Camerius (Ar)
Selnar (Ko-ro-ba)
Passage Hand
Year 10,174 Contasta Ar

Caste of Sleen Keepers and Sleen Trainers

Here are relevant references from the Books where the Caste of Sleen Keepers and Sleen Trainers are mentioned.
While not specifically titled a Caste, this group is mentioned along with others that are.
I make no pronouncements on these matters, but report them as I find them.
Arrive at your own conclusions.

I wish you well,

Supporting References

If I were found on the plains near the camps or the bosk herds I knew I would be scented out and slain by the domesticated, nocturnal herd sleen, used as shepherds and sentinels by the Wagon Peoples, released from their cages with the falling of darkness.
These animals, trained prairie sleen, move rapidly and silently, attacking upon no other provocation than trespass on what they have decided is their territory. They respond only to the voice of their master, and when he is killed or dies, his animals are slain and eaten.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 9

The trailing would undoubtedly be done by trained herd sleen.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 145

"Go back with your men!" cried Saphrar, backing away from us a step. "I will shatter the golden sphere!"
Slowly Kamchak, and Harold and I, and the sleen keeper, dragging the two sleen, walked backwards. The animals raged against the chain leashes, maddened as they were drawn farther from Saphrar, their prey.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 317

The Tuchuks stood about, in their black leather. The sleen keeper stood nearby, the chain leashes loose in his hands.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 320

The nearest solid land was about one hundred pasangs to the north, but it was open land, and, there, on the edges of the delta, there were log outposts of Port Kar, where slave hunters and trained sleen, together, patrolled marshes' edges.
The vicious, six-legged sleen, large-eyed, sinuous, mammalian but resembling a furred, serpentine lizard, was a indefatigable hunter. He could follow a scent days old with ease, and then, perhaps hundreds of pasangs, days, later, be unleashed for the sport of the hunters, tear his victim to pieces.
I expected there was not likely to be escape for slaves to the north.
That left the delta, with its interminable marshes, and the thirst, and the tharlarion.
Hunting sleen are trained to scent out and destroy escaped slaves.
Their senses are unusually keen.
Tuchuks, in the south, as I recalled, had also used sleen to hunt slaves, and, of course, to protect their herd.
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Pages 105 - 106

I watched the garment and fiber thrown on the flames. It would not be used to give my scent to domesticated sleen, trained to hunt slaves.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Page 120

"And," I said, "in Laura there are trained sleen."
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 156

patrolled by prowling, domesticated sleen; the animals huddled together, within the pen, hundreds of them, terrified of the sleen; these were herd sleen, trained to group and control animals.
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Page 240

The sleen have various uses; some are merely used as watch animals or guard animals; others are used as points in the advance of squads, some trained to attack putative enemies, others to return to the squad, thus alerting it to the presence of a possible enemy; others are even more highly trained, and are used to hunt humans; of the human-hunting sleen, some are trained merely to kill, and others to hurry the quarry to a Kurii holding area; one type of sleen is trained to destroy males and herd females, distinguishing between the sexes by scent.
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Page 243

Girls may also be hunted down by trained sleen, tireless hunters.
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Page 96

The cage was in a sleen training pit, surrounded by a low, wooden wall and floored with sand. Within the walls were several individuals, my sisters in bondage, those still the property of Clitus Vitellius, one of whom was encaged like myself, Chanda, who was sitting in her cage, wrapping a cloth about her bleeding leg; Thurnus; another of his girls, Sandal Thong; some men assisting Thurnus; and Clitus Vitellius, and some of his men. Within the ring, too, were some eight sleen, tied on short tethers to stakes, at the sides; and a rack of meats, and poles, and ropes and whips, used in the training of the animals.
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Page 183

