Fifth Month
Passage Hand
Year 10,174 Contasta Ar

Bola Run

These are the relevant references from the Books where Running from the Bola is mentioned.
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

It might be added that there are two items which the Wagon Peoples will not sell or trade to Turia, one is a living bosk and the other is a girl from the city itself, though the latter are sometimes, for the sport of the young men, allowed, as it is said, to run for the city. They are then hunted from the back of the kaiila with bola and thongs.
Nomads of Gor       Book 4       Page 58

Albrecht was rearing on his kaiila, loosening the bola at his saddle.

"Remove your furs," he instructed his two girls.

Immediately they did so and, in spite of the brisk, bright chilly afternoon, they stood in the grass, clad Kajir.

They would run for us.

Kamchak raced his kaiila over to the edge of the crowd, entering into swift negotiation with a warrior, one whose wagon followed ours in the march of the Tuchuks. Indeed, it had been from that warrior that Kamchak had rented the girls who had dragged Elizabeth Cardwell about the wagons, teaching her Gorean with thong and switch. I saw a flash of copper, perhaps a tarn disk from one of the distant cities, and one of the warrior's girls, an attractive Turian wench, Tuka, began to remove her fur.

She would run for one of the Kassars, doubtless Conrad.

Tuka, I knew, hated Elizabeth, and Elizabeth, I knew, reciprocated the emotion with vehemence. Tuka, in the matter of teaching Elizabeth the language, had been especially cruel. Elizabeth, bound, could not resist and did she try, Tuka's companions, the others of her wagon, would leap upon her with their switches flailing. Tuka, for her part, understandably had reason to envy and resent the young American slave. Elizabeth Cardwell, at least until now, had escaped, as Tuka had not, the brand, the nose ring and collar. Elizabeth was clearly some sort of favorite in her wagon. Indeed, she was the only girl in the wagon. That alone, though of course it meant she would work very hard, was regarded as a most enviable distinction. Lastly, but perhaps not least, Elizabeth Cardwell had been given for her garment the pelt of a larl, while she, Tuka, must go about the camp like all the others, clad Kajir.

I feared that Tuka would not run well, thus losing us the match, that she would deliberately allow herself to be easily snared.

But then I realized that this was not true. If Kamchak and her master were not convinced that she had run as well as she might, it would not go easily with her. She would have contributed to the victory of a Kassar over a Tuchuk. That night, one of the hooded members of the Clan of Tortures would have come to her wagon and fetched her away, never to be seen again. She would run well, hating Elizabeth or not. She would be running for her life.

Kamchak wheeled his kaiila and joined us. He pointed his lance to Elizabeth Cardwell. "Remove your furs," he said.

Elizabeth did so and stood before us in the pelt of the larl, with the other girls.

Although it was late in the afternoon the sun was still bright. The air was chilly. There was a bit of wind moving the grass.

A black lance was fixed in the prairie about four hundred yards away. A rider beside it, on a kaiila, marked its place. It was not expected, of course, that any of the girls would reach the lance. If one did, of course, the rider would decree her safe. In the run the important thing was time, the dispatch and the skill with which the thing was accomplished. Tuchuk girls, Elizabeth and Tuka, would run for the Kassars, the two Kassar girls would run for Kamchak and myself; naturally each slave does her best for her master, attempting to evade his competitor.

The time in these matters is reckoned by the heartbeat of a standing kaiila. Already one had been brought. Near the animal, on the turf, a long bosk whip was laid in a circle, having a diameter of somewhere between eight and ten feet. The girl begins her run from the circle. The object of the rider is to effect her capture, secure her and return her, in as little time as possible, to the circle of the whip.

Already a grizzled Tuchuk had his hand, palm flat, on the silken side of the standing kaiila.

Kamchak gestured and Tuka, barefoot, frightened, stepped into the circle.

