upon her, and, perhaps, to freshen their relationship, she understanding, in effect, that she must now begin anew.

'It is not to disguise another name?' he asked.

'No, Master,' she said.

He regarded her.

I did not understand his seeming anger, his seeming suspicion.

'I have worn many names, Master,' she said. 'I am a slave. Men name me, as is fitting for me, as they please.'

'Are you a bred slave?Э he asked.

'Not in the legal sense of the term, Master,' she said.

'Speak clearly,' he said.

'Though I am a natural slave,' she said, 'there was a time when I was not a legal slave. I was once, in the eyes of the law, a free woman,'

'What was your name, when you were free?' he asked.

She squirmed beneath his gaze, which was like edged steel. I was sure she wished that she might reach up and bring the strands of beads, which I had lifted and thrown back, about her collar, that they might dangle behind her, obscuring the less my vision of her loveliness, back again before her, as though such tiny, colorful objects might protect her to some extent from that imperious scrutiny. But she did not dare to lift her hands from her thighs where, in one of the common positions of the pleasure slave, they now reposed. I had little doubt but what their palms were sweating. She moved her knees a little further apart, presumably in an effort to make clear her desire to be pleasing. How lovely her throat looked in its closely fitting steel collar.

'Prokne,' she said.

His eyes blazed.

She trembled. She knew, of course, from his insignia, that he had come from Ar's Station.

His hands went to his belt, and she shrank back. I though that perhaps he was considering it, to lash her.

'Are you from Cos?' he asked. 'No, Master!' she said. 'The fields of my father were north of White Water!'

White Water is called such because of rapids in its vicinity. It is a ton on the northern back of the Vosk. It is a member of the Vosk League. It is the first major town west of Lara, which is located at the confluence of the Vosk and Olni. Lara is the westernmost city in the Salerian Confederation. White Water is east of Ar's Station. There are three major towns between Ar's Station and White Water. They are Forest Port, Iskander and Tancred's Landing, which three towns, like White Water, are members of the Vosk League.

Most of the major towns on the Vosk are on the northern bank. This is undoubtedly because of a one-time policy of Ar to maintain a margin of desolation to the north, one stretching to the river, across which is would be difficult for an invader to bring an army. The major route south was then, as it is now, the Viktel Aria, which by means of its camps and posts, Ar then controlled. Thus, supposedly, Ar could move north with ease, but it would be difficult for other forces to move south, unless challenging Ar for the Viktel Aria. The margin of desolation however, has not been maintained for years. Its military significance declined with the development of large-scale tarn transport, capable of supplying troops in the field. Too, as Ar's population increased she began to move northward. Indeed, her interests in the Vosk Basin are well known. In the past few years, particularly under the governance of Marlenus of Ar, the policies of Ar have tended to be expansionistic.

Accordingly, it seems clear that in time the strategists of Ar came to view the margin of desolation less as a rampart than a barrier.

'Such names,' he said, 'are not so common east on the river.'

'Yes, Master,' she said.

'You are a long way from White Water,' he said.:Yes, Master,' she said.

I saw his hand tighten on the belt, near its buckle. This was not lost on the slave, either.

'You came from the vicinity of White Water?' he asked.

'Yes, Master,' she said.

'With a name like 'Prokne'?'

'Yes, Master,' she said. 'I wonder if you are lying,' he said.

'No, Master,' she said. 'I am not lying! The slave, Yakube, does not lie to free men! she would not dare to do so!'

'Perhaps you are indeed from far away,' he said.

'Yes, Master,' she said.

He looked at her.

'Men take me where they wish, they do with me as they please,' she said. Slave girls, of course, as goods, as exchangeable properties, and so on, are likely to see a great deal more of their world than the average free woman. Many free persons on Gor seldom travel more than a few pasangs from their village or the walls of their city. An important exception to this is the pilgrimage to the Sardar, which every Gorean, male and female, is expected to undertake at least once in his life. The journey, of course, from many points on Gor to the Sardar is, at least in certain parts, dangerous. It is not unknown for a young woman who sets out in the pilgrim's white to arrive as a chained slave, who will be sold at one of the fairs. Her glimpse of the Sardar is likely to be obtained from the height of a sales platform.

'But perhaps you are from the west, and not the east,' he said.

'Master?' she said.

'Might you be from Cos?' he asked, his eyes narrow, his hands on the belt, near the buckle.

'No, Master!' she said.

'It is well for you, that you are not,' he said.

'Yes, Master,' she whispered.

His voice had been low, but it had been terrible in its menace. He then removed his hands from his belt. Yakube shuddered. I was afraid for a moment that she might faint. The other girls, too, were frightened. There was no mistaking the menace, the fury, of the young warrior.

'I shall look for lodging for the night,' he said to me. 'I wish you well.' 'I wish you well,' I said. I no longer ventured to suggest that we sup together, or pleasure ourselves with slaves.

We watched him depart.

'May we be dismissed, Master?' asked Roxanne. 'all but Yakube,' I said.

Gratefully Roxanne and Korinne leapt up and hurried away.

Yakube looked up at me.

'I will not hurt you,' I said.

She trembled, kneeling on the pier.

'Do you know him?' I asked.

'No!' she said. 'No!'

I continued to look after him.

'Why does he hate me so?' she asked.

'I do not think he hates you,' I said. 'I think, rather, you trouble him. I think, indeed, and am sure of it, that you are the sort of woman he finds inordinately exciting, maddeningly attractive.

She shuddered.:It is Cos he hates,' I said.

'I am pleased that I am not of Cos!' she said.

'You may go,' I said.

Quickly, gratefully, she drew her beads again about herself, before her, then leapt up and hurried after her friends. I saw that they had waited at the end of the pier. When she had joined them, they hurried away together. They took care not to take the same street as that followed by the young warrior.

There was a cold wind now. It came from the east.

I thought of Dietrich of Tarnburg, holding Torcadino, of Ar, of Cos, of the expeditionary force in the north, of the forces of Ar, and the delta.

I was afraid.

I then turned my attention once more to the street which the young warrior had entered. It was on of those

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