Category Archives: Empathy

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #25

[perhaps I should have explained at the beginning that Chapter titles do not indicate endings for blog posts.  One chapter can contain several blog posts. For example this post begins with a chapter title that will make sense only in the next blog post…]

[begin blog post #25]

Chapter 12 – The Dark Sun; a Few Explanations

“We owe each other some serious explanations, I think,”  says the doctor.

“Yes sir.”  I return to my subservient mode as a precaution to this conversation.  I cannot forget how the last one ended and I have Deirdre to worry about now.

“Look, you don’t need to take that subservient tone with me now.”  He says as he feels my reluctance and fear of his changing moods.  “I know I must do more than apologize for striking you but see, I’ve been on this world so long I’ve taken on some of its patterns within myself.  I have great difficulty fighting back the terrible disease of this place.  On this world, women are ectohormonal all the time.  That creates sexual lust beyond any male’s power to assimilate.  Because of the social taboos on sex, the repression results in a deadly combination of fear, anger and violent hatred towards the females.  As an anthropologist, I came here in part to identify and isolate the source of it but I have had no success, rather the opposite.  This world is dragging me down with it.

“I hated myself for striking you, and for having sex with you without asking, yet another part of me said that to do less under the circumstances was to deny my manhood and my rights.  I could not allow a woman to flaunt her power, any kind of power, over me.  I reacted as any normal male would react here.  Basically, from the programming here, you were the one responsible for me striking you in anger and hate.  If you are asked a direct question, you must answer immediately and truthfully at all times.  Never try to shrug it off, that shows disrespect and truly enrages men.

“Love-hate, love-hate.  It bangs in our head, hearts and loins all the time.  It’s not so bad if we can avoid contact with females, but it rages the closer we get to one.  Utterly irrational feelings arise and boil over into emotional outbursts.  But at least I am able to demonstrate to you that I am still somehow different? 

“After I sent you out I came in this place and got totally, disgustingly drunk!  I remained in here for two days without food or washing until my Cydroid servants brought me out and restored me to some semblance of sanity.  I hate this place…”

“Doctor, why did you call your people “Cydroids” and not androids?”

“Ah that, well, I cannot explain now.  Why don’t I let the Cydroids themselves explain it all to you later?  Just think of them as androids if that makes it easier for you until it is explained properly.  Now, Antierra, I want you to speak to me freely, as an equal.  At the moment my mind is free and as long as the Cholradil is with us you are safe.  She seems to provide a dampening cushion to this world’s energies.”  And with a sudden change of tone, almost beseeching for forgiveness, he asks,   “Do you object I had sex with her?  Please answer me as a person to a person.”

What an unexpected question!  “There is no jealousy in me in that respect.  In fact I think it was a very good thing for her.  I think the Cholradil is equipped to do this with any number of men and women without arousing more than surface jealousy in others.  When she is with me, she is not with anyone else.  However she is not immune to jealousy in herself.  There are human feelings there also.”

“I found the same to be true.  When we made love she was entirely mine, even with you lying but a few meters away in the auto-medic.  She is a fascinating creature: there seem to be few contradictions in her mind.”

 

“Isn’t it strange, doctor, that we speak of her as if she wasn’t here, listening to us speak?” 

“Watch her.”  He makes me notice Deirdre in a new light.  “She isn’t really listening to our conversation.  Notice her expressions.  She is in full empath mode searching your body for any weakness the auto-medic may have missed.  She can hear us, of course, but our conversation is meaningless to her because it doesn’t concern her personally.  Cholradils do not care what others think of them as a general rule.  They exist on separate neural pathways of emotion-feeling.  She would make an interesting case study on my world.”

“On your world, doctor?  So I was right in thinking that you and your Cydroids are not from T’Sing Tarleyn but actually from another world; another planet?  You have just made the statement I was hoping to hear from you.  If you are not from here, then you must have the means to leave this place, a ship?  Could you maybe consider getting her to your world, or at least off this one and onto some safe place?  I don’t know if you are aware of her predicament: Cholradils cannot fight.  They cannot hurt others for when they do, they feel the full impact of it within their own minds and suffer even more than the other.  Consequently doctor, she cannot fight.  Her first arena combat is a sentence of violent torture and death for her.”

“I was aware of that, yes, but thank you for the reminder.  Antierra, I would like to help both of you.  The Cydroids take the trip to our home world fairly regularly and taking her on the ship would not be a great burden.  Travel there incurs only a little over six months of transit time debt.  The real problem is getting her admitted to our world.  She may be refused entry, in which case what can the Cydroids do with her?  They must land before they can return here.  If they land her illegally she will be put in cryogenic freeze unless I can somehow guarantee some sort of refugee status for her.  Our world does not, as yet, have any clear policy on granting such status to off-world aliens.  Our ability to travel space is relatively new and harboring refugees from other worlds has not been needed or considered to date. 

