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THE TAHARI AND ITS PEOPLE

FROM THE SCROLLS OF UBAR LUTHER

THE TAHARI REGION

Tribesmen of Gor, the tenth book in the Gorean series, details the Tahari region of Gor, a huge desert and wasteland with surrounding villages and cities. The book concerns itself with both the city dwellers of this area and also the nomadic tribesmen of the desert. The people in this area resemble in many ways the Arabic cultures of Earth, especially the Bedouins. The plot of this novel revolves around a Kurii plan to destroy the entire planet of Gor using a mighty explosive. The explosive is hidden deep within the dune country. Agents of the Kurii try to start a war between the Aretai and Kavar tribes so that no one will enter the desert. But, Tarl Cabot is able to thwart their diabolical plans, aided by a Kur who did not want to see Gor destroyed.

The Tahari region is located southeast of Ar, below the eastern foothills of the Voltai Mountians. This area is shaped like an enormous, lengthy trapezoid with eastward leaning sides. At the northwest corner of this region is the opulent city of Tor. Further west of Tor, on the Lower Fayeen River, is the city of Kasra. The desert area in the middle is known as the Wastes or the Emptiness. This area is hundreds, or even thousands, of pasangs wide. It is mostly rocky and hilly except for the dune country area. A hot wind blows nearly constantly there and water is very scarce. There are some oases that are fed from underground rivers, tributaries that flow from the Voltai.

The Upper Fayeen and Lower Fayeen are tributaries of the Cartius River. Both are sluggish, meandering rivers. The Lower Fayeen is important as it leads to Kasra, a major port for the embarkation of the salt trade. The famed red salt of Kasra received its name because this is the port where the salt leaves the Tahari region. The salt is brought in from secret pits and mines deep in the interior of the Wastes. Upriver from Kasra is the village of Kurtzal. Kurtzal, located north of Tor, is little more than a loading and shipping point for trade. Teehra is a district located southwest of Tor and bordering on the Tahari. Turmas is a Turian outpost and merchant station located at the southeastern edge of the Tahari. It is not to be confused with the Stones of Turmus, another Turian merchant fort.

The city of Tor is the wealthy and luxurious city of the desert region. It is famed for its splendors, comforts and pleasures. It is the principal supply point for the oasis communities of the Tahari. Thousands of caravan merchants are headquartered here and much of the city is organized to support their trade. There are always people from many different cities visiting there on business or pleasure. The city has two growing seasons which helps in food production. The greatest heat of the summer is between the Fourth and Sixth passage hands.

The city was constructed in concentric circles, broken by many, narrow crooked streets. The city's water supply is primarily located in the center of the city. This is the most protected area of Tor. It rarely rains in Tor so water is precious. The water in Tor is slightly salty and unclear. Yet, many homes have well-watered gardens. The city buildings are generally made of mud brick and are covered with colored plaster. The buildings are rarely more than four stories high. This is due in part to the city's irregular topography as it is located on a hilly, rocky area. The city streets are like deep, walled alleys and in the center of each street is a gutter to collect waste. The city has a large bazaar, a place of hundreds of small merchant stalls vending a wide variety of wares.

Instead of paga taverns, you will find over fifty cafes in Tor. They serve basically the same functions as paga taverns. An extremely expensive cafe is The Silken Oasis. It is known even as far away as in Ar. In the middle price range are such cafes as the Golden Collar and the Silver Chain. They are both owned by the same man, a Turian named Haran. Some good, inexpensive cafes include the Thong, the Veminium, the Pomegranate, the Red Cages and the Pleasure Garden. The dancers at the Pomegranate are said to be superb. The Café of Six Chains is another café but little is mentioned about it. The Golden Kaiila is known to have gaming tables. Many of the cafes hire children to try to bring people to the cafes. A child will generally receive a copper tarsk for each customer they bring in.

The city police wear white robes with red sashes and scimitars. Thievery is harshly punished. Male thieves will have their right hand severed while female thieves become immediate slaves. These punishments occur even on a first offense. Slavery is a major business like in many cities. The city often buys slaves from caravans and then sells them for a profit to other caravans. In general, they will buy slave girls for about three silver tarsks. They also pay bounties to their city warriors on women captured from enemy cities. They will customarily pay a silver tarsk for a comely girl in good health. There is also a municipal slaver who will boards your own slave girls for copper tarsk a day. You can pay extra for that girl to receive training as well.