There are many varieties of sleen, and most varieties can be, to one extent or another, domesticated. The two most common sorts of trained sleen are the smaller, tawny prairie sleen, and the large, brown or black forest sleen, sometimes attaining a length of twenty feet. In the north, I am told the snow sleen has been domesticated. The sleen is a dangerous and fairly common animal on Gor, which has adapted itself to a variety of environments. There is even an aquatic variety, called the sea sleen, which is one of the swiftest and most dreaded beasts in the sea. Sea sleen are found commonly in northern waters. They are common off the coast of Torvaldsland, and further north. In the wild, the sleen is a burrowing, predominantly nocturnal animal. It is carnivorous. It is a tenacious hunter, and an indefatigable tracker. It will attack almost anything, but its preferred prey is tabuk. It mates once a year in the Gorean spring, and there are usually four young in each litter. The gestation period is some six months. The young are commonly white furred at birth, the fur darkening by the following spring. Snow sleen, however, remain white-pelted throughout their life.
Most domestic sleen are bred. It is difficult to take and tame a wild sleen. Sometimes young sleen, following the killing of the mother, are dug out of a burrow and raised. If they can be taken within the first two months of their life, which seems to be a critical period, before they have tasted blood and meat in the wild, and made their own kills, there is apparently a reasonably good chance that they can be domesticated; otherwise, generally not. Although grown, wild sleen have been caught and domesticated, this is rare. Even a sleen which has been taken young may revert. These reversions can be extremely dangerous. They usually take place, as would be expected, in the spring, during the mating season. Male sleen, in particular, can be extremely restless and vicious during this period. The mating of sleen is interesting. The female, if never before mated, flees and fights the male. But he is larger and stronger. At last he takes her by the throat and throws her upon her back, interestingly, belly to belly, beneath him. His fangs are upon her throat. She is at his mercy. She becomes docile and permits her penetration. Shortly, thereafter, their heat growing, they begin, locked together by legs and teeth, to roll and squeal in their mating frenzy. It is a very fierce and marvelous spectacle. It is not unusual for slave girls, seeing this, to kneel at their master's feet and beg their caress. After the female sleen has been taken thusly once, no longer need she be forced. She follows the male, often rubbing against him, and hunts with him. Sometimes she must be driven away with snarls and bites. Sleen, interestingly, often pair for life. Their rutting, however, is usually confined to the spring. Sometimes slave girls are called she-sleen, but I do not think this expression is completely apt. Sexual congress in the human is not confined to a particular season. We are not she-sleen. The heat of the she-sleen occurs in the spring.
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Pages 185 - 186

Sleen are used for a multitude of purposes on Gor, but most commonly they are used for herding, tracking, guarding and patrolling. The verr and the bosk are the most common animals herded; tabuk and slave girls are the most common animals tracked; the uses to which the sleen is put in guarding and patrolling are innumerable; it is used to secure borders, to prowl walls and protect camps; it may run loose in the streets after curfews; it may lurk in the halls of a great house after dark; it may deter thieves from entering locked shops; it may stand sentry upon wharves and in warehouses; there are many such uses to which the sinuous beasts may be put; an interesting use which might be mentioned is prisoner control; a tiny circle is drawn and the prisoner must kneel, or assume some prescribed position, within it; then, should the prisoner attempt to rise to his feet, leave the circle, or break the position in the slightest, the beasts tears him to pieces. Aside from these common uses, sleen are put to other uses, too. In Thentis, for example, sleen are used to smell out contraband, in the form of the unauthorized egress of the beans for black wine from the Thentian territories. They are sometimes, too, used by assassins, though the caste of assassins itself, by their caste codes, precludes their usage; the member of the caste of assassins must make his own kill; it is in their codes. Some sleen are used as bodyguards; others are trained to kill in the arena; others perform in exhibitions and carnivals. There are many uses to which such animals are put. The herding, tracking and control of beautiful slave girls is but one use.
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Pages 186 - 187

When in the afternoon I had seen it in its cage, with its trainer, Bertram of Lydius, it had not reacted to me other than as to the other observers.
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 13

"I know little of sleen," she said. "I had thought it a sleen trained to hunt tabuk, in the company of archers, little more than an animal trained to turn and drive tabuk, and retrieve them."
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 19

He no longer now wore the brown and black common to professional sleen trainers.
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 78

I laughed. "You are not the man I seek," I said. "One in the south who meant me harm, who seemed a sleen master, had assumed your identity. I thought perhaps he might truly have been Bertram of Lydius."
"I do not know you," said the man.
"Nor I you," I said.
I described to him the man who had called himself Bertram of Lydius. But he could not identify him for me. I wondered at who he might truly be.
"You have an excellent name in sleen training," I said. "It is known even in the south. Else I would not have permitted the man to my house."
"I am pleased I am not he whom you seek," said Bertram of Lydius. "I do not envy him."
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Pages 135 - 136

A trained sleen in a sleen market will usually bring a higher price than even a beautiful girl sold naked in a slave market.
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 29

In the front of the crowd, their snouts down to the ground, almost on the paving stones themselves, were two gigantic gray sleen. Their ears were laid back against their heads. Each was being restrained by two men, a stout chain leash in the hands of each man. Even so the sleen, in their eagerness, were almost dragging their keepers.
Kajira of Gor     Book 19     Page 313

