Category Archives: hand to hand combat

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #71

Thus I close my thoughts and slip into gentle, dreamless sleep.  I have finally found a moment of peace on Malefactus, thanks to these two extremes: the Warmo on one end of the see-saw, I on the other end, and Tiki and all the women of Malefactus as fulcrum in the middle. 

End blog post #70
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Begin blog post #71

Chapter 31 – The Forever Change

It’s the last week before the great fight of the century as it is being billed and advertised.  The fight of the Beasts.  There is excitement in the air of Hyrete and it trickles into our compound.  I can’t help but notice a change of attitude toward me by most of the men.  I am being treated as a human being.  The trainers, usually the slobs, the lowliest of male types in the compounds, are asking me questions about my strategy; what I know of Warmo; and about my preference for weapons.

I’m no fool.  I know that many of those questions are motivated by greed.  They are paid informants for Warmo’s spies.  So I spend a great deal of time giving them elaborate dis-information on just about everything.  All they can know for sure is what they observe and even in that I have fun playing with their limited understanding.  I extol the virtues of this or that weapon, this or that move and demonstrate impossible moves.  I tell them, confidentially that I intend to attack Warmo right from the start of the fight to kill him instantly.  I hint I may have access to poison for my sole blades.  I brag that Warmo is a slug and won’t use the two-handed sword or battle axe because he thinks a woman can’t handle it properly and would make him look weak. 

I throw in some tall tales to confuse and amuse them so they lose their concentration.  I tell them I have a secret word that I am going to curse him with and he will go blind from light that I will make come out of my green eyes.  I watch them look at one-another and frown at my words.  This one to one exchange with a female is unexplored domain for them.  They simply don’t know how to talk to a female.  They only know to give orders and enforce absolute obedience and silence with curses and vicious punishment.

I carry on with my tale.  “I will re-grow my scales the night before the fight.  I will be twice as tall as I am now and I will make fire come out of my mouth.  I will fry Warmo in his armour and eat him.  When in the arena my people in the sky boat will fly over and drop poison on him and it will destroy his armour and his weapons.  I will make the evil in his heart turn to molten lava and he will burn and scream like a young girl being flogged.  I will re-awaken the ghosts of all the people he has tortured in his dungeons and they will come by and each take a piece of his poisonous flesh and eat it in front of his eyes…”

They laugh but it isn’t heartfelt.  There is a hollowness to their merriment.  I think they suspect that in part I have certain powers they have yet to see.  And they fear I may know about their prying into my secrets to sell to Warmo.  They fear that if I defeat him I may come after them.  This is a new and terrifying concept for these men.  Never before have they considered the possibility that a woman would not automatically fear men or be subservient.  Well, in a very real sense, I do have ‘powers’ they know nothing about.  I have bionic parts and I intend to make full and free use of them in this encounter.

I have been offered a second and newly arrived trainee if I want one.  I accept the gift and give her to an older woman who has been alone for two months since her mate was killed.  I am being given better food and beginning to put a little fat on my rib cage.  My hair has been attended to by one of the sex-slave trainee who, according to her story, is not here for any punishment incurred but simply because she brought her owners a higher price as a fighter than a sex-slave.  My hair looks passably good.  Not the girl’s fault, she is an impeccable hairdresser, but my hair is long past hope.  It is stiff and greying.  So she cut it quite short and I’ve adjusted my various helmets to match.  I leave nothing to chance or to the last day. 

I’ve been down to the forge many times, discussing weapons with the old pirate.  I’ve openly made love to him too, offering myself to him freely just to prove to them that an older woman can be very erotic and desirable.  He was convinced and I know he has done everything in his power to provide me with the best grade of steel for my blades.  All the blades have been re-forged and extensively tested.  There won’t be any flaws in my weapons. 

They have improved the sandals and as a precaution have designed a sand-proof mechanism that not only pushes the blade out and locks it, but that allows me to manually remove the blade from the sandal and use it as a knife in close combat.  They have also added another blade at the back of the sole, shorter but broader and deadly.  That one could be my last resort weapon.  I won’t use it in training but already I know exactly what use I’ll make of it, if given the chance.       

When I mention the name of Warmo in the forge, most of the men spit on the floor.  And they have put all the money they could muster on me to win.  Well, I take that as being at least as good as a dozen roses and a “good luck” card!  I don’t feel like a fighter going into the arena to fight to the death.  Rather I feel like an actress going to receive an award for best role.  I’m careful to keep my mind in that light and shallow place until this fight is over.  I’m a fighter!  I’m not a spiritual being, not a philosopher, not a logician, not an avatar.  I’m a fighting machine with a purpose: to kill its opponent.  I’m riding high, higher than at any other time in my years on Malefactus.  And I intend to remain in this space, whatever happens in the meantime.

Since I received my implants I haven’t used the stim but I know it’s still available.  I use Tiki to speak to the Cydroid in the kitchens and between them they manage to smuggle some to me.  Tiki has never heard of this concoction but the sex-slave who did my hair somehow finds out I have some.  She begs and begs me to share it with her.  An addict!  So she lied about the reason she was demoted to fighter.  Instead of killing her outright they sold her for what money the now worthless creature could bring them.   