“Taking Deirdre there would be to put her at the mercy of pure goodwill unless it could be demonstrated that this Cholradil is a paragon of intellectual prowess.  If that were the case, no problem.  She would become an instant celebrity in our society.  Our fledgling World Court ( which I helped establish before I posted myself to this world) would accept her without question.

“There is another, most obvious and more pressing problem before us: getting her out of this compound alive and without endangering the lives of many others, mostly innocent bystanders if there is an escape.  You know how they react to their security being breached here.

“For me there is also a personal aspect to this venture.  If you want me to seriously consider taking such a risk for you and the Choradil I must insist on a fair exchange for my costs and troubles.  You will owe me something in return.  You will have to tell me exactly and truthfully who you are and what you are doing here, as well as how you got here – I want the real story.  Further to that you must agree to join with us whatever be the cost to you personally.  Can I hold you to that?”

[end blog post #25]

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #25

[begin blog post #24]

When I come to, and I must admit I’m surprised they didn’t just kill me for the satisfaction of the crowd out there in the arena, I’m lying on a flat, hard surface and what I first see are the faces of the doctor and Deirdre staring at me.  At first I think I’m having a PDE (Post Death Encounter) of latent images.  Then I hear them talking and I pick up a whiff of disinfectant.  I’m truly still alive!

The room I’m in looks strange by any standard.  The ceiling is low, curved and full of recessed lights.  At my feet are pulsing blue-green lights around an opening that resembles an ancient short-range shuttle auto-medic.  I’m wrapped tightly in some kind of tensor bandage with only parts of my face showing.  I detect a familiar humming sound.  And I realize, almost ecstatically, that for the first time in months I feel no physical pain beyond a slight throbbing at the temples.  What a blessed relief!

“Do you recognize where you are?” the doctor asks me.  His voice comes from a great distance and moves in and out.  But I understand him.

“No sir.” I reply, my voice weak and throaty.  I realize my throat is parched and motion with my mouth.  Deirdre brings me a pink coloured drink in a clear crystal-like goblet with a folding tube from which I suck the liquid.  After she removes it, she applies a wet cloth to my lips, removes it and kisses me!  The witch!  Tears form in my eyes.  How good it is to be alive at this moment!  And loved.

And I continue answering the doctor, “But I should know.  Those lights and sound are those of an auto-medic unit as used on ancient short range crafts we called Jump Scouts, the kind used by the United Treaty Worlds.”

“I don’t know anything about United Treaty Worlds but you are correct, this is from an alien spacecraft, yes, we have ascertained that.  But we are not in space, just a few yards from my room.  This medical unit was obviously cannibalized from an abandoned or disabled alien space craft perhaps hundreds of years ago.  It was entombed here, we do not know by whom, nor why it is here but it has been used by my people as com center, first aid medic facility and safe house on many occasions since we have been studying this world. 

“That we know, no one else on this world besides the three of us here and the Cydroids you saw previously know of this facility.”

Cydroids?  Ah, he probably means the androids.  Of course!  A beep sounds and the lights by my feet at the opening into the auto-medic change from a pulsing blue to a steady red.  The doctor consults his watch-chrono.

“It’s time again.  I’m going to send you into the auto-medic for a deeper scan and some preliminary bone repair.  You will be returned in thirty-five minutes for my inspection.  Meanwhile I must decide what to do with your friend Deirdre.”

“Please don’t hurt her!”  I try to scream as the stretcher I am strapped upon retracts into the glowing tube.  The end seals itself shut just behind my head and white noise or white light or both, fill my brain.

In a moment of timeless eternity I awaken once more in the land of the living.  I’m no longer in bandages but still lying on the retractable “gurney”.  Deirdre helps me up and the doctor actually hands me a gown.  It’s been so long since I wore any clothing, I’m almost embarrassed to put it on, as if wearing clothes is committing an act of indecency.  Deirdre is also wearing a short black dress and sports a comical perplexed expression as she fingers the flimsy material as if she wanted to tear it off of herself.  She has never worn a dress, or any kind of clothing in her entire life!  It would seem strange, indeed.  To her it must seem as if she were attired as a male.

She does not seem hurt in any way and with my full senses returned I know she is not hurt.  In fact I sense some kind of new energy from her.  I know the doctor has made love to her – I can smell it on her – and I know that she has made a deep impression upon him with her sexual skills and empathic personality.  He likes her and I like the connection made thus, a connection that I plan to use in time, in whatever time I am given.

After I sit at the doctor’s small table Deirdre serves me some food concoction that tastes beyond delicious, whatever it is, on a real plate and with utensils!