The rugs of Tor are very famous and are similar to the oriental rugs of Earth. It can take five girls more than a year to make some of these rugs. The specific patterns are intricate and passed down through families. The patterns are memorized, sometimes by men who are blind. The rugs are made on simple looms and the pile is knotted onto the warp and weft. Some rugs may have up to four hundred knots per square hort. Each of those knots is tied individually by hand by a free woman. Most of the dyes for the rugs are mostly natural dyes such as vegetable dyes, or others from barks, leaves, roots, flowers, and animal products. Rug makers are a subcaste of the cloth makers but they consider themselves a separate caste. The carders, dyers and weavers are all subcastes of the rug makers.

In the Wastes, are numerous oasis communities. Each community numbers from a hundred or so people to thousands of people. They are often located hundreds of pasangs from each other. They depend heavily on caravans to provide many of their needs. Jungle birds are specially prized as pets. These caravans generally travel the western or distant eastern edges of the Tahari. Within the dune country, as the oases are small and infrequent, little but salt caravans will ply that area. The oasis communities also rely on the caravans to bring exports from themselves. The principal exports of the oases are dates and pressed-date bricks. A date palm may grow up to one hundred feet tall. A date palm takes about ten years before it can bear fruit. A palm will annually yield forty to two hundred pounds of fruit. Date bricks are long and rectangular, weighing about four pounds each. Here are a few of the named oases from the books.

Oasis of Farad: Zad, a caravan master, comes from this oasis.

Oasis of Lame Kaiila: This is a tiny oasis.

Oasis of the Battle of Red Rock: This is one of the few outpost oases of the Aretai tribe as to its west and south is the country of the Kavar tribe, their enemy. It is on the border of the dune country and is the last major oasis for over two thousand pasangs eastward. The pasha, or leader, of this oasis, is Turem a'Din. He is the commander of the local Tashid clans. The oasis has a kasbah, or fortress, with four towers at its northeast rim. There are five palm groves there and some pomegranate orchards lie at the east. There are gardens inward and a pond between two date palm groves. It flies two flags on its towers, that of the Aretai and Tashids. There is a large shelf of reddish sandstone behind the oasis, north by northeast from its lowest point and center. The battle that gave the oasis its name occurred in 10051 C.A. Since then, the Tashids tribe has been the vassal of the Aretai.

Oasis of the Four Palms: This is a Kavar outpost located far south of Red Rock.

Oasis of the Nine Wells: This is a major oasis, held by Sulieman of the Aretai.

Oasis of the Sand Sleen: This is a Kavar oasis.

Oasis of the Stones of Silver: This is an oasis of the Char, vassals of the Kavar. It received its name centuries ago when thirsty men came upon it in the night. The dew on the rocks the next morning made the rocks seem to be of silver.

Oasis of Two Scimitars: This is an isolated oasis under the control of the Bakahs who were once a vassal tribe of the Kavars.

There are two major tribes of the Tahari mentioned in the books, the Aretai and the Kavars. These appear to be the only two major tribes. All of the other tribes appear to be either vassals of these two tribes or small, independent tribes. A vassal tribes is a military unit subordinate to the conquering tribe. When an enemy is conquered, it will then become an ally. The conqueror, by his might, cunning and victory, has won by right the enemy to his cause. This leads to pacification of great sections of the Tahari.

The Aretai are led by Suleiman, the Ubar of the Oasis of Nine Wells, master of a thousand lances, and high pasha of the Aretai. The Aretai tribe wear a red-bordered burnoose, black kaffiyeh and white agal. The minor vassal tribes of the Aretai include the Raviri, Tashid, and Luraz tribes. Though the Tashids are a vassal tribe they are almost completely autonomous. They make some token tributes to the Aretai but it is more a military alliance. Four other minor tribes allied with the Aretai are the Ti, Zevar, Arani and Tajuks.

