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THARNA
           Amusements of Tharna  
Contests of Oxen
AR
           Stadium of Blades   Tarn Races   Contests of arms   Slave Combats   Tharlarion Races  

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THARNA

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

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Contests of Oxen

"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

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AR

“Gnieus Lelius seems a generous, noble fellow,” I said. “He is a patron of the arts,” said the fellow. “He has founded parks and museums. He has won the support of the elite in this fashion. I myself favor him for he has remitted certain classes of debts. This has considerably eased my financial burdens. The lower castes are fond of him for he frequently, at his own expense, distributes free bread and paga, and sponsors games and races. He has also declared new holidays. He has made life better and easier in Ar. He is much supported by the people. “You are certain that he is concerned for the welfare of Ar?” I asked."
"Mercenaries of Gor" Page 265

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Stadium of Blades

"I do not choose to describe the nature of the games, except in certain general detail. There seems to me little of beauty in them and much of blood. Matches are arranged between single armed fighters, or teams of such. Generally Warriors do not participate in these matches, but men of low caste, slaves, condemned criminals and such. Some of them, however, are quite skillful with the weapons of their choice, surely the equal of many Warriors. The crowd is fond of seeing various types of weapons used against others, and styles of fighting. Buckler and short sword are perhaps most popular, but there are few weapons on Gor which are not seen over a period of three or four days of the games. Another popular set of weapons, as in the ancient ludi of Rome is the net and trident. Usually those most skilled with this set of weapons are from the shore and islands of distant, gleaming Thassa, the sea, where they doubtless originally developed among fishermen. Sometimes men fight locked in iron hoods, unable to see their opponents. Sometimes men wrestle to the death or use the spiked gauntlets. Sometimes slave girls are forced to fight slave girls, perhaps with steel claws fastened on their fingers, or several girls, variously armed, will be forced to fight a single man, or a small number of men. Surviving girls, of course, become the property of those whom they have fought; men who lose are, of course, slain. Beasts are also popular in the Stadium of Blades, and fights between various animals, half starved and goaded into fury by hot irons and whips, are common; sometimes the beasts fight beasts of the same species, and other times not; sometimes the beasts fight men, variously armed, or armed slave girls; sometimes, for the sport of the crowd, slaves or criminals are fed to the beasts. The training of slaves and criminals for these fights, and the acquisition and training of the beasts is a large business in Ar, there being training schools for men, and compounds where the beasts, captured on expeditions to various parts of Gor and shipped to Ar, may be kept and taught to kill under the unnatural conditions of the stadium spectacle. Upon occasion, and it had happened early in Se’Kara this year, the arena is flooded and a sea fight is staged, the waters for the occasion being filled with a variety of unpleasant sea life, water tharlarion, Vosk turtles, and the nine gilled Gorean shark, the latter brought in tanks on river barges up the Vosk, to be then transported in tanks on wagons across the margin of desolation to Ar for the event."
"Assassin of Gor" pafe 189/190

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Tarn Races

"The tarns were, of course, racing tarns, a bird in many ways quite different from the common tarns of Gor, or the war tarns. The differences among these tarns are not simply in the training, which does differ, but in size, strength, build and tendencies of the bird. Some tarns are bred primarily for strength and are used in transporting wares by carrying basket. Usually these birds fly more slowly and are less vicious than the war tarns or racing tarns. The war tarns, of course, are bred for both strength and speed, but also for agility, swiftness of reflex, and combative instincts. War tarns, whose talons are shod with steel, tend to be extremely dangerous birds, even more so than other tarns, none of whom could be regarded as fully domesticated."
"Assassin of Gor" pages 143

"The racing tarn, interestingly, is an extremely light bird; two men can lift one; even its beak is narrower and lighter than the beak of a common tarn or a war tarn; its wings are commonly broader and shorter than those of the other tarns, permitting a swifter takeoff and providing a capacity for extremely abrupt turns and shifts in flight; they cannot carry a great deal of weight and the riders, as might be expected, are small men, usually of low caste, pugnacious and aggressive. Racing tarns are not used by tarnsmen in war because they lack the weight and power of war tarns; meeting a war tarn in flight, a racing tarn would be torn to pieces in moments; further, the racing tarns, though marvelous in their particular ways, lack the stamina of the common tarn or the war tarn; their short wings, after a flight of perhaps only fifty pasangs, would begin to fail; in a short-distance dash, of course, the racing tarn would commonly be superior to the war tarn."
"Assassin of Gor" page 144

