CULTURE AND TRADITIONS
"The Gorean is suspicious of the stranger, particularly in the vicinity of his native walls. Indeed, in Gorean the same word is used for both stranger and enemy.
There was reputedly one exception to this generally prevalent attitude of hostility towards the stranger, the city of Tharna, which, according to rumor, was willing to engage in what on Gor might be accounted the adventure of hospitality. There were many things supposedly strange about Tharna, among them that she was reportedly ruled by a queen, or Tatrix, and, reasonably enough in the circumstances, that the position of women in that city, in contrast with most Gorean custom, was one of privilege and opportunity."
"Outlaw of Gor" page 49
""Man of Tharna," I asked, "where can I find an inn?"
"There are no inns in Tharna," said the man, looking at me closely. "You are a stranger," he said.
"A weary traveler who seeks lodging," I said.
"Flee, Stranger," said he.
"I am welcome in Tharna," I said.
"Leave while you have time," he said, looking about to see if anyone were listening.
"Is there no Paga Tavern near," I asked, "where I can find rest?"
"There are no Paga Taverns in Tharna," said the man, I thought with a trace of amusement.
"Where can I spend the night?" I asked.
"You can spend it beyond the walls in the fields," he said, "or you can spend it in the Palace of the Tatrix."
"It sounds to me as though the Palace of the Tatrix were the more comfortable," I said.
The man laughed bitterly. "How many hours, Warrior," asked he, "have you been within the walls of Tharna?"
"At the sixth hour I came to Tharna," I said.
"It is then too late," said the man, with a trace of sorrow, "for you have been within the walls for more than ten hours."
I had been disturbed by this conversation and without really intending it had begun to walk to the walls. I stood before the great gate of Tharna. The two giant beams that barred it were in place, beams that could only be moved by a team of broad tharlarions, draft lizards of Gor, or by a hundred slaves. The gates, bound with their bands of steel, studded with brass plates dull in the mist, the black wood looming over me in the dusk, were closed.
"Welcome to Tharna," said a guard, leaning on his spear in the shadows of the gate.
"Thank you, Warrior," I said, and turned back to the city.
Behind me I heard him laugh, much the same bitter laugh that I had heard from the citizen."
"Outlaw of Gor" page 75/76
"There were many things supposedly strange about Tharna, among them that she was reportedly ruled by a queen, or Tatrix, and, reasonably enough in the circumstances, that the position of women in that city, in contrast with common Gorean custom, was one of privilege and opportunity."
"Outlaw of Gor" Page 49
"In that revolution the gynocracy in Tharna had been overthrown, devastatingly. Even to this day women in Tharna are kept almost uniformly as helpless, abject slaves, the men of Tharna having an excellent memory for history."
"Vagabonds of Gor" Page 267
"One can usually recognize a man of Tharna by two yellow cords, each about eighteen inches long, thrust over the belt. Such cords are suitable for binding a female, hand and foot. In seeing such cords the woman understands that it is possible for them to be used to put her at a manís mercy. The meaning of these cords has something to do, apparently, with the history of the polis of Tharna. Interestingly there are supposedly almost no free woman in Tharna. Further, it is said that the slavery of a woman in Tharna seldom brings slaves into the city or, indeed, sell them out of the city. It is their own women, it seems, whom they keep in bondage, and a bondage of a very severe sort. Even when a slave begs to be sold out of the city, this is usually denied her. One might almost think that the slavery of the women in Tharna was not an ordinary slavery but in some sense rather different. It is almost as though it had been imposed upon them as a punishment; it is almost as if they had been sentenced to it. Surprisingly, however, and scarcely to be expected in such a stern polity, the city itself is ruled by a Tatrix. Her name, it is said, is Lara. Also, paradoxically, Tharnaís first minister, who stands second only to the Tatrix, is not of high caste but of lowly origin, only of the metal workers. His name, it is said, is Kron. Such things, I think, make Tharna an unusual city. She defends herself well, incidentally, and some, though perhaps they jest, speculate that her silver may be safer even than that of Argentum, which is an ally of Ar. One man of Tharna, it is said, is a match for ten from most cities. Whereas that is doubtless not true, it is not disputed that Tharnan warriors are among the most dangerous on Gor. it is indicative of this sort of thing that Tharnan mercenaries usually command high fees. Many mercenary companies use them as cadre and officers."
"Dancer of Gor" page 385/6
"These mines (of Argentum) were said to be almost as rich as those of Tharna, far to the north and east of Corcyrus."
"Kajira of Gor" Page 89
"Tharna, though a city of cylinders, did not seem to my eye as beautiful as many other cities I had seen. This was perhaps the cylinders were, on the whole, less lofty than those of other cities, and much broader, giving an impression of a set of squat, accumulated disks, so different from the lofty forests of sky-challenging towers and battlements distinguishing most Gorean cities. Moreover, in contrast to most cities, the cylinders of Tharna seemed excessively solemn, as if overcome by their own weight. They were scarcely distinguishable from one another, an aggregate of greys and browns, so different from the thousand gay colors that gleamed in most cities, where each cylinder in towering splendor lodged its claim to be the bravest and most beautiful of all.
