the distance, below, perhaps five pasangs away, in the hot,
concave, white salt bleakness, like a vast, white, shallow
bowl, pasangs wide, there were compounds, low, white buildings
of mud brick, plastered. There were many of them. They were
hard to see in the distance, in the light, but I could make
'Klima,' said Hamid.
---Tribesmen of Gor, p 235
Hidden and protected
by the heat of the merciless Tahari, populated by those
slaves who survived the endless hooded journey through the
burning salt crust and escaped the insanity of heat and
isolation, lay the brine pits of Klima, the desert town
of prisoners from which no man escapes.
salt may be obtained from sea water and by burning seaweed,
as is sometimes done in Torvaldsland, and there are various
districts on Gor where salt, solid or in solution, may be
obtained, by far the most extensive and richest of known
Gor's salt deposits are to be found concentrated in the
Tahari. Tahari salt accounts, in its varieties, I would
suspect, for some twenty percent of the salt and salt-related
products, such as medicines and antiseptics, preservatives,
cleansers, bleaches, bottle glass, which contains soda ash,
taken from salt, and tanning chemicals, used on known Gor.
Salt is a trading commodity par excellence. There
are areas on Gor where salt serves as a currency, being
weighed and exchanged much as precious metals. The major
protection and control of the Tahari salt, of course, lies
in its remoteness, the salt districts, of which there are
several, being scattered and isolated in the midst of the
dune country, in the long caravan journeys required, and
the difficulty or impossibility of obtaining it without
knowing the trails, the ways of the desert....
---Tribesmen of Gor, p 208
It is said that some
25% of the salt and salt products on Gor come from the Tahari.
Carefully controlled by one known simply as 'The Salt Ubar'
to whom all life form on Klima belongs, Klima's soul purpose
is the extraction of salt for the purpose of trade, and
had heard of the Salt Ubar, or the Guard of the Dunes. The
location of his kasbah is secret. Probably, other than his
own men, only some few hundred know of it, primarily merchants
high in the salt trade, and few of them would know its exact
---Tribesmen of Gor, pp 207-208
a sheriff of the Tahari merchants, he, ensconced in his
kasbah, first among fierce warriors, elusive and unscrupulous,
possesses a stranglehold on the salt of the Tahari, the
vital commerce being ruled and regulated as he wills. He
holds within his territories the right of law and execution.
In the dunes he is Ubar and the merchants bow their heads
to him. The Guard of the Dunes is one of the most dreaded
and powerful men in the Tahari.
---Tribesmen of Gor, p 209
This is Klima as
we first discover it, in the first chapters of Tribesmen
of Gor, when Tarl is sentenced to the Brine Pits, the Tahari
version of working chains.
judge, on the testimony of Ibn Saran, and that of two white-skinned,
female slaves, one named Zaya, a red-haired girl, the other
a dark-haired girl, whose name was Vella, had sentenced
me as a criminal, a would-be assassin, to the secret brine
pits of Klima, deep in the dune country, there to dig until
the salt, the sun, the slave masters, had finished with
me. From the secret pits of Klima, it was said, no slave
had ever returned. Kaiila are not permitted at Klima, even
to the guards. Supplies are brought in, and salt carried
away, by caravan, on which the pits must depend. Other than
the well at Klima, there is no other water within a thousand
pasangs. The desert is the wall at Klima. The locations
of the pits, such as those at Klima, are little known, and,
to protect the resource, are kept secret by mine agents
and merchants. Women are not permitted at Klima, lest men
kill one another for them.
of Gor, pp 117-118
Before one reaches
the destination of penitence, they will have to survive
the 'March to Klima', a journey only the strongest are said
to make to the end. The Klima work chain largely relies
on one's ability to work endless days under unbearable conditions.
The March to Klima, then, serves as a way to eliminate those
who would, no doubt, slow down the extraction process salt
merchants rely on for their trade.
Shielded from the
cruel sun and the slightest chance to see the trail for
which they are bound by a hood, the hobble of captives trails
through the desert, knee-deep in salt crust, carrying the
weight of a chain that increases as the number of men on
you understand what it is,' asked Ibn Saran, 'to
be sent to Klima--to be a salt slave?'
'I think so,' I told him.
'There is the march to Klima,' said he, 'through
the dune country, on foot, chained, on which many die.'
I said nothing.
'And should you be so unfortunate,' said he, 'as
to reach the vicinity of Klima, your feet must be bound
with leather to your knees, for you will sink through the
salt crusts to your knees, and, unprotected, your flesh,
by the millions of tiny, heated crystals, would be grated
and burned from your bones.'
