Fifth Month
Passage Hand
Year 10,174 Contasta Ar

Panther Girls

Panther Girls are yet another topic of which much has been written across countless websites. Much has been supposed and, as is usual among those who have not read the books themselves, much misinformation has been strewn about.

Instead of trying to refute this misinformation, instance by instance, I provide here, not the stories told within the Books, but the references which the Books themselves tell us of Panther Girls.

This is a long outline but, if you read it all, you will learn what is, and isn't, the truth of the Panther Girls.
I make no pronouncements on these matters, but report them as I find them.
Arrive at your own conclusions.

I wish you well,

Supporting References

The next lot was an interesting one, consisting of two slave girls, clad in the skins of forest panthers, from the northern forests of Gor, and chained together by the throat. They were driven up the steps by a whip slave and forced to kneel at the center of the block. The northern forests, the haunts of bandits and unusual beasts, far to the north and east of Ko-ro-ba, my city, are magnificent, deep forests, covering hundreds of thousands of square pasangs. Slave girls who escape masters or some free women, who will not accept the matches arranged by their parents, or reject the culture of Gor, occasionally flee to these forests and live together in bands, building shelters, hunting their food, and hating men; there are occasional clashes between these bands of women, who are often skilled archers, and bands of male outlaws inhabiting the same forests hardy Slavers sometimes go into the forests hunting these girls, but often they do not return; sometimes Slavers simply meet outlaws at the edges of the forests, at designated locations, and buy captured girls from them; interestingly, at other locations, on the eastern edges of the forests, Slavers from Port Kar meet the female groups and purchase men they have captured, who are used as galley slaves; it is not too uncommon that a Slaver Warrior has entered the forest only to be captured by his prey, enslaved, and eventually, when the girls tire of him, be sold, commonly for arrow points and adornments, to Port Kar Slavers, whence he will find himself chained to the oar of a cargo galley.

To the amusement of the crowd it took the whip slave, and two others, to strip the biting, scratching forest beauties. The pair was eventually sold to a collector for ten gold pieces; I trust the security of his Pleasure Gardens is superb, else he might waken to a knife at his throat and the demand for a tarn, and, perhaps eventually, in the rags of a slave, a seat on the bench of a cargo galley.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Pages 293 - 294

I saw only one slave cage on a barge moving downstream. It contained four or five nude male slaves. They seemed dejected, huddled in their cage. Strangely, a broad swath had been shaven lengthwise on their head. Lana saw this and shrieked out, hooting at them across the water. The men did not even look at us, moving slowly across the current toward Laura.

I looked at Ute.

"That means they are men who were taken by women," said Ute. "See," she said, pointing up to the hills and forests north of Laura. "Those are the great forests. No one knows how far they extend to the east, and they go north as far as Torvaldsland. In them there are the forest people, but also many bands of outlaws, some of women and some of men."

"Women?" I asked.

"Some call them the forest girls," said Ute. "Others call them the panther girls, for they dress themselves in the teeth and skins of forest panthers, which they slay with their spears and bows."

I looked at her.

"They live in the forest without men," she said, "saving those they enslave, and then sell, when tiring of them. They shave the heads of their male slaves in that fashion to humiliate them. And that, too, is the way they sell them, that all the world may know that they fell slave to females, who then sold them."

"Who are these women?" I asked. "Where do they come from?"

"Some were doubtless once slaves," said Ute. "Others were once free women. Perhaps they did not care for matches arranged by their parents. Perhaps they did not care for the ways of their cities with respect to women. Who knows? In many cities a free woman may not even leave her dwelling without the permission of a male guardian or member of her family." Ute smiled up at me. "In many cities a slave girl is more free to come and go, and be happy, than a free woman."
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Pages 81 - 82

These were forest girls, sometimes called panther girls, who lived wild and free in the northern forests, outlaw women, sometimes enslaving men, when it pleased them to do so.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Page 118

The tall girl, the blond girl, their leader, called Verna, lithe in the skins of forest panthers, in her golden ornaments, with her spear, strode to where Lana lay on the grass, on her side, bound and gagged.
. . .
Some of the girls were rifling in the wagons, gathering food, coins and drink, cloth, knives, whatever they wished. They were now ready to depart.
. . .
My camisk was cut from me. I stood as only a bound slave among them.
"Burn the camisk and binding fiber," said Verna.
I watched the garment and fiber thrown on the flames. It would not be used to give my scent to domesticated sleen, trained to hunt slaves.
. . .
"I am Verna," she told them, "a Panther Girl, of the High Forests. I enslave men, when it pleases me. When I tire of them I sell them." She walked back and forth before them. "You are tarsks and beasts," she told them. "We despise you," she said. "We have outwitted you, and captured you.
We have bound you. If we wished, we would take you into the forests and teach you what it is to be a slave!" As she spoke she jabbed at them with her spear, and a stain of blood was brought through the fabric of more than one tunic. "Men!" laughed Verna, contemptuously, and turned away from them.
I saw them struggle, but they could not free themselves. They had been bound by Panther Girls.
Then Verna was standing before me. She appraised me, as might have a slaver.
"Kajira," she said, contemptuously.
I shook my head, No!
Without looking back she then strode, spear in hand, from the camp, toward the dark forests in the distance.
Her girls followed her, leaving the fire, and the bound men, and Ute and Lana, whom they had tied at the feet of two of the guards.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Pages 119 - 120

The girls moved swiftly, single file, through the brush and small trees at the edge of the forest. I could feel leaves and twigs beneath my feet. They stopped only long enough to lift aside some branches and take up the light spears, and bows and arrows, which they had hidden there. Each girl wore, too, at her waist, a sheathed sleen knife.
The tall, blond girl, Verna, beautiful and superb, led the file, her bow and a quiver of arrows now on her back, her spear in hand. Sometimes she would stop to listen, or lift her head, as though testing the air, but then she would resume her journey.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Page 122

One of the girls scrambled up a nearby tree. In a moment, in the moonlight, she was throwing down water gourds and strips of meat.
Sitting cross-legged on the leaves, the girls passed about the gourds and began to chew on the meat.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Page 123

"We do not accept slave girls among the women of the forest," said Verna proudly.

"I am not a slave girl!" I cried.

Verna regarded me. "How many of us do you count?" she asked.

"Fifteen," I told her.

"My band," said Verna, "consists of fifteen. This, it seems to me, is a suitable number, for protection, for feeding, for concealment in the forest." She looked at me. "Some groups are smaller, some larger, but my band," she said, "as I wish, numbers fifteen."

I said nothing.

"Would you like to be one of us?" she asked.

"Yes!" I cried. "Yes!"

"Untie her," said Verna.

The choke leash was removed from my throat. My wrists were unbound.

"Stand," said Verna.

I did so, and so, too, did the other girls. I stood, rubbing my wrists.

The girls put down their spears, unslung the bows and quivers from their shoulders.

The light of the three moons filtered through the trees, speckling the glade.

Verna removed her sleen knife from her belt. She handed it to me.

I stood there, holding the knife.

The other girls stood ready, some half crouching. All had removed their knives from their sheaths.

"The place of which of these," asked Verna, "will you take?"

"I do not understand," I said.

"One of these," said Verna, "or myself, you will fight to the death."

I shook my head, No.

"I will fight you, if you wish," said Verna, "without my knife."

"No," I whispered.

"Fight me, Kajira!" hissed the girl who had held my leash. Her knife was ready.

"Me!" cried another.

"Me!" cried yet another.

"Whose place will you take?" asked Verna.

One of the girls cried out and leaped toward me, the knife flashing in her hand.

I screamed and threw the knife from me, and fell to my knees, my head in my hands.

"No, no!" I cried.

"Bind her," said Verna.

I felt my hands pulled again behind my back. The girl who had held my leash lashed them together, mercilessly. I felt again the snap of the choke collar on my throat.

"We have rested," said Verna. "Let us continue our journey."
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Pages 124 - 126

The girls seemed restless, short-tempered, irritable. I saw more than one looking at the moons. "Verna," said one of them. "Quiet," said Verna.

The file continued its journey through the trees and brush, threading its way through the darkness and branches.

"We have seen men," said one of the girls, insistently.

"Be silent," said Verna.

"We should have taken slaves," said another, irritably.

"No," said Verna.

"The circle," said another. "We must go to the circle!"

Verna stopped and turned.

"It is on our way," said another.

"Please, Verna," said another, her voice pleading.

Verna regarded the girls. "Very well," she said, "we shall stop at the circle."

The girls relaxed visibly.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Pages 127 - 128

I was nothing with these proud, free, dangerous, brave women, these independent, superb, unfearing, resourceful, fierce felines, panther girls of the northern forests of Gor. They were swift, and beautiful and arrogant, like Verna. They were armed, and could protect themselves, and did not need men. They could make men slaves, if they wished, and sell them later, if they were displeased with them or wearied of them. And they could fight with knives and knew the trails and trees of the vast forests. They feared nothing, and needed nothing.
They were so different from myself.
They were strong, and unfearing. I was weak, and frightened.
It seemed they were of a sex, or breed, other than, and superior to my own.
Among such women I could be but the object of their scorn, what they despised most, only Kajira.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Page 128

We found ourselves now in a stand of the lofty Tur trees. I could see broadly spreading branches some two hundred feet or more above my head. The trunks of the trees were almost bare of branches until, so far above, branches seemed to explode in an interlacing blanket of foliage, almost obliterating the sky. I could see glimpses of the three moons high above. The floor of the forest was almost bare. Between the lofty, widely spaced trees there was little but a carpeting of leaves.
I saw two of the girls looking up at the moons. Their lips were parted, their fists clenched. There seemed to be pain in their eyes.
"Verna," said one of them.
"Silence," said their leader.
It was no accident that we had stopped at this place. One of the girls whimpered.
"All right," said Verna, "go to the circle."
The girl turned and sped across the carpeting of leaves. "Me, Verna!" cried another.
"To the circle," said Verna, irritably.
The girl turned and sped after the first.
One by one, with her eyes, Verna released the girls, and each ran lightly, eagerly, through the trees.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Pages 129 - 130

After some hundred yards I came to the edge of a clearing. It was some twenty-five to thirty yards in diameter, ringed by the lofty trunks of Tur trees. The floor of the clearing was lovely grass, thick and some inches in height, soft, and beautiful. I looked up. Bright in the dark, star-strewn Gorean sky, large, dominating, seemingly close enough to touch, loomed the three moons of Gor.
The girls of Verna's band stood about the edge of the circle. They did not speak. They were breathing deeply.
They seemed restless. Several had their eyes closed, their fists clenched. Their weapons had been discarded.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Page 131

"Verna!" spoke one of the girls.

"Very well!" said Verna, irritably. "Very well!"

The first girl to leap to the center of the circle was she who had first held my leash.

She had blond hair. Her head was down, and shaking. Then she threw back her head, moaning, and reached up, clawing for the moons of Gor. The other girls, too, responded to her, whimpering and moaning, clenching and unclenching their fists.

The first girl began to writhe, crying out, stamping in the circle.

Then another girl joined her, and another, and another. And then another!

Stamping, turning, crying out, moaning, clawing at the moons, they danced.

Then there were none who had not entered that savage circle, save Verna, the band's leader, proud and superb, armed and disdainful, and Elinor Brinton, a bound slave.

The first girl, throwing back her head to the moons, screamed and tore her skins to the waist, writhing.

Then, for the first time I noticed, in the center of the circle, there were four heavy stakes, about six inches in height, dark in the grass. They formed a small, but ample, square. I shuddered. They were notched, that binding fiber might not slip from them.

The first girl began to dance before the square.

I looked up into the sky. In the dark sky the moons were vast and bright.

Another girl, crying out, tore her own skins to the waist and clawing, moaning, writhing, approached the square. Then another and another!

I did not even look upon Verna, so horrified I was at the barbaric spectacle. I had not believed that women could be like this.

And then the first girl tore away her skins and danced in her golden ornaments beneath the huge, wild moons, on the grass of the circle, before the square.

I could not believe my eyes. I shuddered, fearing such women.

Then suddenly, to my amazement, Verna cried out in anguish, a wild, moaning, anguished cry, and threw from herself her weapons and tore away her own skins and leaped into the circle, turning, and clawing and crying out like the others. She was not other than they, but first among them! She danced savagely, clad only in her gold and beauty, beneath the moons. She cried out and clawed. Sometimes she bit at another girl or struck at her, if she dared approach the square more closely than she. Writhing, enraged, but fearful, eyes blazing, dancing, they fell back before her.

She danced first among them, their leader.

Then, throwing her head back, she screamed, shaking her clenched fists at the moons.

And then, helplessly, she threw herself to the grass within the square, striking at it, biting and tearing at it, and then she threw herself on her back and, fists clenched, writhed beneath the moons.

One by one the other girls, too, violently, threw themselves to the grass, rolling upon it and moaning, some even within the precincts of the square, then throwing themselves upon their backs, some with their eyes closed, crying out, others with their eyes open, fixed helplessly on the wild moons, some with hands tearing at the grass, others pounding the earth piteously with their small fists, sobbing and whimpering, their bodies uncontrolled, helpless, writhing, under the moons of Gor.
. . .

The girls lay now quietly on the grass, some still whimpering slightly, many with their eyes closed, some lying on their stomachs, their face pressed against the grass, the stain of tears on their cheek, mingling into the grass.
. . .

At last the girls, one by one, rose from the grass, drew on again their skins, and took up their weapons.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Pages 132 - 135

After the trek of perhaps an hour we came to a clearing in the forest. In the clearing, there was a small hut, a stave house, with a single door and window. Inside there was a light.
I was led to the door of this house.
. . .

After the trek of perhaps an hour we came to a clearing in the forest. In the clearing, there was a small hut, a stave house, with a single door and window. Inside there was a light.

I was led to the door of this house.

Verna removed the bag from its hook and knelt down on the ground, the other girls around her. She shook the contents of the bag out on the ground. It contained steel arrow points. She counted them in the light of the moons. There were one hundred of them.

Verna gave six points to each of her girls. Ten she kept for herself. She, and they, put the points into the pouches they wore at their belts.

I looked at her, shaking my head, not believing what I had seen. Could it be that this, and this alone, was my price, that I had been purchased for only this, the points for one hundred arrows?
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Pages 136 - 137

A cart was passing, flanked by huntsmen and slaves, bearing their burdens of gourds, flowers, nuts and fruits. On the cart, horizontally, parallel to the axles, there was a high pole, itself supported by two pairs of diagonally crossed poles, lashed together at the point of their crossings. It was a trophy pole, with its stanchions, peeled, formed of straight branches, like the other trophy poles, from which had hung the skins of slain animal. Only standing below this pole, alone on the cart, her skins knotted about her neck, her wrists bound behind her back, her hair fastened over the pole, holding her in place, was a beautiful panther girl, stripped, her weapons, broken, lying at her feet. I recognized her as one of the girls of Verna's band.

I cried out with pleasure.

It was the first of five carts. On each, similarly, wrists bound behind her back, stripped, her hair bound cruelly over a trophy pole, stood a panther girl, each more beautiful than the last.

I heard the blare of the trumpets, the clash of the cymbals, the pounding of the drums. The men shouted. Women cursed, and screamed their hatred of the panther girls. Children cried out and pelted them with pebbles. Slave girls in the crowd rushed forward to surge about the carts, to poke at them with sticks, strike them with switches and spit upon them. Panther girls were hated. I, too, wished I could rush out and strike them and spit upon them. From time to time, guards, huntsmen, with whips, would leap to the cart and crack their whips, terrifying the slave girls, who knew that sound well, back from the carts, that they might pass, but then the slaves would gather again, and rush about the following cart, only to be in turn driven back again. Standing outside the range of the whip they would then spit, and curse and scream their hatred of the panther girls.

"Slaves are so cruel," said Ute.

Cart by cart passed.

"Look!" cried Inge.

We now heard the snap of whips again, but this time the leather blades fell upon the naked backs of girls.

"Look!" cried Lana, pleased.

A huntsman came now, holding in his hand five long leather straps, dragging behind him five panther girls. Their wrists were bound before their bodies, lashed tightly. The same strap that lashed their wrists, I saw, served, too, as their leash, that held in the huntsman's grip. Like the girls bound by the hair to the trophy poles, on the carts, these were stripped, their skins knotted about their necks.

