This is my narrative and associated quotes from the Books on the topic of the High Slave.
I make no pronouncements on these matters, but report them as I find them.
Arrive at your own conclusions.
I wish you well,
I was asked if there is anything in the books that supports the belief that if you belong to a High Caste Owner, you are a high slave.
If this were true then there would be a quote which explicitly says so. Or every single instance a high slave is mentioned, she is owned by someone of the Initiates, Scribes, Builders, Physicians or Warriors. And, vice versa, every slave owned by one of the High Castes would be referred to as a high slave.
So, we'll see if this is the case.
The first high slave is not mentioned until Tribesmen of Gor. (which is kinda odd since there are many slaves belonging to those of High Caste mentioned before this) The fist high slave is Vella, and who owns her when she says she is a high slave? It is Ibn Saran, the Salt Ubar, a merchant.
The next high slaves are owned by Lady Sabina. Her father is a merchant of Fortress of Saphronicus. By birth then, Lady Sabina is also of the Caste of Merchants.
And then we're told of Lucilina, the high slave of Myron, Polemarkos of Temos, cousin to Lurius of Jad, Ubar of Cos. Being that he is the high officer of the Cosian forces in the south, we will assume he is of the Warriors.
Finally there are the high slaves owned by Decius Albus of Ar, trade advisor to the Ubar and evidently of the Caste of Merchants.
Are there some high slaves who are owned by those of High Caste? No doubt.
Is every slave owned by one of High Caste therefore a high slave? No.
Are all high slaves owned only by those of High Caste? Obviously not.
I drew from my garment a rag. It was thin, brief, tattered, much torn; it was cheap rep-cloth, brown and coarse; it was stained with dirt, with grease. I had found it in the kitchens of Ibn Saran.
I threw it against her body. "Put it on," I told her.
"I am a high slave," she said.
"Put it on," I told her.
Although many girls in the kasbah were chained here and there for the pleasures of men, most were freed of impediments, that they might fetch and serve, and be seized when and wherever the men might want them. These, in the halls, would constitute a genuine danger to Vella, who, a high slave, had been the object of much envy. How pleased they would be to see proud Vella crawling in the halls to her discipline.
The very beauty which made her prized among men would make her an object of hostility and loathing among women. A beauty like Vella on Gor had little choice but to relate to men, and, of course, she a slave, on their terms. Too, she had been a high slave, much above the other girls, now fallen far below them, now a fit object for their abuse and scorn, to be tempered only to the degree to which they were willing to feel the flash of the guard's strap through their silk. She looked at me, tears in her eyes.
Once again I saw only the plain girl in the mirror, the beauty in a slave rag. No adornments were hers; only some threads of cloth tight on her beauty. She was not an ornamented high slave. She wore only a slave rag. She was a low slave.
She left the pavillionlike tent sedately but, as soon as she was no longer visible through the opening in the tent she threw back her head, shaking her hair, and then, her gait transformed, sauntered like a she-sleen to the side of the wagon. I gasped. The walk could only have been that of a slave girl. I then realized that the girls in attendance on the veiled woman, who had been seated in the curule chair on the palanquin, were slaves. The circlets on their throats were doubtless collars, and the wristlet each wore was doubtless naught but matching slave jewelry. But they were obviously high slaves, judging by the fineness of their raiment. They were the slave maids of the Lady Sabina, doubtless belonging to her. I wondered how long it had been since one of them had had the hands of a man on her body.
"Thank you, Mistress," I said, restraining myself. Since she had become first girl in the camp we were all constrained to serve her and address her as Mistress. Even though she was given no jewelry or fine raiment, she was high slave in the camp.
How angry I was at Marla, and how jealous of her. She was a saucy slave. Had I so spoken, so freshly and without permission, I might have been whipped.
She was high slave.
"The levels of skill in the Coin Girl, of course," said the girl with the leash, "are commonly much lower." This was true, of course. Yet it must be mentioned that sometimes Coin Girls are extremely skillful. Too, it is not unknown for a master to sometimes send even an exquisitely trained, beautiful high slave into the streets, usually as a joke or a discipline. Such a girl knows that she must perform superbly. Some of the men she falls in with may have been hired by her master, to report back on the quality of her services.
