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Caste of Tarn Keepers
Also known as Tarnsters



Here are relevant references from the Books where the Caste of Tarn Keepers is mentioned.
It is not meant to be anything other than the facts of the matter.
Arrive at your own conclusions.

I wish you well,
Fogaban






Supporting References

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 other is the high tharlarion, a species of saddle-lizard, used mostly by clans who have never mastered tarns.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 52


"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.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 58


And to this day I bless the tarn keepers of Ko-ro-ba for the painstaking training they had given the great bird.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 75


She seemed to be pleased when her friends were bought by handsome tarnsmen, and laughed delightedly when one girl, to whom she had taken a dislike, was purchased by a fat, odious fellow, of the Caste of Tarn Keepers.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 132


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.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 142


Suddenly a great shadow covered the ledge. My tarn had returned. I looked up and, to my horror, saw that it was not my tarn. It was another tarn, a wild tarn. He lit on the ledge, snapping his beak. This time I had none of the careful conditioning of the tarn keepers working in my favor.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 143


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.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 145


I tossed a silver tarn disk to the tarn keeper and ordered him to care for the bird, to groom and feed it and see that it was ready on an instant's notice. His grumbling was silenced by an additional tarn disk.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 165


The tarn was brought into the open. He gleamed with health and energy. Still, the days in the tarn cot, gigantic though it was, must have been confining for that Ubar of the Skies, my tarn, and I knew he would relish flight, the chance to pit his wings once again against the fierce winds of Gor. I stroked him with affection, surprised at the fondness I felt for the sable monster.
I tossed the tarn keeper a golden tarn disk. He had done his job well. He stammered, holding it out to me, for me to take it back. A golden tarn disk was a small fortune. It would buy one of the great birds themselves, or as many as five slave girls. I climbed the mounting ladder and fastened myself in the saddle, telling the keeper that the coin was his.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Pages 190 - 191


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     Page 24


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     Page 66


The singer was thought to have an unusual skill, but so, too, were the tarn-keeper and the woodsman.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Page 104


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.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Pages 126 - 127


We brought the tarn down on the walls near the gate. I freed the bird. There was no tarn cot at hand in which to enclose him, and moreover, even if there had been, I would not have trusted him to the tarn-keepers of Tharna. I did not know who was and who was not in rebellion.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Page 216


The Tarn Keeper, breaking away from the Saddle Maker, came over to us. He was a short man, with close-cropped, brown hair, a squarish face.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 38


The Tarn Keeper, who was called by those in the tavern Mip, bought the food, bosk steak and yellow bread, peas and Torian olives, and two golden-brown, starchy Suls, broken open and filled with melted bosk cheese. I bought the Paga, and several times we refilled our cups. Mip was a chipper fellow, and a bit dapper considering his caste and his close-cropped hair, for his brown leather was shot with green streaks, and he wore a Tarn Keeper's cap with a greenish tassel; most Tarn Keepers, incidentally, crop their hair short, as do most Metal Workers; work in the tarncots and in training tarns is often hard, sweaty work.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 168


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


In Mip's hand I saw a small dagger, a throwing knife, of a sort manufactured in Ar; it was smaller than the southern quiva; it was tapered on only one side.
"It is an interesting knife," I said.
"All Tarn Keepers carry a knife," said Mip, playing with the blade.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 174


Moreover, to bring a new faction into competition is an expensive business, and involves considerable risk to the capital advanced. Not only is it expensive to buy or rent tarn cots, acquire racing tarns, hire riders and Tarn Keepers, and the entire staff required to maintain a faction organization, but there is a large track fee for new factions, during the first two probation years.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Pages 219 - 220


The vast, long black wings, broad and vast, broad and mighty, opened and struck against the air, hurling a storm of dust and sand on all sides, almost tumbling the small, hooded Tarn Keeper from the low wagon. Then the tarn threw back its head and once more screamed, wild, eerie, fierce, savage, a cry that might have struck terror into the heart of a larl, but I did not fear it. I saw the talons of the tarn were shod with steel. It was, of course, a war tarn.
I looked down at the wad of leather in my hand. I opened it, and drew on the hood concealing my features. I leaped over the rail and strode to the bird.
"Greetings, Mip," said I, mounting to the platform, seeing the small Tarn Keeper.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Pages 221 - 222


We stopped when I was pushed stumbling into a large room, in which there were numerous baskets and harnesses hanging about, apparently a storeroom of sorts in an unimportant cylinder. A wide area had been cleared in the center of the room, on which, over straw, had been spread some rep-cloth blankets. Against one wall there were two men, bound hand and foot. One was a Warrior, the other a handsome young Tarn Keeper.
"Kajuralia," said the Warrior to me, wryly.
"Kajuralia," I said to him.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 225