Behind them there walked another huntsman, with a lash. He would occasionally strike them, hurrying them forward.

I saw the lash fall across the back of the blond girl, she who had held my leash in the forest, who had been so cruel to me. I heard her cry out, and saw her stumble forward, bound, in pain. I laughed.

Behind this first group of five girls there came a second group, it, too, with its huntsman holding the leashes, dragging his beautiful captives, and another following behind, occasionally lashing them forward.

How pleased I was. There had been fifteen girls, five on the carts, and two of the tethered groups! All of Verna's band had fallen captive!

There now came a great shout, and I squeezed even further forward in the wagon, to peep out.

Then the crowd became suddenly quiet.

One last cart approached. I could hear its wheels on the stones before I could see it.

It was Verna.

Beautiful, barbaric Verna!

Nothing, save her weapons, had been taken from her. She still wore her brief skins, and about her neck and on her arms, were barbaric ornaments of gold.

But she was caged.

Her cage, mounted on the cart, was not of branches, but of steel. It was a circular cage, between some six and seven feet in height, flat-bottomed, with a domed top. Its diameter was no more than a yard.

And she was chained.

Her wrists were manacled behind her body, and a chain led from her confined wrists to a heavy ring set in the bottom of her cage.

Her head was in the air.

She was manacled as heavily as might have been a man. This infuriated me. Slave bracelets would hold her, as they would any woman!

How arrogant and beautiful she seemed!

How I hated her!

And so, too, must have the other slave girls in the crowd, with their switches and sticks.

"Hit her!" I screamed through the canvas.

"Be quiet!" cried Ute, in horror.

"Hit her!" screamed Lana.

The crowd of slave girls swarmed forward toward the cart with their sticks and switches, some of them even leaping upon it, spitting, and striking and poking through the bars of the high narrow cage.

I saw that the domed top of Verna's cage was set with a ring, so that the cage might be, if one wished, hung from the branch of a tree, or suspended from a pole, for public viewing. Doubtless Marlenus had given orders that she be exhibited in various cities and villages on the route to Ar, his prize, that she might thus, this beautiful captive, an outlaw girl well known on Gor, considerably redound to his prestige and glory. I supposed that she would not be enslaved until she reached Ar. Then, I supposed, she would be publicly enslaved, and perhaps by the hand of Marlenus himself.

The slave girls swarmed about the cage, poking, and striking with their switches, and spitting and cursing. Their abuse was endured by Verna. It seemed she chose to ignore them. This infuriated them and they redoubled their efforts. Verna now flinched with pain, and her body was cut and marked, but still she would not lower her head, nor did she deign to speak to, or recognize in any way, her foes.

Then there was a roar of anger from the crowd and, to my fury, men began to leap, too, to the cart, but to hurl the slave girls from the cage. And huntsmen, too, angrily, now leaped to the cart, striking about them with their whips. The slave girls screamed, and fled from the cart. Men seized them, and disarmed them of their sticks and switches, and then threw the girls to the stones at their feet, where they cowered, at the sandals of free men, and then the men ordered them from the street. The girls leapt up and, weeping, terrified, fled away, humiliated, chastened slaves.

I was angry. I wished that I might have had a stick or switch. How I would have beaten Verna! I was not afraid of her! I would have beaten her well, as she deserved!

How I hated Verna!

Her cart was now moving away, drawn by the small, homed tharlarion.

In her cage, manacled, Verna still stood proudly. Her head was still in the air, her body straight, her gaze level and fixed. She gave no sign that she had noticed either those who had so rudely assailed her, or those who had protected her from them. How arrogant and superior she seemed!
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Pages 213 - 216

"There is a new woman, a free woman in the camp," I said.

"That is Verna," said Ena, "a panther girl from the northern forests."

"How is it that she is here?" I begged.

Ena smiled. "Come with me," she said. She led me through the camp, until we came to a small, low tent. Before it, about a fire, there sat two brawny, magnificent huntsmen.

"They are from the hunting retinue of Marlenus of Ar," I whispered. I recognized them, both from the streets of Ko-ro-ba and from the merchants' stockade, on the trade route to Ar, where I and Lana had so abused Verna, she then being helplessly caged.

I noted that these two men were served, each by a slave girl. Inge and Rena were fetching in their work tunics. I could see that they were excited by their proximity to such men.

They were shameless!

"Those men," said Ena, "are Raf and Pron, huntsmen of Treve, though they range widely in their huntings, even to the northern forests. By order of Rask of Treve by their skill in weapons and their mastery of the techniques and lore of the hunt, and pretending to be of Minus, a village under the hegemony of Ar, made petition, and successfully so, to participate in the retinue of the great Ubar." She smiled at me. "Treve," she said, "has spies in many places."

"They freed Verna," I said.

"Freeing her, they escaped to a preappointed rendezvous, where Rask of Treve, with his men, met them, and brought them, and Verna, here."

"But why should they wish to free her?" I asked.

"Verna is well known on Gor, as an outlaw woman," said Ena. "When it became known that Marlenus, in his hunting, for his sport, would seek her, Rask of Treve gave order for Raf and Pron to attempt to join his retinue."

"But why?" I asked,

"That," said Ena, "Marlenus, if successful, might be deprived of his prize."

"But why?" I pressed.

"There would be glory in the capture of such a woman," said Ena, "and, surely, ignominy in her escaping."

"You mean she has been freed only that Marlenus of Ar might be deprived of his prize?"

"Of course," said Ena. "Treve and Ar are enemies."
. . .

"What of the other girls, those of Verna's band?" I asked. I particularly feared that the blond girl, she who had held my leash, might be freed. I had much abused her, throwing dirt on her and poking her with a stick in her cage. I was terrified of her. If she was free I did not know what she might do to me.

"The others remain caged prizes in the retinue of Marlenus," said Ena.

"Oh," I said. I was much relieved.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Pages 298 - 299

Then, one night, on a feast night, for Rask had returned with new fair prisoners, Verna feasted in his own tent, and I, to my amazement, was ordered to serve them. Other girls had prepared the repast, which, for the war camp, was sumptuous indeed, containing even oysters from the delta of the Vosk, a portion of the plunder of a tarn caravan of Ar, such delicacies having been intended for the very table of Marlenus, the Ubar of that great city itself. I served the food, and poured the wines, and kept their goblets filled, remaining as much in the background as possible.

They talked of hunting, and war, and of the northern forests, as though I were not there.

Sometimes Verna would say, "Drink," and I would pour wine into her goblet, saying, "Yes, Mistress," and sometimes Rask of Treve would command me, saying "Drink," and I would then, similarly, serve him, saying "Yes, Master."

Verna sat cross-legged, like a man. I knelt, as a serving slave.

She threw me one of the oysters.

"Eat, Slave," she said.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Page 301

"I am taking Talena with me," said Verna. "Rask of Treve has given her to me. I am taking her to the northern forests, as a slave."

"But she is the favorite of Rask of Treve," I whispered.

"No," said Verna.

"Will you not stay in the camp," I asked, "as the comrade of Rask of Treve?"

She looked at me, and smiled. "No," she said. "My place is in the northern forests."

I did not speak.

"Is it pleasant," she asked, "to surrender to a man?"

I put my head down, shamed by joy.

"Ah," said Verna. Then she spoke to me softly. "Once," she said, "long ago, in the city of Ar, I saw a man, and in seeing him, for the only time in my life, I was afraid, for I feared he might do to me, if he wished, what Rask of Treve has done to you. I have never feared this of another man?

I looked at her.

"And so I hated him," she said, "and I resolved, someday, to see who would conquer."

"What was his name?" I asked.

"Marlenus of Ar," she said.

I could not speak, so astonished I was.

She casually indicated the wretched girl bound to one side, beyond the bottom of the hillock. "This wench is bait," she said.
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Page 342

"You have an unusual barber," said Samos.

The slave girl laughed again, delightedly.

The strip which had been shaven on his head, from the forehead to the back of the neck, signified that he had been captured, and sold, by the panther girls of the northern forests. It is among the greatest shames that a man can know, that he had been enslaved by women, who had then, when weary of him, sold him, taking their profit on him.

"It is said," said Samos, "that only weaklings, and fools, and men who deserve to be slave girls, fall slave to women."

The man glared at Samos. I could sense, again, that, in his manacles, behind his back, his fists were clenched.

"I was once the slave of a woman," I told the man.

He looked at me, startled.

"What is to be done with you?" asked Samos.

I could see the heavy metal collar hammered about the man's neck, not uncommon in a male slave. His head would have been placed across the anvil, and the metal curved about his neck with great blows.

"Whatever you wish," said the man, kneeling before us.

"How came you to be slave?" I asked.

"As you can see," he said, "I fell to women."

"How came it about?" I asked.

"They fell upon me in my sleep," he said. "I wakened to a knife at my throat. I was chained. They much sported with me. When they wearied of me, I was taken, leashed and manacled, to a lonely beach, at the edge of Thassa, bordering on the western edge of the forests."

"It is a well-known rendezvous point," said Samos. "It was there one of my ships picked him up, and others." He looked at the man. "Do you recall your price?"

"Two steel knives," said the man, "and fifty steel arrow points."

"And a stone of hard candies, from the kitchens of Ar," smiled Samos.

"Yes," said the man, through gritted teeth.

The slave girl laughed, and clapped her hands. Samos did not admonish her.

"What is to be your fate?" asked Samos.

"Doubtless to be a galley slave," he said.

The great merchant galleys of Port Kar, and Cos, and Tyros, and other maritime powers, utilized thousands of such miserable wretches, fed on brews of peas and black bread, chained in the rowing holds, under the whips of slave masters, their lives measured by feedings and beatings, and the labor of the oar.

"What were you doing in the northern forests?" I asked him.

"I am an outlaw," he said proudly.

"You are a slave," said Samos.

"Yes," said the man, "I am a slave."

The slave girl, in her brief silk, stood, holding the two-handled bronze paga vessel, that she might look down upon him.

"Few travelers journey through the northern forests," I said.

"Commonly," said he, "I plundered beyond the forests." He looked at the slave girl. "Sometimes," said he, "I plundered within them."

She reddened.

"At the time I was captured," said he, looking again at Samos, "I was trying chain luck."

Samos smiled.

"I thought that it was I who was hunting women," said he.

"But it was they who were hunting me."
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Pages 12 - 14

High on the beach, I saw two pairs of sloping beams. They were high, large and heavy structures. The feet of the beams were planted widely, deeply, in the sand; at the top, where they sloped together, they had been joined and pegged. They were rather like the English letter "A," though lacking the crossbar. Within each "A," her wrists bound by wrapped and taut leather to heavy rings set in the sloping sides, there hung a girl, her full weight on her wrists. Each wore the brief skins of forest panthers. They were panther girls, captured. Their heads were down, their blond hair falling forward. Their ankles had been tied rather widely apart, each fastened by leather to iron rings further down the beams.
It was an exchange point.
It is thus that outlaws, to passing ships, display their wares. We were fifty pasangs north of Lydius, which port lies at the mouth of the Laurius River. Far above the beach we could see the green margins of the great northern forests.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 18

"This one," said the panther girl, jabbing the suspended figure with a knife, "is interesting he afforded us much pleasure, before we wearied of him."
. . .

"He should bring a high price from a soft, rich woman," the girl advised us.

"Yes," granted Rim, "he seems sturdy, and handsome."

Another panther girl, behind the man, struck him suddenly, unexpectedly, with a whip.

He cried out in pain.

His head, a strip from the forehead to the back of his neck, had been freshly shaved.

The girls had set two poles in the sand, and lashed a high crossbar to them. The man's wrists, widely apart, were, by leather binding fiber, fastened to this bar. He was nude. He hung about a foot from the ground. His legs had been widely spread and tied to the side poles.

Behind this frame, and to one side, there was another frame. In it, too, hung a miserable wretch, put up for sale by panther girls.

His head, too, was shaved, in the shame badge.

"This was the exchange point," said Rim to me, "where I myself was sold."

The panther girl, Sheera, who was leader of this band, sat down in the warm sand.

"Let us bargain," she said.

She sat cross-legged, like a man. Her girls formed a semicircle behind her.

Sheera was a strong, black-haired wench, with a necklace of claws and golden chains wrapped about her neck. There were twisted golden armlets on her bronzed arms. About her left ankle, threaded, was an anklet of shells. At her belt she wore a knife sheath. The knife was in her hand, and, as she spoke, she played with it, and drew in the sand.

"Serve wine," said Rim, to Cara.

Rim and I, as we had with Arn, and his men, sat down with Sheera, and her girls.

Cara, the slave girl, just as she had done with Arn and the men, served wine. The girls, no more than the men, noticed her. For she was slave.

It interested me that the panther girls showed her no more respect, nor attention, than they did. But they did not acknowledge their sisterhood with such animals as she.
I was not interested in the purchase of men, but I was interested in whatever information I might be able to gather from panther girls. And these girls were free. Who knew what they might know?

"Wine, Slave," said Sheera.

"Yes, Mistress," whispered Cara, and filled her cup.

Sheera regarded her with contempt. Head down, Cara crept back.

Panther girls are arrogant. They live by themselves in the northern forests, by hunting, and slaving and outlawry. They have little respect for anyone, or anything, saving themselves and, undeniably, the beasts they hunt, the tawny forest panthers, the swift, sinuous sleen.

I can understand why it is that such women hate men, but it is less clear to me why they hold such enmity to women. Indeed, they accord more respect to men, who hunt them, and whom they hunt, as worthy foes, than they do to women other than themselves. They regard, it seems, all women, slave or free, as soft, worthless creatures, so unlike themselves. Perhaps most of all they despise beautiful female slaves, and surely Cara was such. I am not sure why they hold this great hatred for other members of their sex. I suspect it may be because, in their hearts, they hate themselves, and their femaleness. Perhaps they wish to be men; I do not know. It seems they fear, terribly, to be females, and perhaps fear most that they, by the hands of a strong man, will be taught their womanhood. It is said that panther girls, conquered, make incredible slaves. I do not much understand these things.

Sheera fastened her two, fierce black eyes on me. She jabbed with her knife in the sand. She was a sturdy bodied wench, exciting. She sat cross-legged, like a man. About her throat was the necklace of claws and golden chains. About her left ankle, threaded, the anklet of pierced shells. "What am I bid for these two slaves?" she demanded.

"I had expected to be met by Verna, the Outlaw Girl," said I, "at this point. Is it not true that she sells from this point?"

"I am the enemy of Verna," said Sheera. She jabbed down with the knife into the sand.

"Oh," I said.

"Many girls sell from this point," said Sheera. "Verna is not selling today. Sheera is selling. How much am I bid?"

"I had hoped to meet Verna," I said.

"Verna, I have heard," volunteered Rim, "sells by far the best merchandise."

I smiled. I recalled that it had been by Verna and her band that Rim had been sold. Rim, for an outlaw, was not a bad sort.

"We sell what we catch," said Sheera. "Sometimes chain luck is with Verna, sometimes it is not." She looked at me. "What am I bid for the two slaves?" she asked.

I lifted my eyes to regard the two miserable wretches bound in the frames.

They had been much beaten, and long and heavily worked. The fierce women had doubtless raped them many times.

They were not my purpose in coming to the exchange point, but I did not wish to leave them at the mercy of the panther girls. I would bid for them.

Sheera was regarding Rim closely. She grinned. She jabbed at him with the knife. "You," she said, "have worn the chains of panther girls!"

"It is not impossible," conceded Rim.

Sheera, and the girls, laughed.

"You are an interesting fellow," said Sheera, to Rim. "It is fortunate for you, that you are at the exchange point. Else we might be tempted to put our chains on you." She laughed. "I think I might enjoy trying you," she said.

"Are you any good?" asked one of the girls, of Rim.

"Men," said Sheera, "make delightful slaves."

"Panther girls," said Rim, "do not make bad slaves either."

Sheera's eyes flashed. She jabbed the knife into the sand, to the hilt. "Panther girls," she hissed, "do not make slaves!"

