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Free Companionship

"There is no marriage, as we know it, on Gor, but there is the institution of the Free Companionship, which is its nearest correspondent."
Outlaw of Gor, Page 54

"In every woman," she said, "there is something of the Free Companion and something of the Slave Girl."
Priest-Kings of Gor, Page 204

It should first be noted that, as with most facets of Gorean culture, there are few, if any, hard fast rules which are not shown as having an exception somewhere else. It is dangerous therefore to make blanket statements as saying something is "Gorean" or "All Goreans act this way" or "To be Gorean you must do this". However, due to the preponderance of evidence, one may draw conclusions as to generally accepted behavior or generally acknowledged lifestyles.

This research applies to the Gorean concept of Free Companionship as viewed among the general population. For instance, the city of Port Kar does not recognize the free companionship. The free women of that city are known simply as the women of their men. [1]

In many western religions, there are only two things that break the marriage bonds, death or infidelity. On Gor, there are two things that break the free companionship contract, death or slavery. [2g][4b] The next biggest difference is that while marriage is entered into for life, the free companionship must be renewed annually. [4a] Another difference being that the Gorean woman does not change her name as do many women in a marriage. [5a]

In is interesting to note that while the free companionship must be renewed annually, it is still taken very seriously. [2f] Such relationships, ever referred to as privileges, [3] are not entered into lightly. While the man, or the woman for that matter, may have many slaves, there is only one free companion. [2e] The female free companion is usually regarded highly. She holds a status higher than that of an wife. [5b] It is said that "There is no freer nor higher nor more beautiful woman than the Gorean Free Companion." [6] In fact, the only female a man may allow to utter his name is his free companion. [7]

Entering into a free companionship can take the form of a proposal and acceptance. The proposal then may come from either the man or the woman. The free companionship may also be arranged by others.

There are only two proposals actually spoken in the books. Both were in front of others, during a feast [8][9] and offered by a man.

The first was Tarl's proposal to Talena when he ask her "If you will have me as my Free Companion." Talena's answer was "I accept you, Tarl of Ko-ro-ba. "I accept you as my Free Companion." [10]

Proposals are also referenced as being ask by the woman. [11]

It is not unusual for a master to free one of his slave girls in order that she may share the full privileges of free companionship. [2d][12][13] In fact, the other spoken proposal is when Thurnus, of Tabuk’s Ford, says to his recently freed slave, Sandal Thong, "I ask this free woman, for whom I muchly care, to accept me in free companionship." Her answer, quite different than Talena's, was "Then, noble Thurnus, I do refuse. I will not be your companion." [14]

Before delving deeper into the intricacies of Sandal Thong's refusal, it should be noted that there are also arranged companionships. A woman, bought from her parents for tarns or gold, is still regarded as a free companion, even though she may not have been consulted in the transaction. [2b] Women are shown as being pledged, [15] promised, [16] or intended [17] to be free companions. Even if for political reasons, [18] these unions would be, by law, just as binding as a companionship based first on love. More commendably though, the free woman would, of her own free will, agree to be such a companion. [2c]

There is never a mention of 'wedding' rings being exchanged. It seems evident that, instead of being proclaimed 'husband and wife' by someone of religion, the point at which the companionship becomes valid [19] is an interlocking of arms and drinking the 'wine of free companionship'. [20][21][22]

At one point a single reference is made to the "rude bridal customs of Gor". It seems the new 'bride' playfully struggles and pretends to resist her new companion. [23]

What clothing the woman wears to the ceremony is mentioned once where it is said that she may wear as many as eight veils. These veils are then ritualistically removed from her during various phases of the ceremony. In some cities the woman has all of her veils removed in order that those in attendance may then express their pleasure and joy in her beauty. There is also a reference to the "swirling love silks of the free companion". [24][25] A garland or crown woven of talenders is often worn by the woman. [26][27]

The free companionship is shown mostly in two different lights. The first being a true, deep and binding love. For instance, Tarl sought Talena for years after the destruction of Ko-Ro-Ba and his return to Gor. Another being, as mentioned above, the love of Sandal Thong and Thurnus.