Here I am, sitting at a table, eating with cutlery, not wolfing coarse food down with hands and fingers from a bowl.  I’m wearing clothes, my body clean and free of physical pain and putting my hand to my hair, I feel that it has been washed and cut into a pageboy style.  Deirdre again.  My sweet lover cuddles against me and the man whom I’d feared, sitting across from the small fibresteel table watching me, is now most certainly my life saver.  And a fleeting smile plays across his beautiful face. 

We used to say, ‘wonders never cease’ and indeed it’s true.  They never do.  We go through life after life, experiencing the flow of the All-Thing and we are forever renewed by being pushed into new experiences by choices made by others, or choose our paths through our own creative thinking.  The best is when all of it works in harmony, but that is a rare thing.   

The doctor looks at me and smiles.  “You are truly a beautiful woman when you take care of yourself now huh!?”  Question?  Statement?  A joke?  Yes, my doctor makes a joke and the smile returns.  This man is full of surprises.

Daringly I ask him, “How do you know the girl’s actual name, doctor?”

“She came to me feigning a knee injury while you were in the fight.  She told me everything you and she talked about.  She told me about the name-giving rite you performed with her and said you needed to speak to me, which suited me fine because I need to speak to you also.  And she was emphatic in claiming that you would need my full attention when the fight was over because you would be mortally wounded.  She knew!  When I asked her how she could know this she just shrugged and told me she couldn’t say.

“But then I figured it out, of course.  This creature is a throw-back, a Cholradil.  She possesses the mind-set of an ancient race that inhabited these parts around a hundred thousand years ago, according to old writings.  I got that impression when I touched her body looking for the knee injury.  It is said that their responses to touch is somewhat like contacting a static charge.”

I look him straight in the eyes and let mine convey the thoughts in my mind.  ‘I owe you for not punishing the girl and I owe you the debt of life also,’ I think as I stare into his broad face, now more beautiful than ever to me, ‘yet I have a terrible favour to ask of you and must risk your anger once more.’  There is a quizzical look on his face.  He knows I’m speaking to him but cannot understand.  He is not telepathic, or if he is, he uses a different thought patterning.  It’ll have to be openly verbal then.

The time has arrived for real questions and real answers.  Now I must know; this charade between us must end.  

[end blog post #24]

Search for the Meaning of Life

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]

Life, I ask myself, late in the night as I ponder reality: what is life? I know what I think it is; I know what I’ve read about it; I know many other peoples’ thoughts on it, but none of that answers my question. Is life a ‘what’? Is it a ‘who’? Is it a guide? Something to be endured, gotten over with on the way to something else?

I suppose my question makes as much sense as a sardine asking itself what the ocean is. Unless I can travel all of time and space, and beyond time, such it seems must remain the unsolvable riddle, the unanswerable question. Yet knowing this only makes me want to wander the labyrinth even more. I don’t want out of there until I have received a satisfactory answer.

Am I meant to live forever then, forever searching for an answer to my ultimate “Why?” and never arriving at that answer: is that how it works? Or, am I meant to discover the answer serendipitously, by assembling the puzzle pieces through a series of events based on some common sense and pure luck?

Is life the greatest master teacher or the final trickster? Or as some have tried to convince me, nothing more than a meaningless happenstance you go through once never to be heard of again?

If one were to either through luck or good management discover the secret of life, would that answer all the other “why’s” that led to the final answer? Wouldn’t I not then be asking why was such and such a process used to create all the pieces of life’s puzzle? Why pain? Why happiness overshadowed by loss? Why they good crushed under the jack boots of evil? Of sorrow and joy, why can’t one exist without the other?

Tonight I experienced another of those recurrent bouts of empathy for a world I don’t even particularly like or care for: a world I just happen to be in at this time. I “saw” people, not as groups, collectives, races, ages, genders, but as individuals, yes even in their billions, like rain drops falling in a storm-tossed ocean. It was a wave of sorrow for this world so powerful I had to find some support to lean on, my legs did not want to support me. The world, mankind, passed through my mind and all my physical energy was focused there.

Life, so it seemed, was passing through me as through a filter.  There were sobs, sighs and tears and I thought, yes, that is what it means to become an empath. You feel but it’s a knowing, aware feeling, not an emotion that flares and dies and leaves you free to continue where you left off. This changes you, each time it happens it gives birth to a new awareness of life, a new ‘you.’

So that’s where it’s at for me in my current understanding of the meaning of life. It is an endless birthing of new awareness; an awareness that determines the path I must walk until another birthing happens, then the path changes again. Push, feel the pain, along with the need to bring this about, push again and again, then rejoice in what is birthed.

Nurture this preciousness until the next time.

Life means there will always be a next time.

The Antierra Manifesto – Blog post #22

[begin blog post #22]

Chapter 11 – The Drook Challenger

Deirdre desperately needs to be trained if she is ever going to become a fighter.  I have earned a certain kind of “reputation” among the handlers and developed an understanding of their pecking order in the training compounds, from the overseer down to the lowly trainers.