It did not seem opportune to mention to Sheera that, aboard the Tesephone, nude, chained in the first hold, in gags and slave hoods, were two panther girls. I had kept them below decks, secured, and in gags and slave hoods, that they not be seen, nor heard to cry out, at the exchange point. I did not wish their presence, nor an indication of their presence, to complicate our dealings at the point. After I had interrogated them thoroughly, I would sell them in Lydius.

"You mentioned," said I to Sheera, "that you are an enemy of Verna?"

"I am her enemy," said Sheera.

"We are anxious to make her acquaintance," said I. "Do you know perhaps where she might be found?"

Sheera's eyes narrowed. "Anywhere," she said.

"I have heard," I said, "that Verna and her band sometimes roam north of Laura."

The momentary flash in the eyes of Sheera had told me what I wanted to know.

"Perhaps," she said, shrugging.

The information about Verna's band I had had from a girl who had been recently slave in my house, a wench named Elinor. She now belonged to Rask of Treve.

The inadvertent response in Sheera's eyes had confirmed this belief.

It was, of course, one thing to know this general manner of thing, and another to find Verna's band's camp, or their dancing circle. Each band of panther girls customarily has a semi-permanent camp, particularly in the winter, but, too, each band, customarily, has its dancing circle. Panther girls, when their suppressed womanhood becomes sometimes too painful, repair to such places, there to dance the frenzy of their needs. But, too, it is in such places, that the enslavement of males is often consummated.

Rim had been captured by Verna and her band, but he had been chained, raped and enslaved not far from the very exchange point where he was sold, this very point. He knew less than I of the normal habits of Verna and her band. We both knew, of course, that she, with her girls, ranged widely.

"Verna's camp," I said to Sheera, matter-of-factly, "is not only north of Laura, but to its west."

She seemed startled. Again I read her eyes. What I had said had been mistaken. Verna's camp, then, lay to the north and east of Laura.

"Do you wish to bid on the slaves or not?" asked Sheera.

I smiled.

"Yes," I said.

I now had as much information as I had expected to obtain at the exchange point. It was perhaps not wise to press for more. Sheera, a leader, a highly intelligent woman, doubtless understood that she might have betrayed information. Her knife was cutting at the sand. She was not looking at me. She was only too obviously irritated, now intensely suspicious. More specific information I expected to obtain from the captured panther girls on board the ship. Panther girls generally know the usual territories of various bands. They might even know, approximately, the locations of the various camps, and dancing circles. I was not likely to obtain that information from free women. I expected however, under interrogation, to be able to obtain it from the helpless girls, at my mercy, on the Tesephone. Afterwards I would sell them. I had learned enough at the exchange point to confirm my original information, to add to it somewhat, and to be able, in the light of it, to evaluate the responses of my captives on board the ship. I smiled to myself. They would talk. Afterwards, when I had learned what I wished to know, I would sell them in Lydius.

"A steel knife for each," I proposed to Sheera, "and twenty arrow points, of steel, for each."

"Forty arrow points for each, and the knives," said Sheera, cutting at the sand.

I could see she did not much want to conduct these negotiations. Her heart was not in the bargaining. She was angry.

"Very well," I said.

"And a stone of candies," she said, looking up, suddenly.

"Very well," I said.

"For each!" she demanded.

"Very well," I said.

She slapped her knees and laughed. The girls seemed delighted.

There was little sugar in the forest, save naturally in certain berries, and simple hard candies, such as a child might buy in shops in Ar, or Ko-ro-ba, were, among the panther girls in the remote forests, prized.

It was not unknown that among the bands in the forests, a male might be sold for as little as a handful of such candies. When dealing with men, however, the girls usually demanded, and received, goods of greater value to them, usually knives, arrow points, small spear points; sometimes armlets, and bracelets and necklaces, and mirrors; sometimes slave nets and slave traps, to aid in their hunting; sometimes slave chains, and manacles, to secure their catches.

I had the goods brought from the ship, with scales to weigh out the candies.

Sheera, and her girls, watched carefully, not trusting men, and counted the arrow points twice.

Satisfied, Sheera stood up. "Take the slaves," she said.

The nude male wretches were, by men from the Tesephone, cut down.

They fell to the sand, and could not stand. I had them placed in slave chains.

"Carry them to the ship," said I to my men.

The girls, as the slaves were carried toward the water, swarmed about them, spitting upon them, and striking them, jeering and mocking them.

"This one," said one of the girls, "will look well chained at the bench of a galley."

"This one," said Sheera, poking the other in the shoulder with her knife, "is not bad." She laughed. "Sell him to a rich woman."

He turned his head away from her, his eyes dosed, a male slave.

Male slaves, on Gor, are not particularly valuable, and do not command high prices. Most labor is performed by free men. Most commonly, male slaves are utilized on the cargo galleys, and in the mines, and on the great farms. They also serve, frequently, as porters at the wharves. Still, perhaps they are fortunate to have their lives, even at such a price. Males captured in war, or in the seizure of cylinders or villages, or in the pillaging of caravans, are commonly slain. The female is the prize commodity in the Gorean slave markets. A high price for a male is a silver tarsk, but even a plain wench, of low caste, provided she moves well to the touch of the auctioneer's coiled whip, will bring as much, or more. An exception to the low prices for males generally is that paid for a certified woman's slave, a handsome male, silken clad, who has been trained to tend a woman's compartments. Some of such bring a price comparable to that brought by a girl, of average loveliness. Prices, of course, tend to fluctuate with given markets and seasons. If there are few such on the market in a given time, their prices will tend to be proportionately higher. Such men tend to be sold in women's auctions, closed to free men, with the exception, of course, of the auctioneer and such personnel.

Soon the two seamen, with their black, bending tem-wood poles, were trusting the Tesephone backward, into deeper waters.

"To Lydius," I told Thurnock.

"Out oars!" he called.

The oars slid outboard.

With a creak of ropes and pulleys, seamen were hauling the long, sloping yard up the mast, its sail still secured in the brail ropes.

I saw Sheera, standing knee deep in the water, near the beach. She had now thrust her sleen knife into its belt sheath.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Pages 27 - 32

"You know, or know well enough," I said, "the location, or approximate location, of her camp and dancing circle."
"We know nothing," said the first girl again.
"You will tell me," I informed them.
"We are panther girls," said the first girl. "We will tell you nothing."
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 35

"You are a man!" hissed the first. "We are panther girls! Do you think we would tell you anything?"
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 36

"I wish to learn," I said, "the location of the camp and dancing circle of the outlaw girl, Verna."
Tana sucked her fingers. She laughed. "We will never tell you," she said.
"No," said Ela, finishing the last bit of roast bosk, her eyes closed.
Tana looked at me angrily. "We do not fear the whip," she said. "We do not fear the iron. You will not make us speak. We are panther girls!"
"Bring candies," said I to a seaman.
He did so.
I tossed one to each of the girls. They took the candies. They were sitting now, on the deck, but not cross-legged. They knew that posture would not be permitted them. Their chains dangled to the rings.
When they had finished, I merely regarded them.
"You are a man," said the first. "We will not speak. It does not matter what you do to us. We do not fear the whip. We do not fear the iron. We will not speak. We are panther girls."
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 37

"Take them to the lower hold," I said.
The lower hold is the tiny crawl space, of some eighteen inches, between the deck of the first hold and the curved hull of the ship, divided by its keel. It is unlit, and cold and damp. It contains much sand, used as ballast for the galley. It also contains the sump, or bilge. It is a briny, foul place.
. . .
There was suddenly, from below decks, muffled, as though far off, a terrified scream.
Had they heard movements in the darkness? Had they seen the gleam of tiny eyes? Burning at them from the blackness? Had one of them heard the breathing of tiny lungs near her face in the darkness? Had another felt fur brush against her calf, or tiny feet scamper unexpectedly over her bound body?
Both girls were now screaming.
. . .
A seaman approached. "Captain," said he, "the wenches in the lower hold crave audience."
I smiled. "Very well," I said.
In a few moments, both girls, covered with wet sand, on their bodies, and in their eye lashes and hair, were placed, kneeling, before me. They were still perfectly secured. I sat, as before, on my stool behind the kitchen area. They knelt, as before, near the rings to which they had been chained. Only now both of them thrust their heads to the deck at my feet. They were shuddering uncontrollably, spasmodically.
"The camp, and dancing circle, of Verna," said the first girl, Tana. "lies north and east of Laura. Go to the slave compounds at the outskirts of Laura. Then, where the forest begins, look for a Tur tree, blazed ten feet above the ground, with the point of a girl's spear. From this tree, travel generally north, seeking similarly blazed trees, a quarter of a pasang apart. There are fifty such trees. At the fiftieth there is a double blaze. Go then north by northeast. Again the trees are blazed, but now, at the foot of the trunk, by the mark of a sleen knife. Go twenty such trees. Then look for a Tur tree, torn by lightning. A pasang north by northeast from that tree, again look for blazed trees, but now the blazing is, as before, high on the trunk, and made by a girl's spear. Again go twenty such trees. You will then be in the vicinity of Verna's dancing circle. Her camp, on the north bank of a tiny stream, well concealed, is two pasangs to the north."
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Pages 38 - 39

"I sought the northern forests," she said. "I knew that girls, sometimes, are free in them."
She put down her head.
"So you arrived at the edge of the forests," I said, "and released the tarn."
"Yes," she said.
"And you entered the forests?"
"Yes," she said.
"What happened?" I asked.
"I lived for some days in the forest, but poorly, on berries and nuts. I tried to make snares. I caught nothing. Then, one morning, when I was lying on my stomach beside a stream, drinking, I lifted my head to find myself surrounded by armed panther girls. There were eleven of them. How pleased I was to see them! They seemed so proud, and strong, and were armed."
"Did they permit you to join their band?" I asked.
"They had not been satisfied with me," said the girl.
"What happened then?" I asked.
"They told me to remove my clothing. Then they tied my hands behind my back and put a leash on my throat. They took me to the banks of the Laurius, where they tied me to a pole set in the stones, my hands over my head, my neck, belly and ankles, too, bound to it. A river craft passed. I was sold for one hundred arrow points. I was purchased by Sarpedon, master of this tavern, who occasionally scouts the river, to pick up such girls."
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Pages 57 - 58

"A panther girl," he said, "as you may have guessed. She was brought in but last night, in the darkness."
I smiled. This meant that probably she had fallen to an outlaw. Such often bring their captures to a market late, after dark. They are then less likely to be recognized.
"An outlaw brought her in?" asked Rim.
"Yes," said the man.
"His name?" I asked.
"Arn," said the man.
Sheera pulled again at her slave bracelets, helplessly.
Rim and I laughed.
We were pleased that Arn, whom we knew, had taken her.
"I did not know that a panther girl could fall to an outlaw," said Rim.
"Especially," I added, "a panther girl such as this one."
She jerked at the bracelets. Then she turned her head away, in fury.
. . .
I watched her. She knew the forests. She was a panther girl.
. . .
"Is it true, Girl," I asked, "that you are the enemy of Verna, the panther girl?"
"Yes," she said, sullenly. "She once stole two men from me"
"I will give you ten copper pieces for her," I told the man. Sheera looked at me, in fury.
"Her price," he said, "is four gold pieces."
"Too high for her," I said.
. . .
"Three pieces of gold," I said, "and five tarsks."
"She is yours," said the man.
. . .
I bent to her throat, where there was still fastened the golden chains and claws that she had worn when she had met us, long ago, at the exchange point, which she had worn when she was purchased, which she had worn in the hold. I removed the chains and claws. She did not protest. Then I bent to her left ankle and removed the anklet of threaded shells. She did not protest. She was no longer a panther girl.
"When I release you tomorrow from the hold," I asked, "what garment shall I bring you?"
She turned her head to one side. "The garment of a female slave," she said.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Pages 71 - 77

"How shall we proceed?" asked Thurnock.
"We shall make a base camp, in accord with our putative interest in obtaining the skins of sleen," I said. "Then, selected men will enter the forest, but as though they did not know the location of Verna's camp and dancing circle. We must then make contact with some members of her band. Either they will contact us, or we them."
"It is not uncommon for panther girls to first make contact," said Rim, smiling, "with a hunting arrow in the back."
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Pages 78 - 79

We would now make camp, putting sharpened stakes about our camp, to protect us from attacks of panther girls.
Sheera lifted her eyes. "They may simply slay me," she said.
"Panther girls," said I, "are not likely to slay a braceleted slave girl."
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 82

I did not expect it would take long for Verna's girls to pick her up. We had made no effort to conceal our movements, or trail. I suspected that, already, they were aware of our presence in the forests. I had seen, an Ahn earlier, before we had reached this camp site, a tawny movement in the brash, some fifty yards in front of us, and to our left. I did not think that it was a forest panther.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 83

"Remove your sword belts and weapons," said the woman. I dropped my belt, with sword and sheath, and knife, to the ground, beside the fire. My men, at my signal, did likewise.

"Excellent," said the woman, from the other side of the stakes.

She looked at us. In the light from the recently built-up fire I could see her more clearly. I saw the brief skins, the bow. She had a golden armlet on her left arm, a golden anklet on her right ankle.

She was truly a panther girl.

"You are surrounded," she said.

"Of course," I said.

"There are arrows," she said, "trained on the hearts of each of you."

"Of course," I said.

"You understand," she asked, "that you might be now, should it please us, taken slave?"

"Yes," I said.

"Of what would you hold converse?" she asked.

"Let us speak," I said.

"Remove some of the stakes," she said, "and we will speak."

I gestured to Thurnock. "Remove four stakes," I said. Reluctantly the peasant giant did so.

The panther girl, her head high, strode into the camp. She looked about herself. Her eyes were strong, and fearless.

With her foot she kicked the dropped weapons closer the fire, away from my men.

"Sit," she said to them, indicating a place near the back of the wall of stakes, "and face the fire."

I indicated they should comply with her directive.

"More closely together," she said.

I again indicated that they should comply with her directive.

She had had them face the fire, that their eyes might not quickly adapt to night vision. If the fire were suddenly extinguished they would, for an Ehn, for all practical purposes, be blind, at the mercy of the panther girls. They had been told to sit together that an arrow loosed into their midst could not but find a target.

The girl now sat down across from me, cross-legged, near the fire.

There was another sound from beyond the perimeter. I saw something white move in the darkness, stumbling between two panther girls.

A panther girl holding each arm, she was thrust into the camp. She was still braceleted, of course, but now her hands, in the bracelets, with binding fiber, had been tied close to her belly. Her brief white garment had been torn to her waist. The fillet was gone from her hair. Sheera was thrust forward, and forced to her knees, head down, by the fire. She had been much switched.

"We encountered this strayed slave," said the girl.

"She is mine," I said.

"Do you know who she was?" asked the girl.

I shrugged. "A slave," I said.

There was laughter from girls beyond the perimeter, in the darkness. Sheera lowered her head still more.

"She was once a panther girl," said the girl. "She was once Sheera, the panther girl."

"Oh," I said.

The girl laughed. "She was a great rival to Verna. Verna now takes pleasure in returning her to you." The girl looked at Sheera. "You wear a collar well, Sheera," said she. Sheera looked at her, her eyes glazed with pain.

"This merchant," said the girl, "tells us that you are his slave. Is that true?"

Sheera looked at her, in fury.

"Speak, Slave," said the girl.

"Yes," said Sheera, "he is my master."

The girl laughed, and so, too, did the others. Then the girl looked at me, and nodded at Sheera. "Is she any good?" she asked.

I looked at Sheera. "Yes," I said, "she is quite good."

Sheera looked away, in fury, and put down her head. There was much laughter from the girls.

"We will take four arrow points for her," said the girl, "for returning her to you."

"Your fee is quite reasonable," I remarked.

"More than enough," said the girl, "for a cheap girl."

Sheera's fists were clenched. Then she put her head down, and wept, a slave.

I indicated that one of the girl's companions might remove four arrow points from the pack of trade goods. She did remove four, just four, and no more.

"So you are Verna?" I asked the girl.

"No," she said.

I looked disappointed.

She regarded me warily. "You seek Verna?" she asked.

"I have come far," I admitted, "to do business with her." I looked at the girl, not much pleased. "I had understood that this was the territory ranged by Verna and her band."