Sandal Thong knew that the love she had for Thurnus was a deep, rich and hopeless slave's love for her master. [28] She obviously knew what a free companionship could become. [29] She knew the confinements of the free companion. Even when there is love between the two, the life of a female free companion is not easy. Imagine a 'wife' unable to speak to anyone but her mate, [30] or not being allowed to leave the house with permission. [31]

While the female is usually allowed the privilege of sleeping with her companion, [32] she knows that at the foot of the bed there is a slave ring. [33] She knows that should she deserve it, she might spend a night there, stripped and chained with no blanket or mat. [34]

The female must learn the preparation and serving of exotic dishes, the arts of walking, and standing and being beautiful, the care of a man’s equipment, the love dances of their city, and so on. [35] She certainly would never have her ears pierced. [36] In fact, some Goreans think of the free companionship as being a form of contract slavery. [37]

Later on in the books, the institution of free companionship is shown in a decidedly more negative light. Female free companions are shown to be frigid and cold, [38] prideful of her lofty status, [39] foolish, [40] one whose own mate has lost interest her, [41] to the point where she turns his life into a torture. [42]

Following is an example which seems typical of most free companionships:

There was a wagon to the left of the bridge. Its canvas cover was drawn down. The rain poured from it. Under the wagon there was a small, huddled figure, a tarpaulin clutched about its head and shoulders. Within the wagon, then, I supposed, there might be a fellow and his free companion. Doubtless, unless it had been displeasing in some way, the location of the small figure beneath the wagon, huddling there in misery and cold, was a consequence of the presence of the free companion within it. I did not doubt but what the small figure was far more beautiful and attractive than the free companion. That was suggested by what must be its status. Free women hate such individuals and lose few opportunities to make them suffer. I wondered if the fellow in the wagon had acquired the individual under it merely for his interest and pleasure, or perhaps, too, as a way of encouraging his companion to take her own relationship with him more seriously. Perhaps, if his plan worked, in such a case, he might then be kind enough to discard the individual beneath the wagon, ridding himself of it, its work accomplished, in some market or other.

The canvas covering of the wagon had been drawn back, probably to air the contents from the dampness of the storm. No one seemed to be within the wagon, or about it, other than the pair at the side of it. I had little doubt, accordingly, that the blond woman kneeling before the fellow with the whip was his free companion, or former free companion. The girl who had been beneath the wagon last night, and whom Ephialtes had, hopefully, purchased for me this morning, had been formerly purchased, and primarily purchased, I had suspected, in an attempt, and perhaps a somewhat foolish, and somewhat misdirected attempt, I thought, by the fellow to encourage his companion to take her relationship with him more seriously. She had apparently done so, at least to the extent of treating the slave with great cruelty. But now the slave was gone, and there was a chain on her neck. He had apparently now gone to the heart of the matter. If she were still his free companion, it seemed she would now be kept in the modality of bondage, but perhaps she was now only his former free companion, and had been reduced to actual bondage, now being subject to purchase by anyone. I recalled how she had bent in terror to kiss his feet. There was no doubt that she would now take her relationship to him seriously.

It is difficult not to do so when one is owned, and subject to the whip. The woman would now discover that her companion, or former companion, a fellow perhaps hitherto taken somewhat too lightly, one perhaps hitherto accorded insufficient attention and respect, one perhaps hitherto neglected and ignored, even despised and scorned, was indeed a man, and one who now would see to it that she served him well, one who would now own and command her, one who would summon forth the woman in her, and claim from her, and receive from her, the total entitlements of the master.
Renegades of Gor, Pages 26, 143 – 144

Perhaps then it really is that the female free companion seeks a strong hand. That there is, in every woman both the free companion and the slave girl. [43]

The Goreans claim that in each woman there is a free companion, proud and beautiful, worthy and noble, and in each, too, a slave girl. The companion seeks for her companion; the slave girl for her master. - Hunters of Gor, Page 102

The Negotiations

After the date is set for the Free Companion Ceremony the Free Man contacts the Free Woman's family and makes an offer of Companion Price to the Free Woman's representative/ protector i.e. (the Room Owner of the Room she is pledged too or a Magistrate or Administrator of GoreanChat). Once both parties agree upon an amount the Free Man must make payment to the representative before any other step is taken. A contract is also discussed with each party understanding and agreeing to the terms before the Free Companionship Ceremony is held.

The Companion or Bride Price

The Companion price or bride price is directly related to the caste or high station of herself and/or family. For a Free Woman of the Southern region belonging to a high caste her companion price could be high. As much as 100 double weight gold tarn disks, various small chests of jewels, a racing tarn, crates of fine kalanas and other wines, boxes of spices, casks of paga, fine rugs, bolts of cloths, and other valuable and rare items.
The Companion price for a Free Woman of a lower caste might be a single silver tarn disc or items such as foods, drinks, furs, cloths and other things that are necessary for daily life of a working lower caste.

A Northern Free Woman?s bride price will reflect the wealth and prestige of her Family?s home. The Companion price would consist of items favored in the land of Torvaldsland. Casks of mead, fine weapons such as swords, axes and hammers, furs, and rare blackwine beans and other foods scare in the Northern Regions would be paid along with the coinage and jewels. The price might also include a serpent ship for the Free Woman belonging to the Lodge(Room) of a powerful and wealthy Jarl.


