Antierra Manifesto – blog post #103

They have simple minds and I’m not really lying.  It could be the good life they all dream of sometimes.  I gain three men that way and stop my recruiting.  That’s it; we have our complement and are set.  Now it’s up to the engineers, the Cydroids and the weather.  We wait. Was it too easy? I feel serious discomfort in my mind but cannot locate the source. Maybe I’m nervous. Maybe I just want it all to be over.

End blog post #102
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Start blog post #103

While I wait Tiki and the Concubine are involved in two more fights.  They are a deadly pair.  Twice in one day they are pitted against drooks and twice they defeat them and kill them, sharp and clean.  With the many tricks I’ve taught and demonstrated plus their single-mindedness as fighters the two are simply unbeatable in any reasonably fair fight.  The day will come when they will be tested in unfair fights, especially Tiki because she is small, pretty to watch and young.  Money flows more freely where basest emotions of sexual lusts are stirred.  I have warned them not to get over-confident and to expect the unexpected, always.  Treachery is always around the corner.  It’s the way of life here, basically.

This I teach all women fighters, no longer using their pidgin in my exhortations.  I am the representative of the goddess now, and the voice of the crone from the other side:  “One day, I sense, you will enter the arena expecting the usual one-on-one fight and you will be faced with double the number of men, two on one, four on two.  You will not be permitted to protest and will have to fight for your lives.  You will get hurt in those.  If a team, one will likely be killed and the other have to finish the fight to stay alive.  Think about that.  Think about your state of mind when your partner receives the death blow.  What will your instinctive reaction be?  That is what will determine if you live or die, at that moment.  You are all excellent fighters but you are not immortal or super women.

“Train for that one eventuality now.  Train also for weapons switch.  It will be done to you.  Arena fighting, because of the many losses and the new phase of wars with Estáani, is entering a dark phase.  They are angry that less women die at the hands of challengers than used to be the case.  Ordinary challengers, the ones who did it just to show off for their friends; who made bets while under the influence of brew or chakr, are becoming rarer.  Now you mostly fight condemned men or drooks and less money is flowing through the gambling houses.  Investors are pulling out or going broke.  This means desperation and treachery.  Know your place, and your changing times.  Adapt to them quickly, I warn you.

“Now I have this to add.  When I arrived in Hyrete I was shown the legal array of weapons fighters needed to be familiar with and would be challenged by.  Of those we have consistently ignored one set because it is, well, antiquated and ridiculous.  So it was pulled out at my suggestions some years later as no one in their right mind would use it.  Who remembers this particular set?”

The women look at one another, staring especially at the oldest in the training line-up.  They all shrug negatively.

“It was a lance and buckler.  A lance is like the staff, a kind of long spear only much more unwieldy, easily broken if a weight, such as a man’s body is thrown against it.  Basically it can only stab a challenger.  The buckler is a small round shield with a short spike sticking out of the center, with which, if you break your lance, and expect you will, you try to stab your opponent.  Idiotic?  Totally but I’m going to request this weapon be re-instated in our sets because I sense that very soon some drook from a distant town where they use this stupid weapon to kill women will demand to face one of us with it. 

Yes, it is a man’s weapon.  It is very effective against us because of our small size and light weight.  It works against our speed.  A clumsy weapon designed on Túat Har, another world, in another dimension and at another time, to be used by tall muscular fighting men called soldiers; also used by fighting men, usually slaves, called gladiators, who, as with us, fought to the death unless given mercy by the crowds.  Later the combination lance and shield was used for one-on-one combat using heavy four-footed beasts called horses who could carry a man in a heavy saddle while both man and horse were covered in steel chain link armour.  The lance rested on a stand when not in use. 

“Tomorrow we begin training with lance and buckler if I can find enough of them.  Back to your training please, women fighters of Hyrete!”  I salute them to give them that extra edge of pride.  I have thoroughly trained them in the art of the self-empowering mantra and I can see their lips moving as they repeat the old mantra against fear:

I will not fear. Fear is the mind killer. I will face my fear. I will let it pass over me and through me. When it has gone, I will look and only I will be standing there.”*

Action processes, when engaged properly, tend to move in a reverse spiral, from slow to tight and fast as they approach the center.  Our commitment to the escape is tightening up.  The storms are all but certain now.  Great winds are arising over the desert I am told via Tieka from the on-duty Cydroid in the kitchen. We can see the sands being sucked high into the atmosphere, dulling the sun’s light.  Sand builds up in our washing and drinking troughs, on our benches and tables and even our straw we have to kick and stir before we can lay in it.  The flagstones are covered with moving, snaking sand.  On the horizon, what we can see of it, are great grey clouds with white thunderheads climbing high in the sky by late afternoon then receding in the night, only to return again the next day and climb higher each time.  So we know the prevailing winds are weakening to be replaced by a type of sirocco rising from the desert, crossing the sea and dumping its wet, oppressive sand-filled humidity upon Elbre. 

