"It seemed a lofty, fine city,
white and shimmering, rising from the plains." --Nomads of Gor, p.55
The grand and luxurious city of Turia is
located in the southern hemisphere of Gor, amidst the vast grassy prairies
that are sometimes known as the Plains of Turia. These prairies are also
claimed by the barbaric tribes of Wagon Peoples who refer to this area as the
Land of the Wagon Peoples. Turia is sometimes called the Ar of the south
because its grandeur is thought by many to equal or even rival that of Ar. It
is probably safe to speculate that the population of Turia is between one and
three million people. There are few other cities mentioned in the books in the
southern hemisphere, besides those of the Tahari, though it is noted that the
few Ubars that do exist in the southern regions have tiny realms.
The city of Turia received its name from
the Tur tree, a large trunked, reddish tree. Tur trees may grow to two hundred
feet or more, and resemble the redwoods of Earth. The Tur-pah is a vinelike,
tree parasite which lives on Tur trees. It has scarlet, ovate leaves which are
edible and are components in numerous Gorean dishes such as sullage. Legend
has it that a man who was wandering across the plains stumbled upon a Tur tree
near a spring. This man is not named or described in any detail. As the plains
are largely treeless, the presence of the Tur tree was very unusual. Someone
else must have intentionally planted this tree a long time ago. And no one had
yet cut it down. So, a number of people chose to begin a city at that location
which became Turia.
Turia is located at least one thousand
pasangs from the coast of Thassa and there is little water closer than the
coast except for the Cartius River and some streams. This would tend to place
Turia roughly in the middle of the prairies. The city itself is a high,
white-walled city with nine gates. The white walls are a defensive measure to
help reflect the sun at would-be attackers, similar to a number of other
cities such as Ar and Ko-ro-ba. The main gates are tall, double wooden gates
which require a large windlass to properly open and close. Little detail is
given of the nine gates and whether they are all in the outer wall or whether
you must pass through all nine gates to enter the city.
The Home Stone of Turia is an oval
stone, carved with the initial letter of the city, and thought to be of some
age though no estimate is given for its age. The city is ruled by Phanius
Turmus, its Ubar, and there is a High Council as well. Despite a number of
references to Phanius as Ubar, there are two places in Nomads of Gor where he
is referred to as an Administrator. Even the revised Nomads, published by New
World Publishers, have this same discrepancy. But, as two subsequent novels
also refer to him as Ubar, then it is most likely the
"Administrator" references were an error. In another apparent error,
Phanius is spelled as "Phanias" in two other books. The context of
these other books though makes it clear they are referring to the same
individual. Phanius Turmus has been in power in Turia since around 10109 C.A.,
give or take a couple years. Phanius has two daughters who have not yet been
Free Companioned to anyone. When the Tuchuks conquered Turia, these two
daughters were enslaved but they were freed soon thereafter. The availability
of these two Ubar's daughters poses an intriguing opportunity for a man to
companion the daughter of a Ubar.
Despite the existence of a Ubar, it is
said that the true power in Turia lies with the Caste of Merchants, as it does
in many cities. Hundreds of caravans and thousands of merchants come to Turia
each year to vend their wares. None of these caravans, and few Merchants, go
to the Wagon Peoples. Almost anything can be found in the city, including many
rare items. "I found Turia to match my expectations. She was luxurious.
Her shops were filled with rare, intriguing paraphernalia. I smelled perfumes
that I had never smelled before. More than once we encountered a line of
musicians dancing single file down the center of the street, playing on their
flutes and drums, perhaps on their way to a feast. I was pleased to see again,
though often done in silk, the splendid varieties of caste colors of the
typical Gorean city, to hear once more the cries of peddlers that I knew so
well, the cake sellers, the hawkers of vegetables, the wine vendor bending
under a double verrskin of his vintage." (Nomads of Gor, p.87)
businesses in the city are geared toward pleasure, from the gaming rooms to the
public baths. Despite the dangers to caravan traffic posed by the Wagon
Peoples, many Merchants risk the journey, hoping to make much money. Spring is
the most dangerous time for these Merchants as it is the busiest season for
raids by the Wagon Peoples.
