(#13, Version 5.0)
"A creature who had not known hatred, lust and terror, I suspected, would be ill-fitted to understand the Kur, or men." (Tribesman of Gor, p.218)
Gor is not safe. Neither is Earth. An alien race, the Kurii, wish to conquer both worlds. "Kurii" is a Gorean corruption of their own name for themselves and in Gorean it means "beasts." "Kur" is the singular form of this word. They are also sometimes called the "Others" by those less familiar with them. There are two primary types of Kurii, those of the Steel Worlds and those living on Gor, some which are now native after several generations on Gor. The Kurii are the great enemies of the Gorean series and serve as villains in a fair number of the books.
The Kurii have had a civilization for about one hundred thousand years, much longer than mankind has had such. Kurii legends state that many thousands of years ago, in internecine wars, the Kurii destroyed the viability of their native world. There is no reason given for these massive wars between themselves. Their sun was a yellow, medium-sized slow-rotating star with a planetary system, one small enough to nourish life but large enough to have a suitable habitable zone. Maybe forty thousand years ago, the Kurii possessed incredible technology, far beyond what they have now. But most of this technology was destroyed in the wars among themselves. Their civilization has regressed in some ways and appears on a technological decline. At least twenty thousand years ago, the Kurii possessed a deep space capability.
At about that time, the Kurii came to our solar system seeking a new home. Nothing is mentioned about the type of starships they possess and how they were able to reach our system. We do not know how far or for how long the Kurii traveled until they reached our system. We also do not know how many other planetary systems they might have first stopped at before deciding on our system. We also do not know if they still possess the means to travel between the stars. If they do not, it might explain why they have remained for so long in our solar system fighting a battle they have lost so many times.
Once they arrived in our solar system, the Kurii came into contact with the Priest-Kings and war was the result and has been ongoing for almost twenty thousand years. We have no information on this first contact. We do not know how the Priest-Kings initially treated the Kurii. We do not know if the Kurii met force from the start or if the Kurii were the first to use force. Based on our knowledge of the two races, it is more likely the Kurii were the initial aggressors. The Kurii have been driven from our solar system eleven times but they always eventually return. They refuse to close with the Priest-King ships because they know that their own ships are no match for the superior weaponry of the Priest-Kings.
Why haven't the Kurii given up and gone elsewhere? They have been unsuccessful for about twenty thousand years, a very long time. Are there few planetary systems conducive to their biology? Are they simply so headstrong that they will always strive for success no matter how many defeats they must face? Have their starships lost the ability for intergalactic travel? Have they run out of the necessary fuel for intergalactic travel? Do they have an unknown vested interest in Gor? Lots of questions exist but no answers.
Most Kurii live in their spaceships, steel worlds called Master Ships. Each ship is almost an artificial planet, some pasangs in diameter. The steel ships wait near Jupiter, called Hesius by Goreans. For thousands of years, the Kurii had left Gor alone but have recently begun to direct their attentions to it. Though they outnumber the Priest-Kings by more than a thousand times, the superior power of the Priest-Kings continues to hold them off. Kurii starship sensors may be the match of the Priest-Kings. Kurii weapons, though primitive, are effective at ranges of up to one hundred thousand pasangs, about seventy thousand miles. Priest-Kings expeditions to repel the Kurii are costly, dangerous and difficult. Thus, the Priest-Kings take little direct action against the Kurii ships. They prefer more defensive than offensive actions. Kurii have never met or captured an actual Priest-King. Since they are ignorant of much of their nature, the Kurii are hesitant to fully attack Gor.
Some Kurii ships have crashed on Gor over the years. The Priest-Kings will destroy the ships but they do little about any Kurii who escape from those ships. As long as these Kurii obey the Technology and Weapon Laws, the Kurii are allowed to remain on Gor. Generally, these Kurii degenerate quickly to a state of barbarism and anarchy. Some Kurii have lived on Gor for several generations and know little, if anything, of the Steel Worlds. They usually live in isolated areas of Gor such as the frozen wastes of the north. The Kurii that live in the cold north live in field shelters made of skins and furs arched over bent saplings. Kurii do not like sleeping exposed. In an open field, they will burrow into the ground. These northern Kurii commonly wield great axes. White-furred Kurii are called ice beasts by the Red Hunters of the polar basin. These Kurii hunt from ice floes and have an affinity for water unlike other Kurii. There are few Kurii in the Barrens and Tahari as there is too little cover, the summer heat is too severe and game is scarce in the winters.
