/ Language: English / Genre:sf_epic, / Series: Chronicles of Counter-Earth

Blood Brothers of Gor

John Norman

Tarl Cabot, seeking the monsters from the Steel Worlds, found himself among the cruel savages who rule the vast Barrens. Though himself enslaved, he stood with his comrades and masters against a coming onslaught. For the Kur had united the enemies of the tribe that held Cabot, and death and destruction were unleashed. Out of the plains came riding hordes of feud-driven braves, from the skies came a host of maddened tarn-riders, and even among the slave girls held by the blood brothers here was a devilish treason. BLOOD BROTHERS OF GOR is one of the great John Norman epics. It is a long novel of constant action, told in depth and detail, of a struggle fought for the fate of a world where strong men clash and beautiful women await their victors.

BLOOD BROTHERS OF GOR

(Volume eighteen in the Chronicles of Counter-Earth)

by John Norman

Chapter 1

THE PTE

"There it is," said Grunt, pointing ahead and to our right. "Do you see it?"

"Yes," I said. "Too, I feel it." I could feel the tremor in the earth, even through the paws and legs of the lofty, silken kaiila.

"I have seen it only once before," he said.

I rose in the stirrups. The vibration, clearly, was registered in the narrow, flat-based rings. Earlier, dimounted, we had placed the palms of our hands to the earth. It was then that we had first felt it, earlier this morning, from as faraway as perhaps twenty pasangs.

"They are coming," had said Cuwignaka, happily.

"I am puzzled," said Grunt. "It is early, is it not?"

I sat back on the saddle.

"Yes," said Cuwingaka, astride his kaiila, to my left.

The current moon was Takiyuhawi, the moon in whcih the tabuk rut. It is sometimes known also as Canpasapawi, or the moon when the chokechrries are ripe.

"I do not understand," said Grunt. "It is not due until Kantasawi." This was the moon in which the plums become red. It is generally the hottest time of the year in the Barrens. It occurs in the latter portion of the summer.

"Why is it early?" asked Grunt.

"I do not know," said Cuwignaka.

Our kaiila shifted beneath us, on the grassy rise. The grass here came to the knees of the kaiila. It would have come to the thighs of a girl.

"Perhaps there is some mistake," I suggested. "Perhaps it is not what you think."

"There is no mistaking it," said Grunt.

"No," said Cuwignaka, happily.

"could it not be another?" I asked.

"No," said Cuwignaka.

"These things are like the summer and the winter," said Grunt, "like the phases of the moons, like day and night,"

"Why then is it early?" I asked.

"Has it been early before?" asked Grunt of Cuwignaka.

"Not in my lifetime," said Cuwignaka. "In the old stories it has sometimes been late, but never, as far as I know, has it been early."

"Think," I said. "Can you recall nothing of such a sort?"

Cuwignaka shrugged. "I can think of nothing of that sort," he said.

"Can there be no mistake?" I asked Grunt.

"No," said Grunt. "It is here,"

"It looks like it is raining there," I said.

"That is dust, in the wind," said Cuwignaka. "It is raised by the hoofs."

"It is here," said Grunt. "There is no doubt about it."

I looked into the distance. It was like a Vosk of horn and hide.

"How long is it?" I asked. I could not even see the end of it.

"It is probably about fifteen pasangs in length," said Grunt, "it is some four or five pasangs in width."

"It can take the better part of a day to ride around it," said Cuwignaka.

"How many beasts are numbered in such a group?" I asked.

"Who has counted the stars, who has numbered the blades of grass," said Cuwignaka.

"It is estimated," said Grunt, "that there are between some two and three million beasts there."

"Surely it is the largest such group in the Barrens," I said.

"No," said Grunt, "there are larger, Boswell claims to have seen one such group which took five days to swim a river."

"How long would it take a group like this to swim a river?" I asked.

"Two or three days," said Grunt.

"I see," I said. The Boswell he had referred to, incidentally, was the same fellow for whom the Boswell Pass through the Thentis Mountains had been named. He was an early explorer in the Barrens. Others were such men, as Diaz, Hogarthe and Bento.

"It is an awsome and splendid sight," I said. "Let us ride closer."

"But let us be careful," said Cuwignaka. Then, with a cry of pleasure, kicking his heels back into the flanks of his kaiila, he urged his beast down the slope.

Grunt and I looked at one another, and grinned. "He is still a boy," said Grunt.

We then followed Cuwignaka. It was toward neen when we reined up beside him on another rise. The animals were now some three to four pasangs away, below us.

"It is the Pte!" called out Cuwignaka happily to us, turning to look at us.

"Yes," said Grunt.

We could now smell the animals clearly. My mount, a lofty black kaiila, silken and swift, shifted nervously beneath me. Its nostrils were flared. Its strom lids were drawn, giving its large round eyes a distinctive yellowish cast. I did not think that it, a kaiila purchased some months ago in the town of Kailiauk, near the perimeter, had ever smelled such beasts before, and certainly not in such numbers. Too, I supposed that there were many among such beasts, perhaps most, in fact, who had ever smelled a man, or a kaiila, before. Grit and dust settled about us. I blinked my eyes against it. It was very impressive to be so close to such beasts. I scarcely dared to conjeture what it might be like to be even closer, say, within a few hudred yards of them. Individual kills on such animals, incidentally, are commonly made from distances whre one can almost reach out and touch the beast. One must be that close for the lance thrust to be made or for the arrow, from the small bow, to strke with suffcient depth, to the feathers, either into the intestinal cavity behind the last rib, resulting in large-scale internal hemorrhaging, or behind the left shoulder blade, into the heart.

"Is there always this much dust?" I asked. I raised my voice somewhat, against the sounds of the beasts, their bellowing and the thud of the hoofs.

"No," said Cuwignaka, raising his voice. "It is moving now, not drifting and grazing."

"Sometimes, for no clear reason," said Grunt, "it will move, and more or less swiftly. Then, at other times, for similarly no apparent reson, it will halt and graze, or move slowly, gently grazing along the way."

"It is early," I said.

"Yes," said Grunt. "That is interesting. It must have been moving more than is usual."

"I will inspect the animals," said Cuwignaka.

"Be careful," said Grunt.

We watched Cuwignaka move his kaiila down the slope and toward the animals. He would not approach them too closely. There were tribal reasons for this.

"It is like a flood," I said, "or a movement of the earth' it is like wind, or thunder; it is like a natrual phenomenon."

"Yes," said Grunt.

"In its way," I said, "I suppose it is a natural phenomenon."

"Yes, in its way, it is," said Grunt.

The movement of this group of animals had been reported in the camp of the Isbu Kaiila, or the Little-Stones band of the Kaiila, for more than ten days now, in a rough map drawn to the east of the camp, with notched sticks, the notching indicating the first and second day, and so on, of the animals' progress, and the placement of the sticks indicating the position of the animals on the day in question. Scouts of the Sleen Soldiers, a warrior society of the Isbu, had been keeping track of the animlas since they had entered he country of the Kaiila more than two weeks ago. This was a moon in which the Sleen Soldiers held police powers in the camp, and so it was to their lot that numerous details, such as scouting and guarding, supervising the camp and settling minor disputs, now fell. Among their other duties, of course, would come the planning, organization and policing of the great Wanasapi, the hunt or chase.

In a few Ehn Cuwignaka, sweating, elated, his braided hair behind him, returned his lathering kaiila to our side.

"It is glorious!" he said.

"Good," said Grunt, pleased at the young man's pleasure.

It is difficult to make clear to those who are not intimately acquainted with such things the meaning of the Pte, or Kailiiauk, to the red savages. It is a central phenomenon in their life, and much of their life revolves around it. The mere thought of the kailiauk can inspire awe in them, and pleasure and excitement. More to them than meat for the stomach and clothes for the back is the kailiauk to them; too, it is mystery and meaning for them; it is heavy with medicine; it is a danger; it is a sport; it is a challenge; and, at dawn, with a lance or bow in one's hand, and a swift, eager kaiila between one's knees, it is a joy to the heart.

"Look," said Grunt, pointing to the right.

A rider, a red savage, was approaching rapidly. He wore a breechclout and moccasins. About his neck was a string of sleen claws. There were no feathers in his hair and neither he nor his animal wore paint. Too, he did not carry lance and shild. He was not on the business of war. He did have a bow case and quiver, and at the thong of his waist was a beaded sheath, from which protruded the hilt of a trade knife.

"It is Hci," said Cuwingaka. There is no exact translation of the expression 'Hci' from Kaiila, into either Gorean or English. This is ot all that unusual, incidentally. One cannot expect identical regularities in meaning and usage to obtain in diverse linguistic communities. The expression, for most practical regularities in meaning and usage to obtain in diverse linguistic communites. The expresion, for most practical purposes, signifies a certain type of gap, such as, for example, might occur in the edge of a trade ax, or hatchet, for use in drawing nails, an occupation for which red savages, of course, have little use. It is also used more broadly for a gash, such as an ax might cut in a tree, or for a cut or scar. It seems to be clearly in the latter range of meanings that the name belonged. At the left side of Hci's face, at the chin, there was an irregular, jagged scar, som two inches in length. This dated from several years ago, when he had been seventeen, from the second time he had set the paws of his kaiila on the warpath. It had been given to him by a Yellow Knife in mounted combat, the result of a stroke by a long-handled, stone-bladed tomahawk, or canhpi. Before that time, as a stalwart, handsome lad, he had been affectionately known as Ihdazicaka, or One-Who-Counts-Himself-Rich. Afterwards he had become, by his own wish, only Hci. He had become morose and cruel. Immersing himself in the comraderie, and the rituals and ceremonies of the Sleen Soldiers, it seemed he lived then for little other than the concerns of raiding and war. There were members of his own society who feared to ride with him, so swift, so fierce, so careless of danger he was. Once, in a fight with Fleer, he had leaped to the ground and thrust his lance through the long, trailing end of the society's war sash, which, on that occasion, he had been wearing. He thus fastened himself in place, on foot, among the charging Fleer. "I will not yield this ground!" he had cried. The fleeing members of his society, seeing this, and knowing that he wore the war sash, had then rallied and, though outnumbered, had charged the Fleer. The Fleer, eventually, had left the scene of battle, feeling the cost of obtaining a victory over such men would be too high. As they left they had raised their lances in salute to the young warrior. Such courage is acknowledged in the Barrens, even though it be in an enemy.

Hci reined in his kaiila, squealing, kicking dust, before us.

The disfigurement was indeed prominent. The blow of the canhpi had slashed through to the jawbone.

"What are you doing here?" demanded Hci, speaking in Kaiila. I could not, given my time with Grunt and Cuwignaka, and my time in the Isbu camp, follow much of what was said. I could now, too, to some extent, communicate in that expressive, sibilant language.

"We have come to see the Pte," said Cuwignaka. The expression 'Pte', literally stands for the kailiauk cow, as 'Ta-tanka' stands for the kailiauk bull, but it is commonly used colloquially, more generally, to stand for the kailiauk in general. In a sense, the «Pte» may be considered the mother of the tribes, as it is through her that their nomadic life, in its tichness and variety, becomes possible. More formally, of course, one speaks of the kailiauk. The expression 'kailiauk' is a Gorean word and, as far as I know, does not have an Earth origin.

I looked beyond Hci to the beasts, some two to three pasangs away. The kailiauk is a large, lumbering, shaggy trident-horned ruminant. I has four stomachs and an eight-valved heart. It is dangerous, gregarious, small-eyed and short-tempered. Adult males can stand as high as twenty or twenty-five hands at the shoulder and weigh as much as four thousand pounds.

"You have no right here," said Hci, angrily.

"We are causing no harm," said Cuwignaka.

"No one will hunt until the great hunt," said Hci. "Then we will hunt. The Isbu will hunt. The Casmu will hunt! The Isanna will hunt! The Napoktan will hunt! TheWismahi will hunt! The Kaiila will hunt!"

The Isbu, or Little-Stones band; the Casmu, or Sand, band; the Isanna, the Little-Knife band; the Napoktan, or Bracelets, band; and the Wismahi, or Arrowhead band, are the five bands which constitute the Kaiila tribe. The origins of these names are not always clear. It seems probable that the Litte-Stones and the Sand bands may have had their names from geographical features, perhaps those adjacent to riverside encampments. The Wismahi, or Arrowhead, band is said by some to have once made their winter camp at the confluence of two rivers, the joining of the rivers resembling the point of an arrowhead. Others claim that they once lived in a flintrich area, and prior to the general availability of trade points, conducted a lively trade in flint with surrounding tribes. The Bracelets band, or the Napoktan, wear copper bracelets on the left wrist. This band, outside of the Kaiila, is often known as the Mazahubu band, which is the Dust-Leg word for braceltes. I do not know the origin of the name for the Isanna, or the Little-Knife, band. Sometimes, as I suspect was the case with the Napoktan, these names may owe their origin to the idiosyncrasies of given leaders, to unique historiacal events of perhaps, even, to dreams. Dreams, and dreaming on matters of importance, are taken very seriously by the red savages. Indeed, is it not that in dreams one may even enter the medicine world itself? In dreams is it not the case that one might sit about the fires of the dead, conversing with them? is it not the case that in dreams one may understand the speech of animals? And is it not the case that in dreams one may find oneself in distant lands and countries, moons away, and yet, in a single night, find oneself, awakening, returned to one's lodge, to the embers of one's fire and the familiar poles and skins about one?

"We are here to see the Pte," said Cuwignaka, "not to hunt."

"It is well for you," said Hci, angrily. "You well know the penalties for illcit hunting."

Cuwignaka did not even deign to respond. To be sure, the penalties were not light. One might be publicly denounced and abuse, even beaten, in the village. One's weapons could be broken. One's lodge, and robes, and possessions could be taken away or cut to pieces with knives and scattered to the winds. In the beliefs of the red savages the welfare of the whole, that of the tribe, takes precedence over the welfare of the individual. In the thinking of the red savages the right to diminish and jeopordize the community does not lie within the prerogatives of the individual.

"Go away!" said Hci, with an angry wave of his arm.

Cuwignaka stiffened on the back of his kaiila.

Hci was angrily gestured to the string of sleen claws about his neck, the sign of the Sleen Soldiers.

"It is an order," said Grunt to Cuwignaka, in Gorean. "He is well within his authority, as you know. He is a Sleen Soldier, and it is among his duties to track and protect the kailiauk. Do not think of it as a personal thing. He is a Sleen Soldier, doing his work. In his place you would doubtless do much the same."

Cuwignaka nodded, recognizing the justice of this view. It was not Hci, so to speak, who was being obeyed, but rather a duly constituted authority, an officer, a constable or warden in such matters.

We turned our kaiila about, to take our way from the place.

"Women, slaves, and white men are not to ride forth to look upon the Pte," called Hci after us.

Cuwignaka wheeled his kaiila about, angrily. I, wheeling aoubt, too, caught his arm.

"I am not a woman," said Cuwignaka.

"You are a woman," said Hci. "You sould please warriors."

"I am not a woman," said Cuwignaka.

"You do not wear the breechclout," said Hci, "You did not take the warpath."

"I am not a woman," said Cuwingaka.

"You wear the dress of a woman." said Hci. "YOu do the work of a woman. I think I will give you the name of a woman. I think I will call you Sipotopto."

Cuwignaka's fists clenched on the reins of his kaiila. The expression 'Siptopto' is a common expression for beads.

"You should please warriors," said Hci.

"I had not quarrel with Fleer," said Cuwignaka.

"You are not welcome among the Isbu," said Hci. "You shame them. You cannot mate among us. Why do you not go away?"

"I am Isbu," said Cuwignaka. "I am Isbu Kaiila!"

My hand on his arm restrained Cuwignala from charging Hci. Had he attempted to do so he would have been, without a saddle, dragged literally from the back of the kaiila.

"You should have been left staked out," said Hci. "It would have been better for the Kaiila."

Cuwignaka shrugged. "Perhaps," he said. "I do not know."

Cuwignaka, on the back of his kaiila, wore the remains of a white dress, a portion of the loot of a destroyed wagon train. He had been a slave of soldiers traveling with the train. Originally he had been Isbu Kaiila. He had twice refused to go on the warpath against the Fleer, hereditary enemies of the Kaiila. The first time he had been put in a dress of a woman and forced to live as a woman, perfoming the work of a woman and being referred to in the feminine gender. It was from that time that he had been called Cuwignaka, which means "Woman's Dress." It is, moreover, the word for the dress of a white woman and, in this, given the contempt in which the proud red savages hold white females, commonly reducing them to fearful, groveling slaves, utilizing them as little more than beasts of burden and ministrants to their will, in all respects, it possesses to the Kailla an additional subtle and delicious irony.

The second time Cuwignaka had refused to go on the warpath he had been bound in his dress and traded to Dust Legs, from whom, eventually, he was purchased as a slave by whites, in the vicinity of the Ihanke, the border between they lands of farmers and rancers and the lands of the red savages. Near the perimeter, as a slave, he had learned to speak Gorean. Later he was acquired by soldiers and brought again into the Barrens, thier intention being to use him as an interpreter. When the wagon train had been destroyed, that with which the soldiers were then traveling, he had fallen into the hands of the victors. He had returned to the Barrens. He had been the slave of the hated enemy. He was staked out, to die. A lance, unbroken, had been placed by him, butt down, in the earth, in token of respect, at least, by Canka, Fire-Steel, his brother. Canak had also taken the dress which Hci had thrown contemptuously beside him, taken from the loot of one of the wagons, and wrapped it about the lance. In this fashion Canka had conspicuously marked the place, as though with a flag.

It has been my considered judgment that Canka, in doing this, had hoped to draw attention to the location, that he hoped by this device to attract others to the spot, who might free the lad, or perhaps to mark it for himself, that he might later, accepting exile and outlawry at the hands of the Isbu, free his brother. As it turned out Grunt and I, traversing the Barrens, had come on the lad and freed him. Shortly thereafter we were apprehended by a mixed group of unlikely allies, representatives of Sleen, Yellow Knives and Kaiila, who in virtue of the Memory, as it is called, had joined forces to attack the wagon train and soldiers.

Grung had brought a coffle of white slave girls into the Barrens with him, as pack animals and trade goods. He had also acquired two prisoners, two former enemies of his, Max and Kyle Hobart, in effect as gifts from Dust Legs. The Sleen took two of his girls, Ginger and Evelyn, former tavern girls from the town of Kailiauk, near the Ihanke, and the Hobarts, from him. Four other girls were led away from him naked and bound, their necks in tethers, by a Yellow-Knife warrior.

These were two American girls, Lois and Inez, an English girl, named Priscilla, and a short, dark-haired French girl, named Corinne.

The Kaiila wre mostly members of the All Comrades, a warrior society, like the Sleen Soldiers, of the Isbu Kaiila. They were under the command of Canka, Cuwignaka's brother. One other was with the party, too, an older, warrior, Kahintokapa, One-Who-Walks-Before, of the prestigious Yellow-Kaiila Riders. He was of the Casmu, or Sand, band.

Grunt's prize on the coffle, a beautiful red-haired girl, a former debutante from Pennsylvania, once Miss Millicent Aubry-Wells, was selected out by Canka as personal slave, one to run at the left flank of his own kaiila and wear her leather, beaded collar, placed on her by his command, for him alone. Grunt's last slave, the dark-haired beauty, Wasnapohdi, or Pimples, whome he had acquired in trade for three hatchets from Dust Legs, he was permitted to keep. This is probably because Canka truly bore us no ill will. Indeed, he was probably pleased, as I now understand, that we had freed Cuwignaka. He may also have permitted Grunt to keep Wasnapohdi, of course, because she was conversant in Kaiila. He would have respected her for that.

"Slave," said Hci, regarding me, scornfully.

I did not meet his eyes. It was I, of course, who had actually freed Cuwignaka. It had been my knife which had cut the thongs. This was something which Canka, as Blotanhunka, or war-party leader, of the All Comrades, had, of course, not been able to overlook. Regardless of is own feelings in the matter or even, possibly, of his own intentions with respect to the future, such an act could not be allowed to pass unnoticed. A prisoner of the Kaiila, one duly dealt with, so to speak, had been freed. There was a payment to be made. I, on foot, had looked at the mounted warriors, the Kaiila left then in place. There were some seventeen of them, including Canka. Each was an All Comrade; each was skilled; all had counted coup.

"I am ready to fight," I had said.

"Do not be a fool," had said Grunt.

"I am read," I had said to Canka.

"There is an alternative," had said Grunt. "Can't you see? He is waiting."

"What?" I asked.

"The collar," said Grunt.

"Never," I said.

"Please, Tatnkasa," had said Canka. This was what he had called me, when he had learned that I was willing to fight with his men, no quarter given or taken. It means, in effect, "Red Bull." 'Tatanka' designates the kiliauk bull, and the suffix 'sa' means red. In Kaiila, as in most of the languages of the Barrens, the adjective commonly succeeds the noun. The name was one in which respect was conveyed.

"Please," had said Cuwignaka.

"Please," had said Grunt.

Numbly I had unbuckled my sword belt. I had wrapped the belt about the sword and knife sheath, and had given the belt, and these objects, to Grunt. I had disarmed myself. In moments Canka's beaded collar had been tied on my neck. I had become his slave.

"Slave," sneered Hci.

I did not respond to him.

"White men," said Hci, scornfully, gesturing to myself and Grunt.

"Yes," said Grunt, pleasantly.

"How is it that a slave," asked Hci of Cuwignaka, "wears moccasins and rides a kaiila?"

"It is permitted by Canka," said Cuwignaka.

"Dismount," said Hci to me. "Remove your moccasins and your garments, completely."

"He is not your slave," said Cuwignaka.

"Nor is he yours," said Hci.

I dismounted and stripped, removing also the moccasins which Canka had given me. I haded the clothing, and the moccasins, to Grunt. I then stood before Hci's kaiila. I wore now only the beaded leather collar which had been placed on me some two weeks ago. It was about an inch and a half high. It had a distinctive pattern of beading. The colors and design of the beading marked it as Canka's. It is common among red savages to use such designs, such devices, to mark their possessions. A collar of identical designs, back in the village, was worn by the lovely, red-haired girl, the former Miss Millicent Aubrey-Wells, who had so taken the fancy of the ount warrior. Both of our collars were tied shut. The knots on them had been retied personally by Canka after our arrival at his camp. This is done, in effect, with a signature knot, in a given tribal style, known only to the tier. This gives him a way of telling if the knot has been untied and retied in his absence. It is death, incidentally, for a slave to remove such a collar without permission. It can be understood then that slaves of the red savages do not tamper with their collars. They keep them on.

"Slave," said Hci, contemptuously.

One difference, of course, was clear between the collars of the girl and myself. Hers was the collar of a true slave, in the fulness of that meaning, whereas mine, ineffect, though identical, functioned almost as a badge of protection. In being Canka's slave I had a status and place in the Isbu camp which, in its way, sheltered me from the type of sportive attack to which a lone, free white man might be otherwise exposed. In another way, Grunt's familiarity to the Kaiila, for he had visited them last year, and was close to Mahpiyasapa, Black Clouds, the civil chieftain of the Isbu, and his knowledge of their language, which closely resembles Dust Leg, garnered him a similar protection. His value as a trader, too, was clear to the Kaiila. They prized many of the things of value which he might bring into the Barrens, the men relishing trinkets such as trade points and knife blades, and the women welcoming trade cloth, chemical dyes and drilled glass beads. Too, Grunt was an honest man, and likeable. This pleased the Kaiila, as it also did the Dust Legs and the Fleer.

The collar of Canka which I wore, as I had come to realize in the past several days, was, all things considered, as he did not intend to enforce its significance upon me, a valuable accouterment. Canka was a respected and important young warrior; indeed, in the recent action to the west, he had even served as Blotanhunka of the All Comrades. This gave me, as hisproperty, a certain prestige, particularly as Canka himself treated me with obvious respect. He called me Tatankasa, or Red Bull, which was a noble name from the point of view of the Kaiila. He gave me noccasins. He permitted me my clothing. He let me have, even, the use of my former kaiila. I did not even stay in his lodge, or have to sleep near it. I stayed with Cuwignaka in a tattered lodge, donated by Akihoka, One-Who-Is-Skillful, a close friend of Canka. For most practical purposes I was free in the village.

"Kneel," said Hci.

I knelt, naked, save for the collar of Canka, in teh tall, dry grass.

"Put your head down," said Hci.

I did so.

"This is not necessary," said Cuwignaka.

"Be quiet, Siptopto," said Hci, "lest I consign you to the pleasure of wariors."

"I do not fear you," said Cuwignaka.

"You speak boldly for a female," said Hci.

"I am a man," said Cuwignaka. Bold speech, incidentally, is commonly accepted from free females of their own people by the red savages. If she grows too irritating, of course, she may, like any other woman, be beaten. Bold speech on the other hand, is not accepted from female slaves among the red savages. Female slaves among such peoples quickly learn their place, a place in which they are kept with perfection.

"I did not know that," said Hci, as though interested.

"Yes," said Cuwignaka.

"On your belly," said Hci to me.

"Do not do this," said Cuwignaka.

"Crawl to the paws of my kaiila," said Hci to me.

"No," said Cuwignaka.

"Is he not a slave?" asked Hci.

"Yes," said Cuwignaka, uncertainly.

I moved to the paws of the kaiila, on my belly, my head down.

"Kiss the paws of my kaiila," said Hci to me, imperiously.

I did so. I had been commanded, as though I might have been a girl.

"Canka will hear of this," said Cuwignaka.

"See that he does," said Hci, angrily, and then pulled the kaiila away. The dust from the paws of the kaiila was in my mouth. "And now, get away from here! Return to the camp!" Little love was lost, I gathered, between Hci and Canka. Hci doubtless held Canka responsible, in some fashion, for Cuwignaka's freedom, and his presence among the Isbu, a presence which many among the Isbu, including Hci, found infuriating and shameful. In humiliating me, whom Canka treated with respect and honor, he was, in effect, demeaning Canka. On Canka's part, similarly, there was little affection borne toward Hci, largely because of the latter's hostility towards his brother, Cuwignaka. In Canka's view Hci's contempt for Cuwignaka was moe unbending, more extreme and rigid, than was called for. Cuwignaka lived and dressed as a woman; he was referred to as a woman and performed the labors of a woman. He was not permitted to mate among the Kaiila. What more did Hci want?

I myself suspected that the matter went deeper than Hci's tribal pride and sense of propriety. Alread Canka was a rising young warrior in teh tribe. Already, once, he had served as Blotanhunka, or the leader of the war party. Hci, in spite of his skills and courage, had not yet received such an honor. This may have stung Hci even more as he was the son of Mahpiyasapa, the civil chief of the Isbu. Such leadershipmight have seemed almost owed to one in his position. Yet it had been denied him. I suspected that the reason that Hci had never been given the command of the raiding party was not because he was not admired and liked among the Isbu, nor because his trail and war skills were not respected, by because his judgment was not trusted. The reclessness with which he conducted hismelf and his insouciant disregard of personal danger did not augur well for his capacity to discharge the duties of a responsible leadership.

I did not think, incidentally, that Hci's hostility toward Canka had anything to do with Canka's acquistion of, and ownership of, Winyela, the lovely, white, red-haired female slave, the former Miss Millicent Aubrey-Welles, of Pennsylvania, whom Grunt had brought into the Barrens for Mahpiyasapa, his father. Hci had little use for such slaves, except occasionally to rape and quirt them. Mahpiyasapa, on the other hand, had been extremely displeased that Canka, despite being informed of the intended disposition of the white female, had asserted his war rights of the slave capture, and, desiring her mightily, had taken her for himself. Mahpiyasapa, incidentally, as I have mentioned, was the civil chief of the Isbu.

Among the red savages there are various sorts of chief. The primary types of chief are the war chief, the medicine chief and the civil chief. One may be, interestingly, only one sort of chief at a time. This, like the rotation of police powers among warrior societies, is a portion of the checks and balance. Other checks and blaances are such things as traditon and custom, the closeness of the governed and the governors, multiple-family interrelatednessess, the election of chiefs, the submission of significant matters to a council, and, ultimately, the feasibility of simply leaving the group, in greater or lesser numbers. Despotism, then, in virtue of the insitutions of the red savages, is impractical for them; this impracticality is a much surer guarantee of its absence in a society than the must fervid of negative rhetorics.

"Go," ordered Hci.

"Do you command me as Hci, or as a Sleen Soldier?" asked Cuwignaka, angrily.

"Go," said Hci, menacingly.

"I obey you as a Sleen Soldier," said Cuwignaka. "I will go."

"When the hunt is mounted," said Hci to Cuwignaka, "you may not hunt. You will cut meat with the women."

"That is known to me," said Cuwignaka.

"For you are a woman," said Hci, sneeringly.

"No," said Cuwignaka. "I am a man."

"She is pretty, isn't she?" aske Hci of Grunt.

Grunt did not respond.

"If she does not please you," said Hci to Grunt, "beat her, as you would any other woman." He then turned his mount abruptly about. I heard its paws, suddenly, striking the turf, the sound rapidly diminishing.

"Do not pursue him," said Grunt to Cuwignaka.

"I am a man," said Cuwignaka, angrily.

"That is known to me," said Grunt.

"I must fight him," said Cuwignaka.

"No," said Grunt. "That would not be wise. He is one of the finest of the warriors of the Isbu."

"Rise up, Mitakola, my friend," said Cuwignaka to me. "He is gone."

I rose to my feet, whiping my face with my right forearms. Grunt handed me my clothing and moccasins. I donned them. I again mounted my kaiila.

Hci was now better than two pasangs away, at the finge of the kailiauk.

"Do you not wish to kill him?" aske Cuwignaka, bitterly.

I shrugged. "He was not attacking me," I said. "He was attacking Canka. " Too, I had accepted the collar. In doing thi, I had understood what I was doing. Hci, as would have been any other free person, had been fully within his rights. I had no delusions concerning my stauts. I was a slave.

"Do you not want to kill him?" asked Cuwignaka.

"No," I said.

"I want to kill him," said cuwignaka, bitterly.

"No, you do not," said Grunt. "He is of the Isbu, he is of your own band."

"But I do not have to like him," said Cuwignaka, suddenly, laughing.

"That is true." grinned Grunt.

I looked after Hci. He seemed to be a bitter, driven young man. This had come about, I gathered after his disfigurement. From that time on he had seemed to live for little more than killing and vengeance, not only against the Yellow Knives but against any enemy, or reputed enemy, of the Kaiila.

"He is mad," said Cuwignaka.

"He is bitter," I said.

It interested me that Hci had taken the attitued he had towards his disfigurement. Many warriors would have been little concerned about such a mark, particularly as it did not impair them in any significant fashion. Others might have welcomed it as a sign of bravery, a revelatory token of courage in close combat. Still others might have welcomed it as a savage, brutal enhancement to their appearance. but not so Hci. He, like not a few of the red savages, had been excessively vain about his appearance. Indee, sometimes a young fellow will have his hair greased and braided, and will dress himself in finery and paint, and simply ride about camp, parading, in effect, before his fellow villagers, and, in particular, the maidens. This perhaps somewhat vain but surely splendid sight is not usual in a camp. But no longer, now, would Hci venture forth in such a fashion, displaying himself, and his kaiila and regalia, in the impressive glory of such a primitive promenage. It seemed now he would scarcely show his face but to the men of the tribe, and, in particular, to his brothers of the Sleen Soldiers. The canhpi of the Yellow Knife had done more than strike flesh and bone; it had cut, too, deeply, perhaps unaccountably, or mysteriously, into the vanity, the pride and self image of a man. The difficulty of relating to the disfgurement had perhaps been particularly cruel in Hci's case because he had been, apparently, extremely good-looking before this. Too, of course, he had had five prospects, and had been rich and highly placed in the tribe. He was even the son of Mahpiyasapa, the civil chief of Isbu. Then it seemed he found himself, at least to his own mind, marred, irrevocably, in one bloody moment.

I could no longer see Hci now, in the dust from the kailiauk. Indeed, I could not even, yet, see the end of the great, long, moving mass of animals. Even at the speed at which the animals were traveling, it could take them between four and five Ahn to pass a given point.

The vanity of human beings is interesting. From my own point of view it seemed that Hci retained a great deal of what must once have been an unusual degree of savage handsomeness. The marking of his countenance, though surely not what a fellow would be likely to elect for cosmetic purposes, did not seem to me sufficiently serious to warrant his reaction to it. It might even have been regarded by some, as I have suggested, in the rude heraldry of the plains, as an enhancement to their appearance. Surely the maidens of the Isbu did not seem to find the mark objectionable. Many of them would have been much pleased had Hci, such a splendid warrior, deigned to pay them court. But no longer did Hci come to sit cross-legged outside their lodges, playing the love flute, to lure them forth under the Gorean moons.

"Do not have trouble with Hci," said Grunt to Cuwignaka. "Your brother, Canka, already has difficulties enough with Mahpiyasapa."

"You are right," said Cuwignaka.

I thought of the slender, lovely, red-haired Winyela, the former debutante from Pennsylvania. Canka's slave. She had been brought into the Barrens by Grunt, chained in his coffle, all the way from Kailiauk, near the Ihanke. She was to have been sold to Mahpiyasapa, who was interested in such a woman, white and red-haired, for five hides of the yellow kailiauk. Last year he had, in effect, pt in an order for such a woman, an order which Grunt had agreed, to the best of his ability, to fill.

Cuwignaka and I, and Grunt, then turned our attention to survey the Pte, the kailiauk.

"It seems there is no end to them," I said.

"They are glorious," said Cuwignaka.

"Yes," said Grunt, "glorious." Grunt, short-bodied, thick and muscular, still wore the broad-brimmed hat I remembered so well. Indeed, interestingly, I had never seen him without it.

"We must be going," said Cuwignaka. "We must return to camp."

I looked again in the direction in which Hci had disappeared. He had killed the man who had struck him.

"They are glorious!" exclaimed Cuwignaka, and then he turned his kaiila and descended the small rise, moving towards the camp.

Grunt and I remained for a moment on the rise, gazing on the awsome sight in the distance.

"You are sure?" I asked him.

"Yes," he said, "it is the Bento herd."

"It is early," I said. It was not due in the country of the Kaiila until Kantasawi, the moon in which the plums become red. This was only Takiyuhawi, the moon in which the tabuk rut, or, as some call it, Canpasapawi, the moon in which the chokecherries are ripe.

"Yes," he said. "It is early."

"Why?" I asked.

"I do not know," he said.

We then brought our kaiila about and, descending the rise followed Cuwignaka toward the camp.

Chapter 2

THE PROCESSION OF THE ISANNA

Wasnapohdi, or Pimples, naked, her dark hair loose and wild behind her, strings of glass beads about her throat, put there by Grunt, marking her as his, in the tattered lodge I shared with Cuwignaka, clutched me, gasping, half rearing under me.

"Do not bite," I warned her, "or you will be beaten."

She moaned, I felt her fingernails in my arms.

She sobbed, helplessly, begging wordlessly in my arms for a new thrust.

She had the helpless passion of a woman broken to slavery. I was pleased that Grunt, her master, let me use her. Canka, too, had encouraged me, Grunt being willing, to please myself with her. The desperate tensions of the strong male must be relieved, and well, else health must be replaced with illness, eccentricity or neuriosis. Perhaps the cruelest deprivation which a master or mistress can inflict on a male slave is to deny him access to soft, warm, yielding female flesh. Every strong man needs one or more slaves.

"Finish with her, quickly," said Cuwignaka, entering the lodge. "There is much to see. The Isanna, already, have come to the camp. They are in long lines. You must see them! Too, in moments, the medicine party will go forth to cut the pole. Many are going to accompany them. Hurry!"

Pimples looked at me, wildly, clutching me.

"Hurry! Finish with her!" said Cuwignaka.

My hands were hard on the upper arms of Pimples. I made as though to thrust her from me. TEars sprang into her eyes. She whimpered.

"Hurry!" said Cuwignaka, happily.

Then, ruthlessly, with power, I did master rites upon the helpeless slave, and she lay sobbing, and shuddering, her legs then drawn up, on the robes on the floor of the lodge. I drew on my tunic and slipped into the moccasins. Cuwignaka thrust back the flap at the entrance to the lodge, on its wooden frame. I glanced back into the lodge. The hides, in places, were worn. Here and there tiny pinpricklelike holes admitted spots of light. Light, too, came through the smoke hole at the apex of the lodge. Later in the day we might roll up the sides of the lodge, some four or five feet. The lodge then, open and airy, becomes transformed into little more than a summery canopy. In the winter it can be insulated with a kailiauk-hide liner. I looked back at the girl. Her skin was mottled deeply with red blotches. Her nipples were in lovely erection. The five strands of heavy, cheap glass beads about her throat glinted. They took the light nicely.

"Get dressed, if you wish," I said, "and come with us."

"If master is through with the slave," she said, angrily, "the slave must report back to her master."

"On your hands and knees," I said. I had not cared for her tone of voice.

Frightened, she got on her hands and knees, and looked at me. Would she be lashed? Her breasts depened, beautifully.

I smiled. It is pleasant to see a woman in such a position. It is also a position which is commonly used for neck-chaining them.

She smiled at me.

I returned to the interior of the lodge and lifted her up, to her knees. Our lips met. She kissed me avidly, twice. I pressed her back.

Our eyes met. "A slave is grateful that a maaster deigned to touch her," she whispered.

"You may come with us, if you wish," I assured her.

"Perhaps," she smiled.

"Hurry!" said Cuwignaka, impatiently. "You know she is yours whenever you wish. Grunt has told you as much. Now hurry. There are important things to do!"

I kissed the girl then, and left her behind me. She would get dressed, donning the brief, simple shirtdress of hide she had been given, and report back, head down and kneeling, to Grunt, her master.

"Trhow the hoop, throw the hoop, Tatankasa!" cried out a lad.

I took the hoop and, after two false starts, suddenly flung it to my left. The lad turned swiftly, seeing the movement with his peripheral vision, and fired a small arrow expertly through the rolling object.

"Eca! WEll done!" i cried. I was truly amazed at the little devil's expertise.

"Again! Again, Tatankasa!" cried the little fellow. Such games, of course, have their role to play in honing skills and sharpening reflexes that may be of great importance in adulthood.

"I cannot," I told him.

"Please, Tatankasa!" cried the lad.

"I am a slave," I told him. "I must accompany Cuwignaka."

"Yes," said Cuwignaka, firmly.

"I understand," said the lad. "You are a slave, You must obey."

"Yes," I said.

I then hurried after Cuwignaka, who was almost darting between lodges.

A domestic sleen snarled at me. I gave it a wide berth.

"There!" said Cuwignaka. "There you see!"

"They are the Isanna?" I asked.

"Yes!" said Cuwignaka.

The Isanna was the Litte-Knife Band of the Kaiila. They came from the countries around Council Rock, north of the northern fork of the Kaiila River and west of the Snake, a tributary to the Northern Kaiila. The normal distributions, given food supply and such, of the bands of the Kaiila are usually rather as follows. First, understand that there exists the Kaiila River, flowing generally in a southwestward direction. At a given point, high in the territory of the Kaiila tribe, it branches into two rivers, which are normally spoken of as the Northern Kaiila and the Southern Kaiila. the Snake, flowing in an almost southern direction, is a tributary to the Northern Kaiila. The land of the Napoktan, or Bracelets band of the Kaiila, is east of the Snake, and north of the Northern Kailla, and the Kaiila proper. The Wismahi, or Arrowhead band of the Kaiila, holds the more northern lands in and below, to some extent, the fork of the Kaiila. The Isbu's lands are the more southern lands between the Northern and Southern branches of the Kaiila. The lands of the Casmu, or Sand band of the Kaiila, lie to the west of the Isanna, and to the north and west of the Isbu, above the descending northern branch of the Northern Kaiila. It is not clear, historically, whether the river is named for the red savages through whose territories it tends to flow, or whether the savages have taken their name from the river system. My own suspicion in this matter, borne out by tribal stories, is that the early savages in this area found large herds of wild kaiila roaming the plains. They took, then, probably for medicine reasons, the name of the Kaiila for themselves. Subsequently, one supposes, watercourses originally understood to be, say, the rivers of the Kaiila people, or the rivers in teh country of the Kaiila people, came to be known more simply as the Kaiila River, or Rivers.

"It is a splendid sight!" said Cuwignaka.

"It is," I granted him.

The Isanna Kaiila number betwen some seven and eight hundred. They were now entering the camp, from the east, in long lines in their full regalia. The Casmu, the Wismahi and the Napoktan had already joined the Isbu in the summer gathering. The Casmu numbered in the neighborhood of one thousand; the Wismahi, one of the smaller bands, numbered about five or six hundred. The Isbu was the largest band, containing between sixteen and seventeen hundred members. The Napoktan, which had arrived at the camp only yesterday, ws the smallest of the bands of the Kaiila, numbering between some three and four hundred members. These bands, within their own territores, are often divided into seperate villages or encampments. In a given encampment, usually under a minor chief, there is selcom more than two or three hundred individuals. Indeed, sometimes an encampment contains ony seven or eight families.

"Splendid! Splendid!" said Cuwignaka.

Three or four abreast, in long lines, led by their civil chief, Watonka, One-Who-Is-Rich, and subchiefs and high warriors, the Isanna entered the camp of the Isbu. They carried feathered lances, and war shields and medicine shields, in decorated cases. They carried bow cases and quivers. They were resplendent in finery and paint. Feathers, each one significant and meaningful, in te codes of the Kaiila, recounting their deeds and honors, adorned their hair. Necklaces and rude bracelets glinted in the sun. High-pommeled saddles were polished. Coins and beads hung from the reins. Exploit markings and lucksigns were painted on the flanks and forequarters of their animals, and ribbons and feathers were fixed in the braided, silken manes. Women, too, in thier shirtdresses and knee-length leggings, and beads, bracelets and armbands, and colorful blankets and capes, astride their kaiila, riding as red savages ride, participated in this barbaric parade.

Some of these rode kaiila to which travois were attached. Some had cradles slung about the pommels of their saddles. These cradles, most of them, are essentially wooden frames on which are fixed leather, open-fronted enclosures, opened and closed by lacings, for the infant. The wooden frame projects both above and below the enclosure for the nfant. In particular it contains two sharpened projections at the top, like picket spikes, extending several inches above the point where the baby's head will be located. This is to protect the infant's head in the event the cradle falling, say, from the back of a running kaiila. Such a cradle will often, in such a case, literally stick upside down in the earth. The child, then, laced in the enclosure, protected and supported by it, is seldom injured.

Such cradles, too, vertically, are often hung from a lodge pole or in the brances of a tree. In the tree, of course, the wind, in is rocking motion, can lull the infant to sleep. Older children often ride on the skins stretched betwen travios poles. Sometimes their fathers or mothers carry them before them, on the kaiila. When a child is about six, if his family is well-fixed, he will commonly have his own kaiila. The red savage, particularly the males, will usually be a skilled rider by the age of seven. Bareback riding, incidentally, is common in war and the hunt. In trading and visiting, interestingly, saddles are commonly used. This is perhaps because they can decorate lavishly, adding to one's apperance, and may serve, in virtue of the pommel, primarily, as a suppot for provisions, gifts and trade articles.

"It is a simply splendid," said Cuwignaka, happily.

"Yes," I said.

Children, too, I noted, those not in cradles, greased, their hair braided, their bodies and clothing ornamented, in splendid finery, likeminiature versions of the adults, some riding, some sitting on the skins stretched between travois poles, participated happily and proudly, or bewilderedly, in this handsome procession.

"They are bringing their goods with them," I said. The travois with them were heavily laden, with bundles, and lodge skins and poles. Indeed, the travois poles themselves, when untied and freed from teh kaiila, would be used as lodge poles.

"It is the way our peoples move," said Cuwignaka. Goods would not be left behind, save occasionally in hidden caches.

At the flanks of some of the warriors' kaiila marched stripped white women, in beaded collars. Their wrists were tied behind them. About their throats, on thong loops, below the collars, dangling between their breasts, hung leather, braided kaiila quirts. There was little doubt as to what such women were. I met the eyes of one, and she looked away, tossing her head, disdainfully, in her bonds and collar, the quirt about her neck. She was the property of a red master. I then met the eyes of another. This one, too, looked away, but she did so quickly, fearfully. She was very frightened. I gathered that she was terribly afraid of her master. She did not so much as dare to look at another man. These girls had both been blond. So, too, I noted, were most of the other such women.

"The two-legged, female animals here are mostly blond," I said to Cuwignaka.

"Yes," he said. "They are being displayed."

I nodded. Such a hair color is a rarity in the Barrens. I supposed the woemn understood clearly that they, like the silver pendants tied in the manes, like the coins fastened on the reins, like the saddles inlaid with gold, with golden wire wrapped about the pommels, were being displayed as protions of the wealth of the Isanna.

"The others," said Cuwignaka, "stripped, are kept in small heards, with the kaiila, outside the camp, watched over by boys."

"I understand," I said. The Isanna would probably see little point in marching more familiar types, more common women, before the Isbu.

I saw another blonde moving by. She was half stumbling, half being dragged along, weeping, on a short neck tether, not more than five feet long. She was, I would guess, about seventeen. The tether was in the first of a red master. I did not think he was more than eighteen years of age. He was moving his kaiila quickly, along the side of the lines, probably hurrying to occupy his designated place in the procession. He was not gentle with is lovely property. She was crying. She seemed new to her collar. I suspected she had not been a slave long. She was a survivor, perhaps, of the wagon train which had been attacked several days ago. She was doubtless still in the process of learning her new purposes in life. I saw no woman with the Isanna, incidentally, who had a hair color remotely like that of the slender, lovely Winyela, Canka's slave. I wondered if she knew the extent to which she was a prize in the Barrens.

"Mahpiyasapa is going to greet Watonka," said Cuwignaka. "Let us hrry forward, that we may see."

I was not at all certain that this was a good idea, but I accompanied Cuwignaka. He was so young, so insuppressible, so elated to be again with the Isbu, his people, that, I think, he did not soberly consider whether or not he would be likely to be welcome at such an encounter, even as a bystander.

Mahpiyasapa, Black Clouds, civil chief of the Isbu, greeted Watonka, One-Who-Is-Rich, on foot, welcoming him officially to the Isbu camp. This honor accorded him, Watonka dismounted. The two men embraced. About them were gathered medicine men and high warriors. With Mahpiyasapa were his son, Hci, and members of the Sleen Soldiers. Canka, too, was there, and several of the All Comrades. Chiefs and representatives of the Casmu, Napoktan and Wismahi, too, were present. Among them I saw Kahintokapa, One-Who-Walks-Before, of the Casmu, and two other members, as well, of the prestigious Yellow-Kaiila Riders.

"Greetings, Iwoso," said Cuwignaka. "How beautiful you have become."