Turians have a reputation of being a
lazy and luxury-loving people. Obviously this cannot be fully true as Turia
had been able to survive for many generations against the might of the Wagon
People threat. "I supposed that life in high-walled Turia, for most of
its citizens, went on from day to day in its usual patterns oblivious of the
usually distant Wagon Peoples."
(Nomads of Gor, p.88) This is especially
as Turia has not been besieged in over one hundred years. The citizens and
residents of Turia are able to ascend the high walls surrounding the city and
look out across the prairies. There is a thirty-foot wide walkway on the
interior of the walls. As long as a person does not attempt to enter any of
the guard posts, they are permitted to wander atop this walkway. Turia does
not possess any tarn cavalries, though it is possible for them to hire
mercenary tarnsmen sometimes. Turia relies primarily on their formidable
tharlarion cavalry, armed with tharlarion lances. Such tharlarions pose a
great threat on the generally flat prairies that surround Turia. Within the
city, there are also hunting sleen and the torture dungeons of Turia are not a
pleasant place to be taken to.
Turia has many great wells in the city.
These wells are tile-lined and deep, some extending hundreds of feet deep. One
well is described as 800-900 feet deep. This same well is described as about
fifteen feet wide though we are unsure if this is an average size or not. This
well has a large drum, capable of holding hundreds of gallons of water, that
extends down to the water. Two ropes are attached to the drum, a small rope to
control the filling of the container and a larger rope to support its great
weight when full. This large rope possesses a core of chain and the rope
itself exists primarily to protect the chain. The rope is also treated with a
waterproof glue but the rope and chain still must be replaced about twice a
year. As the tiles must also be periodically inspected, the rope has
footholds, often spaced about ten feet apart. Wells are surrounded only by a
short rim of about two inches. But, they are kept in enclosed well yards
surrounded by sixteen-foot walls with a catwalk inside. Entry to the yard is
through a set of arched, wooden double doors. These fortified areas not only
protect the wells but can also be used as a defensible position in case the
city is attacked. The Turians also maintain siege reservoirs that are filled
with water from the melting snows or rainfall.
One of these wells provided a secret
means of egress in and out of the city though Turian officials now seem aware
of its existence. Its secret was discovered by Harold of the Tuchuks, when he
was younger, and a slave in Turia. He hid in a well and found at its bottom a
gap that he could squeeze through. This gap led to a shallow pool, the well's
feed basin. This area also extended further underwater to a rocky tunnel
through which an underground stream flowed. This was a very long tunnel but
fortunately there were numerous areas where the water did not reach the top of
the tunnel, thus providing pockets of air. This tunnel then exited at a hole,
only about eight inches wide, between two rocks on the surface. The exiting
water then fed a small stream.
Until the events of Nomads of Gor, Turia
had never been conquered. "The city had never fallen, and had not been
under siege in more than a century." (Nomads of Gor, p.88)
were quite strong and its Warriors quite skilled. But, the Tuchuks, led by
Kamchak, were eventually able to conquer the city. To bypass the high walls,
the Tuchuks relied on trickery, blocking the gates from being closed by a
heavy wagon. The Tuchuks burnt and looted much of the city. But in the end,
Kamchak chose to leave Turia and hand it back to Phanius Turmus, though not
before taking many spoils. He took two-thirds of the gold of the city, leaving
the rest behind for rebuilding. He also claimed 5000 of the most beautiful
free women in the city, enslaving them. In addition, the Tuchuks captured many
of the slaves of the city, freeing any slaves that had once been of the Wagon
One indirect benefit of the attack by
the Tuchuks resulted from the large numbers of Turians that fled north to
escape the devastation. As many of these Turians resettled in northern cities,
they brought many of their customs, inventions and ideas with them. Such
matters had once been largely unique to Turia but would eventually begin to
spread to other cities as well. A number of these items will be more fully
described below while others may exist though they have yet to be mentioned in
Turia had always been important to the
existence of the Wagon People. Trade between the two was common as the Wagon
People acquired manufactured items that they could not make themselves. Very
few Merchants visited the Wagon Peoples so they needed someplace where they
could engage in trade. Raiding alone was insufficient to provide for their
needs. Without such a commercial center for them, it would be far more
difficult for them to acquire some of their necessities. Kamchak also claimed
that the Wagon Peoples needed an enemy to face and that Turia was to be that
enemy. Kamchak wanted to keep his people from becoming too lazy and secure.
