incidentally, makes it difficult to drain the moat. It could be done, of course, by men working under a shed, to protect them from missile fire, arrows, lead sling pellets, and such, or, say, more safely, and less exposed to sorties, by siege miners, through a tunnel. Either project, of course, would require several men, be costly in time and would constitute an engineering feat of no mean proportion. There are, of course, various other approaches to such problems, for example, attempting to bridge the moat, perhaps using dugout pontoons, having recourse to rafts on which one might mount siege ladders, and even attempting to fill it. Starvation of a garrison is usually ineffective, incidentally, for various reasons. There is usually a large amount of supplies laid in, often enough for one or two years, and water is generally available in siege cisterns within, if not from rain or the moat itself. Similarly, after a time the besiegers tend to exhaust the food supplies in the countryside and may well themselves suffer from hunger before the besieged. Maintaining a siege indefinitely generally requires an extensive and efficient apparatus of logistics, arranging for the acquisition, transportation and protection of supplies. To be sure, much depends on the numbers of the besiegers and besieged, the nature of the defenses, and such. For example, if the besieged do not have enough men to man the extent of their walls, their lines must be thinned to the point where in a multipoint attack penetration is invited. Still, statistically, sieges are almost always unsuccessful. That is why cities have walls, and such. Usually, too, within a city, there will be a citadel to which defenders may withdraw, which is likely to be next to impregnable. They are likely to be safe there even if the city is burned about them.

If it is of interest, sieges usually do not last very long, seldom more than a few weeks, before the besiegers, not seeing much point in the matter, and generally feeling the pinch of short rations, or possibly even because the captain's war contract has expired, or the men's enlistment agreements are up, will withdraw. Indeed, sometimes the soldiers, particularly if they are levied citizen soldiers, may wish to return home simply to attend to their own business, such as gathering in the harvest. More towns and cities, I think, have fallen to trickery and bribery than frontal assaults. A good besieging captain is usually aware of the political dissensions with a polity and attempts to exploit them, a promised consequence of his success supposedly being to bring one party or another into power. The traitorous party then, and perhaps honestly enough in its own mind, is likely to hail the conqueror as a liberator. Dietrich of Tarnburg, one of the best known of the mercenary captains on Gor, is legendary for his skill in such matters. He has doubtless taken more towns with gold than iron. The gold expended, of course, may be later expeditiously recouped from the public treasury, and the sale of goods, such as precious plate, rugs, fine cloths, tapestries, inlaid woods, silver and gold wire, art objects, jewels, tharlarion, tarsks, and women. Indeed, such gains may be levied as a 'liberation fee,' which fee it will be then incumbent on the party in power to welcome with good grace and vigorously justify to the people. The water in the most, from the inpourings from the land about, the drainages, dark and roiling, was almost to the foot of the bridge.

The lantern to my right, to the side, on its post, at the right side of the bridge, swung wildly in the rain and wind.

I looked up. There was a blast of lightning. This illuminated starkly, for a moment, the palisade at the height of the plateau.

Lightning burst again across the sky.

The boards of the bridge were slick with water. It was about eight feet wide. Two wagons could not pass on it. It led upward to a covered gate, which, probably, had a covered, walled hall and another gate beyond it. The two gates, the inner and the outer, are seldom open at the same time. in the covered way, like an enclosed hall between the gates, there would doubtless, both above and to the sides, be arrow ports. Two massive ropes, better than eight inches in diameter, sloped down from the gate structure to the bridge, which allowed for the raising and lowering of a portion of it at will. When the section was raised, pulled up against the gate, further protecting it, the inn would be, in effect, sealed off, an island in its small sea.

