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Many of my friends and the people I know believe in the efficacy of divination. They will not undertake any major endeavor without first having the omens examined, without first consulting a divination specialist such as a haruspex or soothsayer.

I have watched many divinatory rites, many animal sacrifices from vulos to bosks. And I am aware that a few haruspexes will even sacrifice a kajirus. Most though see such a sacrifice as unworthy.

And I have seen men, who claim not to be superstitious at all, changing their decisions based on a divination, avoiding a course of action because a flock of birds flew in the wrong direction or because a verr’s liver did not look proper. 

I am not such a man. I do not believe that we can foretell the future or divine what will be. I do not believe there is any way to determine what will occur next year, next week or even tomorrow.

I do believe though that the future can radically change our lives, for better or worse. Any day can see us receive an incredible windfall. Any day can see a terrible tragedy befall us.

Any day can see the cessation of our life. Any day. 

Life is easy when things go well, when we are not tested by adversity. It is easy to be honorable when one’s honor is never examined in a crucible. It is easy to be courageous when one does not face a situation of fear. In positive times, it is difficult to truly determine a man’s character.

It is when adversity strikes that a man proves himself, or fails. And the greater the adversity, the greater the challenge. Many will not be found worthy in such dire circumstances.

I have seen the truth of this, men who loudly espoused their honor, their courage, their wisdom, who collapsed under pressure. When a true challenge confronted them, they crumbled beneath it, evidencing the shallowness of their prior boasting. 

I wish I were here now relating a tale of my own prowess, of how I overcame some overwhelming hardship. I wish I were here now relating a tale of my perseverance in the face of some terrible obstacle that sought to thwart me.

I am not even here speaking of one of my friends, or even a close associate. I am not speaking of anyone from my world. I am not even speaking of a man.

I am here to relate what occurred to one girl, a young and beautiful creature, who encountered a devastating calamity.  

I was present at the scene of the tragedy. I saw it all and was helpless to prevent it from occurring. And I most certainly would have intervened if it had been within my power.

At least I was able to contribute after the fact, to ensure that justice was done. I knew that the authorities would be unable to properly handle the situation. I knew that the originator of the tragedy would have not been adequately punished for his actions.

But I am not bound by the same rules as the authorities. And I handled it as I felt it should be done. As my sense of justice determined. 

My interest in her was both personal and business though it had originated as a purely mercantile endeavor. She had been an investment, one whose value had increased the more I learned.

The surveillance and intensive background investigation had garnered much intelligence on her assets and liabilities. With each new field report, I had reassessed her, ever increasing her potential value. And it all intrigued me sufficiently that I needed to engage in some of my own field research.

And at some point, my interest transformed into a more personal motivation. And financial considerations were pushed aside. It was now a more intimate desire that spurned on my efforts. 

Thursday afternoon. 5:19 p.m. Overcast skies. Slick roads from an earlier rain.

That was the fateful moment, the time of tragedy. One that could have been avoided by the perpetrator if he had used more care, if he had not ignored safety concerns. But it was a mistake that he would never commit again. In fact, he would never again commit any mistake.

This is also a cautionary tale of the potential dangers of technology. 

A businessman. Some arcane position involving financial advice, stocks, bonds and tax shelters. Basically a salesman, a Merchant.

A cellular telephone. A piece of technology that has proliferated throughout the country, now commonplace for most everyone. Walk down any street and see the multitudes with such a telephone glued to their ear.

Look into the windows of automobiles and see how many are conversing on their telephones. See how many businessmen are conducting business as they commute. See how little attention they are paying to the road and their surroundings. 

This businessman was late for an appointment so he was speeding along in his Cadillac. And his cellular telephone was in his hand as he tried to broker some type of deal. And it was a heated discussion.

As he approached an intersection, the light was yellow so he sped up to beat the light. He took a sharp right hand turn just as the light turned red.

He was nearly home. It was very familiar territory. So he paid little attention to his surroundings, relying upon his memory of the area. His business was far more important to him at that moment.  

For now, I will refer to her as Melissa. She was returning home from a bit of shopping, headed toward her car. Young, beautiful, intelligent, talented, artistic.

I had been following her for several hours, watching her in each store, seeing what items she eyed with desire, which she disliked, which she actually purchased. And I was positive she was unaware of my presence. The covert voyeur.

From a short distance, I watched her move into the crosswalk; the green pedestrian sign lit stating that it was permissible to cross.  

There was no screech of brakes. The Cadillac turned the corner, as Melissa was one-quarter of the way across the street. With only moments to react, Melissa could not have avoided the vehicle even if she had not been frozen in terror.

The large sedan slammed into Melissa’s legs, brutally propelling her back and through the air. I saw this quite clearly and heard Melissa’s screams of agony as she fell hard to the pavement. I raced towards the scene, fury in my eyes.

The Cadillac stopped after the impact. I expected it to suddenly flee so I quickly memorized the license plate number. I would not let the driver avoid his responsibility for this matter. And then I rushed over to Melissa. 

Her face was contorted in great pain and her legs were bent at an awkward angle. It was clear that both of her legs were broken. But it did seem that she would live.

I called for an ambulance and the police and then tended to Melissa, trying to make her more comfortable, knowing that I should not move her.

The businessman remained at the scene. He did exit his vehicle and loudly proclaimed his innocence, voicing numerous excuses. I did look at him good, scrutinizing his face and committing it to memory. But I said nothing to him. 

The police and an ambulance soon arrived on the scene. Melissa was taken to a local hospital and the police questioned the businessman. They did not arrest him. They did not even cite him.

There were no actual witnesses who could positively attest to the businessman speeding or running a red light. For now, it was being treated as a simple accident, pending the results of further investigation.

I knew though that I could later locate the businessman on my own. I would handle it.  