I looked away, in the chains.
'In the pits,' he said, 'you pump water through
underground deposits, to wash salt, with the water, to the
surface, and repump again the same water. Men die at the
pumps, in the heat. Others, the carriers, in the brine,
must fill their yoke buckets with the erupted sludge, and
carry it from the pits to the drying tables; others must
gather the salt and mold it into cylinders.' He smiled.
'Sometimes men kill one another for the lighter assignments.'
---Tribesmen of Gor, p 124
day at Klima,' he said, 'begins at dawn, and only
ends at darkness. Food may be fried on the stones at Klima.
The crusts are white. The glare from them can blind men.
There are no kaiila at Klima. The desert, waterless, surrounds
Klima, for more than a thousand pasangs on all sides. Never
has a slave escaped from Klima. Among the less pleasant
aspects of Klima is that you will not see females. You will
note that, following your sentencing, the sight of such
flesh has been denied you....
---Tribesmen of Gor, p 125
For twenty days had we marched. Some thought it a hundred.
Many had lost count.
More than two hundred and fifty men had been originally
in the salt chain.
I did not know how many now trekked with the march. The
chain was now much heavier than it had been, for it, even
with several sections removed, was carried by far fewer
men. To be a salt slave, it is said, one must be strong.
Only the strong, it is said, reach Klima.
---Tribesmen of Gor, p 220
salt clung to my body.
The sun was the sun of the late spring in the Tahari. The
surface temperature of the crusts would be in the neighborhood
of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. The air temperature would range
from 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The marches to Klima
are not made in the Tahari summer, only in the winter, the
spring and fall, that some will survive them.
---Tribesmen of Gor, p 231
Klima, for the most
part, relies on Caravans for supplies as well as fresh stock
of slaves. The only residents of Klima, are the slaves of
the salt; all in Klima are slaves, from the salt master
to the lowest worker. All then, are in Klima as a sentence
and their days are spent working the brine pits and little
else. In Klima,
there are no amusements nor diversions, no women, no children,
no slave girls for the pleasure of men.
is none at Klima,' said T'Zshal, 'who has not
made that march.' He looked at us. 'All here,'
said he, 'my pretties, are slaves of the salt, slaves
of the desert. We dig salt for the free; we are fed.'
'Even the salt master?' asked Hassan.
'He, too, long ago, once came naked to Klima,'
said T'Zshal. 'We order ourselves by the arrangements
of skill and steel. We, slaves, have formed this nation,
and administer it, as we see fit. The salt delivered, the
outsiders do not disturb us. In our internal affairs we
'And we?' said Hassan.
'You,' grinned T'Zshal, 'are the true slaves,
for you are the slaves of slaves.' He laughed.
'Did you come hooded to Klima?' asked Hassan.
'Yes, as have all, even the salt master himself,'
---Tribesmen of Gor, pp 242-243
of the administrative penalties of he who is sent to the
brine pits of Klima is commonly to be deprived of the sight
of female bodies; there are no women at Klima; there is
little but the salt, the heat, the slave masters and the
sun; sometimes men go mad, trudging into the desert, trying
to escape; but there is no water within a thousand pasangs
of Klima; I would have liked to have seen a female slave,
before being chained for the march to Klima; but I was not
---Tribesmen of Gor, p 123
Klima, and other such areas, salt is an industry. Thousands
serve there, held captive by the desert. Klima has its own
water, but it is dependent on caravans for its foods. These
food stores are delivered to scouted areas some pasangs
from the compounds, whence they are retrieved later by salt
slaves. Similarly, the heavy cylinders of salt, mined and
molded at Klima, are carried on the backs of salt slaves
from storage areas at Klima to storage areas in the desert,
whence they are tallied, sold and distributed to caravans.
The cylinders are standardized at ten stone, or a Gorean
'Weight,' which is some forty pounds. A normal kaiila carries
ten such cylinders, five to a side. A stronger animal carries
sixteen, eight to a side. The load is balanced, always.
It is difficult for an animal, or man, of course, to carry
an unbalanced load....
---Tribesmen of Gor, p 238
Salt in the Tahari
can be found in solid form. Above ground or below the Tahari
surface, subsiding of the sea in certain areas and natural
shifts of strata, certain cubic pasangs of salt, in certain
areas, became pressed into granitelike formations.
of these deposits are far below the surface of the Tahari.