I warn her this is a fighter training place and I can have her flogged to death if she importunes me this way.  I lie to her and explain it’s false stim.  Just an energy cube that looks like stim but is made from fruit gel.  She lifts her nose and smells in an animal sort of way and I almost expect her to snort loudly.  Matter-of-fact and coarsely she says in an ugly low voice full of hate, “Fuck you lying bitch.  You have stim, you share.”

Well, that cannot be allowed to pass, nor can I report her to the handlers or she will spill the beans, start an all-out investigation and search for other possible illegal substances in our sleeping compounds.  The results could be disastrous for our simple lifestyle and our shaky but deep relationships.  Plus the extra work of forking all the straw out of the cages for inspection or burning in the yard, then the possibility for all of us to being left to sleep naked on the paving stones without straw for who knows how long until the point is made.

I make Tiki return the stim cube I’d hidden in my hair to the Cydroid and silently enroll some fighters to deal with the new slave.  She is taken to the wash troughs and I call to the overseer that I suspect she has lice and must be given a thorough washing.  He laughs and says, “Give it to her before we deal with her ourselves, that krosspeeg.”

She gets a thorough washing, complete with soap in the mouth and other very unpleasant treatments involving bodily cavities.  Then a quiet but deadly talking-to that sobers her up.  When she realizes no one in the compound will side with her and all agree she is a liar and trouble maker, she remains silent and paler even than her normally white skin would show.  She is taken to the flogging pole and a full description of our last witnessed death flogging is given to her by some of the fighters.  That brings her down a few more notches. 

Finally the meanest looking, most scarred fighter in the compound takes her by the neck and shaking her says, “Me they call Girl-Flesh Eater.  Hate sex-slave pampered little fucking teela krosspeeg like you.  Soon day come I permitted to eat one again.  I eat you, yessss!  Two, maybe three day from today.  Tender, juicy.  I like.  I make kitchen prepare you good, medium rare, make me strong to fight.  Maybe you good for something then, uh-uh!”  She extends her hand and squeezes the girl’s face until her eyes are almost popping out, probably more from raw fear than the squeeze.  I swear that grip would have frightened even me, if temporarily. 

That was the first and last addict I encountered in the compounds.  She lost her appetite for stim, at least around me.  I could have left my cube lying in her cage and she would not have touched it.  Maybe it was cruel; maybe it wasn’t funny but Tiki and I and a few other women laughed much over this unusual episode.  That it should happen at a time when I was flying so high was also of note.  The air of celebration continued until the day of the fight. 

End blog post #71

 

Antierra Manifesto-Blog post #70

(from blog post #69…)
I have resolved this moral question in my mind thus.  If I perform an evil act against another to prevent a greater evil, that is acceptable providing such an act, if successful, does not in any way benefit me personally.  Ideally such an act would bring about the desired effect while I, like the Phoenix, would be sacrificed in its fiery wake.  It is important to understand this when faced with all such moral dilemmas.  If I survive the ‘doing right by wrong’ act, I must atone for my part in it.  If it benefits me, I must divest myself entirely of any and all such gain. 

Having reminded myself of this process in my mind, I continue explaining these difficult concepts.
End blog post #69
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Begin blog post #70

“This I know Tiki.  I not do it to please me.  I not do it to hurt man.  I not do it to show me is better fighter.  I do it to teach.  I do it for all women.  I know, after I kill Warmo, I die soon.  Is my way to say I sorry for killing.  I not take pleasure of killing in my heart or mind when I leave.  I be free of all killing suffering.  And I be free of sorrow.”

“Sorrow mean pain, suffering?”

“No.  Sorrow mean you feel all pain and suffering other feel, not you.  You take to you what other feel, like Cholradil, only you do because you choose to do, not because your heart make you.  Sorrow is great secret power.  You know good feeling?  Pleasure?”

“Yes, like you give to me.  Good feeling.  I happy with you.”

“There is greater good than this feeling Tiki.  There is what great spirits call ‘joy.’  Is happy in all things, all time, no matter feel good or bad, still always happy.  Now I teach you something only great spirits know.  If you accept sorrow in heart, other suffering, other pain, take to you like hurt child, then when it settles down to nipple to suckle milk, it change.  It become joy to you, see?  Child change hurt to happy inside you.  No need for outside change.  This happen inside.  Joy always inside, never outside.”

“Huhmmm…?”  She taps my arm again, indicating she does not understand.

“I explain this way.  You outside in cold rain naked.  Feel bad.  Many other women outside in cold rain also.  All feel bad.  You say, ‘Tiki, you forget your feel bad, take all other feel bad from other people, put inside your heart to make all feel better.’  Now you feel terrible pain; now all the people pain inside Tiki heart.  Now you hold pain there, like baby in stomach.  Feel sorry for all the pain.  What happen is soon you feel warm, even in cold rain.  No longer is cold rain hurting Tiki.  Soon other people they not feel cold rain so much.  Tiki make miracle; take cold rain, change to better.  This called ‘compassion’ and this all great spirits have for healing all hurt and suffering.  So great spirits they not hurt or suffer but they have deep sorrow and this turn to joy in great spirit heart.  Secret power; greatest power in the All World.

