tarn, with its own tarnster and basket. The domestic tarn, given the selections involved and their purposes, like the domestic sleen, is usually larger, stronger, faster, and healthier than its wild cousin. It is bred to be such.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Pages 89 - 90





 


Tarn - Draft
To The Top


I would learn it was indeed a large bird, one called a "tarn." And, I would later learn, it was not even a warrior's mount, bred for swiftness and aggressiveness, a war tarn, but a mere draft tarn.
Dancer of Gor     Book 22     Page 148


The draft tarn makes a hovering landing. As soon as it senses the basket touch the ground it alights to one side. The sloping ramp, of course, makes it easy to take the tarn basket, on its leather runners, no longer harnessed to the tarn, down to the yard. It is also convenient for discharging passengers, handling baggage, and such.
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Pages 119 - 120


The structure supporting the gate, in such a case, with its beams, platforms, catwalks and mastlike timbers, is very sturdy. Narrow ladders, too, ascend it here and there, leading to its catwalks and platforms. Such a construction, of course, requires the more time-consuming, hovering landing of all birds, not simply draft tarns, carrying tarn baskets.
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Page 120


The tarns were largely draft tarns, large, relatively slow birds, controlled either from a saddle or, by reins, from the tarn basket, slung below the bird. Birds and baskets could be rented, or purchased, and drivers, or tarnsters, hired.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Pages 297


Draft tarns are usually controlled from the basket. They may, however, be controlled from the saddle.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 338


The scream of the tarn is unmistakable, once one has heard it. It is commonly piercing and redolent with challenge and territoriality. The wild tarn will defend its nesting site against larls and sleen. Its hunting strike can break the back of a tarsk, ten hands at the shoulder. Its beak can tear a head from a body and its talons can tear loose the backbone of a larl. I once saw one in Torvaldsland disembowel a Kur, before the ax half severed its head and the Kur began to feed, one paw thrusting its intestines back into its body, holding them in place. Whereas a human being is not the common prey of a wild tarn, the usual objects of its interests being verr and tabuk, the tarn can be dangerous to humans, particularly if a nest is approached. The tarn commonly kills in hunting by breaking the back of its prey, but it can seize a verr and bear it aloft, to drop it to its death, after which it feeds, or carry it to its nest, where fledglings fight for the meat, the swiftest and most aggressive surviving, often at the expense of its siblings. The domestic tarn, on the other hand, like the domestic sleen, is bred for at least the partial tolerance of humans. It does not require live game. There are different varieties of domestic tarns, some bred for war, some for racing, and some for draft purposes, the haulage of tarn baskets, which may contain cargo or passengers, or, in the case of slaves, slave cargo. A tarnster commonly controls the tarn with reins from the basket, unless there is a line of tarns, tied together, which commonly follows a lead tarn, with its own tarnster and basket. The domestic tarn, given the selections involved and their purposes, like the domestic sleen, is usually larger, stronger, faster, and healthier than its wild cousin. It is bred to be such.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Pages 89 - 90


A gold tarsk is usually valued at ten silver tarsks, and a gold tarn, in today's market, might well purchase two draft tarns, a racing tarn or a war tarn."
Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 338





 


Tarn - Forest
To The Top


At that moment, far over the roof, high, outside the hut, far overhead, there was a thunderous noise. It was like a sudden, passing surf, a storm in the sky. It lasted no more than a part of an Ehn.

"Master?" said Cecily, startled.

Constantina seemed frightened.

Perhaps she had at one time seen tarns.

I did not leave my place.

"Migratory tarns," said Pertinax.

"The tarn is not a migratory bird," I said.

"Forest tarns," he said.

"Tarns are of the mountains and the plains," I said. "They do not frequent the forests. They cannot hunt in them, for the closeness of the trees."

"Perhaps it was thunder," he said.

"You may be unfamiliar with the sound," I said, "but I am not. That was the passage of several tarns, perhaps a tarn cavalry."

"No," he said, "not a cavalry."

"Not one disciplined, at any rate," I said.

In a tarn cavalry the wing beats are synchronized, much as in the pace of marching men. Normally this is facilitated, unless surprise is intended, by the beating of a tarn drum, which sets the cadence. One of the glorious sights of Gor is the wheeling, the maneuvering and flight, of such cavalries in the sky, a lovely sight, in its way not unlike that of a fleet of lateen-rigged galleys abroad on gleaming Thassa, the sea.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Pages 62 - 63





 


Tarn - Greenish Brown
To The Top


The plumage of tarns is various, and they are bred for their colors as well as their strength and intelligence. Black tarns are used for night raids, white tarns in winter campaigns, and multicolored, resplendent tarns are bred for warriors who wish to ride proudly, regardless of the lack of camouflage. The most common tarn, however, is greenish brown.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Pages 51 - 52





 


Tarn - Multicolored
To The Top


The plumage of tarns is various, and they are bred for their colors as well as their strength and intelligence. Black tarns are used for night raids, white tarns in winter campaigns, and multicolored, resplendent tarns are bred for warriors who wish to ride proudly, regardless of the lack of camouflage. The most common tarn, however, is greenish brown.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Pages 51 - 52





 


Tarn - Racing
To The Top


The next seven tarns, strung out, sped through the ring and wheeled in flight to take the next ring. Their leader was a brown racing tarn, whose rider wore red silk, and whose small saddle and tight control straps were of red leather.