The sleen now, arrested in their hunt, crouching down, tails lashing, their chain leashes firmly grasped by their keepers, lay on the flagstones of the courtyard, waiting.
Kajira of Gor     Book 19     Page 323

The letter was examined. Claudius himself then broke the seal on the bundle and handed clothing to one of the sleen keepers. One soldier came and crouched down behind me, holding me from the back by the upper arms. Another so served Sheila, to my left. We were not to be permitted to move from our places.
I saw one of the keepers holding the clothing beneath the snout of one of the sinuous, six-legged beasts. The specific signals between masters and sleen, signals which, in effect, convey such commands as "Attack," "Hunt," "Stop," "Back," and so on, are usually verbal and private. Verbality is important as many times the sleen, intent upon a scent, for example, will not be looking at the master. The privacy of the signals is important to guarantee that not just anyone can start a sleen on a hunt or call one away from it. The signals to which they respond, then, are idiosyncratic to the given beast. They are generally not unique; however, to a given man and beast. For example, in an area where there are several sleen and several keepers, the keepers are likely to know the signals specific to the given beasts. In his fashion any beast may be controlled by any of the associated trainers or keepers. These signals, too, are usually kept written down somewhere. In this fashion, if a keeper should be slain, or change the locus of his employment, or something along those lines, the beast need not be killed.
Kajira of Gor     Book 19     Pages 378 - 379

I then saw the sleen, a different sleen, thrust its snout deeply into the pile of garments. I could hear it snuffling about in them. I saw the keeper, too, take the intimate garments, wadded in his hand, and thrust them beneath the animal's snout.
Kajira of Gor     Book 19     Page 381

"The identification is made," said Claudius, and, with a wave of his hand, signaled the sleen keeper to divert and pacify his beast. A word was whispered. The sleen, suddenly in the superbness of its training, drew back. It seemed, suddenly calm. Its tail no longer lashed back and forth. Its tongue, from the heat of its activity, lolled forth from its mouth, dripping saliva to the tiles. I could see, too, the imprint of its paws, in dampness, on the tiles. The sleen tends to sweat largely through its mouth and the leathery paws of its feet. It fell upon the meat which it was thrown.
Kajira of Gor     Book 19     Page 386

The fellow freed the garment from the sleen, shouting at them, half tearing it away from them. Even though he was their keeper and they were doubtless trained to obey him, and perhaps only him, it was not easy for him to regain the garment.
Players of Gor     Book 20     Page 275

"Sleen are variously trained," said the beast to me. "These in the pit respond to verbal signals, regardless of their source. They were of little use to me when I was chained at the stake, as they were set upon me, as upon a target. On the other hand, I am not now in the position of the target, or prey, but in that of the miner."
"Such signals are secret," I said. "They are carefully guarded. You could not know them. How could you know them?" "I heard them whispered to the sleen," it said. "Just because you cannot hear such sounds at such distances, does not mean that the sleen cannot, or that I cannot."
Once again the hair lifted on the back of my neck.
"Be ready," it said.
"Now," said the officer. The men began to move forward, slowly, step by step.
The beast beside me then, almost inaudibly, but intensely, uttered an approximation of human vocables.
The sleen, startling me, suddenly spun about, the five of them, six-legged, agile, sinuous and muscular, some nine or ten feet in length, and crowded about our legs, hissing, snarling, looking upward.
"By the Priest-Kings!" cried a man, in horror.
Suddenly, at the utterance of a hissed syllable, coupled with a fierce, directed gesture from the beast, a movement almost like throwing a weapon violently underhanded, one of the animals, fangs bared, lunged fiercely toward the men. In an instant it was under, and among, the spears, tearing and slashing. There were wild screams and a sudden breaking of ranks. The men had not expected this charge, and were not ready for it. Even if they had been regrouped and set, the distance was so short and the attack of the beast so precipitous and swift that there had been no time to align their weapons in a practical, properly angled, defensive perimeter. The beast, accordingly, had simply darted into what, from its point of view, was an obvious opening. Another sleen then, another living weapon, with another fierce syllable and gesture, was launched by the beast. Then another, and another, to scattering men, to wildly striking weapons, and then the last!
Players of Gor     Book 20     Pages 361 - 362