He had spoken to a girl who was standing near the stirrup of another girl, mounted on a kaiila. The standing girl, to whom Cuwignaka had spoken, had come with the Isanna. She had come walking at stirrup of the mounted girl. She wore a rather plain shirtdress, with knee-length leggings and moccasins. Her braided hair was tied with red cloth. There were glass beads about her neck. She was quite lovely. The girl on the kaiila, too, was very lovely, indeed, perhaps even more lovely than she afoot. but her beauty, in any event, was much enhanced by her finery. Her dress was a soft-tanned hide, almost white, fringed into which, about the breasts and shoulders, were worked intricate patterns of yellow and red beading. Her leggings and moccasins were similarly decorated. Her braided hair, glossy and long, was bound with silver string. Two golden bracelets adorned her left wrist. She wore two necklaces of beads, and another on which were threaded tiny, heavy tubes and pendants, spaced intermittently, of silver and gold. Across her forehead hung a tiny silver chain on which were tiny silver droplets.

"You, too, Bloketu," said Cuwignaka, looking up at the mounted girl.

"Do not speak to my maiden," said the girl on the kailla.

"Iwoso is a Yellow Knife," said Cuwignaka. "She was taken when she was twelve. Bloketu is the daughter of Watonka."

"I see," I said. The girl, Iwoso, did not wear a collar. I had suspected, however, from the plainness of her dress, the fact that she was on foot, with the Isanna, and seemed clearly in attendance on the girl astride the kaiila, that she was not of the Isanna, but was, rather, one owned by them, or, at least, living with them.

"Iwoso has high status with the Isanna," said Cuwignaka. "You can see that she is not even collared."

"Yes," I said. The name 'Iwoso', incidentally, means "Pouting Lips." Her lips, on the other hand, were not protursive. The name, thusly, I conjectured, might once have been given to her for other than anatomical reasons. Probably she had once been sullen or petulant. She had then discovered that, by the decision of her master or mistress, she was "Pouting Lips." The expression 'Bloketu', incidentally, the name of the girl on the kaiila, the daughter of the Isanna cheiftain, Watonka, means «Summer» or "Summertime."

"What have we here?" asked Watonka, chieftain of the Isanna.

"I do not know her," said Bloketu, not deigning to look upon Cuwignaka.

"From the summer dances, long ago," said Cuwignaka. "You remember me, surely. I was Petuste. I found flowers for you. We rode kaiila together."

"Perhaps my maiden remembers you," said the girl. 'Petuste' means "Firebrand." More broadly, of course, it can refer to any piece of burning wood. He was the brother of Canka, of course, Fire-Steel. This was the first time I had ever heard the former name of Cuwignaka.

"Do you remember her, Iwoso?" asked the girl on the kaiila of the girl at her stirrup.

"No," said Iwoso.

"Iwoso!" protested Cuwignaka.

"You see," said Bloketu, from the height of the saddle, "you are not remembered."

"Who is she?" inquired Watonka.

"A shame of the Isbu," said Mahpiyasapa. He was still furious with Canka, who had seen fit, in virtue of capture rights, muchly desiring her, to put his collar on the lovely Winyela.

"Obviously she is only a female of the Isbu," said one of the men with Watonka.

"Go away," said Canka to Cuwignaka, angrily. "You do us shame."

"That is her brother," said Hci to one of the Isanna. "He has such a one for a sister, and yet was permitted to serve as Blotanhunka for the All Comrades."

"Oh?" said the man.

"Yes," said Hci.

"Bewear, Hci!" said Canka.

"Of what?" asked Hci. "Do I not speak the truth?"

Canka clenched his fists, in fury.

"What do you think of one who takes a woman brought into our contry to be sold to his cheiftain?" aske Mahpiyasapa of Watonka.

"I think such a one should be punished." said Watonka. "Then the woman should be given to the chief."

"I was within my rights," said Canka.

"Let me, and the Sleen Soldiers, punish him," said Hci. "Let us destroy his lodge and break his weapons. Then we will bring you the woman naked, and tied in leather."

"I will think on it," said mahpiyasapa.

"I was within my rights," said Canka.

"Deliver the woman to me," said Mahpiyasapa.

"No," said Canka. "She is mine."

"Perhaps I will take her," said Mahpiyasapa. "I will think on it."

"She is mine," said Canka.

Mahpiyasapa shrugged. "If I want," he said, "I will take her."

Canka, in fury, turned about and strode from the group.

"Beware of an angry young man," said Watonka to Mahpiyasapa. Hci looked after Canka.

"Perhaps you will come sew with us sometime," said Bloketu, loftly and beautiful on the kaiila, to Cuwignaka.

Cuwignaka did not respond to her.

"Isn't she pretty, Iwoso?" asked Bloketu.

"Yes," said Iwoso.

"I wonder if she is the sort of woman who must please warriors," said Bloketu.

Cuwignaka regarded her with fury. I saw that he would not have minded teaching the lofty Bloketu something about the pleasing of men.

"Perhpas," laughed Iwoso.

This, too, stung Cuwignaka. He, Kaiila, did not care to be the butt of the humor of one who, when all was said and done, was naught but a slave.

"You were told to go away," said Hci to Cuwignaka. "Dose a sister not obey her brother?"

"He is my older brother," said Cuwignaka. "I will go away." He then turned and left. I followed him. Behind us we heard the laughter of the two girls.

"It was a mistake," I told him, when we were between the lodges, "to intrude yourself so closely upon the meeting of the Isanna and Isbu."

"Not at all," said Cuwignaka. "How often does such a meeting take place? Who would wish to miss it? Too, I wanted to see the white slaves, and Bloketu and Iwoso."

"You have feelings towards such women?" I asked.

"Yes," said Cuwignaka. "I would like to own them. In my quirt, if necessary, teach them to obey me well."

"What of Bloketu and Iwoso?" I asked.

"If they were slaves," said Cuwignaka, "I would strip them and teach them, like the slaves they would then be no different from others, to obey me well."

"Would you quirt them?" I asked.

"Of course," said Cuwignaka. "If they were even the least bit displeasing they, like the others, would be well quirted."

"Iwoso is already a slave," I said.

"Yes," said Cuwignaka, "in a sense. But she is really almost free. She is a girl's maiden."

"That is true," I said. Iwoso did not even wear a collar.

"Where are you going?" I asked.

"After the hunt," said Cuwignaka, "the great dance will be held."

I had to walk quickly to keep up with Cuwignaka.

"Where are you going now?" I asked Cuwignaka.

"To see the cutting of the pole," he said.

"Where does this take place?" I asked. I did not understand what was going on.

"This year it is only three pasangs from camp," he said.

"I do not understand," I said.

"This year," Cuwignaka, "I am going to dance. I am going to show them I am a man."

"The pole," I said, "is used in this dance?"

"Of course," said Cuwignaka.

"Should we not get the kaiila?" I asked.

"It is better for such as us to go afoot," said Cuwignaka.

"But others will be mounted?" I asked.

"Yes," said Cuwignaka.

"Who will be coming?" I asked.

"The Isanna are now here," said Cuwignaka. "Many will come, from Isbu, from the Casmu, from the Wismahi, from the Napoktan, from the Isanna."

"Who will select the pole?" I asked.

"The medicine chief of the dance," said Cuwignaka. "This year it is Cancega, of the Casmu." 'Cancega' here, I think, would be best translated as "Drum." More literally, it is a skin stretched over a hoop. The expression 'cega', itself, may refer to a kettle, a pot, a pail, a bucket, or so on. 'Cancega', then, in a sense, could be taken to mean such things as "Kettle Skin," or "Pot Skin." The translation "Drum," all things considered, seems to be the best in this context.

"Who will cut down this pole," I asked, "chieftains?"

"No," laughed Cuwignaka. "How little you understand these things!"

I shrugged.

"Do you not understand the meaning of the pole?"

"No," I said.

"It is a pole," said Cuwignaka, "a great pole."

"Yes?" I said.

"Who, then, must begin its preparation for the great manhood dance?" asked Cuwignaka.

"I do not know," I said.

"A captive female," said Cuwignaka.

"Would a slave do?" I asked.

"That is ideal," said Cuwignaka, "provided she is not Kaiila."

"Has it been decided," I asked, "who will perform this crucial role in the ceremony?"

"Yes," said Cuwignaka. "A suitable slave has been selected."

In a few moments we had left the vicinity of the lodges and were making our way across the fields. We passed some kaiila herds. Too, we passed some small herds of stripped white women, huddled together. Each wore a beaded collar. These women were mostly brunets. They had been brought in by the Isanna, with their kaiila. They had not been regarded as being desirable enough to be displayed in the procession of the Isanna. Boys, mounted on kaiila, watched out over these herds, including those of the women. The boys carried rawhide ropes, and whips.

Chapter 3

THE POLE

"How beautiful she is," said Cuwignaka.

"Yes," I said.

My breath was almost taken away by the incredible beauty of the former Miss Millicent Aubrey-Welles, once a debutante from Pennsylvania. She was slender and lovely. She was fairly complexioned and had delicately beautiful and sensitive featuers. She was exquisitely feminine. The slavers who had originally selected her to wear a Gorean collar had known their business. She was dressed, and adorned, in all the colorful, glittering, striking barbaric richness, in all the impressiveness and splendor, in all the festive display, fit for feasts and dances, of a red-savage female. Even the daughters of chieftains, such as Bloketu, the daughter of Watonka, might have envied her the sumptuousness and glory of her raiment. Her long shirtdress of soft-tanned tabuk hide was almost white. Soo, too, were her knee-length leggings and moccasins. These things, too, were painted with designs, and fringed. Her hair, red, radiant in the sun, had been braided in the fashion of the red savages. It was tied with golden string. Necklaces of shells and beads, and ornaments and trinkets, and pierced coins, of gold and silver, hung about her neck. On her wrists, visible within the capelike sleeves of the shirtdress, were silver bracelets. To look at her one might not have thought she was a slave. To be sure, her wrists were tied behind her back, and on her thorat, leading to riders on each side of her, were two rawhide tethers. Detectable, but inconspicuous among all this finery, thrust up under her chin, above the tethers, was a beaded collar. It was Canka's. It was to him that she, in the final analysis, belonged.

"That is Cancega," whispered Cuwignaka to me.

A man was now riding slowly forward, alone, toward some trees a few hundred yards away. Lines of such trees, in the Barrens, and low, sloping geodesics, watersheds, tend to mark, often, the location of the tiny stream which occur in the country. Such streams, in this area, would be tributary to the Lower, or Southern, Kaiila. At this time of year, of course, they would be little more than trickles of water.

Indeed, at this time of year, a man could wade the Southern Kaiila. Later in the year, in Kantasawi, many small streams would be dry altogether and even major rivers, like the Southern Kaiila itself, would seem little more than pools of water in a riverbed. The body of Cancega, clad in little more than a breechclout and a roach of feathers, was covered with medicine paint. In his hand he carried a long, feathered medicine wand.

"The five high coups have already been taken," said Cuwignaka.

"What are they?" I asked.

"They young men, more than a hundred of them, selected from the bands, sent ahead days ago, as soon as the Pte were sighted, have ridden for the tree."

"I do not understand," I said.

"It is a race," said Cuwignaka. "They are lined up. The first five men who strike the tree, with thier hand, or with a canhpi, a lance or coup stick, obtain high coups."

"Did Canka or Hci participate in this race?" I asked.

"No," said Cuwignaka. "Both of them, in former years, have obtained such a coup."

"The group is advancing," I said.

"We shall accompany them," said Cuwignaka.

We then walked along with the group, some mounted and some, like ourselves, on foot, who, in effect, were following Cancega.

"Cancega seems to be a very important fellow," I said.

"He is more importatnt than you understand," said Cuwignaka. "At this time, during the festivals, he is in charge of the whole camp. We listen to him. We do what he says."

"He is, then," I said, "at this time, in effect, the chief of all the Kaiila."

"I do not think I would put it just that way," said Cuwignaka, somwhat defensively. "The civil chiefs, in deferring to him, are not really relinquishing their power."

"I see the distnction," I said. "Do all the Kaiila ever have but one chief?"

"Sometimes a war chief is elected," said Cuwignaka. "In a sense, then, he is the high chief."

"But a war chief cannot be a civil chief," I said.

"No," said Cuwignaka. "It is better, we think, to keep those things apart."

"That is interesting," I said.

"One may, of course, at different times, be a war chief and a civil chief," said Cuwignaka.

"I understand," I said.

"Sometimes a man is good at both," said Cuwignaka, "but they are still different things."

"I understand," I said.

"And, generally, I think," said Cuwignaka, "that it would be only a very unusual man who would be good at both."

"Perhaps," I said.

"They are very different sorts of things," said Cuwignaka.

"That seems to me right," I said.

In moments we, with the others, were splashing across a narrow, shallow stream. I could see pebbles in the bottom of this stream. The Southern, or Lower, Kaiila, like the other larger rivers in the Barrens, however, bearing witness to the accumulation of silts, would be brown and muddy.

On the other side of the stream Canega, and most of his fellows, dismounted, their kaiila being held to the side.

Cancega, then, began a slow, shuffling dance. Two others, near him, also with roaches of feathers, shaking rattles, joined him. The focal point of this dance, which wove back and forth, in a fanlike motion, before it, was a high, white-barked tree. Cancega repeated, over and over, carrying the medicine wand, and dancing, "It is the tree." The other two fellows, who had joined him, with the rattles, would add a refrain, "It is tall and straight." This refrain, too, was sometimes echoed by those about us.

Winyela, her hands bound behind her, and her neck in the tethers, in her finery, watched.

I could see the marks of varios weapons in the bark of the tree where, perhaps two or three days ago, the young men had charged to it, to be the first to reach it, in their race for coups.

"It is the tree!" suddenly cried Cancega, rushing to the tree and striking it with the medicine wand.

"It is tall and straight!" shouted the two seconds, in the dance, and most of the others, as well, including my friend, Cuwignaka.

Two men rushed to Winyela and untied her hands. She was pushed forward, the tethers still on her neck, but now rather behind her.

A long-handled, single-balded ax was pressed into her hands. It was a trade ax. Its back was blunted, for the driving of pegs, stakes and wedges. It was heavy for her.

"You should not be here," said a man to Cuwignaka. "This is no place for free women."

"I am a man," said Cuwignaka.

The man shrugged.

I looked about. To be sure, there were no women present, with the exception of the lovely Winyela.

She began, under the direction of Cancega, and others, to strike at the lower portions of the tree.

I wondered why there were no free women present. Could it be that something was to occur which was regarded as not being suitable, perhaps, for the sensibilities of free women?

Winyela continued to chop at the tree.

It was some twenty-five to thirty feet in height, but it was not, really, a large tree. Its trunk was slim and polelike, and surely only some eight to ten inches in width. A man, working with such a tool, would have felled it in a matter of moments. Winyela, of course, was neither a man nor a woodsman. She was only a lovely slave. Her hands were widely spaced on the ax handle, and her blows were short. Cancega and the others, interestingly, in spite of the fact that she was a slave, were patient with her. To be sure, she had enough sense not to beg to rest. The necklaces and ornaments she wore rustled and shimmered, making tiny sounds, as she labored. I supposed it was the first time in her life she had had such an implement in her hands. They are seldom used by debutantes from Pennsylvania nor, of course, by Gorean slave girls.

I saw Canka ride up, on his kaiila. He had come, apparently, from the camp. She looked at him, the tethers on her neck. He indicated that she should continue to work.

In a moment there was a cracking noise, and then, after a few more blows, a splintering, rending sound as the tree tipped, and then, its branches striking the earth, fell. Five last blows were struck, cutting the last fibers and wood, and the trunk, freed, laid level, a yard above the ground, held in place by branches and foliage.

The men grunted with approval. The ax was removed from Winyela's hands and she was dragged back and knelt, her knees closely together, on the ground. The two men who held her tethers now stood beside her, the slack in the tethers, looped, now taken up, the rawhide loops in their fists.

"What occurs now?" I asked Cuwignaka.

"Watch," said he to me.

Several of the men, now, under the direction of Cancega, began to remove the branches and bark from the felled tree. Two forks were left, one about eighteen feet high and the other about twenty-three feet high. This was to allow for the pole later being set in the earth, within the enclouser of the dance, set among its supporting stakes, to a depth of some seven or eight feet. These forks would then be, respectively, about ten and fifteen feet high.

The slim trunk of the tree, with its forks, stripped of its bark, was now long, smooth and white.

It was set in two stout tripods of branches, about a yard above the ground.

Paint was brought forth, in a small clay vessel. The girl, too, was again brought forward.

It was she, herself, with the paint, the slave, who must proclaim that the poke was Kaiila. In this type of application of paint, on wood, over a large surface, or bands of a large surface, a brush of chopped, twisted grass is used. The paint itself was red. This red was probably obtained from the powered earths or clays. It may also, of course, have been obtained from crushed rock, containing oxides of iron. Some reds, too, may be obtained from boiled roots.

Winyela, in her finery, the beautiful, delicate, red-haired, white slave girl, under the direction of Cancega, medicine chief of the summer camp of all the Kaiila, carefully, obediently, frightened, applied the red paint. "It is Kaiila," chanted many of the men about, as she did this. Thrice did Winyela, with the brush, as the pole was turned in the tripods, scarletly band the rotated surface. "It is Kaiila," chanted the men. She was then drawn back, the paint and brush removed from her, and again knelt, her knees closely together, the two tethers on her throat.

The three scarlet bands of paint were bright on the white pole. Scarlet bands, in number from one to five, are commonly used by Kaiila warriors to mark their weapons, in particular their lances and arrows. To this mark, or marks, then, will be added the personal design, or pattern, of the individual warrior. An arrow then, say, may be identified not only as Kaiila, but, within the tribe, or band, as the arrow of a particular warrior.

The Kaiila, incidentally, in the Barrens, are generally known as the "Cutthroat tribe." The bands, then, generally by outsiders, and usually even among the Kaiila themselves, are supposed to have this sort of significance. I have met Kaiila, however, who have denied this entire line of interpretation.

They call my attention to the fact that the Kaiila themselves seldom, among themselves, think of themselves as the "Cutthroat tribe." They think of themselves as being the Kaiila, or the people of the Kaiila. Similarly they point out that a symbolic representation of a cut throat should surely be a single slash, not one or more encircling bands. The true origin, then, of the encircling bands, I suppose, is lost in history. The bands, incidentally, are usually three in number. This suggests to me that they might originaly have been thought to be phallic in significance. The number three, as is well known, is often thought to be a very special number. this probably has to do, of course, with the triune nature of the male genitals.

The paint was bright on the pole.

The three bands, each about four of five inches in width, and separated also by such distances, were painted in such a way that the bottom ring, or band, was about seven and a half to eight and a half feet from the base of the pole. Thus, when the pole was set in the ground, amidst its supporting stakes, these circles would be at the visible base, or root, of the pole. Too, they would be beneath the belt of an encircling dancer.

"It is Kaiila!" shouted the men.

The neck tethers were then removed from Winyela. I gathered that her part in the ceremony was not concluded.

Suddenly the girl screamed.

I tensed.

"Do not interfere," said Cuwignaka.

The hands of men, then, were at the necklaces about her throat, the ornaments. Her moccasis and leggings were removed. The golden strings were untied, and taken, which had bound her hair. Her hair was rapidly and deftly unbraided. The silver bracelets were slipped from her wrists. The soft-tanned shirtdress, with its designs, and beading and fringe, was then thrust over her head and pulled away. She now knelt absolutely naked, save for Canka's collar, among the men. Her knees were clenched closely together. Her hair, now loose, radiant in the sun, was spread and smoothed down her back. She was very white. She almost shone in the sun. Not only was she quite fairly complexioned but, prior to her being adorned in her finery, now removed from her, she had been washed, and clipped, and groomed and scrubbed, apparently, as thoroughly and carefully as a prize kaiila.

"She is quite beautiful," said Cuwignaka.

"Yes," I said.

The girl whimpered as the two rawhide tethers were now, again, tied on her throat, belowl Canka's collar.

"What is to be done with her now?" I asked.

"Observe," said Cuwignaka.

"Oh," cried the girl. One of the men, behind her, had thrown dust upon her. "Oh!" she sobbed, as two men, rather in front of her, one on each side, tossed, each, a double handful of dust upon her. She closed her eyes, and shrank back, for Cancega, with a shallow, rounded box, was crouching before her. Teh box contained some sort of black paste, or grease. She shuddered as Cancega, taking the material on his fingertips, applied it to her cheeks. He made three dark lines, about a finger's width each, on each cheek. these were signs, I supposed, for the Kaiila. Then he rubbed the material elsewhere, in smudges, upon her body, on her arms, and back, and breasts and belly, and on the tops of her thighs, on her calves, and then, thrusting his hand between them, on the interior of her thighs.

The girl regarded him, frightened, as he, intent, did this work.

He then stood up.

She knelt at his feet, looking up at him, frightened, her knees now again pressed closely together.

Two men, with kaiila quirts, now stood behind the girl. She was not aware of their presence.

I then realized what the men, doubtless, had in mind.

I smiled.

"Oh!" cried the girl, frightened, dismayed, as Cancega suddenly, with his foot, forced her knees widely apart. She did not dare close them. She now, for the first time in the afternoon, knelt as a slave.

Then, suddenly, the two men with the kaiila quirts struck her across the back and, before she could do more than cry out, she was, too, pulled to her feet and forward, on the two tethers.

She then stood, held by the tethers, wildly, before the pole.

Cancga pointed to the pole.

She looked at him, bewildered. Then the quirts, again, struck her, and she cried out in pain.

Cancega again pointed to the pole.

Winyela then put her head down and took the ple in her small hands, and kissed it, humbly.

"Yes," said Cancega, encouraging her. "Yes."

Again Winyela kissed the pole.

"Yes," said Cancega.

Winyela then heard the rattles behind her, giving her her rhythm. These rattles were then joined by the fifing of whistles, shrill and high, formed from the wing bones of the taloned Herlit. A small drum, too, then began to sound. Its more accented beats, approached subtly but predictably, instructed the helpless, lovely dancer as to the placement and timing of the more dramatic of her demonstrations and motions.

"It is the Kaiila," chanted the men.

Winyela danced. There was dust upon her hair and on her body. On her cheeks were the three bars of grease that marked her as the property of the Kaiila. Grease, too, had been smeared liberally upon her body. No longer was she a shining beauty. She was now only a filthy slave, an ingnoble animal, something of no account, something worthless, obviously, but nonetheless permitted, in the kindness of the Kaiila, a woman of another people, to attempt to please the pole.

I smiled.

Was this not suitable? Was this not appropriate for her, a slave?

Winyela, kissing the pole, and caressing it, and moving about it, and rubbing her body against it, under the directions of Cancega, and guided sometimes by the tethers on her neck, continued to dance.

I whistled softly to myself.

"Ah," said Cuwingnaka.

"It is the Kaiila!" chanted the men.

"I think the pole will be pleased," I said.

"I think a rock would be pleased," said Cuwignaka.

"I agree," I said.

Winyela, by the neck tethers, was pulled against the pole. She seized it, and writhed against it, and licked at it.

"It is the Kaiila!" chanted the men.

"It is the Kaiila!" shouted Cuwignaka.

A transofrmation seemed suddenly to come over Winyela. This was evinced in her dance.

"She is arouse," said Cuwignaka.

"Yes," I said.

She began, then, helplessly, to dance her servitude, her submission, her slavery. The dance, then, came helplessly for the depths of her. The tethers pulled her back from the pole and she reached forth for it. She struggled to reach it, writhing. Bit by bit she was permitted to near it, and then she embraced it. She climed, then, upon the pole. There her dance, on her knees, her belly and back, squirming and clutching, continued.

I looked to Canka. He was a few yards away, astride his kaiila. He rode bareback. This is common in short rides about the village, or in going out to check kaiila. The prestige of the saddle, and its dressiness, is not required in local errands or short jaunts. Similarly, in such trips its inconvenience may be dispensed with. He watched Winyela dance. His dark eyes shone. He knew he was her master.

Winyela now knelt on the pole and bent backwards, until her hair fell about the wood, and then she slipped her legs down about the pole behind her head. She reared helplessly on the pole, and writhed upon it, almost as though she might have been chained to it, and then, she turned about and lay on the pole, on her stomach, her thighs gripping it, her hands pushing her body up, and away from the pole, and then, suddenly, moving down about the trunk, bringing her head and shoulders down. Her red hair hung about the smooth, white wood. Her lips, again and again, pressed down upon it, in helpless kisses.

"She is quite good, the slave," said Cuwignaka.

"Yes," I said.

"She has not been trained to do this, has she?" asked Cuwignaka.

"Not to my knowledge," I said. It seemed to me rather unlikely that debutantes from high society would be trained to perform the supplication and passion dances of slave girls.

"It is instinctual in a woman," said Cuwignaka.

"I think so," I said. It seemed to me not unlikely, for many reasons, having to do with sexual selection, in particular, that such behaviors were, at least in broad outlines, genetically coded. Behaviors can be selected for, of course, and tendencies to behaviors, as well as such things as the color of hair and eyes. This is evident from the data of ethology. A woman's acquisition of the skills of erotic dance, incidentally, like those of a child's linguistic skills, follows an unusually sharp learning curve. This suggests that the rudiments of such dance, or the readiness for it, like the capacity, at least, for the rapid and efficient acquisition of language, is genetically coded. Sex, and human nature, may not be irrelevant to biology.

"Superb," said Cuwignaka.

"Yes," I said.

Winyela, helplessly, piteously, danced her obeisance to the great pole, and, in this, to her masters, and to men.

"Look," said Cuwignaka.

"Yes," I said "Yes!"

I well understood, now, why free women could not be permitted to see such a dance. It was the dance of a slave. How horrified, how scandalized, they would have been. Better that they not even know such things could exist. Such dances, that such tihngs could be, are doubtless best kept as the secrets of masters and slaves. Too, how furious, how outraged, they would be, to see how beautiful, how exciting and desirable another woman could be, a thousand times more beautiful, exciting and desirable than themselves, and one who has naught but a slave. But then how could any free woman compete with a slave, one who is truly mastered and owned?

I watched Winyela dance.

It was easy to see how free women could be almost insanely jealous of slaves, and how they could hate them so, so inordinately and deeply. Too, it was little wonder that slaves, helpless in their collars, so feared and dreaded free women.

"The slave dances well," said Cuwignaka.

"Yes," I said.

In her dance, of course, Winyela was understood to be dancing not only her personal slavery, which she surely was, but, from the point of view of the Kaiila, in the symboism of the dance, in the medicine of the dance, that the women of enemies were fit to be no more than the slaves of the Kaiila. I did not doubt but what the Fleer and the Yellow Knives, and other peoples, too, might have similar ceremonies, in which, in one way or another, a similar profession might take place, there being danced or enacted also by a woman of another group, perhaps even, in those cases, by a maiden of the Kaiila. I, myself, saw the symbolism of the dance, and, I think, so, too, did Winyela, in a pattern far deeper than that of an ethnocentric idiosyncrasy. I saw the symbolism as being in accord with what is certainly one of the deepest and most pervasive themes of organic nature, that of dominance and submission. In the dance, as I chose to understand it, Winyela danced the glory of life and the natural order; in it she danced her submission to the might of men and the fulfillment of her own femaleness; in it she danced her desire to be owned, to feel passion, to give of herself, unstintingly, to surrender herself, rejoicing, to service and love.

"It is the Kaiila!" shouted the men.

"It is the Kaiila!" shouted Cuwignaka.

Winyela was dragged back, toward the bottom of the pole, on its tripods. There she was knelt down. The two men holding her neck tethers slipped the rawhide, between their first and the girl's neck, under their feet, the man on her left under his right foot. But already Winyela, of her own accord, breathing deeply from the exertions of her dance, and trembling, had put her head to the dirt, humbly, before the pole. Then the tension on the two tethers was increased, the rawhide on her neck being drawn tight under the feet of her keepers. I do not think winyela desired to rise her head. But now, of course, she could not have done so had she wished. It was held in place. I think this is the way she would have wanted it. This is what she would have chosen, to be owned, to serve, to be deprived of choice.

The men about slapped their thighs and grunted their approval. The music stopped. The tethers were removed from Winyela's neck. She then, tentatively, lifted her head. It seemed now she was forgotten. Her garments and jewelry, rolled in a bundle, were tied in what would be the lower fork of the pole. Two other objects, on long thongs, which were wrapped about the higher fork, were placed in the higher fork. Later, when the pole was set in the enclosure of the dance, the tongs would be unwrapped and the two objects would hang beside the pole. Both were of leather. One was an image of a kailiauk. The other was an image of a man. The image of the man had an exaggerated phallus, thrust forth and nearly as long as an arm, of a sort common in primitive art. I was reminded by these things of the midicine of the pole, and of the great forthcoming dance, projected to take place about it. The medicine of the pole and dance had intimately to do, obviously, with such things as hunting, fertility and manhood. To the red savages the medicine world is very real.

"You may get up," said Cuwignaka to Winyela. She was looking about herself, bewildered, apparently forgotten. She rose up and went to the side of Canka, astride his kaiila, her master. Men were lowering the medicing pole to the ground and breaking apart the tripods. Ropes had been put on the pole. Then, preceded by Cancega, with his medicine wand, uttering formulas, followed by his two seconds, with thier rattles, the pole, pulled on its ropes, being drawn by several kaiila, was dragged toward the camp.

"You were very beautiful, Winyela," said Canka.

"Thank you, Master," she said.

He put down his hand and drew her up, before him, both her legs to the left side, to the back of the Kaiila. He then held he rin place, before him. He wore only his breechclout, moccasins and knife.

"I am so dirty," she said. "Surely you will not want me to touch your body."

But he held her to him, possesively. One arm was about her shoulders, the other beneath her thighs. She looked small in his arms, on the kaiila.

"I am so ashamed," she said, "how I must have looked, how I acted."

I remembered that she was from Earth, with its foolish, irrational negativistic conditionings, largely a heritage from the teachings of celibate lunatics. How pernicious can be the infected, poisonous heirlooms of madmen.

"In your dance," said Canka, "you were not ashamed."

"No," she said. "It was almost as thought I were another. I was sensuous, brazen, bold and free."

"Free?" asked Canka, smiling.

"Surely Master knows that of all women it is only a total slave who can be truly free."

Canka smiled. In one sense, of course, the slave has no freedom whatsoever. She has no rights, and is totally and absolutely owned. In another sense, of course, she is the most free of women.

"I am not truly ashamed," said the girl.

"I know," said Canka.

"Rather, I am shamelessly proud and happy," she said.

"Good," said Canka. "That is how it should be."

"I am only a slave," she said.

"That is true," said Canka.

"It is your collar which is on my neck, Master," she said.

"Yes," said Canka.

"I am your slave," she said.

"Yes," said Canka.

"I love you, Master," she said. "Do you care for me, perhaps, just a little?"

"Perhaps," said Canka.

She nestled back, in his arms.

"What are you going to do with me now, Master?" she asked.

"I am going to take you to my lodge," said Canka. "There I will use you, many times."

"Ho, Itancanak," she said. "Yes, Master."

Canka then moved his heels back into the flanks of the kaiila and, guiding it with his knees, turned it back towards the village.

Chapter 4

THE KAIILA WILL GO FORTH FOR THE HUNT

"It is nearly time. Awaken!" said Cuwignaka, shaking my shoulder. "Soon we will be going out."

I rolled over in the robes and opened my eyes. I could see the poles sloping together over my head, the encircling hides. The sky was still almost dark, visible through the smoke hole.

"Hurry," said Cuwignaka.

I thrust back the robes, and sat up. In the half darkness I saw Cuwignaka pull his dress over his head. He stood up, then, and straightened it on his body, and pulled down the hem. He had, a few days ago, torn away the sleeves. Prior to that, even on the feild of battle, weeks ago, he had shortened it, and ripped it at the left thigh, to give himself greater freedom of movement. Males of the red savages, incidentally, commonly sleep naked. I, too, was naked, save that I wore Canka's collar. As a slave I was not permitted to remove it. It must stay on me. Collars are, of course, sometimes removed from slaves. This is often the case, for example, when they are sold or given away. Too, however, they may be removed at other times, for other purposes. It can be done, of course, solely on the decision, and will, of free persons. A given individual may, for example, for one reason or another, not want others to know that a given woman is his slave. Accordingly, she may wear her collar only in his lodge.

This is analogous to the secret slaveries which sometimes exist on Earth, where a woman, returning home, kneels and waits to be collared. How startled would be the fellows in the office to discover that the trimly figured, luscious coworker of theirs, to them seemingly so cool, aloof and inaccessible, is at home another man's slave. Too, how startled would be the women in certain neighborhoods, or certain organizations and groups, to discover that one of their most popular neighbors, or prominent members, is, in the privacy of her own dwelling, a slave. Alerted by a code word in a seemingly innocent phone call, she prepares herself for her master. She bathes herself and combs herself. She makes herself up. She applies perfume. When he arrives home she is awaiting him, naked, kneeling, on the slave mat, at the foot of his bed, her collar before her. "Greetings, Master," she says. She then lifts the collar in her teeth, that he may put it on her.

"Wakapapi," said Cuwignaka to me. This is the Kaiila word for pemmican. A soft cake of this substance was pressed into my hands. I crubled it. In the winter, of course, such cakes can be frozen solid. One then breaks them into small piexes, warms them in one's hands and mouth, and eats them bit by bit. I lifted the crumbled pemmican to my mouth and ate of it. There are various ways in which pemmican may be prepared, depending primarily on what one adds into the mixture, in the way of herbs, seasonings and fruit. A common way of preparing it is as follows. Strips of kailiauk meat, thinly sliced and dried on poles in the sun, are pounded fine, almost to a powder. Crushed fruit, usually, chokecherries, is them added to the meat. The whole, then, is mixed with, and fixed by, kailiauk fat, subsequently, usually, being divided into small, flattish, rounded cakes. The fruit sugars make this, in its way, a quick-energy food, while the meat, of course, supplies valuable, long-lasting stamina protein. This, like the dried meat, or jerky, from which it is made, can be eaten either raw or cooked. It is not uncommon for both to be carried in hunting or on war parties. Children will also carry it in their play. The thin slicing of the meat not only abets its preservation, effected by time, the wind and sun, but makes it impractical for flies to lay their eggs in it. Jerky and pemmican, which is usually eatern cooked in the villages, is generally boiled. In these days a trade pot or kettle is normally used. In the old days it was prepared by stoneboiling. In this technique a hole is used. This hole, dug either within the lodge or outside of it, is lined with hide and filled with water. Fire-heated stones would then be placed in the water, heating it, eventually, to boiling. As the stones cooled, of course, they would be removed from the hide pot and replaced with hot stones, the first stones meanwhile, if needed, being reheated.

"I am going to check the kaiila," said Cuwignaka. "I am going to hitch up the travois."

I nodded.

He wiped his mouth with the back of his forearm. He had been crouching near me, in the half darkness, the white dress marking his position, partaking, too, of the pemmican.

I smiled to myself. both kaiila, one given to him by his brother, Canka, and the black kaiila, which had been mine, put at my disposal, with the permission of Canka, my master, by my friend, Grunt, the trader, were picketed but a few feet from the threshold of the lodge. Similarly the two travois, fashioned for the morning, were not more than feet away. Cuwignaka was eager.

I sat on the robes, in the half darkness, eating of the pemmican, in Canka's collar.

Outside I could hear the stirrings of the camp. I thought of various slaves I had owned, when I was free, wenches such as Constance, Arlene and sandra, and Vella and Elicia. They were all hot and looked well in their collars. There was not one there whose lips and tongue, in eager, submissive obedience, a man would not have welcomed on his body. All now knew that on Gor they were naught, and could be naught, but slaves. Too I thought of another woman, olive-skinned, green-eyed, black-haired Talena, once, until disowned, the daugher of Marlenus, the Ubar of Ar. How proud she had been. How she had scorned me when she had thought me helpless! Anger, even in the lodge of Cuwignaka, suffused me. I wondered what she would look like, stripped, in close chains, lying on her side, terrified at my feet. The common Gorean slave whip has five soft, broad strands. It punishes a woman, terribly. On the other hand it does not mark her. It does not, thus, lower her value.

I sat on the robes, eating the crumbled cake of pemmican. I thought of Talena. Once she had been owned by Rask of Treve. Doubtless he had taught her her slavery well. I thought I might teach it to her better. She lived now, free, but sequestered and dishonored, in the city of Ar, in the Central Cylinder itself, perhaps the most fortified, best-defended tower or keep in that huge city. It would be impossible, or almost so, to even think of extracting her from such a place. No, I must put it from my mind. I recalled her vanity, her arrogance and pride. In the Central Cylinder, if nowhere else, she was surely safe from the bracelets and nooses of marauding tarnsmen. No one, surely, could get at her there. There she was surely safe. I recalled her scorn, her contempt.

One day, I thought, perhaps, I might try chain-luck in the city of Ar. It is said there are some good-looking women there. I wondered if a place for such a woman might be found in my own holding, say, in my kitchens. Too, of course, I could always give her, as a worthless trinket, one in which I was not persoanlly interested, to one of the lowerst and meanest of the taverners of Port Kar. This thought amused me. But I would have to choose the taverner and tavern well. The taverner must be hars and exacting, petty, avariciious and umcompromising. And his place of business must be one of the worst in the city; it must be in the aea of the lower canals; it must be stinking, dingy, squalid and cheap; and it must be busy, crowded often with boisterous ruffians, some in just from the sea, who are impatient with slaves. There, in such a place, let the proud Talena, once the daughter of a Ubar, wear the collar of her master. Let her there, stripped, or silked, as he might choose, serve and please his customers.

I chewed the last of the pemmican. Too, I thought I would, before giving her to such a taverner, have her ears pierced. This would, in effect, guarntee that she would remain always only a slave on Gor. Gorean men find pierced ears, as do many men of Earth, stimulatory. To the Gorean such ear-piercing speaks blatantly of bondage. Penetration of a woman's flesh is publicly symbolized, in her very body; the wounds inflicted on her were intended and deliberate; and her body has now been prepared to bear, fastened in its very flesh, barbaric ornamentation. These things all speak to the Gorean of the felmale slave. In a woman who is truly free such things, of course, would be unthinkable. Many free women, knowing how such tings are viewed by Gorean men, fear them more than the brand and collar. Slave girls, of course, once they have begun to learn their collars, and once they have begun to learn that they are truly slaves, and what t might mean, become very vain and proud over thepiercing of their ears. They know that it makes them more attractive to men, and significantly so, and, too, they relish being able, with earrings, to make themselves even more beautiful and exciting. Slave girls tend to be very proud and happy in thier sexuality. This type of pleasure, commonly denied to the free woman, is probably an additional reason why they tend to hate their helplessly imbonded sisters.

"Are you not ready?" asked Cuwignaka, coming into the lodge. "Are you not dressed?"

"I am almost ready," I said.

I reached over and picked up my tunic, and drew it over my head. I then stood up and adjusted it on my body.

Cuwignaka, then, disappeared again through the threshold of the lodge.

Most Gorean males, and their slaves, incidentally, not merely the male of the red savages, commonly sleep naked. If the girl is permitted a sleeping garment it is commonly short, front-opening, and fastened with a single tie. In this way if the master, in the middle of the night, should light a lamp, he may reveal his slave, swiftly and conveniently, to himself. Similarly, even in the darkness, it provides little impedence to his hands or body.

I was thirsty from the pemmican.

"Make ready your arrows," I heard, a crying from outside the lodge. "Make ready your arrows! Make ready your knives! We are going to make meat! We are going to make meat!" THis was a crier of the Sleen Soldiers, Agleskala, Striped Lizard. He was moving through the village.

I went to the side of the lodge and felt for the water bag. It was the one which I had once kept on my pack kaiila. Its presence, like that of certain other utensils and articles in the lodge, was due to Grunt. Several other things had been given to Cuwignaka by Canka, or other members of the Isbu, usually of the All Comrades. The lodge itself had been given to him by Akihoka, One-Who-Is-Skillful, and All Comrade, one of Canka's close friends. It is culturaly for red savages to look out for one another. Our housekeeping paraphernalia, therefore, though somewhat modest, was adequate. One robe had even been donated by Mahpiyasapa, the civil chief of the Isbu. In doing this he had set an example to his people and, more improtantly from Cuwignaka's point of view, acknowledged his right to remain with the Isbu.

I ehard some kaiila moving past outside. These were probably scouts going out to make contact with the herd guards.

I wondered why the kailiauk were early this year.

I looked about the lodge. It was not untypical. The lodge poles were about twenty-five feet high. They were of tem wood which dries evenly and is long-lasting. The bark is removed from the poles and they are trimmed to an even thickness for most of their length. They are usually about twelve inces around. The top yard or so of their length is tapered, to facilitate their clustering, and being tied in position. In setting up the lodge three or four poles are tied together and raised to a standing position, rather resembling a tripod. The other poles, appropriately spaced, are laid against these. A long rawhide rope, then, from the ground, wound about several times, fastens the primary and secondary poles together. The end of this rope hangs near the lodge entrance, where it may, on a moment's notice, be conveniently utilized. The cover of the lodge consists of several kailauk hides, sewn together. Depending on the size of the lodge and the size of the hides available, a lodge will usually require in the neighborhood of nineteen or twenty hides. Two long poles, lighter then the lodge poles, are tied to the cover. By means of these lighter poles the cover is put in its place. The two poles hang near the lodge entrance. They are used not only to lift the cover into place, to adjust it, and remove it, but also in the regulation of the flaps at the apex of the lodge, altering or adjusting the smoke hole, in effect, dependent on temperature and wind conditions. Pegs or tent-pins fasten the cover down. In the winter a hide liner may be placed inside the lodge. This will unusally have a height of about five feet inside the lodge. A wall of brush, as a snow fence, in effect, may also be used. In the summer the walls of the lodge, as I have mentioned, may be rolled up, transforming it, in effect, into a sun canopy.

The outside of the lodge may be painted, as the occupant pleases. Hunting and war exploits are common themes. The lodge, thus, is a very personal dwelling. Various tribes use different numbers of poles in setting up their lodges. The Fleer usually use twenty, the Sleen twenty-two and the Kaiila twenty-four. Similarly different encampment sites tend to be favored by different tribes. The Kaiila will usuahlly camp near water but in the open, a pasang or so from timber. They seem usually cognizant of the possiblities of ambush. The Fleer will usually camp in the open but near timber, probably for the convenience of firewood. Yellow Knives often camp in open timber. Sleen, interestingly, often make their camp in thick timber, and even in brush and thickets. What seems to one tribe to present a dangerous possibility of ambush may, to another, seem to provide cover and shelter.

Different tribes, too, incidentally, tend to use different moccasin designs. Accordingly, if a track is fresh it is often possible to tell if it was made by a foot wearing, say, a Kaiila or Fleer moccasin. War parties, of course, occasionally utilize this idiosyncrasy, donning moccasins of an enemy pattern when making intrusions into foreign territories. The hides used in the lodges are, of course, translucent. Thus, in the daylight, it is easy to see the interior. Similarly, at night, one can see shadows within. The lodge at night, interestingly, illuminated from within by its fire, can be quite a lovely sight. This is even more impressive, of course, with a number of lodges.

A camp, at night, incidentally, is usually quite a noisy place. It would not form, for example, an ideal refuge for scholarship. The stereotype of the taciturn red savage is one based, usually, on encountering him in guarded situations, where he is uneasy, perhaps meeting strangers, or is, say, being careful, perhaps being involved in trading. In his villages he is outspoken, good-humored and animate. He likes wagers, practical jokes and telling stories. He is probably one of the world's greatest visitors and, too, one of the world's greatest hosts, one of his great pleasures in life being the giving of gifts and the feasting of friends.

I drank deeply from the water bag, and then closed it, and replaced it by the lodge wall. The lodge was a diameter of some fifteen feet. This is acually quite spacious. A circular enclosure, of course, geometrically, contains more space, for a given perimeter, than any other figure. Such lodges are conveniently and comfortaly inhabited by families of from five to eight red savages. To be sure, much time, most of the year, is spent outdoors. Also, what might seem crowded to one with a particular acculturation may simply seem approtriate and right, even intimate and cozy, to one with a differing acculturation. Family and communal closeness, for better or for worse, are characteristics of the life of the red savage. I do not think he would want it any other way. To be sure, it is not unknown for a man to occasionally seek the lodge of his warrior society, where his children and women cannot follow him. In his clut, so to speak, he might be able to find a bit of peace and quiet which seems to have eluded him at home. Too, of course, meditation and the seeking of visions and dreams are solitary activities. A man may indicate that he is meditating by as little as putting his blanket over his head, even in a crowded camp. He will then be left alone. Dreams and visions, on the other hand, are usually sought in the willderness.

"Howo, Tatankasa!" said Cuwignaka, thrusting his head into the lodge. "Come on. Come along, Red Bull!"

"I am coming," I said. I went outside. It was still quite dark. I could see shapes moving about, however. Cuwignaka had the two travois already hitched up.

There was much movement and excitement in the camp. I wandered off, behind the lodges.

"Where have you been?" asked Cuwignaka, when I returned.

"Where do you think?" I asked. "I was relieving myself."

I saw two red savages riding by. They were Sleen Soldiers. One was Hci.

"We will be leaving any moment," said Cuwignaka.

"I doubt it," I said.

Hci turned back his kaiila and brought it to a stop before us. He wore breechclout and moccasins. About his neck was a necklace of sleen claws. His long hair was braided. He carried his bow, not yet strung, and a quiver of arrows, at his left hip. On his belt, that holding the breechclout, there was a knife, in a beaded sheath. Hci's kaiila wore a jaw rope, looped over the back of its neck. This rope, however, is not used, or much used, in either the hunt or war. The rider guides the animal primarily by his knees. His hands, thus, are freed for the use of the bow, or other impliments. There was, however, a rope looped about the neck of the kaiila. This rope is thrown to the side and behind the kaiila. If the rider, then, is dismounted in the tumult of the hunt, he may, hopefully, by seizing this rope, sometimes a strap, retain control over his mount and, hastily, safely, regain his seat. Hci's animal, incidentally, was a prize kaiila. This was indicated by its notched ears. The Kaiila notch both ears of such a kaiila. Certain other tribes, such as the Fleer, notch only one ear, usually the left.

"Remember, pretty Siptopto," said Hci, sneeringly, to Cuwignaka, "you are not to hunt. You are to remain back from the hunt. It is yours only to cut meat, with the other females." 'Siptopto' was an insulting pet name by which Hci occasionally addressed Cuwignaka. It was the sort of name, though not necessarily, that might be given to a female slave. It means "Beads."

"I am not a woman," said Cuwignaka.

"You will stay back from the hunt," said Hci. "You will cut meat with the other women."

"I will stay back from the hunt," said Cuwignaka. "I will cut meat with the women."

"You, and the slave," said Hci.

"We will stay back from the hunt," said Cuwignaka. "We will cut meat with the women."

Hci then turned his kaiila about, and went, following his fellow rider.

"Make ready your arrows!" I heard again. "Make ready your arrows! Sharpent your knives! Sharpen your knives! We are going to make meat! We are going to make meat!" Slowly, though the camp, in the darkness, now crowded with men and women, rode Agleskala, the crier of the Sleen Soldiers.

