Courage Scars Oct 22, 2009 15:52:17 GMT -5
Post by jynxDaemon on Oct 22, 2009 15:52:17 GMT -5
I was looking on the faces of four men, warriors of the Wagon Peoples. On the face of each there were, almost like corded chevrons, brightly colored scars. the vivid coloring and intensity of these scars, their prominence, reminded me of the hideous markings on the faces of mandrills; But these disfigurements, as I soon recognized, were cultural, not congenital, and bespoke not of natural innocence of the work of genes but of glories, and status, the arrogance the prides, of their bearers. The scars had been worked into the faces, with needles and knives and pigments and the dung of bosk over the period of days and nights. Men had died in the fixing of such scars. Most scars were set in pairs, moving diagonally down from the side of the head toward the nose and chin. The man facing me had seven such scars ceremonially worked into the tissue of his countenance, the highest being red, the next yellow, the next blue, the fourth black, then two yellow then black again. The faces of the men I saw were all scarred differently, but each was scarred. The effect of the scars, ugly, startling, terrible, perhaps in part calculated to terrify enemies, had even prompted me, for a wild moment, to conjecture that what I faced on the plains of Turia were not men, but perhaps aliens of some sort, brought to Gor long ago from remote worlds to serve some now discarded or forgotten purpose of the Priest Kings; but now I knew better; now I could see them as men; as now more significantly, I recalled what I had heard whispered of once before, in a tavern of Ar, the terrible Scar Codes of the Wagon Peoples, for each of the hideous marks on the face of these men had meaning, a significance that could be read by the Paravaci, the Kassars, the Kataii, the Tuchuks, as clearly as you or I might read a sign in a window or a sentence in a book. At that time I could read only the top scar, the red, bright, fierce cordlike scar that was the Courage Scar. It is always the highest scar on the face. Indeed, without that scar, no other scar can be granted. The wagon peoples value courage above all else. Nomads of Gor, 15-16.
"To a Tuchuk," said Harold, "success is courage-that is the important thing-courage itself-even if all else fails-that is success." (Nomads of Gor, p.273)
This concern with courage is reflected in the infamous Scar Codes of the Wagon Peoples. You must earn these scars, and each such scar has a specific meaning attached to it. All of the tribes can read the meaning of these scars. The Courage Scar is a bright red scar and is always the highest scar on your face. It is obviously earned for showing courage and is a prerequisite for all other scars. Without this scar, you cannot pay court to a free woman, own a wagon, or own more than five bosk or three kailla
Simply having these scars created is a courageous act. Most of the scars are set in pairs, moving diagonally down from the side of the head toward the nose and chin. The scars are worked into the skin by needles and knives, using pigments and bosk dung, over a period of several days. This is obviously painful and some men have even died while having these scars affixed. The scars resemble corded chevrons. Such scarred visages present a fearsome image to their foes. The tribes also have facial tattooing but little is said about this matter and it is unknown if the tattoos also possess meaning or whether they are purely decorative.