"I am of the band of Verna," said the girl.

"Good," I said. I was now more pleased.

The girl facing me was blond, and blue-eyed, like many panther girls. She was lovely, but cruel looking. She was not particularly tall.

For some reason I found myself not displeased that this woman was not Verna.

"I am Bosk, of Tabor," I said.

"I am Mira," she said.

"Do you come from Verna?" I asked. "Can you speak for her?"

"Yes," she said. "For whom do you speak?"

"For myself," I said.

"Not for Marlenus of Ar?" she asked.

"No," I said.

"That is interesting," she said. Then she mused, "Verna told us that Marlenus of Ar would not approach us as you have done, and that he would not use a merchant to do his business for him."

I shrugged. "She is probably right," I said. Marlenus, with men, would hunt the forests. He would not be likely to address himself to a panther girl unless she was stripped and knelt before him in slave chains.

"Do you know Marlenus is in the forest?" she asked.

"Yes," I said, "I have heard that."

"Do you know the location of his camp?" she asked.

"No," I said, "other than the fact that it is said to be somewhere north or northeast of Laura."

"We know where it is," said Mira.

"I am interested in obtaining," I said, "a woman, who is rumored to be a prisoner in Verna's camp."

"A slave?" smiled Mira.

"Perhaps," I said. "She is said to be dark haired, very beautiful."

"You speak of Talena," smiled Mira, "the daughter of Marlenus of Ar."

"Yes," I said. "Is she in your camp?"

"Perhaps," said Mira. "Perhaps not."

"I am prepared to offer weights of gold."

The weight is ten Gorean stone. A Gorean stone is approximately four pounds in weight.

"If you obtained her," would you sell her back to Marlenus of Ar, for even more?"

"It is not my intention," I said, "to take a profit on her."

Mira stood up. I, too, stood up.

"Tens of weights of gold," I said to Mira.

But as I looked into her eyes, I realized that Talena was not for sale.

"Is the girl in your camp?" I asked.

"Perhaps," said Mira. "Perhaps not."

"Set a price on her," I said.

"These woods," said Mira, "belong to panther girls. In the morning, Merchant, leave them."

I faced her.

"It is well for you," said the girl, lifting the four arrow points she had received for the return of Sheera, "that we have done business."

I nodded, understanding her.

She looked at my men, as a man might have looked upon women. "Some of these men," she said, "seem interesting. They are strong, and handsome. They would look well in the chains of slaves."

She strode to the opening in the stakes, and there turned, again to face me.

"Be warned," said she. "These are the forests of panther girls. Leave them!"

"I understand," I said.

"And, Merchant," said she, "do not seek hereafter to mix in the affairs of Verna and Marlenus."

"I understand," I said.

The girl turned and, swiftly, disappeared in the shadows, the others disappearing with her.

My men leaped to their feet and seized their weapons.

I went to Sheera, and lifted her head. "Did you see Verna?" I asked her.

"Yes," she said.

"Were you at the camp?" I asked.

"No," she said.

"Do they hold Talena?" I demanded. I held her cruelly by the shoulders.

"I do not know," she said.

I released her.

"Did Verna give you any message for me?" I asked. "It is unimportant," she said. "What was it?" I asked.

"It concerns me," said Sheera, head down.

"What was the message?" I asked.

"I am to say it to you," whispered Sheera.

"Say it," said I.

"Teach me slavery," whisper Sheera. Then she put her head down.

I thrust her aside with my foot, furious. "Thurnock," said I, "replace the stakes."

The peasant giant did so.

I looked into the darkness of the forests. We would indeed leave the forests and by noon of the morrow.

But we would come back.

I had given Verna, and her band, her chance.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Pages 87 - 91

"What is your name?" I asked.

"Grenna," she said.

"Where is the camp and dancing circle of Verna, the panther girl?" I asked.

She looked at me, sick, puzzled. "I do not know," she whispered.

Something in the girl's manner convinced me that she spoke the truth. I was not much pleased.

This portion of the forest was supposedly the territory of Verna, and her band.

I gave the girl some food from my pouch. I gave her a swallow of water from the flask at my belt.

"Are you not of Verna's band?" I asked

"No," she said.

"Of whose band are you?" I asked.

"Of Hura's," said she.

"This portion of the forest," I told her, "is the territory of Verna and her band.

"It will be ours," she said.

I withheld the water flask.

"We have more than a hundred girls," she said. "It will be ours."

I gave her another swallow of water.

"It will be ours," she said.

I was puzzled. Normally panther girls move and hunt in small bands. That there should be more than a hundred of them in a single band, under a single leader, seemed incredible.

I did not much understand this.

"You are a scout?" I asked.

"Yes," she said.

"How far are you in advance of your band?" I asked.

"Pasangs," she said.

"What will be thought when you do not return to your band?" I asked.

"Who knows what to think?" she asked. "Sometime a girl does not come back."
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 113

An Ahn before darkness I found the camp.
It was situated back from the bank of a small stream, one of the many tiny tributaries to the Laurius which interlace the forest.
I eased myself upward into the branches of a tree, whence I might command a better view.
It consisted of five huts, conical, of woven saplings and thatched, and was surrounded by a small palisade of sharpened saplings. A rough gate, fastened with vines, gave entrance to the camp. In the center of the camp there was a cooking hole, banked with a circle of flat stones. On a wooden spit, set on sticks, grease dropping into the fire and flaming, was a thigh of tabuk.
It smelled good. The smoke, in a thin line, trickled upward into the sky.
The thigh of tabuk was tended by a squatting panther girl, who, from time to time, picked bits of meat from it and thrust them in her mouth. She sucked her fingers clean. Over to one side another girl worked on a slave net, reworking and reknotting the weighted cords.
Elsewhere two girls, sitting cross-legged, were playing a cat's-cradle game, matching one another's intricate patterns with the twine. They were skillful. This game is popular in the north, particularly in the villages. It is also played frequently in Torvaldsland.
I saw, clearly, no other panther girls in or about the enclosure. I did see, however, a movement within one of the huts, and I supposed that to be another girl.
I saw no evidence of Talena. She might, of course, lie chained within one of the dark huts. Perhaps the movement I had seen within the hut had been she. I did not know.
One thing, however, seemed quite clear. Not all of Verna's band was now within the enclosure.
There were probably five or six girls there at the most.
Her band, most reports agreed, consisted of some fifteen women.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 115

There is a Gorean saying that free women, raised gently in the high cylinders, in their robes of concealment, unarmed, untrained in weapons, may, by the slaver, be plucked like flowers.
There is no such saying pertaining to panther girls. Needless to say, there are various techniques for the acquisition of slaves, male and female. Much depends, of course, on the number of slavers, the nature of the quarry, and the particulars of a given chase or hunt.
The fact that we numbered ten, including myself, and that the girls of Verna's band numbered some fifteen, and that they were skilled with their weapons, and dangerous, dictated the nature of our approach.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 118

He gave a high whistle, shrill and sudden, and we, and the others, thrust through the portals of the hut, casting the sleen nets to encompass whatever might lie within. I gave a cry of rage. We caught nothing. Our hut was empty.

In a moment other men came to our hut. "They are gone," said one.

"The camp is empty," said another. We looked at one another. Arn was furious.

"Reconnoiter," I told two men, "and swiftly, and well." The men, and Arn, looked at one another, apprehensively. They had only then realized, with full awareness, that we ourselves were now penned within the stockade, which might now serve as the same trap for us as it might have served before for panther girls.

The two men swiftly went out to scan the surrounding forest.

I did not think that panther girls laid in wait outside, for we had made a careful examination of the area before we had entered the stockade. Still, I did not wish to take the chance that we might have missed them, or, even, that they might have withdrawn before our examination of the area, intending to return when we might be within the stockade. The most likely hypothesis was that they, unaware of our presence in the vicinity, had, on business of their own, left the stockade before dawn. They might have attacks, or hunts, of their own to attend to. Perhaps they had learned of the advance of the girls of Hura toward their territory and had gone out to make reconnaissance, or oppose them. Perhaps they were lying in ambush, pasangs away, for a party of the men of Marlenus. Perhaps they, because of Hura or Marlenus, or for other reasons, had decided to abandon their camp?

I looked about. No, there was too much left. And there was no indication of hurried flight.

I saw spears about, and bundles of arrows.

Panther girls would not have left them. They would return.

One of the two men I had sent out to reconnoiter reentered the hut. "There is no sign of panther girls," he said.

Arn and his men breathed with relief.

"They will return," I said.

"What shall we do now?" asked Arn.

"Do not yet roll the sleen nets," I smiled.

He looked at me.

"Let us sit down and take council," I suggested.

Two men posted as sentries in the forest, we sat down in one of the huts.

"They will probably return before dark," said Arn.

"Perhaps sooner," said one of his men.

"We do not know from what direction they will come," said another.

"We do know," said Arn, "that they will return to this place."

The men grunted their agreement.

One of the men, glancing about the hut, said, "Ka-la-na!"

He pointed to a side of the hut.

There, tied together by the necks, were some six bottles of Ka-la-na.

He went to them and looked at them, lifting them. They were in dark bottles. He turned them about. "From the vineyards of Ar," he whistled. It was choice Ka-la-na.

"The panther girls were fortunate in their spoils," said one of Arn's men.

"Put them down," I said.

Reluctantly the man did so.

"Shall we return at dawn tomorrow?" asked one of my men, of me.

"Perhaps," I said. I did not care, however, to lose the time.

I did not know how long it would take for Hura, and her band, to reach our area of the forests. Besides, what if Verna and her band returned tonight, and then, again, departed before dawn tomorrow?

"I have a better suggestion," said Arn.

"You wish to remain in the camp," I said, "concealed, and surprise them upon their return."

"Yes," said Arn.

Several of the men looked at one another with pleasure. That would be delicious sport.

We would await them, with nets, in their own camp. Then, when they had tied shut the gate behind them, we would leap forth and take them, within their own stockade.

"That is a splendid plan!" said one of Arn's men.

The others nodded their agreement.

They looked at me, all. I did not wish to lose the time for another, know from whence the panther girls might return. This would make it difficult to ambush them deeper in the forest. And one might, in such an attempt, outside the stockade, lose several of the girls. They would not expect to be ambushed in their own camp. They would not be on their guard. They would be, by their own walls, unable to escape, entrapped.

I nodded. "We shall wait in the camp," I said.

"Good!" said Arn.

The man, one of Arn's, who had seen the Ka-la-na by the wall, crawled over to it. He pulled the bottles into his lap, and began to work at the cork of one of them.

I looked at Arn.

"Do not become drunk," said Arn to the man.

"I shall not," he said. With his sleen knife he had pried the cork up a bit from the bottle. He then, slowly, with his fingers and teeth, managed to withdraw the cork.

"Later," I said.

He looked at Arn, and Arn nodded. The man, irritably, thrust back the cork in the bottle.

"What if they do not return today?" asked a man.

I shrugged. "Then they do not return today," I said.

"They will return by nightfall," said Arn.

"The day has been long," said one of my men.

It was now late in the afternoon. We had eaten some foods we had brought with us, in our pouches, and. too, taken some food, bread and dried meat, which we had found in the huts.

I glanced out of the hut, at the sun. The day was long. The day was hot. I returned to the hut, and sat down.

Arn was chewing on a piece of dry Sa-Tarna bread. He washed it down with a swallow from his flask, filled earlier at the nearby stream. We had changed the guard twice in the forest.

"Panther girls," said one of Arn's men, "commonly return to their camp near dusk."

"That will be more than two Ahn," grumbled another man.

"It is time to change the guard again," said one of my men. He, and one of his fellows, rose to their feet.

"I," said Arm grimacing, "have not, for more than a year, tasted Ka-la-na from Ar."

"Nor I," said one of his men.

It was indeed choice Ka-la-na. My mind, more than once, had wandered to it.

"Captain," said one of my men.

"Very well," I said. The panther girls, in all probability, would not return for another Ahn or two.

The fellow who had removed the cork from the bottle was first to it, and again withdrew the cork.

He threw it to his lips and threw back his head.

I took the bottle from him.

"That is enough," I said.

"It is good!" he said.

"We shall open only this bottle," I said. "The others we may enjoy later."

They would not become drunk. One bottle of Ka-la-na among ten men is nothing. Ka-la-na is not paga or the strong beer of the north.

I did not, on the other hand, want the entire stock of Ka-la-na emptied.

Our project must not be jeopardized.

The two men, men of mine, who were going forth to relieve the guard, had their swallows from the bottle. They then left. Arn then took the bottle and drank from it, his head back, swiftly.

"Enough," I said.

The men, his and mine, passed the bottle about. In a short time the two men who had been relieved of guard duty in the forest re-entered the hut. They, too, had their Ka-la-na. There was little left.

"Captain," said one of my men, handing me the bottle.

I put back my head and finished it. It was bitter, the dregs, but it had in it the warmth and flash of the fine Ka-la-na of Ar. It was a red Ka-la-na. It was a choice Ka-la-na. The vineyards of Ar, as those of Cos, were among the finest on all Gor.

I went again to the entrance to the hut, and once more looked out.

The sun was lower, but it was still bright and warm. Heat, soft and still, hung among the branches and leaves.

It was more than an Ahn until dusk.

I turned to re-enter the hut. At the threshold I stumbled.

My hand clutched the jamb.

"We are fools!" I cried.

Arn looked up at me, blinking. The man who had opened the bottle of Ka-la-na, he who had first drunk, and most deeply, lay at one side of the hut, his knees drawn up to his stomach. "Get him!" I said. "And run! Run!"

The men stumbled to their feet, unsteadily. Two of them tried to lift the man who was lying at the side of the hut. "I can't see!" screamed one of the men. Arn climbed to his feet, and then fell to his hands and knees, his head down.
      "Run!" I screamed to them. "Run!"

We fled, stumbling, falling, from the hut. To one side, behind me and to the left, I saw a net, swift and white, heavily corded, weighted, drop over a man. I heard the shouts of panther girls.

Holding Arn, stumbling, by the arm, I ran toward the gate.

Trying to clear my vision, I felt, suddenly, the sharp jab of one spear, and then another. I reeled unsteadily. I shook my head. There was blood at my chest and stomach. "Back!" I heard. "Back!" At the gate there were four panther girls, thrusting with spears, held in their two hands, prodding us back. Arn fell to his knees. I lifted him, and turned back toward the hut. I fell once, and then struggled again to my feet. Half-carrying Arn I regained the darkness of the hut. I groped for my bow. I shook my head. I must not lose consciousness. Arn fell to his hands and knees, dazed. I found a black tem-wood arrow, a sheaf arrow, and fitted it unsteadily to the string of the great bow, the yellow bow, from the wine trees of Gor. I could find no target. I was breathing heavily, sweating. I tried to draw the bow. I could not draw it. The arrow fell from the string.

I looked outside.

One of my men had fallen unconscious to the ground. Another, futilely, weakly, was fighting slave snares, held like a trapped animal in the cruel, taut cords. Then he was pulled from his feet, and I saw a panther girl, a blond girl, her hair wild, leap toward him, her spear lifted in two hands.

I saw another man lying on his belly. Two beautiful panther girls bent to him. One jerked his wrists behind his body, binding them. The other had crossed his ankles and was swiftly fastening them with binding fiber.

I saw two men, in slave manacles, chained to a post of the gate.

With a cry of rage I threw down the bow and kicked out the back of the hut.

I shook my head wildly, seized Arn by one arm, and dragged him through the break in the hut.

Outside I looked about.

At one side of the hut, where I could not see, I heard the heavy snap of slave manacles.

I stumbled to the sharpened saplings forming the wall behind the hut.

I reached down, seizing one with both hands, trying to pull it up.

We were locked within this fence. Arn, beside me, groggily, slipped to his knees. I shook him, viciously.

Together we managed to loosen one of the saplings, and then, together, we slipped through the wall.

"They are escaping!" I heard cry. "Two! They are escaping!"

Thrusting Arn along beside me, holding his arm, we found a trail among the trees. I heard more cries behind us, of panther girls in fury. We heard the sounds of pursuit. Panther girls are swift, fierce hunters.

Arn fell.