Behind him, in line, coming from the vicinity of the lodge of the Sleen Soldiers, the society lodge, came several members of the Sleen-Soldiers Society. They were garbed and accountered much as had been Hci. Two, however, carried long, heavy, stout hunting lances, rather than bows and arrows.

Following them, being careful not to precede them, were some of the first of the hunters.

"Hou, Witantanka!" called a girl to one of the warriors. "Greetings, One-Who-Is-Proud!"

"Hou, Akamda," said he to the girl, halting his kaiila. 'Akamda' is a word usually designating fringe, such as might occur on leggings or shirts.

"Is a warrior of the Isanna going hunting?" she asked.

"Maybe," he said. "Is a maiden of the Isbu coming out to cut meat?"

"It is possible," she said. "How many arrows do you have?"

"Twenty," he said.

"Then maybe you will be able to get one beast," she said. Hunters pride themselves on making single-arrow kills.

"Twenty Pte will let out their water and roll behind me, dying in the dust," he said.

"Cinto!" she laughed. "Oh, yes! Surely!"

"Once my kaiila slipped," he said. "But it was long ago."

"If you sue more than one arrow in any beast," she said, "I will tell everyone."

"Would you?" he asked.

"Yes," she said. "And no more riding after the animal, to pull out the first arrow. You are an idiot. You could have been killed."

"I could not do that," he said.

"Miniwozan saw you," she said. 'Miniwozan' does not translate well. It signfies a mist, or a slowly falling rain.

"Miniwozan, then," he said, "was to close to the herd."

"Perhaps," granted Akamda.

"It was probably another," he said.

"It was you," she said.

"Maybe I did it," he said.

"If you are going to do that sort of thing," she said. "you should wait until the animal is dead, and the herd is passed by."

"Do you think I could do such a thing?" he asked.

"I think maybe you could do it," she said.

"Maybe," he said.

"Do not use more than one arrow," she said.

"I never use more than one arrow," he said, "almost never."

"Good hunting," she said.

"If I sue more than one arrow, you will not tell anyone will you?" he asked.

"I will tell you," she said, "you may be assured of that."

"But you will not tell others, will you?" he asked.

"No," she said, "except maybe Miniwozan."

"Do not bother," he said. "I will have it announced by the village crier."

"Be careful, Witantanka," said the girl.

"In the time of the dancings and the feasts, after the hunting is finished," he said, "I may be looking for a girl to ride with me about the camp."

"Behindyou, on your kaiila?" she asked.

"Yes," he said. "Would you like to ride with me, behind me, on my kaiila, about the camp?" he asked.

"Maybe," she said. "I will think about it." This was tantamount to an offer of marriage.

"I think I will go hunting now," he said. "I must take my place."

"Oglu waste, Witantanka," she said. "Good luck, Witantanka."

Some more hunters drifted past us.

A few yards ahead of where we waited by the lodge there was a group of mounted kaiila riders. There was an older fellow there, a member of the Sleen Soldiers. He was addressing a cluster of some five or six young men, almost boys. It was the first hunt, I gathered, in which they would fully participate, not riding merely at the fringes, observing the older men, but entering among the beasts themselves. I walked up, to where I might hear what was going on. "Remember," the older fellow was telling them, "you do not hunt for yourself today. You hunt for others. Doubtless there will be hunters who will not be successful today. You will hunt for them. And there are those in the camps who are weak and frail. You will hunt for them. For all of these, and others, those less fortunate than yourselves, you hunt today. But always, remember, you hunt not only for yourself. You never hunt only for yourself. You hunt for the Kaiila."

"Howe, howe," acknowledged the boys.

"Good hunting," said he to them. "Oglu waste! Good luck!"

They then turned their kaiila about, to take their places.

In a boy's first hunt he gives his kill, or kills, to others. Only the first beast's tongue, its most prized meat, will he have, it being awarded to him for his efficiency and valor. The purpose of this custom seems to be to encourage the young man, from the very beginning, to think of himself in terms of the gallantry and generosity of he warrior.

I walked back to where Cuwignaka was waiting.

"We will soon be going out," said Cuwignaka.

"I think you are right," I said.

The lodges, incidentally, in a hunt of this sort, are not struck. The Pte, in a herd of this size, moving as slowly as it must, and in virtue of the kaiila and travois, would be within reach for three or four days. The entire encampment of red savages, of course, may be swiftly moved. In less than twenty Ehn an entire camp can be struck, packed and gone. This is a function, of course, of the lodges involved. One woman, working alone, can put one up in fifteen Ehn and strike it in three.

"Canka," said Cuwignaka, as Canka stopped his kaiila near us.

"Greetings, my brother." said Canka.

"Greetings, my brother," said Cuwignaka happily. "What are you going to do this morning?"

"I think I will go out to look at the Pte," said Canka, smiling.

"Where is Winyela?" asked Cuwignaka. "Is she going out? Do you want her to come with us? We will look after her."

"She is going out," said Canka. "But I am sending her out with Wasnapohdi, the slave of Wopeton, the trader. She has been with the hunt before. She will not get too close. She will show her how to cut meat."

"Winyela is white," said Cuwignaka. "She will throw up the first time she has to cut meat. She will do it poorly."

"If she wastes meat, I will beat her," said Canka.

"Good," said Cuwignaka, approvingly.

"I see, little brother," said Canka, "that you, to, are going out."

"Of course," said Cuwignaka.

"Do not get too close to the herd," said Canka.

"I won't," said Cuwignaka.

This warning on the part of Canka made me somewhat uneasy. I had thought that the dangers in this sort of business were borne, primarily, if not exclusively, by the hunters. Yet, of course, it was clear that if the herd, or portions of it, were to veer or circle their movements might bring them into the vicinity of the travois and women. In such a case, of course, one must slash the travois straps, mount up, and make away as best one can. To be sure the greatest dangers were clearly borne by the hunters who must ride among the running beasts themselves, and attempt thier kills from a distance just outside the hooking range of the trident, from a distance so close that they might almost reach out and touch the animal.

"You and Tatankasa will be out there alone," said Canka. "I will not be near you."

"I do not understand," said Cuwignaka.

"Beware of Hci," said Canka.

"We will," said Cuwignaka. The hair on the back of my neck rose up.

"Have you seen an arrow of mine?" asked Canka. "I am missing one of my arrows."

"No," said Cuwignaka.

"I must have misplaced it," said Canka.

"Yes," said Cuwignaka.

"I must take my place," said Canka.

"Good hunting. Be careful," said Cuwignaka. "Oglu waste!"

"Oglu waste," said Canka, and then turned his kaiila away, to take his place.

Agleskala now made his third and last circuit of the camp. "Make ready your arrows," he cired. "Make ready your knives. We are going to make meat! We are going to make meat!"

"We are going to make meat!" cried out several of those about us.

"We are going to make meat!" said Cuwignaka, happily.

The Sleen Soldiers, riding abreast, in a long line, which no hunter, no matter how eager, must cross, in the first streaks of dawn, left the camp. Behind them came the hunters, of the Isbu, of the Casmu, of the Isanna, of the Wismahi, and of the Napoktan, riding five abreast. Dust lifted about the paws of their kaiila. Then came the women, and the kaiila and travois, the poles leaving lines in the dust, and with them, joining them, came Cuwignaka and myself.

Chapter 5

CUWIGNAKA AND I WILL GO TO THE DRAW

"Help me," said Wasnapohdi, "please."

We helped her put the bull on its belly in the grass, pulling the legs out. Cows, which are lighter, are usually skinned on their sides, and then turned, sometimes by ropes tied to their legs, drawn by the kaiila.

Wasnapohdi thrust her knife in behind the neck, to make the first slash, from which the skin would begin to be folded back, to expose the forequarters on each side. Subsequently the hide, in the normal fashion, can be cut down from the middle.

The liver had already been removed from the animal, by the hunters. It is a great delicacy, and is commonly eater raw.

"How is Winyela doing?" I asked. I saw the girl to the side on the grass, kneeling, her head down.

"She is sick," said Wasnapohdi.

I walked over to the girl. It did not smell too nicely near her.

"How are you feeling?" I asked.

"I am all right," she said. "In a little while I will try to cut the meat again."

"You are a female, Winyela," said Wasnapohdi, sweating, working. "You must learn this."

"I will try again, in a little bit," said Winyela.

"There is a cow over there," said Wasnapohdi, kneeling on the back of the animla, pointing with the bloody knife, "felled by one of the Canka's arrows. I will have her work on her. That way, if she does poorly, since it is his own kill, and not that of another, he can be more lenient with her."

"Do you think he will be lenient?" I asked.

"No," said Wasnapohdi, returning to her task.

"I am not afraid," said Winyela.

"Oh?" I asked.

"No," she said. "No matter what I do, I know that Canka will never punish me."

"Why is that?" I asked.

"He likes me," she said.

"And do you like him?" I asked.

"I love him," she said, "dearly, more than anything."

"Bold slave," I said.

"A slave may be bold," she said.

"That is true," I said.

"Nonetheless," said Wasnapohdi, grunting, at her work, "do not be surprised if you find yourself well quirted."

"Canka would never do that to me," she said.

"Have you never brought him the quirt?" I asked.

"Once," she said, "the first evening in his lodge, he made me gring him the quirt, on my hands and knees, in my teeth."

"What do you suppose the meaning of that was?" I asked.

"That I was a slave, that I was subject to discipline," she said.

"And do you think he will have forgotten that?" I asked.

"I suppose not," she said. "But he did not use it on me, not then, nor has he used it on me later."

"I see," I said.

"Canka," she said, "will never punish me."

I smiled. I did not think the girl understood, fully, that she was a slave. Did she not know that, as a slave, she was subject to discipline, and that any master, regardless of his feelings, would impose it on her? The domination of slaves is not a haphazard or tentative thing. They are owned. They will serve, perfectly. If they do not, they will be punished, severly, or, if the master wishes, slain.

"Perhaps I am too pretty to whip," said Winyela.

"I would not count on it," said Wasnapohdi, irritatedly.

"At any rate," said Winyela, "Canka, I think, likes me. He will never beat me."

"Say that again," said Wasnapohdi, pausing in her work, breathing heavily, "when you find yourself on your knees, stripped, your wrists bound before you, to the whipping stake, every inch of your body bared to the stroke of his quirt."

"You are so silly!" laughed Winyela.

"Help me put the meat I am cutting on the travois," said Wasnapohdi.

"Must I touch it?" asked Winyela.

"Yes," said Wasnaphdi.

"I do not really wish to do so," said Winyela.

"Maybe Canka will not beat you," said Wasnapohdi, "but I assure you that I would have no compunction in doing so. Hurry now! Get busy, or I will take a bone and lash the hide off your pretty rump."

"Sometimes," said Winyela to me, getting to her feet, "Wasnapohdi is vulgar."

"Do you obey?" inquired Wasnapohdi.

"I obey," said Winyela, loftily, tossing her head.

"Put your head down, and say that, humbly," said Wasnapohdi.

"I obey," said Winyela, her head down.

"More humbly," said Wasnapohdi.

"I obey," said Winyela, more humbly, half sobbing, putting her head down further.

"Good," said Wasnapohdi. "Now, come here."

Wasnapohdi thrust eight or ten pounds of bloody meat into the willing hands of Winyela.

"Later," said Wasnapohdi, "you will cut up that cow over there. I will show you how."

"That will not be necessary," said Winyela. "I have seen how it is done."

Winyela then turned about and carried the meat to the travois. I took some from Wasnapohdi and carried it, too, to their travois.

"Do not be a little fool," I said to her, at the travois. "Let Wasnapohdi help you. She is your friend."

"I can do it myself," said Winyela. "And if I do not do it will, it does not matter."

"Do not be too sure of that," I said.

"Canka would never strike me," she said. "Too, he will do whatever I want."

"Do not forget," I said, "who is the master, and who is the slave."

"In the lodge of Canka," she said, "I can do whatever I please."

"Perhaps he will find it necessary to remind you that you are a slave," I said, "that you must obey, and be pleasing perfectly, in all respects."

"Perhaps," she laughed.

"Perhaps you wish to be reminded that you are a slave," I said.

"That is absure," she said.

"Do you know that you are a slave?" I asked.

"I know it," she said, "of course."

"but do you know it in the heart, and in the heat and humility of you?" I asked.

She looked at me, puzzled.

"Do you know it in the deepest love of you?" I asked.

"I do not understand," she said.

"That is where you want to know it," I told her.

"I do not understand," she said, angrily.

"Beware," I said, "lest your secret dream come true."

"Canka will never beat me," she said. Then she drew the hide cover over the meat, to protect it from the flies.

I looked about. From where we stood I could see at least a dozen fallen animals, their bulk, like dark mounds, dotting the plains. Too, here and there, we could see women, with their kaiila and travois, working, or moving about.

"Cuwignaka and I must get back to work," I said.

"I wish you well, Slave," said she.

"I wish you well, too, Slave," I said. I then went to join Cuwignaka.

"Canka will never beat me," she called after me.

"Perhaps not," I said.

"Come, Winyela," called Wasnapohdi. "There is meat to put on the travois."

"I am coming," responded Winyela.

"My, there is a pretty girl," said Bloketu, the daughter of Watonka, the chief of the Isanna Kaiila. "but why is she wearing the dress of a white woman?"

"Perhaps she is a white female slave," said Iwoso.

"Greetings, Bloketu. Greetings, Iwoso," said Cuwignaka, grinning.

"You have cut a great deal of meat," said Bloketu, honestly observing this.

"We have already made four trips back to the village," said Cuwignaka.

I noted that both Bloketu and Iwoso were suitably impressed with this.

"How many trips have you made?" asked Cuwignaka.

"One," said Bloketu.

I was not surprised. We had seen more than one hunter, later in the afternoon, drift back to visit with her. Bloketu was a beauty, and the daughter of a chieftain.

"Iwoso is slow," said Bloketu.

"I am not slow," protested Iwoso.

"It is you who are lazy and slow, Bloketu," said Cuwignaka. "It is well known. You would rather primp, and pose and smile for the hunters than do your work."

"Oh!" cried Bloketu. Iwoso, he rhead down, smiled.

"It is not enough to be merely beautiful," said Cuwignaka.

"At least you think I am beautiful," said Bloketu, somewhat mollified.

"That is not enough," said Cuwignaka. "If you were my woman, you would be worked well. If you did not work well I would beat you."

"I suppose," she said, "you think you could work me well."

"Yes," said Cuwignaka. "I would work you well, both outside the lodge and, even better, within it."

"Oh!" said Bloketu, angrily.

"Yes," said Cuwignaka.

"I am the daughter of a chieftain," she said.

"You are only a female," he said.

"Come, Iwoso, my dear maiden," said Bloketu, "let us go. We do not need to stay here, to listen to the prattle of this silly girl in the dress of a white woman."

"You might make an excellent slave, Bloketu," said Cuwignaka. "It might be pleasant to put you in a collar."

Iwoso looked up, suddenly, her eyes blazing. Then she put her head down. I did not understand this reaction on her part.

"Oh, oh!" said Bloketu, speachless with rage.

"Hold," I said to Cuwignaka. "It is Hci."

Riding up, now, coming through the tall grass, was the young Sleen Soldier, the son of Mahpiyasapa, the chieftain of the Isbu. "You are too close to the herd," said Hci. I doubted that this was true, from the tremors in the earth, the dust and the direction of the tracks.

"I have been insulted, Hci," said Bloketu, complaining to the young man. She pointed to Cuwignaka. "Punish him!"

"Her?" asked Hci.

"Her!" said Bloketu, returning to the tribally prescrived feminine gender of Cuwignaka.

"What did she say?" asked Hci.

"SShe said that I was lazy and slow!" said Bloketu.

"Oh?" said Hci.

"And that he could work me in his lodge, and well!" she said.

"Yes?" asked Hci.

"Too, he said that I might make an excellent slave, and that it might be pleasant to put me in a collar!"

Hci looked Bloketu over, slowly. She shrank back, abashed. Cuwignaka's assessment, it seemed clear, was one for which he thought there was much to be said.

"Please, Hci," she said.

He then turned his attention to the lovely Iwoso. "She should not be wearing leggings," he said to Bloketu. "Too, her dress is too long. It should come high on her thighs."

"She is only my maiden," said Bloketu.

"Where is her collar?" asked Hci.

"I do not put her in one," said Bloketu.

"She is no longer a child," said Hci. "She is a grown woman now. She is old enough, now, for the garb and collar of a slave. She is old enough, now, for a warrior."

Iwoso looked down, angrily.

"Yellow-Knife woman," said Hci, bitterly.

She looked up at him, angrily.

"A Yellow Knife did this to me," said hci, pointing to the long, jagged scar at his chin, on the left side.

"He struck you well!" said Iwoso, angrily.

"I slew him," said Hci.

Hci then again, turned his attention to Bloketu.

"Punish him!" said Bloketu, pointing to Cuwignaka.

"Her?" said Hci.

"Her!" said Bloketu.

"I am a warrior," said Hci. "I do not mix in the squabbles of females."

"Oh," cried Bloketu, angrily.

I smiled to myself. It seemed to me that Hci had handled this business well. Surely it would have been beneath his dignity to meddle in such a business. Too, as a Sleen Soldier, on the day of a hunt, during their tenure of power, he had matters much more important to attend to than the assuagement of a female's offended vanity.

"The herd is too close," said Hci. "You are all to withdraw from this place."

We prepared to turn about.

"Separately," said Hci.

The hair rose again on the back of my neck.

"There," said Hci, pointing to the southwest, "is a fallen bull, a Cracked-Horns, of thirty winters."

"That is not good meat, or good hide," said Bloketu, puzzled.

"Attend to it, Bloketu," said Hci.

"Yes, Hci," she said. The two women, then, Bloketu and Iwoso, the travois poles making the grass behind their kaiila, took their way away. I watched the grass springing up behind them. In a few minutes it would be difficult for anyone but a skilled tracker, looking for broken stems, to determine that they had gone that way.

"Over there," said Hci, to us, pointing east by southeast, "there is a draw. In the draw there is a fallen bull, a Smooth Horns, no more than some six winters in age. Attend to it."

"Yes, Hci," said Cuwignaka, obediently. A Smooth Horns is a young, prime bull. Its horns are not yet cracked from fighting and age. The smoothness of the horns, incidentally, is not a purely natural phenomenon. The bulls polish them, themselves, rubbing them against sloping banks and trees. Sometimes they will even paw down earth from the upper sides of washouts and then use the harder, exposed material beneath, dust scattering about, as a polishing surface. This polishing apparently has the function of both cleaning and sharpening the horns, two precesses useful in intraspecific aggression, the latter process imporving their capacity as fighting instruments, in slashing and goring, and the former process tending to reduce the amount of infection in a herd resulting from such combats. Polishing behavior in males thus appears to be selected for. It has consequences, at any rate, which seem to be in the best intrests of the kailiauk as a species.

"There," said Hci, "your kaiila will be tired. Unharness them from the travois. Let them gaze. Picket them close to where you are working."

"Yes," said Cuwignaka, angrily.

"Go now," said Hci, pointing.

"Yes, Hci," said Cuwignaka.

I was sweating, as the young Sleen Soldier rode away. "What was that all about?" I asked.

"This meat on our travois," said Cuwignaka, "is to be destroyed."

"I do not understand," I said.

"We will go to the draw," said Cuwignaka.

"Very well," I said.

Chapter 6

WHAT OCCURRED IN THE DRAW

It was nearly dusk.

"This will be our fifth load of meat." I said.

"Oh, yes," said Cuwignaka, bitterly.

"Wait," I said.

Cuwignaka, too, lifted his head. We were in a long, narrow, generally shallow draw. Tey, where we worked, where the Smooth Horns had been felled, the sides were reletively steep, some twenty feet or so on our left, some thirty feet on our right.

I could feel tremors in the earth now beneath our feet.

"They are coming," said Cuwignaka. He bent swiftly to the twisted leather hobbles, almost like slave hobbles, on the forelegs, almost at the paws, of our kaiila. He thrust the paws free of the twisted, encircling leather. We had already, as Hci had commanded, freed the kaiila of the two travois.

"How many are there?" I asked.

"Two, maybe three hundred," said Cuwignaka, climbing lightly to the silken back of his kaiila.

I could not hear the sound, clearly. It carried through the draw, the deep thudding, magnified by, intisified by, that narrow corridor, open to the sky, of dirt and rock.

"Mount up," said Cuwignaka. "Hurry."

I looked at the meat.

Almost at the same time, suddenly, about a bend in the draw, turning, lurching, its shoulder striking the side of the draw, its feet almost slipping out from under it, in its turn, in the soft footing, covered with dust, its eyes wild and red, foam at its nostrils and mouth, some twenty-five hundred pounds or better in weight, snorting, kicking duse behind it, hurtled a kailiauk bull.

I leaped to the side and it rushed past me. I could almost have touched it. My kaiila squealed and, as I headed it off, it tried to climb the side of the draw, scrambling at it, then slipping back, falling, rolling, to the side.

Another bull, then, bellowing, hurtled past.

I seized the reins of the kaiila. The draw was now filled with dust. The ground shook under our feet. The thudding now became thunderous, striking about the walls, seeming all about us. The kaiila of Cuwignaka squealed and reared. He held it in his place, mercilessly. As my beast scrambled up, regaining its feet, I mounted it, and turned it away, down the draw. Cuwignaka and I, then, not more than a few yards ahead of the animals, which, in a body, buffeting and storming, tridents down, their heads low, as the kailiauk runs, came streaming, flooding, bellowing, torrentlike, about that bend in the draw, raced to safety.

We stod in the grass, about a hundred yards from the draw. I kept my hand on my kaiila's neck. It was still trembling. The mass of the animals which, stampeded, had come running through the draw, was now better than a pasang away. Here and there single animals roamed. Some even stopped, lowering their heads to graze.

"Let us return to the draw," said Cuwignaka, mounting up.

I joined him and, slowly, our kaiila at a walk, we returned to the narrow draw. Its floor was torn with the passage of the animals. Many of the hoofprints were six and seven inches deep.

"The animals were probably isolated in the other end of the draw," said Cuwignaka. "Then a bull was cut out and run down the draw, to be felled where we found him."

"Is that likely?" I asked.

"I think so," said Cuwignaka. "Sometimes animals take shelter in a draw, or, running into one, begin to mill, and, for a time, will stay there, sometimes until morning."

"It was a trap," I said.

"Not really," said Cuwignaka. "We were told to unharness the kaiila. We were told to picket them, in effect, at hand."

I nodded.

"No harm was intended to come to us," said Cuwignaka.

We then, on our kaiila, entered the draw, straightening ourselves on our kaiila as they descended the sloping entrance between the dirt sides.

"The meat is gone," said Cuwignaka, in a moment. "It is torn apart, destroyed, trampled, scattered."

Here and there I could see pieces of meat, trodden into the dust.

"We could save some of it," I said, "gather it and wash it later, at the camp."

"Leave it for the flies," said Cuwignaka.

"The travois, too, are destroyed," I said.

"Yes," siad Cuwignaka.

The poles were broken and splintered; the cross pieces were shattered; the hides were rent. Bindings and harness were scatered about.

I surveyed the ground floor of the draw, the trampled, half-buried meat, the remains of the travois. Many of the bones even, of the animal on which we had been working were crushed and flung about. The carcass itself, most of it, had been moved several feet and flattened, and lay half sunk in the dust of the draw. The force of even a single kailauk, with its speed and weight, can be a fearful thing. In numbers, it is awsome to contemplate their power.

Cuwignaka dismounted and began to gather in the rawhide bindings and pieces of harness from the shattered travios. They might be used again.

"I will help you," I said. I dismounted, and joined him. Our kaiila, not moving much, stayed close to us.

"The head is there," said Cuwignaka, indicating the head of the beast we had skinned, and had been fleshing.

"Yes" I said.

"When we are finished," said Cuwignaka, "we will take it out of the draw. We will take it up to the surface."

"All right," I said.

"Someone is coming," I said.

We looked down to the bend in the draw. About it, slowly, his kaiila walking, came a single rider.

"It is Hci," said Cuwignaka.

Hci halted his kaiila a few yards from us. He was naked save fr the breechclout and moccasisns. About his neck was the necklace of sleen claws. Across his thighs was a bow. At his left hip was his quiver. His arrows, extracted from their targets, the meat identified, at this time of day, would have been wiped clean of blood, even the lightning grooves inscribed in the long shafts. Stains would remain, of course, at the base of some of the feathers.

"Hou, Cuwignaka," said Hci.

"Hou, Hci," said Cuwignaka.

Hci looked about the draw. "You have lost the meat," he said.

"Yes," said Cuwignaka.

"That is not good," said Hci.

"No," said Cuwignaka.

"Your travois, too, have been destroyed," said Hci.

"Yes," said Cuwignaka.

"I told you the herd was too close," said Hci. "I told you to withdraw from this place."

Cuwignaka was furious, but did not speak. We knew that these words of Hci, to that extent, could be sworn to by Bloketu and Iwoso.

"But you did not listen," said Hci. "You chose, rather, to deliberately disobey a warden of the hung."

"Why did you do this?" asked Cuwignaka.

"Now you have lost the meat," said Hci.

"It is you who have destroyed the meat!" said Cuwignaka. "You have destroyed meat!"

Hci sat quietly on the kaiila. "I could kill you now, both of you," he said, "but I do not choose to do so."

I did not doubt but what Hci spoke the truth. We had only one knife with us, a cutting knife. Hci was mounted, and had his bow.

Hci then, quietly, rode towards us. When he reached our vicinty he stopped his kaiila. He indicated the head of the kailiauk. "That is to be taken out of the draw," he said. "Take it up to the surface."

"I will do so," said Cuwignaka.

Hci then, not hurrying, rode past us and made his way up the draw, some pebbles slipping back, on its slope, from the movement of his kaiila paws.

We finished our work, coiling the rent harness and bindings from the travois. We slung them about our shoulders.

"I must leave the Isbu," said Cuwignaka.

"Why?" I asked.

"I am a shame to my brother," said Cuwignaka.

"This head will be heavy," I said. "If we are going to get it out of the draw, let us do so now."

"Yes," said Cuwignaka. We then, between us, carried the head up, out of the draw, and, some fifty yards or so from the draw, placed it on the level.

"Why are we doing this?" I asked.

"The kailiauk is a noble animal," said Cuwignaka. "Let the sun shine upon it."

"This is interesting to me," I said.

"What?" asked Cuwignaka.

"This business," I said.

"What business?" he asked.

"This business about the head," I said. "This was important, apparently, to both you and Hci, that it should be brought up from the draw, that it should be placed on the level, that it should be put, I gather, in the sun."

"Of course," said Cuwignaka.

"IN this, do you not see," I asked, "you are both Kaiila, you not less than he. In the end, you are both of the Isbu."

"But I am a shame to the Isbu," said Cuwignaka.

"How is that?" I asked.

"I have lost meat," he said.

"You did not lose meat," I said. "Hci is the one who lost the meat."

"I guess you are right," said Cuwignaka. "No one, though, will believe it."

"Hci is well known in the camp," I said. "You may be surprised who might believe you, and not him."

"Maybe you are right," smiled Cuwignaka.

"You should not be distressed," I said. "You should be proud."

"Why is that?" asked Cuwignaka.

"You have brought four loads of meat back to the village. I doubt that anyone has done as well."

"That is pretty good, isnt it?" said Cuwignaka.

"It is marvelous," I said.

"But men are stronger then women," said Cuwignaka. "They can cut meat better."

"But the men are needed for the hunt," I said.

"Yes," said Cuwignaka.

"And you are a man," I said.

"Yes," said Cuwignaka. "I am a man."

"Let us get the kaiila now," I said. "It is time to go back to the village."

"Four loads," said Cuwignaka. "That is pretty good, you know,"

"It is marvelous," I assured him.

"I am ready to go back to the camp now," said Cuwignaka.

"Good," I said.

Chapter 7

BLOKETU AND IWOSO COME VISITING

"He beat me," wailed Winyela, running up to me. "He beat me!"

"You are in the presence of a free man," I said, indicating Cuwignaka.

Swiftly she fell to her knees, and put her red hair to the dust. Her hair, sometimes braided, was now, as usual, unbraided. She, like most other girls, whether of the red savages or not, wore it long and loose. Among the red savages, of course, free women commonly braid their hair. The lack of braiding, thus, usually, draws an additional distraction between slaves and free women of the red savages. The most common distraction, of course, is skin color, the slaves almost always being white and the free persons almost invariably being red. "Forgive me, Master," she said to Cuwignaka.

"All right," he said.

She straightened her body, but remained on her knees, before us. "He beat me!" she said. She was naked, except for Canka's collar. Her small wrists were bound before her body, with several tight loops of a rawhide thong.

"Stand," I said, "and turn, slowly.

She did.

"Kneel," I said.

She knelt.

"Yes," I said. "There is little doubt about it. You have been beaten."

"It is not funny," she said.

"Apparently with a kaiila quirt," I said.

"Yes," she said. Some of the braiding marks were still visible in her flesh.

"I thought he liked me," she said.

"You are still alive," I pointed out.

"He took away my clothes, and tied me to a whipping stake, on my knees!" she said.

"That is not uncommon in camps of the red savages, for white female slaves," I said. "Besides you would not want you clothes bloodied."

She looked at me, angrily.

"Your hair was thrown forward," I said.

"Yes," she said.

"That is so it will not cushion the blows which might fall on your back," I said.

"Doubtless," she said.

"Too," I said, "you would not want to get blood on your hair."

"Of course not," she said.

"Do you think that you are the first girl who has ever been whipped?" I asked.

"No," she said.

"Apparently you did not spend all of your time on your knees, your hair thrown forward, your head and belly down."

"No," she said. "I was struck from my knees by almost the first stroke. I twisted and cried out. I must have supplied much amusement to the women of the red savages who were watching."

"They hate white slave girls," I said. "They enjoy seeing them beaten."

"Then I could cry out no more," she said. "I must simply lie there-"

"And take your punishment-?"

"Yes, and take my punishment-"

"As a slave-?"

"Yes," she said, "-as a slave."

I smiled. This was apparently the first full beating to which the former Miss Millicent Aubrey-Welles, the former deutante from Pennsylvania, had ever been subjected. It had not only physically punished her, and well, but, too, obviously, she had felt it as keenly humiliating. It had not only hurt her, but had horrified and scandalized her.

"You seem outraged," I said.

"I am," she said.

"Why?" I asked.

"I was beaten," she said.

"Do you find yourself eager for a repetition of the experience?" I asked.

"No," she said. "No!"

"The experience, then, was instructive?" I said.

"Yes," she said.

"Why were you beaten?" I asked.

"I cut meat poorly, out on the prairie," she said.

"Wasnapohdi warned you," I said. "You would not let her help. You would not listen."

Winyela squirmed angrily, on her knees in the dust, her small wrists bound tightly before her.

"You were displeasing," I said. "Be pleased that your punishment was not more severe than it was."

Winyela looked up at me, tears in her eyes.

"You might have been fed to sleen," I said.

She shuddered.

"Do you not realize, pretty Winyela," I said, "that you are only a slave?"

"He did not even give me back my clothes," she said.

"These are holiday times," I said. "Surely you have seen more than one white female slave naked in the camp."

"He even left me bount," she said, lifting her secured wrists.

"That is perhaps a bit of extra discipline," I said.

"I am ashamed," she said. "I want to hide. Please let me go into your lodge."

I considered this.

"Beaten slave," said a white female, in a scandalously short shirtdress, and collar, a brunet slave of the Wismahi, sneeringly, to Winyela.

"You may enter the lodge," I said to Winyela.

"Thank you," she whispered, and crept within. Cuwignaka remained outside. He had pegged down three hides and, one after the other, alternating his efforts, was scraping them. All about the camp hides such as these, pegged down, and meat racks, heavy with sheets of kailiauk meat, were in evidence. These are common sights in summer camps. The meat is left two or three days in the sun, this being sufficient for its preservation. It is taken in at night to protect it from the night air.

Inside the lodge Winyela lay on her stomach, on the robes, and, her head lying on her bound hands, wept.

"Do you wish to be beaten again?" I asked.

"No," she said.

"Then, doubtless, you are resolving to be a better slave," I said.

She looked at me, tears streaming down her cheeks, her eyes red.

"Do not be so upset," I said. "You are only a slave."

"Canka struck me," she said. "He beat me."

"And well," I said.

"Yes!" she said.

"Did you expect to be displeasing with impurnity?" I asked.

She regarded me, red-eyed.

"I see you did," I said. "Well, now you have learned better."

"I was beaten!" she said.

"Your sense of outrage is inappropriate," I said. "I suggest you rid yourself of it, immediately, lest it become the occassion of further discipline."

"Discipline?" she asked.

"Slave discipline," I said.

She swollowed hard.

"Replace it with a suitable attitude of trepidation," I said. "You are only a slave."

I observed her naked flanks, on the robes.

She shuddered.

"You should not feel outrage," I told her. "You are only a slave. That is an emotion which would be more appropriate in a free woman, one, say, stripped, and unjustifiably beaten, as though she might be a mere slave. Beatings, on the other hand, are the due of slaves, particularly ones which are in the least respect displeasing, as they might be of any other owned animal."

"I might as well belong to anyone," she said, bitterly.

"That is true," I said. "But you belong to Canka."

"Yes," she said, bitterly. "I belong to Canka." She put her head down, weeping. "I'm so ashamed," she said. "I was so humiliated."

"I understand," I said. The females of the red savages, with their laughter and catcalls, in particular, would not have made the lovely slave's ordeal any easier. Too, that a given girl has been beaten, and has thus, presumably, failed to be fully pleasing in some way, makes her an object of contempt and ridicule among other girls. Little love is lost, commonly, between competitive slave girls. Girls commonly like seeing other girls being beaten, whom they think are too proud, or whome 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.

"Am I permitted to feel shame, humiliation?" she asked, angrily.

"Of course," I said. "Those are emotions which are permitted to slaves."

"How generous are the masters," she said.

"Too, shame and humiliation, like chains and whips, can be useful disciplinary devices."

"Of course," she said.

"A shamed, humiliated slave, tied and beaten, is usualy swift thereafter to learn her lessons," I said.

"I do not doubt it," she said.

"Tell me truthfully now," I said. "During the beating itself, before you were alone, writhing with the pain, what did you find most shameful, most humiliating?"

"Must I answer?" she asked.

"Yes," I said.

"That I knew, in my heart," she said, "that I deserved the beating, that I rechly deserved it."

"Oh?" I asked.

"I di dnot listen to Wasnapohdi," she said. "I was proud and vain. I was clumsy. I was stupid. I cut meat poorly. I displeased my master."

"I see," I said.

"Then I found myself stripped and tied on my knees at the whipping stake. I was to be publicly punished. Then the quirt fell upon me."

"Many times, in private beatings," I said, "such things as shame or humiliation will enter very little into the situation."

She regarded me.

"Often," I said, "the girl merely fears the leather, or its wary of it, and, hoping to give it a wide berth, behaves herself accordingly. For most practical purposes she knows that if she behaves in certain ways she will not feel it, and if she behaves in other ways, she will feel it. It is almost like a law of nature. It is always there, of course, in the background, and she knows that she is subject to it. Similarly, of course, even in her deepest love, she knows that, ultimately, her very life is dependent on the whim of her master. She can be thrown to sleen, at a word from him, if he wishes."

"We are so owned," she whispered.

"Sometimes," I said, "girls, some girls, who are not sure of their slavery, and its limits, will test their masters."

"Oh?" she said.

"Like you," I said.

"I?" she asked, startled.

"And the masters are not found wanting," I said. "The beauty is quickly rassured as to the existence of boundaries."

"I?" she asked.

"Yes," I said.

"Do you think I wanted to be limited and controlled?" she asked.

"Yes," I said.

"That is absurd," she said. She rolled over on her back, on the dark robes, and threw her bound wrists over her head.

"You were not sure that you were really Canka's slave," I said. "You wished reassurance."

The beauty moved angrily. She did not answer.

"Have no fear, Winyela," I said. "The colalr, as you have no doubt by now discovered, is truly knotted on your neck."

I looked at her small feet, at thos trim ankles, at the sweet calves of her, her thighs, her belly, her breasts, the neck and shoulders, her throat, in Canka's collar, her profile, the lovely red hair, behind her on the robes.

"You're looking at me, aren't you?" she asked.

"Yes," I said.

"I hate men," she said. She quickly half sat, half knelt, on the robes, her bound hands on the robes.

"No, you don't," I said. "You hate yourself, or something ugly in yourself, probably left over from Earth, that sick world from which you came."

She threw herslef on her side, facing me, her legs pulled up, her bound hands before her. "I am miserable," she said.

"You are confused," I said. "You only wanted to be put in your place."

"MY place?" she said.

"Yes," I said, "your place, your place in the order of nature, that of a female at the feet of her master."

She did not respond.

"But it is a dangerous game," I said. "I would beware of playing it with Goreans. Suppose Canka had given you to boys, as a target for their arrows, or had rubbed you with blood, your own, and had set sleen on you."

"I am going to run away," she said, sullenly. She rose, angrily, to her feet. I noted how her small feet pressed in the robes.

"I would not advise it," I said.

"Oh?" she asked.

"There is nowhere to run," I said.

She walked angrily to the other side of the lodge, and then turned to face me, her bound wrists held then at her waist. She was beautiful. "It is true," she said, angrily. "There is nowhere to run," she looked down, at her left thigh. "I am even branded," she said, "like an animal."

"Like the animal you are," I said.

"Yes," she said, bitterly, "-like the animal I am."

"Kneel," I said, indicating a place before me, before where I sat, cross-legged, on the robes.

"Back on your heels," I said, "with your knees widely spread."

She complied.

"Put your shoulders back," I said. "Thrust your breasts out. Hold your wrists at your waist."

She complied.

I examined her. She was not only beautiful. She was very beautiful.

"This is my reality, isn't it," she said, "that of a slave, at the bidding of men."

"Yes," I said. "It is."

"May I lower my wrists?" she asked. "May I close my knees?"

"Yes," I said. Swiftly, she did so.

"I did not think that Canka would beat me," she said.

"Why not?" I asked.

"I thought he liked me," she said. Her wrists looked well, bound, atop her closed thighs.

"I suspect he does," I said.

"He beat me," she said, poutingly.

"You are a slave," I explained.

"I thought he liked me," she said.

"I would suppose that he does," I said. "Hitherto, at any rate, he has treated you with great lenience. That, in my opinion, was a mistake on his part. That lenience, if I am not mistaken, you will discover to have vanished. You will now discover, if I am not mistaken, that your life in his lodge will now be rather different."

"Different?" she asked.

"The discipine to which you will now find yourself subjected, I suspect," I said, "will leave you little doubt as to your bondage. It will be unswerving, precise and exact. If you deaprt from the narrow line of slave perfection by so much as a hort you may expect a cuffing, or the lash."

She looked at me, with horror.

"In short," I said, "you will be subjected to exactly the sort of discipline which women such as you want, and need."

She put her head down, angrily. She moved her wrists in the unyielding bonds.

"How do you feel about Canka?" I asked.

She lifted her head, angrily. "I hate him!" she said. "He beat me!"

"Yes, he did," I said, "and well."

"I hate him!" she said.

"You wanted him to beat you," I said.

"But I did not think he would!" she said.

"You were mistaken," I said.

"Yes," she said, "I was mistaken."

"An interesting, if painful experiment, on your part, Winyela," I observed.

"I did not really think of it as an experiment," she said, "at least no consciously, or fully consciously."

"But it seems, rather clearly, to have been one," I said.

"Perhaps," she said.

"I do not think it will be necessary to repeat it," I said.

"No," she said, shuddering, "no."

"What have you learned from your little experiment?" I asked.

"That I am truly a slave," she said.

"And what else?" I asked.

"That my master is stong," she said.

"I do not think you will be permitted, from now on, to get away with any nonsense," I said.

"No," she said. "I do not think so."

"It must be a very frightening thing, to belong to a strong master," I said.

"Yes," she said.

"But then a true slave would not wish it any other way," I said.

"No," she said. "That is true."

"You are satisfied, now," I asked, "that the uncompromising and categorical domination for which you yearn will be applied to you?"

"Yes," she said.

"That you are truly Canka's slave?"

"Yes," she said. "But I am afraid now that he may not like me any longer, that I may have irritated or offended him."

"As you hate him," I said, "what does it matter?"

"Hate him?" she asked. "I love him. I Love him, more than anything!"

"But he beat you," I said.

"I was an errant slave," she said. "Of course I would be punished!"

"I see," I said.

"but I am afraid he does not like me any longer," she wept.

"Why?" I asked.

"He was cold to me," she said.

"He was probably angry," I said.

"Do you think he will give me away?" she asked.

"I do not know," I said.

She put down her head, sobbing. She was only an article of property. She could change hands as easily as a pair of moccasins or a kaiila. "I displeased him," she said. "How absurd and stupid I was."

"Does Canka know that you are here?" I asked.

"Yes," she said.

"Were you ordeed to report here?" I asked.

"I had to talk to someone," she said. "I would have come anyway."

"Were you ordered to report here?" I asked.

"Yes," she said. I had thought that that might be the case.

"Why?" I asked.

"He has set me an addition punishment," she said, straightening her body, putting back her shoulders, thrusting out her breasts, sucking in her gut, kneeling back on her heels, spreading her knees widely, and lifting her crossed, thonged wrists to her waist, "-Master."

I let her retain this posture, that she might fully understand it.

"I note that your wrists are bound," I said.

"Yes," she said.

"I had thought that that might be only a bit of extra discipline," I said. "I had not known, earlier, from your behavior, that you had been sent to report to this lodge."

She put her head down.

"You wished to talk," I said.

"Yes," she whispered.

"That is permissible," I said.

"Thank you," she said, "-Master."

"To wish to talk is permissible," I said. "Actually to talk, of course, whether you are given permission to speak, or not, is up to the master."

"Yes, Master," she said.

I regarded her. She was quite lovely.

"Master," she said.

"Yes," I said.

"I was not ordered merely to report to this lodge," she said. "I was ordered to report to you."

"Not to Cuwignaka?" I asked.

"No," she said.

"To me, personally," I said.

"Yes, Master," she said.

"Do you know what it means," I asked, "when a woman is sent to report to a man, and she is naked, and in bonds?"

"I am not faimiliar with Gorean ways," she said.

"Is the symbolism not obvious?" I asked.

"That she is placed at his disposal," she said, "in bondage."

"Of course," I said.

"Then regard me before you," she said, "placed at your disposal, in bondage."

"Interesting," I said.

"Interesting?" she said.

"Yes," I said.

"Why?" she asked.

"You are a beautiful slave," I said, "and the slave of a high warrior, one how has, even, served as Blotanhunka, a war-party leader, of the All Comrades."

She tossed her head.

"You are supposedly worth even five hides of the yellow kailiauk," I said. "That is what Grunt was supposed to receive for you, for your delivery to Mahpiyasapa."

She looked away.

"So, why, then," I asked, "have you been sent here, to be put at the disposal of one who is, like yourself, only a slave?"

"I am being punished," she said. "I have my orders." she looked at me. "Punish me," she said.

"What were your orders?" I asked.

She looked down.

"Speak them," I said.

"I am to report to you," she said. "I am to present myself before you, and as a female slave. I am to beg you to act as my master, for the afternoon. I am to serve you, and be pleasing, fully, in any and every way that you might desire, and I am to yield to you, withholding nothing, with the perfection of a female slave to her master."

"And I, only a slave," I marveled.

"Yes!" she said, tears in her eyes.

"It is a superb punishment," I admitted.

"Yes," she said, miserably, "it is superb!"

"You will be, in effect," I said, "the slave of a slave."

"Yes," she said, angrily.

"This thought seems to disturb you," I observed.

"I am a slave girl," she said. "I am the rightful property of free men, not slaves."

"Proud slave," I said.

"Canka well knows how to reduce me," she said. Then she looked at me. "Begin my punishment." she said.

"Report," I said.

She looked at me, in fury.

"Keep your back straight," I said.

"I am Qinyela," she said, "the slave of Canka, of the Isbu Kaiila. On the orders of my master I herewith report myself to you. I present myself before you, a female slave. I beg you to be my acting master, for the afternoon."

"Very well," I said.

"I am now yours, for the afternoon," she said. "Do with me as you will."

"I doubt that Canka truly wants me to have you," I said. "Besides, I think you have been punished enought."

She looked at me, startled.

"Give me your wrists," I said.

She extended her wrists, and I unbound them, refastening the thongs, like a bracelet, on her left wrist.

"Lie down here," I said, "on the hides. Rest. After a time, I will take you back to the lodge of Canka."

"Do you not want me?" she asked.

"To see you is to want you," I said.

"You may have me," she said.

"You love Canka," I said, "and you are his."

I then covered her with a smaller hide.

"It is not cold," she said, smiling.

"I am only human," I said. "Do not weaken my rosoves."

"Forgive me, master," she smiled. Then, worn from her ordeals of the day, she was asleep.

I looked at her slender, luscious figure, under the hide. I clenched my fists. Then I left the lodge.

Outside the lodge, I saw Cuwignaka, on his knees, scraping at a pegged-down hide.

"Where is Winyela?" he asked.

"Inside, sleeping," I said.

"I think she has had a hard day," he said.

"I am sure of it," I laughed.

"How was she?" he asked.

"I do not know," I said. "I let her sleep."

"But she was sent here to report to you, was she not?" asked Cuwignaka, pausing in his work.

"Yes," I said.

"Surely you did not neglect to note that she was naked and bound."

"No," I said. "Such details did not escape my attention."

"Do you know what it means," asked Cuwignaka, "when a woman is ordered to report to a man, and she is naked and bound?"

"I have some idea," I admitted.

"And you let her sleep?"

"Yes," I said.

"Why do you think Canka sent her to you?" he asked.

"I am not truly sure," I said.

"She had just been beaten," said Cuwignaka.

"Yes," I said.

"Is it not obvious, the, that this was intended as an addition to her punishment, that she, a slave, would then have to serve one who is also only a slave, and as her master?"

"Perhpas," I said.

"A splendidly humbling experience for a female slave," said Cuwignaka, "and one that teached her her worthlessness and lowness superbly."

"Perhaps," I said.

"And you did not use her."

"No," I said.

"In this you have doubtless not fulfilled the will of Canka," said Cuwignaka.

"Do you truly think he wanted me to have her?" I asked.

"Certainly," said Cuwignaka.

"But she loves him," I said.

"What difference could that possibly make?" asked Cuwignaka.

"And does he not love her?" I asked.

"Yes," said Cuwignaka. "But he will want her sent back to his lodge as a better slave."

"I think she has been punished enough," I said.

"A bold decision for one to make who is only a slave," smiled Cuwignaka.

I grinned. "Perhaps," I said.

"Besides," said Cuwignaka, "Canka likes you."

"I, too, like him," I said.

"He knows that you are a strong man, and that you need a woman."