"The track flown by the tarns is one pasang in length. In English measure the two sides of the track are each about seventeen hundred feet in length, and the measure at the corners would be something under a hundred and fifty feet in width. The flight track itself, of course, is rather like a narrow, aerial rectangle with two rounded ends. The course is determined by twelve rings, hung on chains from great supporting towers; six of these "rings" are rectangular and six are round; the large rectangular "rings" are three on a side; the smaller, round rings are set at the corners of the dividing wall, and one at each of the narrowest portions of the dividing wall. Thus, in leaving the perches at the beginning of the race, the tarns pass first through three rectangular "rings," then come to the first turn, where they negotiate three round rings, two of which are at the corners; and then they encounter three more rectangular "rings" and then come to the second turn, where they again encounter three round rings, two at the corners and one in the center; skill is required in flying such a course, particularly in making the turns and passing through the small round rings. If four tarns were flown perfectly, one above, one below, and one on each side, four could just pass through one of the round rings; one of the objects of course is to maneuver the tarn in such a way that it takes the center of the ring, or forces the following bird to strike the ring or miss it altogether; I doubt that this fierce form of racing would be practical were it not for the almost uncanny agility in flight of the short- winged racing tarns."
"Assassin of Gor" page 146

"It might be noted, however, that a serious investment is involved in attempting to form a faction. There are often attempts to found a new faction, but generally they are unsuccessful. If a substantial proportion of races are not won in the first two seasons the law of the Stadium of Tarns discontinues its recognition of that faction. Moreover, to bring a new faction into competition is an expensive business, and involves considerable risk to the capital advanced. Not only is it expensive to buy or rent tarncots, acquire racing tarns, hire riders and Tarn Keepers, and the entire staff required to maintain a faction organization, but there is a large track fee for new factions, during the first two probation years."
"Assassin of Gor page 219

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Contests of arms

"Contests of arms, fought to the death, whereas they may not take place at the fairs are not unknown on Gor, and are popular in some cities. Contests of this sort, most often involving criminals and impoverished soldiers of fortune, offer prizes of amnesty or gold and are customarily sponsored by rich men to win the approval of the populace of their cities. Sometimes these men are merchants who wish thereby to secure goodwill for their products; sometimes they are practitioners of law, who hope to sway the votes of jury men; sometimes they are Ubars or High Initiates who find it in their interests to keep the crowds amused. Such contests, in which life is lost, used to be popular at Ar, for example, being sponsored in that city by the Caste of Initiates, who regard themselves as being the intermediaries between Priest-Kings and men, though I suspect that, at least on the whole, they know as little about the Priest-Kings as do other men. These contests, it might be mentioned, were banned in Ar when Kazrak of Port Kar became administrator of that city. It was not an action which was popular with the powerful Caste of Initiates." "Priest-Kings of Gor" page 11

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Slave Combats

"Many slave fights are little more than bloody brawls, which free persons are pleased to witness. Kenneth and Barus, on the other hand, who bet on such matters, took these fights seriously. They had, over the years, devoted time and intelligence to the training and development of fighting slaves. The stables of the Lady Florence of Vonda had been, as a result of this, particularly in the last four or five years, unusually successful in the stable bouts. Indeed, Kenneth and Barus had accumulated small fortunes as a result of their efforts in this area. Gorean free persons of high caste, of course, tended to take little note of these matters."
"Fighting Slave of Gor" page 240

"Sometimes as often as every fourth or fifth day I was hooded and chained, and placed in a wagon, usually with some fellow slaves, fighters, too. I would then be unchained and unhooded, in my turn, in a shallow pit, about which free persons, almost always of low caste, would be gathered. ln the pit, too, would be another slave. Our hands would be wrapped in leather that they might not be easily broken. One might kick but holds to the death were not permitted. One fought, with occasional rest periods, for this makes the fight last longer, the fighters being briefly refreshed, until one man or the other could no longer fight. There would be much shouting and betting. I had lost my first matches in our own stables but, in time, with training and advice, and pit experience, I had begun to do well. I had won my last seventeen bouts, five of which had been outside our own stables. I was usually one of a team of five fighters, divided by weight. I was in the heaviest weight class. Some small men, as is well known, are extremely fine fighters, though, of course, they do not have the size and weight to consistently best larger men, assuming that the distribution of skills is similar."
"Fighting Slave of Gor" page 240/1

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Tharlarion Races

"Rather our mounts were typical of the breeds from which are extracted racing tharlarion, of the sort used, for example, in the Vennan races. To be sure, it is only select varieties of such breeds, such as the Venetzia, Torarii and Thalonian, which are commonly used for the racers. As one might suppose, the blood lines of the racers are carefully kept and registered, as are, incidentally, those of many other sorts of expensive bred animals, such as tarsks, sleen and verr. This remark also holds for certain varieties of expensive bred slaves, the prize crops of the slave farms. Venna, a wealthy town north of Ar, is known for its diversions, in particular, its tharlarion races."
"Magicians of Gor" page 290

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