~ Ko-ro-ba ~
Following are quotes gathered from the books of Gor by John Norman. A search was done in each book, individually, to come up with a comprehensive and accurate account of the appearance of and life in the city of Ko-ro-ba. Every quotation located that refers to Ko-ro-ba, the city, and Ko-ro-ba, the people is gathered here. she hopes that you find this informative, interesting, and pleasing.
"You have mastered a tarn, a war tarn. In your veins must flow the blood of your father, once Ubar, War Chieftain, now Administrator of Ko-ro-ba, this City of Cylinders.'
I was surprised, for this was the first time I had known that my father had been War Chieftain of the city, or that he was even now its supreme civil official, or, for that matter, that the city was named Ko-ro-ba, a now archaic expression for a village market."
~Tarnsman of Gor, page 58~
"The Chamber of the Council is the room in which the elected representatives of the High Castes of Ko-ro-ba hold their meetings. Each city has such a chamber. It was in the widest of cylinders, and the ceiling was at least six times the height of the normal living level. The ceiling was lit as if by stars, and the walls were of five colors, applied laterally, beginning from the bottom - white, blue, yellow, green, and red, caste colors. Benches of stone, on which the members of the Council sat, rose in five monumental tiers about the walls, one tier for each of the High Castes. These tiers shared the color of that portion of the wall behind them, the caste colors.
The tier nearest the floor, which denoted some preferential status, the white tier, was occupied by Initiates, Interpreters of the Will of Priest-Kings. In order, the ascending tiers, blue, yellow, green, and red, were occupied by representatives of the Scribes, Builders, Physicians, and Warriors..............
In the center of the amphitheater was a throne of office, and on this throne, in his robe of state - a plain brown garment, the humblest cloth in the hall - sat my father, Administrator of Ko-ro-ba, once Ubar, War Chieftain of the city. At his feet lay a helmet, shield, spear, and sword.
"Come forward, Tarl Cabot," said my father, and I stood before his throne of office, feeling the eyes of everyone in the chamber on me. Behind me stood the Older Tarl. I had noted that those blue Viking eyes showed almost no evidence of the previous night. I hated him, briefly.
The Older Tarl was speaking. 'I, Tarl, Swordsman of Ko-ro-ba, give my word that this man is fit to become a member of the High Caste of Warriors.'
My father answered him, speaking in ritual phrases. 'No tower in Ko-ro-ba is stronger than the word of Tarl, this Swordsman of our city. I, Matthew Cabot of Ko-ro-ba, accept his word.'
Then, beginning with the lowest tier, each member of the Council spoke in succession, giving his name and pronouncing that he, too, accepted the word of the blond swordsman. When they had finished, my father invested me with the arms which had lain before the throne. About my shoulder he slung the steel sword, fastened on my left arm the round shield, placed in my right hand the spear, and slowly lowered the helmet on my head.
'Will you keep the Code of the Warrior?' asked my father.
'Yes,' I said, 'I will keep the Code.'
'What is your Home Stone?' asked my father.
Sensing what was wanted, I replied, 'My Home Stone is the Home Stone of Ko-ro-ba.'
'Is it to that city that you pledge your life, your honor, your sword?' asked my father.
'Yes,' I said.
'Then,' said my father, placing his hands solemnly on my shoulders, 'in virtue of my authority as Administrator of this city and in the presence of the Council of High Castes, I declare you to be a Warrior of Ko-ro-ba.'
My father was smiling. I removed my helmet, feeling proud as I heard the approval of the Council, both in voice and by Gorean applause, the quick, repeated striking of the left shoulder with the palm of the right hand. Aside from candidates for the status of Warrior, none of my caste was permitted to enter the Council armed. Had they been armed, my caste brothers in the last tier would have struck their spear blades on their shields. As it was, they smote their shoulders in the civilian manner, more exuberantly perhaps than was compatible with the decorum of that weighty chamber."
~Tarnsman of Gor, pages 61, 62, 63~
"And there," he said, poking downward with his finger, "is the City of Ar, hereditary enemy of Ko-ro-ba."
~Tarnsman of Gor, page 64~
"In a matter of time Ko-ro-ba would be forced to match it's comparative handful of tarnsmen against those of the Empire of Ar."
~Tarnsman of Gor, page 66~
"I am from the Free City of Ko-ro-ba."