"Get up!" I cried. "Get up!" I slapped Arn fiercely, and dragged him to his feet.

Groggily he ran beside me.

An arrow swept past us. I heard the cries of pursuit, the sounds of branches being broken and rudely thrust aside.

There was suddenly a great, heavy steel snap at my feet.

Arn cried out in pain and fell forward.

Locked on his right ankle were the heavy, sharp steel teeth of a slave trap.

I fought the heavy, curved steel jaws, but they had locked shut. The Gorean slave trap is not held by a simple, heavy spring as would be the trap for a panther or sleen. Such a spring, by a strong man, with his hands, might be thrust open. This trap had sprung shut and locked. The heavy steel curved snugly about his ankle. The sharp teeth, biting deeply, fastened themselves in his flesh. It could only be opened by key.

He would be held perfectly. It was a Gorean slave trap.

I pulled at the chain, a heavy chain, concealed under leaves.

It led to a ring on a post, sunk deeply into the ground. I could not budge the post.

I heard the pursuit, almost at hand, breaking through branches.

Arn looked at me, agonized.

I put out my hand to him. Then I turned and, stumbling, sick, began to run.

I fell against a tree, and again struggled to my feet. An arrow struck near me.

I plunged into the underbrush, hearing the sounds of pursuit.

I began to grow dizzy. It was hard to see. I fell again, and again stumbled to my feet and, unsteadily, attempted to run.

I do not know how far I ran. I do not think it was far. I fell in the brush.

I must get up, I screamed to myself, I must get up!

But I could not get up.

"Here he is," I heard.

I opened my eyes and saw about me the ankles of several panther girls.

My hands were dragged behind me. I felt slave steel locked on my wrists.

I fell unconscious.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Pages 120 - 126

"He is awake," said a girl's voice.
I saw a woman, in the brief skins of the panther women, turn and approach me.
She wore ornaments of gold, an armlet, and anklet, a long string of tiny, pierced, golden cylinders looped four times about her neck.
At her belt was a sleen knife.
She stood over me. She looked down upon me. Her legs were shapely. She was marvelously figured.
I pulled at the thongs on my wrists and ankles. My feet and arms had been tied separately, widely apart. I was stretched between four stakes. Several bands of binding fiber fastened each limb to its heavy stake. The stakes were notched to prevent the fiber from slipping. I could scarcely feel my hands and feet. I was well secured. I had been stripped.
She looked down upon me.
She carried a light spear.
. . .
"You were fools to drink the wine," she said.
"Yes," I said.
I looked up at her.
"More than once," she said, "we have used our camp as a slave trap."
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Pages 127 - 128

"What was the name of the girl you took in the forest?" asked Verna.
"Grenna," I said.
Verna nodded. "I have heard of her," she said. "She stands high in the band of Hura."
I said nothing.
"What did you do with her?" asked Verna.
"I sent her back to my ship." I said, "to be enslaved."
"Excellent," said Verna. She looked down at me, and laughed. "Any panther girl," she said, "who falls to men deserves the collar." She fingered the hilt of the knife. "There is a saying among panther girls," she said, "that any girl who permits herself to fall to men desires in her heart to be their slave."
"I have heard," I said, "that panther girls, once conquered, make splendid slaves."
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Pages 133 - 134

Verna looked down upon me. "You wished to take us as slaves." she said. "It is you who have been taken slave." I looked up at her in horror. I pulled at the thongs. "Shave him," she said.
I fought, but two girls held my head, and Mira, laughing, with a small bowl of lather and a shaving knife, shaved the two-and-one-half-inch degradation stripe on my head, from the forehead to the back of my neck.
"You are now well marked," said Verna, "as a man who has fallen to women."
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 137

The girls now knelt about me, in a circle. They were silent. I looked up at the large, white, swift moons. There were three of them, a larger, and two smaller, looming, dominating.

The girls were breathing heavily. They had set aside their weapons.

They knelt, their hands on their thighs, occasionally lifting their eyes to the moons. Their eyes began to blaze. They put back their heads. Their lips parted. Their hair fell behind their heads, their faces lifted to the rays of the moons. Then, together, they began to moan and sway from side to side. Then they lifted their arms and hands to the moons, still swaying from side to side, moaning. I pulled at the thongs that bound me. Then their moaning became more intense and the swaying swifter and more savage, and, crying out and whimpering, they began to claw at the moons.

Mira leaped to her feet and tore her skins to the waist exposing her breasts to the wild light of the flooding moons. She shrieked and tore at the moons with her fingernails. In an instant another girl, and then another, and another had followed her example. Only Verna still knelt, her hands on her thighs, looking at the moons. Beneath the moons, helplessly, I sought to free myself. I could not do so.

Mira now, the others following, crying out, tore away the scraps of panther skin that had yet concealed their beauty. They now wore only their gold, and their ornaments. Now, moaning, crying out, the she-beasts of the forest, the panther girls, hands lifted, clawing, began to stamp and dance beneath the fierce brightness of the wild moons.

Then, suddenly, they stopped, but stood, still, their hands lifted to the moons.

Verna threw back her head, her fists clenched on her thighs, and cried out, a wild scream, as though in agony.

She leaped to her feet and, looking at me, tore away her skins.

My blood leaped before her beauty.

But she had turned away and, naked, her head back, had lifted her hands, too, clawing at the moons.

Then all of them, together, turned slowly to face me. They were breathing heavily. Their hair was disheveled, their eyes wild.

I lay before them, helpless.

Suddenly, as one, they seized up their light spears, and, swaying, spears lifted, began to circle me.

They were incredibly beautiful.

A spear darted toward me, but did not strike me. It was withdrawn.

It could have killed me, of course, had its owner wished. But it had spared me.

Then, about me, the panther girls, circling, swaying, began a slow stalking dance, as of hunters.

I laying the center of the circle.

Their movements were slow, an suddenly one would cry out and thrust at me with her spear. But the spear was not thrust into my body. Its point would stop before it had administered its wound. Many of the blows would have been mortal. But many thrusts were only to my eyes, or arms and legs. Every bit of me began to feel exposed, threatened.

I was their catch.

Then the dance became progressively swifter and wilder, and the feigned blows became more frequent, and then, suddenly, with a wild cry, the swirling throng about me stood for an instant stock still, and then with a cry, each spear thrust down savagely toward my heart.

I cried out.

None of the spears had struck me.

The girls cast aside the spears. Then, like feeding she-panthers they knelt about me, each one, with her hands and tongue, touching and kissing me.

I cried out with anguish.

I knew I could not long resist them.
Verna lifted her head. She laughed. "You are going to be raped," she said.

I fought the thongs, but, by their bodies, was thrust back. I felt Mira's teeth in my shoulder.

Suddenly I saw a movement in the darkness, behind the girls. One of the girls suddenly screamed, and was pulled from me, her arms pinned behind her back by a man's hands.

The girls suddenly looked about themselves, startled. They were seized from behind by the strong hands of men. They screamed.

I saw Verna's arms, too, pinned behind her. I recognized the man, in hunter's cap who held her.

"Greetings," said Marlenus of Ar.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Pages 137 - 139

"I have information," I said, "that, soon, there are more panther girls entering this portion of the forest. It might be well to withdraw before their arrival."
Marlenus laughed. "They are the girls of Hura," he said. "They are in my hire."
Verna cried out with rage.
He looked down at Verna. "I thought they might prove useful in hunting for this one," he said. He indicated Verna with his foot.
"But this one," said Marlenus, reaching out and shaking Mira's head with his large hand, "was the most useful of all." He laughed. "With my gold, Hura has increased her band to many girls. It will be the strongest band in the forest. And, with my gold, I have purchased our Mira the lieutenancy in that band."
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 141

"The girl, Verna," he said, "had fled."

"Thank you, Warrior," said Marlenus, dismissing the man. Then Marlenus turned to me. "You see," said he, "the game is already begun."
. . .

It was a hot afternoon, late in the afternoon. It was the day following Verna's flight.
We rose together, and went to the gate, and had it opened. We saw Verna immediately. There were two short choke straps on her neck, each held by a different panther girl. Her wrists had been bound behind her back. Further, at two places, across her shoulders and belly, her arms, with coils of binding fiber, very tight, were pinioned. She knelt between her two captors. There were several more girls, armed, behind her.
. . .

"We have caught an escaped slave," said Hura.
. . .

Hura reached to Verna's collar. She dug her fingers between the neck and the steel and jerked it, twice. "The collar of this slave girl," she said, "says that she belongs to Marlenus of Ar."
"That is true," said Marlenus.
. . .

"I am not one of your girls!" screamed Verna. "I am not one of your girls! I am Verna! Verna, the outlaw woman! Verna, the panther girl!"
. . .

"I will give you a steel knife," said Marlenus, "and forty arrow points for her."

"Very well," said Hura.
. . .

"I do not care if you beat me," said Verna, in pain. "I have felt the whip."

But Marlenus dragged her past the whipping post. I could see that this frightened her.
Marlenus stopped at the side of his great tent, in an open space.
. . .

"Who are you?" asked Marlenus.

"I am Verna," she said, "the outlaw."

Then, to her astonishment, and that of all those watching, saving the Ubar himself, Marlenus took the key to her collar from his pouch. He opened the collar and replaced the key in his pouch. He then removed the collar from her throat and cast it to one side, in the dirt.

She looked up at him, puzzled.

"Hamstring the outlaw," he said.
. . .

Hanging is a not uncommon penalty in the northern forests for outlawry. Another such penalty, not infrequently inflicted, is hamstringing.

"No, Ubar!" she said. "Please, Ubar!"
. . .

A fifth huntsman, at a sign from Marlenus, stepped behind the girl. He removed his sleen knife from its sheath. I saw the edge of the blade touch the right tendon.

"I am a woman!" screamed Verna. "I am a woman!"

"No," said Marlenus. "You are an outlaw."

"I am a woman!" screamed Verna. "I am a woman! I am a woman!"

"No," said Marlenus. "You have only the body of a woman. Inside your body you are a man."

"No!" she wept. "No! Inside I am a woman! I am a woman!"

"Is it true?" asked Marlenus.

"Yes, yes!" wept Verna.

"You acknowledge yourself a female then," asked Marlenus, "within as well as without."

"Yes" cried Verna. "I am a female!"

"Completely?" asked Marlenus.

"Yes, yes," wept Verna, "I am completely a female."

"And not a man as well?" pressed Marlenus.

"I am completely and only a female," wept Verna.

"Then," said Marlenus, "it seems we should not hamstring you as an outlaw."

Verna's body shuddered with relief. She shook in the arms of her captors.

But they did not release her.

"Then," said Marlenus, "you may be hamstrung for being an escaped slave girl."

Terror sprang anew into Verna's eyes.

It was true. The second penalty for an escaping girl, one who has fled before, is not uncommonly hamstringing. I had seen hamstrung girls, begging, piteous in the streets of Ar. It was not a pleasant sight.

"Hamstring the slave," said Marlenus.

"Master!" screamed Verna. "Master!"

Marlenus' hand indicated that the knife, poised, hesitate. The words that she had spoken stunned us, all save Marlenus. She had called him Master.

The huntsmen held the slave.

"Please, Master!" wept Verna. "Do not hurt me! Do not hurt me, Master!"

"The slave begs for mercy," said one of the huntsmen.

"Is this true?" asked Marlenus.

"Yes, Master," wept Verna. "I am yours. I am your girl. I am your slave. I beg for mercy. I beg for mercy, Master!"

"Release her," said Marlenus. The huntsman resheathed his sleen knife. The others released the girl. She knelt on the ground, her head down. her hair forward, her shoulders and body shaking, trembling with terror.

The other girls, too, were frightened, Verna's girls, in their panther skins, chained by their right ankle. Hura, and Mira, too, were shaken.

Verna had been shattered. Her pride, her obstinacy were gone.

She looked up at Marlenus, as a slave girl looks to the eyes of a master.

She knew then she was his.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Pages 157 - 162

Verna had been a rude, proud, strong, defiant, ill-tempered, magnificent outlaw woman, hating men. Then she had fallen to Marlenus of Ar, who would not accept her as such. He had played a savage game, crushing her, turning her into a slave girl. Verna was now property, to be bid upon, and bought and sold by any free man. But, too, paradoxically perhaps, she was joyful in the discovery of herself, her sex and her body. It mattered not that the discovery had been forced upon her. Too long had she fought and denied her womanhood. As a slave, she would no longer be permitted to do so. She had been a proud outlaw woman, fierce, resenting men, hostile toward them. Marlenus had touched her. She was feminine, utterly feminine, unlocked, opened, a conquered, helpless, loving slave.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 173

"What occurs in the forest at the camp of Marlenus?" I asked.
"An attack!" she whispered.
"By the men of Tyros," I said, "and who?" I pulled her hair back, exposing her throat more. She felt the blade press.
"Panther girls!" she whispered. "More than a hundred of them! The girls of the band of Hura!"
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 187

This afternoon I had come to the camp of Marlenus. Its gate had swung in the wind. Its pilings, forming its stockade, had been broken in various places, and burned in others. There were sharpened logs about, fallen, some blackened by fire. The tents had been struck, and were gone. In some places there was burned canvas, indicating that a given tent might have been set afire. There were boxes and debris about, and scattered ashes. I noted that most of the blackening on the stockade pilings was on the inside, indicating that the enemy had fired them from within. There was no sign of the gate's having been splintered or broken.
. . .
At the height of the feast some dozen or so panther girls would have overpowered the guards at the gate, presumably drunken, and opened the gate. Then, at a given signal, the panther girls within, abetted by the men of Tyros without, would have, with clubs and ropes, and the butts of their spears, sprung to the attack. By treachery within and force from without the camp would have been swept. Beyond the palisade several bodies had been dragged. Already some of them had been mauled by sleen and other predators. I had examined the bodies. The men of Ar had given a good account of themselves. Yet, altogether there were not more than forty fallen, including some who had apparently been wounded, and whose throats had been cut. Twenty-five of the fallen wore the yellow of Tyros.
The attack had apparently taken the camp by complete surprise, and had been devastating and successful.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Pages 190 - 191

There was a long silence, of some Ihn, and then, at a nod from Hura, who threw her long black hair back and lifted her head to the moons, the drum began again its beat. Mira's head was down, and shaking. Her right foot was stamping. The panther girls put down their heads. I saw their fists begin to clench and unclench. They stood, scarcely moving, but I could sense the movement of the drum in their blood.
The men of Tyros glanced to one another. It was few free men who had ever looked, unbound, on the rites of panther girls.
Hura's eyes were on the moons. She lifted her hands, fingers like claws, and screamed her need.
The girls then, following her, began to dance.
. . .
It might have been a rite not of women, but of she-panthers! How starved must be the lonely, hating panther women of the forests, so gross is their hostility, so fierce their hatred, and yet need, of men. They twisted, screaming now, clawing at the moons. I would scarcely have guessed at the primitive hungers evident in each movement of those barbaric, feline bodies. They would be masters of men. Proud, magnificent creatures. And yet by biology, by their beauty, by their aroused inwardness, could not, in fact, own but only, in their true fulfillment, belong, be taken, be conquered. It was little wonder such proud, fine women hated men, to whom nature had destined them.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 197

The drum was now very heady, swift. The dance of the panther girls became more wild, more frenzied. Vicious, sinuous, clawing, lithe, these savage beauties, in their skins and gold, with their knives, their light spears, weapons darting, danced. They were terrible, and beautiful, in the streaming, flooding light of the looming, primitive moons of perilous Gor. I could hear their cries of rage and need, hear their heels striking in the earth, their hands slapping at their thighs. I saw the teeth of some, white, bared, at the moons, their eyes blazing. The hair of all was unbound. Several had already, oblivious of the presence of the men of Tyros, torn away their skins to the waist, others completely. On some I could hear the movement of the necklaces of sleen teeth tied about their necks, the shivering and ringing of slender golden bangles on their tanned ankles. In their dance they danced among the staked-out bodies of the men of Marlenus, and about the great Ubar himself. Their weapons leapt at the bound men, but never did the blows fall.
The coals in the brazier formed a blazing cylinder in the fire-lit darkness of the circle. I could see, dark, the handle of the slave iron.
The dance would soon strike its climax. It could continue little longer. The women would go mad with their need to strike and rape.
Suddenly the drum stopped and Hura stopped, her body bent backward, her head back, her long black hair falling to the back of her knees.
She was breathing deeply, very deeply. Her body was covered with a sheen of sweat.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Pages 198 - 199

Two panther girls were swift on her trail, running easily. They were superb athletes, far superior to the inept, clumsy Earth girl who, terrified, fled before them.
Ilene would soon be taken. She was easy prey. The panther girls ran easily, loops of binding fiber loose in their hands. Ilene, stumbling, fled on. She would soon be taken.
Panther girls enjoy the capture of escaped female slaves in the forests. They despise them, and hunt them like the animals they are. They find it pleasant and delicious sport to take them. They are so helpless and weak.
Ilene fell, breathing heavily. The sound of pursuit was close behind her. Wild eyed, she leaped up and stumbled on again.
It would not be pleasant for Ilene, should she fall to them. Panther girls hold slave girls in great contempt, and treat them with great cruelty. Slave girls, many of whom have been forced to yield themselves totally to a man, are an object of hatred to panther girls. They represent what the panther girl most fears and hates, her sex. Many slave girls, particularly if broken to the collar, find men extremely attractive, and are eager to serve intimately those they find most pleasing. Panther girls, whose life is predicated on the hatred of men, are not likely to look leniently on such women. The slave girl, of course, is given no choice but to be feminine, to be a female. Strangely this is not regarded as relevant by panther girls. That a girl may have fought to the last moment with the last ounce of her strength to avoid being conquered is of no interest to the panther girl. That she has been conquered is all that counts for them. That her owner had given her no choice but to yield totally is not considered. The panther girl understands only when it is she herself who has been captured and taught her womanhood, only when it is she herself who finds herself in the strong arms of a man who, with or without her consent, makes her wholly feminine, who forces her to yield to him, who is her conqueror.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 201

Swiftly, lightly, the panther girls sprang into the tiny clearing not five yards from her. The binding fiber, in snare loops, was loose in their hands.