The Kavars are led by Haroun, their high pasha. Haroun's vizier is Baram, Sheik of Bezhad. Their vassal tribes include the Ta'Kara, Bakahs (purple is their color), Char (red is their color), and the Kashani (yellow is their color). In the Kavars, when a boy reaches puberty, they have their left forearm tattooed with a blue scimitar. The point of the blade curves to the outside, thus toward their enemies.

The Tajuk tribe is not a vassal tribe of the Aretai though they ride with them. Over two hundred years ago, a wandering Tajuk was rescued in the desert by the Aretai. The Aretai treated him very well, giving him water and even a kaiila. Since that time, whenever the Aretai summon their vassal tribes, the Tajuks also come. As they are not true vassals, the Aretai have no right to summon them and never actually call them. Commonly, an Aretai merchant will visit the tent of the Khan of the Tajuks. After somer trading and tea, he will mention that the Aretai are gathering for war. The Khan will ask him where and then the Tajuks will arrive there. The Tajuks always hold the front lines of the Aretai left flank. They are a culturally united group but of mixed-races. Many of them have an epicanthic fold. Tajuks are a touchy, arrogant, proud, generous, and capricious people. There are hard good feelings between the Tajuks and the Zevar and Arani tribes. This is because the Tajuks are not true vassals but have been given a prominent position on the left flank.

The names of the tribal leaders do not figure into their war cries. It is the tribe, not the individual, that is significant. For example, the Aretai war cry is "Aretai victorious" and the Kavar war cry is "Kavars supreme."

The nomadic tribes of the Tahari desert live hard lives. There is a nearly constant hot wind that blows in the desert but it is welcomed as it makes the desert bearable. The wind usually blows from the north or northwest. The wind is not a problem except in the spring, should it blow from the east, or in the fall, should it blow from the west. But, the nights are cool and may even be chilly. Shelter trenches may be built for protection in the desert. This is a narrow trench, four to five feet deep and eighteen inches wide. It provides shade from the sun and is much cooler as well. A trench is always dug with its long axis perpendicular to the path of the sun for maximum amount and length of shade. The sand surface can reach a temperature of 175 degrees Fahrenheit on its surface and 140 degrees in the shade. But, only a foot below the surface, the temperature can drop 50 degrees.

Sand storms in the desert seldom really bury anything. The sand is usually blasted away as soon as it is deposited in the desert. Decomposition in the desert also proceeds very slowly. Well preserved bodies have been found that were dead over a hundred years. Skeletons, unless picked by animals, are seldom found in the desert.

The conservation of water is the key to survival in the desert. One generally does not move without water on the sands during the day. One tries to move and sweat as little as possible. Their garments are loose and voluminous yet closely woven. Their outer garments are often white, a color that will reflect the sun. The looseness of the garments acts as a bellows, circulating air over damp skin, and cooling the body by evaporation. The close weave keeps moisture as much as possible within the garment, condensing it back on the skin

It rains very rarely in the Tahari. Years may pass without rain in some areas. When rain does fall, it is sometimes very fierce and can turn the terrain into a quagmire. Following the rains, great clouds of sand flies awaken and become pests. The nomads will leave water arrows, markers that indicate the direction of water holes, underground cisterns or oases. They also sometimes dig up rocks at night, clean them and leave them so dew can form on them in the morning. They will then lick the dew off in the morning. When water is in short supply, the nomads will not eat. Digestion requires a lot of water. It may take weeks to starve but only two days to die of thirst. Most of the water in the Tahari is unclear and slightly salty. The destruction of a water source is an inconceivable offense, the most heinous crime there is in the Tahari. It will unite the tribesmen and nomads against the offender.

There are several types of flora indigenous or common to the Tahari region. The flahdah is a tree with lanceolate leaves. The trunk leans like a palm tree so that it looks like a flat-topped umbrella on a crooked stick. They are not more than twenty feet high.

Kanda grows primarily in the desert regions and is a shrub that yields a toxic poison by grinding and drying its roots. The green leaves of the shrub are relatively harmless though. They can be formed into strings and chewed or sucked. But, they are addictive. The poison can be made into a paste and applied to a weapon. The softened residue of the glaze will look white on a blade. The Tor shrub has various other names, mostly translated as either "bright shrub" or "shrub of light." It has many bright flowers, either yellow or white, and blooms in the fall. Desert veminium is a small purplish flower that may be used to make perfume. The flowers are boiled in water and the vapors are then condensed into an oil. In the Tahari, this oil may be added to water and used to wash the eating hand before and after dinner.