"And Mip," I said, "though he knows much of racing is but a Tarn Keeper."
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 352


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


"He rode well," I said. "One might have thought him more than a simple Tarn Keeper."
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 359


A stout fellow, in the garb of the tarn keepers, smelling of the tarn cots, stood looking at her.
. . .
The tarn keeper turned and walked away. The girls looked at one another, frightened, and knelt back. They seemed relieved.
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 70


"The reins of a tarn are not unfamiliar to me," said Ram.
"You are a tarnsman?" I asked.
"I have done many things," he said. "In Hunjer I worked with tarn keepers."
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 138


We were startled, and looked up. There, at the edge of the straw, standing, was a large, uncouth fellow, in the garments of the Tarn Keepers.
Rogue of Gor     Book 15     Page 35


The complex consisted of a tarn cot, now muchly open to the sky, with an anterior building to house supplies and tarn keepers.
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 14


I saw a tarn, now disburdened of its loot, surrendered by its rider into the care of a tarnkeeper, who would conduct it to its cot.
Witness of Gor     Book 26     Page 432


"My master," said Ellen, "is of the tarnkeepers."
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 320


"I wish you well," said Portus. He extended his hand and the two men clasped wrists, each the wrist of the other. This is the strongest of grips, for otherwise hands may be pulled apart. In this fashion each has his own grip, and if one hand should slip, the other will hold. It is a grip common to mariners, it seems, and may have been derived from maritime practice. It is useful, it seems, in their dangerous work, where a lost grip might be the prelude to catastrophe, a fall from a yard, a plunge into cold, stormy seas. It has its value, too, of course, among tarnsmen, tarnkeepers, tarnsters, and such, who must occasionally move from saddle to saddle, or from basket to basket, and such, while in flight.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Pages 337 - 338


"Who is your master?" said Mirus.
"Selius Arconious, of Ar," cried Ellen. "I am owned by Selius Arconious of Ar, tarnster, of the caste of Tarn Keepers!"
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 639


"How do you know they were not mounted?" I asked.
"They are raised, but are young, and not trained," he said. "Few but hardy tarnsters, or tarnsmen themselves, would dare to approach them in their present state.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 64


"The size of the vessel," said my informant, "is such as to house tarns, their tarnsmen, their tarnsters, their gear, their provender, and such. They may be exercised regularly at sea, and then return to their vessels. Ports for their entry and exit are built into the hull."
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 496


Tajima brought the tarn down, expertly, to the stem castle of the ship, and leapt from the saddle.
He cast the guide straps to a tarnster, who then conducted the bird, with its stately gait, toward the large descent way to the in-ship cots.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 563


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


Lord Nishida stopped to regard two trussed mutineers. They were in the keeping of tarnkeepers.
"Why are these men not below, with the others?" he asked.
"He, and he," cried a tarn keeper, "killed tarns."
"I see," said Lord Nishida.
There was then a shrill scream, of a raging tarn, angry and wild, in a nearby cage.
"Free them," said Lord Nishida.
The tarnkeepers did this, with much reluctance.
The mutineers regarded one another with triumph.
"Now," said Lord Nishida, "cut away their clothing, bloody them a little, and put them in the cage with the bird."
"No!" cried the mutineers. "No!"
Eager tarnkeepers rushed upon them.
I exited the tarn hold through the same door through which the eight Pani and I had entered it earlier. Outside in the corridor, I heard hideous screams behind me.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 178


"But," said Eve, "if we are of low caste, of the Metal Workers, the Cloth Workers, the Workers in Wood, the Leather Workers, the Bakers, the Tarnsters, or such, we would have to be placed lower at the tables."
Conspirators of Gor     Book 31     Page 26


A Tarnster, come from the crowd, was passing. Near him, similarly withdrawing, was a fellow in the brown of the Peasants, a bundle of the leafy vangis over his shoulder.
"Masters," I called.
"A larl is loose in the city," said the Tarnster.
"It was no larl," said the Peasant.
"A sleen then," said the Tarnster.
They had then moved past.
Conspirators of Gor     Book 31     Page 265


I waited in the street for a time, and then chose a handsome, young Tarnster. Such, I was sure, would be interested in the lips of a slave. I trusted he would not strike me from him. I hurried before him, and knelt down, blocking his way, humbly, and seized his left leg, and pressed my head, lowered, against his leg, as I had seen the paga girl do. I then lifted my head and eyes to him, and said, as she had, "A slave would be kissed, Master." "Very well," he said, and lifted me up and spent a few Ihn with me. "Is Master pleased?" I asked. "Very much," he said,
Conspirators of Gor     Book 31     Page 324


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.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 90


"Ela," he said. "I am a humble servitor of the shogun. I am neither a tarnsman or tarnster. I would not know."
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 165






























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