~Tarnsman of Gor, page 82~
"Ko-ro-ba is one of the few cities my father feared," said Talena, "because he realized it might someday be effective in organizing other cities against him. We of Ar thought they might be training you for this work."
~Tarnsman of Gor, page 108~
"An escape on tarnback seemed to me far safer than trying to cross the Vosk and make our way on foot or tharlarion through the hills and wilderness to the distant cylinders of Ko-ro-ba."
~Tarnsman of Gor, page 131~
"When I returned to Ko-ro-ba with Talena, a great feast was held and we celebrated our Free Companionship. A holiday was declared, and the city was ablaze with light and song. Shimmering strings of bells pealed in the wind, and festive lanterns of a thousand colors swung from the innumerable flower-strewn bridges. There was shouting and laughter, and the glorious colors of the castes of Gor mingled equally in the cylinders. Gone for the night was even the distinction of master and slave, and many a wretch in bondage would see the dawn as a free man."
~Tarnsman of Gor, pages 216 & 217~
"The road, like most Gorean roads, was built like a wall in the earth and was intended to last a hundred generations. The Gorean, having little idea of progress in our sense, takes great care in his building and workmanship. What he builds he expects men to use until the storms of time have worn it to dust. Yet this road, for all the loving craft of the Caste of Builders which had been lavished upon it, was only an unpretentious, subsidiary road, hardly wide enough for two carts to pass. Indeed, even the main roads to Ko-ro-ba were a far cry from the great highways that led to and from a metropolis like Ar."
~Outlaw of Gor, page 25~
"I could allow myself no rest until I stood again on the lofty bridges of Ko-ro-ba."
~Outlaw of Gor, page 33~
"Ko-ro-ba lay in the midst of green and rolling hills, some hundreds of feet above the level of the distant Tamber Gulf and that mysterious body of water beyond it, spoken of in Gorean simply as Thassa, the Sea. Ko-ro-ba was not set as high and remote as for example was Thentis in the mountains of Thentis, famed for its tarn flocks, but it was not a city of the vast plains either, like the luxurious metropolis of Ar, or of the shore, like the cluttered, crowded, sensuous Port Kar on the Tamber Gulf. Whereas Ar was glorious, a city of imposing grandeur, acknowledged even by its blood foes; whereas Thentis had the proud violence of the rude mountains of Thentis for its setting; whereas Port Kar could boast the broad Tamber for her sister, and the gleaming, mysterious Thassa beyond, I thought my city to be truly the most beautiful, its variegated lofty cylinders rising so gently, so joyfully, among the calm, green hills.
An ancient poet, who incredibly enough to the Gorean mind had sung the glories of many of the cities of Gor, had spoken of Ko-ro-ba as the Towers of the Morning, and it is sometimes spoken of by that name. The actual word Ko-ro-ba itself, more prosaically, is simply an expression in archaic Gorean referring to a village market."
~Outlaw of Gor, pages 39 & 40~
"The storm had not abated but I had ceased to mind it. Drenched, cold, I climbed on, holding my shield obliquely before me to deflect the wind and make the climb easier. At last on the crest I waited and wiped the cold water from my eyes, waited for the flash of lightning that after these long years would reveal my city.
I longed for my city, and for my father, the magnificent Matthew Cabot, once Ubar, now Administrator of Ko-ro-ba, and for my friends, the proud Older Tarl, my master-at-arms, and Torm, the cheerful, grumbling little scribe who regarded even sleep and food as part of a conspiracy to separate him from the study of his beloved scrolls; and mostly, I longed for Talena, she whom I had chosen for my companion, she for whom I had fought on Ar's Cylinder of Justice, she who had loved me, and whom I loved, dark-haired, beautiful Talena, daughter of Marlenus, once Ubar of Ar.
'I love you, Talena!' I cried.
And as the cry parted from my lips there was a great flash of lightning and the valley between the hills stood stark and white and I saw the valley was empty.
Ko-ro-ba was gone!
The city had vanished!
The darkness followed the flash of lightning and the shock of the thunder shook me with horror.
Again and again the lightning flashed, the thunder pounded in on me, and the darkness engulfed me once more. And each time I saw what I had seen before. The valley empty. Ko-ro-ba was gone.
'You have been touched by Priest-Kings,' said a voice behind me.
I spun about, shield before me, spear ready.
In the next flash of lightning I saw the white robes of an Initiate, the shaven head and the sad eyes of one of the Blessed Caste, servants it is said of the Priest-Kings themselves. He stood with his arms in his robe, tall on the road, watching me.