Like many cities in the books, Turia is
not fully described. Instead, small items about the city are spread throughout
the books. The rest of this essay shall simply describe a number of these
items concerning Turia.
Turian feast: These feasts, similar to
some of the feasts of ancient Rome, typically consumed most of the night as
they could consist of as many as one hundred and fifty courses. Proper
etiquette requires that each guest at least taste each of the myriad courses.
As this is an incredible amount of food, there is some recourse available to
alleviate one's fullness. In between courses, guests may use a tufted banquet
stick, dipped in scented oils, to induce vomiting into a golden bowl.
Obviously slaves will carry full bowls away from the table to dispose of the
Turian eating prong: The only utensils
most Gorean tables possess are a knife and spoon. But, Turian tables commonly
have this utensil which is similar to a fork. It is generally unique to the
city though the idea has been spreading.
Turian sugar: Reference is made to the
existence of a yellow Turian sugar though nothing is stated how it may differ
from other sugars.
Turian alcohols: Turian wines are
syrupy, flavored and sugared heavily. They use wines in which spices, sugars
and almost anything else can be stirred into them. They are also usually an
acquired taste because of their extreme sweetness or spice flavor. Many regard
the liqueurs of Turia as the best on Gor, better than Ar and Cos.
Turian Saying: There is a famous Turian
saying: "---to give you something, so to speak, to stir in your
wine" (Nomads of Gor, p.198)
It basically means adding something to a
situation to increase its complexity. As the Turians add much to their wines
to enhance or complicate the flavor, they also do that in their lives.
Kaissa: Kaissa is a very popular pastime
in Turia. They hold a major tournament there though it is unknown how often it
is held or when it is usually held. It seems likely that it is an annual
tournament, and probably held around the same time each year. In the ninth year of
the Ubarate of Phanius, Scormus of Ar won the Turian tournament, using the
Turia has its share of famous Kaissa
Players including Sabo, Boris, Terence and Timor. Sabo once beat Centius of
Cos at the Tharna tournaments. Boris played against Hobart of Tharna at the
same En'Kara fair as the famous Centius versus Scormus match. Terence was the
champion of the En'Kara tournament of 10127 C.A. Timor is a very large man and
of indisputable integrity.
As for famous Kaissa openings and
defenses, Turia has made its mark. There is a Turian Opening, though the
details of its moves are unknown. There is also a Turian Defense, but the only
thing we know about it is that an opening, the Physician's Gambit, permits the
use of the Turian Defense.
Turian baths: There are a wide variety
of public and private baths in Turia, ranging from simple and functional baths
to luxurious facilities. Because of these baths, almost all Turians can swim.
The Turian baths are considered to be second in luxury, number of pools, their
temperatures, scents and oils, only to Ar. The bath girls of Turia are also
almost as famous as those of Ar.
Turian girls: "Turian girls are
proud," said Kamchak, "Thus, they make excellent slaves."
(Nomads of Gor, p.29)
Turian collar: This is a round, hinged
ring, that lies loosely on a slave, and locks in the back. If someone holds
the ring, the girl within it can turn completely around. It is harder to
engrave though than the more common flat collar. These collars are now being
soon more in the northern cities.
Turian message collar: This is a high,
thick leather collar where a message can be sewn into the lining. Unless you
are familiar with these items, a secret message could be present on a slave
girl and you would be unaware of it.
