Antierra Manifesto – blog post #57

(Continuing with the saga, now back in the slave quarters with their usual, unchanging conundrums – or are they really unchanging, or dare I say, unchangeable?)

As already mentioned I fought and died near the end of the Melkiar invasions.  I spent some years on Altaria, found some of the information on Malefactus I had hoped to locate, and re-incarnated (manifested physically) on ‘Stack World minus four’ (SW-4) of the lower set of the six dark worlds where I am now living, or to put it in a more accurate sense, existing and surviving day to day, always under the shadow of imminent death, as are all of the women in this compound.’

This concludes the Michele Dellman article.
[end blog post #56]

[begin blog post #57]

Chapter 26 – Tiki Tells a Story and An’Tierra Remembers

As the daily treatments of ice-cold water on bare flesh in pre-dawn light causes shock and exhilaration at the same time, so I put my mind through this process.  I do my mantras against fear and for total detachment.  Each morning I push Tiki away from my body and close my heart to her sounds and scent.  She is doing everything in her child-woman power to seduce me to be mother and lover to her.  I am doing everything in my power to give her all she really needs that I can give without falling into the temptation of ownership.  Quasi-legally, because the men decree it so, she is my slave until they (or I) decide otherwise, or until either of us is killed.  I could kill her myself and nothing much would come of it, except maybe I’d have to reimburse her owner (if she has one yet, there is no way of knowing) by taking an extra turn in the arena. 

The lives of females are the cheapest commodity on Malefactus until the betting starts on a fight.  A young trainee without reputation and without an owner has no value at all.  She may earn some points through sexual performance but that’s shaky.  Most of these men, the trainers, handlers, blacksmiths and male nurses or medics aren’t that interested in “performance.”  They just take you when they feel a need and discard you, often with a slap or a kick.  Romance is not their strong point.

Tiki has already been gang-raped twice during her voyage to Hyrete from her segregated crèche in a fortified village in an independent principality east of the kingdom of Elbre and south of the Union of Estáan where she was raised from an infant.  The trip by foot, using male slaves as baggage carriers, took over four weeks of difficult walking through soft and shifting dunes.  There were twenty-four young females when the trek began.  Twenty three arrived in various degrees of exhaustion from starvation, dehydration and physical abuse at the compound in Hyrete.

The soldiers who accompanied the trek to guard against raiders decided that each night they would have a sex orgy.  So each night a couple of the girls were forced to perform erotic dances for which they had not been trained and were then raped repeatedly.  Some were otherwise abused.  One cried out under torture and was killed after they finished with her.  According to Tiki, the soldier guards were drinking heavily and mixing chakr in their brew.  Under the influence of the drink, they mixed the forbidden drink using the dying girl’s blood and chakr.  Then they took pieces of her body and cooked themselves a “sacred” meal.  I’d heard a similar story from Tiegli so I have no reason to doubt Tiki’s account of that ghoulish march.  For these girls the slave compound in the great keep of Hyrete would seem a reprieve, a place of safety… until they find out otherwise. 

There is yet no such place on T’Sing Tarleyn for any woman.  What, you may ask, constitutes a “safe” place for a woman, in any society, on any world?  I would say from personal experience it’s a place where a woman is safe without having to rely on anyone else, especially on a male, to protect her.  Ideally, wherever a woman happens to be, that is automatically her sacred, inalienable and inviolable sanctuary.  In any situation, any role, a woman is approached only by her permission.  Only when she clearly indicates her sanctuary is open can another walk in to “touch” her.  That is how I see it now.

Yes I know Tiki desperately needs a mother figure in her life.  She desperately needs love and protection, however tenuous, from an elder.  I know I can provide some of it for her, but I want her to find it on her own, within herself.  The only place of comfort and safety here is within one’s heart and mind.  There is nothing that can help you outside of yourself.  Nothing.  That is, I realize belatedly, the true “lesson” of the stack worlds, regardless whether they are on the “light” or the “dark” side of the balance equation.