This was only the third lap in a ten-lap race, and yet already two tarns were down in the net. I could see the netmen expertly moving across the broad stands approaching them, loops in their hands to tie together the bird's beak, to bind its curved, wicked talons. The wing one bird was apparently broken, for the netmen, after binding it, quickly cut its throat, the blood falling through the net, staining it, soaking into the sand below in a brownish red patch. Its rider took the saddle and control straps from the still-quivering bird and dropped with them through the broad strands of the net, to the sand some six feet below. The other bird was apparently only stunned, and it was being rolled to the edge of the net where it would be dropped into a large wheeled frame, drawn by two horned tharlarion, onto a suspended canvas, where it was immediately secured by broad canvas straps.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Pages 138 - 139


The tarns were, of course, racing tarns, a bird in many ways quite different from the common tarns of Gor     , or the war tarns. The differences among these tarns are not simply in the training, which does differ, but in the size, strength, build and tendencies of the bird. Some tarns are bred primarily for strength and are used in transporting wares by carrying basket. Usually these birds fly more slowly and are less vicious than the war tarns or racing tarns. The war tarns, of course, are bred for both strength and speed, but also for agility, swiftness of reflex, and combative instincts. War tarns, whose talons are shod with steel, tend to be extremely dangerous birds, even more so than other tarns, none of whom could be regarded as fully domesticated. The racing tarn, interestingly, is an extremely light bird; two men can lift one; even its beak is narrower and lighter than the beak of a common tarn or a war tarn; its wings are commonly broader and shorter than those of the other tarns, permitting a swifter take off and providing a capacity for extremely abrupt turns and shifts in flight; they cannot carry a great deal of weight and the riders, as might be expected, are small men, usually of low caste, pugnacious and aggressive. Racing tarns are not used by tarnsmen in war because they lack the weight and power of war tarns; meeting a war tarn in flight, a racing tarn would be torn to pieces in moments; further, the racing tarns, though marvelous in their particular ways, lack the stamina of the common tarn or the war tarn; their short wings, after a flight of perhaps only fifty pasangs, would begin to fail; in a short-distance dash, of course, the racing tarn would commonly be superior to the war tarn.
. . .

I noted that two of the tarns in this race were not of given factions, but were the property of private owners, not associated with the faction corporations; their riders, similarly, were not faction riders; the rider, incidentally, is quite as important as the bird, for an experienced rider often manages to bring a new bird to the first perch, whereas even a fine bird, controlled poorly or timidly, is likely to be far outdone.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Pages 143 - 144


I doubt that this fierce form of racing would be practical were it not for the almost uncanny agility in flight of the short-winged racing tarns.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 146


The cot was one of six in a vast and lofty cylinder containing many of the offices and dormitories of those associated professionally with the Greens. Their records and stores, and treasures, are kept in this cylinder, though it is only one of four they maintain in the city. The tarncot in which Mip worked was the largest and, I was pleased to note, he was the senior Tarn Keeper in the place, though there were several employed there. The cot was a huge room beneath the roof of the cylinder, taking up what normally would be four floors of the cylinder. The perches were actually a gigantic, curving framework of tem-wood four stories high, and following the circular wall of the cylinder. Many of the perches were empty, but there were more than a hundred birds in the room; each was now chained to its area of the perch; but each, I knew, at least once in every two days, was exercised; sometimes, when men do not wander freely in the cot, and the portals of the cot, opening to the sky, are closed, some of the birds are permitted the freedom of the cot; water for the birds is fed from tubes into canisters mounted on triangular platforms near the perches, but there is also, in the center of the cot, in the floor, a cistern which may be used when the birds are free. Food for the tarns, which is meat, for that is their diet, is thrust on hooks and hauled by chain and windlass to the various perches; it might be of interest to note that, when any of the birds are free, meat is never placed on the hooks or on the floor below; the racing tarn is a valuable bird and the Tarn Keepers do not wish to have them destroy one another fighting over a verr thigh.

As soon as Mip entered the cot he picked a tarn goad from a hook on the wall over a small table with a lamp and papers on it. He then took a second goad, from a hook nearby, and handed it to me. I accepted it. Few dare to walk in a tarncot without a goad. Indeed, it is foolish to do so.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 169


Mip was fondling the beak of one bird, an older bird I gathered. It was reddish brown; the crest was flat now; the beak a pale yellow, streaked with white.