In some Regions of Gor such as the Northern Regions or among the Yellow Savages the Free Woman?s family gives a Dowry at the time of Free Companionship. The Dowry in most cases matches the amount of the bride price paid by the Free Man. This Dowry though belonging to the Free Woman is not controlled by her. The Dowry is held by her Free Companion to be awarded to any children born during the relationship. If for any reason the Free Companionship ends with no children born ( i.e. death, enslavement of either party) the Dowry is returned to the Free Woman?s family or representative. This arrangement is carefully spelled out in the Free Companion Contract.

The Free Companion Contract

A contract is then drawn up between the Free Man and the Free Woman?s family or representative. This contract will state what the Companionship Price is, any clauses necessary to govern the relationship, events that would legally govern a dissolution of contract, and what property belongs to whom in case of a dissolution of the Free Companionship. The document spells out in detail what happens to any property belonging to either party should either be enslaved or killed. One note: a Free Woman can NOT enslave her Free Companion, she however can be enslaved by her Companion resulting from either her actions or by her own submission. If the Free Woman is a Room Owner within GoreanChat the contract will state who the Room would go to if she indeed ended up in the collar of her Free Companion. The contract as found in the books last for a period of one year from the date of the Free Companion Ceremony. It MUST be renewed and/or and new contract discussed and agreed upon for the Free Companionship to be recognized.

Terms and Conditions Posted on the Boards

When the parties meet all terms the date for the Free Companionship will be placed on the GoreanChat Double Book of Knowledge. The contract terms, bride price and dowry should be posted prior to the ceremony.

Some Goreans think if the Free Companionship as being a form of contract slavery; this is not, of course, precisely correct; on the other hand, if more women took that definition seriously, I have little doubt but what free companionships would be far more rewarding than they now are, for many couples. They might then, under that interpretation, and held contractually enforceable on the woman, be that next best thing in her actual slavery. There is no full and adequate substitute, of course, given the dominance/submission ratios and the order of nature, for the uncompromised, and full and total bondage of the female. Once this is institutionalized and legalized, as it is on Gor, we have, then, the union of nature and civilization, a union in which civilization no longer functions as a counter biological antithesis to nature but rather, perhaps, as an extension and flowering of nature herself, a union in which natural relationships are fulfilled and furthered.
Blood Brothers of Gor, pages 246 - 247

... after a year of the companionship had gone, and it had not been renewed. At that point in Gorean Law, the Companionship had been dissolved. The companionship had not been renewed by the twentieth hour, Gorean Midnight, of its anniversary.
Marauders of Gor page 11

The Free Companionship Ceremony and it's Customs.
The Ceremony and Customs

As stated earlier in Room within GoreanChat will have Its own customs and protocols regarding the Ceremony of Free Companionship.
The Rooms located in the Southern Regions will have Free Woman heavily veiled that are ritualistically removed during the phases of the ceremony. The final veils being removed by the Free Man joining with her in companionship.
The Rooms or Lodges located in Torvaldsland will follow more closely the Viking or Norse ways. The Gods are included in the ceremony as well as fire and food offerings. The Northern Free Woman will not be veiled; she will wear a crown of talenders and be dressed in a kirtle of fine fabrics and design.
The Camp of the Wagon people will have the Free Woman dressed in leather and the bosk will play a significant role in the ceremony. The highly revered bosk will be included in the bride price, dowry and in the offerings during the Ceremony.

There are some rituals which will be found in all of Gor, and thus in each Room within GoreanChat as two Free People join in Companionship. There will be a contract, the couple will share a goblet of kalana after the vows are spoken, and a celebrational feast will follow the Free Companionship Ceremony.

A Gorean free woman does not change her name in the ceremony of the Free Companionship. She remains who she was. In such a ceremony two free individuals have elected to become companions. The Earth woman, as a consequence of certain mating ceremonials, may change her last name. The first and other names, however, tend to remain constant. From the Gorean point of view the wife of Earth occupies a status which is higher than that of the slave but lower than that of the Free Companion.
Explorers of Gor, page 365

In certain cities, in connection with the free companionship, the betrothed or pledged beauty may wear eight veils, several of which are ritualistically removed during various phases of the ceremony of companionship; the final veils, and robes, of course, are removed in private by the male who, following their removal, arms interlocked with the girl, drinks with her the wine of the companionship, after which he completes the ceremony.
This sort, of thing, however, varies considerably from city to city. In some cities the girl is unveiled, though not disrobed, of course, during the public ceremony. The friends of the male may then express their pleasure and joy in her beauty, and their celebration of the good fortunes of their friend. The veil, it might be noted, is not legally imperative for a free woman; it is rather a matter of modesty and custom.