I shrugged.

"You wear a collar," said Cuwignaka. "It is frustrating for you in the camp. You cannot even touch a nude, white female slave without permission, taking her from her work in dessing skins or sewing."

"There is Wasnapohdi," I said.

"But she is often elsewhere," said Cuwignaka, "and Grunt, for purposes of busniess, often consigns her to others, sometimes for more than a day or two."

"That is true," I said.

"So why should you object," said Cuwignaka, "if Canka, in his friendship for you, in a suitable context, for an afternoon, makes you a present of Winyela?"

"I do not object," I laughed. "It is only that I think, today, at least, she has been punsihed enough."

"That seems to be Canka's decision, not yours," said Cuwignaka.

"Doubtless you are right," I said. "He is her master."

"And you let her sleep!" scoffed Cuwignaka.

"Yes," I said.

"How tender-hearted you are!" he laughed.

"Perhpas," I said. It had been a long time since anyone had accused me of that.

Cuwignaka bent again to his work, with the bone scraper. "What are you thinking about?" he asked.

"I wonder what Wasnapohdi is doing," I said.

Cuwignaka laughed. "She is probably doing what I am doing, scraping skins."

"Do you want any help?" I asked.

"No," said Cuwignaka. "This is woman's work."

I laughed. this response, a joke on Cuwignaka's part, is a commonplace among the red savages. The offer of a man to help with a owman's tasks is almost always refused. The man has his work, the woman hers. The gender of a task commonly has a plausible rational. It seems to be the men, for example, who are best suited to be the warriors and the women who are best suited to be the lovely, desirable prizes of such warriors. Similarly it seems men, with their strength, aggressiveness and size, would be better suited for the hunt, pursuing the swift, thrident-horned, belligerent kailiauk at full speed than the slighter, softer women, and that the women, with their patience, their sense of color, with thier small, nimble fingers, would be better suited to exacting, fine tasks such as beadwork and sewing. Similarly, it is natural to expect that the general, sex-linked orientations and predispositions, statistically obvious, both male and female, of human beings, presumably functions of genetic and hormonal differences, would tend to be reflected, broadly, in the sorts of tasks which each sex tends to perform most effciently and finds most congenial.

Some tasks, of course, from the biological point of view, may be sex-neutral, so to speak. Whether sex-neutral tasks exist or not is an interesting question. Such a task would seem to be on in which the sexual nature of a human being, with all its attendant physiological and psychological consequenses, was irrelevant.

It seems likely that sex-neutral tasks, at least of an interesting nature, do not exist. We shall suppsoe, however, for the purposes of argument, that there do exist such tasks. Let us suppose, for example, that the cutting of leather for moccasisns is such a task. Now among the red savages this task, supposedly sex-neutral, for the purposes of argument, is always, or almost always, performed by females. This calls attention to an interesting anthropological datum. The performances of even tasks which may be "sex-neutral," tasks that do not seem to have an obvious biological rationale with respect to gender, tends to be divided, in culture after culture, on a sezual basis. Similarly, interestingly, whether for historical reasons or not, these cultures tend to be in substantial agreement on the divisions. For example, in almost all cultures, though not all, loom weaving is a female task. This tends to suggest that it is important in these cultures that sexual differences, in one way or another, be clearly marked.

The blurring of sexual differences, with its attendant deleterious consequences on sexual relations and identity, the reduction of male vitality and the frustration of female fulfillment, is not, for better or worse, encouraged. The denial and frustration of nature, the betrayal and subversion of sexuality, it is possible, may not be in the long-term best interest of the human species. Sexism, thus, in a sense, may not be a vice, but the hope of a race. Unisex, not taken for granted as an aspect of a pathological culture, but understood, in depth, could be of interest, it seems, only to somewhat short-sighted or unusal organisms.

I saw a white, female slave walking by. She was in someone's collar. She was stripped.

I had not been given a quirt, a permission quirt, beaded, such as might give a male slave power over such women. I looked at her. She was luscioius. I could not so much as touch her.

"What are you going to do?" asked Cuwignaka.

"I think maybe I will go look for Wasnaphodi," I said.

"I thought you might," said Cuwignaka.

I looked about.

"Have you seen Grunt?" I asked. Wasnapohdi would presumably be somewhere in his whereabouts.

"I saw him this morning," said Cuwignaka. "He seemed troubled."

"Why?" I asked.

"I do not know," said Cuwignaka.

"Bloketu and Iwoso are in the vicinity," I said. I had seen them, when I had looked about. "It seems they are visiting,"

"Of course," said Cuwignaka, working the hide.

"How is it that Bloketu hates you so?" I asked.

"I do not know," said Cuwignaka. "Once we were friends."

"They are coming this way," I said.

Cuwignaka bent even more closely over the hide. Thee seemed now a subtle anger in his movements.

It is common, of course, for women to mock one such as Cuwignaka. Bloketu, on the other hand, seemed to take a malicious and peculiar delight in doing so.

"I had a dream last night about Bloketu," said Cuwignaka.

"Oh?" I said.

"That I collared her and owned her," he said.

"And when she was stripped did you put the quirt to her well?" I asked.

"Yes," he said, "and then I much pleased myself with her."

"A good dream," I said.

"Yes," said Cuwignaka.

"Oh, Iwoso," called out Bloketu, coming up, "here is that pretty girl we met on the prairie, you know, the one in the white-womans dress."

"I remember," said Iwoso.

"She had cut so much meat! The poles of the travois even bent!"

"Yes," said Iwoso. Iwoso looked behind her, as if she expected to see someone.

"But she was such a naughty girl," said Bloketu. "She disobeyed the Sleen Soldier and she lost all that meat."

Iwoso laughed.

"What is her name? It is Cuwignaka, isn't it?" laughed Bloketu.

"Yes," said Iwoso.

"Ah, Cuwignaka," said Bloketu, "you are fortunate that you are not the woman of a Kaiila warrior. If you were he might have taken that white dress off your pretty little body and lashed you well. Thus might learn your lesson, not to lose meat again that way."

"It is he again," whispered Iwoso to Bloketu, looing behind her.

"Oh?" said Bloketu. She turned about, angrily.

On his kaiila, in his breechclout, his hair braided, without feathers, sat Hci. He looked down on the two girls, afoot.

"Are you following us about?" asked Bloketu.

"It is rumored that there may be peace with the Yellow Knives," said Hci.

"I have heard that rumor," said Bloketu.

"They are our enemies," said Hci. He looked at Iwoso.

"If you wish to court Iwoso," said Bloketu, "you may come to the lodge tonight and sit outside, cross-legged, playing the love flute. I will then decide whether or not I will permit my maiden to leave the lodge."

"You have not yet taken away her leggings, nor put her in a short dress and collar," said Hci.

"It is not necessary to floow Iwoso about like a panting sleen," said Bloketu.

"It is not for such a purpose that I follow her," said Hci. "If I want her, I will come to your lodge. I will offer a kaiila for her and bring a rope."

"That you are a Sleen Soldier does not permit you to speak so!" said Bloketu.

"This morning," said Hci, "Watonka, and you two, left the camp of the Isanna."

"He was spying on us," said Iwoso.

"You met other riders," said Hci. "I found the traks. What did you do?"

"Nothing," said Bloketu.

"Who were the other riders?" asked Hci.

"You are an expert tracker," said Bloketu. "You tell me. Surely you examined the dust for the print of moccasins?" Different tribes have, usually, slightly different moccasins patterns, resulting in subtly differnt prints. To be sure, it usually takes a sharp print to make these discriminations. There is no difficulty, of course, in distinguishing between boots of the sort common with white riders and moccasins, the almost universal footwear of the red savages. They are worn even in the winter. In the winter they are often lined, for insulation and warmth, with hair or dried grass.

"None dismounted," said Hci.

"There were Isanna hunters," said Bloketu.

"No hunting parties of the Isanna left camp this morning," said Hci.

"Oh," said Bloketu.

"Watonka himself had so ordered it," said Hci.

"They were Wismahi," said Bloketu.

"They were Yellow Knives," said Hci. "Three of them."

"You cannot know that," said Bloketu, angrily.

"It would be for such a reason that you would take the Yellow-Kife slave with you," said Hci, looking at Iwoso, "to converse with them."

"Slave!" cried Iwoso, angrily.

"Yes, slave," said Hci.

Bloketu looked about. "Do not speak too loudly," she said. "You are right, Hci. They were Yellow Knives. And Iwoso has been very helpful. She can speak to them, other than in sign, which we cannot. They contacted Watonka. They wish to make peace with the Kaiila."

"That is wonderful," said Cuwignaka.

"Attend your work, Girl," said Hci to Cuwignaka, "or I will put you to sewing."

Cuwignaka, angrily, sat back on his heels. In sewing, commonly, among the red savages, a roll of rawhide string is held balled in the mouth, and played out, bit by bit. The warmth and saliva in the mouth keeps the string moist and pliable. The thrusting end is twisted and wet. It is then thrust through holes punched in the leather with a metal or bone awl. The moist thread, of course, as well as being easier to work with, tends to shrink in drying and make tighter stiches. With the ball of hide string in the mouth, of course, it is difficult to speak. When a woman, then, finds herself being advised by her man to attend to her sewing, she understands, well enough, that it is now time for her to be silent. She has been, in effect, ordered to put a gag in her own mouth.

"You may not know of this, Hci," said Bloketu, "but Mahpiyasapa and the other chieftains know of it. There will be a council on the matter."

"The Yellow Knives are our enemies," said Hci. "There will never be peace with them."

"Was it really the Yellow Knives who first contacted Watonka?" asked Hci.

"Yes," she said.

"I find that hard to believe," said Hci.

"Why?" asked Bloketu.

"I know Yellow Knives." said Hci, his hand straying to the long scar at the left side of his chin. "I have met them, lance to lance, club to club, knife to knife."

"There is more to life than collecting coups," said Bloketu.

"That is probably true," said Hci, regarding Iwoso. Quickly she put her head down. She was very pretty. She had been captured from Yellow Knives at the age of twelve. I thought I agreed with Hci. She was now old enough to be a man's true slave.

"Do not be afraid, Hci," laughed Bloketu. "There were only three of them, and this is the time of the great dances."

During the summer festivals, and the time of the great dances, warfare and raiding is commonly suspended on the prairie. This is a time of truce and peace. The celebrating tribe, during its own festival period, naturally refrains from belligerent activities. Similarly, interestingly, enemy tribes, during this period, perhaps in virtue of an implicit bargain, that their own festival times be respected, do not attack them, or raid them. For the red savages the festival times in the summer, whenever they are celebrated by the various tribes, are the one time in the year when they are territorially and politically secure. These are very happy times, on the whole, for the tribes. It is nice to know that one is, at such times, safe. More than one war party, it is recorded, penetrating deeply into enemy territory, and seeing the high brush walls of a dance lodge, and discovering that it was the enemy's festival time, has politely withdrawn. This sort of thing is not historically unprecedented. For example, in ancient Greece the times of certain games, such as the Olympic games, constituted a truce period during which it was customary to suspend the internecine wars of competitive cities. Teams and fans from the combatant poleis then could journey to and from the stadiums in safety. Two additional reasons militating against bellicosity and martial aggression during the summer festivals might be mentioned. First, the size of these gatherings, the enemy being massed, so to speak, tends to reduce the practicality of attacks. Bands of men are not well advised to launch themselves upon nations. Secondly, it is supposedly bad medicine to attack during the times of festivals.

"I do not trust Yellow Knives," said Hci.

"It is all right, Hci," said Bloketu. "Ask your father, Mahpiyasapa, if you like."

Hci shrugged, angrily.

"There is to be council on the matter," said Bloketu.

It did seem to me plausible, if the Yellow Knives wished to sue for peace, and if they had contacted Watonka, or if he had contacted them, that it would ahve been done at this time, at the time of the gathering, of the dances and feasts. This would seem to be the ideal time for such probings, such contacts, and any pertinent attendant negotiations.

Iwoso looked up. Hci was still regarding her. Such obvious scrutiny would not have been appropriate, of course, if she had not been a slave. Iwoso, again, put down her head.

"Oh," laughed Bloketu, light-heartedly, as if desiring to shift the locus of discourse, "I see you were not really spying on us, at all, Hci. You were only pretending to do so! You are a sly young fellow! You wanted an excuse to follow Iwoso!"

"No," said Hci. This was a form of teasing which Hci did not enjoy.

"I know you find Iwoso attractive," said bloketu, laughing. "I have seen you look at her."

"She is only a Yellow-Knife slave," said Hci.

"She has been with the Kaiila since the age of twelve," said Bloketu. "She is as much Kaiila as Yellow Knife."

"No," said Hci. "She is a Yellow Knife. It is in her blood."

"Perhaps, Iwoso," said Bloketu, "I will let Hci court you."

"No, please, no!" said Iwoso. I saw that she, genuinely, feared Hci, and deeply. I did not fully understand this at the time. I would later.

"Then I shall decide," said Bloketu to Iwoso, "whether or not you shall accept him."

"No, please," said Iwoso.

"Do you dispute me, my maiden?" asked Bloketu.

"No," said Iwoso, miserably.

"She should say that on her knees, with her head down," said Hci.

"You men would like us all to be your helpless slaves," said Bloketu, angrily.

I saw Cuwignaka looking at Bloketu. I thought he was, perhaps, in his mind, undressing her. He was speculating, perhaps, on what she might look like, diversted of her high station, diversted of the jewelry and finery of the chiefatin's daughter, put to a man's feet, collared, waiting to be commanded.

"Do you want Iwoso?" asked Bloketu, angrily, of Hci.

Hci shrugged. "She s a Yellow Knife," he said. "She might do as a slave. I do not know."

"Do you want her?" asked Bloketu.

"She might look well naked," said Hci.

"You are speaking of my maiden," said bloketu, scandalized.

"— On a rope, under a whip." added Hci.

"Bloketu!" protested Iwoso.

"If you want her," said Bloketu, angrily, "you must court her properly."

"I do not court Yellow-Knife women," said Hci. "I kill them, or collar them." He then pulled his kaiila about and, kicking his heels back into the flanks of the beast, took his leave.

"What an arrogant youn man," said Bloketu.

"Do not let him court me," begged Iwoso.

"I might let him court you," said Bloketu.

"Please, no," said Iwoso.

"Then," said Bloketu, smiling. "I might let you spurn him. That would be an excellent lesson for the fellow. Let his suit be rejected, his wooing publicly scorned. It would be a good joke."

"I would rather," said Iwoso, "that you did not permit him to court me at all."

"Why?" asked Bloketu.

"Suppose I sprun his suit," she said, "and he is angry. Suppose he seizes me, and binds me, and carries me away."

"He would not dare," said Bloketu.

"I am only a slave," said Iwoso.

"Have no fear," said Bloketu. "You are my maiden."

"Please do not let him court me," begged Iwoso.

"I will do what I want," said Bloketu.

"Yes, Bloketu," said Iwoso.

"You are afraid of him, aren't you?" asked Bloketu.

"Yes," said Iwoso. "I would be terrified to have to go to his lodge."

"Interesting," said Bloketu.

"You are free, and the daughter of a chief," said Iwoso.

"That is why you cannot understand my fear. But I am only, really, a slave."

"Slaves are so fearful," said Bloketu.

"If you were a slave, you, too, would know fear," said Iwoso.

"Perhaps," said Bloketi.

"We are owned," said Iwoso.

I thought I saw the chieftain's daughter shudder, momentarily, a tiny shudder, one which seemed to be of fear and, if I am not mistaken, of deep excitement and pleasure, perhaps at the wickedly horrifying thought of herself being a slave, of herself being owned. At any rate, I did not think that the lovely Bloketu, if she were to find herself truly enslaved, would experience any difficulty in learning fear. She, like any other slave, I was certain, would acquire it quite easily. It is a property which attaches natrually to the condition. The slave girl is totally at the mercy of the master, in any and every way. It is not surprising, therefore, that she is no stranger to fear.

"If you permit Hci to court me," begged Iwoso, "please do not have me accept his suit."

"I will do as I want," said Bloketu.

"Please do not have me accept his suit!" begged iwoso.

"We will see what mood I am in at the time," said Bloketu, loftily.

"Please!" said Iwoso.

"We will see how I feel at the time," said Bloketu, "whther Hci is nice or not, whether or not I am pleased with you. What I do then will depend on such things."

"Please," begged Iwoso.

"Do not anger me, maiden," said Bloketu, "or I may send you to him for the night, without your clothes and tied, maybe with a quirt tied around your neck, like you were a white female slave!"

Iwoso was immediately silent.

"That is better, my maiden," smiled Bloketu. "Remember you are not yet important."

Iwoso did not respond. I did not understand Bloketu's remark about Iwoso not yet being important. If that was the case, then, I gathered, she would not have to worry about Hci, or, I supposed, other warriors of the Kaiila.

"Are you obedient, my maiden?" asked Bloketu of Iwoso sweetly.

"Yes Mistress," said Iwoso, her head down. This was the first time I had ever heard Iwoso use the word to Bloketu. It is not unusual for a girl to discover that within her velvet bonds there are chains of steel.

"Why should Iwoso become important?" asked Cuwignaka, kneeling near the hide on which he was working. It seemed to me a fair question. Iwoso was, in the final analysis, in spite of being a maiden of a chieftain's daughter, only a slave.

"It does not matter," said Bloketu.

"I would like to know," said Cuwignaka. "I am curious."

"Such matters are not the proper concern of one who is only a pretty young girl like yourself," laughed Bloketu.

"I am not a female slave," said Cuwignaka, "expected to serve in ignorance, unquestioningly, supposedly concerned, truly, only with the pleasures of her master."

"Then you admit that you are a mere female," said Bloketu.

"No," said Cuwignaka.

"Listen to the pretty young thing!" laughed Bloketu.

"I am two years older than you, at least," said Cuwignaka.

"You lost meat!" laughed Bloketu.

"Tell me," said Cuwignaka.

"I think I will call a man, pretty Cuwignaka," she said, "to put you about your sewing."

"It has to do with the Yellow Knives, doesn't it?" asked Cuwignaka.

"Maybe," smiled Bloketu. I saw that she was very vain. Cuwignaka, too, must have understood this.

"If Iwoso is to become important," said Cuwignaka, "then doubtless you would be even more important."

"Perhaps," said Bloketu.

"And if you are important," said Cuwignaka, puzzled, "then surely Watonka, your father, would be even more important."

"Perhaps," said Bloketu.

"But how could one be more important than being a chief of the Isanna?" asked Cuwignaka, genuinely puzzled.

"May I speak, Mistress?" asked Iwoso.

"Yes," said Bloketu.

"If one can bring about peace between our peoples, the Kaiila and the Yellow Knives," she said, "one would surely, in the prestige of this, be very important."

"That is true," said Cuwignaka.

"In doing this," said Iwoso, "it would be like counting a hundred coups, almost like being a high chief of the Kaiila."

"That is very true," said Cuwignaka, kneeling back on the dirt, near the pegged-down hide.

Bloketu seemed relieved. Iwoso, I gathered, subtly, not quite sure of it, was a very clever young woman.

"It is my hope," Iwoso said, "to be of some small help in this business, the bringing about of peace between our peoples."

"You are a noble girl," said Cuwignaka. "I hope that you will be successful."

"Thank you," said Iwoso.

Something about this conversation disturbed me. I was not sure, however, what it was.

Cuwignaka picked up his bone scraper and, once again, began to give his attention to the hide on which he was working.

"Let us return now, Mistress," said Iwoso, "to the lodges of the Isanna." Iwoso, I noted, seemed in a hurry to take her departure.

"But did we not come here to visit with this pretty girl?" asked Bloketu. "Then we were interupted by Hci."

Iwoso was silent.

"We will tarry a moment," said Bloketu. I saw that she had not fulfilled, to her satisfaction, her desire to have sport with Cuwignaka. I did not know why she hated him so.

"Do not wait on my account," said Cuwignaka, not looking up from his work.

"She seems very dilligent," said Bloketu.

"Yes, Mistress," said Iwoso.

"What are you doing, pretty girl?" asked Bloketu.

"Scraping a hide," said Cuwignaka. "Probably what you should be doing."

"Saucy girl," chided Bloketu.

"I do not care to be mocked," said Cuwignaka.

"You are very famous," said Bloketu. "All the Kailla know of you. The Dust Legs, too, with whom we trade, know of you."

Cuwignaka grunted, irritably. It was only too likely that, through trade chains, his story had widely circulated in the Barrens. The Dust Legs, for example, who do a great deal of trading, have dealings with several tribes which, in their turn, have dealings with others. Fore example, although the Dust Legs and the Fleer are enemies, as are the Kaiila and the Fleer, the Dust Legs have dealings with the Sleen, and the Sleen, in turn, trade with trives such as the Yellow Knives and the Fleer. Thus, indirectly, even tribes hostile to the Kaiila, or normally so, such as te Fleer and the Yellow Knives might, quite possibly, have heard of Cuwignaka.

"But what they probably do not know," said Bloketu," is how pretty you are, and what a marvelous worker you are." Cuwignaka, to be sure, was a very hard worker. I did not doubt but what he was one of the hardest workers in the camp.

"It is too bad you lost all that meat," said Bloketu. "But such things can happen."

Cuwignaka did not respond to her.

"Doubtless you will not let it happen again," she said.

Cuwignaka did not respond.

"All in all, I think you would be a very valuable girl to have in a lodge, Cuwignaka," said Bloketu. "If you are not careful, the young men will come courting you."

Cuwignaka worked steadily, angrily. He did not speak. I was afraid he would cut the skin.

"Can you cook and sew?" asked Bloketu.

"I can cook," said Cuwignaka. "I am not much good at sewing."

"They young men will not mind," said Bloketu. "You are so pretty."

"Maybe not," said Cuwignaka. "You manage very well, it seems."

"Lets us go, Mistress," said Iwoso.

"Be quiet," snapped Bloketu to Iwoso.

"Yes, Mistress," said Iwoso.

"What do you mean by that?" asked Bloketu, angrily, of Cuwignaka.

"It is well known among the Kaiila," said Cuwignaka, kneeling back on his heels, putting aside the bone scraper and looking up at Bloketu, "that you are not good for much."

"Oh?" said Bloketu. She was taken aback, a bit, I think, by finding herself, ultimately only a woman, suddenly, unexpectedly, the object of so challenging and frank a gaze.

"Yes," said Cuwignaka.

"The young men do not seem to mind," said Bloketu, collecting herself, loftily.

"That is because you are the daughter of a chief," said Cuwignaka.

"No," said Bloketu, angrily. "It is because I am beautiful."

"Who has told you that?" asked Cuwignaka.

"Many men," she said.

"It was dark outside," said Cuwignaka.

"No!" said Bloketu.

"They tell you that because you are the daughter of a chief," said Cuwignaka.

"No!" said Bloketu.

"They want a kaiila from Watonka," said Cuwignaka.

"No!" said Bloketu.

Cuwignaka shrugged. I smiled. Swiftly had the tables been turned on the beauty, putting her on the defensive. I saw, too, in so simple an exchange, that Cuwignaka was intellectually dominant over Bloketu.

"Everyone tells me I am beautiful," said Bloketu, angrily.

"Have I ever told you that?" asked Cuwignaka.

"In a way," said Bloketu, warily. "Out on the prarie you told me that it was not enough to be merely beautiful."

"Oh?" asked Cuwignaka.

"Yes!" she said.

"Well," said Cuwignaka, "that may be ture. It is possible. It may be that it is not enough, at least among the Kaiila, where there is much work to be done, to be merely beautiful."

"Thus," she said, triumphantly, "you think that I am beautiful!"

"Did I say I was talking about you?" asked Cuwignaka.

"No," she said.

"Well, maybe I was not talking about you," he said.

"Oh!" she cried, angrily.

"That is something to think about," he said.

"Do you think I am beautiful?" she asked.

Cuwignaka looked up at her.

"Do you think I am beautiful?" she asked.

"Maybe," he said.

"Maybe?" she asked.

Cuwignaka then rose to his feet. He went to stand before Bloketu. He looked down upon her. He was a head taller than she. She stepped back a bit. "Yes, Bloketu," he said. "You are beautiful."

"Now you speak the truth!" she said.

"And I shall speak further truths," he said. "You are beautiful as a free woman, and you would be even more beautiful as a slave, stripped and kneeling before me, in my collar, in my lodge, waiting to be commanded."

"I am the daughter of a chief!" she said.

"You would look well, crawling to me," he said, "with a quirt in your teeth."

"Beware!" she said.

"It is well that you are of the kaiila," he said. "Else I might take the warpath, to take you, to bring you back to my lodge as a naked slave."

"Oh!" she cried.

"I desire you, Bloketu," said Cuwignaka. "I desire you with the greatest ferocity with which a man can desire a woman, that he would have her at his feet, as his owned slave."

The girl turned and feld away. She was terrified. Never, hitherto, had she dreamed she could be the object of such passion.

She was swiftly followed by Iwoso, her maiden.

Cuwignaka, standing up, looked after the two girls. They are pretty, aren't they?" he asked.

"Yes," I said.

"Do you think they would make good slaves?" he asked.

"Yes," I said.

"Who do you think is the most beauitful, Iwoso or Bloketu?" he asked.

"Bloketu," I said.

"I do, too," said Cuwignaka.

"I was somewhat distrubed by portions of the conversation between you, and Bloketu and Iwoso," I said, "in particular, the business about the enlargement of Watonka's importance."

Cuwignaka grinned. "I am afraid," he said, "that Bloketu and Iwoso were not entirely candid with us about that matter."

"How is that?" I asked.

"It seems they would have us believe that Watonka's enhancement would be largely one of presitige."

"Would it not be so?" I asked.

"There would be much prestige, to be sure," smiled Cuwignaka, "but, too, doubtless, in the giving of gifts, many kaiila would change hands."

"I see," I said.

"Already Watonka is the richest of all the Kaiila," said Cuwignaka. "Should he be successful in bringing about this peace, as we shall hope he shall be, he will doubtless be the recipient of many kaiila, perhaps even a thousand, gifts from both the Yellow Knives and the Kaiila themselves."

"I see," I said.

"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.

"Thus," said Cuwignaka, "Bloketu would be important, being the daughter of such a man, and even Iwoso, only a slave, would become celebrated among several tribes, serving as a maiden in so rich a household."

I laughed. "It is easy to see why Bloketu and Iwoso might have been hesitant to speak of this aspect of the matter," I said, "seeing what profits might accure to them."

"Particularly," smiled Cuwignaka, "since matters, at this time, are, I gather, so uncertain and tentative."

"Do you think that there will be peace between the Yellow Knives and the Kaiila?" I asked.

"I do not know," said Cuwignaka. "I hope so."

"There is a pretty slave," I said.

"Yes," said Cuwignaka.

The blond-haired girl, stripped, collared, regarded me with contempt, tossed her head, and passed on. She ws the property of a red master.

"I remember her," I said.

"She came in with the Isanna," said Cuwignaka. "We saw her then."

"Yes," I said. She had been part of the loot display of the Isanna, a trinket in the procession of their splendor. She had been at someone's stirrup, naked, her hands bound behind her back, a quirt hung about her neck.

"Sheis arrogant," said Cuwignaka.

"Yes," I said. I remembered that she had, then, to, looked upon me with contempt. She was owned by a red master. I was only a white slave.

"She is probably kept in one of the Isanna's girl herds," said Cuwingaka.

I nodded. These herds, usually consisting of from forty to fifty white females, stripped, are usually kept a pasang or so from camp, with the kaiila herds. The Isanna women, on the whole, object to such women being kept in the private lodges.

Before the winter such herds are usually sold off. Those girls who are not sold off must be clothed and brought indoors. They are usually kept in the lodges of warrior societies or in private lodges. Some are kept in girl lodges, in the charge of a warrior who, for the trnure of his governance over them, acts as their master. Some, to their horror, are put in the keeping of a red female. Usually, after a day or two of this, they beg to kneel again, head down, at the feet of men. In the summer most such girls, and others, too, being added to them, are put out again, with the kaiila. The Isanna is only the third largest band of the Kaiila. It is, however, indisputably, the richest. Its wealth, for example, in both kaiila and white females is well known on the plains. Boys, with ropes and whips, watch over the women. They may, of course, cut any women they wish out of the herd and use her.

"I myself," said Cuwignaka," would prefer to keep slaves in my own lodge."

"There would be too many of them for the Isanna to do that," I said.

"They are pertentious, and vain," said Cuwignaka. "They do not need that many women."

"They sell off the herds in the winter," I said.

"But only to increase them again, in the spring," he said.

"That white females are herded by the Isanna, more so than with other bands, or tribes," I said, "has, I gather, something to do with the Isanna women."

"Yes," said Cuwignaka. "They do not want them in lodges."

"That is understandable," I said.

"But, in such things, the men should be the masters, fully," said Cuwignaka.

"That is true," I said.

"It is well known that Isanna women are insufficiently disciplined," said Cuwignaka.

"Bloketu is insufficiently disciplined, for example?" I asked.

"Yes," said Cuwignaka, "Bloketu is insufficietnly disciplined. Bloketu needs discipline, severe discipline."

"It might be pleasant to administer it to her," I said.

"yes," said Cuwignaka, grimly.

I smiled. Fortunately for the lovely Bloketu she stood high among the Kaiila. If she were a foreign woman who had fallen into Cuwignaka's hands, I did not doubt but what she would learn discipline, well and swiftly.

I watched the rear of the blond girl moving away, between the lodges. It moved well.

"You are hot," smiled Cuwignaka.

I did not respond. I was in misery.

"Winyela sleeps within the lodge," said Cuwignaka. "Why do you not whip her awake, and use her? She is only a slave. Too, she was sent to you to be disciplined."

"No," I said.

"One should not be too soft with female slaves," said Cuwignaka.

"I know," I said.

"It is Canka's will that you use her, and well," he said.

"Do you think so?" I asked.

"Of course," said Cuwignaka. "He is a red savage. Do not be culturally confused."

I shrugged.

"He will wish for her to be returned to his lodge a better slave than she left it," said Cuwignaka.

"Perhaps," I said.

"Lash her awake," said Cuwignaka. "Set her, without mercy, about her duties. Let her be in no doubt that it is men who are her masters."

"I think I shall let her sleep," I smiled.

"As you wish," said Cuwignaka.

"She has suffered enough for one day, I think," I said.

"As you wish," said Cuwignaka.

"But," I said, "I think I shall go to see Grunt."

"And look for Wasnaphodi," laughed Cuwignaka.

"Maybe," I said.

"Poor Wasnapohdi!" lauhed Cuwignaka.

Chapter 8

I TAKE MY LEAVE FROM GRUNT'S LODGE

"I am sorry," said Grunt. "Wasnapohdi is not here. She is out picking berries. I do not know when she will be back. After that she is to help some of the other women."

"Oh," I said.

"If I had known you might want her," said Grunt, "I could have kept her here for you, naked, tied hand and foot, at the side of the lodge."

"That is all right," I said. "It is nothing."

"You made a mistake with Winyela," he said.

"Oh?" I said.

"She was sent to you to be punished," he said. "You should have done so."

"Do you think so?" I asked.

"I know red savages," he said. "Yes."

"I did not do so," I said. Indeed, I had even let her rest, and then sleep.

"That was a mistake," said Grunt.

"Perhaps," I said.

We spoke within Grunt's lodge, one put at his disposal by his friend, Mahpiyasapa, civil chief of the Isbu Kaiila.

"I spoke to Cuwingaka earlier today," I said. "He told me that you seemed troubled."

"Oh?" he asked.

"Yes," I said. Grunt wore the broad-brimmed hait, that one with which I was so familiar. It was interesting to me that he wore it even within the lodge. I had never seen him without it.

"Is anything wrong?" I asked.

"I don't think so," he said.

"What is it?" I asked.

"Have you heard the rumors?" he asked. "About the Yellow Knives? That they are going to send a delegation even into the camp?"

"I have heard rumors, even today," I said, "about the possiblility of a peace being arranged with the Yellow Knives. I had not reallized, however, that things had proceeded so far, that a delegation was to be welcomed into the camp."

"Yes," said Grunt.

"Negotiations are much more advanced than I realized then," I said. "It seems, now, that there may be a real possiblitly for peace."

"I do not like it," said Grunt.

"Why?" I asked. "Surely you welcome the prospect of peace."

"I do not trust the Yellow Knives," he said.

"Why?" I asked.

"I have never had good relations with the Yellow Knives," he said.

I smiled. Grunt divided the tribes of red savages into those with whome he had had good relations and those with whome he had not had good relations. He had had good relations, for example, with the Dust Legs, the Kaiila and the Fleer. He had not, on the other hand, had good relations with the Yellow Knives. Grunt pulled down his hat further on his head, an interesting guesture, on about which he was apparently not really thinking.

"Are they any worse, really," I asked, "than the Kaiila, or the Kailiauk or the Fleer?"

"I suppose not," admitted Grunt.

"If peace comes about," I said, "this might even open up new possiblities for trade."

"Let others, then, exploit them," said Grung, irritably.

"You do not seem overly fond of Yellow Knives," I observed.

"No," said Grunt.

"Do they hate you?" I asked.

"I would not suppose so," he said.

"You seem to dislike them," I said.

"Do I?" asked Grunt.

"Yes," I said.

"Perhaps," he said.

"Why?" I asked.

"Never mind," said Grunt. "It is not important."

I rose to my feet. "It is getting late in the afternoon," I said. "It is time for me to awaken Winyela and retun her to the lodge of Canka."

"I wish you well," said Grunt.

"I wish you well, too," I said.

I then took my leave from Grunt's lodge.

Chapter 9

THIS OCCURRED IN THE LODGE OF CUWIGNAKA

Gently I put my hand on the girl's small, soft shoudler, it under the hide blanket. I shook her twice, gently.

"No," she said, "no. Surely it is not time already to go to the office."

"Awaken," I said.

She opened her eyes, registering her surroundings. She laughed softly, lying under the hide blanket. "I awaken naked, in a man's collar, on a distant world," she said. "no, it is not time for me to go to the office."

"No," I said.

She then rolled to her stomach and, under the hide blanket, stritched. Her ody moved dleiciously under the hide.

"That concealed slaverly is behind you now," I said. "Your slavery is now of a more open nature."

"Yes," she said.

I then lifted the hide blanket back, and down to her claves. Such may be done with a slave. Her curves were marelous.

I listened for a moment to the sounds of the camp outside. Somewhere I heard a girl crying out, being beaten. It was probably a white slave girl.

I looked at Winyela, on her stomach, n the dark robes.

I then, sweating, my fists clenched on the hide blanket, drew it back up, over her, to the middle of her back.

"I may be revealed," she said. "I am a slave."

I said nothing. I fought for my self-control.

She turned then, to her side, supporting herself on her elbow. This action cause the hide blanket to slip to her waist. "Thank you for letting me sleep," she said. "You were very kind."

"It was nothing," I said.

"I should like to thank you," she said. She reached her lips toward mine but I, by her upper arms, held her from me. "What is wrong?" she asked.

"The kiss of a slave can be but the prolongue to her rape," I said.

"Oh," she said, smiling. She then drew back, and then, on her side, lay down. She pulled the hide blanket up about her neck.

"You must get up soon," I said. "In a while it will be time to return you to the lodge of Canka."

"If I dally," she asked, "will you quirt me?"

"If I think you dally overmuch," I said, "of course."

"Could you do that?" she asked.

"Yes," I said.

"Of course," she said, "for I am only a slave."

"Of course," I said.

"Sometimes it seems strange to me," she said, "thinking of myself as subject to the whip."

"There is nothing strange in it," I said. "You are a slave."

"That is true," she said.

"Master," she said.

"Yes," I said. It had surprised me, for a moment, that she had called me 'Master', but then I recalled that she had been given to me, for the afternoon. Indeed, for the afternoon, or, I supposed, until, within reason, I shose to return her to the lodge of Canka, she was, for all pracitical purposes, my own slave.

"You have treated me with great tenderness and kindness," she said.

I shrugged.

"May I surmise from this," she asked, "as I know little of slavery, and am new to the condition, that there can be tenderness and kindness for a slave?"

"There can be tenderness and kindness for a slave," I said, "of course. It is not permitted, however, to compromise in the least the iron discipline under which she is kept."

"I see," she said.

I regarded her.

"I want to be kept under an iron discipline," she said.

"I know," I said.

It was hard for me to forget that she was naked under the hide blanket.

"Do masters ever love their slaves?" she asked.

"Often," I said. Indeed, a female slave is the easiest of all women to love; too, of course, she is the most natural, of all women to love; these things have to do with the equations of nature, in particular with thos of dominance and submission. To a man a female slave is a dream come true. A free woman, understandably, cannot even begin to compete with a female slave for a man's love. That is perhaps another reason why free women hate their vulnerable, imounded sisters. If a free woman would assure herself of a man's love she could not do better than, in effect, become his slave. She can beg of him, if she senses in herslef he true bondage of love, and enslavement ceremony, in which she proclaims herslef, and becomes, his slave. In their most secret and intimate relations thereafter she lives and loves as his slave. If a woman fears to do this she may, on an experimental basis, resport to limited self-contracting, in which her documents will contain stated termination dates. Thus, by her wone free will, she becomes a slave for a specific period, ranging usually from an evening to a year. The woman enters into this arrangement freely; she cannot, of course, withdraw from it in the same way. The reason for this is clear. As soon as the words are spoken, or her signature is placed on the pertinent document, or documents, she is no longer a free person. She is then only a slave, an animal, no longer with any legal powers whatsoever. She is, then, until the completion of the contractual period, unto the expiration date of the arrangement, totally subject to the will of her master.

"And still keep them as slaves?" asked the girl.

"Of course," I said.

"Then I could be loved," she said, "and still kept as a slave, totally."

"Of course," I said.

"Even to being beaten?" she asked.

"Yes," I said.

"Of course," she said, "for I would still be only a slave."

"Of course," I said. "How is your back?" I asked.

"Sore," she said.

"You have felt the quirt," I said. "YOu will be a better slave for it."

"How strange it is to think of myself in such terms," she mused.

"What terms?" I asked.

"That I am a slave," she said, "that I am owned, that I belong to a man."

"Perhaps it seems strange to you, sometimes, lingeringly," I said, "because you are from Earth. It is not strange on Gor, of course. Bondage for a beautiful woman, such as yourself, is a common reality on Gor."

"I gather that it is so," she said.

"It is," I said. "On Gor thousands of beautiful women, branded, and in collars, serve, and must serve, their masters with the fullness of their female perfections."

She nodded. She had seen female slaves. She herself had been sold in the town of Kailiauk, near the Inhanke.

"And you, in the Barrens," I said, "are such a woman."

"I know," she said. She had seen slaves, too, in the Barrens, of course, generally white women, the helpless, obedient, collared slaves of red savages.

"It is your reality," I said.

"I know," she said.

"I think it is time we went to the lodge of Canka," I said.

"Yes, Master," she said. She then sat up on the robes. She held the hide blanket about her neck.

I almost wanted to cry out, to tear it from her, to fling her beneath me.

"I love Canka," she said. "I love him, more than anything."

I nodded.

"And I want him to love me," she said, "even though I am only a slave, if just a little."

"I understand," I said. It was natural for a slave helplessly in love with her master to hope that he might see fit to cast her at least a particle or crumb of his affection. That much he might bestow even upon a pet sleen.

She looked at me. "Canka wanted me punished," she said.

I shrugged.

"But you did not do so," she said.

"No," I said.

"Punish me," she said.

"No," I said.

"Very well," she said.

She, moving slightly, but mostly sitting as sh was, let the hide blanket slip to her thighs. It seemed an accident.

"Let us hurry to the lodge of Canka," I said. I did not know if I could retain my control.

"Please," she said, "let me adjust my collar." She then, carefully, with her small hands, aligned the beaded collar on her throat. At certain points she ran a finger around and under it, adjusting it for comfort. She then, again, aligned it, setting the central knot under her chin. "There," she said. "That is better, and more comfortable. How does it look?"

"Fine," I said.

"Good," she said. "It is important to us that our collars both look well and be comfortable."

I was driven hald wild, seeing her small hands so carful and attentive upon that encircling badge of servitude, calling attention to it. It was, of course, a slave collar.

"Let us go," I said.

"My hair," she said, "please-Master."

I watched her putting back her head and, carefully, apparently paying me no attention, arrange her long, lovely red hair. This action, of course, raised the line of her lovely breasts.

"One of the things most startling to an Earth girl, brought to Gor," she said, "is that she finds herself the object of such ardent desire."

"Perhaps," I said. To be sure she would have encountered little on Earth to prepare her for the sexuality of Gorean men.

"Another thing which they find startling, and almost unbelievably so," she said, fussing with her hair, "is how irreservedly and passionately, and sometimes mercilessly, they are used."

I nodded. Such women, to be sue, would seldom be given much choice in the matter.

"And how ruthlessly they are owned and dominated, and made to obey," she said.

I did not speak.

"But then," she said, softly, putting her head down, her hands still at her hair, her brasts still lifted, in what was almost a delicate token of submission, "that is fitting and proper, for they are only slaves."

"Yes," I said. My fists were clenched.

"How does my hair look?" she asked, bringing her hands down and lifting her head.

"Fine," I said.

She then turned and, putting her lright leg under her and lifting her left knee, she threw aside the hide blanket. She smiled at me. She ahd done this shamelessly, as a slave. The body of a slave, of course, is public, in a way that it would be unthinkable that the body of a free woman could be public.

"I think you find me attractive," she said.

"Yes," I said.

She then knelt back on her heels, facing me, but her hands were on the robes.

"Alas," she said, in mock sorrow, "how weak and vulnerable are slaves."

"Yes," I said.

"How helpless and powerless we are," she said.

"Yes!" I said, angrily. I saw that she had allure, and power.

"But perhaps we are not completely powerless," she said. She put her hands behind her head and straightened her back. She thrust out her breasts and stretched.

"Perhaps not," I said.

She then lowered her hands and looked at me. She was kneeling, facing me, then, her hands on her thighs. Her thighs were closed.

"I am more powerful," she said, "than was that little snip and chit, Millicent Aubrey-Welles, from Earth." This was who she had once been. Then she had been enslaved.

"How is that?" I asked. At the merest word from one such as the former Miss Millicent Aubry-Welles, from Pennsylvania, a free woman, a Gorean slave girl, such as Winyela,

would have to grovel, lick her feet and serve her in any way that she might desire.

"I am much more powerful than she," she said.

"How is that?" I asked.

"I am a slave girl," she said.

"You speak in riddles," I said.

"More powerful, of course," she said, "only in certain ways."

I smiled. I saw that she did now wish to be quirted fr insolence. A slave, of course, can be quirted for any reason, or for no reason.

"In what way," I asked, "could a slave girl possibly have more power than a free woman?"

She smiled. She lowered her head, demurely. "Some men," she said, "find us attractive."

"That is true," I said. How unpretentiously, and delicately, she had put this point. I could not help, in spite of myself, but agree with her. How could the capacity of a free woman to stimulate male desire even begin to compare with that of the female slave? The female slave, in her helplessness, her vulnerability and beauty, is the most exciting and desirable of all females. Even to look upon one can drive a man mad with passion.

"Even a magnet," she said, "which may be moved about, and put where one wishes, has a little power."

"Yes," I said. How exciting. I marveled, are such women. How natural it is that they should find themselves, perhaps to their horror, perhaps to their deep excitement and pleasure, so stimulartoy to male desire. Who can begin to quantify, or measure, the attractiveness of the female slave? Does she not seem to be the object designed by nature to be at the feet of men? Wars are fought to obtain them. Tributes, in part, are levied in terms of them, along with gold and Sa-Tarna grain.

"I can see," I said, "that the female slave, in her beauty, may possess, upon occasion, at least, some meager particle of power which does not appertain to the free woman."

"I think so," she said.

My response, I thought, appropriately dismissed from serious consideration the fantastic desirablitly and attractiveness of the female slave. Let them now grow arrogant. Let them continue to fear the whip.

"But how," I asked, "in what other way, oter than in possibile attractiveness and desireability, could a slave have more power than a free woman?"

"If one can do things another cannot, and if one is permitted to do things which another, in effect, could not, then, I suppose, one has, in a sense, powers which the other does not."

"I see," I said. "Powers in the sense of capacities and permissions."

"Yes," she said. "Slave girls, for example, can, and must do things and perform acts, superbly, lovingly and unquestioningly, which would be forbidden to free woman, or unthinkable for them. Indeed, some of he performances expected of slave girls, and some of the services rendered by them to their masters, are doubtless beyond even the ken of our ignorant free sisters. They probably do not even suspect their nature."

"They may suspect," I smiled. The lberties, in certain senses, permitted to slave girls doubtless constituted as additional reason why free women so hated and envied them. The free woman, in a sense, is paradoxical. She professes to despise the slave girl; she professes to loathe her and hold her in contempt; but too, obviously, she is almost insanely jealous of her. Can it be that she, too, in her secret heart, wishes to kneel before a man, naked and in his collar, totally subject to his will?

"But some of the things they probably do not even know of," she said.

"That is probably true," I said. It was true that free women tended to be somewhat naive and ignrant. Some of them, at any rate, when enslaved, seemed quite startled to discover the nature of some of the even routine performances and services that would now be expected of them.

"Too," said he girl, "we are better at certain things than free women, such as serving and pleasing men."

"That is true," I said. The docility, deference and perfection of a slave girl's service are legendary. They had better be. She is owned. Too, the intimate and fantastic pleasures they can give men are well known, at least among free men.

"Too," she said, "we are permitted to act in certain ways in which I think it would be unlikely that a free woman could, or would act."

"Oh?" I said.

"Yes," she said. She then slid to her stomach on the robes, and rolled upon them, and then lay on her back. She lifted a leg, and put her hands to it, and then lowered it, its heel, the knee bent, on the robes. She looked at me. "I could now," she said, "pose nude before you, as I might please. I might writhe here, in a girl's mute petition for attention. I could, on my back and belly, in effect, dance for you, my head never rising above the knee of a standing man. I could crawl to your feet, begging, licking and kissing."

"I am only human," I said angrily. "Let us go now to the lodge of Canka."

She rose to her hands and knees. Her breasts depended beautifuly. "Have I disturbed Master?" she asked.

"No," I said, angrily. "Of course not."

"That is good," she said. She then crawled to me, and knelt before me.

"That is the position of a tower slave," I said.

"Oh," she said. The position of the tower slave, in most cities, is very similar to that of the pleasure slave. The major difference is that the tower slave, whose duties are commonly, primarily, domestic, kneels with her knees in a closed position, where as the pleasure slave, in a symbolic recognition of the fuller nature of her bondage, and its most significant aspects, kneels with them in an open position. The tower slave, of course, like any other slave, is fully at the disposal of the master, in any and every way. The distinction between the tower slave and the pleasure slave, through honored in some markets, some specializing in girls sold primarily for housekeeping purposes and others in girls sold pirmariliy for the pleasures of men, it is not really a hard-and-fast distinction; it is not absolute; indeed, it can even be transitory. A girl who is ordered to open her knees, of who finds them kicked apart, for example, realizes that she has now become a pleasure slave. Similarly a girl in one context may fuction as one kind of slave and in another context as another sort. Serving a supper to a young man and his mother, for example, the girl may appear merely efficient and deferential. She kneels nearby, her knees closed. After the mother departs, however, she may kneel differently before the young man, with her knees open, his.