“This power where I come from long, long ago; where also much suffering; we call true love.  Not many great spirits in worlds.  Not many understand.  Right name for true love is compassion.  You understand this?”

“Com – pash – shon.  True love.  I not feel sorry for Tiki, only for other have pain.  Have to be very strong woman to have com… pashon.  If all pain is because people do evil, still have compashon, still love people?  Still take people pain in heart to heal and find happy joy?”  

“Tiki very intelligent and understand.  That is how it supposed to work.  Yes, take very, very strong woman to do real love.  Not many strong people like that.  Not many are compassionate people.” 

“Compashonat?  Compashon is name thing; is have thing.  Compashonat is being thing, yes?” 

‘Amazing,’ I think to myself.

All the while we are talking low; while the storm is slowly abating and we are wrapped in the warm fresh straw and the warmth of our bodies I can visualize her eyes shining in the dark with each input of new information, each new idea, each new concept.  I can feel her surging with the anticipation that these teachings will change her life and her world.  It is as if I had introduced her to a new magic weapon to train on and take with her in the arena to defeat her opponents. 

In Tiki’s mind there is yet no place for personal defeat.  All she knows of life comes down to this:  being abused and hurt, fighting back, rolling with the punches, overcoming every odd by whatever means and rising to the surface to breathe fresh air.  Push her under and like a balloon she will surface between your arms, or somewhere else but she will surface. 

Yes, this one is the Gift.  Now a great part of my quest on T’Sing Tarleyn, land of man; T’Sing Taleya, land of woman; T’Sing Tallala, land of Freedom and Hope,  is accomplished.  I’m reaching the bottom of my personal ledger for my own fulfillment of promises. 

In the dark while Tiki slides off my body to lay beside me to cradle her head in the comfortable hollow of my shoulder and sleep, I bow silently and offer my own sacred prayer.  ‘To whomever may hear, or care, help me to not fail in my last steps.  Help me to climb that steep stone stairway where the priest waits with the ritual knife of holy sacrifice.  Let my offering be pure.’

The wind moans and a tear in the clouds reveals the wan light of Albaral for a brief moment.  Another portent?  A warning, yes.  A deadly warning.  Something, someone, knows of my intent for this world and for Earth and is doing everything it knows how to defeat me in my intent.  Ah well, I’m sure that on some etheric plane, as we battle for the souls of worlds, we are evenly matched.  As evenly matched as I with Warmo on this plane. 

Thus I close my thoughts and slip into gentle, dreamless sleep.  I have finally found a moment of peace on Malefactus, thanks to these two extremes: the Warmo on one end of the see-saw, I on the other end, and Tiki and all the women of Malefactus as fulcrum in the middle. 

End blog post #70

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #69

Tiki brushes my back with a free hand as she walks by, still sulking from thinking of herself as condemned to gorok work.  I smile, but not so she can see.  The rain begins to pelt down but warm now in this world’s summer season.  I want to stand in it and dance just as total darkness falls in the courtyard.  That would be a sight indeed.  The oldest crone in the compound dancing wildly in the rain.  I know I could get away with it just this one time, but I cannot take the chance another woman would be punished for my actions.  They do have a sense of justice here, however twisted!  Somebody always has to pay or make up the difference.

End blog post #68

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Begin blog post #69

Chapter 30 – The Gift – Doing ‘Right by Wrong’ (Compromised Morality)

Tiki finds me in the dark as we crowd inside the stone vault where the cages are mounted. She hugs me quietly and unerringly leads us to our cage. I can smell the fresh straw that she helped put in earlier in the day. I can immediately tell she managed to put extra layers in our section. It feels good to lay in it full length, let her lay on top of me as the young ones like to do and feel her warmth and slow movements. Dangerously arousing.

Tiki, how you find me so quick in the dark?”

I follow scent of you. I know it you. My nose, it knows.” She laughs low to hear herself say something funny. I laugh also.

Thank you for the fresh straw, Tiki. You are very good, very strong worker. Now I know. Now I ask for you to train as fighter. Soon, no more gorok work for Tiki.” We both laugh as she throws herself into me and wraps her short arms around my skinny, bony torso.

You say ‘thank you’ to me? To woman? Why it feel so good to hear, huh?” and before I can think of an answer she continues breathlessly, “I train for fighter now? Is true?”

Yes is true. You begin training now. Hard, tough training. You swear you be best fighter, best ever fighter, Tiki? Better than me?”

I have awakened a deeper part of her. She weighs my words carefully.

Tiki cannot say she better than you. Only when Tiki dying from blows in arena, when old, then she know if better. I say I swear to be best fighter. Then I work and I do my promise to you.”