"This is Green Ubar," said he, scratching the bird's neck.

I had heard of the bird. It had been famous in Ar a dozen years ago. It had won more than one thousand races. Its rider, one of the great ones in the tradition of the greens, had been Melipolus of Cos.
. . .

I wondered why the bird, as is usual, it now being rather old, surely past its racing prime, had not been destroyed. Perhaps it had been preserved as an act of sentiment, for such is not unknown among the partisans of the factions. On the other hand, the business managers of the factions have little sentiment, and an unprofitable tarn, like an unprofitable or useless slave, is customarily sold or destroyed.

"The night," I said, "is beautiful."

Mip grinned at me. "Good," he said. He moved over the tem-wood beams until he came to two sets of racing saddles and harness, and he threw me one, indicating a brown, alert racing tarn two perches away. The racing harness, like the common tarn harness, works with two rings, the throat ring and the main saddle ring, and six straps. The major difference is the tautness of the reins between the two rings; the racing saddle, on the other hand, is only a slip of leather compared to the common tarn saddle, which is rather large, with saddle packs, weapon sheaths and paired slave rings. I fastened the saddle on the bird and, with a bit of difficulty, the bird sensing my unsure movements, the tarn harness. Mip and I, moving the lock levers, removed the hobble and chain from the two birds and took the saddle.

Mip rode Green Ubar; he looked well in the worn saddle; his stirrups were short.

We fastened the safety straps.

On the racing saddle there are two small straps, rather than the one large strap on the common saddle; both straps fasten about the rider and to the saddle, in a sense each duplicating the work of the other; the theory is that though smaller straps can break more easily the probability of both straps breaking at the same time is extremely small; further the two straps tend to divide strain between them, thereby considerably lessening the possibility of either breaking; some saving in weight, of course, is obtained with the two smaller straps; further, the broad strap would be a bit large to fasten to the small saddle; even beyond this, of course, since races take place largely and most often over a net there is normally not as much danger in a fall as there would be in common tarn flight; the main purpose of the straps is simply to keep the rider in the saddle, for the purpose of his race, not primarily to protect his life.

"Do not try to control the tarn until you are out of the cot," said Mip. "It will take time to accustom yourself to the harness." He smiled. "These are not war tarns."

Mip, scarcely seeming to touch the one-strap with his finger, almost a tap, took the old bird from the perch and in a whiplike flurry of its wings it struck the outside perch and stood there, its old head moving alertly, the wicked black eyes gleaming. My bird, so suddenly I was startled, joined the first.

Mip and I sat on tarnback on the lofty perch outside the tarncot. I was excited, as I always was, on tarnback. Mip too seemed charged and alive.

We looked about, at the cylinders and lights and bridges. It was a fresh, cool summer evening. The stars over the city were clear and bright, the coursing moons white with splendor against the black space of the Gorean night.

Mip took his tarn streaking among the cylinders and I, on my tarn, followed him.

The first time I attempted to use the harness, though I was aware of the danger, I overdrew the strap and the suddenness of the bird as it veered in flight threw me against the two narrow safety straps; the small, broad, rapid-beating wings of the racing tarn permit shifts and turns that would be impossible with a larger, heavier, longer-winged bird. With a tap on the two-strap I took the bird in a sudden breathtaking sweep to the high right and in an instant had joined Mip in flight.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Pages 170 - 172


By the end of the twelfth week of their training they were eating well, and by the end of the fifteenth, very well, generally low-calorie foods, nourishing, a good amount of protein, diets supervised as carefully as those of racing tarns or hunting sleen;
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 199


A tarn of the Reds, a large-winged bird, goaded almost to madness by a small, bearded rider, wearing a bone talisman about his neck, held the lead. He was followed by two brown racing tarns, their riders wearing the silk of the Blues and the Silvers. Then followed Green Ubar, Mip one with the winged beast, high stirrups, his small body hunched down, not giving the bird its head. I wondered at the bird. I knew its age, the diminishment of its strength, that it had not raced in many years. Its feathers lacked the fiery sheen of the young tarn; its beak was not the gleaming yellow of the other birds, but a whitish yellow; its breathing was not that of the other birds; but its eyes were those of the unconquerable tarn, wild, black, fierce; gleaming with pride and fury; determined that no other bird nor beast shall stand before it.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 355