Winyela opened her knees, spreading them widely, kneeling back on her heels.

"You may retain the position of the tower slave," I said, sweating.

"Please, Master," she said. "I am a Pleasure Slave. It will be better for my discipline to be forced to remain kneeling in this, the more reveialing and degrading position. Too, this position, so open and exposed, can be of service in reminding me, lest I be tempted to become arrogant or proud, of my lowliness, my purposes and condition."

"You would choose," I asked, "to kneel in the position of the pleasure slave, that position of female degredation and debasement, imposed on certain females by men, of utter female vulnerability, helplessness and beauty?"

"Yes, Master," she said. "Considering the nauture of my bondage it is suitable for me. It is, considering the sort of slave I am, fitting and proper for me."

"You like it," I said.

"I am confortable in it," she said, evasively.

"You like it," I said.

"Yes, Master," she said. "I find it deeply exciting and thrilling. I love kneeling in it."

"You are so proud to kneel in it," I said, startled.

"Yes," she said.

"Brazen hussy," I said.

"Yes, Maser," she said.

I looked at her. She straightened her body even more. "It seems to suit you well," I said.

"It suits me perfectly," she said.

"Why?" I asked.

"I am a pleasure slave," she said.

I rose to my feet. I prepared to snap my fingers.

"I love being owned by men," she said. "I do not find it degrading or debasing. I find it exalting and fulfilling. Do not despise me for what I am."

"And what are you?" I asked.

"A woman," she said.

"And a slave," I said.

"Yes," she said, "a woman and a slave."

I extened my hand. I would snap my fingers. When I snapped my fingers she would rise to her feet and follow me, heeling me, like the sleek domestic beast she was, to her master's lodge. One of the first things a girl is taught to dois to heel.

"Have I not convinced you, Master," she asked, "that a slave has certain powers?"

"Perhaps some piteously limited powers," I said, "such as might characterize any owned beast."

"Of course," she laughed.

"You are truly a pleasure slave, aren't you?" I asked.

"Yes," she said.

"You seem much different now from Miss Millicet Aubrey-Welles, the upper-class girl, the debutante, from Pennsylvania," I said.

"That little chit," she laughed. "She, too, was a pleasure slave, and in her heart she knew it. The best thing that ever happened to her was to be brought to Gor and put in chains."

"Perhaps," I said.

"There is no doubt about it," she said.

"Do you remember her?" I asked.

"Of course," she said. "But I am no longer she. I am now Winyela, only a slave."

"That is true," I said. Only a slave, I thought to myself, refully, only a slave! She was exciting and beautiful, and owned. It was all I could do not to seize her and put her mercilessly to my purposes. How natural it seemed that the men of Gor should keep such women in cages and chains, and force them, under whips, to please them.

"To be sure," I said, "I see that you have powers which mere Millicent did not."

"Yes," she said. "I now have the powers of a slave." That was true. It could not be gainsiad.

"We must go to the lodge of Canka," I said.

"But you have not punished me," she said.

"No," I said.

"Canka wanted me punished, you know," she said.

"I do not know if he really wanted you punished or not," I said.

"Of course he did," she said. "He is a red master."

"I suppose you are right," I said. I recalled that Cuwignaka and Grunt had also, both, been of this opinion.

"But you did not do so," she said.

"No," I said.

"I am unpunished." she said.

"Yes," I said.

"Punish me," she said.

"No," I said.

"My master wanted me to be punished," she said. "I am ready to be punished. I want to be punished."

"It is all right," I said.

"Punish me," she said.

"No," I said.

"You have no intention, then, of punishing me?" she asked.

"No," I said.

"Canka wanted you to have me," she said. "Do you not find me attractive? Do I not have at least the negligible charms of a slave?"

"You are attractive, and beautiful," I said. "And, if you do not mind my saying so, you have been somewhat blatant about your charms."

"In a collar, a girl may flaunt herself," she said.

I nodded. It was true. The collar as an interesting effect on female sexuality. It liberates the girl to be herself.

"Will you not give me but one kiss?" she asked.

"No," I said. "It is well known to what the kiss of a slave girl must lead."

"What?" she asked, innocently.

"Her ownership, domination and rape," I said.

"Oh," she said.

I snapped my fingers.

The girl, immediately, stood.

"You see, pretty Winyela," I said, "you are ultimately powerless. I snap my fingers and you must stand, prepare then to follow me, unquestioning, your will nothing, to your master's lodge. Your clever tricks now avail you naught."

She put her head down.

I laughed with triumph, seeing her standing there, her head down. "You see," I said, "you are ultimately powerless."

She lifted her head, and smiled. "I am not completely powerless," she said.

"What do you mean?" I asked, puzzled.

"I will show you," she said, "how a slave can seduce a man."

Suddenly she reached out and putting her lovely, bared arms about my neck, pressed her lips to mine. "Ai!" I cried, in anger and fury. But I could not, then, for a moment, release her. She was a female slave. It is not easy to surrender to a female slave from one's arms. Then, angrily, I pulled away from her. Her kiss, that of a female slave, burned on my lips. I shook with emotion. I was furious. The kiss, too brief, delicious, startling, warm, soft, raged in my body. It was like a chemical agent, a catalyst, introduced unexpectedly into my system. Reactions and transformations, eruptive, excruciating and compelling, irresistible and violent, seemed to explod in every compound and tissue in my body. Then she lifted her lips again to me. "Taste again of the lips of a slave, Master," she said. Then she was in my arms, crushed to me, and it seemed that there was only she, and the thunder and light in my blood. Then she was lifted in my arms. "See my collar?" she laughed. "I see it," I said, angrily. "I am a slave!" she said. "Yes," I said. "Do you like the taste of a slave, Master?" she asked. Then she reached out again to me, her arms about my neck, and, again, our lips met. I was then furious. I hurled her to my feet.

"Slut! Animal! Slave!" I cried.

"Yes, Master," she said, laughing.

She rose to her hands and knees and looked up at me, delighted. "I do not think you will resist me now," she laughed.

"Slave!" I cried, angrily.

"Yes, Master," she laughed.

I then, to her horror, strode to the side of the lodge and picked up the kaiila quirt which lay there.

"Please no!" she said, frightened. "Do not whip me!"

But I laid the quir to her well, five times, first striking her from her hands and knees to the robes, and then, as she twisted and rolled, helpless to avoid the blows, lashed her upon them.

"You wanted to be punished," I said.

"I did not want the punishment of the whip!" she wept.

"You will take what punishment your master decides to give you," I said.

"Yes, Master," she wept, her body marked, at my feet.

"On your back," I snapped. "Make slave lips. Throw apart your legs!"

Swiftly the girl complied, tears in her eyes. She then lay there, her lips pursed to kiss, her ankles widely spread.

I looked down at her. She looked up at me, tears in her eyes.

A girl who is commanded to make slave lips, or who receives the command, "Slave lips," must form her mouth for kissing. She then, commonly, is not permitted to break this lip position until either she kisses or is kissed. Needless to say, a girl cannot speak when her lips are in the unbroken, fully-pursed slave-lips position. The command which commonly followes the «Slave-lips» command is, "Please me."

I threw the quirt down beside the girl. She looked at it, there, gratefully. No longer was it in my hand. To be sure, it was where I might easily seize it up.

I then crouched beside her and lifted her to a half-sitting position. She closed her legs somewhat. I then kissed her, and this permitted her to break the slave-lips position.

"I do not think you will now hesitate to have me," she said.

"I do not think so," I said.

"It will be a great indignity for me, a great punishment, to be had by you," she said, "for you, too, are only a slave."

"Doubtless," I said.

"Following the instructions of my master, Canka," she said. "I am to yeild to you, fully, irreservedly, as a slave to her master."

"Yes," I said.

"I am to hold nothing back."

"No," I said.

"But even were I not under such commands," she said, "I know I could not help but yield to you. I have felt your hands before. I know that you can, if it pleases you, make me cry myself your slave."

"Perhaps," I said. I had handled this slave before. We both knew what I could do to her.

"I am ready," she said. "Please being my punishment."

"Very well," I said.

She lay back, softly, in my arms. "That was a splendid punishment," she said, "Master."

I said nothing. To be sure, I had enjoyed administering it to her. It was pleasant to take a woman and reduce her to a cringing, cuffed, orgasmic slave.

"I am yours for the afternoon," she said.

"That is true," I said.

"It is still early," she said.

I doubted that it was that early. Still the cooking fires had not yet been lit for the evening meal.

"Master," she said.

"Yes," I said.

"Punish me again," she wheeled, putting a finger on my shoulder, and then kissing me, "-please."

"Do you beg it?" I asked.

"Yes," she said. "I beg to be punished again."

"Very well," I said. I took her and threw her again beneath me. She cried out with delight.

"I love my master, Canka," she said.

"I know," I said.

"I want to fully pleasing to him."

"You had better be," I said.

"That is true," she laughed. "It is strange," she said.

"What?" I asked.

"I am Canka's slave," she said. "Yet, I love him so nuch that even if I were not his slave, I would want to be his slave."

"Interesting," I said.

"I am only his enamored slave," she said.

"I know," I said.

"Do you want to know something?" she said.

"Surely," I said.

"Love," she said, "puts any woman in bondage, and the more deeply she is in love, the more deeply she is plunged into bondage."

"Perhaps," I said.

"I think it is true," she said.

"Perhaps you are right," I said. "I do not know."

"But if this is true," she said, "it would seem to follow that no woman could be truly in love who is is not a female slave."

"What follows, I think," I said, "is that any woman deeply and truly in love is, in effect, a female slave."

"Imagine, then," she breathed, "the loved that might be felt by an actual female slave, a woman acually owned, for her master. How helplessly she would be his!"

"Bondage," I said, "with its ownership and domination of the woman, is a soil in which it is natural for love to blossom."

"I know that that is true," she said.

"And the bondage of chains is then, not unoften, succeeded by the bondage of love."

"And think how deep is the bondage of the female slave," said the girl, "whose bondage is the bondage of both chains and love."

"Yes," I said. Her bondage was indeed the deepest bondage in which a human female could conceive of her self being placed, being only, strictly, the property of her beloved master.

"Do you know something else?" she asked.

"What?" I asked.

"You are my friend," she said.

"Beware that you are not quirted, a hundred strokes," I said.

"You are my friend," she said. "I know that it is true."

I did not bother responding to her. How preposterous was the girl's conjecture. Did she not know she was naught but a female slave?

"Can masters and slaves be friends?" she asked.

"Yes," I said. "But the girl, of course, is always to be kept in the perfection of her slavery."

"Of course," she said. "Master," she said.

"Yes," I said.

"I love Canka," she said. "But I displeased him. What if he doesn't want me any longer? What if he sells me or gives me away?"

"I do not think he will do that," I said.

"How am I to act when I return to his lodge?" she asked. "What am I to do?"

"You are a slave," I said. "Be loving, obedient and pleasing, fully."

"I shall try," she said.

I then explained to her what she might do upon her return to the lodge of Canka.

"Oh, yes," she whispered. "Yes!"

It would be important for her to convince him that she had learned something from her travials of the day.

"I smell cooking fires," she said, happily. She made as though to rise, but I thrust her, roughly, back down on the robes. "Master?" she asked.

"You are eager to return to the lodge of your master," I observed.

"Yes, Master," she said.

"But until I choose, within reason, to relinquish you," I said, "you are still to me as my slave, are you not?"

"Yes, Master," she said.

"Well," I said, "I do not choose, at this moment, to relinquish you."

"Please, Master," she wept.

"You are nude, and attractive," I said. "I am going to have you again now, and at my leisure."

"Please, Master!" she protested.

"Do you object?" I asked.

"No, Master," she said, frightened.

"And how will you yield to me?" I asked.

"With perfection," she said, "as my master ordered." She looked at me, and laughed. "You brute," she said. "You know you will make me yield with perfection, whether I wished to or not!"

"Perhaps," I said.

"Modest tarsk!" she laughed. "Oh!" she cried. "Oh! Oh!"

"It seems to be true," I said.

"Yes," she said, "yes!"

"You will, further," I said, "utter low-volume sounds, indicative of arousal."

"Yes," she said. "Yes."

This device, forcing the slave to furnish an audible analogue or correlate for her sensations, has three principal utilities.

It helps to inensify the slave's responses, she responding in part to, and being in part aroused by, her own sounds of arousal. Secondly, the sounds, her helpless moans and cries, her whimpers, her sighs, her gasps, please, and can be stimulatory to, the master. Thirdly, the sounds aid him in his management and control of her. By means of them he can, in effect, map her beauty, guiding himself in his ownership of her, detecting the zones of her greatest sexual helplessness and, by varying the nature of his rhythms and touches, how they can be most effeciently and brilliantly expolited, the end in view, of course, being to produce the most yielding and orgasmically helpless slave possible.

"Ohhh," she said, softly.

"And when I am finished with you," I said, "I shall rise to my feet and snap my fingers. You will then, without further ado, rise to your feet and follow me, silently, humbly and unquestioningly, heeling me, as the mere beast you are, to the lodge of your master."

"Yes, Master," she said. "Ohhh. Ohhh!"

I smiled to myself. The little beast had tricked me. I thought my vengeance on her was suitable.

"Ohh!" she cried. "Ohh! Ohhhh!"

Yes, I thought, quite suitable.

Chapter 10

AN IMPROVED SLAVE IS RETURNED TO HER MASTER

We stood before the lodge of Canka.

He emberged from the lodge.

Immediately Winyela, a penitent slave, lowered herself to her knees, and then to her belly before him.

"You may kiss his feet," I said.

She began to kiss the moccasined feet of her master.

"I was displeased with her," said Canka to me.

"She knows," I said.

Canka reached down and pulled her up to her knees and then, by the hair, he bent her back, and then twisted her about.

"She does not appear to be much disciplined," he said.

"I think the discipline to which she was subjected will prove to be adequate," I said. "If it does not, it may, of course, be doubled, or trebled."

"That is true," said Canka. Winyela, then, released, was again at his feet. Imploringly, beseechingly, again on her belly, as she had been before, she continued to press her lips to his moccasis.

"Do you think she is improved?" asked Canka.

"I think so," I said.

I looked down at the girl. I had little doubt she had learned her lessons. The highly intelligent woman, incidentally, as would be expected, learns her slave lessons, and that she is a slave, much more quickly than the stupid woman. It takes some stupid women as much as two days before they learn that they are truly in a collar. If a slave continues to prove recalcitrant, of course, she gains nothing by this. She will merely be disposed of.

"It is my hope," said Canka, "that she will not repeat her earlier mistakes."

"I do not think she will," I said, "and, of course, if she is not pleasing in some way she may be swiftly brought into line."

"She is responsive to the quirt?" asked Canka.

"Yes," I said.

"And to the touch of the master?" he asked.

"Yes," I said, "and, as befits a slave, helpless and superbly so."

"Good," he said. He then stepped back from the contrite girl, bellying to him, kissing his feet, suing for his forgiveness and mercy.

"Have you firmly resolved to improve your qualities of pleasingness to your master?" I asked.

"Yes, Master," said the girl, on her stomach.

"With your permission," I said to Canka.

"Of course," he said.

"You may not indicate your new attitude toward your master," I told her.

"Yes, Master," she said. She then rose to her hands and knees and head down, crawling, entered Canka's lodge.

He looked at me, puzzled.

In a moment she re-emerged from the lodge as she had entered it, crawling, with her head down. Grasping between her small, fine white teeth was the center of a heavy, braided, beaded-handled kaiila quirt. Canka watched, as she, unbidden, brought him the quirt. She lay it at his feet, from her teeth, and then knelt before him, her head down. Her hands were on her thighs. Her knees were widely seperated. This knee position indicated that she knew herself to be a woman held in the deepest and most intimate form of slavery.

"Thus," I said, "does she display her new understanding of her condition. Thus does she indicate her new attitued towards her master."

I saw that Canka approved of what he saw, and well.

"Behold her," I said, "a humbled, submitted slave. Her name is Winyela. She is the property of the warrior, Canka, of the Isbu Kaiila."

"Look up," said Canka to the girl.

There were tears in her eyes.

"She desires to speak," I said.

"You may speak," said Canka.

"I am yours, and I love you, my master," said the girl. Then she lowered her head.

Canka reached down and picked up the kaiila quirt. Then he indicated, with the quirt, that the girl should enter the intterior of the lodge. She crawled to the lodge, head down.

"I see," said Canka, "that you have returned me a better slave than the one I sent you."

I said nothing.

"I am very pleased." he said.

"That pleases me," I said.

"I did not wish to have to kill her," he said.

"I do not think that will be necessary," I said. "I think you will now find that she is a good slave, and that all is in order."

Canka grinned.

"She is within," I said. "She awaits her master."

"Thank you," said Canka, "-my friend."

"It was nothing," I said, "my friend."

Cnaka then entered his lodge. A moment later I heard Winyela crying out, rapturously, doubtless locked in his arms. I had suggested the business of the kaiila quirt to her before we had left Cuwignaka's lodge. I had thought it might please Canka, and give Winyela a way to demonstrate, graphically and meaningfully, unmistakably, that she was now, knew herself to be, and desired not to be other than, the total slave of her master.

I then walked away. As I left, I heard her crying out in ecstasy and heard, too, the uncomporimising, triumphant roars, unrestrained, bestial and victorious, of his ownership of her, a slave, a girl named Winyela, whom I had prepared for his lodge.

Chapter 11

IT IS IN THE TIME OF FESTIVALS

"Canka is extremely pleased," said Cuwignaka, coming up to me. It was the day following Winyela's disciplining and my delivery of her, suitably informed and improved, to the lodge of Canka.

"I am pleased to hear it," I said. I was fond of Canka and, too, I supposed, I should be pleased, as I was, in strict fact, his slave, and had had what amounted, as I now understood clearly, to what was a charge, or at least an invitation in the matter.

"He is permitting her a dress of soft tabuk skin," said Cuwignaka, "creamy white and soft-tanned, though, to be sure, of slave length. Too, he has given her beads and moccasins. He had braided her hair. He has painted her face, for the time of the feasts."

"Marvelous," I said. It is not unusual for a master to care for a slave's hair. Too, they will, upon occasion, groom kaiila and tie streamers and ribbons in their long manes. That he had painted her face was also impressive. Usually, among the Kaiila, it is free women who are permitted face paint, and then, commonly only at times of great festivals. This paint is commonly applied by the woman's mate.

"I have never seen Canka so happy," said Cuwignaka.

"I am pleased," I said.

"You should see Winyela," he said. "She is joyful, alluring and superb."

"Excellent," I said. I was pleased to think that I may have had a handin her transformation. To be sure, I had done little other than to put them together as true master and true slave.

"I, myself," said Cuwignaka, "feel the need of a slave."

"Grunt would be pleased," I said, "at your least indication of intrest, to strip Wasnapohdi and put her to your feet."

"That is true," said Cuwignaka.

"She is hot and beautiful," I said.

"I was thinking more of my own slave," said Cuwignaka.

"You could probably buy one cheaply from the Isanna," I said. "They have many sleek-flanked slaves in their girl herds."

"I was thinking more in terms of a red slave," said Cuwignaka.

"Doubtless you have considered the warpath," I said, "the capture of a girl, the brining of her back, naked and bound, a tether on her neck, running her at the flank of your kaiila."

"Twice I did not take the warpath," said Cuwignaka, "because I had no quarrel with the Feer. It would now seem somewhat hypocritical on my part, would it not, to take the warpath not to deal vengeance and destruction to the enemy, but mearly for my own selfish purposes, to procure a female."

"Perhaps you are right," I said. "How do you feel about kaiila raids?"

"I see littel wrong with them." said Cuwignaka. "That is not so much war as it is sport. We raid the Fleer. They raid us. And so it goes."

"What, then," I asked, "about a girl hunt, or a girl raid?"

"Perhaps," said Cuwignaka. "That, too, is more in the nature of a sport than anything else."

I knew that red savages occasionally went on girl raids. To be sure, the kaiila raid was much more common. The exploit marking, painting on the forequarters of a kaiila for captured kaiila, resembles an inverted 'U'. This convention has a heritage, clearly, it seems to me, which traces back to an animal other than the kaiila an animal, indeed, indigenous not to Gor, but to a distant world, one from which came the ancestors of the red savages. It seems clearly to be related not to a pawed, but to a hoofed animal. The usual exploit marking for a captured female is also a conventional representation. It resembles a pair of parentheses enclosing a vertical line. It seems to be a stylized representation, rather brazen, I think, of delicate female intimacies. There is, incidentally, no common, often-used sign for a captured male, comparable to that for the captured female. Males lf the enemy are selcom captured. They are usually killed. In the coup codes, opaque red circles on feathers usually stand for enemies slain.

"But," said Cuwignaka, "I was thinking not so much in terms of any red slave, as of some red slave."

"I see," I said. "Well, my friend, put the dream of Bloketu from your mind. She cannot be captured. She is Kaiila, and she is the daughter of a chief."

"I know," smiled Cuwignaka. Such a woman, even though she might be haughty and insolent, stood outside of Kaiila capture permissions. She was safe from the Kaiila.

"What is that you have there?" I asked. When Cuwignaka had come up to me he had been carrying an oblong object wrapped in rawhide.

"I have not forgotten it," he laughed. "I bring it from the lodge of Canka."

"What is it?" I asked.

"You may keep it," said Cuwignaka, "until the end of the festivals."

"What is it?" I asked.

"Look," he said, unwrapping the object.

"Ah!" I said.

"Canka was very pleased with your work with Winyela," said Cuwignaka.

"Apparently," I said.

"He desires that you keep this until the festivals' end."

I looked at the object. It was heavy, supple, beaded kaiila quirt. It was a symbol, of course, more than anything else. It gave its bearer warrior rights to open slaves, those not housed in private lodges, for the duration of the festivals. It was good for all of the girl herds of the Kaiila.

"This is very generous on the part of Canka," I said.

"He likes you," said Cuwignaka. "Also, as you know, he never wished to make you his slave. It was only that he had to do that, or have you attacked on the prairie, for having freed me from the stakes. Indeed, he is only waiting, I think, for an appropriate and safe time to free you. He must, of course, as having been a Blotanhunka, be judicious and politic in how he handles this matter."

"He is very generous," I said.

"I think he will free you during the feasts and giveaways," said Cuwignaka, smiling. "It would seem natural to do it then. Too, I think you will now be farily safe among the Kaiila, even without a collar. They are used to you now, and they know that you are my friend."

"This is welcome news, indeed," I said. For too long had I been inactive in my true mission n the Barrens, that of attempting to contact the Kur war genderal, Zarendargar, Half-Ear, and warn him of the death squad, determined remnants of which still survived, that was hunting him, that commanded by Kog and Stardak, the latter of Blood, a high officer, of the Kurii. My only clue to his whereabouts was a story hide, now in the keeping of Grunt. On this hide, among other things, was the representation of a shield bearing Zarendagar's image. If I could find the owner of this shield I might then, hopefully, be able to locate Zarendargar.

"Too," said Cuwignaka, "I think Canka may buy a woman for you, as a gift, after the festivals, one to do your unpleasant work and warm you, helplessly, in the furs."

"He must indeed be pleased with Winyela," I smiled.

"He is," said Cuwignaka. "And, too, I might mention, though I do not know if it is appropriate to do so or not, that they are much in love with each other."

"She must, nonetheless, be kept as a complete slave," I said.

"Have no fear," said Cuwignaka. "She will be."

I was pleased to hear this. The Earth redhead, under an iron discipline, would blossom most beautifully in her love.

"Should Canka get me a woman," I said, "I will put her, too, of course, completely at your disposal. I will see that she provides you, too, unquestioninly, with any intimacy that you might desire."

"How well things are going for us all!" said Cuwignaka. "A Yellow-Knife delegation is due in camp today. This is the time of the dances and feasts. Canka is happy. You may soon be free and I, Cuwignaka, Woman's Dress, will enter tomorrow the great lodge of the dance."

In the center of the camp a great circular brush lodge had been erected. Its high walls, some forty feet in height, built on poles, from platforms, and ceilinged with poles and branches, enclosed a dancing space, cleared, circular and packed down, of about fifty feet in diameter. In the center of this space was the pole which had been fromed, some days ago, from the tree which Winyela had felled. Fixed in the earth, buried to a depth of about seven or eight feet, and supported, too, with a circle of heavy stakes, to which it was bound, it was about twenty-two feet in height. Two forks had been left on the pole, one about ten feet from the ground and one about fifteen feet from the ground. In the lower fork, rolled in a bundle, were the jewelry and clothes Winyela had worn when she had cut down the tree. From the higher fork dangled two leather representations, one of a Kailiauk and the other of a male, with an exaggerated phallus. These representations were doubtless intended to be significant in the symbolism and medicine of the dance. This dance, to the red savage, is holy. It is sacred to him. It is a mystery medicine. I shall not, therefore, attempt to reduce it to simple terms or translate it into simplistic consepts. It does have to do, however, at least, obviously, with such things as luck, hunting and manhood.

"I am happy for you, Cuwignaka," I said.

"I have waited for years to enter the dance lodge," he said. "It will be one of the great things in my life."

"I am happy for you," I said.

Chapter 12

I UTILIZE THE ENTITLEMENTS OF THE BEADED QUIRT

"What do you want?" cried the boy, reining in his kaiila but feet before me. His words had a sibilant, explosive quality. This is a general characteristic of many of the languages of the red savages. It is even more pronounced, of course, when the speaker is excited or in an emotional state.

"Greetings, young man," I said, calmly. "You are Isanna, are you not?"

"I am Isanna," said the youth. "Who are you?" Another two lads, on kaiila, now approached me, remaining, however, some yards away.

"I am Tatankasa, a slave of Canka, of the Isbu," I said.

"He is a great warrior," said the youth, impressed.

"That is my understanding," I said.

"What are you doing here?" asked the youth.

"A man hunger is on me," I said.

"You should have a beaded quirt," said the youth.

"He is the slave of Canka," said another. "Let us not require the quirt."

"Behold," I smiled. I unwrapped the object which I carried.

"A beaded quirt," said the first youth, pleased.

"Yes," I said. About my left shoulder, in five or six narrow coils, there was a rope of braided rawhide. It was a light rope but it was more than sufficient for the sort of animal in which I was interested.

"You should have said you had the quirt," said the youth. Then he said to the two others, "Round them up!"

They raced away, through the grass.

"Follow me," said the first youth, and then turned his kaiila, and led the way from the place. These youth were naked save for the breechclout and moccasins. They carried ropes and whips.

In a few moments we had surmounted a small rise, and I was looking down into a wide, shallow, saucerlike valley, some half a pasang in width. "Hei! Hei!" cried the boys, in the distance, bringing together the members of the herd. Their ropes swung. Their whips cracked. Then the herd was together, well grouped by its young drovers. It now occupied, its members bunched and crowded closely together, a small, tight circle. It was now, in effect, a small, relatively fixed, directionless, milling mass. In such a grouping it may be easily controlled and managed. In such a grouping it has no purpose of its own. In such a grouping it must wait to see what is to be done with it. It must wait to see in what direction it will be driven.

"Hei! Hei!" called the young drovers, kicking their heels back into the flanks of their kaiila, waving their ropes, cracking their whips.

The herd now, the young drovers on either side of it, and slightly behind it, began to move in my direction.

"Hei! Hei!" cried the young drovers, ropes swinging, whips cracking. The herd then began to run towards me. I could see the dust raised. Lagging beasts were incited to new speeds, treated to the admonishments of hissing leather, falling across their backs, flanks and rumps. Then one of the lads sped his kaiila about the herd, heading it off and turning it. He had done this expertly. Not more than a few yards away, below me, below where I stood on the small rise, the herd was again in a small tight circle, turned in on itself, purposeless, milling, stationary.

"You boys drive them well," I said.

"Thank you," said the young man on the kaiila, with whom I had been waiting. "We practice it, of course. If danger should threaten we wish to be able to move them quickly into the vicinity of the camp."

"It is the same with kaiila," said another lad.

I nodded. These lads, and lads like them, were set to watch the herds, not to defend them. At the first sign of danger, such as the apperance of an enemy party, they were to bring the herds back to the village, sending one lad ahead to sound the alarm. Under no circumstances were they to engage the enemy. Red savages do not set boys to fight men. Too, the lads were in little danger. It would be very difficult for a mounted warrior, even if he wished to do so, to overtake a boy, lighter in weight than he, on a rested kaiila, by the time the lad could reach the lodges, usually no more than two or three pasangs away.

"It is a fine herd," I said. It was the third wuch herd I had looked at this morning.

"We think so," said the first lad, proudly. "There is one with nice flanks," he said, indicating a brunet with his whip."

"Yes," I said.

The girl, frightened, seeing our eyes upon her, tried to slip back, unobtrusively, among her fellow lovely beasts.

"I have used her myself," said the first lad. "Do you wish to have us cut her out of the herd for you?"

"No," I said.

"There is a pretty one," said another lad, "the one with brown hair and the little turned up nose."

"She is pretty," I said. "What is her name?"

The lads laughed. "These are herd girls," said one of them. "They have no names."

"How many are here?" I asked. I had not bothered to count.

"Seventy-three," said the first lad. "This is the larges of the Isanna girl herds."

"And the best," added another lad.

"They seem quiet," I said.

"In the herds they are not permitted human speech," said one of the boys.

"No more than she-kaiila," laughed another.

"They may, however," said the first, "indicate their needs by such things as moans and whimpers."

"This helps in their control," said another lad, "and helps them to keep in mind that they are only beasts."

"Do you drive them sometimes to water?" I asked.

"Of course," said one of the lads.

"We feed them on their knees," said another lad.

"They supplement their diets by picking berries and digging wild turnips," said the first lad.

"We make them chew carefully and watch closely to see that they swallow, bit by bit, in small swallows, sip roots, as well," said another.

"We then examine their mouths, forcing them widely open, to determine that they have finished their entire allotment of the root," said another.

I nodded. Sip roots are extremely bitter. Slave wine, incidentally, is made from sip roots. The slaves of the red savages, like slaves generally on Gor, would be crossed and bred only as, and precisely as, their masters might choose.

"Do you often have strays?" I asked.

"No," laughed a lad, slapping his whip meaningfully into his palm.

"At night," said another lad, "to make it hairder to steal them, we put them in twist hobbles and tie them together by the neck, in strings, thier hands tied behind their backs. These strings are then picketed near the village."

"Do they ever try to escape?" I asked.

"No," said one lad.

"Not more than once," laughed another.

"That is true," said the first lad. "No such beast ever tries to escape from the Isanna more than once."

"Some who try to escape are killed by sleen on the prairie," said one of the lads. "The others are trailed and brought back to the camp where they are tied down by our women and, over three days, taught that escape is not permitted."

"What is the penalty for a second attempt at escape?" I asked.

"Hamstringing," said one of the lads, "and then being left behind when the camp moves."

"I see," I said. "May I speak to one of them?"

"Surely," said the first lad.

I approached the women.

"You," I said, indicating a dark-haired woman, "step forward."

She came forward immediately, and knelt before me.

"You may speak briefly to me," I said. "After that, you are returned, once more, to the linguistic conditions of the herd, that condition in which, without permission of a master or masters, or one acting in such a capacity, you may not use human speech. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Master," she said.

"Is there any escape for you?" I asked.

"No, Master," she said, frightened, and then put down her head, trembling. I saw, too, several of the other women shrink back.

"Are you certain?" I asked.

"Yes, Master," she said, frightened.

"What of these other women," I asked, "do they, too, know that?"

"Yes, Master," said the woman. "We all know it! We all know that escape is impossible for us!"

"You may withdraw," I said.

Quickly the woman scrambled back, into the herd.

Several of the other women in the herd, I had noticed, had been following these conversations, my conversations with the boys and then, later, my conversation with the woman. In their eyes I had seen terror. Well did they understand, I saw, the hopelessness of even the thought of escape. Even if they should elude their red pursuers, which seemed almost unthinkable, there would be waiting for them only the prairie, and the sleen. These women, like most white women in the Barrens, and they well knew it, to their terror, lived at the mercy of, and on the sufferance of, red masters.

"In a moon or two it will be time to think the herds," said one of the lads.

"We will trade some off and sell some others," said another lad.

"It seems that any of these would be worth keeping," I said, admiringly.

"It is a sleek herd," said one of the boys. "Doubtless serveral will be clothed and taken into private lodges for the winter moons."

"They are useful for digging under the snow for kailiauk chips," said a lad. Kailiauk chips were a common fuel on the plains.

"They are good, too," said the first lad, "for squirming in the robes."

"Yes," said another.

"If you like," said the first lad, "we will cut a girl out of the herd for you."

"He is the slave of Canka," said another lad. "Give him a good one."

"Would you like the dark-haired one you spoke to?" asked a lad. "It will take only a moment ot put a rope on her neck."

"No," I said. "Thank you." To be sure the dark-haired woman was a lovely specimen, a fine example of the lovely two-legged beasts in the herd. She was sweetly breasted, narrow-waisted and widely hipped. She had a delicioius love cradle. I had little doubt but what she might be worth two hides.

"There is a good one," said one of the boys, pointing out an auburn-haired beauty. "One lash of the quirt and she juices superbly."

"Actually," I said, "I am looking for a particular beast. May I examine the herd, to see if it is here."

"Of course," said the first lad.

I had thought that I had seen the particular animal I sought, shapely and blond, trying to hide itself in the herd.

It would take but a moment to make the necessary determination. I thrust the quirt I carried and the hide in which it had been wrapped, in my belt.

I entered among the women. "Give way," I said. "Kneel." The herd knelt.

I threaded my way among the kneeling slave beasts of the Isanna. Then I stopped beside one. She knelt low, her head down to the grass. I stood beside her and she began to tremble. I then took her by the hair and, crouching beside her, threw her, twisting her, to her side in the grass. My hand inher hair I then turned her face forcibly towards me, and held it thusly, so that I might see her featuers, fully. Yes, it was she whom I sought. I then put her again to her knees, pushing her head down to the grass.

"Place your wrists behind you, crossed," I said. She did so and, in a moment, with one end of the light, narrow rope. I carried, removed from my shoulder, I bound them together. I then took the rope up from her wrists and, pushing up her collar, looped it five times about her throat, and then took the free end of the rope under the rope leading up from her bound wrists, and then brought it forward. In this fashion a convenient, unknotted tether is formed. This type of tether is suitable for short leadings. The free end of the tether is slipped under the bond leading up from the wrists to prevent the girl from slipping it by the simple expedient of lowering and dipping her head a few times. She would still, of course, even in such a case, remain bound by the wrists.

The usual tether, it might be mentioned, is tied snugly but not tightly. There should be room to place two fingers between the throat and the inside of the tether. Any pressure felt by the prisoner must be felt on the back of the neck. A good Gorean tether constitues no impediment whatsoever to a girl's breathing. An exception is the choke collar which does interfere with a girl's breathing, but only if she is in the least bit recalcitrant. In the cities it is more common to use collars and leashes than tethers, or knotted tethers. The common leash has a snap clip, sometimes a locking one. This snap clip has a variety of uses. It can snap about a link or ring in its own leash, the leash then functioning as a self-contained collar-and-leash device, or about such things, say, as a collar, collar ring or neck bond, perhaps of rope or chain.

"On your feet," I said. The girl stood. I then led her forth from the herd, a sleek, curvaceous animal on her tether, my choice. She hurried behind me, that the slack in the tether not be taken up, as it was a wound, and unknotted tether, that it not tighten on her throat.

"She is pretty, but she is not the best choice," said the first lad.

"Oh?" I said.

"She is a block of ice," he said.

"I saw her twice, in the village," I said, "once in the entry of your band into the camp, and then, again, a day or so later. She seemed of interest."

"We send them into the villages, upon occasion, some of the," said the first lad, "to work, if there is a call for them, or to deliver roots and berries which they have gathered to the women. Too, of course, they are useful in twisting grass for tinder and gathereing wood and kailiauk chips for fuel. These things, then, too, they must deliver to the villages."

"Surely some are sent in occasionally for wench sport," I said.

"Sometimes we deliver a string of five or six into the camp for that purpose," said the first lad.

"Does this wench," I asked, indicating the girl on my tether, "often occupy a place in such a string?"

"No," laughed one of the lads.

"She is a block of ice," said the first lad.

"Choose another," invited one of the lads.

"How long may I keep her?" I asked.

"Until sundown," said the first lad. "She must then be put with the others."

I glanced at the slender ankles of my charge. I thought they would look well in close-fitting leather hobbles, twist hobbles, knkotted on the outside of the left ankle, which she, her hands bound behind her back, would be unable to remove. Such hobbles are also used, of course, for the two frong legs of kaiila.

"My thanks, lads!" I said. "You have been very helpful!"

I then led the girl from the vicinity of the herd, to a place I had picked out, in the shelter of some trees, near a small stream.

I had glanced back once. The lads exchanged waves. Several of the women in the herd, I had noted, had seemed quite pleased to see the blonde being led away on my tether. I gathered that she was an arrogant, proud girl, and not popular with her fellows. From what I knew of her, I did not find this surprising.

"Here we are," I said, entering among the trees.

In a moment I had tied her tether about a branch. I looked about myself.

A parfleche, containing some food, hung in one of the branches. I had placed it there earlier. With it, too, I had placed a large hide, rolled. That hide I now unrolled and spread, carefully, on the grass. The small hide, that in which the quirt had been wrapped, I dropped to one side. "That hide," I said, indicating the smaller hide, "is about the size of a Tahari submission mat."

I looked at the girl.

"You may kneel," I said.

She knelt, her tether looping gracefully up to the branch about which I had fastened it.

"I see that you speak Gorean," I said. That pleased me for it was much easier for me than the complexities of Kaiila. She did not respond.

"Spread your knees, widely," I said.

She did so.

I regarded her. In this place, until sundown, she was mine.

"In the herd," I said, "you attempted to conceal yourself from me."

She looked away, angrily.

"You seem very quiet," I said. "Perhaps your tongue has been removed, or slit, for insolence." I went to her and held her head back, my hand in her hair. "Open your mouth," I said. She did so. "No," I said. "That is not the case."

She made an angry noise.

"At least you are capable of sound," I said.

She tossed her head.

I then walked about her. "Your curves," I said, "suggest that you do not need to be a block of ice. They suggest that you are capable of responding as a hormonally normal woman. I see that you are not branded."

I then crouched before her and touched the side of her neck. She pulled away, angrily.

This gesture displeased me. The slave must welcome the touch of a man. Indeed, she must even beg for it.

Angrily I drew the quirt from my belt. She eyed it, fearfully. She shook her head. She uttered tiny, protesting, begging noises. She lifted her head, turning her head so that the side of her neck faced me, that I might touch it, if it pleased me.

"Ah," I said, "of course. You are a herd girl. You may not use human speech without permission." I had taken it for granted, mistakenly, as it had turned out, that the prohibition against human speech imposed on the herd girl would cease to obtain when, say, as in the present context, she had clearly been removed from the vicinity of the herd. I understood now that was not the case. This made sense, of course. One would not expect human speech from a she-kaiila, for example, even if she were not in her herd. Too, I now had a much clearer notion of the effectiveness of the discipline under which the red masters kept their white beauties.

She nodded her head, vigorously.

"i wonder if I should give you permission to use human speech," I mused. "Perhaps, rather, I should feed, train and use you as a mere curvaceous brute, not bothering to complicate our relationship by according you human speech."

She made piteous noises.

"It has been a long time since you were permitted to speak, hasn't it?" I said.

She nodded.

"Do you wish to be permitted to speak?" I asked.

She nodded, anxiously.

"Do you beg it?" I asked.

She nodded, desperately.

"Very well," I said. "You may speak." I usually permitted my slaves to speak. Sometimes, however, when it pleased me, I had them serve me mutely, as only delicious beasts. Only one or two slaves had I never permitted to speak in my presence, and those I had, later, sold off.

"That is good," she said, "to be able to speak!"

"You may thank me," I informed her.

"I do not wish to do so," she said.

"The permission accorded," I said, "may as readily be withdrawn."

"Thank you," she said. It pleased me to obtain this small amount of courtesy, this conciliatory token, from this woman.

"Thank you-what?" I asked.

"You are a slave!" she said. "You wear a collar!"

"Thank you-what?" I asked.

She was silent.

"Are you familiar with the quirt?" I asked.

"Thank you, Master," she said, quickly. "Yes, Master!"

"I see you have felt it," I said.

"Yes, Master," she said.

"Do you know what you are doing here?" I asked.

"You are going to use me," she said, "one or more times. Then you will return me to the herd. I am ready. Let us get on with it."

I regarded her.

"I do not wish to be quirted," she said.

"Why a moment ago, did you withdraw from my touch?" I asked.

"I found it irritating," she said. I saw her body, as she said this, tighten, and draw back. It was very different from the normal body of a slave, which seems so warm and soft, so vital and alive, so eager to be touched, caressed and held. I saw that she was a rigid, unhappy woman.

"You are not branded," I said.

"No," she said.

"Are you from the Waniyanpi compound?" I asked. Teh Waniyanpi, slaves of red savages, lived in tiny, isolated agricultral communities. They supplied their masters with corn and vegetables. They subscribed to a unisex ethos.

"No," she said.

"How did you come to the Isanna?" I asked.

"You do not need to know anything about me, to have me," she said.

"Speak, Slave," I said. I touched the quirt to the palm of my left hand.

"Yes, Master," she said quickly. "I was once a woman of Ar."

Her accent, soft and liquid, had suggested this to me.

"I was of the merchants. I formed a company to trade along the Ihanke. I hired five men. I regarded the red savages as ignorant barbarians. I sent my men to nearby trading points, opened by the Dust Legs to any white traders. I furnished them with inferior trade goods, which they were to misrepresent to the savages. I would become rich in hides and horn. Imagine my surprise when, standing on the front porch of my small trading post, I saw my five men, afoot, bound and gagged, each dragging a travois, returning from the Ihanke. At the same time I fet myself seized from behind by red savages, Dust Legs. I was stripped and bound. I was shown the materials on the travois. They were the inferior trade goods I had sent to the trading points, being returned. One item, however, on one of the travois was not mine. It was a fine kailiauk robe. One of the Dust Legs showed it to me, and then pointed to it, and then to me, and then threw it on the porch of the trading post. It was their payment for me. I was then carried into the Barrens. I have been a slave of red savages ever since."

"At least you were properly paid for," I said.

"Yes," she said, angrily.

"How did you come to the Isanna?" I asked.

"The Dust Legs traded me to the Sleen," she said, "and the Sleen traded me to the Yellow Knives."

"It seems that no one was eager to keep you," I said.

"Perhaps not," she said.

"Waht did you bring?" I asked.

"The Sleen got me for two knives," she said, "and the Yellow Knives had be for a mirror."

"The Dust Legs," I said, "apparently originally conjectured that you would be worth a hide. You then went for two knives, and then a mirror."

"Yes," she said, bitterly.

"YOu have not failed to note, I suppose," I said, "that you have seemed to undergo a certain decreasing in value."

"No," she said, angrily, "I have not failed to note that."

"How did you finally come to the Isanna?" I asked.

"I was taken in a girl raid by the Isanna, with two-dozen others," she said. "We were herded into the Isanna country."

I nodded. This was around Council Rock, north of the northern fork of the Kaiila River and west of the Snake River.

"But you are not kept in a private lodge," I said. "You are kept in a girl herd."

"I was tried out, and then put in the herd," she said.

"You are apparently not regarded as much of a slave," I said.

"I am beautiful," she said, squirming in her bonds, the tether, attached to the branch, above her head, on her neck. "You saw that I was marched at the stirrup of an Isanna warrior in the Isanna procession into the camp of the Isbu!"

"That is true," I said. "You were seen fit to be displayed as Isanna loot."

"Yes," she said.

"Then you were sent back to the herd," I said.

"Yes," she said, sullenly.

"Why," I asked, "did you, in our two pervious meetings, regard me with such contempt?"

She tossed her head.

"I advise you to speak, Slave," I said. I tapped the quirt in my palm.

"You are only a male slave," she spat out, suddenly. "I despise male slaves. I hold them in contempt. I am too high for them. I am too loftly for them. I am above them! Girls such as I belong to and are for free men!"

"I see," I said.

"Too," she said, "I am the property of a red master."

I nodded. I saw that she had come to know and respect red savages. From a woman who had once regarded them as dupes and ignorant barbarians she had now come, as their slave, to understand them as the redoubtable hunters and warriors they were. Astride their kaiila, lance in hand, they were the rulers of the prairies, the Ubars of the plains. In the Barrens, obviously, it is something of a distinction for a woman, particularly a lowly white woman, to belong to one.

"But you are apparently not much of a property for your master." I said.

"Oh?" she said, angrily.

"You are kept in a herd," I reminded her.

She looked away, angrily.

I freed her tether from the branch and, slipping it back under the bond coming up from her wrists, I unlooped it from her neck. I then freed her hands. I dropped the rope to the side.

"Perhaps you had better keep me bound, or put me in a leg stretcher," she said.

"That will not be necessary," I said.

She rubbed her wrists. I had perhaps bound her too tightly. But then it is important that a girl knows herself bound.

"What are you going to do to me?" she asked.

"Many things," I said, "but among them I am going to improve your master's property."

She looked at me.

"Get on your hands and knees," I said.

She complied.

"See the quirt?" I asked.

"Yes, Master," she said.

"I will give you a moment or two to crawl to the robe which I have spread on the grass," I said. "After that, if you are anywhere else for the next Ahn, the quirt will be used on you, and liberally. And, indeed, it may, if I choose, be used on you, even on the robe."

"I understand, Master," she said.

"Go," I said.

She crawled to the robe. Crouching on it, she looked at it, and its edges. It was an island of safety for her, or possible safety. Off it, in the next Ahn, she knew she would be whipped. On it, she did not know. This was, of course, a familiar master's tactic, usually used only with new slaves, young, inexperienced girls, fearful of the sexual aspects of their slavery. They find themselves in a large room, usually empty, or rather empty, save for an imposing couch. They are then informed that they will be whipped anywhere in the room except on the couch and may, perhaps, be whipped upon it. Needless to say, the girl scurries to the couch, regards it, in effect, as a place of possible refuge, in spite of the fact that her secual expoitation and domination will clearly take place upon it, and, for the time limits set, whatever they may be, fears to leave it. Some masters, if not pleased, will force the girl from the couch, and, keeping themselves between the girl and the couch, whip her, then letting her, after a few strokes, flee back to the couch. There, in that place of possible safety she will try again, desperately, to be more pleasing. This may be the last time in months, incidentally, that the girl will be on the surface of the couch. Until her slave skills imporve her place will be on furs, or a mat, or on the bare stones or tiles, at the foot of the couch. Indeed, some masters will sleep even a superb slave at the foot of the couch. Perhaps it is too obvious to mention but a point served by this original use of the couch is to break down the new slave's fear of the couch and encourage her to see it in a favorable light, indeed, as a place of relative safety, comfort and favor. In a possibly hostile environment she desires its protection and significance. She wishes to be upon it. Later, of course, for nobler reasons, she will presumably come to view it with greater eagerness and affection. On it she will be permitted to serve her master and on it, in turn, she will come to know his touch, as a loving, yielding slave.