Such inns can serve as keeps or strongholds, but they seldom do so. For example, one can simply come to them, and buy entrance and lodging. In that sense they are open, though it is not unusual for them to be closed at night. They can, however, as I have suggested, serve as keeps. More than once, such inns have served rural areas as a place of refuge from foragers or marauders. They have been seized, too, upon occasion by the remnants of defeated forces, as places, in which to make desperate, perhaps last, stands. Too, such places, particularly in remote, restless or barbarous districts, may be pacified. Within the palisade there would be room for several wagons. In this place I did not know how many. Too, though I did not think it was now lit, there might be a sheltered tarn beacon somewhere, usually under a high shed. This signifies not only the location of the inn, and its amenities, but also a safe approach, one unimpeded by tarn wire, for a tarnsman, or a tarnsman with tarn basket. One brings the bird in to the left of the light, of course. By custom Gorean traffic keeps to the left. In this fashion one's sword arm, at least if one is right-handed, as are most Goreans, faces the oncoming traffic.

There was a wagon to the left of the bridge. Its canvas cover was drawn down. The rain poured from it. Under the wagon there was a small, huddled figure, a tarpaulin clutched about its head and shoulders. Within the wagon, then, I supposed, there might be a fellow and his free companion. Doubtless, unless it had been displeasing in some way, the location of the small figure beneath the wagon, huddling there in misery and cold, was a consequence of the presence of the free companion within it. I did not doubt but what the small figure was more beautiful and attractive than the free companion. That was suggested by what must be its status. Free women hate such individuals and lose few opportunities to make them suffer. I wondered if the fellow in the wagon had acquired the individual under it merely for his interest and pleasure, or perhaps, too, as a way of encouraging his companion to take her own relationship with him more seriously. Perhaps, if his plan worked, in such a case, he might then be kind enough to discard the individual beneath the wagon, ridding himself of it, its work accomplished, in some market or other.

I crouched down. I could then see the heavy chain passed through the ring under the wagon. One end of it went between the folds of the tarpaulin clutched about the figure's throat, probably to be padlocked there, about its throat, or attached to a collar. The other end went behind the figure and downward, probably to fasten together its crossed ankles. seeing my eyes upon it, the small figure knelt under the wagon, and, its hands coming from the tarpaulin, their palms now on the gravel, put down its head, rendering obeisance.

'Oh!' she said, softly, as I lifted the tarpaulin back. she looked up from all fours. The chain which passed through the ring wound twice about her neck, where it was padlocked. From her neck, through the ring, lifting, and thence descending, it served also to secure her ankles, which were, as I had anticipated, crossed and chained closely together. This makes it so that the prisoner cannot walk. It is common to chain female prisoners so that they cannot rise to their feet. In this there is not only a security but a symbolism, one that bespeaks their rightful place. Beneath the tarpaulin I saw that she was naked, and, as I had thought she might be, beautiful.

She looked up at me, from all fours. Her body now was streaked with the slanted rain. Her hair, apparently from before, was wet and very dark. It fell about her shoulders. Her knees were on the tarpaulin, within which she had huddles, over the gravel. I knelt her back, and then took her hands in mine. They were also cold. I rubbed them for a time. Then I put them on her thighs. I touched her body, gently, rubbing the rain about it. She shuddered, her shoulders and breasts wet now, and slick, with the rain.

'You are helpless,' I said to her, 'and will make very little noise.' 'My ankles are chained,' she whispered.

I put her to her back, a bit more under the shelter of the wagon. The chain moved a little through the loop ring above us. I heard the wagon creak a little, too, above us. Someone had stirred in it, or was moving, it seemed. The fellow who owned the wagon, I supposed, was turning in his sleep, or was addressing himself to his companion. But it then seemed quiet, and there was little noise except for the wind and rain, and the distant rumble of thunder.

My face was close to here. 'You are slave,' I whispered.

Suddenly there was a great burst of lightning and crash of thunder.

I saw her eyes, and pressed down upon her, holding her head, pressing her lips with the kiss of the master.

I drew back.

There was another great flash of lightning and I saw her eyes, looking up at me, wild, frightened, needful. 'Yes,' she whispered intensely, helplessly. 'I am a slave! I am a slave!' Then she lifted her body and seized me in her arms and pressed her lips eagerly, needfully, gratefully to mine.

I put her to her back.

Then I caressed her, and she squirmed, writhing on the wet tarpaulin over the gravel, beneath the wagon,

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