Somehow this man seemed different to me than the other Initiates I had met on Gor. I could not place the difference, yet it seemed there was something in him, or about him, that set him apart from the other members of his caste. He might have been any other Initiate, yet he was not. There was nothing extraordinary about him, unless perhaps it was a brow somewhat more lofty than is common, eyes that might have looked on sights few men had seen.
The thought struck me that I, Tarl of Ko-ro-ba, a mortal, here in the night on this road, might be looking upon the face of a Priest-King.
As we faced on another, the storm ceased, the lightning no longer shattered the night, the thunder no longer roared in my ears. The wind was calm. The clouds had dissipated. In pools of cold water lying among the stones of the road I could see the three moons of Gor.
I turned and looked upon the valley in which Ko-ro-ba had lain.
'You are Tarl of Ko-ro-ba,' said the man.
I was startled. 'Yes,' I said, 'I am Tarl of Ko-ro-ba.' I turned to face him.
'I have been waiting for you,' he said.
'Are you,' I asked, 'a Priest-King?'
'No,' he said.
I looked at this man, seeming to be a man among other men, yet more.
'Do you speak for the Priest-Kings?' I asked.
'Yes,' he said.
I believed him.
It was common, of course, for Initiates to claim to speak for the Priest-Kings; indeed, it was presumably the calling of their caste to interpret the will of the Priest-Kings to men.
But this man I believed.
He was not as other Initiates, though he wore their robes.
'Are you truly of the Caste of Initiates?' I asked.
'I am one who conveys the will of the Priest-Kings to mortals,' said the man, not choosing to answer my question.
I was silent.
'Henceforth,' said the man, 'you are Tarl of no city.'
'I am Tarl of Ko-ro-ba,' I said proudly.
'Ko-ro-ba has been destroyed,' said the man. 'It is as if it had never been. It's stones and it's people have been scattered to the corners of the world, and no two stones and no two men of Ko-ro-ba may stand again side by side.'
'Why has Ko-ro-ba been destroyed?' I demanded.
'It was the will of the Priest-Kings,' said the man.
'But why was it the will of the Priest-Kings?' I shouted.
'Because it was,' said the man, 'and there is nothing higher in virtue of which the will of the Priest-Kings may be determined or questioned.'
'I do not accept their will,' I said.
'Submit,' said the man.
'I do not,' I said.
'Then be it so,' he said, 'you are henceforth condemned to wander the world alone and friendless, with no city, with no walls to call your own, with no Home Stone to cherish. You are henceforth a man without a city, you are a warning to all not to scorn the will of the Priest-Kings - beyond this you are nothing.'
'What of Talena?' I cried. 'What of my father, my friends, the people of my city?'
'Scattered to the corners of the world,' said the robed figure, 'and not a stone may stand upon a stone.'
'Did I not serve the Priest-Kings,' I asked, 'at the siege of Ar?'
'The Priest-Kings used you for their ends, as it pleased them to do so.'
I lifted my spear, and felt that I could have slain the robed figure so calm and terrible before me.
'Kill me if you wish,' said the man.
I lowered the spear. My eyes were filled with tears. I was bewildered. Was it on my account that a city had perished? Was it I who had brought disaster to its people, to my father, to my friends and Talena? Had I been too foolish to understand that I was nothing before the power of the Priest-Kings? Was I now to wander the forlorn roads and fields of Gor in quilt and agony, a wretched example of the fate which the Priest-Kings could mete out to the foolish and proud?"
~Tarnsman of Gor, pages 40-43~
"I thought that much of the barbarity on Gor might perhaps be traced to this foolish suppression of the fair sex, whose gentleness and intelligence might have made such a contribution in softening their harsh ways. To be sure, in certain cities, as had been the case in Ko-ro-ba, women were permitted status within the caste system and had a relatively unrestricted existence.
Indeed, in Ko-ro-ba, a woman might even leave her quarters without first obtaining permission of a male relative or the Free Companion, a freedom which was unusual on Gor. The women of Ko-ro-ba might even be found sitting unattended in the theater or at the reading of epics.
In the cities of Gor that I knew, with the possible exception of Tharna, women had been most free in Ko-ro-ba."
~Outlaw of Gor, pages 49 & 50~
"The cessation of attacks on Ko-ro-ba began during the time my father, Matthew Cabot, was Ubar of that city.
