*Death of Blood and Sea
After the death of Surbus, the woman had been mine. I had won her from him by sword right. I had, of course, as she had expected, put her in my collar, and kept her slave. To my astonishment, however, by the laws of Port Kar, the ships, properties and chattels of Surbus, he having been vanquished in fair combat and permitted death of blood and sea, became mine; his men stood ready to obey me; his ships became mine to command; his hall became my hall, his riches mine, his slaves mine. It was thus that I had become a captain in Port Kar. Jewel of gleaming Thassa.
*Knotted Ropes Insignia
About his left shoulder, in the manner of his city, he had worn the knotted ropes of Port Kar; his garment had been simple, dark and closely woven;
He carried, in the crook of his left arm, a helmet, bearing the crest of sleen hair that marks a captain of Port Kar.
"And what of Port Kar?" I asked.
"She has no Home Stone," said one of the men.
I smiled. It was true. Port Kar, of al the cities on Gor, was the only one that had no Home Stone. I did not know if men did not love her because she had on Home Stone, or that she had no Home Stone because men did not love her.
"In Port Kar," I said, "a girl who is not pleasing is not unoften bound hand and foot, and thrown naked, as garbage, to the urts in the canals." "I will try to be pleasing," she smiled.
The whip knife is a delicate weapon, and can be used with elegance, with finesse; it is, as far as I know, unique to Port Kar.
To my surprise I noted, coiled at the side of his saddle, in four loops, was a whip knife, of the sort common in Port Kar, a whip, but set into its final eighteen inches, arranged in sets of four, twenty thin, narrow blades; the tips of whip knives differ; some have a double-edged blade of about seven or eight inches at the tip; others have a stunning lead, which fells the victim and permits him, half-conscious, to be cut to pieces at the attacker's leisure; the whip knife of Menicius, however, held at its tip the double-edged blade, capable of cutting a throat at twelve feet.
*Port Kar does not celebrate Kajuralia
The Kajuralia, or the Holiday of Slaves, or Festival of Slaves, occurs in most of the northern, civilized cities of known Gor once a year; The only exception to this that I know of is Port Kar, in the delta of the Vosk.
The next matter for consideration was the negotiation of a dispute between the sail-makers and the rope-makers in the arsenal with respect to priority in the annual Procession to the Sea, which takes place on the first of En'Kara, the Gorean New Year. There had been a riot this year. It was resolved that henceforth both groups would walk abreast.
*No Formal Free Companionship
Port Kar does not recognize the Free Companionship, but there are free women in the city, who are known simply as the women of their men.
*Built by slaves
Not one stone could be placed in either way or tower by a man or woman who was not free. The only city I know of on Gor which was built by the labor of slaves, beneath the lash of Masters, is Port Kar which lies in the delta of the Vosk.
No, I said to myself, Port Kar could be held a hundred years. And even should she, somehow, fall, her men need only take ship, and then, when it pleased them, return, ordering slaves again to build in the delta a city called Port Kar.
The men of Port Kar may permit slaves to build their house and their walls, but they do not permit them to build their ships.
*Caste of Thieves
"In Port Kar," said I, "there is a caste of thieves. It is the only known caste of thieves on Gor."
There is even, in Port Kar, a recognized caste of Thieves, the only such I know of on Gor, which, in the lower canals and perimeters of the city, has much power, that of the threat and the knife. They are recognized by the Thiefs Scar, which they wear as a caste mark, a tiny, three-pronged brand burned into the face in back of and below the eye, over the right cheekbone.
It was a tiny, three-pronged brand, burned into the face over the right cheekbone. I had seen it several times, once on one who worked for the mysterious Others, a member of a crew of a black ship, once encountered in the mountains of the Voltai, not far from great Ar itself.
The caste of thieves was important to Port Kar, and even honored. It represented a skill which in the city was held in high repute. Indeed, so jealous of their prerogatives were the caste of thieves that they often hunted thieves who did not belong to the caste, and slew them, throwing their bodies to the urts in the canals.
Indeed, there was less thievery in Port Kar than there might have been were there no caste of thieves in the city. They protected, jealously, their own territories from amateur competition.
Ear notching and mutilation, common punishment on Gor for thieves, were not found in Port Kar. The caste was too powerful. On the other hand, it was regarded as permissible to slay a male thief or take a female thief slave if the culprit could be apprehended and a caste member, was to be remanded to the police of the arsenal.
If found guilty in the court of the arsenal, the male thief would be sentenced, for a week to a year, to hard labor in the arsenal or on the wharves; the female thief would be sentenced to service, for a week to a year, in a straw-strewn cell in one of Port Kar’s penal brothels.
They are chained by the left ankle to a ring in the stone. Their food is that of a galley slave, peas, black bread and onions. If they serve well, however, their customers often bring them a bit of meat or fruit. Few thieves of Port Kar have not served time, depending on their sex, either in the arsenal or on the wharves, or in the brothels.