The next day, I visited the hospital where Melissa had been brought, seeking information on her condition. I had sufficient connections so I was able to discern the prognosis. And the prognosis was very dire.

The bones in both of her legs had been shattered, multiple comminuted fractures. Including her patellas. It would be a lengthy recovery period, with multiple surgeries.

And her legs and knees would never be the same again. She would be permanently disabled. And that was the great tragedy. 

Melissa had a single joy in life, a passion that elevated her soul, a passion that warmed her heart. Dance.

For five generations, dancing been an integral part of her maternal line. Her mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother. All had been dancers, professionals, teachers, talented amateurs. All had desperately loved dance, their raison d’etre.

And for Melissa, it was the core of her being, the fulcrum upon which all else balanced. Without dance, there was no life. Without dance, there was no happiness. Without dance, there was no Melissa. 

She did not dance professionally and did not even teach. She was still a student herself, but quite an ardent student. And she did have an ambition to teach one day, to instruct children, to share her passion with those impressionable minds.

And she possessed a superb skill, a natural talent. I had seen her dance a few times at her studio and had been mesmerized each time. And I knew that with the proper training, she could become superb.

Many of my associates claim that the ability to dance is genetic within women. I tended to agree with them. But I also knew that only a few were truly great dancers. And Melissa possessed that potential. 

As it stood, with the severe damage to her legs, Melissa would never dance again. And I knew that would shrivel her heart, her soul. A dark veil would pass over her. And she would never recover.

We never know what the future entails, what freak occurrence might steal out future plans from us. That is why one should live in the now, savoring each moment as if it were your last.

Yet there was a solution to Melissa’s difficulties. But one that came with a heavy price. Would Melissa be willing to pay such a price? 

The negligent businessman had interrupted my own plans. In three weeks, I had planned to make my move, to acquire that which I desired. And now there was an unforeseen complication involved.

If I wished to act, I needed to do so immediately, to prevent matters from progressing to a point where they could not be remedied. Thus, I had little choice. I still possessed my desire and had to make the attempt.

So I returned to the hospital the next night, just before visiting hours were to end.  

I visited Melissa in her room and no one else was present. Though she was heavily medicated, to dull the intense pain, she recognized my face from the accident scene.

I knew that the drugs would affect some of her capability to make a rational decision. But there was no other choice. I at least had to ask her, had to speak to her about my offer. And just hope she was sufficiently lucid to be able to answer me.

With her injuries, I would need her cooperation. It was no longer an option to just kidnap her. It was no longer an option to take her against her will. 

I first laid out her dilemma, stating the horrible but true fact that she would most likely never be able to dance again. And that had been a great fear for her. The doctors had already informed her of that possibility. Tears welled in her eyes as we spoke of this.

I then dangled the carrot, offering potential hope. I knew of Physicians who could minister to her injuries, and probably heal her sufficiently so her dancing ability would not be diminished.

But I also warned her that it came with a burden as well. I was not here altruistically. I did want something in return. I had my own desires, my own passions. 

I then told her the truth about me, to provide her with all of the necessary facts, the required background. She might be incredulous of my story, but the temptation might make her believe.

My home is not on Earth. I live on Gor, a planet that is in the same orbit as the Earth but is located on the other side of the Sun. Gor remains concealed from those of Earth, a benefit provided by the mysterious Pries-Kings.

I am a Slaver by occupation, which is called Caste on my world. I visit Earth sometimes to acquire beautiful girls, intelligent girls, gifted girls. And they will become kajirae, female slaves. Legally owned, collared and branded. 

Melissa had been one of my targets and I had planned to abduct her in three weeks. Though I normally sold the women I acquired, I had intended to keep Melissa for my own. To train her to become a slave dancer.

The Physicians of my world were more advanced than the doctors of Earth. And they would very likely be able to heal Melissa’s injuries so that she could dance again. It was a chance her own doctors could not provide.

But if Melissa came to Gor, it would be as my slave. That would be the price she paid for the ability to be able to dance again.  

I needed an answer from her immediately. I needed to take her to Gor before her doctors did anything that might interfere with my Physician’s ability to heal her. If she wished to go, I would take her from the hospital that night.

I had already made arrangements for her escape. My associates were ready with forged documents and a vehicle. All it would take would be Melissa’s assent.

I could have just taken her, but I knew healing often was as much psychological as physiological. Without her consent, her healing would possibly be thwarted.  

Melissa pondered my offer, carefully considering the situation. I know the medication was somewhat an impediment, but that could not be prevented.

But I thought I knew Melissa well, after all the time I had invested in studying her, in learning all about her. And I suspected I knew what her answer would be.

But I still waited impatiently for her response.  

Finally, she decided. The opportunity to be able to dance once again was too compelling. She could not imagine a life without that passion in her life. And she could not relegate her passion to a more passive role.

Melissa would not be satisfied just watching others dance. She needed to dance herself, to express herself in that art form. She needed to feel that passion soar through her veins as her body moved to the music. She could not feel truly alive unless she could dance herself.

And for the chance to dance once again, the price of slavery was acceptable. 

Two years have now passed.

Gorean Physicians were able to completely repair the damage to Melissa’s legs. She was left without any disability. Fully capable of any movement.

And she danced and danced. I acquired her the best instructors, the most talented dancers. And she toiled away at her lessons, while learning how to be kajira. It was far from easy, but she never once complained. She seemed to thrive. 

And now she is incredible, an exceptional dancer. No superlative is adequate to describe her abilities. She is more than good enough to dance before any Ubar.

I have been offered phenomenal sums for her. And I have had to bolster my security to prevent anyone from stealing her. She is extremely desirable to many, many men.

But she is my kajira. She pleases me greatly. And she is very content with me. I even believe that she truly loves me. I could ask for no more.