C. L. Moore
SPOILER ALERT - You've been warned.
"Black Thirst" is the second Northwest Smith story, published in the April 1934 issue of Weird Tales shortly after "Shambleau". Upon rereading, I found this story lacked the power of its predecessor. It may have been that I wasn't able to get to the story until late at night, and therefore was fighting fatigue.
The story begins with Smith casing a warehouse along the waterfront of the Venusian city of Ednes one night when a woman walks by and asks him if he'd like to make a gold coin. This isn't any ordinary woman, but a Minga woman.
When the first settlers landed on the shore, they found a giant castle ruled by a being, apparently a man, called the Alendar. He had a small entourage of the most beautiful women, which he began selling to the traders and settlers.
Over time, the Minga women, renowned for their exquisite beauty and chaste bodies, have been the prizes of kings, sultans, and chieftains throughout the solar system. They are never allowed to walk the streets at night alone and unescorted. But this one is.
She recognizes Smith, although they've never met, and raises her offer to one hundred gold coins. To receive it, all he has to do is come to a particular gate at the Minga castle in one hour, give her name, and enter.
Other men have died for lesser offenses against the Alendar.
Smith decides to take her up on the offer.