I do not envy those untrained and poorly equipped soldiers out there in their sandy dug-outs and eroding trenches attempting to defend Hyrete, the royal city; waiting for death to find them in the way of concussion bombardments or swallow them in quicksand in the sudden collapse of newly formed dunes or washed away to drown in the sand-filled waters of flash floods from rain storms sweeping the foothills to the north east. 

I get word that a confusion plan has been worked out among the Cydroids.  I really think they enjoy all this cloak and dagger stuff.  They have ‘recruited’ two of the legitimate security personnel to escape as well, using these individuals as the fall guys in what should be seen as a security breach allowing an Estáan commando force to enter the keep and steal five carriers as well as taking some thirty five captives for slave labour and sex in their offensive.  So that’s to be the official cover story.  It should leave all of us in the clear.  And that, I hope, takes care of the last detail. 

We wait, not without some anxiety.  The way I feel, you’d think I was one of those escaping.  But these are my people, these young women my children.  Long ago there was a change of energy towards me in the compound.  I became the head mother, especially to the newly arrived trainees.  I sought them out to encourage them and protected them from particularly vicious fighters to whom they were given.  I had one fighter taken out and flogged to death for abusing a trainee.  That example was needed at the time both to protect the young and to establish my authority in the cages.  Serious infractions to our own ‘rules’ were reported to me and I administered the punishment in a totally fair way.  It was done on the training ground.  I’d ask for the perpetrator to be matched against me in training, then I’d let her have at me to see who was right and who walked away in pain. 

Now I’m also the Teacher.  That’s my personal beachhead on Malefactus.  Over time, I’ve embellished our silent and sacred ‘cult’ to our goddess.  The women’s prayers, always including their chosen name, have become more personal and specific.  I’ve taught them that prayers are not begging for miracles, but for strength and patience.  For understanding when nothing makes sense.  For compassion towards one-another when one is afraid or hurt.  For courage the day a killing orgy is announced and the cages are culled for the slaughter.  I have given them something to look to, beyond their physical life and we have lived longer, had less suicides and many less executions.  Also I’ve noticed the women respond better if I use my own language, not their pidgin, and they are learning to speak more fluently. 

Now eighteen of my children are heading out into the unknown to attempt the building of some kind of normal life they have never experienced.  They and their men hitching rides in the open on flimsy carriers are the seeds of a new culture, the hope of Malefactus.  Much hinges on the success of this venture, and taken one part at a time, it is a simple plan.  But put all those pieces together to happen simultaneously and you have a complex structure that can collapse on itself from the outset.  I’ve never been one to overlook possibility of trouble.  Life has not been so easy on me that I can afford to do that.  But at this stage, what can I do but join in the women’s prayer and offer mine to our ‘goddess’ in hope?

* Bene Geseritt mantra against fear – Dune, by Frank Herbert

End blog post #103

18 thoughts on “Antierra Manifesto – blog post #103

  1. George F.

    “Money flows more freely where basest emotions of sexual lusts are stirred” Well, this is true. I can’t even remember what happened to those $20.00 bills after I walked into those strip clubs.

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  2. George F.

    “is the mind killer” Love the mantra and references to the gladiators. You’ve just inspired me to give Akira weapons training! Of course, it’ll be on AKs, not lances and spears. But killing from a distance is going to be critical!

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  3. George F.

    Good ol’ Frank Herbert reference. Fits in perfectly with your story. And this:”I’ve taught them that prayers are not begging for miracles, but for strength and patience. For understanding when nothing makes sense.” True, because their may be nothing out there to pray too! Develop that inner strength and survive!!!

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  4. Sha'Tara Post author

    Thanks for all the comments, George. I’m eager to “taste” the new scenes with Akira keeping a front row center position to the action.

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    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      I meant to add something about the prayer thing. One thing I learned as a human (yes, been other types of sentient/intelligent life over the eons) is that when you are utterly alone, on your own and your survival depends only and entirely on yourself, there is a trigger inside that opens a channel to a higher force, something/someone to turn to for help, guidance, strengthening. For me it’s like a higher self. Still “me” but in a place removed from my physical constraints. I wouldn’t call it prayer, but I interact with that entity. Her name is Al’Tara. She is of the High Fairy kingdom, a cosmic traveler and guide. Somehow she communicates back to me, too often though it’s with a deep silence you can hear! Translation: “I’m not going to help you with that, you already know how to deal with your problem. Call me when you really need my help.” Lessons in self-empowerment, yet knowing I’m never alone. This is the lesson Antierra is attempting to teach the fighter women of Malefactus: to find their own “muse” or Spirit Guide and learn how to turn the tables on an utterly misogynist system.
      It’s easy to mouth platitudes like, we are all one, or, we’re all in this together – both statements are nothing but meaningless bromides and of no help when you really, I mean REALLY need help that your “trusted” systems won’t provide despite all the political promises and propaganda. That’s why we have a “Higher Self” however he/she/it manifests to each of us individually.