Perhaps I should explain the hierarchy of authority and power surrounding the whole aspect of arena fighting.  First are the owners whom we never see or have contact with.  They foot the bills for our maintenance and they recoup these losses and sometimes even make money from the gambling on our fights.  The fighting is arranged by the arena council, a group of a dozen owners or other influential people representing Hyrete and other major centers where fighter slaves are bred and raised.  Then come a variety of “judges” who adjudicate on the various laws and rules of combat, weapons and the conduct of fighters and challengers.  They also decide when a fighter is ready to enter her first arena combat.  Then come the overseers, guards, handlers and trainers.

What a fighter must quickly learn is not so much the official power of each class of male over her, but their pecking order.  It is important to develop a sense of which men are the most power hungry and vicious and which men are there because it’s a fairly safe job, certainly more so than being palace guard, police or military.  These latter can often be manipulated if one knows how to play the sex and humility angle.  I know the ones who have enough authority among their peers to approach for small favours.  By dint of hints and innuendos, I am able to make my desire to train Deirdre known to a couple of handlers.

In return, possibly as a favour to an old and battered crone but one considered still in good enough form and a safe bet in a fair fight, I am given permission to begin her training.  I cannot fail to notice more than a hint of cruel amusement on the faces of the handlers when they authorize the training of Deirdre.  The reason is soon brought home to me.

She is utterly hopeless in hand-to-hand combat.  Though taller than most T’Sing Tarleynan females, she has no aptitude for weapons.  Try as she may, she cannot produce a single hit and winces as if in pain each time she does attempt it.  She blocks thrusts and jumps blows with amazing alacrity, using subconscious reflex actions that blur her movements.  She performs intricate dances of evasion to any thrust, even using the staff weapon as if it was made for pole vaulting, her acrobatics causing cheers to come from the males watching from the benches where they sip on their home brewed mead.  No doubt she is a superbly trained performer and entertainer.

But her heart refuses to enter fighting mode.  There is not one ounce of motivation there.  All the wonderful energy I experience from her when she helps me, or makes love to me, there is none of that on the grounds.  I am in despair.  One day she will be thrown in the arena and the worst possible will be done to her.  Why won’t she fight?

In each session I speak to her of this.  I try to impress the necessity of going along.  “You are strong, daring, probably the fastest I’ve ever seen.  And you are fearless,”  I say to her, “So why can’t you do what you are supposed to?”  Today she shrugs, drops her staff to the ground – a violation of my own rules as an unofficial trainer that could get her severely punished – and turns from me.  When I grab her and spin her around to upbraid her for her neglect and cowardice, I see her face is covered in large, hot tears.

In desperation I ask, “Who are you, Deirdre?  I know you are not gladiator material.”

“I am ‘Cholradil’ (pronounced show-ray); a natural born empath.”

I am shocked by that revelation.  “I thought they had no such class of female.” I reply to her.

“They don’t.”  She replies.  “It is said we are rare – they call us atavistic ‘throw-backs’ or freaks.  When they can use us they keep us, otherwise we are killed as soon as they discover what we are.  About three years ago while I was still in crèche I was caught stealing herbal medicines to help a wounded friend.  They could have flogged me to death but instead they put me in the line-up to be sold for gladiator training.  That was their real punishment.  Since the buyers were not made aware of my predicament, they made money on me which they would not have had they just killed me.

“They knew I couldn’t fight and considered it was a great joke to put a Cholradil in among fighters.  I cannot harm anyone or anything, let alone kill, you see?  I never told you because there was no point in it.  I always knew I would never be able to fight anyone and that I would be killed the very first time I go into the fighting ring.  It is my punishment.  It is the way of it.”

“It is the way of it.”  They say that with so much fatalism.

“They actually tolerate individuals who could never harm others?  They have empaths on this twisted world?  Why?”  The question was rhetorical, of course.  I did not expect her to have the answer.

“I was born feeling what you feel; what anyone feels who is close enough to me.  If you hurt, I hurt.  If I hurt you, I hurt me.  When I was still very young, I knew if another beat me up, I could do nothing but put my arms up to block the blows.  But if that person was hurt, I’d find some way to help her because I could always feel what she felt in her pain.  It wasn’t what you call “compassion”.  I didn’t have to like her.  I did not have to want to do it but I had to help her heal so our pain would go away.  After a while they did not hurt me anymore.  They left me alone and came to me only if they were hurt.  I would heal them and they would ignore me.  I was something they could use.  I could never play in their violent games or listen to their thoughts of violence against one-another and against the authorities they hated.”

“What class of girls were you bred for and raised in, then?”

“Sex slaves.  Entertainers.  Pleasers.  We learned all that is known about sex.”

“But your branding says you are class 04, fighter.  How can that be?”

