Oasis Of Two Scimitars

A Gorean RP In The Tahari
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 Tarns- All about

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Posts : 673
Join date : 2012-12-07
Age : 30

Tarns- All about Empty
PostSubject: Tarns- All about   Tarns- All about Icon_minitimeTue Apr 02, 2013 1:26 pm

Tarns on Gor

Description of Tarns
Bright Black Eyes
Thin sharp tongue as long as a mans arm
Talons like gigantic steel hooks
Monstrous curved beak
Black tarns used in night raids
White tarns in winter raids
Some multicolored tarns for show
Common color is greenish brown

My first impression was that of a rush of wind and a great snapping sound, as if a giant might be snapping an enormous towel or scarf; then I was cowering, awe-stricken, in a great winged shadow, and an immense tarn, his talons extended like gigantic steel hooks, his wings sputtering fiercely in the air, hung above me, motionless except for the beating of his wings.

The tarn dropped to the roof of the cylinder and regarded us with his bright black eyes.

Though the tarn, like most birds, is surprisingly light for its size, this primarily having to do with the hollowness of the bones, it is an extremely powerful bird, powerful even beyond what one would expect from such a monster. Whereas large Earth birds, such as the eagle, must, when taking flights from the ground, begin with a running start, the tarn, with its incredible musculature, aided undoubtedly by the somewhat lighter gravity of Gor, can with a spring and a sudden flurry of its giant wings, lift both himself and his rider into the air. In Gorean, these birds are sometimes spoken of as Brothers of the Wind.

The plumage of tarns is various, and they are bred for their colours as well as their strength and intelligence. Black tarns are used for night raids, white tarns in winter campaigns, and multicoloured, resplendent tarns are bred for warriors who wish to ride proudly, regardless of the lack of camouflage. The most common tarn, however, is greenish brown. Disregarding the disproportion in size, the Earth bird which the tarn most closely resembles is the hawk, with the exception that it has a crest somewhat of the nature of a jay's.

Almost immediately from somewhere, perhaps from a ledge out of sight, rose a fantastic object, another giant tarn, even larger than the first, a glossy sable tarn which circled the cylinder once and then wheeled towards me, landing a few feet away, his talons striking on the roof with a sound like hurled gauntlets. His talons were shod with steel - a war tarn. He raised his curved beak to the sky and screamed, lifting and shaking his wings. His enormous head turned towards me, and his round, wicked eyes blazed in my direction. The next thing I knew his beak was open; I caught a brief sight of his thin, sharp tongue, as long as a man's arm, darting out and back, and then, snapping at me, he lunged forward, striking at me with that monstrous beak, and I heard the Older Tarl cry out in horror, 'The goad! the goad!'

The great bird seemed to sense what I intended, or perhaps it was merely his sudden realisation that the other tarn was in the lead, but a remarkable transformation swept over my sable, plumed steed. His neck straightened and his wings suddenly cracked like whips in the sky; his eyes became fiery and his every bone and muscle seemed to leap with power.

Tarn can easily bear the weight of seven to ten men on a knotted rope
A tarn can, incidentally, without difficulty, carry a knotted rope of seven to ten men.

Tarn Handling
Tarns, who are vicious things, are seldom more than half tamed and, like their diminutive counterparts the hawks, are carnivorous. It is not unknown for a tarn to attack and devour his own rider. They fear nothing but the tarn-goad. They are trained by men of the Caste of Tarn Keepers to respond to it while still young, when they can be fastened by wires to the training perches. Whenever a young bird soars away or refuses obedience in some fashion, he is dragged back to the perch and beaten with the tarn-goad. Rings, comparable to those which are fastened on the legs of the young birds, are worn by the adult birds to reinforce the memory of the hobbling wire and the tarn-goad. Later, of course, the adult birds are not fastened, but the conditioning given them in their youth usually holds except when they become abnormally disturbed or have not been able to obtain food. The tarn is one of the two most common mounts of a Gorean warrior; the other is the high tharlarion, a species of saddle-lizard, used mostly by clans who have never mastered tarns.

'That tarn,' he said, 'was bred for you, specially selected from the best broods of the finest of our war tarns. It was with you in mind that the keepers of the tarns worked, breeding and crossbreeding, training and retraining.'

'No!' cried the Older Tarl. 'The training is perfect. The spirit of the tarn must not be broken, not that of a war tarn. He is trained to the point where it is necessary for a strong master to decide whether he shall serve him or slay him. You will come to know your tarn, and he will come to know you. You will be as one in the sky, the tarn the body, you the mind and will. You will live in an armed truce with the tarn. If you become weak or helpless, he will kill you. As long as you remain strong, his master, he will serve you, respect you, obey you.'
Tarn Whistle
Each tarn trained to respond to a specific note of a whistle.

The Older Tarl took a tarn whistle, or tarn call, from his tunic and blew a piercing blast.

He tossed me a small object which nearly fell from my fumbling hands. it was a tarn whistle, with its own note, which would summon one tarn, and one tarn only, the mount which was intended for me.