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  5. deteremineddespitewp

    I’ve grown to know Antierra the raw-boned backwoods preacher come down amongst a flock to share in their trials and tribulations, to stand with them with fortitude and courage. It was interesting to observe the evolution of Antierra into the Commissar or the Cadre readying her ‘troops’ through all the small skirmishes for the larger battles.
    Never being the indefatigable Amazonian though, taking defeats and humiliations, making her more human.
    The environment reminds me more and more of Germany in 1945.
    Waiting to see how she manages the next challenges.

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    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      It is “heartening” to read, from yourself, that you can feel the denouement of a protracted and painful war – much like WWII in fact, I agree. That war should have ended at least by 1943. The following was just mindless, purposeless, sick butchery. Thanks for that insightful comment.

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      1. deteremineddespitewp

        Keep on keeping on with Antierra!
        Very few wars finish when they should, some are fated to be played out until one side or several are hammered down.
        There is the fearful War Logic which is even when you read about it from years later can still reach out and drag you into that mindset.
        Been there. Still am.
        I used part of Stalingrad campaign 1942-1943 for Arketre’s protracted battle experiences in the ragged town of Yermetz….a place where the first volume opened.

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      2. Sha'Tara Post author

        Thanks for commenting, Roger. Now if only you had open access to past lives, I bet your mind would be spinning! Imagine having been born in 1917, eastern France on the Belgian border, living your young life experiencing the skewed economics and weird political movements and forces of the 1920’s and thirties. Imagine remembering a time when Hitler was the hero of European capitalistic socialism but with a large percentage of people favouring Stalin to be the one to take over Europe, then the world (still under the illusion that the dictatorship of the proletariat could manifest under the likes of Lenin or Stalin). Imagine the shock of Hitler supporters when Germany began its no holds barred rampage to conquer Europe and how they wished, too late, they’d listened to the voices of reason which said war with Germany was inevitable! I remember so many personal details that throw a totally different perspective on the war against the Third Reich. The conflicts a young woman would face interacting with the first wave of Wehrmacht invaders, clean, polite, handsome (or so I remember!), amorous or flirty, eager to fraternize and to share their bounty… there wasn’t much to hate or fear until they began terrorizing Communists, rounding up Jews, Gypsies and other undesirables and treating them as they did in Germany, then turning on a rising Resistance, using their Fifth columnists who had been so helpful in confusing the French high command, to ferret out safe houses, arrest, torture or kill suspected members of any real or imagined anti-Nazi forces. A lot of us switched then, from fraternization to spying for the Resistance and supporting British/Canadian spy networks being established in France. The “honeymoon” with German soldiers didn’t last long. I’ve been tempted to write a book about my experiences, arrest, torture and death at the hands of the SS in July 1943 but apart from lack of time, I’m not sure I could go through with it nor do I see any point to it now. I doubt that even if such a book became a best seller, that many people would realize the deadly similarity with these current times and the build-up to WWII in the 1920’s and 1930’s. I think I will let it rest and ponder my future rather than my past(s).

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      3. deteremineddespitewp

        Maybe it this wonderous web of Time, Distance and Depth we simply call the Cosmos, maybe I was one in one of those grey uniformed columns, a kid out of maybe, say, Konigsberg marching along ‘obeying orders’, killing because ‘they’re’ only (Whatever derogatory term for locals), taking what I needed, because Hitler says it’s ok.
        And a few years down the road things don’t go so good, I’ve lost friends, it’s all retreat, and I die screaming. Those Ivans are winning, my cities are burning, my sister is being raped.
        For some reason beyond my comprehension I’m back.
        And maybe, just maybe that’s why I loathe bigotry and intolerance with a passion, I remember where it leads.

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      4. Sha'Tara Post author

        Quote: “For some reason beyond my comprehension I’m back.
        And maybe, just maybe that’s why I loathe bigotry and intolerance with a passion, I remember where it leads.” It amazes me that nothing was learned during the “great war” and it was bigotry, intolerance and racism that ruled the West during the interim and were directly responsible for the successful launch of WWII. The key point is, nothing was learned, or remembered, in so short a time – 20 years – and the herds were ready to face the mass slaughtering machine once again. It was “managed” better this time, by scattering military slaughter mostly over developing countries and in smaller units of crimes against humanity. Keep ’em confused, rake in the profits and whenever possible, conquer and despoil. But mostly, keep on killing, as we currently see in Yemen, Gaza, Somalia, and if we throw in the Trump sanctions, all over the world.
        Yes, some of us remember. Some of us even have enough intelligence to realize none of it was necessary; that it was all a power game for the elites. But few of us care to go beyond the remembering into changing ourselves so we can never again be conned into the game. But even as we remember; even as we change, we can’t help but realize that we are still and nevertheless, sucked into the elitist vortex of death. We live off the dregs of provided by the military machine; we eat the flesh and drink the blood of murdered innocents world-wide… and we try to dispose of our discomfort with a few words of comfort or misdirection. The empath can no longer do this, Roger. This world has become the very hell my religion forced me to fear as a child and in hell there is no place one can avoid hell.

