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.He professed a cruelhatred of Turia andTurians, and yet he had, considering the normal practices of the WagonPeoples, not noted for their mercy to helpless foes, treated the unarmedcitizens of the city with unique indulgence, permitting them, on the whole, tokeep their lives and freedom, though only as refugees beyond the walls.Theclearest exception to this, of course, lay in the case of the more beautifulof the city's women, who were treated byGorean custom, as portions of the booty.I spent what free time I could in the vicinity of Saphrar's compound.Thestructures about the compound had been fortified by Tuchuks, and walls ofstone and wood had been thrown into the streets and openings between thebuildings, thus enclosing the compound.1 had been training some hundredTuchuks in the use of the crossbow, dozens of which had now fallen into ourhands.Each warrior had at his disposal five crossbows and four Turian slaves,for winding and loading the bows.These warriors I stationed on roofs ofbuildings encircling the compound, as close to the walls as possible.Thecrossbow, though its rate of fire is much slower than the Tuchuk bow, has amuch greater range.With the crossbow in our hands, the business of bringingtarns in and out of the compound became proportionately more haz-ardous, which, of course, was what I intended.In fact, to my elation, some ofmy fledgling crossbowmen, on the first day, brought down four tarns attemptingto enter the compound, though, to be sure, several escaped them.If we couldget the crossbows into the compound itself, perhaps even to the outside walls,we could for most practical purposes close the compound to entrance and escapeby air.I feared, of course, that this addition to our armament might hastenSaphrar's departure, but, as it turned out,' it did not, perhaps because thefirst word Saphrar had of our intentions was the tumbling of dying tarnsbehind the walls of the compound.Harold and I chewed on some bask meat roasted over a fire built on the marblefloor of the palace of PhaniusTurmus.Nearby our tethered kaiila crouched, their paws on the bodies of slainverrs, devouring them."Most of the people," Harold was saying, "are out of the city now.""That's good," l said."Kamchak will close the gates soon," said Harold, "and then we shall get towork on Saphrar's house and that tarn roost of Ha-Keel's."I nodded.The city now largely clear of defenders, and closed to the outside,Kamchak could bring his forces to bear on Saphrar's house, that fort within afort, and on the tower of Ha-Keel, taking them, if necessary, by storm.Ha-Keel had, we estimated, most of a thousand tarnsmen still with him, plusmany Turian guardsmen.Saphrar probably had,-behind his walls, more than three thousand defenders, plus a comparable numberof servants and slaves, who might be of some service to him, particularly insuch matters as reinforc-ing gates, raising the height of walls, loading crossbows, gathering arrowsfrom within the compound, cooking and distributing food and, in the case ofthe women, or some of them, pleasing his warriors.file:///F|/rah/John%20Norman/Chronicles%20of.ounter-Earth%204%20-%20Nomads%20of%20Gor.txt (186 of 238) [1/20/03 3:28:28 AM]file:///F|/rah/John%20Norman/Chronicles%20of%20Counter-Earth%204%20-%20Nomads%20of%20Gor.txtAfter I had finished the bask meat I lay back on the floor, a cushion beneathmy head, and stared at the ceiling.I could see stains from our cooking firePage 180 ABC Amber Palm Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abcpalm.htmlon the vaulted dome."Are you going to spend the night here?" asked Harold."I suppose so," I said."But some thousand bask came today from the wagons,"he said.I turned to look at him.I knew Kamchak had brought,-over the past few days, several hundred bask to graze nearTuria, to use in- feeding his troops."What has that to do with where I sleep?" I asked."You are perhaps going tosleep on the back of a bosk because you are a Tuchuk or something?" I thoughtthat a rather good one, at any rate for me.But Harold did not seem particularly shattered, and Isighed."A Tuchuk," he informed me loftily, "may if he wishes rest comfortably on eventhe horns of a bask, but only aKoroban is likely to recline on a marble floor when he might just as wellsleep upon the pelt of a larl in the wagon of a commander.""I don't understand," I said."I suppose not," said Harold."I'm sorry," I said."But you still do not understand?""No," I admitted."Poor Koroban," he muttered.Then he got up, wiped his quiva on his leftsleeve, and thrust it in his belt."Where are you going?" I asked."To my wagon," he said."It arrived with the bask along with better than twohundred other wagons today including yours."I propped myself up on one elbow."I do not have a.- wagon," I said."But of course you do," he said."And so do I."I merely looked at him, wondering if it were merelyHarold the Tuchuk at work again."I am serious," he averred."The night that you and I to departed for Turia,Kamchak ordered a wagon prepared for each of us to reward us."I remembered that night the long swim against the un-derground current, the well, our capture, the Yellow Pool ofTuria, the Pleasure Gardens, the tarns and escape."At that time, of course," said Harold, "our wagons were not painted red, norfilled with booty and rich things, for we were not then commanders.""But to reward us for what?" I asked."For courage," said he."Just that?" I asked."But for what else?" asked Harold."For success," I said."You were successful.You did what you set out to do.Idid not.I failed.I did not obtain the golden sphere.""But the golden sphere is worthless," said Harold."Kamchak has said so.""He does not know its value," I said.Harold shrugged."Perhaps," he said."So you see," I said, "I was not successful."`'But you were successful," insisted Harold."How is that?" I asked."To a Tuchuk," said Harold, "success is courage that isfile:///F|/rah/John%20Norman/Chronicles%20of.ounter-Earth%204%20-%20Nomads%20of%20Gor.txt (187 of 238) [1/20/03 3:28:28 AM]file:///F|/rah/John%20Norman/Chronicles%20of%20Counter-Earth%204%20-%20Nomads%20of%20Gor.txt the important thing courage itself even if all else fails thatis success."Page 181 ABC Amber Palm Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abcpalm.html"I see," I said."There is something here I think you do not realize," saidHarold."What is that?" I asked.He paused [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]