Ilene was on her hands and knees. She was in the grass. She wore only the bit of pleasure silk. She was breathing heavily, gasping. She looked at the panther girls

One of the panther girls, elated, strode to her and tied a length of binding fiber about her throat, tightly. She then backed away from her.

Ilene was on her hands and knees, looking at them, the binding fiber tied on her throat, its free end in the grasp of one of her captors.

"We have caught you, Slave," said one of the girls.

They laughed.

I dropped down behind them.

With two quick blows I stunned them. I tore away their halters, improvising gags. Then, with binding fiber from their own pouches, I tied their hands behind their backs. Their weapons and accouterments I threw to one side.

They lay on their stomachs.

"Stay as you are," I told them. "And spread your legs widely," I told them.

They did so.

"More widely," I said.

They did so. They could then spread them no more widely. It is very difficult for a captive to rise from this position. Also, psychologically, it induces a feeling of helplessness.

I then went to Ilene, who was now standing, frightened, and I removed the binding fiber from her throat.

"You were excellent bait," I told her.

I then took the binding fiber and, looping it several times about the throat of each captive, tied them together by the neck. The fiber which separated them was about eight feet in length, enough to serve as a double leash.

With the fiber I pulled them to their feet. I regarded them, my fist on the leash.

"You have been caught, Slaves," I told them.

They regarded me with fury.

"Take the slaves to our camp," I said to Ilene.

"Yes, Master," she said. She led them away.

I looked at the two panther girls, being led away. They were the first of our catches.

The men of Tyros, I knew, familiar with islands and the sweeps of gleaming Thassa, were inexperienced in the forest. The panther girls were their guides, their hunters, their scouts, their shields.

If I could make it so that the panther girls feared to leave the camp, and, in the marches, would insist on remaining near the long slave chain, putatively protected by their numbers, the men of Tyros would be, for many practical purposes, deprived of the services of their otherwise dangerously effective allies. Most importantly, I supposed, they would lose the services of their huntresses and guards. If the panther girls were in their camps, or near the slave chain in the march, it would be much simpler for me both to approach and withdraw. If the men of Tyros knew, as they would, that I might come and go as I pleased, this would have an unsettling effect upon them. Too, it should produce dissension between the men of Tyros and their allies, the lovely panther girls of the northern forests.

That day I took nine more panther girls. Five I took with the aid of Ilene.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Pages 202 - 203

The camp had not moved, but it was clear to me that the panther girls were now alarmed, and that their ventures from the camp were more conservative and timid. I had heard angry shouts from the men of Tyros, telling them to hunt the forests. There had been, too, angry responses by the panther girls. Not many girls went into the forest, and those that did, did not normally go far. One group, led by a proud girl, scorning the others, did range far. There were four of them. They were brave. They were in my coffle, bound, by nightfall.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 204

I gestured to two of the paga slaves, the first girl, dark-haired, and the second, the blond.
"Put on the skins of panther girls," I told them.
. . .
"You are only prey, and bait," I told her.
. . .
One of the stripped panther girls, furious, struggled in her bonds.
She was outraged to see a paga slave clad in the skins of panther girls.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 205

There were six panther girls guarding the camp. I would locate them, individually, and then rendezvous with my two accompanying paga slaves.
The paga slaves, in the skins of panther girls, in the darkness, would approach one of the guards.
They would be halted.
"We are returning," they would say.
Then, quietly, from the rear, my hand would close over the mouth of the guard.
She would be thrown down, gagged, and bound hand and foot. I would then locate another guard, and repeat the same stratagem. Interestingly, only two of the guards were immediately suspicious. The initial response of the other four girls, until they had seen the approaching women were not of their band, was one of intense relief. They almost ran to their arms. It had not occurred to them that these women might not be of their own band. To the best of their knowledge they were the only panther girls in the area. Indeed, their information was not incorrect. It was only that, in the darkness, they mistook paga slaves in the skins of panthers for their sisters of the forest, at last returning to the band. Their mistake, natural though it was, was a costly one. In my camp, bound in my coffle, they could contemplate it at their leisure. The two girls who were more suspicious fared no better. They, too, were distracted by the approaching women. They, too, were unaware of my presence, completely unaware, until my hand closed over their mouth and they felt themselves, helplessly, being dragged backward into the brush.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Pages 206 - 207

The fists of the chained panther girls, sitting chained on the grass, were clenched. They could not believe what they saw placed before them, boxes, and bundles, the rolled tarpaulin.
"We are panther girls!" cried the blond girl in the ankle ring. "We are not the porters of a man!"
It was she who was struck first with the switch by the red-haired girl, who leaped among them, striking and slashing with the supple lash.
The blond girl, weeping, seized up her burden and stood straight in the coffle. She carried the box on her head, in the fashion of the Gorean woman. She balanced it with her right hand. She stood straight. She was, though in tears, very graceful.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 211

I looked down.
The slave girls now passed beneath me. Only Sheera had been stripped. I saw Cara and Tina, still in their white wool slave tunics, save that they were now dirtied and torn. To my surprise, also in a woolen slave tunic, in coffle, was Grenna, whom I had captured in the forest. She had stood high in the band of Hura. But they were keeping her slave. Panther girls have little patience for those of their number who fall slave. Grenna's neck knot was tied as tightly as that of any of the other girls; her wrists were confined no less securely behind her back. She was as much slave as they. Then there came six panther girls, who had been of Verna's band, in their skins, and then, still in lipstick and earrings, still in her bit of slave silk, came Verna, and then, following her, came the other eight girls who had been of her band. I saw the girl behind her, with her heel, kick at the back of Verna's knee. She fell back, twisting, strangling in the fiber. She struggled to her feet, muchly-switched. One of the switches cut the silk on her body. She tried to turn to face the girl who had kicked her, but strangling, was pulled ahead by the girl in front of her. She was then struck more with switches.
"Hurry, Slave!" cried one of the girls of Hura, striking her twice again with a switch.
Verna hurried on, a slave girl under the switch.
It was no accident that Verna, garbed and adorned as she was, as a pleasure slave, had been tied among panther girls. She even still wore slave bells at her ankle. I suspected that, in the eyes of the men of Tyros, and those of the girls of Hura, her position in the slave coffle was regarded as, and intended as, a delicious cruelty.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Pages 212 - 213

The arrows which had struck the men of Tyros had been those of panther girls, taken from my captures. The men of Tyros and the girls of Hura did not know the nature nor the number of their stalkers. The first man, felled at the conquest circle, had been felled with a pile arrow from the great bow. The others had fallen to the arrows of panther girls, of which I had acquired a great number.

Mira had first betrayed Verna. She had then betrayed Marlenus of Ar. Her treacheries were not yet completed.

I approached her with the stealth of a warrior. She lay in her own small shelter. Other girls lay about. I did not touch them in my passage.
. . .

I lay behind Mira in the darkness. Her back was to me. She lay on her right side, her head on her right arm. She twisted in her sleep. She was restless. I was patient.

She rolled over on her back, and extended her legs, her head turned from side to side. Then her head was still. She was now mine.

I knelt across her body, one leg on either side of her, pinning her, confining her movements.

Her eyes suddenly, startled, opened. She saw me. In terror, a reflex action, uncontrollable, her mouth, lips wild, opened. I thrust the heavy wadding deep in her mouth. She could utter not the smallest sound. As my right hand did this the loop of panther skin, twisted in its center, fell from my hand across her face. Swiftly, the twisted part deeply between her teeth, I knotted it with a warrior's tightness behind the back of her neck. The wadding would not slip. I then turned her on her stomach and bound her wrists behind her back. Then I bent to her ankles, crossed them, and tied them together.

"Do not struggle," I told her.

She felt the blade of the knife at her throat. Her eyes wild over her gag, she nodded her understanding.

"Do you understand what you are to do?" demanded Vinca.

"I can't!" wept Mira "I can't!" tears strained her cheeks from beneath the blindfold I had fastened on her before bringing her to this predesignated clearing.

She could not see who it was who spoke to her. She knew only that she knelt, stripped, blindfolded and bound, before a harsh female interrogator, one whose uncompromising strictures and imperious tones could only be interpreted as those of a leader of a large and important band of panther women.

Also, to her left and right, moving about, from time to time, were the other two paga slaves, those beside Vinca. Mira could have no way of knowing how many were present at her interrogation nor if those present were merely a delegation or smaller group drawn from a larger band. Indeed, she knew little more than that she was being severely addressed by one woman, and that there were others about. Ilene I had left with the other prisoners, chaining her, belly to a tree, by slave bracelets. Mira, kneeling blindfolded, interrogated, did not even know if I were still present.

Vinca, the red-haired girl, did her job well. From time to time, when not satisfied with an answer, or, sometimes, for no apparent reason at all, she would, unexpectedly, strike the blindfolded, bound, cowering Mira with the switch. Mira never knew when she would be struck. She wept. She would sometimes flinch from blows that had not even fallen.

"Please do not hit me again," wept Mira.

"Very well," said Vinca.

Mira lifted her head and, gasping, straightened her body.

Then suddenly the switch would fall again, with lashing ferocity.

Mira put down her head again, shuddering. I observed the fingers of her small, crossed, bound hands. I did not think it would take long now for Vinca to break her.

"Do you understand what you are to do?" demanded Vinca.

"I cannot!" wept Mira. "It is too dangerous! If I were found out, they would kill me! I cannot do it! I cannot do it!"

I motioned to Vinca. No more blows fell.

"Very well," said Vinca.

There was a long silence.

Mira lifted her head, unbelievingly. The ordeal was over.

"Are you finished with me?" she asked.

"Yes," said Vinca.

Mira's head fell forward on her breast. Then she took a deep breath. She lifted her head.

"What are you going to do with me?" she asked.

"You will find out," said Vinca. The Vinca gestured to the two other paga slaves, my girls, in the skins of panthers. They unbound Mira's ankles and pulled her, still blindfolded, to her feet. One on each arm they conducted her through the forest until they came to a place we had agreed upon, in which we had placed four stakes. I followed silently.

Mira was put on her back and her two ankles were bound, widely apart, to two stakes.

Then her wrists were unbound from behind her back and they, too, were bound widely apart, to two stakes.

"What are you doing with me?" begged Mira.

"You are no longer of use to us," said Vinca.

"What are you going to do with me!" cried Mira.

"We are staking you out for sleen," said Vinca.

"No! No!" cried Mira.

The last knot was fastened. She was secured. "Please no!" cried Mira.

I handed my sleen knife to Vinca. Mira, blindfolded, felt the blade in her thigh. "No!" she cried.

Vinca handed the blade back to me, which I cleaned and replaced in my sheath.

Mira, staked out, blindfolded, felt a woman's strong hand take the blood from her thigh and smear it across her belly and about her body.

"Please!" wept Mira. "I am a woman?

"I, too," said Vinca, "am a woman."

"Spare me!" cried Mira. "Keep me as your slave!"

"I do not want you," said Vinca.

"Sell me to a man!" she cried. "I will make him a docile slave, a dutiful, obedient and beautiful slave?

"Are you a natural slave?" asked Vinca.

"Yes," cried Mira, "yes! Sell me! Sell me!"

"Do you beg to be a slave?" inquired Vinca.

"Yes," wept Mira, "yes!"

"Untie her," said Vinca.

Weeping, still blindfolded, Mira was untied and thrown before me on her knees.

"Submit," said Vinca, sternly.

Before me Mira performed the gesture of submission. I held her crossed wrists. "I submit myself, Master," she said.

She was now my slave.

I nodded to Vinca.

Mira was again thrown back on the grass.

"Let the slave," said Vinca, "be now staked out for sleen."

"No!" cried Mira. "No!"

Swiftly Mira, blindfolded, found herself bound as before to the stakes, if anything more securely. Only now she lay there a bound slave.

"Leave her for the sleen," said Vinca.

"Command me!" cried Mira. "I will do anything for you! Anything! A slave begs to be commanded!"

"It is too late," said Vinca.

"I beg to serve you!" she wept. "I beg to serve you!"

"It is too late," said Vinca.

"No!" cried Mira.

"Gag her," said Vinca.

Again I thrust the heavy wadding of fur deep in Mira's mouth, and tied it securely in place with the strip, twisted, of panther skin.

We then withdrew, leaving the slave Mira lashed helplessly between the stakes.

We waited.

As we expected, it did not take long. Soon, prowling about in the brush, some yards away, was a sleen, drawn by the smell of the fresh blood, her own, smeared on Mira's slave body.

The sleen is a cautious animal. He circled her, several times.

I could smell the animal. So, too, doubtless could the others, and Mira.

She seemed frozen in the lashings.

Movement will sometimes provoke the animal's charge, if within a certain critical distance, which, for the sleen, is about four times the length of his body.

The sleen scratched about in the grass. It made small noises. Tiny hisses and growls. The prey did not move. It came closer. I could hear it sniffing.

Then, puzzled, it was beside her. It thrust its snout against her body, and began to lick at the blood.

I removed a pile from one of the tem-wood arrows and capped the arrow with a wadding of fur.

Mira, blindfolded, helpless, threw back her head in terror. It would have been the scream of a bound slave, naked, staked out for sleen. But there was no sound for she had been gagged by a warrior. He had not even entitled her to utter a sound when the very jaws would be upon her. Her body pulled back, shuddering like that of a tethered tabuk set out by hunters for larls. First the sleen began to lick the blood from her body. Then it began to grow excited. Then it thrust forth its head and took her entire body, from her waist to the small of her back, in its jaws, and lifted it in the lashings.

I loosed the padded arrow. It struck the sleen on the side of the snout. Startled, it growled with rage, and leaped back, away from the prey.

Then it stood over her, hissing, snarling, defending its find against another predator.

Then the two paga slaves other than Vinca came forward, dragging the carcass of a tabuk. I had felled it before seeking Mira in her camp. They threw the carcass to one side.

After much snarling and growling the sleen turned to the side, its snout still stinging, and seized up the tabuk and disappeared in the brush.

I found the arrow, removed the wadding and replaced the steel pile.

Vinca and her girls had now unbound the lashings that fastened Mira. With difficulty they took from her mouth the heavy gag. They let the panther skin then hang about her neck and wound the wadding about it, that it might be soon replaced. They did not remove the blindfold. They put her on her knees and tied her hands behind her back.