Conrad freed his bola from the saddle strap. He held in his teeth a boskhide thong, about a yard in length. The saddle of the kaiila, like the tarn saddle, is made in such a way as to accommodate, bound across it, a female captive, rings being fixed on both sides through which binding fiber or thong may be passed. On the other hand, I knew, in this sport no time would be taken for such matters; in a few heartbeats of the kaiila the girl's wrists and ankles would be lashed together and she would be, without ceremony, slung over the pommel of the saddle, it the stake, her body the ring.

"Run," said Conrad quietly.

Tuka sped from the circle. The crowd began to cry out, to cheer, urging her on. Conrad, the thong in his teeth, the bola quiet at his side, watched her. She would receive a start of fifteen beats of the great heart of the kaiila, after which she would be about half way to the lance.

The judge, aloud, was counting.

At the count of ten Conrad began to slowly spin the bola.

It would not reach its maximum rate of revolution until he was in full gallop, almost on the quarry.

At the count of fifteen, making no sound, not wanting to warn the girl, Conrad spurred the kaiila in pursuit, bola swinging.

The crowd strained to see.

The judge had begun to count again, starting with one, the second counting, which would determine the rider's time.

The girl was fast and that meant time for us, if only perhaps a beat. She must have been counting to herself because only an instant or so after Conrad had spurred after her she looked over her shoulder, seeing him approaching. She must then have counted about three beats to herself, and then she began to break her running pattern, moving to one side and the other, making it difficult to approach her swiftly.

"She runs well," said Kamchak.

Indeed she did, but in an instant I saw the leather flash of the bola, with its vicious, beautiful almost ten-foot sweep, streak toward the girl's ankles, and I saw her fall.

It was scarcely ten beats and Conrad had bound the struggling, scratching Tuka, slung her about the pommel, raced back, kaiila squealing, and threw the girl, wrists tied to her ankles, to the turf inside the circle of the boskhide whip.

"Thirty," said the judge.

Conrad grinned.

Tuka, as best she could, squirmed in the bonds, fighting them. Could she free a hand or foot, or even loosen the thong, Conrad would be disqualified.

After a moment or two, the judge said, "Stop," and Tuka obediently lay quiet. The judge inspected the thongs. "The wench is secured," he announced."

In terror Tuka looked up at Kamchak, mounted on his kaiila.

"You ran well," he told her.

She closed her eyes, almost fainting with relief.

She would live.

A Tuchuk warrior slashed apart the thongs with his quiva and Tuka, only too pleased to be free of the circle, leaped up and ran quickly to the side of her master. In a few moments, panting, covered with sweat, she had pulled on her furs.

The next girl, a lithe Kassar girl, stepped into the circle and Kamchak unstrapped his bola. It seemed to me she ran excellently but Kamchak, with his superb skill, snared her easily. To my dismay, as he returned racing toward the circle of the boskhide whip the girl, a fine wench, managed to sink her teeth into the neck of the kaiila causing it to rear, squealing and hissing, then striking at her. By the time, Kamchak had cuffed the girl from the animal's neck and struck the kaiila's snapping jaws from her twice-bitten leg and returned to the circle, he had used thirty-five beats.

He had lost.

When the girl was released, her leg bleeding, she was beaming with pleasure.

"Well done," said Albrecht, her master, adding with a grin, "for a Turian slave."

The girl looked down, smiling.

She was a brave girl. I admired her. It was easy to see that she was bound to Albrecht the Kassar by more than a length of slave chain.

At a gesture from Kamchak Elizabeth Cardwell stepped into the circle of the whip.

She was now frightened. She, and I as well, had supposed that Kamchak would be victorious over Conrad. Had he been so, even were I defeated by Albrecht, as I thought likely, the points would have been even. Now, if I lost as well, she would be a Kassar wench.

Albrecht was grinning, swinging the bola lightly, not in a circle but in a gentle pendulum motion, beside the stirrup of the kaiila.

He looked at her. "Run," he said.

Elizabeth Cardwell, barefoot, in the larl's pelt, streaked for the black lance in the distance.

