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Elevations and Locations -



The Barrens are located east of the Thentis Mountains and Boswell Pass toward the eastern edge of the planet. This is a large area, largely because the extents are unknown to the far east. The Northern Forest is a boundary to the north, Voltai Range to the west and the Tahari Region far to the south.

In mapping this region one factor seemed to open up the region. The Kaiila River is known to run south-west. This means it does not originate in the Voltai Range nor the Thentis Mountains but somewhere to the northeast. This supports the fact that the Northern Forest extents far to the east and certainly beyond the Thentis Mountains as previously noted - the Kaiila River river must originate somewhere. I see it originating from the eastern Northern Forest somewhere. Its tributaries are shown to the right as determined from the chronicles.

I considered the Barrens. They are not, truly, as barren as the name would suggest. They are barren only in contrast, say, with the northern forests or the lush land in river valleys, or the peasant fields or meadows of the southern rain belts. They are, in fact, substantially, vast tracts of rolling grasslands, lying east of the Thentis Mountains. I have suspected that they are spoken of as the Barrens not so much in an attempt to appraise them with geographical accuracy as to discourage their penetration, exploration and settlement. Savages of Gor Pg 5

Their climate is significantly influenced by the Thentis Mountains and the absence of large bodies of water. Prevailing winds in the northern hemisphere of Gor are from the north and West. Accordingly a significant percentage of moisture-laden air borne by westerly winds is forced by the Thentis Mountains to cooler, less-heated air strata, where it precipitates, substantially on the eastern slopes of the mountains and the fringes of the Barrens. Similarly the absence of large bodies of water in the Barrens reduces rainfall which might be connected with large-scale evaporation and subsequent precipitation of this moisture over land areas, the moisture being carried inland on what are, in effect, sea breezes, flowing into low pressure areas caused by the warmer land surfaces, a given amount of radiant energy raising the temperature of soil or rock significantly more than it would raise the temperature of an equivalent extent of water The absence of large bodies of water adjacent to or within the Barrens also has another significant effect on their climate. It precludes the Barrens from experiencing the moderating effects of such bodies of water on atmospheric temperatures. Areas in the vicinity of large bodies of water, because of the differential heating ratios of land and water usually have warmer winters and cooler summers than areas, which are not so situated. The Barrens, accordingly, tend to be afflicted with great extremes of temperature, often experiencing bitterly cold winters and long, hot, dry summers.... At the edge of the Thentis Mountains, in the driest areas, the grass is short. As one moves in an easterly direction it becomes taller, ranging generally from ten to eighteen inches in height; as one moves even further east it can attain a height of several feet, reaching as high as the knees of a man riding a kaiila. On foot, it is easier to become lost in such grass than in the northern forests. No white man, incidentally, at least as far as I know, has ever penetrated to the eastern edge of the Barrens. Certainly, as far as I know, none has ever returned from that area. Their extent, accordingly, is not known. ... Tornadoes and booming, crashing thunder can characterize the Barrens. In the winter there can be blizzards, probably the worst on Gor, in which snows can drift as high as the mast of the light galley. The summers can be characterized by a searing sun and seemingly interminable droughts. It is common for many of the shallow, meandering rivers of the area to run dry in the summer. Rapid temperature shifts are not unusual. A pond may unexpectedly freeze in En'Kara late in Se'Var, a foot or two of snow may be melted in a matter of hours. Sudden storms, too, are not unprecedented. Sometimes as much as twelve inches of rain, borne by a southern wind, can be deposited in less than an hour. To be sure, this rain usually runs off rapidly, cutting crevices and gullies in the land. A dry river bed may, in a matter of minutes, become a raging torrent. Hail storms, too, are not infrequent. Occasionally the chunks of ice are larger than the eggs of vulos. Many times such storms have destroyed flights of migrating birds. Savages of Gor Pg 5






There are several 'tribes' in the Barrens. The first image shows those tribes, their names and where they are located. It is noteworthy that they all, except for the Dust Legs, are situated near the Kaiila River and the tributaries.

"Grunt was unusual in having traded as far east as the country of the Fleer and the Yellow Knives. Too, he had entered, at least once, the country of the Sleen and the Kaiila. Some of these territories, apparently, had scarcely been penetrated since the days of the first white explorers of the Barrens, men such as Boswell, Diaz, Bento, Hastings and Hogarthe."
Savages of Gor Pg 148

"The normal distributions, given food supply and such, of the bands of the Kaiila are usually rather as follows. First, understand that there exists the Kaiila River, flowing generally in a Southwestward direction. At a given point, high in the terriotory of the Kaiila tribe, it branches into two rivers, which are normally spoken of as the Northern Kaiila and the Southern Kaiila. The Snake, flowing in an almost southern direction, is a tributary to the Northern Kaiila. The land of the Napoktan, or the Bracelets band of the Kaiila, is east of the Snake, and north of the Northern Kaiila, and the Kaiila proper. The Wismahi, or Arrowhead and of the Kaiila, holds the more northern lands in and below, to some extent, the fork of the Kaiila. The Isbu's land are the more southern lands between the Northern and Southern branches of the Kaiila. The lands of the Casmu, or Sand Band of the Kaiila, lie to the west of the Isanna, and to the north and west of the Isbu, above the descending Northern branch of the Northern Kaiila."
Blood Brothers of Gor Pg 24