The scream of the tarn is unmistakable, once one has heard it. It is commonly piercing and redolent with challenge and territoriality. The wild tarn will defend its nesting site against larls and sleen. Its hunting strike can break the back of a tarsk, ten hands at the shoulder. Its beak can tear a head from a body and its talons can tear loose the backbone of a larl. I once saw one in Torvaldsland disembowel a Kur, before the ax half severed its head and the Kur began to feed, one paw thrusting its intestines back into its body, holding them in place. Whereas a human being is not the common prey of a wild tarn, the usual objects of its interests being verr and tabuk, the tarn can be dangerous to humans, particularly if a nest is approached. The tarn commonly kills in hunting by breaking the back of its prey, but it can seize a verr and bear it aloft, to drop it to its death, after which it feeds, or carry it to its nest, where fledglings fight for the meat, the swiftest and most aggressive surviving, often at the expense of its siblings. The domestic tarn, on the other hand, like the domestic sleen, is bred for at least the partial tolerance of humans. It does not require live game. There are different varieties of domestic tarns, some bred for war, some for racing, and some for draft purposes, the haulage of tarn baskets, which may contain cargo or passengers, or, in the case of slaves, slave cargo. A tarnster commonly controls the tarn with reins from the basket, unless there is a line of tarns, tied together, which commonly follows a lead tarn, with its own tarnster and basket. The domestic tarn, given the selections involved and their purposes, like the domestic sleen, is usually larger, stronger, faster, and healthier than its wild cousin. It is bred to be such.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Pages 89 - 90


A gold tarsk is usually valued at ten silver tarsks, and a gold tarn, in today's market, might well purchase two draft tarns, a racing tarn or a war tarn."
Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 338





 


Tarn - Reddish
To The Top


one bird, a swift, reddish tarn,
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 230





 


Tarn - Reddish Brown
To The Top


Mip was fondling the beak of one bird, an older bird I gathered. It was reddish brown; the crest was flat now; the beak a pale yellow, streaked with white.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 170


It was a reddish brown tarn, a fairly common coloring for the great birds.
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Page 272





 


Tarn - Warn
To The Top


were shod with steel. It was, of course, a war tarn.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Pages 220 - 222


Approaching him we heard a wild tarn scream, of hate and challenge, and we stopped.

I beheld, in its compound, strewn about its perch, more than five men, or the remains of such.

"Yellows," said one of the men with the crossbow, "who tried to slay the bird."

"It is a War Tarn," said another.

I saw blood on the beak of the bird, its round black eyes, gleaming, wild.

"Beware," said one of the men, "even if you be Gladius of Cos, for the tarn has tasted blood."

I saw that even the steel-shod talons of the bird were bloodied.

Watching us warily it stood with one set of talons hooked over the body of a yellow. Then, not taking its eyes from us, it put down its beak and tore an arm from the thing beneath its talons.

"Do not approach," said one of the men.

I stood back. It is not wise to interfere with the feeding of a tarn.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 351


My own tarn, on its platform before the fourth perch, was unhooded.

The crowd cried out, as it always did, at the sight of that monstrous head, the wicked beak, that sable, crackling crest, the round, black gleaming eyes. An attendant for the Steels unlocked the hobble from the right leg of the bird and leaped aside. The steel-shod talons of the war tarn tore for a moment at the heavy beams of the platform on which it stood, furrowing it. Then the bird threw back its head and opened its wings, and, eyes gleaming, as though among the crags of the Thentis Range or the Voltai, uttered the challenge scream of the Mountain Tarn, shrill, wild, defiant, piercing. I think there were none in that vast stadium who did not for the moment, even in the sun of summer, feel a swift chill, suddenly fearing themselves endangered, suddenly, feeling themselves unwitting intruders, trespassers, wandered by accident, unwilling, into the domain of that majestic carnivore, the black tarn, my Ubar of the Skies.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 363


Mine own had been black-plumaged, a giant tarn, glossy, his great talons shod with steel, a bird bred for speed and war, a bird who had been, in his primitive, wild way, my friend. I had driven him from the Sardar.
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Page 272


I fought for breath.

The mighty lungs of the tarn expanded. I could feel their motion between my knees. It drew the thin air deeply into those moist, widened cavities. Still we climbed.

Then we turned, the sun at our back.

The other tarns, strung out now, struggling, wings beating painfully, sporadically, against the thin air, hung below us. They were exhausted. They could climb no further. They began to turn back.

Out of the sun struck the great tarn. As I had been trained to do I drew as deep a breath as possible before the dive began. It is not impossible to breathe during such a descent, particularly after the first moments, even in the rushing wind, but it is generally recommended that one do not do so. It is thought that breathing may effect the concentration, perhaps altering or complicating the relationship with the target. The bird and the rider, in effect, are the projectile. The tarn itself, it might be noted, does not draw another breath until the impact or the vicinity of the impact, if the strike fails to find its mark. The descent velocities in a strike of this sort are incredible, and have never been precisely calculated. They are estimated, however, at something in the neighborhood of four hundred pasangs per Ahn.*

There were snappings, as of wood breaking, but it was not wood. The first tarn, that highest, was struck full in the back, the man broken between the two bodies. Its back was broken and perhaps the neck of the man in the same blow. As a hurricane can imbed a straw in a post so, too, are compounded the forces involved by the speed of the stroke.