"Get on your left hip," I said, "your right leg extended, the palms of your hands on the robe."

"You can't kill me," she said. "I do not belong to you!"

"That is an interesting question," I said. "As I hold the beaded quirt I think I do, in this context, have such rights over you. At any rate, even if I do not, a complaint to the boys, relayed by them to your master, would surely be in order. He may then decide whether or not your least difficulty or disobedience is to be punished by death. And since you are a herd girl, I doubt that he will think twice about the matter. That is better." She had assumed the position which I had prescribed.

"Do not complain to the boys," she said. "They are cruel!"

"They are not cruel," I said. "They are only good herders."

"If I do not please you," she said, "just quirt me."

"Have no fear," I said. "If I am not pleased you will be well quirted. Then I will decide whether or not to complain to the boys."

She moaned.

"You ahve good slave curves," I said, regarding her. "You may thank me."

"Thank you, Master," she said.

"One wonders why, then, you are so valueless. You went for a hide, and then two knives, and then only a mirror. Now you are in a herd. Why are you worth so little?"

"I do not know, Master," she said.

"The boys tell me that you are a block of ice," I said.

"I cannot help it if I am unresponsive," she said. "It is my nature."

"I also gather," I said, "that you are arrogant and surly. You are thus, in various respects, a poor slave."

She tossed her head, irritably.

I struck her once, on the right thigh, with the quirt. She cried out with pain, and looked down at the welt.

"I would think twice, if I were you," I said, "before I made angry little noises or impatient gestures."

"Yes, Master," she said.

"Do you find men attractive?" I asked.

"Since I may be raped at their pleasure," she said, "what difference does it make?"

"Do you find them attractive?" I asked.

"Sometimes," she said, "they make me feel uneasy."

"What were you relations with men, prior to your enslavement?" I asked.

"Cannot you simply take me and be done with it?" she asked.

"Speak," I said.

"At one time," she said, "in spite of being a proud free woman of Ar, I felt the desire for the companionship of men."

"I understand," I said.

"I decided that I would permit them, certain ones of my careful choosing, of proper means and stations, to become acquainted with me, and that I might then, from among these, favor certain ones with the dignity and honor of my friendship. Then, perhaps, in time, if I felt so inclined, I might, if he were thoroughly pleasing and wholly suitable, consider acceding to the please of one to enter into companionship with me."

"And how did matters proceed?" I asked.

"I called together a number of young men," she said. "I informed them of my willingness to form acquaintances, and specified to them the strict conditions to which these relationships, absolute equality, and such, would be subject."

"And what happened?" I asked.

"All withdrew politely," she said, "and I never saw them again, with one exception, a little urt of a man who told me he shared my views, fully."

"You entered into companionship with him?" I asked.

"I discovered he was interested only in my wealth," she said. "I dismissed him."

"You were then angry and hurt," I said, 'and began to devote yourself wholly to the pursuits of business."

"Yes," she said.

"Too," I said, "I gather, from other aspects of your story, that you became mercenary and greedy."

"Perhaps," she said.

"And then you were captured, and brought into the Barrens, and made a slave," I said.

"Yes," she said. "May I break this position?"

"No," I said.

"Do you like what you see?" she asked.

"You had better hope that I like what I see," I said.

She swallowed, hard.

"Yes," I said. "I like what I see."

"I suppose I should be grateful," she said.

"I think that I would be grateful if I were you," I said, "since you are a female slave."

"Of course," she said. "I do not wish to be quirted, or slain."

"Yes," I said.

"Do you enjoy posing naked women for your pleasure?" she asked.

"Yes," I said.

"Oh," she said.

"I think you feared your womanhood," I said. "That seems clear, even from your behavior in Ar. This is not unusual, incidentally, in a free woman, because deep womanhood, they sense, involves love, and love, for a woman, seems always to involve a bondage, if not of ropes and chains, of one sort or another."

She looked at me, tears in her eyes.

"Then, when you were, in effect, rejected as a woman, you were hurt and angry. You determined never to endure another such humiliating rejection. Too, understandably, you became hostile towards men. You would hate them. You would outdo them. You would have your vengeance on them. You came to fear certain sorts of feelings. You drew back even further from your womanhood."

"No, no, no," she wept. "I am a poor slave only because I an unresponsive! That is my nature! I cannot help it!"

"That is not your nature," I told her. "And you are going to help it."

"Master?" she asked.

"Crawl to the grass, there," I said. "Hurry!"

She crawled to the point, trembling, where I had indicated.

"Kneel to the whip," I ordered her.

She knelt there, trembling, her head down to the grass, her wrists crossed beneath her, as though bound.

I strick her thrice.

"Are you a whipped slave?" I asked.

"Yes," she wept, "I am a whipped slave."

"You belong to men," I told her. I gave her another stroke.

"I will try to be pleasing!" she wept.

"I am sure you will, my dear," I said. "But the interesting question is whether or not you will succeed." I then gave her two more strokes.

"Oh," she wept. "Ohh."

"Do you beg now," I asked, "to return to the robe?"

"Yes, Master!" she said.

"Return, then, to the robe, Slave," I said.

Swiftly she crawled back to the robe. She lay on her stomach on its surface, grateful to be again within the perimeters of its relative safety. She was half choking and crying.

"On your back, Slave," I said, "hands at your sides, palms up, right knee lifted."

Wincing, she complied.

"What is the place of women!" I demanded.

"At the feet of men!" she wept.

"And where are you?" I asked.

"At your feet!" she wept.

"What are you?" I asked.

"A slave, a slave!" she said.

"Men have been patient long enough with you, Salve," I said. "That patience is now at an end."

"Yes, Master!" she wept.

"No longer are you a free woman," I said. "That is all behind you now. You are now only an imbounded female, only a slave, at the mercy of men."

"Yes, Master," she gasped, frightened.

"Accordingly," I said, "you are no longer to think of yourself as, or permit yourself to act like, a free woman. You are now, henceforth, to think and act like a slave. You are to feel as a slave, and live and love as a slave!"

"Yes, Master," she wept.

"Slave," I said.

"Yes, Master," she said.

"No impediment exists now," I said, "between you and your womanhood."

"No, Master," she said, frightened.

I dropped the quirt down near the robe. I then crouched down beside her. "When I touch you," I said, "you will feel, deeply and fully, richly and beauitfully, gratefully, joyfully and submissively, and later, when you yield, you will yield totally and completely, irreservedly, helplessly, holding nothing back."

"But then I should be naught but a slave," she said, "helpless in the arms of her master."

"Yes," I said.

She looked at me, frightened.

I knelt beside her. "Sit up," I said. "Put your arms about my neck."

She obeyed.

"Slave lips," I commanded.

She pursed her lips and then I, gently, kissed them. "That was not so fearful now, was it?" I asked, drawing back.

"What do men, truly, want of slaves?" she whispered.

"Everything," I said.

"And what must a slave give them?" she asked.

"Everthing," I said, "and more."

"I had feared, and hoped, it would be so," she said.

I smiled.

"You see," she said, "I am a slave."

"I know," I said. She was a woman.

"Have you read the Prition of Clearchus of Cos?" she said.

"What is a former free woman of Ar doing reading that?" I asked. It was a treatise on bondage.

" 'The slave," " she quoted, " 'makes no bargains; she does not desire small demands to be placed upon her; she does not ask for ease; she asks nothing; she gives all; she seeks to love and selflessly serve. »

"You quote it well," I said.

"You have read it?" she asked.

"Yes," I said. I remembered the passage clearly. The girl had perhaps, at one tim, memorized it.

"I have always been fascinated with bondage," she said, "but I never expected, then, to find myself a slave."

"Kiss me, Slave," I said.

"Yes, Master," she said.

"Do you fear now," I asked, "as a slave, that you will be rejected?"

"I see now," she said, "as a slave, that it does not matter. It is not mine to fear such things, but rather to see to it that I am completely pleasing. If I am rejected, it matters not, for I am only a slave. As a slave I am nothing. I am meaningless and worthless. Thus what does it matter if I should be despised and spurned? I must then, only, try again, seeking anew, helplessly, to serve and love."

I did not respond to her. I did not think it necessary to tell her, and she would, in any case, soon learn it, that the least of the slave's fears is rejection. Rather she must fear quite the opposite. She must fear that the very sight of her will drive a man half mad with passion, and that he may not wish to rest until he gets his chains on her.

"In the Prition," I said, "Clearchus, of course, is primarily concerned with only one form of bondage, that of the love slave."

"That is true," she said.

"There are many slaveries," I said, "and some are doubtless quite fearful and unpleasant."

"Yes," she shuddered. she had heard, I gathered, of certain agriculteral slaveries, and of slaveries such as those in the public kitchens and laundries. Too, she was doubtless familiar with contempt slaveries and vengeance slaveries. One form of vengeance slavery is the proxy slavery, in which one woman, totally innocent, is enslaved and made to stand proxy for a hate, at-least-temporarily-inaccessibly woman, even being given her name. The proxy, of course, being enslaved, is truly enslaved. Even if the hated woman is later captured the proxy is not freed. She is generally, merely, given away or sold.

"The common denominator," I said, "appears to be that the woman must be totally pleasing and, in all ways, is totally subject to the will of the Master."

"Yes, Master," she said.

"You may now kiss me again, Slave," I said.

"Yes, Master," she said.

I then lowered her to the robe. Her arms were still about my neck.

"Are you going to teach me to be pleasing?" she asked.

"Yes," I said.

"You will then," she smiled, "be imporving, as you suggested, my master's property."

"Yes," I said. "But I am going to do more than teach you how to be pleasing."

"Oh?" she asked.

"Yes," I said. "When I am finished with you, my naked, collared beauty, you will be quite different than you are now."

She looked at me.

"I am going to make you into a man's dream of pleasure," I said.

"Do so," she said.

"Please, please," she wept. "Do not leave me! I beg you! Touch me more, please! I beg you to stay with me! I did not know it could be anything like this! Please, I beg you, touch me again!" She clutched me. Her tears were on my arm and chest.

"Do you beg it, as a slave?" I asked.

"Yes, Master," she said. "I beg it as a slave!"

"Very well," I said.

"What a fool I was as a free woman!" she whispered.

"You were only ignorant," I said.

"I did not know what it was like to be a slave, the helplessness, the sensations."

I did not respond.

"I did not know such feelings could exist," she said. "I never felt anything like them. They are so overwhelming."

"They have to do with dominance and submission," I said.

"I was afraid, in my yielding," she said, "that I might die."

"It was only a small slave orgasm," I said.

She looked at me, wonderingly.

"Beyond what you have experienced," I said, "lie indefinite horizons of ecstasy. No woman yet, I speculate, has numbered them."

"It is so much more than mere physical feeling," she said.

"It is such feeling in a cognitive matrix," I said. "It is psychophysical. It is an indissolubly emotional, physical and intellectual whole."

"I shall now need, often, the touch of a man," she said.

"Yes," I said.

"You have done this to me," she chided.

"It should have been done long ago," I said.

"But now," she said, "what if a man does not choose to satisfy me?"

"Try to be such that he will show you kindness," I said.

She shuddered. She was now much more at the mercy of men thatn she had ever suspected she could be. The slave fires in her belly, as it is said, had now been lit. She was now susceptible to the torments of the deprived slave. Free women, whose sexuallity is usually, for most practical purposes, sluggish and inert, often have difficulty in understanding the desperation and intensity of these needs on the part of a female slave. They think that she is different from, and inferior to, themselves. If they themselves should be enslaved, of course, they are likely to soon revise these opinions. They, too, then may well find themselves moaning and scratching in their kennels, begging rude keepers for their touch, and being despised, in turn, by free women.

"You have ruined me for freedom," she said.

"Do you object?" I asked.

"No," she said. "I want to be a slave. I love being a slave."

"That is fortunate," I said, "for that is what you are."

"I have been a slave for months," she said. "I regret only that I have wasted all this time. I have waited until today to discover what it can be, truly, to be a slave."

"What do you feel about men?" I asked.

"They are interesting and beautiful," she said.

"Beautiful?" I asked.

"To my eyes," she smiled.

"And what else?" I asked.

"I know that they are my masters, that I need their touch and that I wish to serve them."

"Can you conceive of yourself kneeling before a man, head down, begging him for his caress?" I asked.

"Clearly," she said, "now that my sexuality has been awakened."

"Will he accede to your plea?" I asked.

"It would be my hope that he would," she said.

"Sometimes he may, sometimes he may not," I said. "There may come times when you will be grateful for so little as a cuffing or a kick."

"I must accept what I am given," she said. "I am a slave."

I then took her again in my arms. "Yes!" she breathed.

I lay on my side and the girl put a tiny piece of pemmican in my mouth.

I enjoyed having her feed me. She had, earlier, brought me water in her mouth, but, in its transfer, at the touch of her lips, it had only led to a new ravishment of her. I had then gone to the stream to satisfy my thirst.

"It is nearly sundown," I said.

"Then I must be returned to the herd," she moaned. "I must then be taken near the village with the others. I must then be hobbled and, a rope on my neck, be picketed with my string. How can I bear, now, to return to the herd?"

"I doubt that you will now be long kept in the herd," I said.

"I now need a man," she said. "I will do anything to be taken into a lodge, to serve."

"You are helpless now, aren't you?" I said.

"Yes, Master," she said. "May I leave the robe?"

"Yes," I said.

She went to the small hide in which the quirt had been wrapped. She picked it up and brought it to the edge of the robe. She spread it out there. "You told me," she said, smiling, "that this hide was about the size of a Tahari submission mat."

"Yes," I said.

"Behold," she said, smiling, her head down. "I kneel upon the mat."

I regarded her. A thousand memories rushed int my mind, of the vast, tawny Tahair, of its bleakness, and its dunes, of its caravans, of its oases and palaces. In the Tahari culture the submission mat has its place.

"In the Tahari," she asked, "might not girls, such as I, kneel on such mats?"

"Yes," I said. Many times I had seen such slaves, blond and beautiful, kneeling on such mats before dark masters.

"Oh!" she cried, seized and taken.

The girl knelt before me on the robe. Her head was down. "I beg your caress, Master," she said.

I smiled. Well did she remember our earlier conversation.

I looked at the sun though the trees. I thought there was time.

"Earn it," I said.

"Yes, Master," she said, happily.

Later I held her, again, in my arms. "We must start back now," I said.

"I know," she whispered.

I got up, and gathered my things together. "Roll the robe," I said. She did so. Then she knelt on the grass.

"Bind my hands and arms," she said, "so tightly that I cannot move the. Then march me back to the herd, a rope on my neck."

"No," I said. "You will walk back, quietly, before me."

"Yes, Master," she smiled.

I tied my things together with the rope. Then, the girl preceding me, we left the small grove. I looked back on it once. I had had a good time there.

Chapter 13

I LEARN OF THE PRESENCE OF WANIYANPI

"Bring her forth, the red-haired slave," said Mahpiyasapa, cheiftain of the Isbu Kaiila, standing before the lodge of Canka.

Canka stood, unafraid, his arms folded. "Winyela," he called.

The girl, frighened, emerged from the lodge and knelt down, near its threshold.

"It is she," said one of the men with Mahpiyasapa.

"It is she, who danced at the pole," said another.

"A pretty slave," said another.

"I want the woman," said Mahpiyasapa to Canka, indicating Winyela.

"You may not have her," said Canka.

"Speak, Wopeton," said Mahpiyasapa to Grunt, whom he had brought with him.

"My friend, Canka," said Grunt, "the woman was brought into the Barrens for Mahpiyasapa. He had ordered such a woman last year. It was for him that I purchased her in Kailiauk, near the Ihanke, and for him that I marched her eastward on my chain. The bargin was an old one, sealed last year. He is your chief. Give him the woman."

"No," said Canka.

"I was to receive five hides of the yellow kailiauk for her," said Grunt. "I do not wish, however, to have bad blood between two great warriors of the Isbu. Give her to mahpiyasapa. I will forgo the hides."

"No," said Mahpiyasapa. "It will never be said that Mahpiyasapa did not speak with a straight tongue. When I receive the woman I will give you the hides."

"He may not have the woman," said Canka. "By captrue rights she is mine. Mahpiyasapa, my chieftain, knowns this. Mahpiyasapa, my chieftain, is Kaiila. He will not violate the customs of the Kaiila."

"There is truly to be peace between the Kaiila and the Yellow Knives," said Mahpiyasapa. "Watonka has arranged it. Even now civil chieftains of the Yellow Knives reside in his lodge."

"What is this to me?" asked Canka.

"You have not behaved well," said Mahpiyasapa. "The woman should be mine. As chief I could take her to my lodge. But as chief I will not do this. I do not want to make you angry."

"Let me buy you two women, and give them to you for her," said Canka.

"That is the one I want," said Mahpiyasapa, indicating Winyela.

"That one," said Canka, "is mine."

"I want her," said Mahpiyasapa.

"She is mine, by capture right," said Canka.

Mahpiyasapa fell silent. He was angry.

"I am sorry, my chief," said Canka, "if I do not behave well. I am sorry if I have not acted in a way that is becoming to me. Had it been another woman I do not think I would have hesitated to bring her, her neck in a rope, to your lodge. This woman, however, as soon as I saw her, I knew that I wanted her. I know I could not rest until her neck was in my collar, until she was mine."

"I do not want her for myself," said Mahpiyasapa. "I want her for Yellow Knives. I and my fellows are going about the camp, gathering gifts for the Yellow Knives, kaiila and saddles, blankets, robes, cloth and women."

"I will give you a kaiila," said Canka.

"She is beautiful and her coloring and hair are rare in our contry," said Mahpiyasapa. "She would make a superb gift."

"Neither you nor the Yellow Knives may have her," said Canka.

"Her breasts are too small," said Mahpiyasapa.

"I am keeping her," said Canka. "She is mine, I want her."

When Mahpiyasapa had made this remark about her breasts, Winyela, troubled, puzzled, had inadvertently touched them. I myself though that her breasts were very lovely, and sweetly proportionate to her figure as a whole. Mahpiyasapa, however, it seemed, as is not all that unusual among the men of the red savages, preferred large-breased women. This preference for meatier, more ample bodied women, incidentally, is also common among the men of the Tahari. On Gor, generally, as far as I can tell, on the other hand, there is no particularly desiderated female type. Female beauty, it is recognized, is a complex and subtle thing, lovely and rich in its almost countelss variations. So much, as always, depends on the individual woman. There are so many ways of being beautiful.

"This is your last word on the matter?" asked Mahpiyasapa.

"Yes," said Canka.

Mahpiyasapa, then, turned about and strode away, followed by those who were with him.

Canka, turned, then, and looked down at Winyela, who was kneeling by the entrance to his lodge. She lowered her head.

REstrictive, stereotypical conceptions of female beauty, it might be added, are generally alien to the Gorean conscioiusness. That female beauty should be regarded as being restricted, for example, to a certain type of woman, say, perhaps, to women who are unusually tall for women, thin and small breasted, would be regarded as preposterous, if not even incomprehensible, to the Gorean. That conception would be just too limited for him. Too, of course, he is interested in a woman for such things as service and love, not fore being photographed in barbaric garments. Most Gorean women, like most human females, in general, tend to be short, curvaceous and dark-haired. Most women sold in slave markets, too, of course, are of this sort. They look well in chains, kneeling before one.

Winyela lifted her head to Canka. There were tears in her eyes. "Perhpas you should give me to him, Master," she said. "Perhaps my breasts are too small."

"Do not be stupid," said Canka. "They are perfect. Go cook."

"Yes, Master," she said, happily.

"Do you not fear," I asked, "that there will be trouble over this?" Cuwignaka and I had been standing nearby, listening to Canka and Mahpiyasapa. We had been invited to the lodge of Canka this night for boiled meat, a way of preparing meat of which the red savages are fond.

"I do not think so," said Canka. "But let us not worry about such things. These are to be days of joy and feasting."

"Tomorrow I will enter the lodge of the dance," said Cuwignaka.

"I have seen many gifts being exchanged about the camp," I said.

"It is a time for happiness and giveaways," said Cuwignaka. "The kailiauk, even, came early this year."

"That is true," I said. I still did not understand the early arrival of the kailiauk. That, still, seemed strange to me.

"Did you enjoy the use of the beaded quirt?" asked Canka.

"Yes," I said, "very much." I recalled the blond girl from he herd. I had had a most enjoyable afternoon.

"You may retain it until after the holidays, after the dancing and feasts," said Canka.

"Thank you," I said.

"It is nothing," grinned Canka.

"Is it the same slave?" he asked one of the lads in charge of he herd, when I habe brought the blond-haired girl back to the herd.

"Yes," I had said.

"It seems you took from us a woman who was enslaved," said the lad, "and you bring back to us a woman who is a slave."

The girl knelt down, near us, her head down, smiling.

"How was she?" asked one of the lads.

"Squirming, lascivious slave meat," I said. "hot, helpless, passionate, responsive."

"Splendid," said one of he lads, an older one, striking his thigh.

"I think now," I said, "that any man would find her satisfactory."

"I will try to prove to be better then merely satisfactory, Master," said the girl.

"Good," said one pf the lads.

"Back to the herd girl," said another lad, urging his kaiila towards her.

She scrambled back to the herd, quickly inserting herself among her fellow, lovely beasts. Some of the other animlas regarded her with envy, and wonder. She was much differnt now, clearly, thatn she had been earlier in the day. The acceptance of her womanhood, and her submission to men, and surrender to them, in her heart, is a pivotal thing in the psychic life of a female. A similar moment of great psychic import occurs, of course, in the life of a man when he accepts manhood. Thencefoth he repudiates lies and spurious images. Thenceforth he will be a man.

"It is sundown," said one of the lads. "We must get these she-kaiila to the village, where we shall hobble and picket them for the night."

Some of he beasts, I saw, regarded the blond girl, now, with loathing. Others, however, came up to her and kissed her, gently, welcoming her to the sisterhood of the collar. How wretched and peevish are those, themselves so resentful and constricted, who begrudge others the vitalities and pleasures of their honesty.

"Hei!" called two or three of the lads, lifting their coiled ropes.

"My thanks, lads!" I yelled.

They waved, acknowledging my words. I stepped back, watching, then, the herd being slowly moved toward the village.

The blond girl turned once, and waved to me, and then blew me a kiss in the Gorean fashion, kissing and brushing it to me with her fingers. I returned the kiss, and waved, too. Then I made my own way back to the village. I was to meet Cuwignaka at the lodge of Canka. We were t have boiled meat for supper.

"That was good," I said.

"Thank you, Master," said Winyela.

"Do not spoil the slave," warned Canka.

"Sorry," I said.

"It was splendid!" said Cuwignaka.

"Thank you, Master," said Winyela, smiling. The repast had been far more than boiled meat. It had been, in effect, a rich stew, crowded with vegetables and seasonings. Some, I knew, Winyela had begged from Grunt.

"Do you not think so?" asked Cuwignaka of Canka.

"Maybe," said Canka.

"Did my master enjoy his meal?" asked Winyela.

"Maybe," said Canka.

"A miserable slave hopes that her pathetic efforts to be pleasing to her master have been successful," she said.

"It was not bad, maybe," said Canka.

"Do not spoil the slave," warned Cuwignaka.

"I love serving you, Master," said Winyela.

"Even if you did not like serving me," said Canka, "you would do it, perfectly."

"Yes, Master," she said.

"For you are a slave," he said.

"Yes, Master," she said. "And your slave."

He regarded her.

"If I do not please you, beat me." she said.

"Have no fear," said Canka. "If you are not pleasing, it will be done."

"Do you think she will be often beaten?" asked Cuwignaka.

"I do not think it likely," I said.

"Master," whispered Winyela to Canka. Her eyes were moist. I saw his eyes, glinging upon her fiercely.

"There were many vegetables in the stew," I said to Cuwignaka, pretending not to notice the intensity between Canka and Winyela. Indeed, we had had to eat much of the stew from small bowls, filled by Winyela with a kailiauk-bone ladle. Some larger pieces of vegetable and meat, we had, however, in the informal fastion of the Barrens, taken from the pot on our knives. Canka, perhaps because company was present, or because he wished to further impress her slavery upon her, had fed Winyela. This is occasionally done with a slave. It helps to remind them that they are domestic animlas, and that they are dependent for their very food upon their master. I had noticed, during the meal, how she had taken food from his fingers, biting and suckling, and kissing, furtively at them. During the corse of the meal she had been becoming more and more excited. Too, I had thought that Canka had given her smaller bits and pieces, and had held on to themmore tightly, than was necessary to merly feed her. "That is unusual, isn't it?" I asked.

"Yes," said Cuwignaka. "That is produce, for the most part, from the fields of the Waniyanpi."

"I had thought it might be," I said. The Waniyanpi were, substantially, agricultrual slaves. They farmed and gardened, and did other work for their red masters. "Were men sent forth to the compounds to fetch the produce?" I asked.

"The Waniyanpi have deliverd it," said Cuwignaka. "It is done that way when it is the great camp which is in question."

"I see," I said. During the feasting times, those generally correlated with the coming of the kailiauk, the locations of the great camps of the various tribes were well known. This made feasible the delivery of produce, someting which would be correspondingly impractical most of the year, when the trives had separated into scattered bands, and sometimes even smaller units, with temporary, shifting camps. "Are there Waniyanpi now in camp?" I asked.

"Yes," said Cuwignaka, "but they will be leaving soon."

"How soon?" I asked.

"I do not know," said Cuwignaka.

"I met some Waniyanpi," I said. "They were from a place they referred to as 'Garden Eleven." I wonder if those in camp would be from there."

"They might be," said Cuwignaka. "Why?"

"I thought it might be interesting to renew my acquaintances among them," I said. "Too, I would be interested to learn of the whereabouts and condition of one who was once the Lady Mira, of Venna, who, enslaved, was sentenced by her red masters to reside with the Waniyanpi."

"I remember her," said Cuwignaka, bitterly. "LOng days I spent, chained to her cart."

"Surely you are sorry for her," I said, "given, in particular, the almost unspeakable cruelty, for a woman, of her sentence, of her punishment?"

"She was a proud and arrogant woman," said Cuwignaka. "I do not pity her."

"But she has known other forms of life," I said. "It is not like she was bonr and raised in such a compound."

"I do not pity her," said Cuwignaka.

"Surely she, now, honored and denied, celebrated and deprived, would be ready to beg for her own stripping, for the stoke of a man's lash, for the feel of her ankles being tied apart, widely and securely, in a leg stretcher."

"I do not pity her," said Cuwignaka. "She was harsh and cruel. Let her languish, and unfulfilled slave, in the compounds of the Waniyanpi."

"You are cruel," I said.

"I am Kaiila," shrugged Cuwignaka.

"Perhaps if she protrated herself, naked, before you, begging for mercy, you might be disposed to show her some lenience," I speculated.

"Perhaps, if I thought she was now ready to be a woman, and had learned her lessons," said Cuwignaka.

"Ah," I said, "I see that you might be swayed to generosity."

"Of course," grinned Cuwingaka. "I am Kaiila." He then gestured to Canka and winyela. She was now in his arms, her head back. She was sobbing with pleasure. She was oblivious of our presence. "Too," he said, "there is something to be said for female slaves."

"That is try," I said. How beautiful was Winyela, lost in her helplessness, her pleasure and love. How marvelous and beautiful are women! How glorious it is to own them, to be able to do what one wishes with them and to love them! But then I thought soberly of she who had once, as the agent of Kurii, been my enemy. No such fulfillments and joys, it seemed, were for her. She had been condemned instead to the compounds of the Waniyanpi. She had been sentenced to honor and dignity, and equality with the pathetic males of the compound. She would not know, it seemed, the joys of being run, naked, a rope on her neck, a slave, at the flanks of a master's kaiila, the pleasures of, trembling, loving and serving, knowing that he whom one loves and serves owns one, fully, the fulfillments of finding oneself, uncompromisingly and irrevocably, in one's place in the order of nature, lovingly, at one's master's feet.

"We shall come back later," said Cuwignaka to Canka, getting up. But, Canka, too, I fear, lost in teh sweetness and beauties, in the love and pleausre, of his woman, did not hear us.

Cuwignaka and I, smiling, left the lodge.

"Where are the Waniyanpi?" I asked.

"In the lower end of the camp, at the edge of the camp," said Cuwignaka, "where the drinage is worst."

"I should have known," I said.

"We put them there," said Cuwignaka.

"Of course," I said.

"Are you going to see them?" asked Cuwignaka.

"Yes," I said.

"I do not think I will come," said Cuwignaka. "I do not much care for the company of Waniyanpi."

"Very well," I said.

"Meet me back at the lodge of Canka, later," said Cuwignaka.

"Why?" I asked. I thought perhaps Canka and Winyela might prefer to be left alone.

"I heard from Akihoka, who is friends with one of the Sleen Soldiers, that Hci is going to be up to something tonight," grinned Cuwignaka.

"What?" I asked.

"I am not sure," said Cuwignaka, "but I think I know. And I think I know how we can foil him."

"What is this all about?" I asked.

"It has to do with giveaways," said Cuwignaka.

"I do not understand," I said.

"Meet me back here, later," said Cuwignaka.

"Very well," I said.

"I am so much yours," we heard Winyela say, from within the lodge. "I am so much yours, my master!"

Cuwignaka and I smiled, and then we took our seperate ways.

Chapter 14

WANIYANPI

"Pumpkin!" I said, pleased.

"Peace, and light, and tranquility, and contentment and goodness be unto you," he asid.

"I had heard that there were Waniyanpi in camp," I said. "I had hoped that it might be you, and others from your group."

"We have delivered vegetables to our masters," said Pumpkin. "You remember Carrot and Cabbage?"

"Yes," I said. "Greetings, Fellows."

"Sweetness be unto you," said Carrot.

"Sweetness be unto you," said Cabbage.

"Who is this?" asked a dark-haired woman, bellingerently. She, too, wore the garb of the Waniyanpi. That is a long, gray dress which falls between the knees and ankles. Her feet, too, were wrapped in rags. This garb is unattractive on women, doubtless intendedly so. On men, similarly, it appears ungainly and foolish.

"I do not think you met Radish," said Pumpkin.

"No," I said.

"Who are you?" asked Radish.

"Radish is the leader of our small expedition to the camp," said Pumpkin, "and is, for most practical purposes, first in the compound, in our home, Garden Eleven, although we all are, of course, the same."

"Of course," I said.

"Who are you?" asked Radish.

I looked at her. She was surly, and, obviously, badly in need of a whipping.

"I am Tatankasa, Red Bull," I said, "the slave of Canka, Fire-Steel, of the Isbu Kaiila, of the Little-Stones band of the Kaiila, in a mixtrue of both Kaiila and Gorean.

I continued to look at her. I did not think that she was, objectively, a bad-looking woman. Beneath the ugly garment she wore there were the suggestions of an attractive figure. I wondered what she would look like naked and bound, kneeling at a man's feet, under his quirt.

"You are a slave," she said.

"So are you," I said.

"We do not wear collars," she said.

"You do not need collars to be recognized as slaves," I said.

She glared at me, angrily. I considered stripping her, and putting her to my feet.

"Many who are slaves do not wear collars," I said. "Many who are slaves do not even know that they are slaves."

"That is true," said Pumpkin, agreeably.

"Do not speak further to this person," said Radish, turning away.

"How long are you going to be in camp?" I asked.

"I am sorry," said Pumpkin. "I should not speak further to you now. It is the wish of Radish."

"Why not?" I asked.

"Waniyanpi are supposed to be loving, accommodating and pleasing," said Pumpkin. 'Waniyanpi' is a Kaiila expression. It means "tame cattle."

"And is Radish loving, accommodating and pleasing?" I asked.

"Not really," said Pumpkin. "That is an interesting thought," He looked at me. "We are leaving in the morning," he said.

"I told you not to talk to him," said Radish, from a few feet away.

"Please be quiet, Radish," said Pumpkin. She turned away, angrily.

"Sweetness be unto you," said Pumpkin.

"How far away is your compound?" I asked.

"Some one hundred pasangs from here," said Pumpkin.

"I di dnot know you had kaiila," I said.

"We do not," said Pumpkin. "We came afoot, dragging travois, laden with our produce, in the charge of a boy."

"I thought Radish was the leader of the expedition," I said.

"She is the Waniyanpi leader," he said. "We all, of course, must take our orders from our red masters."

"How is she who was the Lady Mira, of Venna?" I asked. The Lady Mira, of Venna, had been an agent of Kurii. She had been in political command, under Kog and Sardak, of a force of approximately a thousand mercenaries, the human contingent accompanying Kog and Sardak, and their death squad, into the Barrens. The military command of these mercenaries, also under Kog and Sardak, who would have retained supreme command, had been in the hands of Alfred, a mercenary captain from Port Olni. The chain of command, then, for most proacitcal purposes, except tactical situations, would have been Kurii, then the Lady Mira, and then Alfred, the captain from Port Olni. After the joint attack and massacure of a few weeks ago, the Lad Mira had been captured and, presumably because she had been found with soldiers, sent to a Waniyanpi compound. Alfred had managed to escape with a mounted force of perhaps some four hundred riders. He, presumably, had, by now, made his way back to the Ihanke, to civilization and safety. Small bands of warriors, the sorts which make up common war parties, would not be likely to attack a force of that size.

"The Lady Mira, of Venna?" asked Pumpkin.

"The blond woman, given to you by the red savages after the battle," I said. "I think you were going to call her 'Turnip. »

"Trunip, of course," said Pumpkin.

"How is she doing?" I asked.

"She is fitting in very nicely," he said. "She has embraced the teaching zealously. She is now a happy and confirmed Same."

"And what if she were not?" I asked.

"Then," said Pumpkin, "regrettably, we would have to put her out of the compound, into the Barrens, without food and water."

"You would kill her?" I said.

"No, no!" said Pumpkin. "Waniyanpi are not permitted to kill. We would only have to put her out."

"You would, then, let the Barrens do your killing for you," I said.

"She might survive," he said.

"Possibly," I said.

"It always makes us sad to have to put someone out," he said.

"I can imagine," I said.

"Surely you cannot expect us to permit the existence of false ideas in the compound?" he asked.

"Why not?" I asked.

"I do not know," he said.

"Perhaps you fear your beliefs, if presented with plausible alternatives, might fare badly?"

"No, no," he said. "Truth does not need to be afraid of falsity. Truth is not fearful and weak."

"I am glad to hear it," I said. "So what is wrong with having a few false ideas around?"

"It is against the teaching," said Pumpkin.

"Perhaps it is feared someone might believe one," I said.

"How could anyone do that?" he scoffed.

"Perhaps some depraved or benighted individual," I suggested.

"Perhaps," he said.

"Thus," I said, "ignorance is the bulwark of truth."

"Perhaps," granted Pumpkin.

"But here is an interesting thought," I said. "What if your beliefs are not true, but false. How would you ever find out about it?"

"I suppose we might not," said Pumpkin. "Thus, it is fortunate for us that our beliefs are true."

"How do you know?" I asked.

"It is one of our beliefs," he said.

"Sameness is a lie," I said. "And it is not even a subtle or plausible lie. It is obviously and patently a lie."

"It is not to be questioned," said Pumpkin. "Even if it is a lie it is a lie which lies at the very foundation of our society. It is the premise of our world. All worlds have their myths. The alternative to the myth is chaos."

"The alternative of falsehood," I said, "is not chaos, but truth."

"One must belive something," said Pumpkin.

"Try truth," I said.

"Would you like to see Trunip?" he asked.

"Is she here?" I asked.

"Yes," he said. "We did not wish to bring her, but the oy who was in charge of us picked her out to come along, thus giving us, appropriately, an exactly equal number of males and females."

"Why 'appropriately'?" I asked. "If you are all the same, what difference should it make? Why not all males or all females, or any ratio?"

"I suppose you are right," said Pumpkin. "We ourselves do not distinguish between males and females."

"That, at least, if peculiar, is consistent," I said. "But you have noticed, surely, that there seem to be some differences between males and females."

"We try not to notice that," said Pumpkin.

"Have you noticed," I asked, "that males are better at dragging heavy weights across the prairie than women?"

"We notice, of course," said Pumpkin, "that not all Sames are of equal size or strength."

"And have you noticed, further," I asked, "that there seems to be a correlations between the stronger Sames and those the red savages regard as males, and between the slighter, weaker Sames and those the red savages regard as females?"

"I try not to notice such things," said Pumpkin.

"Were you harnessed to a travois?" I asked.

"Yes," said Pumpkin.

"How many pulled it with you?" I asked.

"I, alone, drew it," he said.

"And what of some of the other travois," I asked, "those drawn by the smaller, slighter Sames. How were they harnessed?"

"Five to a travois," shrugged Pumpkin. "But the trek is long, and the weight is heavy."

"I see," I said. "Where is Turnip?"

"I will show you," said Pumpkin. "She is with one of the groups. You will be pleased to see how she turned out."

I followed Pumpkin through, and behind, several lodges. Then, in a few moments, we came to a place where a low, sloping shelter, of travois poles, sticks and canvas, had been erected. I could see some similar shelters in the nearby vicinity.

"Have these women been brought to the camp to be bred with other Waniyanpi?" I asked. "It seems they have been prepared for what you fold refer to as 'the Ugly Act. Is the day of Waniyanpi Breeding at hand?"

"No," said Pumpkin, laughing. "It is done for other reasons."

The five women sitting near the shelter, in their drab garments, all had sacks tied over their heads, knotted under their chins. For the day of Waniyanpi Breeding, male waniyanpi from one compound are marched, hooded, to the vicinity of some other compound. Near it they are led to hooded, stripped Waniyanpi women, selected for breeding, from the other compound, lying bound in a maize field. There, then, between hooded couples, under the whips of red masters, are fulfilled the offices of the day of Waniyanpi Breeding. This is supposedly the only physical contact, incidentally, which takes place between Waniyanpi men and women.

As would be expected, their tiny, pathological culture, implicitly or explicitly, to one degree or another, is opposed to sexuality. For example, sexual inertness and figidity are praised as virtues. Similarly, an attempt is made, though such things as verbal abuse and ridicule, to make individuals with truly powerful sexual drives succumb to irrational guilts and shames. "True persons," which is a euphemism for conformists to the social norms, are supposed to be "above sex," or, at least, to recognize its "relative unimportance," or to understand that it may be accpetable, in some "place," or other, which is never clarified. That a given individual of strong passions could scream with the need for sexual release is something that they cannot understand or which, somehow, terrifies them. They are flowers and, it seems, lack the senses which would enable them to understand such things as hungers and storms. Buttercups and lions will perhaps always be mutually unintelligible to one another. Most simply, perhaps, sexuality is regarded by the Waniyanpi as being inimical to Sameness, as being subversive of the Identity thesis so essential to its madness. Too, in an interesting concession to putative sexual difference, sexuality, by the Waniyanpi, is regarded as being demeaning to women.

It is not clear, historically, whether the values of slaves were imposed on the Waniyanpi by their masters, or whether the Waniyanpi invented their ethos to dignify and enoble their own weakness. It may be mentioned, that interestingly, since that there is, in the compounds, an unusual incidence of homosexuality, both of male and female varieties. This is perhaps a natural enough development considering the conditioned obstacles placed in the way of more usual relationships. It also fits in better with the values of Sameness. To be sure, officially the Waniyanpi disparage all sex, despite the relative countenance tacitly afforded by their ethos to the homosexual relationship. Where natural sexuality is prohibited there is little perversions. The prescribed choice for the Waniyanpi, of course, is loftly abstinence, pretneding no problems exist. The reason that Waniyanpi breeding takes place in a maize field, incidentally, seems to be that, in the medicine beliefs of the red savages, the example of their breeding is supoosed to encourage the maize to flourish.

"What are the other reasons?" I asked.

"There are two," said Pumpkin, regarding the hooded women. "The first is that we thus hide their faces from the red savages, and thus reduce the probability of their being taken away from us."

"Thier clothing," I said, "to a large extent, hides their figures."

"Yes," said Pumpkin, embarrassed.

"Frankly," I said, "I do not think they are in much danger. The red savages have their pick of many women, lovely, vital woman, many of them nude and collared, and trained, like she-kaiila, to service their pleasures. I do not think they would be likely to be much interested in Waniyanpi females." Such females, I adjudged, from seeing Radish, and the men, would be unpleasant and rigid, or, more likely, dismal, miserable slave market, even to give such women. It was interesting to speculate whether under a proper reginmen of whipping, bonds and training something might be done with them. "What is the second reason?" I asked.

"We do not want them to see red-savage males," he said.

"Why?" I asked.

"It makes it harder for them, somtimes, then," he said, "to be content, again, in the compounds. It makes it more difficult for them, sometimes, to continue to accpet and practice the teaching, for them to adhere to the truths of Sameness."

"I understand," I said. That true men existed was something which, for most purposes, was to be kept from the Waniyanpi women. It was better for them, perhaps, not to know of their existence. Let them continue to think of men along the lines of the despicalbe, pathetic males of the Waniyanpi compounds. That would surely make their life easier. How miserable and frustrated they might be, to see a real man, and, their womanhood awakening, to know that they, Waniyanpi females, must continue, as though nothing had happened, to devote themselves to gardening and hpyocrisy. It maed sense that they should be hooded in the vicinity of the camp, particularly a summer camp. Surely it would be embarrasing, too, to Waniyanpi men, such as Pumpkin, if one of their females should tear off her cloths and throw herself naked to the feet of a red warrior, begging for the tightness of his ropes and the slash of his quirt.

"That one is Turnip, is it not?" I asked, indicating one of the seated women.

"Yes," said Pumpkin.

"Why is Radish not hooded?" I asked.

"She is so strong that she does not need the hood," said Pumpkin. "Too, for most practical purposes, she is first in the compound. It was on her orders that we hooded the other women."

"She did not trust them," I said.

"Of course she trust them," said Pumpkin. "They are all wonderful Sames."

"Then why are they hooded?" I asked.

"Even a Same," said Pumpkin, "might occasionally have a moment of weakness."

"I see," I said. "It has been nice speaking to you, Pumpkin. You may now go."

"Of course," said Pumpkin. "I trust her. She is a wonderful Same." he then withdrew. I wached him leave. I rather, for no reason that was clear to me, liked Pumpkin. This time, in speaking to him, he had seemed somewhat less dognatic than he had the first time, a few weeks ago, in the vicinity of the battlefield. He had a stong native intelligence, I suspected, which, for too long, had been somnolent. He had kept himself from thinking for years. Now, I suspected, he might be wondering whether or not he might think, and, if so, what might come of it. This can be an exciting time in the life of any human being. Somewhere beneath the gray garb of Pumpkin, I suspected, might lurk the heart of a heretic.

I walked over to the vicinity of the hooded Waniyanpi women, those near the closest shelter of sticks, poles and canvas. There were five of them. They were seated, mostly cross-legged, on the ground. Gray sacks had been tied over their heads, knotted with cords under their chins. I went and stood before she whom I took to be Turnip, the former beautiful agent of Kurii.

In moccasins my approach was undetected.

I cleared my throat, that they might know of my presence.

She whom I took to be Turnip, and the others, as well, lifted their heads in the sacks.

"Pumpkin?" asked the woman whom I took to be Turnip.

I did not respond. The women had remained seated, as they had been. Assuming that I must be a Waniyanpi male they did not, of course, show me respect, let alone submission.

"Carrot? Cabbage?" asked the woman.

I had cleared my throat, to announce my presence to the women. This sound, polite, almost apologetic, had been performed deliberately. It would be a way, I conjectured, in which a Waniyanpi male, cuouteously, might announce his presence to his lovely, hooded colleagues. I wished to see their reactions. They had been as I had expected, in effect, nothing.

"Squash? Beans?" she asked, her voice now slightly falthering.

I did not, again, respond.

"Surely you are of the Waniyanpi?" she asked. It did not occur to her that one who was not of the Waniyanpi would approach them, drab Waniyanpi women.

"No," I said.

Hurriedly, then, the five women knelt. They knelt with thier knees pressed closely together and thier heads inclined. Deference, thus, slaves, did the display, knowing themselves in the presence of one who was not of the Waniyanpi. Only their own men it was whom they needed not, and did not, show respect. How different, I mused, would have been their responses, from the beginning, had they not been females of the waniyanpi, but Gorean pleasure slaves. To be sure I had not announced my presence to them, and by design, as might have a typical Gorean male. Such a male, entering among hooded slaves, in particular, pleasure slaves, might have signified his presence by smiting his thigh once, or by twice clapping his hands, sharply, perhaps, at the same time, calling, "Position." Such women, then, had they been hooded Gorean pleasure slaves, and not Waniyanpi females, would have scrambled to kneel, and beautifully and vitally. Too, they would have knelt with their knees widely spread, exposing the soft interiors of their open thighs, their vulnerability to male might and their submission to male power.

Gorean pleasure slaves, incidentally, are occasionally used hoooded. The hood, of course, can increase the female's sense of vulnerability and sexual helplessness. She does not know, for example, where she will be next struck or caressed. Similarly the hood is sometimes used when the master leads or consigns the slave to others, she being hooded, perhpas, before the guests arrive, or, perhaps, after she has served them their supper and liquers. She may then, perhaps with other slaves, hooded, too, be turned about, and then knelt at the feet of one or another of the guests. She, and the other slaves, too, of course, must then serve the guest, or guests, to whom they have been assigned with perfection. Too, their use may be gambled for, or lots drawn for it.

I crouched before the woman whom I took to be Turnip. I held her by the upper arms. She raised her head, in the sack.

"No," she said, "you are not Waniyanpi. I can tell by your touch."

"Oh?" I said.

"That you touch me, as they would not," she said, "but, too, how you touch me, how you hold me."

"How is that?" I asked.

"With authority," she said, "as a man holds a woman."

"I see," I said.

With my hands, and thumbs, then, gently, I pressed back the sack, closely, about her face, that the outlines of her features might emerge though the cloth.

"You are she," I asked, "who was once the Lady Mira, of Vanna?"

"Yes," she said, "yes."

"Formerly of the merchants?" I asked.

"Yes," she said. I saw her lips move under the cloth.

"Formerly a mercenary," I said, "formerly an agent in the service of Kurii?"

"Who are you?" she asked, frightened.

"You may respond to my question," I informed her. My thumbs, then, were at her throat. She felt their presure.

"Yes," she whispered. "I was formerly a mercenary. I was formerly in the service of Kurii."

"What are you now?" I asked.

"Only a Waniyanpi slave," she said.