Not as a high slave, clothed in jewelries and shimmering silks, tastefully bound, is she to be conducted to the site of her performance, some aristocratic banquet; rather, cruelly bound and nude, she is to be thrown before masters at a drunken feast.
The body chain I had purchased, though efficient, and attractive and sturdy, was not an expensive one. Some such chains, of course, such as those sometimes worn by high slaves, are quite expensive, being of gold and set with such stones as rubies, sapphires and diamonds.
"Black wine is expensive," she said.
"Pour one for yourself," I said.
"Even though I am a slave?" she asked.
"Yes," I said.
"Am I a high slave?" she asked.
"Do you wish me to hold your head back, my hand in your hair, your back almost breaking, and force the spout of the vessel between your teeth, pouring the wine as it is, black and scalding, down your throat?" I asked.
"No, Master!" she said.
"Your brand is pretty," I said.
"Thank you, Master," she said.
"You are not a high slave," I said. "You are a low slave.
You are the lowest of low slaves."
"Yes, Master," she said.
"And do not forget it," I said.
"No, Master," she said.
The women were chained nude, of course, for that is the way that slave girls are commonly displayed for their sale, particularly in low markets, and, indeed, even in a private sale from one of the purple booths in the courtyard of a rich slaver there will come a time when the slave, even an exquisite, high slave, must put aside her silks and be examined raw, as though she were a common girl.
Little love is lost, commonly, between competitive slave girls. Girls commonly like seeing other girls being beaten, whom they think are too proud, or whom they don't like. It is almost a holiday in the slave quarters when a high slave is to be whipped, particularly if she is then to be reduced to the status of a common girl.
"Yes, Master," I said. Borkon, I realized, whoever he was, he was he whom I must now strive to please. "Is that all, Master?"
"Yes," he said. "Did you expect to be intricately measured, to be toe-printed, and such? You are not a high slave. You are a low slave, a mill girl."
"Yes, Master," I said. "Forgive me, Master." I then leapt up and ran to stand in the indicated line. In a few Ehn I was joined there by Emily and Luta. The other girls were being sent to other lines.
I regarded her. Jewels did not bedeck her. Her silks were now gone. No cosmetics now adorned her, begging to be licked and kissed from her lips. No scent of perfume now clung to her. There were smells which were perhaps those of sweat and fear. Too, she had soiled the platform. She had been beaten, doubtless quite a rare experience for a high slave. If she had once worn a golden, bejeweled collar it was now gone. On her neck now was a simple iron collar, hammered shut, such as might be put on the neck of any slut picked up by any soldier in a flaming city.
She cried out, startled. She jerked back against the stout post. Her hands jerked in the metal fastenings. She regarded him with disbelief, with horror.
"You are no longer a high slave," he said. "You are going to have to get used to being touched like this."
She looked at him, wildly. Her hands twisted. She could not close her legs.
"Are you a high slave, Luchita?" he asked.
"I do not know," she said.
"No," he said. "You are not. You are now among the lowest of low slaves."
"Yes, Master," she said.
Upswept hairdos are usually reserved for free women, or high slaves. They are a mark of status. To be sure, one of the reasons for permitting a hairdo of that sort to a slave is the master's pleasure in undoing it, in loosening it, thus reminding even the high slave that in his arms, ultimately, she, the high slave, is yet a slave, and as much or more than the lowest girl in the most remote village.
"Yes," he said, "you are beautiful."
"Thank you, Master," I said I flushed with pleasure. I was valuable. Doubtless I would be a high slave.
"She looks lovely in the garment, doesn't she?" asked Hendow.
I gathered he was proud of me.
"Yes," said Mirus.
I again felt the suffusion of pleasure in my body. I looked down, shyly, smiling. My master, I was sure, liked me. I did not think, now, he would order me to remove the garment before Mirus. I recalled that he had paid the highest price for me of any girl at the market. I was valuable. I would be a high slave!
"Do you know, Doreen," asked my master, "what sort of tunic it is?"