Listen Tiki. I teach you new words. You swear means you make ‘a vow’.”

“… a vow.”

Yes. Now say this: I make a vow to fulfill my promise to you Anti.”

I make a vow to fulfill my promise to you Anti.”

Tiki, good words be power words. Speak new words and always you find new power in them. Power of expression. Expression is word that means how you talk, how you speak to me, how you communicate. Strong words – you know deep meaning, they make people listen. Even challenger listen, even enemy must listen to power word.”

I make a vow to fulfill my promise to you Anti. I learn expre-shon to communicate.” She twists her lips with the sounds. She laughs quietly.

One small step for me, one giant step for the women of Malefactus, no, I must learn to use my new name for this world: T’Sing Tallala – Land of Freedom and Hope.

That is the happy part of our life here. I don’t carry the burden of ‘inloveness’ as I did with Deirdre, so have much more freedom to express myself and my compassionate heart constriction to suffering is easier to bear as it is now properly spread over the entire compound, to include all the women. In time I expect to be able to ‘push’ my compassion to include the planet and all the people on it, men, women, children. For now, that is not possible.

The thunder rumbles outside and lightning still flashes and lights the dark stones in our vault. It gives me a lightness of heart I enjoy. From somewhere an opening allows a draft to blow over us, giving us goose pimples. We bury deeper in the straw and giggle.

It is time to continue another line of teaching.

Tiki, do you remember the other day when we spoke of love and I said I would teach you of a love that does not cause pain or hurt?”

Huhmmm…” She had placed her hand under my right armpit and is twirling the hair growing profusely there. Long ago I learned that when any of these young ones share space with me, my body belongs to them. It is the body of the mother they never had. They can use it or explore it as they wish. There is so much freedom in just allowing the flesh to move with the surface feelings. I enjoy her physical company. Her silent way of seeking comfort and exploring all the feelings her body can give her by contact with mine.

It called selfless love Tiki. It means you love to make other feel good, not you. Always you love for other, not for you.”

I not Cholradil. I love if choose to love. If I not like, I not love. How can I be best fighter if love in my heart? It would hurt, make no sense.”

I do not mean as a Cholradil. What they have be not love. Is called natural empathy. Is feeling. True love not feeling. As you say, you choose to love. But true love choose to love all people same. No one special in heart. All same.”

Stupid Anti. You love Warmo? What happen if you do? He live, he go back to torture us. So, how you love us if no kill him. How you love him if kill him?”

Tiki, you be sharp, girl. You win this round hands down.” She taps my arm to indicate she doesn’t understand me. “Is OK. This what I mean. I think about what you say. Is true what you say. I not know how I love Warmo, even if possible. Have to kill Warmo? Yes, have to. Have to hurt him very, very bad, long time before I kill. Hurt him much and men watching must see hurt. Maybe even feel hurt I give Warmo. Have to give him what he give us to teach him how we feel.”

Yes indeed, if I would not become a useless sacrificial victim to Warmo I must remain of a divided personality. I must exist this portion of my time within a compromised morality context. I must continue to do ‘right by wrong.’ Some choices are not in our hands, that is, we make certain choices not by our nature or personal code of conduct but of necessity when the ‘greater good’ is at stake. And what is the ‘greater good’ that forces me to compromise my own nature?

I have resolved this moral question in my mind thus. If I perform an evil act against another to prevent a greater evil, that is acceptable providing such an act, if successful, does not in any way benefit me personally. Ideally such an act would bring about the desired effect while I, like the Phoenix, would be sacrificed in its fiery wake. It is important to understand this when faced with all such moral dilemmas. If I survive the ‘doing right by wrong’ act, I must atone for my part in it. If it benefits me, I must divest myself entirely of any and all such gain.

Having reminded myself of this process in my mind, I continue explaining these difficult concepts.

End blog post #69

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #68

I know you are all busy, and many may not have noticed even, but for those who have been waiting for more of the Manifesto, finally and finally… with one computer back on line, here’s the next instalment. Enjoy!

As I explain to them the rudiments of worship and its real purpose which at its core is always self-empowerment, I ask myself how much of what I teach I believe.  But then, if you already know something to be true and real, you don’t have to believe in it.   You never have to fear that you could be wrong about such a teaching.  I have the experience of it and experience is the greatest of all teachers.

End blog post #67
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Begin blog post #68

I know in my heart there are high-level entities who care about such as these oppressed people and will help them when they die if the connections have been made.  I’ve been there too, a helpless mendicant, lost and afraid.  I was taken care of then and that changed me forever.

I know we can “fly” without a body, go wherever our state of mind allows, I’ve done it.  I remember Altaria now without even trancing.  I remember how I manifested here in my pre-chosen form.  It’s in the remembering that one can choose the direction of one’s empowerment.

As for the prayer, well I know it is a communal exercise that brings the powerless together and in it they find a power they otherwise cannot have.  So it is good.  I am not lying and I am not making false promises or giving them false hope.  There is an immediate mutual benefit in this sharing of belief: they will be drawn closer to one-another and not see themselves so much as competitors.