Even the horizontal plains about Tharna, marked by their occasional outcroppings of weathered boulders, seemed to be grey, rather cold and gloomy, perhaps sad. Tharna was not a city to lift the heart of a man. Yet I knew that this city was, from my point of view, one of the most enlightened and civilized on Gor. In spite of this conviction, incomprehensibly, I found myself depressed by Tharna, and wondered if it, in its way, were not somehow, subtly, more barbaric, more harsh, less human than its ruder, less noble, more beautiful sisters. "
"Outlaw of Gor" page 69/70
"The streets of Tharna were crowded, yet strangely silent. The gate had been open and though I had been carefully scrutinized by its guards, tall spearmen in blue helmets, no one had objected to my entry. It must be as I had heard, that the streets of Tharna were open to all men who came in peace, whatever their city.
Curiously, I examined the crowds, all seemingly bent on their business, yet strangely tight lipped, subdued, much different from the normal, bustling throngs of a Gorean city."
"Outlaw of Gor" page 65
"Wandering in the city I found myself in Tharna's marketplace. Though it was apparently a market day, judging from the numerous stalls of vegetables, the racks of meat under awnings, the tubs of salted fish, the cloths and trinkets spread out on the carpets before the seated, cross-legged merchants, there was none of the noisy clamor that customarily attends the Gorean market. I missed the shrill, interminable calls of the vendors, each different; the good-natured banter of friends in the marketplace exchanging gossip and dinner invitations; the shouts of burly porters threading their way through the tumult; the cries of children escaped from their tutors and playing tag among the stalls; the laughter of veiled girls teasing and being teased by young men, girls purportedly on errands for their families, yet somehow finding the time to taunt the young swains of the city, if only by a flash of their dark eyes and a perhaps too casual adjustment of their veil."
"Outlaw of Gor" page 67
" But this market was not like other markets I had known on Gor. This was simply a drab place in which to buy food and exchange goods. Even the bargaining that went on, for there are no fixed prices in a Gorean market, seemed dreary, grim, lacking the zest and rivalry of other markets I had seen, the glorious expletives and superlative insults traded between buyer and seller with such incomparable style and gusto. Indeed, upon occasion, in other markets, a buyer who had succeeded in winning the haggling would bestow five times as many coins on the seller as he had agreed to pay, humiliating him with a smug, "Because I wish to pay you what it is worth." Then, if the seller is sufficiently outraged, he might give back the buyer the coins, including most of those he had agreed to pay, saying, with mock contrition, "I do not wish to cheat you." Then another round of insults occurs, and, eventually, both parties satisfied, some compromise having been reached, the transaction is concluded. Buyer and seller part, each convinced that he has had by far the best part of the bargain.
In this market, on the other hand, a steward would simply approach a vendor and point to some article, and hold up a certain number of fingers. The vendor would then hold up a higher number, sometimes bending his fingers at the knuckle to indicate a fraction of the value unit, which would be, presumably, the copper tarn disk. The steward might then improve his offer, or prepare to depart. The vendor would then either let him go or lower his price, by expressionlessly lifting fewer fingers than before. When either party called off the bargaining, his fists were closed. If a sale had been made, the steward would take a number of pierced coins, threaded on a string hung about his left shoulder, hand them to the vendor, pick up his article and depart. When words were exchanged, they were whispered and curt."
"Outlaw of Gor" page 68/69
"At last, a hundred yards ahead, cold in the morning light, I saw the palace, actually a rounded fortress of brick, black, heavy, unadorned, formidable. At the entrance to the palace the somber, wet avenue shrunk to a passage large enough only for a single man, and the walls at the same time rose to a height of perhaps thirty feet.
The entrance itself was nothing more than a small, simple iron door, perhaps eighteen inches in width, perhaps five feet in height. Only one man could come or go at a time from the palace of Tharna. It was a far cry from the broad- portaled central cylinders of many of the Gorean cities, through which a brace of golden-harnessed tharlarions might be driven with ease. I wondered if within this stern, brutal fortress, this palace of the Tatrix of Tharna, justice could be done."
"Outlaw of Gor" page 84/85
"We emerged in a broad, but dim hall. Several doors led from this hall. With his whip, prodding me scornfully, the man in wrist straps directed me through one of these doors. This door led again into a corridor, from which again several doors led, and so it continued. It was like being driven through a maze or sewer. The halls were lit occasionally by tharlarion oil lamps set in iron fixtures mounted in the walls. The interior of the palace seemed to me to be deserted. It was innocent of color, of adornment. I staggered on, smarting from the whip wounds, almost crushed by the burden of the yoke. I doubted if I could, unaided, find my way from this sinister labyrinth. "
"Outlaw of Gor" page 89
"Most of the male citizens wore grey tunics, perhaps indicative of their superiority to pleasure, their determination to be serious and responsible, to be worthy scions of that industrious and sober city.