She had perhaps observed the running of Tuka and the Kassar girl, trying to watch and learn, but she was of course utterly inexperienced in this cruel sport of the men of the wagons. She had not, for example, timed her counting, for long hours, under the tutelage of a master, against the heartbeat of a kaiila, he keeping the beat but not informing her what it was, until she had called the beat. Some girls of the Wagon Peoples in fact, incredible though it seems, are trained exhaustively in the art of evading the bola, and such a girl is worth a great deal to a master, who uses her in wagering. One of the best among the wagons I had heard was a Kassar slave, a swift Turian wench whose name was Dina. She had run in actual competition more than two hundred times; almost always she managed to interfere with and postpone her return to the circle; and forty times, an incredible feat, she had managed to reach the lance itself.

At the count of fifteen, with incredible speed, Albrecht, bola now whirling, spurred silently after the fleeing Elizabeth Cardwell. She had misjudged the heartbeat or had not understood the swiftness of the kaiila, never having before observed it from the unenviable point of view of a quarry, because when she turned to see if her hunter had left the vicinity of the circle, he was upon her and as she cried out the bola struck her in an instant binding her legs and throwing her to the turf. It was hardly more than five or six beats, it seemed, before Elizabeth, her wrists lashed cruelly to her ankles, was thrown to the grass at the judge's feet. "Twenty-five!" announced the judge.

There was a cheer from the crowd, which, though largely composed of Tuchuks, relished a splendid performance.

Weeping Elizabeth jerked and pulled at the thongs restraining her, helpless.

The judge inspected the bonds. "The wench is secured," he said.

Elizabeth moaned.

"Rejoice, Little Barbarian," said Albrecht, "tonight in Pleasure Silk you will dance the Chain Dance for Kassar Warriors."

The girl turned her head to one side, shuddering in the thongs. A cry of misery escaped her.

"Be silent," said Kamchak.

Elizabeth was silent and, fighting her tears, lay quietly waiting to be freed.

I cut the thongs from her wrists and ankles.

"I tried," she said, looking up at me, tears in her eyes. "I tried."

"Some girls," I told her, "have run from the bola more than a hundred times. Some are trained to do so."

"Do you concede?" Conrad asked Kamchak.

"No," said Kamchak. "My second rider must ride."

"He is not even of the Wagon Peoples," said Conrad.

"Nonetheless," said Kamchak, "he will ride."

"He will not beat twenty-five," said Conrad.

Kamchak shrugged. I knew myself that twenty-five was a remarkable time. Albrecht was a fine rider and skilled in this sport and, of course, this time, his quarry had been only an untrained barbarian slave, indeed, a girl who had never before run from the bola.

"To the circle," said Albrecht, to the other Kassar girl. She was a beauty.

She stepped to the circle quickly, throwing her head back, breathing deeply.

She was an intelligent looking girl.


Her ankles, I noted, were a bit sturdier than are thought desirable in a slave girl. They had withstood the shock of her body weight many times I gathered, in quick turnings, in leaps.

I wished that I had seen her run before, because most girls will have a running pattern, even in their dodging which, if you have seen it, several times, you can sense. Nothing simple, but something that, somehow, you can anticipate, if only to a degree. It is probably the result of gathering, from their running, how they think; then one tries to think with them and thus meet them with the bola. She was now breathing deeply, regularly. Prior to her entering the circle I had seen her moving about in the background, running a bit, loosening her legs, speeding the circulation of her blood.

It was my guess that this was not the first time she had run from the bola.

"If you win for us," Albrecht said to her, grinning down from the saddle of the kaiila, "this night you will be given a silver bracelet and five yards of scarlet silk."

"I will win for you, Master," she said.

I thought that a bit arrogant for a slave.

Albrecht looked at me. "This wench," he said, "has never been snared in less than thirty-two beats."

I noted a flicker pass through the eyes of Kamchak, but he seemed otherwise impassive.

"She is an excellent runner," I said.

The girl laughed.

Then, to my surprise, she looked at me boldly, though wearing the Turian collar; though she wore the nose ring; though she were only a branded slave clad Kajir.

