Years ago, I recall hearing sing of Tarl of Bristol.
“Years ago,” she said, “when I was so much younger, I recall hearing sing of Tarl of Bristol.”
“In the marshes?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said, “sometimes a singer comes to the rence islands. But, too, when I was a slave in Port Kar I heard sing of Tarl of Bristol, in the house of my master.”
“Do you think there is such a man?” she asked.
“No,” I said. “Could not such a man exist?” she asked. She had rolled over on her stomach, and was looking at me. I was lying on my back, looking at the ceiling.
“In songs,” I said. “Such a man might exist in songs.” She laughed.
“Are there no heroes?” she asked.
“No,” I told her. “There are no heroes.”
“There are only human beings,” I told her. I lay looking for a long time at the ceiling.
“Human beings,” I told her, “are weak. They are capable of cruelty. They are selfish, and greedy, and vain and petty. They can be vicious, and there is much in them that is ugly and worthy only of contempt.” I looked at her.
“All men,” I told her, “are corruptible. There are no heroes, no Tarls of Bristol.”
Raiders of Gor, p. 363-365