Turian slave bar: This is a metal bar
with a collar at each end. There are also manacles that are used to fasten the
hands behind the neck. Two slaves or prisoners can thus be confined with this
Turian camisk: Outside of Turia, this
item of slave clothing is known as the "Turian camisk" though within
Turia it is simply called the "camisk." Turians refer to the common
camisk as the "northern camisk." The Turian camisk is like an
inverted "T" in which the bar of the "T" is beveled on
each side. It is fastened with a single cord that ties the camisk at three
points, behind the neck, the back, and in front of the waist. The garment is
first fastened at the neck. It then passes before her, between the legs and
then the sides fold about the hips. This camisk covers the common brand spot
on the thigh but leaves the back bare. It can be pulled tight on the body and
the cord allows it to be adjusted to fit any girl. "It is said that only
a man knows how to tie a Turian camisk on a girl properly." (Captive of
Harl rings: These are named for the
slaver Harl of Turia. These rings consist of four sections. First, there is a
metal ankle ring that snaps onto an ankle. Second, at the back of the ankle
ring is welded a closed loop. Third, at the front of the ankle ring there is
another closed loop that has about a yard of chain attached to it. Fourth,
this chain ends in a locking device which can be locked onto the back of a
second ankle ring. It is very versatile and can be used to chain a girl to
almost anything. A common use of the rings is to form a segment in a slave
chain. One key works for all of the rings of this slave chain. A closed Harl
ring means locking the chain on its own ankle ring around a tree, pole or
Depilation: In Turia, as it is in Ar, it
is not uncommon for a slave to be depilated. No description is given though as
to the extent of the depilation.
Ear piercing: Ear piercing was long a
custom of Turia. The Wagon Peoples thought this practice was barbaric, feeling
that nose piercing was acceptable but not ear piercing. Ear piercing is
another custom that spread to the north after the Tuchuk invasion. At first,
many northern Slavers refused to do it to their girls. But in time, it became
very popular so that many northern girls have since acquired them. It is now a
very accepted practice, favored by many.
Turian knee walk: This is another item
that is not fully described in the books but there is some information that
can be extrapolated concerning it. It is known to be a type of floor
movements. Floor movements are basically a form of dancing where you never
rise above a man's knees. It can consist of turning, twisting, rolling and
crawling. She can do it on her hands, knees, or stomach. It may include
kneeling, sitting, lying, or half sitting, half lying, or half kneeling, half
lying. The name may be descriptive in this case so it likely includes a lot of
kneeling and movement on the knees.
Placatory dances: There are many
varieties of these dances whose purpose is for a slave to beg forgiveness and
ease the anger of her Master. She will endeavor to show her sincerity and
desire to improve. Every trained slave will learn some form of placatory dance
during their training. "Most placatory dances however, are not fixed-form
dances, but are 'free' dances, in which the slave, exquisitely alert to the
nuances of the situation, the particular master, the nature of his
displeasure, the gravity of her offense, and such, improvises, doing her best
to assuage his anger and beg his forgiveness, to reassure him of the
authenticity of her contrition and the genuineness of her desire to do
better." (Dancer of Gor, p.332)
There are a few of these dances with
fixed forms, sanctioned by custom and tradition, such as the stately
Contrition Dance of Turia.
Turian silk: This is a famous product of
the city and much valued across Gor. In the Silk War of 8,110 C.A., a war was
fought in the southern hemisphere for the control of certain caravan routes.
It was called the Silk War because at that time Turian silk first began to be
imported in bulk to the Tahari.
Turian dagger: Unfortunately, this item
was mentioned but not described in the books so we have no idea how it differs
from other daggers.
Turian shields: The shields of Turia
tend to be oval rather than round.
Poison teeth: Some Turians have emplaced
in their mouths special fangs that contain deadly Ost venom. If you are
bitten, you will die quickly and in great pain, your body turning orange.
These teeth are likely used more by Merchants and others who do not commonly
have expertise in the sword or other martial skills. This may be a single use
item that needs to be refilled after any bite.