Men live in some of them, for weeks at a time. In other
areas, certain of these solid deposits are exposed and are
worked rather in the manner of open mining or quarries.
In places these salt mountains are more than six hundred
---Tribesmen of Gor, p 239
But the fame of Klima
is its brine pits, where one finds salt in the form of a
solution formed by a network of underground rivers, hidden
remnants of vanished oceans, blending with the initial residue
resting beneath the desert floor.
In Gor's geologic past it seems that the salt districts,
like scattered puddles of crystalline residue, are what
remains of what was once an inland salt sea or several such.
It may be that, in remote times, an arm of Thassa extended
here, or did extend here and then, later, in seismic dislocations
or continental drift, became isolated from the parent body
of water, leaving behind one or more smaller salt seas.
Or it may be that the seas were independent, being fed by
rivers, washing down accumulated salt from rocks over millions
of square pasangs. It is not known....
---Tribesmen of Gor, p 238
...The salt in solution is obtained in two ways, by drilling
and flush mining and, in the deeper pits, by sending men
below to fetch the brine....
---Tribesmen of Gor, p 239
In Klima, one is
a slave of the salt and a prisoner of the desert. Security
measures are not truly needed to prevent escape. The desert
and its heat remains Klima's most effective guardian. Choices
are few for the prisoners of Klima, and if the days are
harsh and the labor cruel, those who manage to survive the
March to Klima seldom care to venture back through the desert
despite the cruel and harsh labor of the brine pits. It
is said time and time again that there is no escape from
is little leather at Klima,' said T'Zshal. 'There
are few water bags. Those that exist are of one talu. They
Water at Klima is generally carried in narrow buckets, on
wooden yokes, with dippers attached, for the slaves. A talu
is approximately two gallons. A talu bag is a small bag.
It is the sort carded by a nomad herding verr afoot in the
vicinity of his camp. Bags that small are seldom carried
in caravan, except at the saddles of scouts.
---Tribesmen of Gor, p 242
knew, generally, Red Rock, the kasbah of the Salt Ubar and
such, lay northwest of Klima, but, unless one knows the
exact direction, the trails, this information is largely
useless. Even in a march of a day one could pass, unknowingly,
an oasis in the desert, wandering past it, missing it by
as little as two or three pasangs.
Knowledge of the trails is vital.
None at Klima knew the trails. The free, their masters,
had seen to this.
Moreover, to protect the secrecy of the salt districts,
the trails to them were not openly or publicly marked. This
was a precaution to maintain the salt monopolies of the
Tahari, as though the desert itself would not have been
sufficient in this respect.
---Tribesmen of Gor, p 243
wondered how one might escape from Klima. Even if one could
secure water, it did not seem one could, afoot, carry water
sufficient to walk one's way free of the salt districts.
And, even if one could traverse the many pasangs of desert
afoot, there would not be much likelihood, in the wilderness,
of making one's way to Red Rock, or another oasis. Those
at Klima, by intent of the free, their masters, knew not
the trails whereby their liberty might be achieved. I remembered,
too, the poor slave who had encountered the chain on its
march to Klima. He had been the subject of sport, then slain.
None, it was said, had come back from Klima.
---Tribesmen of Gor, p 250
The brine pits
of the salt at Klima comes from its famous brine pits. These
pits are of two kinds, "open" and "closed."
Men, in the closed pits, actually descend and, wading, or
on rafts, negotiate the sludge itself, filling their vessels
and later, eventually, pouring their contents into the lift
sacks, on hooks, worked by windlasses from the surface.
The "harvesting" vessel, not the retaining vessel,
used is rather like a perforated cone with a handle, to
which is attached a rope. It is dragged through the sludge
and lifted, the free water running from the vessel, leaving
within the sludge of salt, thence to be poured into the
retaining vessels, huge, wooden tubs. The retaining vessels
are then emptied later into the lift sacks, a ring on which
fits over the rope hooks. In places, the "open pits,"
the brine pits are exposed on the surface, where they are
fed by springs from the underground rivers, which prevents
their desiccation by evaporation, which would otherwise
occur almost immediately in the Tahari temperatures. Men
do not last long in the open pits....
---Tribesmen of Gor, p 239
same underground seepage which, in places, fills the brine
pits, in other places, passing through salt-free strata,
provides Klima with its fresh water. It has a salty taste
like much of the water of the Tahari but it is completely
drinkable, not having been filtered through the salt accumulations.
It contains only the salt normal in Tahari drinking water.