Slave Girl of Gor, page 107

In the distance, perhaps some forty pasangs away, I saw a set of ridges, lofty and steep, rearing out of a broad, yellow meadow of talenders, a delicate, yellow-petaled flower, often woven into garlands by Gorean maidens. In their own quarters, unveiled Gorean women, with their family or lovers, might fix talenders in their hair. A crown of talender was often worn by the girl at the feast celebrating her Free Companionship.
Outlaw of Gor, pages 131-132

The talender is a flower which, in the Gorean mind, is associated with beauty and passion. Free Companions, on the Feast of their Free Companionship, commonly wear a garland of talenders.
Raiders of Gor, page 216- 217

Drink with me the cup of the Free Companionship, said Relius, rather sternly.
Yes, Master, said Virginia, yes!
Relius, said he.
I love you! she cried. I love you, Relius!
Bring the wine of Free Companionship! decreed Marlenus.
The wine was brought and Relius and Virginia, lost in one another?s eyes, arms interlocked, drank together.
He carried her from the court of the Ubar, she lying against him, weeping with happiness.

Assassin of Gor, page 402

... free women of Torvaldsland commonly carry a knife; at her belt too, hung her scissors, and a ring of many keys, indicating that her hall contained many chests or doors; her hair was worn high, wrapped about a comb, matching the broaches, of the horn of kailiauk; the fact that her hair was worn dressed indicated that she stood in companionship; the number of her keys, together with the scissors, indicated that she was mistress of a great house. She had gray eyes; her hair was dark; her face was cold and harsh."
Marauders of Gor, page 156

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. To my delight, even Torm , of the Caste of Scribes, appeared at the tables, I was honored that the little scribe had separated himself from his beloved scrolls long enough to share my happiness, only that of a warrior. He was wearing a new robe and sandals, perhaps for the first time in my years. He clasped my hands, and, to my wonder, the little scribe was crying. And then in his joy, he turned to Talena and in gracious salute lifted the symbolic cup of Ka-la-na wine to her beauty.

Talena and I swore to honor that day as long as either of us lived. I have tried to keep that promise, and I know that she has done so as well. That night, that glorious night, was a night of flowers, torches, and Ka-la-na wine, and late, after sweet hours of love, we fell asleep in each other's arms.

Tarnsman of Gor, page 216 - 217

The Free Companionship Contract Renewal and/or Termination.
Contract Renewal

A Free Companionship must be renewed a year from the day of the original contract and Ceremony for it to be recognized and continue to be binding. If it is not the Companionship is null and void.

"It is long since you have been the Free Companion of Talena, daughter of Marlenus," said Samos. "The Companionship, not renewed annually, is at an end. And you were once enslaved."
I looked at the board, angrily. It was true that the Companionship, not renewed, had been dissolved in the eyes of Gorean law. It was further true that, had it not been so, the Companionship would have been terminated abruptly when one or the other of the pledged companions fell slave. I recalled, angrily, with a burning shame, the delta of the Vosk, when I, though of the warriors, once, on my knees, begged the ignominy of slavery to the freedom of honorable death. Yes, I, Bosk of Port Kar, had once been slave.

Hunters of Gor, page 9

The companionship is gone," said Telima. "More than a year has passed," she pointed out, "and you have not, together, repledged it." "That is true," I admitted. By Gorean law the companionship, to be binding, must, together, be annually renewed, pledged afresh with the wines of love. "And," said Telima, "both of you were once enslaved, and that, in itself, dissolves the companionship. Slaves cannot stand in companionship."
Captive of Gor, page 367

I looked at the board, angrily. It was true that the Companionship, not renewed, had been dissolved in the eyes of Gorean law. It was further true that, had it not been so, the Companionship would have been terminated abruptly when one or the other of the pledged companions fell slave.
Hunters of Gor, page 9

Terminating a Free Companionship

Free Companionship maybe terminated in the following ways, death of either party, enslavement of either party. One note: a Free Woman CANNOT enslave her Free Companion, she however can be enslaved by her Companion resulting from either her actions or by her own submission.
In RARE cases there maybe circumstances that become such that one or both of the parties seeks to dissolve the Companionship.
For a Free Companion to be dissolved in this manner, either of the parties must contact the Administrator or Magistrate of GoreanChat and after careful and through consideration of all the facts a decision will be made as to whether the termination will be granted. There is a price to pay for such a termination it would be wise to read the following quote closely. Remember Free Companionship is not something to enter into lightly, you are vowing and pledging yourself to another person for a period of one year. Which either online or off can be a long long time.