The nomadic tribes commonly move from one area of verr grass to another or from one water hole to another. The smaller water holes are used in the spring as they will be the first to go dry. Grass does not grow at those holes because of all the animals that graze there. They are little more than muddy ponds with a few stunted trees. These nomads trade with the oasis communities. They trade meat, hides and animal-hair cloth to the oases for Sa-Tarna grain and Bazi tea.

Sa-Tarna is the main staple of the nomads. Most people are familiar with the normal yellow Sa-Tarna grain that is the staple of much of Gor. But, there is a hybrid brownish variety that was adapted for the heat of the desert and grows in the Tahari region. Bazi tea is usually served in the Tahari in three tiny cups, carefully measured, in rapid succession. Each cup might hold two ounces. Most people in the Tahari savor strong tastes and smells, such as hot peppers. Even their children enjoy them.

Water in an oasis is at its lowest point. Residences will be built on the higher ground where nothing will grow. Land that can grow food is not wasted on housing. The oasis communities engage in much farming. They grow a multitude of products such as Sa-Tarna, beans, berries, onions, melons, turnips, carrots, radishes, larma, tospits, katch, kort, apricots, melons, suls, and pomegranates. Due to their warm climate, they generally have two growing seasons so they have little need to import food. Kaiila and verr herds are kept in the oases though they are not numerous. The nomads are the primary herders of kaiila. The nomads eat little meat. They consider their animals too precious because of their hair, milk and trade value. The nomadic raiders though eat much meat.

At a camp, nomads will settle close to a tree for shade and they will also hang their goods from the tree. At night in the camps, the kaiila, hobbled, will be put into circles of ten and fodder will be placed within each circle. Slave girls will also be hobbled. The nights are chilly so their tents will usually be situated east so the rising sun will warm them in the morning. Chronometers are rare and they use such matters as the speed of the kaiila, the circle and the stick, and the sun, to tell time.

The desert or sand kaiila is an important animal in the Tahari. It is very similar to the kaiila used by the Wagon People which is also known as the southern kaiila. Desert kaiila are almost all tawny colored though there are some black ones. They are omnivorous creatures that suckle their young. They feed more frequently than the southern kaiila. Their paws are much broader than southern kaiila and the digits are webbed with leathery fibers and heavily padded. Kailla milk is reddish and has a strong salty taste. Their hair is never sheared though it is gathered when it sheds. The most prized hair is a soft fine hair found on its belly. Zadits are small, tawny-feathered, sharp- billed birds of the Tahari. They are insectivorous, feeding on sand flies and other insects. It will often land on kaiila and eat the insects on this animal. But, they leave small wounds on the kaiila that the drovers must treat with a poultice of kaiila dung.

Their kaiila saddles are high, light saddles. Saddles are highly prized and men carry their own. They won't allow a slave to carry their saddles. The kailla rein is a single rein, very light, plaited of various leathers. There are often ten to twelve strips in a single rein, each strip being little thicker than a stout thread. The rein is tied through a hole, drilled in the right nostril of the kaiila. It then passes under the jaw to the left. To direct the animal to the left, you draw the rein left. To direct to the right, draw the rein right with pressure on the left cheek. To stop the beast, you draw back on the rein. To start or speed up the animal, kick it in the flanks or use a kaiila quirt. Caravan kailla have many bells on them to keep the animals together. They are easier to find at night and in limited visibility such as in sand storms. But, kaiila of raiders are never belled.

One of the most important exports of the Tahari is salt. Various types of salt exist on Gor including white, red and yellow varieties. The most extensive and richest deposits of salt are in the Tahari region. Its deposits account for about 20% of all salt and salt-related products on Gor, such as medicines, antiseptics, preservatives, cleansers, bleaches, bottle glass, and tanning chemicals. The red salt of Kasra is famed throughout Gor. It is named for its port of embarcation. The red salt has ferrous oxide in it. It is brought from secret pits and mines deep in the interior of the desert. It is bound in heavy cylinders on the backs of pack kaiila. Each cylinder weighs about forty pounds. A strong kaiila can carry sixteen cylinders but the normal load is ten. Even numbered loads are carried so the kaiila is balanced. There are areas on Gor where salt is used as currency.