"I wager," she said, "that I will reach the lance."

This irritated me. Moreover, I was not insensitive to the fact that though she were slave and I a free man, she had not addressed me, as the custom is, by the title of Master. I had no objection to the omission itself, but I did object to the affront therein implied. For some reason this wench seemed to me rather arrogant, rather contemptuous.

"I wager that you do not," I said.

"Your terms!" she challenged.

"What are yours?" I asked.

She laughed. "If I win," she said, "you give me your bola, which I will present to my master."

"Agreed," I said. "And if I should win?"

"You will not," she said.

"But if so?"

"Then," said she, "I will give you a golden ring and a silver cup."

"How is it that a slave has such riches?" I asked.

She tossed her head in the air, not deigning to respond. "I have given her several such things," said Albrecht.

I now gathered that the girl facing me was not a typical slave, and that there must be a very good reason why she should have such things.

"I do not want your golden ring and silver cup," I said.

"What then could you want?" asked she.

"Should I win," I said, "I will claim as my prize the kiss of an insolent wench."

"Tuchuk sleen!" she cried, eyes flashing.

Conrad and Albrecht laughed. Albrecht said to the girl, "It is permitted."

"Very well, he-tharlarion," said the girl, "your bola against a kiss." Her shoulders were trembling with rage. "I will show you how a Kassar girl can run!"

"You think well of yourself," I remarked. "You are not a Kassar girl - you are only a Turian slave of Kassars."

Her fists clenched.

In fury she looked at Albrecht and Conrad. "I will run as I have never run before," she cried.

My heart sank a bit. I recalled Albrecht had said that the girl had never been snared in less than thirty-two beats. Then she had doubtless run from the bola several times before, perhaps as many as ten or fifteen.

"I gather," I said to Albrecht, casually, "that the girl has run several times."

"Yes," said Albrecht, "that is true." Then he added, "You may have heard of her. She is Dina of Turia."

Conrad and Albrecht slapped their saddles and laughed uproariously. Kamchak laughed, too, so hard tears ran down the scarred furrows of his face. He pointed a finger at Conrad. "Wily Kassar!" he laughed. This was a joke. Even I had to smile. The Tuchuks were commonly called the Wily Ones. But, though the moment might have been amusing to those of the Wagon Peoples, even to Kamchak, I was not prepared to look on the event with such good humor. It might have been a good trick, but I was in no state of mind to relish it. How cleverly Conrad had pretended to mock Albrecht when he had bet two girls against one. Little did we know that one of those girls was Dina of Turia, who, of course, would run not for the skilled Kamchak, but for his awkward friend, the clumsy Tarl Cabot, not even of the Wagon Peoples, new to the kaiila and bola! Conrad and Albrecht had perhaps even come to the camp of the Tuchuks with this in mind. Undoubtedly! What could they lose? Nothing. The best that we might have hoped for was a tie, had Kamchak beaten Conrad. But he had not; the fine little Turian wench who had been able to bite the neck of the kaiila, thereby risking her life incidentally, had seen to that. Albrecht and Conrad had come for a simple purpose, to best a Tuchuk and, in the process, pick up a girl or two; Elizabeth Cardwell, of course, was the only one we had on hand.

Even the Turian girl, Dina, perhaps the best slave among all the wagons in this sport, was laughing, hanging on the stirrup of Albrecht, looking up at him. I noted that his kaiila was within the whip circle, within which the girl stood. Her feet were off the ground and she had the side of her head pressed against his furred boot.

"Run," I said.

She cried out angrily, as did Albrecht, and Kamchak laughed. "Run, you little fool," shouted Conrad. The girl had released the stirrup and her feet struck the ground. She was off balance but righted herself and with an angry cry she sped from the circle. By surprising her I had gained perhaps ten or fifteen yards.

I took the binding thong from my belt and put it in my teeth.

I began to swing the bola.