"It is true," I told her. I removed my thumbs from her throat.

"Who are you?" she asked.

"We met," I said, "a few weeks ago, in the vicinity of the field of battle. You had been stripped and yoked by your red masters. You were tethered to a wagon axle. It was before you were taken to a Waniyanpi compound."

"It was you," she said, "who struck me with a quirt and forced me to give you an account of the battle."

"Yes," I said.

"You were merciless," she said. "You made me speak as though I might have been a slave."

"It was appropriate," I said. "You were a slave."

"Even then?" she asked.

"Yes," I said.

She reached out her hand, timidly. She touched, and felt, the collar at my throat.

"You, too, now, are a slave," she said. "We are both the slaves of red masters."

"Yes," I said. "We are both perhaps fortunate to have been spared. It is their contry."

"Perhaps there could be a little tenderness between slaves," she said.

"I understad that you are now called 'Turnip, " I said.

"Yes," she said. "I am Turnip."

"I am Tatankasa, Red Bull," I said. "I am the slave of Canka, Fire-Steel, of the Isbu Kaiila."

"You ahve at least a single master," she said. "We belong to the band, to the Isbu Kaiila."

"How are you faring?" I asked.

"What a silly question!" she laughed, rather pronouncedly. "I am faring very well, of course!"

"I am glad to hear it," I said.

"Becoming of the Waniyanpi has changed my life," she assured me, speaking clearly and a bit loudly. "I cannot tell you how fulfilled and happy I am. It has wrought a most wonderous transformation in my existence."

"I see," I said.

"We are joyful dung," she said. "We are sparkles on the water, making the streams pretty. We are flowers growing in the fields. We are nice, We are good."

"I understand," I said.

"I am now a convinced and happy Same," she said. "I am now not a not-the-Same. That must be clearly understood. I am not a not-the-Same. I am a Same."

"I understand," I said.

"I have fully and happily embraced the teaching," she said.

"It will not be necessary, as first it might have appeared, to put me out into the Barrens, without food and water. All is one, and one is all, and the same is the same. The teaching is the truth, and the truth is the teaching."

I glanced about, at the other Waniyanpi women kneeling near her. They were, I take it, her harness mates, resposible with her, I supposed, for drawing one of the travois.

"Are you happy?" I asked her.

"Yes," she said. "I am wonderfully and gloriously happy. That must be clearly understood."

"I understand," I said.

"Oh," she said, lifted in my amrs. I then carried her several yards away, among the lodges. I then lowered her to her knees in a quiet spot.

"Are we alone?" she begged.

"Yes," I said.

She began to sob inside her hood.

She reached out, desperately, and held me about the legs, I standing before her. She pressed her cheek against my thigh. I could feel the hood, hot and damp, soaked with tears, between her cheek and my leg.

"Save me from them," she wept. "They are lunatics. They foreswear the most obvious truths of human nature. Among them the males cannot be men and the females cannot be women. It is a sick, perverted world! They struggle against passion. They are afraid to feel. They are terrorized by desire. They pervert their reason. They deny thier senses. They are all mad, all of them!"

I crouched down and took the sobbing woman in my arms.

"They will make me ashamed of my body," she wept. "They may drive me insane, I do not want their dismal peace, their pathological tranquillity, their vacuous serenity. I am not a turtle. I am not a vegetable. I am a woman. I want to be what I am, truly. I do not want to be ashamed of my needs or my sex. I want to live, and feel!"

She was Gorean woman. This had made the transitision to a Waniyanpi community additionally difficult for her. The transition, presumably, because of their conditioning and upbringing, having acclimated them to what, in effect, were Waniyanpi values, would doubtless have been much easier for a woman from Earth.

"It is not wrong to want to be alive, is it?" she asked.

"No," I said, "it is not wrong to what that."

"They pretend to be happy," she said, "but they are not happy. They are miserable, and filled with hate."

"Let us rejoice," I said, "that their madness is confined to a handful of isolated compounds in the wilderness." How frightful it would be, I thought, if such an arid lunacy should infect a wider domain.

"Save me from them," she begged.

"It is not pracitcal," I said.

She sobbed anew, and I held her more closely.

"You were found with the soldiers," I said. "That is doubtless why you were sent to a Waniyanpi community. It is your punishment."

"A most just and suitable punishment," she said, bitterly.

"Yes," I said. It was a particularly terrible punishment, of course, for a woman such as she, one who had some idea of the possiblities of life and feeling.

"Better to be the lowest slave, naked and chained, of the cruelest master on Gor," she said.

"Yes," I said.

"Look," she said, drawing back, sobbing, putting her hands to the hood. "They are afraid even to let us see true men."

"It is perhaps moer merciful that way," I said. "That way perhaps, you will experience less distress and torment when you return to the Waniyanpi compound."

"But I have known true men," she said.

"That makes it much harder for you, of couse," I admitted.

"I hunger for the touch of a true man," she said. Waniyanpi males are weak, pathetic and meaningless."

"It may not be their fault," I said. "They may be only trying to fulfill the stereotypes of their culture."

"We were made to chew sip roots on the way to camp," she said, "to protect us, if our red masters should choose to seize and rape us."

"The precaution, however," I said, "proved unnecessary, did it not?"

"Yes," she said. "We are only Waniyanpi females. No man wants us."

I did not speak.

"They do not fear our men, do they?" she asked.

"No," I laughed. "Even a boy would think nothing of usuing you in the presence of an entire work crew of Waniyanpi males, if he felt like it. They would not interfere."

"Why are we not desired?" she asked.

"You are taught, explicitly or implicintly," I said, "to behave and dress unattractively, even, so to speak, to think unattractively. Most males, thusly, assuming them to be vital and healthy, would not be likely to find a Waniyanpi woman of much intrest. They might tend to think of them as being, in some odd way, repulsively unnatural, or, perhaps, worse, as being mentally ill. Too, of course, in camps of our red masters you must realize that there are alernatives available."

"We are not really like that," she said.

"I do not suppose you are," I said.

"We have needs and hungers, too," she said.

"I suppose you do," I said. It did seem to me that the usual male assessment of the Waniyanpi female ws likely to be somewhat hasty and negative. Men are often too abrupt, t seems to me, in their judgments. They might profit from some instruction in patience. Such women, unfulfilled as females, starved for male domination, I supposed, taken sternly in hand, stripped and put to a man's feet, might prove to be grateful and rewarding slaves. In a matter of days, I suspected, it might be difficult to tell one, licking and kissing at one's feet, warmly, lovingly and gratefully, from a more normal slave.

"I suppose, if a man were suffciently desperate," she said, "he might find us of intrest."

"Probably," I said. Studies and case histories suggested that this sort of thing was true.

"The least desirable," she said, bitterly, "are the last desired."

"Perhaps," I said.

"It is so ironic!" she said.

"What?" I asked.

"When I was free, in Venna, and elsewhere," she said, "I was desired and could not be obtained. Now that I am a slave and can be obtained, I am not desired."

"I see," I said.

"It is a new experience for me, and one not to my liking, not to be desired."

"Oh?" I said.

"I had thought, when free," she said, "that if ever I fell slave, men would put me frequiently to their pleasure."

"That is common with slaves," I said. "It was a fair assumption."

"And that I must needs fear only that I might not sufficiently please them."

"To be sure," I said, "a natural fear with slaves."

"But not once," she said, "have I been put to the service of my masters."

"Surely you have frightened fleer from the maize, gardened and picked produce," I said.

"But not once," she said, angrily, "have they put me to their intimate service, forcing me to perform with the skills and talents of the female slave."

"It is perhaps just as well," I said. "You were a free woman, and you have not had much training. If you did not do well, you might be whipped severly, or perhaps slain."

"Oh," she said.

"Being a slave girl is very different from being a free woman," I said. "From a free woman a man expects little, or nothing. From a slave girl, on the other hand, he expects, as it is said, everything, and more."

"I understand," she said.

"A free woman may be valueless and, if she wishes, account this a virtue. A slave, on the other hand, must be superbly pleasing. She must see to it, with all her intelligence and beauty, that she is her master's attentive, sensitive, skillful treasure."

"I would like to be such a treasure to a man," she said.

I did not speak.

"May I call you 'Master'?" she asked.

"Yes," I said.

"Master," she said.

"Yes," I said.

"When I was free, I was regarded as being very beautiful. Indeed, it was said by some that I was as beautiful, even, as a slave."

"A high compliment," I acknowledged. I recalled the first time I had ever seen her, on her curule chair, on her high cart, in the column of the Kurii and mercenaries. She had worn the robes of concealment, but only a wisp of diaphanous silk, presumably by intent, had feigned to hide her features. I recalled, even then, wondering what she might look like in the shimmering dancing silks of an enslaved female or, say, stripped and collared, crawling at men's feet.

"Master," she said.

"Yes," I said.

How different, then, was that absurd pretense of a veil, that sweet diaphanous sheen of material, compared to the rude coarse sack which had now been tied over her head. How disgusting were the Waniyanpi.

"Surely I am no less beautiful now than I was then," she said.

"Perhaps," I granted her.

"And now I am a slave," she said.

"That is true," I said.

"Have me," she begged, suddenly. "Touch me. Caress me. Hold me. Take me!"

"But you are a Waniyanpi female," I said, "above sex. That has been decided by your masters."

"I am a slave," she said. "I need the touch of a man."

"But you have been rescued from sex," I said. "You have been accorded honor and dignity. You have been make identical to a certain form of male. That is supposed to be what you want. You are now, your nature betrayed and nullified, supposed to be happy and fulfilled."

"I am miserable," she wept.

"Interesting," I said.

"I am a woman," she said. "I need attention as a woman. Comfort me. Hold me. Be kind to me."

I did not speak.

"Whip me, beat me, if you wish," she said, "but pay attention to me as a woman. I am a woman. Let me, I beg you, be a woman."

"That is not permitted, as I understand it," I said, "to the Waniyanpi female."

"I have been put with the Waniyanpi," she said. "It was my punishment. But I am not one of them. Take pity on me. Have mercy on me. I am not truly a Waniyanpi female. I am a woman. I have the feelings of a woman. I want the sensations of a woman. I need the sensations of a woman. Have mercy on me, Master!"

"You do not now seem to be a proud agent of Kurii," I said.

"I am no longer an agent of Kurii," she said. "I am now only a female slave."

"And a pleading slave, it seems." I said.

"Yes," she said, "I am now only a pleading female slave."

I did not speak.

"I know, now," she said, "that I am not garbed attractively and that a sack has been put over my head but underneath these things I am a woman, with a woman's needs and desires. That cannot be concealed by all the lies and the corse, cruel cloth in the world. No shameful or pernicious raiment, no imposed masking of the features, no falsity of the tongue or mind can change what I am, a woman."

I did not speak.

"I strive to interest you," she said.

"It would not be good for me to accede to your request," I said. She must, after all, return to the compound of the Waniyanpi.

"You saw me stripped and in a yoke," she said, "tied to the axle of a wagon."

"Yes," I said.

"Am I not attractive?" she asked.

"You are," I said.

"And do you not find me attractive?" she asked.

"Yes," I said.

"Have me," she said.

"It would not be wise," I said. I did not think it would be good for her.

"I beg to be put to your service, Master," she said.

"And if you were," I asked, "what would you fear?"

"Only that I might not please you sufficiently," she said.

"The answer is suitable," I said.

"Touch me, have me," she begged.

I did not respond to her.

"You are still here, are you not?" she asked, frightened, kneeling, reaching out. "You have not left me?"

"No," I said. "I am here."

"I have chewed sip root," she said, plaintively. "We women from the compound, dragging the travois, were all made to do that, to protect us should we be taken and raped by our masters."

"I understand," I said.

"You have nothing to fear," she said.

"I understand," I said. It would be difficult to explain to her, I conjectured, that my concern in this matter was not for myself, but for her. The memory of a man's touch, of any man's touch, I thought, would be a cruel souvenir for her to carry back to the compound. I did not think that memory would make the bleakness and loneliness of the compound easier to bear. It is better, perhaps, for one who must live on porridge never to know the taste of meat and wine. If one must live with the Waniyanpi, perhaps it is best to be of the Waniyanpi. It is, at any rate, safer. Sanity can be perilous in a country of lunatics.

"Please," she begged. "Touch me, hold me, let me know that men still truly exist."

"You surely, as a former free woman," I said, "have known the touch of men, their arms."

"But only on my own terms," she said, "never as what I am now, a slave."

"I see," I said. To be sure, perhaps it is only the female slave, the woman at the total mercy of a master, who can know, truly, what it is to be in the arms of a man, what it is, truly, helplessly, to feel their touch.

"Please," she said.

"You must be returned to the Waniyanpi," I said.

"Have me," she begged. "I will serve you even as a slave."

"What did you say?" I demanded.

"I will serve you even as a slave," she whispered timidly.

I seized her, cruelly, by the upper arms. I shook her once, viciously. "Oh!" she cried, in misery.

"You are a slave," I told her. I then shook her again, and flung her, viciously, to the dirt.

"Yes, Master!" she said, in the hood. "Yes, Master!"

"You are no longer a proud free woman," I told her. "You are now a slave, and only a slave! If you are used, of course, you will be used as the mere beast, and slave, you are!"

"Yes, Master!" she whimpered.

I looked down at her, angrily. Arrogance, even inadvertent arrogance, in a slave is not accepted. She lay on her side, in the dirt, her head in the hood. The gray dress had come up now, high on her right thigh. Her leg was beautiful. I clenched my fists, that I might not subject the frightened, lovely imbounded beast to the treatment suitable to her condition.

"Let me be a woman," she begged. "Let me be a woman!"

I considered the Waniyanpi. "It is against the law," I said.

I then lifted her up and threw her, she helpless and hooded, over my shoulder.

"I hate you, I hate you," she wept. "I hate you!"

I then carried her back to the shelter and put her, again, with her sisters, her harness mates, other females of the Waniyanpi.

Chapter 15

HCI'S TRICK

"Behold!" said Hci. "In good faith do I greet you! In the time of the festivals, now, let us make good feelings between us."

"Greetings," said Canka, standing before his lodge.

Behind Hci were two of his fellows, of the Sleen Soldiers. One held a string of twenty kaiila.

"Denonstrating the warmth that is in my heart for you," said Hci, "I give you twenty kaiila!" He motioned for the fellow with the kaiila to come forward.

"Do not!" said Canka.

"They are yours!" cried Hci, with an expansive wave of his hand.

"I do not have twenty kaiila," said Canka. "I am not the son of a chief."

"You need not return me kaiila," said Hci, concernedly. "You will not lose honor, as yu know, if you return to me, in magnanimous reciprocity, something of comparable value."

"But what might I have of comparable value?" protested Canka, angrily. It seemed clear that he was to be outdone in the giving of gifts, in the display of generosity. Technically, of couse, Hci should not have offered gifts to Canka of a value which Canka could not repay. Such might shame or embarrass the recipient.

"Her," said Hci, pointing to Winyela, standing near the lodge entrance. "I will take her!"

Winyela turned white.

"No!" cried Canka. "I will not give her up! She is mine!"

"I have given you a gift of great value," said Hci, as though puzzled. "You will give me nothing in return?"

"You may not have her!" said Canka.

"Very well, my friend," said Hci. He looked about at his fellows, and the others, too, of which there were now several, about. He smiled broadly. "The kaiila, however, having been given, are yours. I do not regret my generosity. I regret only that yuo have taken so surly an attitude in this matter."

One of the Sleen Soldiers with Hci slapped his thigh with amusement. There was laughter, too, from others gathered about. More red savages, as if from nowhere, the word of Hic's visit to the lodge of Canka apparently having rapidly spread, appeared. There was now a crowd in front of the lodge.

"I have given Canka twenty kaiila," said Hci to the crowd. "In return he does not give me one she-kaiila." He pointed to Winyela.

There was laughter from the crowd.

"Take back your kaiila!" said Canka, angrily.

"How can that be done?" said Hci. "They have already been given."

"I give them back to you!" said Canka, in fury.

"Very well," said Hci, smiling. His fellow of the Sleen Soldiers tightened his grip on the lead rope.

"Hci is very clever," said Cuwignaka to me. "He knows Canka does not wish to surrender winyela. His caring for her is now well known in the camp. Even so, he did not put his plan into effect until after Canka had refused to give her to hsi father, Mahpiyasapa, for the Yellow Knives. If Canka would not surrender her to Mahpiyasapa he would not, of course, surrender her to Hci in an exchange of gifts."

"Hci, then," I said, "did not expect to obtain Winyela."

"Of course not," said Cuwignaka. "I do not even think he wants her. Sheis pretty but there are many pretty girls in camp. The Isanna have more than two hundred. Too, he may be the son of a chief, but he is still only a young man. He would not want to pay twenty kaiila for such a woman. For a young man that would be a crazy price to pay. She is only a white slave. A young man would not wnt to pay more than four or five kaiila for such a woman. Most white slaves go for a hide or less. Besides, after the cutting of his face, Hci has, for the most part, avoided the company of women, even slaves. Hci, I think, would rather kill Fleer and Yellow Knives than master slaves."

"He is then, risking nothing," I said.

"And, in shaming Canka, gaining a great deal," said Cuwignaka. "He is a clever fellow. I like him."

"I am sorry, my friend, Canka," said Hci, grinning, "that you have lost honor in this matter. I hope that you will forgive me. In a way it is surely my fault. It did not occur to me that, in making peace between us, I should not offer you splendid gifts. I never conceived of it being possible that you lacked the nobility and generosity of the Kaiila warrior. It is well that you are only of the All Comrades. Such as you would never be accepted in the Sleen Soldiers."

I tensed, for I feared that Canka would draw his knife and rush upon Hci. Hci, too, I think, was prepared for such an eventuality, and, I suspect, would have welcomed it. His knees were slightly flexed. His hand was near his knife sheath. Only too ready, I suspected, was Hci to submit the differences between himself and Canka to the arbitration of steel.

"Ho, ho!" suddenly laughed Cuwignaka, slapping at his leg. "Hci does not see the joke!"

Both young men looked at Cuwignaka as though he might have taken leave of his senses.

"It is a good joke, Canka," said Cuwignaka. "You have fooled him well. For a momnet even I was fooled!"

"What are you talking about?" said Canka.

"Did you truly think, Hci," laughed Cuwignaka, "that my brother, Canka, who has served as Blotanhunka, and who is of the All Comrades, not merely of the Sleen Soldiers, would not take your twenty kaiila for a mere slave?"

"I will never surrender her," said Canka.

"May I speak to my brother?" asked Cuwignaka, laughing.

"Certainly," said Hci. He then turned to the crowd. "It is lovely Siptopto, Canka's sister. Why should a sister not be permitted to speak to her brother? It is not a sister's privilege to speak to her broher?"

"Cinto!" said several in the crowd. "Surely! Certainly!"

"Thank you," said Cuwignaka.

"Do not stand between us," said Canka.

Cuwignaka placed himself directly between the two young savages, facing Canka, his back to Hci. He placed his hands fraternally upon Canka's shoulders, an action which also, of course, had the consequence of assuring himself that Canka remained where he was. He spoke softly to Canka for a moment, and then stepped back. "The joke has really gone far enough, my brother, I feel," said Cuwignaka, rather loudly.

"You are right, Cuwignaka," said Canka. "Forgive me, Hci," he said. "I did not really mean to make sport of you.

Hci regarded him, puzzled.

"She is yours," said Canka, indicating Winyela. Winyela looked agonized. I thought for a moment she might fall.

"She is mine?" asked Hci.

"Of course," said Canka. "Put a rope on her neck. Lead her away." He then, firmly, took the lead rope of the kaiila string from the Sleen Soldier who led it.

"Mine?" asked Hci.

"Yes," said Canka. "You said that you would take her. Take her."

"It is twenty kaiila!" sadi Hci.

"The terms of he exchange were yours," said Canka. "I find thempeculiar. But I certainly acept them. Take her."

"Please, Master," wept Winyela, piteously throwing herself to her knees at the feet of Canka, "do not let me go! Do not give me to him! I love you! I love you!"

"Silence, mere slave," said Canka, sternly.

Winyela put her head down. Her body was shaken with wild sobs.

"Do you think you are more than a mere object," he asked, "to be done with as I please?"

"No, Master," she wept. "No, Master."

Hci was standing there, stunned.

"What are you going to do with her?" asked Canka, pleasantly.

Hci, I saw, had not planned on getting the girl, as Cuwignaka had speculated. He had not really thought about doing anything with her.

"My father wanted her," said Hci. "I will give her to him, for the Yellow Knives."

"That is a good idea," said Canka, warmly.

"Hci," laughed a man, "has to give twenty kaiila for a white slave!"

"I do not think I will let him do my trading for me," said another man.

"It is two jokes," laughed another. "Hci was fooled into thinking Canka would not trade, and then Canka outwitted him, making a trade much to his profit!"

"If only I could do as well in the exhanging of gifts!" said another fellow.

There was general laughter.

"Come, Girl," said Hci, angrily, to Winyela. He wished, clearly, to swiftly depart from this place where, suddenly, the tables being turned, he found himself, he, Hci, the sone of a chief, not only outdone but make to look foolish. This would mushly sting his vanity.

"Go with him," said Canka to Winyela.

she rose unsteadily to her feet.

Hci turned away. But he had not taken more than a stride or two before Canka called after him, "Hold, Hci, my friend!"

Hci, angrily, his hand at his knife hilt, turned.

"This is the time of making peace," said Canka. "This is the time of feasting and dancing. This is the time of the giving of gifts."

Hci glared angrily at him.

"I give you twenty kaiila!" said Canka, lifting the lead rope of the kaiila. "They are yours!"

"I have nothing to give you worth twenty kaiila!" shouted Hci, in fury.

"I will take her," said Canka, pointing to Winyela.

"No," said Hci, suddenly. "I know now you want her. I will keep her!"

"Do so," laughed Canka. "But then," he said, turning to the crowd, "let it be told about all he fires how Hci lost his honor, how he did not participate in the giving of gifs, how he proved in this that he ws only a small and petty man, that he lacked the nobility and generosity of the Kaiila warrior!"

"I am a Kaiila warrior!" shouted Hci, in fury. "I an now small and petty! Hci is generous! Hci is noble! Hci is a generous and noble warrior! Hci is a warrior of the Kaiila! Hci does not lose his honor!"

"Oh?" asked Canka.

"She is yours!" said Hci.

"And the kaiila are yours," smiled Canka, handing the lead rope of the kaiila string to one of the Sleen Soldiers with Hci.

Winyela fell at the feet of Canka. I feared she might lose consciousness.

Hci regarded Canka with fury. His hand opened and closed at his knife sheath.

"I think Canka wants the woman," said a man.

"I think so, too," said another.

"Interesting," said another.

"There are three jokes," said one of the men. "Canka pretended not to want to trade, and then he traded, outwitting Hci, and then, wanting the woman, he again outwitted Hci, forcing him, against his honor, to trade her back."

I smiled. I myself thought the honors in this lively exhange would be more fittingly accorded to Cuwignaka than to Canka. His cleverness, it seemed to me, it was which had won the day and prevented probable bloodshed. Canka, I was sure, was under no delusion on this score.

"It is a good story," said a man. "Through the years it will bear much retelling."

"And it is not an owned story," said a man. "We all may tell it."

"Yes," said another. Many stories among the red savages are owned stories, stories which only one man has a right to tell. If one would wish to hear the story one must ask its owner to tell it. It is a privilege to own a story. It can make one an important person, too, to own a story, to be he to whom one must come if one wishes to hear it. Sometimes they are told on special days, story-telling days, and many people will come to listen. Some men own little but their story, but owning a good story, in the opinion of the red savages, makes a man rich. Such stories, like other forms of personal property, can be given away or sold. They are, however, seldom sold, for the red savages do not like to think that a story can have a price. They like to think of them as being too precious to sell. Thus, like all things precious, or priceless, they are either to be kept or given away, kept as treasures, or awarded, freely, as by a man whose heart sings, as gifts. Sometimes a man bequeaths his story to his heirs; some stories, for example, have been in families for generations; sometimes, on the other hand, he will give it to someone who loves it, and whom he thinks, in turn, will tell it well.

"Tomorrow," cried Hci, angrily, pointing his finger at Canka, "my father will take the woman! Tomorrow, by noon, he will tkae her from you, for the Yellow Knives!" He then, in fury, turned about and strode between the lodges. He was followed by his fellows of the Sleen Soldiers, the lead rope of the kaiila string in the hands of one of the.

"Do you think he will do that?" I asked Canka.

"No," said Canka. "Mahpiyasapa is angry with me, but he is a good chief. He knows the ways of Kaiila. He would never take the woman from me against my will."

Canka then crouched down, next to Winyela. He lifted her to a kneeling position and held her against him, closely.

"Do not be afraid," said Canka, soothingly.

"You gave me away," she whispered.

"Only for a moment," he said, "and only within our ways. I was in no danger of losing you."

"You gave me away," she said, numbly.

"It is over now," said Canka. "I will not do it again."

"Do you not like me?" she asked.

"Yes," said Canka, "I like you."

"Do not let me go, every," she begged.

"I will never let you go," he said. "I love you."

She looked at him, startled, and then, trembling and sobbing, pressed herself into his arms. "I love you, too, my Master," she wept.

Canka let her cry for a time, holding her in his arms. Then he lifted her in his arms and carried her gently into the recesses of his lodge.

"Canka haldled Hci quite well, I think," said Cuwignaka.

"I think Cuwignaka handled Hci quite well," I said. "Certainly Canka knows that and, I suspect, unfortunaletly, Hci knows it as well."

"Hci is a clever fellow," said Cuwignaka. "I think it is time he was given a taste of his own medicine."

"Those who dispence such medicine," I said, "seldom enjoy receiving it in turn."

"I think now I have a little satisfaction for Hci's trick in the draw, and the losing of the meat," chuckled Cuwignaka.

"Do you think trouble will come of this?" I asked.

"No," said Cuwignaka. "Hci is angry, but he can do nothing. Within our ways he is helpless."

"But what if he goes outside of your ways?" I asked.

"He will not do that," said Cuwignaka. "Hci, when all is said and done, is Kaiila. He is honorable."

"He threatened Canka that Mahpiyasapa would take Qinyela tomorrow," I said. "He certainly could nt know that that is true, and it is, I gather, in all probability, false. Similarly, outrightly, it seems, he lied in the matter of the meat."

"That is true," said Cuwignaka, thoughtfully. "He really should not have done that."

"No," I said.

"It is not a becoming thing for a person to do," said Cuwignaka.

"Too," I said, "sugh things as civilization, and friendship and interchanges depend muchly upon trust."

"Also," said Cuwignaka, "it could be dangerous."

"How is that?" I asked.

"One's shield might betray one," said Cuwignaka.

I regarded Cuwignaka.

"Yes," said Cuwignaka. "It is a well-known fact. One's shield may choose not to defend one, if one is a liar."

"Shields do not behave like that outside of the Barrens," I told Cuwignaka, smiling.

"You are a skeptical, I see," said Cuwignaka. "Well, be assured, my friend, I am speaking of the shields of the peoples of the Barrens and within the Barrens. These are not your ordinary shields. These are made with the aid of spells. The medicines of war are important in their construction and designs. They are not merely equipment, not merely contraptions of metal or leather. They are holy. They are precious. They are friends and allies. Surely you have seen them suspended from tripods behind the lodges, being sunned?"

"Yes," I admitted.

"That is to soak up power from the sun."

"I see," I said.

"You would not do that with an ordinary shield, would you?" asked Cuwignaka.

"Not generally," I admitted.

"Thus," said Cuwignaka, "they are not ordinary shields."

"In battle," I said, "surely some warriors are more successful than others."

"Of course," said Cuwignaka. "Their war medicine is probably stronger."

"I see," I said.

"Let us return to our lodge," said Cuwignaka.

"You speak Gorean," I said. "You have lived with the white men."

"Yes?" asked Cuwignaka.

"Do you really believe this business?" I asked.

"What business?" he asked.

"About the shields," I said.

"Of course," said Cuwignaka.

"Be serious," I said.

"I do not know," smiled Cuwignaka. "Maybe. Maybe not."

"Do all of your people believe such things?" I asked.

"Most, I would suppose," said Cuwignaka.

"What of warriors, like Canka and Hci," I said, "would they believe such things?"

"Of course," said Cuwignaka.

"Let us go to our lodge," I said.

"Yes," said Cuwignaka. "I must rest. Tomorrow I must dance. Tomorrow will be a glorious day!"

Chapter 16

OIPUTAKE

"Master! Master!" cried the blond-haired girl, delightedly, seizing me by the hand.

She drew me happily behind a lodge. She was naked, save for her beaded collar. It was the morning of the day of the great dance. Behind the lodge she knelt down before me. I as a man. "I am so happy, Master," she said. "I am so happy!"

"Why are you not in the herd?" I asked, fearful for her. "You have not run away, have you?" I asked. The penalties for a girl straying from her herd, or running away, were not light. The first offense involved being turned over to the women of the red savages for days of torment and torture. The second offense was to be punished by hamstringing and abandonment.

"No," she laughed, on her knees before me. "I have been taken out of the herd! I am no longer in it!"

"Your collar is different," I observed. This was an attractive collar, with red and yellow beading.

"I have a new master," she said, proudly, happily.

"What happened?" I asked.

"Last night," she said, "I, with others, was exchanged in the giveaways. My former master, I think, thought he was ridding himself of a poor girl, but I, as soon as I found myself within the skins of my new master's lodge, began to serve him, delicously, and as a subdued slave. He was elated. I think he was much pleased with me. He said I was a marvelous gift. He even gave my old master an additional kaiila. My old master was furious then, at having let me go. But he cannot do anything about it now. I now belong to my new master."

"Wonderful," I said.

"I now have a name!" she said.

"What is it?" I asked.

"Oiputake," she said.

"That s the word for a kiss," I said.

"Yes," she smiled. "And sometimes," she laughed, "I do not know when my master is merely calling me or ordering me to please him!"

"As you are a slave," I said, "I do not think I would take chances in the matter."

"I cannot," she laughed. "If I am in the least doubt, I kiss him."

I smiled.

"And he, the marvelous monster, in my control, takes liberal advantage of that ambiguity!"

"Oiputake," I said.

"Yes, Master," she said, leaning forward, kissing me on he thigh.

"I see there are some advantages," I said, "in giving a girl such a name."

"You men are all alike, in owning us, in mastering us," she laughed.

"Perhaps," I said.

"My Master informs me," she said, "that if I continue to please him he might even permit me clothing."

"Splendid," I said.

"And he might braid my hair," she said.

"He must beware," I said, "lest he become weak."

"I think there is little danger of that," she laughed. "He is a red savage."

"Would you like him to become weak," I asked, "so that you might wind him about your little finger?"

"No," she said. "I want only, in all things, to be his perfect slave."

"He is a red savage," I said. "I think there is little danger that you would be permitted to be anything else."

"No, Master," she laughed.

"You seem happy," I said.

"I am," she said, "unspeakable happy. And I owe it all to you."

"To me," I shrugged, "or to some other man."

"It was you," she said. "And I shall never forget it." Her eyes clouded. "There is only one thing." she said.

"What is that?" I asked.

"I am so helpless now," she said. "My needs-"

"Yes," I said.

"MY appetites have been ignited," she said. "My needs have been so aroused. It puts me so much, now, at the mercy of men." She squirmed, on her knees. She rubbed her thighs together.

"That is common in a female slave." I said.

"I can hardly look at an attractive man now," she said.

"without feeling warm, and receptive, let alone being in a collar, and naked on my knees before one."

"I understand," I said.

"At one time," she said, "I would never have dreamed that I might one day beg a man for his touch, but last night, in the arms of my master, I did so."

"I understand," I said.

"Tearfully," she said, "I, once a proud free woman of Ar, now only a slave, pleaded for his caresses."

"And was he kind?" I asked.

"Yes," she said. "I love him!"

"You might have been whipped instead," I said.

"I know," she said, "for I am only a slave. I love him! I love him!"

"I am happy for you," I said.

"Thank you, Master," she said.

"Did you yield well to him?" I asked.

"Yes," she said. "I yielded to him from he bottom of my belly."

"Superb," I said.

She squirmed on her knees, before me.

"Are you in distress?" I asked.

"But these feelings," she said, "which you first induced in me-"

"Yes?" I said.

"They make me helpless before almost any man," she said.

"What feelings?" I asked.

"Sometimes my heart palpitates and my breath quickens," she said. "Sometimes my entire skin seems suddenly suffused with warmth. It seems my breasts and thighs want to be touched. I want to be held. I want to be caressed. My belly grows hot and receptive. I feel desire. I am open, and wet. The smell of my needs is upon me."

"Kiss my feet," I told her.

She bent down and kissed my feet. She then lifted her head and looked at me, tears in her eyes.

"Do such feelings disturb you?" I asked.

"Sometimes," she said, "I am so ashamed of these changes in my body."

"They are nothing to be ashamed of," I said. "Be pleased, rather, that your body, at last, freed of inhibitions, consructions and rigidities, is in perfect working order."

"Perfect working order?" she asked.

"Of course," I said. "The feelings you describe, and many others, like them, are the natural and spontaneous reactions of healthy and passionate woman in the presence of an attractive male. Rather than feel shame at experiencing them you should feel concern if you did not. The failure to feel such feelings, in situations in which it would be natural to feel them, would presumably be a clue as to the presence of some unfortunate barrier or blockage, either physical or, more likely psychological."

"But do good women have such feelings?" she asked.

"I do not know," I said. "But sick women do not."

She looked at me.

"What is a 'good woman, " I asked, "one who is natural, spontatneous, feminine and loving, or one who conforms to certain cultural stereotypes, the results, usually, of attempts on the part of aggressive mental cases to impose their maladies, from which they seem unable to escape, on others?"

She did not speak.

"Some virtues," I said, "require a cure."

"But such feelings," she said, "could make a woman a slave."

"Yes," I said.

"I see why some women fear them," she said.

"So do I," I said. "But you are a slave, so you need not be concerned about such matters. Enslaved, you are free, interestingly and paradoxically, to be free."

"You make me feel free," she said.

"Beware you are not whipped," I said.

She contritely kissed my feet.

"Master," she said.

"Yes," I said.

"I do feel distress," she sid.

"I know," I said.

"Real distress," she said.

"You are a female of strong, though once rigidly suppressed, drives, who has been enslaved," I said.

"Master?" she said.

"Too," I said, "the feelings of the normal woman, under the conditions of forthright and explicit slavery, are often multiplied a hundred fold, and, in some women, it seems, a thousand fold."

"I cannot stand it, Master," she said.

"Grovel," I told her.

"Surely you would not make me do that?" she said.

I pointed to the ground at my feet, uncompromisingly. She slipped to her belly before me. I felt her lips and tongue on my feet.

"The important thing," I said, "is to be what you are. If you are a slave, be a slave."

"Yes, Master," she said.

"What are you?" I asked.

"A slave," she whimpered, kissing at my feet.

"Then be a slave," I said.

"Yes, Master," she said.

The collar looked well on her neck, under her hair.

"You treat me," she said, "like I was-like I was-"

"A slave," I said.

"Yes," she said.

"You are a slave," I said.

"Yes, Master," she said.

"So expect to be treated as one," I said.

"Yes, Master," she said.

I let her please me for a time in this fashion, bellying before me, kissing, and licking and suckling at my feet.

"You grovel well, Slave," I said.

"Thank you, Master," she said.

"You would not begrudge a fellow the enjoyment of his sovereignty, would you?" I asked.

"No, Master," she said.

"You look well at a man's feet," I said.

She moaned in humiliation, and in severe sexual destress.

"You may thank me," I said.

"Thank you, Master," she said.

"You're welcome," I said.

"You enjoy my debasement," she said. "You enjoy it!"

"Yes," I said. "So do you."

Her small shoulders shook. I saw that what I had said was true.

"You may kneel before me," I said.

She rose to a kneeling position before me. "You have not touched me," she said, "and yet you have much aroused me."

I did not respond to her. Human females are such rich and wonderful creatures. Their sexual life, and feelings, are subtle, complex and deep. How naive is the man who believes that having sex with a woman is so little or brief a thing as to fall within the parameters of a horizontal plane, the simple stimulations of a skin, the results attendant upon a simplistic manual dexterity. How woefully ignorant are he engineers of sexuality. How much to learn have even her artists and poets! Women are so inordinately precious. They are so sensitive, so beautiful, so intelligent and needful. No man has yet counted the dimentions of a woman's love. Who can measure the horizons of her heart? Few things, I suspect, are more real than those which seem most intangible.

"Without even touching me," she said, "you have much aroused me. And now I kneel helplessly before you."

Her distress was obviousl. She was a slave, and needed desperately to be taken. And yet I had done little but treat her as a woman, and impress, categorically, male domination upon her. I did not think she was now in doubt as to her sex.

"When I led you behind the lodge," she said, "I was grateful and happy. It was my intention to make you a gift, of my own free will, of my pleasures. But now you ahve made me needful. Now you have put me at your mercy!"

"It is suitable, Slave," I said.

"Will you not be kind?" she asked.

I did not speak to her.

"You see me helpless and needful," she said, "begging."

"It beifts you," I said, "Slave."

"Men do this to us," she said. "They make us this way, and then they decide whether or not they will even touch us!"

"Sometimes, too, as I understand it," I said, "a girl is made to perform."

"Perform?" she asked.

"Yes," I said, "she is made, so to speak, to earn her havings."

"Yes, Master," she said. "That is not uncommon."

"Are you prepared to work for your havings," I asked, "to earn them?"

"Yes, Master," she said. "I will do anything."

"But you must do anything anyway," I said, "for you are a slave."

"Yes, Master," she moaned. "Yes, Master."

I looked down upon her.

She squirmed, and clenched her small fists. There were tears in her eyes.

"I am in need," she said.

I crouched next to her, and felt her, gently. She pressed her small, hot, wet, rounded belly into my hand, her eyes closed.

"I se that you do not lie," I said.

"No, Master," she said.

"The collar looks well on your neck," I said.

"Yes, Master," she said.

"And your hair is beautiful," I said.

"Thank you, Master," she said.

"Do you beg to be had?" I asked.

"Yes, Master," she said.

"Are you prepared to earn your having?" I asked.

"I will do anything," she said.

"Kiss me," I said.

"For so little," she asked, "I can earn my having?"

"But it must be the kiss of a slave," I informed her.

"Yes, Master," she said.

Our lips met, sweetly and tenderly, fully, lingeringly. Her lips, opened, soft, those of a submitting slave, at first met mine timidly, and then, as she understood that she was not to be spurned, or struck, more fully, more boldly, until her kiss was deep, helpless and warm, and she seemed one with the kiss, and lost within it, and then, again, timidly, she drew back, having proffered herself to me as a slave, to observe what might be my reaction, to see in my eyes if she had been found pleasing, and what would be her fate.

She looked at me.

I was pleased with her. She had not even been taught the kisses of a slave.

I lowered her gently to her back.

I looked down upon her.

"Touch me," she pleaded. "Please, touch me. I beg you to touch me, Master."

"I do not think that much touching will be necessary," I said.

Then no sooner than I had entered her, she, as I had expected, giving her condition of arousal, clutching me, and gasping, exploded into orgasm.

"Yes, Master," she said. "Yes Master! Thank you, Master! Yes Master!"

I thought I had done a good job with her. I thought her master would be pleased with her. She had once been a frigid free woman. She was now a promising slave.

Some red savages passed us from time to time, going about their business, but they paid us little attention. We were only slaves.

"Thank you, Master, for touching me," she whispered, "for consenting to put me to your uses."

"You served well, Slave," I said.

"I am pleased," she said, "if I have served you well, and in the way of a woman."

"And of a slave," I said.

"Yes, Master," she smiled, kissing me.

She drew back, then, and lay on her side, with her legs drawn up. The marvelous, turned breadth of her thigh was beautiful. How delicious are such creatures. How natural it is that men should choose to institutionalize their ownership.

"Things are going well for the Kaiila," I said. "Your master has acquired a beautiful white slave. My Master, and friend, Canka, of the Isbu, has retained his own slave and love, a girl named Winyela, also a luscious white slave, and my friend, Cuwignaka, after years of waiting is, at last, going to enter the lodge of the great dance." I smiled to myself. How naturally I had thought of the former Miss Millicent Aubrey-Welles, of high family, and once a debutante in Pennsylvania, as only another luscious white slave in the Barrens. This was appropriate, of course, for that was now all she was, that and her master's love.

"I am happy for him," she said.

"There is plenty of meat in the camp," I said, "and this is a time of festivals and dances, of feasts, visitings and giveaways."

"I myself was exchanged in a giveaway," she smiled.

"Much to the chagrin, as it turned out, of your former master, I understand," I said.

"Yes," she smiled.

"And perhaps most splendidly," I said, "it seems that there is soon to be peace between the Kaiila and the Yellow Knives. Even now civil chiefs of the Yellow Knives are in the camp."

"They are not civil chiefs," she said.

"What?" I asked.

"I ahve seen the Yellow-Knife chieftains in the camp," she said. "I saw them coming to the camp days ago, when I was in the herd. I saw them last night at a late feast, when I was being brought to my master's lodge. I saw them this morning, near the lodge of Watonka, in the Isanna camp. They are not civil chieftains."

"You are mistaken," I said.

"I was a slave of Yellow Knives for a time," she said. "I know."

"They are not civil chieftains?" I asked.

"I saw the civil chieftains of the Yellow Knives at a coucil," she said. "It was only some weeks ago. Shortly thereafter I was taken by Isanna warriors in a raid."

"It seems too early for there to have been a council," I said.

"There was a council," she said.

"Had the Pte arrived?" I asked. I would have expected such a council to be correlated with the coming of the Pte and the gathering of Yellow-Knife bands for the great hunts. The Pte would be expected to arrive in the territories of the Kaiila before arriving in those of the Yellow Knives.

"No," she said.

"Interesting," I said. "Do you know the topic or topics of the council?"

"No," she said.

"Some weeks ago," I said, "there was a raid on a large wagon train and a mercenary column of sodiers. Do you know of this?"

"Yes," she said. "Captives were brought to the Yellow-Knife camp."

"Was the council before or after the raid?" I asked.

"Several days after it," she said.

"That, too, is interesting," I said. "You are certain that you do not know what the council was about?"

"No, Master," she said. "I was not taught to speak Yellow Knife. I know almost nothing of it. Among them I performed, on the whole, only the most menial of labors, commonly guided in my work only by cuffings and the blows of whips. To them I was only a kind of she-kaiila, a two-legged beast of burden."

"Such labors," I said, "seem fittingly assigned to sexually inert slaves."

"Yes, master," she said, "but they are imposed, too, sometimes, even on the most passionate of their women."

"Of course," I said.

"In this council," she said, "I saw the civil chieftains of the Yellow Knives. They are not the same men who are now in the camp."

"You are mistaken," I said.

"No, Master," she said.

"Have you seen these men in camp before," I asked, "the Yellow Knives?"

"Yes, Master," she said.

"They are civil chieftains," I said.

"No, Master," she said.

"Do you know what they are?" I asked.

"Yes, Master," she said.

"What are they?" I asked.

"War chiefs," she said.

Chapter 17

AN ASSESSMENT OF THE INFORMATION OF OIPUTAKE

"Canka!" I cried. "Where is Canka!"

The young warrior was not in his lodge. Near it, sitting cross-legged, a robe well over his head, half concealing his face, rocking back and forth, was a figure.

"Akihoka," I cried, "where is Canka."

"He has gone hunting," said Akihoka.

"When will he be back?" I asked.

"He should not come back," moaned Akihoka. He rocked back and forth. "He is my friend," he moaned. "He was my friend."

"I do not understand," I said. "What has happened?"

"You are the second to seek him today," said Akihoka, bent over, muchly hidden in the robe.

"I do not understand," I said. "I have information. I must see him. It may mean nothing. It may mean much!"

"Sleen Soldiers came for him," moaned Akihoka, rocking in misery.

"That is preposterous," I said.

"They have the arrow which was shot at Mahpiyasapa," said Akihoka, rocking back and forth. "It is the arrow of Canka. Too, Hci saw Canka fleeing from the place."

"Canka would not shoot at Mahpiyasapa," I said. "Mahpiyasapa is his chief."

"It is said that he feared Mahpiyasapa would take the red-haired woman away from him."

"Mahpiyasapa would not do that against his will," I said, "and Canka knows that."

"Hci said that he would last night," said Akihoka.

"Hci," I said, "spoke in anger."

"Hci saw him fleeing from the place," said Akihoka, griefstricken.

"I thought you said Canka had gone hunting," I said.

"It is said he shot Mahpiyasapa, and then went hunting," said Akihoka.

"That is absurd," I said. "No one shoots an arrow at his chief, and then just rides off hunting."

"The arrow s the arrow of Canka," said Akihoka, almost chanting in grief. "Hci saw him running from the place."

"Who else saw him?" I asked.

"No one," said Akihoka.

"Does this seem likely to you," I asked, angrily, "in a crowded camp?"

"it was the arrow of Canka," said Akihoka. "They have the arrow. It is the arrow of Canka. Hci saw him running from the place."

"Hci is a liar," I said.

"No," said Akihoka.

"Why not?" I asked.

"He was sworn by his shield," said Akihoka.

"Clearly it must have been Hci himself who fired the arrow," I said.

"Mahpiyasapa is the father of Hci," said Akihoka. "Hci would not try to kill him."

"I do not think he would try to kill him either," I said. "I think it was Hci's intention merely to make it seem that an attempt had been made on his life."

"Hci would not do that," said Akihoka.

"Why not?" I asked.

"Hci is Kaiila," said Akihoka. "Shame, shame," he moaned rocking in the robe. "It is a shame for Canka. It is shame for the All Comrades. I have sorrow for Canka. He was my friend. He was my friend."

"Hci," I said, firmly, "did not see Canka running from the place," I recalled that Canka had, on the first morning of the great hunt, inquired of Cuwignaka the location of one of his arrows. As long ago, then, as that time, it seemed to me that Hci had been fomenting his plan. In the openness of the living of the red savages, where things are not hidden and locked up, and where theft is not expected, and is generally regarded as almost unthinkable, it would not be a difficult matter, provided one was a bit careful, to take an arrow.

"Hci swears it," said Akihoka.

"Hci swears falsely," I said.

"Hci swears by his shield," said Akihoka.

"Then Hci swears falsely by his shield," I said.

Akihoka stopped rocking. He pulled the robe down from his head, about his shoulders. "You are white," he said. "You are only a slave. You know nothing of these things."

"In your heart you know as well as I," I said, 'that Canka would not try to kill Mahpiyasapa. I am sure even Mahpiyasapa, in his heart, knows that, too."

"But Hci has sworn by his shild," he said.

"He has sworn falsely," I said.

"How can that be?" asked Akioka, puzzled.

"It as to do, doubtless, with the vanity of Hci, and his hatred for Canka," I said.

Akihoka looked down at the dirt. It was not easy for him, a Kaiila warrior, to comprehend that such a thing, even though it seemed so plausible, might have taken place. It was as though his trust in deep things had been shaken.