One of the major sites within the Tahari for obtaining salt are the brine pits of Klima. Klima is hidden deep within the dune country and its location is closely guarded. It is worked by thousands of male slaves and escape is nearly impossible. Kaiila are not permitted there, even for the guards. There is a well there but no other water for about a thousand pasangs. Women are not permitted there so that men will not kill each other for them. Slaves are taken to the mines on foot, hooded and chained. Many die on route. At the mines, their feet must be bound in leather to the knees as they will sink through the salt crusts. The salt would grate and burn their flesh. In the mines, most of the salt is in solution. It is obtained in either of two ways, by drilling and flush mining, or by sending men to collect it in the deeper pits. A work day is from dawn to dusk and some men kill others for lighter assignments.

The brine pits of Klima are not devoid of life. Such creatures as lelts, salamanders, crayfish, and salt sharks live there. Salt sharks can be dangerous to the slaves. They are large creatures, twelve feet or longer, and carnivorous. Most of the other animals are harmless creatures.

One of the most powerful men in the Tahari is the Salt Ubar, or Guard of the Dunes. His kasbah is located northwest of Klima and is a secret. A few merchants in the salt trade know of its location. Its walls are over seventy feet high and it has seventeen battlements that climb to ninety feet. The front wall is about four hundred feet long and the side walls are four hundred and fifty feet long. The Salt Ubar administers and controls the salt districts primarily by regulating access to the districts, checking the papers and credentials of merchants, inspecting caravans, keeping records of the commerce, etc. The support of the kasbah of the Salt Ubar comes from fees supplied by the salt merchants. The Salt Ubar's men are customarily veiled as their allegiance is supposed to be to no tribe but to the protection of salt.

A kasbah is a fortress in the Tahari. The walls are commonly several feet thick, formed of stones and mud brick. The walls are then covered with a sheen of whitish-pink plaster. The plaster will eventually flake off due to the heat and sun. A number of kasbahs are quite opulent. At most oases, there are numerous buildings of red-clay. They will last for many years. Some have gardens and the rooms of the wealthy will be quite lavish. The floors are often covered with expensive rugs. Because of this, the rooms are seldom crossed directly. There will be runners on the edges of the room which are used to cross the room unless guests are present. If you stop at an inn at an oasis, it is customary to empty your extra water into the inn cistern. When you leave the oasis, you are supposed to refill at the public well and not at the inn cistern. As many oases have public baths, many men in the Tahari can swim.

There are many secrets in the desert. Those of the Tahari will kill anyone who tries to make maps of the land. They already know the land and do not want anyone else to know of it. Caravan schedules, inventories and routes are also carefully guarded.

In the Silk War of 8,110 C.A., men fought over the control of certain caravan routes and for the rights to levy raider tribute on traveling merchants. It was called the Silk War because at that time Turian silk had first began to be imported in bulk to the Tahari. The Bakah tribe was defeated during this war and has since been a vassal tribe of the Kavars. Raider tribute is no longer commonly levied. As men now control the watering points and oases, it is unnecessary to do so. The local pashas generally exact a protection tax from caravans, though only those of a certain size, normally more than 50 kaiila. The tax helps to defray the cost of maintaining warriors. Most pashas though have a heritage of raiders and they are proud of that fact.

Raider camps are concealed among scrub brush and boulders, protected by a corral of thorn brush. There are no free women or children at these camps. Most Tahari battles devolve into a melee of individual combats. Men usually do not fight on foot because to do so in the desert usually means your death. They fight from kaiila back with scimitars as a short sword is useless due to its size. Men wield the blade in their right hand. The right hand is also considered their eating hand as they will only eat with the hand that can draw blood with steel. Tahari men, like Goreans in general, are patient, extremely proud, easily offended men, with a touchy sense of honor. And in the Tahari, justice and law ultimately rests upon the determination of men and steel.

