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Free Companionship


On Gor, except for Port Kar, free companionship lasts for a single year at a time, then it either must be renewed with the wines of love or it will dissolve. The renewal must be performed by the twentieth ahn, midnight, of the anniversary date. If either party dies or is enslaved, the free companionship will also dissolve. It is unknown whether the parties can voluntarily choose to dissolve, like a divorce, the free companionship prior to the year's end. As it is a contractual matter, the possibility exists, but the books do not speak on this matter. Free companionship is a very serious matter to Goreans. It is not entered into lightly and seems unlikely that Goreans would see a need to end it earlier than the year's end. There are others who feel differently about free companionship.

"Some Goreans think of the Free Companionship as being a form of contract slavery." --Blood Brothers, pg. 246

Free companionships may either be arranged or entered into voluntarily by both parties. If it is an arrangement, there is often a companionship price also known as a bride-price. This is the amount of money or goods that the prospective man must pay to the father of the woman he desires to be his free companion. The bride-prices of high caste women are often in gold or tarns. A beautiful woman might cost as much as forty tarns while the daughter of an administrator could go as high as one hundred tarns. The daughter of an ubar might even cost one thousand tarns. Low castes also arrange free companionships, though the bride-price would be much lower. The woman is often not consulted concerning the matter. She must accept what her father arranges for her. Some women might not even see the face of their intended until the free companionship ceremony. Many low caste women will know their intended companion, though they will pretend otherwise. It will often be someone of their caste, someone they might see in the market or on the city streets.

The woman might be "…the same girl who slapped him with a fish yesterday and hurled such a stream of invective at him that his ears still smart,…" --Outlaw, pg. 68

The books do not contain a complete free companionship ceremony, only small bits of information about its contents. In addition, it is clear that the ceremonies vary city to city. The only common denominator is that the ceremony includes the drinking of special wine, the wine of love. In some ceremonies, the couple will interlock their arms as they drink the wine. The wine must often be drunk to conclude the ceremony. In some ceremonies, the woman will wear eight veils, several which will be removed during certain phases of the ceremony. Some cities then have the final veils removed in private by the man while in other cities the final veils are removed in public during the ceremony.

A person is only permitted to have a single free companion at a time. There is no limit to the number of subsequent free companions you may have. Free Women do not change their names in a free companionship like Earth women do in a marriage. A free companionship generally is supported by a companion contract outlining the conditions of the companionship. The books again do not contain the details of such contracts. There may be a feast celebration of the free companionship. At this event, it is common for the woman to wear a garland of talenders. If the prospective free companions are of different cities, the ceremony may be preceded by a companion or betrothal journey, where the woman journeys to the man's city. The wealthier the couple, the more involved this journey will be. Tarnsmen have a custom where the warrior playfully captures his intended woman and binds her across the saddle of his tarn. He then flies away with her, tossing her clothes to the ground below. Some men will even free a slave to make her his free companion.

A female free companion, especially one of high caste, will often perform only the type of work they choose to do. They do not commonly work as a domestic servant in their home. There are public slaves who tend to chores such as cooking, cleaning and laundry. Such work is considered beneath most Free Women, especially those of high caste or station. This does give Free Women a lot of free time, especially if they do not work in their caste and do not have children.

Children

A vital function of the Free Women of Gor is to reproduce, to provide children to give longevity to their family and caste. The child of a slave is most often legally considered a slave. Few free men will thus have children with their slaves. That is considered a privilege of Free Women. In general, it is Free Women who care for and teach the children in their crucial beginning years of development. Slaves are not permitted to teach free people so they could not teach even children. Slaves are limited to lesser roles with children, more a playmate than much else. Children will thus learn a lot from their free mothers so it is the obligation of their mothers to ensure they learn the proper information. It is likely they are the ones that begin to teach children about the caste codes, their proper modes of behavior.

Goreans are fond of children and rarely would cause them harm or suffering. Even slave children are seldom abused. Slave children may not even realize they are slaves until they are in their teenage years. Despite this general love of children, there is also a dichotomy involved as well. Some Free Women sell their infant children into slavery, mostly their daughters. Some women even do this on a regular basis. The standard price for an infant girl is about two tarsk bits, a very low value. Some infants, if they appear sickly or too weak, may be left out to die, exposed to the elements. Some children are left in the Voltai Mountains, a wooden skewer through their heels. Goreans do not consider this to be cruelty.

Female children learn many ways to please men, including such matters as the preparation of exotic dishes, the arts of walking, standing and being beautiful, the care of a man's equipment, and certain dances. These dances may include the love dances of their city and the stately dances of free maidens. These stately ones might be performed to honor and welcome visiting dignitaries. It is a slow and graceful dance, very modest. Female children must also learn how to submit to a man as they never know when that might save their life one day. The threat of enslavement is a very real danger for all women. Thus, they want to be prepared as most women would prefer slavery to death.

Frigidity

In general Free Women are seen as frigid and sexually repressed. Many know little about sex and see it more as a duty and a chore rather than as a matter of mutual pleasure. This frigidity is considered acceptable for free women though slaves are not permitted that quality. Men are commonly disappointed by this frigidity, especially if they have experienced the wanton sexuality of a slave. It generally takes from a third to a quarter of an ahn, 18 to 24 minutes, to arouse a Free Woman to orgasm. Some Free Women are proud of their frigidity. They consider it important to show how different they are from slaves. Other Free Women seek to change that aspect and learn how to be more sexually responsive. Physicians commonly tell Free Women who seek advice on changing their frigidity to learn slave dancing. Most consider it appropriate, though, that Free Women remain ignorant of the sexuality of the slave.

"An unowned girl, a free woman, thus, can never experience her full sexuality…Passion, it is thought, deprives the free woman to some extent of her freedom and important self-control; it is frowned upon because it makes her behave, to some extent, like a degraded female slave; Free women, thus, to protect their honor and dignity, their freedom and personhood, their individuality, must fight passion;… the free woman must remain cool and in control of herself, even in the arms of her companion, to avoid being truly 'had,'…"--Tribesman, pg. 17




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