The lesson is over for today and I motion to them to change places and resume exercising and practising the moves.  There is a new spring in their step which I immediately notice.  Is it the work of the Teaching?  Well, hope does powerful things, especially to people who have absolutely nothing and face death every day of their short lives; people who know with certainty they will die young and in violence.  People who know they will lose their friends and lovers to that self-same violence and, at least until now, know they are powerless to prevent it.

I move fast, push them hard to test them and release the tension I’ve created with such bold ideas.  They seem to enjoy the challenge and respond in kind.  I do not wish to hurt any of them and I parry their thrusts with blurring motions that remind me of Deirdre’s performance.  At the thought of her I feel a sudden pang of the heart.  I hold it and explore it.

‘Yes Deirdre, I remember you and I still love the memory of you.  But I know now that if you came back here I would not “fall in love” with you, nor would I take our relationship back to where it was.  I would set you free and you would have to set me free.  I think that you know this by now, wherever you are.  I thank you for the joy you gave me, but mostly for what you taught me.  I grew up with you in my life.  I became a better person because I’ve known you.  May you have the same effect on everyone you meet and may you know the bliss you were made to live in.  I release you – I release us from our bond of love.  Be forever free.’

As the training session ends for the day, the weather changes.  Dark clouds roll in and we hear distant thunder.  The air is charged with electricity, thick with ozone.  There is a flash and a discharge, followed by a deafening crash of thunder.  Lightning strikes one of the tallest eastern towers and a stone is dislodged, tumbling down the wall and through a roof.  We hear the distant yells of men.

The women look up and exchange startled glances.  I know what they are thinking, hoping.  They imagine it’s the work of their goddess beginning the destruction of the keep to set them free.  If they were allowed to cheer, what a din there would be!  I feel vindicated, somehow.  That was a timely portent.  A coincidence?  If I have learned anything from my endless wanderings it’s that there are no coincidences.  “Who” was behind that lightning bolt?

Let us just say it is the power of ‘the Teaching.’

We go to the water troughs, wash using the coarse home-made soap that feels more like the surface of a sharpening stone than a bar of soar, to scour the dust, sand and grime from ourselves.  I use the soapy water to wash my hair, now in need of cutting again.  It is matted and stiff.  As usual, we sit at the long, dark tables and wait for our evening meal.  Young trainees bring the food bowls and we eat hungrily.

Tiki brushes my back with a free hand as she walks by, still sulking from thinking of herself as condemned to gorok work.  I smile, but not so she can see.  The rain begins to pelt down but warm now in this world’s summer season.  I want to stand in it and dance just as total darkness falls in the courtyard.  That would be a sight indeed.  The oldest crone in the compound dancing wildly in the rain.  I know I could get away with it just this one time, but I cannot take the chance another woman would be punished for my actions.  They do have a sense of justice here, however twisted!  Somebody always has to pay or make up the difference.

End blog post #68
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Antierra Manifesto – Blog post #67

 

Of course there is a rule against throwing sand or any other material into another’s face but in this fight everything will be reduced to technicalities. There will be lawyers on both sides arguing the fine points of their idiotic arena fighting laws for months, perhaps even years, if any infraction is committed, or deemed to have been committed. All I know is, I have to remain within the letter of the law if I hope to demonstrate our power on that day. For us to make any impression; to leave any kind of message that can be heard, we cannot resort to subterfuge or cheating, even if we could get away with it.

And I cannot delay it any longer. I must speed up my Teaching.

End blog post #66
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Begin blog post #67

Chapter 29 – The Teaching Continues: Power in Simplicity

I call the women together, as many as I can without attracting too much attention and I make the boldest and craziest request of them I have ever imagined doing.  I have to involve all of them in some way in this  [coming fight: see last chapter] so that through me they will all be champions and winners in it.  My intent is to create an opening in their mind for an awakening to a new level of power.  They are a simple, child-like people.  I have to ‘remember’ the simpler means used by the people of Old Earth to empower themselves and introduce those here carefully.

There is a way I learned on Old Earth that could unite them behind me.  The ‘power of prayer’ as I remember it.  I don’t remember it working to bring about what the prayer asked, of course – there may have been exceptions and I remember some people I truly respected testifying they had seen ‘miracles’ done as a result of prayer.  But I am not superstitious and I will not jeopardize innocent minds with unverifiable stories.

What I do remember about prayer is that it brought people together to speak for a common goal.  Yes, our Old Earth requests were made to Old Gods who were quite deaf, if not dead.  But the words in the requests bound the people who prayed in a common circle of power.  That is the binding these women need now.  Time to go inside their hearts and their minds and re-create the human being in them.

“Listen,” I say to the nine women I have assembled to ostensibly demonstrate a new move with the double-edged battle axe.  “You call me Desert Beast.  You know is not quite true.  I not be her, I be one of her girls.  I too fly across skies to other worlds like her.  I need you believe me now.  This very important to all of us.