Again the tarn aligned itself, smote downward, then lifted its wings, almost folded on either side of me, its talons, like great hooks, lowered.

It caught the second tarn about the neck, as it swerved madly, by the grasping talons of its left foot, and I was thrown about, upside down, the ground seeming to be over my head, and the two birds spun in the air and then my tarn disengaged itself, the neck of the other bird flopping to the side, blood caught in the wind, like red rain.

Its rider's scream alerted the third rider, but, in a moment, the talons had locked upon him, his bird exhausted, struggling in the air, and he was torn upward from the girth rope. He was released, falling through the clouds below us, disappearing. He would fall, I conjectured, through the Kinyanpi formation below, that formation being by now, I supposed, arrested by the other tarnsmen, those from Council Rock. Beneath those placid, fleecy clouds I had little doubt there was bloody war in the air.

The fourth rider made good his escape, descending through the clouds, disappearing.
Blood Brothers of Gor     Book 18     Pages 437 - 438


I would learn it was indeed a large bird, one called a "tarn." And, I would later learn, it was not even a warrior's mount, bred for swiftness and aggressiveness, a war tarn, but a mere draft tarn.
Dancer of Gor     Book 22     Page 148


When I had first come to Gor war tarns had often been lightly armored and the beak and talons sheathed with steel. The armor, light as it was, encumbered and slowed the bird, considerably decreasing not only its speed but its maneuverability. It also, in its alien aspects, tended to make the bird harder to manage. Lastly the enhancement of the beak and talons proved of little merit for two reasons. First, in most tarnflight, the beak and talons do not come into play, and, second, when they do come into play they are formidable weapons in themselves, as in, say, tearing at the eyes and vitals of an enemy bird, far above the ground.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 283


The scream of the tarn is unmistakable, once one has heard it. It is commonly piercing and redolent with challenge and territoriality. The wild tarn will defend its nesting site against larls and sleen. Its hunting strike can break the back of a tarsk, ten hands at the shoulder. Its beak can tear a head from a body and its talons can tear loose the backbone of a larl. I once saw one in Torvaldsland disembowel a Kur, before the ax half severed its head and the Kur began to feed, one paw thrusting its intestines back into its body, holding them in place. Whereas a human being is not the common prey of a wild tarn, the usual objects of its interests being verr and tabuk, the tarn can be dangerous to humans, particularly if a nest is approached. The tarn commonly kills in hunting by breaking the back of its prey, but it can seize a verr and bear it aloft, to drop it to its death, after which it feeds, or carry it to its nest, where fledglings fight for the meat, the swiftest and most aggressive surviving, often at the expense of its siblings. The domestic tarn, on the other hand, like the domestic sleen, is bred for at least the partial tolerance of humans. It does not require live game. There are different varieties of domestic tarns, some bred for war, some for racing, and some for draft purposes, the haulage of tarn baskets, which may contain cargo or passengers, or, in the case of slaves, slave cargo. A tarnster commonly controls the tarn with reins from the basket, unless there is a line of tarns, tied together, which commonly follows a lead tarn, with its own tarnster and basket. The domestic tarn, given the selections involved and their purposes, like the domestic sleen, is usually larger, stronger, faster, and healthier than its wild cousin. It is bred to be such.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Pages 89 - 90


A gold tarsk is usually valued at ten silver tarsks, and a gold tarn, in today's market, might well purchase two draft tarns, a racing tarn or a war tarn."
Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 338





 


Tarn - White
To The Top


The plumage of tarns is various, and they are bred for their colors as well as their strength and intelligence. Black tarns are used for night raids, white tarns in winter campaigns, and multicolored, resplendent tarns are bred for warriors who wish to ride proudly, regardless of the lack of camouflage. The most common tarn, however, is greenish brown.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Pages 51 - 52





 


Tarn - Wild
To The Top


The tarn, a brown tarn with a black crest like most wild tarns, streaked for that vague, distant smudge I knew marked the escarpments of some mountain wilderness.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 140


It might be of interest to note that when I had come to Gor, some years ago, domestic tarns, like wild tarns, almost always made their own kills.
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Page 52


The most common prey of the wild tarn is the small single-horned, usually yellow-pelted, gazellelike creature called the tabuk. On the other hand, it is ready to prey upon, and sample, a variety of game. Too, it is not above raiding domesticated, as well as wild, herds of tarsk, verr or hurt, that the bounding hurt, valued for its wool. It can also, of course, be dangerous to human beings.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 358


"I understand you have lost men," I said.

"We have lost twenty-two men," he said, "to the talons and beaks of tarns, some of them trainers."

"Then you are dealing with wild tarns," I said. Such losses would not be expected with the training of domestic tarns.