“They changed it by grafting and re-branding to make more money.  I am tall and look as if bred as fighter.  It was a ruse on their part.  I sold for much money.”

Well, that explains some of what I’d observed in her.  “Is that why you speak so clearly and knowingly?  You were educated in the arts of words, of communication?”

“Yes.  I would be worth more.  Maybe even become a concubine of some great man.”

[end blog post #22]

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #19

[begin blog post #19]

The doctor is not seeing me anymore and when I receive a particularly large wound, she pinches it closed with her long skinny fingers or her mouth in turn, doing so for hours at a time, refusing to let me stir.  I’m sure she saves my life on a couple of occasions by stemming flowing blood from cut arteries.  She always has her braided straw ropes which she makes during the night and hides in the straw bedding, ready to use as tourniquets. 

She is a totally amazing creature, yet seemingly unaware of her special skills, talents and gifts.  She is human, I know, yet she is more, something intangible that motivates her, pushing her to be what she is.   

It is during those long, quiet times when I’m recovering and she sits by me that I tell her stories and build alternate and future lives in her mind.  I speak to her of other worlds where people are not like they are on T’Sing Tarleyn.  I try to explain space travel that allows one to jump instantly between worlds so far apart that it would take several lifetimes of one person to reach, even if he were travelling as fast as a beam of light.  I relate some aspects of my remembered past lives in order to broaden the field of her understanding for I have learned by attempts to interact with most of the people here that beyond their immediate concern for this life, awareness drops into a void.  For them there is nothing beyond death. 

She puzzles deeply over the confusing quality of the lives of the people of Túat Har, of the simplicity of life in the silence of Parnako where the people there communicate exclusively by telepathy; and the fullness of the joy experienced by those who spend time on my “home world” of Altaria.  She asks many questions for which there are no answers, simply because in the living of the questions, she, and only she, can find the answers.  Just as I have to find mine.  I also attempt to explain that aspect of life to her.

How incredibly receptive – and consequently dangerous to herself – she is!  She wants to believe everything I tell her and this frightens me so for I am helpless to protect her from the unknowns her new-found knowledge may bring upon her.  Yet there is no fear at all in her, although she has exposed so much of it in me! 

I fear her utter, totally unconditional love for me, following the dreadful emptiness of her previous life may have made her a bit mad.  And again, I’m probably as wrong as can be in that respect.  The quality of her is such that whenever I think I’ve got her pegged to a certain understanding, or pattern of thought, she moves beyond it, out of my mind’s grasp.

For a while as I got to know her I thought it was simple innocence that made her at the same time utterly one with me and inscrutably fluid to escape any template I made of her mind.  But there are no innocents on Malefactus.  These children raised in crèches know all that is to befall them when they are taken from their questionable childhood safety and sold “into the trade” as slaves.  They are told everything, often even elaborated upon deliberately to frighten them. 

Sometimes in the telling, their bleak future is made even worse than what I’ve described so far.  The viciousness and malice of this society possesses few bounds.  The weak, in whatever form found, have but one purpose: to be exploited and oppressed to the utmost; the very marrow of their lives sucked from them.  So far I have found no redeemable moral values here.  Everything is set up to be cut and dry.  Those who have power will do whatever it takes to keep it, or augment it.  Those who have none, even the little they may think they have will be ripped from their minds, their hearts, their bodies by the most shameless, heartless and cruel ways that can be devised by minds sold into the concept of evil.  Along with her strange nature my young friend shows many signs of having been thus mentally and physically abused.  There is a dark, despairing side to her I can feel in her unguarded moments. 

So I love her all the more.  Weeks somehow stretch into months, months become the dreadful year taking her closer to the arena. 

Basically there seem to be little discernable change of seasons in this part of T’Sing Tarleyn.  Yearly temperatures vary little, except by changes in the weather.  Because it is a dry and sandy world it loses much of its heat during the night and the mornings are always cold.  The days are hot and dry, evenings cool, if the sky is cloudless. 

If it is the rainy season, the mornings are not as cold – but the wet and humidity on our bare skins makes it more miserable to bear while we eat (always in the open, regardless of the weather), train or repair our weapons and armour.  The only times we are permitted indoors apart from our sleeping and holding cages is when we are being used for sex and occasionally when we are being treated for serious but not life-threatening injuries from the fights.  If the injury is life-threatening is it cheaper for our owners to buy a replacement fighter and let us die than attempt “repairs.”  More often than not a badly injured fighter, even if she has killed her opponent, is killed by her handlers in the arena, thus giving the crowd a moment of temporary satisfaction. 

During this strange and very emotional time I watch her grow.  She has a full growth of pubic hair now and her breasts are filling out.  I notice the men looking her over more and more.  I try to warn her about what they are about to do to her.  She smiles at me as if I’d lost my mind.  “I know that!” she whispers.  “Are you jealous?” 