Kurii usually range from seven to nine feet tall and weigh from seven to nine hundred pounds. Their arms are longer and larger than their legs. Their biceps are commonly about eight inches wide and their wrists are about five inches wide. Their hands are clawed and pawlike with six digits, extra-jointed, and almost like tentacles. These hand claws are usually filed allowing them to better able use tools and technological items. Most Kur are right-handed as the left hemisphere of their brain is dominant. Their hind legs are eight to ten inches wide. Though their legs are short, with their arms they can move on all fours rapidly like an ape. For short distances it can even outrun a tarsk. They are also excellent climbers. The claws on its feet are retractable, usually not filed and over four inches long. Their most common fur color is dark brown though they can also be brownish red, sable or white. A mottling of white in their coloration commonly denotes disease.
Their heads are the width of the chest of a large man with a mouth large enough to cover a man's head. The mouth contains two rows of fangs, four being prominent in the position of canines. The upper two canines are long and curved. Its tongue is dark. Their eyes are large and round, with black pupils and a yellowish cornea. They have excellent vision in the dark and their eyes adjust to light changes quicker than humans. Their ears are large, pointed and wide. They can be laid back flat against its head. Its snout is wide and leathery with two slitlike nostrils. They have a tracking capacity, including both smell and hearing, equivalent to a larl though not as good as a sleen.
Their blood is red but the plasma has a very high percentage of salt that acts as a protein solvent. This means that they can eat vast quantities of meat, which would kill a man who tried to eat a similar amount. They also have a second stomach, a storage place where food is not digested. The food can be moved at will to their true stomach, or chemical stomach. They usually do not carry excess food and water unless when they are anticipating a time of scarcity. Additional food is a weight burden and impairs their performance. Kur also have good metabolic control and can slow or speed their digestion at will.
They speak with rumbles, snarls, growls, and half roars. Though it may sound like animal noises initially, once you listen to the noises they do form the rhythms of a language. Kurii phonemes for the most part elude representation in the alphabets of men. No known Gorean can speak the language of the Kurii. Kurii find it difficult to speak Gorean and most do not speak it. When they do speak it, it is a horrifying approximation. It does not actually hurt them to speak Gorean, it is only difficult for them to do so. They prefer to use translators when dealing with Goreans. This produces a flat, mechanical form of speech that is often awkward and choppy. Translators are notorious for being too literal at times due to the limitations of the translation.
Kurii are divided into four sexes: Dominant, Nondominant, Egg-carrier, and Blood-nursers. The order of structure in their society is the Dominant, Egg-carrier, Nondominant and Blood-nurser. The Dominants correspond roughly to the human male. Their instinct is to enter the killings and to mate. Most Kurii are born Dominants but many do not survive the killings. Nondominants are Dominants who do not join in the killings or mating. Nondominants are despicable and hated by the Dominants. Sometimes though a Nondominant will transform into a Dominant if there are no other Dominants around or the Nondominant is particularly stressed. Egg-carriers, also known as conceivers, are the ones impregnated by a Dominant. They roughly correspond to the Gorean female. They can be frequently impregnated, about once a month, which helps promote a rapid reproduction rate. An Egg-carrier is smaller than a Dominant and they do not participate in the killings. Shortly after an impregnation, within a moon, the Egg-carrier deposits the fertilized egg into a Blood-nurser. Blood-nursers, also known as Carriers, are basically baby incubators. They are sluggish, immobile and mouthed. They fasten themselves to hard surfaces. An egg will develop inside their body and the unborn receives blood from the Carrier. Some months later, the baby will tear itself free of the Carrier, likely killing the Carrier.
The newborn Kur will follow the first Egg-carrier of Nondominant that it sees. It will ignore a Blood-nurser. If it sees a Dominant, its response will depend on its own sex. If the newborn is also a Dominant, it will bare its tiny fangs and claws. The Dominant will ignore the newborn. If the newborn is an Egg-carrier or Nondominant, it will shun the Dominant that might decide to kill it. The newborns live on water and common protein. They are capable of hunting small animals shortly after leaving the Blood-nurser.
Kurii of the Steel Worlds consist of several "Peoples" who speak different languages, vary in coloration, texture of fur, temperament, tooth arrangement, ear shape, and more. These different Peoples form differing factions and continually vie for control. The Steel Worlds are led by a High Council, composed of seventy-two members elected from the representatives of the thousand tribes of the cliffs. All these Kurii are bound by Ship Loyalty and Ship Law. In the statutes of the Steel Worlds, the High Council is the judge and jury. A criminal defendant's presence is not necessary at a trial. Evidence against the court is inadmissible and it is wrong to speak on behalf of a criminal. You have little chance of being found innocent in such a trial. The majority vote of the High Council rules. Much depends on which Kurii faction is in power and which Kurii are currently in favor.