"No, Master," I said.
"It is a kitchen tunic," he said.
I looked at him, startled.
"Take her to the kitchen," he said to Mirus. "Teach her to clean pots and pans."
Too, let Teibar cry out with anguish if he could find out how desired I would be, and what an excellent slut, what superb slave meat, I, his despised "modern woman," proved to be! I would become a high slave! I would cost a great deal of money! He would not even be able to afford me!
"Do you think you are a high slave?" he asked.
"No, Master," I said.
"Do you grow proud?" he asked.
I was under no delusion now that I might be in the favor of my master. I was under no delusion now that there might be something special about me, that I might even be a preferred slave or a high slave. I knew now, and knew it well, that I was only another girl, no different from any other in the house.
"Am I a high slave?" I asked.
"Do you wish to be whipped?" he asked.
"No, Master!" I said.
"Turn about," he said. "Kneel down. Put your head to the ground, clasp your hands together, behind the back of your neck."
"Yes, Master!" I wept. I hastened to obey. This is a common position for slave rape.
"Oh!" I cried. Then I shuddered and gasped, and cried out. Then I gasped, again and again. Then he spurned me to the dirt, by the fire, with his foot. I turned about, from my belly, shuddering, to look at him.
"That is your status," he said. "That is the sort of slave you are."
"Yes, Master," I said.
"Speak your status, the sort of slave you are," he said.
"I am a low slave!" I said.
"And you are the lowest of the lowest!" he said.
I knew, too, that even high slaves are occasionally subjected to such imperious uses, which in their way are delicious, just as they might, to their shame, frustration and pleasure, find themselves occasionally clad in rags and put to disagreeable tasks. Such things remind them that they are slaves, and must obey their masters. Such enforcements, too, tend to be reassuring, and arousing, to a woman.
"Do you think you are a special slave, or a high slave?" asked Philebus of the girl, moving the coils of the whip near her.
"No, Master!" she said.
Slaves, for example, are commonly kept barefoot. High slaves, on the other hand, often have sandals, sometimes lovely ones.
Indeed, she had been not only a high slave, and the preferred slave of the Polemarkos, but his confidante, as well. She had, thus, been privy to many secrets. Too, through her wiles and his weakness, she had exercised great influence over him. She had, thus, though ultimately only a slave, become a force in his retinue.
She knew, of course, something of the worth of women in the markets. She knew that she was not, for example, a trained slave, a high slave, a politically sensitive slave, the shackled daughter of a Ubar being publicly sold in the city of her father's conquerors, or such. Indeed, she was only a new slave. She probably did not even know the hundred kisses.
Tharlarion, and such transportation, were now said to be worth their weight in gold. I had heard that certain rich men had exchanged as many as fifteen high slaves, choice "flowers" from their pleasure gardens, trained even to Curulean quality, for a single tharlarion and wagon.
No longer was she a high slave, pampered and indulged. She was now a low slave, and among the lowest of the low, and was worked hard. She must often kneel and fear whipping. It was said, too, that in the arms of her master, well handled and mastered, she had discovered her womanhood.
Absently, almost as though not aware of his surroundings, except for the now tiny figure of the slave, hurrying away, he opened the note. He could, apparently, read. I had counted on that. He was a high slave. Too, it would have been difficult for him, I supposed, as he was a well-known actor, to have learned parts without being able to read.
"Slut," said the woman.
I pretended not to hear. I gathered that she must be a high slave, and that she had a general permission to speak. To be sure, such a permission may be instantly revoked, at so little as a world. If men do not wish to hear us, we must be silent.
Perhaps she presumed too much on the status of a high slave, which status, it seemed, must be hers. Or perhaps she had been a high free woman, and her master, or masters, allowed her to act as she did, finding some amusement in the absurdity of it, she not understanding the joke, knowing they could in an instant bring her to her knees as a humbled, abject, servile, weeping slave. But, in any event, she was accustomed, it seemed, to being treated with some indulgence, perhaps even with permissiveness. How else would she have dared to exploit such latitudes of tolerance as seemed to be accorded to her? To be sure, she was a high slave. But are not such, in the final analysis, owned every bit as much as we? And is not one man's high slave no more to another than the least of his bond maids, laboring shackled in his stables, her use a perquisite for rude grooms, and is it not the case that even for the same man she who is this evening a high slave may be tomorrow the least of his properties in the scullery?