The salt in the normal Tahari fresh water, incidentally,
is not without its value, for, when drunk, it helps to some
extent, though it is not in itself sufficient, to prevent
salt loss in animals and men through sweating. Salt, of
course, like water, is essential to life. Sweating is dangerous
in the Tahari. This has something to do with the normally
graceful, almost languid movements of the nomads and animals
of the area. The heavy garments of the Tahari, too, have
as two of their main objectives the prevention of water
loss, and the retention of moisture on the skin, slowing
water loss by evaporation. One can permit profuse perspiration
only where one has ample water and salt.
Besides the mines and pits of the salt districts, there
are warehouses and offices, in which complicated records
are kept, and from which shipments to the isolated, desert
storage areas are arranged. There are also processing areas
where the salt is freed of water and refined to various
degrees of quality, through a complicated system of racks
and pans, generally exposed to the sun. Slaves work at these,
raking, stirring, and sifting. There are also the molding
sheds where the salt is pressed into the large cylinders,
such that they may be roped together and eventually be laden
on pack kaiila. The salt is divided into nine qualities.
Each cylinder is marked with its quality, the name of its
district, and the sign of that district's salt master.
Needless to say, Klima contains as well, incidental to the
salt industry centered there, the ancillary supports of
these mining and manufacturing endeavors, such as its kitchens
and commissaries, its kennels and eating sheds, its discipline
pits, its assembly areas, its smithies and shops, its quarters
for guards and scribes, an infirmary for them, and so on.
In many respects Klima resembles a community, save that
it differs in at least two significant respects. It contains
neither children, nor women.
---Tribesmen of Gor, pp 239-240
held the line coiled, in my left hand, it tied to the handle
on the metal, perforated cone, swinging in my right.
It was cool in the pit, on the large raft. At each corner
of the raft, mounted on a pole, was a small, oil-fed lamp.
It was dark in the pit, save for our lamps, and those of
other rafts. I could see two other rafts, illuminated in
the darkness, one some two hundred yards away, the other
more than a pasang distant over the water. In places we
could see the ceiling of the pit, only a few feet above
our head, in others it was lost in the darkness, perhaps
a hundred or more feet above us. I estimated our distance
beneath the surface to be some four hundred feet. The raft,
in the dark, sluggish waters, stirred beneath our feet.
I flung the cone out from the raft, into the darkness, allowing
the line to uncoil from my left hand, following the vanishing,
I shared the raft with eight others, three, who handled
cones as I, the 'harvesters,' four polemen and
the steersman. Harvesters and polemen, periodically, exchange
positions. The raft is guided by a sweep at its stern, in
the keeping of the steersman. It is propelled by the polemen.
The poles used are weighted at the bottom, and are some
twenty feet in length. One of the poles, released in deep
water, will stand upright in the water, about a yard of
it above the surface. The weight makes it easier to keep
the pole, which is long, submerged. It may thus be used
with less fatigue. The floor of the brine pit, in most places,
is ten to fifteen feet below the surface of the water. There
are areas in the pits, however, where the depth exceeds
that of the poles. In such areas, paddles, of which each
raft is equipped with four, near the retaining vessels,
are used. It is slow, laborious work, however, moving the
heavy raft with these levers. The raft is some twelve feet
in width and some twenty-four or twenty-five feet in length.
Each raft contains a low frame, within which are placed
the retaining vessels, large, wooden salt tubs, each approximately
a yard in height and four feet in diameter. Each raft carries
four of these, either arranged in a lateral frame, or arranged
in a square frame, at the raft's center. Ours were arranged
laterally. The lateral arrangement is more convenient in
unloading; the square arrangement provides a more convenient
distribution of deck space, supplying superior crew areas
at stem and stern. . From the point of view of 'harvesting,'
the arrangements are equivalent, save that the harvesters,
naturally, to facilitate their work, position themselves
differently in the two arrangements. If one is right-handed,
one works with the retaining vessel to the left, so that
one can turn and, with the right hand, tip the harvesting
vessel, steadying it with the left hand.
I allowed time for the cone to sink to the bottom.
The retaining vessels are, at the salt docks, lifted from
the rafts by means of pulleys and counterweights. The crew
of a given raft performs this work. When the retaining vessels
are suspended, they are tipped, and the sludge scooped and
shoveled from them into the wide-mouthed, ring-bearing lift
sacks. These, drawn and pushed on carts, fitted onto wooden,
iron-sheathed rails, are transported to the hooked lift
ropes. These ropes run in systems to the surface and return.