The Steel Worlds even have some Kurii groups in hibernation. Little is said in the books about these hibernated Kurii. We do not know how many are hibernated, for how long they remain in hibernation, or why they are hibernated. It may be that the Steel Worlds have limited space and resources and must conserve by placing a portion of their population into a hibernated stasis. Such hibernation may have been very important when they travel through space to avoid relativistic effects such as time dilation.
Killing is not discouraged on their ships except under conditions of battle or when the functioning of the vessel might be impaired. Killing helps to cull the weak. Kurii have traditions of dueling, and the tradition of the fang and claw. Their Killings are arena-like battles fought for the joy of killing and the reward of mating. Kurii may fight amidst themselves but they would never betray each other to another species such as man. A single Kur against a man is a formidable opponent. Men commonly must gang up on a Kur to kill it though some Goreans have ben able to single-handedly vanquish a Kur. They hold glory above all else.
The military of the Kurii is well organized into specific units. Six Kurii equal a "Hand" and its leader is called an "Eye." Two Hands and Two Eyes equal a "Kur," or Beast, which is commanded by a "Blood." Twelve Kur equal a "Band" which is also led by a Blood of higher ranking. Twelve Bands equal a "March" which is also led by a Blood. A March consists of 2,173 Kurii. Twelve Marches equal a "People" which is also led by a Blood. A People consists of 25,977 Kurii. The term "blood" has been adopted for use to denote a leader from an old belief that thought was a function of the blood and not the brain.
Kurii are also divided into those either below the rings, within the rings, or above the rings. Those below the rings are the non-warriors, such as the Nondominants, and lesser warriors. Those within the rings are the leaders. Those above the rings are the Chieftains of the People. The Blood of a Band wears two plain rings, of a reddish alloy, welded onto his left wrist. This unknown metal is immune to Gorean files. The Blood of a March wears only one ring. The Blood of a People wears no rings as he is above the rings. Some Kurii may wear decorative rings, including earrings, but these signify nothing. There are also Kurii "Princes" who earn that title by skill in battle. The books do not detail any privilieges gained by Princes. Failure is not tolerated by the Kurii, especially for one of the rings. A kur may make a solem vow by swearing and placing a paw upon the rings of a leader.
Kurii are carnivorous and view man as a foodstuff. Their words for "food" include humans which is sometimes translated as "cattle" or "meat animal." They have difficulty differentiating humans from each other. They prefer raw meat as they feel that cooked meat weakens the jaws. Blood is an agitant to them like it is to a shark. A Kur will not eat another Kur. Kurii respect the prowess of the sleen, considering it a worthy adversary.
Kurii are predominantly nocturnal creatures though they have no difficulties acting during the daytime. When their ears are laid back, it is commonly a sign of readiness to attack. The baring of their fangs can also indicate agression. Kurii are highly intelligent creatures. The number six is important to them as that is how many fingers they have on one hand. Thus, they use base-twelve mathematics. A Kur day is divided into twelve hours. Kurii highly value grooming themselves with combs and brushes. Some would be even considered vain about their appearance. They commonly do not swim well or like the water. Some Kurii can ride tarns. We are unsure if they have any type of religious beliefs. They do not believe in immortality. A sprinkling of some dust on a body can count as a Kur burial.
Besides their Master Ships, the Kurii have a number of smaller spaceships they use for various missions. Most of these ships are black, saucer-like vehicles similar to the ships of the Priest-King. Kurii ships though have observation apertures that the Priest-Kings ships lack. One type of Kurii ship is about thirty feet in diameter and eight feet high. Other sized ships also exist. Their ships have a hatch on the top of the disk as well as a side hatch that opens to form a type of ramp. They are similar to the "flying saucers" seen in many "B" movies. Kurii ships have a radar-screening device and a light-camouflage system to reduce detection of their ships.
These ships, usually the smaller ones, visit Earth to capture women and to obtain certain Earth items. Human agents of the Kurii often man such ships. Captured Earth girls have an identification bracelet placed on their ankles. Kurii slaves may be sold in Gorean markets or eventually end up as Kurii food. They burden their male slaves heavily but they do not allow their female slaves to engage in heavy labor. It is though that such labor will toughen the meat. There are likely even Kurii on Earth, maybe exiles, degenerate castaways and such, hidden in the isolated areas of the world. They may be the basis for the Earth legends of the yeti and sasquatch.