"Yes," said Tajima, "but from the vicinity of Thentis, from the mountains of Thentis. Any purchase of a considerable number of tarns from the cots would surely attract attention."

"Doubtless," I said.

Wild tarns are common in the mountains of Thentis.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 245


"The wild tarn," I said, "seldom chooses to fly in the rain."
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 166





 


Tibit
To The Top


I heard the cry of sea birds, broad-winged gulls and the small, stick-legged tibits, pecking in the sand for tiny mollusks.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 247





 


Tufted Fisher
To The Top


Along the river, of course, many other species of birds may be found, such as jungle gants, tufted fishers and ring-necked and yellow-legged waders.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 311





 


Tumit
To The Top


beyond them I saw one of the tumits, a large, flightless bird whose hooked beak, as long as my forearm, attested only too dearly to its gustatory habits;
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 2


Slowly, singing in a gutteral chant, a Tuchuk warrior song, he began to swing the bola. It consists of three long straps of leather, each about five feet long, each terminating in a leather sack which contains, sewn inside, a heavy, round, metal weight. It was probably developed for hunting the tumit, a huge, flightless carnivorous bird of the plains, but the Wagon Peoples use it also, and well, as a weapon of war.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 24


I gathered that the best season for hunting tumits, the large, flightless carnivorous birds of the southern plains, was at hand, for Kamchak, Harold and others seemed to be looking forward to it with great eagerness.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 331





 


Umbrella
To The Top


In the lower portion of the canopies, too, can be found heavier birds, such as the ivory-billed woodpecker and the umbrella bird. Guernon monkeys, too, usually inhabit this level.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 311





 


Ushindi Fisher
To The Top


His head was surmounted by an elaborate headdress, formed largely from the long, white, curling feathers of the Ushindi fisher, a long-legged, wading bird,
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 236





 


Veminium
To The Top


"'Speak,' she commanded me. "'He has given performances in the Central Cylinder,' I continued, 'readings, and such. Perhaps in one of these times, due to no fault of Mistress he was charmed by her voice, as by the songs of the veminium bird,
Magicians of Gor     Book 25     Page 363





 


Vulo
To The Top


She was peasant, barefoot, her garment little more than coarse sacking. She had been carrying a wicker basket containing vulos, domesticated pigeons raised for eggs and meat.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 1


I passed fields that were burning, and burning huts of peasants, the smoking shells of Sa-Tarna granaries, the shattered, slatted coops for vulos,
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 10


Among the animals I saw many verrs; some domestic tarsks, their tusks sheathed; cages of flapping vulos,
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 171


Behind them another four haruspexes, one from each People, carried a large wooden cage, made of sticks lashed together, which contained perhaps a dozen white vulos, domesticated pigeons.
. . .

Even from where I stood I could see the pigeons pecking at the grain in reassuring frenzy.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 172


I cannot simply go down to the kitchen like you and demand five vulo eggs!"
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 103


"And put bread over the fire," I said, "and honey, and the eggs of vulos, and fried tarsk meat and a Torian larma fruit."
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 106


"Well," said Samos, chewing on a Vulo wing, "I am glad there are still some women slave in Port Kar."
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Page 304


I smelled roast bosk cooking, and fried vulo. It would be delicious. I thought no more of the girls.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 34


Three other men of the Forkbeard attended to fishing, two with a net, sweeping it along the side of the serpent, for parsit fish, and the third, near the stem, with a hook and line, baited with vulo liver, for the white-bellied grunt, a large game fish which haunts the plankton banks to feed on parsit fish.
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Page 59


A fellow walked past me, carrying several vulos, alive, heads down, their feet tied together. He was followed by another fellow, carrying a basket of eggs.
Tribesmen of Gor     Book 10     Page 40


Yesterday we had finished the food. Yet did we have water. Hassan saw five birds overhead in flight.

"Fall to your hands and knees," he said. "Put your head down." He did so, and I followed his example. To my surprise the five birds began to circle. I looked up. They were wild vulos, tawny and broad-winged. In a short time they alighted, several yards from us. They watched us, their heads turned to one side. Hassan began to kiss rhythmically at the back of his hand, his head down, but moving so as to see the birds. The sound he made was not unlike that of an animal lapping water.

There was a squawk as he seized one of the birds which, curious, ventured too near. The other vulos took flight. Hassan broke the bird's neck between his fingers and began to pull out the feathers.

We fed on meat.
Tribesmen of Gor     Book 10     Pages 269 - 270


Soon I smelled the frying of vulo eggs in a large, flat pan,
. . .
Eta piled several of the hot, tiny eggs, earlier kept fresh in cool sand within the cave, on a plate,
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Pages 73 - 74


Verr are to be milked, the eggs of vulos gathered, and the sleen must be watered and fed, and their cages cleaned.
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Page 202


"It is a small dish," said the Lady Florence, "the white meat of roast vulos, prepared in a sauce of spiced Sa-Tarna and Ta wine."
Fighting Slave of Gor     Book 14     Page 286


"Hot meat!" called another vendor. "Hot meat!"