Dorna, the high slave, was a little before me, and to my right. She was standing beside the arm of the thronelike chair, at his left.
"May I rise, Master?" she asked.
Though a high slave it seemed she thought it wise, under the circumstances, to request this permission.
"Yes," he said.
"Yes," I said.
"Yes, what?" she snapped.
"Yes, Mistress?" I asked.
"Yes!" she said.
"Yes, Mistress," I said. I must then, it seems, address her as 'Mistress'. She was not free, of course. It was rather that I was so much less then she. I did not think she was "first girl" over me. I would have dreaded that. It seemed rather that I was a low slave, and she was a high slave. And, perhaps she wished to be addressed as 'Mistress' by me because I was from Earth.
"I am Dorna," she said.
"That may be changed," he said.
"I am a high slave!"
"That, too, may be changed," he said.
"No!" she said.
"Does Dorna want to go to the ring?" he asked.
"No!" she said, shuddering.
"What?" he inquired.
"Dorna does not want to go to the ring," she whispered.
"You seemed to find it amusing when the Earth slave was at the ring," he said.
"Be kind," she begged.
"But then she is only an Earth slave," said the man.
"Yes! Yes!" said Dorna.
"But you would doubtless wriggle at the ring, as well as she," he said.
I did not want to meet the eyes of any of them. I was frightened, kneeling before the dais. Dorna and I were the only two women on the terrace. We were both slaves.
"Please, no, Master!" said Dorna. I noted she called him "Master."
"Perhaps you would enjoy being at the ring, and then being publicly utilized, as she was," said the man in the chair.
"No, Master!" cried Dorna.
"Your silk can be taken from you," said the man in the chair.
"Please, no, Master!" she said.
"Perhaps it could be given to the Earth slave."
"No, Master, please!" said Dorna. She case me a wild glance. I saw she was genuinely frightened.
"The Earth girl might be made a high slave and you a low slave," he said.
"Please, no, Master!" she said.
I had once in the pens jested with a guard, confiding to him that it seemed I was "born for the collar." I have not forgotten his reply. He said, simply, "So, too, are all women." But with respect to my disposition I was sure, given my beauty and desirability, and my talents, even such as they were now, that it would be a lofty one. I was thinking in terms of the high slave, one of great value, one who might even expect sandals, to say nothing of costly, if revealing, silks, and perhaps even a golden collar.
Seeing he who had conducted Dorna away I thought immediately of her. Tonight, I recalled, she was to serve as the slave she was. Perhaps even now she was preparing herself, or perhaps, as she was high slave, she was being prepared by lesser slaves, for her "test."
"Dorna," said he, "has been a slave longer than you so it is fitting that it would be her ears which would first be pierced."
"Yes, Master," I said.
"Accordingly," he said, "even though she is a high slave and you are a low slave, you are, at this moment, as your ears have not been pierced, a thousand times higher than she."
"Yes, Master," I said. I was, of course, puzzled by this. One thing seemed clear, once again, the apparent cultural momentousness of ear piercing on this world.
I recalled that the man in the chair had speculated that Dorna, the high slave, would not be displeased with my disposition. That recollection did not hearten me.
"Not necessarily," said the first. "It is sometimes amusing to treat a pleasure-garden girl, or a high slave, as though she might be a low slave, or even the most worthless of common slaves."
I supposed this was true. The difference between a high slave and a low slave, of course, is only the whim of the master. It is they who decide on which step of the dais, so to speak, we may kneel, or even if we may approach the dais at all.
"She is a high slave," said one of the men to the other.
"That was before," said the first man.
"She was first girl in the house of Appanius," said the other.
"Do you think you are first girl, and that you are now in the house of Appanius?" inquired the first man of Aynur.
"No, Master," she said.
"Do you think you still wear the talmit?" he asked.