"but they love you bear Canka," I said, "ride after him. Go out to meet him. Find him. Tell him what has ocurred. I assure you he knows nothing of it. This was don now indeed, I do not doubt, because he had left the camp."

Akihoka looked up at me.

"Find him before the Sleen Soldiers do," I said. "It might mean his life. Tell him what has occurred. Then he must decide what to do."

"He will come back," said Akihoka.

"Then tell him come back knowing what has occurred," I said. "Go after him."

"I know where he will be hunting," said Akihoka.

"Hurry," I said.

Akihoka threw off the robe. "I will go," he said.

"Where is Winyela?" I asked.

"I do not know," he said.

"Did Sleen Soliers come for her," I asked, "to take her to the lodge of Mahpiyasapa?"

"No," said Akihoka.

"You see?" I said. "Mahpiyasapa, even under these conditions, does not have her brought to him. Even under these conditions he still regards her as Canka's woman. He must know that Hci is lying."

Akihoka turned about and raced away, between the lodges.

He would jerk loose the picket rope of his kaiila and mount it in a bound. In moments he would be outside the camp.

I looked after Akihoka. Already he had vanished from sight.

I felt a cool breeze. I felt sorrow for Mahpiyasapa. It must be a terrible thing for a father to realize that his beloved son has betrayed his codes.

Then I recalled the information I had received but moments before from the lovely blond slave, Oiputake. I was in a quandary. I had hoped, of course, to convey this information to Canka. This seemed appropriate not only because he was, stricly, my master, but also because he was highly placed in the All Comrades. He might then have made a judgement on it, assessing its significance, if any. I would have gone first to Cuwignaka, as I knew him best and had the highest regard for his preceptiveness and common sense, but that action I had rejected, of course, because at this time he would be, with other young men, dancing in the great lodge. I did not know what to do. I could, of course, kneel to random individuals, met here and there, and tell them what I had learned, but I feared I might be dismissed as a raving slave. Who would believe the words of a slave, and I had this cognizance, too, only from another slave. What, too, if she were mistaken?

Grunt, I thought, Grunt! He will know what to do! Too, he is a close friend of Mahpiyasapa. Mahpiyasapa will listen to him. I must seek out Grunt!

Chapter 18

I CONTINUE TO SEEK AN ASSESSMENT OF OIPUTAKE

"Where is Grunt!" I cried.

Wasnapohdi, startled, looked up. She was kneeling within the lodge which Mahpiyaspa had set aside for the use of Grunt, his friend.

"He is not here!" she said.

"Where is he?" I asked.

"I do not know!" she said. She seemed frightened. "Have you heard about Canka?" she said.

"Yes," I said. "But I do not believe it."

"Nor do I," she said. "It cannot be."

"Why are you alone in the lodge?" I asked. "Why are you not working?"

"I am hiding," she said.

"You need not be afraid," I said. "The business with Canka has nothing to do with you."

"I am not hiding because of that," she said.

"Do you have any idea where Grunt is?" I asked.

"He may be with Mahpiyasapa," she said. "He left after he found out about Cnaka."

"Thait is a splendid thought," I said. "I shall go to the lodg of Mahpiyasapa!" I turned to leave but then, suddenly, turned back. "Why are you hiding?" I asked.

"I have seen him!" she whispered.

"Canka?" I asked, startled.

"No," she said, "Waiyeyeca, One-Who-Finds-Much, he who once owned me!"

"Several have owned you," I said.

"I spoke to you of him," she said, "when first we met, shortly after Grunt, my master, had acquired me at the trading point."

"The boy?" I said.

"Yes," she said.

"I remember," I said. Long ago, at a Dust-Leg trading point, Grunt had obtained Wasnapohdi for three fine hatchets. In talking to me, afterwards, she had told me something of herself. She had been born in a Waniyanpi compound, one woned by the Kailiauk, a tribe federated with the Kaiila and speaking a closely related dialect. He who obtained her from this compound was a Kaiila warrior. At that time she was only eight years old. He had taken her home with him and given her, as a slave, to his ten-year-old son. She had thus learned to serve and placate men early. Yet as children they had been more as companions and playmates than as master and slave.

Then once, when they were alone, when she was but fifteen and he seventeen, far from thier camp, gathering berries together, he had been unable any longer not to see her as a woman. She had looked up to see him, almost angrily, cutting and carving at a branch, notching it at the ends for thong-holds. She was frightened and began to cry. She had seen such devices before, and knew their use. She was orderd to removed her clothing, and to lie down, with her legs widely apart. Then she felth her ankles tied in this position, the branch behind them, widely apart, by means of the notches and thongs. She had no doubt as to what would be her fate. She was to be used for the first time, and as the slave she was. By dusk, freed of the brand, she had lain on her belly before him, kissing his feet. That night, when they had returned to the village, she did not ride behind him in his kaiila, as she had that morning. She accompanined him, rather, on foot, marched at this stirrup, her hands bound behind her back, a thong on her neck, run to the pommel of his saddle. That morning two children had left the village; wht returned to it that night was a young master and his claimed slave.

Wasnapohdi put down her head, trembling.

I think that the young master and his slave had been much in love. His affection for the girl, for she was only a slave, had brought much ridicule on him from his peers. To this sort of thing, he, a red savage, had been extremely sensitive. In the end, perhaps because he suspected they might be true, and interpeted his feelings in such a matter as unseemly weakness in a young warrior, he had sold her. After that she had had several masters. Grunt, as I have mentioned, had finally acquired her from Dust-Legs.

"His name is Waiyeyeca?" I asked.

"Yes," she said.

"What is his band?" I asked.

"Napoktan," she said.

"The Bracelets band," I said.

"Yes," she said. Their territory lies roughly northwest of the Kaiila River, north fork of the Kaiila River, and east of the Snake River. Napoktan warriors commonly wear two copper bracelets on the left wrist.

"Did he see you?" I asked.

"No," she said.

"Do you still love him?" I asked.

"I do not know," she said. "It has been a long time, years. He sold me!"

"You are a slave," I said. "Surely you do not object to being sold."

"I thought he loved me!" she said.

"Perhaps he did," I said.

"He sold me!" she said.

"Perhaps he did not regard you as sufficiently beautiful," I said.

"Perhaps!" she said, angrily.

"If he could see you now," I said, "if he could see how beautiful you have become, doubtless he would regret his earlier decision, keenly."

"Perhaps!" she said, in fury.

"Have you no work to do?" I asked.

"I am hiding," she said.

"Why?" I asked.

"I am afraid for him to see me," she said, tears in her eyes. "He sold me! I loved him! I do not want to open these old wounds! I do not want to go through all that heartache again! I have suffered enough!"

"Nonsense," I said. "You are merely looking for an excuse to get out of work. I know the tricks of a lazy girl when I see them."

"No," she said, agonized, "really!"

"What are you supposed to be doing?" I asked.

"Polishing trade goods," she said.

"Inside the lodge or outside?" I asked. I knew what the answer must be.

"Outside, I suppose," she said, "so that I may better see what I am doing."

"Then get outside and polish trade goods," I said.

"Please, no," she said. "He might see me!"

"The Napoktan camp is not close," I said. "That is highly unlikely."

"He might see me!" she protested.

"What if he does?" I asked.

"What if he sees me, and wants me?" she asked. "What if he carries me away, or buys me?"

"He will not simply carry you away," I said. "Grunt is a guest of the Kaiila."

"But what if he wishes to buy me?" she asked in misery.

"Then that is simply a matter of prices." I said.

"No, no," she wept. "You do not understand!"

"I understand very well," I said. "You are a slave. You are a piece of property. A man sees you and decides whether or not he is interested in you. If he is, he makes Grunt an offer. It is accepted or rejected. Perhaps bargaining ensues. If they do not come to terms, then you simply have a new master, whom you must then serve completely and with total perfection."

She collapsed on the robe in the lodge, clutching at it with her small fingers, weeping bitterly.

"I believe you were given a command," I said. "I trust that you do not desire for me to repeat it, as your discharge of the task might well, then, be preceded by a severe whipping."

"No, Master," she wept. "I do not desire for you to repeat your cmmand."

"If your obedience is insufficiently prompt," I said, "I may add to my command the stipulations that you will polish trade goods the lodge naked."

"My obedience is prompt, Master," she wept, getting up. She began to gather together several pots and pans from Grunt's store of trade goods.

"I am well aware of the tricks of lazy girls to escape from their work," I told her.

"Yes, Master," she wept. "Yes, Master."

I then hurried from the lodge. I wished to find Grunt, to query him as to the possible significance, if any, of the information I had earlier received from Oiputake, as to the identity of the Yellow Knives in the camp.

"Tatankasa!" called a little boy. "Throw the hoop for me! Throw the hoop for me!"

"Have you seen Wopeton, the Trader?" I asked.

"No," he said. "Throw the hoop!"

"Forgive, me, Small Master," I said. "I am on business."

"Very well," he said.

I sped on, toward the lodge of Mahpiyasapa.

"Hold!" called a lad.

I stopped, and fell to my knees before him. It was the lad who had been first among the herders, when I had carried the beaded quirt to the girl herd.

"Greetings," said he.

"Greetings, Master," I said.

"The blond slave whom you took for wench sport," he said, "is no longer in the herd. She was exchanged in a giveaway and her new master, reportedly, is quite pleased with her. It seems she is now to serve in hos low lodge, away from the herd, convenient to him, as a prize slave."

"That is good news, Master," I said.

"The credit fot this goes to you, I think," said the lad. "You melted the ice in her belly. You made her become a woman, and need men."

"Thank you, Master," I said.

"She has been named Oiputake," he said.

"Yes, Master," I said. "Master!" I said, suddenly.

"Yes," he said.

"Why are you in the village now," I asked, "at this time of day?"

"The herds have been brought in," he said, "to the edges of te village."

"What of the guards and pickets?" I asked.

"They, too, have been brought in," he said.

"Why?" I asked.

"It is upon the orders of Watonka," said the lad.

"The western edge of the camp, then, is unguarded," I said. The security for this perimeter was the responsibility of the Isanna.

"It is all right," said the lad. "It is the time of the feasts, of the festivals."

"Have you seen Wopeton, the Trader?" I asked.

"No," he said.

"May I leave?" I asked.

"Surely," said the lad, puzzled.

I leaped up and again hurried toward the lodge of Mahpiyasapa. I passed within a hundred yars of the great dance lodge, formed of towering walls of brush. Within would be the pole, the ropes and the skewers, and pained and bedecked, dancing, the young men.

"Mahpiyasapa is not here," said the woman, kneeling near his lodge, one of his wives. Her gnarled fingers held a bone scraper. She was sharpening the scraper on a stone in front of her. On the scraper there were six dots. It has been used for six years. Two of her fingers had been cut ff at the first joint. She had lost two sons.

"Do you know where he is?" I asked.

"No," she said.

"Thank you, Mistress," I said. I rose to my feet, and stepped back. I did not know what to do now, or where to go.

"Why should he not be in the council?" she asked, not looking up.

"Of course," I said. "My thanks, Mistress!"

"It will do you no good," she said. "You cannot see him there, if he is there. It is not permitted."

"I really seek Wopeton," I said. "Might he be in the council?"

"It is possible," she shrugged. She did not look up from her work.

"My thanks, Mistress," I said. "You have been very kind."

"If he is in the council," she said, "you will not be able to see him either."

"My thanks, Mistress!" I said. I turned about and hurried from the place. She had been very helpful. I did not think that I would have managed as well had I been a white female slave. Had I been such she might have put me to labors or kept me on my belly, in the dirt, my mouth filled with dirt, before her, for hours. Women of the red savages bear little affection towards the lovely white properties of thier men. White slave girls will often flee at the mere approach of a red female and will almost never meet the eyes of one. In my intense awareness of this being the day of the great dance, pobably a function of Cuwignaka's almost overwhelming concern about it, and in my concern over the fate of Canka, and my concern with the information obtained from Oiputake, I had forgotten that this day, too, was the day of peace council, a day in which was to be seen, supposedly, at least the first stages of the ratiffication of a peace agreement between the Yellow Knives and the Kaiila. I made my way rapidly towards the council lodge. I di dnot know if I could draw Mahpiyasapa out of the council, or if it would be wise to do so, but I was confident that I could, somehow, if he were there, make contact with Grunt.

I was thrown rudely back by the two young warriors. "Kneel, Slave!" snarled one of them.

I knelt swiftly. Knives were drawn upon me.

"Forgive me, Masters," I said. "It is needful that I speak with Wopeton."

"He is not within," said one of the warriors.

"Convey then, I beg you," I said, "my need to speak with Mahpiyasapa."

"Neither is Mahpiyasapa within," said the warrior.

"Neither is within?" I asked.

"No," he said.

"Forgive me, Masters," I said.

"They may come later," said one of the warriors. "The council has not yet begun."

"Yes, Master," I said. "Thank you, Masters." I crawled back a pace or two, on my knees, keeping my eyes on their knives. Then I rose to my feet and, facing the, backed away. They sheathed their knives and resumed their stance, arms folded, before the threshold of the great lodge. Its poles were fifty feet in height and it was covered with more than a hundred skins.

I looked about. Again I did not know what to do. I must wait, I suppose, to see if Grunt, or Mahpiyasapa, appeared. By now, however, I would have supposed they would have been within the council lodge. Surely the council was due to soon begin.

"Slave," said a fellow, sitting cross-legged, some yards off, beckoning to me.

I went to him and he indicated a place near him where I might kneel. I did so. He was grooving a stone for a hammerhead. This is done with a dampened rawhide string, dipped in sand, and drawn again and again, patiently, across the stone. I watched him work. "Today," he said, "the council will not hear the voice of Mahpiyasapa."

"Why today, will the council not hear his voice?" I asked.

"Today," said the man, drawing the rawhide string across the stone, "Mahpiyasapa is in sorrow. He has gone from the village, to purify himself."

"Why should he be in sorrow?" I asked. This was unwelcome news, indeed, that he might not be in the camp.

"I think it is because Canka tried to kill him," said the man, watching the movement of the string.

"Oh," I said. I did not know this man, and I did not see much point in conveying to him my suspicions as to what had actually occurred in this distrubing incident.

"You are Canka's slave, aren't you?" asked the man.

"Yes," I said.

"And you have not been taken, or slain," he said.

"No," I said.

"Interesting," he said, dipping the string again in water, and then in sand.

Mahpiyasapa's sorrow, I had little doubt, was occasioned by the perjury of Hci, and not by some putative treachery on the part of Canka. This, too, I had littel doubt, was in the mind of the man who had chosen to speak to me. He was not a fool. In his shame and sorrow Mahpiyasapa had not gone to the council. Perhaps he felt he could not, there, face his peers. In the small confines of a sweat lodge, fasting, and with steam and hot stones, he would try to come to grips with these things which had happened. He might then go to some lonely place, to seek a dream vision, that he might know what to do.

"Master," said I.

"Yes," said the man.

"Is it your understanding that Wopeton accompanied Mahpiyasapa?"

"That is what I think," said the man, drawing the wet string, sand adhering to it, firmly and slowly, carefully, across the stone. He had probably been working for more than two days on the stone. I could see the beginngins of the groove in its surface.

"Thank you, Master," I said.

"And that, too, is interesting," said the man, looking at the stone.

"Yes, Master," I said. The stones for use in the sweat lodge are heated in a fire outside the lodge and, held on sticks, taken within, where water is poured upon them, creating the needed heat and steam. When a stone cools it is then reheated. This part of the work, heating the stones, bringing the water, reheating the stones, and so on, ideally, is not done by the individual or individuals within the sweat lodge. Ideally,it is done by an assistant or helper. I had little doubt that Grunt was acting in this capacity for his friend, Mahpiyasapa. Mahpiyasapa, in this time, in his shame and misery, could not bring himself to face his own people.

I backed off a bit, on my knees, and then rose to my feet, and then withdrew from the presence of the fellow who was patienly working on the stone. I turned about and looked again at the huge council lodge. The two guards were still a the threshold. Between them, various men were entering. Expected to attend such a council, of couse, on the part of the Kaiila but thier high men, as well, the councils of the various bands, and trusted warriors, and men of probity and wisdom. Such councils tend to be open to the noble, the proven and worth. In that lodge, this afternoon, would be gathered, for most pracitical purposes, the leadership and aristocracy of the Kaiila nation. How absurd, then, to me, appeared my suspicions and fears. Where men so numerous, and noble and wise, were gathered, surely naught could be concern myself with their affairs? Too, Oiputake must have been mistaken. The Yellow Knives in camp could not be war chiefs. That would make no sense.

I took my way from the vicinity of the council lodge.

"Where is Watonka?" I heard a man ask.

"He has not yet arrived," said another man.

"Is he making medicine?" asked a man.

"I do not know," said another.

"He is waiting for the shadow to shrink," said another. "He will then come to the council."

I then, for no reason I clearly understood, gurned my steps toward the lodges of the Isanna.

The three men, arms folded, standing in the vicinity of Watonka, who stood on a bit of high ground, near the Isanna lodges, I did not doubt were Yellow Knives. It was not that there was anything in particular about them that seemed to differentiate them from the Kaiila, but rather that there seemed something as a whole about them which was different, doubtless the cumulative effect of many tiny details, perhpas in the beading of their clothing, the manner in which certain ornaments were carved, the notching of their sleeves, the manner of fringing leggings, the tugting at the base of the feathers in their hair, the cut and style of their moccasins. They were not Kaiila. They were something else. They seemed stolid and expressionless. Watonka was looking to the sky, to the southeast. At the feet of Watonka there was a slim, upright stick. In the dirt, about the stick, were drawn two circles, a larger and a smaller. In the morning, when the sun ws high enough to cast a shadow, the shadow, I surmised, would have come to a point on the outer circle. At noon the sun, it seemed, in this latitude, casting its shortest shadow, would bring the shadow to or within the smaller of the two circles. When the shadow, again, began to lengthen, the sun would be past meridian. I looked up at the sun, and down to the stick and its shadow. It was, I conjectured, less than half of an Ahn before noon.

Watonka, in marked contrast to the three warriors, whom I took to be Yellow Knives, seemed clearly ill at ease. He looked to the warriors, and then, again, looked to the sky, to the southeast. The day was bright and clear. Near the men, a bit to one side, were Bloketu and Iwoso. Bloketu, too, seemed ill at ease. Iwoso, on the other hand, like the other three, who were presumably Yellow Knives, seemed quite calm. These six, and two others, nearby Isanna warriors, with lances, wore yellow scarves diagonally about their bodies, running from the left shoulder to the right hip. The purpose of these scarves, I supposed, was to identify them as, and protect them as, members of the peace-making party. Too, of course, they might have been intended to fulfill some medicine purpose, perhaps suggested in a dream to one of them.

I did not know if Blioketu would be permitted inot the council or not. Normally women are not permitted in such places. The red savages, though often listening with great attention to their free women, and according them great honor and respect, do not choose to relinquish the least bit of their sovereignity to them. They will make the decisions. They are the men. The women will obey. Iwoso, on the other hand, I supposed, would be required in the council lodge. She was probably the only person in the camp who spoke both Yellow Knife and kaiila fluently. Iwoso, interestingly, had a coil of slender, supple rope at her belt. Judging by the sun, and the shadow by the stick, I would have supposed that WAtonka and his party should have been making their way to the council lodge. The council, as I understood it, was to begin at noon. The manner in which the men wore their yellow scarves, I noted, gave maximum free play, if they were right handed, to their weapon hands.

"Bloketu," I said, going to her.

"Mistress!" she corrected me.

"Mistress," I said.

"Why are you not kneeling?" she asked.

I fell to my knees. "I would speak with you, if I might," I said.

"It was your master, Canka," she said, angrily, "who tried to kill Mahpiyasapa this morning."

"May I speak with you?" I asked.

"Yes," she said.

"Alone," I asked.

Iwoso looked suddenly, sharply, at me.

"You may speak before my maiden," said Bloketu. "What does it matter? Why should a slave not speak before a slave?"

"Forgive me, Mistress," I said. "I may be ignorant, and a fool."

"That is not unlikely," she said.

"But I have reason to believe that the three men with your father, the Yellow Knives, are not as they seem."

"What do you mean?" she asked.

"I think they are not civil cheiftains of the Yellow Knives," I said. "I think it is possible they are war chiefs."

"Lying slave!" cried Iwoso angrily, lunging at me and striking me. I tasted blood at my mouth.

"What is going on?" asked Watonka, looking towards us.

"This slave is an amusing fool," laughed Bloketu. "He thinks our guests are not civil chieftains of the Yellow Knives, soon to be our friends, but war chiefs."

This was translated by Iwoso speedily to the three Yellow Knives. Their expressions did not change.

"That is absurd," said Watonka, looking rapidly about. "I vouch for these men myself."

"You could not know such a thing," said Bloketu.

"There is a slave in camp," I said, "a blond female who was owned my Yellow Knives for a time. It was she who recognized them. It was she from whom I learned this."

"She is obviously mistaken," said Bloketu. These things, and what follows, were being translated, quickly, by Iwoso for the Yellow Knives.

"The tongues of lying slaves may well be slit," said Watonka, angrily. He drew his knife.

At this point one of the Yellow Knives put his hand on Watonka's arm. He spoke, and his words, for all of us, were translated by Iwoso.

"Do not harm the slave," he said. "This is a time of happiness and peace."

I looked up, startled. The man must indeed by a civil chieftain.

"Dismiss him," suggested the Yellow Knife.

"You are dismissed," said watonka, angrily.

"Yes, Master," I said, getting up.

"Beat him," said Watonka to the two Isanna warriors.

Suddenly I was prodded with the butts of the two lances, and then struck viciously about the head, the shoulders and body. I fell to my knees, my head covered, my body shuddering under the lashing and jabbing of the wood.

"Let him go," suggested the Yellow Knife.

"Go," said Watonka.

I struggled to my feet and, my face bloody, my body aching, stumbled backward, and then turned, and limped away. I heard laughter behind me. I had been well beaten. No bones, it seemed, were broken. I had little doubt that my body was black and blue. I spit up, into the dirt. I almost fainted. Then I staggered away, laughter ringing about me, a humiliated and punished slave. I had done, however, what I could. I had brought Oiputake's information to the attention of one even so great as to be a civil chieftain of the Kaiila, to Watonka, the civil chieftain of the Isanna. It seemed to me I could not have done better unless I had managed to speak, perhaps, to one such as Mahpiyasapa. Suddenly I felt anger, irrationally, towards Mahpiyasapa and Grunt, and toward Canka, and even towards my friend, Cuwignaka. I had not been able to speak to them. In my sickness and misery it seemed almost as though it was they who, thus, had been responsible for my beating. Then I shook the foolishness of this from my mind, and made my way back towards the lodge I shared with Cuwignaka.

It was at this time, I think, about a quarter of an Ahn until noon.

Chapter 19

I SPEAK WITH CUWIGNAKA

"Cuwignaka!" I cried, startled, entering the inerior of our lodge.

He was sitting, cross-legged, within the lodge. His head was down. His head was in his hands. He lifted his head. "They would not let me dance," he said. "Cancega, himself, medicine chief of all the Kaiila, at the behest of Hci, refused me entrance into the dance lodge."

"You must have heard," I said, "of the alleged attack by Canka on Mahpiyasapa?"

"Yes," he said, bitterly. "Hci has won," he said. "Hci has won all."

"I am sorry, my friend," I said, "about the dance. I am sorry." I sat down, cross-legged, near him.

"If I am not permitted to dance," asked Cuwignaka, "how can I prove to them I am a man?"

"I am sorry, my friend," I said. In these moments, in my sorrow for Cuwignaka, I forgot my own bruises and pain. I knew that Cuwignaka, for years, had dreamed of entering the lodge of the great dance, there to test and prove the manhood from which his people seemed determined to preclude him. It was there, too, perhaps, in the loneliness and pain of the dance, that he wished himeself to learn the truth in this secret and momentous matter.

"Tatankasa," said Cuwignaka, suddenly, "what is wrong?"

"Nothing," I said.

"You are hurt," he said, concerned.

"It is nothing," I said.

Cuwignaka crawled over to where I sat. He put his hand at the side of my head. "Your head has been gashed," he said.

I winched. "I was beaten," I said.

He went then to the side of the lodge and brought back a cloth. He wiped blood away from the side of my head.

"Who did this?" he asked.

"Two men, warriors of the Isanna, on the command of Watonka," I said.

"What did you do?" asked Cuwignaka.

"It was foolishness," I said. "I meddled in matters in which I knew nothing. I should have known better."

"But what did you do?" he asked.

"It is nothing," I said. I did not want him in his great disappintment, to concern himself with my foolishness.

"Tell me," he said. I took the cloth from him and folded it, and held it against the wound, to stanch te flow of blood.

"I am sorry about the dance," I said. "I know how keenly you desired to enter the lodge."

"Why were you beaten, my friend?" he asked.

"This morning," I said, "converse did I hold with a blond slave, after amusing myself with her. I had used her before. She was formerly a herd girl. A woman once of the high city of Ar, she had been captured by Dust Legs and suitably enslaved. seh was later traded to Sleen who, in turn, traded her to Yellow Knives. She came to the Isanna among the frits of a girl raid. On the basis of her experience with the Yellow Knives she had told me that the three Yellow Knives in the camp are not civil cheiftains, as is claimed, but war chiefs."

"She is obviously mistaken," said Cuwignaka.

"Obviously," I said. I moved my body. It hurt to move it.

"You told this to Watonka?" asked Cuwignaka.

"I would rather," I said, ruefully, "have toldit to someone else, and, acutally, it was to Bloketu that I told it. It was only that Watonka was there."

"It is too bad to be beaten over such a thing." said Cuwignaka.

"I agree," I smiled. I pulled the cloth from my head. It stuck with the blood, and then pulled free. But the wound did not begin again to bleed. "I do not think WAtonka would have paid us attention," I said, "except that Iwoso leaped at me, striking me, crying out that I was a lying slave."

"That reaction seems excessive on her part," said Cuwignaka. "After all, what business is it of hers?"

"Watonka, too, was very angry," I said. "I feared he might attack me with his knife. One of the Yellow Knives, one of the civil chieftains, intervened. I was only beaten."

"That seems throughful for a Yellow Knife," said Cuwignaka.

"He said it was a time of happiness and peace." I said.

"He is obviously a civil chieftain," said Cuwignaka.

"Yes," I said.

"Or pretending to be," said Cuwignaka, carefully.

"I am sore," I said.

"He did not wish to have blood spilled," said Cuwignaka.

"That seems so," I admitted.

"Why?" asked Cuwignaka.

"There might be many reasons," I speculated.

"Perhaps he thought the spilling of blood might not be suspicious shortly before the opening of a council on peace," said Cuwignaka.

"Perhaps," I said.

"But, too," said Cuwignaka, "such an act might have called much attention to itself. People might inquire, for example, why it was done, what it was all about."

I shrugged. "Perhaps," I said.

"Why shoudl watonka and Iwoso have been so angry?" he asked.

"I do not know," I said.

"What was Bloketu's reaction?" he asked.

"I do not think she wished to see harm come to me," I said.

"This incident occurred just outside the council lodge," said Cuwignaka.

"No," I said. "It occurred among the lodges of the Isanna."

"But this happened recently, did it not?" asked Cuwignaka.

"Yes," I said, "just a bit ago."

"Watonka and the others were on their way to the council lodge?" asked Cuwignaka.

"No," I said. "They seemed to be waiting, among the lodges."

"This is very interesting," said Cuwignaka, cautiously. "One would think that they would have been on their way to the council, if not within the council lodge, by then."

"Perhaps," I said. It was not clear to me what Cuwignaka was driving at.

"The great men of the Kaiila should all be within the council lodge," said Cuwignaka. "Why not Watonka?"

"Mahpiyasapa is not there either," I said. "He has gone off somewhere."

"That is a different matter, I think," said Cuwignaka.

"I think so," I said.

"At the time for the council to begin," mused Cuwignaka, "Watonka seems in no hurry to be within the lodge."

"That seems so," I said.

"The lodge contains the great men of the Kaiila," said Cuwignaka, "but Watonka, and the Yellow Knives, are not there."

"No," I said.

"Tell me, my friend, Tatankasa," said Cuwignaka. "Does there seem anything unusual to you, today, about the camp? Is there anything noticably different?"

"The hurds have been brought in, close to the camp," I said. "I saw one of the lads that commonly watches one of the, one of the girl herds. From him I learned, too, that the pickets and guards of the Isanna have been brought in."

"On whose orders?" inquired Cuwignaka.

"Watonka's." I said.

"Why?" asked Cuwignaka.

"I do not know," I said. "I suppose because it is a time of peace. It is the time of dances, of feasts and festivals. There is no danger. Tribes do not attack one another at such times."

"True," said Cuwignaka, slowly. "It has been so for a hundred winters."

"I was alarmed when I first learned this," I said, "but, I gather, you agree there is nothing to worry about."

"The camp is exposed on the west." said Cuwignaka.

"Yes," I said.

"Why would Watonka do this?" he asked.

"It is a time of peace," I ventured.

"Also," said Cuwignaka, "persumably even a large war party would hesitate to attack a camp of this size."

"Yes," I said.

"Think carefully," said Cuwignaka.

"The Yellow Knives were standing in the vicinity of a small, rised place, prominent among the Isanna lodges. On this small, raised place stood Watonka. On this small, raised place, too, was a stick, surrounded by two circles, a larger one and smaller. I take it that the measurement of time was being accomplished by this stick and the circles. The inner circle, I think, would ahve had the edge of the shadow reach it or fall within it about noon."

"Interesting," said Cuwignaka.

"Yes," I said. "Why would they not simply judge noon by the position of the sun?"

"The stick is moe accurate," said Cuwignaka. "Too, the shadow may be watched intently, as the sun may not be."

"The council is to begin at noon," I said. "Doubtless they were interested in a more precise judgement of time than might be afforded by simple visual sightings."

"Why?" asked Cuwignaka.

"I do not know," I said. to be sure, this question seemed a sensible one. Red savages are not ordinarily concerned with such precise measurments of time.

"Was there anything else that might have seemed unusual which you noted?" asked Cuwignaka.

"One thing or another," I said.

"What?" asked Cuwignaka.

"Watonka seemed interested in watching the sky," I said.

"The sky?" asked Cuwignaka.

"Yes," I said.

"Did he watch the entire sky?" asked Cuwignaka.

"No," I said. "He seemed interested in only one direction."

"What direction?" asked Cuwignaka, alarmed.

"The southwest," I said.

"I am afraid, Tatankasa," said Cuwignaka. "I am very afraid."

"Why?" I asked.

"It is from the southeast that the Pte came," said Cuwignaka.

"Yes?" I said.

"They were early this year," said Cuwignaka. "The Pte were very early. They should not have come as early as they did."

"That is true," I said. We had speculated on this matter before. To be sure, it had not seemed to be of much consern to Cuwignaka until now.

"You seem alarmed," I said. Cuwignaka's anxiety made me uneasy.

"It cannot be," said Cuwignaka, firmly.

"What?" I asked.

"Was there anything else unusual about Watanka, and the Yellow Knives?" pressed Cuwignaka.

"He and his entire party, including Iwoso and Bloketu, wore yellow scarves, or sashes, about their bodies," I said.

"Why?" asked Cuwignaka, frightened.

"To identify them, I suppose," I said.

"To whom?" asked Cuwignaka. "They are well known in the camp."

I suddenly felt chilly. "I do not know," I said.

"Do you recall, Tatankasa," asked Cuwignaka, "some days ago, when we spoke with Bloketu and Iwoso outside our lodge. I was scraping a hide."

"Yes," I said.

"Iwoso was to become important, it seemed," he said. "From this we conjectured that Watonka, and Bloketu, too, would then be even more important."

"Yes," I said.

"How could one be more important among my people than to be a civil chieftain of a rich band?" asked Cuwignaka.

"To become, I suppose, a high chief of all the bands," I said, "a chief of the tribe, as a whole."

"but there are no first chiefs, no high chiefs, among Kaiila, exept maybe, sometime, a war chief," said Cuwignaka. "It is not our way."

"Perhaps there could be presige, and riches, garnered in gift giving, as the result of arranging the peace," I said. I recalled we had thought about this matter along these lines before. It had, at that time, seemed a sensible way of viewing matters.

"Watonka is already rich in women and kaiila," said Cuwignaka. "There is only one thing he cannot be rich in, among our peoples."

"What is that?" I asked.

"Power," said Cuwignaka.

"What are you saying?" I asked, alarmed. "I am becoming afraid."

"What time is it?" asked Cuwignaka.

"It must be noon, by now," I said.

"There is no time to lose," said Cuwignaka, leaping to his feet.

"What is wrong?" I asked.

"The camp is going to be attacked," said Cuwignaka. "The pickets, the guards, have been withdrawn from the west. The Pte was early! Watonka looks to the sky, to the southeast!"

"I do not understand," I said.

"Why were the Pte early?" asked Cuwignaka.

"I do not know," I said.

"They were being hunted, being driven, by a new people," Said Cuwignaka. "Something is behind them. A new force has come into our country."

"But wAtonka was looking to the sky," I said.

"That is what makes me most afraid," he said. "It is like the old stories, told long ago by travelers, warriors who had ridden farther than others."

"What can we do?" I asked.

"We must alert the camp," said Cuwignaka.

"Even if you are right," I said, "even if the camp should be in danger, even if attack was imminent, no one will believe us. You wear the dress of a woman. I am a slave. We will be only mocked, only laughed at."

"One will not laugh at us or mock us," said Cuwignaka. "There is one who will listen."

"Who is that?" I asked.

"Hci," said Cuwignaka, angrily.

He then rushed from the lodge and I, rising to my feet, hurried after him. Outside he looked wildly to the sky, to the southeast, and then began to run between the lodges. I, too, looked at the sky. It was clear.

Chapter 20

KINYANPI

"Behold," laughed Hci, sitting with cronies, cross-legged, outside the lodge of the Sleen Soldiers, "it is the pretty sister of Canka, and Canka's slave, Tatankasa."

"Listen to me, Hci," said Cuwignaka, "please!"

"Kneel," said Hci to us.

We knelt.

"She tried to enter the lodge of the dance," laughed Hci, pointing at Cuwignaka. "She is not permitted to do so!"

There was laughter from the young men sitting in the circle.

"I must speak to you," said Cuwignaka.

"I am busy," said Hci. There was laughter.

"I must speak to you!" said Cuwignaka.

"Do not come to plead lenience for your foolish brother, who tried to kill my father, Mahpiyasapa, this morning!" inquired Hci.

"The camp is in danger," said Cuwignaka.

"What?" asked Hci.

"The Yellow Knives with Watonka are not civil chiefs," said Cuwignaka. "They have been recognized by a blond slave, once the property of Yellow Knives. They are war chiefs."

"That is absurd," said Hci.

"The pickets and guards have been drawn in from the west," said Cuwignaka. "Watonka has not gone to the council, nor have the Yellow Knives. The Pte were early! Watonka looked to the sky, to the southwest!"

"To the sky?" asked one of the men with Hci.

"It is as in the old stories," said one of the men.

"These are lies," said Hci. "This is a trick. You are trying to make me look foolish."

"The guards have been drawn in from the west," said one man. "I know that."

"The Pte were early," said another. "We all know that."

"Who says Watonka is not in the council lodge?" asked Hci.

"Shortly before noon," I said, "I saw him still in the camp of the Isanna, with the Yellow Knives. I do not think it is his intention to go to the council lodge. I saw him watching the sky, to the southeast."

"Others were in the council lodge?" asked Hci.

"Most others, yes," I said. "I think so."

"The greates men of our people, most of them, are in that lodge, Hci," said Cuwignaka, "gathered in that one place. Surely you understand what that could mean?"

"This is all a trick on your part," said Hci.

"No," said Cuwignaka.

"If what you say is correct," said Hci, "Watonka would be a traitor. He would be betraying the Kaiila."

"I am convinced that that is the case," said Cuwignaka.

"It cannot be," said Hci.

"To achieve his personal ends," said Cuwignaka, grimly, "even a good man can sometimes do great wrong. Can you believe that, Hci?"

Hci looked down, angrily.

"Can you believe it, Hci?" asked Cuwignaka.

"Hci looked up, angrily. "Yes," he said.

"Act," said Cuwignaka. "The Sleen Soldiers have police powers in the camp. Act!"

"It is a trick," said Hci, angrily.

"It is past noon," said Cuwignaka. "There is little time."

"It is a trick," said Hci.

"I swear that it is not," said Cuwignaka. "Had I a shield I would swear by it."

Hci looked at him, startled.

"That is a most holy and sacred oath," said one of the Sleen Soldiers, frightened.

"Would yuo truly swear by a shield?" asked Hci.

"Yes," said Cuwignaka. "And when one so swears, then one is to believed, is one not?"

"Yes," said Hci. "One is then to believed."

"No one would betray the shield oath," said a man.

Hci trembled.

"Are you so fond of Yellow Knives?" asked Cuwignaka. "Have you not forgoten them?"

Hci looked at Cuwignaka. His hand, inadvertently, went to the whitish, jagged serration at his face, the residue of the canhpi's slash years ago.

"You probably know Yellow Knives as well as any man in the camp," said Cuwignaka. "Do you truly believe they desire peace?"

"No," said Hci.

"Act," said Cuwignaka.

"Would you truly swear by your shield?" asked Hci.

"Yes," said Cuwignaka.

Hci rose to his feet. "Agleskala," he said, "go to the council lodge. If Watonka is not within, use the powers of the Sleen Soliders. Empty the lodge."

"What are you going to do?" asked Cuwignaka.

"I am going to blow the whistle of war," he said. "I am going to fetch the battle staff."

There was a scream from somewhere among the lodges to our left.

The sun seemed suddenly dark in the cloudless sky. The sky itself seemed blotted out with swift torrents of terrible forms. It was as though a storm had suddenly materialized and come alive. Over our head there was the snapping and crackling of a thousand thunders.

"It is too late!" I cried.

"It is the Kinyanpi!" I heard. "It is the Flighted Ones! The Kinyanpi!"

Chapter 21

YELLOW KNIVES

One of the Sleen Soldiers, rising to his feet, spun awkwarly, kicking dust, the arrow having entered through the chest, its point protruding about his left hip.

Hci looked upward, wildly.

The tarn alighted, its talons seizing Agleskala. It its strike I think hs back was broken. Hci and I stumbled backward, swept to the side by the strokes of the wing, the blows of the air. We could scarcely see for dust. The rider, clad only in a breechclout, his body bright in purple and yellow paint, thrust towards us with the long tarn lance. In the movement of the tarn, again taking flight, the thrust was short. Hci and I, from the dirt, looked upward. A hundred feet in the air the body of Agleskala was released.

"Weapons! Get weapons!" cried Hci.

An arrow struck near us, sinking almost to the feathers in the dirt.

I smelled smoke. I heard screaming.

"Kaiila!" called out Hci. "Get kaiila!"

"Run!" cried a man. "There is no time to make war medicine!"

"Arm yourselves!" cried Hci. "Get kaiila! Rally by the council lodge! Fight!"

"Run!" cried another man.

"Run!" cried another.

"Look out!" I cried.

Another tarnsman, low on the back of the mount, it swooping toward us, oly a few feet from the ground, lowered his lance. I seized Hci and dragged him down. I saw the feathered lance, like a long blur, sweep over us. Then the bird was climbing again.

"Tarnsmen cannot take the camp," I said. Lodges were burning. Women were screaming.

The men who were with us had scattered.

"Do not touch me!" cried Hci, in fury.

I removed my hands from him.

"The people will run to the west!" said Cuwignaka.

"They must not!" I said.

We saw a rider on a kaiila racing towards us. Then, suddenly, he reeled from the back of the beast. He struck the ground, rolling, scattering dust. We ran to him. I lifted him in my arms. His back was covered with blood, filthy, now, too, with dirt. "They are in the camp!" he gasped.

"Who?" demanded Hci.

"Yellow Knives!" said the man. "Hundreds. The are among the lodges!"

"They have come from the west," said Cuwignaka, grimly.

"Watonka must die," said Hci.

I put the body of the man down. He was dead. A woman fled past us, a child held in her arms.

Hci rose from our side and went into the lodge of the Sleen Soldiers. I looked upward. This section of the camp was no longer under direct attack. The primary interest of the tarnsmen, I had little doubt, would have been the council lodge and the area about it. The lodge itself, because of its size, would be conspicuous. Too, they had doubtless been furnished with a description of it by Watonka or those associated with him. It was no wonder he was not eager, this day, to enter the lodge.

"I am going to Grunt's" I said. "My weapons are there. He has kept them for me. Too, Wasnapohdi is there. She may need help."

"There is a lance in my lodge," said Cuwignaka.

"We will get it on the way," I said. This was the same lance which had been fixed, butt, down, in the truf beside Cuwignaka near the scene of battle several weeks ago, He had been staked down naked, to die. About the lance, wrapped about it, had been a white dress. It was that which he now wore. I had freed him.

We saw two men running past.

"Let us hurry," I said.

Chapter 22

CUWIGNAKA REQUESTS INSTRUCTION

"Use the lance!" I cried.

We had turned, startled, not more than a few yards from our lodge, from the interior of which Cuwignaka had recovered the lance.

The rider on the kaiila, bent low, his lance in the attack position, charged, dust scattering back from the pounding paws of the kaiila.

Cuwignaka ducked to the side, lifting and raising his arms, the long lance clutched in his fists. There was a shiver of wood as the two lances, Cuwignaka's on the iniside, struck twisting against one another. The point of the other's lance passed between Cuwignaka's arms and his neck. The man was taken from the back of the kaiila by Cuwignaka's lance. The kaiila sped away.

"He is dead," said Cuwignaka, looking down.

"Free your lance," I said.

Cuwignaka, his foot on the man's chest, drew loose the lance.

"It is safer in such an exchange," I said, "to strke from the outside, finding his lance away, trying to make your strike above and across it."

"He is dead," said Cuwignaka.

"If hehad dropped his lance more to the right you would have moved into it," I said.

"I killed him," said Cuwignaka.

"It is unfortunate that we did not obtain the kaiila," I said.

"He is dead," said Cuwignaka.

"Attend to my lessons," I said.

"Yes, Tatankasa," said Cuwignaka.

"Hurry," I said. "We are near Grunt's lodge."

"Are you all right?" I asked Wasnapohdi, entering Grunt's lodge.

"Yes," she said, kneeling fearfully in its recesses. "What is going on?" she asked.

"Watonka has betrayed the camp," I said. It is under attack by both tarnsmen and Yellow Knives. Has Grunt come back?"

"No," she said. "Cuwignaka, are you hurt?"

"No," he said, trembling. "The blood is not mine."

"Where are my weapons?" I asked Wasnapohdi.

"I killed a man," said Cuwignaka.

"Hre," said Wasnapohdi, going to a bundle at the side of the lodge, unwrapping it. Within it was my belt, with the scabbard and knife sheath, and the small bow I had purchased long ago in Kailiauk, with its sheaf of twenty arrows.

"Tatankasa," said Cuwignaka.

"Yes?" I said. I took the belt in my hands. I had not worn it since I had accepted the collar of Canka.

"Do not arm yourself," said Cuwignaka. "You might be spared as a slave."

I buckled the belt about myself, I lifted the short sword in the scabbard and dropped it back in place. I tested the draw of the knife. The sheath hold was firm but the draw was smooth. I bent the bow, stringing it. I slung the quiver over my shoulder. I would use the over-the-back draw. I took two arrows in my hand, with the bow, and set another to the string.

I looked at Cuwignaka.

"The camp is large, and populous," I said. "It cannot be easily taken, even by surprise. There will be resistance."

Cuwignaka shook his head, numbly. "I cannot fight," he said. "I never could."

"Come, Wasnapohdi," I said to the girl. "We will try to find others. I will try to get you back to Grunt."

She stood, to follow me.

"If necessary, Wasnapohdi," I said to her, "fall on your knees before Yellow Knives, and tear open your clothing, revealing your breasts to them. If they find you attractive they may not slay you. They may only put their ropes on you."

"Yes, Master," she said.

"But I do not need to tell you that, do I," I asked, "for you are a woman."

"No, Master," she whispered. Men are the warriors and women, she knew in her heart, were among the fitting spoils of their vicitories.

At the interior threshold of the lodge I turned again to face Cuwignaka.

"I killed a man," he said, shuddering. "I could never do that again. It is too terrible a thing."

"The first is the hardest," I said.

"I cannot fight," he said.

"If you remain here," I said, "you must prepare to lie down and die with the innocent."

"Do you respect me, Tatankasa?" he asked.

"Yes," I said, "but death will not. It respects on one. It respects nothing."

"Am I a coward?" he asked.

"No," I said.

"Am I wrong?" he asked.

"Yes," I said.

"I do not know what to do," he said. "I am troubled."

"I wish you well, mitakola, my friend," I said. "Come, Wasnapohdi."

I briefly reconnoitered, and the left the lodge, Wasnapohdi following me. We threaded our way among the lodges, some of which were burned. Meat racks, with the sheets of dried meat, had been overturned. Pegged-down hides had been half torn up and trampled. I turned one, suddenly. It was Cuwignaka. He was still visibly shaken. He clutched the lance in his hands. "I am coming with you," he said. We then continued on our way.

"Back!" I said. "Down!"

We stepped back and crouched down between a lodge. Eleven riders passed.

"Yellow Knives," I said.

In the belts of several of them were thrust bloddy scalps, the blood run down their thighs and the sides of their legs, across their paint.

"If you do not fight." I asked Cuwignaka, "who will protect the weak, the innocent?"

"I cannot fight," he said. "I cannot help it. I cannot."

"Where are we going, Master?" asked Wasnapohdi.

"Toward the place of the council lodge," I said.

"That is doubtless the center of the attack," said Cuwignaka.

"We do not have kaiila to flee with," I said. "If there is resistance it seems natural to expect it at that point, particularly if it is organized. That is the center of camp. Men can reach it most easily, and strike out from it most easily."

"That is true," said Cuwignaka.

"Come along," I said.

"Step carefully," I said. "Several have died here."

We picked our way through twisted bodies.

Wasnapohdi threw up.

"These are your people," I told Cuwignaka.

"I cannot fight," he said.

The girl, lying on her back, nude, looked up at us, wildly. Her knees were drawn up. Her ankles were crossed and bound. Her wrists, behind her, were fastened at the small of her back and, by a double thong, looped twice, tightly, about her body, held in place there. I ran my finger under the belly thongs. She winced. In her body there were deep marks from them. I then let the tongus return to their place. The fellow who had tied her had done a good job. The thongs were merciless. A woman, of course, too, because of the glorious nature of her beauty, the sweet flaring of her hips, the lovely swelling of her upper body and breasts, cannot even begin to slip such a bond. A strand of leather, too, short and taut, pulling up her legs, connected her wrists and ankles. It is an efficient tie. In it a woman is utterly helpless.