“No sweet one, I’m not jealous – yes, I am jealous, damn you!”  She smiles mischievously, “Mostly I’m scared for you that you may do something unacceptable and be punished.  I want you to be everything they want you to be, to fit in, no matter what they say or do.  Whatever you and I are together, we are not when separated.  Keep those lives separate and never forget you are a fighter slave and not my child-lover.”

“Am I really your child-lover?”  Her tone is reproachful and I’m stung to the quick by it.  “You’ve never made love to me.  I watch the others and I’ve been waiting.  Is there something wrong with me?  Don’t you love me?”

Oh the pain those words carry!  Oh please, I don’t want to hear that!  Again I realize I’ve thoroughly messed up with another when I was so convinced I was being kind and understanding.  Is there no way to “do the right thing” on this stupid world?  Or am I such a fool?

“Sweet, I love you more than I can tell or show.  I just thought you should be the one to, you know, make the first move.  You give me so much all the time, I was afraid to take something from you, you may not have been ready or willing to share with me.”

She leans over to me, puts her head on my shoulder and whispers, “You crazy old woman!  If you love me and you’re the oldest, you take me.  That’s how it’s done.  I cannot do it first – that would be wrong and punishable.  When I was put in your cage, I became your bond slave for as long as either one of us lives or you reject me for another.  But you would have known that, wouldn’t you?”

Old woman she calls me.  Old?  I’m maybe seven years older than when I arrived here!  Thirty two classic (Old Earth) years?  Or is this world so twisted that even time moves in some terribly debilitating way, aging some and not others?  No, it’s not time, it’s the way we are treated.  We are all old women the moment we enter the arena.  When youth is forced to kill to defend or avenge; when it is forced to die, it is no longer youth.  It becomes a ghost that wears an aging death mask.

Professional gladiators are at the prime of their lives on their first fight, usually at around sixteen years of age.  From then on, they age quickly, if they live to age at all.  I’m well past my prime now…  Even the trainers are no longer that interested in taking me for sex in their barracks.  Younger ones have taken my place. 

“Make love to me!” she says, “before the men take me.  I want you first.  Here.”  She digs into the straw and pulls up an implement that could pass, in shape and size, for an erect penis.  “Break my skin, please.  I don’t want them to have it.  It’s what we do where I come from but they took me before it was done.  So I have been waiting for my lover; for you to do it.”

What can I say?  I’m beyond amazed at her candour and offer of herself to me.  then I have an idea.  “Sweet, if I be the one to break your skin, I want to take your blood, mix it with mine – I’ll open that fresh wound on my left arm here,” (she knows exactly which one it is and winces) “and I will mix our blood in my hands and baptize you as I promised I would.”

Her large eyes light up with a glow.  “Yes, do it!”

And so we mix our blood together and with the few drops that I can keep in my hand, I sprinkle her forehead as she holds her head reverently backward as I had instructed her to do – a ritual so she could have something to remember later.  I smear the rest of the blood in her hair and hold on to her tightly.  We both cry.

[end blog post #19]

The Antierra Manifesto – blog post #11

[start blog post #11]

“This be warning”  one of them intones, “You know rule: No wailing. No disturbance permitted.  All of you we flog too, happy to do.  But owners, they say too much cost, so you lucky today.  Proceed with training and maintenance of weapons.  Any talk; any whisper, you flogged same as that gorok.  He spits in the direction of the dead girl.

The message is delivered without inflection or passion.  It would appear these men do not feel the least amount of the pain, fear or any other feelings they cause others to experience.  No empathy.  To them we are less than animals, although I believe the expression here is quite meaningless.  There are no domesticated animals that I am aware of in this society.  The food we eat contains no meat.  But again, I’ve been wrong so many times about so many things in the few days I’ve been here!  Days?  No, not days.  I’ve been here an eternity that will never end.  I’ve fallen in hell and there is no doorway out of it.

Three handlers walk among us as we exercise or work, pick a half dozen of the youngest trainees and escort them through one of the stone doors.  One by one they shortly return.  One of them had been a virgin by the blood that runs between her legs.  She is ordered to wash and continue with training and work.  For the handlers, the flogging death they observed had given them a powerful sexual desire they needed to sate and that is also what we are for.

The day wears on, oppressive, endless, silent.  When the sun passes beyond the battlements, painting the eastern sky a lurid reddish brown fired through thin stratus type clouds, a reminder of drying blood, we are fed and returned to our cages.  The body of the flogged child, for she had been no more than twelve or thirteen years of age, now covered with some sort of black fly I hadn’t seen before, is removed from the post by two gladiators.  She is stiff and cold.  They carry her to the same door used to remove the body of her friend and is dumped in a similar conveyance.