"No, Master," she said.
"Are you a high slave?" asked the first man.
"Yes, Master," she said, hesitantly.
"No, you are not," he said.
"Yes, Master," she said.
Slave bracelets, designed for women, are often light and pretty, and are sometimes matched to outfits and such. Some, for high slaves, are bejeweled. Some might be worth the ransom of a Ubar.
Gorean buildings of this sort often present a solid front to the street, this discouraging traffic, trespassing, burglary, and such. It was a large, simple, heavy, dark, stonelike room, designed for slaves or captives. Surely it did not resemble the luxurious boudoirs she had heard of in her training, those sometimes permitted to high slaves, the pampered, perfumed treasures of Ubars and generals, sometimes said to even influence the policies and fates of states. Such were prize acquisitions of conquerors, who might enjoy stripping them and putting them in common collars, and giving them to their lowest soldiers, first, of course, having them perform naked before these soldiers, in the presence, naturally, of their former masters, and the conquerors.
The sight of her chains, of a whip, the touching of her collar, the fingering of her brand, even in the absence of the master, can arouse a slave. So, too, the sight of a place she remembers, a grassy knoll, a place behind a shed, a ditch, a stall, the surface of a long, narrow wooden bench, the floor, fur-strewn, at the foot of the master's couch, she not permitted on its surface, that privilege usually reserved for free companions, or perhaps high slaves, such things, can all affect her profoundly, can all heat her, and torment her with the longing, the yearning, of the needful slave, fearful of, but grateful for, the slave fires men have ignited in her belly.
Despite what masters say I suspect we are the most valuable form of merchandise on this world. Wagonloads of gold, hundreds of tarns, have been exchanged for high slaves.
They looked upon the slaves in the coffle with contempt. As far as Ellen knew all slaves not commonly associated with the march, except some high slaves, the latter in barred slave wagons, were in the coffle.
Too, she was certainly not in one of the barred slave wagons. She was a far cry from a high slave. She was only a youngish barbarian. Yet she was rather near the beginning of the coffle.
The march was a large one, and contained a great deal more than the coffle. There was a long train of wagons, some drawn by bosk and others by tharlarion. There were some cage wagons, perhaps carrying high slaves or women of political importance. The slaves could be seen, stripped, behind the bars. Were they high slaves that must have been humiliating for them. But then high slaves are, when all is said and done, slaves, no more or less slave than the lowliest kettle-and-mat girl.
Considering the number of slaves to be vended over the next two or three days in the camp, Ellen did not think the agents of Cos would have time for the tantalizing allures of gradual unveilings. Such luxuries in any event were usually reserved for the sales of high slaves.
Ellen did not think that many girls sold in this camp would go for so much. Perhaps a hundred, or a hundred and fifty, perhaps high slaves, perhaps exquisitely, lengthily trained pleasure slaves, perhaps skilled dancers, perhaps such, but surely not she!
The common Gorean slave band, incidentally, even in its simplicity, flat, narrow, and close-fitting, is quite beautiful on a woman. In certain cultures one supposes women might pay a great deal of money to obtain such a device, though perhaps one more akin to those one might expect to find on high slaves, say, colored, enameled, ringed, bejeweled, of precious metals, and such.
"She is only a slave," I pointed out.
"Apparently she is a punished high slave," said Licinius. "In any market she might bring two silver tarsks."
Whereas some slaves, indeed, say scullery slaves, garbage slaves, or such, may be clothed, if at all, in no more than a tiny rag, in any shred of cloth, perhaps one soiled from the soot and grease of the kitchen, to conceal their nudity, the subtler ta-teera is carefully tied or sewn. It is carefully wrought, artfully designed, to accomplish two objectives, first, to seem to convey the thought that the slave is a low slave, and one of little value, one worthy of no more than brief, demeaning rags, though she may in actuality be a prized, high slave, and, secondly, to well exhibit the charms of the slave, such things accomplished by the brevity and openness of the garment, as by, say, a short, uneven hem, ragged at the edges, a slit hem, showing a flash of thigh, as though inadvertently, and by, say, a rent here, a gap there, and so on.