He organized a system of far-flung beacons, set in fortified towers, which would give the alarm when unwelcome forces entered the territory of Ko-ro-ba. At the sight of raiders one tower would set its beacons aflame, glittering by night, or dampen it with green branches by day to produce a white smoke, and this signal would be relayed from tower to tower. Thus when the tarnsmen of Treve came to the grain fields of Ko-ro-ba, which lie for the most part some pasangs from the city, toward the Vosk and Tamber Gulf, they would find her tarnsmen arrayed against them. Having come for grain and not war, the men of Treve would then turn back, and seek out the fields of a less well-defended city.
There was also a system of signals whereby the towers could communicate with one another and the city. Thus if one tower failed to report when expected the alarm bars of Ko-ro-ba would soon ring and her tarnsmen would saddle and be aflight."
~Priest-Kings of Gor, page 62 & 63~
"As I walked I asked myself why I did so-why I, Tarl Cabot-once of Earth, later a warrior of the Gorean city of Ko-ro-ba, the Towers of the Morning, had come here."
~Nomads of Gor, page 6~
"Kuurus, of the caste of assassins, crouched on the crest of the small hill, leaning with both
hands on the shaft of his spear, looking down into the shallow valley, waiting. He would not yet be
"In the distance he could see the white walls, and some of the towers of the city of Ko-ro-ba, which was being rebuilt. It is an old word in Gorean, Ko-ro-ba, meaning a village market, though few considered its archaic meaning. Kuurus looked on the city. It had once been destroyed by Priest-Kings, but now it was being rebuilt. Kuurus was not much interested in such matters. His was the Caste of Assassins. He had been called to this place. In the early part of the eighth Gorean hour the distant white walls took the sun and blazed like light in the green hills. The Towers of the Morning, thought Kuurus, the Towers of the Morning."
~Assassin of Gor, page 1~
"These men of Ko-ro-ba, he knew, when their city had been destroyed by Priest-Kings, had been scattered to the ends of Gor but, when permitted by Priest-Kings, they had returned to their city to rebuild it, each bearing a stone to add to its walls. It was said, in the time of troubles, that the Home Stone had not been lost, and it had not. And even Kuurus, of the Caste of Assassins, knew that a city cannot die while its Home Stone survives. Kuurus, who would think little of men on the whole, yet could not despise such men as these, these of Ko-ro-ba."
~Assassin of Gor, page 2~
"As you might have surmised," said Misk, "your city is being rebuilt. Those of Ko-ro-ba have come from the corners of Gor, each singing, each bearing a stone to add to the walls. For many months, while you labored in our service in the Land of the Wagon Peoples, thousands upon thousands of those of Ko-ro-ba have returned to the city. Builders and others, all who were free, have worked upon the walls and towers. Ko-ro-ba rises again."
I knew that only those who were free would be permitted to make a city. Doubtless there were many slaves in Ko-ro-ba but they would be allowed only to serve those who raised the walls and towers. Not one stone could be placed in either wall or tower by a man or woman who was not free. The only city I know of on Gor which was built by the labor of slaves, beneath the lash of masters, is Port Kar."
~Assassin of Gor, pages 60 & 61~
"It was the fourth day of the sixth passage hand, shortly before the Autumnal Equinox, which in the common Gorean calendar begins the moth of Se´Kara. In the calendar of Ko-ro-ba, which, like most Gorean cities, marks years by its Administrator Lists, it would be the eleventh year of the administration of my father, Matthew Cabot."
~Raiders of Gor, page 1~
"Shortly before he made me one of his girls, some two or three days before, he had been attacked by outlaw tarnsmen, some four days journey north by northeast from the city of Ko-ro-ba, which lies high in the northern temperate latitudes of the planet Gor."
~Captive of Gor, page 59~
"Ko-ro-ba, I thought, Ko-ro-ba. I was drowsy. We had approached the city in the early morning and Targo had permitted us to leave the wagons to look upon it, in the morning sun. The city, the sun reflecting on its walls and towers, was very beautiful. It is sometimes called The Towers of the Morning, and perhaps justifiably so."
~Captive of Gor, page 171~
"The caravan, wagon by wagon, made its way slowly toward Ko-ro-ba's Street of the Field Gate, which is the southernmost gate of the city"
~Captive of Gor, page 208~.
“My city,” I said, “was the city of Ko-ro-ba. It is sometimes called the Towers of Morning.”
~Hunters of Gor, page 275~