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      5. deteremineddespitewp

        There is a legend, as it were that leaders send innocent men (and women) off to war.
        And we can argue about totalitarian states, propaganda, and so forth, however amongst it all lies the visceral feel amongst the majority to participate to resolution by confrontation.
        For an example you find amongst the myriad of reasons and causes leading up to World War 1914 to 1918, and there always bubbling, pushing, influencing the leaders is the festering of nationalism growing from the lower stratus of society. The plague to seen to be better than someone else. Some might say folk were conditioned, but deep down they yearned for it, they ached for the excuse.
        Look for a cause for war and when you dig down, you’ll find it’s ‘Us’. So ‘we’ start it then when it goes on ‘we’ blame someone else and then if ‘we’ lose it, ‘we’ look for a scapegoat so ‘we’ can slither away from the blame.
        ‘We’ ‘The People’ are no innocents in this.

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      6. Sha'Tara Post author

        Good argument, Roger. My own observation of Earthians, their history, and my own driving force prior to my encounter with the Teachers, validates everything you say. We are a violent species and driven to resolve our conflicts through violence. That is how we eliminated all serious contenders to a living space on this world until all that is left is Earthian versus Earthian and perhaps, viruses and in that “enemy” may yet reside the demise of the mighty conqueror of earth and possibly it’s solar system. Where I must disagree is that such a tendency is purely of the creature’s doing. The question “Why?” must be asked and proper efforts made to answer it. We know religion/faith in deities hasn’t removed the problem. Democracies and Communism haven’t done it either. The wars, genocides and mayhem continue apace, with or without gods, political systems or science, the new god of the age. The basic “human” nature remains the same now as it was, ostensibly 100,000 or more years ago. The mindset remains the same; so does the game; only the weaponry has changed; the killing become more systematic… oh, and acceptable on the whole, as long as it’s someone else’s ass being blown up or starved to death. I know you hold to some sort of belief in deity – through Catholicism(?) so I need to ask, as a once Catholic myself, was Jesus in error when he tried to change human nature with his teachings? Obviously he realized something was terribly wrong and needed straightening out. Why did he even try if he knew it was going to make an even greater mess than the one he, (somewhat like my heroine Antierra) found himself living in? Why did his “New Deal” fail so abjectly? I’ll tell you why so it’s not a rhetorical question: he failed to account for programming, which I sense you discount as well. Programming it has to be, there is too much repetitive history in failed events that would stop a free thinking intelligent being from repeating. Earthians are not free to think and act as they would. The recent example of global herd response to some manufactured pandemic demonstrates it once again: push the right button, get the expected response from the 99.9% sheeple. They are programmed to obey authority, no matter the skewed philosophy or immoral conduct of said leadership. They are programmed to worship those who have, or claim to have, power over them. Rare is it when the sheeple fight back on their own and if they do and if they “win” it’s only to re-establish the same leadership over themselves and die for them. Witness the French revolution and the rise to power of the upstart Napoleon and the following of that benighted country’s modern history… both sad and sick. Programming – it’s what the Teachers called it and they even explained in detail how it is accomplished and why it works so well for all the psychopathic leaders.

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      7. deteremineddespitewp

        Well, I guess we an’t never going agree on Jesus Christ, as I embrace the belief in Jesus being The Son of God, who came to give us a way out of our cycles of wickedness, greed and cruelty; it’s there for us to follow, in its simplicity of message but tough worthwhile demands to follow.
        And within a short while we in our arrogance are arguing over the right way to worship, like we know better than a Supreme Being huh?
        Anyway, we always have a choice to get out of this mess we make, and make a fresh start, but we keep on making the same mistakes and fooling ourselves in believing that transitory flawed folk who preach hate an division have a ‘fresh’ and ‘honest’ approach.
        And yet we still have that chance, only we keep on blowing it.
        So me? I have this authoritarian approach and convince myself this would be the true and only way, because I would be true and firm but fair because I would only pick on ‘bad’ folk and ‘I know best’…..Sounds familiar?
        At least, in my defence I know I am prone to being a Klutz. Just as well I never went into politics and ended up somewhere where harm would have been done….

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