“I be Daughter of Great Desert Beast.  She be Great Mother to all women and girl children.  I want you make up words to Great Mother in Desert to help me.  Make poison and cutting blade turn away from my skin in battle with evil Warmo.  For this you make what is called prayer, meaning you ask her, all together but quietly – she has very good hearing if you speak of me – and must find same words for all fighters to talk to her.  When she hear you ask, she give me power and protection.  When I kill our enemy Warmo, she give all you the victory.  In arena when fighting our enemy I represent all you.  All us.  Now all you have same power and same protection.  She write down all your names in fire letters in sky boat where they written forever…”

“But we not have names…”  Objects one of them.  I continue to explain.

“Yes.  You all have name.  Think name and say name in prayer.  Think name you know, you like for you: that be secret power woman name.  Ask her, in my power woman name that is Antierra, then say your own secret name.  She hear.  She happy and she help us.  Your prayer, it wake her up from bad sleep, from bad dream she be trapped in.  Then she make sky boat fly again.  When you look in sky, if you out here, look.  If evil black metal birds that eat woman flesh not there, means Desert Beast sky boat coming to make new light; chase away evil black birds.

“One day, you see this.  Now believe this.  Always remember this, she your Great Mother, she be called a goddess.  Never to tell men of this – is great woman secret – power is in secret.  Never say to man you have goddess in heart.  Never!  They kill you, all you.  If speak this, goddess leave again.  Give no more power, no more help.

“Goddess, Great Desert Beast, she come down one day, she tell men herself.  You be her people and one day she come, she take you to place where you find all your children, all lost, dead children taken and eaten by black metal men, she bring back to you.  You happy then, forget bad things.

Again one of them interrupts, which is always a good thing; it shows they are intently listening and trying to understand the meaning of the worlds.  “If believe this, how long we wait for goddess?”

“Always is long time from beginning to pray.  So you not forget.  Never forget.  Always pray to goddess, every day.  Teach young ones to pray.  When dying, pray.  Not be afraid.  Not curse.  Just pray, leave body, leave pain behind in dead body.  Find new life in goddess.

“When I gone, dead in body, you pray.  I not really dead.  I come back.  I teach more.  This I give you to remember, to believe.  This you not understand?  No need.  Just believe.  If things bad, believe.  If things good, believe.  This is forever gift I give to all you.  This you call real love.  This when you die in body, you keep in woman mind.”

“What be mind?”

“Is like spirit.  Ghost.”

There is a collective intake of breath.  “Ah… we dead in body, we be ghost?”

“Yes.”  I did not know these people had a remnant of superstition, nor did I realize they knew about ghosts.  How stupid of me.  With so many deaths here, how could there not be ghosts crowding these places not knowing yet where to go?  These women see and sense the ghosts of their dead  partners, friends, lovers about this place but never speak of them.  It is forbidden and I’ve ignorantly opened another dangerous can of worms.

“Ghost is bad thing.  Evil.  We dead in body, we be evil things?”

“No!”  I shake my head in frustration.  “You be like ghost, not real ghost.  You be you but no body.  If you good, you good after die.  If you bad, you still bad after die.  Same you. That be mind, that be spirit.  You with no body.  But you free, not like ghost.  Ghost cannot leave but you fly away in skies like Desert Beast.  No need sky boat, just fly.  See everything, free, free.  No hurt.  No hungry.  No thirsty.  Happy like little fish in big water.  Swim in air, swim in water, swim inside sand, rock.  Easy.  That be spirit-mind you.”  I wave the training battle axe I’m holding in my hand to emphasize the point.  I stick its handle point hard into a crack in the stone, then I point it at the sky.  Anything to create a visual memory for the Teaching.  I almost wish I had the magic staff that split the rock or brought fire from the sky.  Almost.

As I explain to them the rudiments of worship and its real purpose which at its core is always self-empowerment, I ask myself how much of what I teach I believe.  But then, if you already know something to be true and real, you don’t have to believe in it.   You never have to fear that you could be wrong about such a teaching.  I have the experience of it and experience is the greatest of all teachers.

End blog post #67

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #66

I don’t have to explain the Inquisition or Warmo to her. She gets as much as I could tell her from her contacts which she has naturally developed as she works the kitchens, the yard and the cages. By now everybody knows her and she has had many offers to leave me and share younger flesh in other cages. She could do it, if she wanted it badly enough. Yes, she belongs to me, in a sense, but she could “trade” herself for another, say an older trainee who wanted to ingratiate herself to me for special training. This old human trading for advantage, for favours, is found everywhere except in the most advanced and evolved worlds touching the top edge of ISSA consciousness. No matter where I’ve encountered this process, I’ve always found it particularly repugnant.

End blog post #65
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Begin blog post #66

To this moment Tiki chooses to remain in my care. Undoubtedly there are many advantages for her in this choice, not the least of which is added protection. Especially now. I could literally commit a crime and I would not be molested by the men – at least not until after the fight. Tiki is no fool. Plus I think she likes me, even loves me, in her own way. We speak of the fight.

Tiki afraid for me?” I ask her.