And out of the blue my mind is asking, “What do they do with our bodies?”  I know that the dead men are taken to a hill outside the city and buried with much pomp and ceremony, but what about the bodies of the gladiators?  Or women in general?  In the field they leave them to wild beasts.  Do they take ours from here and from the arena to be eaten out there?  Or do they perform some kind of hellish rituals upon them?  

A cold chill goes through me and I try to change the subject in my mind.  Is there something else, something beautiful, I can think about?  Well, why not engage myself on my reason for coming here, instead of bemoaning a fate I deliberately chose or engaging in bouts of self-pity and self-doubt? 

Come on, woman.  Where is all that courage and bravery you were so quick to talk about once, far from here?  Where is your compassion now that you are living in hell?  Don’t both victims and oppressors need to find their freedom?  Think.  Why is this world, a place that could be so beautiful, such a horror?  What feeds the misogynist males and their killing instinct?  Why can they not sexually engage a female except by doing her violence?  Why is the beating of a woman such an erotic event for all of them?  Or is it all of them?  Could there be exceptions among the male population, and if so, how can I find them?

When the doctor had sex with me he did not use force or violence on me.  Well, yes, some force because he knew I could not refuse, but no overt violence.  In fact his handling of my wound was uncharacteristically gentle.  Who is he?  He is taller than other men I’ve seen, and his face is broader, flatter.  Could it be that he’s from another place?  That he’s not a true Tassardi?  Push this a bit further, could he be an alien like me?  If so, why is he in this place?  What is he to this place?  Why did he whisper to me “we want him dead” of my first engagement in the arena?  Who are these “we”?  And his friend in the white uniform.  I sensed a mantle of authority over him.  Authority from whom, where?  When he looked at me, it wasn’t out of lust; in fact I’d swear he was not sexually interested in me at all.  Who or what, is he?  What are they planning and how do I fit into that plan if at all?

Many questions.  Good questions engender good answers and keep my feverish mind occupied.  I will find out.  I will know.  I’m glad that tonight I’m alone in my cage.  My thoughts are so loud I’d be afraid to think them if another was lying with me and after Tiegli I’m not ready to “make love” to accommodate another.  I have no passion, no feelings.  My heart is numbed from so much violence and loss in so short a time.  I listen to the rustling of moving bodies in the fresh straw.  I hear muted sobbing. 

Later, a scream, quickly stifled, then silence – the silence of death.  A large bird or some nocturnal creature ululates a macabre call outside, the sound coming in from one of the square openings high in the smooth stone walls to echo as the voice of the dead throughout the compound.  Water drips outside.  It must be raining.  Yes, let it rain, hard and long.  Wash all the blood out of the courtyard.  Wash all the blood from this world until no world is left.

Rain – the tears of the goddess, she whom I must re-awaken in the hearts of these women.  And I too begin to cry and my own tears become an endless river of sorrow.  Tiegli’s hoarse whisper comes to my mind: “We be strong; we be courageous; not tough like stone; not fearless.  We be only women, not robots or evil beasts.  We have heart… feeling.” 

In that on-going nightmare I am finding my own power, not the power I dragged in with me as from my other self, the Avatari Al’Tara, but a power I have created from the mix of love and terror I have experienced here.  From the blood soaked stones and sand of the arena.  From the many fights I have already entered and “won” if one can call that winning; survived is a more accurate term.

I dream again, but it’s a no-dream.  A “locator” to help me find my mind’s feet on T’Sing Tarleyn, my chosen and adoptive world.  Yes, after all, what I dream of is loving, caring and giving.  I am; I am here; I am real.  And because I exist here, in this time and this place, everything will change.  I know this.  I am all the women I have been in every life as far back through time as I can remember.  Each with some memory of power gained from some great personal loss and deep sorrow and each willing to give her share of it to Antierra.  Together we will discover the true pulse of T’Sing Tarleyn and change its name to T’Sing Tallala (pronounced sing tayala); the land of freedom and hope.  All I have to do is survive the years ahead and not give in to fear but in particular, to hate.  Anger is permissible to me I think, as long as it isn’t based on fear and isn’t allowed to develop into hate.  I need to express anger as a psychological release mechanism.  If I do not I will break or become a complete hypocrite.

[end blog post #11]

I Had to Write This…

I had to write this…
[thoughts from   ~burning woman~  ]

Just finished watching, for the umpteenth time, the movie, “The Statement” (2003) with Tilda Swinton and Michael Caine.  Basically another story of hunting down Nazi murderers of innocent and helpless Jews in WWII, this time in France under the fascist, heavily pro-Nazi Vichy regime led my Marshal Petain. 

The point here is that these mass murders happened 80 or less years ago – one Earthian life time and here we are, poised to do it all over again.  Isn’t that just fantastic how quickly we forget our ignorance, stupidity and murderous mob tendencies just to start again? 