I blew a note on the whistle, and it was shrill and different, of a new pitch from that of the Older Tarl.
Tarn Goad
2 foot metal rod with leather loop
Has switch on handle - on and off
Creates yellow sparks in "electricity" when touched
Does not leave permanent damage

He entered my apartment, carrying a metal rod about two feet long, with a leather loop attached. It had a switch in the handle, which could be set in two positions, on and off, like a simple torch. He wore another such instrument slung from his belt. 'This is not a weapon,' he said. 'It is not to be used as a weapon.'
'What is it?' I asked.
'A tarn-goad,' he replied. He snapped the switch in the barrel to the 'on' position and struck the table. It showered sparks in a sudden cascade of yellow light, but left the table unmarked. He turned off the goad and extended ot to me. As I reached for it, he snapped it on and slapped it in my palm. A billion tiny yellow stars, like pieces of fiery needles, seemed to explode in my hand. I cried out in shock. I thrust my hand to my mouth. It had been like a sudden, severe electric charge, like the striking of a snake in my hand. I examined my hand; it was unhurt. 'Be careful of a tarn-goad,' said the Older Tarl. 'It is not for children.' I took it from him, this time being careful to take it near the leather loop, which I fastened around my wrist.

The tarn-goad also is occasionally used in guiding the bird. One strikes the bird in the direction opposite to which one wishes to go, and the bird, withdrawing from the goad, moves in that direction. There is very little precision in this method, however, because the reactions of the bird are merely instinctive, and he may not withdraw in the exact tangent desired. Moreover, there is danger in using the goad excessively. It tends to become less effective is often used, and the rider is then at the mercy of the tarn.
Tarn Saddle, Ladder & Weaponry
Five-rung leather ladder hangs on left for mounting tarn
Saddle has broad strap to hold rider in
Saddle pack has room for provisions during raids
Weapons hang in specific places
Saddle has room for slave in front

The Older Tarl had mounted his tarn, climbing up the five- rung leather mounting ladder which hangs on the left side of the saddle and is pulled up in flight. He fastened himself in the saddle with a broad purple strap.

I seized the short mounting ladder swinging wildly from the saddle and climbed it, seating myself in the saddle, fastening the broad purple belt that would keep me from tumbling to my death.

I mounted my tarn, that fierce, black magnificent bird. My shield and spear were secured by saddle straps; my sword was slung over my shoulder. On each side of the saddle hung a missile weapon, a crossbow with a quiver of a dozen quarrels, or bolts, on the left, a longbow with a quiver of thirty arrows on the right. The saddle pack contained the light gear carried by raiding tarnsmen - in particular, rations, a compass, maps, binding fibre, and extra bowstrings. Bound in the saddle in front of me, drugged, her head completely covered with a slave hood buckled under her chin, was a girl.
Tarn Basket
Made of heavy wicker
large enough for 6 girls to be bound to the sides of the basket
Has a lid which ties down
"Hands to the rear. Cross your wrists," said the man.
I did so.
I felt the straps through the heavy wicker. My wrists were pulled back, tight against the wicker, and bound there. I shared the tarn basket, my knees drawn up, with five other girls. We were naked. Our ankles were tied together at the center of the basket.

A heavy, long strap thrust through the wicker, behind me and to the left. It was passed several times about my throat and then drawn through the wicker behind me and to my right. I felt my throat jerked back against the wicker by the strap. The same strap, passing in and out of the wicker, similarly fastened the other girls in place.

The heavy lid of wicker was now being placed on the tarn basket. Immediately, on the body of the girl across from me, there was a reticulated pattern of shadows.
I could not free myself.
The lid was tied down.

Basket may or may not have guidance attachments
If no attachments, tarn is saddled and controlled by tarnsman
Baskets vary in size and shape, depending on use
Flat cradles carry planking
Long cylinders lined with verrskin carry beverages
I swung myself into the basket, which I shared with two men-at-arms.
Cernus and Ho-Tu rode together in another basket. The tarn basket may or may not have guidance attachments, permitting the tarn to be controlled from the basket. If the guidance attachments are in place, then the tarn is seldom saddled, but wears only basket harness. If the basket is merely carried, and the tarn cannot be controlled from the basket, then the tarn wears the tarn saddle and is controlled by a tarnsman. The basket of Cernus and my basket both had guidance attachments, similar to those of the common tarn saddle, a main basket ring corresponding to the main saddle ring, and six leather straps going to the throat-strap rings. The other three baskets, however, had no control attachments and those birds wore saddles and were guided by tarnsmen. Tarn baskets, incidentally, in which I had never before ridden, are of many different sizes and varieties, depending on the function for which they are intended. Some, for example, are little more than flat cradles for carrying planking and such: others are long and cylindrical, lined with verrskin, for transporting beverages and such; most heavy hauling, of course, is done by tharlarion wagon; a common sort of tarn basket, of the sort in which I found myself, is a general utility basket, flat-bottomed, square-sided, about four feet deep, four feet wide and five feet long. At a gesture from Cernus the birds took wing, and I felt my basket on its heavy leather runners slide across the roof for a few feet and then drop sickeningly off the edge of the cylinder, only to be jerked up short by the ropes, hover for a moment as the tarn fought the weight, and then begin to sail smoothly behind the bird, its adjustments made, its mighty wines hurling the air contemptuously behind it.