Ah yes. Little bit afraid. That man is monster. Bad man. He hurt you, I hate him. If he kill you, when I become fighter, I kill him. Better for him you kill him, yes. Better.” So much fire in her low throaty voice; so much strength. It is I who feels strengthened by her devotion.

I kill him, Tiki. I have to, not for me, for all of us. I have to make my weapon talk to him and tell him he be very wrong about women. I show him power of woman. Then you know I true. You know I can give that power to Tiki, my full power, before I too must die in arena. You understand?”

Those round pools of luminescent black, the sad eyes of the women of Malefactus, bore into mine. There is a trace of tears in them, unusual, for women fighters do not usually shed tears. “Yes.” She whispers and I feel her warm breath on my face as she exhales heavily. “I lose you soon. Always they kill old fighters. Like young ones better; like to look at us. Like to hurt us and make fun of clumsiness. I learn from you, Anti. I not be clumsy. I be old first time I fight and kill man.” She means she will be fully trained and experienced and will fight like an old professional fighter. She means she will dedicate her training life to being the best. Now it is coming from her. Now I can begin her training in earnest. Demonstrate her spirit and abilities to interest a powerful and rich owner who will keep her for the profits she will bring him. One who will provide her that little extra edge of protection every woman desperately longs for and needs here. That I must do before I ‘leave’ Malefactus.

During the hiatus before the main event I’m given much liberty and all the training time I desire. I have full access to the forge and I make sure I have all the possible weapons ready. I do not know what Warmo will choose. They say in his fighting days as a drook he was an adept at all of them plus he handled others we have never seen here in the compound. I know he is considered a criminal now but he has deep roots in this place. Connections. Plus much money is riding on this. This fight could be fixed, or a serious attempt could be made to fix it.

Could he, somehow, find a way to by-pass the rule of equal weapon and armour? Could he show up with a new type of weapon I’ve never seen, or trained on and be allowed to use it? I try to imagine what sort of hand to hand combat weapon he could design not in our arsenal. Perhaps a poisoned throwing knife hidden in a sleeve of his armour? That is the kind of trick I must expect. Tiny balls with poisoned spikes that can be thrown at bare flesh and do their work in minutes? Those razor sharp star weapons used by Ninja warriors on Old Earth? Does he know of those? I suspect he does.

Of course there is a rule against throwing sand or any other material into another’s face but in this fight everything will be reduced to technicalities. There will be lawyers on both sides arguing the fine points of their idiotic arena fighting laws for months, perhaps even years, if any infraction is committed, or deemed to have been committed. All I know is, I have to remain within the letter of the law if I hope to demonstrate our power on that day. For us to make any impression; to leave any kind of message that can be heard, we cannot resort to subterfuge or cheating, even if we could get away with it.

And I cannot delay it any longer. I must speed up my Teaching.

End blog post #66

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #65

(In which Antierra faces her most challenging arena combat to-date which she hopes will score a very important point for the empowerment of women in Elbre.)

To all of this, much more and repetitively, Tiki listens.  I can feel her tensing at times, and wanting to speak but even here in these dreadful compounds there is an order.  When the older women engage certain topics among themselves, the young stay quiet.  They are expected to listen but may never interrupt.  Those who do are quietly but viciously “punished” by the older ones in the training compounds.  When they are punished, they know why.  Thus the women discipline ‘their’ children even under these circumstances.  Of course of those we are given, we can discipline freely.  They are our slaves.
End blog post #64
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Begin blog post #65

Chapter 28 – Vengeance as a Redemptive Act

Through Tiki I have been contacted by the female Cydroid who works as a goronda in the kitchens.  The Koronese “sting” operation on Warmo and his infernal inquisition has been successfully concluded, details to be given to me in the future should I require them.  Yes, XBA9 was tortured to death as was expected and his “re-cloning” (at astronomical cost to Dr. Echinoza and his associates on Koron) was immediately implemented when XBA9’s death on T’Sing Tarleyn was confirmed and officially accepted on Koron.

I am told that the King ordered a secret raid on Warmo’s dungeons following the death of a “terrorist” whose activities the King wanted to know more about.  All the victims of Warmo’s torture, alive, dying or dead but still on the stakes, were taken out into a secure courtyard for official examination.  Warmo was arrested on a technicality to do with a health code violation.  Apparently he failed to remove the decomposing bodies of his victims and keep the floors and walls disinfected and a member of his entourage got sick from accidental contact with the bodies.

Again I must point out the twisted logic on how laws are used in pseudo-ISSA societies.  I saw many such inanities when dealing with “environmental” or “health” related issues on Túat Har.  There never were any doubts in my mind then that the endless legal subterfuges used by the courts to hide real crimes through the prosecution of misdemeanours would inevitably result in the great die-back.  There never was the will to tackle the real problems because that would have exposed all the powers that be and all the rulers, leaders, CEO’s including the great heads of organized Religion.

