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«Mercenaries of Gor», John Norman

1 What Occurred Outside Samnium

"I do not know about other women," she said, "but I am one who wishes to belong to a man, wholly,"

"Beware your words," I cautioned her.

"I am a free woman," she said. "I can speak as I please."

I could not gainsay her in this. She was free. She could, accordingly, say what she wished, and without requiring permission. She stood before me. She had dared to brush back her hood. She had unpinned her shimmering veils, permitting them to fall about her throat and shoulders. A soft movement of hands and a shake of her head had thrown her long, dark hair behind her back. She had dark eyes. Her face was softly rounded. It was delicate and beautiful.

"You have unpinned your veil," I observed.

"Yes," she said.

"You are brazen," I said.

"Yes," she said, insolently.

I mused, considering this. It is not difficult, of course, to take insolence from a woman.

"Why have you unpinned your veil before me?" I asked.

"Perhaps you will like what you see," she said.

"Bold female," I observed.

She tossed her head, impatiently.

"Do you have the least inkling as to what it might be, to belong to a man, wholly?"

"Do you find me pleasing?" she asked.

"Answer my question," I said.

"Yes," she said.

I wondered if this is true. It might be. She was Gorean. "Now, she said. "Answer mine!"

"Do not court an altercation in your condition, unless you are prepared to accept it, in its full consequences," I said.

She shuddered. She lowered her eyes. "It is said that there is in every woman that which I sense so fearfully, yet longingly, in myself."

"I wonder if that is true," I said.

"I do not know," she said, "but I know that it is in me, passionately, strongly, irresistibly."

"You are bold," I said.

"A free woman may be bold," she said.

"True," I granted her.

"I need this for my fulfillment, to be one with myself," she said.

"Speak clearly," I said. She was free. I saw no point in making it easy for her. "I want to be a total woman, in the order of nature," she said.

I shrugged.

"My heart cries out," she wept, "with the need to be accepted, to be acquired, to be owned, to be mastered, to be forced to submit, to be forced to will-lessly and selflessly serve and love!"

I did not respond to her.

"I beg this of you, for you are a man," she said.

"Speak with greater precision," I said.

She shook her head. "Please, no," she said.

I shrugged.

"Mine is the slave sex!" she said, angrily, defiantly.

"The slave sex?" I asked.

"Yes!" she said.

"And you are a member of that sex?" I asked.

"Yes!" she said, angrily.

"I see," I said.

"I am tired of trying to be like a man!" she said. "It is a lie which robs me of myself!"

I said nothing. "I want to be true to myself," she said. "I want to be fulfilled!" "Such a thing is not reversible by your will," I said.

"I am well aware of that," she said.

"There are many sorts of masters," I said, "and you would be at the disposal of any of them, and totally,"

"I know," she whispered.

I said nothing.

"You have still not answered my question," she said. "Do you find me pleasing?" "It is difficult to say," I said, "bundled and covered as you are." "She looked at me, frightened.

"Strip," I said. She would be assessed.

She reached to the veils about her throat and shoulders and, taking them, dropped them softly to the grass. She stood not more than a hundred yards from the gate of Tesius, in the city of Samnium, some two hundred pasangs east and a bit south of Brundisium, both cities continental allies of the island ubarate of Cos. She slipped softly from her slippers. She must then have felt the touch of the grass blades on her ankles. She looked at me. Her hands went to the stiff, high brocaded collar of her robes, the robes of concealment, to the numerous eyes and hooks there, holding it tightly, protectively, about her throat, up high under her chin.

"Do not dally," I told her.

In a few moments she had parted her robes, and slipped them, first the street robe, that stiff, ornate fabric, and then the house robe, scarcely less inflexible and forbidding, from her small, soft shoulders. Clad now only in a silken sliplike undergarment, she then looked at me.

"Completely," I said, "absolutely."

She then stood before me, even more naked than many a girl up for vending, waiting to be thrust to the surface of the block, for she wore no collar, no chains, no brand. A merchant on his way to the gate of Tesius paused, to gaze upon her. So, too, did two soldiers, guardsmen of Samnium. She stood very straight, inspected. None of these wrinkled their noses nor spat upon the ground. "What is your name?" I asked.

"Charlotte, Lady of Samnium," she said.

"Turn slowly before me, Lady Charlotte," I said. "Now place your hands, clasped behind the back of your head, and arch your back. Good. You may now kneel. Do you know the position of the pleasure slave? Good."

"How does it feel to be kneeling before a man?" I asked.

"I have never been like this before a man," she said.

"How does it feel?" I asked.

"I do not know," she said. "I am so confused. It is so overwhelming. I am uncertain. I do not know what I feel like. I am almost giddy."

"Lift your chin," I said.

She complied immediately, unhesitantly.

"Spread your knees more widely," I said. Again, unhesitantly, immediately, she complied.


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