"The Isanna was the Little-Knife Band of the Kaiila. They came from the countries around Council Rock, north of the northern fork of the Kaiila River and west of the snake, a tributary to the Northern Kaiila."
Blood Brothers of Gor Pg 24

They tend to be friendly and outgoing. "Hou," said the woman to me, kneeling before the blanket. "Hou," said I to her. It is difficult not to like them. Most trading is done with them. They tend to be the intermediaries and diplomats of the western Barrens.
Savages of Gor

"The Casmu numbered in the neighborhood of on thousand; the Wismahi one of the smaller bands numbered about five or six hundred. The Isbu was the largest band, containing between sixteen and seventeen hundred members. The Napoktan, which had arrived at the camp only yesterday, was the smallest of the bands of Kaiila numbering between some three and four hundred members. These bands, within their own territories, are often divided into separate villages or encampments. In a given encampment usually under a minor chief, there is seldom more than two or three hundred individuals. Indeed sometimes encampments contains only seven or eight families." Blood Brothers of Gor Pg 25


"In moments we, with the others, were splashing across a narrow, shallow stream. I could see pebbles in the bottom of this stream. The Southern, or Lower, Kaiila, like the other larger rivers in the Barrens, however, bearing witness to the accumulation of silts, would be brown and muddy."
Blood Brothers of Gor Pg 35

"The Snake, flowing in an almost southern direction, is a tributary to the Northern Kaiila." Blood Brothers of Gor Pg 24

Most trading was done with Dust Legs. Indeed, it was through the Dust Legs that most of the goods of the interior might reach civilization, the Dust Legs, in effect, acting as agents, and intermediaries."
Savages of Gor Pg 148

"In Kantasawi," he said, "the moon when the plums are red." This was the moon following the next moon, which is known variously as Takiyuhawi, the moon in which the tabuk rut, or Canpasapawi, the moon when the chokecherries are ripe. "Will this give you time to return to Kailiauk?" I asked. Otherwise he would have to winter in the Barrens. The red savages themselves sometimes found it difficult to survive the long and severe winters, particularly if the hunting was poor. "Two moons will be sufficient to return to Kailiauk," said Grunt, "If one does not stop for trading." The two moons he had in mind, as I later learned, were Canwapegiwi, the moon in which the leaves become brown, and the moon known variously as Wayuksapiwi, the Corn-Harvest Moon, or Canwapekasnawi, the moon when the wind shakes off the leaves. The autumnal equinox occurs in Canwapegiwi.

The grasses at the western edges of the Barrens are much shorter than in the eastern regions. In the eastern regions, which are generally unexplored, the grasses can be taller than a man. The image shows some of the medium-tall grasses.

"Indeed, one of the apparent anomalies of Gor is the quality and linearity of certain roads, which are carefully kept in repair, roads which often, seemingly paradoxically, pass through sparsely populated territories. The nature of these roads and their quality seems peculiar until one examines maps on which they occur. It then becomes clear that most of them lead toward borders and frontiers. They are then, in effect, military highways."
Fighting Slave of Gor Pg 179

Kailiauk is the easternmost town at the foot of the Thentis mountains. It lies almost at the edge of the Ihanke, or Boundary. From its outskirts one can see the markers, the feathers on their tall wands, which mark the beginning of the country of the red savages. Savages of Gor Pg 77

The Kaiila River is slow moving and flows in a south-westerly direction. There is greener vegetation near the river and the banks slope from a point where the river divides into the North Kaiila and the South Kaiila The Snake River flows from the North Kaiila almost due south. The image shows the North Kaiila and the Snake River heading off to the south.

"At the edge of the Thentis mountains, in the driest areas, the grass is short. As one moves in an easterly direction it becomes taller, ranging generally from ten to eighteen inches in height; as one moves even further east it can attain a height of several feet, reaching as high as the knees of a man riding a kaiila. On foot, it is easier to become lost in such grass than in the northern forests. No white man, incidentally, at least as far as I know, has ever penetrated to the eastern edge of the Barrens. Certainly, as far as I know, none has ever returned from that area. Their extent, accordingly, is not known." Savages of Gor Pg 65

