pressure on the throat strap. The great tarn snapped his wings out, catching the air under them, and smoothly began to fly a straight course, his wings beating slowly but steadily in a cruising speed that would soon take us far beyond the towers of the city. The Older. Tarl, who seemed pleased, drew near. He pointed back toward the city, which was now several miles in the distance.

'I'll race you,' I cried.

'Agreed!' he shouted, wheeling his tam in the instant he spoke, and turning him to the city. I was dismayed. His skill was such that he had taken a lead that it would be impossible to overcome. At last I managed to, turn the bird, and we were streaking along in the wake of the Older Tarl. Certain of his cries drifted back to us. He — a was urging his tarn to greater speed by a series of shouts intended to communicate his own excitement to his winged mount. The thought flashed through my mind that tarns should be trained to respond to voice commands as well as to the numbered straps and the tam-goad. That they had not been seemed astounding to me.

I shouted to my tam, in Gorean and in English. 'Har-ta! Har-ta! Faster! Faster!'

The great bird seemed to sense what I intended, or perhaps it was merely his sudden realization that the othertam was in the lead, but a remarkable transformation swept over my sable, plumed steed. His neck straightened and his wings suddenly cracked like whips in the sky; his eyes became fiery and his every bone and muscle seemed to leap with power. In a dizzying minute or two we had passed the Older Tarl, to his amazement, and had settled again in a flurry of wings on the top of the cylinder from which we had departed a few minutes before.

'By the beards of the Priest-Kings,' roared the Older Tarl as he brought his bird to the roof, 'that is a tarn of. tams!'

The tarns, released, winged their way back to the tam cots, and the Older Tarl and I descended to my apartment. He was bursting with pride. 'What a tam!' he marveled. 'I had a full pasang start, and yet you passed me!' The pasang is a measure of distance on Gor, equivalent approximately to.7 of a mile. 'That tarn,' he said, 'was bred for you, specially selected from the best broods of the finest of our war tarns. It was with you in mind that the keepers of the tarns worked, breeding and crossbreeding, training and retraining.'

'I thought,' I said, 'on the roof it would kill me. It seems the tarn keepers do not train their prodigies as well as they might.'

'No!' cried the Older Tarl. 'The training is perfect. The spirit of the tarn must not be broken, not that of a war tarn. He is trained to the point where it is necessary for a strong master to decide whether he shall serve him or slay him. You will come to know your tarn, and he will come to know you. You will be as one in the sky, the tare the body, you the mind and will. You will live in an armed truce with the tarn. If you become weak or helpless, he will kill you. As long as you remain strong, his master, he will serve you, respect you, obey you.' He paused. 'We were not sure of you, your father and myself, but today I am sure. You have mastered a tarn, a war taro. In your veins must flow the blood of your father, once Ubar, War Chieftain, now Administrator of Ko-ro-ba, this City of Cylinders.'

I was surprised, for this was the first time I had known that my father had been War Chieftain of the city, or that he was even now its supreme civil official, or, for that matter, that the city was named Ko-ro-ba, a now archaic expression for a village market. The Goreans have a habit of not revealing names easily. For themselves, particularly among the Lower Castes, they often have a real name and what is called a use name. Often only the closest relatives know the real name.

On the level of the First Knowledge, it is maintained that knowing the real name gives one a power over a person, a capacity to use that name in spells and insidious magical practices. Perhaps something of the same sort lingers even on our native Earth, where the first name of a person is reserved for use by those who know him intimately and presumably wish him no harm. The second name, which would correspond to the use-name on Gor, is common property, a public sound not sacred or to be protected. At the level of the Second Knowledge, of course, the High Castes, at least in general, recognize the baseless superstition of the Lower Castes and use their own names comparatively freely, usually followed by the name of their city. For example, I would have given my name as Tarl Cabot of Ko-ro-ba, or, more simply, as Tarl of Ko-ro-ba. The Lower Castes, incidentally, commonly believe that the names of the High Castes are actually use-names and that the High Castes conceal their real names.

Our discussion terminated abruptly. There was a rush of wings outside the window of my apartment, and the Older Tarl flung himself across the room and dragged me to the floor. At the same moment the iron bolt of a crossbow, fired through one of the narrow windows, struck the wall behind my chair-stone and ricocheted viciously about the room. I caught a glimpse of a black helmet through the port as a warrior, still clutching a crossbow and mounted on his taro, hauled up on the one-strap and flew from the window. There were shouts, and, rushing to the window, I saw several answering bolts leave the cylinder and fly in the direction of the retreating assailant, who was now almost half a pasang away and making good his escape.

'A member of the Caste of Assassins,' said the Older Tarl, gazing at the retreating speck in the distance. 'Marlenus, who would be Ubar of all Gor, knows of your existence.'

'Who is Marlenus?' I asked, shaken.

'You will learn in the morning,' said the Older Tarl.

'And in the morning you will learn why you have been brought to Gor.'

'Why can't I know now?' I demanded.

'Because the morning will come soon enough,' said the Older Tarl.

I looked at him.

'Yes,' he said, 'tomorrow will be soon enough.'

'And tonight?' I asked.

'Tonight,' he said, 'we will get drunk.'