"What is it?" I whispered. My head was held down, back on the second step.
"Keep your legs apart," he said. "It is a gray sleen. I raised it from a whelp. Ah, greetings, Borko! How are you, old fellow!"
I would have screamed and reared up, but I was, thrust back, helpless, half strangled, scarcely able to utter a sound, to the step. So our masters can control us by our collars. To my terror, then, pushing over my body, to thrust its great jaws and head, so large I could scarcely have put my arms about them, into the hands and arms of my master, was an incredible beast. It had an extremely agile, active, sinuous body, as thick as a drum, and perhaps fourteen or fifteen feet long. It might have weighed a thousand pounds. Its broad head was triangular, almost viperlike, but it was furred. This thing was a mammal, or mammalian. Its eyes now had pupils like slits, like those of a cat in sunlight. So quickly then might its adaptive mechanisms have functioned. About its muzzle were gray hairs, grayer than the silvered gray of its fur. It had six legs.
"Good lad!" said my master, roughly fondling that great, fierce head.
"We have been through much together, Borko and I," said my master. "He has even, twice, saved my life. Once when I was struck, unexpectedly, by one foolishly thought to be a friend, the origin of this scar," he said, indicating good-humoredly the hideous, jagged tissue at the left side of his face; "I told Borko to hunt. The fellow did not escape. Borko brought part of him back to me, in his jaws."
I watched in terror as my master, over my body, scratched and pulled, and shoved, at that great head. Clearly he was inordinately fond of that terrible beast, and perhaps it of him. I saw his eyes. He lavished affection upon it. He cared more for it than his girls. I was certain. Perhaps it was the only thing he trusted, other than himself, the only thing he knew that he could rely upon, other than himself, the only thing, of all creatures he knew, who had proved its love and loyalty to him. If this were so, then perhaps it was not incredible that he might bestow upon it a fondness, or love, which he, betrayed perhaps by men, might withhold from others, from men, and slaves.
"Do you know what you and Borko have in common?" he asked me.
"We are both your animals, Master," I said.
"Yes!" he said. "And do you know who is most valuable?"
"No, Master," I said.
"Borko," he said, "is a seasoned hunting sleen. Even to strangers he would bring a hundred times what you would bring in the market."
I was silent. I was frightened with those huge jaws, the two rings of fangs, the long, dark tongue, over me.
"But I would not sell him for anything," he said. "He is worth more to me than ten thousand such as you."
"Yes, Master," I whispered.
"Borko!" he said, sternly. "Borko."
The beast pulled back its head, observing him.
"Learn slave," he said. "Learn slave."
I then began to whimper. "Hold still," said my master.
The beast then began to push its nose and muzzle about me, thrusting it here and there, about me. I now understood why I had been spread as I had, on the steps.
"The sleen," he said, "and especially the gray sleen, is Gor's finest tracker. It is a relentless, tenacious tracker. It can follow a scent that is weeks old, for a thousand pasangs."
I whimpered, the beast's snout thrust between my thighs, sniffing.
"Please, Master," I whimpered.
I felt it nuzzling then at my waist and breasts. It was learning me.
"Do you know what the sleen hunts?" he asked.
"No, Master," I said.
"In the wild it commonly hunts tabuk and wild tarsk," he said, "but it is an intelligent beast, and it can be trained to hunt anything."
"Yes, Master," I whimpered.
He held back my right arm, further, exposing more the armpit. "Do you know what Borko is trained to hunt?" he asked.
"No, Master," I said.
I felt the snout of the beast then poking about my throat, and under my chin, to the side, and then at the side of my neck. My master then held my left arm back further, exposing the armpit to the beast.
"It is trained to hunt men, and slaves," he said.
"No!" I wept.
I squirmed, but my master held me steady, by the collar and my left wrist, held back. The beast thrust its snout against me, there, in the armpit, and then sniffed along the interior of my left arm, and then along the left side of my body.
I whimpered in terror.
"Try not to be afraid," he said. "That might excite Borko."
"Yes, Master," I whimpered. Then the beast drew back its head.
"Doreen," said my master to the beast, slowly, clearly. "Do-reen. Doreen."
The beast again sniffed me.
"Doreen," said my master, grinning, to the beast. "Doreen."
I shuddered.
The beast then drew back its head again.
"Back, Borko," said my master, and the beast inched back, its eyes on me.
I was shuddering. I dared not move.
"Borko is trained to respond to a variety of signals," he said.
"Yes, Master," I whispered. "He now knows you," he said.
"Yes, Master," I said.
"Whose are you?" he asked.
"I am yours, Master!" I said, quickly.
Do not try to escape," he said.
"No, Master!" I said. "I will not try to escape!"
"Borko, go back to your kennel," he said. "Go, now!"
The beast then backed off a few feet, and turned. In a moment, it had withdrawn through the low portal. My master went then to the cord which controlled the panel, and closed it. I was shuddering on the step. I did not move. I was almost too afraid to do so. Too, I had not been given permission to break position.
Dancer of Gor     Book 22     Pages 160 - 162