The Tarn Straps
Strap at throat of tarn
Six reigns attached to it through metal ring on the saddle
Reigns attach to small ring on throat strap
To rise - pull on one-strap which connects to back of tarns neck
To land or dip lower - pull four-strap, which connects beneath the throat
Straps are numbered in clockwise positions

The tarn is guided by virtue of a throat strap, to which are attached, normally, six leather streamers, or reins, which are fixed in a metal ring on the forward portion of the saddle. The reins are of different colours, but one learns them by ring position and not colour. Each of the reins attaches to a small ring on the throat strap, and the rings are spaced evenly. Accordingly, the mechanics are simple. One draws on the streamer, or rein, which is attached to the ring most nearly approximating the direction one wishes to go. For example, to land or lose altitude, one uses the four-strap which exerts pressure on the four-ring, which is located beneath the throat of the tarn. To rise into flight, or gain altitude, one draws on the one-strap, which exerts pressure on the one-ring, which is located on the back of the tarn's neck. The throat-strap rings, corresponding to the position of the reins on the main saddle ring, are numbered in a clockwise fashion.

I drew back on the one-strap and, filled with terror and exhilaration, felt the power of the gigantic wings beating on the invisible air. My body lurched wildly, but the saddle belt held. I couldn't breathe for a minute, but clung, frightened and thrilled, to the saddle-ring, my hand wrapped in the one-strap.

Fortunately, before losing consciousness, I drew on the four- strap, and the tarn levelled out and then lifted his wings over his back and dropped like a striking hawk, with a speed that left me without breath in my body. I released the reins, letting them hang on the saddle-ring, which is the signal for a constant and straight flight, no pressure on the throat strap. The great tarn snapped his wings out, catching the air under them, and smoothly began to fly a straight course, his wings beating slowly but steadily in a cruising speed that would soon take us far beyond the towers of the city. The Older Tarl, who seemed pleased, drew near. He pointed back towards the city, which was now several miles in the distance.
Care & Feeding of Tarns
Tarns eat only what they catch themselves
Give them a handful of their lice for a snack

It took three days to reach the environs of the city of Ar. Shortly after crossing the Vosk, I had descended and made camp, thereafter travelling only at night. during the day I freed my tarn, to allow him to feed as he would. They are diurnal hunters and eat only what they catch themselves, usually one of the fleet Gorean antelopes or a wild bull, taken on the run and lifted in the monstrous talons to a high place, where it is torn to pieces and devoured. Needless to say, tarns are a threat to any living matter that is luckless enough to fall within the shadow of their wings, even human beings.

I withdrew some of the lice, the size of marbles, which tend to infest the wild tarns, and slapped them roughly into the mouth of the tarn, wiping them off on his tongue. I did this again and again, and the tarn stretched out his neck. Training Tarns to eat prepared / preserved meat
It might be of interest to note that when I had come to Gor, some years ago, domestic tarns, like wild tarns, almost always made their own kills. They may still do so, of course, but now many have been trained to accept prepared, even preserved, meat. Ideally, they are taught to do this from the time of hatchlings, it being thrust into their mouths, given to them much as their mother bird would do in the wild. Tongs are used. With older birds, on the other hand, captured wild tarns, for example, the training usually takes the form of tying fresh meat on live animals, and then, when the tarn is accustomed to eating both, effecting the transition to the prepared meat. Needless to say, a hunting tarn is extremely dangerous, and although its favorite prey may be tabuk, or wild tarsk, they can attack human beings. This training innovation, interestingly enough, and perhaps predictably, was not primarily the result of an attempt to increase the safety of human beings, particularly those in rural areas, but was rather largely the result of attempting to achieve military objectives, in particular those having to do with the logistical support of (pg.53) the tarn cavalry. Because of it, for the first time, large tarn cavalries, numbering in the hundreds of men, became practical.

The Goreans believe, incredibly enough, that the capacity to master a tarn is innate and that some men possess this characteristic and that some do not. One does not learn to master a tarn. It is a matter of blood and spirit, of beast and man, of a relation between two beings which must be immediate, intuitive, spontaneous. It is said that a tarn knows who is a tarnsman and who is not, and that those who are not die in this first meeting.
Tarn Drums
Huge drums that signal war formations to the flying cavalries

As the caravan mounted a rise, we saw far below us, on the banks of the Vosk, a sight of incredible barbaric splendour - pasangs of brightly coloured tents stretching as far as the eye could see, a vast assemblage of tents housing one of the greatest armies ever gathered on the plains of Gor. The flags of a hundred cities flew above the tents, and, against the steady roar of the river, the sound of the great tarn drums reached us, those huge drums whose signals control the complex war formations of Gor's flying cavalries.
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