The red savages, themselves, incidentally, have their own names for the new, small community. In Kaiila it is called "Anpao" or, sometimes, "Anptaniya." The expression 'Anpao' means "Dawn" or "Daylight." The expression 'Anptaniya' has a more complex meaning in translation. It means, rather literally, "the breath of day." It is used to refer, for example, to the first, lovely glimmerings of morning. The expression is related, of course, to the vapors raised by the sun in the early morning, these perhaps, poetically and beautifully, as is often the case in the languages of the red savages, suggesting "the breath of day." In both expressions, of course, the connotations are rather clear, that darkness is over, that a new day is at hand. Blood Brothers of Gor Pg 473

"For those who might be interested in such things, we came to the wands in the early spring, early in Magaksicaagliwi, which is the Moon of the Returning Gants. The preceding moon was the Sore-Eye Moon, or Istawicayazanwi. Because of its uncertain weather, the possible freezes and storms, and its harsh winds, this month had been avoided by Grunt. The next moon was Wozupiwi, the Planting Moon, which term, in the context, I find extremely interesting. It seems to make clear that the folk of the area, at one time, were settled, agricultural peoples. "
Savages of Gor Pg 143

"The Red Savages, as they are commonly called on Gor, are racially and culturally distinct from the Red Hunters of the north. They tend to be a more slender, longer-limbed people; their daughters menstruate earlier; and their babies are not born with a blue spot at the base of the spine, as in the case with most of the red hunters. Their culture tends to be nomadic, and is based on the herbivorous, lofty kaiila, substantially the same animal as is found in the Tahari, save for the wider footpads of the Tahari beast, suitable for negotiating deep sand, and the lumbering, gregarious, short-tempered, trident-homed kailiauk. To be sure, some tribes do not have the kaiila, never having mastered it, and certain tribes have mastered the tarn, which tribes are the most dangerous of all."

"Many tribes, apparently, would not deal on a face-to-face basis with whites. This had to do with the hatred and suspicion fostered by that tradition called the Memory. Too, it was often difficult to control their young men. Although small trading groups were welcomed in the country of the Dust Legs, such groups seldom penetrated the more interior territories. Too many of them had failed to return." Savages of Gor Pg 148

Grunt now turned back on his kaiila to look out, eastward over the broad grasses and low, rolling hills. The terrain beyond the wands did not appear much different from the terrain leading up to them. The hills, the grass, the arching blue sky, the white clouds, seemed much the same on both sides of the wands. The wands seemed an oddity, a geographical irrelevance.
Savages of Gor

I had, earlier in the afternoon, on one of my purchased kaiila, scouted the terrain north and south of Kailiauk. In my ride I had come to one place, sheltered among small hills, in which I had found scorched grass and several, rounded six-inch-deep impressions in the earth. It had been there, I speculated, that one of the steel ships of the Kurii had landed.
Savages of Gor


"Herlit, a large, broad winged, carnivorous bird, sometimes in Gorean called the Sun Striker, or, more literally, though in clumsier English, Out-of-the-sun-it-strikes, presumably from its habit of making its descent and strike on prey, like the tarn, with the sun above and behind it."
Savages of Gor Pg 142

The lines of mercenaries then moved forward, with the wagon in their midst, northward, toward Kailiauk. I withdrew to the side and sat in some shadows, among rocks, to observe the lines. I estimated the number of men, and, carefully, counted the supply wagons. My conjectures were warranted. Considering the game presumably available in the Barrens there were several more wagons in the lines than would have seemed called for.
When the lines and wagons had passed I emerged from the rocks and, at a distance, followed them toward Kailiauk. The merchants of Port Olni, of course, would not be sustaining the enormous expense of such an expedition.
Savages of Gor Pg 5


In this image are some of the talendar and ferns created by 'ka'reena'. This is taken from within the Kaiila Tribe region facing up slope to the west. The grasses near the Kaiila become medium height and are above the knees. A little further east they are much taller.

"The next town northward is Fort Haskins," I said. This lay at the foot of the Boswell Pass. Originally it had been a trading post, maintained by the Haskins Company, a company of Merchants, primarily at Thentis. A military outpost, flying the banners of Thentis, garrisoned by mercenaries, was later established at the same point. The military and strategic importance of controlling the eastern termination of the Boswell Pass was clear. It was at this time that the place came to be known as Fort Haskins. A fort remains at this point, but the name, generally, is now given to the town which grew up in the vicinity of the fort, primarily to the west and south. The fort itself, incidentally, was twice burned, once by soldiers from Port Olni, before that town joined the Salerian Confederation, and once by marauding Dust Legs, a tribe of the red savages, from the interior of the Barrens. The military significance of the fort has declined with the growth of population in the area and the development of tarn cavalries in Thentis. The fort now serves primarily as a trading post, maintained by the caste of Merchants, from Thentis, an interesting recollection of the origins of the area.
Savages of Gor Pg 76-77


My thanks to 'autumn NS' for her help in this as well as Karnik.

Individual artwork by ka'reena is copyright.
All maps and images by Inukshuk may be freely used with acknowledgement.

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Inukshuk - Apr 10, 2004