Turian Calendar: Turia calculates their
years from summer solstice to summer solstice unlike most other Goreans that
use the spring equinox.
Clearchus: He was an immigrant to Turia
who brought a number of his followers with him. He is now remembered as a
patron of the arts and a philanthropist. He has sometimes been associated with
another Clearchus, a famous bandit of two centuries ago who decided to
legitimize and regularize his brigandage. He proclaimed his area of operations
a ubarate, declared himself Ubar, and began imposing taxes and levying tolls.
In time, several cities accorded him diplomatic recognition but a large
mercenary force eventually ousted him from his position. He might then have
traveled to Turia.
Stones of Turmus: This was once a Turian
outpost, a merchant's keep. It was licensed for the storage of goods within
the realm of Ar. It was under the banner and shield of Turia, meaning that
Turian law governed the keep and Turian soldiers defended it. The keep was
located about two hundred pasangs from Ar, and then a two to three day journey on a
side road off the Vosk Road. It had high white outer walls, over eighty feet
high. There were six towers on the walls, two at the gate and one at each
corner. Tarn wire guarded the top of the keep. The garrison contained one
hundred warriors, five officers and twenty ancillary men including a
physician, porters, scribes, and more. Borchoff was the Captain of the keep.
Unfortunately, the keep was savagely attacked by raiders of Treve, including
the infamous Rask, and they burnt much of the keep. Its current fate is
unknown and we are unsure whether the keep was rebuilt or not.
Around twenty-eight silk slaves, from
nineteen cities, were kept in the keep, though the actual numbers would vary
from time to time. Some were also bred slaves. Though they were all pleasure
slaves, they were the only slaves in the keep so they also had to be work
slaves. While engaged as work slaves, they would be garbed in brown tunics.
The entrance to the slave kennels was a thick, iron door about eighteen inches
square. The room itself though was quite lofty and spacious. There were many
slender, white pillars in the room, which was also tiled in purple. The glossy
walls were mosaiced with scenes of serving kajirae. There was even a scented
pool. The windows were narrow and barred. Off this main room was the cell
alcove, where numerous small slave cages were located. Entered by a small
barred gate, the typical cage was eight feet deep, four feet wide and four
feet high. It was furnished with a thin, scarlet mattress and a blanket of
Turmas: This is a Turian outpost and
merchant keep located at the southeastern edge of the Tahari. Little is said
about this location in the books.
Yellow Pool of Turia: The "Yellow
Pool of Turia" was a bizarre creature found within the palace of Saphrar
of Turia. Its actual origin is unknown though it is most likely not indigenous
to Turia and was imported from elsewhere, possibly the equatorial jungles.
Saphrar's palace contained what appeared to be a large indoor pool area. This
spacious chamber, with a domed ceiling about eighty feet high, was decorated
with numerous exotic floral designs, mostly greens and yellows, representing
the vegetation of a tropical river. There were many actual plants as well,
such as vines, ferns, and exotic tropical flowers. The room was oppressively
hot and steamy. Light for the room came from behind a translucent blue
ceiling, probably lit by expensive energy bulbs.
The pool itself is roughly circular in
shape with a diameter of sixty to seventy feet, and surrounded by a marble
walkway that was about seven to eight feet wide. Around the pool's edge are
eight large columns, crafted and painted to resemble tree trunks, located at
each point of the Gorean compass. Numerous vines stretch across these columns,
so many that much of the blue ceiling is obscured. Some of these vines dangle
down low enough to almost touch the surface of the pool. At one side of the
room is a panel fixed with wires and levers. This panel actually controls the
movement of the vines that are located over the pool, moving them closer or
further away from the pool's surface.
The pool appeared to contain sparkling,
yellow water that seemed as if it were filled with beautiful gems. Ribbons and
filaments seemed to run through the water and there were also small spheres,
of various colors, scattered among the pool. Steam rises periodically, rather
than continuously, from the pool in some type of rhythm. At times, the pool
seems to get brighter as the colored spheres pulsate and the rhythm of the
steam increases. The steam also seems to be more than mere moisture, and
possibly may be some type of gas. In fact, the entire pool is a strange
creature, a yellow ooze of sorts.