Sleen are trained variously. The five most common trainings are those of the war sleen, which may also be utilized as a bodyguard; the watch sleen, to guard given precincts; the herding sleen, which will kill only if the quarry refuses to be herded rapidly and efficiently to a given destination, usually a pen or slave cage; the trailing sleen, which is used, in leash, to follow a scent; and the hunter, which is trained to hunt and kill. It is next to impossible to use a hunter as a trailer, because, when the quarry is near, and the killing fever is on it, it will even turn and attack its leash holder, to free itself for the strike on the quarry. A trailer is usually a smaller beast, and one more easily managed, but it is, when all is said and done, a sleen, and trailers not unoften, at the hunt's end, their instincts preponderating, break loose for the kill. When they begin to become unmanageable they must sometimes be killed. The hunters are used generally, of course, in the pursuit of fugitives, free or slave. Unleashed, they are not retarded in their hunt by the lagging of their keepers. I was terrified of sleen. I had seen how they could tear apart great pieces of meat. Most houses in which female slaves may be found, it might be mentioned, as it may be of interest to some, would not have sleen. The sleen is, as least in civilized areas, a rare, expensive and dangerous beast. They do about in some areas in the wild, as, for example, in the surrounding mountains. The sleen often burrows, and it is predominantly nocturnal. There are also several varieties of the animal apparently, adapted to diverse environments. The most common sleen in domestication, as I understand it, is the forest sleen. It is also the largest, animal for animal. There are also, as I understand I, prairie sleen, mountain sleen and snow sleen. There is a short-haired variety found in some tropical areas, the jungle sleen. And one variety, it seems, is adapted for an aquatic environment, the sea sleen.
Witness of Gor     Book 26     Pages 575 - 576

"They are hunting sleen, not war sleen," said a soldier.
Ellen, frightened, shuddered, considering the uses to which trained sleen might be put, such as tracking, hunting, herding, guarding, killing.
She knew they were sometimes sent after runaway slaves, usually with the kill command after an escaped male slave, commonly with the herding command for a female runaway, that she may be returned, stumbling, gasping, exhausted, helpless and driven, bleeding, scratched, lacerated, back to the feet of her master, where she might clutch his ankles and beg weepingly that she not be now fed to those tyrannical, inexorable beasts who have ushered her so swiftly and unerringly back to her fate, the mercies of her master.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 612

One of the nicest of gifts, incidentally, is a lovely female slave. Too, they are cheaper than a kaiila, or trained sleen, and far less expensive than a tarn, one of Gor's mighty saddle birds.
Kur of Gor     Book 28     Page 305

"Drive," said Cabot to the sleen, softly. To a trained animal it is not necessary to speak commands sharply, or harshly. Often one wants to issue them quietly, very quietly, even whispered, that a quarry may not be alerted to its presence. It may be recalled he had retrained the sleen in the forest, beginning with the translator, to substitute Gorean for Kur, such that the animal would now respond only to Gorean, and, as is usual with a sleen and single trainer, only to the particular trainer's commands. It would not do, obviously, for just any individual to be able to set so dangerous a beast into its behaviors. When masters change the beast must be retrained, or, if this proves impractical, killed.
Kur of Gor     Book 28     Pages 606 - 607

Those who are not promptly taken into custody, running into the arms of enemy soldiers, fallen into fragilely roofed siege ditches, rather like capture pits, finding themselves unable to scale walls of circumvallation, caught in slave wire, taken in slave snares or slave traps, and such, may be sought by trained sleen. Each woman is likely to mean silver in the coffers of the conquerors. The sleen are trained then to round up, herd, and drive these women to the enclosures, say, corrals or pens, waiting for them. Some sleen are even trained to hold down and tear the garmenture from such women before starting them on their journey toward their readied facilities of incarceration. Recalcitrant quarry are eaten. In any event, there are numerous uses for domestic sleen, far more than it would be practical or convenient to enumerate. Some other uses, which might be mentioned in passing, for mere purposes of illustration, would be that of the bodyguard, and that of an animal used for sport, as in racing, or fighting.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 584


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