I brought this knowledge with me here, of course.  It’s something all Altarians know, a basic natural awareness.  Tiegli discovered this before she died.  The “Concubines” or twins already know this.  Perhaps the Cydroids also, although their minds do not function like ours so I still do not know how they perceive their reality in relation to natural humans. 

Now Tiki must learn it for herself.  I must allow her close to me while keeping my anti-emotion shields up when we are in contact.  I begin by approaching my handlers and complaining that Tiki is too much of a distraction.  She needs to be occupied.  I address Delton, overseer of handlers.

“Speak sir?”

His gaze sweeps over me with a rather neutral and tired look as I stand with head bowed.  “Speak gora.”  It’s the ritual opening.  A reminder that has lost much of its meaning over the years I’ve heard it, as do all rituals, yet deadly dangerous to take for granted.  Rituals are noticed, not in being performed but in being ignored.  I speak without looking at his face, focusing on a purple blotch above his left knee.

“Young slave 1339-32-19 which shares sleep with me need better employ sir.  She has use, perhaps kitchen?  Perhaps clean the straw?  Too weak for weapons training yet sir.  Too young, waste of time – me.  Need time for older fighters to make better.  Maybe train to help nurse?” 

I display the most abject and humble stance I can muster, using the kind of pidgin they prefer to hear, in the hope he will even listen.  He sneers – another ritual – and motions me away.  I’ve been “heard” whatever comes of it.  I know after so many years that they are good at listening and pretending they don’t.  Females know nothing so they cannot accept any suggestions directly.  They discuss any point I raise privately in their strategy and meeting sessions, taking full credit for any idea they think has merit. 

Later that day Tiki, or should I say slave #1339-32-19 is taken from our cage and escorted into the kitchens.  The number I quote is the last line of numbers branded on her backside.  It refers to year, batch number and number in batch when she was admitted into the training compound in Hyrete.  For example, year #1339 is admission to Hyrete arena compound as trainee at age 13.  #32 is thirty-second batch to arrive that year.  #19 is order of branding as number nineteen in batch.  She has another brand line above that stating the year of birth and class of breeding.  Hers is #1326-04.  Born year 1326 local time; class 4 female fighter.  She is permanently branded as a gladiator.  Any man can thus know instantly what she is – not whom – women have no status as human beings.

Thus do I begin the training of a slave girl to come to a place of self-awareness and understanding.  Small steps, all to be taken within the system.  Step outside, even once and your chances of being flogged to death are almost one hundred percent sure.  You can bend rules as long as you are willing and able to unbend them immediately, but woe to you if you break them.

[end blog post #57]

15 thoughts on “Antierra Manifesto – blog post #57

  1. Woebegone but Hopeful

    Brilliant writing Sha’ Tara. Instilling true rage inside of me against the men of the planet. Engaging a reader is so all important.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thank you Roger, and here’s hoping it didn’t stir you up too, too much. I’ve been doing much introspection lately, recapping what I can recall of my own passage in this life alone, and what I have observed, and learned. My neighbour insists this is a beautiful world and there is much wonder to be observed and I’m sure she’s right, but some of us inherit the particular burden of those I call “The Watchers” and we can’t help noticing, comparing and doing the endless “what if?” wondering. There is much wrong with this world – not only as regards mankind, that part is obvious, but as regards the entire predator-prey modus operandi. It’s just wrong and I know this at the core of my being now. It seems we live in a world dominated by two kinds of life: the bully and the victim. Well, engaging THAT topic would need a novel in itself so I’m leaving my comment at that. Thanks again, and don’t worry, WordPress will find some other way to make you realize how unworthy you are of their tender loving care.

      1. Woebegone but Hopeful

        Oh it stirred me up, but in a good way, I take the anger as you would molten metal and hammer it a bit into creative juices for the Vol 3, which is finally starting to take a shape I am rather please with.
        Meanwhile The Happiness Engineers of WP are trying to infer it is nothing wrong with WP it is simply that folk I am posting to don’t want me to contact them…..Cop-out! I am gathering evidence….they should not annoy a retired UK civil servant, we can be fearfully pedantic if the mood takes us.