The next to appear before Bila Huruma were two members of the nobility, a man and his companion. He complained of her that she had been unwilling to please him. By one word and a stroke of his hand between them Bila Huruma dissolved their companionship. He then ordered that the man be put in the dress of a woman and beaten from the court with sticks. This was done. He then ordered that the woman be stripped and a vine leash be put on her neck. She was then sentenced to a barrack of Askaris for a year, that she might learn how to please men."
Explorers of Gor, page 231

The Behavior of a Free Companion.
In a Mans Own Hut, said he, he must be Master; even though he has selected out for himself a companion. It is the part of his companion to befriend and aid him, not to insult and drive him."
Slave girl of Gor, page 241

Goreans believe that in every woman there is both slave and free. While the Free Woman in Companionship is highly regarded and treated with the respect of her station she is still subject to the nature of her Free Companion.
The Southern Region Free Woman often times runs the house and even businesses of her own and her Free Companion. She owns slaves both female and male and enjoys a life of privilege and rank according to the caste and/or social status of both herself and her Free Companion.
In the Northern Regions of Gor such as Torvaldsland, the Jarl?s Woman as a Free Companion is known, sees to the running of the Lodge while the Jarls are at sea. She sees to the fields, the harvests, oversees workings of both bond-maids and thralls.
It is ALWAYS to be remembered no matter what in Region of Gor a Free Woman resides the Man on Gor is dominant, the woman submissive. Whether she is a treasured partner to join beside Him in companionship, bear his children and act as His helper and confident, if she steps from the role of Free Woman, He will quickly subject her to the world of a slave.
A Free Man will own slaves and his Free Companion must accept this fact. She is to remember her role at all times, if this means turning a blind eye to the pleasures her Companion enjoys with slaves so be it. A Gorean Male will not tolerate jealous behavior and harping by a woman whether she is Free or His Companion.
A Free Companion who is not found to be pleasing may find herself chained to the foot of her Companion?s sleeping couch nude with no blanket, furs or mat. The only difference separating her from His slaves is she will not wake up in slavery unless her continued behavior places her there. It does not usually take but one night spent on the floor in chains for the Free Woman to change her ways.
For it is known, only the Free Companion is allowed to share the couch of a Free Man, it is not a place for the slave.
The following quote is well worth reading and remembering.

If she has not pleased her master of late, she may be, of course, as a disciplinary measure, simply chained nude to the slave ring at in the bottom of the couch, sans both blanket and mat. The stones of the floor are hard and the Gorean nights are cold and it is a rare girl who, when unchained in the morning, does not seek more dutifully to serve her master.
This harsh treatment, incidentally, when she is thought to deserve it, may even be inflicted on a Free Companion, in spite of the fact that she is free and usually much loved. According to the Gorean way of looking at things a taste of the slave ring is thought to be occasionally beneficial to all women, even the exalted Free Companions.
Thus when she has been irritable or otherwise troublesome even a Free Companion may find herself at the foot of the couch looking forward to a pleasant night on the stones, stripped, with neither mat nor blanket, chained to the slave ring precisely as though she were a lowly slave girl.
It is the Gorean way of reminding her, should she need to be reminded, that she, too, is a woman, and thus to be dominated, to be subject to men. Should she be tempted to forget this basic fact of Gorean life the slave ring set in the bottom of each Gorean couch is there to refresh her memory. Gor is a mans world.
And yet on this world I have seen great numbers of women who were both beautiful and splendid.
The Gorean woman, for reasons that are not altogether clear to me, considering the culture, rejoices in being a woman. She is often an exciting, magnificent, glorious creature, outspoken, talkative, vital, active, spirited. On the whole I find her more joyful than many of her earth-inhabiting sisters who, theoretically at least, enjoy a more lofty status, although it is surely true that on my old world I have met several women with something of the Gorean zest for acknowledging the radiant truth of their sex, the gifts of joy, grace and beauty, tenderness, and fathoms of love that we poor men, I suspect, may sometimes and tragically fail to understand, to comprehend.
Yet with all due respect and regard for the most astounding and marvelous sex, I suspect that, perhaps partly because of my Gorean training, it is true that a touch of the slave ring is occasionally beneficial.
Of custom, a slave girl may not even ascend the couch to serve her master?s pleasure. The point of this restriction, I suppose, is to draw a clearer distinction between her status and that of a Free Companion. At any rate the dignities of the couch are, by custom, reserved for the Free Companion.

Priest Kings of Gor, page 67 - 68