"You know what you are to do, Slave?" asked Vinca. Numbly, half in shock, Mira nodded her head.

She was to betray the panther girls of Hura's band. In my camp, there were several bottles of wine, which had been taken originally from Verna's camp by Marlenus, and then from his camp by the men of Tyros and the girls of Hura. It had been abandoned at their first campsite by the conquest circle. I had had my slaves, captured panther girls, bring it along, carrying it in our slave caravan. I had thought it might prove useful. I did not expect it would be drunk by all of the panther girls, but, if I could deprive the men of Tyros of more of their dangerous, beautiful allies, it would be to my advantage.

"Tomorrow night," said Vinca, "you are to give the wine to as many of the panther girls as is possible."

Mira, blindfolded, kneeling before the harshly spoken Vinca, put down her head. "Yes, Mistress," she whispered.

Vinca put her hands in her hair and shook it. "We can pick you up again when we want you," she said. "Do you understand?"

Mira nodded, miserably.

"Are you a docile, obedient slave?" asked Vinca.

"Yes, Mistress," said Mira. "Yes!"

"Bring skins," said Vinca, "that we may now disguise this slave as a panther girl."

Mira was unbound and helped into skins. They were the same which had been taken before from her.

Her wrists were then bound again behind her back and I regagged her.

The bottles of wine, brought by one of the paga slaves, were slung, knotted, about her neck.

When we were close to her camp I removed the blindfold from her eyes.

She looked at me, piteously. In her eyes there was still the fear of the sleen.

"I shall show you where your guards are placed," I said.

"Then, with your skills, you should be able to return undetected to your place in the camp."

She nodded, tears in her eyes.

I took her by the arm and, nearing the camp, by gesture, showed her the placement of the two guards. She nodded. We then went to a place from which, with care, she should have no difficulty in re-entering the camp.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Pages 227 - 234

This morning the men of Tyros had doubtless awakened pleased and confident, eager to be again on their way to the sea. Then, to their horror, and that of the girls of Hura, it had been impossible to rouse many of the panther girls, indeed, all who had last night drunk of Mira's proffered wine.

The girls would have been deeply unconscious. They would have responded to nothing, save perhaps with a twist of their bodies and an almost fevered moan.
The men of Tyros, as I had expected, had not elected to remain at the camp, to protect and defend the girls until they had regained consciousness. They did not know but what this event had been the prelude to a full attack. They did not know the number nor nature of their enemies. They desired to preserve their own lives. Further, they did not elect to impede themselves and their chain by carrying them. Some, I expected, perhaps high girls in Hura's band, had been carried by their sisters of the forests. Most, however, had been abandoned, left behind with the tenting and baggage.
. . .

Suddenly I was alert. I detected in one of the small, narrow, open tents, abandoned, a movement.

Giving no sign I continued as before, looking about the camp. Then, when my presence was concealed by the side of the tent, I slipped into the brush.

In a few moments I discovered, kneeling in the tent, her back to me, with drawn bow, a panther girl. She had been pretending to be drugged, but had not been. She had had as yet no opportunity for a clean, favorable shot. She could not risk a miss. Other tents, and moving women, had been between us. I admired her, muchly. What a fine, marvelous, brave woman she was. Others had fled. She had stayed behind, to defend her fallen sisters of the forest.

It, of course, had been her mistake.

From behind I took her by the arms. She cried out with misery.

I bound her, hand and foot.

"What is your name?" I asked, as I fastened the knots on her wrists, behind her back.

"Rissia," she said.

I carried her to where the other girls lay and put her on the grass among them.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Pages 237 - 238

"Remove their clothing," I told Vinca and her girls. Their clothing, weapons, pouches, everything was removed from the panther girls.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 239

"No! No! No! No!" I heard.
I looked back. One of the panther girls was on her feet, wild, hysterically trying to force the slave bracelet from her left wrist. The chain was moved, the bodies of other girls, still unconscious, like inanimate, beautiful weights, their left wrists imprisoned by the bracelet and chain, jerked to and fro.
Instantly Vinca was on the girl with her switch, striking.
"Kneel as a pleasure slave, head down, and be silent!" she cried.
"Yes, Mistress," wept the girl. "Yes, Mistress!"
I saw other girls beginning to move about, to show signs of restlessness. Some had been disturbed by the crying of the hysterical panther girl, which had doubtless seemed to them far off, and something having little to do with them. Other girls shielded their eyes with their arms from the overhead sun, pouring down on them.
Another girl then began to scream and Vinca, too, was on her in an instant. Almost immediately she had her kneeling as a pleasure slave, with her head to the ground. Her hair was spread on the grass. She was shuddering, but silent.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Pages 240 - 241

In the brief skins of panther girls, they ran to the water and waded in it, the cold salt water coming to their calves.
. . .
Behind Grenna came the first of Verna's women, still in their skins of panthers. The panther skins, of course, had stood well the strikings of branches and the tearing of the closely set thickets of their flight. In the midst of the panther girls, now futilely fighting her bonds, was Verna.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 245

I noted that, as I would have supposed, and had been anticipating, that the girls driven forth now to gather wood for the fire were not panther girls. Panther girls knew the forests. Panther girls might escape.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 250

"I think I know him," said Hura, the tall girl, long-legged, with black hair, leader of the panther girls. She stood boldly before me, in the brief skins of the panthers, in her golden ornaments.
I drew her swiftly to me, and she cried out, frightened. I held her helplessly, and raped her lips with a kiss, an insolent kiss, such as a master might use to dismiss a slave girl, and then threw her from me, against the feet of the men of Tyros. The women of Hura gasped, and cried out with indignation. They screamed with rage. The men of Tyros were startled.
"Kill him!" screamed Hura, her dark hair before her eyes, crouching at the edge of the circle, to which, after my kiss I had spurned her.
"Be silent, Woman," said Sarus.
Hura struggled to her feet, and swept her hair back from her face. She regarded me with rage. Her women, too, cried out with fury.
"Be silent," said Sarus.
Angrily, the panther girls, breathing heavily, eyes flashing, restrained themselves.
I gathered that Hura, and her girls, proud panther women, were not popular among the men.
Moreover, I gathered that they feared the men, as well as hated them.
Little love or respect was lost between them. They were strange allies, the men of Tyros, the women of Hura.
"I claim vengeance!" cried Hura.
Again, behind her, her girls shouted.
"Be silent," said Sarus, sharply, "or we will put you all in bracelets!"
The girls gasped, and were silent.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Pages 267 - 268

"Kill him! Kill him quickly, you fool!" screamed Hura.
Sarus looked at her. "Strip her," he said, "and the others, and bind them as slaves."
As I looked on, unmoved, Hura, and her women, screaming and struggling, seized from behind by the men of Tyros, were thrown to their bellies in the dirt. The men then, in a standard Gorean procedure knelt across their bodies, pinning the girls' arms to their sides, leaving their own hands free. Then cut the skins from them, and their weapons, and then, tightly, fastened the wrists of each behind her body. Hura, and the others, struggled to their feet, stripped, wrists secured behind their backs.
"Kill him!" she wept. "He is your enemy! Not us! Do not give us up! We are your allies, your allies!"
"You are only females," said Sarus. "And we are weary of you."
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 271

"I am not a slave," said Verna to Marlenus of Ar, though she wore his collar.

They looked at one another for a long time. She had saved his life in the stockade, interposing her body and weapon, the crossbow, between him and the maddened, desperate attack of Sarus. He had not struck her, a woman. I had taken his sword from him, and given it to one of my men. Then, she had turned, and leveled her crossbow at the heart of Marlenus. We could not have stopped her, did she then fire. The Ubar, in chains, stood at her mercy. "Fire," he had challenged her, but she had not fired. She had given the crossbow to one of the men of Ar. "I have no wish to kill you," she had said. Then she had turned away.

Yesterday, she had returned of her own free will to the beach, and in her power, a captive panther woman, whose name was Hura.

"Take from the throat of this woman," said Marlenus, "the collar of a slave." He looked about. "This woman," he said hoarsely, "is no slave."

From the belongings of the camp of Marlenus, which had been carried to the stockade, was taken the key to the collar. It was removed from the throat of Verna, panther girl of the northern forests.

She faced the Ubar, whose slave she had been.

"Free now my women," she said.

Marlenus turned about. "Free them," he ordered.

Verna's women, startled, were freed of their bonds. They stood on the beach, among the stones, rubbing their wrists. One by one, collars were taken from their throats. They looked at Verna.

"I am not pleased with you," said Verna to them. "You much mocked me when I knelt slave, and wore garments imposed upon me by men." She then pointed to her ears. "You mocked me, too," said she, "when rings were fastened in my ears." She regarded them. "Are there any among you," she said, "who wish to fight me to the death?"

They shook their heads.

Verna turned to me. "Pierce their ears," she said, "and put them all in slave silk."

"Verna," protested one of the women.

"Do you wish to fight me to the death?" demanded Verna.

"No, Verna," she said.

"Let it be done as Verna has said," said I to Thurnock. Orders were given.

In an Ahn, the girls of Verna knelt before her on the beach. Each wore only clinging, diaphanous slave silk. In their eyes were tears. In the ears of each, fastened through the lobes of each, were earrings, of a sort attractive in each woman.

The skins of the women who had protested "Verna!" were now worn by Verna herself.

She strode before them on the beach, looking at them. "You would make beautiful slave girls," she told them.

I saw that the woman called Rena, whom I had used in Marlenus' camp, before departing from it, was especially beautiful.

I sat in the captain's chair, in authority, but crippled, huddled in blankets, bitter. I knew that I was an important man, but I could not move the left side of my body.

It was all for nothing.

"You," challenged Verna, to the girl who had protested, "how do you like the feel of slave silk?"

She looked down.

"Speak!" ordered Verna.

"It makes me feel naked before a man," she said.

"Do you wish to feel his hands, and his mouth, on your body?" she asked.

"Yes!" she cried out, miserably, kneeling.

Verna turned and pointed out one of my men, an oarsman.

"Go to him and serve his pleasure," ordered Verna.

"Verna!" cried the girl, miserably.

"Go!" ordered Verna.

The panther girl fled to the arms of the oarsman. He threw her over his shoulder and walked to the sand at the foot of the beach.

"You will learn, all of you," said Verna, "as I learned, what it is to be a woman."

One by one, she ordered the girls to serve the pleasure of oarsmen. The girl, Rena, fled instead to me, and pressed her lips to my hand.

"Do as Verna tells you," I told her.

She kissed my hand again, and fled to him whom Verna had indicated she must serve.

Their cries of pleasure carried to me.

Marlenus regarded Verna. "Will you, too," he asked, "not serve?"

"I know already what it is to be a woman," she said. "You have taught me."

He reached out his hand, to touch her. I had not seen so tender a gesture in the Ubar. I had not thought such a movement to be within him.

"No," she said, stepping back. "No."

He withdrew his hand.

"I fear your touch, Marlenus," she said. "I know what you can do to me."

He regarded her.

"I am not your slave," she said.

"The throne of the Ubara of Ar," he said, "is empty."

They looked at one another.

"Thank you," she said, "Ubar."

"I will have all arrangements made," he said, "for your investiture as Ubara of Ar."

His men gasped. My men could not speak. I, too, was struck with silence.

To be Ubara of Ar was the most glorious thing to which a woman might aspire. It meant that she would be the richest and most powerful woman on Gor, that armies and navies, and tarn cavalries, could move upon her very word, that the taxes of an empire the wealthiest on Gor could be laid at her feet, that the most precious of gems and jewelries might be hers, that she would be the most envied woman on the planet.

"I have the forests," she said.

Marlenus could not speak.

"It seems," he said, "that I am not always victorious."

"No," she said, "Marlenus, you have been victorious."

He looked at her, puzzled.

"I love you," she said. "I loved you even before I knew you, but I will not wear your collar and I will not share your throne."

"I do not understand," he said. I had not thought, ever, to see the Ubar as he stood there, looming over this woman, whom he might, did he choose, seize and own, but standing there numb, not understanding.

"You do not understand," said she, "because I am a woman."

He shook his head.

"It is called freedom," she said.

Then Verna turned away from him, in the skins of a panther woman. "I shall wait for my women in the forest," she said. "Tell them to find me there."

"Wait!" cried Marlenus of Ar. His voice was agonized. His hand lifted, as though to beg her to return to him.

I was startled. Never had I understood that the Ubar of Ar could be thus. He had cared, he then understood, and we, too, for this lonely, proud, beautiful woman.

"Yes?" asked Verna, turning to regard him. In her eyes, too, I thought I saw moisture.

Whatever Marlenus might have said to her, he did not say. He stood still for a moment, and then straightened himself. With one hand he tore from his throat the leather and claws he wore there. I saw that among those barbaric ornaments was a ring. I gasped, for it was the seal of Ar, the signet of Glorious Ar. He threw it to Verna, as a bauble.

She caught it.

"With that," he said, "you are safe in the realm of Ar. With that you can command the power of the city. This is as the word of the Ubar. With this you can buy supplies. With this you can command soldiers. Any who come upon you and see this ring will know that behind you stands the power of Ar."

"I do not want it," she said.

"Wear it," said Marlenus, "for me."

Verna smiled. "Then," said she, "I want it." She tied the ring on a bit of leather about her neck.

"The Ubara of Ar," said he, "might wear such a ring."

"I have the forests," she said. "Are they not more beautiful even than the city of Ar?"

They regarded one another.

"I will never see you again," said Marlenus.

Verna shrugged. "Perhaps not," she said. "But perhaps you will."

He looked at her.

"Perhaps, sometime," she said, "I will trek to Ar. I have heard that it is a fine city."

He grinned.

"And perhaps," said she, "from time to time, you might come again to hunt in the northern forests."

"Yes," he said. "Such is my intention."

"Good," said she. "Perhaps, sometimes, we can hunt together."

Then she turned to depart.

"I wish you well, Woman," said Marlenus of Ar.

She turned to face him, and smiled. "I, too," said she, "wish you well."