To my amazement, as I swung the bola in ever faster circles, never taking my eyes off her, she broke the straight running pattern only about fifty yards from the whip circle, and began to dodge, moving always, however, toward the lance. This puzzled me. Surely she had not miscounted, not Dina of Turia. As the judge counted aloud I observed the pattern, two left, then a long right to compensate, moving toward the lance; two left, then right; two left, then right.

"Fifteen!" called the judge, and I streaked on kaiila back from the circle of the boskhide whip.

I rode at full speed, for there was not a beat to lose. Even if by good fortune I managed to tie Albrecht, Elizabeth would still belong to the Kassars, for Conrad had a clear win over Kamchak. It is dangerous, of course, to approach any but a naive, straight-running, perhaps terrified, girl at full speed, for should she dodge or move to one side, one will have to slow the kaiila to turn it after her, lest one be carried past her too rapidly, even at the margins of bola range. But I could judge Dina's run, two left, one right, so I set the kaiila running at full speed for what would seem to be the unwilling point of rendezvous between Dina and the leather of the bola. I was surprised at the simplicity of her pattern. I wondered how it could be that such a girl had never been taken in less than thirty-two beats, that she had reached the lance forty times.

I would release the bola in another beat as she took her second sprint to the left.

Then I remembered the intelligence of her eyes, her confidence, that never had she been taken in less than thirty-two beats, that she had reached the lance forty times. Her skills must be subtle, her timing marvelous.

I released the bola, risking all, hurling it not to the expected rendezvous of the second left but to a first right, unexpected, the first break in the two-left, one-right pattern. I heard her startled cry as the weighted leather straps flashed about her thighs, calves and ankles, in an instant lashing them together as tightly as though by binding fiber. Hardly slackening speed I swept past the girl, turned the kaiila to face her, and again kicked it into a full gallop. I briefly saw a look of utter astonishment on her beautiful face. Her hands were out, trying instinctively to maintain her balance; the bola weights were still snapping about her ankles in tiny, angry circles; in an instant she would fall to the grass; racing past I seized her by the hair and threw her over the saddle; scarcely did she comprehend what was happening before she found herself my prisoner, while yet the kaiila did still gallop, bound about the pommel of the saddle. I had not taken even the time to dismount. Only perhaps a beat or two before the kaiila leapt into the circle had I finished the knots that confined her. I threw her to the turf at the judge's feet. The judge, and the crowd, seemed speechless.

"Time!" called Kamchak.

The judge looked startled, as though he could not believe what he had seen. He took his hand from the side of the standing kaiila.

"Time!" called Kamchak.

The judge looked at him. "Seventeen," he whispered.
The crowd was silent, then, suddenly, as unexpectedly as a clap of thunder, they began to ro

ar and cheer.

Kamchak was thumping a very despondent looking Conrad and Albrecht on the shoulders.

I looked down at Dina of Turia. Looking at me in rage, she began to pull and squirm in the thongs, twisting in the grass.

The judge allowed her to do so for perhaps a few Ihn, maybe thirty seconds or so, and then he inspected her bonds. He stood up, a smile on his face. "The wench is secured," he said.

There was another great cry and cheer from the crowd. They were mostly Tuchuks, and were highly pleased with what they had seen, but I saw, too, that even the Kassars and the one or two Paravaci present and the Kataii were unstinting in their acclaim. The crowd had gone mad.

Elizabeth Cardwell was leaping up and down clapping her hands.

I looked down at Dina, who lay at my feet, now no longer struggling.

I removed the bola from her legs.

With my quiva I slashed the thong on her ankles, permitting her to struggle to her feet.

She stood facing me, clad Kajir, her wrists still thonged behind her.

I refastened the bola at my saddle. "I keep my bola, it seems," I said.

She tried to free her wrists, but could not, of course, do so.
Nomads of Gor       Book 4       Pages 68 - 78

Kamchak pointed to the pouch. "You should have forty pieces of gold in that pouch," he said. "That much for her at least maybe more because she was skilled in the games of the bola."
Nomads of Gor       Book 4       Page 111


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