(...) On the shoulders of their grey tunics only a small band of color indicated caste. Normally the caste colors of Gor would be in abundant evidence, enlivening the streets and bridges of the city, a glorious spectacle in Gor's bright, clear air. "
"Outlaw of Gor" page 65
"The small fellow, I had gathered, might have once been from Tharna. That is a city far to the north and east of Venna. It is well know for its silver mines. So, too, incidentally, is the city of Argentum,(...)"
"Dancer of Gor" page 385
"Approaching across the meadow, ankle deep in the wet grass, were four warriors, helmeted and carrying spears and shields. By the shield insignia and blue helmets I knew them to be men of Tharna."
"Outlaw of Gor" page 56
"Perhaps I was most startled on the silent streets of Tharna by the free women. They walked in this city unattended, with an imperious step, the men of Tharna moving to let them pass - in such a way that they never touched. Each of these women wore resplendent Robes of Concealment, rich in color and workmanship, standing out among the drab garments of the men, but instead of the veil common with such robes the features of each were hidden behind a mask of silver. The masks were of identical design, each formed in the semblance of a beautiful, but cold face. Some of these masks had turned to gaze upon me as I passed, my scarlet warrior's tunic having caught their eye. It made me uneasy to be the object of their gaze, to be confronted by those passionless, glittering silver masks."
"Outlaw of Gor" page 67
"On the throne itself there sat a woman, proud, lofty in haughty dignity, garbed regally in majestic robes of golden cloth, wearing a mask not of silver but of pure gold, carved like the others in the image of a beautiful woman. The eyes behind the glittering mask of gold regarded me. No one need tell me that I stood in the presence of Lara, Tatrix of Tharna."
"Outlaw of Gor" page 38
"From the curule chair beside the throne rose another woman, wearing an intricately wrought silver mask and magnificent robes of rich silver cloth. She stood haughtily beside the Tatrix, the expressionless silver mask gleaming down at me, hideous in the torchlight it reflected. Speaking to the Tatrix, but not turning the mask from me, she said, "Destroy the animal." It was a cold, ringing voice, clear, decisive, authoritative."
"Outlaw of Gor" page 38
"Lara stood beside me, clad as a free woman but not in the Robes of Concealment. She had shortened and trimmed one of the gracious Gorean garments, cutting it to the length of her knees and cutting away the sleeves so that they fell only to her elbows. It was a bright yellow and she had belted it with a scarlet sash. Her feet wore plain sandals of red leather. About her shoulders, at my suggestion, she had wrapped a cloak of heavy wool. It was scarlet. I had thought she might require this for warmth. I think she thought she might require it to match her sash. I smiled to myself. She was free."
"Outlaw of Gor" page 96
"I missed in the crowd the presence of slave girls, common in other cities,(...)
I remembered that in Tharna, ruled by its Tatrix, there would be few, if any, female slaves. Whether or not there were male slaves I could not well judge, for the collars would have been hidden by the grey robes. There is no distinctive garment for a male slave on Gor, since, as it is said, it is not well for them to discover how numerous they are."
"Outlaw of Gor" page 66
CULTURE AND TRADITIONS
Amusements of Tharna
"I looked above the wall and saw, vested in her robes of gold, regal on a golden throne, she who alone might wear a golden mask, she who was First in Tharna - Lara, the Tatrix herself. The Tatrix arose and lifted her hand. Pure in its glove of gold it held a golden scarf. The stands fell silent. Then, to my astonishment, the men of Tharna who were yoked in the arena, kneeling, rejected by their city, condemned, chanted a strange paean. Andreas and I, not being of Tharna, were alone silent, and I would guess he was as surprised as I. Though we are abject beasts Fit only to live for your comfort Fit only to die for your pleasure Yet we glorify the Masks of Tharna. Hail to the Masks of Tharna. Hail to the Tatrix of our City. The golden scarf fluttered to the sands of the arena and the Tatrix resumed her throne, reclining upon its cushions.
The voice speaking through the trumpet said, "Let the Amusements of Tharna begin."
"Outlaw of Gor" page 111
"First," said the voice, "there will be the Contests of Oxen." There were perhaps forty yoked wretches in the arena. In a few moments the guards had divided us into teams of four, harnessing our yokes together with chains. Then, with their whips, they drove us to a set of large blocks of quarried granite, weighing perhaps a ton apiece, from the sides of which protruded heavy iron rings. More chains fixed each team to its own block. The course was indicated to us. The race would begin and end before the golden wall behind which, in lofty splendor, sat the Tatrix of Tharna. Each team would have its driver, who would bear a whip and ride upon the block. We painfully dragged the heavy blocks to the golden wall. The silver yoke, hot from the sun, burned my neck and shoulders. As we stood before the wall I heard the laughter of the Tatrix and my vision blackened with rage."
"Outlaw of Gor" page 112