The creature apparently breathes,
releasing a steam-like discharge. At rest, the creature is mostly of the
consistency of water. But, when a creature enters that "water," then
the creature can thicken and gel itself around its prey. This process will
range from a mudlike consistency to one like wet cement, until the victim
cannot move at all. The victim's flesh will then begin tingle and burn due to
corrosive elements within the creature. Saphrar would place men in this pool
to die. It could take as much as three hours to be fully digested by this
creature. Slashing or cutting it generally does no harm to it though the
glowing spheres within it can be hurt. Cutting one of those spheres will
irritate the creature. But it has other vulnerabilities as well.
Tarl Cabot was fed to this creature and
soon found himself mired within the pool. Instead of trying to reach the sides
of the pool, he moved toward its center instead. He finds a strange spot, a
collection of threads and granules in a transparent bag, imbedded in a darkish
yellow jelly, and walled off by a translucent membrane. Tarl then attacked
this area, cutting into it. This greatly irritated the creature which reacted
by expelling Tarl from its depths, solidifying itself into a solid with a
tough shell. This creature would later be destroyed, by fire, by the Tuchuks
after they fed Saphrar to the beast.
Here are a couple people of Turia that
were prominently mentioned in Nomads of Gor.
Kamras: Kamras was a Turian citizen, of
the Caste of Warriors. He was a Captain, the Champion of Turia as well as a
plenipotentiary to the Ubar, Phanius Turmus. A plenipotentiary is a diplomat,
often with much authority provided to him. He was a large, strong man with
large wrists and long black hair. He had two long, thin scars on his face,
possibly scars created by a quiva. Until the events of Nomads of Gor, Kamras
had never lost a battle at the Love Wars. But, he then faces Kamchak at the
First Stake for the fate of Aphris of Turia. Using the gladius, which most
thought Kamchak had no skill in using, the two men fought. And Kamras soon
realized that Kamchak was quite expert with the short sword. Kamchak defeated
Kamras, winning Aphris, but Kamchak chose not to kill Kamras. Later, when
Turia was conquered, Kamras was enslaved but was later freed.
Saphrar: Saphrar was a wealthy Merchant
of Turia. He was a short, fat pinkish man with short arms and legs. His head
had been shaven and his eyebrows had also been removed, though they had been
replaced with four golden drops. He had bright eyes and a tiny, roundish
red-lipped mouth. The nails of his pudgy fingers were painted scarlet, as well
as his toenails. The two upper canine teeth in his mouth were golden. They
were actually poison teeth, filled with deadly ost venom. Tarl Cabot thought
he was a pleasant and gracious person, an attentive and excellent host. His
main criticism was that Saphrar seemed a bit indolent.
Saphrar was once a perfumer of Tyros. He
stole some pounds of the nectar of talendars, trying to conceal them under his
tunic in a bladder. But he was apprehended, tried and convicted. For being a
thief, they notched his right ear and then exiled him. He ended up in Port Kar
where he eventually met a gray-faced man with eyes of glass. This man required
Saphrar's assistance, providing him with wealth and a new life in Turia. But, Saphrar
still though of himself as a man of Port Kar, even still maintaining
a war galley in Port Kar.
In return for this assistance, Saphrar
was supposed to obtain a golden sphere from the Tuchuks and give it to the
gray-faced man. When he could not buy it, Saphrar sent mercenary tarnsmen to
attack the Tuchuks, killing Kutaituchik and stealing the golden sphere.
Kamchak was furious at Saphrar for killing his father. Saphrar had also been
the one to first introduce Kutaituchik to the addictive kanda. So, once Kamchak
conquered Turia, he besieged the keep of Saphrar. His walled compound was
surrounded by a ring of flat, cleared ground, about one hundred feet wide.
Kamchak eventually got past the defenses and confronted Saphrar. He fed the
Merchant to the Yellow Pool of Turia and then destroyed the creature with