Similarly, although slaves are often castigated as being "worthless," and such, even high slaves, who might sell for gold, it is quite obvious that slaves are not worthless, and not simply because they, as other goods, have a monetary value, nor simply because they are beautiful, as a fine animal is beautiful, nor simply because of the servile labors they will perform, cooking, sewing, cleaning, laundering, polishing boots, and such, but because of the manifold and profound delights which attend their ownership, delights with which masters are pleasantly cognizant.
"Or tarsk," I suggested.
"I made my way through crowds," she said. "There was only one untoward incident. Most unpleasant! Only a hundred yards from the walls, I was accosted by a large female slave. 'High slave!' she sneered. 'Give me your sandals!'"
"You wore sandals?" I said.
"Of course," she said.
I nodded. It was not that unusual for a favored slave, a high slave, a spoiled slave, or such, to be granted sandals.
'Is Mistress free?' she asked. 'No,' I said, 'of course not. I am only a poor slave, as yourself.' 'Truly?' she said. 'Certainly,' I said, 'you can see I am tunicked and collared. Now let me pass!' 'You high slaves,' she said, 'think you are better than the rest of us!' 'We are superior,' I informed her.
I thought them to be perhaps high slaves, perhaps of such beauty that, should it be bared, men might be driven wild with the need to seize and possess them.
Some slaves, high slaves, may have sandals, even slippers, set with precious stones, but a free woman is likely to order them to remove such presumptuous footwear in their presence, and sometimes to bring them to them, dangling from their mouths, humbly, head down, on all fours, rather as a pet sleen or slave might bring footwear to her master. Little love is lost between the free woman and the slave.
"Shoulders back," I said. "Suck in your belly. Palms of your hands down on your thighs, firmly. Feel them there."
"Please, Master," sobbed a girl. "We are high slaves!"
"Many of us were once of high caste!" said another.
Not every girl is publicly sold at auction. Indeed, some high slaves are exhibited privately to rich clients, in the purple booths.
"If I buy her," said the woman, "I may put her in a sack, left over from the transportation of suls."
Such sacking is plain, coarse, and ill-woven.
Too, such garmenture is unflattering, and likely to solicit ridicule from one's sister slaves.
"Behold the high slave!" they might laugh. "A slave?" might laugh another. "I must look more closely. I thought it a sack of suls!"
Such cloth, too, scratches.
It is a torment to put a slave in such a garmenture.
Some men avail themselves of such a means to demean or punish a girl.
The palisade, I understood, marked the outward perimeter of a maximum security area, a holding area, one housing high slaves. Supposedly these slaves were so extraordinary that one did not dare put them amongst the men, lest discipline be lost, and sedition and chaos ensue, men killing one another to possess them.
Standing at the edge of the shore, I could see, across the river, some of the buildings, and the mysterious stockade, which had excited my curiosity in the past. I gathered that there might be special supplies stored there, even treasure. One story was that slaves were held there who were too beautiful to risk holding in Tarncamp or Shipcamp, for fear men might mutiny to claim them. I thought it quite possible that high slaves might be housed there, and perhaps unusually beautiful slaves, or exotics, or such, but I did not think there would be that much difference between one girl on a block and another.
"Of course, I will obey, Master!" she cried. "But do not make me do this! Do not so humiliate and insult me I beg of you! I am a high slave! I was of high caste! I might bring gold! I would be worthy of sandals!"
"This woman is a high slave, is she not?" asked the mariner.
"No," I said. "She is a low slave, a common slave."
The women, though lavishly and abundantly robed, were not veiled, as presumably they would be on the streets, and of them, though all fair, two, I thought, though free, might be beautiful enough to be slaves, perhaps even "high slaves."
"Doubtless he has access to all the slaves in the house," I said.
"Not to the high slaves, the preferred slaves," she said. "They are reserved for the master, Decius Albus."
I was barefoot. I was not a high slave, or a favored slave.
"I did not ask for sandals," she said. "They were forced upon me."
The sandals were golden, with purple straps.
"It seems you are a high slave," I said.