"Fresh vegetables here!" called a woman.

"The milk of verr, the eggs of vulos!" I heard call.
Rogue of Gor     Book 15     Page 68


Another fellow had a basket of vulos, tied shut.
Mercenaries of Gor     Book 21     Page 36


After all, one cannot always count on a keeper's man knowing how to prepare Turian vulo or Kassau parsit.
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Page 52


"Do you think you could bring us out of this place?" asked Labienus.

"I think so," I said. I then, despairing of interesting any of the fellows about in the bit of tharlarion I had cut, put it in my mouth and began to chew it."

"What are you doing?" asked Labienus.

"Eating," I said.

"Give me some," asked Labienus.

I cut a piece and placed it in his hand.

His men watched in awe as he performed the simple act of eating.

"It is not unlike vulo," he said.

"True," I said. I supposed there was an evolutionary explanation for this similarity in tastes.
Vagabonds of Gor     Book 24     Page 306


She could be lying somewhere now, trussed like a vulo in a market.
Vagabonds of Gor     Book 24     Pages 454 - 455


He touched her and she trembled beneath his touch like a vulo.
Magicians of Gor     Book 25     Page 339


A tasta is a kind of small, sweet candy, usually sold at fairs. It is commonly mounted on a stick. Some men use it as a slang expression for one such as I. Another such is 'vulo'. The vulo is a small, soft, usually white, pigeonlike bird. It is the most common form of domestic fowl kept on this world. It is prized for its meat and eggs. It is notoriously incapable of eluding hawks and other forms of predatory birds, by which it can easily be torn to pieces.
Witness of Gor     Book 26     Page 148


"Those are not vulgar expressions," she said. "A vulo is a kind of bird, a tasta is a kind of candy, often mounted on a stick."
Witness of Gor     Book 26     Page 347


The Pani did have, however, one swift mode of communication. I gathered this from my friends amongst the lower Pani. To be sure, it was available only to a few. It was the swift-flighted, message-carrying Vulo, released, seeking its familiar cot and roost.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 387


The fellow was pointing to a high storey of the castle, where there was a beating of wings, dark against the sky, and then the tiny bird disappeared, within. Though I had never been in that room, its window high, unshuttered, open to the sky, it obviously housed a number of the swift-flighted, messenger vulos, by means of which Pani might convey messages. These, it seems, were placed in tiny wrappers, and fastened to one of the bird's legs. Vulos who would seek this cot were carried about, for example, to the training area of the tarns somewhere back in the mountains, and, there, I had no doubt, in the mountains, were kept, in their tiny wood-barred cages, vulos which, if released, would seek as their cot and roost the very room above, high in the castle. Similarly there must have been vulos in that room which, if released, would seek a different cot and roost, perhaps, for example, one housed in the training area for tarns, back in the mountains.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Pages 407 - 408


Looking across the courtyard, I saw a vulo exit the castle. It seemed to circle, for a time, and then flew north, and west, toward the mountains.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 420


I suspected that Lord Nishida, perhaps from messages conveyed by vulos, had already sufficient reports in hand.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 421


I hoped that, too, as I was growing weary of rice and parsit. The Pani do raise tarsk, verr, and, of course, vulos.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 425


Or, perhaps there would yet be time to flight a messenger vulo to the mountains, to contact Tarl Cabot.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 454


"There are a variety of ways in which one can communicate with the holding," he said, "flighted vulos, message arrows, signals from the ground, such things."
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Pages 153 - 154


"The cot of the message vulos," he said, "was a day's trek from the palace. They could not be kept here, or in the vicinity, as suspicion would be aroused."
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 252


"The homing bird," I said, "is good for a flight in only one direction, back to its native cot."

"Yes?" said Haruki.

"How are the message vulos of your destroyed cot replenished?"

"By hand-drawn cart," he said.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 253


"I shall," I said, "and I shall also attempt to devise an arrangement for further communication, one swift but not dependent on caged vulos."
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 255


"There it is," I said. Before us we could see some fellows on foot, some arriving, and some departing. Two wagons were approaching. A man passed us carrying a cage of vulos.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 425


Haruki, I gathered, had attempted to reach the cot, where he would attempt to attach my tiny message, in English, to the leg of one of the vulos captured by Yamada's men from the surprised and seized secret cot, remote from the palace, which vulos would doubtless, for identificatory purposes, be independently caged. He was then to release the bird, and trust that it would home to the message cot of the holding of Temmu.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 267


Haruki, I thought, wildly, had not failed! The tiny message, fastened to the left foot of the vulo, held in its flight against its belly, half hidden in its plumage days ago had made its way to the cot in the holding of Temmu!
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 275


A man passed us carrying a cage of vulos.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 425


"I am in touch with the negotiations being pretended in the holding of Temmu," he said. "Message vulos keep me informed, and I have intelligence by tarn, as well.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 467


"How long will it be until they realize what has happened?" asked Tajima.