Men at windlasses on the surface lift the sacks, which,
when emptied, return on the slack loop. The weighted loop
cannot slip back because each hook, in turn, preceding the
sack being emptied, engages one of several pintles in the
machinery, which is so geared that it can turn in only one
direction. There are twelve of these pintles, mounted in
a large circle; when a given hook drops off one, freed by
gravity, another hook is already engaged on another, held
there by the weight of the ascending lift sacks. Empty sacks
are placed on slack hooks, below the machinery, to be returned
to the pit.
The steersman, when not attending to his sweep, carried
a lance. We were not alone in the pits.
---Tribesmen of Gor, pp 245-246
In the shadow of
Klima's keep, not unnaturally, a bond builds between the
men who have been strong enough to survive and the unwritten
rules of Gor; those of honor and brotherhood not only remain
untouched, but rather, seem to be all prevalent. A hierarchy
naturally establishes itself among the men of the salt,
one simply based on the very Gorean principles of survival
of the fittest and respect.
this, though,' he said, 'that should you leave
us our feelings would be injured, that our hospitality be
rejected. Few return to Klima. Of those that do, few survive
the pits of discipline, and of those who do, it is to dig
in the open pits.' He lifted the whip, noting its graceful
curve. It was the snake, many fanged, tiny bits of metal
braided within the leather. 'Klima,' said T'Zshal,
slowly, 'may seem to you a fierce and terrible place.
Perhaps it is. I do not know. I have forgotten any other
place. Yet it is not too different, I thinks from the world
on the other side of the horizon. At Klima, you will find,
as in all the world, there are those who hold the whip,
and those who dig, and die.' He looked at us. 'Here,'
he said, 'in this kennel, it is I who hold the whip.'
'How,' I asked, 'does one become kennel master?'
'Kill me,' said T'Zshal.
---Tribesmen of Gor, pp243-244
And so it is that,
once freed from the chains of the salt Ubar and armed, the
men of Klima answer the call of one once of their chain.
Trekking through the desert to war at his side and finding,
once this mission completed and victory gained, their way
back to what they will build to be a much different Klima.
sent,' said Hassan, Haroun, high Pasha of Kavars, 'a
thousand kaiila, a thousand lances, supplies, to Klima.
I thought such men might prove useful.'
T'Zshal raised the lance. The kaiila reared. 'We shall
not forget the Kavars, Pasha,' said T'Zshal.
I feared that Hassan had made a terrible mistake. Who would
dare to arm such men?
---Tribesmen of Gor, p 327
saw T'Zshal, who was riding past, leading his thousand lances.
He reined in, and his men behind him.
'We are returning to Klima,' he said.
'But you have kaiila,' I said.
'We are slaves of the salt, slaves of the desert,'
he said. 'We return to Klima.'
'The Salt Ubar is gone,' I said.
'We will negotiate with local pashas and regulate the
desert, and discuss the prices of the varieties of salt,'
'The price of salt will soon rise,' I suggested.
'It is not impossible,' said T'Zshal.
I wondered if it were wise to have armed the men of Klima
and put them in the saddles of kaiila. They were not typical
men. There was none there who had not survived the march
'Should you ever need aid,' said T'Zshal, 'send
word to Klima. The slaves of the salt will ride.'
'My thanks,' I said. They would be fierce allies.
They were desperate and mighty men. Each there had made
the march to Klima. 'Things, now,' I said, 'I
conjecture, will change at Klima.' I recalled that
Hassan had warned me against taking a bit of silk, perfumed,
into Klima. I had hidden it in the crusts. 'Men would
kill you for it,' he had said.
T'Zshal looked about himself. Slave girls, in coffle, shrank
'We will need taverns, cafes, at Klima,' he said.
'The men have been too long without recreation.'
'With the control of much salt,' I said, 'you
may have much what you wish.'
'We shall confederate the salt districts,' said
'You are indeed ambitious,' I said. T'Zshal, I
saw, was a leader. Haroun, sitting in court, in what had
been the audience room of the kasbah of Ibn Saran, had invited
T'Zshal, and his lances, to join his service. T'Zshal, and
the others, had refused. 'We will return to Klima,'
said he, 'Master.' T'Zshal, I knew, would serve
under no man. 'I would rather be first at Klima than
second in Tor,' he had said. He was a slave, true,
but of no man, only of the salt, and the desert.
'I wish you well,' said T'Zshal.
'I wish you well,' I said.
of Gor, pp347-348