Then she turned and vanished into the dark green shadows of the northern forests.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Pages 298 - 302

Verna would hunt alone in the forests. She would have her freedom. About her neck she wore the signet ring of Ar. She would be swift and free in the dark green glades. She would be alone. I wondered if, at times, she would lie in the darkness, clutching the ring of Marlenus, and twist, and weep. Her pride stood between herself and her womanhood. Yet in the darkness, as she lay on the leaves in her lair, in her ears would glint the gold of earrings. She had not removed them. They had been fastened in her ears upon the order of Marlenus, when he had been her master. She would never forget, in her freedom, nor did she wish to do so, that she had been once his utter slave. Perhaps from time to time she would long for his collar and touch. She had made her choice, for her independence. She had not exchanged that even for the throne of Ar. Her women had, too, made their choice. Verna was free. They were shamed as slaves. I did not know which was happiest. They sat silently in the longboats, obediently. The hands of each were now being fastened behind her back. I saw Rena's wrists secured. They, new slaves, were shy. But they did not seem unhappy. I wondered if any, as her wrists were drawn together behind her back and fastened together, regretted her decision. If she did, it was too late. The binding fiber was upon her. But they did not seem unhappy. They had yielded to their womanhood. They had surrendered themselves to bondage, and love. This gift, this choice, which she had refused for herself, Verna had given them.
Doubtless now, alone, somewhere within the forest, in freedom and solitude, there was a panther girl. She hunted. Her name was Verna. I wished her well.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 313

"Put the slave Rissia before me, she who was of Hura's band," I said.
. . .
"This woman," said I to Thurnock, indicating Rissia, "remained behind in the camp of Sarus and Hura, when many of her fellow panther women were drugged."
Thurnock nodded.
"She had a bow," I said, "with an arrow to the string. It was her intention to defend her drugged sisters, to protect them."
"I see, Captain," said Thurnock.
"She might have slain me," I said. Thurnock smiled.
"What should be her fate?"
"That," said he, "is for my captain to decide."
"Her act," I asked, "does it not seem brave?"
"It does indeed, my captain," said Thurnock.
"Free her," I told him.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 314

Some girls attempt to flee to the greenwood forests of the north. In such forests, in certain territories, there roam bands of free women, the lithe, ferocious Panther Girls of Gor, but these despise and hate women not of their own fierce ilk; in particular do they revile and hold in contempt girls, beauties, who have been slaves to men; should such a girl, fleeing enter the cool vastness of their green domain, she is commonly hunted down like a tabuk doe and cruelly captured; the forests are not for such as she; she is tethered and bound, and often lashed, then driven by switches helplessly to the shores of Thassa or the banks of the Laurius, and then sold back to men, usually for weapons or candy.
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Page 98

"How came you here?" I asked.
"I was voyaging upstream on the Laurius," he said, "to see if panther girls had caught any new slave girls, whom I might purchase from them for arrow points and candy, for use in the tavern as paga sluts.
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 159

"I cannot live alone in the north," she said. "I would surely fail to reach the south safely."
I thought her assessment of the situation accurate.
"Panther Girls," I said, "such as, here and there, frequent the northern forests, might survive."
"I am not a Panther Girl," she said.
I looked at her kneeling in the snow at my feet her small, trim figure, her soft, sweet exquisite curves, her delicately beautiful throat and face, the pleading blue eyes, the lush wealth of auburn hair loose behind her naked shoulders.
"That is true," I said.
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 181

"Be pleased that panther girls are not selling you for arrow points and a handful of candy," I said.
"Who are panther girls?" she asked.
"Strong women, huntresses who frequent the northern forests," I said. "They enjoy selling feminine women like yourself."
"Oh," she said.
"You are a slave," I said. "Do you think you would like to be a woman's slave?"
"No," she said, shuddering. She kissed me. "I am a man's slave," she said.
"It is true," I said.
"Are panther girls truly so strong?" she asked.
"Not really," I said. "Once captured and conquered, collared and silked, their thigh burned by the iron, thrown to a man's feet, they are as quick to kiss and lick as any woman. Indeed, they make superb slaves. They bring high prices in the markets. They are only girls desperate to fight their femininity. When they are no longer permitted to do this they have no choice but to become marvelous women and slaves. A conquered panther girl is one of the most abject and delicious, and joyful, of slaves."
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Pages 239 - 240

On Gor men sit cross-legged, not women. The Gorean female, whether free or slave, whether of low caste or high caste, kneels. This posture on the part of a woman, aping that of men, is a provocation. I had seen panther girls in the north, in their desire to repudiate their own nature, and in their envy of men, adopt such a posture. To be sure, such women, reduced to slavery, quickly learn to kneel and usually, considering their new status, with their knees widely apart.
Magicians of Gor     Book 25     Page 118

There might have been twenty fellows with the newcomer. Behind them, back in the trees, I saw seven or eight briefly tunicked slaves. Some carried poles, with coiled ropes. Such poles could be used for portering, the baggage fastened to them by the ropes. Sometimes captured panther girls, small bands of which occasionally roamed hundreds of pasangs to the south, were slung from such poles. They were bound, hand and feet, by their captors, to the poles, as might have been slain or captured panthers, the beasts from which they derive their name. They are fastened to the poles in such a way that they dangle, swinging, from them, their bellies to the pole, their backs to the ground. The poles are carried by female slaves, a great insult to the panther girl for they despise female slaves. And she does not know, of course, to what fate she is being carried. When they are returned to civilization, the captured panther girls, most of whom suffer from repressed sexuality, are stripped, branded, and collared, and taught their womanhood. They sell well, and some men seek them out, in the taverns. Wonders, it is said, may be wrought in such women by a switch, and a master's hand. Supposedly they make superb slaves. And once the slave fires have been ignited in their bellies, they are, of course, as helpless, and needful, as any other slave.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Pages 136 - 137

I had heard of Panther Girls but did not think there would be many, if any, about, this far north. Some bands, I had heard, roamed in the vicinity of the Laurius, much farther south. Too, in a few weeks winter would greet the forest. Should I encounter Panther Girls I thought I might join their band. But then I touched my neck. There was a collar on it. Panther Girls were free women. They despised slaves. Woe to the slave who fell into their hands! I did not understand the hatred of Panther Girls for slaves. What were they afraid of? Did they, in all their vaunted freedom, in their skins and necklaces, fear something in themselves? What might it be? Could it be the slave?
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 255

The other women, there were three I saw were quite different. The differences between the two sorts were radical, fearful, and unmistakable. The others were not burdened. They were large strong, sturdy women. I was afraid of them for they reminded me, a little, in their stature, and power, of men. And I feared men, at least the men of this world, for they were masters, and I was not only a woman, but goods, a slave. In some respects they seemed neither male nor female, or, perhaps better, discontentedly, unwillingly, or unhappily female. Certainly they were very unlike Gorean free women. Surely they were dressed very differently. There was nothing here of layered, shimmering veils, of golden sandals, of cloaks, hoods and scarves, of jeweled purses, of the rich, flowing, colorful, intricately draped robes of concealment, common to the Gorean free woman. Too, there was nothing here of the grace, and beauty, and femininity, of the provocative softness, of the promise of secret delights, of the implicit, whispered needs, of the typical Gorean free woman, obvious even in, and perhaps even enhanced by, the robes of concealment. Yet I had little doubt that these unusual, different women, or creatures, I now looked upon were both Gorean and free. Certainly they carried themselves much as free men might, but, I thought, pretentiously so. Did they think they were men? They carried knives on a loop slung about their shoulder. They carried light spears. Their hair was bound back in talmits. On their necks there were no collars, but barbaric strings of claws. On their arms and wrists were golden bands. Two had a golden anklet. Clearly then they were women. Did they not have their vanity? They were clothed briefly, and not that differently from slaves, but they wore not rep-cloth, the wool of the bounding hurt, or silk, work silk or pleasure silk, but the skins of animals, of forest panthers. They were not dressed by men for the pleasure of men, but, perhaps, should the occasion arise, to torment and taunt men. But, too, would not such light garb be ideal for moving easily and swiftly in natural, difficult terrains, in the woods, in the jungles, in evading, hunting, attacking, and perhaps, I thought, in reconnoitering.
I recognized the large strong, fierce women as Panther Women, or, as the men will have it, Panther Girls, for they seem to think of all women in terms of the collar, either presently or in the future. I had heard that Panther Girls, subdued and taught their collars, made excellent slaves, grateful, devoted, loving, obedient, and passionate. But I did not understand why they had to be subdued. Were they not women? Did they not long for masters? Did they war only in the hope of being conquered? I did not have to be subdued. Rather, I longed for my place in nature. On my former world I had feared it would be denied to me. Why were Panther Women, or Panther Girls, so different, so hostile to men, and to themselves? Did they hate a womanhood which they lacked, or doubted they possessed? Was this a matter of pride of some sort, of striving to realize some sort of an unusual image? Why had they fled to the wilds, to forsake civilization, and men, and live as savages, as beasts? Were they trying to be men? Did they fear the cry of their heart, the piteous, insistent pleading of their blood? But I did not understand how there could be Panther Girls this far north, certainly not in the autumn, with winter looming. Had not ice been noted in the Alexandra? One thinks of Panther Girls much farther south, perhaps in the basin and environs of the Laurius, not the Alexandra. Their presence here was certainly anomalous.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Pages 272 - 274

I gathered that my captor, this large, sturdy, blue-eyed, widely shouldered, blond-haired, harsh, strapping woman was first in this small contingent of Panther Girls so unaccountably in the vicinity of Shipcamp.
The point of her small, short, light spear was jabbed into my back. "Move, kajira," she said. Three Panther Women, carrying their spears, approached.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 275

I suddenly realized it was this other woman, and not my captor, who was first in this tiny band of Panther Women. I should have realized that, of course. My captor would be most likely an outtrekker, a guard or scout of sorts, one who would cover the forest flank of the group's march, the river on the other side. The leader would be with the main group, where she might apprehend, direct, and command. The leader, who was also blond, with long braided hair, in two plaits, dangling to the small of her back, was the largest of the four women. Her ornaments were the gaudiest, and most abundant, her mottled skins, which would blend well with a background of bark and shadows, seemed the finest and loveliest of the four; they were light, well-worked, form-fitting, smooth, and supple, and might have won the grudging approval of an examining fellow of the caste of leather workers. Too, I had gathered that leadership in such a band was not easily purchased, but often won by the knife or spear. A defeated leader, if surviving, was banished from the group, being driven away into the forest, alone. Sometimes free women, miserable and unhappy in their lives, resentful of the conventional constraints commonly imposed on them in the cities and towns, fleeing unwanted matches, debtors hoping to escape the law and such, attempted to join a band of Panther Girls. But membership in such a band did not come easily. Most often such candidates, particularly if slight and attractive, found themselves stripped, bound, and sold. Others, thought to have promise, were sent naked into the forest with a spear, to kill a panther, and return with the bloodied skin about their shoulders. Most, I had been told, do not return.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Pages 276 - 277

Panther Girls are commonly filled with hatred; they commonly resent and hate men, whom it seems, oddly enough, they appear to envy and attempt to emulate, but, interestingly, perhaps even more, they commonly resent and hate typical free women, perhaps because such women are too female, and too unlike men. Whereas the Panther Woman, or Panther Girl, as other free women, commonly holds the slave in contempt, and is cruel to her, she seems to hate her less, on the whole, than she hates either the free male or the typical free female.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 277

On the other hand, the Panther Women, or Panther Girls, hating men, are less likely to see the slave as a rival. They are more likely to see her as a mere slave, as a work beast, a convenience, a beast of burden, an object which may be sold for a profit.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 278

"To the beasts," said the one who had spoken before. She had a wide, green-and-brown talmit. "Surely you know why we are here. We must complete our work and report to the employer. We have already risked much by bringing two collar sluts with us."
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 279

Sometimes, in concert, bands of Panther Women will attack a small caravan in the forest or an outlying trading post on the coast.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 294

"At least one is a slave," I said.
"Most likely more," said Axel. "Panther Women, who tend to be large and fierce for women, often hold smaller, weaker women as slaves."
"Are there men with them?" I asked.
"It seems unlikely," he said, "for Panther Girls seldom league themselves with men, for before men their bravado fades, its fraudulence becomes transparent. They no longer find themselves dominant, but find themselves before the truly dominant, and then must fight their blood, as other women who long for the raptures of submission, the fulfillments of being owned and mastered."
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 308

Sometimes Panther Girls trod the forest barefoot.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 309

"Free my hands, free my ankles," cried Darla, "and give me a dagger, a javelin!"
"I like you as you are," said Tuza.
"Let us do contest," cried Darla, "in the manner of the Panther Women!"
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 313

I had thought that Darla, who was large and strong, was the fiercest, the mightiest, the most formidable of women, the bold and daring leader of a dangerous band of Panther Women, women to look up to, women before whom other women might kneel in fear, women not unlike the masters themselves, women not unlike men, but here was mighty Darla, naked, on her knees, chained and shackled, her ankles bound together with her own talmit, begging to be sold. Darla, I then realized, was a woman, and perhaps not so different from other women.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Pages 315 - 316

"Tuza drugged Darla," said Hiza.
"What a brave way to challenge for leadership," said Donna. "Are javelins in the forest no longer in order; are sticks no longer available to draw a killing circle, a circle of decision, in the camp?"
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 341

"Fortunately for you," he said, "she is not a Panther Girl, familiar with the forest, adept at concealing her presence, and trail."
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 436

Too, what if I should encounter Panther Women, others, south of the river? I was not such a woman. I lacked their size, their power, their skills, their hatred, their masculinity, their ferocity. They would see me as worthless and despicable, as no more than another of the smaller, weaker, softer, more feminine women they despised, women whose wrists seemed made for slave bracelets, whose necks seemed made for the collar. Men do not hate women such as I, but Panther Women, for some reason, do. Why should that be? It is not our fault if men prefer us to women who are large, ill-tempered, cruel, belligerent, and gross, whose bodies might not interest a tharlarion. Were we the less women for our needs, our passion, our attractiveness, our beauty, our desire to love, and serve? I did not think so. Surely we had a right to exist, even though we were the sort men would buy and sell, the sort men fought to bring to the block. No, I knew enough now of Panther Women to avoid them. If I were not killed, I would be beaten for my beauty, if it were that, and then sold, if only for a sack of arrow points.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 440

I had seen such teeth before, fangs, pierced and strung on necklaces and armlets of Panther Girls.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 452

I regretted that my tunic was white. How much better would have been the skins of Panther Women which would have blended with the background, the branches, the shadows, and foliage.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 538

Sometimes the wild women of the forests, particularly in the north, will sit cross-legged. But when captured or enslaved they, too, will kneel.
Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Page 67

"He bestowed me on a woman, Verna, a chieftainess of the northern panther girls. Can you conceive of that? Can it even be imagined? I found myself, the daughter of Marlenus of Ar, taken as the helpless slave of a woman to the northern forests?"
Warriors of Gor     Book 37     Page 309

"Panther Girls are about," he said.

"Not in this area," I said, incredulously. From what I had heard of Panther Girls, their bands were almost always found in sparsely inhabited areas, forests and jungles, and such, which made sense as their bands, at least according to report, tended to be largely formed by haters of men, haters of their own womanhood, rejecters of society because of its restrictions and conventions, girls fleeing unwanted companionships, women fleeing enslavement for debts, female thieves sought by guardsmen, and so on. Most towns and cities viewed them as female outlaws, and, as female outlaws, subject to seizure and enslavement. It was said that, collared and mastered, they, as other women, made excellent slaves.

"I know it is rare," said the Peasant. "But we do not bother them, and they do not bother us. They are furtive, and move mostly at night."

"Have you seen any?" asked Xanthe.

"I have spoken with more than one," he said.

"What are they doing this close to Ar, this far from the wilderness?" I asked.

"Pursuit, and vengeance," said the Peasant. "They are seeking one of their own, a deserter, a fugitive, one who fled the band."

"A thief who made off with the band's gold," said Xanthe.

"Perhaps," said the Peasant. "I do not know."

"What will they do with the fugitive if they find her?" I asked.

"I fear it will be unpleasant," said the Peasant. "They intend to strip her, bind her hand and foot, and throw her to leech plants."
Treasure of Gor     Book 38     Page 445

"The band," she said. "It could be dangerous for you if they found me in your company."

"Not with their small numbers and so close to Ar," said Desmond. "They must know that they themselves are in jeopardy of apprehension."
Treasure of Gor     Book 38     Page 452

Would Tiskias, after he had satisfied himself with respect to what the prisoners knew, and whom they might have been in contact with, pay the Panther Girls to do away with the prisoners? I feared that that was likely. I remember the lonely bridge that night in Ar. But, would the Panther Girls do such a thing? I had never heard of Panther Girls, like mercenaries or assassins, killing for pay.
Treasure of Gor     Book 38     Page 459

"It is well known," said the officer, "that there are occasionally found small groups of free women who forsake their role in society, flee away to the forests and jungles, and disport themselves shamelessly. They scoff at civility and taxes. They have robbed granaries and stolen supplies. They have waylaid travelers and looted small caravans. They have captured and sold both men and women. They live by their own laws and hunt and fish as they please. They are no more than vermin, nuisances, and bandits."
Treasure of Gor     Book 38     Page 478

"Panther Girls are about," he said.

"Not in this area," I said, incredulously. From what I had heard of Panther Girls, their bands were almost always found in sparsely inhabited areas, forests and jungles, and such, which made sense as their bands, at least according to report, tended to be largely formed by haters of men, haters of their own womanhood, rejecters of society because of its restrictions and conventions, girls fleeing unwanted companionships, women fleeing enslavement for debts, female thieves sought by guardsmen, and so on. Most towns and cities viewed them as female outlaws, and, as female outlaws, subject to seizure and enslavement. It was said that, collared and mastered, they, as other women, made excellent slaves.

Treasure of Gor     Book 38     Page 445

Gorean men commonly sit cross-legged, and Gorean women, both free and slave, kneel. The free woman, of course, kneels fully clothed, her knees together. Some Gorean free women, I had heard, called Panther Girls, sit cross-legged. These commonly move in small, free-roving bands in remote, uninhabited areas.
Treasure of Gor     Book 38     Page 435


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