"On foot," I said, "days, but there will be message vulos, and Yamada has two tarns, one flown by Tyrtaios. If one or both are at the front, it will be much as with the message vulos."
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 518


It seems that Tyrtaios and his colleague, the two tarnsmen at the disposal of Lord Yamada had been held at the palace, and the first information pertaining to the new, startling developments in the north were a result of the communications borne by several message vulos.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 543


"Fortify the camp," I said. "You may then survive the night. In the morning you may reconnoiter. If you deem it wise, you may then advance, or, if not, communicate with the house of Temmu, by message vulo, and await a response from the house of Temmu, brought by tarnsmen."
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 599


"If he who would obstruct our will is apprised of these preparations the quarry may be moved," said the beast.

"To whence?" asked the man in the boat. "The harbor is under surveillance, and each gate of the port, and even the skies are watched, for the darting, message-bearing vulo, returning to a far cot, for the majestic tarn."
Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Pages 295 - 296





 


Vulo - Turian
To The Top


Some rich men bring their own cooks. After all, one cannot always count on a keeper's man knowing how to prepare Turian vulo or Kassau parsit.
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Page 52





 


Warbler
To The Top


In the second level, that of the canopies, is found an incredible variety of birds, warblers, finches, mindars, the crested lit and the common lit, the fruit tindel, the yellow gim, tanagers, some varieties of parrot, and many more. Here, too, may be found snakes and monkeys, gliding urts, leaf urts, squirrels, climbing, long-tailed porcupines, lizards, sloths, and the usual varieties of insects, ants, centipedes, scorpions, beetles and flies, and so on.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 311





 


Zad
To The Top


I heard, a short time later, wings, the alighting of one or more large birds. Such birds, broad-winged, black and white, from afar, follow the marches to Klima; their beaks, yellowish, narrow, are long and slightly hooked at the end, useful for probing and tearing.
The birds scattered, squawking, as a Kaiila sped past. The birds are called zads.
Tribesmen of Gor     Book 10     Page 232


I marched onward again, brushing through feeding zads, once more toward Klima.
Tribesmen of Gor     Book 10     Page 233


Within the next Ahn we passed more than sixty bodies, dangling at the side of the river. None was that of Shaba. About some of these bodies there circled scavenging birds. On the shoulders of some perched small, yellow-winged jards. One was attacked even by zads, clinging to it and tearing at it with their long, yellowish, slightly curved beaks. These were jungle zads. They are less to be feared than desert zads, I believe, being less aggressive. They do, however, share one ugly habit with the desert zad, that of tearing out the eyes of weakened victims. That serves as a practical guarantee that the victim, usually an animal, will die. Portions of flesh the zad will swallow and carry back to its nest, where it will disgorge the flesh into the beaks of its fledglings. The zad is, in its way, a dutiful parent.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 415





 


Zadit
To The Top


The zadit is a small, tawny-feathered, sharp-billed bird. It feeds on insects. When sand flies and other insects, emergent after rains, infest kaiila, they frequently alight on the animals, and remain on them for some hours, hunting insects. This relieves the kaiila of the insects but leaves it with numerous small wounds, which are unpleasant and irritating, where the bird has dug insects out of its hide. These tiny wounds, if they become infected, turn into sores; these sores are treated by the drovers with poultices of kaiila dung.
Tribesmen of Gor     Book 10     Page 152


Within an Ahn after the cessation of the rain, the sun again paramount, merciless, in the now-cloudless sky, the footing was sufficiently firm, the water lost under the dust and sand, to support the footing of kaiila. The animals were unhooded, we mounted, and again our quest continued.

It was only a day later that the flies appeared. I had thought, first, it was another storm. It was not. The sun itself, for more than four Ehn, was darkened, as the great clouds moved over us. Suddenly, like darting, black, dry rain, the insects swarmed about us. I spit them from my mouth. I heard Alyena scream. The main swarms had passed but, clinging about us, like crawling spots on our garments, and in and among the hairs of the kaiila, in their thousands, crept the residue of the infestation. I struck at them, and crushed them, until I realized the foolishness of doing so. In less than four Ahn, twittering, fluttering, small, tawny, sharp-billed, following the black clouds, came flights of zadits. We dismounted and led the kaiila, and let the birds hunt, them for flies. The zadits remained with us for more than two days. Then they departed.
Tribesmen of Gor     Book 10     Page 169
















The Quarry of Gor

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Quarry of Gor (Gorean Saga)
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