The people of the Tahari speak Gorean buy they use a different written language, Taharic. Their alphabet is correlated to the Gorean phonemes so it is little more than an incomplete cipher to one who already knows Gorean. It only possesses symbols for four of the nine Gorean vowels. Vowel sounds are represented by tiny marks near the other letters, rather like accent marks. They are not full fledged letters. The other vowels must be inserted by the reader. At one time in the past, their language had no vowels at all. It is a very graceful script. There are also no distinctions between capitals and small letters. Plus, there is little distinction between the printed and cursive script. The people form their letters very carefully.

There are several types of clothing indigenous to this region. In the cities and villages, free women are often garbed in haiks. A haik is a black outfit that covers a woman from head to toe. At the eyes there is a bit of black lace so she can see through the outfit. On her feet, she would wear soft, black, nonheeled slippers with curled toes.

Men commonly wear a djellaba, a striped, hooded, long-sleeved, loose robe. The striping denotes its area of origin. A djelleba though would not be worn during a war or in raiding as the sleeves could get in the way of using your weapons. Instead, you would wear a burnoose. A burnoose is simply a sleeveless, hooded cloak. As your arms are free, you can more easily ride and wield weapons. Some people wear colored sashes with their djellaba or burnoose. Some merchants will wear sashes of ostentatious colors to draw attention to themselves. Kaftans are also worn, a sleeved, ful-length tunic.

Men also wear the kaffiyeh and the agal. The kaffiyeh is a squarish scarf, folded over into a triangle, and placed over the head. Two points of it are placed at the side of the shoulders. One is placed in the back to protect the back of the neck. It is bound to the head by the agal, several loops of cord. The cording indicates a person's tribe and district in the Tahari region. Some men, generally in the cities, may wear a head scarf, a wrapped turban of rep cloth. This protects the head from the sun and does not permit sweat to escape. Among lower-caste men, it can also provide a soft cushion for boxes and other burdens. You simply steady the burden with your right hand. In doors, men commonly wear soft, heel-less slippers with extended, curling toes.

Slave girls in the Tahari often wear chalwars. These are baggy pants of diaphanous silk, gathered in closely at the ankles. They are worn low on the hips, several inches below the belly button. They are similar to the harem trousers of the middle east region of Earth. They may also wear a silk vest with the chalwars.

Tahari free women have a certain place in their society and learn certain skills. These skills include such matters as making rope from kaiila hair, cutting and plaiting of reins, weaving of cloth and mats, decoration and beading of leather goods, use of the mortar and pestle, use of the grain quern, preparation and spicing of stews, cleaning of verr, milking of verr and kaiila, and the churning of milk. Nomad women often fry foods by setting metal boards on rocks and cooking on the hot metal.

Women, free and slave, are commonly transported in the Tahari in a kurdah. A kurdah is a semicircular frame of tem wood, about a yard in width at its widest point and four feet high. It is an open-fronted, flat-bottomed, half globe. The frame is covered with layers of white rep cloth to reflect the sun. The front closes by a curtain. It is light and can be carried by a pack kailla. Some nomads veil their women and others do not. Some others decorate their faces with designs, drawn in charcoal. Among the upper classes in the Tahari, it is scandalous that a woman's mouth not be concealed. The mouth is thought to be very erotic. To touch a girl's teeth to your own is considered a preliminary to the seizure of her body.

Some women in the Tahari use items that would be more likely found on slaves elsewhere. Free girls, of the age ready for free companionship, may signal their availability by belling their left ankles with a virgin bell. The bright and clear note of the virgin bell is easily distinguished from the sensuous sounds of slave bells. A beautifully measured gait is considered attractive for women in the Tahari. Slaves often use light walking chains that tether the ankles. The chains are adjustable from two to twenty inches. Free women also measure their stride, sometimes with silk thongs or even a walking chain.

Men of the Tahari prefer soft, meaty slaves. A slave may be stuffed with food for several days before her sale to get her into that condition. Cold, white-skinned women are also of interest to the men of the Tahari. They enjoy turning them into hot slaves. Blond, blue-eyed women are rare in the Tahari so they are eagerly sought after. Slaves in the Tahari are commonly branded with the "Kef" but it is in Taharic. They also use the printed letter and not the cursive, though it still looks floral. Slaves are often made to perform on submission mats, very coarse mats. It is considered a horrible degradation to make a Tahari woman, free or slave, dry a man's feet with her hair.