      2. Sha'Tara Post author

        The WP’s Happiness Engineers actually said that? Don’t they even look at their system? Each time I go ON MY OWN BLOG I have to click on “Follow” so “Likes” and “Comments” may (or may not) show up. Same with yours and a host of others. The “Follow” system isn’t following!!! What amazes me is, it’s been that way for months and they aren’t doing a thing to fix the problem. Ignorance? Bad blood against Matt M…? What? Word Press was such a good system until the very day they introduced that new editor. That’s when it all went to hell for me. I called them on it but they had nothing to say except, well, there’s nothing wrong with it but I could continue to use the old system until it was phased out. I notice that it has NOT been phased out, and the reason is simple: the new editor is a total flop. So why not pull it, or replace it? Geeks…

      3. Woebegone but Hopeful

        As I used to say in my last job.
        I would like to superglue the programmers and engineers to my desk and try to do my job with their systems…..
        I am being very restrained this afternoon. My wife Sheila has told me in her most severely gentle tones to calm down.….her statement makes perfect sense, as usual.

  2. Woebegone but Hopeful

    Oh gladsomeness, we are truly bless(ed).
    The great WP has seen fit to allow my reply to be recorded.
    Oh I am not worthy great WP, I am not worthy.

  3. Hyperion

    I didn’t know you would address my previous bloviation with this chapter. That balance thing being all wrong predicated on the predator-prey cycle of life is what stays on my mind. In the predator-prey world we become a self cleaning toilet but does it really need to be that way since our very DNA has our lifespans preprogrammed according to the laws of statistics. I like how Al’Tierra has shifted her approach to Tiki. While being more closed to another is natural after losing someone dear to us, it is a way to avoid previous missteps and provides a different focus beyond the past. I enjoyed how Al’Tierra continues to influence the outcomes of her life in the compound as well as the others, males included. Subtle and careful, that’s the way to get things done in a dangerous environment.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks for that great comment also, Daniel. When I read your comments (and let’s not forget, some others as well) I get a better understanding of my own work here. Thanks for the gift of the spiritual flashlight.

      1. Hyperion

        Thank you as always Sha’Tara for entertaining my eccentricities. For me it is never necessary to disagree or agree unless someone is taking my wallet from me and even then I might feign polightness to avoid bullet holes in my shirt. To me the diverse conversation is best, even in opposition because that is how we see the entire spectrum and no one needs accept anything they don’t want to. It’s enough to listen and contribute. I am always suspicious of those that foam at the mouth and issue death threats to those that don’t see life from their perspective. Let us coninue undeterred.

      2. Sha'Tara Post author

        Yeah, bullet holes in one’s shirt are a damn nuisance. You have to run to the nearest fountain to wash the blood out (at the risk of being arrested for messing up a public water source) ’cause if you leave it to dry on, it’s really tough to get out. A conversation should be like building a sand castle on a shallow beach. When the tide flows in, it’s best to let it wash through and put the sand where it fits best. I have had to quietly “unsubscribe” from certain blogs when conversations dwindled into repetition, argumentation or meaninglessness. It may sound selfish but when I engage conversations I want to feel as if I’m getting something for my participation and I don’t want to be totally written off either. As you say, the diverse conversation is best, as exemplified on your blog in the comments to ‘Return of the Dragons.’

      3. Hyperion

        I totally agree but I add for myself the license freely given to all, to call me an idiot and pipe down. My filters have eroded over time and all manner of uncareful rantiness can leak out. I try not to admit to my madness by simply stating my eccenticities are abundant. You are a kind spirit for allowing it. Here at RoD, I encourage everyone to say what they feel and let us have some cheeky fun in the process. If someone gets too far out of line, the dragons smoke up a tail feather or two and were back on track for more rascally fun. 😜

      4. Hyperion

        And you fit right in Sha’Tara with your excellent wit and good humor. It’s always a pleasure to see your Avatar. we know instantly that we will have fun and leave smarter than when we arrived. 😉

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