But back to my story here.  The “member” in Warmo’s employ – one of the Cydroids – blew the whistle.  Another Cydroid, a member of the King’s legal counsel group, laid the charges against Warmo.  After short deliberation and the additional startling discovery that the “terrorist” was a confidant of the King and friend of the court, Warmo was officially pronounced guilty.  As you know, all crimes on Malefactus are capital crimes.  Warmo was given the chance to redeem himself through a fight to the death in the arena.  He naturally jumped at the chance and when he was told I would be his opposing fighter, he apparently raised his fist in the air and yelled, “I finally get to kill that bitch!”

All the men in the compound, from the overseer to the medics, are aghast at the bold move by the King and his counselors in reaching down into the official inquisition’s affairs and condemning “the” Warmo.  The man is well known in Elbre.  Before the previous King gave him the position of chief torturer – it is well known that the King used to go and watch Warmo work and sometimes provide him with interesting victims for the fun of it – Warmo had been a drook.

His reputation was so that no owner of female fighters would enter them against him and he had no more takers by the time he was promoted to be the King’s Grand Inquisitor.  He killed with precision and mastery but more, with utter malice.  Warmo was (and remains) a consummate misogynist.  He literally tortured opposing fighters before killing them.  No one died quickly at his hands.  He would entertain the crowds with blows and cuts, to maim and disfigure after he’d tired his opponent.  Even if the fighter quit and lay down to die, he’d continue beating and cutting as long as he could make her endure.  He never sexually assaulted his victims and the story spread that he was a eunuch.

Well, maybe I’ll find out.  In the case of Warmo, I’m going to be utterly “human” in performing my own ritual with him in the arena.  Yes, I know I should not be so cocky, that anything can go wrong, that I am supposed to be a new person with a new outlook on life and that I need to be humble in all things.  Sure, I know all that, just as you know all that.  But again, there is that which I call compromised morality.  This is not about me, even though I will be the center of interest and attraction.

This is much more than personal.  This fight is a social comment and a political statement.  It is of paramount importance that my purpose is not to survive an arena fight against a powerful drook, but meant to avenge his victims, particularly the female ones.  I must be more than the ultimate fighter; I must also be the consummate actress to demonstrate that I am indeed the avenger.

In exacting vengeance on Warmo I will be causing the deliberate humiliation of a once “great” man and performing an elaborate execution by torture to be done by a woman to a man.  This must be seen by all, and reported openly.  This is my ultimate dare and my chance to make these males see what a fearless, self-empowered woman can do.

Even if after the fight I am publicly flogged to death or otherwise killed for my temerity, for having dared flaunt my womanhood towards a man, I must do this.  The law is clear on this: the penalty for a woman demonstrating power over a man (other than in the handling of weapons, of course) is death.  The choice of death, if it comes on that day, will be given to the crowd to decide.  Not likely will it be a mercy killing.

Nevertheless, there must be no doubt that I am meeting this monster in my own capacity as monster.  The meeting of Beast Warmo and the Desert Beast.  The stakes will likely be the highest the gambling  world has ever heard of.  The betting will go ‘through the roof’ as the saying went.

I have two weeks to prepare myself for this event.  It’s not that either Warmo or I need that time, but the longer the event is delayed, the higher the stakes will rise, and the farther the news will reach so betting will take place in all the major centers of Elbre, and perhaps even beyond.  This is “play off” time and the Big Money will be in evidence everywhere.  This also means that in the meantime, fewer women will be fought in the arenas as the money will be hoarded for the main event.  That also is a great victory to me, although I can see an uglier side to this as well.

I hear the King has decreed there is to be but one fight in the arena of Hyrete on that day, regardless of how quickly it ends.

Also, the day of the “Fight of the Beasts” as it is billed is to be a kingdom-wide holiday.

I wonder how that will affect the non-fighter women and girls in the kingdom?  They won’t see any holiday; in fact they will have a greater load to bear as a result of the partying, visiting, merry-making and the various needs for exotic pleasures and entertainment.  There is also the very real danger that should the fight cause great losses of money, and I am the one who causes it by killing the Warmo, innocent women will bear the brunt of reprisals in a surge of hate and anger against women in general.  This is, after all as I have already said, a world at war and in any war it is always the innocents who suffer the most.

Tiki and I speak of the coming fight.  This girl is no fool.  She understands her world and moves within its twisted ways with a skill born of breeding and necessity.  If it’s information she wants, she gets it quietly and quickly and she deduces much from what is not being said or publicized.

I don’t have to explain the Inquisition or Warmo to her.  She gets as much as I could tell her from her contacts which she has naturally developed as she works the kitchens, the yard and the cages.  By now everybody knows her and she has had many offers to leave me and share younger flesh in other cages.  She could do it, if she wanted it badly enough.  Yes, she belongs to me, in a sense, but she could “trade” herself for another, say an older trainee who wanted to ingratiate herself to me for special training.  This old human trading for advantage, for favours, is found everywhere except in the most advanced and evolved world touching the top edge of ISSA consciousness.  No matter where I’ve encountered this process, I’ve always found it particularly repugnant.

End blog post #65