Men in the Tahari, like in most places, enjoy slave dancing. Many of these girls may use zills, finger cymbals. They may also use dancing chains. There are many varieties of dancing chains. They enhance a girl's beauty and do not interfere at all in her dancing. They do impose subtle limits on her dance but that only adds to the experience. A dancing chain is basically a long, light chain. It connects to two wrist rings and her collar.

Another popular diversion in the Tahari is a game called Zar. It uses a Kaissa board but the playing pieces are only placed on the intersections of lines within the board or at the edges. Each player begins with nine pieces of equal value. They are originally placed on the intersections of the board's edge closest to the player. The corners are not used in placement though they are valid movement areas later in the game. The pieces are commonly pebbles, sticks or bits of verr dung. The pieces move one intersection at a time unless jumping. One may jump an opponent's pieces or one's own. A jump must be made to an unoccupied point and multiple jumps are permitted. The object of the game is to effect a complete exchange of original placements. The first person to do so wins. Capturing does not occur in this game. It is a game of strategy and maneuvering. As there are complete rules for this game in the books, it could be played for real. This is unlike Kaissa for which sadly the books do not give complete rules.

There is a very low infant mortality rate in the Tahari. Nomad children are commonly suckled for eighteen months, much longer than other areas do. The children are secure within their families. They are generally sturdy, outspoken and self-reliant. The adults will always listen to a child. Small children are frequently bathed though the adults though may go months without washing. Children do not even wear clothes until they are five or six years old. They won't leave the shade of the tents during the day but at night they will go out and and play. Their mothers teach them written Taharic, drawing the characters in the sand.

There are a number of customs and sayings in the Tahari. When they greet someone, they will bow twice and brush the palm of their hand against your own palm. A parting thought is always "May your waterbags be never empty" or "May you have always water." By sharing one's water, you become their guest. Here are a few sayings of the Tahari:

"More real than the law is the heart."

"A good fight justifies any cause."

"The desert is my mother, and my father."

One area not really addressed in the books concerned the religion of the Tahari region. There may be Initiates in the cities but doubtful they would also live in the Wastes. One thing we do know about them is that they have some superstitions. One involves the djinn, also known on Earth as the jinn or genie. In Earth folklore, djinns were powerful spirits who could grant wishes. But they were not always benevolent. There are also stories on Earth of similar beings called ifrit which are basically evil djinns. It is likely that the Tahari knows of ifrit as well if they know about djinns.

One of the more controversial aspect of Tribesmen of Gor, at least in the role-play community, involves the character of Tarna, a female bandit chief. She leads a beand of brigands and wields a scimitar. Some people use her as a justification to accept female warriors as a viable option on Gor. It seems though that many have not really read the book and understand Tarna's role.

Tarna is put in charge of a raider band by the Salt Ubar. She has not earned her spot through her skill. She is but a tool of the Salt Ubar who is also an agent of the Kurii. Tarna would have been enslaved eventually by the Salt Ubar once her usefulness was over. The Salt Ubar eventually relieves her of her command. Tarna seems strangely unaware of many customs of the Tahari. She is unaware of the correct war cries of the major tribes. She destroys wells, a near inconceivable crime. And the tribesman note that the "strangest" things about a recent raid was that it was led by a woman. That is not an ordinary occurrence in the Tahari.

Tarna claims to be more skilled with her scimitar than any male. But, there is absolutely no proof of this. No one supports her claim. She does duel Tarl in the books and he states that "she is not unskillful" but also that "she is not a match for a warrior" and "many could have finished her easily and swiftly." Tarl "tries not to tire her arm by defending with his full strength." This is the only actual battle where she is seen fighting with her blade. It is obvious from this battle that her boasts were empty and false. Tarna is thus not a good justification for the existence of female warriors on Gor.

The Tahari is a vast and interesting area of Gor. It provides much fertile ground for creative role-play and story-lines. Delve into Earth history and culture concerning the Arabic world for ideas for your role-play. Much of it will be appropriate or adaptable. Let your creativity be your guide.

Printed with permission from Ubar Luther, we thank him for allowing us to use his scroll at our site.
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