John Norman

Magicians of Gor

(Chronicles of Counter-Earth-25)

1 The Street

'Surely you understand the law, my dear,' he said.

She struggled in the net, dropped from the ceiling, then held about her by guardsmen sprung from concealment at the sides of the room.

'No!' she cried. 'No!'

She was then turned about, twice in the net, on the couch so that she was thoroughly entangled, doubly, in its toils.

'No!' she wept.

The guardsmen, four of them, held the net.

Her eyes were wild. Her fingers were in the knotted mesh. She was like a frightened animal.

'Please,' she wept. 'What do you want?'

The fellow did not then answer her, but regarded her. She was naked in the toils of the net, and now lay on her side, her legs drawn up in it, now seemingly, small and very vulnerable, so bared and caught, on the deep furs of the huge couch.

'Milo!' she cried to a tall, handsome fellow to one side, 'Help me!'

'But I am a slave,' pointed out Milo, donning his purple tunic.

She looked at him, wildly.

'I am sure you are familiar with the law,' said the first fellow, flanked by two magistrates.

'No!' she cried.

The magistrates were ex offico witnesses, who could certify the circumstances of the capture. The net was a stout one, and weighted.

'Any free women who couches with another's slave, or readies herself to couch with another's slave, becomes herself a slave, and the slave of the slave's master. It is a clear law.'

'No! No!' she wept.

'Think of it in this fashion, if you wish,' he said. 'You have given yourself to Milo, but Milo is mine, and can own nothing, and thus you have given yourself to me. An analogy is the coin given by a free person to a street girl, which coin, of course, does not then belong to the girl but to her master. What is given to the slave is given to the master.

She regarded him with horror.

'I loathe you!' she cried. 'Bring me my clothing!' she wept to the guardsmen.

'When the certifications are approved, and filed, and in this case there will be no ambiguity or difficulty about the matter, you will be mine.

'No!' she wept.

'Put her on her knees, on the couch, in the net,' he said.

This was done.

She looked wildly at Milo. There were tears in her eyes. 'Will I then, as a slave, be your woman?' she asked.

'I do not think so,' said Milo, smiling.

'The handsome, charming, suave, witty Milo,' said the fellow, 'is a seduction slave.'

'A seduction slave?' she wept.

'Yes,' he said. 'He has much increased my stock of slaves.'

She tore at the net, in tears, but helpless.

'Had you, and your predecessors, not been so secretive, so much concerned to conceal your affairs with a slave, Milo's utility as a seduction slave would have doubtless been much diminished by now. On the other hand, the concern for your reputation and such, so natural in you free women, almost guarantees the repeatability, and continued success, of these small pleasant projects.'

'Release me!' she begged.

'Some of Milo's conquests are used in my fields, and others in my house,' he said. 'But most, and I am sure you will be one of these, are exported, sold out of the city to begin your new life.'

'My new life?' she whispered.

'That of a female slave,' he smiled.

She struggled, futilely.

'Raise the net to her waist, and lower it to her neck,' he said, 'and tie it about her. Then put her in a gag and hood.'

'No!' she wept.

'By tonight,' he said, 'you will be branded and collared.'

'No, please!' she wept.

The net was then adjusted on the female, in accordance with the fellow's instructions, in such a way that her legs and head were free, but her arms were confined. It was then bound tightly in place.

The fellow then glanced at the handsome slave. 'You will leave by another exit,' he said.

'Yes, Master,' said the slave.

The free woman watched the slave withdraw. 'Milo!' she whispered.

'You are now kneeling on a couch,' said the fellow, 'which, for a female slave, is a great honor. You may be months into your bondage before you are again permitted such an honor.'

'Milo!' she wept, after the slave.

The leather bit of the gag, a fixture of the hood, was then forced back between her teeth, and tied in place.

She made a tiny noise, of protest.

The hood itself was then drawn over her head, covering it completely. It was then fixed on her, buckled shut, beneath her chin.

'What have you seen?' said Marcus.

I stepped back from the crack in the shutters, through which I had observed the preceding scene.

'Nothing,' I said.

We were in a street of Ar, a narrow, crowded street, in which we were much jostled. It was in the Metellan district, south and east of the district of the Central Cylinder. It is a shabby, but not squalid district. There are various tenements, or insulae, there. It is the sort of place, far enough from broad avenues of central Ar, where assignations, or triflings, might take place. 'Is Ar this crowded always?' asked Marcus, irritably.

'This street, at this time of day,' I said.

My companion was Marcus Marcellus, of the Marcelliani, formerly of Ar's Station, on the Vosk. We had come to Ar from the vicinity of Brundisium. He, like myself, was of the caste of warriors. With him, clinging closely, about him, as though she might fear losing him in the crowd, and attempting also, it seemed, not unoften, to make herself small and conceal herself behind him, was his slave, Phoebe, this name having been put on her, a slender exquisite, very lightly complexioned, very dark-haired girl. She had come into his keeping in the vicinity of Brundisium, some months ago.

'As we do have the yellow ostraka and our permits do not permit us to remain in the city after dark,' said Marcus, 'I think we should venture now to the sun gate.'

Marcus was the sort of fellow who was concerned about such things, being arrested, impaled, and such.

'There is plenty of time,' I assured him. Most cities have a sun gate, sometimes several. They are called such because they are commonly opened at dawn and closed at dusk, thus the hours of their ingress and regress being determined by the diurnial cycle. Ar is the largest city of known Gor, larger even, I am sure, than Turia, in

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