In the morning I awoke on the sleeping mat in the corner of my apartment, cold and shivering. It was shortly before dawn. I turned off the power switch on the mat and folded back its blanket sides. It was chilly to the touch now, because I had set the chronometric temperature device to turn to cold an hour before the first light. One has little inclination to remain in a freezing bed. I decided I disapproved of the Gorean devices for separating mortals from their beds as much as I loathed the alarm clocks and clock radios of my own world. Besides, I had a headache like the beating of spears on a bronze shield, a headache that drove all lesser considerations, such as the attempt on my life yesterday, from my mind. The planet might be exploding and a man would stop to remove a burr from his sandal. I sat up, cross-legged, on the mat, which was now returning to room temperature. I struggled to my feet and staggered to the laving bowl on the table and splashed some water in my face.

I could remember something of the night before, but not much. The Older Tarl and I had made a round of taverns in the various cylinders, and I recall toddling precariously, singing obscene camp lyrics, along different narrow bridges, about a yard wide without rails, and the earth somewhere below — how far I had no idea at the time. If we were on the high bridges, it would have been more than a thousand feet away. The Older Tarl and I may have drunk too much of that fermented brew concocted with fiendish skill from the yellow grain, SaTarna, and called Pagar-SaTarna, Pleasure of the Life Daughter, but almost always «Paga» for short. I doubted that I would ever touch the stuff again.

I remembered, too, the girls in the last tavern, if it was a tavern, lascivious in their dancing silks, pleasure slaves bred like animals for passion. If there were natural slaves and natural free men, as the Older Tarl had insisted, those girls were natural slaves. It was impossible to conceive of them as other than they had been, but somewhere they, too, must be awakening painfully, struggling to their feet, needing to clean themselves. One in particular I remembered, young, her body like a cheetah, her black hair wild on her brown shoulders, the bangles on her ankles, their sound in the curtained alcove. I found the thought crossing my mind that I would like to have owned that one for more than the hour I had paid for. I shook the thought from my aching head, made an unsuccessful effort to muster a decent sense of shame, failed, and was belting my — tunic when the Older Tarl entered the room.

'We are going to the Chamber of the Council,' he said.

I followed him.

The Chamber of the Council is the room in which the elected representatives of the High Castes of Ko-ro-ba hold their meetings. Each city has such a chamber. It was in the widest of cylinders, and the ceiling was at least six times the height of the normal living level. The ceiling was lit as if by stars, and the walls were of five colors, applied laterally, beginning from the bottom white, blue, yellow, green, and red, caste colors. Benches of stone, on which the members of the Council sat, rose in five monumental tiers about the walls, one tier for each of the High Castes. These tiers shared the color of that portion of the wall behind them, the caste colors.

The tier nearest the floor, which denoted some preferential status, the white tier, was occupied by Initiates, Interpreters of the Will of the Priest-Kings. In order, the ascending tiers, blue, yellow, green, and red, were occupied by representatives of the Scribes, Builders, Physicians, and Warriors.

Torm, I observed, was not seated in the tier of Scribes. I smiled to myself. 'I am,' Torm had said, 'too practical to involve myself in the frivolities of government,' I supposed the city might be under siege and Torm would fail to notice.

I was pleased to note that my own caste, that of the Warriors, was accorded the least status; if I had had my will, the warriors would not have been a High Caste. On the other hand, I objected to the Initiates being in the place of honor, as it seemed to me that they, even more than the Warriors, were nonproductive members of society. For the Warriors, at least, one could say that they afforded protection to the city, but for the Initiates one could say very little, perhaps only that they provided some comfort for ills and plagues largely of their own manufacture.

In the center of the amphitheater was a throne of office, and on this throne, in his robe of state — a plain brown garment, the humblest cloth in the hall — sat my father, Administrator of Ko-ro-ba, once Ubar, War Chieftain of the city. At his feet lay a helmet, shield, spear, and sword.

'Come forward, Tarl Cabot,' said my father, and I stood before his throne of office, feeling the eyes of everyone in the chamber on me. Behind me stood the Older Tarl. I had noted that those blue Viking eyes showed almost no evidence of the previous night. I hated him, briefly.

The Older Tarl was speaking. 'I, Tarl, Swordsman of Ko-ro-ba, give my word that this man is fit to become a member of the High Caste of Warriors.'

My father answered him, speaking in ritual phrases. 'No tower in Ko-ro-ba is stronger than the word of Tarl, this Swordsman of our city. I, Matthew Cabot of Ko- ro-ba, accept his word.'

Then, beginning with the lowest tier, each member of the Council spoke in succession, giving his name and pronouncing that he, too, accepted the word of the blond swordsman. When they had finished, my father invested me with the arms which had lain before the throne. About my shoulder he slung the steel sword, fastened on my left arm the round shield, placed in my right hand the spear, and slowly lowered the helmet on my head.

'Will you keep the Code of the Warrior?' asked my father.

'Yes,' I said, 'I will keep the Code.'

'What is your Home Stone?' asked my father.

Sensing what was wanted, I replied, 'My Home Stone is the Home Stone of Ko-ro-ba.'

'Is it to that city that you pledge your life, your honor, and your sword?' asked my father.

'Yes,' I said.

'Then,' said my father, placing his hands solemnly on my shoulders, 'in virtue of my authority as Administrator of this city and in the presence of the Council of High Castes, I declare you to be a Warrior of Ko-ro-ba.'

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