A few other items of Kurii technology were mentioned in the books. Their agents engaged in captures on Earth use an ointment on cuts that is odorless and appears to be absorbed into the skin almost immediately. Its effect is to heal the wounds quicker without a scar. They have language translators. These are metallic, instrumented, boxlike devices. They have a small, conical red light that glows on the top of the device to show it is operating. The Kurii possess physical and chemical techniques to date the age of objects. They have a projectile weapon that fires a six-inch long, conical, gas-impelled dart. The weapons have carved wooden stocks with unusual designs on the stocks. The weapon is fired by a button on the forepart of the stock. They can also create an aurora borealis-like effect. They saturate the atmosphere with certain patterns of charged particles. This can be used as a signaling device to other Kurii and their human agents.
Prasdak of the Cliff of Karrash was a famous Kur scientist. He was also very secretive in his creations. Thousands of years ago, he created five rings that allowed a Kur to become invisible. Before Prasdak died, he destroyed the plans to create these rings. Two years after he died, his city was sacked and the rings were uncovered. Three of them were eventually destroyed. Tarl Cabot obtained one of the rings and it ended up in the hands of the Priest-Kings. The ring is a heavy, gold ring set with a tiny square of silver. If you turn the bezel inward so the silver faces inward, you can see a circular switch. Pressing this switch will turn you invisible and you will also see everything in a red light. The ring is a light diversion device that encircles you in a field.
Undoubtedly, the Kurii possess other advanced technology that we have yet to see. But, much of this technology is only remnants from their past glory days. Little new technology appears to be produced currently. They are on a technological decline. They must also be careful about using high technology on Gor as the Priest-Kings will then take notice and act to destroy the technology. Most of the technology the Kurii have used on Gor has been in isolated areas where the Priest-Kings are less likely to watch such as the frozen north or the heart of the Tahari desert.
During the Gorean series, Tarl Cabot and others have often faced the Kurii and attempted to thwart their plans. In Marauders of Gor, book #9, the Kurii made a major strike against Gor. They attempted to invade Gor from the northlands and sweep down toward the southern lands. They were defeated after a few major battles. In Tribesmen of Gor, book #10, the Kurii offered an ultimatum to the Priest-Kings. They told them to surrender Gor. The unspoken threat was that would destroy Gor. Tarl Cabot was able to stop a terrible explosive device that would have destroyed the entire planet. In Beasts of Gor, book #12, a Kurii General, Half-Ear, comes to Gor to create a secret base in the frozen north. Tarl helps stop the Kurii and Half-Ear activates a self-destruction mechanism at the base. Half-Ear is presumed killed in the massive explosion. In Savages of Gor and Blood Brothers of Gor, books #17 and #18, it is learned that Half-Ear survived and is hiding in the Barrens. A Kurii Death squad is sent to kill him for being a traitor. Tarl helps save Half-Ear's life. Half-Ear then learns that the death sentence had been lifted and he returns to the Steel Worlds to lead them once again.
After this point in the series, the Kurii try to become much more subtle. They try to infiltrate their human agents into Gorean cities. These agents try to seize control and accomplish certain goals of the Kurii. The Kurii take a much more behind the scenes approach. Several of their plans are foiled. It is possible, though there is no proof as of yet, that the Kurii may even be behind the Cosian invasion of Ar. Subtlety is their new chosen strategy. If they are behind the Cosians, then their new strategy has been more effective. We do not know what Half-Ear has been doing since the events of Blood Brothers of Gor.
Most Goreans, if not all, would either attack or flee when confronted by a Kur. Kurii do not walk the streets of Gorean cities. They may sometimes be hidden within buildings in some cities but they do not walk around freely, even in those buildings. Few Goreans know of their war with the Priest-Kings or much about them at all. Most Goreans would view them as animals or monsters that should be destroyed. And killing Kurii is not an easy task.
Kurii do not make friends of humans. They use them and then eliminate or eat them. Kurii know that they cannot openly operate on Gor so they need human agents. Yet, the Kurii believe themselves to be superior to man. They would not deign to make friends with a race they consider food. The closest a Kur has come to friendship with a human has been the case of Half-Ear and Tarl Cabot. These two bonded as warriors, not as friends. They respect the abilities of each other. They understand that they will always be enemies but also know that battle joins them as brothers. They were civil and respectful toward each other in the Barrens, but they each know that they are at war. They would battle each other if necessary.
The Kurii are the enemies of Gor and Earth. They wish to destroy the Priest-Kings and claim the planets for their own. This is a battle that has gone on for 20,000 years and the end is nowhere in sight. The Nest War did weaken the Priest-Kings but a number of years have passed since then and the Priest-Kings have been regaining their power. Neither side can easily gain a complete victory. It is a war of inches.
Beware the Kurii!