Beyond the wealth of the cities, within a clearing in a dense forest on the Isle of Tarns, the woodsman Quercus Robur sits beside a small campfire. He appears content and comfortable in the surroundings, but there's a sense of restrained energy which emanates from him. He is not a man who is accustomed to sitting still.
To the visitor, this lower caste woodsman offers none of the formal hospitality one might expect from a higher caste Gorean. Being allowed into his forest should serve as welcome enough. There is no contract that secures his right to the land, nor any ego attached to his attitude. His feelings of ownership stem from an ingrained sense of duty. This forest shelters him and provides his livelihood. In return, it falls under his protection and that's an obligation he takes quite seriously.
It's tempting to consider him a simple man, but a more apt description would be "uncomplicated". Sincere and unpretentious, Quercus exudes a refreshing combination of confidence and humility. He's comfortable in his own skin and his love of the forest emerges as a robust symbiotic relationship. He needs the forest and the forest needs him.
Although he is a member of a lower caste, Quercus' honor is as fierce as a warrior's and his integrity could rival any scribe. He is deeply proud of his caste and his work, as any true Gorean man would be.
My OOC interview with the typist/creator of Quercus Robur began with his offer to include real life photos. I hesitated to accept in order to protect his privacy, but he assured me that he had nothing to hide. It's an unusual response in SL, as the majority of role players choose (often with good reason) to remain anonymous. Yet, I'm not surprised at his candor. That ingenuousness is exactly what makes Quercus Robur such a compelling role play character. The typist brings the best of himself into the character and mingles it with his extensive knowledge of Gor. It's advice he gives to all role players. "Do your research. Warriors; learn your codes and aphorisms. Woodsman; know your trees and their uses. Scribes; learn the laws. Merchants; learn how to negotiate."
It's good advice, but how should a player learn the codes of castes not detailed in the books? For Quercus, the answer came in using his real life experience as a woodsman. He quotes from a poem he wrote:
The Woodsman's heart is in his treesFor the giants of the forest do him please.And before he swings his axe to fell,His love for that tree he will tell.He tells the tree of the seeds he took,Of how it will be entered in his record book.And reminds the tree, that in good time,The seeds and saplings shall continue its line.
He explains, "In RL, if I fell a healthy tree, I do that. It stands to reason a Gorean would. Gor is the counter Earth, so there has to be similarities."
When asked about his upcoming classes at the Gorean Campus on the Caste of Woodsmen, he points out the truth of SL Gor role play, "There is much glamour in the high castes, but it is the low castes that keep Gor ticking." His purpose in teaching the class is to promote the lower castes and encourage more players to take on those roles. "I train apprentices at work in RL. I would like something like that for Gorean Woodsmen." Quercus is willing to take on apprentices, but he is careful to outline the demands of such role play. "It would be harsh. They need to understand it would not be abuse, but character building."
Indeed, character building is foremost in this creator's mind and his attention to detail is impressive. Even his character's name was considered and carefully chosen-Quercus being the Latin word for a European Oak. The typist is also careful to remember that a Gorean woodsman would not be highly educated or cultured. While some players might find that restrictive, Quercus' creator uses these traits to his advantage. Since the character of Quercus is naive when it comes to innuendo, he doesn't understand why slaves and Free Women giggle as he describes the benefits of his "hard wood." It makes for riotous and outrageously funny RP that other players are eager to join.
OOC, his roguish comments often take other players by surprise, with equally humorous results.
Quercus: My RP is fast and furious.Abbie: It must be hard to keep up with you.Quercus: Yeah, many a slave and FW have said that.
Quercus Robur will be teaching a series of classes on The Caste of Woodsmen at The Gorean Campus beginning May 10, 2015 at 4pm SLT. All Free and slaves are encouraged to attend.