Granted, we haven’t yet quite decided which race or class of people are going to suffer our wrath, but we’re ready to “do it”.  Most likely the educated and well-informed voting mob will pick on people of some sort of colour to slaughter. Refugees, they’re pretty safe, not too dangerous.  The Muslims, well, that’s a different matter, they tend to fight back. We’ll definitely need the police, the Security state, maybe the army on our side for this. It’s but a matter of putting the right people in government to pass the laws to legitimize the slaughter and that’s never been a problem.  The problem is motivating those still sitting on the fence.  They may have to be our target this time.  Great, those stupid liberals won’t expect to be a mob’s target: sitting ducks.  

You see? That’s how it goes.  The circles just get bigger, nothing essential changes.  And why is that? Why doesn’t anything change and why do we put on the rose coloured glasses and insist that somehow, yes, things have gotten better? Was the 20th Century with its two devastating world wars followed by endless wars and the cruelest form of exploitation of resource rich emerging countries really better than the Hundred Years War?  Is that a rhetorical question or what?

What is our problem?  I’ll tell you, and I’ll keep telling you, as long as I have breath: our problem is that as a species, as a collective, as a “civilization” we don’t give a damn. We are not the least empathetic, though we can be so easily conned by our various propaganda machines into believing that we are, indeed, kind and loving “at heart” and that it is only the few; the minority; that is psychopathic and loves war and killing.  It isn’t. It’s a very, very big majority that is in love with violence and that never gets enough of it. If you don’t believe me, check out the internet and video games. Check out how much money derives directly from violence or the promotion of violence.  

Not all violence means bloodshed and death, though we certainly enjoy doing that best. Violence is everything that causes some sort of harm to others; to another – human, animal, plant or planet, for one’s selfish benefit or one’s enjoyment.  We need to get that very clear in our head for it is the same as what religion calls sin: the inflicting of pain and loss upon any “other” for one’s own satisfaction, benefit or pleasure. 

There is but one antidote for this Earthian condition that is destroying this world and possibly much of the biological life on and in it, and that is for all *ISSA beings to choose to become compassionate.  How many times have I said that? Doesn’t matter because it’s like the wind in the leafless cottonwood trees here in winter: sound and either you like it or you don’t like it, but the wind doesn’t change its tune whether you’re comfortable with it or not.

I’ve been following the current protests highlighting climate change and elitist rip-offs called the economy and assessing the chances of such protests actually accomplishing anything at all. My conclusion is predictable: the protesters are going nowhere.

Oh, what a terrible thing to say! Of course they’re going somewhere; they’re making some politicos change their minds… wow! Problem with that is, these mind-changing chameleons are opportunists. They can see the tide flowing in and they are just smart enough to move the blanket, the umbrella and the cooler a bit higher up on the beach. Still same beach, same picnic, same people. They’ll be safe from the rising waters and who cares about those who are already up against the cliff? Their problem.

If there is one thing activism has taught me back then, it’s that to address one “big” problem it is absolutely necessary to address all “big” problems. You cannot address climate change without addressing global poverty. You cannot address poverty without addressing over-population. You cannot promote alternative sources of energy if you are not condemning consumerism outright. You cannot blame right-winged politicians for screwing the planet if you are blinding yourself to the fact that your “left winged” politicians (the ones you would happily put back in charge) are as corrupt and often more so.  You cannot address justice if you are not, first, dedicated to destroying your billionaire elites – and I mean destroy utterly.  You cannot address and hope to make a dent in any of the above if you are not primarily committed to stopping all wars, genocides and where police operate out of control as in the US, stopping all government sanctioned mass murder.  You cannot in all honesty address and oppose any of the above if inside yourself resides one ounce of racism, misogyny, bullying and oh yes, patriotism. How many realize that patriotism is fanaticism that leads to terrorism?  It’s always been that.

Finally (this has to stop somewhere) nothing at all will ever change as long as there remains one Earthian anywhere convinced that s/he is entitled; if particularly blessed in some way or is superior to anyone else.  In other words, until Earthian pride is completely subdued by humility… we are doomed. We were taught; we were given chance after chance; we know right from wrong and as long as we choose wrong we can’t expect that anything will ever come out right. 

“We knew that the Earth was flat, we knew that we were the center of the universe, and we knew that a man-made heavier than air piece of machinery could not take flight. Through all stages of human history, intellectual authorities have pronounced their supremacy by ridiculing or suppressing elements of reality that simply didn’t fit within the framework of accepted knowledge. Are we really any different today? Have we really changed our acceptance towards things that won’t fit the frame? Maybe there are concepts of our reality we have yet to understand, and if we open our eyes, maybe we will see that something significant has been overlooked.”Terje Toftenes (take from the film “The Day Before Disclosure”)

*ISSA: intelligent, sentient, self aware